Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 78 - October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We decided to hit the road early and get a head start on our long trek across the country. We made it 4 and a half hours out of L.A. before exhaustion set in. We are spending the night in Needles, CA, just west of the New Mexico border. The motel we're in looks a little like something out of "Psycho" so wish us luck this Halloween night! Too tired to load a picture to post. Maybe tomorrow. Sweet dreams, my friends and happy Halloween!

Day 77 - October 30, 2009

sweeter than peaches

How sweet is this little face?

I have looked up to this sweet face since the day I was born. One of the greatest blessings in my life is my sister, Stephanie.

I wish with all my heart that I could be home to celebrate her birthday today, but unfortunately that is going to have to wait a week.

Happy birthday, sweet sister! I love you, Steph!

P.S. Tell Micah he can have my piece of cake.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 76 - October 29, 2009

A day of packing, cleaning, laundry, and errands. Sorry, no time to write.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 75 - October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 74 - October 27, 2009

There are two kinds of people. There are those who dive right into a pool and those who creep in inch by inch. I’m a creeper. There are those who rip the Band-Aid off in one swift move and those who take their time, pulling hair by hair. I’m a ripper, especially when it comes to ripping off someone else’s Band-Aid, which Greg painfully learned a few weeks ago. There are those who wake up and immediately begin to tackle their to-do list and those who procrastinate for days, watching their list get longer and longer. Normally, I’m a jump-right-into-it sort of gal but lately I’ve been procrastinating.

The dishes remain in the cupboard,

The clothes remain in the closet,

And the pictures remain hung on the walls.

I have been dreaming of going home to my family and friends for months. I have been counting down the days in anticipation of the day we would get in the car and drive, knowing our destination was home. But in the last 10 months, this tiny apartment has been our home. The streets we walk along in the evening and the swings on the beach where we sit and talk about our day; these are the places we’ve called home. So, as much as I am overjoyed to see our families again, I am sad to leave this place.

There are those who welcome change with open arms and those who resist it (if only for a moment) even when the change is so so sweet! Can you guess which one I am?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 73 - October 26, 2009

A trip down memory lane...

I was looking back at some old photographs yesterday and realized that 2 years ago today, my wonderful husband, Greg, proposed to me. It was right out of a fairytale. From the candlelight and flowers to the soft music and getting down on one knee, Greg thought of it all and surprised me with a night I'll never forget! Enjoy a few pictures from my trip down memory lane!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 72 - October 25, 2009

Psalm 126: 3

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 71 - October 24, 2009

Once you go Mac, you never go back!

Look who has a new friend?


That's right, people. We finally converted my husband to Mac.

Welcome to the family, MacBook Pro!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 70 - October 23, 2009

So-juicy-you-got-to-eat-it-over-the-sink news!

I have some BIG news to share. I would even go as far as saying this news is HUGE. I’m not kidding. This news is so juicy you got to eat it over the sink! Okay, okay, I’ll get on with it, but first a little guessing game. I’ll give you a couple hints.

Hint #1:


Hint #2:


Hint #3: This one just plain gives it away.


Guess who just got hired by Walt Disney Animation Studios? My incredibly talented, hard-working, and deserving husband! That’s right, my blog friends, we’re going to Disney!!

In January, we will be moving to Burbank, California, also known as “the valley” for those of you who watched “Saved by the Bell” and “Sweet Valley High” growing up. Yes, my friends…I will be a valley girl! I am thrilled that Greg will be working on “Rapunzel.” Finally, another Disney princess! The movie is scheduled to be in theaters for the 2010 holiday season.

Greg is in shock that his dream to work for Disney has come true only 3 years into his career. He never expected to achieve this goal so soon but our families have believed in his talents and abilities from the beginning and are not surprised that Disney would want him on their animation team.

Once again, I am so proud of Greg and so thankful to God for this opportunity in our lives. A few months ago, we wondered whether Greg would even have work in the New Year. We stressed over where we would live since we are being kicked out of the U.S. in a week and our home in Canada is being rented out. We wondered what that would mean for us financially. We prayed long and hard for some answers, all the while trusting that God would open doors and guide us in the coming months. We are thankful for and elated by God’s grace.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 69 - October 22, 2009

Neighbour Drama!

I haven’t had the greatest luck with neighbours over the years. It all started when I was 5 and we moved into a quaint blue and white house with a white picket fence on a very family-friendly street. My parents were thrilled to have found a home that had enough indoor space for their 4 children to roam as well as a large yard with a tree house in the back. My siblings and I spent hours after school and on weekends rollerblading on our driveway, camping in our playhouse, playing baseball in the backyard, and turning our upside-down bicycles into a cheese factory on the front lawn. We had quite the imaginations!

One day, my father decided to put up a basketball net on the right side of our driveway. We would play day and night and, occasionally, the ball would hit the rim and bounce over the neighbour’s fence. Either my brother would man-up and climb the fence to retrieve the ball or we’d attempt to lift the basketball over the fence using hockey sticks. On one occasion, my little brother, Matthew, who was no more than 7 or 8-years-old at the time, was outside playing alone when the ball went over the neighbour’s fence and hit their house. Before he could even think of climbing the fence to get his ball, Mrs. F (a 60-something year old woman) was standing in front of him with a butcher knife in one hand and his basketball in the other. With a painful stab, Matthew watched Mrs. F puncture his basketball and proceed to throw the deflated ball at him along with an endless list of profanities. The stories our family could tell about these neighbours are endless. Lucky for us, they have since moved and were replaced by a lovely couple.

Greg and I bought our first home together almost 2 years ago. The home is located on a beautiful tree-lined cul-de-sac. From the day we moved in, we have felt very welcome in the neighbourhood. Kids ride their bikes and play hockey on the quiet street and neighbours wave and stop by to chat while working in the garden. We thought we had the perfect neighbours until last fall when the leaves on our maple tree began to fall to the ground. I came home from work one day to find that our neighbour had raked all the leaves from her yard onto our property. I guess she assumed that since the leaves came from OUR tree, they were our responsibility, even if they were in HER yard! I was so frustrated but bit my tongue and bagged her leaves.

This fall, while we’re here in sunny California, our tenants are dealing with our tree-obsessed neighbour. I recently got an email from our tenant letting us know that our neighbour wanted the tree removed because the leaves were filling her gutters. I responded with a firm NO! Then last week, I hear that she hired a company to trim our tree and cut all of the branches on the right side down to the trunk. I am hoping our lopsided tree will fill in a little bit before we move back into our house in the next couple of years. Is it terrible that I’m praying they move while we’re out of the country?

Here in L.A., we were blessed to have wonderfully quiet neighbours for a whole 9 months. About a month ago, a new set of neighbours moved in. I spent most of the afternoon they moved in looking out the peephole of our apartment door. Don’t judge me! You know that you’d peer out your front window if you had neighbours moving in across the street and trust me…if you lived in an apartment with paper-thin walls, you’d want to know who your neighbours were too. So anyway, our new neighbours are right out of a soap opera. The guy is always shirtless. I have never seen him with his shirt on. I am coming to wonder whether he even owns a t-shirt. We call him naked Justin-Bobby since he resembles the MTV reality star, Justin-Bobby. His girlfriend’s name is Paige. We know this since he is constantly yelling her name. They fight all the time and have broken up at least 3 times since they moved in. The latest break up happened yesterday afternoon. I was going about my daily routine when I hear Paige yell, “You’re always [fooling] around on me. I can do so much better than your 18-year-old [bottom].” You can imagine the actual words they used. The fight went on for more than an hour and included more profanity and door slamming than you see in a raunchy VH1 show. The fight ended once again with Paige moving out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she showed up begging for forgiveness again tonight. Stay tuned!

I am more than ready to leave our neighbours behind in just over a week, although I am considering leaving a written word of warning to the unsuspecting tenants who move into this apartment. They are in for some serious drama!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 68 - October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 67 - October 20, 2009

Since my time in L.A. is coming to an end shortly (I’ll fill you in on that someday soon), I thought it was time for another installment of “You know you live in L.A. when…,” so here goes!

You know you live in L.A. when…

The coupon books you get in the mail are 90% filled with ads for weight loss drugs, Botox, laser hair removal, collagen treatments, liposuction, and other plastic surgery procedures. No wonder so many in Hollywood have body image issues!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 66 - October 19, 2009

The hills trees have eyes...


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 65 - October 18, 2009

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 64 - October 17, 2009

Happy Sweetest Day!

I have been waiting for this day since I flipped our calendar on October 1st. According to our American calendar, today is the Sweetest Day of the year.

Being Canadian, I have never heard of the Sweetest Day. I did a quick Google search and found that today is a day to spread love and cheer. This day is celebrated mostly in the Midwestern United States but I really think I should bring the day back to Canada when I leave. Some think of today as a “Hallmark holiday” similar to Valentine’s Day. Personally, I think that there should be more than just a few days a year that we spread love to those around us.

All throughout high school, I had a verse taped to my mirror where I would see it every morning. It was a quote from Mother Theresa that read,

Spread love everywhere you go:
first of all in your own house.
Give love to your children,
to your wife or husband,
to a next door neighbor . . .
Let no one ever come to you
without leaving better and happier.
Be the living expression of God's kindness;
kindness in your face,
kindness in your eyes,
kindness in your smile,
kindness in your warm greeting.

I find myself reflecting on this verse often. I made a promise to myself the day I first read it, many years ago, that I would try to live my life out in this way; spreading love and happiness to everyone I come in contact with. This is not an easy task and I don’t claim to speak or act with kindness all the time…just ask my husband, but I do try. Right, honey?

Anyway, back to this Sweetest Day. What better way to celebrate today than with a sweet recipe! Sweet Marie Bars are one of our family’s favourite desserts. Every time I make or enjoy these, I think of my sweet Grandmother, Anne Marie. This is such a quick and easy recipe that requires no baking. And they are so delicious! My husband took them into work the other week and I’ve been handing out the recipe ever since! Enjoy!!

Sweet Marie Bars

Bars:

4 cups Rice Krispies

2 Tbsp melted butter

1 cup peanuts

Mix together in a large bowl.

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1 cup peanut butter

(I am a Kraft peanut butter gal, born and raised, but I can't find it for the life of me here in the USA so I had to settle for Jif...sigh)

Mix together in a separate microwavable bowl and melt in microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Add to first bowl.

Press into a 9x13 inch pan.

(I halved the recipe and used a 8x8 inch pan.)

Topping:

1½ cups chocolate chips

1½ Tbsp butter

Melt in microwave on medium for 1 minute.

Stir in 1½ tbsp. hot water

Spread/pour over bars.

Refrigerate until chocolate has solidified.

Cut, serve, and enjoy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 63 - October 16, 2009

Do you ever get emails asking for prayers for friends or family members? Do you ever read blogs that invite you to pray for a family in need? And do you except these invitations? Many of us, when asked to pray, say, “Yes, I’ll pray” but then don’t know what to pray for. Do you find yourself struggling for the right words to give voice to their needs?

Have you ever wondered if you don’t word your prayer correctly or remember to include all the day’s prayer requests, whether the message will get through to God? As a child, I remember saying my prayers before bed and making sure to thank God for every family member by name. I would pray that God watch over each of my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents individually so that God wouldn’t forget about any of them. I feared that if I left someone out and something terrible should happen to him or her, it would be because of me. I felt a lot of weight on my young shoulders but that weight was lifted when I heard this verse. “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord” (Psalm 139:4). This verse has helped me to know that God knows what is on my tongue and in my heart before I utter even one word of prayer. I have come to realize that God doesn’t need me to explain to Him how to take care of things down here. So, when I have difficulty finding the words to pray, I am reminded of this and I trust that His plan for our lives is far greater than anything we could imagine.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 62 - October 15, 2009

Colour!

I am in love with colour! You probably wouldn’t be able to tell by my wardrobe because about 70% of it is black, white, or grey, but I love colour. One of my favourite things to do is to go to any paint store and look at paint chips. I could spend hours admiring every shade of blue or red or green. I can get lost looking at all the variations of white there are. I am a huge fan of white and envision, one day, standing in my white dream kitchen. I know it’s not practical, especially with the number of little ones I imagine running through the house, but boy oh boy, do I want a white room.

The other week, I took a trip over to Restoration Hardware in Santa Monica. For those of you who are unaware of this store, it’s an incredible home furnishing wonderland. They carry lighting, furniture, bed linens, home d├ęcor items, and so much more. As my grandfather says, “If I were a rich man…”, I’d shop here. So anyway, I had heard from a friend that Restoration Hardware carries a gorgeous paint collection that I just had to see for myself. Check out these colours!

Beautiful, aren’t they? I was in paint sample heaven! I love to look at a colour and imagine it some place special. On the arms of a newly reupholstered chair or on an antique dresser. In my baby’s nursery or on my kitchen cabinets.

Isn’t it also interesting how our colour choices change with the seasons or even where we’re living at the time? In the fall, I am always drawn to the spicy orange of pumpkins and the deep, rich red of falling leaves. Here in California, although fall has arrived, I dream of the clear blue of ocean and sky and the warm yellow of sand and sun.

And don’t you just love the names of paint colours. Latte, silver sage, buttermilk, shore, saffron, sand dollar, and linen.

Benjamin Moore has some of the most creative names out there. Pennies from heaven, you are my sunshine, hugs & kisses, simply irresistible, and happily ever after! How could you not love walking into a room whose walls are painted in hugs & kisses? I can’t wait to get back to our home in Canada and repaint every wall in the most delicious and heavenly colours! Do you have a favourite paint colour?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 61 - October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday at the Zoo...