Friday, May 23, 2014

Kitchen Update Pt.2

This post is long overdue! Our kitchen got a bit of a facelift a couple of days before Noah was born. 

The ugly, never clean no matter how much I scrubbed it, green countertop had been something I'd been dying to change since we moved in 3 years ago. So much so that when our dishwasher kicked the can just after Christmas, the thought of having to spend money on a new dishwasher and not a countertop almost sent my pregnant and hormonal self over the edge. In the end, we were able to score some really great deals and got both. 

I did some shopping around online for the dishwasher and found the best deal at Sears. The dishwasher was on sale for $299 from its regular price of $399. There was one model that would've been cheaper by $50 but we opted for the slightly above basic model based on customer reviews and the features we wanted like start time delay. R went with a friend in his truck to pick up the dishwasher since we got rid of our larger vehicles. Bonus: his friend stayed and helped with the installation of both the dishwasher and counter.  

For the counter, Lowes was having a storewide No Tax event so we also saved big. Delivery of the counter was included in the cost and R did the installation which saved us nearly 40% (crazy, eh?!). Installation just involved removal of the old counter, screwing down the new one, sealing the joints with silicone, and making the cut for the sink. We also realized once the counters arrived that we needed risers to raise it up higher so the doors and cupboards didn't catch on the overhang. Luckily our old countertop had these so we were able to reuse them. 

After taxes for both updates, we came in $75 under budget at $1025.

So happy we were able to cross these big items off our kitchen makeover to-do list:

- Replace countertop with a new laminate countertop (Budget $800/Actual $675)
- Replace dishwasher (Budget $300/Actual $350)
- Replace kick plates at the base of the cupboards ($50) - Also caulk and re-paint trim
- Do spot repairs/replace broken and damaged tiles ($50)
- Update two light fixtures ($275)
- Use Grout Renew to freshen up backsplash tile ($25) 

After new countertop and dishwasher installation

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kick off

Well it is back to reality after a fun weekend up north. It was so fun to take Noah.

The evenings were pretty chilly so we needed the furnace on and the days weren't quite warm enough to eat meals comfortably outside but we still spent the better part of the days outdoors.

I felt a shift this year as B spent a larger proportion of the time playing with other kids. It was so strange to watch him join in on a game of ball hockey with some older boys and strike up a game of grounders with a couple of girls at the playground. To notice, after years of us trying to get him to pump his legs on the swing, all of a sudden he no longer needs us to push him or help him with the monkey bars. When he wasn't playing with other kids, his activity of choice was playing catch with R - diligently working up to catching a few balls in a row. 6 years old seems worlds different from 5.

N busied himself playing independently alongside B for the most part. He was content pushing around a toy dump truck, playing with the wagon, or swinging in the hammock. The boys have been obsessed with a remote control ATV B got for his birthday so N spent his birthday money from his Papa on a remote control boat which was put to good use. He was really happiest making s'mores over a campfire with our neighbours, devouring watermelon and veggies and hummus on the deck, staying up late to eat "copcorn" (popcorn) and watch a movie before bed, and having foam sword fights with his big brother.

I packed it in early most nights with Noah and managed to finish reading The Goldfinch while we were there - a book I highly recommend! We also took a drive to the local tourism centre and R sat in the car with 3 sleeping boys while I gathered up some materials on local events and attractions. These will be nice to have if we feel like venturing out for a day trip or are looking for something to do on a rainy day. There are so many free and low cost things we can do in the area on a whim as well as larger more expensive attractions we can plan for once in a while.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Here in Ontario, Victoria Day long weekend is kind of the pre-kick off to summer. It is the first weekend that many people go camping or open their cottage.

We've been spoiled with some temps in the high teens and low 20s. The trampoline is up in our backyard and the big boys have been playing outside a ton with their new outdoor toys they received for their birthdays. There has been lots of bike riding, scootering, skateboarding and skipping. Allergies are in full swing and washing up for dinner actually requires some scrubbing. Last weekend R took the big boys up to the trailer for the evening for a certain 3 year old's birthday. They ate hot dogs and got out in the canoe. B even got to try his hand at paddling.

I had my 6 week appointment with the doctor who did my cesarean yesterday and everything checked out. Aside from some mild soreness when anything touches my abdomen which I'm told could take 2-3 months to subside, I am feeling much better. Next week I meet with the specialist about having my stent removed. Things are looking up!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

1 Month

After a month, we're finally settling in to a rhythm and routine as a family of five. I don't feel an overwhelming sense of panic or anxiety anymore when I'm with them at home on my own. I remember feeling really nervous the first time I was alone with two of them too or the first time I took both to the store. I had my first solo parenting experience this past weekend when R went to open our trailer for the season.

At one month, Noah:

- Is starting to have much more time alert when he is awake.

- Weighs 10lbs and has been packing on a pound per week. No wonder I've been starving and achy from carrying him around.

- Is a decent sleeper. Wakes up a few times through the night but generally just eats and goes right back to sleep.

- Holds his head up really well.

- Tracks objects.

- Is a total daddy's boy. Next to eating, his favourite place to be is cuddling with or sleeping on dad

- Has started smiling just this week

I'm a bit sad at some point this month we'll start transitioning him to sleeping in his crib in his own room. I know we'll all get a much better sleep that way but I've grown to love the time settling in bed with him and R at night. For now, I'm enjoying the cuddles at night and sometimes while he naps. I'm also enjoying devouring books from the library like The Goldfinch during our nursing sessions.

Snuggling with daddy.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


I was hoping this post wouldn't be so heavy. I was relieved to turn the calendar to May after spending a lot of time in April working through my emotions about my birth experience and recovering physically. Truth be told, I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. It didn't seem fair. Other people I know who have had cesareans seemed to have recovered much more quickly. It was really discouraging and I felt pretty down. At the same time, I also felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my three healthy kids. Things haven't been easy but they could definitely be much worse.

This week I read one of the most touching blog posts I've come across on A Cup of Jo about Mara's story of infertility and deciding to move on to a life without children. It was weird because having just given birth to my third child and never struggling with infertility, at first glance it seemed like a story that couldn't be farther from my own reality. Surprisingly, so much of it resonated with me on a deep level. I'm on the other end of the spectrum now.

My twenties have been a blur of pregnancy and babies with a dash of education and career. I've had so many defining experiences as far as pregnancy, birth, and motherhood go:

Two miscarriages.
A premature baby.
Two full-term babies.
A medicated birth (epidural).
An un-medicated birth.
The most medical form of birth (a cesarean).
Successfully breastfeeding each of my two oldest boys the better part of their first years and now Noah.

Though we are still fresh from birth, I look at Noah and I know he is my last baby. We've been through a lot in his nearly 1 month on the outside. Before he was born or even conceived, R and I talked about 3 being our limit. I haven't been advised medically not to have more children but the cesarean and complications have been enough to extinguish even the tiniest bit of desire to have more. Enough to make me count my blessings. I know it sounds terrible but as I was on the stretcher amidst all the chaos, trying not to push, and hoping we'd make it to the operating room, for a brief second, it crossed my mind that I might not make it through the experience - that I wouldn't be there for my family and to see the boys grow up. I felt guilty and selfish for putting my life in danger when I had two little boys at home and a husband that needed me. I need them too.

I am big on control. Before Noah, life was in some degree of limbo. You know when people say their lives were incomplete before they met the love of their life or had children? I really did feel like something was missing. Life was full of "what ifs" up until now, like.. what if we only have one child..then two..would we have a daughter or all boys..and what about spacing. I feel a sense of relief now, like Mara, having a sense of certainty that we're done. I feel like we can finally move on with life as a family of five and making bigger plans. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Month 18: Debt Repayment Update

Well we didn't make it under the 50K threshold in April for the second month as anticipated/hoped but we're slowly creeping there. Since last month, we are down $400 which puts our debt at:


This was my first month off work but I did receive a full pay early in the month along with my vacation pay.

Additional expenses this month were for convenience meals since my freezer meals ran out after a week and with the cesarean I still wasn't feeling able to do a lot of prep. Also, medications - a ton of them for myself and asthma/allergy medication for the boys. Most of this that isn't over the counter we'll receive compensation for through R's benefits. Other unanticipated expenses were for hospital parking, formula for few days we had to supplement, extra child care since R was working 6 days/week and I still wasn't able to manage on my own, a few items for opening our trailer, and additional groceries due to my increased hunger from breastfeeding!

Where we have had some savings this month has been for gas. My $40 tank has lasted 3 weeks so far and I expect will last another week. Also, though the overall grocery bill has gone up, I've been able to dedicate time to scouring the flyers to price match and use coupons which has made for big savings. I hadn't been making this a priority the past few months.

I've been contemplating doing something with our cable for at least the summer to save a bit there but we'll see. Now that I've received my first maternity e.i. payment we'll be able to put our maternity leave budget plan in to action and see what tweaks are necessary.