White House Renovations 2014—We have a foundation!

Friday, April 18

White House Renovations 2014 The Foundation at LifeintheWhiteHouse.comLast week {April 9th} the house was demolished and the foundation was dug out; despite the weather not being overly agreeable they managed to get the footings poured, the walls done and the basement finished! There is still some work that needs to be done before we can start building {perimeter drains and replacing the cast iron sewer lines for starters}.

Obviously this isn’t going to be an overly exciting post, but there is progress!

One of the things with old houses is that there are ALWAYS surprises, our house is no different. Given that the original house has a full basement, that is entirely laid stone, but very short, we knew we might have some issues to deal with. While the inside of our basement wall are smooth and give a relatively “flat” surface, the outside is another story.

Enter the large stones that can’t be touched. See’em all there, poking out!
White House Renovations 2014 The Foundation at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
So what do you do with that?

You have to create a bump out and up in your basement to accommodate the existing foundation. I have no idea what the finished height of this is going to be. I’m hoping it will be high enough for a shelf or low enough for a bench, but we’ll see.
White House Renovations 2014 The Foundation at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
Forms are up for the walls.White House Renovations 2014 The Foundation at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
And the walls were poured {it was starting to get dark when I got this shot}. Bottom right you can see one of the basement windows…they’re nothing fancy, just your standard basement windows.White House Renovations 2014 The Foundation at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
You can see the bump up/out in this one. If/when we ever finish the basement the half or 3/4 bath will be on that far right corner, closest to the existing house. The bottom right corner is where the stairs will go from the kitchen to the basement.White House Renovations 2014 The Foundation at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com
I stopped by on Wednesday to see how things were going, and there was an issue. We had talked about where the door to the basement was going to go. I wanted it on the far side {right side in the above picture}, Matt didn’t. My reasoning was that that part of the yard is already a dead spot {traffic wise} and I didn’t want it where the swing set was. We had agreed to put it as close to the fence as possible on the left side, but I guess that didn’t get conveyed to the people that it needed to be conveyed to.

The door and the huge metal bilco door way is in the middle of the left side, right in front of where you walk into the yard. Gah!! I was up half the night on Wednesday thinking this over and trying to convince myself it’s not an issue, but it is…it’s a HUGE issue. And unless we want to spend another chunk of change it’s going to stay an issue. Matt and I looked at it, and hopefully it isn’t as bad as I envision. I’m not happy, but we’ll manage.

The good news is the aforementioned bump out, is going to be a good height for a shelf. So the TV will eventually go on that wall, with lots of room to store things on it. The bad news is the basement isn’t going to be big enough to have a 3/4 bath…we’re going to try and work in a powder room under the stairs.
The boys got to be the first of their siblings in the new basement. I took them down Thursday evening to help Daddy and PopPaul put down the pex piping for the radiant heating.DSC_0168
They were more excited though to be playing in their own yard….DSC_0185
And climbing on Daddy while he worked {James}.DSC_0173
So, here it is…the basement.
Friday morning {today} they are pouring the floor, installing the door, and then moving our swing set someplace {I’m not sure yet where} re-grading the yard, and they should be done. The floor trusses arrived Thursday afternoon, and next week, we start building up. Now is the fun stuff, because now is the stuff that I can help with!

And yes, my boys were beyond excited about the “Mater” in the backyard {I tried explaining it was an excavator}. Henry especially loves Cars {Disney movie} and Mater, and tractors and anything else that’s a machine and moves.

Scrubbing away the black…

Wednesday, April 16

Sharing this with you: A piece I wrote for our church newsletter this month.

In just a few more days it will be here: The blackness of Lent cast off in the full glory of Our Lord. Not just a man, but God who became man and died for us on the cross; and not only died, but conquered death and was resurrected. Who didn’t leave us in the blackness of the tomb, despairing, but brought us forth into the light, to the Son blazing in the sky brilliance.

The question is this: Have you done anything to deserve this kind of saving? Dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts of being a “good Christian”? Read your Bible? Tithed? Attended services? Never judged? Gave to the poor? Helped the sick?

I know I haven’t. None of us deserve to be taken out of the blackness of the tomb. Because that tomb is our own hearts. No matter what Scrubbing Away the Black: Resurrection Day and Clean Hearts at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com we DO, our hearts are still black; there is no amount of scrubbing we can do to unblacken them. There is not a person in all creation that has a clean heart, a heart that has not offended or been offended, felt unloved or withheld love, caused hurt or been hurt.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a
right spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

Our hearts can only be cleaned by God. By Jesus, becoming the absolution for all who follow Him. And in that moment of taking our sins not only destroy them, but death. In Him, in His Death, in His Resurrection we have become clean.

Will we falter? Will we still be human and be hurt and hurt others? And NOT live to His glory? Absolutely. But that’s not an excuse, that’s a fact. We are human, we cannot save ourselves. Only our God can save us, and He did.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do
I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
Romans 7:15

However, that doesn’t give us the Get Out of Jail-Free card, to say we love Jesus, but live for ourselves. It gives us the chance to put ourselves aside and show those around us a man who died for all others, when He himself was without blame. To admit when we were wrong, when we have wronged, and when we have been wronged. To forgive, to love, to continually extend our hand in Jesus’ name. To pursue rather than persecute.

This is why the Resurrection Day is of utmost importance, because it isn’t about Spring or candy. It is about life being made anew. And not just any life, but our lives. Our lives being led from the darkness into the light, by the only who has the map, who IS the map.

“Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 NIV

While the fuzzy bunnies and speckled eggs are cute, Easter is about so much more than new dresses and bonnets. It’s about God, OUR God, coming to earth as man, living the life we’re incapable of, dying the death we deserve, and at the end of it all saying: I have conquered death, that you may have life eternal in Me.

God the Carpenter

Monday, April 14

We’re in it up to our elbows now, or deeper depending on where you’re standing. This morning the forms were going up for the basement walls. Hopefully they can get the concrete poured in this afternoon since it’s going to rain tomorrow. Trusses are coming on Thursday. I was hoping to have a work day this coming Saturday, since family will be visiting, but I’m not sure there will be any work for us to do yet.

I’ve really wanted to share with you just how God has been working before and during this renovation, and a bit more of the inside scoop. IMG_4996[1]

Here’s a secret: Even though I am beyond thrilled that we’re doing this renovation and I’ve wanted to do it for a while, it really was just a pipe dream. This is not at all what I thought we actually would be doing once it was time. We had planned on just fixing the foundation, gutting the area and starting over; the space was more than big enough. But that wasn’t going to work.

We knew the foundation was nearly non-existent under that part of the house. Once we talked to the guy who is doing our foundation we basically decided to just tear the structure down. There was no benefit to staying within the existing structure. Because of how unlevel it had become, everything inside would have buckled and broken and needed to be replaced anyways. Not to mention it was going to cost us more to lift and gut, than it was to tear it down and start over.

So, where has God been in this {since I mentioned Him in the title}?

God was quite literally holding our house together and up. Once our contractor got under the addition and started looking around, there was, quite literally, a 2x4 holding the entire thing up, and ONLY a 2x4. Kind of scary.

Then there was that whole troublesome building permit issue, which showed up on our doorstep literally the last possible day for us to call the foundation company and have them put us on the schedule for the following week.

And of course the “where are we going to live while our house gets destroyed?” question. Oddly enough, Matt’s parents built a new house a few years ago, of which we are residing in the basement {which is bigger than our own home is}. Enough room for all of us.

God….very simply was in all of it. Keeping our house standing until we were ready to move forward, putting all the details in order so that we stayed on schedule, and providing for us a place to live in comfortably while the work is done. It’s often so easy to forget He has our backs and is looking out for us, but it’s always nice when we can see what He’s doing.