Wednesday, 29 January 2014

One year

I've been feeling a mix of emotions today.  You see, today marks the one year anniversary of my mother in law's passing away.  It's been tough, this year.  Our children were affected by her death much more than we expected them to be.  They all have her funeral memorial card on their nightstands or pinned on their respective bulletin boards.  Reeve brings her up often....when she had new flannel sheets put on her bed she claimed " Oma Noordam sure would've loved these...and they would've felt nice on her sore back" :)  When someone tells a "groaner" of a joke, we say "that was an Oma Noordam joke"...she loved to tell those cheesy groaners ;)  Her death has prompted many wonderful discussions and the last year has been filled with many opportunities to talk to each other about many important topics.  I remember one conversation with Reeve very clearly:

"Mom, our friends and families are a gift from God right?"
"Yes Reeve, they are".
"Mom, when we give something to someone, we aren't supposed to take it back right?"
"Yes, that's true".
"Why then would God give us an Oma and then take her back?  Sometimes I think it was very rude".

Lots of discussions :)

Some days I would give just about anything to see her come through my side door, lugging her ever present bag of sewing and purse full of just about anything you might ever possibly need.  I'd love to visit Chatham on a Sunday and enjoy her delicious soup and "white cloud" dessert ~ she really made THE best soup.  I'd love to see my kids line up to have her fix all the various toys that had broken since her last visit.  I would love for her to dig through my cutlery drawersagain, and make a point of telling me what was missing from my set.  She was wise...the kind of wise that made you stop and listen.  She knew her bible...better than almost anyone I know.  She lived quietly and confidently.  She died the same way. 

I would love to see my husband give his mom another hug.  It is a hard thing to see your husband hurt.  His heart is so big and he misses her.  He would love another chat at the kitchen table.  Another look in her face.

But this is what he had to say today:

"Just was thinking about how God blessed me with an amazing mom so many years ago as an adopted child. I understood what it meant to be adopted but never felt it. I was loved unconditionally and now as mom has been in heaven for a year today , she knows fully how I have felt, as she has now been there as the 'adopted daughter' of the King of kings! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! I still miss you Mom but still feel your love and wisdom that you passed to us still here! Till we meet again!"

Indeed.  Til we meet again!


Friday, 24 January 2014

It's the little things

Like matching hangers.  I like them.  I like them very much.  Neat, tidy and uniform.

And when one's closet goes from this:

 To this:

One feels like dancing due to hanger happiness.  When no one is looking of course ;)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Side entrance Solutions

Hey friends!  First post of 2014 ~ and even though we are currently sitting at January 15th on the calendar, let me officially still say "Happy New Year"...hope you are anticipating a wonderful year with all sorts of opportunities for growth of every kind!

We've been busy over here working away at some projects, with the side entrance taking up the majority of our reno time.  What a pain in the neck this entrance has been.  I've despised it really.  Since the day I moved in.  With it's cracked plaster walls, hideous staircase, patterned carpet, weird jogs in the wall, and storage?  Don't even get me started.  It's a wonder we haven't all broken a leg or our necks with the amount of shoes, bags, coats etc...that get flung around back there.  If I had a nickel for every time Henry came through the door and yelled "WILL EVERYONE COME GET THEIR CRAP FROM BACK HERE AND PUT IT AWAY!!!!", I could take a vacation to a much warmer climate.  Yes, crap.  That's what we have come to call it.  Lovely isn't it?

We decided about a year into our basement reno, that we didn't want to walk up from a great, newly renoed space, into a crummy side entrance.  It had to go.  And really?  We didn't think it would be thaaat big of a deal to spruce it up.  Yeah.  We need to slow down and think more sometimes.

Remember that jog in the wall I was moaning and whining about?  We decided that perhaps we could brick it!  You know?  Those gorgeous interior brick walls you see in loft apartments?  The ones that look a century old...with crooked lines and faded broken bricks?  Yup, we wanted one of those.  It had to be the right kind of brick, the right color, and the right size.  Oh, and the right price.

After a YEAR of looking, I swore those bricks didn't exist.  I was crushed!  We made plans to go ahead and plank the wall, planning to cover the jog by building it out with 2x4's and were ready to just mooove along with our sad selves.  My dad however, wasn't so easily deterred.  He asked a friend from church to look into it and a few days later I got a call that someone in Windsor had my bricks.  I called him, he emailed me a picture and I bought 750 of them within a 1/2 hour.

So, now we had our bricks.  But they were in Windsor.  We are not.  Enter my darling brother who happens to own a boom truck and loves me far too much.  He regularly does business in Windsor and generously agreed to pick them up for us.  They eventually made their way onto my driveway by the generosity of this same brother. 

Now we had bricks but had no idea how to put them on our wall.  Dad Sluys (a bricklayer by trade) stepped up and offered to lay them.  Hallelujah.  And it's a good thing he did, because we had no idea how much work it is to put one of these bad boys up in your house.  Or how messy.

So, we worked as a team.  Well, I mostly just brought bricks into the house when Dad needed them, occasionally falling behind and having to hear something about "...good labor around here is hard to find". ;)  Dad built us a most beautiful wall (and for anyone who doesn't dad is 74, semi retired AND he was suffering from a very painful case of Shingles ).  Back home, Dad cut some bricks in half for the lower portion of the wall, and then once we got to the jog in the wall he carried on with full bricks thereby completely disguising what once drove me NUTS about the wall.

Pictures?  Why sure!
Here we are looking straight down from the landing, as well as straight across at the back wall of the house.  You can see the jog in the wall in the photo on the left.

This long wall is to the left of the staircase, looking down.  On the right...we are obviously looking up towards the landing.

Here is the book nook, which we built under the staircase along with our amazing pull out drawer that holds everything from our Christmas tree to our skates to coolers and sleeping bags.  

 This window was also the last to be finished and trimmed out.  First time they've been finished since we've lived here. 

Bricks being boomed onto the driveway.  See the curious girl in the window? ;)

Very first brick going up!

And the finished result....we LOVE IT!!

How about a side by side...isn't she a beauuuty?

We (read: Dad Sluys) are currently working on the staircase.  You can see in the photos, some changes have already been made.  Hopefully within the month the new stairs will be complete and I can show you the whole makeover.  So much to still work being one of the main ones right now.  We know storage in this tiny entrance will never be great, but we're planning on maximizing the space as much as we can!