Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A girl can dream, right?

Now that Dan is back to work and we're starting to settle into life here in Sussex (side note: if you would have known me 10 years ago, you would know that I would have NEVER said I'd be back in Sussex!), we're starting to seriously think about buying our first home.  I've been stalking MLS and the local listings for years now, long before we physically lived in town, but yesterday I actually went to my first house viewing, just to get an idea of what to expect.  I think I may have started out a bit too large though, since the house above is the one I went to see and I fell in love with it right off the bat!

You see, I love OLD houses.  I don't know if it's because I grew up in one or because I've always been into older/antique things over modern ones, but there's something wonderful about a home that has real character, that has seen many people pass through it, that has stood the test of time, and that brings you back to when things were different...I just love it.  I love it despite the many challenges that older homes present, because to me the goods far outweigh the bads.  So anyway, after seeing this house it got me thinking about my 'short list' of what I'm looking for in a home (Dan is far less choosy, but he has a few requirements too, so they are included in the list.) 

Ideally, my/our dream home would have:
*Age (ideally it would be at least 60 years old, or parents' house is about 100!)
*Lots of natural light (plenty of windows with nothing blocking the light from getting in)
*Wood (if painted white even better!)
*Space (though it doesn't have to be enormous, the rooms can be smaller)
*An upstairs and downstairs
*A decent sized kitchen (doesn't have to be eat-in, but it would be nice)
*At least 3 bedrooms
*All the majors up to date (roof, foundation, furnace, etc)
*Somewhere to put the computer that's out of the way (I'm done with this computer-in-the-bedroom/living room/hallway crap!)
*A possible separate office space for myself (though not necessary)
*A possible garage or back room for Dan's instruments (though not necessary)
*Some land (not a ton, but we need a large yard for the kids and a garden at the very least)
*No neighbours (this is more Dan's request than mine)
*A few luxuries (a fireplace or large deck or something similar)

A few things that our dream home DOESN'T need:
*Multiple bathrooms (we're very used to having just one, and a small one at that!)
*New appliances
*New anything really!
*Perfect paint colours
*to be move-in ready

I also want my home to be somewhere in which I'll want to spend my time (since I'm a homebody), in which I can decorate for the seasons, see raising my kids comfortably, somewhere that will be cozy but still kind of grand, and in which I will finally, finally feel truly at home.

So anyway, back to the house above.  It met a lot of the criteria; tons of space, 3 bedrooms, 3(!) bathrooms-one with the original clawfoot tub-a decent sized kitchen with a pantry, dining room, living room w/fireplace, den, large mudroom-possible-office, 2 staircases (I grew up with a 'servant's staircase' that went into the kitchen and I LOVED it), a huuuge wrap around covered veranda (look at it!), a large has pretty much everything. 

Not to say it was perfect though.  There is a lot of cosmetic and even non-cosmetic work that could be done (including tearing down the rickety attached woodshed and carriage house, and some major landscaping), but the nice thing is that none of it would need to be done right away.  I also like the idea of a house that you continually get to work on (seriously, what do people do with those brand new homes that need no work?!)  The other not-so-great thing about it is that although the location is very convenient in many ways (it's about a 2 minute walk from the school and right downtown), our neighbours are quite close.  In a perfect world this house would be situated just outside of town on a few acres of land, but that isn't the case.  Still, I love it...but as my mom said, I need to look at several houses before deciding on which one is for us, I can't buy the first house I see without looking around!

So this is the beginning of what may be a long house-hunting journey (we probably won't move until the Spring at the earliest). I may blog about other houses we see, but this first one definitely left a mark on me so I thought I would mention it.

And, of course, one of the most exciting things about owning your own home is decorating it! So I'll leave you with some pretty pictures of "modern country" homes that I thought would suit my style and the style of the house above.

[broken link-no source]

[This kitchen is actually very similar to the one in the house we saw, the cabinets are painted white wood and there's a double window above the sink...sigh. source]

I've been so bad at blogging and keeping up lately, Victor has had a cold all this week so he's been hard to get down for naps, which means a lot of extra time in mama's arms. I really need to come back soon and do Victor's 6/7 month update though, I can't fall more behind than I already am! 

Oh life.

Be back soon I hope!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Slow down September (aka photo dump)

Is it honestly and truly September 24th already?!  This makes me more than just a little sad.  Fall is always so fleeting around here, the last thing I need is for it to rush by.  I feel like I haven't truly starting enjoying the season as much as I should be, and I really have no excuse, I'm home all day! I should be outside more at the very least (I do go for a walk everyday at 3pm but just around the block to break the monotony of being in the house.)  Anyway, there are only about 8 weeks left of Fall and I plan on savouring them.

[ARGH!! I just wrote out the rest of this post, didn't notice that it wasn't autosaving AGAIN and lost everything I had just spent the last hour writing.  OMG I hate Blogger sometimes!!!  And myself for not writing out my posts in Word first and then transferring them over, bah.  So instead of re-writing everything-I just don't the time or energy-I'll just post a bunch random pics with 1-liners.  Sooo frustrating.  Typepad in 2011?] 

I'm doing sessions again after nearly a month off. This is from a maternity session I did on Monday.  Love maternity sessions!

Been taking silly self portraits again.  Wanted to show off my new haircut but it's hard to get a good shot of it.  You can see my bangs though!  Love them so far!

My JoTotes camera bag.  Perfect size for my Canon and a few cloth diapers :)

Fall goodness. I can't wait to go apple picking, make apple sauce and pies, and all the other yummy Fall comfort foods that come with the season.

My mantle, all decorated.  Loving the red/orange/black/white combo. And white mini pumpkins are the best.

I've decided that for Halloween this year I want us to dress as characters from Little Red Riding Hood. I'll be miss Hood (obviously), Victor will be the Big Bad Wolf and Fan will be the Handsome Woodsman who saves the day at the end.  I want to make our costumes, so I'm on the lookout for what I need (black hoodies for babies? Not that easy to find...) Side note: Even though I've been thinking about Halloween, I'm actually much more anxious for Christmas this year, which is sooo odd.

I've been wanting wall decals for the living room for awhile now, and the other day while out with my sister at the Dollarama I saw these for 2$! Which is perfect, since we're renting and I didn't want to spend a ton of money anyway.  Are they still design-cool?  I dunno, but I like 'em :)

Photo of my friend Sara's little guy, Eli. He's getting so big, you can really see it in this photo, our babies are getting older!

And speaking of babies, I couldn't really post without some photos of little V. himself. Here are a few peeks of the main man himself:

We're doing well in our solid food adventures.  I won't get into the details too much since I still need to write out his 6-7 month post (since I skipped 6, oops!), but he's tried a lot, responds well to it, and we're moving ahead.

Those eyes, they're almost black sometimes.  He's a looker for sure!

I'm obsessed with black and white photos of Dan and Victor lately.  I have so many good ones, I think that maybe after Victor's first year is up I'll blow up a series of B&W shots of them for a wall display in our bedroom or something. Lovely.

This little guy is on the move! Last week he started commando crawling and now he's all over the place! Which is good because he can entertain himself much better now, but bad because my floors and carpets really need to be cleaned!

I attempted an impromptu family shoot last weekend in our backyard. Let's just say that a tired hubby + a shaky tripod + a wiggly baby did not equal very many good shots, but we got a few, which is all I can ask for. I would love to have professional family shots done at some point, while it's still just the three of us.

Ok, well that was a very abridged version of my original post, but these snippets show what's been going on around here in the past month.  I'll try to be back soon, I have a layout that's thiiis close to being done, and since it will most likely be my last scrap layout for awhile, I will give it proper exposure.

Until then!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Photos, you inspire me so.

Flickr Favs-September

I have ignored my Flickr for months and months now (since Victor was born, actually). I kind of want to just delete everything and start over, but I don't know where to begin.  It's like this messy junk drawer I have online that I'd like to clean out but instead just ignore.  Sigh.  Anyway, I was looking through Explore tonight and found all these lovelies. It made me feel better and reminded me why I love Flickr in the first place. 

The unlimited inspiration and beauty. 

I'm starting to pick up some shoots for this month and next, so I'm soaking up as much inspo as I can.  Whenever I look at pictures like these I just want to grab my camera and drive out to some wooded area and take self portraits and photos of my friends (in dramatic poses) all day long. Lately though, I don't take enough good (aka effort-full) photos of myself and my life; I feel like I just do the 'snapshot' thing when it comes to my own child and my own husband and my own self, it's a habit I really need to change (and really, at this point, I shouldn't have a 'snapshot' mode, all my photos should be as 'good' as the ones I do for others...)  Anyway, I miss doing photography for myself sometimes, my silly self portraits or concept shoots with friends (Heather!!)  I should make the time to do this for myself.

Tomorrow Dan and I are going out for our anniversary (which was yesterday); we're going to dinner and a movie, and then heading to my parents' camp for the night...without the baby.  He will be staying with Grand mama and Grand papa (aka my parents). It will be our first night away together since he was born, we're quite excited (though I'm sure we'll  miss him at the same time).  I'm thinking though that I'm going to bring my tripod and drag Dan out for some photos of the two of us, we haven't taken any in such a long time!  I will make the effort, and enjoy the results.

Hope you all have a great weekend, be back Sunday!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

4 years ago today...

This classy girl (ha!) married this cool guy (ha!).

Since then they've moved 4 times, had a baby, gone through several jobs, got a cat, went on a few trips, fought, laughed, shared everything, saved money, spent money, learned to live with a new name (well, I did), had roommates, divided labour, drove a lot, made some good (and bad) marriage habits, kissed, transitioned, grown and loved a whole lot.  And they're only just beginning.

Happy Anniversary babe, can't wait to get away with you this weekend!   

Be back soon,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Way way back in the 1980s...

Did anyone else watch this show?  It was on MTV in 2002 and only ran for one season.  Dan introduced it to me way back when we first started dating (in 2003), and ever since then I have watched the entire season about once a year.  It's just so foolish and funny, and even though I know the episodes all by heart now they still make me smile. 

Favourite lines lately:
Mr. Scudworth (the principal): Did you see the pool? They FLIPPED da bitch!
Ghandi: Say whaaaaat?! (I don't know how many times Dan and I used to say that when we first saw it...)

The theme song also always get stuck in my head for days after watching it!

Do you have any shows that you watch over and over again?  I'm like this with sooo many things, repetition (and tradition) in a way is a huge thing with me, I watch the same movies and shows over and over, read the same books over and over, if I like something I don't seem to tire of it.

Be back later with something less random, ha!

PS-I just noticed that I have 365 posts on this blog (this will be 366).  That is one full year's worth of posts.  Considering I have been blogging since December 2006 (I believe), that means I have blogged approximately 1/4 of my days since then.  It's been well worth it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blankets on my mind...

[Print by The Black Apple]

It's downright chilly here today, so I've been thinking a lot about my next sewing project, a blanket (I call them blankets because I don't actually do the quilting part, though I might try this time...) Anyway, I made this pink one last year using Anna Maria Horner fabric and I LOVE it, so I want to do something similar for Victor (the idea back then was that I would made a pink one and blue one for my eventual kids' bedrooms, thinking I'd have one of each...I should have made the blue one first, wishful thinking I guess!) This time though I'd like to make it a bit more challenging (this will be my 3rd patchwork blanket, since I also made this small one for my friend Sara last year), so I'd like to do a triangle/diamond pattern, and also maybe quilt the blanket and do a nice binding. So I've been searching Etsy for pretty fabrics and ooooh, it's so hard to decide!  I'm not sure if I want to go with more Anna Maria Horner (can't go wrong with her gorgeous patterns), or whether I want to go more modern, or...

Here are some of the pretties I'm looking at right now (all fabrics from The Fabric Worm.)

(These are kind of creepy looking, but I like them anyway...I think it's the Halloween spirit creeping up on me!)

(Love the modern designs in this bundle!)

(Sigh, so pretty, and I think it would be fine for a boy's blanket, right?)

(Just love...the colours, the fabrics, it's the perfect mix)

(AWESOME colour combo, I can totally see doing Victor's little boy room in orange and grey someday!)

And here's a gorgeous quilt I found on Flickr, this is what I mean by the 'triangle look', I don't want to make an actual pattern with the fabrics, I still want a scattered, patchwork-ey feel to it.

If it's a boy quilt - front

I'm really excited to get started on this project.  I'd also like to attempt a Lincoln log quilt and a scraps block quilt someday. There's something about the practical nature of making blankets that I it's within my sewing skill level at the moment :)

Have you made any blankets/quilts that you are proud of? Please link me up, I'd love to see!

Be back soon,

PS-I'm also trying to finish up my knitted blanket for Victor, but like all things I'm starting a new project before finishing an old...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Goals for 2010 Check-In

I recently saw a post on one of my 'mom blogs' (SimpleMom I think) that was about checking in on our New Year's Resolutions/Goals, since Fall seems to be the time of year when everyone wants to start focusing, list making, goal setting, and improving their lives (myself included). So I thought I'd do the check-in to see how I'm doing so far.

These goals were made before Victor was born and before I knew much about how our lives were going to be this year, so it will be interesting to see how on (or off) the mark I was about some of them.

Here is the original post with my goals for the year 2010.  Let's go:

1. Survive (and thrive at) being a mother: This one remains to be seen, since there is still much mothering to do in this first year of my son's life, but for the most part so far I feel quite good about how things are going.  I'm happy that I've stuck out the breastfeeding and cloth diapering thing, that I haven't had too many moments of utter rage (not to say there haven't been some!), and that I haven't hovered or been overly anxious about anything in his life (meaning I think I may be a bit more relaxed than some first time moms).  I've adapted and yet kept some of my old life very much in tact, and in my opinion have raised a fairly happy child so far :)  The only things I would say that I need to work on are being more present and 'in the moment' when I'm with Victor, since often my mind is fluttering around to a bunch of other things, avoiding the stick-your-baby-in-whatever-while-you-check-your-email-and-twitter thing (I do this alot!), and finding more time to focus on Dan and I. Like I said though, I'm doing ok...definitely surviving, could thrive a bit more though.
2. Save the down payment for a house, continue to pay off debt and bulk up the Emergency Account: Surprisingly, we're getting quite close to having a down payment saved! Which is amazing considering Dan hasn't worked since the baby was born, meaning we're mostly living on one income.  We haven't slowed down too much when it comes to savings, and earlier this year we actually paid off our first student related loan (albeit the smallest one).  Our Emergency Account has grown but if we plan on using it all for a house, then we still have a lot of saving to do.  We haven't yet opened an RESP for Victor, which I want to do soon, so that'll be some more savings we're going to have to budget in.  Still though, not too shabby, I'm happier with this than I thought I would be back in January! 

3. Build my photography portfolio: This is another goal that's way ahead of schedule.  I bought my new camera shortly after the baby was born (THANK YOU DAN), and as of May I've had about a dozen shoots, some as portfolio builders and some as paid gigs, and this Fall is starting to get booked up as well!  Initially I didn't think I would be taking on 'clients' until much later in the year (if this year at all), but once I had posted a few of my portfolio building sessions on my personal Facebook profile, I received a bunch of emails asking how much I charged, if I could do this or that, so I decided to jump on in and try it out.  I'm still learning a lot and am no where near set up as far as the business part goes, but I've started a photography blog and a Facebook page, and have tons of ideas floating around in my head, so all things are looking good.  My goal is to move over to my own domain and website/blog by the end of the year (I have enough shots at this point to display online as a 'body of work') and to keep advertising/taking on sessions as much as I can.  My dream-come-true goal would be to have a business plan laid out by the time I have to go back to work in the Spring and to make this a full/part time thing...meaning not returning to work at all.  We shall see however. But still, I'm pretty happy with how things have gone so far, and I'm excited to see where things will go.  

4. Keep my marriage a priority:  Eeeeh...could use some work.  I mean, we're still connected and happy and everything, I thank heavens everyday that he is here helping me and being so much a part of this family, but I know that I could show my appreciation a bit better.  We're actually going away for the first time without Victor next weekend for our 4 year anniversary (yay!), so I'm excited to have some time with just him, it'll give us a chance to focus on each other completely and to talk about our future and how we're going to keep our marriage on the front line. 

5. Travel at least once outside of the Maritimes: Check! My trip to BC last week went really well, and was as far away from the Maritimes as I could get (in Canada, that is.)  I've promised Dan that I wouldn't travel without him anymore, though, so my/our next trip will mostly likely be more low-key and closer to home (I should probably only aim to travel outside of the province in 2011, ha!)

6. Garden: FAIL. Our apartment didn't cater well to gardening and I didn't attempt a potted garden.  I also didn't help my sister with her garden as much as I had wanted, but I know that she's amped up about doing it right next year, so I'll definitely be partaking then.

7. Continue blogging and scrapping at current rate: The blogging has been going ok (except for the first couple of months after Victor was born when we had no Internet), I still aim to blog at least once a week, sometimes twice, but my scrapping has slowed waaaay down.  My creative energies have been spent more on photography, and when I do get the chance to do something, it always takes me forever.  I plan on actually putting my stuff away for a little bit once I finish the layout that's on my table and taking out my dusty sewing machine instead, yay!

8. Get involved:  This one could be better.  I have gone to a few mom-and-baby type groups (they are starting back up next week actually, I'm excited!), but I haven't volunteered at all and generally only leave the house when absolutely necessary, haha.  I'm even slacking in the walking department, shame on me. 

9. Change my eating habits: FAIL.  No excuses, no reasons. I eat like crap and that's the end of it.  Maybe once I have to start feeding Victor the things I eat I will change, but at the same time it's doubtful.  Sigh.

10. Start going to church: FAIL.  Again, no excuses, I'm hoping to start going before the end of the year, but we shall see.

So there we go, about half and half right?  I think that's about average for me, haha.

Did you make any goals waaaay back in January?  How are they going?  If you decide to do a check-in make sure to link me up, I'd love to read!

Happy Saturday night,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I needed this...

Saw this over on Rookie Moms today and it made me smile.  I need some breastfeeding encouragement at the moment, when Victor is refusing to nurse from me and I'm being forced to pump (something I HATE doing and have a hard time doing), and when the idea of stopping altogether becomes more and more appealing*.

Off to run some errands, have a great 1st day of school to all the kiddos and parents out there!

Be back soon,

*I don't plan on actually stopping breastfeeding, but I have decided to supplement a bit with formula; I really worry that the nipple shield is limiting the amount of milk he's getting, and he doesn't seem to be gaining a lot of weight, so I bought some formula yesterday and gave it to him, since he's on a 'strike' at the moment.  I only plan on giving it to him when I need to be away from him and can't pump enough (like our anniversary in a couple of weekends), and maybe one additional feeding a day so that he can 'beef up' a bit.  I will still feed him as much as he lets me, it's still WAY more convenient than the whole bottle thing, and there's no way we could afford to switch over completely at this point, it's freakin' expensive!  So yeah, I gave my baby formula...there, cleared my conscience a bit, lol.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

This month I want to...

...cut my hair (for real!) and get bangs for the first time since I was 14.

...wear short boots with a skirt or dress (with heels and without).

...start a new sewing project, most likely another blanket for V.

...have my nails permanently painted a dark colour (gray or black).

...decorate my mantle (and home) for Fall.

...find a sweet couple and have a woodsy, plaid-wearing, Fall-inspired shoot.

What do you want to do this month?

Be back soon,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Worst September 1st EVER.

(Photo of Victor and I in Vernon, British Columbia this past Sunday-where it was MUCH cooler.)

Oh my. What a terrible way to start my very favourite time of year.  The East Coast (and the Maritimes in particular) are going through a terrible heat wave this week, which is bad enough on its own, but the fact that it's September 1st (and in my mind the beginning of my beloved Fall), makes the heat all the more unbearable and unwelcome.  We're at my parents' house right now, hiding out in their dark, air conditioned rooms, waiting out the suffocating heat and humidity (it's +39C with humidity today).  Our apartment is an oven, we can't sleep at night, Victor is in a terrible mood from the heat, and so am I...ugh, just not a good way to start a new season. 

Luckily (?), there's a hurricane coming on Saturday and things are supposed to cool down after it passes, so I'm hoping that the rest of this week just flies by.

So until the mercury goes down about 10-15 degrees, I shall save my yearly love-ode-to-autumn post.  We're still getting back on track after our trip out West last week (will blog about it soon!), I've got a big to-do list piling up in my head, a messy house, projects waiting to be started, and some sweaters waiting to be unpacked.

Let it begin.

Goodbye Summer, thanks for stopping I mean it, get out.

Be back soon,