slowly, slowly

We are like 80% of the way done putting our apartment back together- we’d probably be closer to being finished but I’m a masochist and decided that this weekend was the PERFECT time to start painting our bedroom (just one wall, and only because it’s impossible to do with all the furniture in there!). I think for the most part we have all the big furniture put away and a lot of the bins & boxes unpacked. I’m trying to do another mini-purge as I unpack rather than just dump a ton of stuff out and have already filled another bag for donation as well as set aside a lot of book to give away (we have a little free library in our alley and let me tell you it has been GREAT for getting rid of unwanted books, comics and movies).

Of course the real star of the show is the new floors, and can I just say that I love them? I’ve been in apartments with some combination of gross carpet and linoleum since Sym was about six months old and I am SO HAPPY to be free of them, finally! The nice new floors do make the dingy, patched walls look extra rough though, so I can’t wait to finish all the painting/repainting I have planned for this year and really make this place shine.

floored

I’ve mentioned this on social media but we are finally, finally getting new floors in our apartment! I’m super excited about this because I hate the wall-to-wall carpet/linoleum combo we have going on now. The carpet is super impractical in a childcare environment as I always have at least one little kid here who is in the body fluids everywhere stage: spitting up, potty training accidents, barfing, bleeding noses from picking, etc. Five years ago they partially replaced the carpet (I begged them to put down any other kind of flooring but they refused, claiming there was no budget for it, and then less than a year later replaced my all my neighbour’s flooring, wth) and within a week a child had full on peed all over it! And while the linoleum isn’t 100% terrible it does have some pretty big dings, gouges and stains, plus it’s starting to peel up. So yeah. It’s all gotta go.

One corner of the carpet (where the carpeted playroom meets the linoleum dining room), had started disintegrating and pulling up from the little metal edge that holds it in place, so a few weeks ago I called the property manager about it. He came over and said he’d have his “carpet guy” come and repair it, and I was like NOPE NO UH-UH NO WAY and made a big fuss about it until they capitulated. I actually only asked to have the floor in the front half of the apartment (the living area) replaced but they are going to do the whole thing, the front and the back half. This is actually ideal because the hallway & bedrooms in the back half of the apartment have two different carpets from when they were partially replaced, so some of it is over 15 years old and quite grungy. I mean, I DO have the carpets cleaned (both professionally and by myself with a rented cleaner) but there is only so much that can be done, you know?

Since we found out we’ve been packing & decluttering like mad. I’ve gotten rid of SO MUCH STUFF already and I still have more (clothing, furniture, housewares) that I’m planning on donating, giving away or just tossing out. The contractors are starting work on Monday morning so I have three days left to get everything done. In the meantime they’ve already had all the flooring supplies delivered to my cleared-out dining room> I didn’t get to pick the colour of the flooring (boo) but thankfully I actually love it? It’s a very neutral medium grayish brown (the name of the colour is “Seadrift” so presumably they were going for a driftwoody vibe) faux wood vinyl plank flooring. I’m happy with having vinyl flooring for one very important reason: IT’S WATERPROOF. I’m very much looking forward to just wiping up spills or accidents rather than trying (and ultimately failing) to blot them out of the carpet with towels.

While this is all great and exactly what I wanted, it’s also a bit of a nightmare because. Well. We live here! The apartment is full of all our stuff! Initially I considered putting everything into storage for a week so they could do all the floors at once, but it just wasn’t practical. Instead they are doing half at a time: first, we have to move everything from the front half of the apartment to the back half while they do those floors, then come back and move everything from the back half of the apartment to the front half while they do THOSE floors. We can’t stay here while the work is happening so I had to make arrangements for somewhere for us to stay as well. I had hoped we could just take this opportunity to go out-of-town and visit family but having to come back mid-week to move everything made that impossible. It definitely makes me a little bitter that they didn’t do this when I begged them to five years ago when I only had ONE kid and much less furniture, but oh well. At least it’s finally happening now!

hello spring!

We took the kids to the playground yesterday and I think it was the first genuinely nice (ie NOT WET AND/OR FREEZING) day so far this year. Last year all the plum & cherry & apple trees in my neighborhood were flowering in February and this year I feel like they’ve just started to bud. It’s so nice to say goodbye to winter, it seems like it was so long this year, but I guess that just because I’m used to the more typical global warming winters. Were winters this long when I was a kid? This winter was snowy in Vancouver but I certainly remember there being much more snow back in the 80s.

Anyway. I have slacked on a bunch of the home projects I wanted to have done by this point (mostly painting related) but I’ve tackled a few other big projects, namely a massive craft closet declutter. I’m still not 100% finished with it but once it’s done I have big plans for decluttering the kitchen cupboards and the little kids’ room (THERE’S SO MANY TOYS), as well as possibly switching some of the living areas around. Plus all that painting I still need to do! It’s going to be a busy season.

baby bunking

Gwen has wanted to get a bunkbed to share with Nicky basically since before he was born. She was going through a big Peppa Pig phase last summer, and Peppa & George share a room with a bunkbed, so I think that might be the source. There’s also a big sister/little brother bunkbed combo in Little Miss, Big Sis, the book about becoming a big sister we bought for her last year when I was pregnant. Of course, Nicky is in a crib and Gwen is too young for an upper bunk still, but I’ve started doing a little bunk bed planning already.

I had almost decided on the Ikea Norddal bunk bed, which can be reconfigured into two twin beds in case they get sick of being stack up. However I was recently discussing bunk beds on instagram with Alison from 600 Sq Ft and a Baby and she asked if I had considered the Ikea Kura.

For those who aren’t familiar, it’s a reversible bedframe that can be used low, almost as a canopy bed, or high, as a loft bed (the high configuration is lower than a loft bed for a teen or adult). It’s also a favourite of Ikea hackers, a lot of whom use it in the high configuration as a bunkbed by putting a mattress under the loft.

A few weeks ago I saw this adorable playhouse online that Gwen fell in love with (I posted it in my five faves that week). The $250 price tag was a lil much for me though and when a friend sent me a link to a DIY to make one that is similar I figured that might be the way to go. Then I thought about it more and realized we just don’t have the space for a large, permanent (ie non-collapsable) playhouse like that, even with the airy openness of it. The playroom (really part of the open-plan living area) already has the toy shelf and play kitchen (which I’m planning on replacing with a larger play kitchen) and the little kids bedroom has Nicky’s crib, Gwen’s toddler canopy bed, a large dresser/bookshelf and another toy shelf. There is plenty of open area in both rooms but it’s floorspace that needs to be kept clear for playing and walking through.

I started looking at various hacks and LO AND BEHOLD WHAT DID I SPY? Kuras that had been hacked to add a roof-shaped canopy! All I’ve found is pictures with no real sources, so no instructions, but HONESTLY how hard can it be? Kura beds are pretty much just a 2×2 pine frame with white particleboard panels, so I’d just need some extra 2x2s. I even already have a mitre saw to do the cuts, so I’m basically halfway there. Now I just need the bedframe, the extra wood and oh yeah, two years to go by so Gwen and Nicky can use it! JUST KIDDING STAY TINY FOREVER MY BABIES.

photo sources: 1 ikea // 2 Nanette Wong // 3 simons// 4 homeday // 5 erdmute

My Finished Kitchen Backsplash

One thing I really wanted to finish this month was my kitchen backsplash. For an apartment I have a fairly large kitchen with a decent amount of counter space but there was NO BACKSPLASH at all. The wall between the countertops and the bottom of the cabinets was always getting splattered with stuff and was so annoying to clean. I’d been planning on painting it (which had never been done in the 10+ years I’ve lived here) but in my heart I was wishing for tile. Of course I wasn’t about to shell out for actual tile in a rental apartment so I went with the next best thing: STICKERS.


We use this little mouse kitchen timer to limit Gwen’s screentime.

Is a faux tile peel & stick backsplash tacky? Probably, but it is 1000% better than what was there before, ie nothing. After doing some research I decided to go with tiles from Smart Tiles, which had the best reviews. They have a lot of different options but I wanted a) simple and b) cheap so I went with plain white subway tiles. The best price I found for them here in Canada was at Lowe’s, where a pack of six sheets of fake tiles (a little under a square foot each) is $47 (most other places here have them at 1 sheet for $9.99). They were actually cheaper ($43) when I bought them and I also waited to buy them on sale to save a little extra.

I am not going to pretend I’m like a super pro at installing these because I made a lot of mistakes. Good news though, you can learn from them! I have a few tips as to how you can make your faux tile installation as hassle-free as possible:

1. USE THE CALCULATOR ON THE SMART TILES SITE. Each product page has a calculator that will let you know how many of that type of tile sheet you need to cover your surface area. I didn’t realize this and initially ordered based on my own estimation and WOW it was wildly inaccurate. I only had enough sheets to do one wall and had to wait for them to go on sale again to order more and finish the job.
2. MEASURE YOUR CUTS ACCURATELY. Part of the reason I ran out of my first batch of tiles so quickly is because I kept messing up the cuts I needed to do. I ended up being able to use most of the flubbed sheets anyway (I did a narrow strip of wall from floor to ceiling which used a lot of scraps) but I def would have saved at least some money by not screwing up.
3. START WITH THE EASIEST WALL FIRST. For some reason I thought I should start with the wall behind my stove, which meant all sorts of tricky cuts AND the biggest surface area to fill. This is also why I messed up a lot, and I realized after I should have started with the easiest and smallest wall, between the fridge and the window, where the only cuts were just a couple straight edges and a cut out around an outlet.
4. USE TAPE WHEN MAKING CUTS. You can cut these tiles with just a box cutter, cork-backed metal ruler and a cutting mat, but it was easier for me to cut the straight edges with the tile taped to the mat so it wouldn’t slide around. When I had to make unusual cuts (around corners or outlets) I would put tape on the front of the tile in the general area I needed to cut and then draw my cutting lines on the tape (this worked better for me that drawing them on the back, which I messed up a lot). Painter’s tape left the least residue but scotch tape worked fine as well.


The Nespresso & Baby Brezza formula dispenser are both plugged in here and both have large and visible black plugs & cords. I used this outlet cover the disguise the plugs & somewhat wrangle the cords.

Thankfully, the look of these tiles is forgiving and hides a lot of mistakes, and even when I’ve challenged people to figure out my most egregious error that haven’t been able to figure it out (or they are just being nice, who can say). Overall I’m happy with the results and would definitely use this product again.

a fresh start

Happy Friday everyone! This week has been long and exhausting- we’ve had a couple room-sharing hiccups with Gwen & Nicky that have really interfered with me getting any sleep, including one night when Taylor forgot to put the hallway gate up when he went to work and Gwen snuck out and had herself a 3am juice & candy picnic. Several, actually. All over the house.

I’m heading into the weekend with 300 million projects on the go; my goal for this year is to reorganize, declutter and re/decorate the apartment, and I really dove into it this week. I got rid of the big shelf that held all the bins of daycare toys which opened up the dining room & playroom, however I don’t have any replacement storage yet so now there’s just a big pile of toy bins against the wall, oops. I did get myself a new desk, I was planning on waiting on that but then I found one I liked on sale so I scooped it up. The new desk is a lot smaller than my old one, and has less storage, so you would think it would make sense to clean out and organize everything on/in the old desk before setting up the new one, but NOPE. That is not what I did.


mom realness: the baby monitor parent unit hiding behind my calendar

The new desk arrived yesterday and I built it IMMEDIATELY, and just threw everything from my old desk in boxes and piled on windowsills. So now I need to sort out and organize everything! Since a lot of this stuff is probably going to end up in my craft closet I need to sort out and organize that as well, which is a super daunting task. I feel like I need to do a major de-stash but then I’m like… WHAT IF I NEED THIS STUFF IN A YEAR??? I have gotten rid of craft supplies before only to regret it later, but the closet is bursting so I think it’s really time.

I didn’t use a mousepad before but I need one for the new desk. I made my own by cutting a circle out of platinum leather, it’s a little creased right now but with some use it should smooth out & develop a nice patina. Another change to the office area is I took down the large canvases & corkboard that were hanging in the interior window above my desk, which had been there for probably close to 8 years? I’m not sure but they were SUPER dusty! Taking them down has LITERALLY opened up the space, but because it’s right opposite the front door Taylor says it’s very receptionist-y coming in when I’m at my computer, which I can see. I don’t want to fill it in too much but I feel like I should hang something else there now? I also decided to replace my somewhat janky Ikea-by-way-of-craigslist office chair with one of our dining room chairs, at least temporarily. We have four dining chairs but with Gwen using a junior chair we only really use three at any given time. I’ve ordered a chair cushion that I think will serve nicely for the time being.

make the most of it: goals for 2017


notebook // pen // tablecloth

This year I really want to get shit done. I had a lot of things I wanted to accomplish in 2016 and well, I didn’t accomplish any of them. I think I had a pretty good excuse though, as I was kind of distracted by being pregnant all year, and all my self-care and nesting energy went into that.

Get into some sort of shape. I KNOW I KNOW A TOTAL CLICHE. But this isn’t actually a new-years-lose-weight resolution, this is actually a post-pregnancy lose weight resolution. It was just unfortunately postponed by my c-section recovery, and then the discovery that at some point in the last few years of being pregnant, being sick with an autoimmune disease and being pregnant again, I threw out all my workout clothes. When decluttering goes wrong, y’all. So I had to get all new stuff and by the time it arrived it was full holiday season and I couldn’t find the time to get started, and now it’s resolution season at the gym which makes me disinclined to go because it’s gonna be so busy! I’ve figured out that the only time I can possibly go to the gym is Monday and Friday mornings at like… 6:30. I am in NO WAY a morning person so my ACTUAL fitness goal is training my body to get out of bed at 6 so I can get to the gym, work out, get home & shower in time to start work at 8. Then the other days I can work out at home I guess? My idea is to set an alarm for an earlier time each week and slowly ease myself into it, so this week I have it set for 6:45. Tuesday I managed to get up that early, but Wednesday I stayed in bed and dozed off until my regular alarm went off at seven and today to my hame I snoozed it until like… 8. IN MY DEFENSE Gwen woke me up at 3 on Wednesday morning and I woke myself up at 5 today so I was extra tired! Honestly I feel like this is my life rn…

I can’t not work and I’m not willing to give up time with my family so I’m going to have to sacrifice some sleep if I want to make this happen. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

Finish the half-done home decor projects around the house. The kitchen backsplash is half-tiled. The bathroom is half-painted. My side of the office is where unwanted furniture goes to die and the hallway has no storage so there are always bins and boxes piled in it.

Start some new home decor projects. I want to repaint the living room, dining room, hallway and half-bath. I should probably repaint the entryway (it’s the first room I painted in like… 2007? and it’s looking rough). I’ve never painted my bedroom at all in TEN YEARS and it looks just godawful, and I really want to get a headboard for my bed. I have windows that need curtains and closets I’ve taken the doors off that also need curtains.

Replace busted and/or janky furniture and appliances. Did you know I’ve never ever bought a desk for myself? It’s true. Before Taylor I shared a computer with Sym’s dad and he picked out & bought the desk. After we separated I had no desk for a while, and then had a hand-me-down desk from Sym’s room. The desk I have now I found in the trash (really). So yeah. A decent desk would be nice. We also need a new couch (ours has become basically unsittable) and the dishwasher hasn’t worked properly in years. YEARS.

Keep on top of like… basic housework. Fun fact: having a baby DRASTICALLY increases the amount AND frequency of laundry and dishes you have to do, and also cuts into the time you have to do them. It can quickly build up and spiral out of control, leaving me with even less time to do anything else. I’ve committed to getting back into using my to-do lists. I got out of the habit of making them last year but HONESTLY it help me a lot. I need to have a physical list to remind me of what I’m doing, the satisfaction of crossing things off as I complete them, and no option for things like “sit in front of Netflix for three hours while scrolling through instagram” :X I have a new notebook and pen and I’m doing monthly lists of large or irregular project as well as daily lists of everyday things. I also find it useful to break my most hated chores up into teeny-tiny daily increments; for example I don’t necessarily have the time or inclination to clean the whole of both bathrooms in one day, but cleaning one type of fixture a day is totally doable.

Reorganize & declutter. The kitchen cabinets. The bathroom cabinets & shelves. Almost every closet in the house but ESPECIALLY my craft closet. Our storage room! The entryway! It’s basically all a mess and needs serious looking into.

I know none of this follows the typical blogger new year goal list of mindfulness and personal growth (maybe that is the real cliche…), but after the total wash of last year I need to make practical choices. Maybe if I accomplish all this next year I will have goals that are more abstract (but probably not).

shark bait hoo ha ha

00-bokeh-tree

01-bw-cat

02-nicky

03-new-ornaments
I swear I bought a new ornament this year that isn’t a deer.

04-bare-lighted-christmas-tree
A few years ago I bought a large wicker basket to use in lieu of a tree skirt. I really liked it; tree skirts are a pita imo; always getting mussed up by pets and kids and sucked into the vacuum cleaner. However, the basket somehow vanished from my storage room after just one Christmas so I had to go buy a new one this week because fuck a tree skirt, honestly. I needed something at least 21″ in diameter to accommodate the tree stand and all I could find was one that was one miserable inch too small, and this fricking enormous one, oops.

05-gwen

06-shelf-with-small-toys

08-gwen-picking-her-nose-at-the-door
Tried to get a nice picture of her with our Christmas wreath…

07-wreath-bird

09-serums
All I care about right now is my skincare regimen. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

10-shark-nicky
This is just beyond. I mean come on.

11-shark-nicky
Shark-shaped baby sleeping bag from AliExpress.

12-pomegranates

the grind

01-autumn-leaves

02-bed-bench
We’ve been looking for a storage bench to put at the end of our bed for LITERALLY YEARS and the other week Taylor found this one on the Best Buy website of all places? Weird. Anyway it’s pretty much exactly what I wanted and when we ordered it it was on sale & therefore cheaper than all the not-quite-perfect ones I’ve seen so it’s a win.

03-mark-fluffalo

04-sleeping-nicky

05-nickys-boots
On the weekend I was feeling a little ~inspired and made these tiny grey suede boots for Nicky. I need to adjust the pattern a little to get a better fit but I just love them, and the little appliqu├ęd evergreen trees on the soles are so cute.

This is my first week back at work and it has been… busy? complicated? hard? chaotic? Our original plan (Taylor works nights from home & looks after the baby while I sleep, I work days from home and look after the baby while Taylor sleeps, ugh this was such a good plan!) went out the window with my emergency c section. Why? Well, if you’re not familiar, one of the ~rules~ for looking after yourself after a c section is that you aren’t supposed to lift anything that weighs more than your newborn baby for 6-8 weeks after the delivery. You know what weighs more than my newborn baby? The daycare kids! As I mentioned previously I can do almost all of our regular activities, but I can’t pick them up, and sometimes they need picking up.

This means I need to have someone here to help me for almost the entire day. I can’t afford to hire a full-time assistant so the task falls to Taylor in the morning/early afternoon and Sym in the late afternoon. Since Taylor is awake for the first half of the day it’s not possible for him to work his regular midnight to 8am shift, so instead he’s working 4am to noon, which means I’m tasked with getting up with the kids if they wake up between midnight and 4. This makes waking up at 7 to get ready for work pretty difficult. Taylor’s sleeping hours are split completely in half: he sleeps from about 1 until 5pm, and then midnight until 4. As a result we are BOTH tired and irritable, which is kind of the opposite of what we’d hoped for, and yet another reason to hate my c section. We are still working out the scheduling kinks, so hopefully over the next few weeks we’ll get our routines down a bit better and stop being so crabby with one another. And hey, it’s only for three to five more weeks, how hard can it be? (DON’T ANSWER THAT, UNIVERSE.)

The upside of this fairly cruddy situation is the kids themselves, which I guess is the part that makes it all worthwhile. Nicky is a pretty chill & easy-going baby, Gwen has mostly been well-behaved and helpful, and Sym has ALSO been well-behaved and helpful (almost more amazing in a teen than a preschooler). They really are the bright spot in this frustrating time.

how many, how much

2 Gwens

I absolutely cannot keep track of how pregnant I am. Last Thursday I posted on instagram that I was 33 weeks pregnant, but yesterday I saw the doctor (the baby is “growing beautifully” and I gained almost a pound, lol) and she was like “so you’re almost 35 weeks!” and I recalculated and she was right, tomorrow I am 35 weeks pregnant, not 34. This is not the first time this has happened, either, but at least I’m always miscalculating in my favour? Like I’m never “woo, I’m 25 weeks preg!” when really I’m only 23 or 24. I’m very eager to not be pregnant anymore so learning I only have five weeks left instead of six is a bit of a gift.

Of course, this also makes me a little stressed out because I haven’t exactly finished setting up the baby’s side of the bedroom yet. The crib is still in pieces and I JUST ordered the shelf that’s going to go on the wall between it and Gwen’s bed, and the estimated delivery date isn’t for three weeks! It’s mostly meant to hold Gwen’s toys but without it the toys are all over the place and I until I put them away I feel like I can’t get anything else done in that room, like hang all the art and idk, wash & put away all the baby clothes??? They are still all folded up in bins in my hallway, where they’ve been since I sorted everything out back in January (when I thought I was getting rid of it all). I just have so much to do!

Adding to the discombobulation of this week, Taylor has been away since Sunday, at a work conference in Las Vegas. He’s gone to conferences without me the last two years but BOY OH BOY does my being pregnant make it different. I made Sym stay home with me all week to help with Gwen/the dogs/around the house and I have been relying on her so much more than I thought I would. Doing anything is just so exhausting! Like doing the dishes AND going to the grocery store in the same day? Only if I’m going to bed at 6pm. It has definitely not been easy but thankfully Taylor is back tomorrow afternoon? evening? at some point anyway, and I can let Sym get back to enjoying her last few days of summer vacation.