Friday, March 7, 2014

Longest. Winter. Ever.

You feel it, I feel it, and the kids are certainly feeling it.  This has been the LONGEST WINTER EVER.

It's also been the coldest winter in 34 years, since 1980.

Our house, built sometime in the early 1830's, as a barn, was converted into a home in 1980.  So this has been the coldest winter that this home has ever experienced.  

And trust me when I say that we've felt every shivering cold breath of it.

You may remember the last time we spoke, that we were prepping for some major minor renos.  Well, they didn't quite go as expected. We couldn't get to where we needed to get with the insulation, without ripping up the floor, which we wern't prepared to do on that day. And so no insulation. Which, in retrospect, was very very bad. (See above about coldest winter.) 

And so, without insulation, our house is cold.  Our house is not too bad when it's -10C outside.  But when it dips to -25C at night, or god forbid, lower then it dips in here too.  This morning it was 52 degrees in the house (a chilly 11C) with everything cranking at full.  There is nothing to be done, the heater can't keep up when there is -25 degree air seeping in all along the floor. (And holy EFF is the floor ever cold. )

The other day it finally got to me.  The cold inside, coupled with the cold outside, coupled with my car's new-found dislike of the cold, and its subsequent refusal to start, two days running (or not running, as the case may be) tipped me over the edge into "sobbing puddle of Mom."

And then Corbie came to me and hugged my leg.  Gave it a little pat. "Its ok, Mommy."

Deep breath. Winter won't last forever.

And this morning I looked at the forecast and realized that today, right now, is the coldest that it's going to be for the foreseeable future. I'm only going to get warmer.  The house is only going to get warmer. The grass is only going to get greener (once we find it under all the snow.)

And next year, when winter rolls around, we will be better prepared. More insulation.  If all goes well, a wood stove, hopefully even two.

And a bloody vacation planned for February, just in case.

But we're all ok.  We're alive, we have each other.  We have warm blankets and tea and hot water bottles, and the love.  We have a (albeit poorly insulated) roof over our heads. All in all, life ain't so bad.

And pretty soon, I'll be gardening.  And thanks to the long winter, there is more bunny poop piled up here than you can shake a stick at. 

The gardens this year are going to be fab! 

Stay warm, peeps, spring is coming!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Everything in it's place.

We're planning for some major minor renovations this week, and the house has been in a state of bordering-on-chaos for a few days now. Not chaos, just boardering on it.  Juuuuust on the edge. 

Our major minor renovations is just a little bit of insulation on the upper floor, but it necessitates getting rid of anything furniture-wise around the outside perimiter of the house.  And everything in the living room. 

One of the unfortuate things that lies around the outside edge of our house is our kitchen cabinets and our sink.

The same one that we tore out about a year ago and put back in.  We will now repeat that action, with the ripping out (again) and the putting back in (again.) 

It also involves some spray stuff in the basement, which necessitates moving everything away from the north, south, and west wall of our basement.  East side gonna be crowwwwded...

Anyway, my point is this:

There is so much stress on simplifying these days.  But when I moved my plants and my book shelves, and a few pieces of extra furniture out of the living room, it didn't feel simple. 

It felt empty.

Our living room is one of the magical places in the house, where we have managed to narrow it down to just enough stuff to fit in the room.  It's perfect - when everything is put in it's place, the room is a little haven of warmth and loveliness.

There are no other rooms like this in the house!  (Except maybe the bathroom...almost.)

The kids rooms have too many toys, our room has too many clothes.  There is too much fabric in my sewing room, too much crap-of-all-kinds in the basement (and way too many mason jars.)  Oh, and I run a business down there. 

There is too much useless junk in the kitchen, and too much recycling and garbage, and too much DAMN DOG FOOD ALL OVER THE FLOOR. 

BUT.  When it feels overwhelming, as it often does, I need to remember that I don't need to get rid of everything in site. 

Nope.  Just what doesn't fit. 

Everything in the home needs to have a place.  When you clean up the house, it should be easy to put everything away, because everything has a place to go to. (Its easier to get kids on board then too, because it's just about putting things in their spot.)  If it doesn't have a place, maybe it's gotta go.  Or maybe it needs a spot in storage.  Or maybe if it's really that important, then something else needs to go so the important thing can have a place.

Simplifying can often feel so overwhelming.  But we do have a decent amount of space in this house, and some pretty good storage solutions, and some good Virgo brains to go along with it.

I just need to do a little bit of letting go of things (something I'm not very good at) and a little bit of organizing and labeling (something I AM very good at) and we're not going to be too far off the wonderful little heavenly bliss of our living room.

Everything in it's place. That's it.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


I spent the day yesterday glaring and making angry noises at my computer, and all the silly people on Facebook. 

Hardly productive.

Our area of the world has been in a bit of a deep freeze for the past few weeks.  January has been c-c-c-cold.  February is shaping up to be not much different.  We're in the middle of a "good old fashioned winter" which is to say lots of snow, lots of cold, lots of wind.  Which, around here, results in lots of road closures, lots of cancelled buses and closed schools.  Some people have been stuck in their houses for close to a week now, as closed roads keep them from going anywhere.  People are running out of groceries, small towns are running out of gas, and tempers are running high.

Yesterday was particularly bad in Dufferin - everything looked good in the morning, good enough to send the kiddies to school, but then one by one the roads started closing. White-outs everywhere, and then at 1pm the county declared a state of emergency, closed the schools, cancelled the afternoon buses, and all of a sudden there were hundreds of kids stranded at their schools.  Chaos ensued.

(Just a note - Dufferin is the county that we moved AWAY FROM 18 months ago, not the one that we currently live in.  However, we still live very close to the border of the county, so it's road closures tend to affect us, although not nearly in the way that they used to.)

Many parents spent the day griping about the decisions the school board had made to send the kids to school. Run the buses, keep the schools open, keep exams running in highschools. "It's not safe!" they all shouted.  "Call the media, tell them how the board is risking the safety of our kids!"  "Our kids have to write exams, they have no choice but to go to school."

And that's when I started making my angry noises at the screen.

Here's the thing - you, I, whoever, we ALWAYS have a choice.

I tried to explain this to some people yesterday, and it fell on deaf ears.

If you don't feel that it's safe to put your kids on the bus, despite what the school boards say, then DON'T DO IT.  Your choice.  Not the school board, not the school, YOU.  You even have a choice to write exams or not.  If you feel like your children are being asked to RISK THEIR LIVES to go write an exam, then you need to decide what is more important - their life, or their exam. You could drive them, or, if they miss it they could potentially write it later, take their mark without their exam, or worst case, retake the course. All of these things are better options than potentially getting killed on your way to school on treacherous roads. It is YOUR choice.

This is a lesson for yesterday, and ultimately, for life. 

I think too many people sit around and blame others for what is happening in their lives.  They blame chance, or circumstance, and wallow in their lives, thinking there is no way to change things.

Untrue.  There is always a way.  We always have a choice to make a positive change.  Sometimes you have to get creative, go way out of your comfort zone, ask for help.  But there is always a choice to be made.

Sometimes, granted, we can not control the things that happen to us.  We can't control the weather, accidents happen, people die suddenly, some things are out of our control.  But we CAN control how we react to those things. We can wallow in them, or choose to take a step in a different direction.

There is no such thing as "I have no choice."  You ALWAYS have one.  You are the maker of your own destiny.  The trailblazer of your own path. The person in charge of YOUR life is YOU.

And the person in charge of my life is me. Every choice that I have made, and then we as a family has made has brought us to where we are.  IT IS NO ACCIDENT that we live in the greatest place in the world (in our mind, anyway) and are stupidly happy.  We made it so.

So if you're unhappy with some facet of your life?

Change it.

YES, you can. 

Find the thing that sings to your soul, and then make a move towards it.

Even if it is a teeny tiny move.  Its STILL a move. A step in the right direction.

Somedays it will feel like you've hardly moved at all.  Some days you may move backwards. But tomorrow is a new day, and another chance to move forward again.

Some days you win, some days you learn.

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

YOU, and only you can make the choice.

The choice to be happy lies in YOUR hands.

So go, be happy!

(And thanks to Marianne, who bugged me about blogging again.  Blogging makes me happy!  xoxox) 

Monday, January 20, 2014


This weekend, we tried a little something new on Sunday. We put away the phones, the ipads, the computers, and spent the day 100% unplugged.

It was so needed.

And it was SO awesome!

We played with each other. Read books, made and drank copious amounts of tea. Did puzzles, played with lego, drew, dreamed, and talked to each other. Like really talked.

(Some of us even went back to bed when "we" realized there was no morning show to be had!)

We invited some friends for dinner, and then spent the afternoon tidying up the house.  Finishing off the weekend with a delicious meal with friends, and a clean house, full of love for each other was perfect. 

We'll do it again, no doubt.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A year of Corben

One photo a month, for one year. (Except for October...there's two, I couldn't pick.)  All Corben, all the time. 

Happy Birthday dude!

(And sorry about the watermarks, but I wasn't about to re-upload them all!)

January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013

August 2013
September  2013
October 2013
Annnd October again
November 2013
December 2013

Happy Birthday, to the coolest, awesomest kid I know.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Oh Snap

We're in the middle of a "cold snap" right now. 

(Why "snap?"  I don't know.  We need to "snap" the heck out of it, pronto.)


The temperature is minus holymothertruckingcold outside right now, which is about 5 degrees warmer than it was this morning.  We're pretty sure the temperatures dipped down into the minus 30's (celsius) last night. If the number of layers I needed to wear to bed is any indication, it was extreme cold.

It has come to our attention that our house is woefully inadequately insulated.  WOEFULLY.  WHOA-FULLY INADEQUATE.

And when its holymothertruckingcold outside?  Well then it only slightly less than holymothertruckingcold inside too.

Our poor little propane fireplaces have been running non-stop for three days, and not once have we actually got up to the temperature that the thermostat is set to (a paltry 67 F...I am aiming low...and still not getting there.)  The propane bill this month is going to make me weep frozen tears of sadness into my cup of tea, oh yes it will.

But we soldier on.  Blankets.  Hot chocolate (with Baileys, of course.)  Toques in the house.  Hot water bottles in the bed.  Tonight I kicked Corben out of his room to the trundle bed in G's room, so Steve and I can sleep in his bed (on the upper floor, where the little heat that there is rises to) because I'm tired of seeing my gawd damn breath as I lay in bed.

I always said I wanted to live like a pioneer.

Be careful what you wish for internets, be oh so very careful! ;)

Stay toasty, my friends!  Send warm thoughts!