On Change, and Autumn

Mornings lately have had an autumnal feel about them. Chilly, crisp, fresh. Fall is near, and I’m reflecting on the events of the past six months.

It’s hard to believe it was only six months ago we got serious about decluttering and listing our house for sale. We rented a storage unit, had a yard sale, hired a professional photographer, and got a realtor. We listed and waited. We had a lot of showings, but it seemed to take forever for anything serious to happen. Finally the house sold, and in somewhat of a daze we proceeded to search for a new house in a nearby bigger city. We found it, bought it, and moved in. And although it is far from my dream home, it’s been a good move for us. Slowly but surely it’s starting to feel a little less foreign. We’ve even had a houseguest and a dinner party here!

Utah back in June, just days before our scheduled move.

Amidst all that, there have been trips. We took a family trip to Utah to see my parents and nephews (mini family reunion). Hutch and I took a spur-of-the-moment trip down to Arizona to visit the rest of the bunch, and then a month later Hutch and I went back to Utah for a book signing and presentation at Sunstone. There have been a couple of quick weekend getaways here and there as well—one to Kyle’s sister’s cabin in Montana, and a couple of quick jaunts up to Calgary just for fun (and for Ikea, which is actually redundant because Ikea = fun).

Plus I’ve had work to keep me busy.

Pancake Breakfast family picture
Hutch threw up the night before a big event I was in charge of at work, so Kyle had to stay home with him the next morning (rather than send a pukey kid to daycare). After a while he seemed to be feeling better so Kyle brought him down to visit at the pancake breakfast I was in charge of. It meant a lot to me that my boys came to support.

Anyway, the point of this recap is to say that this summer has been intense, and adding to that intensity is the fact that I’ve been pregnant since March. It’s kind of funny, maybe a little sad even, that this pregnancy has taken quite the back seat to…well, life…when my pregnancy with Hutch was my life for 10 months. This time, though, I’ve been so busy that I kind of barely even think about it. That’s both good and bad: good because it has been an easy pregnancy and I haven’t needed to think about it much (knock on wood), but bad because I feel like this baby is getting the short end of the stick, life-wise, especially compared to Hutch.

When I was pregnant with Hutch, I knew to the day how many weeks along I was at any given moment (20 weeks, 3 days; 21 weeks, 0 days). This time around I can barely remember what trimester I’m in.

But despite how distracted I’ve been these past few months, the knowledge that life will soon be changing for us is never far from my mind. I can’t decide if having a second baby will be a bigger change or a smaller one than having the first. On the one hand, we’ve already done this once, so it *should* be a little easier the second time around (supposing this baby is as healthy and mellow as Hutch was, knock on wood and pray for me). On the other hand, though, this time we’re not just changing two lives…we’re changing three. And Poor Hutch really has no idea what’s about to happen. We’ve tried to tell him Mommy’s having a baby, that he’s going to be a big brother, but he just doesn’t get it. How could he? He has no frame of reference for what this means.

So with that in mind—with the knowledge that Hutch’s tiny little world will soon be shaken forever—I’ve been trying to make this summer as magical as possible for him. Pretty much anything he wants, he gets (I mean, within reason…but then his wants are pretty reasonable at this point: donuts, ice cream cones, visits to dad at work, tractor rides with Papa, sliding down slides, reading The Cat in the Hat seven times in a row). I don’t have much energy to do any of these things to be honest, but I try to do at least one joyful thing a day with him, so that as he lays down each night he might sort of feel like his life is a little bit awesome.

Yesterday we drove by a parking lot carnival and Hutch saw all the lit-up rides, something he’d never seen or imagined before, and in childhood exuberance and with perfect clarity he squealed, “WHOA! THAT’S A LOTTA TOYS!” After dying laughing, Kyle and I agreed it had to be done.

Anyway I don’t really have a point to all of this except to say that change is in the air. I feel it, and I’m both excited and nervous for how it will all work out in the end. I hope Hutch loves his baby brother. I hope they get along. I hope I don’t zone out with Baby #2 the way I did when Hutch was born—these boys need their mama to be present. I hope we’re all healthy and happy for the rest of our lives. I don’t even care anymore if we ever get rich. I just want everyone I love to live long and fulfilled lives.

Happy autumn, everyone.

Posted in change, family, hutchface, introspection, pregnancy | Leave a comment

On Hutch at 2 Years Old

This weekend we visited family down in Montana, and on our drive home through the Rocky Mountains I grew pensive. Long mountain drives often have that effect on me.

I looked out the window at the greenness of it all, and thought back on what a pleasant weekend it’d been. Then my thoughts drifted to all the other similar weekends and day trips we’ve taken to that same area over the years, and how times have changed so much since my very first Montana trip ten years ago. Of course eventually I became a little sad, thinking about how fast the years fly and how soon all that green will turn to brown and then white, as winter descends upon us once again.

And with that, I couldn’t help but recall the words of that great Robert Frost poem I learned back in junior high, the one I loved so much that it was, in fact, the *only* poem I ever loved for many years (I went through a years-long phase of hating poetry):

Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf
As Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day 
Nothing gold can stay.

Hutch and Camille on Boat

I recited it over and over to myself as we carried on through the mountains. It was the only soundtrack to our trip for many miles, with Hutch sleeping quietly in the back seat and Kyle focusing on passing every vehicle in front of us whenever the lines were dotted.

Hutch Sleeping Two Years Old

Before long, though, Hutch stirred from his nap and started adding his thoughts to my own—at this point in his little life he basically says everything that comes to mind, very stream-of-consciousness style, which this afternoon was…

“Choo choo train! Hi train! Chugga chugga CHOO CHOO! One, two, three, four, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN! GOOD JOB, HUTCHY! Tunnel…train…see ya soon train! Bye bye, train; see ya soon! More train? More train? MORE TRAIN! Want treat? Want treat? WANT TREAT! Soo-soo off? [That means he took his pacifier out.] Soo-soo on? Want water? Want water? WANT WATER! Go see Papa? Go see Gaga? Go see Dell-dell? Go see Preston, go see Ben, go see Abby? Go see Auntie Maymie? Go see Ady? Go see Cece? GO SEE CECE! Want Mommy’s green ice cream cone, okay? Okay.”

And so on, carried my little postmodernist toddler.

As he narrated the last leg of our journey, his thoughts mingled with my own to create a strange blend of pleasant sadness. I commented to Kyle how two years ago at exactly that time I had just gotten my epidural, and he said: It seems like ten.

And he’s right. People sometimes ask me if I can even remember what life was like before having Hutch, and I always respond the same:

Yes, of course. It was lovely. We had leisure time, extra money, and very relaxing restaurant experiences. We slept in on weekends, grocery shopped on our own schedules, packed for trips with relative ease. Life before Hutch was not always easy, but it was certainly easier.

Yet even though I remember those days, they seem hazy and very far-distant, almost like they are another person’s memories altogether, and that perhaps I only dreamed they were mine.

Because even though it’s only been two years…it’s been two years. Two short years, yes, but 730 very long days (probably 720 of which have begun with 6 hours of sleep). Sometimes I can’t believe he’s only been with us for two years, and other days I can’t believe we’ve kept him alive for two whole years.

Camille and Hutch Reading ScripturesHutch is a bundle of energy. He loves to be outside, especially when it involves riding “side bike.” (The name an evolution of his constant begging for “Outside? Bike?”) His latest hobby is to wake up and find me, either in bed next to him or in my own bed the next room over, press his face right up to mine and chirp, “Hello, Mom! Good morning! Wake UP!” He’s a morning person I’m afraid.

He loves hugs and kisses and says so. Seriously. I’ll give him a hug and he’ll say, “I…love…HUGS!” He loves them so much he’ll often just ask for one: “Hugs? Mama? Okay.”

Camille and Hutch on Bus
He also loves buses, so on our recent trip to Salt Lake (sans Kyle), we rode an open-topped one for two hours before we had to leave for the airport. He loved every second of it. I thought it was ridiculously overpriced at $33 (Hutch was free, so that was just my ticket), but then I remembered my Uncle Henry’s old saying: Money makes memories. I will never miss those 33 dollars, and I will always have those two dreamy hours with my boy.
Hutch is a wildcard eater: some days he will eat entire cartons of berries (raspberries and blackberries being his favourites), and others he will spit them out: “Yuckies?” Interestingly, he never spits out meat.

He knows when he’s about to poo, and sometimes hides or shoos me away so he can do his biness in private. We’ve courted the potty here and there, but usually he doesn’t want much to do with it. I don’t want to push him and wreck any chances of potty training soon, but I also don’t want to be changing two sets of diapers come November 14th.

He’s a large child. The last time he had a doctor’s appointment he was in the 100+ percentile for height and weight combined. He’s the same size (or taller) than some of my friends’ three year-olds. His daycare (“school,” to Hutchy) almost didn’t believe me when I brought him in the first time. Oh, he’s in the three year-old class? No…he’s 22 months.

He hates being left alone for any length of time, either to sleep, eat, watch cartoons, or wait in the truck while I run back inside because I forgot something. He always screams. It’s one of the few things that *does* make him scream, in fact. When he wants me to come with him somewhere, he grabs my hand and says, “I come for you? I come for you!” It means, “Will you come with me?”

Hutch Sleeping Eyelashes

He understands instructions, from “Wipe your hands with this towel,” to “Throw this in the trash,” and “Your soo-soo is in the chair next to you.” He appears to love “the baby in mommy’s tummy” already, giving it kisses daily, although he might just think that the baby is my belly button. (He loves belly buttons.)

I read an article about how to help prevent your child from being sexually abused, and the main thing it said was to teach them the anatomically correct names for their privates—something about if we give it a name it’s suddenly not mysterious or secretive anymore. This was very uncomfortable for me as I was raised quite differently, but in an effort to be the best parent I can be, I taught Hutch the right name during bath time one night. He loved the word instantly, and makes Kyle very uneasy now during diaper changes when he talks about his “PENIS!” (Kyle is still not convinced this was the best route to go, parenting-wise, but as I’m the only parent who reads any sort of articles on the subject, I maintain it was my right to drop that bombshell. At any rate, the damage is done. That’s a word you don’t just un-learn, apparently.)

He counts to ten very well except he consistently leaves out five, and even when we stop him after four to interject “FIVE!” he takes that as his cue to continue on to six, thus skipping five either way. We suspect he actually just hates the number five.

After ten he’s a little shaky, but he usually nails eleven, twelve, and then a couple of the teens, followed by “twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-FOUR! GOOD JOB, HUTCHY!”

He loves to tell himself good job.

Hutch at Park Eating Raspberries

His funniest complete sentences of the past few weeks have been:

“Where’s the park? I don’t know!

“What’s Daddy doing?”

“I need fan on! I need light off!” It cracks me up that he can identify needs versus wants, and specifies which it is for any given situation.

He’s a mellow child, and as long as he’s gotten enough sleep he’s pretty adaptable to his surroundings.

He’s the love of my life.

Can I remember what life was like before Hutch was in it?

Yes…but I don’t want to.

Stay gold, Ponyboy.

Posted in change, family, hutchface, introspection, It's All Good, kid stuffs, looking back | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Guilt and Judgment in Mormonism: Some References

For regular blog readers, this post will probably mean very little, and for that I am sorry. I promise I will stop talking about my essay and that book very, very soon. 

But tomorrow I am presenting, along with five fellow authors from Fresh Courage Take, at a conference in Salt Lake City called Sunstone. I only have 10 minutes, so I’m going to direct anyone interested in more in-depth information to this blog post for a list of references and further reading/listening. 

Of course, if *you* are interested in how I started working past my own unproductive guilt and judgment issues, stay tuned: I will be releasing a recap here after Sunstone.

In the meantime, for Sunstone attendees, here is the promised list: 

References:

Belmont, Judith A. The Therapist’s Ultimate Solution Book: Essential Strategies, Tips & Tools to Empower Your Clients

Dehlin, John, Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, and Jennifer Rooney White. “The Dynamics of Guilt and Shame,” Podcast, MormonMatters.com.

Further Research: (Note: I have not read each and every one of these in their entirety yet, as I’m still on this journey myself! Use your judgment to decide which might add value to your own life.)

www.lds.org/ensign/1999/08/judge-not-and-judging?lang=eng

briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/a-note-on-call-out-culture

goodmormonlife.net/2015/03/08/overcoming-mormon-guilt/ 

ldsmag.com/article-1-6902/

feministmormonhousewivespodcast.org/category/guilt/

brenebrown.com

www.deseretnews.com/article/865603657/Tips-for-living-Guilt-Free-shares-6-lies-the-adversary-tells.html

bycommonconsent.com/2011/01/12/the-value-of-shame-in-mormonism/

www.drjuliehanks.com/2014/10/22/understanding-mormon-guilt-and-shame-feminist-mormon-housewives-podcast/

www.sltrib.com/sltrib/lifestyle/57219005-80/mission-missionaries-early-says.html.csp

approachingjustice.net/2014/10/20/10-questions-about-spiritual-abuse-mormon-edition/

www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2578495/posts

ldsblogs.com/27172/mormonism-no-mormon-guilt-required
mormonmatters.org/2011/09/14/51-the-dynamics-of-guilt-and-shame/

Posted in Mormonism, theories, what I'm about, Writing a Book | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Guilt and Judgment in Mormonism: Some References

Fresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women

Fresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women

If you are a friend of mine on Facebook you’re likely sick to death of me talking about this by now, but if not, some news: I wrote an essay that was published in a real, live, hardcover book! It’s so exciting to me, not only to be published but also to have contributed something to such an amazing cause—Mormon womanhood in the 21st century.

Book Signing 2
Signing books. At a book signing. To which I was invited. For a legitimate reason. CRAZY!

The book is called Fresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women, and as I read through the final version a few weeks ago (staying up until 3 a.m. to do so), I thought of so many friends and loved ones who would benefit from the 12 essays in the compilation. I truly believe that there is something in it for everyone: woman or not, Mormon or not, anyone. If nothing else, it is an awesome reminder to keep an open mind and try to understand what your friends and neighbours might be struggling with.

Book Signing 1
L-R: Half of Sylvia Lankford, Camille Fairbanks, Brooke Stoneman, Jamie Zvirzdin

So, tonight I had the great pleasure of speaking at the book’s release party at Benchmark Books in Salt Lake City, and now that the party is over I think it’s safe to share what I said there. It should give you a little taste of what my essay is about (I’ve wanted to share that particular essay here for over two years now! I’ll never be able to, since it would infringe on copyright laws, but if you want to read it you can buy the book on Amazon—the Kindle version is only $6! Or wait to check it out from the library. I don’t feel comfortable asking people to spend $20 on a book because it seems a little tacky…plus I was never in this to make money. I only wanted to add my voice to this cool movement.)

Book Signing 3
Pretty awesome to see such a great turnout! I was so honoured to have not only my parents there (all the way from Arizona), but four other friends and family members show up to represent. Thanks, guys!

So here’s what you missed if you weren’t there in the flesh:

My involvement with this book started several years ago not as a writer but as a proofreader, when my e-friend Jamie Zvirzdin asked me to review a series of essays she’d commissioned for a book on the Mormon woman’s condition. I heartily agreed, and devoured the essays as I got them. I loved them so much that I forgot to proofread as I went—I just read them and cried.

When I did finish proofreading them, I told Jamie that as much as I loved the essays, I was kind of sad that I didn’t get to add my voice to the “quorum” of women she’d collected. But the manuscript was just about ready and I understood. Besides, what would I say? I didn’t have any real topic in mind; I just knew I wanted to be a part of it.

Many months later, one of the authors of the group rescinded her essay for personal reasons, and Jamie emailed me: did I still want to be a part of this?

I didn’t even have to think about it: Yes, I said. Please, yes.

By that time, the spring of 2013, I had become pregnant with my first child, and I was terrified.

See, growing up in a devout Mormon family, it was generally accepted that at some point in life I would get married and begin to reproduce. However, during those pivotal teenage years we all know and love, my life developed in such a way that lead me to dread the idea, not only of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood but of marriage and sex as well.

So there I was, preparing to have a baby despite all earlier misgivings. As I faced the thing I’d molded my identity around swearing I would never do, the topic of my essay became clear to me: I needed to write about how I’d come to create this child—I, who for so many years swore it would never happen. I needed to write about what had changed to make it happen, and what was still holding me back from fully embracing it and loving my life.

I needed to write about it, not just so I could contribute to this book, but so I could sort through my issues and move forward. I felt that if I continued burying my head in the sand, I would deliver my baby and completely check out from reality, probably ending up with a divorce and a social worker and maybe even jail time. It sounds dramatic, but I just didn’t know how I could possibly love that baby, and the knowledge that I would have to pretend to love him (so nobody would think I was a Bad Mother) would drive me mad before long.

So I wrote. I wrote my heart into that essay. I wrote my deepest fears that I hadn’t admitted to anyone; I wrote about decade-old memories I’d buried long before; I wrote of my life the way it had been and the way I pictured it could be, someday, if only I could let go of my deep-seated anxieties and embrace a new mindset.

That new mindset included the following:

* To stop judging myself & release myself from guilt
* To stop judging other women & release them from shaming
* To stop thinking that everyone else is judging me (which is a lot easier to believe when I’m not judging others)
* And to do only the things I want or feel impressed to do, not because anyone else says that I should, but simply because I want or feel impressed to do them.

I can’t say more because I don’t want to give the essay away. However, I will say this: I’m pretty sure it worked. By writing it out, and choosing to believe the words I’d written, I was eventually able to overcome most of my doubts and anxieties—and the ones I couldn’t overcome, I learned to live with in a healthier way.

Now, over two years later, I can say the words my teenage self never believed she would: I am a mother. I am a mother, and I love being a mother. I won’t deny that it is difficult, and that many days the difficulties outweigh the joys. But for me being a mother is more good than bad. So good that I’m doing it again at least once, and am very much looking forward to meeting my second baby in a few months.

Even more important than my life-changing acceptance and appreciation for motherhood, though, is this: that if I hadn’t taken to it quite so well, or if I had chosen never to undertake it in the first place, I would still have merit in the world and in the eyes of my Heavenly Parents.

That knowledge—that freedom—has made all the difference.

Posted in awesome., Book Reports, feminism, introspection, Mormonism, Overall Good Things | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The Selling of the House, Moving of the House, and Buying of the New House (and the New Baby)

Whew.

It hardly seems possible that it’s been almost four months since I last posted, but then that’s par for the course around these parts lately.

So, a brief update, in order of occurrence and not necessarily importance:

March 9, 2015: Posted on the blog saying we’d be listing our house soon.

March 11, 2015: Listed our house

March 12-19, 2015: Had a freaking ton of showings, one (stupidly low) offer, one counter-offer, one counter-counter offer, one rejected offer.

Duration of March: Not as many showings, but still at least one or two almost every week.

March 28, 2015: Shared some exciting news with Poor Kyle: I’m pregnant! I’m due December 1st and we hope to find out the sex of the baby in a few weeks.

April 2015: Continued with house showings. Somewhere in here I went to San Francisco for a work trip.

Early May 2015: Told my boss I’m expecting another baby. She’s been supportive.

May 18, 2015: While staying at a fancy hotel in Calgary for the long weekend, we got word from our realtor that we finally got a second offer on our house. We counter offered, they counter offered, and eventually we came to an agreeable price. They wanted possession date of June 19, a month away, but we pushed it back to June 24th on account of being out of town through the 19th. (We would later kick ourselves, HARD, for not pushing it back an additional week still.)

Duration of May, 2015: Started looking for houses to buy in bigger city 30 minutes from Mayberry.

Early June, 2015: Continued looking for houses to buy. Experienced the roller coaster of real estate when one house, then another, and another ad nauseam got scooped out from our twitchy hands before we could even say the word “offer.” We were looking in a very specific price range, and apparently in our new city houses that cheap just…sell. And quickly.

A Little Less Early June, 2015: Realise at this point there’s very little chance of a) finding a house we like, b) getting the chance to make an offer on it, c) haggling for a price, d) agreeing on a price, e) buying it, and f) moving in before our move-out day of June 22. Start looking for rentals.

Mid June, 2015: Find a great rental that will allow us to rent month-to-month in case our perfect house should suddenly come on the market.

Later-Mid June, 2015: Begin selling stuff in house like crazy, and packing everything left. Also start packing for week-long trip to Utah, two days after which would be our move date.

Two days before Utah departure, June 2015: Realtor notifies us the first house we ever liked had the offer fall through. Hastily make offer, get mortgage approval, start lawyer process, and buy the house within two days…leaving us 9 days to prepare for the move (7 days of which would be spent in Utah).

Mid June, 2015: Go to Utah. Spend a blissful week in the Provo mountains with family and daily childcare. Read books, nap daily, eat meals prepared by other people, clean nothing ever. Heaven.

June 19, 2015: Leave Utah at 9 a.m., arrive back in Mayberry at 10:30 p.m. Fall into bed.

June 20-21, 2015: Do all the things. ALL THE THINGS.

June 22: Open doors for movers, Poor Kyle signs final papers for house we’d be moving into within four hours, scramble to pack last-minute items in any random box or bag within sight, move move move, acquire keys to new house, move move move, crash on couch in new living room.

June 22-Present (5 days later): We’ve slowly been unpacking and trying to make order out of chaos. This must be what God felt like when he was creating Earth…

So, about our new house: We bought it for the location, not for the house. The house itself is actually pretty ugly. Straight from the 70’s (the worst era of all time). Think patterned carpet, wood panelling, orange linoleum, poor lighting, you name it. It’s smaller than our old house, which we were anticipating, but just because we anticipated it doesn’t mean it has been easy to adjust to it.

Also, it’s hot. As in, we’re having a heat wave and we have no A/C. We had no A/C at our last house either (it’s not common to have it up here because it’s only really hot enough to rationalise it for a couple of months), which was unpleasant enough, but at least that house had been pleasantly upgraded, which made the heat more bearable. This time around, in the chaos of our boxes and disorganized kitchen and lack of storage space, it just feels impossible to handle. (Sidebar: after three days in this new house we just couldn’t deal, and called the A/C company for a quote. Many many thousands of dollars later, we should have it installed by this time next week, and not a moment too soon if you ask me. It’s worth it. It just is.)

Hutch has had a bit of a rough time adjusting to our new life. He’s been cranky and clingy and even a little sick, but we’re trying to be extra patient (not easy when there’s so much to do around here) and hope he starts feeling better next week.

Kyle loves the house. He loves it. It’s not the house so much as the location that he loves: it takes him 6 minutes to get to work in the morning, and he’s come home for lunch every day this week. Plus we’ve been able to order delivery right to our door, a luxury we never had in ol’ Mayberry. It’s the dream.

As for me…I love living in this city. It’s been all the convenience we hoped it would be and then some. The house, I’m having a harder time loving. But I have to remind myself (daily, hourly, minutely) that the house we left took us 8 years to spruce up the way we wanted it. It feels like we’re starting over, that’s all. If we had had more time before possession, I would have liked to get some initial upgrades done before we ever even moved in (flooring, paint, trim, etc). But we were crunched for time and it just wasn’t possible. So we will do things like we did in our old house: one step at a time—though I sincerely hope it won’t take us 8 years this time around.

Anyway, that’s the news.

Godspeed.

Posted in change, looking back, thisandthat | Tagged | 4 Comments

The Listing of the House

We’ve met with our realtor several times and all is in order for our house to be listed in just a couple of days. He asked me to write the description of our home, as of course nobody knows a home as well as its owners. It’s kind of scary to be the one writing it, though—it feels as though the fate of our family and our family’s family rests in these words.

(It’s always so dramatic with me.)

Anyway, as I finished the blurb and looked at the photographs we just got back from the indefatigable Rhonda Steed, I thought to myself, I should share this stuff with whoever might still be reading my poor neglected blog. Once upon a time some readers asked me for pictures of my house, and I never felt it looked good enough to share… And although it’s far from perfect or even remotely Pinterest-worthy, this house will never be in better shape than it is right now so I figure I might as well share and share alike. (All images except the exterior shot are by Rhonda Steed, link above.)

Of course, if you know anybody looking for a house in Mayberry, send them a link to this post please and thanks. : )

Storage abounds in this 1300 sq ft. Raymond bungalow! With three bedrooms upstairs and one down, this renovated home has plenty of room for a growing family.

Tons of upgrades in the last two years include:

  • Engineered hardwood floors throughout, plus all new craftsman-style trim
  • Remodelled kitchen—new countertops, backsplash, sink, lighting, plus…
  • ALL NEW stainless steel appliances
  • Remodelled spa-like 3-piece bathroom upstairs
  • New light fixtures
  • Brand new garage door and opener
  • Fresh paint
  • Brand new shower in basement bathroom

Upstairs enjoy a 2-piece ensuite in the master bedroom, plus peace of mind having the kids sleeping just down the hall. A brand new 3-piece main bathroom completes the stylish new interior. An open concept kitchen and dining room are great for entertaining, and French doors allow a customizable living room off the main entrance (perfect for meetings, lessons, or quiet time).

The 98% finished basement boasts a wood-burning stone fireplace, a large family room, oversized bedroom, newly renovated 3-piece bathroom, two great sized storage rooms and a fully shelved food room. With closets and cupboards everywhere, you’ll never run out of storage space!

Outside a large semi-fenced landscaped backyard opens onto an alley, with plenty of space to park RVs, boats, or trailers.

Located on a quiet street just around the corner from a new playground and only moments away from shopping and schools, this house is a growing family’s dream!

For more information contact [redacted].

Front of House
Glad I had the foresight to snap a picture in the summer when the lawn was green and the flowers were sort of blooming.
FairbanksHouse-2
View of our living room, to the left of the front door.
FairbanksHouse-4
And from the back of the living room looking out. Several people have noticed that I colour-coordinated Hutch’s books in the bookcase—don’t worry, it doesn’t last.
FairbanksHouse-14
Here’s the view from the front entrance looking right.
FairbanksHouse-13
A closer look at the kitchen.

 

FairbanksHouse-17
Standing in the kitchen looking toward the back doors—in a second you’ll see the laundry zone and office zone.
FairbanksHouse-22
As promised—the laundry zone.

 

FairbanksHouse-34
And the office zone.
FairbanksHouse-12
View looking back into the kitchen from the office. This one makes me really happy.
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Master bedroom. Where the magic happens. And by magic I of course mean beauty sleep. ;)
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This photo won’t make the cut of pictures we’ll show in our listing, but I just love it so much I had to share it here. It’s the view looking from the doorway of our bedroom to the front door.  I’ve never thought much about this particular spot in our house, but I’m really going to miss this view when we move. Over the years I’ve tried to make our home warm and welcoming, and looking at this picture, I almost feel it worked.
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Hutch’s room. Many late nights/early mornings I rocked him in this glider, and as the pink sun rose and brightened up these walls, I felt my early postpartum panic slip away; I could face another day. This is a special room.
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Another view of Hutch’s room. Custom cupcake painting by the marvellous Modest Mermaid—order one, you won’t regret it. (It was such a revelation when I realized that bookcase would fit inside the closet. It made a world of difference in this room.)
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Nondescript guest bedroom, and the room where Hutch *actually* sleeps.
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Another shot that won’t make the cut, but I can’t help feeling warm and fuzzy when I look at this view. Hutch learned to crawl down this hallway. And walk. And run. And open those cupboard doors and dig through my toolbox.
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Here’s a peek into the “spa-like” (lol) renovated bathroom. I wish I had a before photo of this to show you guys. It’s so much better now.
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More of the bathroom.
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Yet more of the bathroom. I think this is the room I’m saddest about leaving, as it was the first room we renovated on a large scale, and I love how it turned out. Plus, they don’t carry that mosaic tile at Costco anymore, so I can’t copy the look in our next house.

That’s it for the upstairs.  Downstairs has not been renovated as much…I’m hoping DIY-ers will see this as a bit of a blank slate. Heaven knows I had grand visions for it myself, but there comes a point when enough is enough…at least for this house:

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Here you see the first piece of furniture we ever bought brand new together (the sectional). Everything else was either gifted or craigslisted.
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We did renovate this bathroom (well mainly just the shower, which desperately needed it). Fun fact: Kyle refuses to shower anywhere else now, that’s how much he loves this shower.


Not pictured: 3 different storage rooms and a spare bedroom that’s really not very interesting.

So now you’ve seen our house! Want to buy it??

Posted in change, I hate change, Overall Good Things, photos, Pretty Things | Tagged | Comments Off on The Listing of the House

Selling a House is Fun to Do

We missed the self-imposed deadline for listing our house by about 30 days…in fact we still haven’t officially listed it. The problem is that I want it to be perfect before we open it up to showings, but I’m slowly learning that perfection is just not going to happen. That said, we do have a few small final touches we want to finish up before we finally (finally!) list our house…so we’ve extended our goal yet again…but this time only by a week.

(Oh, by the way, below are some snapshots of the kitchen post-remodel as promised…we bought all the supplies and left our contractor with a list of tasks, without seeing any pictures of the progress along the way, so it was both nerve-wracking and thrilling to see how it turned out when we got home. We are pleased…)
Kitchen After 2

Kitchen After 3

Here’s what we’ve done in pursuit of sprucing up our house since getting back from Christmas holidays:

  • painted the kitchen and mud room (mud room-ish area, rather)
  • finished filling and painting all trim upstairs
  • painted doors
  • updated doorknobs
  • bought a new (to us) sofa
  • ordered and installed a new (beautiful) garage door
  • ordered and installed a new (beautiful) stove
  • replaced 7 light fixtures
  • patched a hole in the wall
  • installed door stoppers to prevent future holes in future walls
  • filled in nail holes
  • rearranged living room furniture
  • rearranged living room artwork
  • drywalled a previously-unfinished storage room in the basement
  • rented a storage unit
  • packed the truck full of boxes 5x and hauled to storage unit
  • sold a bunch of stuff privately on Craigslist
  • sold a bunch more stuff  at an indoor garage sale (best idea ever!)
  • donated everything leftover from sale to local flea market
  • continued finding extra stuff and continued taking it to thrift stores

So you see why we had to bump the deadline a second time—we’ve been quite busy. Luckily, the only things remaining to do (at least the only things I’m deeming absolutely necessary prior to listing…there will always be more we can do, but it has to stop somewhere) are these:

  • touch up paint in living room, bedrooms, and bathrooms
  • haul a bunch more stuff to the storage unit/recycling depot/thrift store
  • deep deep clean the entire house (hopefully I can pay someone else to do this for me, because guys, I’m tired)
  • get quality photos taken by a talented friend
  • list
  • sell
  • repeat

Just kidding about the repeat part…I don’t intend to go through this process again for a very long time indeed!

But when we do decide to buy/sell/move again, it’s going to be a lot easier, because through it all, this process has taught me:

  1. It’s silly to hold off spending money on updating a house if we’re just going to update it to sell eventually—better to spend that money up front, enjoy the benefits for awhile, and have it all ready to sell when the time comes. (Of course, if not planning to update at all before selling, this is invalid.)
  2. I thought I was pretty good at decluttering and organizing, but ha! I’ll say it again: HA! I was nowhere near where I would like to be, but at least now I know that, and I’m working on improving. This is especially important since we intend to downsize significantly with the next place we live.
  3. We buy too much stuff.
  4. We store too much stuff.
  5. We will never again buy and store this much stuff.

I’ve been enlightened.

Helping me along the way are the two books I read/am reading this month:

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Both books have been revolutionary for me in different ways, and although I feel compelled to wait until we sell this house and find somewhere new to live before I can fully implement their theories, I nevertheless know them to be true. I feel certain in my bones that this—this minimalistic, clutter-free, waste-free, joyful way of life—is meant for me.

Since reading them I’ve pre-edited countless cupboards, closets, drawers, bins…all of them still need work and I’m not ready to tackle them as thoroughly and intensely as both books recommend, but even still, it’s liberating. For example, today I sold my nail polish stash (already cut in half since selling my least-used colours back in the fall), including base coats, top coats, finishing spray, and remover, in one fell swoop, and vowed never to go back to my nail-painting ways.

Essie Nail Polish stash

 

Why?

Because it takes a lot of time to paint my nails. Because it takes a lot of money to keep buying new and interesting colours (half of which I don’t even like once I get them on my hands). Because there are a lot of things I can’t do while I’m waiting for them to dry, like fold laundry or hold my baby. And because they usually look awful anyway since they always chip within 24 hours, no matter what base/top/in between coat I use. I’m just too hard on them, and the whole process is basically a lot of waste. In fact, I’d just painted my nails last night, but when I read Johnson’s advice on embracing the nude nail, I looked down at my already-peeling nubbins and thought, “I’m so stupid.” I set down the book, gathered my supplies, snapped a picture and posted it online, and they were out of my life within 35 minutes. It’s such a simple thing and it’s kind of embarrassing that I’m making such a big deal out of it, but it’s symbolic you guys.

I haven’t felt this passionate about life since I discovered poutine.

Posted in Book Reports, change, Cutting Back, Green Living, introspection, self-actualisation | Tagged | 2 Comments