Goodbye to Our First House

Anyone who knows me well knows I’m not great with change. I’m very sentimental and have trouble letting go of places and things that remind me of wonderful experiences!

At the end of March, we moved out of our very first house. The house we bought together just before we got married. The house we lived in when we brought both kids home from the hospital. The house that is filled with memories of friends playing croquet and beersbie in the huge backyard, as well as family staying with us from different countries.

We called it our box house.

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We were at a Superbowl party in early February (I actually had to Google which sporting event it was, how pathetic), and received a text from a realtor that someone was going to put a bid on our house. At this point it had been up for sale for five months and we’d only received one lowball offer and a bunch of helpful feedback along the lines of, “Your windows are ancient” or “Your shingles are peeling like scabs.” Then all of a sudden this realtor’s text came in saying, “My clients are super interested but you need to get out in 30 days.”

Up until then we hadn’t been that interested in selling, which is why we’d listed the house on our own rather than use a realtor. We were just testing the waters. We didn’t even have a FOR SALE sign on the front yard. So Trenton and I read the text, had some more beer, and then went home and read it again. We thought about whether we actually wanted to move.

We’d lived in our house for seven years. We LOVED our house. The only reason we were even considering selling it was because the house was in dire need of renovations. We needed to make a decision: stay or go.

As DIYers, Trenton and I had already put a lot of work into the house ourselves. We bought it in a private deal from the developer who transformed old military housing into an inner city suburb called Garrison Woods in 2001, and before us the house had been filled with renters. The grass in the backyard was burned away from dog pee and the walls and baseboards were dinged all over. We did ALL the landscaping in the backyard, including planting trees, digging gardens, painting the fence, and lowering the deck.

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We also did the following interior renovations ourselves:

  • retiled the guest bathroom, installed a new bathtub and vanity
  • retiled the ensuite, installed a new shower and vanity
  • ripped out the carpet on both staircases
  • ripped out carpet in the basement and replaced with laminate
  • painted walls, window trim, and baseboards
  • installed new shelving in closets
  • installed a stackable washer/dryer upstairs (this one I did not help with – it was all T and his dad as I watched the kiddos)
  • added crown mouldings in front entrance and replaced stippled ceiling with drywall

The people who bought our house had it professionally renovated, and last night we had an opportunity to walk through the finished product. It looks amazing. It made me happy to see our house transformed the way we knew it could be. (It also felt pretty good to see that they kept our bathroom renovations intact. Go us!)

The negotiations on the sale of our home were crazy easy. They asked for a quick possession, and we asked for close to list price. Now we live in a house that doesn’t require renovations any time soon–which will be a marriage saver with young kids–and it’s only seven blocks from our old neighbourhood, so sentimental me didn’t have to let go of all my favourite things, including the parks and river paths.

While it’s emotional to say goodbye to a house that has been your home for so long, we’re already making memories in our new home. I was a bit worried that Owen would be upset after taking the tour last night, but as we drove away he talked about how much he likes his new bedroom with the big window.

So farewell to our box house! You were good to us and we’ll cherish our memories with you always.

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Gratitude and Love

Happy New Year!!! Seeing as I have been a bit MIA, it seems only fitting for one of my “new years resolutions” to be devoting more time to the blog. In the fall I made a new Instagram account for my writing: @lexbakerwrites. I also watched this amazing documentary on being grateful, which led me to create an Instagram account dedicated to posting a daily gratitude picture. It’s a private account, made entirely for myself, and it has been beyond rewarding to “find” a picture to take every day. It opens my eyes to everything I have, how privileged I am, and I am so so thankful. Which leads to my first resolution…

Resolution #1: Gratitude
Having two kids under three has its challenges–many more than my husband and I anticipated when we had the “should we have kids three years or two years apart talk”–but it is worth every exhausted and stressful moment. At the beginning of last year I was in my third trimester and super stressed out due to two terrible events that occurred in 2014–one of which will never stop hurting, but the other might turn out okay. And if it doesn’t, Trenton and I will be okay. At least we will finally have an answer and can heal. We are so lucky that through all the bad we had our first child, who is super sweet and loving and makes us laugh. Our second child arrived just when we needed him and blesses us every day with his infectious smiles. It’s impossible not to be happy around him! It melts my heart how much my sons already love each other and I know they are going to have an amazing bond. I’m also so grateful for my extended family and their invaluable love and support; my friends who were excited and happy for me after I had Max and published my book; my two black kitties for their endless snuggles; and my house in an area of the city that I love (and is super kid friendly)! Which leads to my second resolution…

Resolution #2: Love
K, this sounds super corny, but I want to open my heart to love (maybe because I just watched Love Actually and that was a direct line from the movie). I agree that “love is all around us” and we just have to look. I’m a very social person, but recently I’ve felt exhausted so I started turning down invitations with friends (this is also a symptom of having two young children), and I quickly began to feel isolated. However, the moment I decided to start seeing people again, I realized how many great people I have in my life! Thank you to all the great people, including you, the person reading this. You rock.

Tex Tex Tex

Taking a break to post a picture of my writing buddy, who has been alternating between napping on my lap and my keyboard. He insisted on the coloured pencil filter, claiming it makes him look more sophisticated.

Tex and me 3

Introducing Tex, our dog-cat. Labeled as such because he likes to roll onto his back for stomach scratches and follow us on walks. I kid you not—one time Trenton and I tried to go on a bike ride, and he ran after us down the street howling. We had to get our address and telephone number engraved on his tag because he climbed into a UPS truck and the surprised driver almost took off with him. The mailman parks in front of our house and leaves his door open so Tex will have lunch with him. Neighbors introduce themselves to us saying, ‘You’re Tex’s parents’. Sometimes when I’m writing I look out the window and see teen girls taking selfies with him. He’s probably already an Internet sensation. For certain he’s the coolest cat in the world.

Happy Monday!

Follow with inspirational quote to help beat the ‘Monday Blues’:

keep moving

This is what I’m telling myself as I’m only 10,000 words away from finishing my current WIP, woot! Of course I will still need time to edit, etc., and I’m racing against a clock – baby #2 is due at the end of April! In my bio I totally lied and said I have two boys already, I know, but that was at the recommendation of not dating my book ;). It has been a crazy two weeks with the release of INSTALOVE!!! Thank you to all of you who have read it and let me know you enjoyed it. It’s nerve wracking sharing your work with the world so I appreciate the kind words more than I can say. A week before the release I was told the baby might come early, so I’ve been taking it a bit easier than I was before. Fingers crossed this little nugget bakes a while longer!

I hope you’re all finding ways to enjoy your Mondays and that when you hit roadblocks, or life showers you with lemons, you somehow find ways to enjoy it and keep moving forward!