It’s been a week of milestones in our house.  Chris turned one year old on Sunday, walked “for real” on Monday and started at his new daycare on Tuesday.  Sebby started Junior Kindergarten on Tuesday and is now a real boy (like Pinocchio, or so he says) and Danielle will be heading back to work on Thursday after a year off on maternity leave.

With the boys at different locations each weekday and Danielle and I both at work, our mornings have gotten infinitely more complicated, but we should find that rhythm pretty quickly; at least in time for the morning sunlight to start disappearing, which feels like it’s still a long way off here in Toronto.

While life has gotten busier, it’s great to move to a phase with one boy in school and our infant moving on to being a toddler.  In a few short months, we hope that they’ll be able to better entertain one another (although they’re pretty good already), freeing us up both in the mornings and evenings.

Next up?  We start planning a fall garage sale to help clear some stuff out of the house before we start packing up to move out in later winter/early spring so our house can be torn down to the foundation.  Exciting times.

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I’ll post some sample drawings of our revised house plans once we make some final updates, but right now we have one burning question… to dig, or not to dig?

We’re adding a 15 by 28 foot two story addition on the back of our house.  When we first started this process, it sounded like we would be building on sonotube pilings (no digging required), but have since learned that our new kitchen would be FAR better served by a heated space under the floor, so our drawings now have a 3 foot high crawlspace.

Since that means digging foundation walls anyway, I’ve been dreaming of that extra 420 square feet of basement, and some internet research leads me to believe that the added cost of digging it out is pretty small (in relation to the total project cost).  I’m convinced that once the house is done, I would kick myself for not digging it out, and doing so when everything is done would be a very large, expensive headache.

In the end, I think that wasted space is just a waste.

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After a few years of hibernation, it’s time to start resurrecting this bad boy.  Admittedly, increasing work responsibilities and the introduction of our now 4 and 1 year-old boys has left me with little time to write in here, but we’ve just started on a journey that is worth documenting.

We are in the final stages of drawings for a full home reno that will see our 1 1/2 story, 960 square foot wartime wood house transformed into a 2,300 square foot modern delight.  We’ll basically be tearing down our current house to the foundation, digging out a 15 foot addition on the back and rebuilding both the main and second floor.  That means finding a place to live short-term (which will no doubt prove for some fun stories in here) and some pretty heavy disruption to our lives.

Still, it will all be worth it when I stroll out of our big new kitchen, through the sliding doors to our new big back deck.

With our drawings nearing completion, we’ll be moving on to selecting our contractor and sorting out our permits, but our current plan is to start our demolition work in the spring and be back in the house by fall.

Stay tuned for photos, stories and hopefully video!

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Toronto is currently in the midst of an up and down cold snap, with eight official Cold Weather Alerts (where the temperature drops below -15) so far in January.

So it only makes sense that on a night when it was a paltry -23 our power would cut out for 2 and a half hours in the wee hours of the night, leaving us without any heat.  Hooray!  So last night I spent time bouncing from room to room making sure that Danielle, our four month old and our three year old were all comfortable and warm.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep, but with two young kids I don’t get much sleep on a warm night.  So why even share this?  Well, apparently my blog was randomly bumped to a position of prominence in Joel’s feed reader and I wanted him to see something new.

That’s all it takes to get me to post here, I guess.  I’m not above pandering.

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We’re now three days overdue and it feels like much, MUCH longer. I’ve been working from home off and on and Danielle’s mom is now staying with us to help prep some frozen meals, wrangle Sebby and otherwise provided some very badly needed help maintaining our household sanity (thank you SO much, Linda).

It looks like Danielle will be induced on the weekend, so we’ll get to meet our new little guy sooner rather than later, although he’s already late.  Aside from actually having the baby in our arms, we’re as ready as we can be, so we’re just playing the waiting game.

The waiting game sucks.  Let’s play Hungry, Hungry Hippos.

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I’ve been walking around for the last couple of days with the intro to “The Final Countdown” by Europe stuck in my head.  While I can’t guarantee this is the final time that I’ll be counting down to the arrival of a baby, after so many months, there certainly is an air of finality to it.

We’re ready.  At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.  We’ve got all the baby stuff lined up and ready for action, our house is relatively well-stocked with food and Danielle is already off work.  We have contingency plans for who will look after Sebby if we have to jet off to the hospital and our dog Mojo has already started sulking in the full knowledge that his status in the family is about to drop yet another notch.

It’s the sleep that I’m going to miss the most; not that I’m back to my pre-Sebby sleep levels (or even remotely close), but there was a pretty good rhythm going there for a while that is about to disappear for a couple of years.  I’m prepared for and, more importantly, willing to make that adjustment again, but we can all agree that sleep is pretty great.

So, although the little guy isn’t officially scheduled to arrive until a week today (Wednesday, September 3), I have a very strong inkling that a post will show up in here before then to officially introduce Duncan baby number two to the world.  Or, at least to the world of those who read this thing anymore… so to Joel.

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Below, in no particular order, are the things that I think about in those dark, sleepless moments at night which cause my heart to pick up its pace and sweat to form on my brow.  These are the random thoughts that fill me with dread:

  • Rob Ford could conceivably be elected for a second term as mayor of Toronto; Canada’s largest city.  That he’s even running is a shock, but his poll numbers indicate that he is very much a contender.  In any normal election, one would say “Well, he’s just one blunder away from blowing it all”, but since his entire political career has been an unending stream of blunders, I don’t see him doing, saying or smoking anything that could kill his chances.  He could get re-elected.  Insane.
  • For months, we’ve all been watching events in eastern Ukraine unfold with unease.  As some sort of military intervention by the “west” (NATO, UN… whoever, but without Russia on board, of course) looks more and more likely, I am constantly reminded of Vizzini’s “classic blunders” from The Princess Bride; the second (and lesser known) being – never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.  However, the first is – never get involved in a land war in Asia.  Wise words from someone who died tragically in an iocane powder duel.
  • Due to a number of factors, this year’s hazelnut harvest in Turkey has been dismal.  The trickle down impact of this is that there could be a worldwide Nutella shortage.  I love Nutella, but haven’t bought it in years and had no intention of buying it anytime soon, but that I could buy it any time and satisfy the tiny but near constant yearning in my soul for chocolate and hazelnut goodness has comforted me.  Alas, my comfort zone is broken.
  • Seriously, Rob Ford!?

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It seems that when life is at its most frenetic, that’s when you find yourself having to chase stuff down that should have taken care of itself.  We’re mere days away from having Duncan baby #2 land on our doorstep (a figure of speech, not our actual birth plan), and I’ve got a long list of phone calls and emails that I’d rather not deal with right now.  Here are two prime examples:

  • The Canada Revenue Agency has RE-reassessed me for 2013 after I provided proper paperwork on my reassessment.  I think this is one of those “Grade One Crush” situations where the CRA thinks I’m cute, so they pick on me.
  • We had a new furnace and A/C unit installed in May (moving from oil to gas) and were told that our gas hookup would be scheduled in a matter of weeks; certainly before the baby comes.  It’s now 12 degrees at night in mid-August and still no word.

Tasks like these are stupid little annoyances that I used to take with a grain of salt and just grind through (and of course, write a post in here to complain… so at least that hasn’t changed), but now that I’m a husband, father and minivan driver, it’s just one more thing on the pile.  Sigh.

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