Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Birthday

Nicholas sent me this video while I was at work yesterday. It was the best birthday present I got! My roller skates were pretty sweet too! (Thanks Nicholas and Baines)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I wish I could say our Easter was full of sunshine but unfortunately the rain gods had other ideas. We started Sunday off when Nicholas JUMPED out of bed to the sound of rain. For most people it would be calming but when you have an unfinished roof and exposed ceiling, it’s dreadful. We threw on rain gear, put the monitor next to Baines and went on the roof. We worked super fast to get it covered. We couldn’t help from laughing… This is our life, covering and uncovering our house with tarps. I think Nicholas can sleep better once the roof is shingled. He is always on high alert for rain. Checking the weather report several times a day and keeping everything ready for the inevitable down pour.

We’re now the neighborhood joke. Whenever they see Nicholas and his dad on the roof working, that means it’s going to rain. So sad but its true…

Other than our usual house drama we had a lovely weekend. We went to Joe & Andrea’s house (brother and sister-in-law) they had the whole family over for an egg hunt and brunch. It’s always nice to slow down once and awhile and spend time with family. I was hoping to get tons of pictures but since the weather was so gloomy we forgot. So I only have these from our house. I am super proud of my first Easter basket. It turned out just as I hoped (That rarely happens for me). I’m not very crafty and I dream bigger than I can accomplish. I planned ahead and made it really simple. I think I might be getting a hang of this Mom thing!

Baines favorite toy is a ball so naturally she loved the eggs. She didn’t even look up when we were taking her pictures. She was just getting to work grabbing everything.

Friday, April 22, 2011


She does not crawl quietly

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Getting there!

All the full length roof rafters are up. We just need to set the short ridge beam for the smaller front porch pitch, hang those rafters and build the walls to close the front attic off. The thing is there is still more roof to build! After we sheet what we've done we have gables to build off the side of each roof to give it more definition and size. We gotta make it look good if we want to win the "Beautification of Lakewood" award.

Monday, April 18, 2011

At the Farm

Saturday we went to Riverside to have lunch and celebrate Nicholas’ grandfather’s birthday. While we were there we stopped by my coworker Kelli’s house. They have a large property with horse, dogs, and tons of goats. Baines had a great time meeting all the animals. She even got to ride Bert the goat.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Our single story home addition and remodel is only adding 867 square feet of livable space and 158 square feet of porch for a total 1,025 new square feet. Our existing home is 943 sq. ft. (not including the garage) which will bring us to 1,968 total once complete. This does not include the very useable, future “man cave” attic space the new roof pitch will provide. One would think a SINGLE story, three bedroom, two bath home would not prove to be a difficult addition.

Our original mindset was as follows, “Add master bed, bath and closet out back and push kitchen/dining room out a few feet in the front and be done.” That still sounds simple to me; just a few new walls and knock out a couple of old ones. The problem(s) arises because McCall and I wanted the layout to be a specific way and to have a very specific look. Sure we could have planed out a very generic “bolt on” addition we see everywhere in the Long Beach/Lakewood area but that is just not our style.

We’ve both always loved the early 1900’s bungalow homes that were in our old Belmont Shores neighborhood. Too bad when we bought our home in 2006 those houses were about $300,000 to $500,000 out of our price range. We weren’t even sure our own home was in our price range so an original bungalow was out of the question. Our next logical step was to build our own, to create the bungalow ourselves, only a modern up-to-date one.

From the start we ran into hurdles on the design. Our existing home built in 1942 did not jive with the current California building code. It proved very difficult to find a way to seamlessly tie in a front and back expansion and make it look natural. The amount of work it would have taken to retrofit the existing roof would have been more work then it would be worth. So in the end, scrap the roof and build it the way we want it to look. Only in doing so, the structural requirements are more then I ever dreamed of. I have very little construction experience and none when it comes to starting my own from start to finish but the requirements of this new home make you wonder how the existing home has even stayed up for 70 years.

My point of this blog post is to talk about Beams! 16 Beams to be exact*. What do I consider a beam? Anything larger then a 4x8 and used for structural reasons, not decoration. So there you are; 16 freaking beams for a 3 bedroom home. We have created a lot of open floor space with the remodel so they do serve a purpose. As of today all but one 4x12 beam has been purchased so we’re almost structurally sound. Here is a list of the beams we’ve had to use and a diagram of the house that shows where they are going.

  1. 4x10 – 2 foot
  2. 4x10 – 9 foot
  3. 4x10 – 11 foot
  4. 4x10 – 12 foot
  5. 4x10 – 14 foot
  6. 4x12 – 12 foot
  7. 4x12 – 12 foot
  8. 4x12 – 12 foot
  9. 4x12 – 18 foot
  10. 4x12 – 18 foot
  11. 4x12 – 21 foot
  12. 4x16 – 17 foot (Parallam PSL)
  13. 6x10 – 18 foot
  14. 6x12 – 12 foot
  15. 6x12 – 12 foot
  16. 6x16 – 21 foot (Parallam PSL)

*It is hard to call #1 really a beam since it is only 2 foot long but still, I’m counting it. I’d also like to point out that we’ve had to use 20 4x4 post to support the beams throughout the house.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another Long, Exhausting yet productive Weekend

We managed to put in another long, full weekend of work on the house. The weather forecast was clear so we were able to pull back the tarps and knock out a lot on it (at least a lot for two people). This week we decided to stick to one side and replace the ceiling joist and hang the roof rafters at the same time. Next week we plan to complete the other side along with getting the beams up for the porch. I can’t believe how many beams are needed for our small under 1,000sq ft addition requires! I’ll have to do a future post on the amount of beams this house now has. Luckily we only have about 4 more to put up. Here are pictures of the one side we put up.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Monday night I was playing with Baines on the floor and all the sudden she got into crawling position and started going. Nicholas and I were in shock so we just stood still and watched. Then we both said “where is the camera?” We realized we probably should be documenting this moment. I grabbed the Flip just in time to catch the last little bit before she gives up. The army crawl is just way faster to reach the dog’s stuffed squirrel.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


We've reached what I would consider a milestone on the house. Since the first time I truly reviewed our plans I have been worrying about the 21 foot 6x16 PSL beam they called for on the front of the house. How much would it cost? Will we have to rent a crane? If so how much will that cost? How much will it weigh? But getting to the point when we were ready for the beam felt like it was so far away that I tried not to freak out to much about it and just let those questions answer themselves when we got there. That time has arrived and although it was a bit of money and work, it turns out I've got some good friends, neighbors and family that helped make the process bearable... almost fun.

For starters, and old friend of mine from Jr. High and High School works at a somewhat local lumbar yard. He was able to save me $100 on the beam compared to the quote I got from other places. Huge Thanks to Oliver for that! When I got the beam home, my father and I were preping it by cutting it to lenght and notching it for the bracket while we waited for my brother to arrive. My neighbor from across the street came over to see if we needed help. Our original plan was to just slide it up to the roof and get some friends from work to come by on Thursday to help get it up before the expected rain on Friday. Well as we were doing that another neighbor showed up, then a third. Now there was six of us and it was already on the roof so we decided to go for it and put it all the way up.

The Beam is huge! At least to me it is and luckily the largest beam in the house is now up and looking good. The 6x16 kind of makes the 6x12 it's next to look small. One note, we decided to get this beam in before we replaced the ceiling joist* so that we can pull a trap across it before the rain. With the high center ridge beam, it will help the rain run off and not collect in pockets on the roof. We were not expecting rain for two days but when I checked the weather report at midnight the update said it would start raining by noon on Thursday. So I had to get up at 5am to get the tarp secured and ready before I left for work. It was kind of a pain to do alone but if I did not do it the 30% chance of rain would for sure turn into 100%.

Now that this major point in the construction is done we can finish hanging the roof rafters and sheet them and that will really be the start to what the house will look like.

*I did hang the 5 ceiling joist on the new front addition so that we could have a platform to stand on while installing the ridge beam.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

8 Months

On Sunday Baines turned 8 months old and to celebrate we had our first long scary night followed by a Doctors visit. Sunday night Baines started crying inconsolably. We tried all the usually methods to calm her down but it only made her mad. When Nicholas would hold her she would get super pissed. She would only let me hold and cuddle her. I didn’t mind because I love baby hugs but I felt so helpless. She is teething and her bottom two teeth are getting close to cutting. She didn’t have a fever but was rubbing her ear till it was red. So we assumed it was an ear infection. We gave her some baby Tylenol hoping it would help. She lay next to me all night whimpering and tossing & turning. She has never acted like that so we were nervous something serious was wrong. First thing in the morning, I took her to the doctor’s office. After a detailed examination the diagnoses is… She’s just being dramatic about her teeth. Seriously, he couldn’t find anything wrong. The next 18 year are going to be really fun.

On a lighter note, we have started experimenting with finger foods. Last night she had a blast eating (squishing around) little pieces of banana. I’ve tried a few foods before and she refused to swallow them and would start gagging. Last night was the first time she actually chewed the pieces and loved it.

This is Baines at her first Kings Hockey game, We were in the Wells Fargo suite. It was Awesome!

Here is my favorite picture of the month. She loves her baths. (and chewing on stuff)

Her evolution of crawling or scooching around whatever you would call it. She leans on her right arm and pulls herself along.

I forgot to mention that they weighed her at the doctors office. She's now a whooping 16.7 lbs.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Goodbye Old Roof

The old roof is officially gone! This time we've removed the remaining front half of the roof at the same time so we can get the ceiling joists replaced as quickly as we can to prepare for the laminated beam. Wouldn't you know, as soon as we remove the rest of the roof the forecast says there will be rain on Friday.
(Removal in progress)

(the new kitchen is a good place for us to store the debris until we can get rid off it)

(Removing a 70 year old roof is a messy job)
(in addition to removing the roof we also sheeted the front framing and put up the 20 foot 4x12 beam the new ceiling joist tie to)