Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Make it Vancouver!

Make it!

Last weekend some friends and I went to an awesome craft fair called Make it! We had a great time shopping and seeing all the cool, handmade goodies that were for sale. We even met a girl from Texas that worked for Etsy at their booth. If you haven't heard of Etsy you should check it out. It's a great website where you can get all kinds of unique handmade gifts by local artists. That's where Thomas got my NC necklace for Christmas this year and I love it! A lot of artists at this type of craft fair have shops on Etsy's site.

I treated myself to a few things while we were there, I just couldn't resist! Top left is a cute little bowl with a green glaze and a bird on it by Dirty Girl Clayworks. Next was a simple but unique pair of silver earrings by Marnie Burton Jewellery. I talked to the artist and she said she likes to create things that are different, but simple enough to wear every day – just my style! Next was Big Bulgin' Belly Butter by Element Botanicals. Her shop was really cute. She had a rockabilly style with tattoos and jet black hair and all her packaging had a vintage feel. When I was pregnant with Judah I used this amazing Burt's Bees Belly Balm and didn't get any stretch marks, but it's been discontinued BOO. So I'm hoping if/when we get pregnant again, this stuff will do the trick. Not to mention, it smelled wonderful! Lastly was this little, quilted change purse by Noei. I loved her choice of color and pattern combinations.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Vancouver!

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Our apartment

After our week in Cherryville we flew to Vancouver, British Columbia where we'll be spending the next three months. Everyone had told us what a beautiful city it is and they were right. The mountains can be seen from many different points around the city and there are parks and lakes everywhere. The Canadians we've met so far have kept up their reputation for being super nice.

We don't have a car so we'll be taking the bus, SkyTrain and sometimes the Sea Bus, as our main forms of transportation. When we were in Korea we didn't really miss having a car so we're not minding it so far. It does make doing some of the most basic things take a lot longer though. If you miss a bus in our neighborhood you'll be waiting another 20-30 minutes until the next one. Another difference from Korea is the addition of navigating a large city via public transport with a toddler, stroller and all his stuff in tow. No more running up or down the stairs to catch a train, it's now taking the elevator or carrying the stroller down the stairs!
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Catherine and Richard! Thanks for a great time

Last week our friend from Korea who's Canadian, Catherine, and her husband Richard came to visit. We haven't seen them in a while so it was lots of fun to reconnect and catch up! They have other family in Vancouver so we got to meet them and go out to dinner one night. We went to a Korean all you can eat restaurant downtown and it was so good! Afterwards we went to the La Casa Gelato International which boasts 218 flavors of gelato (Italian style ice cream). They had lots of flavors you'd expect like chocolate, strawberry, mango etc. and lots of flavors you would never imagine like garlic, curry and maple bacon! They let you sample as many flavors as you want so it was fun to test out some of the unique ones. I hate I didn't get a picture in there!

Another night we went with our friends to another area of downtown to try out the Canadian classic dish, poutine. Poutine is basically french fries, smothered in gravy and sprinkled with cheese curds. It sounds kind of gross but it wasn't too bad!

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Getting ready to eat poutine!

After dinner we drove through Stanley Park. There was a little section with some totem poles and a great view of the city from the lake. 

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Totem poles at Stanley Park

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View of the city at dusk

We were warned it was going to be rainy and it has been. It was also kind of a bummer going from 85 degree weather to 50 degree weather again. We're getting used to it though and always remember (after learning the hard way) to keep an umbrella on hand. On the days it hasn't rained we've tried to get out and visit some of the parks so Judah can run around and get out some energy. He recognizes the parks from the bus window now and will point and shout, "Play! Play!". He makes lots of friends on the bus by saying hey to everyone and playing peek a boo with them. Thankfully he helps us get into many conversations with people, which is what we're here to do!

Judah around Vancouver
Playing
 
One night he was totally full of himself while we were eating dinner. I'm glad I was able to catch a few of his faces on camera.

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Having fun at dinner

Another thing that's different here is that things are expensive! We love going out to eat and trying different restaurants, but we're not going to be able to do that as much as we've been used to in the past. That being said, I'm trying to cook more. One day last week I decided to try this yummy recipe from Real Simple's website. I got everything ready, spread out my sauce in the Pyrex dish, placed my shells stuffed with cheese and spinach and popped it in the oven. What in the world!? The dang thing EXPLODED. The sides of the dish literally blew off inside the oven and we were left with a huge mess and no dinner. Luckily there's a Pizza Hut across the street. :)

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Pyrex Explosion

A few interesting things about grocery shopping: you have to "rent" out your shopping cart, you have to bring reusable shopping bags because if you don't you're charged .5 cents a bag and lastly you can buy things in bulk. I tried this out the other day and got a few things.

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Shopping in bulk, grated parmesean cheese

Well, that about covers the past two weeks. We've finally gotten out of our suitcases and have settled in a little bit. We're learning our way around and are looking forward to the next few months exploring this beautifully multicultural city. For now here's a few highlights of Judah. He's so funny! At 22 months now his personality just shines and his vocabulary continues to grow. More on that later ;)

Funny Judah
Cupcake on his mouth, bed head, kissing Dada, Signing "more" and bathtime

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A week in Cherryville and saying goodbyes

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I can't believe it's been 3 months since I last wrote on our poor blog! During our time in Virginia we didn't really have consistent internet access since it was only available in certain buildings on our campus. You don't realize how nice it really is having it in your own house/apartment until you have to walk somewhere else to get it. Especially at night when the little one is in bed and you're in your pjs. Anyways! Now we're back to the land of constant internet so hopefully this thing won't be so neglected anymore. That being said, here's an update on what's been going on with us!

We finished up our training at the end of March and headed back to Cherryville for one week. Thomas's parents were able to come home from Africa and bring our nephew Christian with them. It was awesome to finally be able to meet him in person. Zeb's son is only a couple months younger than Judah and we were so excited to see how they would be together. They quickly hit it off and every morning Christian would wake up and go running through the house yelling, "Judah! Judah!" It was really cute.

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Together for the first time

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Eating Breakfast 

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Bathtime!

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Judah and his Mamere!

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Watching videos with Coco

Our week flew by at the speed of light. We were so busy packing that it was hard to really spend good, quality time with people. I was able to visit some family and we had good visits with Thomas's sister Mary, who was able to stay with us for the week, and with my brother Brent who came home for a long weekend.

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Judah with my dad, Papaw Ben and Uncle Brent

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Riding the tractor with Papaw

That Saturday, Renee's brother Jimmy and his wife Valerie had a pig pickin' at their house to celebrate David and Renee being home and also as kind of a goodbye party for us. We invited some of my family as well as a few friends.

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Christian and Judah driving GG Pa's truck 

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Proud Babu with his boys

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Us with Mamere and GG
 
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Having fun with my Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Tim

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My family

Saying goodbye to my parents was literally one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. You just can't  put into words what it's like really. Growing up I was rebellious and pushed them away, but after becoming a Christian I had a greater appreciation for how much they love and care for me and our relationship has grown very strong and deep over the past 10 years. I know we'll stay close and talk a lot over Skype. I know the hardest part is saying goodbye to Judah. He talks so much about his Papaw and Mamaw...yelling their names every time I open my laptop or pick up my cell phone. No matter how far away we are, there's no distance that can take away the love I know he'll always hold in his heart for his Mamaw and Papaw. (And of course for his Babu and Coco too! And Mamere and GG!...And all his family, geez saying goodbye is hard!)

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Mamaw and Papaw

The good thing is, my parents are going to be able to come visit us in a month so we'll get to see them again soon, hooray!