Saturday, April 23, 2011

Before...and After!!

The kitchen is done.

Here is the before shot:

And here is the after shot:

The whole process took 3 months, due to our tile never being in stock. After my aunt and uncle picked it up for us in Saskatoon, we got to work as soon as our company left after the weekend. This morning I just finished applying the last coat of sealer to the tile, and we love it.
We really do, and I'm glad I decided to surprise Mike with that hole in the wall 3 months ago.

Three big things that made the change great for me and what I learned:
1. I sure don't notice the ugly black slate lino anymore, I actually kinda like it.
2. Painted cupboards are worth the hassle if it means saving $10,000.00.
3. Giving an outdated 1980's kitchen a facelift is fun if your reno partner is fun to be around.

This summer I plan to tackle the main bathroom, as it is the only room in the house we never touched when we moved in. It's in need of a proper coat of paint and new fixtures as well. The toilet and flooring is new, and the tub is still ok. I'd like to replace the vanity and light fixture though. Other than new flooring and doors and baseboards, the interior of our home is done. Some day we'd like to re-side, and get new windows, but for now our backyard is taking precedence over those renovations.
Our backyard is huge...65 feet by 100 feet. WAY too big. We've drawn up a few different ideas for designs we like, one of them being this one:

I like this design, but I'm trying to convince Mike to not do the dry river bed, even though it will be nice and there is plenty of room for it. I just don't personally want to spend the money or hard work on it here, as I'd like to someday move to another town closer to where Mike works. Until that day comes, I want to enjoy the things we have done here, and focus on making good childhood memories for our kids.

a view of just the deck, but the lower part will actually be one step off the ground and covered with a pergola as the main eating area.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A lesson in Grief

I had to sit down and ask myself why I felt so melancholy this weekend...was it the headache that plagued me for the last three days? The houseful of company that came through? The odd weather?
It was the simple fact that Uncle James has been gone a year. An entire year, and I don't know where it went, because I remember the day he died up to the day of the funeral very vividly while the rest of the year has been a blur.
Grief is a funny thing, as it takes on different forms for everyone, and is unique to each. Some people go through the 5 basic steps of grief in the natural order: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Some go through only some of the steps, or not in that order. But everyone grieves in some way.
There are no time lines, no final stop in each person's journey through grief. It just passes in it's own time, until the day comes when we can remember with fondness and less tears.
I remember crying all the way to Taber, and all the way back. And the next day, and the next day, until, at a year later, I still can't quite come to terms with our loss. Why is this? I don't have the answer, and instead try to focus on the good things, like how he is in my Aunt Pam's arms again. After she passed away, he had to endure the pain of having his soul mate ripped out of his life, and a huge piece of him died the day she did. The fact that their souls have met again is a big comfort to us all, especially to his kids.

my cousin found this old photo in James' stash of mementos
  I am still grieving, and I suppose I haven't accepted his death yet. I didn't go to the lake much last year, as it was so painful to see the spot where his travel trailer used to be parked. And I still can't listen to certain songs, especially anything by Alan Jackson (God Bless the Working Man), without thinking about him humming along and knowing I won't hear it again.
But I'm thankful for my memories, and the few home videos I have, where I can not only hear his laugh, but actually see him throw his head back while he did it.
 Right now the image of him lying in his coffin is still fresh in my mind, as is the feel of his hands when I held them and cried so hard as he lay there. It may sound weird, but I thought, 'his hands used to be hard, why are they like wax?? Why are they wax??' I was angry then that he wasn't real, even though his shell was very real.  It made me think of Pam then, and how her hands were so soft and smooth when I said good-bye to her a few days before cancer stole her away from all of us. She held on so tight I had to pry her fingers away, even though it killed me to do it. While that memory came into my mind, I half expected James' to do that too. When they still felt like wax I knew that moment was the end of my denial period, and also the beginning of my acceptance of Pam's death seven years before.
The point of my ramblings is that, while my grief is very real to me, no one will understand the extent of another's pain. All we can do is lend a shoulder, or an ear, and comfort each other until the pain is gone.

Rest in peace.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jacey Taps to What Time is It - High School Musical

Jacelyn's first year of tap turned out to be a great one...she picked it up right away and loved it! Way to go, Jacey!

Her jazz routine was good too, and she loved doing it and dressing up in her hula costume (she's second from the left). The girls all looked super cute and I look forward to getting the dvd from the dance teacher so that Jacey can see it too.

And now, with gymnastics and dance over for the year, we can relax for a while before soccer and swimming lessons start up.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Brandon got Tanned!

Congratulations Brandon!
Our buddy walked a little taller last night after receiving his Tan badge in gymnastics. His goal is to be able to one day be a gymnast specializing on the pummel horse. Go Brandon Go!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How long is this reno going to take??

I will finally have all of my tile this weekend, but it won't be coming from the Lloydminster Home Depot. My aunt and uncle went to Saskatoon on the weekend and picked the rest up for us, and my grandparents will bring them here when they visit this weekend. And it must have been meant to be, as there were only 11 tiles in stock, and that was the amount I needed. That is exciting news for me, and it means that I'm steps away from finishing a project that should have taken two weeks at the most.
Brandon's gymnastics recital is on Thursday, and we are looking forward to finishing that up for the year. It's been a good year for him, and he's really learned alot. I'm glad he likes it so much.
Then on Saturday is Jacelyn's dance recital, and she's excited to be dancing on the 'big stage' to two different styles, tap and jazz. It should be interesting and cute. We'll have company for the weekend as well, and I will be looking forward to sitting down on Sunday night with Mike, just the two of us, and relaxing before another hectic week begins.
Nights are my favorite time of day, when the house is silent and all is still. I can't wait for the nights to become warmer, when I can sit and look at the lights in our pond in the front yard, and listen to the fountains gurgling. I always feel like the evenings are just for me, even when Mike is sitting next to me. It's my time to do what I want to do, without listening to 'Mom, can I', or 'Mom, I want', or 'Mom, ________'s bugging me!!!!'
I used to try to accommodate Mike and share my evenings with him watching something together, or playing a game. But now, I've become completely selfish in my middle years....taking a bath alone with nothing but some candles and the portable dvd on the counter so I can watch a movie (adding more hot water as needed), or scrapbooking the hours away, or even downloading music from ITunes. In the summer, I weed my flower beds by the floodlights on our garage, braving mosquitoes just to have a half hour all to myself. I'd probably do just about anything to get some 'me' time, although I feel super guilty if I leave all the kids with Mike to get groceries in the city alone.
I think tonight Mike and I are going to grout the section of kitchen that can be finished off, and hang the shelf up. I have been filling and sanding holes on the trim work, and will give it some paint as well.
That's the plan anyhow...we'll see how it goes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Jacelyn's Jazz Number

I should have had my camera at the Trade Show for Jacelyn's dance, but I forgot it and had to rely on my Blackberry. Which is an ok outside camera, but it's crummy for inside pictures.
Jacey did well, and she is a very shy performer. Hopefully she will come out of her shell soon. Apparently she dances differently during dance class than in front of people. I'd have stage fright too, if I was her, so I'm not going to come down hard on her. She likes it and that's the important thing.
When I asked her what her favorite thing to do in dance is, she said "shuffle ball change, shuffle hop step!" Whatever that means...she won't even perform it for me. :)
This is how she performed in front of an audience last year at her playschool graduation: notice her tongue in her cheek almost the entire time...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Snowmen and bunny rabbits

The morning in our house started off like this:
"Mom!" Brandon yelled as he was pounding up the stairs. "I'm sorry but I wet the bed as I was waking up!" I stared at him for a second and then I half-shouted "What??" He repeated what he said, and apologized again, but this time I spotted a twinkle in his eye. "No you didn't, it's April Fool's Day today. HA ha!"  Then I felt bad, because he obviously thought I was going to lose it, but instead I wrecked his joke. His grin faded that fast. I grabbed him in a hug and said good one...he got me for a few seconds, at least.
I watched Noah and Olivia today, and the day went by fast since Jacelyn was here to keep Olivia busy...I didn't see the girls for most of the morning, as they were busy in Jacey's room.
This afternoon, under the bright sun, we watched our poor snowman fall apart. Charlie was pretty upset, and wanted to go out to 'make again, mommy!'  I was meeting Mike in the city with Brandon to go see "Hop" at the theater, so my sister Jenine went out with the girls and helped Charlie pat some more snow on his decapitated body.
The movie was alright, and the theater was packed full of little people and big people. I was slightly distracted with the extra noise in the theater; popcorn bags rattling, kids fussing, and parents taking their kids up and down the aisles for bathroom breaks.
There were a few good funny parts, and it was a good kid's movie. Props go out to my hubby, who didn't fall asleep for once at the movies.
Yes, my husband hates going to the show. He hates watching movies at all. He says he could be doing other things rather than sitting through a movie for 2 hours, and gets restless if he does watch one. I'm not sure how he can sit through two frigging curling games in a row but can't sit through a movie. That will always puzzle me. No matter, I don't need him to go to the show, as Brandon will always be my movie buddy. Our next venture out will probably be to the last segment of the Harry Potter series, due out this summer.
I've got to head back into the city tomorrow morning for haircuts and to pick up my mom's new glasses (I upgraded her to 'old lady' status with her new progressives...haha). Then I've got the ladies from our decorating committee for dance coming over again to hopefully finish our backdrop decorations after supper. I'm also hoping there will be alot of wine flowing as's nice to just sit and gab with other moms sometimes.
On Sunday Jacelyn dances at the Trade Show in town here, and she's looking forward to that.
All in all, it will be a productive weekend.
Mike and I are thinking that we will zip into Edmonton this week to pick up our tile. We've had to wait long enough and have gotten the run around too long from Home Depot...which really upsets me as I love that store and don't like thinking mean thoughts about it :)
We've been on a boil water advisory for a week and a half now, and it's getting very annoying at this point. We've just had so many water breaks that our system is pretty stirred up, and the turbidity is high. I'm looking forward to rinsing out the kids' toothbrushes under running water any time soon now!