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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking into 2009

Resolution.
Definition: a firm decision to do something.
My friend Kindra uses the word "goals" instead of "resolution". She also puts a process in place rather than just deciding to do or accomplish something. That makes sense to me. For me the term "resolution" means "failure" right from the get-go.
I began contemplating (bad I know, careful of the smoke) and with the current chaos surrounding me I've concluded that something has to change or I will be committed to a mental institution sooner than later. Last night for instance, I was totally and completely out of sorts and did not know what to do with myself. There was no particular reason, just an accumulation of stress I believe, and I was a massive bundle of jitters, it felt like my skin didn't fit me. Nothing satisfied me. Following an unsettled evening I had a weirdly restless night that had me from our bed, to the couch, then back to bed again. I also had psychotic dreams. I blame the tequila laced lime-ade. Today I feel calmer and I decided that creating a few more goals in addition to finishing the house would be good for my sanity and in turn for those around me. Eating, breathing and sleeping 'house' can't be good for a person. (Only 31 days to go according to my schedule!)

Here's what I came up with:
1. Buy an old fashioned journal for writing in and use it for things like jotting down prayers - which I desire to do more of, cute things Sierra does and says that I'll otherwise never remember later, and any other tidbits of my mind that I feel need documenting; a private place for my thoughts and memories.
2. Get back into better health by deliberately exercising 3 times a week and drastically reducing my junk food/sugar intake, and continuing with my increased veggie consumption.
3. Tidy as I go so that my house does not end up looking like a pig-sty and require a massive top-to-bottom clean. (This is a once-we-move goal, it's a nearly impossible feat in our current abode)

That's probably good for now, too many and I'll give up before tomorrow!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Scheduling - the next 34 days.

Cry uncontrollably?
Laugh hysterically?
Throw a fit of anger?
Drink myself silly?
Hibernate in bed?

Those were the options running circles in my mind the other day as I stood in my house, surrounded by construction chaos, and was covered in paint splatters. There appeared to be an insurmountable amount of work left to do with not nearly enough time and this was causing me to have a meltdown.
Yes, I felt a tad overwhelmed.I opted for none of those options, instead I took the bull by the horns and seized control. Being the champion of lists that I am, I made two. I needed to see a plan of action of how we could attain our goal of completing this house in a little more than a month.
My lists: 1. what tasks still needed to be done and
2. when each of these is going to be carried out and how long they are projected to take.
Bottom line: We have a lot of work to do in the next month but if we're diligent and work hard we can be in by the end of January.
The reason we want to be moved in by then - and no, it is not because living with my parents is driving me bonkers, which it is actually starting to, truth be told - it is because my in-laws are coming for a visit February 11-17. We need to be in our house in order for them to have a place to stay and I am NOT moving in last minute the weekend before they arrive - too much.
Needless to say I was stressing over the pressure, hence said lists.
I feel better now.
I have an allusion of control.
If we don't make the goals than I will most likely have a breakdown.
No, I'm prepared for the possibility of failure, but I'm not actually planing for that because Trevor says I'm too pessimistic as it is.

Oh and by the way - Trevor and my Dad are totally disgusted with my lists and don't get them. Trevor was sarcastically bragging to me how he managed to make grilled cheese sandwiches without a list.

And another thing...yesterday while out with some friends Trevor had the nerve to say that if the market picks up we're selling this house and building again.

LIKE HELL!!!!

Sorry for the outburst.


Just in case I don't have time to post before then...

Happy New Year everyone!


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hoho Highlights

Did we have Christmas only a mere two days ago?
Are you sure?
I think I might have missed it.
No, I didn't. It felt very quick this year since we are so house-absorbed.
Brief as if felt, it was still special and filled with laughter and love.

Gifts.
It's always fun to receive things that I otherwise wouldn't get for myself. For example: gift certificate to a spa and black stretchy, comfy, around-home pants (this after I said that I practically never wear lounging clothes!)
Sierra was so cute and giddy with all the activity of stockings and gift opening. She got tons of new toys but a bead necklace was by far her favourite. It only comes off for sleep times.

Food.
Lots. Feeling glutonous. Weight Watchers must start soon. Need I say more?

Games.
A must at Christmas. Dominoes and Cranium amused us this year. You'd be surprised at how crazy we can make a game of Dominoes!

Wine and Bailey's Caramel Irish Cream.
Great stuff!

Family and Friends.
What make the season so fun.

Jesus Christ.
Without His birth there would none of the above to enjoy!

The tree surrounded by presents.

The famous beads.

Digging in deep and feeling something...

Grasping it and pulling it out....


Discovery! An elephant puzzle!

Our little family.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm It!

Kraftykash tagged me today and since I'm procrastinating however I can this afternoon this is a great excuse to keep it up!

Here is how it goes:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up six random things about

Random stuff about me:

1. I'm only just under 5' 2" tall and my daughter appears to be doomed to top out at 5'3'' according to the charts. I always say it's easier to hem pants than lengthen them!
2. I rarely use a cell phone in a world where everyone seems to have one. Mine is used once every couple of months.
3. Hair and make done, along with nice clothes are a must nearly every single day. I'm not a sweats-around-the -house kind of person. I even have a cute outfit for working out, at home, alone, where no one sees me!
4. I have no central vision in my right eye. Seven and a half years ago I had unexplained bleeding at the back of the eye which created a scar which blocks my vision. It was a scary time but I've had no issues since - other than adjusting to only one good eye that is!
5. I enjoy mind games like cross words and Sudoku puzzles, sadly there is little time to work on them.
6. I use cloth diapers on Sierra because I prefer to help minimize polluting the environment with thousands of non-biodegradable disposables (the average child is said to go through 2000). I do use disposables at night and for babysitters. Seriously, they have been easy and a huge money saver. Many people are grossed out by the poop aspect, Kushies makes flushable, biodegradable liners than I just put in the toilet and there's next to no clean-up. I use a brand of diaper called BumGenius.

That was kind of fun. So I tag...

Journey of an Artist Mom

Monkey's Momma

Blooming Almond (although she's not had internet for awhile)

Medneophyte

Bunny Dimension


Kickyboots



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Canadian Baby

As I mentioned the other day, frigid, bone chilling, curse inducing temperature highs of -25 have been inflicted upon us.
Trevor asks daily why we live here, which is followed by a
"We're moving to Phoenix!"
or
"I'm pretty sure God is on vacation!"
Anyway, due to blowing snow and ice the roads are practically undrivable with anything but a snowplow or Hummer, niether of which we have. Now our SUV did manage to bring Trevor to work this morning (unlike two semis and four cars that ended up in the ditches on an 11km stretch, comforting) but only because of some old lady , snail driving. I was left with a sports car that has bald tires.
Bald tires + ice = I don't think so.
Translation of the situation: Sierra and I are housebound.
This weather completely took care of my plans for finishing my last hour of Christmas shopping and getting a hair cut, couple those necessary tasks with frantically trying to paint a house - heck start painting a house - and only 7 days left until Christmas...
I am seriously running out of time!
Aaack!!!

(Panic attack ensues)
1 minute passes.
I'm okay now.

It's been cold for almost a week so we're experiencing a bit of cabin fever and the caged-animal pacing is beginning. Since it is not quite as skin biting today, (a balmy -10 which is promised to be short-lived) I had the bright idea to subject Sierra to her first, and assuredly not last, experience of a snowsuit and snow. We needed something to do and I often had fun playing in the snow as a kid myself and thought she might too. We dressed up in eskimo clothes and tramped out into the drifts. At first I took Sierra to the back yard and plopped her in a waist high drift.
Dumb idea.
There was much objection.
Then I had her make a snow angel.
Worse idea.
More objection.
We moved to the front yard because the drifts aren't as bad there. Sierra thought this was okay and ran around tolerantly, although she did ask to go in every few minutes. I decided to shovel half the driveway while we were out in order to feel somewhat productive.
It was rather disheartening to see that by the time I was done the wind had already deposited a thin layer back onto the driveway. Not that productive after all.
I told God I didn't like his sense of humour.

The too big snow suit (her hands aren't even in the mitts).

A picture of:
snot running profusely, eyes tearing, a face assaulted by cold wind and snow, while being encased in a puffy, movement restricting suit
- sounds fun eh?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Making Up

Sierra has this incessant need to be everywhere I am at all times, and I mean everywhere. There's no privacy with her let me tell you! Her being always underfoot and hanging on to my pants makes certain activities rather challenging. Cooking, cleaning, doing my hair and putting on make up etc. all require new skills and innovative methods of appeasing Sierra while I attempt to accomplish such tasks. Simply playing with my makeup brushes and emptying the tampon drawer quickly got boring for Sierra so I came up with the idea of having her sit on the counter while I put on my make up. At first watching was sufficient but being the girl and ape that she is that didn't last long. She wanted to put on make up too. I gave her an old brush and let her at my old makeup and she had a ball!

Apparently her mouth is where makeup belongs! Her makeup looks more like a post-chocolate- ice-cream-face. You may notice that she has a lipstick tube in her hand. She loves to take the lid on and off but has yet to figure out how to turn the lipstick tube which makes it a harmless toy so far. I know I'll have to be careful because lipstick messes are nasty!


This is her face when I tell her to smile for the camera.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

-27

That's the current temperature outside and it's the middle of the afternoon. Yes, we've finally been hit with winter. No, it couldn't gradually arrive with slowly cooling air and a bit of snow here and there. It slammed into us with a vengeance on Friday at about four o'clock complete with wind, 25cm of snow and cold. It has stopped snowing and the sun is out but 'warm' would be the least likely word used to describe the state of the outdoors.
I really don't mind incredibly much. I'm in a warm house with warm clothes and warm drinks - it's cozy and I love cozy. I don't have to be anywhere either which helps. It also makes things feel more Christmas-y.

In other news:
We were all set to start painting our house yesterday. Finally, the finishing could begin, so we started sweeping up the incredibly messy drywall dust and chunks to prep the place.
But -
of course there's a 'but' -
but, we noticed that the walls weren't completely sanded yet when we were told they would be!
And -
yes there's an 'and' too -
they did a really poor job on the majority of the ceiling and it will have to be redone!

%$^#&(&*#*&!!!!!!

I'm not really that upset.
At least they are fixing the ceiling rather than being stuck with a bad job.
Definitely a little upset though. I am so ready to be in my own house! We're so close and yet so far.
My new projected date is the end of February/early March. My husband says the end of January.
We'll find out who's right, in this case I"ll be thrilled if it's Trevor!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Review

Nearly two weeks ago on a balmy ( relatively speaking of course, it was just below zero as opposed to frigid -20 degrees Celsius which is not out of the ordinary for us at this time of year) Friday evening, our town held this really neat event - a Christmas light parade. We decided to bundle up and partake in the festivities.
Main street was blocked off.
Fire pits surrounded by hay bales were placed along the street as warm-up spots.
All the businesses stayed open and many handed out free cups of hot chocolate.
The parade lasted about half and hour and there were participants from all over the southern part of Alberta. Having never been to this event we were impressed and had a really fun time.

Sierra loves being out and thrived on the activity around her.




Post parade we made hot chocolate of our own and baked and iced sugar cookies while a fire crackled merrily.

Two days later my Uncle Walter had a sudden, massive heart attack and passed away. Thus followed one of the longest, craziest weeks I believe I've ever had.
Thoughts about the week:
The way our families came together in support was wonderful.
The strength and power of the Lord was very apparent and amazing.
I cannot imagine loosing a loved one without the assurance of eternal life and seeing them again in heaven.
Going to sleep at 1 A.M. or later and waking up before 8 A.M. several days in a row is not good.
I learned that I could sit at the kitchen table at 9:30 A.M and eat constantly until 1:30 P.M. without thinking about it.
Coffee is good. I drank gallons and I'm sure my stomach is rotting as a result.
Wine is also good - in moderation of course! (I already knew this though)

Post funeral week weekend Trevor and I participated in five, hour and a half long Christmas performances in our church. Tired or exhausted is not adequate to describe how I felt when it was all over. As we drove home from our church Sunday night in a snow storm we asked ourselves if it was really only a week since that phone call pierced our lives.

Monday I did absolutely nothing.

Yesterday I felt a hundred times better and was ready to resume regular activities.

As for our house - I've decided that we're not moving in until March. Early January can only happen by a miracle and early February - maybe if we work our tails off and have no life. So March it is. The only foreseeable way to bump that date up is to hire out much of it, which we might yet depending on cost.
We're planning on doing the finishing stuff ourselves and that always seems to take longer than one thinks. I refuse to stress about the schedule and get mad when we don't meet it. Inevitably there are factors that slow this or that down. For example: yesterday there was a planned power outage for the area so the ceiling could not be sprayed, and the original fireplace we chose doesn't work so we have to reselect. I want the house done as soon as possible, sure, but I'm not willing to have no life or live it in an eternally exhausted, frantic state. Maybe I'm over estimating how long it will take but my mind will find it easier this way.
There you have it, my last two weeks as brief and informative as I can be.

Oh, one other thing. I have not bought one Christmas gift yet and don't have a clue when I will!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Choosing 2

(I'm distracting my mind from the reason of my previous post and thinking about what makes me happy - my house)

Trevor and I absolutely need to make a decision about the counter-top. We were not able to agree on any of the previous options one hundred percent. The darker one came the closest but it only comes in a high gloss finish which is not recommended because apparently every little scratch shows on that type of finish. So we went back into the only cabinet store in the city that has a sample of our cabinet choice and sorted through more samples. The actually had larger versions which was most helpful.

And the two finalists are:

drum roll please...

Please note: the scan does make them a little darker and duller than in reality.

Ironically enough the left option is pretty much exactly the same as we had in our previous house and we know we like it. That is Trevor's first choice and likely what we'll go with in the kitchen. I kind of like the lighter one for something different, maybe in the bathrooms.
What do you think?




Sunday, November 30, 2008

Numb

Today, around 11:30am just after saying the congregational prayer in church, my Uncle Walter had a sudden and massive heart attack with no apparent warning. He was sitting with his wife, two adult daughters, and a son-in-law when he simply made a snore noise and slumped over. Walter was immediately surrounded by doctors and nurses who were members of the congregation who performed CPR. Then he was quickly rushed to hospital in an ambulance. En route they were able to briefly restart his heart. It didn't last and at the ER the doctor tried a pace maker as a last hope but to no avail.

God had called Uncle Walter home.

He just turned 66 years old and leaves a wife, two married daughters, one ten y ear old grand-daughter, many other family members, friends, and a legacy. He lived life with incredible enthusiasm and he lived it for God.

I am completely in shock and numb.
In one isntant his time on Earth is over. There was absolutely nothing else that anyone could have done.
It was his time.
I take solace in the fact that he is in heaven with his Saviour and that one day I"ll see him again.
For now I grieve.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

The other day while at work I had a serious craving for chocolate. (no I'm not pregnant - just being a typical woman) I debated with myself on whether to indulge in this craving or not. The debate didn't last long and I succumbed. It was meant to be I tell you, because when I got to the drug store chocolate bars were on a special 3 for @2. Of course I had to buy three. Remarkably I only ate one - that day, I polished off the other two over the next days!
I've been trying so hard to be healthy lately but the last week has been a battle, and I'm not winning. Food is just too good and sometimes resisting junk food is more than I can handle.

Here's something that's been on my mind lately:
As Christmas is quickly approaching so does the bombardment of all the activities and events associated with it: parties, banquets, decorating, church programs, and gift buying are beginning to occupy my thoughts. I enjoy all aspects of the season but they do make life busy and if I'm not careful - stressful.
Gift giving is often my top stress stimulator as I attempt to find time to seek out the perfect items for my friends and family. As a Christian I believe that the focus of Christmas is celebrating our Saviour's birth. While that is true for us, exchanging gifts has also become very special and important with my family. It's not that we're materialistic, it's just that there is something neat about the process of gift giving and receiving that supersedes the worldly end of it. We enjoy buying for each other, congregating together as a family and with friends, and seeing the excitement as each gift is opened. My parents have always done a great job of giving us awesome gifts without extravagant expense. We consistently provide each other with lists of what we want and generally stick to those lists so as to make shopping easier and not end up with unwanted/unneeded items. We never spend a lot of money since there hasn't been much to spend and when there was/is perhaps a little extra my parents set an example of chosing to save it for things like holidays.

A struggle for me is that Trevor was raised differently in that gifts and somewhat Christmas itself were really "no big deal". His family did exchange gifts but did them all on Christmas Eve so Christmas day was often boring for him. (He's told me of stories such as he and a friend driving around in a rental car and using it to push a dumpster off of a loading dock behind a mall.) Not that his family didn't value Christmas or think it special - I've celebrated some very nice Christmases with them, it was just very low-key. Since meeting me Trevor has took a hold of our enthusiasm and joined in with our boisturous Christmas antics; my family is a little crazy and craziness can be infectious. Comparitively, I find his family still very...oh I don't know what word to use, not uninterested but there's not as much zeal as I'm used to. Last year his entire family travelled to his parents (his sister from New York included) and when discussing gifts beforehand his sister suggested just making donations instead. I don't have a problem with that except that it came across as "can't be bothered to do anything else." Recently I also saw a facebook comment of how she hated shopping in relation to Christmas gifts. Trevor's brother only gave us our 2007 gift this past July! This year his parents have flat out told us they don't want anything. When they send gifts they are very conscious of mailing costs and keep the gifts small and minimal and send mostly money. Money is great, don't get me wrong, but at times it feels somewhat like a cop out. Trevor's mom once told me that she doesn't like lists because she prefers the surprise element. To me that just increases the stress level and risks of useless, unappreciated gifts. Although Trevor doesn't say much I sense that he's a little disappointed with the situation.

For me when I shop for gifts I'm thinking about the people I'm buying for. These are people I love and for me the process is about remembering them and who they are and wanting to give them something nice as an expression of that. By telling me not to buy them something I feel robbed of that experience. That's probably why it bothers me when his family doesn't want to do gifts because it's so personal for me and I think it should be for everyone. I have a dear friend who faithfully sends me a box every Christmas. She fills it with all sorts of neat items like candles, ornaments, lip gloss, funky socks, and pens. No item costs much but I know she has taken the time to find these items and I believe she enjoys doing so. That makes me feel special. I try to respect Trevor's family in this for who they are and I love and appreciate them. Yet I still have a really hard time with the gift issue and don't know what to do about it.

Another perspective: Our church is promoting something called Advent Conspiracy. Please check out this link and watch the video. It really affected me how obsessed with 'things' we've become her in North America when people in other areas of the world are dying due to a simple lack of clean water. I like how it doesn't say not to buy gifts but buy less and donate more.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Choosing and Other News

Okay, we are in need of making another fairly major choice regarding our house and it is not going well!!
Arborite for our kitchen and bathroom counters is the decision at hand.
We are shown these tiny one by two inch square samples and then pick what we think we like. Then we are supposed to determine if the pattern and colour will coordinate with the cabinets and other projected colour schemes. Piece of cake - right?
Snort. Gafaw. Pfffft.
Impossible!
One company actually had larger samples of many of their options which was helpful. The look completely changed when we were able to see more of it and that in turn definitely gave us a better idea of the actual appearance. Problem: we cannot take the larger samples of arborite or the cabinet sample home to mull over and look at in different lighting. So we take the minuscule ones and then end up totally second guessing what we might like because it is extremely difficult to imagine the end result, especially without a cabinet to try and match to.
Understand my frustration?
Anyway, here are what we are currently deciding between. Imagine them paired with a maple cabinet stained in english oak colour. (this link is a close to an example as I can find)




Opinions are more than welcome but I imagine you will have about as much success as imagine the over look as I have.

In other news:
1. Trevor and Carla went on a date Friday night - without Sierra or the parents. Gasp!
Were they actually able to be alone together but not in front of the TV?
YES! ..and it was really nice.
"We went to a WHL hockey game in our city where we enjoyed massive bowls of icecream while being entertained by 16-20yr olds chasing a black hunk of rubber around a sheet of ice."
2. Trevor and Carla, her parents, and sister and brother-in-law went to see the play "Much Ado About Nothing" put on at the local university - sans Sierra again! (for those of you who don't know a lick o' French "sans" means "without".) Double gasp!
"We went for appetizers and drinks at a local pub before being amused by a wonderful display of Shakespearean acting."

Two nights out in a row while enjoying a leisure activity without our child! Crazy. It'll be months before this happens again I'm sure. I love my girl more than anything but it was sure nice to do "adult" activities.
Until next time....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We Have...

... a mostly complete exterior and a dry-walled interior! The missing trim pieces will be put in soon but the rock we won't be able to do until spring. (sorry for the dim lighting, it was nearly sunset when the pictures were taken)


Here are some interior pictures:
This is our front entrance with a closet on the right and the door into the garage on the left. In front of the closet you can just see the opening to the hallway to the bedrooms. Across from the hallway to the left are the stairs to the basement. The front door will be stained a different colour.

This is the view from the front entrance: left is the living room area and right is the dining area...


Looking from the dining area into the kitchen.


The bedrooms are just square rooms with windows and kinda boring in a picture so there are none. This is our future rec room in the basement. Two bedrooms and a bathroom are along the back wall on the left. Directly across from the door and far windows are the laundry, utility, and storage rooms and there will be a bar eventually too.


It actually looks like a house! The next tour I give you will be when the interior is finished in - if all goes well - less than two months.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Superstore Saga

This morning as Sierra was running around Superstore gleefully pulling items off of their racks and I was attempting to shop I had to take a deep breath and thank God for my healthy, energetic, strong-willed daughter.
All I wanted was fifteen, maybe twenty minutes to look for shoes for her and maybe a bargain outfit.
"Now why would that happen?" I ask myself.
Then again, "Why shouldn't that happen?"
Just because most of my shopping attempts lately that are with Sierra and not grocery related end up being futile why would this one?
Today was the day she decided to figure out she could slide down out of her stroller (no, I didn't strap her in because it was never a problem) and once she's out it's impossible to put her back in without scream-fest occurring. Yeah, like that's a pleasant option in the middle of a store. There I am chasing a giggling one year old in between quickly browsing through racks of clothes. Not fun. It is especially aggravating when it seems like every other mom's kids are sitting calmly in their strollers or shopping carts or standing by them.

Honestly, I felt a bit inadequate as a mother. I felt like one of those mom's that I used to scowl at disdainfully (yes, I shamefully admit I did this in my naivety of a non-mother) who's kids were banshees terrorizing a public place. I felt like everyone was giving me a " look". Serves me right for ever scowling now doesn't it? At least I didn't ignore Sierra and leave the childrens' area looking like a tornado had blown through; I picked everything up. I also managed, somehow to my utter amazement, to find Sierra a pair of $2 mittens, an $8 shirt, and myself a pair of much needed PJ's no (see below, I'm actually wearing them right now - it was only to see if they fit and they are com-fy! I might leave them on.) on sale but it's Superstore so not near expensive either.



I am very grateful for the child I have and wouldn't trade her personality or gumption for life for anything but some days a teeny, tiny, bit of mellow would be welcome.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Choosing

Trevor and I have been in major decision making mode lately regarding our house. Here's what we've come up with:

A few weeks ago Trevor and I purchased this bedding set:

(this is a picture of the picture from the set)

Our bedroom furniture is a medium oak and I already have matching dark brown accessories so it'll work perfectly. We've decided on a light creamy coloured paint for our bedroom walls in order to get a fresh airy feel for the room. The carpet will be a medium shag in a darkish brown with gold fleck.

Sierra's room is going to be a really soft, pretty, subtle pink and green to match this quilt:




How we're doing it we're not sure. Maybe half and half with a chair rail on the wall. Maybe green as the main colour with the pink accenting it somehow. I don't know yet. The carpet in this room will be a medium tan shag. It's not too dark in order to maintain a feminine look but not too light so that every juice stain will show either.

The second bedroom will have the same carpet as Sierra's room and for now will be the office. The walls will be a darker brownie-green colour.

Our great room (living room/dining room/kitchen) is going to have the back wall painted a gorgeous shade of red - not scream in your face red, just a nice warm, pop of colour. The rest of the walls will be a standard beige. The flooring here is going to be oak hardwood, again medium in shade with a really warm, cozy feel - so we hope.

The baseboards are going to be 6 inches high and just a plain straight board; no design. They will be painted slightly off-white.

The kitchen cabinets are going to be a shaker style maple stained English Oak. It's not dark or light, in between and difficult to describe. We're doing a neat tile-look linoleum in browns in this area.

After flipping through countless fliers and reading and researching and glowering at our budget we finally decided on and purchased some kitchen appliances. We found a GE brand side-by-side refrigerator with a water and ice dispenser and some other fancy features for an awesome price. I originally did not want a side-by-side because the freezers are generally very small and useless but this one is very large. Besides what I really wanted was way out of our price range. This fit the budget and gave us mostly what we were looking for. We chose a Bosch dishwasher because that is what my mom has and she thinks it is the best thing around. Having lived with her and using it - I agree. The range is a Kenmore ceramic flat top, convection, and self clean. The microwave hood-fan is very basic and inexpensive and is a GE. Oh, and we went with black for all of them.

Now for counter top. Another enormous headache! Yeesh. To try and pick an appropriate colour and pattern from the world's tiniest chip is next to impossible. Then when you find one you like the sales person says that it actually looks kind of peach-pink in large format. Needless to say we're still on that journey.

It feels good to have these above mentioned items and colours decided on. Drywall is beginning as we speak and my excitement mounts daily.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veggie Tales

On my never ending quest to live a healthy lifestyle I recently decided to consciously eat a minimum of five servings of vegetables a day. Why? Every diet or eating plan that I've read or heard about can't stress the importance of eating veggies enough. But, like many of us, I've read and heard things until my ears hurt and my eyes were ready to fall out and I still didn't do anything about it. My turning point in motivation came from Sierra. She said, "Mom, you need to eat more vegetables!" No, not really but I've been lamenting the fact that it is a huge challenge to get Sierra to eat vegetables; she mainly survives on carbs. Lately I've noticed that if she sees me munching on a carrot or a sugar snap-pea than she'll too, gnaw on some. I need to lead by example.
  • How hard could it be if I actually tried? As long as options were in the fridge it shouldn't be that hard. I figured I did pretty good already. Here's reality: 1 serving equals 1 cup of raw vegetables or 1/2 cup if cooked. It didn't seem like that much until I took out a measuring cup. Using that scale meant that I averaged 1-2 servings per day.
  • Only 1 or 2!!!
  • Yikes!
  • Really??
  • No way!
  • How can that be?
We eat pretty healthy and always have veggies.
  • Yup, it was true. I needed to seriously boost the rabbit food intake if I wanted to meet the standard recommendations.
Problem: (in a whisper) I don't actually like vegetables all that much. Please don't tell anyone, especially Sierra and Trevor (who I'm also trying to get to eat more veggies)
  • With the serving size reality in check I thought, "is it even possible to consume that many vegetables on a daily basis?" You know what?
It is!
  • You know what else?
I really do feel better and have more energy and it's only been a week and a half.
  • I think I also might actually be developing a bit of taste for the stuff.
Don't tell anyone that either.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Poltics

No, this is not about Barack Obama or the US election that just occurred.
  • Obama, Obama, Obama - ugh, that is all I hear or see anytime I open a newspaper or turn on the TV...and I live in Canada!!!! That's a totally different country. Nothing against Obama or the US but really, I don't care much about politics at the best of times in my own country and now I'm being inundated with another country's election mania. Yes, I know it affects us greatly too, blah, blah blah.
  • I would not normally be this emphatically anti-politics if we hadn't just endured another election of our own. Canada doesn't have nearly the campaign show that the US does, for starters we have 300 different parties rather than 2 - okay 7ish (if you live in Canada the ish makes sense but it's too hard to explain), and with more parties and less population there isn't near the funding for such galas to sucker in votes. Nevertheless, our campaigns still dominate TV and newspapers, and "Vote For..." signs are tacked everywhere like a bad disease of the land for it's duration and it all drives me crazy!
  • Politicians are all a bunch of liars and lately are be doing this every two years because apparently we have a divided country.
  • On a more serious note: I am thankful for a free country and democracy and wouldn't trade it for any alternative. I make it my business to know enough to make an educated vote no matter how irritating it all is to me.
  • I wasn't going to talk about country politics. Sorry.
  • Now that I've been at my new place of employment for six months all the internalpolitics are showing their ugly faces. No work place is perfect and all have their politics; I'm not naive in having thought this would be the prefect place where everyone is one big happy family but it's always a bit of a blow when reality truly hits. Maybe it's that I don't particularly wish to be at work in the first place; I'd rather be home with Sierra. Maybe it's the circumstances that have put me at work that are to blame.
  • I certainly do not regret changing places of employment as there are enough aspects that I enjoy. But I miss the atmosphere of the place I used to work. My memories of my previous work place are of a more positive and fun environment than I have now. Granted it's been a year and a half since I worked there and bad memories often fade (like child birth thank goodness!) and today was a rather "off" day. But it must be a good sign for a place and it's people if its lasting impressions are mainly positive.
  • Sigh.
  • Yes, I'm greatful for my job, that I have one and all that. It's not ideal nor is the situation but then again life never is!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Little of This...

Enjoying our unusually gorgeous fall weather last week.




Halloween. Isn't this a wonderful make-do-with-what-I-have costume? (please read that last comment with sarcasm) I wasn't going to spend money on something she really has no clue about so that is why the "elaborate" outfit.
Sierra enjoyed handing candy out and eating Smarties for the first time.

Posing for the camera; man my kid has like a hundred teeth!

Her Vancouver Canucks' hockey mittens - I thought she would pull them right off but instead wore them around the house thinking they were quite neat.

I've had an excellent but busy Monday and this is all I have time for. Have a good week!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Headers

I have officially decided that I am extremely glad that I do not remember being 1. The new found skill of being able to walk may be fun and freeing in itself for a 1 year old but it also appears to be equally painful and frustrating. Although Sierra is quite an accomplished walker/runner (as much as a 1 year old can run) by now it's incredible how many things get in the way of journeying successfully to her destinations.
  • For example: After a lovely fall walk this morning I had parked the stroller in the garage and she was slowly, indirectly of course, making her way to the door in the house. It truly amazes how unique a route a child can take to get somewhere. At one point she was standing on a rug by a side door that leads outside when she turned and started running towards me. Well, wouldn't you know it, a corner of that crazy rug decided to jump up and grab her foot. Her forehead didn't have a chance and connected with the concrete with a solid, awful, "thud."
I dropped the items in my arms, ran to her and gathered her up as her mouth opened,. The first cry came out, trailed to silence with her mouth staying open soundlessly for a very long time before gasping air back in and continuing with loud sad cries.
You can gauge the severity of the injury on the length of silence of the first cry. This was a bad one! After some hugs and "awwwe poor baby's" from mommy the crisis was over and we resumed our day. Sierra seemed to have forgotten it almost as quickly as the injury occurred, too bad I haven't!
  • These things seem to happen regularly and for awhile there her head was constantly a rainbow of blues, yellows, and greens from bruises. Not only does she fall but furniture is at just the right height for running into or standing up under or other head maiming scenarios.
  • Sigh.

Such is the life of a 1 year old and the parents caring for her!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hutched


Within days of us moving in with my parents my mom and I went for a walk. On our walk we passed a garage sale and of course we couldn't help but crane our necks this way and that as we walked by and inspect the merchandise. Our necks took over and we followed them this great find:



This is a solid mahogany wood buffet and hutch purchased by me for only $40. The original reason we bought it was to use it as additional storage in our basement lair. That never really happened for some reason but the more I've looked at the more I like it and want to fit it in with our decorating scheme in our new house.
The colour won't match any of the wood going into our house and it's a tad beaten up so I'd like to refinish it. What do I do?
Do I strip it and stain it with a shade that matches the decor and keep the wood look? Do I paint it white and do something to it like distressing it? Any thoughts?


Saturday, October 25, 2008

House

In February 2001 Trevor and I signed the papers to build our first house. We were super elated. We had become extremely weary of living in cold, dark basement suites with noisy upstairs neighbours. This was going to be ours!
The decision process was very easy; we knew where we wanted to live and how much money we had which gave us two options for builders. There was one house with each that fit out budget so we picked a favourite and that was that. It was a 900 square foot split level with two bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen/dining room and living room, no garage. To us it was practically a castle. The builder had allowances for each particular part of the house and since we couldn't afford any extras the selections were minimal and easy. We chose the cabinetry out of three finishes, flooring and paint offered a few more options , and lighting - the only thing we upgraded slightly on. I think the decisions for everything were made with only a few hours of our time. The rest was standard stuff with our package.Trevor and I were rather naive throughout the whole affair but we ended up with a house we absolutely loved. I bawled for weeks after we moved out of it.

  • This past summer we embarked on another house building venture but this experience has almost no similarities to the first one.We are contracting the building ourselves and the decisions we've had to make seem endless! Since we are just over two months from our estimated completion date a mountain of selections have needed and still need to be made. It's fun but the pressure of getting it done is weighing on me because we have so little time! Siding colour, trim colour, roof colour, window sizes and types, door styles, door knobs faucets, bathtubs, sinks, toilets, lights, where to put lights, switches, phone jacks, cable outlets and I could go on. Each item seems to have a million and one variations! To make matters worse our custom cabinet maker friend had to back out on us last weekend due to his wife needing a surgury (she also has MS). He found us someone else do the job but it means we're back to square one with explaining the design and what we all want etceterra. In terms of our timeline we should still be okay but the cost will increase.

Here's where we're at:
  • The exterior is 80% completed. The front siding is not up because the supplier ran out of a major part of the siding in our selected colour and had to be order more. That's why I dont' have any pictures yet because the best part - the front - isn't done!
  • The interior "guts" have been in progress for the past few weeks. By "guts" I mean plumbing, heating and electrical - not much to show for these componants so not worth more pictures. We're being held up by our heating guy currently who keeps coming up with lame excuses as to why he hasn't come yet. That's what sometimes happens when you use a friend of a friend that used to be a friend! The "guts" should be completed this week.
  • Drywall should be commencing in a week or so and then visible progress will be available shortly thereafter.
  • This week our front steps/landing and driveway are being formed and hopefully poured with concrete - weather permitting.
  • We need to decide our cabinet colour, counter top, and backsplash in the kitchen and bathrooms within the next two weeks. Following that we must choose flooring and paint colours because by mid to late November we should be ready to paint. Trevor and I are doing all the painting ourselves. GULP!! It's all good, we actually don't mind painting. Just keep me away from corners and edges, rolling the big blank walls is much safer for me. (I'm a messy painter!)
We are having a great time with this process and get increasingly more excited to live in this house!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pain in the Neck, Yaya, and Jackets.


I'm supposed to be at work right now. But obviously I'm not at work since I'm typing a post. Okay maybe not obviously because I could be secretly typing on a computer when I shouldn't be. No, I'm at home. I successfully strained (is it still considered successful when one hurts oneself?) my upper back something fierce yesterday morning and am having serious challenges with my upper body mobility. How did I accomplish getting myself into this debilitating condition? That is in excellent question to which I don't have a satisfying answer to. I had just finished getting dressed, I bent over slightly for some reason and in a manner I'll never know and wish I did because perhaps I could have avoided my current predicament, and with that minor movement wham! my upper back seized up and I was wracked with pain. That's it, sorry. No grand heroic story of leaping out in front of raging traffic to save an innocent toddler or animal and rolling on the pavement with the almost victim safe in my arms and I in the throes of agony as a result.
I bent over.
Ping!
Done.
I somehow managed to accomplish grocery shopping that morning then spent the afternoon writhing on the couch in pain and unable to get into any type of comfortable position. I went to my chiropractor at my husbands insistence and it took him a half an hour to realign my upper back. Normally it takes him ten minutes for all of me. Although I noticed an improvement my muscles were still screaming at me and did so all evening and every time I moved during the night. Today the screaming has stopped but there is a lot of whining. I'm hoping by tomorrow there'll just be a small whimper here and there. I'm in a remarkably good mood all things considered.





  • On to some tid-bits of Sierra. This is how I often find Sierra in the morning or after her nap (as in the picture). There is a small shelf with her books by her crib and she has learned how to get them and plays by herself for unknown lengths of time.
  • She has figured out a reliable method of going down stairs in the last month. Why is down always so much harder than up? Up was a breeze, one day I was preoccupied with something in our basement hovel here and looked over to see my daughter fearlessly 3/4 of the way up the stairs! But talk about down...woowee, no siree! (Sorry, my second cup of coffee is almost gone, hmmm, maybe that's why I'm in such a decent mood) It actually started with my mom showing her how on the stairs of the deck, there are only three and they are quite wide. Slowly she navigated those and then graduated to the house stairs. Sierra sits down on the edge of the stair with her legs dangling over. Then she wiggles her legs which scoots her bum forward until she slides down onto the next step. Most kids go down backwards I hear, Sierra is not most kids. She's better! She's a genius! Doesn't every parent think that? Well, they should if they don't. As long as it doesn't get to the child's head and they get a high and mighty attitude of being better than everyone else. That can just lead to problems, just ask my husband, the teacher. Anyway, now I'm babbling.
  • Sierra has also decided that crawling is intriguing. She never crawled; she scooted on her bumb and then walked but crawling would've been too easy! She's been around more little kids of late, many of whom crawl, so now she's decided to try it. She only goes a little ways before standing up and continuing on foot. It's almost as if she's thinking, "Okay, not bad, but crawling is for babies - it takes too long!"
  • Sierra actually has a vocabulary and although it's an odd one we're having fun communicating with her. For example: "Yaya" is ice cream, apples, and bananas. I wonder why ice cream is "yaya" since it has no resemblance to the word, apples and bananas I can understand due to the "a" sounds but ice cream? (Carla shakes her head) Maybe my kid is not such a genius afterall. "Baba" is bottle, and grandpa (with a slightly different inflection only understandable to us!) "DUH" is "bang", developed when flies were trying to take over the house and we had wars with a fly swatter which made "bang" sounds. "Payyy" or "papa" is please. I taught her that in attempt to squelch the whiny demanding "uhhh" whenever she wanted something. Somedays I actually wish she had more words because there are many, many instances where Sierra definitely wants something and can't tell me what and gets frustrated when I don't understand. It is truely amazing how much she understands versus what she can say. I tell her to take her soother out of her mouth, and she does. I tell her we're going downstairs and she goes. I tell her to go to her chair at meal times and she goes, grabs her bib, and pushes up her sleeves. Okay, she really is a genius, even if ice cream is "yaya".
One more thing, we recently bought Sierra this little jacket at a second hand store.


It is lined and has a windproof outer part. We have stupid amounts of strong winds around here in winter so the jacket seemed like a good idea. Sierra hates the jacket. She cries and fights every time we put it on her. So my mom bought her this jacket at Old Navy last weekend and now the fight is over. I'll admit, it is wayyy cuter and more stylish. Sierra brought me the new jacket yesterday for her to wear and wore it inside for awhile!


Now this jacket is still out for debate. I bought it last year on clearance for this winter. It is warmer than the above two and is for the really cold temperatures we're sure to get. Sierra's worn it for a couple of walks recently and she complains when I put it on her but nearly like with the first jacket. I think it's because this one is so bulky and she can't move so well in it.

Why all this fussing over freaking jackets??? She is far to little to have such an opinion over clothes - isn't she?
  • I could go on about my wonder-child but I know that these intellectual advances are generally only seen as remarkable to the parent of the child so I'll stop now. Thanks for reading my long post, I actually forgot about my upper back/neck pain for awhile!
  • (I somehow cannot get my posts to post as I type them! With paragraphs and stuff the only way I can get them is with bullets. Any advice?)








Wednesday, October 15, 2008

T'is The Season...

For:
  1. ....twelve tall, hulking men.
  2. .....dressed in long baggy shirts, padded knee length shorts, socks that come over their knees and under the shorts so no skin shows, and boots with blades on the bottom. Two of the twelve men also have thick pads strapped to their legs. Those two guard netted cages.
  3. ....heads encased in hard plastic hats. Bulky gloves cover their hands that hold sticks in the shape of a modified "L".
  4. .....these men sliding around a sheet of ice, rimmed with a solid, wood half wall topped with a large slab of clear Plexiglas, using the blades of their boots. They can look quite graceful until one realizes that they are chasing of a frozen piece of black rubber; black rubber shaped into a thick disc.
  5. ...watching these ten huge men chase this defenseless little object with intense ferociousness, batting it around with their funny sticks. They aim to get it into the cages past the ones guarding them.
  6. ....the men to ram each other into the boards in attempt to get the little black disc.
  7. .....these men to get mad at each other, poke at each other and, then like little boys, fight over it. Punishment of sitting in a little box for 2 minutes or more usually follows such antics.
  8. ....enthusiastic fans watching this debacle. They yell and scream and think they know more about this game than those playing it.
  9. ....at home fans religiously recording televised games. Fans also are involved in numerous contests relating to this sport and informing everyone around them of various statistics.
  10. ....HOCKEY!!!
  11. Yes, this is a major component of my life. It is by default thanks to a hockey crazed country and a nearly obsessed husband. This will last until May or June. I actually quite enjoy hockey for the most part most of the time. At least it's not football! (Sorry football fans, it is just not a sport I can get into!)
http://visual.merriam-webster.com/images/sports-games/winter-sports/ice-hockey/ice-hockey-player_3.jpg
http://visual.merriam-webster.com/images/sports-games/winter-sports/ice-hockey/ice-hockey-player_1.jpg

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tralalalalaaaa!

A few months back I wrote a post about music and my life and where it seemed to be. I had a lot of questions but the main one was "Am I meant to still be involved in music or is God calling me to other areas? At the time my fists were still gripped quite tightly to music and weren't really ready to let go. I prayed and talked through it and a few weeks later that grip loosened. Eventually my palms opened up completely and I was honestly able to say to God,
"Here, use me as you see fit."
My arrival at that mindset came from a meeting I had with our music pastor. I felt that I had to speak about his with, being the music guy, before making any definite decisions. We were able to have a comfortable conversation about what music means to me and my current struggles. I also asked where he was going with the various musical aspects in our church. I knew he was a genuinely nice guy and that none of my struggle was his fault but I believe I had this need to blame someone (or something). Our music pastor happened to be the unlucky recipient of that although I'm fairly certain he was never aware. I am relieved to say that any hard feelings towards him that I once harboured disappeared with our talk.
I left that meeting feeling as if I was good at what I contributed musically but that I didn't need it anymore. Music didn't have to define me. Of course I would be thrilled to continue but if that was not meant to be than something else would be there to bring just as much joy.
Two weeks ago I got an email from my worship pastor. He asked me to be on a regular Sunday morning worship team! Yayyy! Excitement followed. Then the awesome responability of it also set in. I am one of nine singers that get this honour out of about thirty volunteers. All I can say to this is that it is obviously God and this is definitely what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm sure that list of volunteers included better vocalists than I am and yet I get to sing on a team. Wow.
There was a meeting yesterday morning with those of use involved on worship team, singers and musicians and sound techs, and the enormity of this role was made quite clear. We are seen up front and center on a regular basis; we are a very visible representation of the church. Music is a major thing in churchs and we are it. At the same time we are not to be the focus, God is. People will know who we are and we were encouraged to remain spiritually solid so that Sunday morning worship will be about God.
I am far from perfect but after last week I am in a very strong spiritual place right now. I pray that I can continue in this direction. Vocally, I have already sought out taking voice lessons in order to add some strength and confidance and quality to my singing. God is entrusting me with this I need to do the best I can.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Perspective

As you know, I've struggled mightily with Trevor getting a job and with our financial stability (or lack there-of) I've taken it upon myself to worry and plan and attempt to control the situation. I didn't do this everyday but here and there the panic would creep in and I'd begin to fret again. This past weekend I felt God urging me to fast and pray on Monday in order to gain some perspective and peace on this issue. I did just that and here are some of the thoughts that came to mind:
What is there that I can control?
Can I create jobs?
No.
Can I make Trevor's resume jump out at those reading it?
No.
Can I instill an infectious aura into Trevor that forces someone to feel that they need to hire him?
No.
Can I make other teachers sick or formulate meetings so subs are needed?
No.
Can put Trevor on top of the list so he's called first when subs are needed?
No.
So....why try to? Why concern myself with all that - and more?

Than I thought back on my life and realized a few more things, again. (I've had to go through this before) Has God ever not followed through for us?
No.
Are we starving?
Not.
Are we dressed shabbily?
No.
Has our housing ever been inadequate?
No.
Have we ever had a $0 bank account?
No.
Do we still have more than enough?
YES!!
I could go on. The fact is, we are extremely fortunate. This crazy society puts forth a belief that we always need more. Like the fancy new fridges and stoves that are out (see previous post). Fashion TV shows that imply $300 jeans will make my bum look better than the $40 ones. Cars that drive faster and look flashier are said to somehow better my life. Exotic trips to get away from life and relax. These, and of course the endless list of other 'things', might give me temporary pleasure but they get old and inferior as newer and better things are continually invented or designed, so we constantly want more. It's a vicious never ending cycle that can suck us deep into it's core if we let it, which is extremely easy to do.

I'm not saying that I should drive an old clunker car and live in a ramshackle apartment or dress in frumpy clothes. I'm saying that I needed to sit back and look at my entire life in it's whole. I hate wanting more all the time, I find all these wants insatiable. I desire(d) peace and contentment and to live with the faith and trust that everything will be okay; God will take care of me. I know all this but my heart needs to connect with the logic in my head again.

On Monday and since, a few cool things occurred.
A. I read Scripture in the Bible that strongly encourage faith. Hebrews 11 provides numerous Old Testament examples of people who trusted God and did so without the promise of heaven. I have that promise and yet minuscule faith in comparison. Reading it renewed and increased my believe that everything will turn out.
B. Trevor came home having secured several more subbing jobs for the week where he initially only had one. This is after he had phoned in the middle of the day saying that his low-paying-in-between job probably wouldn't have much work for him this week.
C. My mind worked through Trevor and work:
1. The right position hasn't come along yet.
2. Someone else may have needed a job more than him.
3. A student perhaps needed a different person to be their teacher.
4. A student or teacher may need him to be their sub at a certain time.
5. Maybe I or Sierra need him to only sub for now for unknown reasons.
There's also sorts of outlooks on this but overall I saw that it's not all about me/us; a whole world exists out there.
D. A job was posted yesterday for grade 8 science, and computers in the school in our town.
E. Peace has come, for now. It's so freeing. Unfortunately and sadly, it's so easy to get wrapped up in materialism and such an 'Earthly' life and I will likely succumb again. That's not meant pessimistically, but realistically. Maybe that insight will increase awareness and I can shake my head back into reality a little quicker next time.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I Want

After our kitchen episode on Friday night, we made the trek to Calgary to discuss the details with our personl custom cabinet maker.

"What?" you may be asking. "Personal cabinet maker?"

Doesn't everyone have a personal cabinet maker when they are building a house?
Doesn't that make us sound, like, super rich?

Ha! I wish.

Our personal custom cabinet maker is actually a retired man we became friends with during our five years in Calgary who is also a skilled wood worker. He does amazing work and is being extremely generous and building the cabinets for us for cost. I have no doubt I'll love what he builds.

After our visit with him, we decided to take advantage of our time in a big city with many more stores. We visited appliance stores, lighting stores, furniture stores, and, of course, IKEA. The options are endless and overwhelmed us.

We make a couple of quick decisions with light fixtures:
1. The $20,000 crystal-ball chandelier just wouldn't fit in out front entrance. (darn)
2. The chandelier would also put us a 'bit' over budget.
3. Lighting stores are way over-priced so Totem will suit us just fine!
4. Apparently amber coloured globes on fixtures is coming back??? Not our thing.

Furniture: we're only planning to buy a new leather couch set so that limits this area somewhat. Nothing screamed at us,
"You must buy us now! We're the one!"
Good thing because we're not ready for that yet.

Appliance.
Let me talk to you about appliances. I am seriously in awe of all the possibilities. It is crazy wha tthey have done to a simple fridge or stove these days.
1. Refrigerators: They can be traditional with the freezer on top. They can be side by side. They can have the freezer on the bottom and in the form of a large drawer. The last version is the newest and what I thought I wanted but most of them are designed in such a way that the drawer offers a really poor use of space. I have found a couple of styles where the bottom is a door and shelves slide out, that design I like. Then with the freezer on the bottom style you can also get it with one big door or two french doors. Then there's also the water/ice dispenser option, some with water filters built in. I like that option because we currently use a separate cooler with 5 gallon jugs of purified water. It is rather unsightly and takes a lot of space. I figured out the cost upgrade to a dispenser in the fridge would pay itself off in about 5-7 years. Worthwhile logic? I'm not sure yet.

2. Ranges: I was introduced to the Cadillac of ranges. It is amazing. It slides into place and hangs slightly over the side counter tops. This means no food dripping down the sides in between the counter and range. That area is normally impossible to clean without moving the range. Who does that on a regular basis? Not me, so this option is the perfect solution. It has a large capacity, self-cleaning, convection main oven. In place of the lower drawer it has a second oven that can be set to a different temperature. This range also has a ceramic flat top and has a whole slew of other incredible feathers.
I want it. I love to bake and cook and would take advantage of the features but is ex -pen-sive!
A flat-top, self-cleaning convection version is likley more than good enough and still a major upgrade from what I've had before.

3. Dishwashers: No debate here. We've been using my parents' super nice Bosch for three months and it's the cat's meow! You can barely hear the thing run and it cleans wonderfully! We're getting one of those.

4. Microwave/hood-fan. Cheap and basic is just fine here. It only needs to heat and defrost. End of Story.

If we were to actually get all these fancy kitchen toys we'd by paying......

Drum roll please....

Prepare yourself.....

Gulp.

$7000 loonies!!
(loonies in Canada are $1 coins, they are called such because they have a loon stamped on them. Silly, I know but that's they way it is)

I don't know what to think. Do we control ourselves and visit good ole' Sears and go way more basic? After all they will still do the job. Do we justify it by saying this is our dream house where we plan on living for a very long time? Is it sinful to spend that much money on appliances for food when people are starving in other countries?

Help.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Why I Almost Sold Our New House

It was 8:30 Friday evening.

I was sitting cross-legged in the middle of the sawdust covered future living floor of our new house. Flood lights were glaring obnoxiously into the room and I was staring dejectedly into the future kitchen of our new house. In the kitchen was a taped outline of a prospective layout. Beside me lay a nearly empty roll of masking tape and a pile of the balled up used tape was near by. I was cold and my brain hurt.

I felt tears ready to spill over.

Trevor and I were trying to determine a workable design for our kitchen. My original idea was long ago tossed out since it didn’t fit with the actual size and shape of the area. At that point I felt like we had tried everything and nothing was working.

How could this be?

This was supposed to be my dream house with my dream kitchen (within financial limitations of course). I had high expectations and I hated the current possibilities. Maybe I wanted too much. I just wanted to go home and think about this a different day. Unfortunately we couldn’t put this aside since we were meeting with our cabinet maker the next day.

What next?

Then our carpenter, John, showed up to retrieve a forgotten hoodie and Trevor, out of desperation, asked John his opinion. John had built many houses and seen many kitchens so Trevor figured maybe he would have the solution. I expected John to shrug and mumble something about doing whatever the plans said, or some sort of typically male response. He actually stopped and thoughtfully gazed at our future kitchen.

“Well,” he said, “my kitchen is like this (proceeded to describe it) so you could do yours similar.”

Hmmmm, that was a thought.

After he left we went back at it, measuring and taping and then stepped back and looked and discussed the arrangement.

This didn’t work either.

To avoid a sure tantrum from me, Trevor quickly suggested we reverse the design. The tape became another shape yet again. We studied the result.

I liked it.

After almost 2/12 hours we had victory.

I wouldn’t have to sell my house.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Me and My Girl!

We had a miserable few days recently complete with a lot of rain and cold temperatures. It had me dreading the inevitable arrival of winter even more. Then today things improved and I'm enjoying the lovely colours of autumn and the warm air.
Sierra and I went for a nice walk along tree-lined streets this morning. We listened to the crunch of dry leaves beneath the stroller wheels and every time the breeze picked up were showered softly with more as they fell. It was really beautiful.
Upon returning home Sierra played in her sandbox with glee. Sand was thrown everywhere - of course!


Align Center


Me and my girl on a fall day!


Today happens to be my 31 birthday and last night I was actually apprehensive as to how I would feel. I really hadn't thought about my birthday at all until yesterday. How times have changed from being a kid! I remember intense excitement in the weeks leading up to my birthday. My family always made a big deal of celebrating special events with birthdays being no exception. It was always a special day.
Now that I'm older and married to a man who's family didn't make birthdays as big a deal things have changed. Not that they are any less special - just different.
Today I feel happy and content and loved. I fell asleep last night planning to make the most of every moment today and enjoy them, so far I am succeeding.
I still get a party- of course! - with my family. It's on Saturday evening when no ones' working or anything silly like that!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kicking My Own Butt!

Okay.
I’m into my second week of part-time work and it’s now time to set some goals and formulate a list of what I want to accomplish. I find wasting time far too easy. For example: on Monday I watched useless T.V. for an hour and a half while Sierra napped in the afternoon. Last week I at least had the excuse of suffering through a cold but this week there’s no reason for laziness. At first I thought, “Oh, I’m just getting used being home again.” This is partly true but I’m the type of person who doesn’t feel good about herself when not being productive. I almost always feel guilty when I have a “do nothing” day. (Sundays are the exception.)

Time to get productive people!

What do I want to do…….

1. Daily God time. I’m in a weekly women’s Bible study that has prep. It is not nearly as effective to try and cram it all in the night before!
2. Exercise. Sigh. The never-ending battle. When I’m in the groove I practically need it and do it daily and feel great about it. I’m currently out of the groove and can’t say I really care at this point. Bad Carla, bad! My mom got me into a weekly fitness class that uses a stability ball and our first one was on Monday and it felt really good. But…being one who has avidly been into fitness…. I am ashamed to admit that the class made me realize that I have let myself get out of shape this past summer. It was not a hard hour of exercise and yet my body complained! Guilt ensued. That guilt plus the good feeling that resulted from that exercise has stimulated my desire to do more.
3. Maintain a higher level of neatness in our living quarters than currently exists. Really, it should only take minutes a day to accomplish this and if I can’t handle that I’ve got bigger problems!
4. Sort our piles of photos into the albums I bought over a year ago. Distasteful job that’ll have me grumbling for hours but it sure will be good to have it done.
5. Finish the scrap book for Sierra’s first year that I started a year ago – I’m only at four months!

That’s probably good for now. After all, there’s still grocery shopping, laundry, playing with Sierra, building a house and other regular daily/weekly tasks.
Oh, and I can’t forget blogging. (As you can see, I'm experimenting with templates. I'm still not completely satisfied.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Musings



Yesterday was a glorious fall day! The air had the crisp edge feel from cooler nights mingled with the smell of fallen leaves and harvest. I spent the morning raking leaves and cleaning up the garden with my mother and Sierra.

I am saying good-bye to summer with quite a bit of hesitance because it has been so short for us this year, with a rather cool May and June. I love so many things about summer: I love the sun’s presence in the sky from5am until 11pm and the warmth of its rays. I love the green and growing all around me. I love outdoor activities such as long walks, going to the lake, and BBQ’s.
I love fall too, it brings with it the lovely colours, delicious produce, excitement of indoor projects and programs (i.e. church choir), and warm cozy evenings. But it also brings more darkness, excessive amounts of wind, cold, and eventually snow. I actually love snow but I’m not ready to give up summer yet. Fortunately it’s a gradual change and I have some time yet.

As I was getting ready for church this morning I was thinking about being sixteen and living in the same bedroom and getting ready in the same bathroom – how things have changed! I was so ‘self’ minded back then. I say this in regards to how easy it is for me now to help my parents with yard work, cooking, cleaning and other regular chores. Back when I was a teenager it was truly a chore done because I had to. Having lived on my own for over ten years and growing up has provided me with a totally new outlook on those things.
 

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