What We’ve Been Up To – Summer 2017 Recap

We’re well into fall now and I can’t really believe that it is already halfway (or more) through September so this post is a little behind but I figure better late than never.

Summer always seems to fly by – this was my 5th summer off (thanks teaching job!) but I’m still amazed at how fast the time seems to go, even when you have every day as vacation. This summer Jon was off too and that gave us time for some big adventures (California! Victoria!), but we kept it pretty low key when it has come to the smaller adventures and seemed to do less than normal.

Lawn bowling kept us very busy – almost too busy. Both of us earned spots on our provincial team this year and while that cut down on the number of times we had to travel to Edmonton, it meant that we spent at lot of time on greens practicing. We’ve been pretty lucky that the lawn bowling community has basically adopted our child – he’s got grannies and aunties and sometimes strangers who want to cuddle and hangout while we bowl which makes it possible for both of us to play.

Just another day of practice

Being on the provincial team meant we had the chance to represent Alberta at the Canadian Lawn Bowling Championships in Victoria, BC and spent a week competing there which took up a large part of August but was a ton of fun!

Our house always has at least one home repair going on and this summer we tackled some outdoor landscaping projects. They started quite small and grew into larger projects that we still haven’t finished. Luckily Jon is off this September and has been working to finish them! Then he’s got a huge list of indoor projects to keep him busy…

In the early states of landscaping

After a disappointing start (I had to plant my bean seedlings three times before enough grew) our garden finally kicked it into gear in August and was overflowing the beds! While we have nothing like we used to have at the old house was enough stuff growing now that we had big leafy salads, fresh beans, herbs and lots of sautéed greens.

Our back alley raspberry patch and our sour cherry tree were also super productive. We managed to harvest almost all of the raspberries but our tree just has so many cherries that I wasn’t able to keep up. We definitely had some delicious raspberry pies and sour cherry cobblers more often than we maybe should have.

There were a few mornings where I ate sour cherry cobbler and yogurt for breakfast…
Our back alley raspberries were very productive this year
I don’t think the white ones taste as good as the red but they are all so pretty

And what about that summer bucket list? We managed to do almost everything on it at least one but I would have liked to spend a little more time hiking and camping since we only did those once.

  • take the little guy camping – check! One night at Bow Valley was all we squeezed it but I’m still pretty happy we got out.
  • Go for a paddle – I’d hoped we get out for an actual trip but I’m still happy that we did lots of paddling at the lake this summer.
Sunset paddles
  • Go hiking – we did a very short hike while camping but that was it.
  • Use the smoker – and try something new (I’m thinking a smoked cheese?) – sort of since I did smoke a brisket (and it was perfect)  but not a new item
  • Play in the river – we did a little bit but it was often too hot to walk down
  • Get our front flower beds redone – nope
  • Finally chop down the rest of the apple tree – nope
  • Have a camp fire – while we were camping we managed to cross this off but then the fire ban sort of put an end to this one
  • Take another family vacation at the cabin – yes! it was lovely and relaxing
  • Have a picnic – finally! We had burgers and slurpies (see below) in the park by our house.
  • Drink all the slurpies – I had more this year than I’ve had in a while and my favourite was definitely this apple cider one from Sea Cider while we were in Victoria.

And while I’d hoped we do some more adventurous things, looking back we had a pretty fun time. I know next summer will be totally different (a mobile little one will make a few things more challenging) so I’m glad we all got to share this first summer together as a family.

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Random Friday Thoughts

Man, I feel like I have some much that I need/want to do and there just are not enough naps in the day to get everything done. Besides a hundred things around the house,  I’ve got a ton of blog posts waiting to be written about our trip, how Baby S is doing these days and our home repairs. While those are in the works, here is a quick catch up about everything else that I’ve been up to and what I’m looking forward to.

I finally started working out again post-pregnancy.

It’s been over 10 weeks since the little guy joined us and I finally got my act together enough to start working out again. While I was able to walk right up until he was born (I even went for a 20 minute dog walk during labour to help things along) and started walking again the day after, it has been quite a while since I’ve worked out (some time in the third trimester I gave it up).  My workouts are still a far cry from my pre-pregnancy workouts but are definitely a step in the right direction.

My plan for June is to work out at least every second day doing weights and a ride on my trainer. In July and August I’ll start adding back in some P90X and hopefully by September be back to running and working out consistently 5 days a week. Then we’ll have to see how I can fit it in while being back at work and a mom. Right now I’m fitting my workouts in during naps so sometimes it can take me all afternoon to fit it in.

I fit in (most of) my pre-pregnancy clothes!

Working out (and so many other things) are easier because I fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes again! They don’t fit exactly the way they used to (I’ve still got about 9 lbs hanging around that I don’t really want) but I’m OK with that. I haven’t tried everything on and I know there are some things that won’t be wearable for a while but having most of my wardrobe back has been great.

I got our garden planted – for the second time

Before we left for our vacation I planted beans, lettuce, chard and kale and set up my sprinkler systems to look after everything while we were gone. Three weeks later and only the kale and some of the chard has sprouted. I’ve been using the seeds that we bought in 2012 so I think that maybe they have reached their expiry date!

Last weekend we went to the garden centre and I bought a few packages of seeds to fill in the gaps and a couple of mature kale and squash plants. We’re keeping the garden really simple this year – just lettuce, two kinds of kale, swiss chard, two kinds of bean and a spaghetti squash. These tend to be the veggies that are most successful and that we use the most of so I figured they would be the best bang for our buck with the limited space and time we have.

In just a few weeks Jon will be off with me for the summer

He doesn’t normally get the summer off with his job but we decided to take concurrent parental leave and have a summer together. We’ll both go back to work in the fall but for the next few months we’re going to enjoy it! Yes we will be as poor as we were when we were students but having two months off together isn’t something we’ll probably do again for a long time. We have no big plans (California was our big trip for the year) but we’re hoping to get out camping and hiking during the week to avoid some of the crowds.

A Start to Spring Break 2017

Spring break officially started on Friday and I am more than ready for week off! This is the first spring break since I started teaching that we’re not going anywhere – a total stay-cation – and while I’m a little bummed about it travelling anywhere at 37 weeks seemed to be pushing it. Staying home for break is never my ideal – it just becomes a lot of chores – but at least I can work at a slower pace.

Our big plans for the week are to work on the house. While we’ve made progress on the basement, there is still some work to finish off. I’ve also got the garage door opener to finish and some blinds to install. Patches and I are both booked in for hair cuts and I’ve got plans to clean the house. Not the most exciting spring break but I feel a little pressure to get some stuff done before life gets more complicated.

On a positive note the weather in Calgary has really improved which makes the day to day routines a lot easier. No struggling with bulky layers to take the dog out! We’ve only been out for one big walk (to Glenbow Ranch) but hopefully we’ll get out to enjoy some other “hikes” this week.

Weekend Going-Ons

I wish I could say that we had an exciting weekend but it was pretty low key around here. At the beginning of the week I came down with a wicked cold, which I generously passed on to Jon so most of the week felt like a slog. By the time Friday came around all I wanted to do was grab some takeout and relax. We took Patches out, picked up our respective takeout and zoned out on the couch.

Saturday morning Patches got up quite early (as well as few time during the night) so I decided it was time to do my taxes. I had a coffee and filled out and filed our tax returns for the year, all by 9 am. Then it was out for a walk with Patches and onto household chores.

I’m not particularly useful in this stage of the basement reno, so I worked on clearing out our freezer (so that I can hopefully fill it with some food prior to Baby Scotch’s arrival!). We’ve had berries in there for years that Jon has been promising to make into jam and I’ve been threatening to throw out so I decided to tackle those. I made up a big batch of Saskatoon Berry jam (which ended up a little runny but quite tasty) and cooked the berries for a batch of Nanking Cherry jelly. Its been a long time since I canned anything.

Saskatoon berries seem to hold up well, even after extended time in the freezer
Getting ready to can

I also found time to finish off our baby room decorations. We still have a few things left to do but the room is pretty much ready!

Jon picked out the decals and I like his choices!
The zebra is one of my favourites

My sister was in town for a visit so she joined us for the afternoon dog walk and then we met up with my Dad for family dinner. I’ve been ready to go to bed by 7:30 pm every night so as soon as we got home I curled up with a book in bed. I have this goal to read the entire Wheel of Time series (something I have started and discarded in the past) and I managed to finish off Book 6 (only 8 more to go!).

Sunday morning Patches also got up early but since he’d slept through the night I wasn’t as upset. I processed my Nanking cherry juice but it turned out too runny and I think I’m going to have to tackle it again next weekend.

Then we met up with my sister for another dog walk over at Bowmont Park. It was a cold and snowy morning but Patches seemed to enjoy it. Then it was time for more chores – bottle depot, grocery store, school work and meal prep took up the rest of the day. While I do hate spending all my Sunday doing chores, it does feel good to have most of the stuff ready for this week.

This week we’ve both just got lots of work on the go, and hopefully some time to tackle a few more home repairs. We figure we need another 5 weekends to get everything finished up (which is cutting it close!) so some weeknight time is going to be needed.

Take a Deep Breath – Basement Renos

It might come as a surprise but for people who do 99% of their own home repairs, I really dislike the process. And right now we’re in the middle of what seems like a major home reno but is probably very minor in the grand scheme of things. And I’m hating it. Oh, I know I’ll be very happy when it’s done but right now I’m dreading another trip to Home Depot or Rona and I’m sick of picking out fixtures and floors and ugh, I still need to choose paint colours. Combine that with my pregnant lady hormones and I need to constantly remind myself that all of the home repair mess is just temporary and will turn out wonderful and we will get through it.

Luckily for me, I have an amazing spouse who not only does the majority of our home repairs but also is very patient at dealing with a wife who gets cranky as soon as we start a project.

We (and I use that term loosely, these days I’m more of a support role than an active participant in the labour side of home repairs) have gutted the basement room including the bathroom and a few closets to create a larger space with a slightly more modern bathroom. With Baby Scotch on the way in somewhere around two months (!!) we decided that it was time to get the basement guest room and bathroom into a space where we could actually put guests.

Just after Christmas break the space looked like this:

New windows but still ugly carpet
Two closets – actually, as we found out when we took them apart, two mouldy closets
And our beautiful purple bathroom

And now at the beginning of February looks more like this:

Carpet gone, windows cut, closets out and on our way
A few extra feet of space
Goodbye purple fixtures!

While the majority of the work is in the basement, it affects the rest of the house (and my ability to maintain any sort of normality even in rooms that have nothing to do with it). Currently, things look a lot like this in the rest of the basement:

What comes out must go somewhere
And we’re using the game room to store everything that used to be in the guest room

and upstairs:

reports cards + home repairs = not a lot of time for dishes
Since the basement is full we have taken to storing extra items in the office too.
And we’re storing flooring, the new toilet, faucets and light fixtures in the living room

and even outside:

The purple toilet will some day really leave our house

Luckily (for my sanity) Jon has all the demo done and we’ve picked out everything that we need to put it all back (except paint). Not saying that we’re into the easy stuff, but we’re definitely moving into the putting stuff back in phase.