Category Archives: Denny

Family Update July 2015

Hi Everyone!  I hope you’ve all been well, I figure it’s time for another family update, I’m going to use these few minutes while I have them because it’s been BUSY around here!   We wrapped up the tiny house addition and renovation and it is still totally AWESOME!  The house feels so much lighter and airier! I particularly like the shower, I think I am going to like it even more in winter when things tend to start to feel dark and gloomy.

James and I hit our third anniversary.  Every year we take a snapshot of our life and we realized that we can probably put some breaks on some big life changes!  Here are our four images:

First Date
Our first date. We went to a RAW art show that I had a couple of friends showing their work at. We were pulled over on the way but got out of a ticket, had to be a good sign!
Year 1
Our first year, holding an image from our first date. The day we got Denver and shortly after I moved into the tiny house. Turns out it was also the day we got Hazel ;-).
Year 2
Our second year, Denver grew up! Hazel was about 3 months and we were living tiny!
Year 3
Our third year, Denver has chilled out a bit, Hazel is getting big and we are well into the making of #2, Mr. T(iny). Recently added an addition to continue living tiny!

So that’s good, we made it another year.  :)

So after we finished the renovation I set right into preparing my workshops.  Last week I got to present my first one, I was stoked to have so many people attend.  We had almost 300 people RSVP, I think about 200 actually showed up, it was a pretty full house!   I have three more sessions I’ll be presenting on, for more info they are outlined at
Session one of my tiny house series!

This first one was all about codes and picking the right trailer, we had some great questions, some really nice people and some members of the City even showed up to learn more, I think it was a success!  This Wednesday I will be presenting on Construction and Safety, then Systems and Utilities and finally Design!  It took me forever to comb through my head and actually put together some presentations in a coherent order but I am excited at how they have come together.  The events have been free to those able to show up BUT I was able to record them (and I am happy to say the first one recorded with no issues!).  I plan to edit them to something that will be helpful to those who may not be able to attend.  My whole goal was to make some free resources but at this point I am about $450 invested not including any of the time I spent putting them together or any of the time it’s going to take me to learn to edit and to edit the videos… I THINK I am going to have to put a small fee on the sessions but we will see what I can come up with.  I have been trying the ‘pay what you want’ model so that I don’t have to limit access to only those who can afford it…but… that isn’t actually working out so well.  With the baby coming I figure I need to at least break even!  But I SO hate charging!  We will see if I can get creative!

Speaking of resources and helpful tools, I put together some quick cut-outs a while back that others can download and use, you can get them HERE.   I get asked a bit ‘where to start’, AFTER you figure out your top ten things you must have this is my step two.  You can just get some regular old graph paper, one square = six inches, map out your trailer and put scaled objects into your house, that will give you a really good feel for how much space you need and how well you can fit your life into a tiny house.  It’s great to draw it on the graph paper but sometimes its easier to cut out the components and then you can move them all around and about quick and easy.  If you want to read more about this you can see my post at PlanningTiny, HERE.  If you want the cutouts they are HERE!



If you’re comfy with your design you can go straight to something like SketchUp but these are a good basic starting point to start figuring things out.  After you have your plan to a point you’re liking it I suggest taking the same graph paper and look at the outside/inside elevations too so that you can work out your window locations, roof style, and ceiling heights.  It will give you a pretty good understanding of your space.  from there you could go right into construction or you could take it to the next level and build a 3D or digital model.  These are great tools for showing others, maybe significant others, your ideas and getting them invested in the space too!

The kiddos

Hazel bell is pretty darn impressive these days, she’s at the point she tries just about every word we say out, a lot come out sounding like ‘candy’… Crayon=candy, etc.  We worked on ‘up’ for when she wants up (on my lap or on the counter to help me cook… cause she likes that), and we’ve also worked on ‘help’ when she needs something, they come out sounding exactly the same most of the time and she either needs help or wants up A LOT :).  She will bring me packages to open, or want me to help her put things back in boxes, it’s all pretty cute!  We are working on potty training, she LOVES it!  We got this book Potty

Totally worth the money!  She loves it, she will grab her book and go sit on her potty, she knows the story and ‘ohhhs’ and ‘ahhhs’ along with the story, every damn time, cracks me up! :)  It would be sweet if we could get her mostly potty trained before Mr. T(iny) gets here, but I am not totally sure if that will happen.   We need to just have a solid week to run around naked and ‘get it’.  Right now that is a tall order, I am pretty booked out until the end of August and I am perpetually more tired!  This being pregnant thing with a toddler is tough!  I am not planning anything for September though, hopefully we can make it happen then.  She is more than interested in the idea I just need to devote the time to make it work!  She is LOVING her room still and gets really excited to take her naps and go to bed and she is a smart little ball of attitude, this video pretty much covers her personality, she’s got a bit of the whole ‘little man complex’ :), poor Denver puts up with her:

I actually think Denver secretly likes her attention… though I think he was about ready for bed then.  It’s funny because that is about the fifth time she got him out of bed that way in a row.  He would lay down, she would run out of her room, get him up, lay down until he turned around then go back to her room.  He would look around all confused, forget about it and lay down only to relive the whole thing.  After the last one he just stood and looked at his bed, knowing he couldn’t lay down without her ‘teaching’ him but really wanting to just lay down… she’s a future dog trainer, or dog infuriator :).  He’s good to put up with her!  They are starting to play together which he is enjoying!

Mr. T(iny) is more and more active, I can’t figure out which one of the two has been more bouncy in utero, Hazel or him, I think he is gaining though.  You can sit and see him moving, kinda creepy!  His stats have been spot on the same has Hazel’s, week for week so far.  I am having a much less difficult time gaining weight, which I am actually grateful for.  I was worried with Hazel that I was not gaining enough, it was a stress that not many people have much sympathy for… but it is pretty stressful.  With her I actually lost a lot of weight to start and ended up not gaining a ton.  I definitely showed a lot sooner with Mr. T but have been shocked to find the gain was not nearly what it looked like!  At this point I am right on track and have gained almost 20 pounds at 30 weeks.  I hear that is right about where I am expected to be and I should be gaining 1/2-1 pound a week for the next ten weeks until he’s born.

I am not due until Oct. 4th but I have said since the beginning that I think he will be early, it may be wishful thinking but I still think so!  I’d LIKE him to be Sept. 21 because we have a solstice baby with Hazel, our anniversary is a solstice so it only makes sense he would be the fall solstice BUT I have the feeling it will be Sept. 29th, no real rational, that’s just my thoughts :).   I was expecting a HOT and miserable summer but it really hasn’t been bad at all.  I think I was more over heated with Hazel through the winter than I have been this go around.  It’s so weird just how different the two pregnancies have been.  To date things have not been bad at all, I am getting to the very uncomfortable point now though, I have been contemplating sleeping vertically in a chair… it’s just tough to get comfy laying down… I’m certain that will be happening before too long.  We are getting very excited to meet him though and I even think that Hazel ‘gets’ it a little.  I think she’s going to be a great big sister, she’s such a girly girl and loves ‘babies’, I think that will make things easier for sure.

Mom and I got some fabric to make Mr. T his baby quilt, Hazel’s was jungle animals, Mr. T’s is going to be woodland animals, fox, hedgehog etc.  I say mom and I but really it’s mom, we have a tradition that the grandmas make baby quilts, my turn will be soon enough, for now I will be the happy recipient!  Can’t wait to see how it turns out! :)

Last thing of note I suppose, we had Marc come out and take new photos of the place now that we are done with the renovation, I can’t wait to see them once he get’s them all processed!  We weren’t going to do it but it was about the best decision we made before to just document the accomplishment, we thought it was important to do that again!  I can’t wait to share them with you soon!  In the mean time I took a couple of my own just messing around with some apps and what not on my tablet, they are not great but they were kind of fun to do.

I hope you are all doing great!  Here are some random images:


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Renovation Day 6

This weekend we were on hold for a very cool reason!  SketchUp came to do a video shoot!  James and I have been BIG fans of SketchUp for years and years so this was a very cool opportunity for us!  I do admit we were thinking it was going to be a bit less of a production than it was but it was totally awesome to get to hang out with the crew for the weekend!  Mark and Josh came from SketchUp and they had a three person video crew for the actual video production, Tim, Cole and Rex, all of them were a total blast and we were left with a new appreciation for videographers!

The first day was spent doing the interview, Hazel was a champ mostly because of her new best friend, Josh.  She played for a couple hours with him (he did amazing at entertaining her for so long!)  Of all the interviews I’ve done I think it was about the most comprehensive, they had some great questions and of course wanted to chat about Denver :).   From there we went to the tiny house (the interviews were done at their rental) to get a game plan.  They had about the most graceful way of saying ‘can we pay to make your house not look like crap’, I don’t even know how it was said but I do not blame them!  It has been a total construction zone with the addition… our projects are slow going, we were both just glad it was this year instead of last, it was a real mess then!!

In any case, we made a game plan to repaint the trim boards, which were a little weathered after a few years, spray everything down and make the landscape look pretty.  I have to admit, I’ve never been bought so many flowers :).  A trip to home depot while part of the crew went around town to get some b-roll and we were on our way.  Early Sunday morning we woke up and I went for a bike ride with the camera people; James, Tim and Mark stayed back and made the house pretty, painting landscaping and such.  Took some close ups of Hazel and Denver and then we made some fajitas for dinner.  The crew was coming off a long stretch of filming so we made it a late morning on Monday.  James made some SketchUp magic happen and then we went to the dog park followed by some quick interior shots and called it a wrap.

I was completely amazed at the entire process, there is A LOT of tedious set up time for a couple minutes of filming.  Rex and Cole are definitely top notch perfectionists, I can’t wait to see the vision realized.  I was impressed with how seamless all five worked together, they all took turns asking their questions and contributing.  James and I drew a lot of parallels between our trade (architecture) and theirs and we learned a lot!  I am super grateful for that opportunity even if I am wiped out from it all! :)  It is cool when such a big deal like SketchUp is interested in the tiny house movement.  I asked why they were interested (because it is a free software for most of what tiny housers use it for, I can’t say that I see them being in it for the profit…) they said they were interested because it’s such a dynamic set of people who look at life in the same way as they look at running their company, it’s the community feel and ‘doing something different’.  After this experience I must say I am MORE impressed with SketchUp and not just because they bought me a bunch of flowers :).

I DID get to work a bit on the reno just before they got here, Hazel’s room is small enough that I was able to pretty much insulate the whole thing during her naptime.  I used levi insulation.  It is fairly safe to have around a munchkin, you don’t need a bunch of safety gear to put it up, and it’s readily available in small quantities, so I didn’t have to buy a bunch of extra insulation.  This means the addition is slightly less insulated than the rest of the house (R-13 compared to R-21) but I think it will be sufficient.  I did still seal up all the cracks in the sheathing, where two pieces butted up to one and other and all of the corners where the walls, the roof and the floors met.  Hopefully this will help make it warmer in the winter.  Aside from that I worked a little on the electrical.  This weekend, with luck we will be dry walling.  I just have to finish up the electrical but Hazelnut has been feeling under the weather so we’ve been focusing on holding her mostly.  I think she got a little too much heat this weekend, it was quite a bit hotter than we have been used to.  Because of that I went ahead and installed my a/c unit for the summer, a little early, it will hopefully help to get her more comfy and back into routine!

Here are some pictures, I hope you all have had a great week!!