A mish-mash of things

One of my very good friends, Kendra, is due to have her first baby soon. Her due date is October 30th. I’m beyond excited and can’t wait to find out whether the baby will be a boy or a girl. The parents have left that to be a surprize! Last Sunday, my sister, nephew, and I attended the baby shower. 🙂

My sister-in-law, Serena, and her husband are also expecting their first child, a girl due the first week of March.

And to continue on the topic of children, another friend of mine has a little boy J.D. who turned one year old at the end of September. While Michelle was pregnant I worked on a baby themed cross-stitch and I finally completed it and framed it in time to give to her for her son’s first birthday:


Cross-stitch for J.D.


I don’t think I posted that my husband returned from his deployment at the end of September. This is his first full week back at work, though. During his time off we bought a new car, a shimmery white 2011 Kia Forte. So far it’s been great to drive!


Our new car


Thanksgiving this year was spent at mom’s house for dinner. No turkey, but we had make-your-own pizza night, which was a huge hit!


Cappuccino swirl cheesecake bars

Ashe's first Thanksgiving (3 months old)

Make-your-own pizza


We decided that this year we wouldn’t use the oil furnace as it cost way too much money the previous winters. All summer Jordan and his friend Reg have been splitting wood. We have a good pile going outside, and the rest is kept at Reg’s place until we need it. So far I have been pretty terrible at getting the fire going in the wood furnace, but today it seems to have worked. The furnace has been going all day and it only took me a half hour of feeding logs and crumpled paper into the stove in the basement. I can’t imagine how this is going to work this winter, especially early in the morning when we need to get ready for work.

My four-year-old Samsung monitor died last night. So sad. I’ve acquired Jordan’s LG monitor, which is bigger. Since he rarely uses his desktop computer, he hooked up the spare Samsung LCD television to his own.

Like the inside of a rose *

I realize I haven’t written since the beginning of July when my nephew was born. He’s just over four weeks old now and both mother and baby are doing very well. I can’t get enough of just holding him and watching his facial expressions. He makes the funniest faces!

I never even mentioned my birthday last month. I’m 29 now, which is scary. A few friends and family members went out to dinner at The Copper Penny with Jordan and I. The food was great, like usual, and I had a free dessert.


Free birthday dessert


In other news, our Corolla is gone and we just have the truck now. Jordan wrecked the back-end of the car and bent the frame backing into a ditch. And he’ll be deploying in a few weeks. We’re not sure yet how long he will be away for.

August 1st marked our two-year wedding anniversary. 🙂

Europe – Part I

Jordan returned home from his deployment the evening of November 4th, almost a month early. I am overjoyed to have him home and I hope that he won’t be sent away again for a good long while. As I mentioned many times before, we planned a trip to Europe during his vacation days: October 6th – 23rd. It was just a fluke that he came home only a couple weeks after this! Just as I did during our trip to Thailand, I wrote in a journal each day of our Europe adventure. And once again I’ll re-create that journal here, for myself and for anyone else who wants to read about our trip. Except for the first entry in Toronto, all of the times I have listed are local for the cities we are in.

With only two and a half weeks for traveling together, we had to narrow down the cities we wanted to visit. After much thought, we decided on the following: Tüddern, Germany (basing ourselves at our friends’ home); Salzburg, Austria; Bruges, Belgium; and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. By choosing only a few destinations, we allowed ourselves to spend a good amount of time in each city to relax as well as explore.

{October 5 – 7:00 pm EST – Toronto Pearson Airport}
Dad picked me up at 3:30 pm and we drove in the pouring rain to the Toronto Airport. I think we arrived around 6:30 pm. Dad dropped me off and I brought my baggage inside: one large suitcase (filled with autumn-weather clothing for Jordan), one carry-on suitcase (filled with my own clothes and toiletries), and a big pink zippered purse crammed with two cameras, a book, notebook and pens, snack foods, passport, Euros, etc. Dad had parked at the entrance closest to the KLM counters, so once I went inside it was easy to spot where I needed to go. My flight was scheduled for 10:35 pm and I was four hours early. A woman with an Air France uniform showed me how to check in at a kiosk and print my boarding passes. Then I waited another half an hour until we were allowed to line up to check our baggage. After that it was a quick trip through security. My boarding pass says I need to be at my gate at 9:20 pm. Bought an over-priced bottle of water to drink during my wait. I seem to be the only person in the waiting area of my gate. This first flight to Amsterdam should be about 7 hours; then a quick flight to Düsseldorf, Germany, where I will be reunited with my husband! I guess I will read for awhile.

{October 6 – 12:30 pm – Amsterdam Schiphol Airport}
The flight out of Toronto left 10 minutes late. The flight itself was uneventful; minimal turbulence. I had an aisle seat. The food was alright, nothing fancy. I drank a lot of water and attempted to sleep most of the journey. The late departure meant a late arrival in Amsterdam. I was in a rush to get through Passport Control (huge lines), security, and then to my gate which seemed to be at the far reaches of the airport! The man who stamped my passport asked me if there was anything else Dutch about me besides my last name. I explained that my father was born in The Netherlands but I wasn’t taught to speak Dutch. The lines through security took forever as well but here I am, at the gate, with 15 minutes to spare before boarding! I am starving and so tired. This airport is very stuffy and warm, my throat feels very dry but there’s no point buying water when I can’t bring it onto the plane with me. All I can think is that I will see Jordan this afternoon!



{October 7 – 9:30 am – Tüddern, Germany}
Very long day yesterday and I didn’t have time to write, but here’s what went on. Once my flight was called for boarding, we were herded onto a bus and driven to our “City Hopper” plane that would be flying us to Düsseldorf. During the short 30 minute flight I was asked to complete a survey. We were served orange juice and a cookie for snack. I hate orange juice but I was so thirsty I drank it anyway. Now, this plane was very small and us passengers were crammed in together. The landing just about turned my stomach because I could feel every drop in altitude. I much prefer the bigger planes for their smooth landings! Anyway, we disembarked onto the tarmac and headed into the “Schengen” building (no passport control), away from the gloomy overcast sky. I could hardly believe I was finally in Germany! Proceeded to Baggage Claim (sometime after 2 pm), collected my big suitcase, and headed to the Arrivals hall. And there they are, Jordan and his friend Tyler, waiting for me! During the journey from the airport to the little town of Tüddern (lots of farmland, wind turbines, and sugar beets), we got pulled over by the police. Apparently there was a sign indicating “no over-taking”, and Tyler didn’t see it. I’m not sure what that even means. Anyway, Tyler ended up with a ticket, but he wasn’t really bothered by it. He and his wife have lived there for over a year now (military posting) and it was their suggestion that we stay with them for a few days. At some point, before or after that little incident, we stopped at a gas station to buy something to drink for Jordan and myself. I used the washroom as well, which cost 0.50€, but a machine issued me a ticket that offered the same amount off any purchase. Finally we arrived at their house and were shown around. The toilet is weird and I couldn’t figure out how to flush it the first time, haha! While Tyler & Tammy went out to pick up groceries for dinner, Jordan and I showered and changed. Later, while Tammy prepared dinner, Tyler, Jordan, and I sat outside around the firepit in their backyard. The weather was cloudy but not really cold, and the warmth from the fire was perfect. For dinner we had garlic chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, garlic potatoes, salad, and fresh rolls. The food was delicious, especially after all that airplane food! Rest of the night was spent around the fire. Around 11 pm, utterly exhausted, we finally went to bed. Now it’s the morning of our first full day in Germany and time to shower and change!

{October 7 – 11:10 pm – Tüddern, Germany}
Yet another long day! After getting ready and eating breakfast (cereal for me, fried egg on toast for Jordan), the four of us drove to Monschau, a quaint town untouched by the ravages of WWII. We parked outside the town and walked in. Cobbled stone streets, canals, picturesque houses and shops, but very touristy. We spent the whole afternoon walking around without realizing it. The weather was absolutely perfect, with only a few clouds, bright blue sky, and a warm sun, definitely better weather for October than back home in Ontario! We wandered through a flea market, walked down the narrow lanes, window-shopped – I ended up buying a postcard for 0.40€. In the square we sat down at an outdoor table; everyone ordered a tall glass of beer, while I had a tall glass of water. Then we moved to another table whose associated restaurant actually served food and we ordered lunch: personal pizzas for each of us. Tyler helped to translate the menu. My three years of German courses back in university helped a little bit, as well. Pizza mit Käse und Schinken seemed to be the best option and it was delicious. Jordan also ordered a side of fries. I love fries and was not disappointed in these; they were certainly better than any I’ve ever eaten. Maybe it’s because they were German? I believe the pizzas each cost 7€ and Tyler insisted on paying for the meal.



We decided to walk around some more after lunch. Found a free public toilet. Walked up some steep stone steps that eventually brought us to the ruins of an ancient castle. All this time Jordan had been munching on the fries that he stuffed into his pocket from lunch, because he didn’t want to throw them out. These came to be delightfully known as “pocket fries”, yum! Fries are always better when they’re from somebody’s pocket. lol By 4:30 pm we made it back to the truck and drove back home, stopping at the train station in Geilenkirchen first (closed). We sat outside by the fire again, drinking Caesars (which I tried for the first time) and hot chocolate. Leftover chicken sandwiches for dinner. Now it’s bedtime and tomorrow’s adventure is Maastricht, Holland!



{October 8 – 6:00 pm – Tüddern, Germany}
Woke up early this morning. First we headed over to the train station in Geilenkirchen so that we could purchase our tickets for tomorrow. Then we were on our way to Maastricht! It wasn’t a very long drive and once again we lucked out with beautiful weather. The streets are very narrow with other cars, buses, and cyclists coming at us from every direction. I’m glad I wasn’t the one to parallel park the big truck Tyler was driving! We walked around and explored the streets and shops, and stepped into the “VVV” (tourist information) to buy a map of the city. Took some photos of the ancient Third Wall of the city, walked up the Helpoort (donation of 5€), and walked down by the water looking at boats. Everything was so lovely, I didn’t want to leave! But we only had parking until 2:30 pm, so we eventually had to walk back to the truck.



We decided to drive over to see Fort Sint Pieter but it was closed. Although we couldn’t go inside, we did climb the steep hill for a great view of the fort. Very hot after this uphill walk. Getting hungry, so goodbye Maastricht, we are heading over to Sittard for some food and easier parking! Once in Sittard we sat down at a restaurant called “Luna” in the square. Ordered beer and water, of course. Jordan tried a Hoegaarden “Rose”, which looks like a girly cocktail when poured in a glass. For lunch I had a ham and cheese panini, with salad; Jordan ordered a Hawaiian panini with twister frites on the side. Our meal cost 25€ including tip. After this delicious food, the four of us walked over to the grocery store “Albert Heijn”. I picked out some salty black licorice candy, Belgian waffles, and milk chocolate sprinkles to bring home to Canada. Now we’re back at the house, with laundry on the go, and watching a movie. We’ll have to pack tonight because our train is at 7 am tomorrow morning!



***Continued in next post.

Don’t stop, just take it to the limit *

I haven’t been doing much other than working in the three weeks my darling husband has been deployed. I hear from him often, whether he’s waking me up at 7:30 in the morning to talk on the phone, or through constant emails. I miss him, but I know it’s only 6 months, and we have done this before.

I’ve been keeping myself busy with cross-stitching a baby gift for a friend, reading lots and lots of books (got to get in those book purchases before HST kicks in), and planning our trip to Europe. Jordan will be given some leave and the military will reimburse us for the cost of our travel expenses up to $2200. So I have been planning and writing itineraries and searching Trip Advisor for all kinds of information. That is the website I used to plan our 2008 Thailand trip, and I’ll be using it again this year.

As for the house, nothing has gone wrong yet. My sister and her boyfriend helped me to clean the pool. The weather hasn’t been that warm for June so we haven’t gone swimming yet.


At Stacey's bridal shower in June


Stacey’s bridal shower took place on June 13th. The ladies from work came out to Erin’s apartment and we ate yummy potluck food, dressed Stacey up in a toilet paper wedding gown, played some memory games (which I am terrible at), and chatted. It was a lot of fun to hang out with everyone outside of work!

Amy’s bridal shower was on May 15th, which I forgot to post about, so here is a picture:


At Amy's bridal shower in May


Of course, what is a bridal shower without lots of toilet paper, stickers, pipe cleaners, and tissue paper?!

Your love is my drug *

Just about all my flowers are dead. The lilac bloomed for a couple days, then died. Everywhere else has TONS of lilac, but noooooooo mine are gone already. My tulips have been destroyed by a huge weed that grew right up the middle of the plant. The phlox still looks pretty, and my lilies are getting taller but no blooms yet. My garden looks like crap already. Weeds are everywhere and I really don’t feel like doing anything about it anymore.

Jordan has been gone since Sunday. I miss him like crazy. I’ve been working a lot, but on my days off I don’t know what to do with myself. Six months to go…

Today Stacey, from work, came over and hung out with me today. We’re both the “quiet” girls, but we ended up talking for five hours and didn’t notice the time until it was 8 pm. We watched the movie “Post Grad” with Alexis Bledel; both of us liked it. I barbecued hamburgers for dinner and we ate outside at the patio table. It was a very nice day and I’m glad we got to spend some time together. It’s very rare for the two of us to have the same day off.

I cannot believe May is just about done. Less than two months to the Two Weddings. I still need my dress altered. Stacey’s shower is in a couple weeks. Then Amy’s bachelorette at the end of the month. And my youngest sister’s high school graduation. June is going to be a busy month, I think!