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Vokohtz.org

Welcome to vokohtz.org. Vokohtz is a combination of the names Vokoun and Kohtz, which share a few middle letters. Jamie and Craig will be Kohtzs, and Conner and Abby will be Vokouns, but together we are the Vokohtzs.

Archives for March 2011



It's been a few weeks since my last basement update. Here are some highlights.


Here are all the supplies I bought for the electrical. Actually, this is about 2/3rds of the stuff. I also bought switches, light bulbs, plugs, and some 3 way wire (expensive stuff) which isn't shown here.



After my friend Josh showed me where to put all the electrical boxes and lights, I pulled the wire and put in the lights. Pulling the wire was actually kind of fun. Josh gave me a drill that made making the holes in the 2x4s go pretty quick.



I ran quite a few wires through the ceiling. We added 6 circuits, four for plugs and two for lights. Each circuit needed one wire to go to the service box which meant going through the ceiling.



On Saturday, Josh came over and showed me how to hook up lights. While I was doing that, he hooked up all the plugs and switches, and added the new circuit breakers to the service box. I just have to say that without Josh's help, I would have had little idea on what to do and I doubt it would have done nearly as well. I owe Josh big.

I also had a drywall guy come in and measure things. He gave us a quote and it was a lot less then I thought, so I think we're going to have him do everything. It will cost a little more, but it will save a ton of time.



My mom and dad also came down on Saturday. My cousin Jess was having a post-wedding reception in Ashland so they stopped here first so my dad could help. It was my mom's birthday (on Friday) so on top of my dad helping, we took my mom (and dad) out to eat. Happy birthday! Which reminds me, one time when my dad came down by himself, my mom sent delicious brownies with him. I'm not sure if I ever said thank you, so thanks mom! They were delicious.

Anyway, while Josh was working on plugs and I was working on lights, my dad started working on moving the door to the basement. The door was all the way to the edge of the foundation wall which was odd. It left very little room to frame the last wall. Basically, we wouldn't have been able to add trim to one side of the door. It also made getting long things (4x8 sheets of drywall) more difficult to get through the door. We talked about moving it before but it was a little daunting. We finally made up our minds, now is the time to do this sort of thing. So my dad went to work on that.



This photo is after he took out the header. We basically cut all the nails with a sawzall, removed the drywall, and it just came out.



We also took the time to move the hallway switch... to the hallway. Every time the first person would walk down and flip on the basement lights, they would flip off the hall lights. Everyone following would be in the dark. Having the hallway light in the hall makes a lot more sense.



So, after quite a bit of work, we finally got the door back into place, but over about a foot. Not sure if you can tell, but the header is a little crooked. That was my fault. Shouldn't matter much (it will all be covered up). Dad was a big help with this. I was kind of nervous about doing this, but he just jumped right in. That's generally the way to figure things out. Once it's broken, your only option is to fix it.

So Saturday, electrical and moving the door took all our time. I had a lot of other goals, none of which we started on.



So that was what I did Sunday. In this picture, you can see a lot of the work I did. I framed the last bit of the final wall (although I haven't nailed it into place yet. I created a door for a closet under the stairs. You can also see the two rows of lights in this image.



And finally, I framed Abby's shower. With this, I'm about 99% done with framing. I went around and found all the places that I thought would need some backing for drywall and added that. I also finished up the soffit around the duct work. The only thing I have left is to add some wood backing for the TVs.

I have a lot to do still, and we'll be gone this weekend for Abby's birthday. So I'll probably be working on the basement all this week. Tonight I finished running all the coax cable (although I thought of another place I might run it), all of the cat 5, and speaker wire for around the TV. I still need to run some for the rear speakers, and I'm going to put a bunch in the bedroom in case anyone wants ceiling speakers in there. Now is the time! I found out we have a neighbor who sells stereo equipment and he came over and showed me where to put speakers eventually. That was a big help as well.

So that's it for my update. I still have a lot to do before the drywallers come in two weeks (maybe three). I need to finish plumbing the shower, vanity and toilet. I need to build the shower basin and put cement board on the insides. And I also need to add insulation. Oh... and I want to see if I can get a 9 foot piece of drywall down the steps now. That will make things a lot easier for the drywall people, and fewer seams means fewer chances of cracks. Once all this is done, the drywallers will put up the drywall and we'll be able to paint. After paint is tile, then doors and trim, and finally carpet (or does carpet come before trim?). Then Abby will be able to move down stairs, I"ll move upstairs, and we'll make the office into the babies room. Fun.

By Craig Kohtz on March 29, 2011 | 0 Comments

Week 21! I'm over halfway done and things are starting to get a little uncomfortable! We have about 16 weeks to go, and I'm really looking forward to July.

Everything is still going very well. The babies are really starting to kick a lot. Craig and Conner have both been able to feel them move! Abby will hopefully be able to feel them sometime today as well. I'm just starting to get tired very quickly. When we go out shopping or running errands I wear out really fast. It's hard to get comfortable at night. I think I might have to add another pillow to my nightly regime (I currently use 3). But this is only temporary, and soon we will be busy changing diapers, feeding, holding, and all of that other good stuff. I will probably not even have time to think about what it felt like when I was pregnant!

We have had a lot of fun planning for the babies now that we know what the sexes are! We started buying a few clothes and have been picking out things that we want to buy. It's very exciting! I am starting to get nervous about the state of the basement and getting Abby moved down there so that we can start on the babies' room. Today we picked out some paint colors, carpet, tile, ceiling fans, etc. at Home Depot. I know it will all come together soon, and Craig really is a genius when it comes to this stuff. It will look amazing when it's done, and Abby's room is going to be really great. I'm so glad that Craig decided to hire out all of the drywall work. That will save a lot of time.

Abby is going to turn 13 next weekend! I can't believe it. She will be such a good big sister. It's nuts that Conner and Abby have a 4 year-old twin brother and sister on their dad's side, and now they will have the same thing on my side! They will be good helpers...and much needed ones!!

Well here is the week 21 picture! I've lost track of the size comparisons. My app says that they are the size of a banana, but that seems really strange. I'm not sure how long I'll continue to post the "bare belly" photos. To me they are starting to get a little bit grotesque! We'll see. The babies probably weigh about a pound each now. They are really growing!! I've also included a picture of Conner doing what he does best (watching TV), Abby in her room, and Craig in the new shower he built today.

By Jamie Kohtz on March 27, 2011 | 0 Comments

We had our ultrasound today. It's a boy and a girl! We are very excited! It was so re-assuring to see that everything is okay and in the right place. They both weigh 13 ounces (so they are each about the size of a can of beer). That comparison is easy for most of us to visualize! The doctor said that it's really good that they are the same size at this stage, as sometimes there are problems if one twin is bigger than the other. They are both perfect so far!! The little girl was on the bottom (Baby A), and her head was pointing downward. The little boy was on the top (Baby B), and his head is pointed upward. Apparently they name them Baby A and Baby B based upon which one would be born first if it were a "regular" delivery. The boy could be Baby A next time, depending on where he is at. They might switch places a lot in the next few months...they were both moving around a lot!

Here are a few ultrasound pictures. If you look closely, Baby B (boy) has his little hand right up by his mouth. He may have been sucking his thumb! How cute!


By Jamie Kohtz on March 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

Hello all! It's week 20, and we are ONE DAY away from finding out the sexes of the babies! We are so excited! Here are our guesses:

Craig - two boys, Jamie - one of each, Conner - one of each, Abby - one of each

We will find out tomorrow! I will update the blog post tomorrow night and we will also e-mail everyone and I'm sure it will show up on Facebook. I sure hope that they are both in a position to tell what the sexes are! I think I will go nuts if we can't find out tomorrow. March 21 has seemed so far away the entire pregnancy. Once we get through tomorrow, the next milestone will be July when we finally get to meet both of them!

Craig is making great progress on the basement. First we need to plan Abby's new room downstairs, and then we have a lot of baby planning to do....cribs, dressers, diapers, etc. Thankfully several of our family and friends are planning showers for us, which will help tremendously! We really don't have anything for babies. I got rid of any baby things a very long time ago! For some reason I did keep a lot of books and toys, so when they are a little older we won't need much of that stuff!

I've started to feel a lot of movement, which is good! I started feeling a lot of action on the left side during the past week, and the last few days I've felt quite a bit of movement on the right side as well. It will be interesting to see how they are situated in there tomorrow on the ultrasound! I've been feeling really good....just starting to get uncomfortable. My back hurts and I get tired very, very quickly. Craig found that out on Saturday when we went out for lunch then to Shaeffer's, Best Buy, and Hy Vee. By the time we got to Hy Vee I was pretty grumpy and wanted to go home! I've been taking short naps every day. I'm sure that the tiredness won't get better any time soon! It's a little scary to think that the babies only weigh about 11-12 ounces right now, and they will get about 6-7 times bigger by the time they are born. Yikes! I'm going to be HUGE. But, huge means healthy, so bring it on!

So here is the week 20 photo! The babies are the size of mangoes this week. I'm not really buying this fruit comparison....but my "What to Expect" app says they are 7 inches and 11 ounces.

By Jamie Kohtz on March 20, 2011 | 0 Comments

All the electrical boxes are in their proper place thanks to my friend Josh, minus anything in the ceiling that has to do with lights. Lights are next, which I hope to do tomorrow. On Friday (which I have off) I'll run all of the wire as per his instructions. He actually once told me never to do wiring ever again. I'm glad he has a short memory. Saturday, with any luck, I'll hook up all the switches, lights and plugs and be done with the electrical. Even if it doesn't get hooked up, I'll be in a position to start putting in insulation.

One problem with Josh coming over is we drink beer while he's here. I'm going to need to drink some water and take some Advil before I go to bed tonight. :)

By Craig Kohtz on March 16, 2011 | 0 Comments

On Saturday, I went back to work on framing. I didn't get too much done. I spent the first hour or so building an overhead rack for some lumber I had sitting on the floor that I needed out of the way. While the glue dried on that, I went to work on the bar area. It took a surprising amount of time working on it by myself. Before I knew it, it was 5:00 pm. I hadn't touched the soffit around the duct work, or the two walls I had left. So I did what any smart son would do, call his dad for help.

Sunday my dad came down around 1:00 in the afternoon. He worked on the two walls while I fixed a mistake I made in the bar area and finished the soffit. One thing I learned while letting my dad help me out is that measuring and cutting each piece of wood makes life a lot easier. The way I was doing it was measuring one board and then cut the remaining 8 or so boards to the same height. I would then proceed to wear myself out sledgehammering the resulting wall into place. Sometimes it worked, other times it didn't, and I'd have to take the wall down and cut a piece or two shorter (it did work once in a while). Who would have thunk that by being careful and taking your time, one could actually SAVE time. My dad, that's who.

As you can see in this photo, we finished everything up until this last wall. The only way we're going to get drywall down is if we take off the door and have that extra space to maneuver.

After my dad left, I hung my overhead rack in the garage and moved the wood up to the ceiling, out of the way.

So the framing is pretty much done, although there is a little tiny bit left.

Normally I would be done for the week, but tonight I had my friend Josh come over and help me plan the electrical. Over lunch tomorrow I'm going to buy all my materials for electrical. Tomorrow night we'll nail all the boxes to the walls and ceilings and Josh will show me where to run the wire. That will be my job on Friday, running wire. Then on Saturday, Josh will come over and hook up all the plugs, switches and hopefully lights. On Sunday, if I'm not worn out, I'll finish the plumbing. After that, believe it or not, electrical will be done and we'll be ready to hang the sheet-rock put in insulation. THEN hang sheet-rock.

Then we finish the sheet-rock, paint, hang doors, stain and install trim, order carpet, and lay tile. Oh, and install cabinets, sinks, toilet, build a shower, install closet shelves... ok, there will still be a lot of work to do, but it's getting closer. :)

Also, in my spare time I'm trying to rewrite the software that runs this blog, as well as redesign the look. I think I have a great idea for the look. The rewrite will allow people to add comments and sharing posts with others. It will also allow me to start another blog, move my brother and sister's blogs to the new software, and finish the web site I started for my cousin Luke.

Actually, I can't wait till the babies come, I think things will finally slow down a little. :)

By Craig Kohtz on March 15, 2011 | 0 Comments

Hello all. I was busy last week and didn't get the chance to post, so I'll have to cover two weeks in this one! Things are still going well. Just getting bigger and bigger. But big and fat means healthy babies so I just have to accept it! I keep that in mind when people say "Oh my gosh....you are getting so big"!! I know they mean well, but I'm only halfway done. But, as I get further along the wait gets shorter and shorter. Now we have about 18 weeks to go!

Abby and I went to Mama Mia last weekend with my mom and sister. It was a lot of fun and we all really enjoyed the show. We are hoping to make it a yearly "girls" trip to go see a show in Omaha. Next year Fiddler on the Roof will be playing in April, so we are already making plans for that. We also did some shopping and I found a maternity wonderland at Old Navy at Village Pointe. I bought a lot of spring and summer clothes and a few scarves to "draw the eye" away from my midsection! I feel like such a fashionable pregnant person now.

In a few years we might have two more girls to add to the yearly trip....we find out the babies' sexes in about 10 days. I CAN HARDLY STAND IT!!! Everyone needs to send us their guesses. At this point I'm actually hoping for a girl and a boy. It changes weekly. I thought I wanted two boys, but then I saw a ton of cute girl clothes and I realized that I would love to have a little girl! Of course, as long as they are both healthy I'm fine with anything. It's fun to speculate.

Craiggers is making progress on the basement (although he may have crippled my dad last weekend...what a tyrant!). It looks really good and I can see everything coming together. Abby will have such a fun time decorating her room!

I think Craig has reluctantly agreed to put the babies in the office room on the first floor. I really it will be MUCH more convenient, and we will feel more comfortable moving the babies out of our room sooner. We will keep them with us for a few weeks, but I think it's good to have them in their own room as soon as we can.

Here is my Week 19 photo! Last week the babies were sweet potatoes, and this week they are heirloom tomatoes!

By Jamie Kohtz on March 10, 2011 | 0 Comments

A lot has happened since my last update. First of all, I somehow screwed up my back so couldn't work on the basement for a week. An entire weekend wasted! Oh well, the back is better now.

The good news is that while my back was in knots, the plumbers came and laid the pluming in the basement.

In the picture above, the first third is where they hooked into the old toilet line. You can also see a pipe they cut that went to the old shower and sink vent because it needed to be moved as well. The middle third is the pipe going to the toilet, and the last third is the new hole for the toilet. FYI, Bowie was the first to pee in our new bathroom. He didn't use the new plumbing.

The above picture is after we filled in the trenches with dirt and cleaned up. This weekend Jamie, Abby, Anne and Britton went to a show in Omaha. Kent was forced (it started out as volunteering) to help me fill in the trenches and haul out the extra dirt. Once this job was complete, we went to the dump and unloaded the rubble. It was quite cold and lots of fun. Right Kent?

After the dump, we went to Home Depot and bought 16 bags of 60 lb concrete mix. We ended up only using 12. I wanted to get 80 lb bags, but Kent threatened to walk off the job if I did. So I went with the 60 lb bags, which was probably a good idea.

Things went pretty fast. As I mixed the concrete and poured it into the trench, Kent smoothed it out. I'd start on the next bag as he finished what I just dumped. The above picture is the floor after three days of the new concrete drying. The difficult part of moving the plumbing is now complete! I still need to run water lines to the sinks, shower and toilets, but this shouldn't be too hard.

Once we were finished, I carved our names (minus Kent) into the floor. At first I only had Craig, Jamie, Conner & Abby, but later added the + 2 for the twins. I felt bad for leaving them out. It was pretty exhausting work and I very much appreciate Kent's help. He makes a good forced laborer.

With the floor back to normal, I was able to have the heating and air guy come today and install the duct work for the bedroom, bathroom and family room. I'm glad I had someone else do it. It saved a lot of time and I know it's done right. It was well worth the added expense.

So that's what all happened since the last update. Next up, I'll finish framing. I may ask a neighbor to help this weekend, or I may attempt things on my own. My dad graciously offered his help on Sunday which I may just accept. It depends on what I get done Saturday. He's good forced laborer too, but it's getting more and more difficult to get him to work from dawn to midnight like when we roofed my house on Puritan Ave.

Dads are a great resource. I highly suggest taking advantage of them whenever possible. :)

By Craig Kohtz on March 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

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