The little moments of renovating

Essentially you can say we have been renovating for years, not all in one go of course, just getting tasks done and then saving up for the next project.

I  know the “joy” of cooking on a camp stove in our gutted kitchen, or traipsing through torrential rain with a 2 year old whilst heavily pregnant to have a shower in the shed.

I know the frustration of not being able to get the thick layer of dust off of the floor and from underneath your feet. The feeling of dust even being carried into bed, the smell, taste and grotty feeling that comes with it.

Or the feeling that there is a non stop parade of tradesmen and their noise coming through our house.

This lot of renovations has been going on for 7 months.

It really has been a journey of blood, sweat and tears – literally.

I happened to be flicking through photos on my mobile phone today, and came across many documenting the “little moments of renovating”

I thought I would share them with you.

We still have a bit to do, odds and ends here, but the place is looking great, our dreams are coming true, our hard work is paying off.

A conversation in which someone mentions an upcoming renovation is giving me an involuntary shudder, that may still continue for a while, but I am very proud of all we have done, together, as a family.

This photo is from our house, looking out into our original carport, which we had enclosed in and made into a playroom for the kids.

For approximately 2 months, the only way into the back yard was to climb through this window. It was fun for a whole 2 days or so, the novelty soon wore off, and we all were sporting bruises on our knees.

I helped knock that wall down, and hold the ceiling panels up while my husband screwed them in (oh the aches of the arms!). I also helped lay the floor boards we finally put down. I am pretty impressed with myself, especially since I have never considered myself the least bit “handy”

It took approximately 5 months to get it to this stage of being plastered, it looked like a bomb site for a long time, I felt it was never going to get finished, but it is almost there now, at last!

Still a bit to do to the room, but I am so impressed with it, and find its an area to chill out for all of us, not just the kids.

Everyone helped, from painting, to drilling, we all got together as a team and got the little and big jobs done.

Biggest mention goes to my wonderful husband who works very long hours, and has spent pretty much most of his days off working on the renovations, he has been worn out and exhausted, but still pressed on.

The start of closing in what would one day become our bathroom, much longer process then imagined.

tiling commenced, 6 months later…. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Dirt, digging and torrential rain make for a huge mess!

I was sooo excited when Jamie put these cupboards together.

They still need to be moved into their permanent place, but it means that our lack of storage space is looking like a thing of the past!

A photo of the taps filling the bath tub up for the first of many times.

7 months after the renovations commenced the kids could finally have a bath without using numerous buckets to fill it.

I have enjoyed relaxing in there myself, and we joke our kids are the cleanest kids in town, they are pretty impressed with having a bathtub!

I always imagined a post about our renovations would be best filled with photos that look like they are from a home magazine, some beautiful, gleaming result, the thing is that only now, when we are finally nearing the finish line, the photos that are most important to me are the little moments, filled with the milestones and memories, of the joys and tears.

For months I organised catch ups with friends at their house or a park, feeling ashamed of how much mess and destruction lay around our house.

I would joke that they did not want to come visit me in our ” demolition zone”, now I wish that I had every person I know come over countless  times in the last 7 months, maybe then I could really let those who are close to us see how far we have come.

The truth is, while I am so pleased with what we have, I really am most proud of how far we have come.

Never did I ever imagine that in the midst of dust, dirt and destruction, I would really experience some very special moments with my little family, and while I am so glad that the major stages of our renovations are over, I am very grateful that we all pulled together as a team when we needed to the most.

These photos make me really see how far we have come.


One step at a time

It has been a full on few months in my household.

I would love to tell you all that I have faced all the little hurdles with undying courage and determination…………. but  that would be lying.

To tell you the truth, I acted a bit like a scared little baby, I had a few anxiety attacks, I found myself throwing myself on my bed in tears, those great big sobbing tears that just come from nowhere and take forever to end.

For a little while I was not able to talk to people about the events happening in our family without bursting into tears, not cool in public, or if you are explaining the situation to a stranger.

I wear my heart on my sleeve, sometimes it is a good trait, sometimes it just makes me look unstable.

It all seems like such a long story to tell, so I will keep it to the brief outline.

After years of planning and wishing to carry out major renovations in our house, we finally got bank approval, our dreams were becoming a reality!

Unfortunately it was not going to be as smooth of simple as that.  Building commenced the same time as the late wet season started, so we had the usual dust, dirt and noise, as well as bit wet puddles of thick mud being dragged through the house. I refused to let it upset me, I kept my eye on the bigger picture, until……

We got some unexpected bills that put a bit of a halt in our renovations, leaving us with the building site look and the worry that it would never be finished.

Then we suddenly took on our 15-year-old niece, the extra time and expense of quickly getting a room ready for her to move into, enrolling her into a new school, endless paperwork, hurdles etc, and all on our current family income.

The bank account started to dwindle, as my stress levels started to rise.

Friends were concerned about me, but I just had no more words to use, and shut myself out a bit, exhausted, drained, scared and over it, and when I was brave enough to open my mouth to let them in, it seemed that I had a tirade of verbal diarrhoea, and would apologise afterwards for the excess of words just tumbling out of my mouth.

Some of you may read this and think I over reacted, perhaps I did, but all I can tell you that living it has been  pretty full on.

After being used to raising a 3-year-old and 5-year-old, a 15-year-old is rather different. As I put my 2 to bed at night, I look forward to just sitting down and chilling for the night. It seems that this is the same time of the night that giggly teenagers are getting their second wind and want someone to interact with. It has been a case of getting used to a whole new routine and way of living.

Grocery bills shot up, as with the cost of petrol to get Jazz to and from her current school on the other side of town. Of course in amongst it all, other little hurdles came along.

It has not all been hard times, having a teenager in the house has had it’s fun times as well, more laughter, cheeky moments, and extra set of hands around the house. Jazmine has been so grateful for us giving her a roof over her head, and so willing to help us however she can, it has been a breath of fresh air to have her around.

The real problem was the way in which Jazmine came into our care, the choice between foster care and us was not a hard one, and not one that we even had to think about, or regret for a moment, but the fact that it came to that position has caused a wave of extra emotions for all involved.

All the while my husband assured me “we will be ok, everything will be alright”.

But all I did was stress out, wondering how on earth we were going to do this.

I think that maybe looking at the big picture got a bit daunting, trying to think too far ahead and taking into account all the things that were needing to be done, or the process that was needing to be gone through made it hard.

The only thing to do was to cut the huge mountain down, to look at it in little steps, to think of how we could get through each day as best as we could, to know that this way we will eventually get there.

No one was trying to tell me it was easy, just that it was possible.

I still have days in which I ask myself how we are going to do this, how long it is going to be until things seem “normal”, but slowly I am getting there, getting used to our new household, accepting that this renovation may be a long process that will require time and patience.

I have been reminding myself to slow down, to take a moment to breathe, to be easier on myself that all is not as perfect as I would like it to be – perfection is overated anyhow.

All I can do now is just take it each day as it comes, one step at a time.

We will get there, it will take a while, but we will get there, together, I know we will.

One step at a time

Renovating for almost a Decade – Part 1 Bathroom and Kitchen

9 years ago, at the tender age of 22, my husband and I became proud owners of our first home.

It needed a lot of work, there was many things “wrong” with it, hence the reason for the bargain price, but it was also the house in the best condition in our price range.

We knew there was lots to be done, but give it a couple of years and it would all be done, right? Man how I want to go back in time and slap that younger version of me in the head and yell “what are you thinking?!”

9 years on, we still have not got all we want done, and after finally getting bank approval after being laughed out of the bank for the last few years, we have our next stage of renovations about to commence. Building approvals, quotes, materials, schedules, and to be honest, it is stressing me out a fair bit.

Have we borrowed enough money? What if we run out just as they knock that hole in the outside wall, and we are stuck with a hole in the wall for years, open to all sorts of creatures and intruders
(yes I do over think!)

I have been there, I know the stress, I know the drama, chaos, moments of  “why are we putting ourselves through this?!” I also know the feeling of seeing the new area for the first time, the joy of it all being worth it in the end.

We have changed checkerplate bathrooms into cosy ensuites

The checkerplate was an idea of Jamie’s for a “band-aid renovation” to the leaking bathroom we were met with in our new house, unfortunately he forgot to waterproof the wall before applying, so it became a rather huge job to fix. Though it did last us for 6 years.

Jamie closed in the doorway of the original closet sized bathroom and made a doorway in our adjoining bedroom wall, creating an ensuite for us, that we had planned to share as the main bathroom for 6 months or so………………. 3 years later we are still all using it. And the kids eyes light up when they spot a bathtub at a friend or relatives house, to them that is luxury!

Poor fella worked a full-time job and did bathroom renovations in his spare time, with a heavily pregnant wife whingeing as we trudged through the torrential rain each night for 2 months to shower in the shed in the backyard. True to his word, he had it ready before I gave birth, and boy it was a treat to only take a couple of steps to get to a toilet in the middle of the night with a pregant bladder!

We also set out to get rid of that hideous 80s colour scheme pale pink and grey kitchen

I often worry that we perhaps went a bit too orange with our choice, but I do like how the new kitchen brightened the house, and having a pantry to put our food in after all those years of none was fantastic!

All these renovation shows on tv can be difficult, as it is easy to compare how much they do in such little time, compared to how little we have done in 9 years! Then I remind myself, they have paid time off work, sponsors, huge budgets and trades people paid to help them.

Some days it feels like we have not go very far with out house since the day we purchased it, but then I only have to take a quick look in the little photo album I have complied of photos of our progress and realise we have come quite far.

How many years more will be renovating for? Well I am starting to wonder if it ever ends, and your ideas and thoughts change over time, with the needs of your family.

Is is all worth it in the end? Well lets hope so!

Stay tuned for Part 2 in the renovation series!