Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Our modern family

Back in the day, multi generation households were the norm. Then we moved away from that it seems, and by no means do I think it's back to being the norm, I do think there are more and more families who have more than 2 generations (namely parent/child) living under one roof.

About 2 years ago when it was clear my step father's Alzheimer's was progressing unusually fast, my husband came to me and said "I think when he goes into a home, your mother should come live with us". Yes people, my husband initiated the discussion of his mother in law living in the same house - back off ladies, he's taken.

Skip ahead a few months (about 18 months ago now) the move happened.  None of us knew what to expect of course, for many reasons; it had been 20 years since I lived with my mother and 20 years since hubby lived with his mother; we have a preschooler; we have two cars for a family of 3 adults who need to get around.  But, we all jumped in with both feet.

There are a lot of questions that my husband and I get asked, which leads to almost a tips list to having your parent move in with you. They are innocent questions that are not about my mother personally, but just assumptions most people have about having your mother / mother in law live with you. From sanity check, to money, to sex (hubby & I, not my mother - GAH!) - most are quite interested in how it all works out. So without further ado -

Dude! Your mother in law lives with you! Doesn't she drive you crazy?

While hubby isn't typing this, I have been around for the answer to this (and he would tell me in private if the answer was any different). His answer is: "No she doesn't. Everyone gets along really well, and she has been spoiling me for 17 years. I actually call her Mother Dearest (and not in the psycho movie Mommie Dearest way). She is dear to me, and I enjoy her company".  And she raised the most amazing woman on the planet. (OK that was my input not his)

Tannis! Your mother lives with you! Doesn't she drive you crazy?

My answer is:  No, she doesn't.  I'm sure we both drive each other the same level of "crazy" some days. I'm a super strong personality, as is she. She seems to give into my craziness more than I give into hers though - as in any sign of her crazy and I call her on it, any sign of my crazy she just ignores me...for that she is a candidate for sainthood. But I digress.

Does she pay rent? 

We have never had a formal money discussion. When she first moved in it was out of the question to have any contribution from her, we wouldn't even think about it. She was dealing with a lot of financial items around my step father's care giving, and part of the reason we wanted her to move in was to remove any burden or stress she may have about how she would make her own ends meet when she was so focused on ensuring my step father was taken care of.

Once she got into a good groove, we still never discussed formal financial contribution. It just sort of organically figures itself out. She usually pays the water bill, some if not all the cable bill, contributes to the power bill, buys groceries - not all but we are constantly buying this or that, and if we do a big grocery day we just split the bill at the cash register. And, she's always buying stuff for The Peanut.

If we ever moved into a bigger house with a bigger mortgage, we may then have the discussion on some sort of 'official' contribution - but we'll be in this house for the next 5 - 10 years. So for now, we'll just stay the course.

So can I tell you how much she contributes? Nope. Can I say that she contributes financially to the household? Absolutely.

The Peanut

She loves it. If we ever go away without my mom, she misses her terribly and says it often. My mother has spoiled her in many ways, and one thing they do together is watch shows. My mother has become The Peanut's personal DVR manager. As a matter of fact earlier this month we went away without my mom for a week; she missed my mom so much; when we got home she ran up to her, hugged her and said "Nanny I missed you! What movies did you record for me?!" (zero exaggeration, that's what she said all in one breath). Once I referenced that we're a family of 3 (as in man & woman marry, have child, makes a family of 3), she very quickly corrected me and said "we're a family of 4 not 3". Love it.

Keeping House

She is amazing. I have never once assumed she should clean, tidy, cook, etc... As a matter of fact I'm 80% the cook in our house regardless. But she likes to clean; we're not home enough to clean as much as should be.  The only thing that I think is funny is she'll still say "I cleaned your bathroom for you"... to which I say "it's your bathroom too". It's a funny little exchange that we have often about random things she continues to call "yours" vs "ours".

Also bonus, 9 times out of 10 she makes me a lunch for the day. It's like I'm back in school and my mom's making my lunch. For the longest while I felt sort of odd about it, as if it was a dirty secret that my mom makes my lunch. But hey, I'm sure many out there would love to come down each morning to a lunch waiting to be packed up. I love it, makes me feel taken care of.

Two Cars; 3 Adults

Short answer. Hubby uses his car; my mother and I share my car. She typically drops The Peanut and I off each morning, goes her appointments or shopping during the day, then picks us up in the evening. If I need the car during the day, she stays home and I take it. It all works out.


Most assume we're out all the time since we have a live in babysitter. Nothing could be further from the truth. To be honest, we likely should 'take advantage' (not in a bad way) more often but we don't. The Peanut is not great at going to bed for my mom, so times we've gone out and get home at say 11pm, she's wide awake and greets us at the door.

I will add, this past Friday I went out and 'rushed' home for 11 as I knew she'd be awake...and she wasn't! She did watch TV until 11 and told my mom that it's time for bed. So did she go to bed at normal time, no. But there is hope, if I just accept she will go to sleep late but WILL go to sleep...maybe there's hope!

We go out maybe every few months. Note to self - need to commit to more date nights.

Sex Life

Awkward since I know she'll read this (and mother, I don't want to discuss this nor do I want any "hinting comments" from you that you read this, just read it and move on with your life).

I can't speak for Chris, but I know my friends have all asked me at one time or another how "that" all works out.  I'll just say we figure it out. There is no plan, thank god - I think if there was that may lead to a bigger discussion about the living arrangements. Could you imagine, "OK babe, let's plan 'this' schedule out for the week around my mother". FAIL.

In this I suppose it would depend on the layout of your house, and the level of comfort your parent has with walking around and into closed door rooms - but we're good in that department.

Overall if I had to sum it up, I'd say if my mother was anything even remotely close to the mother in Everybody Loves Raymond, this would not have even been contemplated.  She is a very independent person, she likes privacy and respects privacy. We are the same with her. We don't let The Peanut just walk into her closed door room, nor even knock on the door to wake her in the morning (though sometimes she slips by us and does it anyway).

Most importantly, as my husband points out, I'd likely be always wondering if she was OK and worrying about her if she lived on her own. Will she ever move out - I have no idea what her thoughts or plans are, but hubby and I admittedly assume she's in for the long haul.

So, are we the Modern Family? Well I do wish our family had a Cam...and I'm sure hubby wishes we had a Gloria (heck I sometimes wish we did too!). For now, I'd say whatever you want to label us - we are a family that is focused on taking care of our own!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Eager for chores

It's happened. And I'm savouring every moment of it since I know that in a few years just discussing the topic of chores will be, well, a chore.

I brought home refills for our toilet scrubbing stick. On the surface, a pretty routine and boring thing. But. The peanut found them, and was totally intrigued and psyched. So as any sanity-seeking-mother would do - 'natch I went with it and make it the coolest thing ever.  We placed the scrubber on the stick; I quickly showed her how it's done; off she went.

She was tickled pink, and then begged me to let her do the other two toilets. "Well...twist my arm. I GUESS if you really want to you can do it".

Love, actually.

Hubby and I have been together for almost 17 years / married a week shy of 12 years. We've been through more together than some couples have ever and we're not even 40. Granted nothing has been tragic thankfully, but we've hit many a roller coaster and bumpy road (sometimes highway) together.

We got married after being together about 5 years - thought I knew everything about relationships...HA! The one thing I always tell anyone just entering marriage is that you are choosing to live a life with another person. This isn't Cinderella nor Fifty Shades - this is real life. Sometimes you won't like the person, sometimes you'll need a break from each other - but underneath it all, love remains the same (pardon the Gwen Stefani + Gavin Rossdale song title combo there). I like what Gweneth Paltrow's father said to her one day about how his marriage to Blythe Danner lasted over 30 years: "Well, we never wanted to get divorced at the same time".  I think that's more of an exaggeration of the underlying truth, which is you can't live with a person for 30+ years and not go through hard times. There are times that each person may not be at their best, that's just life. Key is even in the face of (or maybe just after) annoyance - remember the bigger picture of who you both are, what brought you together, and what you've built as a couple.

Yesterday I came home from a hectic day of work + getting some groceries on the way home. As I got out of my car I heard hubby call from the kitchen window "do you need a hand?" to which I nodded yes.  The 'comedian' that he is - opens the front door, stands there on the front porch and proceeds to clap (get it? "give you a hand"), with a smile on his face. I looked up - and had a moment, even after all these years, that made my heart go pitter patter. The sight of him made my heart skip a beat and I wanted to run to him and jump him (I'll stop there, since as I said this isn't Fifty Shades).

The moment was another reminder that life is ebbs and flows. Sometimes you'll look at each other 'neutrally', sometimes not pleased with each other, then there are times that reminds me I'm totally in love with this man. 17 years later.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shifting Gears

When I began this blog, it was all about decor & design. I, as always, had the best intentions and amazing plans to immerse myself in the topic as I did pre-child. Some blogs simply re-purpose content from other sources, which I could certainly do while keeping it on-decor-topic...but I don't think that gives any value to me having a blog, nor a reason to have you read any posts.  I think a blog needs to be true to the person writing it, and represent them in as honest a way possible - or why bother.

Therein lies the gear shift for this blog... I don't have time for daily decor, but I have a daily life that centers around my immediate family (husband, daughter, mother - all under one roof); my extended family (most of whom don't live near); my friends (near & far); and my career...and all the loveliness (sometimes lack thereof) that comes along with it.

I love my family; I love to cook; I love photography; I love to be an ear & shoulder for my peeps; and yes I still love decor. Many friends have told me they love logging into Facebook to see what little tid bits I'd posted about my life & day.

So with that in mind, "The Reveal" will now be about the beautiful chaos that is my life.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fabulous Rooms Friday - Nifty Navy

Some may say never to navy when it comes to wall color, likely due to fear of dark walls. For those that avoid this gloriously rich color, I have inspiration for you that may help you overcome your fear.

There are ways to do navy well, in any room. Regardless of which room you're considering, make no mistake about it - painting your walls navy is a bold choice, and leaves you with a dramatic look.

The first room I lean towards when it comes to dramatic impact is a powder room. This is a room that is smaller than any other in your home and people spend the least amount of time in. So if you are hesitant to commit to color in your home yet want to try it out, this is the room to do it in.  You can go dramatic on the walls or ceiling, or both!  Check out this magnificent powder room

You could either do wallpaper on the ceiling, or a stencil. I would likely lean towards a stencil since it's a small space and would be easier to lay the stencil, paint, and be done.

When it comes to dinning rooms, you could go all dark, which is very intimate once the lights are dimmed and candles are lit. But if you want to keep some brightness to the space, you could have the best of both worlds

I love this dinning room. It's crisp, clean, and a great balance of modern and contemporary, with a hit of traditional.  Check out the silver leaf ceiling - LOVE. And the chandelier is amazing.

Moving to the sleeping quarters, I would always pair navy with a camel / brandy brown color - the combo of the two is nothing short of classy and sophisticated, while incorporating the white keeps it from being over the top and 'stuffy'

Last but certainly not least, is a main bathroom. I'm not sure I would do this color in a smaller main bathroom, actually I'm confident I wouldn't because we have a smaller main bathroom and the previous owners painted it chocolate brown. It doesn't work for me, personally. This bathroom however, looks great. Definitely makes this a more gender neutral bordering on masculine room, but I never have issue with that.

Life is too short to never at the very least try something bold. So don't be's just paint. 

Better to have painted and lost than never to have painted at all!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fabulous Rooms Friday - Fifty Shades of Grey

I started reading Fifty Shades of Grey last week, I'm now 1/4 way through the final book. I. LOVE. THE. TRILOGY. It was the perfect way to get myself out of the Winter rut that is lingering into Spring.

Inspired and reVamped by the books, I have deemed this series of Fabulous Rooms (more than one this time) Friday to be all about Grey.

When I saw these bedrooms, I knew right away they would be the new inspiration for our Master Bedroom - bring as much Fifty Shades of Grey (minus the goes-too-far stuff) into the bedroom as you can, I say!

And since some of the other 'scenes' in the book are in the bathroom, I thought this would be a great inspiration for a grey bathroom that isn't a cold look/feel

Last but not least, some Kitchen's that have done a great job with grey (the second image below cabinet color is Benjamin Moore "Fieldstone")

Hope everyone has a great weekend. I'll surely be finishing the final book...I'm already anticipating the withdrawal!

Laters, baby. ;-)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chair Matters

The time finally came for me to re-do our dinning room chair (seats, not the whole chair).  We've had this set for about 6 years now, we like it, it's not love but certainly no reason to get rid of it just yet.  We bought this when we were 'just a couple' (no Taylor yet), living in Toronto, and cream fabric chair seats were fine.  Then along came our little one, and it was pretty much downhill from there. I'd say within a week of Taylor eating solid foods, we knew our seats were becoming victims of toddler mess. That said, I consciously chose not to redo them yet, as I knew we had a few years of her getting used to sitting at the table, eating properly and neatly (enough).

Here is what they looked like after 4 years of Taylor. The cream part is where her booster seat used to sit, the front was the casualty area (that spot on the right is a stain from a piece of banana that we didn't know was there for a few hours).

Suffice to say...we were due for a revamp of these puppies.

I set out to find fabric, and decided to go with outdoor fabric since it's water resistant. I love this one as it's dark enough not to show everything yet has a crisp look with the stripped pattern.

 I removed the seats from the chair frame, making sure to label each seat and each base so I would put the same seat back once I was done.

I laid the fabric out on the floor, and placed all 6 seats face down, making sure they were exactly centered along the vertical stripes. This would ensure the final product would have the same pattern location.

I then set out cutting all the fabric for the 6 seats at one time, and stacked them in a pile for me to set forth on my first "reupholstering" project.

I used a staple gun, and started by stapling each side at the center (note, this takes putting all your weight into the gun, to be sure your staple goes right in.)

Unfortunately my corner shots didn't come through properly. But what I did was pull the fabric corners towards the middle, staple, then cut off a significant amount of excess fabric before I continued. This was key to ensuring I didn't have bulky corners. Then I just 'played' with the positioning of the corner fabric, until I had the least amount of wrinkles on the front of the seat. This was definitely the hardest part, and some looked better than others...but only to my critical eye based on my Chris' perplexed look when I pointed it out.

I then made sure to put each seat back on its corresponding frame. Taylor found it particularly fascinating to see a chair without a seat.

One lesson I learned, is to ensure you try to be consistent with how taught you pull the fabric before you staple it. I realized after I put them back on the frames, that some were consistently taught, some not as much.



All in all, they turned out great. They will certainly hold us over until we decide what new dinning room chairs we want to get...I'm thinking leather, but we'll see!