Gettin’ stuff done.

Neil and I had a kid free weekend! We shelled the kids out to various relatives and got ready for a weekend of relaxing.

It’s funny how things change; how ideas of relaxing change, and how sleeping in changes, the older you get, and the more kids you have.

We did have a wonderfully quiet and relaxing Friday afternoon and evening. I vegged out on the couch, we ate what we could scrounge up, watched a movie, and went to bed. We were up at 7:40 on Saturday. Which is so dumb, because when the kids are home, and Neil lets me sleep in, I can easily sleep till 9 or 10. I blame our early waking on the fact that we actually slept ALL NIGHT LONG with NO INTERRUPTIONS. It’s amazing how much better you feel in the morning when you can sleep for a solid eight hours as opposed to an interrupted nine. Just sayin.

So Saturday we were inspired to start a project. Before we knew it, Neil was removing screw pops and patching holes and I was scouring Pinterest. I also cleaned up my sewing room, even vacuuming up all the little sequins from my latest project. It looks so nice and clean now! That was good for my soul, I tell you. Then we went into the city for a lovely lunch at Stella’s, then went shopping wherever we wanted, because we could, darn it. Apparently everyone else goes shopping on Saturdays too, unfortunately. Our last stop was Rona, where we loaded up on supplies, paying with some random gift card we’d found ages ago and can’t even remember where it came from.

Saturday evening we patched and painted and Sunday morning, after sleeping in till 8 (!), we finished up. You guys, these hats were $1.48. I mean, they had to be had. Totally made our work experience that much better.

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And tada!

chalkboard

A giant chalkboard! I, like everyone else on the internet, love chalkboards. I had seen this giant magnetic chalkboard on Pinterest once, and kind of forgotten about it. We have this big space here in our dining room that we just could not figure out what to do with. We would have liked a big piece of art, but we don’t really agree on art, unless it’s art we can’t afford. Anyway, thank you pinterest, because we love our new chalkboard.

I was planning to make it magnetic but after reading mixed, mostly bad, reviews on magnetic primer, that costs a lot of money, we decided to skip that part. Who cares, anyway, it’s still awesome. A little washi tape can do the work of a magnet, and look prettier, too. If only my kids hadn’t used up all my washi.

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So basically this project required taping off the area we wanted to chalkboard, painting it with chalkboard paint, and then cutting, painting, and putting up the trim. I think the whole thing cost us about $60, and I still have about a half a can of paint left. Perfect.

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The other thing I did this weekend was finish my ikea stool that I started painting four months ago.

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I’m sooooo happy with it. I don’t have a before picture, but I’ll describe it for you: pale bare wood covered in paint splatters and dried on food remnants.

So much better, right? I’m basically in love with it.

So all in all, I’m not sure if it was was most people would call a relaxing weekend, but Neil and I had a great time. It feels good to get stuff done around here, and it’s so much easier to get stuff done without four small children interrupting you. Heck, we even washed the floor! And no, you can’t tell anymore.

Cheers to the family members that bless us so much by taking care of our children!

Ps. Ivy has already eaten half a piece of chalk (add that to the countless others she has eaten), licked the chalkboard while saying “yum”, and scribbled on it with a purple crayon.

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Finally spring.

Thank goodness, spring finally came to Manitoba. In the last couple of days the temperatures shot up to the double digits and the snow melted away. Everyone came out from hibernating and the neighborhood was packed with people out walking, biking, and playing. Amazing.

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Our kids spent hours outside over the last couple days. Ivy was thrilled to be in the backyard doing whatever she wanted. She loved it. Oliver quickly found his way back to the dirt that he has basically lived in every summer. Benjamin and Ivy followed suit and everyone came in that evening happy and dirty. The best.

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Neil made us a sweet fire pit on Saturday and we all can’t wait to roast some marshmallows one evening this week. I’m looking forward to another epic summer. Pluuuuusssss only eight sleeps until Mexico! Happy days!

The basement beginnings.

My brother Josh, who moved to Vancouver with his wife in June (*sniff sniff*) is coming home for Christmas (yay!!!).

We’re so excited to see him (and Jaclyn of course!). He’s a great brother and such a fun uncle and we miss him! Also, and more importantly, he is an experienced drywaller. Just kidding about the more importantly part. Sort of.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, he texted and asked me if we’d like him to drywall our basement for us over the Christmas holidays. Yes please! But then I realized we hadn’t done anything at all in the basement yet. And then I realized the holidays were just a couple of weeks away. Then I realized we better kick it into high gear.

So we did. Well, high gear for us, which is kind of like medium gear maybe. Neil’s dad was here last weekend, and my dad was here the last couple days, and the basement is definitely taking shape. There are now bedroom walls and bedroom closets, a hallway, a laundry room, and a bathroom. But there is still a lot to be done. Some plumbing needs to be moved around. We need some electrical work done. And Josh will be home in 6 days.

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I’m beginning to think that the probability of this happening is getting smaller and smaller. But we will keep working hard (by “we” I of course mean Neil). I’m trying to do a little delegating or hiring out, but it’s short notice. We’ll do our best and Josh will at least be able to do some or most of it, anyway.

Now back to my work. Cleaning my bedroom, which has turned into the catch-all for all things miscellaneous. Also, must clean my bathroom, which I’m sure I just cleaned, but judging by it’s scary state, it must have been weeks ago. Then, onto a pile of mending (every single pair of Seth’s jeans has holes in both of the knees. Every. Single. Pair.) and then hopefully onto the pajama sewing. Also, a long list of Christmas baking.

Realistically I will get one or two of those things done. If I’m lucky, three! Now here I go…

He fences.

On Saturday Neil and my dad started work on our backyard fence. They put in a full long day but there was still lots to be done. It’s a big fence. Neil’s been working away at it this week and it’s looking pretty good.

There’s something about a man with tools…

Seth “babysat” Ivy while I helped haul fence boards to the backyard.

Hopefully we’ll have it all done within a week or so.

The dog run. Again.

Neil was a little upset that I did not include a picture of his fabulous dog run in my previous post. I know I should have. It just seemed like a lot of work to actually walk outside, take a picture, and upload it. But I did take a picture later, and here it is, the dog run in all it’s glory:
It is awesome. Before when we put Dotty outside we would take her to the backyard and clip her onto a cable that was staked to the ground. It was trickier than it might sound because the cable clip was all busted up. It was not something the kids could do for me. But now! Now the kids can let Dotty out! All they have to do is open the garage door and out she goes. They can let her in too! You have no idea how life changing this is for me. Plus, I think the run looks great. It’s not a huge overbearing dog run like some people in our neighborhood have. Seriously, some of our neighbors have a dog run about the size of a small garage with chain link 8 feet tall for their dog that is the size of a kitten. What is that about? Our dog run is not big, just enough room for Dotty to do her business without wrecking our whole yard. Soon enough we will have a lovely fence around our whole backyard and that is where she will be able to play.
I think she likes the dog run. Sort of.
Thanks for the sweet dog run Neil.

The weekend, the dog run, and the screaming.

Happy Monday. I’m almost relieved the weekend is over.
On Friday after work Neil started building a dog run for Dotty. He worked until suppertime and then got sick and went straight to bed. I had already been having a tough time with a little someone who only wanted to nap for 20 minutes at a time, and was starting to reach the end of my rope. But what was to be done, the man was sick.
Unfortunately Neil had a breakfast meeting on Saturday that took up the whole morning too. By the time he got home at lunch I had basically been single-parenting for 48 hours or something. The end of my rope was getting a lot closer. Neil came home and went straight to work on the dog run, which I appreciated immensely but it left me in charge of the littles by myself again. I tried to nap because I knew I was going to snap really soon, but between the pounding of the posts for the run, the loud radio in the garage, and the wee baby who wouldn’t sleep longer than 20 minutes, the nap didn’t happen.
I went outside to check on things. I noticed the kids had spilled the brand-new bottle of bubble solution I had bought them. I burst into tears and sobbed for several minutes. End of rope: reached.
Deep breath. Put some Hillsongs on the ipod and settled myself down.
Neil finished the dog run and noticed that I was looking a little “fragile” and suggested I get out for the evening. Even though I was tired I took him up on his offer. A walk and a cup of tea with a lovely friend was just what I needed. I stayed out later than usual, but hey, why not. Live a little, right?
I got home just after 11pm. Ivy was up and Neil was feeding her. She wasn’t taking the bottle overly well, so I took her and nursed her, and tucked her into bed with me. We fell asleep. For 15 minutes or so. And then it started. The screaming.
Ivy just cried and screamed and cried for basically the whole night. She slept in little 20 minutes snatches here and there, and a couple times slept for a whole hour, but other than that she was FREAKING OUT ALL. NIGHT. LONG.
By 8:30 or so she was still a basketcase and I was convinced she must be dying. Something terrible must be wrong with her. Bowel obstruction? At the very least, a severe double ear infection. She was screaming and crying like a crazy baby and that is just not like her.
Luckily the walk-in clinic is open on Sundays, so I took her there. We arrived just as it was opening and were fourth in line. Wouldn’t you know Ivy had passed out on the way to the clinic and was still dead asleep when it was her turn to be seen.
And wouldn’t you know, there was nothing wrong with her. “Colic?” the doctor suggested. Not likely but thanks for trying.
We headed home. Ivy had gone peacefully back to sleep and slept till about two in the afternoon and then woke up as her cheerful little self.
Neil and I had cancelled our Sunday plans of brunch with friends and we took turns napping for the day. We wandered around the house looking a little like zombies. I think Seth and Ben played video games for like three hours straight while Neil and I slept. Hopefully their brains aren’t too mushy now.
We played with our sweet little daughter and when she went to sleep at 8:30 we followed very shortly after. There was no screaming last night, thank goodness, and I am feeling much more human-like and less crazy-person-ish. For now, anyway.
The weekend had it’s successes and failures. Success: a dog run for Dotty.
Fail: sleep. I know I’ve said it before, probably a hundred times over the last three months, but thank goodness she’s cute.
But it’s over now and we’re on to a fresh new week. Swimming lessons start tomorrow, I think we might head out to the grandma and grandpa’s place one day and take a long nap while they babysit the girl.
For now I’ll keep on sipping the Kona coffee and trying to stay sane in a very crazy place.

He’s got mad skills.

Last week winter came. I knew it was coming and I thought I was prepared.
But then there were all the snowsuits and boots and mitts and hats and mud and slush and bah, I decided I hated winter. And we still had five more months.
One of the problems I had with winter was our house. When we were househunting I really wanted to find a house with a mudroom. It was pretty high up on my priority list. But then we found this house, and we loved it, and it didn’t have a mudroom. It did have a very big front entryway with a double closet, which I assumed would be more than enough.
I forgot, though, how difficult it is to actually open a closet and place a pair of shoes inside, never mind actually hanging a coat up. Besides, the kids could definitely not reach the rod to hang coats up on, even if they did know how to work a hanger.
So after a week of winter in our new house, I had had it. Coats were everywhere. Boots were everywhere. Everything was everywhere.

We had actually put away a tonne of stuff before that picture was taken. But notice all the coats just draped over the banister there? Messy. And usually there was an average of 6-8 coats there at any given time. I know there are only 5 of us, but that’s just how it works in real life. Only one of them was mine though, I promise!
We did previously have a table-thing here in this space, and it was nice because I could put a few of my favorite pictures on it, and it had drawers to put our keys in, and a shelf that I put a basket of winter stuff on. But it wasn’t serving enough of a purpose to stay there. So on Friday we moved it to a new spot. Because we had plans for this little space.

Well, I had plans. Neil was going to make those plans happen for me. We went to Rona on Friday and stocked up on supplies. By the time we went to bed Friday night, Neil had built this:

Considering that Neil had basically no previous experie Continue reading