Monday, July 30, 2012

An hour just to get out the door......

A brief summary of one afternoon two weeks ago.....

I had an almost laughable afternoon.....the 4 hours I had between language class and dinner slipped away faster than I could blink.....with not much getting done....well actually, the only thing that got done was that we eventually made it to the park......eventually. Frustrated is the nicest word to describe what I was this's a glimpse at what got me to that point.....
I announced it was time to go to the park.
I went upstairs to quickly change into shorts.
Lily decided she wanted to wear a sundress instead of shorts/T-shirt, so she changed.
Kaitlyn had to change out of her princess dress-up dress into shorts/T-shirt, so she changed too.
We put sunscreen on all of us.
I filled up 3 water bottles with ice and water.
I grabbed 2 peaches for a snack on the go.
I forgot my hat and sunglasses upstairs.
The girls went to use the bathroom.
I went out back to get the Chariot ready.
The girls finally emerged and were about to hop in, when Kaitlyn needed to get something.
I ran upstairs to help her find this 'thing' she was looking for....and couldn't find it.
Lily was on her way into the house saying she wanted to color a picture for me. I said that now is not a good time.
Finally both girls were in the stroller, diaper bag packed, water bottles and a snack readily available.
The left tire needed some serious air so I called Phil to come and fix it.
We couldn't find the bike pump = Chariot out of commission.
I put the Chariot in the backyard.
The girls gathered their hats and drinks and headed for the van.
I ran inside to get the keys.
Girls hop in and get buckled up. I discover that Lily is not wearing any underwear.
I closed the van door quickly, very quickly.
I ran upstairs, got some undies and shorts and ran out to the van, unbuckled Lily, dressed her, buckled her back up and closed the door.....more slowly this time.
Cranked the Air Conditioning and floored it.....deep breaths....deep breaths.
Met up with some serious traffic trying to cross 4 lanes to get to the park.
Eventually decide to turn right, then turn around in a parking lot just down the road.
Met up with some more traffic trying to turn right out of the parking lot.
Very ineffective driving decision.
I floored it out of the parking lot, the van went 0-60km in 3 seconds.
We arrived at the park....finally.
I told the girls I needed to sit for a while by myself because I was feeling very frustrated.
I think they got it.
15 minutes later Kaitlyn ran over and I held my arms out for a hug.
She gave me a good one.
I asked her what she felt when mommy was being grumpy.
She looked at me sheepishly and said "I think you don't love me?"
My heart almost broke in 2.
I hugged her and told her I will always love her no matter what happens or what she has done or what I have done.
I asked her to forgive me for being grumpy and pouting when things didn't go as I planned.
I told her that even mommies have a hard time having a joyful heart in all situations (which we are really focusing on right now with both much for leading by example!) and that I needed to ask Jesus to forgive me and to help me have a joyful heart no matter what.
Kaitlyn nodded in approval, gave me another hug and ran off.
My soul felt light, the sun shone a bit brighter after that and turns out that we had a great time at the park.....once we got there.
Later that night, I heard Kaitlyn telling Lily that even mommies and daddies have trouble obeying Jesus, and that we need to ask Jesus to change our hearts.
Glad that she knows we are in need of God's grace, just like her.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Adventures in the Kitchen # 5: Peanut Butter and Chocolate squares

Okay, I have to admit.....I am cheating a bit on this post. I have made this dessert before.....but it was like 10 years ago, back in I figured the statute of limitations has run out on that and I can consider this recipe an adventure all over again! :) Peanut butter and chocolate together is my weakness.....and I had the biggest craving for this delish combination when this recipe conveniently  popped back into my here it is.....a totally sinful delight....

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares (no bake)

Prep Time: 7 min (plus time in the fridge to harden)
Serves: A lot of people! (9 x 13 baking pan full of yumminess)
Makes a bunch so you can share with your neighbours!
That way you won't be tempted to eat them all yourself :)

1 Cup melted butter
1 Cup peanut butter
2 3/4 Cups Icing sugar
2.5 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
2 Cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips

- Combine melted butter, peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs and Icing sugar in a medium size bowl and mix well.
- Press mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan
- Melt chocolate chips in a double broiler or in the microwave (1 min on high)
- Pour Melted chocolate over the crumb crust and spread to the edges
- Cool in the fridge for 5-10 minutes and then cut into pieces (this will make it easier to cut later)
- Return squares to the fridge to harden completely (20 minutes)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

First Visitors!!

We are happy to announce........WE HAD OUR FIRST VISITORS here in Quebec!!! David and Courtney (friends from Three Hills and fellow pilot) came this past weekend as part of their long road trip to Alabama. It was so nice to have a little reminder of Three Hills in our house for 3 days.....lots to talk about and of course......we gave them a crash course in 'survival french' (Bonjour, Comma ca va, Ou est le salle de bain? etc) and showed them a bit of the city. Who wouldn't love this beautiful city? We busted downtown once the kiddos were asleep (the couple we are living with were home just in case you were wondering!) and encountered some serious traffic because the famous annual "Festivale d'été" was happening....apparently Lionel Ritchie was performing (is he still singing??).....there were hords of people, young and old walking the streets, enjoying the perfect night temperatures, the pretty lights, and the beautiful backdrop of the Chateau Frontenac.......we stopped into a quaint restaurant called "La Creperie" (The crapperie as David pronounced it! haha) and enjoyed some french delicacies while listening to some live acoustic music (in french and english). Twas a great night, finished off with a classic Beaver Tail, which Courtney is now addicted to. Mission accomplished! :)

So many people were out and about, enjoying the summer festival.

The grand finale to an awesome night: Beaver Tails!

The Beautiful Chateau Frontenac
Looking forward to our next visitors......another chance to explore this gorgeous city.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Quirky Quebec

You know when you travel to a place you've never been before, you seem to notice things that are out of place, odd, crazy, different and very cool? I have mentally compiled such a list in the almost 2 weeks we have been living in Quebec City......some are constructive suggestions on how to improve life for tourists and foreigners such as us and others are just mere observations about this place that is so different from the rest of Canada......

1. You cannot turn right while at a red light.....seriously inefficient and a major patience testing rule!! I suggest an immediate revision of this traffic law. :)

2. Phil and I thought that we at least had the french word "Oui" (which means "yes") totally downpat before living here...turns out you need to sound like you are a quacking duck (minus the "q" and "ck" sound) when you say that word....after much practise....we are now experts at the "quack". :)

3) If you are over the age of 65, you will most definitely be in seriously good shape and participate in exercise such as biking, running, rollerblading, speed walking etc....Phil and I are aspiring to add at least one of those activities into our we can keep up with the Seniors! :)

4) The speed limit on the highways is 100 km/hour, yet no one drives faster than fact we are among the fastest drivers when we are obeying the speed is killing Phil that everyone drives slower than the speed limit!

5) Beaver Tails will never get old! Queue de Castor anyone??

6) No Frills Grocery Store is called Maxi, and Shoppers Drug Mart is called Parma-prix and good ole' IGA is the same here....and just as expensive!

7) Looking for "old" cheddar cheese in the grocery store??? NOPE!! Just mild and medium cheddar......which is probably a sign that we should investigate some of the other thousands of gourmet cheeses that French culture has to offer....YUM!

8) Everyone in Quebec that we have met (minus a few exceptions) are very eager to switch to speaking English so they can practise (after hearing our brutal accents) which is nice for us as it allows us to actually understand what people are saying.....however.....not so helpful as we are trying to practise our french!! Sometimes we continue to try to speak in french, and other times we succumb to the ease of a conversation in English.

9) People are curious once they hear us speak......not so much in the downtown area as there are so many tourists and languages present but once you step into the suburbs......people are intrigued as to why we are here....and what a great opportunity to tell them why! :) in french of course! :)

Well, gotta run.....Les Nouvelles awaits.....our homework for tonight! (to watch the news in french)

Bon Soir!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Too Busy To Write

I have been so delinquent in writing these past two months...we have been so busy and I just haven't had the mental energy to sit down and write. But things have slowed down...a little. :) We have now officially been living in Quebec City, Quebec for 1 week. We haven't really had time to sit down and let it all sink in...that we are considered 'on-the-field' missionaries now, that this is the last place we will live before moving to Chad, and that we are going to be bilingual after our time here (we hope?!). Oh well...there will be lots of time to ponder these things once we settle in...
I must admit, things are going really well...I don't know what I expected it to be like...well...maybe I see, I have not had the best experiences in Quebec thus far in my life and I must admit, those unpleasant moments had tainted my view of "La Belle Province" BUT it is not at all what I thought it would be. Everyone we have met and talked to has been so nice, and patient (as we butcher their beloved language) and helpful...but thank heavens for the GPS because helpful or not, directions in French just don't cut if for us at this point! :)
It has been humbling (once again) to see God's perfect timing and provision...when we saw our leave date, June 1st, come and go, when we couldn't find a tutor, or a place to stay in Quebec...we were wondering what to do...we knew something would come up, but when?
A quiet breakfast on our first full day in Quebec
We are here for such a short time (usually language learning happens over 1 year) as we leave in 6 months, and God knew we needed some sort of fast track He provided not only a house for us to stay in, but a beautiful Christian retired couple to live with for 2 months, like exchange students do...learning by emersion...already after 1 week, we have learned so many french words/phrases from them...we are learning in class as well as at home.
My dream toy when I was a kid....a REAL car to drive!!
ps. Lily is a crazy driver!
The couple we are living with knew of a lady who wanted to babysit our kids while we were in language studies...Monday - Thursday for 3.5 hours in the morning...she is a Christian and she is a beautiful, gentle, fun, patient person who will show love to our kids when we are away. Hopefully she will teach them some french too! (she is bilingual)
Michel is showing the girls
how to make Croissants (I LOVE FRENCH FOOD!)
Kaitlyn will be going to Kindergarten in the fall, and will attend the only Christian school in Quebec City (next closet one is 2.5 hours away) and it is 100% french! I have no doubt she will learn French faster than me! She is super excited to go to school, I on the other hand am excited for her but I know I will miss her when she is away...and I know Lily will really miss her big sister too. We have to find someone to look after Lily starting in September but we have lots of time to figure that out.
So as you can see, God has proven Himself over and over, providing just what we need in his timing.
We already have several people who are coming to visit in the summer...anyone else? :) The old part of Quebec City is like a mini Europe...with its cobblestone, skinny streets, quaint cafés and luxurious shops and hotels...Phil and I are looking forward to exploring this beautiful city...
Winding through the old streets of Quebec City....
ps. I feel that since I have started learning french, I am having a hard time writing and speaking in English....weird huh? Hope my English comes back to normal soon! :)