Friday, January 18, 2008


LADIES YOU ARE ALL BUSTED!!!. I am onto your secret little blog world and I think it is about time to inject a little testosterone. Thus, THE MAN BLOG!!! It is my intention to add some manly posts every now and then, as my way of keeping tabs on your blogging activities, while still exuding massive amounts on manliness.

Man Blog #1 has been inspired by my recent construction of our storage shed. Our home here in Texas does not have adequate storage space. As a result, the garage (AKA my Man Space) was exceedingly cluttered. I could only think of two ways to add some storage space. I could either finish some of our attic, or build a storage shed. After many a Man trip to Lowe's I decided to build a shed. I did not want one of those flimsy metal ones or a plastic piece of junk, instead I went straight for a Mike Neilson original design. We are talking about a 10 x 12 foot little piece of Man Heaven complete with vaulted ceilings, custom lighting, full size door and carpet with padding. Oh yeah this is one for the MAN BLOG.
This project started with probably the most painful part. I had to re-route some sprinkler lines which meant digging about 45 feet of trench by hand. Now some of you may be rolling your eyes at this seemingly easy task, but let me educate you on the soil, or lack thereof in this area. You see, in my back yard there is approximately 2 inches of soil covering who knows how many feet of rock. I was forced to hack my way through all of that with a tool resembling a pick axe. It was not fun.

With my sprinklers properly routed and my trench deep enough to accommodate the border stones, It took an evening and the help of the rest of the family to set this border made of recycled ( code for taken from our builders dump pile) sand stone. This part was pretty enjoyable and we made quick work of it. The overall purpose of this border is to keep the gravel pad separated from the lawn. I forgot to factor in Little boys and dump trucks who have now spread gravel all over the back yard.

This is my favorite piece of the whole border. It was fun to work with the different shapes of rocks we had. For the stones we had to modify Becca served as the hammer babe. I would hold the chisle and she would give it a stout whack when needed. She did a great job and I still have all of my fingers. These two stones seemed to be made for one another. Stone Mason? Maybe not.

A lot of my decision to undertake this project during Christmas Break had to do with the knowledge that Ma and Pa Bell were coming. This meant I would have captive labor for about ten days and the price would be right. All I had to do was feed and house these two for a few days and in return I got to work them as hard as I wanted. Thanks for all of your help Ma and Pa. I am sure there will be payback down the road.

The Day the Bell's arrive I had 3 yards of gravel delivered and waiting in the drive way. I just wanted it to be clear when they drove up that this was no ordinary vacation. With the help of our friends the Williamson's, who showed up that night, we moved all of the gravel in no time at all.
All of the kids were there to help and some even got to ride in the wheel barrow.

Day #1 of construction coincided with Becca's first annual Chocolate dipping party. So as the ladies were inside making chocolate miracles, Pa Bell and I were outside leveling the gravel pad, setting the foundation, building the floor and standing up four walls. It was fun work and we made the best of it thanks to the MVT, (most valuable tool) my new set of nail guns. That was the best $100 I have ever spent.

Day #2 was focused on framing the roof. In the face of a doubting father in law. I was brave enough to cut my own rafters. With my trusty speed square and some left over knowledge from my construction days with Canyon Heights, (Thanks Aaron Krikava) things worked out alright.

My buddies were always close by to "Help". Tyler even got to shoot the nail gun, which he thought was really cool.

I had a lot of fun working with Pa Bell. To his credit he probably saved me a ton of time and money just by eliminating or rather illuminating mistakes I was about to make. He never called me an outright Moron but I knew what he was thinking. In this picture he is demonstrating his stellar abilities with a nail gun. He did not even shoot himself.

Construction days 3 and 4 were focused on putting up the siding and installing the trim around the window.
After I got home from work on Day #4 we put the sheathing on the roof and called it a day.
In the next couple of days, between Christmas and all of the other fun stuff we did while Grandma and Grandpa were in town, we managed to put up all of the trim and pretty much complete the job. When Pa Bell left, the only thing I had to do was finish the roofing.

All in all, I think this is the best shed I have ever built. Since this picture was taken I have sealed the floor, installed carpet and padding as well as a bunch of shelves. The clutter in the garage is already much better. The last thing left to do is paint it to match the house. I was planning to do that with the long weekend, but it looks like the weather is not going to cooperate.

Well I hope you have enjoyed MAN BLOG #1. The shed was a fun project and I am sure it will serve us well. Thanks again to all of those who helped.
As for my next project; stone borders for our flower beds, tree wells and the garden. Wish me luck.

Lots of love Mike N.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Idol

Do you totally LOVE American Idol? If you have been hibernating and weren't aware that season 7 has begun, it has! Simon can be a little harsh but I think that's why I like him. It's a pretty family friendly show too. My kids really like to watch it. I think it's the only show that we sit down and watch together as a family. Tyler and Jaike aren't really interested but we usually pop some popcorn and that's all they care about. If you don't watch, you really should tune in. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dr. Neilson

I apologize for the grossness of this post. Kind of yucky, huh? My point in this post is to say that sometimes having a dentist in the house can be quite handy. Emi has had "double teeth" for months. We thought that the babies would eventually fall out on their own but it just wasn't happening. Finally "Dr. Neilson" came to the rescue. Emi was a little frightened of the shot but hardly flinched. After that, it was a pretty painless procedure for her. It's not often that us ladies get to see their husbands in their professional element. It was pretty cool to witness. I am sure he saved us a pretty penny too. Thanks Doctor.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Where does the time go? It seems like not too long ago that we welcomed this screaming little baby boy into our lives. He sure has grown up. Fortunately, most of the screaming has stopped. Well, that's kind of a lie. He still has quiet a bit of attitude but we love him and wish him a happy birthday.