Friday, 29 March 2013

Kitchen Files: White Boards

   Happy Good Friday everyone, hopefully you're all enjoying a wonderful dinner of some sort this weekend, we've got two lined up to break up our organizing and cleaning before our visit Tuesday.

Not actual white boards (although we do have a giant one of those gracing our living room currently). I'm referring to our kitchen cabinets. In preparation for our first home study visit one of our goals was having the dining room and blue room (which we'll be using as nursery) cleaned out (as much as possible), and one of the easiest ways to begin doing that was to assemble the rest of the cabinets to get the big bulky boxes out of there. Hooray, we did that...but unfortunately their space was promptly filled with multiple boxes of flooring, such is the way with renovations.
   What we managed to get done was put up our three uppers, which really changed the look of the whole room (I'm still not 100% sure if I like the look of them haha, but I'll deal with it).

We put up a corner cabinet, which looked absolutely massive sittin' up there all by its lonesome, then we added two equally massive 24in cabinets that are connected with sliding doors. We mounted them high (24in above the counter top instead of the standard 18) for a couple reasons - we wanted to be able to use things like the mixer or coffee maker, or anything else that is tall under them. I didn't want a large space above the cabinets, because it's a bitch to clean, and I don't really have anything to decorate up there with. Also because we're planning on adding a shelf underneath the sliding door one (possibly the corner one as well) to house all our teas and coffees, and mugs that we use multiple times a day. I said before we bought them, that Jason wasn't 100% sure of going with Ikea cabinets, but after hanging the uppers, he was singing a different tune...even recommended them to people who are thinking of building some quick sale homes. Please disregard the pile of shims in that expansive opening, they're in a better home now.

Currently we only have one outlet in that area (beside the sink) so there's a power bar on the microwave that runs them all (only one at a time though, mind you. It's frustrating)  The pantry door still distracts me every time I walk by, it's like a white board just asking to be written on. I thought Jason was going to going to blow a gasket trying to put on that door haha. He lost all respect for Ikea at this point, because they don't really give you any sort of guide to attach the door to the drawers. The door is attached to two drawers and pulls out, then you can pull out the other three drawers that are in there. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of how it functions. You have to be very precise with your measurements, then screw on these clip things that snap into the drawers. As I mentioned before with the whole drywall cutting fiasco, Jason isn't the greatest at super exact measurements, so he was anxious he'd mess it up. It took a while, and a fair amount of standing staring at it before we got it figured out. The space between the pantry and the cabinet is only 9in, not large enough for another cabinet, so we're going to build a bottle rack. It's going to go from the counter to the same height as the uppers. It will serve two purposes, to fill the gap between, as well as to cover the gap behind the pantry (since it has to stick out further due to duct work we had to run upstairs).

Looking at these picture makes it seem so cluttered, oh how I dream of the day when things are complete and everything has a home. (I have tried to put the cereal away somewhere, but Jason always just ends up putting it on top of the fridge, I think he's afraid Kai will get at it, she loves Cheerios) As you can see the space on either side of the window isn't the same, we'll most likely add some open shelving to the left, to help balance it a bit. Some freakin' trim might help too, yeesh.

On to the other side of the kitchen now. These two friends had been sitting half done for a while, they were desperate for some love. The one on the right was easy peasy, we basically just had to attach the doors. The corner one was a bit more complicated.

It's got these swing/pull out carousel things that make it a functional corner cabinet, versus the usual on all fours with your head stuck in it trying desperately to reach that damn pot that you need, but your arm it just that much too short, cursing yourself for even putting it all the way back there in the first place. We've all been there. So I was happy to get something with a pull out function. This cabinet, while being large (just over 4ft) was relatively easy to assemble, the the pull out function had a ton of parts but was also pretty easy to put in. Although, Jason did feel a little cramped shoved in there, and I quote, "Who the hell designed this!? Oh, I know, someone without shoulders!" He's always good for a laugh. We still have to build them up and mount them, but unfortunately we can do that until the outlet beside the stove gets moved up about 10in. It's seriously just floating there in the middle of the wall.
   We were hoping to get the floor in there before we had our home visit, but we're picking our battles haha, there was just too much to do. Once she comes though, we've got a long list of things we will have to get done before she comes back, and the kitchen floor is definitely one of them.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Inspired By: Nursery Spaces

I've been having so much fun taking in all the different fabulous nurseries there are out there, in preparation of what we will do in our own house. I've put together a bunch of moodboards of different looks that I think are fun, but it's just not quite as fun as seeing a completed space. I've had these nurseries pinned for quite some time, they're all so fantastic. Even Jason thought a few of them were pretty cool, and that's saying something.


This fabulous small space nursery featured on apartment therapy shows off how to get the most out of a small footprint. I've seen that giant pelican poster used in a bunch of different rooms, but I like it the best in this nursery. Jason liked it too, it reminded us both of our honeymoon to Peru, where we had a run in with a few pelicans.

I love the that this is a giraffe themed nursery, but is so subtle, you'd hardly tell, it's so light and airy feeling. Not at all a cliche space. It also features a great chalkboard wall area (we're thinking of incorporating a chalk wall or area in ours), and an awesome newspaper elephant mount.

I love the pallet focal wall in this room. I know it's super trendy right now, and while I would love to put a wall like this in, Jason wouldn't be on board. I like to think I was ahead of the whole pallet trend, when I used them in wedding decor and some apartment decor. The giant D above the bed is also pretty great, I'm not sure how it's made, but you could totally DIY with a piece of plywood and a bunch of paint chip samples.

wall pattern in a nursery - inspired by chevron + herringbone pattern

I love the chevron focal wall, here it looks like they used some sort of wall paper, or panel to achieve the look, but it wouldn't be at all hard to accomplish with some tape and paint. We are also thinking of including some sort of geometric focal wall. Yet another room that features Sharon Montrose prints, it's funny that after I came across her work, I realized that a large number of my inspiration pictures also include them.

 A different view of another beautiful, calm nursery. I like the art and the mirror above the dresser change table. We're planning on using a dresser as a change table (with a bit of a twist), I think it's a great use of space, if you need a dresser in the room, why not make it do double duty? A dresser's also much easier to grown along with the child than a change table.

neutral nursery..ceiling is fabulous 

Look. At. That. Ceiling. It's fabulous isn't it? I love the juxtaposition of the black wall, and white; it's like night and day. Did I mention how great that ceiling is? It's fantastic! I've been tossing around the idea of doing a fun ceiling for quite some time, spurred on of course, but this picture.

I can't wait to get on with the nursery in our house, and bring an adorable little bambino to live in it. There's so much to do before then though, I wish finishing a room was as simple as looking at a picture you like, and POOF, there it is! We should have the gross blue floor ripped out this week though, and then we'll be putting in the nice new hardwood next week. Woot to the woot!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Adoption Journey: Our Story Pt 3

(continued from part two: We figured if it's going to cost us as much (if not more) to conceive a biological child as it is to do an international adoption, then we're certainly going to go for the option that comes with a trip. In case you couldn't tell (or don't know us) we really love to explore, we've got a few notches on our continental belt, but we'd like to add a few more. Although at this point we decided that a domestic adoption through CAS was what was right for us. So I sent off the email, saying we were interested.)

It didn't take long for CAS to get back to us saying we could book an intake meeting, which we set for just after the New Year. (Thank goodness, because I want a child dang-nabbit). We flung ourselves around the house like chickens with our heads cut off tidying, and wrapping up a number of projects, we even stocked up on groceries, you know, just in case they checked in our fridge?! Needless to say we were a little paranoid, Jason even more-so than I for once. It was an intake meeting so the lady didn't even leave our kitchen table haha, let alone make sure we took off the random nail strips between rooms. (But hey, it got those nail strips removed, so I'm ok with that). It was about an hour that she was there, and she basically just went over all of their policies, gave us a mountain of paperwork, and told us we could start the PRIDE training process in three days. Woot, talk about streamlining the process. They have a rule that if you're adopting, you can't be doing fertility treatments, or you can't be pregnant. Which was okay with us, because we can't afford the treatments right now, and we certainly aren't going to be pregnant without them, so we were good to go!

Most of the paperwork was pretty straightforward, they do a credit check, and want to a bunch of your basic info. Then there's the more difficult ones where you have to check off all that apply to your childhood, what your relationship is like with your parents, your values, etc. They go over everything with you at one of your home visits, which is good, because mine was pretty contradictory haha. Then there's the one that you don't think is going to be all that hard, but is slightly difficult, and can make you feel like a terrible person. That's the one where you have to rate (from 1-5) the type of child you'd like. They cover pretty much everything under the sun that the child could potentially be affected with, and it's hard to think on a spectrum for some of the options. Like a facial abnormality could be any from an easy to fix cleft lip, to something like a missing jaw, or something more extreme. So, you basically rate something a 3 or higher if you want a phone call, where they'll give you a bit more info on the child before you make a decision. We've finished the 9 sessions of training, and we have our first home visit scheduled for the beginning of April. To say we're excited is a bit of an understatement.
     We finally got the Monash results back (two days after my birthday), and it unfortunately wasn't the answer we were wanting. I was hoping with all hope that they would find a few. Even though we have no intentions of pursuing any fertility treatments right now, it's still a bit of a blow, because it means the possibility we may not being able to pursue them down the road. The Monash came back saying they still weren't able to find any. So the next step is for Jason to see a urologist, to determine if there's any sort of vas deferen blockage, or any other issue. Then the urologist will determine if he can biopsy to extract sperm we could work with. Although our doctor said that they may not decide to do that because of that elevated FSH level Jason has. Nothing says romantic baby-makin' like sticking a giant needle into the boys. Although I guess if I have to experience a giant needle, he should too right? No, not really the same? He went for his tests before we started any of the naturalistic things we're doing, so we're planning on going through the tests again in a few years if we end up deciding to go the fertility route. 

I get asked a lot how we're handling it so well. The main reason I think is because we both just want to be parents so badly, the delivery method doesn't matter so much. Were we upset that we most likely won't be able to biologically have children. Absolutely. Were there some tears? For sure. But mostly, we were relieved, we knew why we weren't pregnant yet, and we knew now it wasn't because of anything we were doing wrong. We now had a number of different "next steps" down a variety of different avenues. The hardest thing for me, and what still gets me every now and then, is that I may not be able to ever have a piece of Jason. I may never get that adorable little platinum blonde baby boy that looks just like Jason. But (and that's a big but), I still get to watch him be a father, and thinking about that makes it a lot easier. I still get to watch him instill all the values he believes are important into a child that otherwise wouldn't get those values. That's what I focus on, how great of a father he'll be, because by doing that, by being him, I still will have a piece of Jason, (it just may not look like him, or have his blood coursing through their veins). Knowing that while we may not ever be able to be biological parents to anyone, we still get to be parents is good enough for us.
   Another thing that hels us, is we talk. A lot. About everything. (Seriously everything, when we were early on in our dating lives we once had an hour long conversation about different vegetables - cuz we're cool like that!) We talked before we were married about children, and parenting, and adoption. It's surprising how many people don't talk about children before they're married. How they'll parent, what morals and values are important, schooling, religion, etc...those are all very important topics to know where each other stands before committing to each other. We always talked about, what if our baby has Down Syndrome, or ADHD, or Autism. We talked about adoption early on, and how important we both knew it was, and the types of kids we'd want to adopt. And we even talked about infertility. How far would we go? Would we do IVF knowing how expensive it is and that there's no guarantee. Well now we're faced with a biopsied ICSI IVF, which is considerably more, and we knew we weren't willing to go into debt just to try. There was no doubt for us what our next step would be, there was no question about what to do, because we already knew, we'd talked before, and throughout the process. We knew where we stood because of all the prep work we'd laid before we even began this journey. We constantly talk to each other, ask questions, gauge where our emotions are at. About how he felt when we got the news, how I felt. Do we feel like things are moving in the right direction? Are they moving too fast? Not fast enough? There are times when neither of us really want to talk, but we still know it's important, so even though we may push some big talks off for a week or so, we always end up talking about things, especially big things. Plus, we are seriously the two most sarcastic, ridiculous people you'll ever meet. We don't take ourselves seriously, and we're not afraid to poke fun at each other. Life is short, you're supposed to have fun. Even when life seems to be kicking you in the teeth after a root canal (yeah, I'm talking to you 2012) don't forget to have fun, because even when you think you have the worst life around, there's always someone whose life sucks more.
    There were fleeting moments when I thought, "Why me? Why after all I've already been through, and overcome, does this have to happen to me?" I felt like having a baby was owed to me because I've already proved time and time again that I can handle tough, crappy things, I felt I was entitled. Then I took a step back and thought, maybe that's why this was happening to me, because I could handle it. I'd handled everything else life threw at me, maybe this was another test to see if I was worthy for whatever is in store for me. If you have a big enough goal, and you constantly have your eye on it, then no matter what roadblocks get tossed in front of you, you know where your path will lead you. To your greatest goal. For me, that's motherhood, I just have to take the scenic route now to get there; but I know that prize will be well worth every toll I had to pay, or speed bumps I took a little too fast, or detours I had to take. 

Fertility issues suck. Big time. They can tear marriages apart, and ruin relationships if you let them. Don't. Don't let a penny on the track completely derail your train. Just run over it, shoot it out, and ping one of those annoying "knows best" people in the throat with it.  Don't try and fit having children into any sort of plan, because what fertility ladies and teen moms know best, is children don't give a rip about any sort of life plan. Just know what your purpose is, for me it's to be a mother, not to be pregnant; then figure out ways to fulfill that purpose. For us, right now that's a domestic adoption. I know adoption isn't the right choice for everyone, but it is for us. And we can't wait to start the judgement process so we can start kid shopping. Maybe it's a good thing we can pick our kid, instead of them having the unfortunate possibility of looking like either one of the crazies from the above picture. Can't wait to tell you how our first home visit goes.

(Read part one, or part two)

Monday, 11 March 2013

Nursery Mood Board: Calm & Serene

Since we had no heat last week, I had far too much time on my hands to put together some nursery mood boards. Since we can probably have little one by the Fall, it's like we just found out we're pregnant and I can start planning all the fun baby stuff. So be prepared for a considerable upswing on the baby post front. Since we're hopefully going to be installing the floor in our future baby room within the next few weeks (it's the same floor that's going in the dining room so we plan on doing the two rooms at the same time.) I came up with a few different possibilities of what I could do to make a gender neutral baby room. We have a pretty blank slate, and have to get most everything for the babe (who doesn't when it's your first right?) So, without further ado, here's my take on a calm and serene nursery.

I feel calmer already, don't you? I feel like it would be easy for a child to sleep in here. Since we've got no clue on age or sex of the child, I'm trying to keep them as neutral as possible.

1. The flooring is an engineered hardwood from Armstrong, as for the walls, either paper them all with Farrow & Ball's Lattice wallpaper, or just do one wall behind the crib and paint the rest of the walls white, or a soft gray. I really love the look of this paper, with it's soft subtle wave, going from this to thick.

2. A simple white & soft gray curtain from Ikea, with a patter that sort of mimics the wallpaper with a vertical pattern.

3. This great light is one I've had saved for a while now. I'm not sure where you could buy it, but you could probably DIY it with some marginal effort. Some leather strips, or painted rope perhaps?

4. I'm all for having art above the changing area gives baby something to look at, as well as you when you're half asleep putting the diaper on backwards or upside down.

5. A great zebra watercolour, that would go in a white frame.

6. Another thing I think is good to have above the changing station is a mirror, I find they can help to distract baby (especially when they're a little older and in that facial recognition stage). Any mirror would do, you could even DIY a frame around an existing mirror, or just paint a current one white.

7. Another super simple DIY project you could whip up. An embroidery hoop, and some gradient thread, and you've got something that could be tailor made to fit any room. (Inspiration from Etsy)

8. I love clocks, old school, digital, funky, traditional, clocks. I think there should be at least one in every room. (As long as they're quiet, few things I hate more than loudly ticking clocks) Why not start teaching the importance of punctuality early?

9. I love llamas even more than I love clocks. They're pretty awesome, after having met a few on our honeymoon, I love them even more. Therefore a picture of a llama seems very fitting for our child.

10. There's no such thing as too much storage when it comes to a nursery. Put up a floating shelf to house some cute animals, nic-nacs, books, or anything that may not be great for tiny inquisitive hands.

11. Books play a very important roll in our lives, and we plan to instill their value in our children as well. The love of books starts with a great pair of book ends, like these from Restoration Hardware. Okay, so maybe that's not where it starts, but it certainly doesn't hurt right? 

12. A lamp is a good thing to have near the changing area for late nights when you may not want to turn on the overhead light, but still need to be able to see.

13. This stuffed mouse, is so adorable, and is sure to become a favourite. It reminds me of a silk rabbit that I had as a child that my Nan made me. (the shop has rabbits too)

14. A modular storage system (like this one) can be a handy place to store toys that aren't cute enough to be displayed, or more books. They're low enough to the ground that baby can access things by themselves, which can be great for when they're a little.

15. We're going to reupholster one of our wing back chairs for the nursery, but it doesn't mean I can't covet other sleek great looking rockers. I love the look of the walnut legs on this option.

16. Pillows (especially a long one like this) are great things to have laying around, so you can have something to beat your husband with. Kidding, he'll probably want to beat you because you have so much.

17. I like the idea of using a dresser as a changing table, because it gives you that added storage for necessities like extra diapers, and wipes, and the 50 different outfits you may want to change them into. (here's a similar looking option for considerably less)

18. This super cute mobile, would literally help the wee one count their sheep to fall asleep. 

19. I love the lines of this midcentury looking crib from Dwell Studios. All the look of times gone past, without the negative effects of not being up to date with safety standards.

20. Keep the crib looking great with some simple grey bedding.

21. I love a good rocking horse, my grandpa made the one that I'll be using in our nursery, but this one sort of reminds me of the one he made.

22. Who says a laundry basket can't be cute? Since little people clothes take up less room, just use a large weaved basket to store the pint sized dirty clothes.

23. Jason isn't a huge fan of rugs, but I like having one underfoot. Especially in a nursery, where the inhabitants tend to spend a fair amount of time of the floor. And one that

So there's my take a calm and serene nursery. When I'm putting together a board like this it's mostly for inspiration, I wouldn't necessarily choose every option in here. I know my bank account definitely wouldn't choose every option in here. When I go into any room, I find something I like, then either search and search and search for something similar, or get something from a thrift store, or find something I can do myself. I think it's great to have something as a jumping off point though. Stay tuned for more nursery boards.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Baby it's Cold in Here

Freezing to be exact. And in the house! Our furnace quit working Monday early morning, and it was supposed to be a fairly easy (and inexpensive) fix. Pft, yeah right, as if something in our house would go according to plan. I was cold all day Monday, but it proves that our insulation job helped a bit, because it only made it down to 15.5 degrees (from 19.5). So we stayed at the Manor (Jason's parents house) Monday night so we didn't freeze our buns off. Tuesday Jason tried to fix it again, and our gas friend determined it was something that, "[he'd] never fn seen this thing before in my life!" Well that was certainly reassuring. We're hoping that he'll be able to find this mystery part at work today, and it won't cost much more than a couple hundred, just to get us through the next couple weeks. Because if the laws of life tell us anything, we'll put a new furnace in and it'll be warm enough we won't have to use it. So for now, we're staying at Jason's parents, so unfortunately we aren't able to work on anything until we get back home.
In other news, we need a new table. Two actually, but we'll take it one at a time, try not to be greedy you know. We have a farmhouse style table currently, that's for the dining room, but we're using in the kitchen so we have a place to eat. It's not the table that came with our dining chairs, we love the chairs, especially after their makeover, and we strongly dislike the table. So naturally, the table is what we need to replace. This is pretty much what it looks like (because I forgot to take a picture)

Ours isn't painted, but other than that, this is pretty much our exact table. There's a number of reasons why it's not the table for us. The legs, and table top don't match, and the leaf is different all together. Which isn't really that big of a deal, because I was planning on refinishing it anyway so it went with the other wood tones going in there. It doesn't match the chairs, they're more of a midcentury, curvy, sleek number, while the table is clunky and chunky. Which wouldn't bother some people, but really irritates me. The legs, and hang down are really where this table looses points though. You can't sit at the end of the table without straddling the two posts, which is not only unlady like, but uncomfortable. Even our skinniest of guest couldn't comfortable fit their legs in between the table legs. The lip, or hang down or whatever you want to call it also poses problems with your legs being able to fit under. It also is too small. While the underside is big, the table even with the leaf in only fits about 6 people comfortably (or as comfortable as you can be shoved underneath of it. So we've been on the hunt for something bigger, yet sleeker, that can seat 8 (preferably more) We have a large dining room so we can fit a larger table. We want something that has lower profile legs, that we can fit under, and hopefully something that goes a little better with our chairs.

We like the look of this one from West Elm. The slim lines of the metal legs, the rustic look of the top and it's large, seats 8. While I like the look of it, I'm not really certain it would look right in the dining room with the direction we're going with it.

A great midcentury option
another midcentury option

Midcentury French Black Lacquer Table
my favourite option

I like the last one the best, and it would probably be the easiest to DIY, if we could find an old base from a round table and slap on a top, and then we could definitely make sure it's the right size for us. I've been looking on kijiji and thrift stores for a while, as well as scouting out more conventional stores, since that midcentury-modern looks seems to be in right now. All we know is we'd really like a new dining room table to put in the room when we finish it, although we're not in a hurry, because we want to make sure we're able to get the right one.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Lust List

Every now and then you find something that you really really like, but just can't justify getting at the moment. Ok, that's a bit of an under exaggeration isn't it? Every other day you find a boat load of stuff that you really like, and can't justify getting, so you pin them and lust after them constantly. No? Just me? Here's a few things that I've been wanting for a while, but unfortunately we plucked our money tree dry for renovations, so I've had to do with mentally petting them, instead of actually holding them and petting them.

Handcrafted Leather Briefcase / Messenger / Laptop / Men's Bag in Dark Brown

This fantastic briefcase from Heavenbag on Etsy is actually on my lust-list for Jason. He wants/needs a nice bag like this, and I would love to get it for him. It's so rich and soft looking, and is a fairly reasonably price for a leather bag like this.

Needle felted Siberian Husky

How cute is this needle felted husky? (Also from Etsy) She looks just like Kai, standing all proud as punch guarding the backyard. It could totally go in our future child's room, and guard over our little one while they sleep...or it can be my cuddle mate - I bet she doesn't snore like my other two roommates do.

Music Instruments Map of the World Map, Art Print, 18x24 inch (459)

This music map (again from Etsy - seriously that place has so many cool things) combines two things I love, music and maps! Not to mention the fact I can play most of those instruments - including the metronome, I'm the best at that one! There's so many places I could hang this in the house, and I plan on having maps in every room.

Oh hey look, another map! I told you I love maps, and these are super cool. They're from Below the Boat and they're laser cut, wood bathymetric (underwater version of topographic) charts of "what lies below the boat". They are hand crafted, and framed behind plexiglass, they are absolutely stunning! This is top of the list for living room decorations whenever we get around to that! I may see if they'll be able to do one from around the cottage, or maybe Peru where we visited on our honeymoon.

While this tree stump vase isn't for sale (that I know of) but is definitely something that's been on my mind for a while. It's something that's totally DIYable if you can find the right hunk of wood. So, naturally Kai and I have been looking every time we go trekking through the forest. As of yet, Kai hasn't been able to sniff out the right stump, she always gets distracted by squirrels.

Bunny Bookends - Set of 2

Cutest. Bookends. Ever. I am definitely lusting hard after these rabbits from Restoration Hardware. They remind me of the Velveteen Rabbit, so therefore my great grandma (since she gave me the book) It was one of my favourites as a child, and I plan on passing down the great values to our children. Our children will also have a bunch of books, so naturally they'll need adorable bookends to keep all their books from getting all willynilly and flip flopping all over the shelf hehe.

I think it's good to have things that you lust over, because it can make you work harder to get them. Put away a little here and there to get something you really, really want, versus making an impulse decision. This way, if I'm still in love with the item a few months down the road then I know it's something I'll most likely love for a few years; no regrets that way.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Adoption Journey: Our Story Pt 2

(continued from part one) I kept asking these people at what point is it safe to say it's not going to "happen when it happens", or how long do we let it go before we're not "still young". You're never too young to seek fertility help. I know you're trying to make us feel better, but you don't, it's better just to not say anything, and nod along when we're telling you how frustrated we are.

Us at Machu Picchu on our honeymoon in Peru, where I got to pet a baby llama!

It was July before I made a doctors appointment, and December before we got an appointment at the Fertility Doctor's. I was hoping we'd be one of those couples who somehow miraculously get pregnant before we even had an appointment (you know like that friend of a sister-in-law). We weren't. They did their tests; blood work, semen analysis, internal ultrasounds and all that fun jazz. Everything for me seemed to be checking out fine, so we were waiting to hear back from Jason's semen analysis, and I had to have more bloodwork done to make sure I actually ovulate. A week before my appointment I got a phone call saying, "is your husband able to come with you to your appointment, we have his semen analysis back." Well hmmm, what the heck is that supposed to mean. I wasn't really worried, because so far they'd had us come to all the appointments together and told us our results with both of us present. Although I still couldn't help but think that they'd found something abnormal. Perhaps his motility was low? Or maybe his count was a bit lower than average. I knew that an average sperm count for a healthy male range from 20-40 million per mililitre of semen. I also knew that they usually didn't do an IUI unless there was around 5 million, so I was hoping he'd have enough for that and we could just do an IUI. Thankfully it was only a week for me to have to stew in my own thoughts.
   Jason likes to do things in his own time, there's no rushing him in anything he does, he isn't lazy by any means, but if he didn't have to do anything he'd be ok with that, sleep is his favourite pass-time, and having to make decisions probably his least favourite thing. I on the other hand am opposite, I like things to fit into my plan, and heaven forbid if you don't make a decision when I want you to, I'm also not really sure what sleep is, since I don't get much of it. Which is why many friends I had in high-school couldn't understand why I was still with him, after a month when he still hadn't kissed me. As anyone who knows us, knows it took almost two months for him to finally pluck up the nerve to kiss me. So, while it was extremely frustrating that he still hadn't proposed after 4.5 years of dating (and 2.5 years of talking about it), it wasn't really all that shocking. My frustration was more than beginning to show, as most of my friends could attest, I talked about it probably more than was respectable. It wasn't until I suggested threatened told him I was going to propose to him, that he finally got around to popping the question. It was totally unromantic, there was no bended knee, and he left 45min after I said yes, but it was completely, totally us, and it was perfect. I often joked that his sperm were just so in-tune with the rest of him, that they were taking their sweet little time like he always did
   The doctor called us in to his office, and we sat down on the couch, taking mental note that there were Kleenex on the couch this time, which made my heart skip a beat. First he told us that all my blood work checked out ok, and that (at least that month) I ovulate. Then he wheeled his chair so his knees were between us, he was clearly braced for our reactions. He started by asking Jason a bunch of questions about when he did the sample, how long before he gave it over, etc. Then he said, "we don't really see this all that often, but the lab was unable to find any sperm." Well, huh! I looked at Jason, then we quickly averted our eyes, trying not to laugh. Seriously, no sperm eh. Then the doctor started talking about blood work Jase would have to have done, to check his ovary function, to which I naturally had to make a sarcastic remark about "no wonder we're not pregnant if you have ovaries." Then Jason came back with an equally sarcastic remark, because that's how we roll. Then, my favourite part of the whole appointment happened. The doctor rolled his chair back a bit, gave us a quizzical look and said, "you two are handling this remarkably well." To which I had to laugh again, because I had images flash through my head of a wife leaping across the office at her husband to pluck his eyes out - or possibly even his balls since they're nothing more than decorative at that point. He explained that the lab couldn't find anything under a few million, so there was still hope, he'd just have to go for a more in depth test where, if they could find even as many as 12, we would have something to work at. Naturally, I snorted at that, thinking of the mighty Spartan's fighting the Persian army, and had an immediate desire to watch the movie 300. Pretty sure the doctor thought we were unhinged as we left his office smiling. A nurse came to make our day better by asking us if we knew how to go about getting a Monash - which Jason thought was a small deciduous tree, and I thought was perhaps an old style dance move - but is actually what the more in depth sperm analysis is called. 

 the summer we got engaged on the homeward stretch of our two week road trip out west - this is at Kakabeka falls in northern Ontario

Monash results usually take around six weeks to get results, but since we had to contend with Christmas/New Years it ended up taking more like nine! Which sucked. But since I always try my hardest to look on the bright side, or for the silver lining, (or whatever corny cliche you want to throw in there) I was happy that it gave us more time to talk about our options. The doctor had mentioned the possibility of using a sperm bank, which neither of us were overly keen on - although we're planning on going to a support group type thing, because I want to get a grasp of how other women who had to make that choice felt about the matter. Again we were joking that it shouldn't be too hard for us to find the right match, because how many 6'4" ginger's can there be that donate sperm right? I received a call while we were waiting for the results to again let me know that everything was looking good from my side (which can make you feel a little guilty), the conversation regarding Jason went a little something like this:
  Nurse: We found in Jason's blood work that his FSH is a little high.
  Me: OK, well how high is high?
  Nurse: I'm not sure, it just says high.
  Me: Uh, right. Well, what does that mean?
  Nurse: I'm not really sure, I just know what all the female blood work means. 
  Me: Okay...well do we need to make an appointment to go over things then?
  Nurse: Nope, we'll let you know when the Monash results come in, then the doctor will go over things with you.
Right, that seems legit, I was left wondering what in the hell was the purpose of the phone call, if all they did was make me turn to the internet to try and figure out what it all meant. And any hypochondriac or someone with munchausen can tell you, the internet is chaulk full of a plethora of frightening things pertaining the simplest of ailments. Turns out FSH is "Follicle-Stimulating-Hormone" and it's basically in charge of stimulating the growth of sperm, and if it's too high it's because the testes aren't producing a hormone called inhibin. What does it all mean? Basically that there's been some sort of testicular failure - which could be because of a pituitary problem, or some sort of trauma, or a number of other things. And basically unless you can find out why this FSH is elevated (and that the cause is treatable) there's not a whole lot you can do about it. So at this stage, all I could do was hold out hope that they would find a small Spartan army ready to go to battle.  

 Us showing off our glorious sun burns in Cuba (and yes, Jason's shirt does say, "The lawn gnomes are stealing my sanity")

  We had always talked about adopting, it's always been something we were going to do. Both biological children and adoption were always our Plan A. Call us crazy, but we always planned to have four kids of our own then adopt one or two children. Well, in case I hadn't already learned, plans change. With Jason's either extremely low or non-existent sperm count, we clearly weren't going to have any biological children without sinking considerable amount of money into something that came with no guarantees. We decided that regardless of what the results came back as, we weren't going to go ahead with any sort of fertility treatments. We just didn't have the money to be pursuing the ICSI IVF - we're looking at anywhere from $6000 - $9000 per cycle. Doesn't everyone have an extra 8G they can just fling at a procedure that isn't going to guarantee you anything? We weren't looking to go into debt, so it was apparent that we were going to have to change our plan. We figured if it's going to cost us as much (if not more) to conceive a biological child as it is to do an international adoption, then we're certainly going to go for the option that comes with a trip. In case you couldn't tell (or don't know us) we really love to explore, we've got a few notches on our continental belt, but we'd like to add a few more. Although at this point we decided that a domestic adoption through CAS was what was right for us. So I sent off the email, saying we were interested. 

(Read part one and part three)

Friday, 1 March 2013

Master Bath Progress

So, in case you haven't noticed, we have a little bit of a problem when it comes to finishing a project. We're great starters, we have started a number of projects, both big and small, but have yet to call one officially done. And I'm here to say...that we still aren't ready to call one done haha. The master bathroom has been easier to hide than the rest of the massive demo projects we've begun, so we weren't really focusing on it. OK, lets be honest, we haven't really been focusing on any project. We're like Dory, only without all the bright colours. Here's what the master bathroom looked like when we did our final walk-through before we pulled the trigger and bought the house...

Not bad really, the pinky/beige countertop and wall paper isn't really our cup of tea. But apparently it was the grown son's cup of tea, because it turns out he was the one who lived up there, not the little old lady. He obviously liked peachy colouring because literally everything up there was painted that. Because we're planning on making the bathroom up here considerably larger and more spa like, I was content to just live with it until then - or make some smaller changes. I was thinking of painting the tile (because it was also a pinky white), as well as the countertop (and possibly the floor if we couldn't find anything cheap) But then Jason did this...

Okay, so technically he didn't do this, my sister Meredith and I did...but he was the catalyst. He apparently heard me say I wanted to take the tile down - which certainly sounds like, "I think I'll paint the tile." right? Right? I guess it does, because one night he took it upon himself to see how easily the tile would come off. Not very easily. He broke about three trying to get one off, so then I was left with the option to try and match the tile and replace the few broken ones, or rip them all down and redo the bathroom. (Clearly he forced my hand, I had to redo it) So, I enlisted the help of Mer and she went to town on all those pink tile. Over a number of months we took off all the tile and the wallpaper. Then it stayed like that for many, many more months, before I finally got frustrated enough to do something about it. (That and all the Rona gift cards we got for Christmas)

Wabam! Looks considerably different eh? The floor is the awesome vinyl I talk about here, that I picked up from the ReStore for only $20! It looks fantastic, and it actually kind of feels like real wood, and the seams are hardly visible at all. You can also buy it from Home Depot if you're looking for something similar. We bought the beadboard from Rona with our gift cards. Since I was planning on painting it anyway, we went for the cheaper plain unprimed stuff rather than the white ready to go stuff. It was seriously like half price. Jase cut them, and I nailed them up. Then I filled the holes and caulked the seams, and attempted to paint.

I say attempted only because it was a major pain in the pituitary to paint this mother. I tried rolling it on with a super nappy roller, but that didn't really work, it didn't get in the crevices very nicely. (You can sort of see my first attempt to the left of the vanity) So then I had to try plan B. I used a paint brush to brush in all the crevices first, then went over with the roller. (I haven't photographed that yet) I still had to finger smooth down some of the lines where extra paint built up. But this beadboard takes the paint so nicely. I didn't prime it, and only had to do two coats and it looks pretty fantastic if I do say so myself. I painted the top half of the wall "Moody Blue" By Sherwin Willaims, colour matched to the Dulux Kitchen & Bath brand. Lets disregard my abysmal cutting job, I had intentions of painting the ceiling, but I ran out of paint. I usually use the Xpert brand of the Dulux paint, it's our favourite, but I thought I'd give the Kitchen & Bath a try, and it covered terribly. It's all splotchy, and streaky, I thought it was maybe the roller, but even the parts where I used a paintbrush look bad. I talked to the people there and they're giving me a new can (this time I'll stick with the Xpert), so I'll have to repaint the walls (and I'll do the ceiling at that time). I also painted the vanity black, and spray painted all the hinges and knobs silver. I also swapped out the uncovered heinous fluorescent light for something a bit more appealing (even if it has to be on the wall crooked). And because I know everyone is as big a fan of lists as I am here's where we stand:
  • take down tile & wallpaper
  • remove baseboard heater
  • remove trim
  • paint vanity & hardware
  • lay floor
  • install beadboard
  • paint (walls and beadboard)
  • change light
  • install ledge & hooks
  • paint countertop 
  • change out faucet (and possibly sink too)
  • change outlets/covers
  • hang art
I count four things left on that list (and since we're only going to replace the faucet/sink if Jase can snag them for (preferably) free) really there's only three things. WAHOO!