Monday, January 28, 2013

Halfway There

We made significant progress this week on the basement.  With my mom's help we were able to install all the 12 foot sheets of drywall on the ceiling.  We also installed all the drywall on one of the long walls and started putting on some mud (of course there's much more of that to come).


Our list of things to do in the basement is finally getting shorter:

  1.  Clear out all items
  2.  Pour self-leveling concrete
  3.  Install insulation
  4.  Install Dri-core subfloor
  5.  Remove basement boiler lines 
  6.  Frame (95% complete)
  7.  Install HVAC ducts
  8.  Install electrical
  9.  Drywall (50% complete)
  10.  Mud (25% complete)
  11.  Prime
  12.  Paint
  13.  Install doors
  14.  Install trim
  15.  Get carpet installed
Of course this list doesn't include the work on the stairs - that's another list entirely!

The finished room will be larger than half the width of the house so of course we had to work around the beam and posts (and heating pipes).  We built a bulkhead for the beam and framed around the posts. 

The bulkhead area needed lighting but the large can recessed lights kept interfering with the boiler heating pipes.  We had to go to buy some smaller lights for this area but we compensated by installing four of them.

Before we can just throw up (HA!) sheets of drywall, we have two small areas to finish framing - one near the stairs (includes a small bulkhead) and the other near the fireplace (where we have to work around the heating lines from the boiler).  We hope to have all the framing completed tonight and drywall complete on Wednesday.

It was great having my mom here for the week - she was such a big help!  And of course she got to spend some quality time with Samantha.

We actually got to have some fun this week too.  Chris and I went out to dinner for Restaurant Week, Chris went to a beer tasting, I went to a dinner/wine tasting, I went to a camera class, and we all went to an Irish benefit concert.  Now that I realize how much we were out of the house, I'm surprised that we were able to accomplish so much!

During the Irish concert, Samantha kept dancing to all the music (particularly the Irish Pub music!).  Quite a few people commented on her being a cute Irish baby.

While Chris' parents were here last weekend, Nana taught Samantha how to stack rings.  She enjoys doing it a lot now!

 Of course she doesn't always get them in the right order!

Next week the basement should look more finished...the birthday party is only two weeks away! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Let There Be Light!

We made some major improvements in the basement this weekend.  My uncle and Chris' parents all came down to help out.  While Samantha played with Nana, Chris and his dad worked on installing some duct work and I helped my uncle install all the electrical. 

It was a long day but we installed all the lights and receptacles.  Some of the biggest areas of improvement were in the stairwell and fireplace.  We needed light in this room and it's so much better now!

My mom came down on Sunday to stay for awhile.  We took advantage of having a babysitter and an extra pair of hands.  Chris and I went to Lowe's to buy a lot of drywall, etc. We also had a lot to do to prepare the ceiling for drywall installation.  We needed to remove all the screws from what held the old drywall in place.  We also had to re-install the furring strips. 

Once we completed that (and Samantha was asleep for the night) we all went to start hanging drywall.  The drywall we're using in the ceiling is 12 foot sheets.  They are heavy and very flexible.  So we had three people and a couple "dead men" (which I mistakenly called "lazy men") to help us hold the drywall in place. 

I must say that I'm pretty impressed with my own measuring and cutting skills to go around obstacles.  We're not like the pros that cut things in place so I have to measure, transfer, and cut - not easy when you have to do it upside-down and backwards!

We only put up 4 sheets of drywall but it's a great start!

Not much news of Samantha this week.  She did get in some laundry basket surfing though!

We plan to hang a lot more drywall this week so hopefully the room will look a lot closer to finished.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Basement Progress

The basement is coming along nicely.  This week we laid down the subfloor and secured it to the concrete.  Once the floor was down, the next step was to start installing the framing.  This step went surprisingly fast and we were able to put up one long wall in a couple hours.  I know that it won't all go as smoothly but I'm very pleased with the progress we made.

We have been doing most of the basement work once Samantha goes to bed for the night so our time is very limited.  We hope to finish up the framing during the nights this week so that we can install electrical and drywall this weekend. 

One of the more time consuming projects is going to be the stairs.  These used to be covered with the nastiest carpet I have ever seen.  And yes, the sign says "Watch You Head" - the former owners were real gems!

We had removed all of the carpet and staples/nails/tacks a long time ago and have just lived with them in this state.

Some of the things we need to fix include:
1. Fix the one tread that slopes too far forward
2. Install light in the landing ceiling
3. Sand, sand, and sand some more
4. Install spindles and handrails
5. Prime and paint
6. Install carpet runner
It wasn't all work this week.  Chris went to a camera class on Saturday morning to learn more about how to use our new camera.  I am going to the same class in a couple weeks - so hopefully between the two of us we'll have a clue!  After his class, we met with the Briczinski's for lunch and a nice visit.

I got to do some fun things this week - I finally saw Les Mis with friends and then had a great book club meeting.  I'm so grateful that I'm able to get away from the house alone about once a week.  It definitely helps me keep my sanity!

Samantha had her first big boo-boo this week.  She crawled over and tried to play with Tucker while he was sleeping.  He snapped at her and she got a little scratch on her cheek.  I felt so bad for her but after a few tears and a nap she was back to her happy self.

She has started getting a little picky with some of her food.  When she doesn't want something, she piles it up on the corner of the island.  In the picture below it was some kale.  

One of the favorite gifts that she got for Christmas is her tent/tunnel.  She loves crawling in and just hanging out inside. 

We only have 3 1/2 weeks until her birthday party - it doesn't leave much time to finish the basement!

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year, New(ish) Furniture!

We finally did it!  We finished our master bedroom furniture!  So I have to start by saying that this isn't really our "style" but we weren't willing to pay $10,000 for sturdy furniture.  We did the best we could.

Over two years ago, we found this bedroom set for $600 on craigslist.  It was the same color as our floors, had an 80's era speckled finish, ugly brass hardware, and had some spots that needed refinishing.  So we stripped it, stained it, and put on some teak oil to protect it.

Now we have a high quality (i.e. dovetail drawers, etc.) bedroom set that cost about $680 (and many hours of labor).  Our bedroom now looks like grownups live here - I'll post more pictures later.

Samantha will soon be turning one and we need space to host her play group for a party.  So we decided to finish a portion of the basement before then.  Here is the preliminary basement plan - we'll be finishing the Rec Room.

The before pictures are pretty bad - this was after we moved out all the stuff, removed the ceiling drywall and cleaned the floor. 

There were some major issues with the floor.  The large trees near the house had roots that pushed the concrete floor up in places.  It wasn't bad enough to need to repair but there was a height difference up to 1 1/2 inches in places - too much to shim.  So we decided to pour self-leveling concrete on top of the floor.

My parents came down this weekend to help us level the floor.  It went pretty well and didn't take long at all.

 Once the floor was poured, we prepared the exterior wall for installing foam insulation.  There were some boards to remove and the outlets to remove/seal. 

The outlets on this wall were cemented into place.  Due to this, the outlet boxes have been completely rusted through.  We removed these so they were flush and sealed them up with foam.

We used some expanded foam and Great Stuff to seal up the joist cavities and then extruded foam on the exterior wall.  This should allow the Rec Room to be nice and toasty!

Before any of the work in the basement, Chris and my dad took a lot of junk to the scrap yard.  We have a lot of old appliances from the house (this load was two ranges and an old water heater) and plenty of scrap metal from the old fence, old pinholed copper pipe, etc.  We didn't make a lot off of this scrap but it was more than if it was still in our basement!


I was able to send off the birthday invitations to Samantha's play group - they turned out pretty well!  We'll see how many 6 month - 1 year toddlers we can hold in the basement...

I've been pretty bad about taking Samantha's weekly pictures lately.  Here's one of her dressed as a bear with her jingle bells.

We have a lot of work to do in the basement in the next 4 weeks - wish us luck!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

It's been awhile since I wrote a regular post (plus a lot happened over Christmas) so this is very picture heavy!

In early December we went to the Lisbon Horse Parade.  Samantha absolutely loved it!  There were over 500 horses and they were all dressed up...the nativity, elves, reindeer, Grinch, etc., etc.  She spent the majority of the parade on our shoulders and was laughing and clapping during a lot of it.  I think this will definitely be part of our early Christmas tradition (just like the Saxonburg Light Up Night).

I finished up my cake decorating class by making a sunflower cake.  I don't think it's great but I wouldn't be completely embarrassed serving it to anyone!

We have been working hard to get our bedroom furniture finished (after a long 2 1/2 years in the basement).  We are so close - we may even have furniture in our bedroom by this weekend!

The old finish is very similar in color to our floors and had an 80's speckled finish on it.  So we stripped everything and are re-staining it.  We also hated the hardware so I painted and glazed it - it made a big difference!

On one of our play dates, Samantha got her picture taken with Santa in his sleigh.  Amy had this sleigh from her wedding and her brother took off work to dress up.  I was so happy that she actually smiled!

Each year before Christmas there is a baking frenzy.  I always make too many and yet each year I seem to make more and more.  I think this year I made eight different cookies (and multiple batches of some).  Next year I'm cutting down - I hope... 

We started our Christmas trip at my parents' house in Pennsylvania.  Samantha really enjoyed feeding their dog her breakfast - and has tried a few times with Tucker at home since.

 She was trying to be helpful by checking over Grandma's store list.

We were happy to be able to visit friends that came in from Washington state.  And we got to meet their 2 month old daughter - so cute and tiny!

The Phipps Conservatory had the gardens lit for the holidays so we went down with my extended family.  It was very nice - they had plenty of beautiful trees, outdoor gardens, great music, and a train display.  

Christmas Eve is always spent with my extended family and it rotates houses each year.  This year was at my parents' so we were able to get Samantha to bed at a reasonable hour (although she woke up after midnight when everyone was leaving).  My family spoiled her with so many nice presents.  She doesn't know which ones to play with first!

We normally spent Christmas morning with my family and open the massive mountain of presents that my mom buys each year.  The pile just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  Of course since Samantha is the first grandchild, she is super spoiled. 


Her uncle bought her an enormous stuffed dog - it takes up a majority of the available floor space in the den.

Samantha did a pretty good job of opening her gifts...

...but in the end just wanted to play with all the wrapping paper.

Once we were finished unwrapping presents, we packed up and headed to Columbus to visit with Chris' family.  Our niece, Anna, was very happy to play with Samantha.

And what visit to Columbus would be complete without her first trip to Skyline Chili?  (she just ate crackers and cheese - thankfully!).


We spent a couple nights in Columbus (where it snowed a lot!) and then traveled East to Chris' parents' house for another night.  We had a nice time but we got sick and left a little earlier than planned.  

Once we got home, we celebrated our Christmas.  Santa was pretty good to Samantha this year - now we just need to find a place to put all the toys!

Tucker really liked his new bed...after a week of travel he only wants to sleep, sleep, sleep!

Samantha was lacking clean clothes when we got home so Chris dressed her in her warm bear outfit.  It was reminiscent of the "Aunt Clara always gives you the nicest things" moment from "A Christmas Story."


 Here are some other shots of Samantha (as if there weren't enough already). 

 I'll leave you with the beautiful sunset from our nice, finished deck!

Happy New Year!!