It took me a while to get back to post something new on our page but I guess everyone understood that we where quite busy. Besides two trips to New York City, one trip to Europe (Germany & The Netherlands) we also needed to prepare for a new chapter in our life.
This new chapter started on the 24th of December when Danielle woke me up with the news that we were pregnant. And only 223 days later (7 months, 11 days) later on the 4th of August our little star, Emily Jane was born at 17:35. While Emily was a little bit earlier as expected, the estimated due date was the 23rd of August, we were not fully finished but I would say we were 98% there. But at least her room was ready for her arrival.
About that room, first it was meant to be my home office with an amazing view but on the day we found out I first cancelled my glass desk and office chair. And then we found out that we were limited on what we were allowed to do since we could not paint the room or change the carpet. But we still found some ways to give the room a make over.
First we started with the furniture and after a long search we came across a store in downtown Toronto selling European style furniture from different brands. The store is called Ella+Elliot. After some doubts about the colours we went with a white crib and a white changing cabinet from the Eicho line from Spot on Square.
Now all the major furniture was picked we could started with looking at the decor of the room. In a star bright moment we remembered something we had seen on the internet a couple of years ago, a polka dot wall. But since dots are kind of boring we went with stars for our little one. After some measuring with self printed stars we went with 4″, 5 point stars. We found the perfect decals on etsy.com at FlukeDesign and while ordering I found out the owner of the shop lived in Toronto, after some chatting only a couple of minutes driving away.
The evening we got the decals I started with using some of my math skills from college since I needed to find the exact spots to put the decals. I used the Pythagorean theorem. I never expected that this was something I would use in real life but these was one well spend year of studying. After getting the calculations done and while using the right tools, a self sticking laser level and a measure tape the wall was finished within less than 3 hours.
After finishing the wall we added some shelves to the wall, at first I thought this is as easy as all the other walls in our Condo. But soon I figured out that the wall wasn’t made from drywall but it was reinforced concrete wall… Lucky for me colleague Sean had a powerful drill for me to borrow and in about 30 minutes the 4 IKEA shelves were mounted.
While a baby sleeps during day time and our place has floor to ceiling windows you want to be able to make it dark too. Unfortunately the standard window coverings were not ideal and we wanted something else. At first we requested a quote by a professional company and with 2.500 Canadian Dollar we start searching for alternatives. Somehow we didn’t think of IKEA but they had a very clever solution for drapery for much more reasonable price. And it was installed in only a couple of hours.
So far the room is very neutral in colour and we planned on adding some pink to it. We ordered custom-made curtain tie-backs through Etsy from Dragonsliar64 funny thing is that I didn’t look at where they came from before I paid and they are made in Australia. But within 3 weeks they arrived in Toronto.
Since the wall of stars is pretty big we wanted a center piece for it. We were browsing the web for ideas for a very long time and didn’t find exactly that what we were looking for. We discussed putting her name up on the wall but decided against it. Until we had the idea of a reclaimed wood solution, but the reclaimed wood doesn’t come in the colours we wanted it to be in.
All of a sudden I found something on google: Bouncing of the Walls This is an online store which recreated items looking like reclaimed wood from new material. In our case we had exactly in mind what we wanted to have. The owner was so kind to send us colour samples of the pinks they had available (over 10 different pinks). After picking the colours, and the text: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star we needed to wait another 4 weeks before we received it and it was worth the wait…
The room was finished. Or at least the standard parts. I also added some technology to the room since I love my gadgets. First we started with some nice lighting while the standard light bulbs where just to bright. We wanted to have dim-able lights in the 3 standard fittings we had on the ceiling, after stepping over the price we went with the Philips Hue Starter kit. Combined with the iOS App iConnectHue and the widget this is an awesome solution. We went with a pink coloured preset, a 20% candle light preset to start with. Danielle was an instant fan and before Emily was born we added 3 more Hue bulbs and 7 Lux bulbs to our condo. And to finish the lighting solution in Emily her room we added Hue Tap to easily control the light without needing to think of bringing our iPhones in the middle of the night.
Besides lighting we added also some baby security to the room with the brand new Nestcam. The camera detects motion and let’s us look into Emily her room from anywhere int he world, the image quality is remarkable and the night vision feature is much better as expected. And it’s just amazing to look at Emily while she is sleeping without being in her room. That combined with a AngelCare AC401 (donated by my sister) we have the ideal baby monitoring solution with the movement sensors, the remarkable sound quality of the AngelCare and the Nestcam.
And we added a 3rd zone to our SONOS system, the baby room zone. Just before we wanted to order a SONOS Play:1 for Emily her room my interest was caught by a tweet from @SONOS about the limited edition Play:1 Tone a full white version of the speaker. That was an exact fit in Emily’s room. After ordering the first one we decided a second one for Stereo sound the day after. And I can tell you we listened a lot of lullabies in that Zone already. It’s sounds perfect and it’s so relaxing. And sometimes it’s party through the whole condo when we group all zones together!
And not to forget an old-fashioned money bank! Isn’t he lovely?
It has been a while since our last update from Toronto but a lot has happened since then. Let me start with a post about home improvements today and I’ll try to catch up this week with more about our trips the last 2 months. After we got back from Florida we first got our new chair. It’s a very lazy chair and the way it’s positioned in the living room I can enjoy our both of our extraordinary views while only turning my head.
After the chair we started looking for baby furniture, for everyone who didn’t figure out which secret we told Mickey Mouse: Danielle is pregnant from our first child! After we start looking for furniture we found out that the choices in Canada are quite limited compared to what we are used to in Europe. It’s a couple small speciality stores here in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) or online stores. We also visited a baby show together with one of my pregnant colleagues which we enjoyed and where we learned a lot more about important things for Canadian parents. We got to know a couple of new stores too.
After a couple of weeks of research we learned that a lot of furniture and strollers we did like had delivery times from up to over 12 weeks. We ordered our furniture and the stroller at Ella+Elliot in Downtown Toronto. This made us decided to order as soon as we made the choice. So in March we already found the things we’d like to see in the rooms and by the end of this month they will be delivered, a bit sooner as expected but that’s not something we’d be worried about. You are curious now? I hope you like surprises since you’ll need to wait till September to see the first pictures online…
In between the improvements we travelled to Europe and New York but I’ll write about that in later blogs. After we came back from New York they finally cleaned our windows, not something you should do yourself while living on the 38th floor off course. But we would wish they did it more often as once a year.
And that was also the start of really nice weather which made us decided to a balcony overhaul. We started with a nice grass-green coloured outdoor carpet which I cut to fit perfectly. To honour my work I got a nice bottle of Crown Royal Monarch whiskey from Danielle.
But that wasn’t where we stopped I found a nice set of furniture which would fit exactly onto our balcony at the IKEA website. Just after store opening we entered the IKEA in Vaughan and 40 minutes later we were driving back home to set up the furniture. And 2 hours later we enjoyed the nice weather and the remarkable view from our balcony…
Besides the fact that our plant is still alive there is not much to mention about home improvements. But the King and Queen from the Netherlands are coming to Canada on an official state visit in May. On official visits they always meet with a part of the Dutch Community and we are part of that meeting. We are both really excited about it and are curious about how such an event will be. So far we went shopping for the appropriate clothing, the dress code is “Tenue de Ville”. For man this means a dark suit, for woman a dress which covers the shoulders and reaches to the knees. And that’s not something every pregnant woman has in her closet so we went shopping this weekend.
Unfortunately it’s not allowed to take any pictures during the event but we’ll make sure to write something about it on a later blog.
Last week we finally got two of the items we ordered for our entrance! We ordered them before christmas by Pier1 and Crate & Barel. Leigh the coat tree was easy to set up and was mounted in 5 minutes, the unpacking took longer. But the mirror was a bit more difficult since it’s a really heavy mirror. But I also mentioned to hook it up to our dry wall, I’m surprised how much these walls can hold.
I also got a very nice present form Danielle, our 8th Monopoly set. This time it’s a special 80th anniversary edition which she found at the Toys “R” Us across the street.
After enhancing our home on Friday night we decided to do something active to start the weekend. We started with a visit to another Dutch Store/lunchroom on Holland Street East in Bradford. It’s called Dutch Treats and here we had some Frikandellen and Kroketten.
Early afternoon we continued our way to Barrie. Barrie is located on the Kempfenbelt Bay from Lake Simcoe. We wandered through Heritage Park, got some Hot Chocolate before we decided to take a closer look at the ice-fishing which took place in the bay. It was extremely cold due to the wind and the ice but it was well worth it. We stood on the lake for about an hour before we decided to go back to our car and drive home.
Sunday we relaxed a bit and Danielle baked some delicious cupcakes. I’ve to say the Red Velvet’s are getting better and better each time she bakes them and I’m officially addicted. The other ones are the Pim’s editions which is a chocolate-orange cupcake with orange frosting, also delicious.
We also started working our again, but due to the cold weather this is not possible outside. Lucky for us our condominium has a fitness center included. We both started last week for the first time. In the evenings it’s quite busy but so far I’ve been lucky 3 times and found a free treadmill. The first time was quite difficult it was warm there was no air to cool and I was sweating extremely. But after a couple of times you seem to get used to it. Let’s hope my knee holds out a long time this year.
During the week we visited Absolute Comedy together, every Wednesday it’s the so-called Am/Pro night which means that there 5 Amateurs, 1 Professional MC and a Professional. This time 2 of the Amateurs’ performances were funnier as the professional. Overall it was a bit less than the other couple times we went but we still ad a great evening.
And finally Amazon.ca got the stock problems sorted out and we were able to finish our big project related to our movie collections. We collected about 860 different DVD and Blu-Ray boxes (over 1000 discs) over the last 10 years and we always had these sorted in some kind of library. Unfortunately this is very space consuming and in our Condo there is just not enough wall space. So we have decided to change the storage concept from this (12 Ikea Benny’s:
Into 5 Media Binders:
It was a lot of work but it saved so much space, we’ve still enough place in the binders since every binder holds up to 272 discs and we’ve a 6th binder as spare. And now I feel like getting a coffee…