The Mayhem of Construction – Part 1

The moment we, the Champagnes, moved into this house nearly two years ago, we knew that we wanted to do some renovations. It wasn’t exactly our first priority, but we intended to re-do our front steps, retaining wall to the garden, driveway, and turn our carport into a garage. It was a big job, and we expected to do the sections separately whenever we came up with the funds for each.

As with nearly all construction jobs, ours didn’t go quite as planned. During our initial quoting for the carport reno, we discovered that there was an issue with the corner edge of the over-hang that reaches out past the front steps. We knew this was a problem, but we were willing to live with the steps as-is if we could at least get a garage. According to the contractors giving us quotes, if we didn’t include the steps now, the inspector would fail the construction, and make them do the steps anyway. So, we went along with it, and switched all of our quotes to include the front steps.

Everything from there went wonderfully. We found a great contractor and are extremely happy with the progress made! We discovered, however, that because our driveway (all of the cement work on the exterior of our house, really) was built without the use of rebar, it very easily cracks. Needless to say, all of the large vehicles that have been going back and fourth over our driveway have caused a bit of a cave-in of cement. Because of this, we now have to add the cost of re-doing our driveway to our original quote; though gratefully, our contractor is giving us a screaming deal because he feels badly about the damage. We’re happy with it. We’d planned to redo all of the items, anyway, they just all happened sooner than expected.

These pictures are a few weeks old, now, but as we have so many, I’ll do another update post soon, so you can see the most recent pictures. Here’s a little peek at the progress:

These two pictures are the “before” pics:

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These are from during/after the first day of jackhammering:

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After the broken chunks of cement were taken away:

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The stairs being jackhammered, and the twins yelling at the workers out the window:

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The workers have to jump-start their machinery sometimes:

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Framing and backfill of the carport:

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More yelling at the workers. “Really big mess!”:

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It had been raining a lot, so everything was a bit flooded.

Before we began this project, several people warned me that it would be “loud” and “invasive”, etc. but honestly, I’ve been loving every minute of it! I’m so excited to have some work done on our house that I don’t see the mess at all. My twins nap through the beeping, banging, and clanging, so that is a non-issue.

When I look out my window or see my house from the sidewalk, I can imagine what it’ll look like when it’s all done. And it’s going to be beautiful!

These pictures are all a few weeks old, though. Now we have the carport cement and the front steps poured. I’ll post again soon with another update and more recent pictures.

Thank you all for reading and Happy Thursday!

 

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Being Thankful

Good evening, my amazing blog readers! I’m so sorry that I’ve been absent of late. It occurred to me recently that I’d been in the middle of my current WIP (To Woo A Troublesome Spy) for over a year now (Ah! Yes. Since the beginning of last March) and I’ve decided to dedicate a good portion of my time to working on actually completing it. I’m making some progress, which his wonderful! It just means that I haven’t been blogging much. Sorry about that!

The purpose of this post is to just take a moment to say how touched, honoured, humbled, and completely and utterly grateful I am to have such an amazing support network in my life. Today I felt the need to discuss something that’s been troubling me, and right away I was surrounded by the love and encouragement of my husband, my mom, my kids, my seriously spectacular publisher, my RWA group, and my friends.

For hours I’ve been speechless and teary-eyed. You all have no idea just how much you mean to me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I feel like I’m the luckiest lady alive!

Thank you for reading and Happy Friday!

It’s Release Day!

I’m very pleased — and outrageously excited — to announce that as of today, I am officially a published author for Pandamoon Publishing! Today is release day for my debut novel, Love’s Misadventure, the first in the Mason Siblings series!

This is a dream come true! I’m so very lucky to have such tremendous support from my friends, family, and my amazing Panda family with Pandamoon. You all are wonderful!

I’ve already got some great reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. I’m flattered! Thank you all so much!

News and Exciting Update!

Good morning, everyone! It’s been a while since I made an official blog post, and for that I’m sorry. Life has been quite busy in the Champagne household! We spent nearly three months dealing with colds/flus/viruses, but as of this weekend we seem to be officially over it all *knocks on wood*.

Also in my personal life, we’ve officially begun renovations on our carport and front steps to our house. The carport is turning into a garage and our stairs will no longer be curving. It’s a very thrilling change for us!

My writing is coming along nicely. Slow, but steady (it wins the race, doesn’t it?). I’m now nearing the half-way mark of my current work in progress, To Woo A Troublesome Spy, which is very satisfying.

In other writing news, I have an exciting update! My first novel (which was originally self-published, but removed from online retailers when I was picked up by Pandamoon Publishing) is coming out very soon! The official press release hasn’t gone out, but you’ll be seeing Love’s Misadventure in mid-March! Huzzah! I’m so very excited!

I’ll post again once I have the official press release.

Thank you all so much for reading! Happy Sunday!

Just a Little Update

Good morning, everyone! It’s been far too long since I posted (again!), and for that I apologize. This is just a short-and-sweet blog with a bit of an update on what’s been going on with me.

In early December I received the substantive editing notes for my second novel, The Trouble With Love, and I’ve been working tirelessly on it ever since. Naturally, the holidays and the flu slowed me down a bit, but since the New Year I’ve been back at it.

In addition to editing and reading submissions as the Acquisitions Manager for Pandamoon Publishing, my days are consumed by my kids. As any parent knows, it’s a busy life — no matter how many children you have. One wonderful thing is that my mom and step-dad moved four blocks away from me, so they are able to watch my kids more frequently (Yes!). With luck, I should be able to blog more frequently. Huzzah!

As for the goings-on in my personal life, we’ve  been working at getting contractors out to give us quotes to change our carport into a garage. It’s going to be costly, but worth it in the long run, I believe. We’ve also lined up meetings with the bank to set up accounts for our twins, and a meeting with our boys’ Taekwondo academy to cancel their classes. We’ve decided that that particular academy isn’t right for the boys, so we’re switching them to the one up the street (which we’ve done a sit-in for, and it was amazing!).

Thank you all so much for reading! I fully intend to blog again really soon. Stay tuned! Happy New Year!

How Do You Find The Time To Write?!

Good morning, blog readers!

Because I know that people, by nature, are curious creatures, and because I’ve been asked this question countless times, I thought I would take a moment to share the answer with you.

The question, of course, is “How do you find time to write?”. I admit, it’s a great question; I mean, I’ve got four children aged six and under, I’m a stay-at-home Mom, and I’m the Acquisitions Manager for Pandamoon.

Well, the truth is, I don’t really have the time to write; I don’t get slow times in my day, I don’t get time when the twins are napping, or when my boys are at school (if I do, it’s only for a few minutes). I have to make the time. It doesn’t just fall into my lap; I’ve got to round up my Mom or my Mother-in-law to watch the kids; and in the evenings and on weekends, I rope my husband into taking over for me. I get help. Or I distract my kids with food and toys, then I settle in to get some work done.

I won’t lie and say that it’s easy, because it’s not. But in order for me to do what I love, I’ve got to put in the effort to get it done. And I do! Sometimes the dishes don’t get done, or the laundry sits unfolded for a day or two, but my kids are happy, and I’m happy.

So, there you have it; a little peek into my life as a Mom and author. Thank you of reading!

Happy Tuesday!

Absence and Author Update

Good evening, everyone! I’d like to offer my sincere apologies for my absence. It’s been two weeks since I last posted! Good gravy!

Things have been very busy with us in the Champagne household. We spent August trying to catch up on family activities since July had us stuck inside with the air conditioning. (Crazy heat wave!) In the past few weekends, I’ve gone on a girls’ trip with my Mom, Aunts, and cousins (I’ll blog about it; it was amazing), we’ve taken the kids camping, there has been a wedding, a birthday, and a family member’s house move. (Phew!) But now that September has struck, we’ve been even busier.

My oldest son (aged 6) is starting Grade 1 tomorrow, and my middle son (aged 4, but turning 5 in two weeks) is beginning Kindergarten on Wednesday. We’ve had to get school supplies, provide them with indoor shoes, get new backpacks and lunch bags, go grocery shopping (and remember to include all the lunchtime foods – peanut-free), make sure the laundry is caught up… the list goes on, I assure you.

In addition to all of the business in my personal life, I’ve spent many hours reading submissions and figuring procedures out as the Acquisitions Manager for Pandamoon Publishing. Most recently, though, I’ve been writing my newest manuscript, To Woo A Troublesome Spy. I’m proud to say that I’ve just reached 14,000 words (huzzah!). It might not seem like much, but in the last two weeks I’ve written more than I have all year (with the exception of re-writing my first novel, Love’s Misadventure). It feels amazing! There’s just something liberating about writing.

As you can see, my life has been pretty busy, but I’ve got to say that it’s absolutely awesome, and I’m very happy.

Thank you all so much for reading! I hope you’ve had a great summer. Happy Monday!

Exciting News!

Good afternoon, everyone! I’m so happy to be able to share some exciting news with all of you! I have accepted the position of Acquisitions Manager for Pandamoon Publishing! I’m so pleased with the change! It will keep me busy for the next little while, but rest assured, I will still find the time for my own novels.

This was short, but I appreciate your reading it just the same. Happy Saturday, everyone!

Author Update!

Good morning, blog readers! I must once more apologize for my absence. I’ve been neck-deep in my editing, which is due for re-submission in just over one week. I’ve still got a long way to go, so my days will be consumed with that, when I’m not taking care of the kids.

I’ve got to say a HUGE thank-you to my Mom for coming over and watching the kids for me, and to my husband who has been taking on both the Mom and Dad role over the weekends. You guys are the greatest!

On another note, I’ve also been participating in the Twitter pitch events (and am now a part of the Pandamoon acquisitions team), so I’ve been reading submissions in the evenings. It’s so much fun!

Guess what? I’ve got another blog! I’m participating in Pandamoon Publishing’s group blog! It’s a collection of posts from not just the authors, but some editors, marketing members, and more. I post there on Fridays. Please, come have a look! My last post, This Author’s Big Secret, was posted just this past Friday. And yes, I reveal a big secret.

Thank you all so much for reading! Happy Monday!

Absence Apology and Author Update

Good evening, lovely blog readers! I’m here to offer my profound apologies for being absent of late. Good gravy, it’s been a month since my last blog! I could give you all the story of the kids’ colds, the big life events, birthdays, vacations, etc. and while they would all be true, they are not good enough reasons for being remiss in my posts. For that, I am sorry.

Alas, here I am attempting to make amends. I will do my utmost to keep up with a minimum of one post per week. Some might be short, some might be lengthy, but I will always do my best to post.

As for an author update, I have completed my short story and submitted it to my publisher. I am expecting the first round of editing notes for Love’s Misadventure soon, which is exciting! Things are progressing, which feels great. I’ll post updates as soon as I can.

On the topic of future blog posts, I have plenty of ideas that I’m prepared to talk about, and most are fun with photos, so please keep in touch!

Thank you all so much for reading! You’re the best!
Happy Tuesday!