Monday, September 27, 2010

Close your eyes and make a wish

As my birthday is getting closer, people in my family are asking what my wish list is. At this age it seems like you either own all the things you could get at a store, or the ones you truly wish for will remain on a long list because they are dreams and out of your reach, unless you have unlimited funds or a fairy godmother.

When further thinking about what I truly wish for, I can think of the impossible wishes such as summers never ending and calm and organized family days. The thoughts you have when you are completely exhausted and want your kids to be grown up and independent, to be able to go to a yoga class with your husband and not hire a babysitter. To hop on a plane and attend a far away wedding and enjoy the excitement of it all. But like the seasons our lives change.

And I might be particularly fond of summer - the heat, the water, light summer dresses, sandals, barbecue dinners and fresh berries. But even in summer we face our challenges - days that are too hot, bugs that bite and sunburned shoulders. So I look past the watermelon days to fall and all the beauty it brings. The cooler temperatures, the beautiful Canadian foliage, cardigans, pumpkins, cooler visits to the farm with tractor rides and giggling kids - and look at upcoming birthday.

Well into September now, I am already enjoying it, another season approaching fast - but of all the places to be in the fall, Canada truly shines. And of all the ages my kids could be, those little toddlers have grabbed our hearts and sucked us in. They make us crazy, cranky and tired...but then you'll see them eat that watermelon, have their faces painted or watch them walk down the farm path with their dad and you know that enjoying the moment is truly the best thing to wish for.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Have patience and you shall receive (eventually)

When buying a house you weigh the new house versus the old house. A new cookie cutter builder special with no work to do, but walls as thin as cardboard, bad quality paint and, unless you spend a fortune on upgrades, not really top of the notch quality.

So, in our search for a family friendly neighbourhood last year, we went for the 'old' house. I am putting old in quotation marks here, because some of my European friends or even my grandparents here, would take offence to our house being old at 51 years. But, in the grand scheme of things it is, and we had to tackle some major renovations right off the bat.

We went into this with great ambition, our main concern after the neighbourhood and schools was a house that flows well, isn't too big, but big enough for two kids and all of our stuff. When we looked at this house, it was badly decorated with polyester curtains tacked on the windows, overstuffed leather couches, bad light fixtures and a muddy beige or hospital grey/white colour on the walls. We saw past that and looked at the potential - that's where the danger lurked. Because of all the potential, this house was priced so we could afford it, in a neighbourhood that boasts a lot of houses that are out of our reach.

Our excitement of this potential blinded us to the fact of how fast we would be able to 'upgrade' some of the things and how much money it would cost. So, here we are, 10 months after moving in and a lot has happened. My impatient self might think that I wish I was all done, but that's not realistic.

We put in an entire new heating system, air conditioner, duct work was installed throughout the house, we had our chimney rebuilt, painted every single room in the house, tore up vinyl tiles in the mudroom, moved plumbing, tore down 1960s wood paneling in the family room and did all the dry wall, speaker install, carpet install, and the list goes on.

I have to say that I am so proud of my hubby and all the work he has done. All of it was done by him with exception of the mechanical, chimney rebuild and carpet install. He has spent countless hours drywalling, mudding, sanding, painting, cutting trim, installing electrical, painting walls and installing tiles. And all of this while having to abide to toddler schedules! When looking at all the work he's done himself it's just baffling.

Two weeks ago B took the kids to visit his parents and I took those days to do a little work myself. I finally painted our master bedroom and I sanded and stained our wooden stairs down to the family room. At last our own room is finished - amazing how a lick of paint can make such a difference. I had to peel some remaining wallpaper, remove staples attached to a cable, but it's done, we have a room that does not look like a hospital room.

So- this house continues to be a project, we still have little things to tackle and we still need a lottery windfall to pay for new windows, but remembering how this place looked when we bought it and where it is less than a year later makes me happy. We saw the potential, we might have walked into the project a little blue eyed, but with continued patience and hard work we achieved a lot - we have a very comfortable house that feels like home and with a little more patience and elbow grease we will one day finish everything we have on our list.

Right now, I'm just looking forward to the last touches in our mudroom and we will be enjoying in-floor heat now that the cold weather is upon us. In truth this is a big thank you to the best hubby in the world for his patience, talent and ability to transform this house to what it is today and what it will be a couple of years from now - he has truly helped us create a home for our family and I love him for that and so much more.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fruits of the season part 2

Here I am again, writing about tomatoes. You might be sick of it, but we are still producing a harvest with many green ones ready to ripen.

On my last post my very good friend S posted a comment with a link to The Wednesday Chef and a tomato recipe that I should try.

Now, my friend writes a great food blog and I am always happy to see what she is up to in Berlin - how her tastes have changed since we lived together, what's important to her now compared to our university years. Her blog revolves around food, something she loves and many of us do. The blog she pointed me to is a top rated food blog and I've been reading a lot of food related stories these days.

My blog was not meant to be about food, but rather a diary to capture stories I know we'd forget, especially as we are going through life at a child induced crazy speed (let's not even get to the fact that August and therefore summer is over).

I've had a very good memory and can recall many dates, times, songs, memories, events up to about 3 years ago. Coincidentally my memory no longer serves me as well (hormones, kid craziness or loss of brain cells?), so this is to keep my stories alive for myself and my family - and if it serves to connect long distance friendships, letting people feel they know a little more of what is going on in my life then that's great too.

So, not a food blog - but this post is again about food. I'm calling it part two, because I cooked the recipe that my friend pointed me to in part one...and you should try this. My hubby will agree full heartedly - it was so yummy, so simple, tasty and fresh that I want to make it again and again. And with all the tomatoes still ready to ripen I am sure we will recreate the recipe over and over this September.
Have a look and try it yourself.