Tuesday, December 27, 2016

christmas 2016 in pictures

summer/fall 2016 in pictures

So much has happened over the past 6 months, there's no way to get it all written down. But since many of you have been asking for more pictures (other than the measley few I've posted on facebook), hold on to your hats! Here's our past 6 months in pictures:

Sunday, December 18, 2016

reflections on 2016

Dear Family, Friends, and Blog Readers,

As the Christmas season is upon us and another year draws to a close, we want to take some time to pause and reflect on the past year. Our little family has undergone many changes over the past 12 months.

This year we experienced the world of parenthood, with its many challenges and rewards. After a fairly easy pregnancy, Olivia Joy made her appearance 1 day early. Since her arrival on June 15, she has kept us on our toes. A strong feeler with an intense personality, she has certainly not been the world's easiest baby! However, we love her to pieces and continue to take great delight at each new milestone she reaches. When she is not experiencing tummy troubles or gas pain, she is a happy baby and truly lives up to her middle name. Just like Daddy, she enjoys music. From classical, to Bluegrass, to hip-hop, she constantly moves to the beat in her Jolly Jumper! She also loves it when we sing or when Daddy plays his guitar. Thanks to a lovely baby shower in April, a sister-in-law who has twin girls, and Mommy's keen eye for thrift store finds, we have not had to make any major purchases for Olivia thus far. What a blessing! 

The second major event of our year was to create a finished living space above the new garage. Due to some initial difficulty in getting our permits, we got off to a late start. The framing was completed and the insulation installed before Olivia's arrival, but drywall, paint, carpet and trim all had to be done yet over summer. We were able to get things wrapped up in September and are pleased to be all settled in. The additional space has allowed us to created two additional bedrooms and a large storage area. We were also able to complete the new siding on the rest of the house to match the garage. After over 6 years of renovating and building, we can finally say the house is done! Come spring, though, we hope to install a privacy fence to create an outdoor play space for Olivia. We also plan to do some additional landscaping.

Mr. Gryce continues working as a Senior Software Developer, and I am enjoying being at home full-time. I do not miss supply teaching, though I may eventually tutor from home again. In August we were able to go out and celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, thanks to Aunt Jess who babysat.

In closing, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and God's blessings in the New Year.


Go here to read last year's letter. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

loft renovation

In mid-March, we started gearing up to convert the loft above our garage into usable living space. Unfortunately, we ran into a bunch of red tape that delayed our plans by about 6 weeks. Instead of providing the usual blueprints and filling out the typical paperwork, we had to have a heating/duct design plan drawn up. We were also told we would have to upgrade our entire septic system to accommodate the additional occupancy that adding two extra bedrooms entailed. All this just to get a building permit! 

Well, a new septic system was not in the budget, so we had to prove that we were technically not adding additional bedrooms. (Our home was listed as a 3-bedroom, but one of those bedrooms [the office] had no closet and had a door that opened directly out on to the front porch. We were losing the other bedroom as it would become part of the new hallway for the loft.) The chief building inspector finally agreed with our reasoning, and approved us for our permit. Finally, we were ready to start!

We hired Walt Schaly Design/Build to do the work since we were extremely happy with their work on the garage last year. (Also, baby Gryce was due to arrive in only a few short months.)

The first order of business was to cut the hole in the wall to join our existing house to the loft. This was easier said than done. Since it was formerly an exterior wall, there was lots of wood and spray-foam insulation to cut through.

Cory and Bruce framed in a couple of walls to make 2 bedrooms and a large hallway / storage room.

Mr. Gryce ran all the heating ductwork and did the electrical wiring himself.

 We hired Reid's Insulating to spray-foam all the exterior walls, plus the floor (since it is right above the garage.) 

They got the job done just in time for baby Gryce's arrival.

We took a couple weeks off, and then we had the guys from Top Notch Drywall come in to do their thing.

Finally, while baby Olivia napped, I was ready to start painting!

We built this bench seat in the hallway to hide the ductwork:

Cory and Bruce came back to do all the trimwork once the paint was dry. It was finally starting to take shape. I couldn't wait to get the curtains hung!

We got Jim Smardenkas from Wilson's Flooring to install the carpet throughout.

The bench seat we built to hide all the ductwork became a handy dumping spot as we began the process of finally moving in.... 

One area of the hallway is our new exercise / storage room:

Our completed spare bedroom:

And our completed baby nursery:

It has been very exciting to FINALLY move the last of our boxes and furniture out of my mom's basement, now that we have the space in our house. We've also been able to de-clutter a few of our other rooms. There's still a few things to touch-up, including the old spare bedroom, which will be a work / play room, but we're in the home stretch!