Thursday, October 6, 2016

September 22 the forms for the footings were built in the hole. 
They then sat empty while we waited, and waited, and waited for the building permit.
Because you can't pour until you have that permit.

Today, October 6, our builder got the permit and poured the footings! 
This means we are (finally) out of the gate and on our way! 
I've never been so happy about concrete.

luckiest girl

Tuesday evening just after dinner Darren surprised me with saying that he thought I needed an evening out with the girls. He would be taking over at home and we were free to go to the movies! So off we went to see Storks. The next morning Nya awoke tired from the late night and asked if she could stay home and go back to bed. Stay home she did, but she never made it back to bed. I had things to do and she came along for the ride. Nanaimo was my first stop. I had to go to Lowe's to pick up a pedestal sink for the new house. As we walked around the store, her little hand in mine, she blissfully declared, "All my friends are at school, and I'm here with you. I'm the luckiest girl in the world!" The luckiest girl in the world? My heart was filled to bursting. It doesn't take anything grand to show our children love. They really do, for the most part, just want us. Such was the theme of the movie we'd just watched the evening before. Time. With us. The rest of the day went the same, no matter what we did, she thought she was so lucky just to be with me! This morning she crawled out of bed and got herself ready for school as usual and routine took over. I'm so grateful I listened to the needs of her little heart yesterday and kept her home with me. She felt loved in the simplest of ways and I will have those memories forever. No regrets, not a single one. I can't think of a anything she could have learned at school yesterday that would have been more important than the way her sweet soul was filled with the knowledge that she is mine and I am hers and she is loved. As for myself, I was left with the reaffirmation that I am so blessed. And she doesn't even understand that the luckiest girl in the whole wide world isn't her . . . it's me!

we have a hole

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tuesday September 20, 2016 we broke ground! It almost feels surreal. I wasn't sure this day would ever come. 

I arrived at the lot at 8:30 to a bunch of men standing in front of the first scoop of earth and a quiet machine. I jokingly asked if that was it for the day, to which my builder (who is also a dear friend) informs me that he had to shut down operations because they found bones. I ask with trepidation, "Animal or human?" "Human", he replies, "someone is on their way from Victoria right now." This is not unheard of where we live, as our valley is ancient first nations land. I am thinking this is going to cause a few hours delay, but no, he says we could be at a standstill for months! I was just about to turn around and walk back to my vehicle so that I could go home and cry in private, when four grown men analyze my face, my husband being one of then, and quickly realize that I absolutely and completely swallowed the pack of lies they had just served me on an already delicate string of hope that this house would ever get started. It was, in fact a joke, and I could NOT have been more relieved. I'm not sure that any other possible delay will phase me now! After the relief settled in and the laughing ended, we waited for the excavator operator to return with a hose for his machine, which was the real cause for the standstill. 15 minutes later we were back in business! 

Can you tell we are very happy to have a hole?

tree trimming

I feel as though nothing has happened and much has happened at the lot. We have been clearing and cleaning and hauling for months now, but it never seems to look very different, until you look back at how it began.

The lot was pretty heavily treed, which is one of the reasons I feel in love with it. Even though most of them would be coming down, some would remain and remind me of that enchanted feeling I had from the first moment I walked that property and knew without a doubt that somehow, someway it was meant for us and that we would indeed build a house there.

The trees that were left needed a good trim. 

There was a lot of old, dead growth.



And this maple! We wanted to save this maple. But after years of being surrounded by bigger trees, it grew long and lean to get that sun. At the advice of our tree guy we cut it down to what is now referred to by our builder as "the flagpole". 

We were promised a full tree in a few years. We'll see if we can wait that long. If not, it too will go, but for now it stays and we wait.

Tate then took over the documentation, 

I watched,

and Violet made dirt pies at my feet.

Apart from the fact that we actually get to build a house, what I love the very most is that we get to do this as a family. All of us pulling and sweating and building together. Faces do not always adorn a smile, but at the end of a long, dirty day we leave our lot reluctantly, knowing we have all had a hand in our future and (hopefully) forever home. I imagine my kids returning here in the years to come, to this very house, built with love by all of us. From the big boys who run the equipment to the little girls picking up sticks and playing in the dirt, this house is a labour of love.


Monday, January 18, 2016

It was Saturday evening about 11 o'clock. The kids had been sleeping for hours, and Darren had already gone to bed; a couple more clicks of that mouse and I'd be off to the same. Up until this point I had been through dozens of websites and hundreds of plans left with only a handful we tried to convince ourselves we liked. 

When you know that you're moving and that it may very well be the last time and quite possibly your only shot at building your dream house, it's pretty serious stuff. But late that night, just when I was about to give up, I found it! Wide awake, I then lay in bed for the next three hours, dreaming of our new home.


There are a couple of very small changes we will be making, but over all, it is so perfectly us. I still feel like I'm playing house. I can't believe that this will not always be black lines on white paper, but an actual house of windows and wood.


When I first saw our lot, it reminded me of an enchanted forest. It was mid-summer; trees, moss and other wild plants carpeted the ground, birds were chirping and sun filtered on down through the pines needles and maple leaves. Pure perfection. Of course, we would have to take down many of those trees to allow room for a house, but not so many that it lost its character. So we walked through the lot and began tagging trees.

Darren and I took down as many as we could ourselves. At which point I learned to use a chainsaw! Me! I was terrified of it kicking back and ripping apart my face. I got over it pretty fast though after realizing that it would take twice as long with only one of us chopping. (I kinda like to get things done!) So, if you need something cut with a chainsaw, I am now fully qualified and I'd be happy to help! 

But we knew we needed to leave the big ones to the professionals. That day I sat in the safety of the vehicle with Violet while the kids were in school and watched in wonder as they did their work. At the end of it all you could not see the forest floor! This was the first time I remember feeling some concern. I did not anticipate the wake that would be left behind. Logs wider than my arm span lay everywhere, as we waded through slash waist deep. How would we ever clean this mess up?


Saturday, January 9, 2016

It's a story I've told three girls so far and some day I'll tell it to Violet. I was raised in a loving family where I kept the company of a mother, a father, and three younger brothers. I was every good thing an older sister is suppose to be, most especially, bossy - I was quite the proficient. Although I prefer to think of myself as one possessing leadership skills instead of "boss hog", which in the eyes of a boy child is probably most accurate.

All I ever wanted was a sister. But apparently you can't control those kinds of things.

It may have taken us some time to realize it, but now, as grown adults, my siblings and I really do like each other. There was always love there, no matter how deeply it may have been buried. But now we laugh, like a lot, and wonder why we didn't get it when we were younger. But there remained a hole right raw in my heart. I longed for a sister even more than before. I saw the way women are bonded in sisterhood and longed for the same. The comfort between them, the things they talk about, and all the unspoken they share. 

And then I began having children. 18 years, 2 sons and 4 daughters later, I have been blessed beyond measure. 

It began with Noelle. I told it to her. Of the girl who pined for a sister. And that God choose, instead, to bless me with her. A sister-daughter for me to love. Then Emma, then Nya and now little Violet. And as they grow and I tell them the story again and again, I realize that it is not now only a secret wish of a fairy tale life, but that I do actually have sisters - 4 of them, really truly. Not always will they be my babies, not long will they stay small. More years will be spent together as adults, then we ever had with wee ones in pig-tales. And all that is shared will be shared between women. 

A loving Heavenly Father sent me sisters indeed. I just had to wait a little longer than some.

Genoa Bay Road

Friday, January 8, 2016

We are moving. I didn't actually think we would move again, at least while our children were at home. But we have outgrown this house and this situation. We have shared this home with Darren's parents for the last nine and a half years as our own family expanded to eight. And now it is time to move on and apart. They are headed on a mission and we are headed to homestead. But it didn't start out that way. When we realized that this was, in fact, the best for all involved, we began looking for a house. We had a long list of criteria we hoped we would find. First, we love where we live. Maple Bay is truly so beautiful. Every single time I drive down that road I am so grateful for this place I call home. Second on our list was to remain close to the church. Being only 5 minutes away has been such a blessing in our lives. I never want to live far from the church. Next, we knew we needed a yard big enough to store all Darren's equipment, as this is how he provides for his family. Also, we hoped to be able to stay close to the schools that the children attend. We wished for space for kids to run and play and build and get dirty. We wanted to remain close to the biking trails which the men folk in this family love to ride down. We imagined trees in a level yard to call our own. I was looking for a house when Darren showed me some land.