ENGAGED!!

Well the title sorta gave it away huh? Guess I coulda come up with a more vague one… Nah, big news can be abrupt!

Ryan and I are engaaaaaaged!

I thought maybe it might be fun to put up some blog posts now and then through the wedding planning process that has now arisen! But before that I should prooooooobably share the engagement story! (*Spoiler alert, it’s super cute)

So Ryan and I had a hike planned in the Whiteshell Provincial Park for Saturday March 11. The park is about an hour and a half away but we like to go out there when we can to do some hikes and had been trying to get a winter hike in since like January, but I don’t get many Saturdays off work. We’d also just gone two weeks ago to hike around a different area, so heading out there didn’t seem suspicious to me at the time!

We’d planned ahead where we wanted to go hike because it’s a large park and I later discovered that last Sunday Ryan had secretly gone out with his dad (never hike alone kids!) to scope the area out and pick his spot! So on Saturday we’re driving through the park and we pass a sign for one of the lakes and Ryan says, “Oh I think McGillivray Falls is just after this lake, can you keep an eye out for the sign?” (sneaky sneaky sir, you were there less then a week ago…) so we spot the area and go to turn in. Well the parking lot isn’t plowed and in a Manitoba winter if the parking lot isn’t plowed you’re not parking in the parking lot so Ryan’s going, do you think it’s fine to park on the shoulder here? Should we drive down and see if there’s somewhere to park? and I’m like, nah, shoulder is fine, we’re out of the way, it’s not busy, we goooood (He’d parked in the exact same place less than a week ago, sneaky sneaaaaky…)

So we kind of casually make our way through the hike, up alongside the frozen waterfall and Ryan is somehow subliminally directing me to his spot (I had no idea he was guiding me there haha I thought I was choosing our turns!!). So we arrive at this very pretty vantage point where you have a view out over the lake and can see the frozen falls down to the side and the trees lining the banks and it’s all pretty and snowy and everything and Ryan (who was standing behind me) says, “Look, someone’s initials are carved in this tree!”

I turned and looked and sure enough RW and BW are carved very clearly into the side of the tree we’re beside. So I was like, aww cute! (And in my head am thinking those could be ouuurrrr initials one day!  What a funny coincidence! Yes, I can take a while for things to click) But I didn’t say aloud that they would be our initials because I didn’t want to seem presumptuous, I mean, I’m a lady! Ryan says, “Like Ryan Watson and Becca Watson…” and something in his face or his voice checked me and it suddenly clicked what was happening and then he started getting down on one knee and then he propooosedddd to meeeeeeee!

And, of course, I said yes!

So there we are, our planned adventure for the day became an adventure for a lifetime!

 

A Beginner is Cooking: E is for Easy

Yesterday was not my favourite work day so today when I woke up I decided I needed comfort food. Typically that means soup and sandwiches, or perogies, one of my easy fix meals, but today I had to adapt it to involve cooking. I found a recipe for Chicken Caesar Pasta salad and chicken caesar salad is basically one of my favourite foods so adding in pasta just seemed destined to make it better!

Now I realize there’s minimal cooking involve in this recipe, I cook up some pasta which I then don’t even have to try to keep warm while I time the rest of the recipe, cook the chicken, which again doesn’t have to be cooked in time with the rest of the food as it too can cool, and make a salad. Now I may be speaking too soon but this seems like it should be a cake walk.

(This leads me to wonder where the phrase “cake walk” comes from? A google search has informed me that, “the American English term “cakewalk” was used as early as 1863 to indicate something that is very easy or effortless, although this metaphor may refer to the carnival game of the same name in referring to the fact that the latter’s winners obtain their prize by doing no more than walking around in a circle.” x)

This time when making a recipe involving parmesan cheese I checked to make sure we had it first, which we did, phew! In fact we had all the ingredients except baby tomatoes and I don’t even like tomatoes (I’m a picky eater about strange things, okay) so it worked out perfectly!

Once more I bravely strayed from the recipe (this is becoming a habit, my goodness!) I remembered that one of the commenters on the original recipe of last weeks Lemon Herb Chicken said that they liked to use leftovers on salad, a good idea! So I threw in some lemon juice while cooking the chicken like the recipe called for last time. Caesar salad is often served with a lemon slice on the side, it must be a thing!

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They say pride cometh before a fall (“they” originally being the Bible) and due to the clear simplicity of this recipe, I was bound to make a mistake. I didn’t read the recipe carefully enough and began sautéing the chicken, like was needed last week. Now I’m sure in the long run this wouldn’t have been a big deal, cooked is cooked, doesn’t really matter how, but the recipe said to grill and grilled chicken is definitely better looking on a salad! So I saved the chicken from the pan and threw together a grilling set up for it in the oven. This, however, meant I hadn’t preheated the oven, so it was a good thing that timing is all higgledy-piggledy for this recipe!

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In the meantime, I couldn’t screw up cutting lettuce and getting salad stuff ready so I did that, yo, at last, a task I can handle!

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The chicken survived, I discovered that I don’t know how to make grill/char lines using an oven and was too hungry to bother figuring it out, and made mah salad. Comfort food to the max. I love this salad. This, this is a good salad.

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Trying out Science Fiction

This semester in university I took a class called Religious Themes in Literature and we focused on C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. I grew up on Narnia so I was quite familiar with a lot of the stuff covered in the class, however we also looked at some of Lewis’ theological works and periodically, his Space Trilogy.

Now I was aware that Lewis had written a space trilogy, periodically I remembered it but never actually read it, I was always planning on getting it out from the library but never actually went to the library to get it. I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of Science Fiction books. I like shows like Doctor Who, and movies like Star Trek and Star Wars and those are pretty science fictiony, but for some reason the idea of reading science fiction seemed strange, like science-fiction wasn’t something you could actually leave up to your own imagination, but something that someone else had to create the visuals for. Or maybe I gave into the societal stigma that science fiction is “nerdy” and therefore to be frowned upon and eye rolled at, I am, however, a self-professed nerd. I think that maybe I avoiding sci-fi because somehow it was too nerdy even for me, I didn’t want to be one of “those people” who read sci-fi… (whoever those people are… Cause, news flash, they’re actually just normal people…)

For Christmas, my grandparents got me The Space Trilogy and as I have a six hour spare three days a week and not a whole lot of homework yet, I’ve been reading. I’m hitting about a book a week so far and I’ve finished Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra.

One book down. I'm really enjoying this trilogy so far, its very interesting!

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If this is an accurate representation of science fiction writing, I really like it. Out of the Silent Planet had my whole attention from start to finish, it was fascinating, unexpected, unreal yet realistic, and incredibly intriguing. Perelandra took me a little longer to get into but the last third or so I read in one sitting, I couldn’t put it down. Perelandra has very clear religious themes in it (not saying the others don’t put I think Perelandra‘s is the most obvious so far) as it talks about a creation story. Dr Ransom’s (the main character) encounter and confrontation with the planet Perelandra’s equivalent of the serpent (the tempter) in the garden of Eden was so interesting and I could probably say more about it but I don’t want to spoil things because I want you all to go read the books =D

Lewis also writes himself in the story. The main character Dr Edwin Ransom is friends with “Lewis” in the book’s world and Lewis is writing down the stories that Rasom tells him from his adventures in space. It’s kind of fun because if you allow yourself, for a moment you can believe they’re really true, that everything in the story has really happened. Lewis and Ransom discuss how to best retell the story in the books so that the audience will not reject them entirely even though they likely won’t accept them as truth and it makes you want to believe it, it makes you want to go, No, I’m not one of those people who don’t believe your adventures, I believe you! I think its true!
But it’s not.
Or is it?

I love science fiction.

I think science fiction takes an incredibly out-of-the-box mind to write, but it doesn’t necessarily require one to read it (which is good because though I’d like to be, I’m not always great at out-of-the-box thinking). The idea that someone can create a whole new world, species’, language, life out of their head is such a cool concept. I love creativity and story-telling and all the cool mediums we can use to do things!

I’ll probably be starting up That Hideous Strength on Monday during my EIGHT HOUR spare. Hopefully I’ll get a good ways in =D

This evening I went to Laser Tag with my youth group so that was fun. I went from 16th out of 20 to 13th out of 20, so I think that shows a marked improvement.

Talk to you tomorrow!
-B

PS – Things like laser tag and paintball are a great thing to do with youth groups once a year because the kids love them and the leaders get to shoot the kids without actually harming them so it’s like a great way to vent those you-annoy-me-so-much-sometimes emotions and then you can just move on with a clean slate the next week. It’s a beautiful thing…

Peter Paning for Days

Well as I’m sure you can tell, I’m fantastic at doing things regularly…! I’m not going to give up though, I think I can I think I can I think I can…

Anyway, today is halloween and I don’t celebrate halloween, our family never has (no I’ve never been trick or treating etc) but I like excuses to dress up in costumes sooooooo…

… today I dressed up as Peter Pan and went to school like that.

I had been thinking of doing this outfit but didn’t plan ahead very well so yesterday evening I quickly texted my mum as she was finishing a meeting and asked if she had a dagger and a red feather. The joy of being the daughter of someone who works with kids is that her answer was yes. So I borrowed a dagger and feather from her and a green toque/beanie/hat from my sister and I sewed a feather in my cap!

You seeing where this costume's going…? #secondstartotheright

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I had the clothes for the outfit already (in fact I’ve worn this outfit before and someone pointed out that with my hair I looked like Peter Pan which gave me the idea) so this morning I did my hair in a bun, covered it with my cap, put my dagger in my belt and was ready for school!

And now I'm ready for school! #secondstartotheright #peterpaningfordays

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Just for fun I decided to put a little bit of “pixie dust” on my nails… They did not fly. Tink must have given me the knock-off stuff… (I wouldn’t put it past her, honestly…)

I even got pixie dust for my nails ;D #whyaretheynotflying

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Anyway, I had fun and people at school seemed mildly amused by me so alls well that ends well right! ;D

If you’re out tonight I hope you have fun and stay safe!
Talk to you tomorrow,
-B

Back to Elementary School

Today we began our volunteering at the school connected to my church. I’m going to be helping in the grade one classroom until Christmas, so I’ll be doing odd jobs for the teacher, reading groups with the kids, tidying things she’s never able to get to. Basically, if it needs doing, I’m the job-doer on Thursdays. The other three interns are in grades 2, 3, 4 so we each have a class to work with until Christmas and then we might switch things up a bit or we might stay the same, we’ll see when we get there!

It was super fun! The grade one teacher is still the same lady who was my grade one teacher years ago. I remember her being much more intimidating and the classes being longer, but then, to a grade one, any teacher enforcing/teaching newish rules and expectations is intimidating and any period of time sitting down and doing something feels long soooo…. My memories might not be fully accurate! The librarian is also the same lady and I remember her being much more firm and strict than I found her to be today. She read us a story and then the kids got to choose books to take home. They still use the same method as when I was that age. The librarian gives them each a foot-long ruler and when they find a book they want to look at they put the ruler in it’s spot and pull it out and look at it. If they don’t want it, they know where to put it back, if they do, they take out their ruler and look for another book. I remember she used to have all different colour rulers and you always wanted to get a good colour!

I got to do some reading group with some of the kids. We were learning about “umbrella words” (words that make the “uh” sound, ie: umbrella, up, dug, fun, etc) so we read a book together with lots of “umbrella words” in it. It’s cute to see them so focused on sounding out “rub”, or reading “sud” as “sub”. I also organized the library during their gym and french class.

I’m looking forward to Thursdays, the kids are awfully sweet, it’s going to be fun!

Aaaaaaand it’s the roommate’s birthday today! (HAPPY BIRTHDAY DES!!) So she went home for dinner with her family and the couple we’re staying with were out for the evening so I went home for the evening. I handed out candy dressed as “The Anti-Tooth Fairy” (One of the kids said “Hi Tooth Fairy!” to me when he came to the door, so I told him that I was the anti-tooth fairy, he thought I was pretty hilarious…) and we watched Monster’s University, which I bought yesterday, as a family. (LOVE IT)

Anywho, I’m tired so I’ll talk to you tomorrow!
-B

The Wedding Trip

Last Wednesday my friend Suzanne and I left during the wee hours of the morning (okay we meant to leave in the wee hours but didn’t leave until a normal time of morning…) to start our road trip to Edmonton for our friend Aila’s wedding. I don’t have a drivers license (something I have been saying I mean to rectify since I got my leaners three years ago but don’t actually seemingly plan on doing…) so poor Suzanne was doing ALL the driving. I was being brought along (to quote myself) as entertainment and gas money 😉 Due to the only-having-one-driver thing we weren’t going to go all the way to Edmonton in one go (about a 13 hour drive straight through). So the first day we put our friendship to the test and drove 11 hours to our mid-way destination. Friendship bore through. I think. I hope. Suzanne…?

After staying overnight with some of Suzanne’s family and learning how to play Skip-Bo We drove the last 6 hours to Edmonton where we were going to be staying with some of Suzanne’s friends for the weekend. (Seriously, this girl has connections everywhere!)

Once in Edmonton we went straight to Aila’s house (-to-be?) to meet up with her and drop off some of her things we’d carted over. We stayed and chatted for a while (which was really nice because the rest of the weekend was all prep and set-up so there wasn’t a lot of time to just sit and chat).

Then, then we went to go find the house of the friends of Suzanne.

Now people, we are two nineteen year old girls. We were not using a map, but relying on a GPS and were unaware that in Edmonton, apparently there are sometimes multiple streets with the same name. Being blissfully unaware of this fact we typed in the address of the house we were going to. The GPS directed us “there” but to our dismay, we couldn’t find a house with a house number that matched up… So Suzanne started texting her friend to try and find out what had gone wrong. We found a house down a connecting street with a number that matched up and sat in the car outside like creepers while we tried to figure out what had happened. (It was during this wait that I perfected creepily rising up with your seat from a lying-down position).

Eventually we discovered that GPS had autofilled to Road when it should have been Avenue or something so we were fifteen minutes in the wrong direction. Off we went again. The GPS told us we had arrived. We decided to leave our suitcases in the car when we went to the door (just to make sure it was right, you know).

Yeah, it wasn’t.

Turns out it should have been like, Drive or something, not Avenue… Edmonton, why so many streets with similar names?

Thankfully this time we were literally less than a minute away from the right house (cause that’s not confusing, two streets with practically the same name connecting perpendicularly…)

So we arrived, told our woeful tale, were accordingly (and appropriately) laughed at, and went to bed.

Friday we went to West Edmonton Mall for the late-morning/early afternoon and then went to the camp where the wedding was taking place to set-up the chapel.

The Chapel before the set-up

The Chapel before the set-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aila was so incredibly organized that set-up went amazingly fast! She knew what she wanted to have where and everything was ready and finished to be put straight out, it was great! And once everything was set out it really looked great too!

The Chapel, set and ready

The Chapel, set and ready

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then was rehearsal. (fairly uneventful) and rehearsal dinner! Got to kind of get to know the groom’s family and friends a bit better (they’re mostly from Edmonton, the Bride’s gang was mostly from Winnipeg) and got to know a couple of the bridesmaids who I had’t known as well a bit better so that was fun!

Saturday was another trip down to West Edmonton Mall, this time with the bridesmaids! Some shopping was done (as is customary in shopping malls) but WEM isn’t just any shopping mall… It’s a shopping mall with a Sea Lion tank and shows, a probably-pretty-close-if-not-actually-full-sized pirate ship in water, a full water park with slides and a wave pool, and, the crowning glory, a full amusement park: Galaxyland.

Now on Friday I took Suzanne on a gander through Galaxyland because we wanted to go on some rides. I know that I love roller coasters and I’ve been to Galaxyland before but Suzanne had never really gone on any big roller coasters, certainly none with loops. My goal was to get her onto the “Mindbender”, the world’s largest indoor triple loop roller coaster and the first roller coaster I ever went on that went upside-down. This was the roller coaster that started me on all roller coasters.

The "Mindbender" roller coaster in West Edmonton Mall's Galaxyland

The “Mindbender” roller coaster in West Edmonton Mall’s Galaxyland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We bought day passes (cheaper then individual tickets) and started slow. The swings. Height, speed, but no feeling of danger. Then a small roller coaster. A mini pull-you-up-and-drop-you (think really mini Tower of Terror without the story aspect). A slightly bigger roller coaster which was a hit! Riding off that adrenaline I got her onto the full-sized Drop ride “Space Shot” (120ft high so not too shabby)

Our on-ride photo from the "Space Shot"

Our on-ride photo from the “Space Shot”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That one wasn’t such a hit. She didn’t hate it, but she certainly didn’t enjoy it much. We did a few smaller coasters and rides to “recover” and then, then it was time to try the “Mindbender”.

I managed to convince, coax, and reason Suzanne onto the ride. As soon as we were strapped in the the car started moving I heard her shout “Becky, what have you done?!” to which I laughed.

Guys, she loved it! Closed her eyes on the loops but hey, I totally do that too sometimes and I have been on quite a few upside down roller coasters. She can now say the first upside down roller coaster she ever went on was the world’s largest indoor triple loop roller coaster. And now, she’s fully ( /overly) prepared for her upcoming trip to Disneyworld!

After the adventure at the amusement park we booked it back to the camp to help set up the reception hall. We got decorations that couldn’t have been made earlier made-up, tables placed out and set, candles organized, the boys strung up the lights, it looked great! It was a very rustic theme. Burlap runner on the tables, baby’s breath flowers as centre pieces, candles everywhere, mini homemade chalkboards as table numbers! I loved it, the little details were wonderful!

The Reception Hall set and ready

The Reception Hall set and ready

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day, Sunday, was Wedding day!

The friend Suzanne and I were staying with is really good at hairstyling and nails and stuff so she graciously offered to do our hair and nails for us in the morning before the wedding which was fun! Then we raced off to the camp!

Suzanne was doing guestbook stuff and I was lighting all the candles before the wedding and then the reception (we arrived a bit later than we’d hoped so one of the bride’s younger brothers had already started on some of the candles) but soon we were ready and then WEDDING!

It was a lovely wedding, Aila looked gorgeous in her dress! They had each written their own vows which were so sweet and you could just tell that everyone was so happy about the wedding. it was just so right =)

The new Mr and Mrs

The new Mr and Mrs

Then was the reception where none of the speeches went too long or were boring and few overly embarrassing stories were told. There was a meal, a dance, and then the new couple was sent away through a tunnel of sparklers.

First dance

First dance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a wonderful wedding, Josh and Aila, I wish you two all the best. May God bless you richly in your life together!

 

Monday, Suzanne and I packed up the car again and were off. We went through Calgary to go to the Zoo. It was damaged in the floods this year so it was only partially open but it was still fun and we got to see quite a few of the animals out and about.

Tuesday was another 11 hour driving day to which I think our friendship stood the test (Suzanne?) and then we were home. Aila was married. Holidays were over. Back to the grindstone.

It was a great trip. Suzanne, thanks for putting up with me and not kicking me out of the car on the side of the highway somewhere. Aila, thanks for inviting me to your wedding and letting me help out with set up and stuff. It was really nice to be able to get involved. Suzanne’s family and friends, thanks for letting me stay in your houses even when I didn’t know your card games or was allergic to your cat. Good week, would do again.

-B

Back home!

Home safe, the wedding was lovely! Somehow driving all day made for a more exhausting day than any of the others so…that’s fun. 11 hour drives through the prairie aren’t the most excited but Suzanne (my friend who I went down with) and I had fun! I may have gotten her hooked on the tv show “Leverage” =D

Congrats to Aila and Josh on their wedding on Sunday! It was lovely you guys, may God bless you in your marriage!

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Talk to you tomorrow!
-B