Events


It’s amazing the amount of damage that can be done with a crowbar and some time!  Thank goodness for my Dad-in-law, who was more than willing to rip out our old kitchen –  here are some pics!

Hooray for ripping out old, gross kitchens and walls – looking forward to the new!  🙂

 

The Kitchen Cupboards are out!

 

 

The kitchen wall is out...

 

The weird plants that were growing in our walls... strange.

When we got the keys to our new place Friday, I was excited.  REALLY excited.

When we actually pulled up Saturday morning, unlocked the door, and stepped in – I saw everything with new eyes.  New, scared, reality-based eyes.  I’m willing to admit – most of Saturday consisted of me acting as a mini-tyrant, running around upset at the world in ‘almost’ tears, looking at this tiny, beat-up country home we wanted so badly.  Thank goodness my husband and parents are so forgiving and understanding.

The past 5 days have been a roller-coaster of emotions.  I’ve hit everything from elated to completely devastated to laughing out loud.  The home we bought is the kind of house you drive by and think, “Aw, that’s a cute little country home!”.  But, you never really know what that can mean until you move into one – or start to.  (We don’t actually move in until late November).  Almost everything is needed.  None of the electrical outlets are grounded and there are almost no outlets in the upper level and none in the bathrooms at all.  The walls move when you push them because the plaster is so old and poorly done – everything inside seems to slant in some way or another (though the foundation is very solid).  There is almost no storage, we need a new septic system, a complete outdoor re-vamp (including what takes a digger), insulation, better and more efficient heating, new windows (they’re original – with the old pullies… pretty neat!), the basement has it’s own little stream (great for the kids! *snort*) and needs to be completely fixed,  the cistern needs emptying, cleaning, servicing, and re-filling because our water is currently toxic and filled with E coli.  And that’s just to start…

Nice.

But this is what we signed up for!  We knew all this when we invested in this beautiful little home on a gorgeous 1/4 acre property on the escarpment.  And it’s going to be worth it!  Right?  Please, just say, “Right!”.

Despite the ups and downs, I have been consistently ‘up’ for about 48 hours now, so I think I’m well on my way to being generally okay with this decision.  A whole lot of coffee, chocolate, and a new kitchen have also REALLY helped my transition.  This is a journey, and I’m excited, for sure.  I’m

Alex almost conked out on the new living room floor... just thinking about all the renovating is TIRING!

especially excited my Dad is so excited because without him, we’re sunk.  And, that would pretty much sink the excitement too.  Excitement is the word here.  I’m building on it.   Literally, actually!  And my Mom’s continued support in every way keeps me going too.  Wes and I are really, really – well – excited about what is to come.  Even if it is a ridiculous amount of work.  And money.

The first big decision we made that was above and beyond what we were planning to do right away is the kitchen (as mentioned).  The kitchen is the heart of the home, and especially for us – as it’s where we do a lot of home schooling (art projects, science experiments, games, activities, reading, phonics lessons, math, on and on) every single day.  When I stepped into our new house and really took a good look at the kitchen, my heart sank to my toes.  Don’t get me wrong, the room is beautiful – three huge country windows and lots of space – but the cabinets were almost non-existent and what was there was old, tacky, and falling apart.  We originally said we’d rough it out for a while, but our hearts are telling

The kitchen as it is right now. Yikes.

us a different story.  And thank goodness we have my Dad, who is so willing to help with the install.

As soon as I found out we were doing the kitchen, my spirits lifted.  I felt there was hope in the world, so long as I could have a beautiful kitchen.  Who cares if there’s no water and I’ll have to run extension cords to run the blender – dangit, I’ll have my kitchen!  ha…

In all honesty, despite the chaos of dealing with BIG issues like water, septic, and electrical concerns, there’s something therapeutic about doing something simple and soul-warming like picking out paint colours and buying cabinets.  Funny, because I’m not at all a shopper and would never ‘shop’ for therapy – but in this case, that kind of stuff has been and will most-likely continue to be my refuge!  For all else, we can only look up.  We truly believe this home is a gift from God to us – if only we could fit a bow around it.  All the quirks and bumps in the road will only make us stronger and help us appreciate life-as-we-know-it more.  We are so blessed – as a family, in this community, in this country – and by God!  Let the fun begin!

 

Proof the new Kitchen is a sure-thing! 🙂

Paint choices... comments?

 

 

“Moving House” will invite you to join me and my family as we go through the ups and downs of moving into our first country house – and our journey to make it a home.

I think it’s hilarious that our daughter continues to say, “we’re moving house!”.  You can tell we’ve been reading lots of UK-based Usborne Books…

But we are.  Well, reading lots of Usborne AND moving.  I’m still in a whirlwind of emotions, stress, and general craziness.  Ever since we were married, my hubby and I have dreamed of moving to the country where our kids would have a big lot and we’d have lots of space to run, plant gardens, have bonfires, and enjoy nature.  It never had to be big or fancy – just sweet and warm, and cozy.  Well, our dream is becoming reality!  We’re moving from our townhome to a beautiful little fixer-upper on a quater acre lot on top of the escarpment.  I feel blessed, elated, scared, and nervous all at the same time.


Our new home

I never thought I’d live in Dundas.  I’d only been here a handful of times as a child.  But when we found our first home here, we settled in and grew a strong attachment to this beautiful town.  There’s nothing better than being in a community where you can go to the park or walk to the store and pass 4 families you know my name.  This home is where we raised all of our babies – and had 2 beautiful homebirths.  There are so many amazing memories, happy times, growth – so much has taken place in the home we will be leaving…

I can still glance over to the side of my bed and see a vision of my beautiful Aunt Deb (who passed away last year) smiling and crying as she watched me hold a newborn Alex, elated with me in the bliss of his birth.

I can still feel the warmth of Christmas Dinners around the table, the smell of Grandma’s pies warming in the oven – and giggle at cherished moments like when Aunt Deb almost singed her wig (for the second time) while trying to take the turkey out of the oven… she always had such an amazing sense of humor.

Sitting at the foot of our recliner, intently listening to Gramps tell funny and heart-warming stories of his childhood in Nova Scotia – and then writing down everything I could remember at the end of the night, so I’d never forget even one of those precious tales.

Other moments are less obvious, but equally special – like when Uncle Tony taught me how to prepare a Turkey on Christmas day, when my Mom-in-law and I shared a long chat over tea at the Kitchen table,  when family-friends Jenny and Joe brought us a special gift of love after Simon broke his arm, when our neighbours recently came over and expressed how much they’ll miss us through tears…

I sigh at the thought of our little ones teetering on the way down the (too many) stairs that line this house – and I want to cry at the thought that there will be no more of our babies teetering here – because they’re getting so big.

The times cuddled up in our big bed reading story after story – feeling the bliss of three warm little ones sleepily taking in the beautiful pages.

Late-night (after we’d managed to get all the munchkins to bed!) movie nights and cheese dips with Wesley – those times that aren’t special because we’re doing anything exciting, but because we’re simply together.

The hundreds of Moms and families and babies I met and helped wear their babies when Panda Pouch was run out of our first floor.  How their stories inspired me, changed me, and how many good, lasting friendships I’ve made.

The time Wes and I laid in bed staring at a dark ceiling and I whispered, “Wanna hear something funny? ….  I’m pregnant.”  (With a VERY SURPRISE number 3 babe… haha.)

The work – OH! The work that has been put into this home – My Dad… the love he has shown to us and the amount of time, care, effort, and hard sweat and work he’s put into our home with us.  My Mom and her love-filled help and warmth… my sister and the times we’ve sat and had tea and chatted about life, boys, and everything else!

The times my heart has been warmed to the core as I watched our kids run to the door screaming, “NANA!  PAPA! AUNTIE CARRIE!” or “GRAMMA!  GRAMPA!” or even, “MISSS JENNNNNNNY!”, “MISS DENIIIISSSSE!” (or insert any other good friend’s name with a “Miss” in front!)

The countless hours of time I’ve spent sitting in our kitchen, creating, learning, and discovering with the kids… endless games of Chess with Simon – some before 7am (sigh), hundreds of colouring pages with Audrey, and cherished messy snack-time with Alex.

Late night chats, laughter, and desserts with my parents… more special to me than they’ll ever know…

I could go on forever – but everything in life has a season, doesn’t it?

We’re ready to move forward.  *Gulp*  We are grateful for what we’ve had and grateful for what we will have.  And it took me some time to realize that all these memories will stay with me – they are not tied to this house, they are bound in my soul.

Memories are wonderful things because they have no end while we are on this earth!  More can be created at our new home – more rich, wonderful times – full of love.  And I look forward to painting, decorating, having the kids’ help with setting up our rooms and making them warm and fun.  I crave setting up the kids’ discovery centers and books everywhere and making our home full of excitement and creativity – we’re surely missing those things living in our currently staged house!

Praise God for memories that live with us forever – and for new beginnings and the excitement and opportunity they bring!

Keep in touch over the next few weeks/months – I plan to blog our journey as we move into our new house and journey towards making it ‘home’ 🙂

This week we explored the Waterloo Regional Children’s Museum.  What a blast!  With Wes (my hubby) on holidays for 10 days (hooray!), we’ve been trying to find interesting things to do with the family.  We considered the Science Centre in Toronto – then quickly changed our minds when we realized how far we’d have to drive in rush hour traffic.  (It only took us 40 minutes from Dundas, ON, to get to Waterloo).  For those of you who are looking for something comparable to a Science Centre but more geared towards kids – this place is fantastic!  Thought I’d share some photos and thoughts about our day.

The main room had several gross motor skills activities – building blocks, giant legos, a living wall you could explore, a shadow making screen, two large aquariums, etc.   Wes helped our children build a huge tower out of giant Legos.  Audrey was so proud of the fact that it was the “tallest tower I ever seen, Mama!”.

The museum also had a sensory room for small children/babies (had to be under four years of age and with a parent).  The room was literally padded, with a “no shoes” policy and beautiful water machines bubbling bright colors and pretend fish.  Alex (20 months) was in awe.  I thought this was a nice touch as it’s often hard to find refuge in a big, noisy Children’s venue when you have tiny ones that need a safe place to crawl or just require more quiet space.  There were several crawling babes and toddlers who were very content with all the beautiful and stimulating imagery.

A couple other neat things to note – there was a craft at 11am that had kids making their own rockets, a really interesting planetarium-type show in a dome, where we saw stars, constellations, and planets of all kinds (very cool), and a virtual pond that was a moving screen on the ground that actually reacted visually when you stepped in it.  As a Mom, I also really appreciated that we were able to bring our own lunches, snacks, etc.  There was a large, open eating area on the main level with plenty of tables, chairs, highchairs, and even a microwave if you wanted it.  (There was a cafeteria-style restaurant available but there was an open “bring your own food” policy, which is so lovely and rare!).

There’s no doubt which part of the museum was the kids’ favourite.  They spent almost an hour playing at the water station where they could build a dam, redirect channels of fast flowing waters, and watch how the boats reacted to the experiments.  Alex absolutely loves water, so by the end, he was so drenched we had to change both his shirts and dry his hair!

Simon and Audrey loved engaging with Daddy as they played with the rectangular plastic pieces and created different effects on the currants and movement of the faux river.  I actually think Wes liked this as much as the kids did, if not more…

TIPS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR MUSEUM TRIP:

  • Arrive when they open, work backwards.  We we there right at opening time, and the place was already full of school-aged kids on class trips.  I’m assuming on a Saturday it would be equally as busy with families.  Naturally, the school groups started at the front of the museum and worked their way back (or up in this instance).  I suggest starting at the furthest point (here it was the 4th floor) and work your way down.  This way, you’ll have more space (and peace and quiet!) to explore, and your children will be able to really delve in and get more hands-on.
  • Don’t worry about ‘doing it all’.  Kids learn best and have the most fun when they are able to uninterruptedly enjoy what they are engaged in.  Our children wanted to explore one tiny area of a 4-floor museum for 1/3 of the time we were there!  My husband and I had to actually look at each other and outwardly reassure each other that it was “OK” if we didn’t get through everything.  As long as children are experiencing and learning, that’s the idea.  We allowed our children to linger at any given station for as long as they wanted.  This resulted in absolutely no melt-downs from being pulled away from something intriguing, and our children walking away absolutely gushing about the things they found most fascinating.
  • Loosen up, get dirty, and have fun yourself.  One of the things I most admire about Wes (my hubby) is his ability to roll up his sleeves and literally dive right in with the kids.  Wes had fun building dams and canals, helping Simon build a reinforced house at the “Earth Quake!” station, and I had a blast “recording” a song with Audrey in the audio booth, testing out the structure of various bridges, and many other fun activities.   We both kicked back and day-dreamed in the planetarium with our sleepy kids laying on our tummies.  Because we were relaxed and having fun, everyone else was calm too, resulting in a great family day for all.

(Our family in the Cosmic Mania section of the Museum)

The only part of the museum we weren’t overly thrilled with was the “Cosmic Mania” section.  It was made to sound so neat but was actually very disappointing.  I’m not upset we put out the extra $9 for our family to see it, as we enjoyed some of the area, but, in all I thought it was much more geared to adults with countless pictures of historical space explorations, a video about science and space, computer games and various artifacts.  Just didn’t score huge points with our munchkins – not interactive enough for them.  I think it would possibly be more appealing to older children.

All in all, with three children under six, it’s not always easy to find really fun, reasonably-priced, educational, and accommodating places to visit.  I’m happy to say, the Waterloo Children’s Museum definitely fit the bill.  Sure, nothing is perfect, but we had a really fun, surprisingly stress-free day.  I’d certainly recommend it for a family outing with the kids!  Their website is:  http://www.thechildrensmuseum.ca/web/.

All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.

~Martin H. Fischer