Friday, June 28, 2019

Wedding Fun Survey

This makes two days in a row where I'm borrowing a blog post idea from Bekah. Keep sending good ideas my way, friend! Since tomorrow is our 11th wedding anniversary, I thought I would fill out this fun wedding survey. You can see Bekah's responses here.

1. What's your favorite wedding movie?

Definitely Father of the Bride. I've seen that movies so many times and I cry Every. Single. Time.

2. How many weddings have you been in?

Three-ish. I was a bridesmaid for my friend Sarah and a guest book attendant for my aunt and uncle and for our close friends.
Our friends, Donny and Marika, got married six weeks before we did. I got to read the Scripture and be the guest book attendant at their wedding.

3. What season did you get married in (or would be your ideal)? 

We got married in the summer. I would have loved to get married in the spring but the last weekend in June is what worked best for everyone's schedules and we wanted to make it somewhat convenient for our guests to attend. We got married on the long weekend around the national holidays for Canada and the US.

4. Would you rather honeymoon in Europe or at the beach?

We honeymooned in Scotland and Ireland and it was perfect. We spent part of the time in a small B&B on the west coast of Ireland and there wasn't a lot to do so it was very relaxing. But we still got to see the sights in Edinburgh and Dublin so it was interesting too!

5. What is your favorite fictional wedding scene?

I don't know that I have one...

6. Where do you dream about creating a gift registry?

If we'd had a Target in Canada at the time, I totally would have registered there. We registered at Linens 'N Things (which has closed since then) and at The Bay. That was really fun! I don't know where I would register if I was getting married today -- maybe at a travel agency! HA!

7. Did you have a "something blue" on your wedding day?
Yes, I had my necklace which Dave and I had bought in Prague the summer before we got married and I found blue earrings to wear. My "something borrowed" were the hair jewels (from my friend Marika who wore them in her wedding).

My "something old" was the myrtle I wore in my hair. My great-grandma wore it in her hair on her wedding day and I think my grandma did too. The myrtle came from my great-aunt who had a plant which was grown from a cutting from the original plant. My mom brought the myrtle from Saskatchewan. I LOVED being able to be a part of this tradition :)

ETA: I realized it was actually laurel in my hair and not myrtle. Argh. Eleven years is a long time to remember details :)

8. Would you ever consider an outdoor wedding?
Dave wanted to get married outdoors but I was too nervous about thunderstorms at 4pm in late June. So we had our pictures outdoors but got married at our church. Because Dave is Jewish, we got married under a chuppah and had a Jewish and a Christian officiant.
As we left the church we had all the kids blowing bubbles at us. It was awesome!

As much as I loved our wedding day, and remember most of it, I have loved the adventures of being married for eleven years even more!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Summer "Would You Rather..."

Today is FINALLY our last day of school!!! In honour of the kids' summer vacation starting tomorrow, I decided to share this fun "would you rather." Bekah did this as a blog post last week and I thought it would be fun for our whole family to answer. You can see Bekah's responses here.

1. WOULD YOU RATHER...go one a one week vacation anywhere in the world that you want OR go on a month-long vacation, but have to stay within 200 miles of your hometown?

We all picked one week anywhere in the world. Dave was on the fence but after Googling how far we could get in 300km (200 miles), he was all about the week. I then asked where people would go.

Rachel: a mother-daughter Disney Cruise to France and continue up the "West Coast" to Ireland, the United Kingdom, to Iceland. Or I'd go back to Kenya to visit Ella and her family.


Dave: South Korea, South America, or the South of France (Do you sense a theme here?!)

Natasha: Hawaii
our family in Kenya, June 2017

2. WOULD YOU RATHER...go to the beach, but forget your towel OR go to the beach, but forget your sunscreen? 

Dave said sunscreen, Sam said towel but then he'd use Dave's (!!!), Rachel said towel, and I said towel.

3. WOULD YOU RATHER...get to have ice cream as much as you want this summer, but only have vanilla OR only get to have ice cream three times this summer but get to have whatever flavor you want?

Rachel said "Whatever flavour I want because I don't want to get sick."

Sam said, "Whatever flavour I want because I don't like vanilla."

Dave said, "Whatever flavour I want because I'm not a huge ice cream fan and I want to enjoy it when I have it."

I am the lone hold out with vanilla. I guess I'll be sick all summer! After Rachel understood that eating vanilla didn't mean having to eat ice cream every day, she chose vanilla whenever she wanted.
Us eating ice cream in July 2017

4. WOULD YOU in an Independence Canada Day parade OR host an Independence Canada Day party?

Rachel: I'd rather host the party because I'd have fun with my friends.

Sam: I'd rather host the party because it means Mom and Dad would actually be hosting it and I'd get to have all the fun because I'm too young to host!

Dave: I'd rather host the party. I'd have more fun at a party than being in a parade.

Natasha: I'd rather host the party because I like hosting parties.
Us on Canada Day, 2018

5. WOULD YOU RATHER...have the best summer ever but not be able to remember any of it OR have an ordinary summer and remember every detail?

Rachel: An ordinary summer because our summer trip will be awesome but it won't be the best so I should be able to remember it. (I love her logic here!)

Sam: Since our summers are already pretty awesome, I would rather have an ordinary summer and remember every detail. (Awwwww.)

Dave: I'd rather have an ordinary summer and remember it, because part of what I enjoy about "the best" things is remembering them afterwards so it would be too sad to not remember them.

Natasha: I'd rather have an ordinary summer because part of what makes things "the best" is being able to remember them. So if I can't remember them, are they really "the best"? And aren't the ordinary things really "the best" things anyways?

6. WOULD YOU RATHER...vacation on a deserted island OR a crowded beach?

Rachel: Crowded beach -- hopefully some people will leave because it's too crowded. (HAHAHA!!!)

Sam: I want to know how far away the deserted island is? I guess the beach.

Dave: Deserted island assuming I can be there with my family. Sam replied, "No, we're going to be on the beach!!!" Hahahahahaha!!!

Natasha: Crowded beach. Unless I can bring a lot of books and snacks to the island and I only have to be there for one day. Then I might pick the island. Sam added, "In that case, sign me up for the island too." Rachel added, "Me three. Because I'm bringing 100,000 bunnies and covering the island with them." My deserted island is suddenly feeling rather crowded :)  

7. WOULD YOU a campfire OR a sandcastle?

Rachel: Campfire, because you can roast marshmallows and eat S'mores.
Sam: Campfire, because you can eat S'mores.
Dave: Sandcastle, because it's fun to build things.
Natasha: Campfire, because I like talking with people around campfires. PS. I don't like S'mores.

8. WOULD YOU popsicles OR watermelon?

Rachel: Watermelon
Sam: Popsicles, because they're unhealthier.
Dave: Popsicles, because I don't like watermelon.
Natasha: Watermelon
Making shapes out of watermelon, using cookie cutters, 
makes eating it more interesting.
From July 2014

9. WOULD YOU RATHER...have a backyard that is a huge bounce house OR a huge ball pit?

Rachel:  Ball pit, because we already have a trampoline to bounce on.

Sam: Bounce house because I could still play baseball. (On the bouncy baseball field???)

Dave: Ball pit -- it seems like more fun

Natasha: Ball pit, because bounce houses are always hot and crowded.

10. WOULD YOU on a houseboat for the summer OR live in a tree house?

Rachel: Tree house -- assuming we can keep moving stuff from our house to the tree house.

Sam: How high is the tree house and how big is it? Tree house as long as it's not too high in the tree.

Dave: Houseboat, because I like the idea being able to take our house on a trip.

Natasha: Houseboat, because I lived on my friend's for a week and it was the coolest thing ever. Plus I got to drive it!
Yes, these are pictures of pictures. Chris and his partner lived on a narrowboat in a canal in London. You can read more about narrowboats here. Chris' boat was moored in Northolt, I think, on the Grand Union Canal. One day we drove it into Central London (if I recall correctly). It was really fun! This was a trip I took in March 2005. Dave and I also got to stay on Chris' boat for a night when we went to Europe in the summer of July 2007.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

What's Up Wednesday: June 2019

I feel like June has flown by and it's time for What's Up Wednesday again. How did that happen?!?!
image from here

What we're eating this week... We have finally gotten some summer weather around here but thanks to our cold, wet spring, our first CSA pickup of the year was only yesterday. So we'll be eating a lot of fresh veggies and BBQ over the next few months as we take advantage of all the yummy food! Our CSA farmer (and good friend) Angie introduced us to the idea of grilled romaine lettuce. We tried it out for supper last night and it was AH-MAZING! So if there is a romaine lettuce shortage this year it's because I'm buying it all, grilling it, covering it with Caesar dressing and devouring it by the truckload.

What I'm reminiscing about... Last year Dave and I celebrated ten years of marriage at the end of June. A few days after our anniversary we flew to Iceland for a few days and had so much fun. You can read about our trip here. As you'll see below, we're not doing anything that exciting this year :)
Us at Öxarárfoss -- an amazing waterfall

What I'm loving... We acquired a new table through a friend of ours last year and we've spent a lot of time around it reading, colouring, or playing. And we've even eaten a few meals on it too :)

What we've been up to... All the baseball, all the soccer, all the eighth birthday celebrating. It's been a full couple of weeks. Plus this past weekend we celebrated some special Grade 12 graduations and a Grade 8 graduation too.

What I'm dreading... I'm going to work with the kids on sorting and cleaning their rooms next week. I know I will be so happy when the process is done but it's such a chore in the midst of it. However, it's been way too long since we've done this so it's time.

What I'm working on... I've been trying to get all the big things done at work so I can enjoy some down time with the kids over the next week or so. I am squishing my work hours into the beginning of this week and the end of next so we can enjoy some free days together. Those rooms aren't going to sort or clean themselves. Ha!

What I'm excited about... Tomorrow is finally the last day of school around these parts. I can't wait!!! Also, I'm STILL excited that the Toronto Raptors are the NBA CHAMPS!!! #wethenorth #wethechamps
Dave, who rarely impulse buys, picked these up at Wal-Mart last night. Ha!

What I'm watching/reading... Well, now that basketball is finished, I've been taking a "watching" break. But that gives me time for ALL THE READING. Whoo hooo! I wrote a blog post about the books I've read over the past couple of weeks and you can check it out here. Other than that, below are the holds I picked up from the library last night so this is what I will be reading over the next few weeks.

What I'm listening to... The sound of silence. Ha! After tomorrow the kids will be home a lot more and it will get louder here.

What I'm wearing... I bought a new pair of capri pj pants a few weeks ago and I am loving them. They look so summery.

What I'm doing this weekend... Dave and I are celebrating eleven years of marriage on Saturday. We're all going to a Blue Jays game. Yay!!! And then on Sunday, we're celebrating Father's Day a few weeks late. (Father's Day almost always gets pushed off at our house because it's also Rachel's birthday weekend.) And then we'll finish the weekend off with Canada Day on Monday. Whoo hoo long weekend!!!
Celebrating our fourth anniversary at a Jays' game in 2012.

What I'm looking forward to next month... Three weeks from today we are leaving on our summer vacation. We're visiting three provinces, one territory, one state, and using a few different forms of transportation -- planes, cars, and ferries. Yay!!! I probably say this about every vacation we take but this one is going to be epic! Ha!

What else is new... I think that's about it. I've pretty much covered it all! It's almost summer vacation! Whoo hoo!!! (Can you tell I'm excited?!?!?)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Daily Photo: June 18 - 24, 2019

June 18, 2019 -- Since Rachel's actual birthday was so filled with soccer and baseball, we celebrated her birthday as a family this day. She wanted to go for a family bike ride so we headed off. I think we'll have a lot more of these in our future!

June 19, 2019 -- Sam has been playing baseball almost every Monday and Wednesday night for the past couple of months. He always comes home hungry. This day we had biked to ball and back so he needed even more energy. Chicken soup at 8:45pm for the win!

June 20, 2019 -- I was exhausted so I was in bed with a book before 7pm. Yay!

June 21, 2019 -- We went for a prayer walk along the river at a natural area in our city. This was led by a friend of mine who is offering a "forest church" experience every month. We don't make it out to many but this one was lovely.

June 22, 2019 -- Tessa graduated Grade 12!!!

June 23, 2019 -- I helped Janice host a tea for Tessa, the Grade 12 graduate, and Willem, the Grade 8 graduate. It was really fun to help prepare and to attend. Sam baked Earl Grey Tea Scones for the teatime.

June 24, 2019 -- It was the last night of neighbourhood soccer so there was a pizza and freezie celebration. Here is Rachel with two good friends from her class who also play Monday night soccer.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Finding My Reading Stride

I've been struggling the last month or so with my reading. I WANT to be reading and life keeps interfering. Also the Raptors being in the playoffs was interfering. But to be fair, Rachel's birthday, Sam's ball games, and having almost two weeks straight of overnight guests also interfered.

However, I have read four books since Sunday so I think I'm back to my regular reading stride -- with a little extra to make up for all the reading I missed. I don't know if you can relate to this but reading relaxes me. When I get enough time to read, I can feel the rest of life falling into place. When I don't get enough reading time, I get stressed and have a harder time focusing. (Hmmmm... you may have noticed that my reading/books blog label is "Addicted to Books." There may be more truth to the "addicted" part than I originally realized.) All this is to say, here are the books I've been reading lately (where "lately" is defined as the "last two weeks").
This is our One Book, One Community book and it's about teenage pregnancy in Quebec (one of the Canadian provinces) in the 1950s. It's also about how many of the babies who were given up (taken away), were eventually labelled as psychiatric patients. This was because the system received more funding from the government for psychiatric patients than for orphans/unwanted children. It's a story of loss, love, hope, tragedy, and overcoming hardships. And it makes me more grateful than ever that I was adopted and not put into the foster care system. (And this is not knocking foster care -- like everything else, it's not perfect but it's trying hard.)
When Dave and I went to see Come From Away for my birthday we had time to spare so we looked around Indigo for a bit. Indigo had a whole display of diverse books and I took pictures of the ones I thought looked interesting. This is one of those books. I feel like it's a textbook for anyone who thinks they might be trans and wants to know how to address some of the complications which come along with that. Alex Bertie tells his story and gives, what I would think, is a TON of helpful advice -- from how to tell your parents to discussions about hormones and surgeries to more. This book opened my eyes even more to all the myriad of issues trans people have to think about which I, as a cisgender person, am not even aware of.
Jenny Colgan is an author I've discovered recently and most of her books are feel good reads about women who start over -- for one reason or another. This book follows the same characters from The Cafe By the Sea and it goes deeper into some of their stories. There was a twist in this book which had me full out SOBBING at one point -- I just didn't expect it and it was so sad. I haven't found this to be the case with Jenny Colgan before so you have been warned. It's still a really good book -- just not quite as cheery as the others of hers I've read.
My blog friend, Erika, (who is now more of an Instagram friend because she doesn't blog as much -- boo), recommended this book ages ago. Our library has a three week loan period and you can renew books twice. I'd had this book once before for the full nine weeks and just hadn't read it. Then I had it for another nine weeks, and with eight weeks and four days gone, I finally picked it up. And then I. Couldn't. Put. It. Down. I started reading it late at night (after the Raptors won the NBA finals and I'd already stayed up way too late watching the game and the post-game interviews), and then I read this book for another three hours. It sucked me in. It's a story of a man and a woman who survive a small plane crash and then have to get themselves out of the mountains they're stuck in. It's also a story about love. And it is so worth reading. If I'd known how engaging it was, I would have started it the day I brought it home from the library for the first time.
So did you know that Americans sometimes have different titles than the British? And guess which system Canadian publishers favour? (I gave you a hint there with my spelling.) Yeah. So sometimes when I see a bunch of American readers raving about a book, my trusty library lets me down and I CANNOT find it. I'm looking at you My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry. Grrrr. It turns out that My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises is the exact same book. It took me forever to figure out that this is the exact same book as The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. Apparently, the original title was too confusing with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo so it's marketed differently in the States.

ANYWAYS... This book is the perfect book to read if you like twisty, what's going on here, stories. It's a mystery but really different from other ones I've read lately. I really want someone else to read it so I can talk with them about what happened. Let me know if you've picked it up.
I devoured this book in a day. It was a good read, with an unexpected twist. It's a World War II story but it's also so much more than that. Louise leaves her small British village and signs up with the women's branch of the British army. This book goes between Louise's experiences and her romance with a pilot, and present day Cara who is trying to sort her life out after her divorce. I would pick this book up because it's not your typical love story. And it's World War II in London and we all know I am really loving that time period right now. (And while I've seen this book compared to The Lilac Girls and The Alice Network I would not do that. This book was good but those books were AMAZING!!!)
I ended up reading this book quite quickly as well. The story moves between past and present. In the present Diana, Lucy's mother-in-law, has died. In the past, their relationship has been rocky. As we get to know both Lucy and Diana, and the rest of the family, it turns out that their relationship is not quite what it seems. What really happened and how is it all going to end? This book kept me engaged and I just wanted to finish it and see how it all turned out.
I heard about this book from Emily and I loved it. Like "read it in one sitting" loved it. I just thought the whole story was well done and I was not paying enough attention because the final part of the book took me by surprise. I want to know "what happens next" but maybe it's good that I don't know, because I will continue to write these characters' story in my head. And I just thought that Annika's relationship with Janice was beautiful. Yes, this is a love story but it is also a best friend story.

So that's what I've been reading lately. What should I pick up next? I mean, it's not like I have a stack of 13 books already out of the library with 21 holds I'm waiting for. I definitely need more book recommendations! Ha!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Daily Photo: June 11 - 17, 2019

June 11, 2019 -- We let both kids stay up late to watch the Raptors' game the night before. Coincidentally (?), they both woke up this day with stomachaches. Boo. However, they played really nicely together, including reading and having screen time in this fort for over an hour. Then they cleaned it up without complaining. Win-win!

June 12, 2019 -- Sam's team played against his friend's team in baseball this day. A's dad commented that this was a future Sports Illustrated cover. Ha!

June 13, 2019 -- We went shopping for some of the supplies for Rachel's Around the World birthday party. This party is so much fun but a lot of work to organize.

June 14, 2019 -- If this was a video instead of a picture, you would hear Rachel's (not so) calming hum as she took a Meditation Minute. This must be something they do at school because she didn't learn it from us.

June 15, 2019 -- This was the first year where Rachel was really helpful in getting her party ready. She stuffed all the candy in "Donk Donk," as she named her (llama) pinata. Ha!

June 16, 2019 -- Celebrating Rachel's birthday with some of our favourite people. You can see these four kids (although some of them aren't kids anymore -- gasp!) together at Rachel's birthday last year here.

June 17, 2019 -- For the past few months, on Mondays, I've been taking a picture of our back yard. However, Rachel on her actual EIGHTH birthday calls for a break in my Monday tradition. I can't believe she's eight.