Monday, July 6, 2015

Rob: Renovating With Kids

Laura and I have done a lot of renovating. Prior to having children, we could bang out a new deck, refinish some floors or redo the cupboards over a weekend. In this house, with the kids under foot, renovation projects have moved at a much slower pace. However, in spite of the chaos and distractions, we have still managed to redo the kitchen, living room and most of the basement.

While we finished much of the basement, we hadn't quite gotten around to the downstairs bathroom. We had started some of the drywall and had even bought the toilet, but couldn't find a vanity that worked with the space.

That is, until two weeks ago when an email from Laura informed me that she had found a great deal on the perfect vanity. It even came with the sink, faucet and mirror. The bad news: I had to go that night to pick it up and take the two youngest children with me.

So off I went, directions in hand, two kids, some rope, a dolly, a pocket full of cash and a sneaky suspicion about space in the car.  A mere 40 minutes, three wrong turns and copious amounts of inappropriate language later, I had somehow managed to shoehorn a giant box into the back of the vehicle.

After a trip to the local Home Depot to buy supplies, never complete without at least one episode of chasing a runaway toddler past the lighting, through the plumbing, around the appliances and into the tools, we were ready to get started.

The Great Bathroom Renovation of July 2015

I was in the middle of re-routing the plumbing when a cry of laughter went up from the other room. The toddler and the four year old were creating a fort with two lengths of plastic piping, the empty box and some blankets.  Five hours of plumbing, some serious fort making, two snack breaks and one nap later the plumbing was done.

Return trip  to Home Depot to buy screws.

I was putting up the last of the drywall when a mouse poked it's head out from the furnace room. One tremendous shriek, some hyper-ventilating, a bowl, a pizza box and a shovel later, the mouse had been permanently relocated and it was time for mudding and taping.

Return trip to Home Depot to buy drywall compound.

We had almost finished re-wiring the electrical outlets when a loud crash came from upstairs.  The seven year old and the four year old decided to make peanut butter sandwiches unleashing a tsunami of plates, spreads and kid utensils on the kitchen. A healthy snack, half a bottle of cleaner, an entire roll of paper towel later, it was back to the installing the light switch.

Return trip to Home Depot for a special GFI plug.

While working on painting the walls, an eerie silence, interrupted by spurts of giggles, forced an investigation.  Four baths, including one for the dog and a load of laundry later it was time for a second coat.

Return trip to Home Depot of more paint brushes and primer.

We were laying down the flooring when the toddler decided it was mandatory hugging time. An hour of amazing hugs, followed by yet another snack for everybody, one story before nap time and it was back to cutting tiles.

Return trip to Home Depot to buy more tiles.

I was waist deep in toilet installation when the reminder of a promise to play a board game was issued from the mouth of a seven year old.  One very thorough hand washing, two rounds of Settlers of Catan Junior and one round of The Game of Life later and it was time to check to ensure the dual flush was working.

Return trip to Home Depot for a replacement toilet seat.

While putting up the light fixture, a property ownership discussion a long forgotten stuffed giraffe required parental intervention. One trip to the toy store to purchase a second and third stuffed giraffe later it was back to the lighting.

Return trip to Home Depot for the right light bulbs.

We were putting the vanity in place when the doorbell rang.  The dog had escaped through the hedge and was running amok in the park across the street. An hour of running, chasing and laughing later it was finally time to hook up the faucets.

Return trip to Home Depot to talk to the plumbing guy about leaking taps.

We were putting up the towel racks, the toilet paper dispenser and the mirrors when I was reminded that it was bath night and story time. After three more baths and two chapters from the Mushy Mellow Goes Hiding book, it was finally time to put the finishing touches on the bathroom.

Return trip to Home Depot to return all the miscellaneous unused items.

Success and proof that with tempered expectations, one can renovate with three kids under seven. I'd like to say that I'm going to take my tired body off to bed for a good rest but my kids don't sleep in and I may just have had a disturbing conversation with Laura about starting on the backyard next week.

I must be a glutton for punishment.



  1. Oh wow, that is some project! You should have a loyalty card for Home Depot lol. Well done on completing it :)
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes

  2. Haha brilliant, sounds like the renovation job from hell combined with some of the greatest aspects of life with kids, don't envy you at all :)

    Thanks for linking up with #dadpostoftheweek.

  3. Oh my goodness and this right here is why we are going to park our toddler with the grandparents while renovating our new home. Thanks so much for sharing on #wineandboobs

    1. My pleasure Talya. We tried to pawn the kids off for the weekend but no takers. Good luck with your renovation.

  4. Completely agree - everything takes so much longer with kids around - especially toddlers! We bought a house that we didn't really need to do much to because a) we couldn't afford to renovate and b) we knew such a thing would be a nightmare with Zach around! Great job though - maybe you get shares in Home Depot Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    1. I was thinking about that and almost tweeted the link at Home Depot suggesting it should be their next commercial.

  5. Well done, it looks quite transformed! #BriliantBlogPosts

    1. Thanks. We're actually really happy with the way it turned out.

  6. What a great transformation! We are currently renovating our house but with a 13 week old baby the spare time to do anything is almost non existent. It's fair to say our house has taken a very large back seat! #Brillblogposts

    Helen x

    1. It's so true with the newborns, it's impossible. I think our claim to fame was in a previous house when we did a basement reno with our first child at about four months old. It was awful. Thanks for reading.