Woman sitting on the beach, battery level indicator rising

We were on vacation last week.  Usually for me, a stay at home Mom, vacation means doing the same job in a different place, with fewer resources and less sleep.  We have one income, so we don't have the budget for big easy vacations with lots of entertainment.  Luckily we went on vacation at the grandparent's cottages and this year the kids weren't glued to my side.  They played a lot with their grandparents and cousins, leaving me with precious time to myself.  I got to read a book!  I got to sleep in!  I barely went in the kitchen!

It felt amazing to recharge my batteries.

I wonder, what does vacation look like for other parents of young children?

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staging day

As I was saying in my first post, we sold our house in Stouffville.

When the work on the house was done, our realtor and an entire real estate team came to our house and got to work.  They arrived with assistants and husbands and a cube van full of pretty furniture...and decorated it for us.

Thank goodness for them, because I don't have an eye for design.  We lived in the house for 6 years and I didn't have any art on the wall.  Not a throw cushion to be found.  They came in and made our house look like a magazine feature.

Staged house

 

Doesn't it look amazing?  After we saw the staged version of our house, we weren't sure we wanted to sell!

And then it was time to list, and wait.  And somehow manage to keep the house clean during the selling process.

Luckily, we didn't have to wait long, because it sort of went like this...

the house sold quickly

 

That's how the house sale went.  It was grueling, but mercifully quick, and the kids were minimally impacted.  We were happy and excited, so for a good couple of minutes, we looked like this...

House sold celebration

And then reality set in...

 

house sale worries

Will is 6 by the way, and really did have a serious best friend/girlfriend that he was quite concerned about leaving.  They're working on a long distance relationship at the moment.

Next week is busy for us, but I hope I'll get around to posting about buying a house.  We got lucky in that department too, and the process wasn't as painful as I worried about.

Have a great weekend!

Tori

 

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Hi there strangers

Hi, I'm back!  I have to apologize for my long absence.  I'm hoping to put a lot more time in to drawing in the next little while, and I've got a few ideas and changes coming up for my little blog.  But first, I thought I'd catch my few loyal followers up on what we've been doing while I was gone.

We moved!

For those that don't know, we recently moved.  Not just houses, but towns.   And we're so happy with our decision!  But, it was sort of spur of the moment, chaotic, time-consuming, and stressful, so my hobbies took the backseat for a while.

Here's the longer story (with pictures!)

We'd toyed with the idea of moving to this area for ages.  I wanted to be closer to my family, and we had the general sense that we could afford more if we moved a little further out of the Greater Toronto Area.  We talked about it fairly often and I regularly stalked houses here on MLS, but we knew we shouldn't uproot unless the benefits of moving really outweighed the comfort and ease of staying put.

We found our dream house in a town south of Toronto

Then, one late fall day of last year, the kids fell asleep in the car close to bedtime.  So, on a lark, we took an hour and a half road trip just to drive by this beautiful 4 bedroom Queen Anne that I'd seen on MLS (and had been daydreaming about for months.)

It was lovely. I swooned like a teenager as we drove by four or five times.

We did some quick math and realized that we could buy this house with a much lower mortgage payment than the bungalow we were currently outgrowing.  As a single income family, we were feeling pretty house poor, so the idea of more month at the end of our money was very appealing.  And, we were looking at more space in a beautifully restored century home close to my family (yet not much further from Scott's).  We went from undecided to totally on board with the idea of relocating.

(Spoiler alert: this isn't the house we ended up buying, but it did set the plan in motion.)

Then we found a real estate agent.

A few TINY changesI got in touch with Adele, a book club friend and amazing real estate agent.  She came over to do a property assessment.

She had a home stager come by to give us a list of everything we needed to do to get the house ready to sell.  We still had work to be done from a renovation the year before, so a few small changes was actually a pretty big list of to-do's, including painting, drywall work, plumbing, and taking out about 75% of our clutter.

And then we got to work

We were taken aback by the amount of to-do's on our list

I, of course, worried about everything that could go wrong...as I'm known to do.  Scott, on the other hand, took everything in stride and assumed the best outcome.  As he's known to do.

We went from the daydreaming stage to selling our home in under two months, so things moved really quickly.  (This is probably when I stopped drawing and started staring blankly at my phone in my free time.)

Luckily, we had help

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Luckily for us, we had some great help from friends and family.  Especially this guy, who really kept the project on track.  Nothing motivates you like having your volunteer helper start work before you've finished your morning cup of coffee.  Without him, we'd probably still be in our old house daydreaming about this move.  (In case he's reading this, he should know that we're very grateful.)  

And, by some miracle, despite kids and work and some medical adventures thrown in the mix, we got our old house ready in about a month.  Next up was staging, selling, and moving.  Which I've done a bit of doodling about, so stay tuned for more next week 🙂

Rare Disease Awareness emblem for Clara and M-CM Syndrome

Today is Rare Disease Day, which is a day meant to spread awareness about rare diseases.  My daughter Clara has M-CM (aka MCAP) Syndrome, which stands for Megalencephaly Capillary Malformation Syndrome. M-CM is very, very rare, and not a lot is understood about the syndrome.  There are only around 200 people diagnosed with it worldwide.  M-CM causes body and head overgrowth and abnormalities of the skin, vascular system, brain and limbs.  We know that M-CM is a spectrum, so some children have only a few issues and some children are affected with more serious neurological symptoms, delays, and/or health problems. The children we've met online are beautiful, brave, and very strong.

M-CM is the reason for most of the health concerns Clara has had in her young life, such as: her heart conditions (PDA, ASD, Enlarged Heart, and Fetal Atrial Flutter), Pulmonary Hypertension, Macrocephaly, and her gross motor and speech delays. We have been very lucky that most of her issues are fixeable, maneagable, and/or mild so far.  We feel incredibly blessed to be followed by a number of medical experts at Sick Kids hospital, as well as Early Intervention, who all care so much about Clara.

As for Clara's future, we think it will likely take her longer to walk and talk, and she may have some ongoing health issues, she may even have some delays, but we feel that her future is still bright. She doesn't let anything stop her so far. We are so proud of Clara and love her with all our hearts!

Here are some links with more information:

M-CM Network - Some of the other online info about the syndrome is out of date and/or innacurate.  M-CM.net is run by Christy Collins, an M-CM Mom and advocate. M-CM.net provides the most accurate and up to date info about M-CM.

Rare Disease Day - is an initiative to raise awareness about all types of rare diseases (not just M-CM.)It

If you want to know more about M-CM Syndrome, feel free to contact me!

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Family cheering their favourite ball team on TV

We're not big sports fans at the Walker household, but we're definitely Jays fans.  I became a Jays fan back in the heyday of the '92 World Series (I may, or may not, have waited in line for hours at a mall one day to get a ball signed by Pat Borders.) Too bad they lost the series, but I have no doubt they'll go all the way next year.  They earned a lot of fans who will be there to cheer them on for the whole season.

I drew this for #ComeTogether.

 

Young rock star birthday card
Rock Star Birthday Card by me

I finished the drawing for Avalon's birthday. Avalon is a talented singer, and she's currently one of the lead singers with her local School of Rock House Band. She's only 12 but has presence beyond her years. She's a pretty good kid, I like her a lot 😉 Happy belated birthday sweet girl, Rock On 💕

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We were at the cottage for  Thanksgiving Weekend and I forgot my computer charger at home, so I did this little Happy Thanksgiving message with what I had one hand...pen and pencil crayons.  I hope all of my Canadian Friends and Family have a great Thanksgiving Monday!

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What I Wore Wednesday September the 30th, 2015

I thought I'd join in on the "What I Wore Wednesday" challenge for some fashion and drawing practice. My Mom Wardrobe could use work, but my co-model is looking gorgeous as usual as she tries to steal my glasses (as usual.)

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Fall Fashion Sudoku Grid

Fall capsule wardrobe inspired by Free Notion's Sudoku Grid

This is what happens when you get an hour to yourself but then Fall Face First into the Rabbit Hole that is the internet.  You design a fall capsule wardrobe instead of work on your next...well first...comic strip.

But I digress...

In the spirit of my KonMari journey to clear the clutter from my home, I'm reevaluating my wardrobe.  I don't have much of a wardrobe to start with, but what I do have rarely goes together to form a complete outfit.  This Sudoku Grid from Becca DuVal from Free Notion was an amazing help to discover what I have and what I need to buy to create outfits from my current wardrobe.

Check out Ms. DuVal's post here for instructions on how to create a Fall capsule wardrobe for yourself using the Sudoku fashion grid.

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He started the day nervous, but when we all got to the school he walked right in, thrilled to be in the same class as his best friend.  I was not weepy in the least, but excited for him.  I'm not sure what kind of a Mom that makes me...  But, his teacher is a mixture of sunshine and butterflies, and her classroom setup is great for play based learning.  It all seems just lovely.  I think this will be a great year 🙂