Welcome to a day in my life. I can't guarantee that this will be an exciting read for anyone. My life is filled with all the mundane activities of a stay-at-home-mom just trying to raise her three sons to be the best men they can be.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Day 2 and 3 - Venice

One thing that I really wanted to do, while I was in Venice, was to go over to Murano, and check out all the glass. Our plan for that day was to just wander Venice for a while and then hop on the water bus and go over and see what if we could find a glass factory. When we got off the water bus in Venice, we started to talk to a guy who offered us a free taxi ride over to Murano. The catch was that we would have to go to a certain glass factory and see what they had.  That was great for us, since that's what we wanted to do anyway.  We jumped at the offer.

One of the bonuses of this was that we got to ride through some of the canals that the water busses don't go.  It was beautiful!

We had a private tour of the glass factory and were able to watch the artists at work.

Of course, at the end of the tour, we were able to purchase some of the beautiful pieces.  I know that was the whole purpose of getting us over there, but I was more than happy to oblige.

After the tour, we wandered around Murano for a bit.  It was such a pretty place. We were serenaded by one of the locals.

We spent the rest of the day exploring Venice. We had to cross over this bridge several times during our time there, and each time it made me laugh - it was a Venician traffic jam!

Venice is a very cool place.  I loved every second that we spent there.  It's so amazing to see all the canals and waterways, and how everyone gets around by water. We had a waterbus pass and so we spent the time hoping on and off as needed.  I look forward to going back one day and spending more time there.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Day 1 - Arriving in Venice

Matthew and I left yesterday morning, to catch our flight to Venice.

We were meeting up with John, Spencer and Cameron who were already there.  They got a head start on our vacation by leaving on Saturday.  Matt and I couldn't leave until Monday as Matt had to work on the weekend, and I had a retreat that I needed to be at.

We had a flight out of Toronto at 11:40 a.m. which meant that Matt had barely enough time to get home from work, change, and organize a few things before we had to leave for the airport.

We had a connecting flight out of Philadelphia, which meant that we had a 5 hour layover.  It was ok, for the most part, as it meant that we could get a good lunch and relax a bit before the second flight.  By the time we had to board, though, Matt was exhausted! Poor guy!

Our second flight was straight to Venice. 8 hours in the air! Matt was able to get about three or four hours of sleep, but I was only able to nap here and there.

Once we got to Venice, it was fairly easy to get to out hotel. by bus and then water bus.  The hotel is actually a hostel.  It's a very cool place and is across the canal from St. Marks Square. The hostel has family rooms, which is where we are staying - so we have our own bathroom and shower right in the room.  It's quite a hip spot, filled with a lot of younger people, and a handful of older ones.  I love the whole atmosphere of this place.

After we dumped our bags, we jumped back on the water bus to go over to San Marco to do a little exploring.  I immediately fell in love with Venice and all the canals!

We walked around for a little while.  John, Cameron, and Spencer showed us a few places that they had already discovered. 

Then we jumped back on the water bus to head up the canal to get some lunch. It was a huge mistake to stop for lunch, because once we did that, both Matt and I hit a wall of exhaustion.  We were spent. We ate quickly and then he and I went back to the hostel to get some much needed sleep while the other boys stayed out to look around some more.

I woke up in time for supper, but we couldn't drag Matt out of bed, so the rest of us went out for something to eat and then came back and crashed again.

It was a very long day from start to finish!

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Clayton Clan Family Vacation - aka Spencer's Grad Trip

It's finally here! After months and months of planning, our big family trip has arrived.

Yesterday we left here

to go to here

with all these guys
where we are going to spend a couple of days doing this
before getting on this
to do this
to see things like this
and this

and probably doing  some of this
  hopefully not looking like this

but having lots of this
and this
which will likely look more like this
and finishing here
before returning here



Monday, May 04, 2015

Reno Updates

Ok, it's proving to be really difficult to keep a regular blogging schedule.  I was thinking that I could post regular updates about the renovations, but obviously that hasn't happened. However, this time, I can honestly say that I have had NO time!  Since the renovations started in February, my whole life has been chaos and just trying to keep my head above water.  To top it all off, work has been rather busy, and we have been planning a major family vacation - more on that later.

So, at this moment, I think we are probably about 3/4 of the way through.  Most of the unseen work (wiring and plumbing) has been done. The floors are done. The kitchen in the basement is pretty much done.

These pictures are from last week.

The kitchen cabinets arrived and the install began.  We also took out the larger kitchen window, and added two smaller ones. At this point, all the cabinets are in, but these photos were taken last week.
In these photos you can see the new floors under the cardboard.

This is what my dining room was looking like a few days ago. The floor is finished, so this has become the place to move all the furniture too while the kitchen is being installed.

My office is the only room on the main floor that is finished now.  All that happened here was new floors.  Once the floor was in, and before I moved the furniture back in, I painted the walls.  Gray!  It's becoming the common colour in the house.

The new fireplace is in in the family room, and so are the floors.  The stone for the fireplace has been purchased and still needs to go in.
The laundry room is pretty much done but we are still waiting on some back ordered doors from Ikea.
In the front entry hall we had the half wall removed.. (I have always disliked it.) In it's place a new built in bench will be built.
New doors for the hall closet, and laundry room will go in this week.
A new pocket door has gone in, in the main floor powder room.
While the floors were being done, it was very noisy and there were a lot of people in and out of the house all day long.  Suki, who is quite skittish at the best of times, was not a happy camper.  She has discovered the best hiding place ... inside the box spring of my bed!

We have decided to escape all the dust and noise at home.  We are heading to Europe for a Mediterranean  Cruise as a grad present for Spencer, who has just graduated from University.  John, Spencer and Cameron left a couple of days ago, and Matt and I are heading out today. We are en route right now, actually.  We are sitting in the Philly airport waiting for our connecting flight to Venice.  It's going to be such a great time with all my guys! Hopefully, by the time we get back home, most of the work will be done and I can finally get my house clean and back in order!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Renovation Diary - Entry 2

The renovations have been going on for almost 4 weeks now. The guys have been working very hard, but up until this week, it was hard to see the progress because the work was on things like wiring, plumbing, and such.  There has been quite a bit of demo work done, as well.

Here's what's been done up until this point:

Basement Kitchen (the plan is to make a second kitchen in the basement using our current kitchen):

Before now, this room was the "work room". It housed all of John's tools, and also became the catch-all place for junk and old furniture.  We've emptied the room.  The wiring has all been run, along with a new panel.  The water has been run, as well as the drains.
Currently, a lot of the drywall is up, as well as the ceiling, and the floor has been re-cemented.
Oh, and one of the walls to this room was removed, to open it up to the main family room in the basement.  It's amazing how much bigger the space seems now.
The Laundry Room
Our laundry room is on the main floor, It's not overly large, and we struggled with not having enough storage space.  It has a door from the garage, and another door that leads into the front hallway.  Just like the work room, this room became a dumping ground for stuff.  So, we are trying to make better use of space.  The plan is to stack the washer and dryer, add more cabinetry (one of them will be a broom closet to house the vacuum, the broom, the mop ... all that fun stuff.) Why don't houses have broom closets anymore?
This room was demolished, the pipes, electrical, and vents have been moved, the floor retiled, and the cabinets are starting to go in.
This is how it looks now:

Stay tuned ... tomorrow I will add more updates.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

It's Too Late to Turn Back Now!

We've passed the point of no return. It's too late to change out minds. We have started renovations!
We have been putting this off, now, for over two years.  We did our master bathroom last year as a "trial run".  We survived, so we figured we could get to the main floor of our house.
The problem with starting anything on the main floor is that we needed to do everything that we were wanting to do all at once. Our main floor is so open that once we started one thing, it would lead to the next thing.  The kitchen really needed to be done, but that meant redoing the floors, which meant redoing the floors on the whole main level since it's open.  By doing the main floors it meant stairs, and the fireplace, and the half wall (that I always hated). It meant building a second kitchen in the basement so that we could just put the current cabinets into the basement kitchen.  You get the picture. LARGE SNOWBALL!!
So, here we are, two and a half weeks into it.  My house is all a clutter!
Did I mention that I don't function well in chaos??
So, stay tuned for the renovation diaries.  Maybe you can even help me make some design decisions.

Best layed plans?

Wow! So much for getting myself back into a blogging routine!  I don't know why I can't seem to find the time to keep it up ... especially since I have always enjoyed it.

Dare I set myself another blogging challenge?  Blog once a day? Blog 5 times a week?  Two times a week? I need someone to kick me in the butt!

My last post was when we first arrived in California for CHA.  Then ... CHA started ... and the rest is all a blur!

It was a good time and I learned so much! I really enjoyed the classes, and it was very cool to see all the new products that were just about to hit the market.  More than that was that we just had a great time together!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

The Happiest Place on Earth

For our first full day in California, we spent the day at the happiest place on Earth - Disneyland.

We had our very own Fairy Godmother tour guide (aka Sharon) along and so we had the best time while she showed us around everywhere ... plus gave us a lot of the behind-the-scenes information that we didn't know before today.

I have to say, that Disney really knows how to treat their customers.  Every cast member that we encountered today was very pleasant and accommodating ... even when we "snuck" onto the Haunted House grounds when the ride was closed, to take some pictures.  The crew came out and asked us if we wanted them to take pictures of us and even jumped into the photos themselves. It really was refreshing to experience such great service.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

California Here We Come ...

I guess I fell off the blogging wagon. So much for my 28 day challenge!
The Christmas Season quickly became very busy and overwhelming for me. While it was a great Christmas, it was one filled with company, activities, and obligations. 

Now that the New Year is here, I'm looking forward to things settling down a little and  life getting back into a regular routine ... including scrapbooking again.

Today, we left the freezing cold of the Great White North, and headed towards sunny California. We are spending a couple of tourist days here before CHA (the biggest crafting trade show in the industry) starts this weekend.

We were up bright and early (4 a.m. EST) to get to the airport for our early morning flight.  It felt like the whole day we did nothing but travel from one place to the next.  We had a great time, though, and met some interesting people ... and some very fun guys ... flight crew for JetBlue who had us laughing while we were all crammed together on a shuttle to the car rental.

We have settled in for the night, now ... totally exhausted. Tomorrow ... Disney Land with our own personal Fairy Godmother!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Love this Guy!

I spent the day, well, at least part of the day, with Matt.  We went to the mall so he could do his Christmas shopping. Once we got there, he went one way, and my sister and I went the other.  When we met up for lunch, he was sporting a new hat that he bought for himself.  He couldn't resist! It's a World of Warcraft hat!

I love this guy!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Tuesday Lunch Bunch Ladies

I love these ladies! They have been a mainstay in my life for the last 13 years! The Lunch Bunch gets together every Tuesday to hang out and Scrapbook together. We all feel the same ... we wouldn't miss it for anything!
Some have come and gone, some drop in when work obligations allow, but we're all in each other's hearts always!

I love them all!!!

Hello Monday...

Hello boxes and bags ... it's about time I start my wrapping. It's going to take a while!

Hello warm mitts and scarf ... I'm going to need you tonight.

Hello to-do list ... why is it that you keep getting longer and not shorter?

Hello green grass and puddles ... where did all the snow go?

Hello sleeping boy ... we have missed you around here!

Hello Christmas lights ... we're friends now that you're all working. Let's hope it stays that way.

Hello flat shoes ... you're going to be on my feet a lot this week.

Hello happy son ... I'm glad you got your computer working.