Saturday, November 16, 2013

Nursery: Part I

There were two things I knew I wanted in the nursery long before we even found out I was pregnant.

First: a Jenny Lind crib.

Country Living

Second: prints from Sharon Montrose's Animal Print Shop.

Animal Print Shop

The Jenny Lind crib posed a bit of a problem since they are not readily available in Canada. The stores that do sell them want close to $400 for the same crib that sells for $175 at Walmart and Target in the US. We thought about making a trip across the border to pick one up but began to watch for one on kijiji in the meantime.

It wasn't long before I noticed a posting for a discount warehouse in Edmonton that was selling the cribs for $199! I quickly emailed my brother to ask him to pick me one up. The limited store hours posed a problem for him so he in turn asked my cousin Sean to help out. Sean, thankfully, was able to make it to the store before they sold out. Brian then gave the crib to Dave as his birthday present. Dave surprisingly thought it was one of the best birthday presents ever.

A lot of effort for a crib but it was worth it. I love it! Thanks Sean and Brian!

The only issue with the Sharon Montrose prints was choosing from all of the cute animals.

I pretty much wanted every animal on the website so I let Dave pick out the prints. He decided he wanted to go with a 'Canadian Wilds' theme (so that our baby would become familiar with the wildlife in the mountains it will inevitably be spending so much of its' time in) and settled on the baby fox, deer, bear and porcupine.

Baby Deer

Baby Fox

Baby Porcupine

Bear Cub

With the two most important elements settled we began work on bringing together the rest of our neutral woodland animal nursery.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sea Kayaking Part II, Belize

(Since it has been several months since my last post on our Belize trip you can read the beginning of our trip PlacenciaDangrigaGlovers Atoll and Sea Kayaking Part I)

The campground at Billy Hawk Caye was so stunning that we decided to set up camp for a second night. Not having to paddle any particular distance or relocate camp also afforded us the luxury of a lazy morning. We did not manage to get the boats out on the water until almost 10 AM.

We spent the morning paddling through the Blue Lagoon Group, exploring the calm channels of the mangroves. We stopped for lunch and a swim on 'Bikini Beach' before paddling back to Billy Hawk for an hour of reading in the shade.

Late afternoon we headed out to the reef just off the north end of the island so Dave could try his hand at hand-fishing while snorkelling - a trick the local fishermen had taught him. He did manage to catch one small Grunt but we ended up releasing it. We were so distracted by the fishing that we almost didn't notice a storm front blowing in and had to quickly paddle back to shore to batten down the hatches at camp. The wind persisted through the rest of the night - thankfully only a few stray drops of rain - so we spent the evening hunkered down in the cook shelter. The island watchman took pity on Dave's poor luck fishing that afternoon so he fried us up two fish he had caught that day - a Grunt and a Snapper. It was some of the best fish we had even eaten.

We woke up early the next morning to pack up camp for another long day of paddling. We paddled back up the Blue Lagoon Group, stopping at the north end for a short snorkel, before breaking away from the islands for the long paddle to the Tobacco Range. We made surprisingly good time - reaching the Range in under three hours. We even spotted a dolphin along the way!

We paddled across the lagoon in the centre of the Tobacco Range and then across to Tobacco Caye. We had intended to camp at Tobacco Caye but the camping options were completely undesirable (hot, crowded, cramped) and there were no cabanas available for the night. So we made the decision to eat a quick lunch then paddle the additional 4 nautical miles back to Coco Plum Caye. In total we ended up paddling almost 14 nautical miles - it was a long day!

We set up camp on Coco Plum - once again we were the only people in the campground. After freshening up, we headed to the resort bar to stock up on Coke & beer. We found ourselves chatting with a very friendly retired couple staying at the resort and ended up staying for a couple beers at the bar. After a full day of hard paddling in the sun, the beers were enough to completely do us in and we barely managed to eat dinner before crashing for the night.

For our last full day of kayaking, we debated paddling back to Tobacco Caye for snorkelling but after the previous long day and with more dark clouds looming on the horizon, we could not convince ourselves to commit to the 8 nautical mile trip.

Instead we headed out to the Tobacco Range to look for manatees in the lagoon. Once there we realized we did not know the first thing about finding manatees but were lucky enough to spot what we thought was a manatee (a white shadow moving through the water) along with some turtles! We spent about an hour floating in the lagoon before the the skies started to look threatening enough that we thought it was pertinent to start paddling back to camp.

Of course, about half way to Coco Plum, the storm decided to hit with full force. The wind and waves made for some of the hardest (and scariest) paddling I have ever had to do. Thankfully the rain only struck after we hit the safety of camp. We sat out the rain reading in our tent.

Eventually the storm passed and we were able to escape our tent allowing us to return to the resort for showers and more beers! The winds were too strong to allow us to do much more so we turned in for another early evening.

Our final day on the water. The day I had been nervous about for the entire time leading up to the trip and our entire time paddling. The day requiring us to make the 8 nautical mile trip across the open waters back to the mainland.

The storm the night before had not helped calm my nerves about the big paddle but miraculously we awoke to clear skies, calm waters and a gentle easterly breeze. About the best weather we could have hoped for!

We took down camp, packed our boat one last time and hit the water by 8 AM. We quickly got into an easy rhythm and my fears of the open channel quickly disappeared (other then the occasional passing speed boat). We managed to make the 8 nautical mile crossing in 2 hours and 10 minutes. I was seriously impressed (and relieved)!

Back on mainland, we unpacked our boat, returned the kayak gear, claimed our stored luggage and set out on the next leg of our adventure: the jungle!


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Saturday, November 9, 2013


Some how the summer passed with the blink of an eye, now there is snow on the ground.

Last time I posted there was over 150 days till our due date, now there is just over 60!

To say we have been busy is an understatement...

In the past three months we have managed to cross a lot of items off the 'to-do' list.

We finished all of the trim then moved out for several weeks so we could re-paint the entire house. We have installed all of the doors, installed blinds and curtains, have begun to decorate the baby's room and are working to tackle all of the organizational projects that need to take place in order to find room for a third person.

Our house is actually starting to really look like a home.

We also took time for a trip to Jasper, Vancouver and Tofino. Plus Dave completed another section of the Great Divide Trail.

Dave also decided to tackle re-building the engine of a Subaru Impreza.

Hopefully I will find time to blog about all of it now that the weather is getting colder and I am not able to move so fast.


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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Crown Molding

This past week Dave, along with our amazing friend Rob, installed the crown molding on the main floor.

It is amazing what a deadline and a little motivation will do ;o)


Considering we started the kitchen renovation in the summer of 2008 - five years ago! - it is quite rewarding to finally see the last piece of the vision fall into place.

Our Ikea cabinets suddenly look a lot like custom built cabinets.

Just a sneak peak for now...

The whole house is getting painted this week and then I can finally start sharing 'After' photos.

Yes, after five long years of renovating, we are *this* close to being done!


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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Front Entrance: Take Two

When we first planned the front entry, we had the romantic notion that a bench with two large drawers would be sufficient storage in our tiny entry way.

We were organized people, we could keep our shoes tidy, right? Wrong.

Over the past year, we quickly realized that two drawers would not make up for the lack of closet space in our front entry and thus have procrastinated on finishing the bench.

So shortly after we found out that there would be a new member joining our family, this happened:

Yes, Dave broke down and tore out the bench he had so lovingly built from scratch.

We headed to Ikea to gather inspiration for a new solution for the front entry. One that offered a lot more storage.

We had planned to build something new from scratch but we were surprised when we found several pieces at Ikea that would work with the dimensions of our room and would allow us to finish them to look 'built in'.
Godmorgon Sink Cabinet

Hemnes Sink Cabinet

Tarva 6 Drawer Dresser

But when we saw the Hemnes 8 Drawer Dresser, we instantly new our storage problems were solved.
Hemnes 8 Drawer Dresser

It was almost the exact dimensions we required to fit under the window - a little too tall but nothing sawing off the legs couldn't fix - and it offered 8 drawers of storage! Eight! That was two drawers each, one for the dogs and still one to spare!

At $299, the price was a little high for something we would be taking the saw to so we checked kijiji and found one listed for $100. The top was scratched - not that it mattered since we knew we had to build a custom top to fit our space - so Dave was able to talk them down to $80. Sold! We could not have bought the lumber to build our own for that price!

So now we this:

We both love how perfectly it fits the room. It actually looks more suited to the room than the bench. Especially once we switch out the cheap Ikea knobs with the luxurious bin pulls we bought from Restoration Hardware.

Dakota Cup Pull

And the best part - it offers three times as much storage!

Now all it needs is a little paint.


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Monday, August 12, 2013

The List

So now that we have a deadline (only 154 days to go!), we have once again turned our full attention to completing the few outstanding projects around the house. Over the past couple months we have already managed to check a few items off the list but of course we have also managed to add a few items to the list.
"To Do"
Install bathroom door
Install trim around vent pipe in bathroom
Paint interior doors
Paint inner front door
Install closet doors, everywhere
Install door hardware, everywhere
Install powder room window and hardware
Install stair railing
Touch up stair railing
Complete drywall in linen closet
Install linen closet shelves
Build Install office shelves
Paint Build office desk
Build spare bedroom desk
Paint front entrance
Complete front entrance bench
Tear out front entrance bench
Complete front entrance cabinet
Get front door and dining room windows repaired
Install crown moulding on main floor
Install baseboard on main floor
Paint main floor walls and trim
Complete fireplace mantel
Install gas insert in fireplace
Paint windows
Touch-up paint, everywhere
Remove and replace siding, on the entire house
Replace eavestroughs
Rebuild front steps
Complete furnace inspection
Build concrete patio and sidewalk
Complete french drains for the eavestroughs
Fix downspout
Complete raised flower beds in the front yard
Fix raised flower bed in back yard
Complete irrigation system
Build bike shed
Complete electrical inspection again
Fill nail holes in hardwood floors
Complete trim on exterior of house
Complete brick on front steps
Complete concrete edges on front steps
Install mail box
Install juliette balcony railing
Replace all the plugs with tamper proof plugs
Install return air vents
Install hooks in the main entrance
Install bathroom fixtures in powder room
Install blinds in spare bedroom
Install dining room light fixture
Complete shingles on roof
Fix shower curtain rod in bathroom
Build compost bins
Seal wood deck
Seal concrete deck and sidewalks
We should have some progress to share shortly!


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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Our Next Project

We are very excited to be setting out on our next big project: we are adding on to our house by two feet!

Estimated completion: January 2014


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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sea Kayaking Part I, Belize

The boat from Glover's Atoll dropped us off at Thatch Caye on the Coco Plum Range where our sea kayak and gear was waiting for the next week of kayaking and camping.

We sorted our belongings and set up camp. The campground on Thatch Caye was set in a grove of young palm trees at the northern tip of the island with two pretty beaches. The campground  is operated by the friendly people of Thatch Caye Resort which occupies the southern end of the island but is far enough removed from the main resort that the majority of the time we had the area completely to our selves. There was three hammocks, a laundry line, beach chairs, a picnic table and outhouse at the campground plus access to the bar, restaurant and showers at the main resort. Camping cost $15 US per night - pretty reasonable for our own private beach!

To test out our new boat, we set out across the channel to Man of War Caye. The Caye is a bird sanctuary for the frigates and boobies. The island was barely 10 m long and 5 m wide but was covered in hundreds of birds. Needless to say the island stank!

Returning to our camp, Dave decided to test out his fishing gear with no success. By time we got organized and made dinner, we were completely exhausted and more or less headed straight to bed.

The next morning we packed up camp and the boat for our first day of paddling. We set out south past the Coco Plum Range and Ragged Caye.

Halfway between Ragged Caye and Hangman Caye, we discovered a reef with a ship wreck on it.

After about 8 nautical miles, we reached Billy Hawk Caye. We were welcomed by the friendly Belizean family that owned the island and were able to sell us cold cokes and beer to go with our lunch.

Dave decided he wanted to continue onward, so after lunch we packed up the boat and headed towards Bread and Butter Caye. However once we arrived we found out that they were currently not allowing camping on the island so we spent an hour snorkeling in the reefs surrounding the island before heading back to Billy Hawk Caye.

Back at Billy Hawk Caye, we set up camp. Once again we were the only people camping. The campground had hammocks, laundry lines, picnic tables, volleyball court, outhouses and a shower, a beach on a beautiful little lagoon and two docks. There was also a covered kitchen and dinning area and some small cabins on the far side of the island. Camping cost $10 BZE ($5 US), beer was $5 BZE ($2.50) and coke was $3 BZE ($1.50 US).

After setting up camp we treated ourselves to showers, nachos and rum and cokes while we enjoyed the sunset. It was much deserved after a long day of paddling! Almost 9.6 nautical miles!


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Wednesday, July 3, 2013


For those who follow my blog via the now extinct Google Reader, you can now follow my blog with Bloglovin.


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Saturday, June 22, 2013


The past couple days have been pretty surreal.

It started Thursday morning with the reports of the flooding in Canmore. As a group of structural engineers who design bridges, my co-workers and I scoured the internet for photos... real life examples of the numbers that we design to... evidence that what we design is strong enough... amazed to see that typically it is.

And then it hit Calgary... Dave was at work on Thursday night and had a direct connection to the City's emergency response communications. As soon as he began to hear word of the neighbourhoods around us getting evacuated he called home... "get everything out of the basement, get ready to leave."

I made countless trips up and down the basement stairs, hauling everything I could up to higher ground. That night I barely slept a wink, listening to the sirens around our home, waiting for the sirens that signalled it was time to get up and go.

The sun rose on Friday... despite being on the river, our neighbourhood was still dry. ... our house was barely two blocks outside of the evacuation zone but we were still at home. We are still nervously watching our basement for sewer backup but we are loving our little house and beautiful neighbourhood even more today... a tiny oasis of high ground.

We count ourselves as blessed.

Our hearts go out to those who were evacuated and have potentially lost their homes. We only had to contemplate that reality, imagine the heartbreak of having to walk away from the house we have poured our hearts into.

We are absolutely amazed by the strength, courage and compassion our city has displayed over the past couple days. There is no doubt that Calgary will rise out of these waters only to be a better, stronger city then it already is.

We are proud to call Calgary our home.


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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Broken Island Group

We didn't realize it when we booked the trip to Belize so it was almost serendipitous that we chose a kayak trip to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary considering the last kayak trip we had been on was immediately following our wedding in Tofino.

We had been talking about doing a kayak trip with Dave's family for years and since our wedding forced everyone to be on Vancouver Island at the same time, we took full advantage and planned a three day trip into the Broken Island Group off of Ucluelet for the four days after the wedding.

Our friends Lana, Eric and Yuko also decide to join in our adventure, giving us a group of nine.

Yes, we essentially shared our honeymoon with seven other people... but we knew we would never get another good opportunity to do a kayak trip with this group of people.

(Besides, we consider our trip to Japan our official honeymoon.)

Loading the boats

Alot of paddles

Rocking the spray skirt

Ready to hit the water

Seal pup

Yuko and Eric preparing Japanese curry

Banana boats

White sand beaches!

Almost like Fiji ...

"Swiss Family Robinson" Outhouse

Today marks our fifth wedding anniversary. After five years, we still are each others best and closest friend. We are still each others first choice for sharing an adventure. We are still each others soul mate.

I am looking forwarding to sharing the next five years of adventures with Dave.


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