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Archive for the ‘renovation’ Category

We’ve been in our new place for 2 weeks now, but we’re still not quite settled yet. To be honest, it’s been a challenging couple of weeks.

For starters, Alyssa fell ill the night before we moved. She developed a fever in the middle of the night that lasted for the next five days, and a bad cough too. The cough got progressively worse in the morning and we decided that rather than keeping her with me for the move and exposing her to all the dust which aggravated her cough, that my parents would bring her home for a couple of hours.

What a milestone for her. She’s never been taken care of by anyone outside of my home, nor for that many hours. That was the day she was started on formula as well. We had emptied out the freezer, so all the stored expressed breastmilk was finished. I had planned on nursing her during the day. So all of a sudden she had to try formula. Thankfully she took well to it!

What a change. For Asher and Ellery I had planned exactly when they would try formula milk, bought a small tin several days in advance, introduced it slowly with half-and-half breastmilk and formula milk, slowly increasing the amount of formula until it was just formula milk. For Alyssa, we just decided that very morning, told my mum which brand and she hurried to the supermarket to get a tin :) And the best part was, I was totally ok with it. Definitely third child laissez-faire-ness.

The movers were great. We hired Alliance Movers on recommendation from a friend and they were excellent! The guy who came around to give the quote was friendly and reassuring. The movers themselves were super efficient, professional, helpful, and despite all the work, cheerful! I loved seeing the movers chatting and joking with each other even as they worked. It made moving a less stressful affair. And there seemed to be nothing they couldn’t do. They helped to disassemble and reassemble our bed, dismounted then mounted some shelves, wrapped up everything quickly and properly (sofas, tables, computers, etc), provided 2 large clothes rack for moving clothes (fantastic! No need to re-iron Jon’s shirts!) and helped with packing our stray items. And they were so fast. I spent weeks packing, and in just a few hours the entire house was empty. The only things left were some items in the storeroom that we hadn’t had the chance to run through yet so told them to leave it behind.

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Filling the truck with our stuff

 

With Alyssa ill I couldn’t unpack much though. So for days the boxes just sat there. I started to feel stressed and overwhelmed. I don’t like mess. I’m actually quite OCD about cleanliness and having everything in its place (even though I’ve lowered my expectations since the kids came along). When the house is messy, my internal life feels messy. So living in a house full of boxes before moving, and then still living in a house full of boxes after moving, plus the dust that inevitably plagues new houses, and noticing the rectifications missed out by the interior designers, and finding new things that needed rectification, and scuttling back to the old house to clear it out for the new tenant, and a sick baby that was quite literally stuck to me the whole time…all this really drove me crazy. Everything felt grimy and dusty. Everything seemed to be going wrong.

The boys and the husband were perfectly happy though. In fact, the boys settled right in as if they lived here all along! It was a real blessing, but in my stressed state I failed to be more grateful for it. Even though we now have a view to die for outside our window, I was grumpy and focusing on the mess.

Until one afternoon, as I sat glumly staring out the upper windows at the dust encrusted on the outside, cursing to myself at how the interior designers didn’t clean it up as they were supposed to, I found my eyes refocusing from the glass of the window, to the clouds that were framed by the window. Beautiful, white fluffy clouds set against a gorgeous blue sky. And then it hit me that, like my eyes just a moment before, I was focusing on the wrong thing. Instead of looking at the dirt on the window, I should be looking at the clouds outside the window.

I felt lighter. I wouldn’t say completely at ease, but lighter and less stressed. I can do this, I thought. And prayed.

And the change in attitude came not a moment too soon, because the day after, I somehow found myself with a sprained back. I couldn’t stand upright. Walking was painful. Sitting was painful. Sigh. But I’m grateful for the people who prayed for me, and that my back is better now. Not perfect, but better.

And in spite of the back I kept trying to unpack. Now the house is less cluttered even though there are still boxes that need to be unpacked. It’s reaching the point where I can’t see how it’s all going to fit into the cupboards. Might need to do another round of throwing out things. I grumbled to my husband about how we should have made more cabinets. We have planned some things to be built in a second phase to save on costs for now, but I felt we needed it now. But his position is that we should just throw out more stuff. I suppose he’s right too. I probably hang on to too much stuff. Overly sentimental about so many things.

So, the unpacking is not done yet.

In the meantime, the boys have been having a blast here. They love going downstairs to play, they’ve been enjoying playing with boxes, and they’ve been rediscovering a lot of our books. Previously they were kept on a shelf that wasn’t so conducive for browsing. Now they are pulling out all the old books and reading through them. I reminded myself to be thankful that they could entertain themselves this way while I handled Alyssa.

And yes, as for Alyssa, she’s better now. She’s finally not coughing all the time, at night her coughing is much better too (it was worst at night). She’s back to being a smiley, happy baby. For those five days that she was feverish, she barely smiled. It was so unlike her. I had to scramble to find a paediatrician near our house to attend to her after we moved. Thankfully I have some friends with kids in the east who could recommend me their doctor. She hated the nasal spray and didn’t like her medicine. She also lost her appetite and didn’t eat anything, only drank milk, and even then not that much. As a result she lost quite a bit of weight. But she’s regained her appetite again, thankfully.

The bad part is, her routine is completely messed up. I never enforced a routine. She kind of fell into one naturally. She used to nap around 10am, then barely slept, taking maybe 5 to 15 minute naps here and there, before knocking out around 7/730pm. She’d then sleep for several hours without waking up until around midnight or 1am. Now, she sleeps around 8pm and she’s up every hour or so. Less sleep is no fun. Am hoping she somehow falls back into her usual routine again.

So, yes. It’s been a tough 2 weeks.

Hope to make the house look more presentable soon and have some semblance of a Christmassy home before Christmas arrives!

How many boys fit into a box? The boys packing themselves away before we moved

How many boys fit into a box?

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The boys packing themselves away before we moved

Saying goodbye to our first home

Saying goodbye to our first home

Empty!

Empty!

Boxes in our new place

Boxes in our new place

Boxes in our livingroom and the view outside :)

Boxes in our livingroom and the view outside :)

We have a balcony now! Great for messy things like excavating bones

We have a balcony now! Great for messy things like excavating bones

Bookish boys

Bookish boys

Making a tunnel of boxes to race through

Making a tunnel of boxes to race through

It's a tie!

It’s a tie!

 

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Renovation Update

So the renovation work has been progressing. There were some bumps along the way here, but it’s largely been sorted out. Today we went to check out the house, and with the plastering on the wall it’s starting to look more like a house rather than a construction site, and I had a little tingle of excitement.

Hoping that the house comes together nicely. Unlike our current house where we knew exactly what we wanted in terms of look, colour of furniture, and well, basically everything, this time is more nebulous. We want something cosy, warm, natural, and airy. We started with a couple of definite ideas, but this time around are largely open to suggestions that we may not have thought of before.

One thing that came up that has guided our storage planning has been the concept of mise en place. It refers to how chefs maintain an orderly kitchen with everything they need, utensils, ingredients, within easy reach, clustering all the things you need for a particular activity in the same place. More than keeping everything in it’s fixed and designated place, there is the element of keeping things in the most functional and efficient place. I used to be more OCD (in my pre-kids days), and there’s still some of that hiding inside. I have always liked things to be in their proper place, but never thought about how efficient the location of that place was.

So initially we started with the idea of one big store room in the middle of the house, but we felt it ate up too much space in the dining area and would result in a cramped dining room. Also, we decided that rather than central storage, what we really needed, and what would be more efficient, would be decentralised storage. Things located where we need them. So now our new place doesn’t actually have a storeroom, but we have more bits of storage all around the house. I’m hoping it’s enough! We had planned more areas of storage – like building in a bed with loads of storage underneath – but we shelved that idea for the time-being due to budget constraints and it being such a waste to just dump our current bed. In any case, we are open to phase two renovations if required.

Backyard tiles in

Backyard tiles in

The boys happily leaving their footprints all over the cardboard protecting the freshly laid tiles

The boys happily leaving their footprints all over the cardboard protecting the freshly laid tiles. No more piles of sand!

Funny boys pretending to bathe in the shower area

Funny boys pretending to bathe in the shower area

More toilet antics. One pooing, one showering

More toilet antics. One pooing, one showering

Ellery standing where our shoe cabinet is going to be

Ellery standing where our shoe cabinet is going to be

Before plastering

Before plastering

After plastering

After plastering

Aircon trunking in

Aircon trunking in

 

 

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So we’ll be moving house end of this year. The process of doing the renovations has been more challenging this time around because we have to plan meetings around the kids schedules and Alyssa has to be dragged with us wherever I go – tile shops, sanitary ware shops, etc. Thankful, so so thankful, that she’s generally so good.

Still, the entire process would be much more enjoyable without the pressure of having to hurry to pick up the kids. Less rushed, more relaxing. Oh well! We’re glad we have found a good interior designer whom we trust. Nevertheless, I worry that the house will not turn out the way we imagine just because it’s sometimes so hard to translate what’s in your mind into reality given time constraints. We could shop around and look endlessly at materials, but we kind of just want to move things along. No luxury of time now.

Well, hoping and praying for the best!

In the meantime, we brought the boys to see the house before any works were started. And we just brought them again on Sunday to see what the house looks like now that some walls have been hacked. Wow, I really never realised how much sand was needed to do the floor works.

We’ll head back with the kids every now and then to see the progress. Excited, but a little apprehensive. Fingers crossed!

Exploring the house

Exploring the house

So much stuff!

So much stuff!

With one of several piles of sand

With one of several piles of sand

The boys were lamenting that they can't run from their room into Alyssa's room now that this toilet door has been sealed up. I'm thinking, "Yay!" hahaha. Else we'll have so much trouble getting them to go to bed chasing them from one room to another.

The boys were lamenting that they can’t run from their room into Alyssa’s room now that this toilet door has been sealed up. I’m thinking, “Yay!” hahaha. They had been conspiring to  run from one room to another in circles while I chase them to bed. No way.

Looking through a hole in the wall that's going to be sealed up too :)

Looking through a hole in the wall that’s going to be sealed up too :)

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