I had a whirlwind of a summer! Oh boy, I can’t believe I survived! Especially August with endless Birthdays, trips and renos. We put in a pavers patio with pergola in the backyard, I redid kids’ bedrooms, updated laundry room. Kyle played ball hockey all month of June which was nuts since his team made it to playoffs and actually has won Gold. Also in June, I flew to Edmonton for a week for my mom’s kidney tumour surgery. That was insane but she will live and is doing well now. We went camping/boating to Keats Island, BC, drove to Long Beach, WA, then Whistler, BC. We biked, we hiked, we went to the lake gazillion times. Took Kyle boxing 3 times a week. I worked my butt off. I gardened a lot. And cleaned…I never cleaned so much in my life. Am I still alive?!
I finally got some time to sit down and write this post. Last time I posted a Real Life post was February 2014. Isn’t it horrible?! Now, that my 4.5 year old is so much more interested in spending time with his friends rather than me I put him in daycare 4 days a week. It gives me time to work, run errands and be ME. I honestly do not have as much energy or patience after 9 years of parenting. Real life. So, everyone is happy again.:)
1. Long Beach, WA
In August, we stayed at Chautauqua Lodge, Long Beach, WA for 3 nights, with friends, I booked through Groupon. It was more like a 1 bedroom condo privately owned in a resort. We liked it a lot. There was an indoor pool which 4 boys appreciated a lot.
The drive was horrendous though. Seattle traffic is no joke. It took us 2-3 hours to pass through it on Hwy 5. Any time of the day, it is suicidal. And no special road closures or anything. But then as soon as we got closer to the ocean it was beautiful.
That is where Alex got pulled over but thanks to his wife talking about Starbucks to the officer he didn’t get a ticket. Before that, he got a big one from a police woman. Boy, she was vicious. I always say men are easier to deal with.:)
Long Beach was pretty but cold. We like to get away to the open ocean once a year. There is a special feel to it but man, it is cold.
2. DO NOT BUY SAMSUNG APPLIANCES
Ever and never! Remember my 7 year old dishwasher broke?! So, I went and bought this Samsung dishwasher, model DW80F800UWs, with fancy Storm Wash. Well, it broke twice in 15 months! Not the handle or a rack but rather a major electronic issue – sensors and control board which costs hundreds of $$$ to fix.
First time, it broke 1 month after installation and $400 repair was covered by the warranty. Second time, it happened a month ago and I didn’t want to spend $400 out of pocket for something that is engineered poorly and will break again for sure. After reading reviews of poor Samsung dishwasher owners fixing it all the time, I decided to buy a new one. I just can’t tell you how mad I was about it because it is not one defective item, all of Samsung dishwashers are. Just read online, people are fuming and Samsung would do NOTHING about it. Majority of salesmen now say not to buy Samsung kitchen appliances. Plus Samsung customer service is HORRIBLE and their online reviews are closed down. I can go on and on and on and I will actually publish a separate post because it is unacceptable!
I went and bought a Whirlpool dishwasher after reading hundreds of reviews online, plus a 5 year warranty which I get as a Sears store credit if never used. I can’t deal with dishwashers anymore. By the way, I sold Samsung dishwasher for $100 to the guy who fixes them and re-sells at the refurbished appliance store. So, now I know for sure I will never buy refurbished or Craigslist appliances. I kind of felt bad selling it but maybe not…
3. Kitchen Update
Finally, I got tired of my dark kitchen and photos taking so much time to shoot. I could be way more efficient in a new kitchen. It is not old but a bit outdated, especially my green countertops drive me bologna. Considering kitchen is my office (I spent 60 hours a week there, I did my math) it better be pretty. With long West Coast rain season upon us, I need light kitchen. This is the look I am going for I found on Pinterest.
Existing dark cabinets, light quartz countertops and light glass tile backsplash. Not green but light beige. I can’t wait! I never ever had a kitchen like this!
It took me a while to decide on the sink. Double or single, stainless steel or granite, large or medium and I finally bought Ancona Premium Series online at Costco. It didn’t arrive yet but we will see.
Now, kitchen faucet decision. Which one? Tell me please! After my dishwasher story I research any product I buy first. Reality of everything being manufactured in China these days. Sigh. I’m honestly sick of being forced to buy Chinese cr@p!
4. Kyle’s Bedroom
I re-did my oldest one’s bedroom as his Birthday present. Evil mom, right?! But you know how much it cost me?! About $1,500 including new bed and closet. And he doesn’t need any more Lego, iPad or new TV. These kids have everything! He happily agreed to this barter! He loves his new room and honestly now both boys hang out there all the time. Since it is cozy and so organized. I noticed my kids play so much better without electronics when their stuff is organized.
All bedding came from Ikea, bed from a nearby clearance store (amazing quality and price!) and closet from Home Depot. I saw this idea on Pinterest and loved it.
I found Martha Stewart closets too expensive but there was a cheaper alternative. I honestly got sick of my 9 year old’s making mess on his Rubbermaid wire shelves. He folds his own laundry and now everything is organized and more space in his room. I love it! I’m still missing a few decor pieces but soon when winter comes I will hit the stores and find something.
Now I am updating my 4 year old’s bedroom and the plan is to make these bookshelves. The pallet is already on a side of the house. Alex is rolling his eyes by now…
5. New Laundry Room
Dishwasher wasn’t the only appliance that gave up on life this summer. My favourite Whirlpool Duet washer died, it needed new bearings which cost $400. Not worth it. We bought our set 12 years ago when me and Alex weren’t even married yet. I loved them and was very sad when it broke. Alex told me I should buy new dryer too, even though I just replaced old one’s heater last year.
So, I bought the same Whirlpool Duet online at Costco at a great price. Clearly I’m an executive Costco member, in case you were wondering. They even turned out smaller outside than old models and I love more space in my laundry room. I came to a conclusion big wash is unnecessary since I do smaller loads separated by colour. And I don’t wash our and kids clothes together. They all have a different life span.:)
Being a perfectionist I decided to paint laundry room. I love painting! Then I decided to make it cute, thanks to Pinterest. I love it now. Love the hooks for hot tub towels and swimwear. My cute buckets for detergent (I make this one myself and it works!) and lint/pocket garbage. Love the quotes! Life is good!
6. Whistler, BC
A trip of a lifetime! I shared many photos and details in this post. I can’t believe Whistler is in our backyard and we never explored it. Wait, we had a baby and no money. That is why, aha.
It was breathtaking!!! Again we stayed in a one bedroom condo hotel type with the outdoors pool. It was amazing!!! I don’t book hotels without kitchen anymore due to eating healthy and money savings.
I even went zip lining which I found quite extraordinary since I’m terrified of heights.
I read a lot this summer. I used to read all the time before kids and then I stopped. I’m back. Aggie convinced me I should. I always get book suggestions from her posts and reader’s comments.
“What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty – I’m half way through this book and it is good. I have to say I skip through some pages, too long. It is an OK book on my list. I read her “Big Little Lies” which I enjoyed quite more. The ending was “WOW”.
“All Fall Down” by Jennifer Weiner – my favourite! I couldn’t put it down. Somehow, I found a book about addiction very attractive. Main character is a young mom, living in plush suburbs, raising a girl with temper tantrums, working as a blogger, dealing with sick father. She had a lot on her plate and turned to pills. Was very interesting. I could relate to her in a sense not of addiction but her overwhelming lifestyle. I often feel like my life is a rollacoaster however it is getting better.
To make it clear, I do not have addictions but I used to smoke for years, so I know how hard it is to overcome it. I also remember the warm feeling of happiness from just one Tylenol 3 pill when I had to take it during my pregnancy. I felt great and honestly took a few of them to keep that feeling. I quickly realized something is wrong. I didn’t know about prescription drug addiction back then (in Ukraine we didn’t have it) but it was clear to me this can’t be right. Thank goodness my health issue was over and I was done with pills. Now I like walks, reading, TV and occasional glass of wine to relax. I can’t even drink much anymore due to fitness. Me and Alex didn’t drink hard liquor for 4 years now. The fact that we stopped buying booze at Duty Free means we do not drink much.:)
“Plain Truth” by Jodi Picoult – I love Jodi! I read this book in 3 days on the beach. Again, weird things in life like Amish community intrigues me. So, addiction and Amish so far…
“Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult – this was a weird ending, seriously. But I didn’t know it so I blinked and read the book in 2 days. I don’t believe much in spirits and psychics so glad I didn’t know the ending because otherwise I would have never picked up this book.
We biked a lot this summer! First year since we had kids we were biking all together because our 4 year old finally agreed to a tandem bike. Oh, heavens! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No kids are alike. I was gifted with a SUPER easy oldest one and a DEVIL youngest one. I mean not any underwear is OK, not to mention the tandem bike!!! Trust me, we tried all parenting methods. Sigh.
It was breathtaking, every biking trip. We also will be doing some more along with hiking this Fall. Warm weather isn’t over yet. We love biking because it is such a fun workout and family activity. To me it means sort of freedom.
9. Keats Island, BC
We had an amazing trip in July to a Keats Island with friends who have a boat. We love water and boat is on our shopping list in the future. Man, it is expensive but so much fun. Again, breathtaking views.
We travelled this summer so much which was fun but so exhausting. We still have a camping trip at which I am right now and adults only trip to LA in a few weeks. OMG, can’t wait! And then kitchen renos, and family room renos and repainting my whole house.
This view from an airplane on the way back home from Edmonton and spending a week in a hospital with mom. My vision on life became more clear once again…Blessed!
Alex gave this Saje nebulizer for my Birthday. I used to buy Bath and Body candles and plug-ins but not anymore since they are full of synthetics. I would rather breathe organic essential oils. Alex loves it more than me since it is always on in the morning when I come down for coffee and he already left to work…
Oh boy, only after writing this post I realized how crazy my life is LOL. BUT I’m grateful for it with all my heart! Having almost nothing and no one as a child, I appreciate my full life today. My heart is full!
What were you up to this summer?
Olena! I loved your pictures. I can’t believe the drought BC had this year, Salt Spring was was like a tinderbox. I hope there’s lots of snow in the mountains this year.
Good to see your blog and family doing well, keep up the good work.
Oh my goodness, I was just thinking about you the other day! Since you don’t post updates on your blog anymore (you should!), I don’t know how you are doing. This is the first summer in BC I’m actually happy it is over! It was too hot and too dry. I’m so happy to have rain again lol. No snow in the mountains. They predict another warm winter. No skiing and another hot summer next year.
Beautiful pictures! I can’t believe summer is almost over, either. We have a little longer summer than you because I live in Iowa in the U.S. Thanks for sharing your life with us!
How long is your summer? I never knew Iowa is quite warm. Live and learn.:)
We usually start fall around the first of October. It’s beautiful here, a lot of farmland but also a lot of trees. I’m partial because I grew up here, my dad is a corn, soybeans and cattle farmer. He and my mom taught us to work hard and always appreciate what you have! They’ve been married for almost 60 years. I can’t imagine living anywhere else but here!
Lucky you! I am missing that piece – history and the fact of belonging somewhere. Not to mention parents being together. As an immigrant, you sacrifice that part of you for a better life. My mom is married to a cattle farmer. I go visit sometimes in summer. Beautiful lands, very different lifestyle. There is so much peace to it, to the land, not the farmer’s lifestyle LOL. If I had a new house on a farm somewhere here in BC, I would love it. My mom loves Alberta farm life! Her husband farmer is crazy go-go-go though. But my husband is not a farmer and he is crazy too.