Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Current state of The House.

Wow, I am just on a blogging roll this week! I guess it helps when a friend comes by to take your kids to the park for you. :-)

So, many parts of my house were actually tidy this morning and I thought that this would be a good opportunity to record the status of our renovations. I also realize that I never got around to posting any photos of the house after we moved in, so here it is - this is an official Blog post to show everyone how much work we have done (so far)!

Since we returned from our Ontario trip, Jeff has been focused on our landscaping. He was determined to get our front yard looking less like a construction site, so he started with getting rid of the huge Hemlock that covered our entire house from view, and the Cedar that was crowding out my Arbutus tree. I was uncertain, at first, whether I wanted the Hemlock to come down, but now that it is gone, I agree.

Jeff is in the tree there, somewhere, trimming branches closest to the power lines. We didn't bother applying for a permit to cut the trees down, so who knows if/when we will be getting fined.

I think my Dad is one of the most useful people on earth. Even with a bruised rib from a backpacking trip the week before, he still came over to lend his chainsaw services.

The following weekend, Jeff hired an excavator to get rid of the stump, level out the yard, dump a whole lot of really smelly dirt and scatter some big boulders. Callum and Max were entertained all day just watching the machine at work.

So, in order for you to fully appreciate the magnitude of change that occured on this house, I decided to throw in some "Before" photos to accompany the "After shots.

Before: Here is the front entry.

After: We have plans for concrete steps up to the door, a boxwood hedge around new shrubs and groundcover, etc...

Before: I guess I didn't take a shot of the whole front of the house before, since it was hidden by that Hemlock, but here is the driveway.

After: The Arbutus really stands out now, and you can sort of see the new roof over the deck above the garage too. We often see people drive by the house very slowly, looking at the new entry addition - it really makes a big difference.

Before: The Living Room, Dining Room and Kitchen used to be separate rooms, with a wall enclosing the kitchen.

After: We took down walls and added quite a bit of glass. All the custom cabinets are done by my Dad, and you can see the fireplace wall is still awaiting the day that he has time to build more.

Before: Callum quite liked the wall paper that we found under the fake wood paneling in his and Max's bedroom, but we told him he could pick his own paint colour instead.

After: He wanted green paint. I just put that wall sticker up yesterday.

Before: There was one bathroom on the main floor, but a strange layout that allowed access from the hall and the Master bedroom through pocket doors.

After: We moved a wall over 4 feet so that the one bathroom became 2. Here is the kids/Main bathroom.

Before: Main bathroom shower.

After: Our Master bedroom ensuite. I love my bathroom! (We hired a guy to do all the wall tile, since I wasn't willing to spend as much on the tile as we did and then screw up the installation!)

Before: Looking down the stairs to the front entry.

After: We have plans for a window bench with drawers and cabinets above the windows, but again, we will be patient while my Dad builds his own house. For now, my boots make a useful door stop.

After: Looking up the stairs from the new entry addition. The addition just makes a world of difference!

Before: Downstairs, there was a basement suite. The bedroom was accessed through this dining room.

After: We took the wall between the dining room and bedroom down to make a large Playroom. (I didn't bother tidying it up before taking the picture.)

Before: The Laundry Room.

After: The Laundry Room. (Note the hole in the ceiling - that's my laundry chute from the kids bathroom above- I LOVE it!!)

Before: There was a lovely kitchen.

After: We turned the kitchen into a Guest bedroom.

After: Here's the guest bathroom.

I didn't take photos of the Media room or Office, since they are still less presentable. I have yet to put up any artwork and when I look around the house, I mostly just see all the work that has yet to be done (i.e. finish flooring in office, baseboard trim in basement, painting in basement, closet doors to be installed, shelves to be mounted, vent grilles to be bought, whole office to be organized, bed frames to be bought, front entry bench, upstairs and downstairs fireplace walls to be built, etc...). Anyway. I do love my house and I am so spoiled. Jeff has said a couple times that maybe we should just stay here forever...

Ottawa Trip (well, Perth, actually)

The kids had a great time on our trip to visit Jeff's family out East, August 3rd to 10th. It wasn't as hot as I had hoped for and there may have been a little too much puking for my tastes, but all in all, a good adventure.

Jeff and I have decided that 2.5 years old is the minimum age that we want to do any more traveling on a plane with kids - they are old enough to just watch TV or movies and you can reason with them. Callum and Max did super great for most of the flight, until Jeff missed the tell-tale signs of Callum's motion sickness. As we began landing, Callum puked his guts out. Puke #1.

The first day there, the kids just wanted to play in the back yard in the dog-pool. Jeff's parents, Larry and Inge, have a golden retriever puppy but they sent him on "holiday" while we were there, since he is apparently still too aggressively puppy-ish to deal with.

(I will apologize now for most of the photo-quality during our trip since I mainly just used my iPhone).

Whenever Callum could convince his Grandpa to take him to the basement, he loved acting Train Engineer. Larry has a fairly significant model railroad under construction that will keep him busy for years to come, I'm sure.

Inge's Uncle was having his 80th birthday, so we were invited to join in the pool-party to celebrate. (Unfortunately, I realized much too late that I didn't actually get any decent photos of Jeff's family.)

We took the kids into Ottawa one day, so they could try a Beaver Tail (if you have to ask what that is, then you're not very Canadian) and go to the Children's Museum.
(Notice the "Vroom vroom" sounds they are making with their mouths!)

We were able to visit Jeff's friends, Rich and Sue, and their 4 kids too. Callum and Max were very impressed with the costume collection in their playroom. (Again, sorry for the low picture quality, but I thought these were too cute).

They played hide and seek in their costumes and this was Max's idea of a good spot - hee hee!There happened to be a Puppet Festival in the area, so we took the boys and caught a Toopee and Binoo show. Of course, this was after Max puked in the car on the way there, (Puke #2) but he still wanted to go, even though he puked again when we were buying tickets (Puke #3).

One of our last days there, Rich and Sue invited us to join them up at their cabin on a lake. I wasn't sure I wanted anymore driving around, but I'm so glad we went up. Max and Callum loved hanging with Rich and Sue's kids, and it was just a perfect day hanging out playing in the sand, paddle-boating, tubing and BBQ'ing.

Callum with Cameron in the paddle boat.

I told Jeff to take a picture of me, just to record my existence on the trip too (and you can see the not-so-small bulge on my belly).

Rich took Jeff on a "real" tubing experience with a speed boat before we hooked the kids up to the more gentle pontoon boat.

Callum went in first with Hayden, Olivia and Cameron. Then Max came in and shared a tube with Olivia - he had a great time!

On our way to the airport, we stopped at Starbucks and returned to our rental car to find out it was the victim of a hit&run, so we got to hang out waiting for the police to take all the info before we could rush to catch our flight. We did make it, though our flight home was pretty painful for Callum as he spent the whole 5 hours puking or crying or holding a puke-bag to his mouth (Pukes #4, #5 and #6). I felt so horrible for him!!! If you ask him if he still likes flying on airplanes, though, he will still say Yes!

I didn't get any photos of the big family BBQ, where we visited with Jeff's extended family, including his brother Steve and his kids, Darren and Kelsey. It was good to get everyone together. Despite the fact that it would be cheaper for us to fly to Hawaii than to Ottawa, Jeff and I are glad we made the trip. I even got to pig-out on Ontario peaches and we managed to bring back 3 litres of Steve's Maple Syrup. Now Callum asks specifically for "the Uncle Steve syrup" every time we have pancakes - I guess even he can tell the difference between the good stuff and the Costco stuff. :-)