Thursday, December 29, 2011

One more thing

I almost forgot... there's something else significant happening this year... today, actually.

Today's my birthday.

And... it's my last "twenty-something" birthday.  Next year (as in tomorrow) I'll be turning 30-- wowzers. I must say that I don't mind growing older.  But I am just starting to feel old because...

I have an extremely difficult time remembering exactly how old I really am.  Is it just me or do the late 20's really blur together?  Am I 27 or 28?

A few months ago I discovered my first grey hair.  Wow, it's only a matter of time before I begin to look like my dad... oh well.  I guess being known as the silver fox (like my father) isn't the end of the world.  Being "foxy" has got to be a good thing... right?

Skinny jeans, colored jeans, leg warmers, chunky sweaters-- all those things that I thought I would NEVER EVER wear again-- I was shopping for over boxing week.  Honestly... who would have thought those orange jeans I wore in grade four would ever be cool again?  I AM old!


A few days ago I met someone for the first time.  We were talking about all those "get to know each other" kind of things.  Where are you from?  What do you do for fun?  What do you do for a living?  As I  was talking about my past profession, my kids, how long I've been married she started looking at me all funny and asked "How old ARE you?"  I told her my soon to be age... and she said "wow, you don't look that old!"  That's  got to be a good thing, right?

Well, even though today means that I'm getting older, it's still going to be a good day.  My Mom's making me homemade donuts.  I'm going to eat a whole lot of those this morning.  And I'm going to pretend that everyone's heading out to party for my birthday tonight.  And I'm going to ignore the fact that they're all going to count down the end of my birthday... because they'll be celebrating to arrival of my hubby's birthday tomorrow!  And he's turning 30 :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Some Really Great Reads

Do you follow the blog Rambling Renovators like I do?  Well you should... especially today!  A little while back Jen emailed me and asked if I would like to participate in her Great Reads Series-- a series where a few of her favorite bloggers share their favorite posts of 2011.  Of course-- I was honored to be included in the series!  So, if you want to see what my favorite post of 2011 was... go check it out here. Thanks for including me Jen!

Now, as you might imagine-- choosing just ONE post was an exceptionally difficult task.  Really, I have way more than one favorite post!  So since it's the end of the year I thought I'd do a little recap of ALL of my favorite posts from 2011-- month by month.  So without further ado... here are some MORE of my favorites from 2011...

In January we decided to renovate our office.  The best part of the renovation was the built in bookcases we (and when I say we-- I really mean Doug) created out of three Ikea Billy bookcases.

On a snowy day in February we packed up the kids and spent the day in Vancouver getting around via public transportation.  It was a real good time.  Especially when I jumped onto the wrong crowded bus without my wallet and phone-- just me, my infant daughter, and a soother!

In March I was feeling the need to entertain my kids... so I devised a fun new game to play at the grocery store.  It was a big hit...

In April I bought a new light fixture for my bedroom.  And... if you want to know why that was such a big deal for me you can read all about why the pre-existing light fixtures in my house were so offensive...

In May I did a tutorial on how to make your own fitted crib sheet.  Really, it is as easy as it looks...

June's favorite post was about the shelves we put in our bathroom.  I love my shelves because they look pretty-- and because they were free-- we created them out of a few scraps of MDF we found in our garage.  What's the best kind of project?  The free kind!!!

July was all about Road Trips.  I love road trips.  And even though the kids did not quite understand the concept of "it's a really REALLY long drive"-- we still had fun.  Most of the time.

My highlight of August was Emerson's first birthday!  My little lady turned one... and that's pretty fantastic.  But the other thing I love about this post is that it so appropriately showcases a typical day at our house-- crazy and sometimes dramatic.  Let's just say the day included food, a lot of people, an incapacitated hostess (me), crutches, a few cupcakes, a major allergic reaction, and a trip to the emergency room.  Today (four months later) I'm finally laughing about it...

September was a ridiculously crazy month.  I wonder why-- maybe because I was recovering from knee surgery on the couch and parenting my two children... at the same time.  So the fact that I was able to take Caleb to his first day of preschool was exciting-- especially when I had to bum scoot my way down my front steps on my way to the car.  Who needs crutches when you can scoot!  And... I just love how his "first day of school pictures" turned out... that's my boy :)

My favorite post from October is the one about my thankful tree!  It's my favorite because it was so super easy to do... and maybe because I only actually cleaned up the tree last week?  Did Thanksgiving really happen over two months ago?  And Christmas is over?  Someone's behind the ball around here...

November's favorite post would most definitely have to be the one with pictures of my little lady.  My girl just melts my heart.  Even though she thinks her daddy is way cooler than me...

In December I shared the advent calender I crafted for our house.  And I am happy to say that we actually managed to do a fun activity with the kids on every day-- except for one.  I figured the 25th was pretty self explanatory and required no additional hype.  Am I right or am I right?

And that my friends was 2011 at our house.  Thanks for reading along with me!!  Hope next year is equally fun and entertaining...

Shopping Carts and other fun

Today, the boys hit the slopes.
So the girls hit Ikea.

We discovered that all... ALL... pictures frames were 50% off.  You could say that we got excited.

And then we cleared them out.

I've got plans for these.

There's nothing more fun than a quick trip to Ikea with the sisters.  Without kids.  Well-- without my kids-- sleeping Cohen doesn't really count because we didn't hear a peep out of him.

And I may or may not have ridden the shopping cart out the front door.  Apparently my kids find that trick a whole lot funnier than my sisters do.  Or maybe my kids just don't get embarrassed as easily as my sisters.  Oh well.

Time to hit the hay because tomorrow we're heading south for a little outlet shopping action.  I may just have to try out my shopping cart riding trick again to see if it's funnier in the United States of America.

We'll see...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Great Outdoors

Today is window day!  Doug and I painted all the trim in the garage last night, All the blinds and curtains are down, and the first window is in!  I'm so very excited to have brand new clean windows-- especially because my windows have been exceptionally dirty lately.  When you know that new ones are coming-- why clean the old ones?  Am I right or am I right?

So like I mentioned, I've been trying to decide on trim.  What style?  What color?  Well after looking at my options, I decided to keep it simple.  Our house was built in the 70's and it's basically just a white square box.  There's nothing special about it.  It has a flat roof, a couple of windows, and white siding.  I've seen some people around here upgrade the exterior of houses like mine with expensive siding, stone work, and crazy elaborate trim... and while it looks nice... it kind of looks like you're trying to make your house into something that it's never going to be.  No matter what I do to my house, it's never going to look like a gorgeous Whistler chalet, a beautiful Victorian with load of character, or an eclectic and cool old farmhouse.  Nope-- it will always look pretty basic.  So, I decided to just go with it and keep the exterior simple-- and then add character in other fun ways!

So I've decided that...

I'm not painting over the white siding.  I'm not going to add crazy fancy trim around the windows.  I'm not going to paint the trim a crazy color-- it's going to be white-- like white white.  Instead I'm going to try and achieve a more sleek modern clean look.  We're going for wide trim all the way around the windows, but it has a clean modern profile.

Here's some of my inspiration...

While my house will NEVER look like this-- I dig the style.  A clean modern farmhouse look.

White on white.  Keeping it clean.

Look at how GORGEOUS this house is-- that porch-- oh my.

I saw this house makeover a long long time ago and it really inspired me.  Instead of tearing down the 70's rancher this amazing couple decided to work with what they had and transformed the house into this amazing beauty.  For before and after pictures click HERE.

So the backdrop will be white and clean-- to add a bit of drama I'm going to paint the front door  and the garage door black, or charcoal, or maybe even a really really dark brown.  How gorgeous is front door?

I love this door too... and the styling... perfect.

My next move is to upgrade the lighting.  I'd love to put up two gorgeous vintage-y, galvanized, barn lights-- one on either side of the front door.  And then I'd love to add another one above the garage door.  Kind of like this...

Here are some of my favorites from Barn Light Electric.  I'm just going to dream a little...

Barn Light Radial Wave Sconce in a galvanized finish.

And then maybe this one for above the garage-- in the galvanized finish.  This one's the Barn Light Aztec Sconce.

Other contenders...

And finally, the Barn Light Montana Sconce.

Tough call... they are all so fantastic.

And then the last layer... a collection of plants in gorgeous weathered clay pots... with the plants preferably alive.  Isn't this beautiful?

Anyhow... getting those windows in is the first step.  The Toews boys are hard at work.  I popped outside to take a little look-see and my brother in law offered to clean the outside of each new window as they install them.  Music to my ears... let me tell you.  What do I want for Christmas this year?  How about new CLEAN windows!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Can't Remember

I can't remember the last time we went to the park... actually... I can't remember the last time it was this sunny and fabulous outside-- in December-- no less!!

I also can't remember the last time that I went to the park WITHOUT a stroller.  Let me tell you-- it was  awesome.  Eme was just as excited as I was about being stroller-less.

I tried to convince her that the toddler park was cool.  She didn't buy it.  I guess riding the slide with your cool big brother is pretty awesome.

Speaking of cool...
You better believe the ray bans came out to play.

As we were about to leave for the park Caleb stood at the end of our driveway-- hat, ray bans, and flight jacket in place-- with his arms crossed.  The cars slowed.  People giggling and waving.

He didn't even crack a smile.

And we had such an amazing time at the park that Eme wasn't too happy to be in the car on the ride home.  That face.  Can't stop laughing.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cute Kids + Monkeys = a whole lot of fun

They all got monkeys for Christmas...

And we all had a good time monkey-ing around.
(that's the last of my cheesy monkey jokes-- promise.)

We celebrated Christmas early with the Toews family this year.  And the kids had a FANTASTIC time.  Here are a few pictures from the evening-- for all the grandmas and grandpas and aunties and uncles out there...

Keziah cuteness.

I asked Micah to show me his "I want presents" face.  This is what I got.

Before presents Uncle Erik read the Christmas story.  Emerson was a fan.

And so were the boys.

And then it was time for presents.

Caleb was SO VERY EXCITED about his new toys.


And lego.  Of course.

And the days have been quiet since then-- new toys = happy kids and one very happy momma :)

Things are about to get a little crazy

Yup.  Things are about to get a little crazy around here this week.  It's the last week before Christmas, I'll be getting ready to host 7 extra people at our place over the break, and... phase 3 of operation house renovation will be taking place over the next few days!!

Now, just to bring you up to speed... phase 1 was painting... phase 2 was flooring... and now phase 3 is all about energy efficiency!  A couple of weeks ago we signed up to participate in a government run energy efficiency program.  Basically you have a qualified individual assess the energy efficiency of your home, they give you a report of recommended retrofits along with a breakdown of all the government grants you could qualify for, and then you get to work!  Once you've finished making all of the necessary improvements the energy efficiency expert comes back to check things over, you turn over the receipts, and hopefully you get a bit of money back!

A few weeks ago we started with the upgrades-- switching out one of our toilets for a low flush model.

Caleb was more than happy to lend a helping hand-- and offer some advice along the way...

And I am quite happy with my new toilet-- well-- as happy as one can be about a new toilet!  But really-- I do think it's a semi attractive toilet.  We went for Kohler's Wellworth in case you're curious.

And later on this week we're gonna be tacking a big job-- replacing our windows and the glass doors in our dining room!  The windows and doors are already sitting in the garage ready to go... and they look fantastic!  It looks like we're going to start working on the windows on Thursday-- and hopefully they'll be done for Sunday when my family arrives for Christmas!

Over the past few days I have been trying to figure out how I want the exterior trim to look-- decisions decisions!! Today I went to pay for the lumber we'll be using to trim out our new windows and over the next two days I need to paint all the trim in the garage so it will be ready to go on install day.

This is going to be a crazy crazy week.  But-- it will probably be fun too.  Bring on the renovation projects!  I am over the moon excited to have new windows!  And... bring on Christmas!  I can't wait!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Scenes of Christmas

The last week has been a busy one-- full of shopping, crafting, wrapping, partying, baking-- all that good stuff.  Here are few scenes from the week...

I've been doing a little gift wrapping-- often with two "helpers".  Let's just say that rolls of paper, scissors, tape, a one year old, and a four year old are not a good combination.  But, we managed to get a few gifts wrapped and under the tree.  This year the boys get brown kraft paper, the girls get pretty red and white bird wrapping paper, and everyone gets ribbon.  Now I've just gotta find a few more boxes so that I can wrap the rest of the gifts!!

We did some card making this week.  Caleb made Christmas cards for all of his preschool buddies.  We started with a basic Christmas tree design-- but as soon as Doug and I got involved the designs started to become more elaborate and complex.  We kind of hijacked Caleb's card making party-- but he was pretty pumped about our designs.

My favorite was the moose.

I baked and decorated more gingerbread and sugar cookies.  I think I've set the bar too high with the decorating-- now Caleb only wants to eat "beautiful cookies"-- as he likes to call them.  But now that I think about it-- that might be a good problem to have..."Oops, I guess we don't have any beautiful cookies left... well, no more cookies for you!"

Poor Doug.  I'm pretty sure he's the only guy on the job site with "beautiful" cookies in his lunch.

Yesterday I attended Caleb's preschool Christmas party.  His class sang a few Christmas songs for the crowd.  For most of the songs Caleb had the "deer in the headlights" look on his face... until it was time to ring those bells.  Wow, those bells were certainly a-ringing...

Is it wrong of me to be thankful that those bells didn't come home with us?  Cause I sure am...

After dinner last night Doug and I decided to dart out to Ikea for a quick shopping trip with the kids.  Within minutes of leaving the house Caleb fell asleep in the car-- as I saw him sleeping in the backseat I thought to myself-- it's gonna be a looong night shopping with two sleepy kids.  We pulled into Ikea only to discover that their Midnight Madness event was on that evening-- and wow... was the place ever hopping.  Great.  Once we managed to find a parking spot, we braved the crowds and got our shopping done.  In the end the sleepy kids were happy-- probably because I brought them cookies to enjoy in the shopping cart.  And Doug and I managed to make it out of the store without experiencing too much distress.  And we are definitely the masters when it comes to the self checkout lane.  Just saying :)

And what were we shopping for... you might be wondering.  Well-- more plates and cutlery!!  Our old set is getting quite beat up-- and-- we need more place settings because we're going to have a whole lot of Christmas company.  My whole family is coming to our place for Christmas-- that means there will be 7 extra people at our house for a week!

Yup, more plates and cutlery will be needed.  And best of all-- it gave me an excuse to get new stuff :)