A Much Enjoyed Break

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We really enjoyed Christmas this year (I always do). I'm not sure if its because it was our 1st Christmas morning as a family together, or that we actually made it into our house by Christmas or that we have been so busy this year that the break from working on the house felt extra good. We started staying at the house on Dec 8th when we got our hot water system working. We then worked non-stop on the house to get it ready for Christmas, counter tops, sinks, doors, washing machine & dryer, dishwasher... December 22nd I wrapped my presents & the next day we started our Christmases. The 23rd at Curt's parents, the 24th I had all the Martins here at the new house, Christmas Day we went to Mom & Dad and later to Curt's aunts in Devon, then the 26th at Grandma Graves. We spent the next day sledding in the back yard and then got together in the evening with some family friends. We've had a hard time getting back to work these last couple days, we'd much rather watch movies, play games and clean up a bit (only me). At least we have the essentials now and our work on the house can be a little more relaxed.

The Day Has Come!!!

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We're living at our new house, I guess, kind of. We've stayed at the house the last couple nights, however Nollie says we're not living there yet 'cause we don't have couches there. We have the two things we were waiting for, hot water & heat and so we've unofficially moved in. I still have to get our clothes out there and the rest of our stuff, which I will work on today and for the rest of the week. It seemed like we were never going to get to this day and then all of the sudden it's here. It feels strange, but good.

The weather was so good to us this year durring the building but if the snow could have just held off for one more week. Because of the snow & ice we are unable to get up onto the roof to get the solar tubes in right now. No free heat for us, we will have to pay for gas just like everyone else. Oh well the house is warm & there's lots of hot water for baths in the new jet tub. By the end of the week I might even have countertops, a kitchen sink, a dishwasher and a washer & dryer. I'm not sure if I can take it all at once.

I also started checking out some of the "junk" boxes and its not really all junk (Thank goodness) there's lots of good stuff in there, I think we must have just been getting too tired of packing to label it properly.

More Junk

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Why is it that so many of my boxes say "More Junk" Where's the good stuff? It's probably true, I bet each of the boxes with these words are full of things that I don't much care about and don't know what to do with. Oh, this is going to be fun to sort through it all. I've been taking a full van load with me to the house every day for the last week or so and I think I've now moved all of the boxes from the garage (still lots of furniture & miscellaneous stuff in there.) I'm sticking to opening the "kitchen" boxes, they sound more exciting to me than "yet another junk box". All of these treasures I haven't seen for 15 months, almost forgot what I had.

Curt has taken this week off again for more work on the house. Our kitchen cabinets are now in. The kitchen looks so great, I'm really happy with it so far, I can't wait to see how it looks with the countertops too. We finally got the tanks that we were waiting for for our hot water/heating system and we hope to get it all hooked up in the next few days, it's pretty complex though so it may take a while. There is a chance that we could be living there next week. What, how did that happen? The day always seemed so far away. The house is still far from done. There are no countertops, sinks, interior doors, closet rods or shelves, showers let alone trim but there will be heat, hot water, we have toilets and a bathtub with running water. It will be so much easier on the girls not to have to get up and go to the house first thing in the morning and then pack up and go back to go to sleep late at night when they should already be in bed. We should be able to get more done if we're there all the time. However I've been warned that the work comes to a halt once you move in. I don't know, I want to see how it will look finished and Curt is a finisher so I'm sure we'll still keep truking for a while. I'm getting excited, (and tired.)

Tomorrow I'll take another load of "more junk" to the house. There has got to be a box that says "awesome stuff that you must see right now" I'll keep looking for it.

November

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Can you believe that it's almost December, wow! We've been so lucky this far to not have any cold weather or snow. We are still waiting for a few parts for our solar hot water/heating system and currently using a space heater to keep the house warm. I'm not sure how well this would all work if it dipped down to -30'. When the rest of our system gets here & we get it hooked up we have to get up onto the roof to put the solar tubes in place and I really don't want to do that with ice & snow on the roof so hopefully the weather can continue. Every nice sunny day we just think about how much free hot water/heat we could be creating if we had the solar system complete. Hopefully it all works well.



Our week of working on the house went well. We spent 5 days installing hard wood flooring, and we now have all of the vanities installed, tiling complete & two toilets installed. The toilet is such a treat, don't take yours forgranted. Grandpa Sandy has nearly got all the finishing electrical done and we have lights in the house. It is looking so complete. My appliances are there and I have the girl's new bunk bed set up in their room. We will install kitchen cabinets this week & weekend and if we get the parts we are waiting for do the heating system next week. I'm hoping for a move in date of December 6th but I guess I shouldn't hold my breath until I see the items we are waiting for arive & I know the heating system all works.





The girls are enjoying the new house & run and giggle from one end of the house to the other. Nollie is relived to have flooring because now she can run around without socks or shoes on. This girl is forever kicking her socks off.



I can't wait to move in. I am going to stay at home for a month. I guess I better stock up on lots of groceries.


This is how I get Luca to sleep at the house. Throw her in the back pack & keep working.

1st Birthday, Haloween, New Van, Paint on the Walls

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All of these things deserve their own post but I wasn't able to sit down and get them done. I'm so envious of people who manage to post on their Blogs every day. I enjoy checking my regular Blogs and seeing something new each time. Then the posts can be short & sweet and not extensive novels. Anyway, I though I better give my update before too much more happens.




October 20th was Luca's 1st Birthday. I can't believe that my little red head is a year old. She is walking up a storm. She can sit and play now, though she's much more active and will not sit for loong, she's always on to check out something new. She is starting to enjoy books and though we have probably a hundred books she will bring her one favorite to us to read several times a day (1, 2, 3 Count With Me). She loves to roar on the page with the lions, who am I kidding she loves to roar on every page. Her cutest "trick" is when she blinks. You ask her to blink and she will do some long exaggerated blinking. She's got one word mastered for sure and that is "up" (sounds more like "uphphphphphphph") When she first started saying it she wouldn't say the "p" so we would make a repetitive p sound after saying up, now she does the same thing. It gets her what she wants.



Last week we got a new van (new to us). I am now a minivan mama, I love it. So easy to get the girls in and out, lots of room for storage & transport. The signal lights work, the heater works, I get radio reception (not always the case with the car). And there's room to grow.


Halloween. We dressed up for play group, went to a haunted house, and on Halloween night went trick-or-treating to all of the local family members house. It's alot of work to get everyone unbuckled, and out of their carseats, get Nollie's wings on grab the treat bucket, get up to the house and say trick-or-treat, visit a bit and then get back to the van and get everyone buckled into their carseats around the Halloween costume. Nollie would practice saying trick-or-treat in the van but as soon as we got up to the door she would clam up (She's her mothers daughter) I think she was only able to say trick-or-treat once, but she did say a quiet thank you to everyone. No one believes us that she talks so much and so well at home.


The house - Drywall is done and we have paint on the walls. We hope to finish up painting the ceiling tonight & tomorrow and then start on flooring this weekend. Curt is taking next week off and we hope to get flooring done & cabinets installed & if we're lucky maybe a working toilet, but we'll see how we do.



Drywall

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Drywall has started! We decided to take the hit and hire out the drywall, a lot of money but I know it was the right decision. So for all the people that were not looking forward to the invitation to help drywall you no longer have to screen our calls. Its so exciting, I am now quite sure that we will be in (in, but not done) by Christmas. That's enough of a Christmas present for me. We are no longer staying out at the camper, too cold, and it's much nicer to sleep in a real bed. We did get a lot of little things done in the time we were out there.

Luca is so close to walking, she will take a few steps but is not ready for it to be her main mode of transportation yet. She understands much of what we're saying and tries to communicate back with us. There's lots of yes & no head nodding coming from her, pointing & yelling. She's much more vocal than her sister.









Nollie is getting a taste of all kinds of new toys lately & loving everything, dolls, cars, lego. She is so bright & picks things up really quickly. She will say things that you've only told her once and is very observant about what is around her. At the house she noticed when the tubs got drains, when the doors got knobs and she points out all the STOP signs that we come across. She has started singing lately too, love it!

Staying in the Camper

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For the last 3 weeks we've been staying in the camper at the new house. This gives us a couple extra hours every night to work and allows me to piddle away durring the day if I have time. It's working out quite well. Curt gets up extra early & goes to his parents to shower before work. The girls & I can either stay out at the house or run into town for errands or play group. If I had a laptop & internet it would work much better since I have to run back most days to do some work on the computer but otherwise great. Since my last post we have stairs, two decks, electrical is essentially done, water lines are run & plumbing is mostly done, we have a cement floor in the garage, we have power, running water, the tubs are installed, shower framed & we are finishing up all the crappy little framing bits that need to be done around the plumbing etc. We hope to start drywalling asap but it depends on when the inspectors can come out. We were hoping to hire out the drywall but it's not looking like it will happen. They all seem to be too busy right now, booking for next year. So we might try a work-bee. Anyone interested in helping us hang drywall is welcome to come. We're planning for the last weekend of the month but unfortunately I can't say for sure right now. I'm also busy picking out appliances, fixtures, paint colours, etc. Did I mention this house building is a lot of work. I was saying that this place really doesn't deserve the "rancho-relaxo" title yet. I can't say there has really been any relaxing out there. Maybe "acreage of never-ending work". I'll have to come up with something. "It's just one year of our life"

The girls are putting up with our torturing and neglecting them. Thankfully Grandma B comes out most weekends & some evenings to entertain them while we work. Nollie is a chatty little girl with a budding imagination. I'm enjoying the things that she is coming up with. She has given up naps which means that my afternoon alone time is over (known as power hour when working on the house) but it has made bed time a little easier. Nollie is really becoming an expert on all things construction related. I mean how many 2 year old girls know what a level and a square are. We've also bettered her agility with all the walking through, over and around obstacles. Luca is a busy bee and loves to climb everything but she's not ready to walk yet, just doesn't want to take the first step. She has a very powerful shreek when she wants something, usually food, it has become the background music to all our meals.

That's it, just the same old rollercoster ride. Sometimes I can see the end and other times I'm not sure we'll ever get there.

Cement

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We hit another milestone yesterday on our house. We got the cement floor poured in our basement. It looks great, so smooth. I would have a photo but when we got out there last night to take a look the battery on my camera was dead, reminding me that I wanted to get a second one as a backup. So much work goes beneath the cement floor. Plumbing pipes, load & loads of gravel, packing, leveling, packing, leveling, packing, leveling, insulation, wire mesh, tubing for in-floor heating. Here a photo of just before the cement went down. A site we will never see again in this house (hopefully). It's all covered up now.

I go back & forth between being so excited by what we have accomplished on the house & being discouraged by how much we have left to do. I daydream about unpacking our belonging into the house but I think we're a few steps away from that still. Our projects for the weekend include building the stairs into the basement & building both the front & back deck. All projects that we will be able to see visual progress. Unfortunately we decided we have to miss the annual Martin Camp-out this weekend, to much to do. We keep repeating the words to each other "We can have fun next summer" I sure hope we remember that next year. I know the work won't be over then.

Naked Painting

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I just thought I'd share some photos from our fun filled night. Pool time & painting outside.







New Addiction

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I have a new internet addiction. Its www.etsy.com. I've just discovered this site "Your place to buy and sell all things hand made" Why would you ever want to buy a gift at Walmart again? This is a place for crafters to sell the things that they've made with each person having their own store within the site. Some of the most amazing items can be found here. Please check it out if you need to buy a gift, want a treat for yourself, are looking for some inspiration on what to make or want to sell your own crafts. I hope to one day have time to make a few things and open a shop here. In order to do this though I would have to get off the computer, stop looking at all this great stuff & start crafting myself. Anyway just thought I'd share......

Raspberries

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Raspberries are now in season. We picked a bucket today, not without a few samples of course.




Summer Update

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OK, I know I've been delinquent here lately. Now how do I possibly sum up the last few fun filled months for you all.

Some Important Dates

June 27 - Shelby's Grad
June 28 - Courtney & Ryan's Wedding

June 29 - Curt's 28th Birthday
July 4 - Nollie's 2nd Birthday
( I made the butterfly cake myself)


Luca Update
My feisty little girl. She may be the little sister but she can put up a fight. She's crawling all over and that means getting into all Nollie's stuff. She's eating "real" food now and loves everything. I've started sleeping the two girls in the same room and it's starting to work. There is often some playing and giggling but eventually they both do go to sleep.

Nollie Update

My chatty little girl. She is learning so much every day. She loves play-dough, colouring, playing in her kitchen, her dolls, books playing outside.

Curt Update

The words I've heard most from Curt "we can have fun next summer" His life is working, time with his girls & working on the house.
Marci Update
I spend my weekdays hanging out with my girls & my weekends working on the house. I've been trying to fit some time in for reading lately & have been inspired by The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule to do some cross stitching. I keep intending to get some sewing done but I can't seem to get past the looking at patterns & fabric. I can't wait for a time when I have all my sewing stuff just set up and ready to work on & don't have to dig out a bin to see my supplies.

House Update

Interior framing is complete

Electrical is in the works
Plumbing drains are roughed in

Septic system is in

Well is drilled & pump is in well

Water, Gas & Power all trenched to the house

Garage & Bsmt are leveled & we'll be prepping for cement

Cabinets are ordered

In the Past month:

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*Luca got two teeth
*Nollie got a hair cut from her mom
*Luca is pulling herself along the floor getting all of Nollie's toys
*Nollie spends her time yelling at Luca & moving the toys away from her
*Luca is not bothered by this and just crawls to get the toys in the new spot
*Nollie has moved away from the third person & is now using pronouns
*We went on a trip to the Valley Zoo (see the photo of Nollie with the zebra)
*I sewed a pair of shorts for Nollie (way too big, I need to figure out how to make the patterns fit better)
*I've started line drying my clothes again
*My little sister Shelby turned 18
*I attended Courtney's shower/stagette
*I've been enjoying Monday morning Strollercise with the girls
*We have windows & doors in our house
*We're part way through fraiming the interior of the house

April Snow

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Friday afternoon we were very thankful for our decision to hire a shingler to shingle our house. Early last week we were looking at the amount of time that we had in the next couple weeks to work on the house and realizing that it was April and we were starting the rainy season and we made the decision to hire a shingler. Curt made some calls & since we already had the shingles we were able to find someone that could do it right away, at a price we were happy with. It was so exciting to go out to the house each night and see progress, when we were not the ones physically doing it. We got a taste of what it would be like to have someone building our house for us, rushing home each night to see what had been done.

So Friday when the snow started to fly we were breathing a sigh of relief. Yesterday when the 30ish cm's of snow finally stopped we went out to the house to shovel out the snow. Not too much longer before we have the windows & doors in and the weather is no longer a concern for us working on the house.

Happy 1/2 year birthday to Luca, she's now 6 months old!
Luca is our little mover now, she rolls around and is getting her bum up in the air in preparation for crawling. If you leave her on the floor she will likely not be in the same place when you get back. She wants to get places and fast. She is sitting up on her own now too. She has started eating solids, yikes. I'm not sure I'm ready for the hassle of worrying about food for her. It's alot easier knowing all the food she needs is with me anywhere I go, no preparation needed. The first 6 months has gone by much faster with Luca then I remember with Nollie.

A Month Has Gone

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Wow, I knew I was getting bad but I didn't realize that a month had gone by since my last post.

Easter
Easter was fun for us this year. Nollie was vibrating with excitement as she went around collecting eggs and eating the chocolate within. Jeff deep fried us a turkey for dinner. It looks bad but it was just the BBQ sauce that burnt on the outside, the inside was delicious.









Nollie
Turning into such a little girl. She loves colouring, playing with stickers, potato head, playing with her guys (Fisher Price Little People), play dough, puzzles, etc. She has recently started wanting to go outside alot, this is great because it forces me to get out there too. She talks like crazy and is getting her manners with lots of please, thank you & your welcomes. She is getting better at sharing with Luca although she needs lots of reminders. She enjoys making Luca laugh. My favorite thing to watch is Nollie and Luca just laughing at each other, I'll have to get a video of it on here.

Luca,
Growing like a weed, I'm constantly going through clothes taking out the ones that are too small and putting in larger ones. She has starting eating some pablum and is ravenous about it. She lurches at the food like she would starve if she didn't get it this second. She loves making noises and any toy or object that makes noises. She would be happy now if you could give her a steady supply of new items to check out. She's tired of the same old toys she's been playing with. I think she's getting frustrated because she just wants to be able to move. She is rolling around but she wants to get at all the cool stuff that's just out of reach. I must say the first 5 1/2 months have gone by much faster with Luca that they did with Nollie.


The House
It was so exciting to see the roof pannels going onto the house a month ago it felt like we were going so fast. Now I just can't wait to be done with anything related to roofing. I had no idea that all the extra work on the roof would take so long. Working on the house was a little more challenging with both girls out there and only Curt & I working. I couldn't wear Luca in the carrier since I was up and down the ladder and pushing up trusses etc. and until recently it was just a little cool for Nollie to be outside for too long. With mitts on she couldn't do anything and without her hands got too cold. We now have the Buchan's camper trailer out there so we have a place to get out of the wind for lunch and a place for Nollie to nap. This weekend we were working on all the overhangs. Next we will have to sheet the garage and then we can shingle.

The Roof is Up

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We had another busy weekend at the house and we have a roof. It's so exciting right now because you can see such progress each time we are out there. The previous weekend we were able to get the remainder of the house walls pushed up on Saturday and the garage walls on Sunday. Both weekends we had lots of help, thanks again to everyone who came out. The weather was great this weekend especially on Saturday. It is much easier to be outside all day working when the temperature is above zero but it gets pretty muddy, so right now we are torn between wanting it to be a nice temperature and wanting it to stay just below zero. As long as it doesn't rain too much before we get the shingles on both should be fine.

Nollie got to spend the weekend with "Gama Edas" (Grandma Lydia) and Luca got to hang out with me at the house.


Here's some photos of the house progress.
Pushing up Walls

Starting the roof

The roof on

The foreman giving directions with baby in tow.

One Wall Up

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I think we are finally over our Winter of sickness. Other than a little dribbly nose Nollie seems to be in much better spirits. She is back running around, eating like crazy and she has taken to screeching. She seems to enjoy it but the rest of us just cringe. Luca is now officially rolling over from back to front every time we put her down and has accidentally gone from front to back a couple times. I think she is going to be a busy one trying to keep up to her sister.

Nollie & Luca & I took a trip into the city to get together with a couple of my bestest girlfriends this weekend. It was such a great weekend. Its always great to get together with good friends. I even got some help going to the mall to get some new pants, what a treat. Mostly we just hung out and enjoyed each others company. It was so great to see you two (and Tom).




Sunday I came home to see the first wall being pushed up on our house. It put a little skip in my step. I was able to stand & look out my bedroom window for the first time. This weekend we will push up the rest of the walls. Thanks again to everyone that has helped us so far. We really appreciate it.

Comes With the Kids

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There's a couple of things I have noticed that just come along with having kids. Laundry, the laundry seems to never stop, just the day after I do it all the laundry the basket is full again. I'm still not sure how mom kept up with doing laundry for seven of us. The second is getting sick. I think we've spent more time as a family sick this winter than healthy. Nollie & Luca both have running noses & coughs right now, it seems like we just got rid of the last batch. I'm doing lots of hand washing hoping that I don't get sick this time.

House Progress: We got word today that our floor system and exterior walls will be coming next week. AHH!! We've been waiting for lots of things to get going lately and it seems that now everything is going to happen all at once. Curt got the majority of the backfilling done last weekend but there's still a bit to do. We still have some work to do on the basement walk out walls before we can put the main level floor system on. Once the floor's done we can push up the walls. Hopefully the weather will warm up soon so we don't have to work in the cold. Brrr. Luca is not agreeing with taking a bottle so my time helping on the house is quite limited. I'm sure will get in there some day but right now it seems like it will be forever.

First Tea Party Together

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Nollie & Luca enjoyed their first tea party together the other day. Here are some photos



A Relaxing Walk

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It was nearing 11:00 this morning and I was running out of time. I had wanted to go for a walk in the morning because if we wait until after lunch Nollie naps and often by the time she gets up it's getting dark and close to supper time. Simon needed a walk, and the fact that my back had been bothering me again the last couple days reminded me that I too needed some exercise. Nollie was still in her PJ's, "NO" was the answer I got when I asked about getting dressed or she just ignored me, no need for a fight. Now was the perfect time for a walk, Luca had a fresh diaper on and had just eaten and it's about as warm as it's going to get for the morning (14.5'C) "Nollie do you want to go for a walk?" "Walk, outside" was her response. "OK, you have to get dressed first." She got up from her toys, excellent I'll go get her clothes. I went downstairs to get her clothes and came up with pant, shirt, sweater, socks, snowpants, toque, coat, mitts, Luca's snowsuit & toque. "OK, Nollie lets go pee and get dressed so we can go outside." She ignores me, "Come on Nollie, do you want to go outside for a walk?" "Walk, nopants (snowpants)" was her response. I get her pants off and sit her on the toilet. Luca's crying, I find her abandoned in the hallway where I left her to go get Nollie, I guess she's not happy with this. Oh, Nollie's done now, put Luca back down and she starts crying again. "A poop! lets wipe you bum." I get that done and deal with the mess in the potty. "Come on Nollie, you have to put your diaper on, no don't sit on that chair, you need your diaper on" I tackle Nollie's diaper on and she takes off again, I can't take Luca's crying so I go rescue her from the hallway and cuddle her, she stops immediately. "Nollie, lets put your pants on so we can go for a walk." She ignores me. I put Luca down, she starts crying, and tackle Nollie into her pants. Nollie picks up her snowpants and I manage to get her all dressed up and ready to go outside. I then pick up crying Luca and put her into her snowsuit, she does not appreciate this. I carry Luca down to the back door and put her on the floor, she cries, she looks like a starfish, arms & legs going strait out unable to move in her suit. I go back upstairs for Nollie, there's no way she could make it down the stairs with all her gear on, however if she did she likely wouldn't get hurt with all the padding. Put Nollie's boots on, grab my coat and hat and go out to put Nollie in the stroller. I love my stroller with an extra toddler seat in the front for Nollie but it was not made for kids in full winter gear with big winter boots on. I struggle to get her feet through the holes. Back inside to get Luca, she's calming down now, getting sleepy, and put her in the stroller, cover her with blankets and at 11:25 we're off. All of this for a 20 minute walk. Was it worth it? Sure, I got some exercise, we all got some fresh, crisp air, Simon got a walk and I feel like I accomplished something. Once everyone was in the stroller there was no crying and we only had to stop 5 times to put Nollie's mitts back on.
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