Family Room Transition

It's been a while and I found myself itching to post something today.  The house is still far from finished (and I'll go into more detail on all the work being done in other posts) but our contractors are finally gone (until the next job...) and we're finally able to start enjoying our new home.

In our last house, we had the luxury of doing a lot of the work ourselves.  Corey actually spent most nights and weekends working on the house while I clocked extra hours at work.  This time around, we have a rambunctious toddler and Corey needs his evenings and weekends to devote to her.  Instead of allowing the renovations to take forever, we decided early on to hire contractors to help us with the work.  It's been great in some ways but it's very invasive living with people constantly working in your home.  It's actually been a really tough and stressful month and things have felt a bit strained but we're taking a break between big projects and it's a treat to be able to hang out and relax at home.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram, have probably already noticed the house coming together.  I don't think any of the rooms are finished yet but I'm excited to share the progress we've made on our family room.

In our old house, our family room/playroom is probably where we spent most of our time.  It's funny because I think it was the last room that we finished and it took us ages to even realize that it was going to be a family room.  For the first couple of years in the house, we had no idea how to use the space but once we figured it out, it was hard to imagine how we'd ever lived without it!

When we first saw this house, I was excited to find the potential to have another main floor family room!  We knew this time around it would be one of the first rooms we worked on.  Of course, we never choose the easy path and, if you notice in the floor plan below, our family room was actually two rooms separated by a wall and with two sinks and a bunch of built-in cabinets because the former owner was a denturist.

It was hard to get a photo because of the extra walls but check out the sinks and that awful peel and stick floor!

We had our contractors tear out the cabinetry and walls and replace the floor before painting.  While we loved our old toy storage system, we wanted a cleaner look for our new house.

Before I post the photos I want to reiterate that this is not the finished room.  We still have sooo many ideas from alphabet wall decals and art to another climbing wall and I'm really excited to continue working on this space.  At the same time, I don't want to wait for months to share so here's a look at our family room as it is today, in all its half-finished glory!

We bought a sectional, which converts to a Queen bed to allow the room to do double duty as a guest room.  We ordered it ages ago but it just arrived today and I already love it!  Corey's always wanted a sectional but we were aware of the small size of the room.  Oversized furniture that overwhelms a small space is one of my pet peeves, so we kept the dimensions apartment-size.  I know some of you are going to think we're crazy opting for such a light fabric but we're not big eaters in the family room and the fabric comes with a really good stain warranty!

We prefer to have our TV in the family room rather than the living room.  We added extra storage units above and below.  The unit below is filled with toys and puzzles and Rudy is so excited about it.  I'll show off how we organized it in another post!

A tall Ikea unit provides even more space for toy storage on the bottom, books in the middle and toddler art supplies up high and out of Rudy's easy reach!

We love Rudy's new play table and so does she.  It's a great place to colour or work on puzzles or blocks and we went ahead and got lots of chairs for future playdates.  Keeping it pushed against the window leaves plenty of floor space for dancing, twirling and general fun!

... Or building towers with daddy!

I look forward to sharing more as we continue to make progress!


How We Spent Our Holidays

I hope you and your family have enjoyed the holidays this year.  I feel like our family has been sick on and off for most of December, but I suppose that's to be expected with a toddler in school!

We try to avoid decorating for the holidays until after we celebrate Rudy's birthday.  We were still unpacking (still are, to be honest.) but we threw up the tree and stockings anyway.  Rudy loved taking off the ornaments and hiding them in her backpack!

Like last year, we took Rudy to visit Santa again.  She doesn't seem at all nervous around him, but we take her for a half-hour Santa experience at Sherway Gardens.  It's amazing because he reads a small-ish group of kids a story and chats with them and even plays a game.  By the time you take a photo, they've had time to get comfortable with him.  Rudy was fighting a cold and was trying hard to stay awake but she still seemed to have a good time... although that's not totally evident in the photo.

We got SO MUCH SNOW this December!  Of course, we'd get all the snow in the year that we finally have a large driveway to clear.  Corey bought a snow blower and Rudy discovered the fun of playing outside with the dogs.

Rudy's school closes for two and half weeks and we were having some messy work done in the house so we escaped to Great Wolf Lodge just before Christmas.  Rudy loves it every time, and Corey and I also have a blast just seeing everything through her eyes.  She loved howling like a wolf and looking at the waterpark from the third-floor window and just saying "Whoooah!" in an awestruck voice!

She also loved deliberately walking under the sprinklers and getting her head wet as well as standing over the fountains so the water could spray up her shorts.  It was hilarious!

We came home just in time for Christmas Eve and the first night of Chanukah.  We lit the candles and hung our stockings and watched old Christmas musicals on the projector.

Rudy got a few small gifts (a wind-up lizard, a bouncy ball... just small things.) from Santa in her stocking and one Christmas and one Chanukah gift from us.  The rest of the family spoiled her.  She tends not to like to have too many choices all at once though and after opening about three of the six gifts in her stocking, she walked away from it saying "All done, okay?"  Our sweetheart doesn't need much to be happy- I hope we'll be able to say that for a long time.

Over the rest of the break, there were family parties and dinners with friends.

We even attended a "paint nite" party, organized by friends.  It was really fun... even if we didn't end up with masterpieces!

Which brings us to the last night of Chanukah, which also happened to be New Year's Eve.

I've been reflecting on 2016 and it really has been a whirlwind.  The world lost some great people this year (as we do every year) but, for our family, there have been a lot of good memories from this past year and I prefer to focus on those.  When we think of our friends and family, we feel lucky to have shared in many happy adventures: from babies born and weddings to remarkable new careers and trips around the world!

We began 2016 with a family wedding: Corey's identical twin got married and we inherited an awesome sister-in-law.  We were all in the wedding... even Rudy!  Here's a photo of the three of us.

Shortly after, Corey went back to work from parental leave and ended up on a very specialized team within his field.  He worked on some really interesting sites- I'm really proud of him!

We added to our family again: this time with a naughty orange kitten named Cricket.  He's a little devil but oh so cute and you can read about him in this post.

I had a busy spring at work but we still managed some family outings to the zoo and science centre.

By late spring, we moved Rudy to a closer school.  She was sad to say goodbye to her teachers and it took her a few weeks to get the hang of a new school but she loves it now and is so confident there.  Each morning, she insists on carrying her own backpack and marches straight into her classroom.

By summer, we were taking Rudy camping and in late August we headed out to Banff for our best family trip ever!  We saw bears, elk and mountain goats up close and even walked on a glacier.  You can read about our trip here.

In the fall, we bought a house (which surprised even us!) and our free time was spent preparing to sell our new/old house and packing to move.

Our December has been so busy!  After moving, battling colds and stomach flu and living through renovations all month, (which is REALLY taxing on our nerves and has been a real challenge,) we weren't up for much celebrating on New Year's Eve.  Rudy went to bed at the normal time while Corey made this delicious lamb bolognese for us.  We ate and toasted and watched movies in bed.  I think I was asleep long before midnight.  It seems appropriate that the year should end with us facing lots of renovations and hard work and obstacles, but feeling happy and excited for the adventures to come.

I know that social media is tricky and sometimes it feels like everyone else is living this amazing, picture-perfect life, but 2016 brought us our share of disappointment and challenges too.  We were especially heartbroken after some attempts to add to our little family left us grieving.  Still, looking back, the good overwhelmingly outweighs the bad and we feel very fortunate to be here: healthy, together and optimistic.

Photo by Crista Lee Photography

We wish you and your families health and happiness in 2017.  We can't wait to share it with you.

Photo by Crista Lee Photography

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