Monday, July 30, 2007

And then there were four

We have been a three chick family for a year and a half now. . .

. . . But it looks like another wee one will be arriving in March sometime. I'm very ill with baby number four at the moment. And while the timing has brought it's challenges, we couldn't have been more ready or more pleased.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ten day countdown

In ten days time we are technically no longer city dwellers. However recent developments, or lack thereof, have extended our stay by a few days. Our drywallers are "giving us the run-around," as Aidan would say. They were supposed to start two days ago, then bumped us until today, only to bump us to Monday. And people who do this twice, can be expected to do it yet again. Without taped walls we are STUCK. We can't paint. We can't install flooring. We can't move our furniture in or get our kitchen ready.

Everyone seems to be losing sleep on our behalf, but I'm telling you, by God's grace and mercy I am holding myself together quite nicely. It feels like an adventure. And I love those. But there is no dangling ending, waving in the wind. The end destination is tangibly within our grasp. So what if we have to camp our for a week or so? No problem. It will be messy. Maybe hot. We will be cranky and, in my case, very sore. But we will soon be living in the home of our dreams.

The wonderful woman who is moving into this place after we leave, has offered to find other accomodations herself for a few days to buy us some time. She astutely observed that it would be easier to be in limbo herself for while, rather than send a family of five into upheaval. Blessed woman! Her only condition is that we set aside a room for her to move in a bunch of her stuff. Done. Goodbye livingroom. And we have had offers of meals and babysitting. Concerned calls and many prayers. We are covered!

The plan is to get the loft set up over the garage for our week of "camping." We'll have a toilet and a roof over our head, so we are not really roughing it. I will be SICK of BBQ by the end of it, but will then move on to a beautiful gas range to play with.

Your prayers are coveted. And have already been felt.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A day in the life of a homebuilding mama...

I pulled out of the driveway at 8:30 with the three kids who were in varying states of dishevelment and disarray.

Drove to our friends' place in the east end for 9:00. Dropped the kids off there, bringing the total number of children under one roof to six, with minimal instructions on how to keep them alive, let alone happy.

Drove to Boone's and spent an hour and a half ordering: 3 toilets, a tub faucet, a sink faucet, a kitchen faucet and a shower faucet. Note: The toilets took the longest. Do you want an elongated bowl? Do you prefer the two-piece or single? Would you like a dual flush? How about a chrome handle?

Next came the Re-store where I fell in love with a mohagany fireplace mantel. Ornately carved with leaved branches and plumed birds. Alas, there was no way it was going to fit into the space I had in mind.

Hit Cohen and Cohen where I fought covetousness, once again, this time over everything I laid eyes on. There were massive carved wooden doors, stained glass windows, wrought-iron farmhouse grates, deacons benches and more. But I had come for brick, and sadly left without. . .

To Starbucks to refuel on a sandwhich. (No coffee. Good girl).

RONA to hunt down sinks. Why did they all come attached to something? Why were they all shaped like shells? Yeck. Also, no wide-planked flooring. And no paint sales.

Now to IKEA--the cult-like mecca for people who can't stop spending money on their homes. I spent another hour and a half in the kitchen department ordering new cabinets and countertops, and befriending the harried saleswoman. I was confident going in, but the red NON_REFUNDABLE stamp across my order form now has me doubting everything.

Off to the IKEA warehouse to pick up the things I just ordered. Talked a young guy into cramming way too much stuff into a way too small car.

Tearing down the highway, with a bunjee-closed trunk, to the lot where Aidan and I unloaded everything. (I barely had time to notice to gorgeous front steps Dave!)

Back across town, and I mean ACROSS town, from the West end to the East end in rush hour traffic to pick up the kids.


Who wants to try it?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

BIG party

This month Elijah turned three, while Aidan turned ten-times-three. Because their birthdays fall within one week of each other, I am presented each year with an excuse to REALLY throw a party. This year was no exception:

Guests: 50 lawnchair-carrying-folk. . .
Arriving at: Our mess-of-a-house-- partly drywalled and littered with building scraps. . .
Eating : BBQ, six or seven incredible salads, along with delicious appetizers. . .
Followed by: Scones topped with fresh berries, peaches and whipped cream. (And double chocolate brownies on the side). . .
Lounging in: Lantern lit coziness.

Throwing a big party at a construction sight could have gone very badly. When I pulled up on Wednesday morning the front porch floor had gaping holes in it, while the back porch had no floor at all. And the house was a tangle of extension cords and piles of drywall. The weather seemed to be against us, threatening rain and lightning, and I had no space, and only half a plan. I began to feel a rising panic, which was magnified when people began arriving hours early.

But then, as always, my crew pulled through, and somehow got it done. The guys cleared the house out in ten minutes and made it sparkle. My girls and I hammered together a back porch and set up tables, draping them in colourful clothes. Our tall men strung lanterns, while candles were being placed and lit. Many hands carried many platters and bowls of food back and forth, until all was ready.

I'm a big party kind of girl. They are harder to plan and prepare for. But once begun, they throw themselves. People organically settled into groups, forming and than disbanding, only to regroup elsewhere. We had some who congregated on the porches, others around the food. The little ones got into some face paint, and then began tumbling down our sand pile out back. Aidan seemed to be giving constant tours of the house, and could not have been happier doing so. While some of the boys began to set up our volleyball net, with some difficulty, in the yard. Meanwhile, as hostess, I got to float. I drifted from group to group, until the night was a blur of different conversations and shared laughter.

The darker it got, the more people began to slowly trickle home. A group of us managed to squeeze in a game of volleyball before the light completely faded. That may have been the highlight of the night for me. Playing my favourite sport in bare feet and a skirt in my own backyard as the sun slowly set. We only drove home ourselves around midnight in a happy haze. Tired, but in a good kind of way. We were completely spent, but completely satisfied.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Creativity: Rooftops of Prague

LANTERNS. I believe I have found my artisitic sweet spot. The realm of lanterns is where I am happy to dally, perhaps permanently. I have sketched, painted, done mosaics, sculpted . . . but nothing has held my attention as long as the art of lantern making. Light and silhouette are such beautiful things. And I get to manipulate both so uniquely.

The story behind my latest is simply that I fell inlove with a city from a distance. My parents enjoyed a return trip to Prague a month ago, and while they were away I began work on this lantern. How could the City of One Hundred Spires not evoke inspiration?

I looked up many many photos of the various spired structures in the city. Some were too simple. Some were far too complicated. Others were just right.

I drew my favourites.
I cut them out with as much detail as I dared. (Going too far leads to rips and tears.) I then painted them black with India Ink.

Next: Colour and mood. We have all heard about the power light has to affect our mood. Warm and cold ends of the spectrums. Soft blending versus bold contrast. . . The colours I choose, decide how the light will filter through, and changes the whole tone of the lantern. I wanted a sunrise. It seemed a challenge. The boldness of dusky oranges and reds would take away from all of the detail of the rooftops. And I wanted the light to be calming.

I finished it -- and then I gave it away to someone I love who is leaving me for awhile. I know she'll appreciate the ability to call up a sunrise with the strike of a match whenever she needs one.

Canada Day--Part Two

Josh can take credit for most of these shots. Thanks buddy.

Can't wait for 141.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Canada Day--Part One

In no particular order, some photos of our crew on Canada's 140th: