Archive for the ‘house’ Category

Laundry Room Upgrade

Over the holidays, we kind of randomly decided to upgrade our laundry room.

Before it was a basic basement room with cement floors and cinder block walls. It was a place to throw a bunch of our stuff and happened to have our washer and drier too. I don’t have pictures of it in this state, but I’m sure you can imagine.

DH cleared everything out and took down a small “bathroom”:

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The laundry room after DH cleaned it out. The line on the floor and wall to the left of the laundry machines is where a “bathroom” used to be. This was a cinder block room with a toilet and a pull-chain bare bulb. It was never used.

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All the cinder blocks from the bathroom. This is another large area in our basement, that DH is working on right now.

DH painted the walls (no use putting up drywall or ceiling at this point, because we often get water in our basement), put in a vinyl floor, and added some nice touches.We also purged a bunch of stuff and organized what was left. Here’s the end result:

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I’ll post photos of the other side of the basement when it’s done!

Home Updates

A couple posts ago, I briefly mentioned that we have done some smaller updates in our home over the last year. We chose these specific projects to make our house more functional and to get rid of what felt like clutter…except the kitchen. I just wanted to make it less boring and tear down the subway tile that wasn’t put up correctly.

Here are some photos!

Mudroom area

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DH designed & built this at the bottom of the stairs leading to the basement (the stairs are off the side entrance that leads to the driveway – we don’t use our front door!)

 

Kitchen Update (Before & After)

Office/Guest Room Update

In preparation for my new teaching career, I wanted to make the office/guest room into a more usable space. I don’t have any photos of it before, but it was basically crammed full with a queen size bed a massive wooden desk. The murphy bed is awesome, and it’s from Costco! The closet had a bar, small shelves on one side, and another above the bar. DH made it into what you see here!

 

Hacking back

We (and by “we”, I mean DH) took a ton of bushes/saplings/overgrown crap out of our yards. Things looks much more open, and give us room to plant what we want. Here’s an example: we yanked out the giant hedges at the front of our property. Now I can see when I’m backing out of the driveway. WIN!

Right now, DH is working on the laundry room in the basement. I’ll post pictures when it’s done!

Bye-Bye 2016

I have been doing year-end reflections on this blog, and really wanted to do it this year again (even though I haven’t been writing nearly as much). To start, here were my goals from the beginning of 2016:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation ✓
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking ✘
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized ✘
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more ✘
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better ✓

Family

E started grade one and is learning how to read. C has entered his threenager stage. DH and I found two awesome babysitters who kids like, and we’ve been doing date nights more often (but not enough). We stayed at a hornet-infested cottage in the summer, but had some good times too!

Home

After looking at our options, we decided that we’ll stay put. So, instead of looking at real-estate listings, we began thinking of how to improve our home. We added serious colour in our kitchen, DH built a mudroom area in the basement,  we replaced the huge bed & desk in the office with awesome Murphy bed/desk, and we took down hedges at front of our property.

Health

I played soccer this summer, but have decided it’s just not the sport for me. I signed back up at the YMCA, and have been using it much more for swimming and yoga. I’d like to start playing badminton this year and get back to riding my bike.

Mentally, things really went downhill in the Fall, and I stopped doing all the things I know I need to do to have a happy life (eating/sleeping well, exercising, reading, knitting, time with friends). With my time off, I’ll be focusing on making this a priority.

One good thing with my long drive to work (1hr15min each way), I got through a LOT of audiobooks, and hit 13 books for 2016. Check out what I’ve been reading here.

Career

I began the year by teaching at university/college levels, and I quite enjoyed it, but realized quickly it would not be a sustainable career option (low pay, limitations on how much I could work, nowhere to grow).

In the summer, I took 2 additional qualification courses to make me more marketable to public school boards. I got hired by one board as a supply teacher, but didn’t get on to the local board (which is the goal).

I did get my first public high school teaching position in September (what’s called a long-term occasional assignment, where supply teachers fill in for permanent teachers on leave). I was teaching grade 11 and 12 physics, and the contract was until the end of January. Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to overwhelming stress/anxiety. I’ll get back into the game when I’m ready, but will only be supply teaching.

 

There’s my 2016 in a nutshell! Stay tuned for what my hopes are for 2017.

Ignoring or Avoiding?

I can’t decide if I’ve been ignoring or avoiding this blog. I miss it, and I am constantly coming up with thing to write about, but never end up doing it. I think this is for 2 reasons: 1) I know it takes time, and there are so many things going on that it drops down the priority list, and 2) I know my readership has dropped off because of lack of posts and writing just reminds me of that.

Anyway, I’m going to keep writing when I can because I enjoy it 🙂

First, an update on things!

I finished at the private high school before the Christmas break, and now I’m teaching at the local university (astronomy) and college (math). I’m quite enjoying these courses, and would like to keep teaching at this level.

This brings me to the most frustrating thing of all: jobs. I am still not in with the local school board (I ignorantly thought my 10+ years work experience in education and my own PhD+BEd education would get me in the door, but I was wrong). The university/college teaching jobs are term-to-term. so no stability there either. It can be super frustrating finally KNOWING what I want to do with my life and not have the options to actually DO it on a regular basis. But, I’ll keep plugging along and hope things continue to crop up, and eventually get a long-term post.

Family-wise, we’re deep into the terrible 2’s with C. And we thought E was bad when he was 2? Oh no…C is showing just what 2 can be to the extreme. His TTs are epic and nothing like I’ve ever seen. Thankfully, he can be really funny, happy, and just plain silly. He’s a huge risk taker too, which is much different than E.

E is amazing us with his intelligence lately. It’s awesome to witness his learning and how he LOVES to learn! He’s going through his own behaviour issues: he’s starting to talk back to us when we need to discipline him. This is very new to us, so we’re trying to get a handle on how to deal with it (most things seem to just make it worse).

Home-wise, we’re still flip-flopping on whether to do renovations or move. We agree our first step should be to get some designs and quotes on renovations to see if we can get what we need for a reasonable price. DH is going to a home show this weekend to connect with some contractors who can come and do this soon.

That’s our life right now – I hope that my posts will become more conversational rather than lists! How are you doing?

Hopes for 2016

As you read in my last post, 2015 was pretty meh. So, I’m hoping things will change in 2016. Here are my hopes:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better

What are your hopes for 2016?

Home Wants/Needs

My theme for my goals this year is re-evaluation, and one thing that led to my choosing this theme was a constant battle in our minds: whether to stay in this house or move.

Our house is old, like 1910’s old. That means we a) have a tiny kitchen, b) very little storage, c) a creepy basement we’ll never use for more than laundry/workshop/dumping grounds, and d) have tiny bathrooms (we’re lucky we had space to put a 1/2-bath  on the main floor – a hot commodity around this neighbourhood).

When I get in one of those “GOD, I HATE THIS HOUSE!!!” moods, the things I dream about are:

  • a more open floor plan on the first floor
  • a kitchen with more cupboard space and an island between it and the dining room
  • a large mudroom/laundry combo off the front (MORE SPACE for all our clothes/bags/gear/etc)
  • a MUCH bigger upstairs bathroom
  • a finished attic, so we can have a second living area (and a place to move all the kids toys so they’re not the first thing we see coming in) — which could house a THIRD bathroom!
  • being on a much quieter street (I know I can’t change this, but I’m DREAMING here!)

During and after these moments, we often start perusing through the MLS listings, searching for houses. We talk for hours  about whether it’s worth it to stay here and do the renovations, or would it be better to try and find a house that hits all our “must-have’s”. It’s our own personal “Love It or List It”, without any help from professionals.

Sure, we can easily find homes that have everything we want…for a much heftier price tag than what we paid for this house.

And, just like Cloud wrote about recently, these things are much more WANTS than NEEDS. When I really thing about it, we’re pretty darn lucky with our life (and house) as it is now. Why do we feel like we NEED more room, or NEED a bigger bathroom, or NEED to have main floor laundry?

We look at bigger, newer, more “fancy” houses – with their huge kitchens, giant walls of windows, massive master suites, and living room/family room/game rooms – as though that is what we NEED.

Yes, we could afford to go with either of these options, but then it hits us: what are our priorities in life? Do we want to spend money for years on making or getting a bigger/”better” house, or could we spend that in a way that could really make a difference in our lives in other ways. Like,  being able to do more of the things we enjoy like golfing, going to baseball games, going on family vacations, or taking art or music classes.

We get so tied up in what we WANT in a house, as though having an island in our kitchen or a walk-in closet would make us happy.

So, we are trying to keep these things in mind and we move forward with these types of decisions. We will constantly be re-evaluating our goals and aligning them with what our priorities really are.

How do you reconcile between what you WANT and what you NEED.

Lacking Focus

Note: not looking for advice or anything, just need to get this out!

Last time, I touched on that I’m feeling that my life is lacking focus, and it’s so true. There are just so many things on my mind and things going on that I sometimes just feel lost trying to keep up with it all.

Her’s a snapshot of what’s going around in my head:

Careers stuff
– Will I get into teacher’s college? If so, can we really afford it? Will I be able to be a student again? What about finding a job afterwards?
– What if I don’t get in, what will I do then? What kinds of jobs can I apply for with my background? Should I look into other certificate programs? If so, what and where, and how much will that cost? Would it be worth it?

Hobbies
(these things don’t actually stress me out – or else they wouldn’t be “hobbies” –  but just other things in my head while I’m making a list)
– Knitting: I really want to get this damn afghan done, and I want to work on Carter’s sweater. I’d also like to try a pair of socks. Oh, and I’m a bit bummed that the knitting group I started has been a bit slow.
– Reading: There are just so many books I want to read. Can I read them all at the same time? Plus $$ for books.
– Blogging: talked about this last time.
– Oh yeah, and I want to learn how to play the piano!

House stuff
– This house is not meeting our needs, and definitely won’t in a short time when Carter’s up and about.
– Do we want to stay in our house and renovate or move to another house that would meet our needs better?
– If we stay, what projects do we want to do? What’s a priority? What exactly do we want to do? How much will it cost? When can we do them?
– This house needs to be more organized! How much is that going to cost? When am I going to have the time to do that? What should I tackle first? What should I try to sell, or what should I donate or just trash?

Kid/Family Stuff
– Things to do while at home with Carter during the day
– What to do on the weekends to keep everyone happy and entertained
– When to put Evan back into part-time daycare
– When to start Carter in daycare
– Why is Carter waking up multiple times in the middle of the night, or waking up at 5am, and can we do anything about it? I’m guessing it’s just a phase…
– When should we start Carter on solids and I completely forgot how we did that with Evan, so I should figure that out soon…
– When will DH and I be able to spend any tine together just the 2 of us?

Oh, and don’t forget the random thoughts/flashbacks about the stroke (these are always fun). I sometimes wonder if I think about all these things, or want to do a million things, because my mind (and body!) was idle for a while?

Maybe there are just too many things going on right now, or maybe we’re just busy and getting used to being a family of four. Maybe I’ll feel better once I start school (if I get in) or get a job and have something that’s only for ME.

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