Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 4 and The Trip Home!

Friday was our final day on the site! We had a great day, beautiful weather, great progress, and some awesome memories! The day was spent on two different roofs (each in a different stage) and on the siding of one of the houses. We made great progress on our final day. During our lunch break a group of us traveled to the USA bookstore to check out some South Alabama gear and we found some great things! We finished up the afternoon at the site with the completion (or very near the completion) of one of the roofs! It was awesome to see the progress each house made after our four days on site. We rushed back to St. Paul's to shower and pack up before we hit the road again. Pastor K at St. Paul's graciously called a fellow pastor in Birmingham and he set us up with a place to stay for the night. The church in Birmingham was great! They were so accommodating and had an awesome space for us to stay in furnished with ten sofas, a big screen TV, and even an x-box! We had a great night there before we all crashed from another busy day. We got up early today and packed up to head home. Due to an overwhelming number of requests on the way down, we decided to stop at a Waffle House and eat breakfast before we left Birmingham. It was the ideal way to cap off our southern stay :) The drive home was rather long and every stop we made got more and more chilly, but everyone was pretty excited to be home when we arrived home about an hour ago. Overall the trip was a great experience, one I am sure we will never forget. Thank you to all who helped us make this trip happen, we greatly appreciate it!!

 A view from the roof. The house to the left was the roof our group spent the majority of their time roofing, as you can tell it looks great!

 Alex and Melissa lay down plywood on a different roof, they both overcame their fear of heights and Melissa even used the saw while on the roof!

 James doing some roofing work.
 The siding crew of Jenae, Kellie, Colleen, and Spencer.
 The other roofing crew adds some finishing touches.
 Joey, Kelly, Zobac, Trevor, Donnie, and Oyster on their roof.
 And again...
The final day: front row L-R: Spencer, Colleen, Trevor, James, TJ, Donnie, Hannah, Shawna.
Back Row L-R: Zobac, Jenae, Kellie, Oyster. Gary (Habitat worker), Joey, Mackenzie (aka: me), Alex, Shelly, Melissa, Justin (Habitat worker), Mike (Habitat worker), and Kelly!

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 3 Pics!

 Donnie using an interesting method to do some clean-up work.
 TJ, Kelly, and James.
 The crazy tan lines Spencer is still sporting from Monday's trip to the beach!
Trevor definitely enjoyed his dinner at The Oyster House.

 The team cleaning up some sheet rock at the beginning of the day.
 The view from Oyster House
 Shelly and Kelly at dinner.
 Joe's "crab claw" and a real crab claw.
 Oyster's Oysters.
 TJ's fine dining essentials.

 It still has eyes!
 The whole group after dinner.

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Day 3!

Today we had another fun day on the site. As always we all jumped out of bed bright and early, and made it to the site not just on time but early! Arriving early on the site gave us some time to do a little stunt practicing, but that's a story for another time. Most of the real work today was split between the roofing process and putting up siding on two of the houses. Great strides were made on both houses by the end of the day. While talking with one of the regular Habitat employees, I got a pretty good idea of how things are run on a regular basis with the different sites. The employee, Marcy, told me that most houses take about six months to complete but that is only because they are working in so many different areas at one time, in terms of days worked on one house it would actually only take about two months to complete the house, but jumping from site to site slows down the process. It was very interesting talking with her while we worked, she also said she was very pleased with how hard our group was working and said it must be partially due to the fact that we are athletes (I would have to agree). After work we returned to the church to shower and clean up for dinner. We then followed Pastor K and his wife to the Oyster House restaurant out by the bay. The restaurant was located very close to the water and we had a great view from our table inside. The restaurant was packed, but we enjoyed the time we spent there and the food was delicious! It was pretty entertaining watching some of the guys cut and pry open their food, TJ even was given what appeared to be fisker's scissors to sear into his dinner! We even had a little visitor at dinner, one of the girls spotted a teeny tiny lizard by the window during dinner and Eric decided he should run outside and capture it. Shockingly he was successful, he brought "Biggie," the one inch long lizard, home with us to the church in a condiment cup and then released him back into the wild. Overall dinner at The Oyster House was a great experience! To finish off the night we headed back to the church and did a little exploring outside. Behind the church is pond/lake and an awesome run down house that is set for demolition. We took a little walk and checked out the area, played a few jokes, and scared a few of the girls. It was a great time. After such a long day, everyone pretty much crashed with the exception of a few late night euchre games that we had going on. After our third full day of work it is crazy to think of how fast our time here has gone. Tomorrow will be our last day on the site before we head back to Naperville (if only we could bring this great weather with us!). Hope everyone has a wonderful friday, i'm sure we will too!

Cardinal Athletics

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 2!

Today was another great day on the site! We put in a great deal of work on two of the five houses that are currently going up in our site's neighborhood. Most of the work was done on the roof or inside the house drilling more support rods (these rods help support the frame of the house from hurricane winds- if you didn't read yesterday's post). A few girls got pretty handy with the nail gun and hung a lot of trim as well! Everyone in the group contributed immensely! Unfortunately, early in the day Shawna had a nail go through her shoe and pierce her foot, but she was tough and came back to the site after visiting urgent care and worked the remainder of the day! The roofing crew made great strides towards the completion of the shingling process on their house. It was pretty impressive seeing the progress they made from the beginning of the day until the end. Other impressive feats were many people overcoming a little fear of heights and climbing up onto the roof to help lay the plywood in the initial roofing process. I know that I personally am just loving all the new skills I am acquiring on the site! Learning these skills does come with a few funny moments. For instance, my first experience with a cement nail gun (is that the technical term, i'm not sure..) was priceless. For those of you who have never used one of these guns, it somewhat throws you back after "firing" it. similar to a real gun, not realizing this, I may or may not have screamed like a little girl after my first attempt, luckily it gave everyone a good laugh. Needless to say I'm sure these types of moments were happening all day, or at least I hope it wasn't just me. ;) The weather was once again beautiful. It seems like everyone's sunburns are starting to feel a bit better, but we still enjoy checking out the crazy tan lines (full hand prints even) that everyone has. After putting in a seven hour work day, we had a nice dinner at the church with some members and the pastor and his wife. Later in the evening, half the group went to an outdoor movie at USA, while the other half went on a little trip to mini-put at the fabulous "Putter's Dream and Ice Cream." Today was another great day, we heard about the snow at home and I think it made us all appreciate the warm weather we have here a little bit more! We hope all of our gracious supporters are enjoying this sneak peek into our days in Alabama! Hope everyone has a great thursday! :)
 Three of the five Habitat houses in progress in this neighborhood.
 The boys enjoying our lunch break in the van, they needed an escape from the blazing Alabama sun!
 TJ used his lunch hour to sneak in a nap.
 Alex and I face our fear of heights and try our hand at roofing, we ended up loving it!
 Spencer, Shawna, and Hannah measure and cut plywood for the roofers.
 This house is farther along in development. The wrestling boys and Kelly put in most of their hours on this rooftop today, they made it look easy!

 Kelle and Jenae mount trim on one of the houses.
Jenae became a nail gun pro!

Cardinal Athletics

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Day On Site

Today we got up bright and early to head to our Habitat for Humanity work site. The site we are assigned to is only about 6 miles from St. Paul but we hit some morning traffic and it took a little bit longer to get there. The neighborhood we are working in has 5 habitat houses being built right now. We spent the majority of the day working on two of the houses. Many members of our group spent their day on the roof and then some did interior work such as drywalling or installing anchors that create a stronger foundation for the possible hurricane winds that this area faces often. Though it was a long day we had a good time and the day went really fast! I know many of us enjoyed learning new skills that we never had the chance to try out before this trip. Unfortunately now I think most of our parents are going to expect us to help with more fix-it jobs around the house ;) After our long day at the site, we came back and enjoyed a nice dinner with members of St. Paul including the pastor and his wife. We wrapped up the day with a trip to the University of South Alabama for a baseball game. USA won the game and we had a great time enjoying the beautiful weather. Tomorrow should be another great day on site, hopefully we can continue to make great progress on the houses as the week goes on!

Cardinal Athletics

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fun in the Sun

Today we had a great day at the Gulf Shores. The white sandy beach was beautiful and it was sunny and 80 degrees all day. We played some beach volleyball, relaxed, and explored the area for the majority of the day. We left early in the morning and arrived back at the church just in time for dinner. Some of the boys claim they saw an alligator while we were crossing one of the bridges on our trip back! Unfortunately, many of us underestimated the strength of the southern Alabama sun and we are a little bit toasted to say the least. Thank goodness for aloe vera and a nice cold shower waiting for us at the church. We are all really looking forward to beginning our habitat work tomorrow bright and early!
 The Beautiful Gulf Shores
The whole group. 
 Eric and Trevor burying Colleen.
Colleen just loved it!
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Hello Mobile!

Saturday night was spent in downtown Nashville. We went to laser quest and played two games of laser tag, everyone had a great time, in fact, our very own Shawna Jansen took second place in one of the games (there were about 35 people playing at one time). After laser quest we walked down town and found a great BBQ joint for dinner. It was great to experience Nashville for one night while we made the trip down to Alabama, also, I don't think anyone minded getting off the road for a night and sleeping in a bed rather than in a van ;)

After another long day of driving we arrived in Mobile around five pm on sunday. The weather was beautiful, about 80 degrees! The church we are staying at, St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Mobile, AL is a beautiful church with great accommodations for us. The church members have been so kind and  helpful, showing us what true southern hospitality is like. After settling in at the church we did some light shopping at Wal-Mart and then set out to take a little drive through the University of Southern Alabama (USA) campus. We were shocked to see how large their campus was, especially in comparison to NCC! Arriving back at our "home" for the week we were able to hang out and relax for the rest of the night, everyone agreed it was just great to finally be here and be done driving! Today we are going to Gulf Shores to spend a day at the beach, hopefully get a little bit of sun, and gear up for our busy week of building!
 The great BBQ joint we enjoyed while in Nashville.

This is the "girl's room" at the church.
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