Organizing Could Start Getting Fun Around Here

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I feel like we're actually starting to work on the house again. Yeah! Ever since Christmas we've had a hard time getting motivated to do any work on the house. We were enjoying that our house had enough done to live and not worrying much about the rest. Its not that we didn't do anything, just that we weren't working nonstop every weekend and evening, ignoring our kids, eating like crap and slamming Coke for extra energy to get through the day. Work in the 2009 year is much more relaxed with proper meals and cleaning them up afterwords, plenty of time for playing with the girls, video games, internet & movies. Since Christmas we had insulated the basement walkout wall, installed foil insulation under our in-floor heating tubes, installed some interior doors and spent about 2 weeks getting the solar tubes on the roof and working properly. I had also been working on closets but hadn't gotten much further than a rod in the front entry closet so we had somewhere to hang our coats.

We would like to get the place finished, just to have it done, so that we can get our final inspections complete or at the very least get our occupancy permit so I don't have to live in fear of someone coming and kicking us out of our house and bulldozing it to the ground because we were living there without railings on the deck and drywall around the utility room. We would also love to get our mortgage finalized and get some money from the bank. When building your own house you have to pay for everything upfront and then the bank gives you the money after so even though we have basically payed for everything on the house at this point the bank has only given us half the money. You can not tell me that siding and trim are worth half of the amount of our entire house house. Our house must be 97% done to finalize the mortgage. I'm not sure what that actually means but I'm sure we would need siding done and finishing all the piddly little things inside the house will help too so we're back to work.

In the last week we've finished tiling the main bathroom. We've been able to bath the girls in their tub now and Curt & I have both been able to sneak a couple showers in. I say sneak because we don't yet have a shower curtain (we're waiting on a special L-shaped shower curtain rod that should be in this week) and so we have to have a really quick and careful shower, but it feels good none the less. Curt made the base for the shower in our bathroom, so more tiling is coming our way and we've redone some plumbing at the inspectors request (curse him). We've completed the shelving in the front entry closet, the main bath closet and the pantry. We also hung the cabinets above the washer & dryer in the laundry. With all the storage space getting finished I'm now getting excited at the idea of organizing and getting everything up off the floor. A place for everything and everything in its place. Looks like I know what I will be doing in the next week.

Happy Birthday to my Grandma Graves today!

Interview Game

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There is a bit of an interview game being played currently in the blog world. I have signed up to be interviewed by a friend of mine and here are my answers to her questions. You can then be interviewed by me, it's fun trust me.

1) I really like the name Luca. Where oh where did you find this name? Was there an alternative boy name in case she was a he? Or other girl names in the race til the end? Do tell.

Well, when I lived in Edmonton I used to listen to a Luka Simmons on CKUA radio and there's also the song (My name is Luca, I live on the second floor). Actually I just came across it in a baby name book and I liked it, so I added it to my list. I had heard it before but didn't think about it until I read it in the book. Our boy name was Juna and I'm not done having kids yet so if anyone takes it they're dead met, kidding. Other girl names I can't remember but I'm sure there were some. I could probably find them in my notebook I mentioned a couple days ago.

2) What is your absolute favorite feature about the house you guys built? In a world without money constraints, what additional feature would you want in the house? What feature in the house do you think makes running your household easier? ie) smart layout, or where you have the laundry or what have you.

Its hard to say what my favorite feature will be since it is still a work in progress. I think the closet space will be great once I get all my shelfs, closet rods & closet doors in. I'm excited for my decks, front and back, once I get the railing on and don't have to worry about little girls falling off. My yard too, once we get all the garbage cleaned up, grass planted and some gardens started.
If money was not a concern I would want solar panels for electricity purposes in addition to the solar hot water tubes. I know its not really a feature but if money was not an issue I would also have someone else build our house or atleast finish it. I'm tired and I just want it to be done.
The feature that makes running the household easier is having a bungalow. I love that my laundry, bedrooms & living area are all one one level. It saves so much time not having to run up and down the stairs all the time.

3) I often marvel at how a person's 20's are all about drastic change. Take yourself for example. Since I've met you, you've lived in Res, by that church where Gretzky got married, on the south side with Jess, house in E, The Original Rancho Relaxo, and now the House that Curt and You Built. You just turned 28. Surely you are done moving for at least 2 years. What other sorts of excitement can we expect from you in your last 2 years of your 20's?

Gosh, I hope I'm done moving for alot longer than 2 years. In my last 2 years of my 20's I would expect another baby, a finished house and just a whole lot of time with family and friends.

4) The last time I saw Nollie was at V's wedding and Nollie was a little signing star with the more and the milk, and Curt said she could say apple too I think. Did you do signing with Luca? Can Nollie pick up on what Luca is signing, if so? Or does Luca prefer to just scream in protest if she wants something?

We did some signing with Luca too, just the basics, more, please, dog, milk, eat, drink. She has started to leave it behind in favor of talking. Nollie did pick it up again when we used it with Luca and started signing as she spoke just like we did. Luca does prefer to scream instead of signing or talking as a first instinct. We have to remind her to use her words/signs and try hard to not give in when she's just screaming.

5) You are the third person I know who has two kids less than 2 years apart. What do you love about having the girls close together in age? What is something that is really tough about it?

The great part is that you never really get out of the baby phase. You're still used to sleepless nights and carrying someone wherever you go. It's also great that at this age they can play together. I was lucky to be living with my in-laws durring the first year when they both needed so much attention, it made the toughest time a million times easier. The tough part now is they just get clumped together doing the same things. There is not enough of an age gap where I can say Nollie you're older so only you get to do this, Luca is too little. I try to give Nollie some special things to do but for the most part they both partake in the same activities. Really though you just deal with what you get. I will never know what its like to have my first two kids spaced any differently so I can't compare what would be easier or harder. I just know what is and so far its working out pretty good.


There you go. If you wish to be interviewed by me please post a comment saying Interview me and I will send you some questions.

Change of Plans

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I was just working on a post about making new friends and about scrapbooking and when I read it it sounded like I took my Debbie Downer pill this morning (wah, wah, wah). I decided I didn't want to post something where I was feeling sorry for myself and so I will just post this.

The more you practice the better you will get!

Happy Thoughts

28 Random Things for 28 Years

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  1. I have experienced 29 Valentines Day's in 28 years.
  2. I shared my birthday in very early elementary school with another boy in my class (T. M.). I wonder where he is now?
  3. I once owned a chameleon and 2 red eyed tree frogs and they all ate crickets. The thing about crickets is they always seem to get loose. We lived in an apartment and our crickets must have gone over to visit our neighbour. We ran into her in the elevator and she asked if we had any sort of pest problem, she had some sort of bug infestation and had an exterminator by to check it out. "Nope, nothing in ours, no problem here"
  4. I've traveled to Europe once visiting England, The Netherlands, Belgum, & Frace. It was very spontanious and I was there about as quickly as I could get my passport. I had just graduated University and didn't yet have a permenent job. Curt was traveling in England for the summer with a friend and I just decided to join them. I'm glad I went then because who knows when I'll ever get back.
  5. I keep a notebook (or several) on the go at any time. In it I write a medly of random things. Looking at my current one that I started in Jan/07 (I wrote this on the cover) I find my daily to do lists with about half of the things crossed off each day, directions to several locations, phone numbers and notes taken while on the phone, potential properties to buy in DV, travel log & gas mileage from June of 07, a complete list of every time Nollie peed while started IPT, notes from the online job that I did, lots more random stuff. I always try to have diffent sections when I start the book but by the end it is all a big mess and I find myself flipping around to find a blank page to write on.
  6. I am excited to start vermicomposting. I am getting some worms from a friend of mine soon. I hate to see all the organic waste going into the garbage can.
  7. I have to follow instructions, I can't help it. The first thing I do when I get something new is to read the instructions, even the simplest of things. I probably don't need to read the directions on how to put batteries in a toy but I want to make sure I'm not missing anything.
  8. I stop myself from buying things because I look at them and think "I can make that myself". One of two things usually happens. I never get to making it myself or I do make it myself and its not near as nice as I envisioned it would be. Occasionally it does work out though.
  9. I sometimes think that I missed out on learing how to really work with long hair because I had short hair throughout highschool. This is the time when you have time to play around with your hair and when you really care how you look. Now I don't have all the quick tricks to make my hair look nice without having someone else do it.
  10. I think I have the best job in the world. I am thankful every day that I get to stay home with my girls and that Curt works hard to bring the money in. I don't look forward to ever working out of the home again.
  11. I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate. I guess it goes along with the whole Valentines Birthday thing.
  12. I love growing plants from seed. Its so exciting to see the little green spouts come out of the black soil.
  13. My favorite season is spring, so fresh & new, everything is growing, the days are longer and its not so cold.
  14. All the vehicles I have owned have been white. I don't know if I can break the tradition now.
  15. I only really worked for one company after graduating university but while working there I worked in two locations, in over four differnent postions, and the company had two different names.
  16. I basically fainted when I had to give a mouse a needle in the lab. I blacked out and someone caught me. After that we decided it was best if I just took care of the mice and didn't work with the needles
  17. I don't like to take medicine or drugs of any type. I'm not into messing with my body's natural way of things.
  18. My first pet was a dog named George who actually looked quite similar to my current dog Simon.
  19. I believe everything happens for a reason and God doesn't give you any more than you can handle.
  20. I love tulips and roses and orchids and lillies and flowers in general really.
  21. I wish you could buy mix and match shoes like you can bathing suit top & bottoms. My feet are a half size differnet from one another and both shoes never fit right.
  22. I spend more time planning than doing.
  23. I love the sound of a bass guitar.
  24. I'm a morning person.
  25. I love swimming, I should do it more often.
  26. I love the feeling of falling (drop of doom, cliff jumping, etc.) Terrifying yet exhilerating.
  27. I think having a large family was the greatest experience and I couldn't even image anything differnet.
  28. I thank Curt for telling me and showing me that anyone can do anything because once you believe this there is nothing you can't accomplish.
I just looked up at my calendar above my desk and the picture was this. How could they have known that February was my birthday month?
Happy Heart Day!

Language Time

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Nollie busted out the entire ABC's last night at the supper table with no mistakes (OK maybe she said P when she should have said V, but it was pretty close. Out of nowhere she just started singing and got the whole way through. It was the first time I have heard her do it from beginning to end on her own with no coaching or help. We were so proud! She's also been reciting bits of books lately and singing entire kids songs (like "Twinkle, Twinkle"). She has also started to remember the names of some of our favorite authors. I never thought to tell her who the author was until I was at a Come Read With Me group put on by DV Read & Learn and they suggested it. I think Nollie is going to have a great memory. If she does, I would have to say she gets it from my Grandma Graves, she has the most amazing memory especially for names & dates. I think it must have skipped over me though, I can't remember anything. Sometimes having a crappy memory comes in handy though. I can read the same book over & over and truely not remember what happens.

Luca has been trying to talk like crazy lately, repeating some words that we give her. She is especially motivated if she wants something ie. more milk at supper. Its hard to say if she's saying "milk" or "more" but she's saying something and defianately getting the point across that its milk she wants. Yesterday she was looking at a picture of a ball in a book saying "ball, ball" and I caught her palying with the word wammer (Leapfrog) putting letters in & repeating what it said "o", "i" "mmmmm". Her most used words include: up, no, dog, luca (caca),snack, that, this, dad and of course mama. She runs around all day saying "mama, mama" especially if I am out of her site for a moment.

The greatest thing in the world is watching your children learn, its amazing!

King of The World

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Simon, our dog thinks he is king of the world. So much for the Dog Whisperer's idea of me being the lead dog. On our walks he is way up in front leading us instead of us leading him and even when we drive in the driveway he will get up in front and lead us home (Thanks Simon, I wasn't sure which way to go there). He is a good dog though so I'm not too worried about it, anyway who has time for all the training? I'm already training two girls inside the house and besides there is no way on a -30 day that I am going outside to walk him before I give him his food so the whole Dog Whisperer thing is not going to work for me right now.

In addition to being king of our family he is also king of the animal world (in his mind). When meeting another dog he is quick to tell them that he is boss. He even bit our neighbour's dog once, not great for neighbourly relations but I think they've worked it out now and they both stay on their own side of the fence (mostly). He also keeps the wild animals away, there will be no deer eating my tulips. When our neighbour warned us about the problem with coyotes in the area we weren't worried we knew Simon would keep them away. Sure enough Simon is busy all night barking at the coyotes. Preventing them and any wild animals from coming near our property line. Thanks Simon, but I don't mind if you take a night off and maybe not bark outside my window tonight.

Our brave dog did have a couple fears though, car rides, going inside a building with the door closed and since moving to DV, going up onto the deck. Every car ride we have taken him on we had to literally pick him up and put him into the the car/truck and then close the door quick so he didn't jump out. He even barfed all over Curt's truck on the drive from Provost to DV. It was a fair trade I guess since I had to take Roofis to the SPCA. Poor Roofis, I wonder where he is, hopefully with a cat free family somewhere. For some reason since we moved to DV Simon would not come up the stairs to the deck, maybe it was the loss of his friend. He always did with no problem in Provost. Even our front deck that is only 3 steps off the ground was too much for him. If we did manage to get him up he would lay low and jump off as soon as he could. We had been meaning to work on this for a while because it was a bit ridiculous. The other day Curt drug him up onto the deck and held him petting him trying to calm him down. I saw this and ran out with a treat for him. The next day we did the same thing. Yesterday I looked out my window and there was Simon up on the deck on his own. He has apparently conquered his fear. Now I can sit out on my front porch in the summer and have my dog at my feet just like in my imagination.

There he is now up on the deck looking in the window at me. It reminds me of being in Provost, he and Roofis would come and look in the front window in the morning almost saying "if you guys are up why do I not have food in my bowl yet." At least I know I won't ever forget to feed him.

So now I guess he is king of the deck world too.

All Things Colourful

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I've been adding a lot of colour to my life lately. I guess I'm getting tired of the winter white & brown outside and dreaming about spring. Here is a taste of some of the colour in our house.

We coloured some rice this week. The girls had fun as we danced around the kitchen shaking the rice in a plastic bag to mix the colour in.

Both girls enjoy scooping the rice from one bowl to another, it keeps them busy for up to an hour. Yes it can get messy, I just have to keep my ears alert to the sound of rice being dumped on the floor or table and then we're done. Anyway dry rice is much easier to clean up than sticky cooked rice and the cookie sheet catches most of the misses.


I made some colourful ice cubes, and then.....

...we got to watch them melt and see how the colours changed when mixing together.

I sorted my buttons. They look so much nicer in separate colour jars rather than all mixed together. Seeing them all lined up like this makes me happy.

I hope you're adding some colour to your day.

Headband Finished

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I finished my headband this weekend. It feels so good to finish a project, I should remember this feeling (I'm not much of a finisher). I am happy with the results, it looks really good, if I do say so myself. I did end up taking it all apart and restarting it after the first weekend. I really should have started with a practice knit of just a little swatch to get the hang of knitting before starting a project. The first attempt looked really shoddy and the perfectionist in me couldn't handle it. This is part of my problem with finishing things, I figure if I can't finish it properly why finish. I learned a lot from this project. How to tell a knit from a purl by looking at them rather than counting the 100+ stitches to figure out where you should be. How to un-knit and fix a mistake. How to use markers when knitting and of course how to cast on, bind off, knit & purl. It's a wonderful hobby and I think I will keep it. I love how portable it is, I could take it to playgroup, I knit in the van on our drive to the city and I knit in my rocking chair while Curt played video games or we watched a movie, and I didn't have to pull out a ton of stuff and then put everything away later, just place my yarn & needles in the basket & I was done.
I'm planning out my next project now. Marilyn brought over some yarn that used to belong to Grandma B. It's dark brown and I think it will make great cushions for our living room couches.

Note: Its really hard to take a good photo of yourself. If you have any tips please let me know.

Morning Walk

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I went for a nice walk in the morning yesterday before the sun was even up over the trees. Along with me I had the girls, the dog and the cats. Why is it that I forget how amazing it is to get outside and just walk. I came back and felt completely invigorated, ready to show the day everything I had. The fresh air, the little bit of exercise, slowing down to just enjoy the nature around me. It was wonderful, I think I'll do it again today.

A Problem with the Horizontal

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I have a problem with the horizontal. Every horizontal surface that I come across I seem to place something on it, stack things up until I can't even see the original space. I could make a million excuses, my house isn't organized yet, I don't have my closets done so there's nowhere to put things away, someone else put the stuff there. The truth is I've always been like this, the open space just calls me to cover it up. Sometimes when I try to tidy up I will put everything into a nice neat pile on the corner of the island (desk, dresser, etc). It does look better but the stuff's still there. It drives Curt crazy! I'm working on it, sort-a.
A table in my bedroom - a place things go when you don't want to see them in the main part of the house. Funny thing, the drawers are practically empty but rather than opening them up & hiding things I put them on top.

Craft Storage - Another case of why open the drawer when there's still room on top. My excuse here is I want to organize the drawers. You know get rid of some stuff, use my label maker etc so until then I will make no effort to keep it tidy. When the tower gets too high and things won't stay on top I will have to deal with it. Actually things have started to fall and I haven't' dealt with it, I guess that didn't work.

The spare bed. Atleast all of this stuff isn't no the floor.

The half wall that goes around our stairway - I knew this one would be an issue before we moved in. I put items I want to take downstairs there so that I can grab them on the way down (I usually forget) and various other crap just ends up there.

Flylady says to clean your kitchen sink every night but for me it has been my kitchen table. I think It is so pleasing to see a nice clean kitchen table every night before bed and every morning when I get up. Next I would like to add my kitchen island to the routine and we'll see where we go from there. Baby steps... (please ignore the ugly "curtain" hanging in the background that's a whole other post.)

Visiting

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I had a great weekend. I got a chance to visit with a lot of my friends and family. Nothing like packing it all into a couple days. I guess now I can be a hermit for a couple months. We spent Friday visiting two of our best couple friends in Edmonton. The fellas went to the Oilers game while the ladies stayed back to tend the children. After the chaos of putting 6 kids to bed we even got to enjoy a game of cards (I love games). Saturday I got to visit my two best girlfriends from Uni. One on bedrest in the hospital awaiting her first baby. We're just hoping that baby will be well enough when he/she comes next week to go home soon after and not have to stay too long in the hospital. Send your prayers her way. Friend number two then came out to check out the new rancho-notso-relaxo. Sat evening was fight night so we all went to G. Lydias & G. Jody's because after a day in the city with your kids why not throw in some extra torture by keeping them up 'till 11:00pm. The UFC fight nights have turned into a bit of a tradition at the Martin House and even the simplest of get togethers is starting to get crazy. I guess that's what happens when you start at a family of 7. We've now doubled to 14. I can't imagine what it will be like in another 10 years.

All of the visiting meant that the shower didn't get completely tiled this weekend. I guess we have one more week of baths only. No big deal, this was much more fun.
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