Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Reaping the Harvest

This was my first year gardening as a 'grown up'. All on my own. :)

I started tomato plants from seeds way back in March... do you remember this photo from Easter time of the crazy snowfall and my tomatoes?

The plants flourished all summer, and even survived moving houses!
And now we reap the benefits :). I plan to make pasta sauce out of all our lovely tomatoes.
I continued my little herb garden all summer. I have really enjoyed having fresh parsley, dill, chives, and cilantro.

And the Bell Peppers! This was a grand experiment, and most people told me it'd never work to grow them here in the Great White North, but they are doing swell. The peppers are just starting to ripen and turn various colors. Can you see the orange one? They are smaller than store-bought varieties  but that is no surprise considering our food is all genetically altered anyways.

 Hooray for a little plot of earth, and remembering to water it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Home-Owners!

On August 24, 2012, around 1:15pm, we were handed a ring of keys and officially became home owners!

We moved in the next day, and even got mostly unpacked. 

It felt like home right away. 
(sigh of contentment)

 I'd heard people say that there's something different about owning your own place, but I never really understood it. Actually, I still don't understand it, but I feel it. It feels awesome, and safe, and comfortable, and full of dreams to come true, like kids playing in the yard one day.

Having debt has always been touchy for my emotional sanity, but we bought smart and don't have to adjust our budget too much to compensate. That feels great, too.

And having our very own home means we can do fun exciting things like throw a house-warming party! We were fairly mobbed by loving, well-wishing family and friends. It was great fun to show off the house and enjoy the evening with lots of the people we care about!

And now, with no further ado, 
THE UNVEILING of the MINCHIN ESTATE:

Our bushy 'naturalistic' front yard.

The front porch and little deck are shaded by a big lilac tree.

The side walk-way. Where we've already had many 'over the fence' conversations with our great neighbors.

I think every inch of the yard was put to some use. Here, along the side walkway, chives grow!

This is an edible lettuce/green along the side walkway, intermingled with dill. If anyone can identify what the plant is and how to eat it, I'd be grateful! It is harder to recognize now that it has gone to seed, though.

Our back yard, shot 1.
In the foreground is a big climbing bush.
In the middle are some raised planters, next to the garage, with my potted tomato plants.
In the background we have a cherry tree!
Any guesses to what the bush is in the foreground?

A Kiwi bush! These little 'grape-kiwis', as I call them, are delicious! No hairy skin, so you can just pop them in your mouth. There have been ripe kiwis on the bush since August.

Backyard shot #2.
We have a cute little patio area, that really needs some TLC (like the whole yard). A cool bonus is the mint growing all around the edges, and in between the paving stones. It smells great over there, let me tell you!

Inside the MINCHIN ESTATE

The kitchen.
I fell for the kitchen the very first time we walked into this home. White cabinets and blue walls. Now what could be better than that?

Breakfast nook at the other end of the kitchen.

The living room. Also blue. ;)

The dining room/living room is all one big room.

To the back...

Upstairs bathroom. 
Cute vanity with a round mirror!

The only thing we needed to fix, moving in, was the bathroom fan. I figured out how to change the fan all by myself! No small feat, as the old one was a completely extinct model, and vented a different direction than any you can buy today.

The Master bedroom.

Closeup of the awesome vintage wallpaper in the Master bedroom.
It has been just long enough that this room is totally back in style. :D

Our office/ boardroom.
The mirror on the wall should maybe be removed, eventually, but that sounds like a lot of work to me. And there is an overlay of running horses on the mirror! Oh classic '70's.

The third bedroom upstairs, our "International Room."
We thought it fitting, as it will eventually be the baby room, and our baby will be very international- American, Canadian, and Irish!
For now we put up the map of Europe showing our travels, my spoon collection, and all our murals from China and France. The dresser came with the house, and the chest I inherited from my great grandmother. My (2 greats?) grandfather, Abraham Lincoln East, made it.

THE BASEMENT

This was our renovation project. We cut a doorway in the side wall you see here, and turned the existing doorway into a kitchenette, as seen below.

3-day Kitchenette. 
Thanks to my Dad!

This is a view of the concrete footing we had to chip away in order to put the new doorway in.

The living room in the basement. We set up the trains here for now.

Sorry I don't have more pictures of the basement right now! It is finished with wood paneling and this 'awesome' 1970's linoleum. There is a big 'picture window' mural set into the wall in the living room- you can just see one side of it in the last picture. It is a picture of the mountains.
There is a bedroom and a bathroom in the basement, along with the laundry, a storage room and a cold room. Another cool bonus is that we inherited a chest freezer with the house! I'm pretty sure it is impossible to get out of the storage room without taking down walls. :)

The specs:
It is half a duplex, in a quiet cul-de-sac. Our back alley backs onto a shopping center, which is exceedingly convenient. The walk to and from the store is no more than from a busy parkinglot.

1962 Duplex.
958 sq ft, up and same in the basement.
4 bedrooms/ 2 bathrooms. (3 bed/ 1 bath up, 1 bed/ 1 bath down. )
Fully finished basement. 
1 car garage. 
Vaulted ceilings.
Tar and gravel roof.
Original hardwood floors in living room and Master.
New windows, laminate floor in 2 upstairs bedrooms, and renovated kitchen and bathroom.




Friday, September 14, 2012

My Roots

I come from some pretty darn good roots.

There are simply too many stories to be told, here, so I will simply dedicate this post as a Thank You to my parents.

Here are some qualities I highly value which I have learned from my parents:

From My Father. 
Music.
Dreams. 
And really believing they can come true. This principle woke my soul and gave me reason to be joyful about living every day!
Never give up. 
To always find new ideas, think of new solutions, and make new plans.
Love Lavishly.
Hard work. 
But still save time for family and hobbies.


From My Mother. 
Love of children and nature. 
She taught me how to notice and admire.
Patriotism. 
To love something bigger than oneself is empowering.
Educate.
  From our very first phonics trains to times-tables flashcards, to learning a new hobby at 50 years old, she has taught me about education.
Amazing cook.
 I'm still working on this one, but I got a pretty good headstart in her kitchen and with her cookbooks.
Organized, I think. 
Knows how to CLEAN.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What is pregnancy like?

Pregnancy
There are three 'trimesters'. Like it is University or something, lol.

The first three months = the first trimester.
My first trimester was basically a breeze. No morning sickness, only a bit of nausea, some aversion to the smell of cooking meat, sausage mostly. And one week straight of craving Macaroni and Cheese, aka 'Kraft Dinner'. The only real issue I wasn't expecting was the incredibly sore breasts, and that lasted a couple of months! How come no one ever mentions that this is one of the first signs of pregnancy?

The second three months = the second trimester, you get the idea.
I'm somewhere in the middle of months 4-5-6.  I still haven't gained any weight, which is starting to be weird, although I am definitely starting to get a 'bump'. I just ordered pregnant-lady-undies aka 'grammies', and most of my pants are uncomfortably tight, although any maternity pants I've tried so far won't stay up.

18 weeks. Baby is the approximate size of a bell pepper. :D


For the last two or three weeks, I have been HUNGRY! However, I discovered the hard way that eating a big meal is totally uncomfortable, so now I just eat a bit, all the time. We just got a Chinese foreign exchange student who is terrified of becoming a 'fat american' (all her friends evidently warned her that she would get fat if she moved here). The first night she says "I don't eat very much, some fruit and veggies for lunch is good." I suggest "An apple and some carrot sticks?" She says "Sure!" ...leaving me wondering what fuel her body runs on, and me feeling like I have to hide my constant snacking from her, lol. To her credit, she ate a whole ginormous homemade hamburger for dinner last night. :)

The last couple weeks I've also been having very mysterious cramps. The top of my stomach always aches at night and in the mornings. I did some pretty intense physical labor during our move and doing renos, and after about 3 days it completely wiped me out. Sometimes when moving things I would get a cramp in my stomach, or the already existing cramp worsened. (I couldn't decide if the ache in my upper-stomach was well-worked ab muscles feeling well worked, or the baby trying to tell me to lay off).  I was perma-exhausted, feeling sick, even more dizzy than normal, and I ached everywhere. I wondered if I had West Nile from all the mosquito bites (I'm still not ruling that out), but eventually my honey put me to bed and told me to stay there. I was happy to oblige. I slept between 10-13 hours a night for a few days, stayed off my feet for a couple, and that seemed to help. I don't plan to get that tired again any time soon, kyuk.

On moving heavy objects when pregnant:  Lots of research gave no definitive answer. Old wives tales seem to be the basis of the counsel to not move heavy objects. Unless you are high-risk, which I'm not. Pregnant women need to be careful... of what I'm still not clear. So I've decided that listening to my body is probably the best bet, and if it starts to hurt, stop whatever I'm doing.

Other weird prengancy stuff: They say that various problems with bodily discharge is common during pregnancy, and to always 'go' when you first need to, in order to avoid the problems. Well, I don't know exactly when I was potty-trained, but it's probably been a good 23 years. That is, 23 years of convincing my body to "hold it" until it is convenient. So going to the bathroom at the first urge has been HARD! lol. I hope someone out there is chuckling.

We've started picking names (FUN!).
Aurora or Emerald for a girl. (We love the idea of using Aurora, as in the Aurora Borealis. It is kind of like a tribute to being born here in the northern part of the world, especially as we don't anticipate being here forever).
And for boy names we want something that hearkens to great leaders: like William the Conquerer, Alexander the Great, Charles/ Charlemagne, George or Robert or Henry as in various kings of England.  (I suggested Attila the Hun, but my honey didn't really find that nice. We westerners are so biased. :) The problem is we can't find one that we really like, that hasn't been used within the last generation. For example, it'd be awesome to name our first son William, but what would we call him? We both like Thomas, though. Anybody know any great Thomas' in history?

In other news, I've had one ultrasound and have another coming up to find out the gender of the baby (very exciting, and yes, we ARE finding out); I'm working through the web of finding a pregnancy doctor I'm happy with; and I'm starting to feel like it's about time we look into birthing classes and a hospital tour.

September always feels like a good time to start studying again, even though I haven't gone to school for a couple of years, so here's to a 'second trimester' course in "Baby"!