Monday, 21 June 2010

Grandma Martin

Cynthia Elizabeth Martin
August 9th, 1918 to June 11th, 2010
Last Thursday we buried my last remaining grandparent. She lived to the ripe old age of 91, almost 92. She wasn't healthy, nor could she recognize most of her family members anymore, so I suppose it wasn't a surprise to learn of her passing, but it's still surreal, nonetheless.

We travelled to Victoria to attend her funeral (or life celebration if you like to swing that way). It was a whirlwind, "drive all day (and late into the night) to get there", kind of a trip. Originally I was going to go by myself, via airplane. But for some reason I kept procrastinating purchasing the tickets, just not able to make that decision final. Finally, at the last moment, Cory decided to take the decision out of my hands and he declared that he was coming with me. It made for a much nicer trip. We left Tuesday after I got off of work and drove partway that night, crossing the ferry the following evening. The kids travelled fantastically, if you can ignore the vomiting - Alex on the way down, Connor on the way home.

Making "ferry faces". Gotta love being out in the fresh ocean air.
Remind me again why I stay in Northern BC?

So we ended up having a tiny holiday, spending Thursday with family saying our good-byes to my Grandmother, and Friday enjoying being tourists in Victoria. Dad showed us his old stomping grounds, and we had a fantastic family fun day on Friday (ocean, petting zoo, ice cream, Ye Olde Spaghetti Factory and then the boy going to Toy Story 3 with Cory, Uncle Nathan, and my Dad, while Kirstin and I shopped with my Mom).
The service was nice enough, but surprisingly poorly attended, which is sad. Back in the day, Grandma had lots of friends and family around. Nowadays, I suppose she may have outlived many of them. There was 48 people there in total, mostly family.

(Please forgive the poor quality of the photo, I took pictures of the photos on display at the service)
1978 - a photo with the grandchildren... before our family got really, really big. Now we number eighteen and we have 19 great-grandchildren amongst us. I'm the blonde one in the yellow dress having a tantrum in Grandma's arms.

My grandparents, Jim and Cynthia Martin. I'm not sure when this one was taken, but Grandpa passed away in '86 when I was 10, so I'm guessing sometime in the 70's, as well. I remember this one being on the wall at Grandma's always.

Rest in peace, Grandma. You've gone on to join your beloved husband and three of your children, Madeline, Baby Ronnie, and Aunty Anita. May your reunion be sweet.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Five Years in the making...

Fresh from our 2nd Annual Scrapbook Retreat, I decided to finally get around to setting up a scrapbook room for myself. Consider it a modern twist on the "sewing room" or even the "craft room". Basically, it's a space that is dedicated soley (almost) to my favourite hobby.

When I first started scrapbooking, in 1998, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment. My space was the hall closet and the kitchen table. For the size of our apartment, I suppose I was lucky to have all that! :) Two years later, we moved into a 3 bedroom home, and I took one of the bedrooms for my own, a luxury I took for granted for three years. When Alex came along, I gave up my room and moved my hobby into the computer room, going back to a closet (albeit a bigger one) and table again.

A year later we moved into this house. There is a tiny little room in the far corner of our basement. My Mom has been telling me for the past five years that I should claim that as my scrapbook/sewing room. I've made excuse after excuse... too dark and dingy, too hard to watch the kids or hear them, to messy... so for the past five years it's been our dungeon, so to speak. The room that no one mentions, or dares to enter. It's where we store all of our homeless crap that doesn't fit into our storage room.

For the past couple of years my scrapbook "home" has been a cupboard in the living room, a bookshelf and trolley beside it, and my old writing desk - or the kitchen table if the desk was too messy. I was fine with this and had accepted that I'd be scrapbooking in my living room until the kids move out, and I suppose it worked fine, except that it was in the living room... making it chronically look messy and crowded. I also have to put everything away after a session so that the kids don't spread it everywhere. I don't use all of my tools, because I hate setting them up and putting them away in one evening. The overhead lighting is also really poor, so choosing colours is a gamble at the best of times.

So... the retreat. How fabulous to have everything at my fingertips, the Cricut machine plugged in and ready at a moment's notice, and all of my paper right beside me. I was motivated! Last week, after I came home, I sweet talked my husband into helping me tackle "the dungeon". Now, before you judge... I have tackled it before, and made quite a bit of progress decluttering. But I never finish the job and so I never maintain it. There's always something to stash in it, and it gets quite out of control. And lately, I haven't been able to look at it, because starting the clean up was just too overwhelming.

Last Wednesday was no different. We were scared...
Here's what faced us (not for the faint of heart):
The view from the doorway. It's disgusting, but not as bad as it looks. The garbage bags aren't full of garbage, they're full of outgrown toys that haven't made it to the thrift store yet.

Shredding - see, I told you I've done SOME work in there before...

The closet with my half-hearted attempts at filing important home documents (you should see how much we recycled from that... do I really need a phone bill from 2002?)

My craft stuff - cross-stitch that has been neglected since I started scrapbooking. What can I say, I'm fickle!
A sewing machine! Aah, I knew it was in there somewhere. Now maybe I'll hem Cory's jeans... 4 months after he bought them.

Shelving from IKEA from the old house that doesn't work in the kids's rooms here but I don't have the heart to part with.
That bed there, that's for Kirstin. She's going to be out of her crib sometime in the next couple of years and we'll need a place for her to sleep... so I'm storing a single bed in the basement. On its side... very practical!

Don't look down.

I said... "DON'T LOOK DOWN!"

Alright, so that's what faced us last Wednesday morning. We started by hauling out the big things, the bed (which is now on end in the guest room... going to have to figure that one out), one of the sewing desks, and all the garbage bags of clothes and toys. Then we worked our way around the room, corner to corner, filling garbage bags with recycling and making piles of "to keep" stuff. My husband is a ruthless declutterer. Things that I can't throw out, he has no problem chucking. So, I'm glad to have had his help. Doing it on my own is paralyzing.

Two hours before lunch and and hour and a half after lunch. The results were impressive!

The table that has been stored behind the couch since we moved here.
My extensive collection of books --- after the purge. Our goal was to only have as many books on the shelf as fit on the shelf (rather than a full shelf with lots of piles here and there). And no, that's not a lot of books... you should see how many Cory has in the guest room. :(

Didn't finish the closet, but now we can at least find it!
And... five days later, working on the room a little every evening, I'm happy to say, it's done (for now... I still might find some cute storage ideas down the road). This is MY SPACE and I LOVE IT!!!

The view from the door (notice the nice shiny floor)

Cory's Grandma Vivian's antique sewing machine - which I don't know how to use - is now the home for my Cricut, which is plugged in and at the ready. Also, note the baby monitor, so I can hear what's going on upstairs after the kids go to bed.

The closet!
My workstationMy purged and almost organized book collection.
My paper collection (well, most of it)

The other half of my closet with my very empty file cabinet.

The shelves that are NOT in my living room anymore!
The shelves that are still in my living room. I decided to keep the albums upstairs so that we can still enjoy them... and so if the unthinkable happens, I might be able to save our photographs.

And that's it (so far). I'm actually looking forward to hiding away in the basement after the kids are asleep tonight, and maybe tackling a layout or two. Or half a layout. Doesn't really matter since I don't have to put it away before breakfast. I can leave it on the table until I've finished it and not worry about whose sticking fingers are touching!

Yay for scrap spaces! I love having my own room again! :)

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A blast from the past

Well now, I might just be the best Mom ever... or not. Whatever, I'm pretty pleased with myself. Last night I whipped up this little ditty because today was "Dress as your favourite character day" at school.

Minus the face paint mustache (which Alex declined this morning because I couldn't convince him that "Yes, it does wash off, I promise"), I think I did a decent job.

Anyone recognize this little fella? Uncle Eric, if you DON'T get this, you're in big trouble... cause I remember a Halloween in which you looked pretty similar! :)