house build update


Goodness, its been a long time since I blogged!  I’ll actually let you in on an embarrassing little secret:  it had been so long since I logged on to my blog that I forgot how!  I forgot my link and password and it was all quite laughable, until it wasn’t anymore and it was just frustrating.  But then I remembered this happening before and I remembered I had emailed myself links and passwords if I were to get in this situation again!  Genius (kind of, not really).


The biggest news I have to share is that after over 3 years (putting our old house up for sale, finding property, waiting for it to split to purchase, designing the house and waiting for permits) we finally BROKE GROUND on June 7th!!!  That was a crazy time for us because the kids were finishing school, our oldest promoted to high school, Sean & I went to China & Japan, we celebrated my 40th birthday, we celebrated Sean’s birthday/father’s day with a trip to Mexico with friends, and oh yeah, we also moved.  Phew!


Here is what our property looked like while we waited for our permits and loan to final.  Its 2.5 acres of land in San Luis Obispo county, but still less than 2 miles to downtown SLO.  We really wanted somewhere to spread out and not worry about bothering our neighbors and let the kids run loose and have loud gatherings.  This is going to be that place!


Day 1 of groundbreaking and what a big difference!  Just moving down all the weeds helped us to see the contours of the land.


Within a couple days all the weeds were cleared, the main “ridge” of the property was scraped down, and things were flattening out.


Then came more digging and moving of dirt, scraping and digging out the areas for the 3 buildings, then recompacting them.


It turns out that dirt is not very photogenic, especially not flat dirt.  But this has all been so exciting to us already!  We have never built a house fully from the ground up (our last build was from the subfloor up) so learning all about the process here is actually really interesting to me.  I’m pretty sure the contractor and subs are getting a little tired of my questions ;)

Before I go on about what else has happened besides dirt moving, I’ll share a bird’s eye view of the property through our plans.

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So this may be kind of confusing to you if you’re not used to looking at plans like this!  All of the pictures I just showed were from the driveway entrance, at the bottom of the plan picture above.  So we were looking down the driveway, past the pool (that may or most likely will not happen), towards the 3 structures.  3 structures? Yep, I’ll explain…


The middle structure is the main house, where we’ll live.  Attached to that via a 2nd story bridge/hallway (on the right) is the loft and garage.  At our last house, my parents built a loft above our garage and live with us about 1 week a month.  We’ll be doing that again here!  The 3rd structure is a barn, to house a workshop, some storage, a bathroom, store our RV, and have space for things like ping pong, foosball, darts, etc.  Sean has big plans for this space, and most of them have me thinking it will turn out something like this – yikes!  The center section of the barn will have a second story, and we will eventually have an apartment up there that we can rent out.


This is a picture of Sean, standing in what will be the courtyard area.  We designed the 3 structures to create a sort of U-shaped space in the front yard to be protected from any wind and hopefully create a little hot pocket!


Once all the dirt was level to where we wanted it and compacted, they painted lines for the foundation.  This view is from the back right corner of the main house, looking toward the barn (the barn is going to back up to the fence, with a driveway in between).  Seeing the lines was super exciting!  I remember from our last house that this stage made me freak out a little, seeing the whole space laid out without any walls oddly seems smaller than what I was expecting.  Knowing that once the walls go up it will all start to feel bigger helped me not worry this time.


Next came more digging, but this time it was trenches for the foundation.  Those trenches are deep, about 3+ feet!


This view is looking at the whole property from the far right side, first you see the loft/garage, then the main house, then the barn is way out by the white truck.


Foundation prep takes a lot of work!  The forms are mostly built, about half of the rebar is in, and it looks like the plumbing is all set to go.  This view is from the front left corner of the porch of the main house, looking toward the loft/garage.


The foundation is supposed to be poured at th eend of this week!  I am super excited about it, but am almost hoping they put it off until early next week because the kids are at camp and will miss it!  We stop by the property almost every day and see what’s new and exciting.

So is this stuff interesting at all to you?  I have always been fascinated by all the steps of a house build, but maybe I’m alone in this!

World Water Day 2018


I have a good friend who works for Lifewater, a Christian nonprofit dedicated to bringing clean water, improved health, and the hope of the Gospel to unreached places.  When we get together and talk about work, I’m talking about designing window displays and she’s talking about traveling to remote regions of the world, dealing with spiders the size of her hand, and providing lifesaving water programs for villages.  Both are important jobs (ha!), but… you guys, she is impacting the WORLD!

Did you know that 800+ million people don’t have access to safe water?  That’s about 1 in 10 people on earth, or twice the population of the United States! You can help change that!


10 Facts About the Water Crisis

Download the fact sheet to view sources for statistics.

  1. 100 million families are stuck in a cycle of poverty and disease because they don’t have access to safe water.
  2. More people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war.
  3. 2.4 billion people, 1 in 3, lack access to a toilet.
  4. Water-borne diseases kill more children under the age of five than malaria, measles, and HIV/AIDS – combined.
  5. In developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.
  6. Women and girls spend up to 6 hours every day walking to get water for their families.
  7. The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is 3.7 miles. That is 19,500 steps, every day, just to get water that is making them sick.
  8. 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases.
  9. Time spent gathering water around the world translates to $24 billion in lost economic benefits each year, furthering the cycle of poverty.
  10. Every dollar invested in safe water and improved hygiene and sanitation results in eight dollars of increased economic activity.

World Water Day is Thursday, March 22nd.  For just $40, you can change a child’s life forever with clean water.  Plus, on World Water Day, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, doubling your impact!  Will you join Lifewater in being the hands and feet of Jesus to the world?