Tuesday, September 17, 2013

11 Months!



I am feeling a little nostalgic and tender hearted as Maren nears 1 year old! It is so fun to watch her learn and do more, but at the same time I feel like I don't want to forget the look of her little face as I look down at her. Or the sound of her babbling. Or the way she points. Or her open mouth kisses and the way she snuggles up to me. I certainly am enjoying being her mom!

She now is really great at sleeping - both naps and at night. You can see her little birth mark spot on her leg that is kind of like mine.

Her first word was "hi" while waving. Now she also says "bye." And she babbles all the time in her own little super cute language. (Notice matching clothes on Rhianna and Maren!)

I am still nursing Maren a few times each day, but she also has figured out her sippy cup. She eats most things we eat. I even have started letting her try to do it herself sometimes. Vanilla yogurt works good for this since the mess is still all white.
video

She still has a pretty happy personality, though she is starting to express her opinions about things by yelling or pointing (for food or toys etc).

This month she has gotten better and better about walking around holding on to people or objects and just on Sunday took her first real steps. Just a few, but she is on her way.
video

Monday, September 16, 2013

#9 for Rand


We had a nice weekend celebrating with Rand. On Friday, Maren and I surprised him and stopped in to eat lunch at school. He brought homemade chocolate chip cookies in for his class and they loved them. That night he opened his presents - Legos and books. He already spent time making some of them. Friday night was a church party at Adamson Lagoon - with cheeseburgers (one of Rand's favorite foods) and swimming and water slides. It was a really fun day. Then on Saturday his friend Landon came over. We ate pizza and chocolate cherry cake and watched the movie Epic. We love you Rand!
(Rand eating cake on his first birthday)
 
(Rand's cake this year)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Building our House

Stephanie and I have begun the process of building a home here in College Station Texas. We are excited about the process and want to share it with our family and friends. For as long as I can remember, I have had the desire to build a house. In high school I can remember sketching out floor plans for possible houses and dreaming about my future house. As an adult, I love to watch home shows, look at cool architecture, and I even follow a number of home building and design blogs. This is why I am so excited that I finally have the opportunity to build a house. When I accepted the job at Texas A&M one of the things that was very appealing to me about the location was the fact that it seemed very feasible for us to build here.

Stephanie does most of the posts about our family stuff, but during the next year, I am going to try and post regularly about the house. I will try to post at least once a month with an update and relevant pictures. I have followed a number of home building blogs throughout the years, and so I am going to try and be pretty open about our choices and what we are doing. If you have questions feel free to ask them in the comments or send us an email.

STAGE ONE – The Lot
When Stephanie and I came out to find a place to rent, we also looked around at some of the neighborhoods where there was land for sale. We were hoping that we would be able to rent a home in a similar area to where we planned to build. After we got here we started looking for lots in earnest. We thought we had found the right lot, but before we made an offer we showed the architectural committee some drawings of the house, and they told us that it was too radical for their neighborhood and so we moved on.

Eventually we decided on a lot in a neighborhood called Sweetwater Forest. The lot is just over one acre and is heavily wooded. It is nice and flat and will be pretty close to lots of our friends from church, our kids’ schools and a grocery store. Here are some pictures.




Initial Design
Our architect is Wes Christensen. Wes is a friend of ours that we met in Tucson, but he now lives in Utah. Wes helped us when we remodeled our house in Tucson, and he is a great architect, and so we immediately thought it would be awesome to work with him on this project. When he put together the initial floor plan and renderings these were our priorities:

1)    We needed to have space for my parents. My parents are retired and they decided to move to College Station. We had always told them that when we were going to build, if they wanted we would be willing to build a home that included space for them. So we needed separate space for them. (The cool phrase for what we are doing is that we are building a multi-generational home).
2)    We wanted our master bedroom on the main floor. We hope this is a house we live in forever, and so we wanted all the main components on the main floor (kitchen, master bedroom, laundry).
3)    We wanted a big family room separate from the living room for the kids to play, make noise, watch TV, etc. Stephanie and I both grew up in areas where you had a basement for this. It is very difficult to build a basement here, so we decided on an upstairs family room.
4)    We wanted the home to have a fairly simple shape to make it easy to build.
5)    We wanted a home that fit our style. We like modern/contemporary homes, and if we were going to the effort and expense of building a custom home we wanted something we would love.

So here were our early-stage floor plans and renderings.
Main Floor


Second Floor
 
Exterior



Most Recent Design
After a number of iterations and changes to the floor plan (a lot of them were to reduce the overall size), here are the most recent floor plans and renderings of the exterior.




Main Floor

Second Floor

 
Exterior
  
 

That is probably enough for now. I will be posting more in the future.