Aug 31, 2015

Camp Weekend

When J was a kid his church did family camp every year. For the past several years they haven't been able to do it, but God worked it all out this year and we were able to go. I don't think it was quite the way J remembered it, but it was nice to get out of the city and spend some time away from the world.

The location of the camp was perfect. It was less than an hour away from home, but it felt like you were so much further away from the city. The cabins and grounds were clean and well-maintained. We certainly didn't spend the weekend at a luxury resort, but we were comfortable and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. 

One of the neat things at the camp was the human fooseball. We had a ton of fun!

All of our usual doggy sitters were at camp with us. So after much debate we decided to take Daisy with us. She had a ball! She made new friends, and she certainly didn't lack for attention.

We spent a couple peaceful hours outside relaxing Saturday afternoon while J's uncle and cousin played and sang. 

Saturday night we had a devotion around the campfire and then roasted hot dogs and made s'mores. 

Sunday morning we were able to have our church service outside. I was worried about Daisy distracting everyone but she curled up on her blanket and slept through the entire thing. (Apparently she was tired from being up late at the fire the night before.)

The end of camp was a little bittersweet as J's youngest brother, Joseph, headed back to school in Florida early this morning. We won't see him now for about 16 months. We've already started filling a piggy bank though for a trip to Florida. He graduates in May 2017 and we're hoping to be there. 

I am covered in fly bites and have a ton of laundry, but I wouldn't have changed a thing about this weekend. I am so grateful to belong to a church that is full of members who enjoy spending time together both in and outside the church building. 

Hope you had a great weekend!

Linking up with: Her Heartland Soul, and Life of Meg.

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Aug 25, 2015

Our Vacation; Part 3 (Six Flags America)

Back in early June my husband and I traveled to Washington, DC. The main purpose of our trip was my sister-in-law's wedding in West Virginia, but since we had never traveled together (in almost 6 years of marriage) we decided to extend our trip and be tourists for a few days. Well before we left we had decided what we were going to do with our three days as tourists: see the sights of DC, visit the Smithsonian Zoo, and spend a day at Six Flags America.

Six Flags was a super fun experience. I hadn't been to a real amusement park since I was a kid, and J had never been to one. (The closest thing we have in Nova Scotia is Upper Clements Park and it doesn't even compare to Six Flags.) We went in the middle of the week so there weren't any crowds. We didn't have to stand in line for any of the rides. We rode everything at least once and rode our favourite roller coasters a couple times.

So hot & sweaty, but having so much fun!

We got a discount on our park tickets by buying them at the hotel before we left. It wasn't a huge discount, but we saved $20 US. (The exchange right wasn't quite as horrible then, but it was still pretty bad!) We ended up using our "savings" to buy refillable sports bottles. They were a bit pricey but I don't regret the purchase at all. It was so hot and all the concessions were really expensive so I don't think we would have kept ourselves properly hydrated if we hadn't bought them.

I was a little nervous about heading to the park after reading some of the reviews online, but our day at Six Flags was probably my favourite. It even beat the zoo and I loved the zoo! It was a very experience for us, the weather was fantastic, and the lack of line ups was so unexpected that we really felt like we had lucked in. Watching J's face on his first real roller coaster was something I'll never forget either!

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Aug 24, 2015

An overflowing, grateful heart

On  Thursday we announced to Facebook that we had started our adoption journey. It was something
we debated for a while. We are so so so early in the process that it felt a little like announcing a pregnancy before the end of the first trimester. And we have no idea how long the process could take. There is a very real possibility (and kind of a frightening one) that it could be six years before we have our child. However, we are so excited and I am a colossal over-sharer, so we went for it.

And we were blown away.

I've never posted anything that ended up with over 100 likes. And the comments were so unbelievably sweet and supportive. And they came from people I hadn't talked to in years, and people J has never even met. We also learned that an old friend of J's is in the process of adopting internationally. The experiences that led her and her husband to adopt are very similar to ours so we are looking forward to getting together with them in the near future. My staff, my co-workers, and especially my boss are so 100% behind us and I'm pretty sure I can already feel the prayers from our church family.

It is going to be a long, bumpy road and I know that. There are going to be mountains, there are going to valleys and there are going to be prairies when we feel like nothing is changing at all. I can't say that I'm ready for all that - I am impatient and and I am emotional - but all of the support is going to make it so much easier to bear.

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

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Aug 20, 2015

Our Vacation; Part 2 (Smithsonian National Zoo)

Back in June my husband and I traveled to Washington, DC. His sister Rachel was getting married in West Virginia so we thought we'd spend a few days in DC before the wedding. Months before we left we had basically decided how we were going to spend our three days as tourists: seeing the sights of DC, the Smithsonian Zoo, and Six Flags America. For our first adventure we decided on the zoo.

After talking to the staff at the hotel and people we knew who had traveled to DC we decided to take the Metro into the city. It was a little intimidating. I'm not from a "small town" by any means but the population of DC is pretty much double the population of Halifax so our public transportation system is pretty tiny in comparison. We were really impressed by how easy it was to take the Metro - it was actually probably less complicated than taking the bus here. We parked our rental car at the station, boarded a train for downtown and less than an hour later we arrived at the zoo.

I had a fantastic time roaming around the zoo and visit all the animals. J struggled a bit since he's still recovering from his broken leg but he was a really good sport!

As soon as we started making our plans for our trip I started talking about the
 "giant baby pandas" so of course I posed with the sign. :-)

Speaking of giant pandas!

The one picture I absolutely wasn't leaving the zoo without. :-)

This is an American Beaver, and they are much small than their Canadian counterparts.
There was a zoo volunteer by his enclosure when we got there and we mentioned being Canadian.
She seemed very surprised when we told her we don't see beavers every day back home... 

And of course, a selfie!

We definitely enjoyed our visit to the Smithsonian National Zoo. The park was clean and the staff were friendly, If you're ever in DC it's definitely something I recommend checking out. (Especially since it's free!)

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Aug 19, 2015

Sharing our Journey

I think it's fair to say that I'm going to be talking a fair bit about our adoption journey in this space. Where before my blog was a jumble of all kinds of things, I think it's probably going to be a lot about this new chapter in our lives. (And I'm probably going to blog more regularly, at least during the times there is something going on!)

J and I talked a lot about whether or not I would use this space to talk about our adoption journey. The final verdict was yes (obviously) but I will only be talking about our journey. I think Emily at ember grey said it best, I don't want to share a story that isn't mine to share. I will talk about how we got where we got, and I will talk about the process (in part because I found it extremely hard to find blogs/resources for Canadians adopting within Canada and in part because I have a feeling there are going to be times I just need to do that!), but our child will have their own story and how they share it ~ or don't share it ~ with the world will be their choice.  

Please don't think that the only thing I'm ever going to talk about is our adoption journey though! Once I get my blogging groove back I am hoping to also continue sharing book reviews, recipe reviews, and bits and pieces of my life and experiences. This is still my space, and I am still hoping to grow it.

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Aug 13, 2015

My life changed today

My life changed today.

Or maybe it was yesterday.

Yesterday we made the decision, today we made the phone call.

My husband and I have made the decision to adopt.

And when I say "we made the decision," what I really mean is that we've spent a lot of time in prayer and in discussion and we've come to the realization that we are being led to adopt.

And it feels amazing.

Other than our parents we haven't really told anyone yet. For now it's just us, until we know we're approved. (If I can keep the excitement to myself!)

This afternoon I called the Nova Scotia adoption line. I spoke to a kind woman who took our names and contact information. She gave me the basics and I was told we'll be contacted within 10 business days.

The waiting has begun.

I hung up the phone and cried.

I am scared.

And I am excited.

My life changed today.

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Jun 19, 2015

Our Vacation; Part 1

J and I just got back from 8 days in the US. J's sister Rachel was getting married in West Virginia and we decided to use the wedding as an excuse to actually go away. The town Rachel was getting married in was less than 2 hours from Washington, DC so we thought we'd spend the first couple days of our vacation being tourists before things switched to wedding mode.

Our flight from Halifax to Philadelphia was J's first time on a plane.

Getting from the airport to the hotel ended up being our first challenge. We had borrowed a GPS to use only it hadn't been completely updated with the area we were travelling. (My dad felt awful!) J talked to the guy at Budget about renting one, but he suggested we head to Walmart and just grab a cheap one to save some money. We got directions from two different people but ended up hopelessly lost before finding the Walmart. To make matters worse, it was dark and it started raining. Not just a little rain, but torrential rain with thunder and lightning. It was super scary.

We eventually made our way to a gas station where J ran in to try to get directions. The clerk at the gas station didn't speak strong english, but we headed in the direction he pointed. We ended up stopping for directions again at a Starbucks. We found a shopping centre and the first store we came across was Best Buy. It was getting late, so rather than try to find the Walmart we just ran in there hoping they'd have something cheap. The staff there were wonderful, but we definitely ended up paying more for a GPS than we planned. At that point we just wanted to find the hotel though so we didn't care.

By the time we got to the hotel we had been on the go for about 11 hours. Luckily, the staff at the hotel (the Metro Points in New Carrollton, Maryland) were awesome. They were friendly and helpful and we were checked in and on our way to our room in no time.

I am definitely missing having a king-size bed to sleep in!

Fortunately, the non-updated GPS ended up being pretty much the only hiccup of our whole trip, and things definitely got better from there. We decided to visit the Smithsonian National Zoo our first day but it's going to take a whole post of it's own.

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Jun 18, 2015

Still here!


I'm still here, I promise.

I've been absent due to a major lack of planning. I was getting ready for vacation, on vacation, and getting everything ready to go back to work after vacation,

J and I had an amazing time on our first real adventure, but I'm not sure travel is totally for me. You would not believe how stressed out I got every time we were driving in Washington (so many more people so obviously way more cars), and when we went through customs coming home. (And all we brought home were a few souvenirs and a bottle each from the duty-free store!)

I'm working on a recap of our trip and hope to share it with you soon.

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May 25, 2015

My Week in Pictures!

Not a whole lot happened over the past week, but I think it's important to document even the not-so-exciting weeks. They're definitely part of life. And a good part - I can't imagine how exhausted I would be all the time if I didn't have those weeks where I spend the majority of my evenings at home on the couch with J!

1. Our church celebrated it's 15th anniversary on Sunday so after church we all stuck around for lunch and of course some group pictures. It was great to hear some of the memories of people who were responsible for the "birth" of the church. I've only been going since shortly before J and I got engaged but he's been there since the beginning. (J's dad is our pastor, I'm not sure if I've mentioned that here before or not.)

2. One of my many purchases during my shopping spree last week. I love the way this top flows, it's very flattering. I'm looking forward to wearing it on our vacation in a couple weeks.

3. I still love these sunglasses. I wore them to church yesterday and got a ton of compliments. J still doesn't like them, but he's not the one wearing them. ;-)

4. I may not have any kids to let lick the beaters (which I totally plan on doing) but if I'm making anything with peanut butter I always let Daisy lick the spoon. I made peanut butter pie for the church potluck and it was a big hit!

5. Thursday night I just didn't feel like cooking so J and I decided to use one of our Christmas gift cards and headed to Boston Pizza for a last minute date minute. After supper we did a bit more shopping for our trip. (We splurged and bought us both a t-shirt from East Coast Lifestyle to wear when we're in the US.)

Hope you had a great week!

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May 21, 2015

Confessions of a shopaholic

I am turning in to a shopaholic. And it's not a good thing.

I guess it's not an entirely true thing either. I've gained a little weight since last summer. Enough that I don't feel fully comfortable in all my warm weather clothes. Since we're heading to Washington in (let me just check my countdown app...) 17 days I figured I needed to bite the bullet and head out shopping for some outfits that I felt good about having my picture taken in.

One of the two new pairs of sunglasses.
(J hates them, but I love them!)
I spent about $200 yesterday, the bulk of which was at Marshall's. This was my first trip to Marshall's, but it felt just like being in Winner's. I was super successful there though, and came home with a pair of cropped jeans/denim capris (I have no idea what the correct word is, all I know is they're longer on me than they would be on a normal person but I love how they fit) and four tops. Three of the tops are casual and one is a little dressier and will be perfect for a nice dinner out. I also ended up with five pairs of flip flops, two pairs of sunglasses, and four head bands from Ardene. I also bought a pair of capris from Reitman's but ended up taking them back when I found a pair of denim bermuda shorts that I LOVE at Wal-Mart of all places. (The Wal-Mart shorts were by far my favourite purchase of the day.) I grabbed a couple plain t-shirts at Wal-Mart too, I just can't pay $20 for black v-neck tee when I can get one for $7 at Wal-Mart, it just doesn't make sense to me.

The shopping continued today with two tops and a necklace at Old Navy, and two necklaces and two earring sets and Icing. (How I managed to get out of Icing with only four items is a mystery - everything was on sale for $5. One of the necklaces I bought was regular $22 and I spent $23 total including taxes.)

I was so excited to find so many things I actually felt good in! I was going to order a couple other things online but I think I'm just going to wait and do a little shopping when we're away. (I have to admit that I can't wait to check out Torrid in person - there are definitely a ton of things on the website I want to try on.)

Now, I know a good fashion blogger would have pictures of all of her purchases. But I am so not a fashion blogger! So you'll have to wait to see my purchases until I recap my Washington/West Virginia trip in about a month.

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May 20, 2015

Book Review; "Summer Rental" by Mary Kay Andrews

Summer Rental
Mary Kay Andrews | June 2011

Amazon Synopsis: Sometimes, when you need a change in your life, the tide just happens to pull you in the right direction…

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she's made over the past decade of her life. Julia--whose caustic wit covers up her wounds--has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can't hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life. And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina's Outer Banks is just what they each of them needs.

Ty Bazemore is their landlord, though he's hanging on to the rambling old beach house by a thin thread. After an inauspicious first meeting with Ellis, the two find themselves disturbingly attracted to one another, even as Ty is about to lose everything he's ever cared about. 

Maryn Shackleford is a stranger, and a woman on the run. Maryn needs just a few things in life: no questions, a good hiding place, and a new identity. Ellis, Julia, and Dorie can provide what Maryn wants; can they also provide what she needs? 

My Thoughts: I picked this book up at work on a day when I had forgotten my e-reader. Truthfully, I think I grabbed it because the main characters were all in their mid-30s and since I recently turned 33 I felt like reading something about characters my own age. (I read a lot of YA dystopian fiction, so it's rare for me to read something with characters who aren't teens.) Anyways, long story short, I couldn't put this book down. I wouldn't say it was super deep and thought provoking, but by the end of the book I felt like I really knew the characters. Their lives felt real to me. (They could have been my girlfriends I wrote about yesterday.) The setting and the situations all felt very real. Yes, things were all neatly tidied up by the end of the book, but it didn't feel contrived in any way. I definitely recommend this book for a beach/patio read this summer. I don't think you'll regret it!

The best part of the book for me though, was that it got me thinking about a weekend away with my girls. We're just trying to nail down dates now, but it looks like we'll be spending a couple nights away together for the first time in close to two decades of friendship. I can't wait!

What are you reading this summer? Anything I should check out?

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