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Friday, October 28, 2011

Home Sweet Home

One of the original houses in Massey; we've been told it was built in the early 1900's.
If you heard the rumor about our new house, I'll just stand up right now and correct it.   NOT NEW, but we did buy a different house.  We are now in the process of turning it into a home...Last week Emma and I were reading a princess story that lays out how to be a perfect princess.  Of course, one aspect of being a princess is you must live in a castle.  When I asked Em if she lived in a castle, she replied "No, I live in a home."  Not just any house, but home sweet home.
  So now we begin this remodeling process of trying to turn a....hmmmm, let's call it a dungeon into a home.  On our to do list.
1.  Dry-walling--everything is currently covered (or in the process of being removed) in paneling.
2.  Obviously painting said walls (I am looking forward to coordinating all the colors in the house at once, rather than doing bits and pieces).
3.  New windows are a big must, and will likely be the most cost effective investment we put into the house.
4.  New bathroom in the downstairs.  As well, we will be moving the door of this bathroom so it opens to the dining/ study area rather than kitchen.
4.  New kitchen.  Right now the plan is to buy a used one off Kijiji.  Brad's sister and husband did this and scored a great deal.  As well, in our current home, we have my parents previous kitchen cupboards from before they remodeled.
5.  Redesign bedroom layout upstairs.  Currently, there are four bedrooms.  We plan to convert two into one by halving one room so it becomes a master bathroom (Tommy is standing where I think this will happen) attached to master bedroom and large (of some sort, whether it is walk in or no) closet.
6.  New flooring throughout.  Carpet will all be ripped up as it smells of smoke and cat.  VERY GROSS!  Downstairs really has no flooring left that is complete of any one thing, so luckily that will go eventually too.  Really hoping to find some useable hardwood as we begin tearing, but so far that doesn't seem to be our luck.
7.  There are a few structural elements to the house that will need to be looked at.  Kitchen portion of the house was added on, and appears to be sagging in the center.  As well the upstairs is about a foot off on one side to the other, so we will need to jack one wall and put a beam in. Also, a few walls that we will open up to add flow between rooms in the downstairs area.
8.  There are a few places that we will need to insulate, but overall the walls are in decent insulation condition and with the brick on the outside, we aren't worried about having drafts.  Basically, the attic needs to be looked after, and a few places that have gotten wet.
9.  The porch is one thing that will remain on the wish list for now.  Eventually we would like to have nice open windows, rather than the current clouded/breaking ones, but adding a french door to the front and back of the house will help with light and usage of the porch during at least 3 seasons.
10.  My wish list (I can't say the same for Brad) is to use the attic.  As you can see in the picture at the very top, there is a dormer window (another not pictured) on that floor.  It's also super icky as it looks like someone used it as a dumping grounds for anything they didn't want downstairs anymore.  (Brad and his Dad already found some great treasures, including male high heeled shoes and some scary granny-bras, plus a whole grocery sack of plastic hair curlers that Emma thinks are possibly the coolest things ever.)  I would love to have this room for TOYS!!!  The basement is only about 6 feet high, so we will only be using it for storage.  As well, as a playroom the attic would be perfect for guests to have their own space and us not be moving kids around every time someone comes to visit.  It will be great to just have all the extra space downstairs (which is about the same size as our entire house right now...about 1100sq feet), but having an extra bedroom would be amazing!  However, the obstacles to the attic are insulation in the roof, only in the floor to insulate the lower levels and no stairs.  It is accessed by a hole in the ceiling of the hallway immediately above the stairs from first to second floor.  Do you think it might be an appropriate birthday present project from my wonderful Daddy?  Hmmmmm....okay and Christmas and my next 5 birthdays?

[Living area, with Dining/study beyond, and kitchen beyond that.]
We are looking forward to this move, whenever it does happen.  I'm sure, as I've been reminded that there will be days it will stress our marriage and our family to live through a remodeling, but here's to having more SPACE! 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I've been thinking about doing a little something in honor of motherhood, so here goes...

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new.  ~Rajneesh

This quote is completely fitting for my thoughts on the subject.   Pre-Emma was one me (that I barely even remember now) and post-Tommy I'm something that many days, you would agree, resembles an alien-like creature.  But, it also goes without saying, that I wouldn't trade it for anything in this world.

When you are expecting you get the first sense of how this new being is going to change you and how much you love he/she already....then comes the day they are born and there is truly nothing like those first few hours.  Of course as the seconds melt into minutes, hours, days and soon years, the newness dissipates, but the love is still there strong and sure.  Moments may pass when your role as a mother is just another part of you that you don't think of a whole lot, but then a memory is made that tells you just how precious and true and real your child and love is.

I remember one of the first things I thought about after Emma was born mean my Mom loves me this much too?  How come I never realized how awesome that feeling was to her?  Or more come I didn't appreciate it.  I thought I did a pretty good job of recognizing that despite our differences of opinion my mom was doing a pretty good job of raising me.  She loves me like this?  No wonder she didn't want me leaving house and country for the wilds of Northern Ontario.  I couldn't even imagine Emma being out of my sight for five minutes.  Looking back, I see the whole key.  I didn't understand my mother's love, because I hadn't been born yet as a mother.

When you are expecting their is also the whole...I know I'm going to love this child, but am I going know....really love them?  Or will I just do it because they are mine?  As a mother though, can you even differentiate between those 2 kinds of love (the kind where you love them because they are amazing and incredible individuals and the type that you can't help but loving them because they are your babies)?  The love is immense and overpowering and unstoppable, but it is also still there when they are being sassy or sick or driving you crazy.  That time (some days it looks like this "FINALLY") comes when they managed to quit wiggling just enough for those long eyelashes to rest on their cheek, and you realize again how precious that little (but getting bigger every day, as Emma reminds me) bundle of joy is.

Thank you to my mother for all the mothering you gave to me and a few other lost souls along our pathway.  Thank you to my daughter for first teaching me the love of a mother.  Thank you to my son for showing me just how much room I do have in my heart.  Thank you to a mother-in-law who raised a wonderful son, but then handed him off to me.  Thank you to great aunts who love my kids like their own (especially since they don't have any of their own and if you are reading this I would really like to learn the love of an aunt for myself...please and thank you)!  And thank you to all the mother's I know who are proving an example for me as I follow you in this journey of life and mothering.

To Mother's Everywhere--Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 2, 2011


  Life it seems, is never uncomplicated AND we are always getting into new messes.  I keep worrying about tomorrow...the next assignment for my course to teach intermediates....if I'm going to get enough hours for EI this summer....when my LTO will end.  Then you get the answers and start worrying about something else.  Meanwhile time is passing.
  How can it be spring.  The winter went by so fast and now I have an 11month old?!  (Which doesn't seem that old, until I realize it's only a month from being ONE YEAR!)  Oh baby, baby boy what happened?  Which is about enough to make me realize that the next minute I turn around he'll be almost three, just like big sis!
  Speaking of sisters, my little one had a birthday a few days ago.  Is is possible that she's 23?  Seriously?  I swear it was just five minutes ago we were playing with Kirsten and Samanatha our American Girl Dolls.  And now we are like 12 hours apart with jobs responsibilities and worries...oh yes, I did say at one point that I was going to quit worrying.
  We are in the midst of planning for a big birthday bash here at the Ryan's.  We are going to celebrate the kiddos birthday's together, since they are only a few weeks apart.  It's so true you do EVERYTHING for the first and the second is neglected.  Well, I've been trying to not do the whole neglected thing (just ask my sister, you then turn out as the "perfect" one), but it is a little less fanfare the second time around.  All the grandparents were about 5 seconds away when Emma was born, but Tommy didn't get his first visit until a day later for 1/2 the set and the other set waited a week.  Yes, that was partly a matter of circumstance, but I'm sure it will be fodder for the guilt game all children play when they hit teenagehood.
  Anyway back to the party.  We had a 1st party for Emma with all the trimmings, so of course I can't neglect Tommy.  We will celebrate on his actual birthday, but the only one who will really appreciate a party is Emma so we are going to roll them into one.  (I'm sure in future years their birthday's only being 2 weeks apart will also appear as ammunition in that "war," but I've got plenty of time to worry that one over.)  Or do I?  It is only 10 years away.  (ummm, Yikes...)  Ten years ago I was failing my first driver's test AND I still remember those tears like they are still falling.  Especially considering, Emma took her John Deere Gator out for a test drive tonight and completely failed the whole steering/using the foot pedal thing at the same time.  Funny to the adults in the picture, but very unnerving for the driver.  Good thing poor Tommy wasn't in with her, although from the squeals emitting from his mouth, he sure wanted to be!
  Isn't it after all those complications, like learning to parallel park, in my case, or in Emma's figuring out the whole steering and gas mechanisms that make life interesting?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Just another day for you and me, but to someone....

So my sister, recently wrote this really great "note" on Facebook, and I seconded her thoughts!  Plus, I've pretty much been MIA lately.   What with being back to work one day a week and taking a course to teach at the intermediate level (gr.7-10), plus all the usual, I feel like a chicken "running around with it's head cut off"....which reminds me of something I was going to do about sayings....that will have to be forthcoming, but "don't hold your breath."

Who would have thought that at 4:54 p.m. today, my running nerve would kick in as I flew 80 mph down Highway 271 and took the ramp to 90.  I, no doubt, started that fire by skimming through a runners world magazine at lunch today, but it wasn’t until that rush of flying down the highway came that my fate was sealed.  And so, 17 minutes later I shut the door to the house and stepped outside in running capris and a T-shirt. Yes, a t-shirt in the middle of February! And during that run, a love letter jostled it's way through my brain…

An ode to February 17, 2011

Here’s to you February 17, you got me to run outside wearing a t-shirt (YES a t-shirt!!) and a silly grin as I toured my neighborhood; the O so quaint and charming ghetto of Euclid, Ohio.  I heard 300 hundred birds chirping in the bare trees and got to leap over mud puddles, missing chunks of sidewalk and a shattered oversized plastic football. Sure the run was slow, but my spirits soared.  The distinctly ebonic male shout of "Hey white girl" followed by something I couldn't even translate made me pick of the pace, but it wasn't a quickening of fear, but rather annoyance.  I'm not running through here so you can shout undecipherable nothings at my back (where do you think we are, Italy? You aren't even tall, tanned and handsome!)  But I forgave you for that one because I was close to home and ready to finish strong anyway. So, here’s to you putting a smile on my face, lactic acid in my legs, and this silly little love note in my head!

February 17, you were better to me than any working Thursday ever had a right to be.  You were better to me than your neighbor 3 doors down (February 14...that day when love is the last thing I want to hear about) ever had a chance of being.  No, it was you, Feb 17, that took me on a date with life.  If I could somehow find your face, I would give a kiss right now.  It wouldn’t be the sort of lovers kiss you find in old time movies, but it would be more than friendly…it would be the kind of kiss that is followed by the biggest of smiles…the Thank-you kiss.  Because thanks to you there is a hope in my heart of spring coming.

Dearest 17th of February, your warm winds hit my face this morning as I parked my car and walked into work. Sure the day started out with a slight headache (what’s new when the weather changes like this), but you greeted me so warmly I couldn’t help but smile.  I opened the garage door for a small blast of your sunshine and breeze and was rewarded by a happiness in my heart.  I started to love you right then.  You never had it easy from me from the beginning. After all, Thursdays are those almost days.  You are almost Friday, and almost the end of the work week, and almost my favorite day, but not quite.  So today you tried your best and proved the better of me. You, Thursday Feb 17, made me fall in love with you.

February 17, you even have my evening planned out (which is better than some boyfriends I‘ve heard about)…while it isn’t snowboarding (it almost was until you intervened), line dancing, or flying down the highway headed anywhere but here (which my heart keeps begging me to do) it is a plan, and I like plans. There is still that “I forgot to tell you…” text to send, that “where are you now?” phone call to make to mom and dad, and that endless list of cleaning before midnight when the family arrives to accomplish.  So you aren’t over yet, but I thank you for the warm spring-like day, that date with my only boyfriend-running, and the thankfulness in my heart.

Here’s to you Feb. 17, 2011


Funny that she was flipping through a copy of Runner's magazine at lunch, because I was doing the same thing around the same time, thinking...."I wonder if Kaitlyn still gets this?"

So here's to my sister, the writer!

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Year's Wreckolutions

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions.  Let's face it, not very many are kept and if they are, it isn't for long.  However, as we made the big switcheroo from o ten to eleven, I've been thinking about what I can improve in my life...or more literally how I can improve something so that it benefits others.  Although I'm mostly thinking of my family in this, it is nice to think we have an impact on the world around us too.
  Here's my resolutions, and here's to hoping they don't turn into wreckolutions.  I want to be more patient with my children and appreciate the quality time with them.  For example, bedtime routine is story reading, but many times I've just tried to hurry through it, rather than take a few extra moments to appreciate how great and lovable of a daughter I do have.  Although this might seem contradictory I also know I need to work on being more consistent with disciplining.  I never realized how hard it is to say no and really mean it, but 2 year old's will certainly teach you that lesson.  Lastly, we had 2 friend of ours that lost brothers this year and it makes me realize I need to keep in touch with my family Jocelyn you really deserve an e-mail this week, Kaitlyn I promise to call you, David will probably get a face book message, and grandma needs a thank-you for the hand towels she sent!  The rest all got holiday cards, so I did, at least, start the year out right.
 One of the reasons I've been giving this a little thought, is a card my mom got in the mail from an old acquaintance who had spent some time at their cabins over the summer.  The greeting card listed their "top 10 from 2010."  We had another year with some pretty exciting changes in it, so I was reflecting about our favorite memories from the past year.  From my perspective they are:
1.  May 14, 2010--Tommy arrives!  (pretty much feels like a century ago, now!)
2.  May 26--Emma turns 2...she was just a baby, then a toddler, and some days I feel like she's got little girl written all over her!
3.  As always conventions seem to be our saving I think they definitly make the list.  This year we were at Ironbridge and Vanderbilt...although we had a bit of excitement trying to cross the border.  In fact, we weren't sure they were going to let us across with how much yelling they were doing before we even got pulled inside.  However, it all worked out and hopefully some of us learned to be very, very careful when crossing the border!
4.  Although we never did get a family vacation in 2010 (we went to Florida in Dec. 2009), Emma, Tommy, and I did go home for a week in October.  Brad was working up north, so it was great to escape our all-too-quiet house.  Mom and Dad's was different tho, too, with Kaitlyn and David both in Cleveland now.
5.  I think I better put this one pretty high up on the list...Brad finally got his new snow-machine in the beginning of November, so there were many weeks of wishing for snow.  A 2010 Ski-Doo Renegade back-country, but don't quote me on that name, because there was alot of debating going on between Brad and  And I STILL haven't gotten to ride it yet!
6.  Kaitlyn was here for a month?  three weeks?  two weeks?  I can't quite remember, but I really appreciated the help prior to and after Tommy coming.  I also know how much she loved getting to spend time with her favorite niece and meeting Tom Tom.
7.  The first year of a baby's life is filled with a lot of firsts...first food, first teeth, learning to sit up, crawl, walk, ect.  My favorite first is Tommy learning to stand up.  It's something I don't remember Emma ever really working at.  I went into Tommy's room to feed him in the wee hours of the morning, one day, and there he was standing up in his crib.  He's really not a small baby, and yet he looked so tiny gripping onto the crib rail for dear life.
8.  Another favorite is the joy of getting my mat. leave.  Now that I'm contemplating going back, (and have actually started 1 day a week) I'm appreciating this year off with both kiddos.  I know it will probably be the last extended time I will have with Emma.  Only a year and a half and she will be off to school!
9.  Another "good time" we had this year was camping out with Brad in the bush.  All 4 of us slept in his semi bunk (it's big, but not THAT big).  We wanted to spend some time with him because he was working away so much.  His trailer was actually broke, so he was just loading all the trucks, but Emma loves going with Dad  to work and there was lots of animals to check out at the restaurant where we ate supper every night, so we all slept like babies to the purr of that diesel motor.
10.  I saved the best for last..hehe...we celebrated 6 years of marriage on July, 9.  We even went out kidless to Sudbury and had some yummy seafood at the Fishbowl.
And now on to 2011...okay were already 17 days into it, but let's dive a little deeper in, nonetheless.