Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Basement Changes Part Three

The folks who install insulation (the pink fibreglass kind) were in this morning. It was the first time I have ever seen someone decked out on stilts for working. Is it amazing only to me that stilts are actually used for something other than kids to play on in the summer? Anyways, I asked the young feller if I could take his picture with his stilts on and he seemed quite flattered.

Here he is, full GQ pose and all!

Hysterical! And I love those stilts! Our builder said that the painter who is coming in has an even newer style of stilts. If he’s willing, I’m capturing him for posterity too. I wonder if stilts are expensive…? I’m sure I could find a use for them around here. Much more fun to get to the upper kitchen cabinets than using a plain old kitchen ladder…!

This evening, all of our new space is insulated, including the wall between the bathroom and one of the bedrooms to cut down on, ahem, noises. Even though the drywall is not up yet, the sound proofing already works really well as DH was trying to catch my attention when I was downstairs taking pictures and I could not hear him. Prior to now, if I was in that section of the basement (which is below the main floor bedrooms) I did not even need the baby monitor on as I could hear Aidan loud and clear if he woke up. The drywall team is due to start on Friday.

Lookin’ good!

Storage room and left bedroom:

Office space/hall/bowling alley with the craft room at end:

Right bedroom, bathroom and wine closet:

Another bathroom/wine closet view:

And another gratuitous craft room shot:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Middle Cove Beach

The weather over the past weekend was absolutely stunning. DH had the brilliant idea to hit the beach for an hour or so before supper on Saturday afternoon. Brilliant not only because the weather was so nice but because the boys’ ‘whiney hours’ start around 4:00 until bedtime and distractions such as those offered at a local beach are how we survive those hours.

We headed off to Middle Cove beach which is about a 5 minute drive from our house. You go there for the beach itself though as the undertow is too strong for ocean swimming. There is a little river going down to the ocean that provides plenty of entertainment for children though.

Para got to go along for the ride. She was really well behaved. Since she has gotten older, Para is not as tolerant of other dogs as she used to be so I always get a little stressed out when we take her places where there are other dogs. However, all dog owners kept their dogs leashed and away from each other. She was excellent with all of the people attention she got from beach going children and adults.

Aidan really enjoyed trying to taste the entire beach. He almost attained that goal too.

Iain and DH went on a couple of little adventures together.

It was such a great, relaxing day and so needed after the stresses of the week. Thanks to everyone for all of your comments and support over the past few days. Aidan still has a heavy chest but is doing much, much better with no other emergency incidents. Whew!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Breaking the Seal

Before I started this parenting gig a little under three years ago, I felt I had some idea of what we were getting ourselves into. I have two siblings eight and ten years younger than me so I had spent a considerable amount of my growing up years looking after them. My undergraduate and graduate degrees are in social work, particularly in the area of child development, and I have spent a number of years of my working career in child protective roles. Therefore, you would think that I would have had some idea what might be ahead. I am trained as a lifeguard, poolside and waterfront (a more specialised training). I was also lucky enough to spend one of my summers employed as a Special Constable with the RCMP. With both jobs I performed First Aid and CPR on a regular basis. Therefore, I thought I was fairly prepared to deal with the usual cuts and scrapes of a child’s life.

I knew becoming a parent would be hard. I just had no idea just how hard. I knew I would need to be patient. I didn’t realise that I would need a patience creating factory pumping out the jam all day long, every day. I knew that we would have some good and some bad days. I didn’t realise that the bad days would be like working with a boss who, if he were a paying boss, would have received my resignation, had a good speaking to about poor treatment of his employees and, oh yeah, hand over that danger pay cheque.

I also had no idea of the feelings of sheer panic and helplessness that would overwhelm me when one of my children is very, very sick or hurt.

Last Tuesday afternoon, I decided to take the boys shoe shopping. Seems an innocent enough plan, eh? Aidan is walking everywhere and needs the protective soles that shoes offer. Iain desperately needs sandals to go with the walking shoes he and his father picked out a few weeks ago. In the process of having the boys measured, I took Aidan out of the stroller. He is amazingly stable for his age and, if he loses his balance, he quickly regains it. One of the ways he does so is by leaning forward onto his hands and then pushing his way back up to standing. At the shoe store that day, he did the same thing but hit his head in the process. He started crying and it wasn’t until I picked him up to comfort him that I realised he had not hit his head. He had driven one of the end hooks of the metal brackets that hold shelves up into his head. All of sudden, there was blood everywhere and I was on my knees in a complete panic. Iain, oblivious, was jumping and running around and generally doing what any almost three year old will do in an interesting place – getting into everything.

Luckily for me, the sales person was a mother of two now adult boys. She administered first aid and talked me through the experience. I called my good buddy, L, whose house is on the way to the hospital and she and her family took Iain for me. Aidan turned out to be fine with mostly a superficial cut, only part of it requiring some glue (they don’t use stitches anymore on that type of wound and for that age bracket. Thank goodness!). He cried over the whole event – including during attaining the injury - for about two minutes and I lost at least 15 years off my life.

When I got home and the drama and adrenaline had faded, I contacted DH in Rome (aren’t they always away at such times?) to discuss what had happened and made some kind of comment that perhaps that was just the first of many trips to the hospital for Aidan as that experience had already scared me more physical health wise than his older brother ever has. Breaking the seal, so to speak.

Fast forward to Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Aidan woke me up around 1:00 AM very agitated and struggling for breath. I got up and managed to calm him down but had enough sense to know that I would need some help and woke up DH. I called the NL Health Line who advised that I needed to get Aidan to the hospital and, should his breathing worsen, call 911. In the meantime, have Daddy steam him in the bathroom while I was getting ready to go to the hospital.

Well, I don’t know if it was the steam or just that he fully woke up but when I heard DH call out to me in an extremely worried voice and I opened the bathroom door, Aidan was blue and panicking. Last night was the first time I have ever called 911 (and I hope it’s the last). The firefighters arrived first and were excellent with both kids (as, naturally, Iain was upset by all the commotion and woke up) and us. Aidan had calmed down by then and was quite interested in that oxygen mask they gave him. The paramedics arrived shortly after and were also really good. Aidan and I rode together in the ambulance to the hospital with DH and Iain following.

It turns out that Aidan has croup and we were given a list of suggestions for dealing with that over the next couple of nights. Aidan slept peacefully in the back of the van while DH, Iain and I pulled into an open McDonald’s and pigged out on fast food at 4:00 AM. Iain was in the backseat jumping around (as much as a car seat will allow) yelling ‘I want a cheeseburger!’ when we hit the drive thru.

DH found this post difficult to read (I had him preview it before I posted it as this one hits close to home for us) as the events described just happened. I needed to write it out and thank the blogosphere for giving me a venue in which to share it.

And, seeing as this was a rather alarming post, here is a little something to lighten your day/weekend at the end of it:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More Milestones

I missed writing blog posts for quite awhile therefore you are not quite up to date on all the news at Chez Fibreholic. Here are a couple of updates.

Iain no longer wears diapers!

Aidan is a moving, shaking, WALKING machine and has been for over a month and a half!

Aidan's first teeth!

The top four are all in too!

My sweet boy showing off one of his camera induced fake smiles.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Basement Changes Part Two

It is really amazing what three men, uninterrupted, can accomplish in a construction zone in four days. Here are a few updated pictures from Friday evening.

This is DH's 'wine closet' to be.

The whole space is framed and the plumbing for the bathroom has been started. That's a huge linen closet next to the tub.

We decided on a 6'-0" bathtub especially for Grandpa D and Auntie V. That size of tub doesn't come in an insert so soon I will be picking out wall tile.

Next come the sub-contractors (e.g. electrical, heating, drywall, etc) which, as we hired the original builder of our house, is organised for us. However, due to the sub-contractors’ schedules and summer holidays, getting those jobs completed may take a little longer thus the two month to completion date.

Drum roll, please.

Here are the skeletal beginnings of my artistic space (the wee room where the ladder is standing).

I have grand visions for this room not the least of which is the ability, for the first time since we left Kanata, of having all of my craft containers unpacked and stored away where I can admire and use their contents at will. Yes, I am very, very spoiled and very, very excited. I have not had such intense thoughts about the potential of built in cabinets in a long, long time!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Shine of Rainbows

On Friday evening, I was in a foul mood. Iain has a cold and he had been extremely whiney which puts me in a bad mood in about 30 seconds. Luckily, he was easy to put to bed last week despite DH being away. Aidan, on the other hand, was more of a challenge. After a week of experimenting, it turns out that it does not pay to let him have two naps in one day unless you want him up until at least 10:00 PM.

I do not agree with eleven month olds being up much past 8:00 PM and feel that any later than that is an infringement of my infant rule book. It is a little different if they are sick but Aidan was not. Nope, not even a bit. He just wanted to party!

I was trying to walk him to sleep (no small feat with a 24 lb sack of pushing, pinching, punching potatoes!) when I noticed these outside our front window.

My foul mood disappeared and Aidan and I raced outside for some pictures.

Aidan then got put back inside because he kept grabbing at the camera. It is very hard to take good pictures when your baby is grabbing at your camera.

He was sure to keep Mommy in his sights at all times though.

Hard to stay mad at that face.

See? 9:00 PM by that time and he was still thrilled to be up and playing and enjoying some solo Mommy time. Rainbow approved.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Up!

I should get involved in these sport related KALs more often – look at the progress!?!

Here are one of my pairs of languishing socks (there were only two) now complete and were immediately placed on my feet while watching Stargate (Season 4. Yeah, a little behind) as the basement was so nice and cool (it is a bit humid here for me right now). They fit beautifully. I still need to practice using DPNs as ladders between the needles are still a problem for me. However, the ladders got better on the second pair and have encouraged me to try knitting with two circular needles or the Magic Loop method for my next pair.

Here are the sock specs:

• Toe Up sock pattern from Wiseneedles ‘ Simple Toe Up Socks in Four Sizes’ pattern. I really did not like the way the heels turned out but checked out comments on Ravelry and others were having the same problems with the same type of heel therefore I was convinced that I was not just doing something wrong.

When I find Wendy D. Johnson’s Socks From The Toe Up book from one of the basement boxes, I will be experimenting with other heel types. That being said, I loved the Figure 8 cast on once I figured it out. I also love, love, LOVE toe up socks! Way easier to ensure a good fit.
• Yarn: Online’s Supersocke 6-fach Relax-Color. I still have enough left for another pair of socks or close to it.
• Many thanks to April over at Clandestine and Candour who recommended the ‘Miraculous Elastic Bind Off’ link. Easy peasy and lives up to its name.

Off to try to knit a row or two on my other WIP before I slip into another cold induced coma. Luckily, it’s only stocking stitch and DH got back on Saturday…

PS My new LYS owner, Jenny, has just started a shop blog. She is new to blogging so, if you have a chance, let her know what a friendly bunch us online knitters are by dropping on over and saying ‘hello’. It goes without saying that you need to drop over in person if you are ever in the St. John’s, NL area!

Friday, June 18, 2010

What Were We Thinking?

With the way DH and I do things sometimes, you would think that we had a carved in stone mantra that goes something like ‘why do things that way when you can do it so much harder this way?’ I mean, seriously. We have been in this beautiful home for barely six months and already we are week one into several weeks of a significant basement renovation which will result in the entire house being developed.


Because we finished our renovations on our home in Kanata the same day we signed the real estate paperwork to sell the house. Those renovations took us five years and countless weekends and evenings spent either working on the house or overshadowed by the guilt of taking time away from working on the house. We didn’t want to do it that way again.

My ‘settle into this house’ plan deadline is 2012 (I strive to underachieve in certain life areas!) so it seemed to be a good time for us to force the household into short term pain for some long term gain. Because, fellow blog readers, I am hoping that this renovation with close the door, so to speak, on the whole renovation process on the inside of this house (the outside development will be ongoing and lengthy) for at least ten years. Remind me of that when I’m whining about the perpetual building dust All. Over. The. House. In future posts, will ya?

Here are some before photos to keep you up to date.

The workspace.

What was once a neat and tidy recreation room (who am I kidding? It was never that neat and tidy but generally better than the rest of the house).

The car and a half sized garage stuffed just under one inch of its life (seriously too much stuff).

The ‘tunnel’ to get out the side door in the garage, the door we most often use.

This renovation will take at least two months. Someone pass me the Earl Grey and my knitting bag because I’m going to need a whole lot of relaxation therapy to get us over this one.

I can tell you that the likelihood of DH and I ever splitting up is very, very slim considering the crazy things we have put ourselves through over the years (remind me to tell you about our ‘Christmas from Hell’ sometime…!). I can admit it: DH and I are nuts. Seriously.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Something to be Proud Of

This one is for you, L! Thanks so much for being such a great support through this process. It has felt great to develop such a great friendship too!

At the beginning of March, I made a decision. I wasn’t feeling that great. I was tired and achy a lot of the time. My iron levels have been consistently low since having Aidan and though that exasperated feeling tired, it was becoming my crux for not doing anything else. The weather was causing me to have visions of our aspirations to hike the entire East Coast trail with the boys over the next few summers and I had the thought,

“You know, I don’t know if I am going to be physically able to go on any of those hikes.”

That is around the time that I decided it was time to make some changes.

A friend of mine, L, has been a Weight Watchers (WW) member for awhile and I was attracted to the idea of making a healthy lifestyle change. Despite the fact that I had been trying to gain some positive control over my health, I found that I needed a little more motivation and accountability than trying to make changes on my own. It has been a neat experience. L and I have become WW buddies and totally motivate each other. We started a walking program about 6 weeks ago en route to a 5 km fun walk on June 23rd and that is the reason why I can often be found on the treadmill in our basement late at night (when DH is away and I’m unable to go outside).

This little key chain represents a great deal of commitment, fun, and a change towards living my life in a healthier, more enjoyable way. It is Weight Watchers’ award for losing 10% of your body weight. I met that goal a few weeks ago and am now looking forward to adding charms to it (the 5 km walk, for example, will be one).

It is also interesting to me how such a positive change (e.g. healthy eating and more physical activity) has positively affected other areas of my life, for example, my knitting. I have been knitting much more regularly since starting Weight Watchers because it is something I do for myself – knit therapy so to speak. I am also juggling our weeks with more attention to ensuring that I get a break during the weekdays, as well as the weekends, especially on those weeks when DH is away. And, guess what? I'm a better mother and wife because of it. L and I have added a walk around Quidi Vidi Lake the hour before our Saturday morning WW meetings and that is a treat (because to get out of the house on a non-child related activity coupled with great company and gorgeous scenery is a treat indeed) that I strive to rarely, rarely miss. In fact, I might be addicted to it!

All of this is to say that I’m feeling good these days and I hope you are too!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It’s the 24th of May…

It's the 24th of May and we likes to get away
Up in the woods or going out the bay
There's all kinds of places but the place we likes to get
Is up on the highway in the gravel pits.
Written by: Wayne Chaulk
Performed and Recorded by ‘Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers’

Newfoundland and Labradorians have a tradition that I would like to share: gravel pit camping. It is such a strong tradition that one of my all time favourite Newfoundland and Labrador bands, ‘Buddy Wasisname and The Other Fellers’, wrote a song about it. You really should give this a listen to. As an aside, I love ‘Buddy Wasisname’ for many reasons not the least of which is that, if you ever go and see them in concert and are not from this province, you are going to spend most of the concert elbowing the representative Newfoundland and Labradorian next to you for a translation. I love that I am from a place that has such a strong dialect that people often do not understand what we are saying (e.g. National news reporters interviewing someone from the province have been known to use subtitles for the interviews so that the rest of Canada understands). Heck, we even have our own dictionary!

Gravel pit camping is something I did as a child and as an adult. Keeping in mind our love of gravel pit camping, I would like to introduce you to our new cottage.

Look familiar?

Due to the fact that we are now living in a new build, we are also living in a gravel pit. I was rather surprised not to see other campers in for the night over the May 24th weekend!

DH and Iain have spent a couple of nights in the van in our backyard over the past few weekends. It is a great way to get Iain used to sleeping in the van before our first away from home camping trip (Aidan is pretty much going to sleep anywhere as long as Mommy is around) and, generally, Iain doesn’t even wake up cranky from van night sleeping (having Iain not cranky is something we strive for around here).

Here he is having a morning granola bar with Daddy and discussing whatever important things toddler boys discuss with their Daddies first thing in the morning.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I will never be an Olympic athlete. Or play World Cup football/soccer. I do hope to run a marathon (or a few of them) some day. Maybe even a triathlon. But I know that I will always sit on the sideline watching elite athletes do their thing and admire them for it.

And that is where I will be for the 2010 WIP Cup on Ravelry too. Suzanne alerted me to this great challenge but, to my dismay, I am too late to join officially. Despite the fact that I didn’t sign up for the challenge on time, I am going to do it anyway, my way. Here is my strategy, blatantly breaking many of the 2010 WIP Cup rules:

• I am participating even though I am joining after the official start date.
• The only thing ‘official’ that I’m going to offer up here are before and after pictures.
• My end goal is to have WIPs finished by July 11th like everyone else.
• I have two knitting WIPs in mind. One has been sitting for over a month awaiting completion (this is in accordance with the rules). One has not been sitting for at least a month but I’m going to work on it anyways (this is against the rules).
• I might add other WIPs as I go along. Heck, they might not even be knitting projects!
• I will be watching some of the World Cup while I’m knitting. I’ve already watched a little without knitting and it was on day one so I still feel like I’m ‘in the game’ (no pun intended ;)!).

I am not knocking the 2010 WIP Cup rules, by the way. I know that you need rules, especially for what I hope will be a rousing competition. And I will be following the results with great interest. I am just going to be sitting on the sidelines playing with myself - ahem - knitting up my own little game.

Anyone else want to join me?

And, in accordance with my nonconformist rules, WIP # 1 (which I’m hoping might just push me over the edge to add a third WIP as I have so little left to finish on them):

And WIP # 2:

Wish me luck. May the knitters with the most WIPs win!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action!

There were so many things to decide on when we bought this house. As a brand new build, we actually weren’t involved in much of the finish choices as we bought fairly late in the process and just before the construction was complete. However, we were able to make a few decisions such as how the staircase would be stained and in choosing light fixtures. Choosing light fixtures is something I find really hard because I/we are really picky. I tend to not like the standard fare and this means lots of research and lots of thought. Therefore, there were a few areas of the house where we just had bulbs put in until I found fixtures that I like. I figure that, if you are going to pay that much money, you may as well take your time and find something you are really happy with.

First up was the choice in island lights. We had purchased a pair close to when the house was finished but, and I take total responsibility for this, they looked terrible. In fact, our builder and the electrician had a “what was she thinking?” conversation when they opened up the delivery boxes. We were not on site that day so they were installed and subsequently uninstalled as I could not bear to look at such a huge mistake on my part day after day.

After much research, including DH’s calculating eye each time he went to Europe (which continues to be often), I settled on a pair that I thought would work well and got really excited. Unfortunately, my taste runs a bit on the expensive side and I was not going to make the same mistake twice. I got the exact measurements for two sizes of the new fixtures and went to work.

Before lights:

The mock up lights, both sizes:

The final product:

They are exactly as fun as I wanted, make the kitchen island stand out (something else that was a necessity for these fixtures) and even have some features I did not count on but now cannot live without (three options for lighting: down, ambient and both at the same time).

Over the next few months I have to choose a bedroom fan/light combination and a fixture for the staircase. Both involve cathedral height ceilings. It should be interesting to do mock ups for those locations for a person who is terrified of heights!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Almost the Bloggiesta Finale!

This was a fun challenge for me. I haven’t been blogging at all lately and that’s been really bothering me. Having a dedicated weekend to work on some writing and creative blog formatting was a lot of fun. I managed to accomplish the following:

• Four blog posts written.
• Gave the ol’ blog a long overdue makeover.
• Identified other blog details that still need fixing up but at least I have some ideas now and
• Am working on a design for a new profile pic.

The only downside? I didn’t knit a stitch. I did, however, devote almost six solid hours to blog improvements! Not bad considering that we went on a road trip on Saturday and also moved the stuff out of our basement and packed it into our garage for a two month renovation which will result in the basement living space being completely finished. And, oh yeah, I have two children under three and DH is at the airport about to fly to Rome (as in Italy). I think I did pretty well considering.

Again, thanks for the great idea, Kristen! We are desperate for a cleanthehouseiesta over here too! Go Bloggiesta!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fun Times

Yesterday was one of those perfect days you wish wouldn’t end: beautiful weather, childcare for Iain for half the day, Aidan and I driving around the city getting errands run which gave me a great sense of accomplishment, a picnic in the park, an afternoon on the deck… Both boys took an afternoon nap enabling me to ignore the spit up smeared floor (great image there, huh?) and hair balls to go outside and knit. Yesterday marked the very first time I have knit on our back deck. It was heaven!

DH was home ‘early’ (aka on time) and the five of us (Para too!) enjoyed supper and games outside – another first for the deck. Although we have had some gorgeous weather since we moved into this house in January, yesterday was the first day that it was the perfect temperature to sit outside in a t-shirt and knit. There was just enough of a breeze to keep it from being too warm or for bugs to find me.

After I picked Iain up from drop off childcare at the St. John's Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC), we had a picnic and then played in the playground across the street from the Centre. The MFRC is located on the base at Pleasantville.

The particular section where the Centre is housed is pretty much a ghost town these days so we almost always have the playground to ourselves. Because Pleasantville is located on a hill and next to Quidi Vidi Lake, it is almost always windy. Iain kept himself pressed up against me the whole time he was eating his sandwich for fear he might blow away. Iain is often concerned about blowing away. That makes living here a little tough some days as wind is just part of life here, ranging from a breeze to a gale at any given time. I’m not sure what gave him the impression that he could blow away but it is something he takes very, very seriously.

Aidan, on the other hand, doesn’t take much seriously.