Tales from not-so-Down-Under

 - by Brittny

A couple weeks ago Eric got to go to Australia on business (lucky!) and left us at home in the cold.  If you want to read about his adventure he posted about it here on his personal website.  In the meantime we had some of our own adventures.  I’d had a lot that I was going to post but I can’t remember most of it anymore.  I think partly because I posted some of the pictures in another post and that eliminated a lot of my content.  But I still had a few things that I wanted to share.

So while Eric was gone I really wanted to get our house all cleaned up and back in order.  When Eric’s gone it’s a little bit easier to take on tasks like that because I’m not really cooking dinner all week.  Sam and I can happily eat grilled cheese sandwiches/quesadillas/mac & cheese or leftovers all week long which doesn’t quite present the array of dishes that cooking real meals does.  Not that Eric would be unwilling to eat such meals, I just don’t feel as much like I can justify myself as a housewife if I’m not preparing fairly decent meals.  Sam wouldn’t eat those meals anyways and it’s not worth the effort for myself.  Anyways, I digress (surprise).

One of the projects I really wanted to conquer was our tupperware cabinet.  It was completely out of control, you could never find the right lid to go with the containers and it only got worse as we didn’t want to deal with trying to find the “right’ place for things and more tupperwares just got shove din.  I really wanted to go through it and get it all organized but I kept telling myself that I really wasn’t allowed to take on a major organizing project like that until the rest of the house was fairly well cleaned.

On Tuesday we had one of my best friends over with her two little kids.  Her son Zeke and Sam get along really well and were having lots of fun.  Because there’s nothing breakable in my tupperware cabinet we haven’t put a lock on it to keep Sam out of it.  So at one point I guess Sam showed Zeke the wonders of this cabinet.  Next thing Stephanie and I knew, ALL of the tupperwares were out and ALL over the floor!  It was an epic mess, and the boys thought it was great.  Normally that might seem like a disaster, but really I was so glad that now I had an excuse to really go through and organize my tupperware cabinet!  I finally took out the random appliances that were in there and stored them in more logical locations.  Then took any of our cheap tupperware that I keep for taking dinners to people and hid it up in a higher cabinet.  The result has been miraculous.  That cabinet which was once a black hole now seems practically empty!  In fact, since then Sam has discovered that he fits very nicely in that cabinet and likes very much to go hide out in there from time to time!

I also feel like I have to give Stephanie some mad best friend props that day by doing my dishes for me.  I’d fallen behind on my dishes and I *hate* doing dishes.  That didn’t really fit into the story but I had to tell her once again THANK YOU!  It made a huge difference in me being able to keep up with the house that week.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

On Wednesday we had to run to the store to pick up some groceries as we were out of practically all of the essentials (bread, milk, cheese… when you’re living off grilled cheese sandwiches – as Sam generally does – you can’t go too long without those).  As we were getting ready to leave I decided to throw on a scarf.  Sam, naturally, decided that he *had* to have a scarf too, and mittens, and a coat.  It really wasn’t super cold outside but he was insistent that he have his full gear on.  He was SO cute I had to take a picture –

He was so proud of that scarf for the rest of the day and got comments on it at the grocery store and at Joy School.  What a cute kid!

I really can’t remember much of what happened the rest of that week.  Probably partly because I ended up having Daniel and Sam both sleeping in my bed with me every night while Eric was gone.  I think Sam was really thrown off by having Eric out of the house because since Eric came back he’s gone back to sleeping in his own room through the night.  We were very very glad to have Eric home again at the end of the week!  I’m glad that he got a chance to go see Australia (especially since my mom is from there, just fun to have that connection now) and very thankful that his job is going so well that it necessitates that kind of travel… but there’s nothing like having him home again.  We love him a lot and like having him home with us!


State of the House Address 2011

 - by Eric

My fellow blog-o-sphere readers,

Tonight we come together to reflect on the current state of our house: where we’ve come from, where we are now, and where we’re going. In terms of housing arrangements, it’s been a dynamic three years of marriage, with the Hansen family living in six different places. But I am here tonight to tell you that the uncertainty is gone. We came, we saw, and we conquered the last plot of land in one of the best communities in Utah!

Okay, all jokes and references to the State of the Union aside, Brittny and I recently recommitted ourselves to making more regular blog posts. Especially when you consider that we are finally starting to settle into our new accommodations, we really don’t have an excuse anymore. Tonight, we thought we’d give an update on the house and then the family’s happenings. Read this article »

Now THIS is a HOUSE!

 - by Eric

So if you follow our blog, you’ll probably remember that we weren’t able to take any inside pictures of our house last week due to the doors being locked. Well good news, we were able to have someone from the home builder come and let us in so we could give you all a proper update this week. And despite the risk of sounding like a braggart, I must say the house is looking really really nice! Our final walk-through of the place is this coming Thursday, and we’ve only found minor  issues that need to be corrected so far. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed. Assuming everything goes well, we will be closing on the house the following week!

But I know why you’re here, so let’s see the pictures!

Our New Kitchen

Our New Kitchen

It looks like Brittny’s choice in granite counter-tops worked out really well, after all! Everything looks great, and we are especially enjoying the warmer undertones that came with our chosen color scheme.

Upstairs Loft Space

Upstairs Loft Space

Some of the lighting fixtures are more simplistic, but that’s because we are planning on replacing this room’s light with a ceiling fan fixture. We really like the nice amount of natural light that we get through all the windows, not to mention all the space we’re moving into!

Our Future Theater Room

Our Future Theater Room

And down in the basement we don’t have anything set up so far, but here we give you a glimpse into the future. We are definitely going to have a theater room right in this space (hence the lack of windows in the area). And last but not least…

The Finished Front

The Finished Front

We’re keeping consistent with the warm color scheme found inside the house, and with the door painted, everything fits together very well. It’s hard to see in the picture, but we also now have a railing surrounding our front porch. Apparently it is part of the building code since our porch is so high off of the ground, and we’re glad to have it since we’ll have multiple youngsters running around the place.

But all in all, we’re happy with the results! Hopefully we can find a time to have an open house for all our friends in the near future.

We’ve Moved!

 - by Brittny

No, not that kind of move.  We still have a couple more weeks until we close on our new house, but we’ve moved to a new blog address!  We decided it was finally time for us to bid adieu to Blogger in favor of a WordPress installation on our own domain.  There are a few reasons for this move.

  1. We wanted to have more control over what we were able to put on our blog and really make it a full-fledged website, rather than just a simple blog.
  2. We wanted to be able to have private posts that still show up on our RSS feed so when we had information that we really only want our friends to see we can hide it without the pain of being a private blog.  (No offense to our friends who have private blogs, but I hate them because I always forget to go check them.  I totally understand why people do it but they still make me sad inside).
  3. We wanted to be able to email our blog posts to more than 10 people.  Since my mom and Eric’s parents and a few other people like to keep up with our blog via email rather than an RSS feed reader we like being able to have our blog posts automatically emailed to people who would like to have it come that way, without having to ask us to add them to a list and having to be very choosy about who could receive our emails.
  4. We were already paying $10/month for Dreamhost web hosting for Eric’s and my personal websites (as well as a few other projects we have), and since we can have unlimited domains hosted on the one account it seemed silly to not have our family website hosted there as well. (By the way, if you’re searching for awesome web hosting, we can’t recommend Dreamhost highly enough.  We *love* them)
  5. Most importantly, our Blogspot address didn’t fit nicely on our Christmas card We bought the domain name back in July so we’ve been meaning to make this move for awhile, but this was the thing that finally pushed us over the edge to complete the transition.   Kinda dumb, especially since when all was said and done transferring everything took only a couple hours and I really love working with WordPress, but oh well.

So, lots of different reasons for moving.  If you subscribe to us using a feed reader then you shouldn’t have to change anything – the updates will just be coming from a different address now.  But otherwise you probably ought to update your bookmarks and start following us at our new site!

By the way, if you have a blogspot blog and would like to use WordPress for any of the reasons stated above, but aren’t tech savvy enough to host your own installation you can sign up for a WordPress blog and use it like you use Blogger.  They host blogs at And of course, I’m always available to help you set that up if you’d like.

One of the last house updates before it’s done!

 - by Eric

Well, there isn’t much in the way of external changes to our house that we need to report on, but on the inside we could see some huge progress. Unfortunately, the house is locked and no one was in the office to let us in, so all we can show you are shots from the outside.

The view from front

So the most obvious addition from this shot is the garage door, and if you squint, you might also notice the coach lights installed to each side of the door. The landscaping won’t be done until the Spring for obvious reasons, so for now, the exterior is pretty much finished.

View from the back

In the back, you can see a small concrete porch has been poured and steps installed leading up to the sliding glass door. If you look in the top left window, you’ll notice a light is on inside, and it’s true, we have electricity now! From our peeks in the windows, all of the lighting fixtures have been installed along with outlets and other details. Even some of the laminate wood flooring has been put in. It’s hard to believe that a week from Thursday we will have our final walkthrough!

"Hey Honey, that looks like a pretty house, can we live there?"

 - by Brittny

In a word… yes we can! When we drove around the corner to see our house today I hardly recognized it, in a good way. All the scaffolding was down and it looked a lot more like a house and less like a construction project! All of the stucco is painted and the masonry is up. It looks beautiful and it’s really exciting to see the house start to get into the final stages of construction. In just a little over 3 weeks we should be living inside that house and we can hardly wait!

The exterior, now in color!
Our kitchen, all of the cabinets are in, although the doors aren’t on yet and they’re covered in plastic, but you get an idea for the kitchen
We had to try and keep Sam from touching things because they had been painting and we didn’t want him getting paint on his Sunday clothes… or anywhere in the house it didn’t belong.
Our family room, the double beam in the middle of the floor is our handrail that will go up the stairs.  They’d been painted and were drying there. The doors were all drying downstairs
Sam giving you a tour of our formal living room/study area (depending on how we end up using the space)
Our laundry room.  I didn’t know we were getting shelving space in there, so I was pretty excited about that.
The kids bathroom, with the tub all covered in plastic wrap so it didn’t get painted on.
Our master bedroom.

It’s amazing how much difference just having the walls painted makes. It suddenly looks a lot more like a home. I thought it was kind of weird though that it looks like they painted the walls in their final color, and then painted the trim in such a way that they’ll have to repaint the main walls again. But Eric pointed out that it means we’ll have more layers of paint which will be a higher quality paint job in the end. It was exciting to see the cabinets put in, even if they aren’t all finished. It really makes everything take shape a lot more, and I’m really happy with the color of them actually to scale. I know you can’t see the color of the cabinets too well through the plastic sheeting, but it turned out nice. We’re excited to see even more progress when we go by next week!

A Few Weeks of House Progress

 - by Brittny

While we were up in Millville for Thanksgiving my grandpa called us out for not having updated about our house recently.  Oops!  We’d gone up to have our mid-construction walk through a couple weeks ago but then things got busy.  Eric left on a business trip to NYC that night (with all the pictures we’d taken on his phone) and then it was time to get ready for Thanksgiving.  So, here’s a couple weeks of progress –

Week 1 – 

The front of our house
The back of our house

Week 2 –  

The stucco is on, but not yet painted
The kitchen area, now with drywall!
Our living room
The upstairs loft area
This picture doesn’t really show you the best view out our front windows, but we’ll get that one of these days.
The master bathtub!

All of the drywall is in and our windows, doors and bathtubs as well.  It really does a lot to make it look like a house rather than just a construction project.  When we were up on Saturday they were texturizing the walls and ceiling so we think that means they’ll be painting in the next few days.  We didn’t get any pictures this week because we were giving a tour of the house to my family and didn’t want to get in the way of the men working on our house.  The outside is all stuccoed but it hasn’t been painted to its final color yet and the rocks haven’t been put on yet.  I can’t remember what they’d said about when that part would happen but I’d think they’d want to get that done before it gets too cold.

The most exciting part is – we have a closing date!  We have our final walk through of the home on December 23rd and closing on December 29th.  We were hoping to get in before Christmas so that we could do all of our moving in while Eric has his winter break, but we’re just glad to get in before the end of the year.  We got a really great deal on our financing that will expire at the end of the year so we would have been really sad to lose that.

I think what’s left now is painting, cabinets, sinks/toilets, electrical outlets (all the wiring is done, just putting the front plates on), lighting fixtures, appliances, and flooring.  It seems like a lot, but at the same time it seems like as soon as the painting is done the rest of it can just kinda flow right in.  I’m super excited to see what things look like when we go up again on Sunday.  I feel like there’s likely to be some pretty major progress towards making it look even more like a home.

A Roof Over our Heads

 - by Brittny

We were really excited on Sunday to see the progress that had been made on our home so far.  We were concerned though that things were going to come to a standstill this week as the forecast called for snow.  Since our community is up in the mountains we knew that if there was going to be snow anywhere in the area it’s pretty much guaranteed that it will be up at our house. The construction superintendent had told us that the part of construction most prone to delays is everything that happens up until the roof goes on.  Once the roof is on then the weather won’t stop the rest of the construction from being completed.  So we were really anxious knowing that our roof was the next step, and that it’s a vital one.

Monday was supposed to be the last clear day before the storm hit so we crossed our fingers and said some prayers that they could get the roof on before the storm came in. Then we watched as it rained/snowed all day Tuesday, then was sorta clear on Wednesday.  Usually we check the progress on our house every Sunday on our way home from church (we’re currently attending the ward that our house is in, not where we live), but by Thursday the suspense was killing us.  Eric was working from home that morning so, even though it’s 20 minutes each way to get to our house from where we’re living, I had to go check it out.  While Sam and I were out running some errands we drove up to our build site and this is what we found…

We have a roof!!  Granted it looked like they were just putting on the tar paper and getting ready to put the shingles on, so it’s not a completed roof, but I think it should be enough to keep construction rolling from here on out.  That means that pretty soon we should be able to do a walk through of this stage of construction with the superintendent and then they’ll be able to finalize the construction schedule from here until closing!  We’re still hoping to be in before Christmas, but we’ll be happy just to have a solid date to look forward to. 

Whoa, that was fast!

 - by Eric

Hello again for another weekly installment of HOUSE, the blog. No, this isn’t about the television series, it’s about the actual house we’re building. So in just one week’s time, we’ve gone from seeing the foundation poking out of the ground to this:

Brittny and Sam pose where our driveway will be

Sam is usually asleep when we make our weekly drive-by, but this week he was actually awake! He ran around on the sidewalk, played in the dirt, and met our soon-to-be neighbors and their pets. He was loving it, and I think that’s a pretty good sign that we made the right choice. Anyway, more pictures!


You can see the pantry has already been framed, but that’s about it so far.

Living Room

The stairs are there and in, although there are some weird crossbeams in the way. I hope those aren’t there when we move in!

Master bedroom and bathroom

Front entrance and office on the side

View from the back

So yeah! Exciting stuff. Weather forecast is calling for rain and maybe some snow this week, unfortunately. We’re hoping and praying that the construction crew can get the roof on before then. You guys rock! 加油!

Floor Plans and House Colors

 - by Brittny

So I’ve been meaning to post this for awhile anyways, but since one of my friends finally made a specific request for our floor plan I finally got on the ball to put this post together. So, in case you too were wondering what our floor plan looks like so you can plan a heist into our house now you’ll be all set!

Downstairs floor plan

Upstairs floor plan

I tried to edit the floor plan as best I could to reflect the actual options we had selected. There were a couple changes that we would have liked to have made, but unfortunately if we had made those changes the builder would have been required to re-submit our permit before they started to dig the foundation and it could have delayed the build process by several weeks. Not such a big deal ordinarily, but it would have meant that we would have lost the financing deal that we were getting as the house wouldn’t be completed by the end of the year. Since they weren’t deal breakers, we decided to forego them. We just would have liked to have put doors on that front living room so that we could use it as a study. We also would have liked to have had a double vanity on the kids bathroom upstairs which would have also separated the toilet/bathtub area from the sinks. But we decided we’d build a bigger bathroom in the basement when we have teenagers that we need to finish off the basement for :P

Also, here’s a picture of the color selections we made for our flooring, cabinets, countertops etc. –

So starting in the top left is obviously our cabinets, next to it is the countertops in our kitchen. The wood you see just below that is the laminate flooring we will have in our entryway and kitchen. The carpet sample you see to the left will be in all of our living areas (all of the upstairs, living room and family room). We upgraded the carpet a little bit because Sam likes laying on the floor and stroking the carpet. We figured we might as well have nice carpet for him to lounge on. But after we went home and were considering different costs we had second thoughts about whether we should go back to the standard carpet to lower our costs. So on our second appointment when I was dropping some things out and leaving other things in, we got to the carpet and Sam was sitting next to me, stroking the carpet and saying “puppy! puppy!” (i.e. this is soft like a puppy!)… I didn’t have the heart to downgrade the carpet after that, so we kept the nicer carpet :P The tile on top is what our countertops in the bathroom will be and the bottom tile is the vinyl floor that we’re putting in the bathrooms.

I’m really excited about the choices we made. At first no one liked the granite that I had chosen and I really thought twice about it. In fact I’d just about been talked into choosing a completely different granite when I went into the design center I looked at the granite that everyone else liked, and I hated it. I really liked this one much better. So you’re welcome to hate on just about anything you like… but I’m probably at least not going to change my mind on the granite :P I’m really excited to see how these all look when they’re put together in our house. I think that I really like everything we chose, but I have a hard time envisioning how it will look in large scale. Thanks so much to Claudia at the design center for all of her help picking things out!