For those who don't already know, we are thrilled to announce that we officially broke ground on our new house this week! (I've uploaded a new slideshow under "House Progress")
Yes, it really is an addition rather than a completely new building, but to us it's going to mean a very different house than we have right now. We'll go from about 960 square feet to around 1,830 square feet and we are being given the spectacular gift of a complete basement underneath the new part of the house. To double our space again, all we have to do is finish the basement. Our new house will be HUGE compared to the old one!
Originally, we were going to build on a crawlspace since a basement didn't fit in the budget; but we have wonderful friends who decided we ought to have a basement and therefore they're building one and doing some amazing things to make it work, such as advertising free fill dirt on Craigslist and then patiently hauling truckloads of dirt out to different locations to dump it. One of the bigger expenses in building a basement is hauling away all the dirt that came out of the hole. Everyone is also spending time searching Craigslist for other material supplies that we would normally just purchase new, but every little bit we purchase as odds and ends from other jobs is money we save off the total cost, giving us the ability to do a lot more than we would've otherwise. Ben is thrilled and intrigued with this - he's always really enjoyed bargain-hunting, but this is going to a whole new level we hadn't ever thought of.
He's also thrilled because he's gotten to use the mini excavator. When we did all the work on our house the first time, things were going so fast and we were trying to prepare for our wedding at the same time, so he didn't get a chance to help with a lot of the projects. He also felt like he would get in the way since he was always having to learn how to do whatever was being done. He's said for a year he wants things to be different with the addition: he really wants to be able to learn more and be able to help with the building - and one side benefit of having friends willing to build our house is that they're also ready to teach how to build our house.
We began digging the basement on Wednesday afternoon, though the work really got going in earnest on Thursday. One of the things about working with friends this way is that there can be a long period of waiting followed by a fantastic amount of activity in a short period of time. To anyone watching it probably looks like nothing is ever going to happen; but a good thing to remember is that we pretty much took the house apart and put it back together as a wheelchair-friendly place in two weeks - from the 14th of November to the 28th, the kitchen floor was stripped and raised, the wall between kitchen and living room was removed, a new bathroom was totally installed (including the new drain lines and the construction of a shower), extensive drywall repair was finished, the whole house was cleaned and painted, the stairway and doorways were raised in the kitchen where the floor had been raised, the electrical system was revamped and a bunch of new fixtures were added, all new interior doors were installed, and we moved Ben and I in. That is a LOT of work in two weeks. I tend to think the addition will be the same way. Kim asked us in April if we thought we'd be almost done when she came back in August and I honestly think there's an excellent likelihood of it.
In other news, Abigail learned how to roll over both ways this week. She also did something I've never seen done before: she's learned how to flip over while in her bouncy chair. She rolls herself around so her face is in the chair and her little bottom is stuck up in the air...and then she cries because she can't figure out what to do next. Actually, in order to roll over she yells the whole time. It's not crying exactly, just like she's yelling. And then she gets over onto her stomach and lifts her head up to look around in a sort of bewildered way - "Okay, I did it. Now what?"
She finds all the activity surrounding the addition pretty fascinating and will sit quietly for an amazingly long time watching the big machines out the doorwall as the excavation continues. Grandma is convinced all the loud machines scare her, but she doesn't look scared at all to me, just intrigued. She was even laughing hysterically (for her) when Benjamin was pounding up the concrete from the old sunroom. She's laughed more this week than I've ever heard. Her aunts have all been around a lot this week too, so she's been getting used to them hauling her around. When it's just me and I get tired, I put her down; but with all the girls around, when one person gets tired, they pass her on to the next set of hands. Now she thinks she really ought to be carried everywhere so she can see what's going on rather than being stuck in one place. She thought that anyway, but now it's even more pronounced.
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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