Wednesday, April 27, 2011

So Long #93

After a week of renovations and clean-up, we finally handed over the keys and signed the final papers. We are heaving a sigh of relief that this process is finally over!

Below are a couple of pictures of the work Erik did upstairs (as per our contract with the buyer) - replacing the old carpet with laminate in the hallway and bedrooms. I've always loved carpet in bedrooms because of how cozy it is, but the end result looked better than I imagined it would. It helps that he did all new thick door casings and baseboards with it - replacing the puny trim we had up there previously.

This was Silas' bedroom - for a point of reference click here to see how his room looked when we moved in 2 and a half years ago. We obviously painted over the original "peach vomit" colour, and then Erik did a simple trim around the windows a little while later. Now here it is with new laminate and thicker baseboards:

A final look at our kitchen - I've always been really happy with our how our renos turned out in this room. Click here to see how it looked when we first moved in.

The tall cabinet on the left was something we bought and added to the space when we moved in. It provided some much-needed extra storage for pantry items, colouring books, etc. The inside of its doors also became the place where we started marking the height measurements for our kids. When we put our place up for sale, we realized that potential buyers would likely want the cabinet to stay. So, the other day Erik transferred the measurements to an extra piece of laminate and then I tried using my Norwex cleaning paste on it. I quickly realized I would be scrubbing for quite awhile if I wanted it to come off, but we were running out of time. When our buyer came to pick up the keys I mentioned to her that I wasn't able to get the markings off. She quickly assured us that we could take the pantry with us and that she had something else to put there. So, I was really thankful the cleaning paste didn't work this time around :)

(I think she may be on her tippy toes here, but I'm amazed at how much Keziah has grown since her 4th birthday!)

Good-bye number 93!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Temporary Home

It's been one week since we moved out of our townhouse and in with Erik's parents. And so far, so good! The kids have adjusted quite well - it probably helps that Grandma's house is one of their favourite places to be :)

I had good intentions of snapping some photos of moving day, but the camera was quickly forgotten in the chaos of truck picking-up, children dropping-off, directing the flow of helpers and making sure that what needed to go to the house didn't get mixed up with what needed to go to the truck. In the end most of the stuff made it to the proper location. And we were very thankful for all the help: strong backs (and even the not-so-strong backs), childcare, yummy snacks, and company.

But I do have a few pictures of our last week in our house...
Like the random snowfall we had one morning. I woke up to Keziah whispering in my ear, "Mommy, is that hail or snow??" Surprise - April snowfall!

There was at least one little person in our house who was thrilled by this event:

Before we moved out, we had to leave our final mark on the place...

Erik set up this photo of the kids in his garage cabinets as he packed up all his tools out there. Looks more like a family mug shot to me.

Now onto our first week is our new "home"... The kids have enjoyed playing in their new space.
I came upstairs to this rare scene the other morning - Keziah had convinced her little brother to lie very still while she "doctored" him.

Silas enjoying a messy snack:

Fun in the front yard.

Enjoying a sunny afternoon on the deck with Grandpa.

Plant watering - this could keep Keziah occupied for hours.

Up in the treehouse that Daddy lovingly built about 3 years ago when we lived in the basement suite.

Pretend picnic.

Yep, that's a grass skirt he's wearing.

The boy wants to wear it. All. Day. Long.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Organized Chaos

Erik accuses me of being a piler. When we're preparing for a trip, I start making piles throughout the house. That way I can see what I've already got in the pile and what I still need to add to the pile. If it was all in a bag or a box, I'd have to go digging through everything to make sure I remembered the bathing suits or the wet wipes or the camera cord.

Moving is like the ultimate pile. There are towers of boxes overtaking our house.

We got some great boxes from the liquor store with handy-dandy organizers for all the breakable stuff. Genius.

I don't mind packing. Erik and I both find pleasure in purging old/unused stuff and simplifying our household (Erik LOVES bringing things to the MCC thrift store - like, seriously, I think he loves it a little more than he should). Maybe it feels good to control something when other things feel very chaotic and out of control. I think that's why I really like having things organized. But finding the time to do it is the challenge. Writing this post brought to mind a couple of organizing projects that I did in the last little while - y' know, just to make my un-organized life a wee bit simpler.

First of all, we had a puzzle problem. Maybe you know the one. It starts with multiple puzzle boxes in various states of dilapidation. Add to that a toddler who finds immense joy in dumping each and every puzzle so that his loving and patient Mama has the pleasure of sorting through all the mixed-up pieces and putting them back into the bits of disintegrating cardboard...

I'm not sure why I didn't find a better home for those puzzles - one that was out of the reach of toddler-hands... In the end I designated each puzzle to it's own ziploc bag. I cut out the picture on the front of the puzzle box and fastened it to the bag with packing tape. The box was no longer needed and with the toddler unable to open a ziploc, the worst mess that Mommy had to deal with was a few bags scattered on the floor. Much better :)

And I mentioned my spice cabinet problem awhile back too - just the annoyance of digging through everything every time I was looking for a spice. Shortly after, I found these spice jars at Ikea plus a few other random containers around the house that I wasn't using. I dug up some envelope labels that I had in the house and voila. Spice finding made easier.

It didn't make my cabinet less crowded but it did ease the searching process somewhat.

OK, not sure why I'm sitting here blogging. Time to go make some more piles.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Goodness of the Lord

I remember, not too long after the accident that changed our family forever, I came across a passage in Psalm 27. Even in the midst of complete hopelessness, I knew the words would ring true for my sister-in-law, Rosanna, someday. Not then.
But I'm seeing it now.

"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."
~ Psalm 27:13-14

Rosanna and her fiancee James will be getting married this spring and it's such an encouragement to see how God's faithfulness has played out in both of their lives. Though this isn't what anyone had pictured 4 years ago, it amazes me to see how God's love can redeem brokenness...

Friday, April 08, 2011

Subjective Thinking

Just got word from the lawyer this morning... Our buyer's subjects have officially been removed! We are one big step closer to moving!

Initially we didn't think the removal of subjects would be a big issue, but after the inspector told her that our roofs would need to be replaced in the next couple of years, we weren't sure if she was still going to move ahead. I think what happened is that someone freaked her out by guessing on a $20,000-per-unit price tag for a new roof. We did some quick research and found out it would be more like $5000. We still weren't sure if the roof was going to be a deal-breaker, but in the end she decided she could live with it.

Now, to find me some boxes and get packing. Part of our contract includes Erik doing a few renovations in the upstairs of our unit. Since the ideal situation is to have all of our stuff moved out of here before he starts, we have a little over 1 week to pack up and move outta here!


Monday, April 04, 2011

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Last Monday night we had a little celebration for our big boy Silas...

Happy Birthday-ing to Silas:
(Kristi, I sincerely apologize on behalf of your brother for the way this video ended...)

The cake might not look spectacular but it was DEE-licious!
(If I do say so myself.)

I used a banana cake recipe has been a Harder family favourite for a long time. It is so moist and cream-cheesy and delicious! I usually make it in a baking sheet, but this time I just did it in a 9 x 13 pan, then cut it in half and made a layered cake.
I can't remember if I've shared the recipe before, but it's worth sharing again...

1/2 cup margarine
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas

Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in bananas. Spread into greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Beat together:
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
1/2 cup margarine
2 tsp. vanilla
approx. 3-4 cups of icing sugar


On Sunday, after a particularly stressful week, we decided we needed to take the kids and get out somewhere. Even though the weather has been miserable (seriously, is it still January??), we decided to brave the outdoors. We've always wanted to venture to the Othello Tunnels just outside of Hope and so that's where we headed. It definitely exceeded our expectations!

We hiked through the old train tunnels - so dark in the middle of some of them that it was a little frightening! And then we came out over top of a bridge with rushing water winding beneath us and towering walls of rock above us. Beautiful! We'll be going back there for sure.

Pausing for a little rock-toss before reaching the tunnels.

The mossy trees reminded me of something out of a Dr. Suess book.

The view as we came out of the first tunnel, looking towards tunnels 2 and 3.

Silas felt a little tentative here. I don't blame him. This narrow bridge was suspended over a 50 foot drop down into a raging river. Silas kept saying, "I see dat big-big water!!"

The things that make a mother's heart pound...

Othello tunnels get a "must-see in BC" from the Toews family!

Now we're looking for the light at the end of the tunnel with the sale of our house. The subject removal has been a little bit stressful and we are hoping and praying that the sale does not fall through! Hopefully I'll have a good update on that in my next post...