The one about the Tree HousE: There are walls!

The last few weeks have been some of the rainiest I can remember. At first, we consoled ourselves by saying, "April showers bring May flowers," but then when the rain continued into the first 10 days of May, that phrase grew old. Rain is fine and all and necessary to our ecosystem, but when you are trying to build a house? It's a nuisance.

We knew this project would come with delays. What home project doesn't? When I last posted, we were anxiously awaiting the floor trusses to arrive from their manufacturer in Terre Haute. We thought they were coming that next week (mid-April), but it ended up being an additional week later. They did at least arrive in time for Luke's birthday, which he said was the only present he wanted.

The existing garage has been repaired, and know it awaits a new roof, window, and siding.

These are the floor trusses that haunted Luke's dreams (or nightmares) for weeks. They were delivered on a semi all the way from Terre Haute.

From inside the basement, standing basically near/under the stairs. The trusses will allow us to get our duct work hidden and avoid huge bulkheads in the ceiling.

Seeing the trusses go over the basement gave more life to the house and made us really excited. The next step was getting them all level, secured, and then laying on the floor decking for the entire main level of the house. This was about the time the monsoons began, so just as soon as the guys would get some work done, they would have to stop for a day or two at a time. Water of course went to the crawl space and basement, which then had to be pumped out. This process repeated itself for at least a week or so it seemed until all the decking could get secured.

This week, however, we saw some really awesome changes when we pulled into the driveway and found a couple of walls up on the main level of the house. You can stare at a set of plans 100 times over and try to get an idea of what the house will look like, how big the house will be, and how everything will actually go together, but until you step up and into a structure that actually starts to feel like a house, you truly have no idea how it will take shape. Our master bedroom walls with cutouts for the windows were standing tall, and that gave us so much excitement. If we can get more than a day of nice weather at a time, I know that we will see a lot more walls in the coming days.

Walls! There are walls! The exterior walls for the kitchen, master bath, master bedroom, and part of the kids' rooms are set up. The windows are huge so we can see the woods.  

This is the wall that forms the end of the kids' rooms. They are jack and jill style with a bathroom in-between those large windows. 

 This is the back corner of the house. Those three windows are part of our master bedroom. I can't wait to wake up during the first snow of the year and see the snowy trees out the windows.

This is the cutout for the stairs to the basement. The basement will be a highly utilized area of our home, so we are thinking of it more as a lower level than a dingy basement from scary movies. There will be stairs going down and the triangular opening will have railing, but it will be open to the lower level. This will allow light to get in and add design interest.

I am standing in Leo's room...showing him the ropes.

There is a strip of 15 acres at the end of our property that was sectioned off by the previous owner and sold to another couple. We had the first dibs on purchasing this land, but we didn't feel like we needed an extra 15 acres on top of our 40 acres when we needed the money to build this house. This couple has been working on building their home, and from the road, it appears to be much farther along in the building process than ours. It is difficult to resist the urge to get wonder why theirs is going up so much quicker, but all those thoughts are just distractions from the journey we are on. They didn't have to tear down an existing house. They aren't trying to fit a new house over an existing basement footprint. They have a crew of builders, and it is hard to tell if their home is a custom design or if it is a style of home that the builders have constructed many times over.

Comparison is the thief of joy, and I am not going to let someone else's progress squander the excitement that we feel at this moment with how our house is coming along. When I say that "we" (meaning mostly Luke) have had a say in every single decision, in every 2x4 that has been ordered, in every measurement of every window, in every nail that has been purchased...that is what I mean. It has been difficult to balance Luke's job (which requires every ounce of his mental & physical energy), with my pregnancy (which included a 3 day stay in the hospital a few weeks ago and a baby who is likely to come any day now), in addition to raising our three girls and being present for them. On any given night, one of us is not sleeping. I am either awake with late-term pregnancy discomfort or insomnia, or Luke is awake with a spinning mind and a long to-do list of what needs to be accomplished, ordered, followed up on, or addressed the next day. This is a lot of work! But with great risk there is great reward.

This house is a bit of a "homecoming" for us. Luke grew up 20 seconds down the road, where is parents still live, and the home is nestled in the school district where we graduated from and where our children will attend once their time at St. Mary is finished. My mom has been teaching at our former high school for over 45 years. Many people we have known for most of our lives still live in the area and are very interested in what is going on with "that house in the woods." It is very fun to share our joy, and we are honest about sharing our setbacks (which is why I write this blog), but sometimes being so open can leave us vulnerable to a lot of well-meaning input, advice, and even speculation. We are trying to remember that, again, this is our journey, our process, and we are taking things as they come.

As cliche as it is, the saying is isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain. Just please, Mother Nature, a little break would be nice.

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