Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Days of the New

Nov 21

it has begun.
kevin's last day was last Tuesday.

he's been helping out with the kids and getting things checked off the long list of TO DO's for the house.  it's been really nice having him home, for all of us.  it's great having help and it's great that the help means spending more time with the kids.  i think he really enjoys walking them to and from school.  of course, that is only one side of things, he definitely has his limits and starts going bonkers as we all do…

he has helped me prep for Holiday Sessions.  i spent the entire week leading up to the Sessions testing the light for the first time in our home.  we made it through 13 sessions!  3 on friday, 8 on saturday and 2 on sunday!  i actually factually managed to meet my deadline of TODAY to have all the postcards designed and ready to order!  two last sessions tomorrow and that is it!

the schedule has been great.  with the exception of staying up extra late to work on the Holiday editing and postcard layouts, we eat dinner 1-2 hours earlier which means we can have a bit of downtime with the kids without it getting too late.  and speaking of dinner, I HAVEN'T MADE IT ALL WEEK AND I AM SO HAPPY.  as proud as i am that i have been able to cook decently, i am so over it!  it's been nice to have a break from minding the kids so much and to be able to focus on work ONLY TO BE REWARDED with a thoughtful home cooked dinner.  oh it has been so nice for that.

we have been really lucky to have so many people offering support, whether it is in kind words and advice or actually going out of their way to help network for both of us for potential work.  the love has been real.  really really real.

Nov 25

i think my posts are just going to have to be broken pieces that are botched together if i am ever going to manage to get anything out there.

today i am hungover after celebrating having finally finished editing photos/designing postcard templates for the 15 peeps that were part of this year's Holiday sessions.

honestly, everyday i'm a haggard mess but today definitely kicks it up a notch.  normally, i am still able to bully myself through the day and move and move and move.  i have fallen on the couch at least 4 times in the last 4 hours and i probably for once in my life should take a bit of a nap to help me get through the rest of the day, but i don't know if i will do that…

i still have to try to finish up the newborn session i did the week before i started getting ready for Holiday sessions.  TRYING.

and of course i have to edit the photos for all the Holiday sessions to send out to clients…

i am constantly bouncing back and forth between being excited about our new situation and horribly afraid that my excitement is actually naive and we are actually completely screwed.

also, i gotta say, i'm really stoked on my government cheques because we would be royally up shit creek otherwise.

potential design job is still up in the air.
other design job is a bit on hold at the moment.

things to get in order:

Christmas tags
Valentine's tags
Birthday Invites - themes/thank your/

get a small art class together starting January
as the first stepping stones to having my own art space for kids

i'm running pretty empty these days and the quick approach of Christmas has my panties in a knot.  i don't wanna be a Scrooge here, but i really hate the gift giving aspect.  ok slash that, i hate the obligatory gift giving aspect.  it sucks when basically all your money is for groceries.  when you are already squeezed tight.  plus your kids have so much shit that your house looks like a Roaming Rascals day in and day out so any gifts they give are always a tiny bit of a hassle/imposition even if they happen to be super awesome gifts.  the option of course would be to MAKE some gifts but as you may or may not know, time is just not something that is spilling out over here… and just WHAT DO YOU GET FOR PEOPLE ANYWAY that is relatively affordable on a tiny budget?  at what point is it just a waste of money that you would use for your family's necessities???

 it stresses me out.  on top of the frustration of finances, i also hate the guilt of having people give nice things to me or to the kids when i can't afford to give anything worth giving.

or maybe i just suck at gifts?  i don't know.  no no no i don't think i suck at gifts, if i had the finances to get people good gifts i would be dope.  what if i just printed photos of things i WANT to get people but can't?  how far does THE THOUGHT count?  lol.  i mean it wouldn't be something incredulous like a month vacation to Bali or something completely outrageous.  ugh.  anyway.

time to do some work while Malcolm is napping away…
UGH he is 11 months tomorrow
and kevin just handed in malcolm's Passport paperwork
which is stressing me out because i have still been thinking of changing his name
yes i know
i know
i know

ok that is it for now

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

into the woods

we've come face to face with a bend in the road.
we knew it was coming, we saw the sign back in mid-september

new things are about to happen
a series of changes are about to unfurl
and as frightening as anticipation can feels, there is certainly some excitement in the air

malcolm is napping
and i just opened my first file to start working on a new design job that i've been hired on for, from now until january.  i'm excited.  i'm excited for something new, to learn and further my experience in graphic design.  

i've had an influx of interest this Fall.
it takes me by surprise every year since i began photography back in 2012
but Fall seems to be the season where i get the most requests for work

and right before Holiday Sessions

i'm trying to get my ducks in a row

i feel like my work this year hasn't been quite as awesome
as my work last year when i was still pregnant.
that makes sense right?
pregnancy tiredness and immobility is strangely still not as debilitating
as 10 months of having a new baby aka 10 months of broken sleep…

the first light i purchased was off of Craigslist
and even then, it was a model that was no longer being carried

i need a new light.
it's been intermittent, it doesn't consistently refresh to snap every shot i need
and it's just not something i can compromise with when trying to get that perfect
shot with kids that are so unpredictable and in the moment
sometimes that ONE SHOT is literally one out of 50 attempts

so basically this year's sessions is going to buy me a new light

this is only stressful because kevin was let go back in september
he was kindly given about 2 months to find another job
we stuck it out to try to get our medical appointments covered
but now next week is his last week
Friday is his last day although Wednesday is his birthday
i tried to convince him to have his last day be on Tuesday
but he may as well just not go the entire week!

it's not a bad thing
it's a scary thing
he's been there 12 years and it's time to move on
it's not what he wants to do for the rest of his life
or even for another year, it's over

he is so talented and his mind is so creative and technically wired
that it would be a shame for him to be stuck under cars forever

we just don't know what he should do
what road to take from here
we are venturing into the unknown….
he's starting all over again
and will likely require some education or training for something new

he's considering going into film for props/special effects
perhaps he does some renovation work locally?
the possibilities are endless which is great but almost more daunting
maybe he opens a little cafe
a hip little place that doesn't yet exist here in t-town
that would eventually be attached to THE PAUHAUS art studio/shoppe?

it is very realistic that i may take over position as breadwinner
which is equally frightening for me as i have never been in that position
and it really means i need to have more confidence in myself and my talents
i need to give less fucks about what people think

perhaps i work more and he works less
but we create a schedule that gives us MORE TIME
which is definitely something we haven't had for the last year
with Malcolm and renos day in and day out

time to start this new design gig
here goes nothing…

Sunday, November 1, 2015


celebrated my very first night sans all three kids at The Happeney Howl Halloween party

our gracious host Effie Trinket

Cleo + Flapper Hastie reunited at long last after her 3 week vacay Down Under

Kev rocked his Joker

Simply Sinister

...and a few safe selects from the evening..

i haven't partied this hard in a really long time and it was exactly what i needed.  had a great time with old friends and broke a lot of ice with new friends and danced so hard my calves are still hurting two nights later.  we got home around 2:30am though i didn't fall asleep until probably 4am and was on the road at 9:30am to pick up the kids from richmond to make it to Chloe's Tumbling class at 10:45am.  WELL WORTH IT.  i'm still lamenting that it is over and hoping that another party awaits me in the near future... 

Kevin did a stellar job sewing Chloe's entire Wonder Woman costume 
including a warm layer beneath the glamorous lamé

I was in charge of Mummy Moses
it looked a lot better prior to it getting owned at school

fun times

this one cracks me up so bad

we dropped by the Mall for their annual Halloween Trick-or-Treating and crafts, had dinner, and though we were tempted to join the crowds in Beach Grove, enjoyed a quiet night Trick-or-Treating our new neighbourhood for the first time.  it was a beautiful night.  the forecast had promised rain but we had a clear starry evening with just a tiny chill.  it was perfect.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Another Period

it's been a long time since i last blogged with so much going on.
and so many photos from summer that i never got around to posting.

and so many beautiful emotions that i wanted to share…
all lost in the abyss.

i'm finally pushing away the other things on my TO DO list for a grand update of things

we have seen a big push in the last two months as we tried to get as many weather-sensitive things accomplished prior to the rainy season which included the exterior.

i feel like it would be too much to jam them all into one post so i will set aside a post for each one.

Noble Grey + The Entrance

Tilly + The Louvres

The Ensuite

we have been off to a pretty good start with school.  no fights, no red stickers or checkmarks, and no scary meltdowns.  we haven't even been late!

one of the more irritating things is that both kids want me to drop them off at their class.  i don't mind except for the fact that they are located on opposite sides of the school, so everyday they both try to guilt me into choosing to drop them off FIRST.  moses would slunk his head and shoulders down and do a sad shuffle as the rest of the kids ran past him if i hugged and kissed him and sent him on his way while dropping off Chloe.  if i drop Moses off first, i have to race back to Chloe's class where the teacher usually gives some sort of announcement and i only get half of it.

because my brain is still the consistency of baby food, pick-up isn't much better.  in fact, after deciding on which child to pick up first, i end up getting caught up in their excitement and the other parents and talking before i realize CRAP WE HAVE TO GO PICK UP YOUR BROTHER!/SISTER!  i will also mention that a few nights ago, i attended the first PAC meeting of the year and brought Moses along as two grade 7 girls provided childminding and he wanted to see what it was all about.  after 2 hours of trying to stay awake, i rushed home across the street.  kevin met me at the door and asked me:

"Where's Moses?"

my initial reaction was to have a panic attack.  What do you mean Where's Moses, isn't he in bed asleep with CH….OMG I LEFT HIM AT SCHOOL!!!!!!

so even in the midst of my horribly tattered brain, i also decided to put a bunch of check marks beside things i would volunteer for… TIMES 2.  i figured, whoever was in charge would see that i had 2 kids and would perhaps just ask me to do SOME of the things for only ONE of my kids.  this is not the case, Dear Mothers of Children Not Yet In School.  not only was i nominated to be Class Parent for Moses' class, but the other mother nominated along with me decided to bail!  I also volunteered for WALK TO SCHOOL week which I am booked to do TWICE!!!!  this requires showing up at the school 40 minutes prior to the bell ringing, to pick up a basket of stickers and to go stand for 30 minutes at a designated spot to cheer on all the students walking to school.  I also volunteered to design a Cheat Sheet for all the parents that volunteer to distribute the food for Hot Lunch days.  I also put my name down to participate in the Fruits and Veggie program where I bring fresh chopped up Fruits and Veggies to the class (BOTH KIDS).  i don't know what the hell i was thinking.

Chloe has been doing fantastic.  it has only been this week where every morning she has sulked and not wanted to go to school.  it's complete bullshit because everyday that i pick her up, she tells me she has had a GREAT day!  her teacher has said she is doing well, is attentive and follows instructions and is happy to be there.  so far, i haven't yelled at her.  i have hugged her and comforted her and offered to walk her physically into her class until she seemed to be taking advantage of my kindness by asking for special treats.  these kids.  they are definitely my kids.

Moses has also been doing well.  my worry with him is that he might be a loner.  i can't tell if that's what is going on or if kids are just being jerks already with all the exclusion tactics they like to employ. his teacher has said he is a pleasure to have in class and that he likes to be kept busy.  this is true.  i believe he may have been given COMPOST duty to give him a task but i will have to confirm that.  apparently nobody else every does it…

ok i think that's it so far for school.

is looking for a career change.  things were not working out at the Mechanic Shop where has been working for the past 12 years.  i don't think it was ever meant to be a permanent job, but with a young family to support, no time is ever really a great time to willingly stop working to go back to school for training to switch careers.  it's scary.  it's scary for both of us.  it's hard.  hard for his confidence personally and hard on him as the breadwinner.  i'm glad that he has been forced to look elsewhere as the physical labour has been taking its toll on him and it was really breaking my heart to see him so miserable day after day.  he is so creative and so great at making things, i would love for him to find something that excites him, inspires him and utilizes his talents.  i would love for him to not have to put on the skungiest shirts to wear under a oily uniform every single day, to actually be able to see what his hands look like.  his boss has been great about it, allowing him to work for a limited time until he finds something else.

please send some good vibes our way.  or even better, perhaps a job opportunity!

is so frigging adorable it makes me wanna puke.
he is starting to communicate with a few signs: HI, PLEASE, HIGH-FIVE
does a HIGH-FIVE count as communication?  i think so.
he is crawling everywhere with ease.  he has gone from crying at the end of the hallway, to crawling out and finding his way to me based on where he hears me making noise.  he pulls up easily and falls on his butt when he needs to continue moving around.  i have tried to start getting him to cruise along the couch or take a few steps with his walker but he just doesn't get it yet… sheesh, what a baby.

no first words yet but he's making lots of sounds and he is super expressive.

he gives hugs and kisses which are wide mouth slobbers or full on raspberries.

5. ME
i think i can say that i have stopped breastfeeding.  with the start of school, i was really able to get a set schedule down.  i also bought a few more bottles with updated Fast Flow nipples which really helped speed up Malcolm's interest in bottles.  i was really hesitant about it leading up to September because i knew that once i started employing more bottles, my milk supply would go down significantly and it just wouldn't be worth breastfeeding anymore.  so basically that is what happened.  he gets three bottles a day (morning nap, afternoon nap, bedtime) and i'll let him go to town on me in the mornings when he wakes up at 6-7 and there is no way of getting me out of bed.

the one glorious thing about having stopped is that the pounds have dropped off of me, as they had when i stopped breastfeeding Moses and Chloe.  for some reason, that old wives tale about breastfeeding making you burn more calories, does not work for my body.  in fact, it does the complete opposite!  it makes me hold on to extra weight.  this month, i have finally felt great about my body.  i can fit into a bunch more shirts that just looked RIDICULOUS on me.  my boobs have shrunk FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY!!!  i mean they are still at an F but that is still 4 cups smaller than the J that i was at!!!  maybe they still look huge to other people, but to me they look significantly smaller and i am SO HAPPY!!!!!!

and today i became a woman.  i was shocked.  usually i went 3-4 months after breastfeeding before having to pull out Ye Olde Napkins.  PMS here we come!

The Ensuite

i wish i didn't accidentally erase the photos of kevin putting down the floor

he had to rip up the floor, buy an entire other board to fit the entire room, plus cut a hole for the toilet in exactly the right spot before doing our new STICKER TILES!  so, to do the floor in the same tiles as we did the main washroom would require way way more time and work and we just wanted to do a mini update on the ensuite because we were originally considering expanding it to have a small shower…  so sticker tiles are super cheap and these were really pretty damn good for sticker tiles hahahaha.  at least its new and doesn't have a horrible pattern.  damn, i wish i had a photo of how awful the previous tiles were.  oh well.

he ripped out the vanity where there were no wood planks behind

he ripped out this entire wall that also had the wood planks

and started to fill, sand and apply a base coat

much better, for now

all the wood planks from the side wall, he recut and refit to recover the whole back wall
and HOORAY we have another toilet!!!!!

this IKEA vanity originally came with two shelves that flanked this centre cabinet.  i did not like them so we decided not to use them, which meant not using the base that you can see holding up the vanity

freestanding!!!!  well done kevballs!!!!

don't have time to really finish it up at the moment while we still try to squeeze in a little more of the outside duties.  i'm considering doing some wallpaper?  ideally i would have a technical drawing of a giant kraken creeping down from the top corner that the toilet is facing that you can't see.  i want to do something sort of funky with a strong graphic and nautical that isn't cheesy.  

also, this reminds me that i haven't actually ever done the after photos of the other washroom…  the sink was ready and then it got messy and i never made time to make it look super super nice for photos, but maybe you want to see my life in shambles?  i'll try to get on it…

Tilly + The Louvres

these Before and Afters are pretty hilarious
this one was a project that took about a week but made a HUGE difference

Photo from the original listing
that plastic siding/poor excuse for a wall was ugly as sin

kev stripped them off and knocked out a few of the posts that were old and shitty

added horizontals (yup, that's what i'm calling them)

pumped out a billion of these with the chop saw and nailed them onto the horizontals, perfectly and evenly spaced of course


and painted

so pretty with those rich warm newly stained soffits

stained cedar planks and cut them down to size

started nailing them on!

looking mighty fine!

his skin is so beautiful

i keep wondering what their noses are going to be like, if they will stay their current shape or if they will extend into more of an O'Brien nose


and you may or may not have noticed, but the ground should look different as well!  we have been waiting 9-10 months now for the company that did our perimeter drains to come back and grade the yard as they had promised.  the ground has been so solid that we have had no grass the entire year.  thankfully, Em happened to have a rototiller that she was able to lend us and kevin did as much as he could the other night and it looks fantastic!

here is another Before and After just to show just how solid the ground was prior to the tilling!

so soft and lush looking!

we might just have grass by the end of the month if we continue to get some sunshine this month!

last but not least (and please as usual, try to ignore the mess)

kevin banged out this simple pathway in about an hour and a half that leads up to covered patio where i am hoping we switch our entrances.  i would much prefer to have wet muddy boots go through the mudroom than through the front entrance of the house to be spread into the kitchen and living room and down the hallway.  and if you'll notice, there is GREEN poking up in the little spaces kevin made for some added visual interest!!!!  

here, have a closer look!  only a week after putting a few grass seeds in here grass has already grown!  you can't imagine how excited i am to see grass in our yard after a year of MUD MUD MUD!!!!