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Friday, July 30, 2010

It's a Done Deal

We're finished!

Our training here in Vancouver, Canada, finished on Monday and we "graduated," on Tuesday!

Tuesday and Wednesday we said all of our goodbyes to all of our friends. :(

And really, it was just on Tuesday, because by Tuesday afternoon, around 3 pm, my annual summer head cold arrived in full force.

Just in time for our first day of vacation, right?

I spent most of Tuesday, Wednesday, and an inebriated {Via Nyquil} Thursday in bed. I awoke from my medicated stupor at 3 on Thursday, only to realize that all of our buddies, from 6 months of training were gone.

I'm pretty sad about it.

But, I am finding ways to fill my time, including intense cleaning.

So far, I've vacuumed, swept, mopped, washed the windows and our front door, done several loads of laundry and dishes, cooked, baked, and sanitized our trash can (I know, I'm weird.)

Then, today topped it all off when I decided to lop off my hair.

And I really mean I decided to lop off my own hair.

As in, I cut it myself.

Goodbye four inches!

It's the shortest it's been in over 5 years!

All because I saw this picture on facebook of me:

And I decided, when your hair looks like it could also be your beard, it's time to chop it.

It's too short right now, and I don't like it at all, but I know that it will grow back quickly. Plus, at least for the first couple weeks in the desert it will be short and manageable!

2 Weeks and 5 days until the big move....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vancouver Happenings

We keep ourselves pretty busy up here in Vancouver. And with only 3 more weeks left (Can you believe it?!?) we are trying to get as much done as possible!

Here is a catch up on some of the mish mash of things we have done in the month of July:

{And, on a side note, can you believe the month of July is almost over? I'm totally shocked.}

First up, near the beginning of the month we got to go to the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. This was just one of dozen of venues and over 300 concerts over a two week period! There were a TON of free concerts but we were only able to make it to this one:



Then, I hosted a ladies night out at our house one Saturday night, with plans of watching a chick flick and teach a few of the women how to crochet. I picked up a bunch of the supplies ahead of time and just loved how beautiful all of the colors were:


This wasn't really an event, but we have been making alot of homemade Popsicles! Usually I just puree a bunch of fruit that might be a little overripe and through it in the Popsicle molds. This time, I used a can of frozen limeade concentrate layered with strawberry puree. Yum.

Then, about a week ago, we had a ladies brunch with our work to talk about the end of our training and any fears/apprehensions we have with moving overseas. I just love spending time with these ladies!



For the brunch I made this awesome Lime Infused Coconut Bundt cake, which looked beautiful, but I need to tweak the recipe a little more to make it moister. Any tips?

And then there has been our kitten adventures. I have named them Samson and Delilah (poor unfortunate Delilah.) All of our neighbors are feeding them and it has become quite the bonding experience, haha. The kittens are still really skiddish of humans but are becoming a little more bold.
And finally, we got to see the kids of our training group get their handprints on the tree on the wall in their classroom. It really made me sad knowing that I won't see these kids for a long time, if ever again.



Monday, July 26, 2010

The Kids Are Back in Town

This past weekend, Ian and I offered to watch our fellow trainee's kids. First up, was a family with four kids, ages 6, 5, 2, and 1. We picked them up at noon on Friday and headed to the Granville Island Splash pad.

We had a great time out in the sun, and soaked up all the warmth that we could!

My favorite moment was when R (above,) was singing "like a pop star," like most little girls do, ie: they think they sound WAY better than they really do! and Ian was all "what IS she doing?!?" I got to explain to him that this was what little girls do. hahaha




Then, because the kids were going to spend the night at our house, Ian hopped off the train to pick up a pack and play from our friends while I took the kids to ToysRUs to pick up stuffed animal for the baby, because hers hadn't been packed.

What do you call these things? Our friends called them loveys or woobies. I have no clue why, haha!

We watched a movie, had a picnic, and then made the camping tradition of Banana Boats, or banana s'mores (banana, still in its peel, sliced and stuffed with chocolate and marshmallow then wrapped in tin foil and baked for 5-10 minutes. Yum!)

The next morning we took it easy, made homemade blueberry muffins, and watched another movie, before hopping on a bus and heading out to an indoor wave pool/splash pad!





(below is the face that C gave me every time she got water in her eyes/mouth! It cracked me up!)
We took the kids back to our house, ordered pizza, and got them bathed and changed before taking them back to their house about 8 pm Saturday night.

Saturday morning, we picked up our other friends' two little girls and headed back to the Granville Island Splash Park.


At the end of the day, we took them back to our place for dinner and baths where we picked up our other friend's baby boy J. Ending our entire children filled weekend about 10 pm on Sunday. Crazyness.

A weekend full of babysitting really revealed our future parenting traits. We realized that we are strict disciplinarians, much like our parents were. That doesn't mean that we don't love hanging out with the kids and planning fun things to do together, it just means that we expect immediate respect and obedience! We also realized that it will probably be a battle for us both in this respect: I am much more strict than Ian is, but I don't want to be seen as the disciplinarian, I want it to be balanced. So I expect Ian to step in and discipline much more than he thinks is necessary. Yup, all this learned during this weekend!

Favorite Picture from this Weekend

'Nuff Said....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Highlights of the Nights

We've been keeping ourselves pretty busy around here, especially once the sun goes down!

Monday- The Cats

Ian was gone for the afternoon and evening so I spent the better half of the day home alone. Around nine, I noticed a small black kitten out on our porch. I walked outside and he ran away (boo) but ten minutes later, he was back, along with another one! Every time I would walk outside, they ran away, so I finally followed them and figured out they were living/hiding in this big planter outside!

I put out a saucer of milk and spread a little bit of canned chicken out on the ground.

And excitedly called Ian.

He was on the train so it was a little hard to hear, but the conversation went something like this:

B: Hi honey! Guess what?!

I: My computer arrived?

B: Noooooo. Guess again!

I: Um, you made cookies? (he knows me so well!)

B: Noo. You Ready for this? I found KITTENS!

I: NOOOOO!

B: YES!

I: Well, whatever you do, don't feed them!

B: What did you say honey? I just fed them! They are SO cute!

hahaha, poor Ian. Luckily my neighbor knew about them as well and has been feeding them for a couple of nights already.

Plus, I don't like cats, so, you know, they are probably better off.

Tuesday- Toy Story 3

Well, there's really not much to say about this except the fact that I am a little ashamed by the fact that I teared up at the end. Makes me want to pull out my American Girl Doll and tell her I'm sorry!

Wednesday- the Celebration of Lights

I have been waiting for this festival for FOREVER. Since probably last December. So it was finally upon us. A fireworks competition between four countries, spread out over two weeks (Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday.)

And since the sun doesn't set until 10, that's when the competition started.

So we headed out at 7:30, commuted downtown for an hour, then walked for almost 30 minutes. I tripped on a brick and had a classic wipe out, and my knees and hands are still stinging from the concrete. But finally we made it down to English Bay, where there were swarms of people.

Seriously, folks. I've been to Disney on holidays and during Spring Break, and that doesn't even hold a candle to the masses of people descending onto the miles of beaches last night.

We bravely staked our claim and waited the 45 minutes until America did their presentation, called In the Mood, set to Big Band music of the 40's.

It was pretty cool, but I was not prepared for the exit that we would have to make. We were so smooshed that, at one point, you could literally not move. People on all sides of you, touching all side of you, with no room to rotate your head or move your toes 2 inches forward. It was crazy.

You can read about it yourself HERE

In the end, a pretty fun week. I'm loving the extra time we have right now to do some fun stuff!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

4 Weeks...

Today Officially marks the four week point until we can get on a plane and GO!

And I'm sure that I've been doing this countdown for about 16 weeks already, but I am just so excited to get on to the plane that will take us on the journey we've been thinking about for so long.

This has been a really long process but we are so blessed to be doing exactly what God wants us to do in exactly the right place.

When we land in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in a little over four weeks, we'll stay with our boss for a night or two while they give us our orientation, then we'll drive a little over two hours to our new home!

We'll be studying Arabic for two whole years. But that's two years I want to cherish every moment of. We'll be working on becoming fluent in Arabic and we'll be surrounding ourselves with the culture of the Middle East, diving head first into learning the "how's," and "why's" of cultural expectations.

But before any of that can take place.... I have to get through these next four weeks!

I've started an extensive list of what needs to be done/seen/completed/bought before we step foot in that airport. I'll revisit this list in two weeks and then right before we leave. So for your reading pleasure:

Brittney's "Can't Wait to Get on that Plane," To Do List Extravaganza 2010

Things to see and do in Canada:

Victoria Island

Ride Bikes around Stanley Park

Kayak in cove

Ride to UBC and see the Pacific

Grouse Mountain and the Grouse Grind

Celebration of Light- Fireworks competition

Bard on the Beach

Whale Watching

Things To Do:

Finish book 5, 6, and 7 of the Anne of Green Gables Series

See Inception- Everyone is raving about it!

Finish Lesson One on Rosetta Stone

Read Radical

Listen to 100 hours of Arabic

Finish Crocheting scarf-give as gift

Read 3 books for Seminary and write papers on each

Video Chat (Skype) with as many family members and friends as possible

Mani/Pedi/Hair Cut

Things to Buy:

Me- Khaki Pants, Black Flats, Clinique Products, Enough Mousse to get me through a month, and 2 Bible Studies, Photoshop.

Ian- Flip Flops, Sunglasses, Wallet, Microsoft Office (for his new computer,) Khaki Shorts, and Khaki Pants

That's all! Hopefully I can get it all accomplished amongst good byes and other work things!

Monday, July 19, 2010

{My} Miscellany Monday

This is my first time participating in Miscellany Monday and I'm pretty excited about being able to be as random as I wish!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{One} We went to a minor league baseball game last night and had an awesome time. 1 dollar A&W Root Beer Floats, hot dogs, and the Canadian anthem alongside of the American anthem, haha! Plus we won, which always makes things feel better.

{Two} I'm really into watching Friends lately. I'm embarrassed to admit, but I have all 10 seasons on DVD and I'm trying to watch them all before we move. We don't want to buy a tv right away, so that we can focus on language learning so I'm getting my fill now! My favs? The one where Phoebe runs like a maniac and where Ross teaches the concept of Unagi.

{Three} Ian's computer (that I did NOT nag him to get!) is being delivered to my folks in Nashville today! That means he'll have it in his possession in the next week or two!

{Four} Four weeks until we move!!!! I'm so excited!

{Five} I'm on book five of the Anne of Green Gables series. They've become alot more narrative and I miss the humor and fast pace of the first 3. Boo.

{Six} Six is how many kids we'll be watching next weekend. Four overnight from Friday to Saturday evening, and two on Sunday! We're super excited to spend some time with some of these kiddos before we all move to all corners of the world!

{Seven} We had a HUGE multicultural festival one block away this weekend. Food that was consumed on our behalf? Fishcakes from Barbados, Jerk Chicken and Pina Colada Smoothie from Jamaica, Samosas from Kenya, Pork Skewer from Vietnam, Curry from Sri Lanka, and Deep Friend Mars Bar from India. haha! It was delicious!

{Eight} I just ate blueberries with milk. I feel like Benny from the Boxcar Children. It was great. I loved those books!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Images/Memories

I've been using my free time (what little there has been lately,) to weed through my picture folders on my computer.

My goal?

To have less than 150 images in each month for 2010. All of my pictures before 2010 are stored on our external hard drive, since they were originally loaded on my old laptop.

So, today, after I finally finished 2010, I broke out ye ol external hard drive and began filtering through the billions of photos since 2003.

If you wanted to know, which I'm guessing you really don't, but I'll share anyways, I am working backwards ie: 2009, 2008, 2007.

But somehow I ended up in a 2005 file and found this beauty, taken at camp, playing football, following my senior year of high school:


haha, this is one of my favorite pictures for all of the weird positions people are in and how much things have changed since that moment!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Peek Inside

Here's a little peek inside my beautiful Jill-E camera bag:

For a shoot, I packed my bag! There are three inner compartments. Really you could have it however you want because of the removable dividers. I wanted three:


In the first one, on the left, I packed several age appropriate toys. A dump truck, a set of stacking cups, a squishy toy, and 2 spoons. The spoons might be my favorite thing to pack, because most kids under 2 can be distracted with something bright and shiny. Also, if you have two, you can hand them to the parent to clang together, and, voila, instant noise maker!This is the compartment on the far right, where I usually store my camera. It has an extra piece of cloth on the bottom for added screen protection.

The dual zip top of the camera bag has these great mesh pockets, where you could store memory cards and such, but I use it to store assorted ribbon and my receipts. The ribbon is great for when a client's outfit/hair needs a little bit of a punch. or if you want to add something to a prop!


The outside of the bag has two giant pouches that magnetically close. I keep a lens cloth and my battery charger in one, and my phone and keys in the other.

I LOVE how easily accessible this bag is and how comfortable it is to wear!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sister Talk

My sister and I may live thousand of miles apart, but we try to keep in communication pretty regularly. Usually it's through the awesome feature of Gmail called Gchat, but occasionally, we resort to "old fashioned," email.

Here is a glimpse into one such {meaningful} conversation. ha!

*disclaimer: My sister's name is Heather, and I am Brittney. Though she calls me "Little D," and I call her "Big D." Just FYI.

TO: Brittney

Little D,

Last night, I had a dream that we were throwing you a going away party. I was supposed to bring brownies for dessert. But I forgot. So I stopped at Publix to buy cupcakes and Oprah was running the bakery. The cupcakes cost me $363.

Let's analyze.

TO: Heather

haha! I believe this is the beginning of a series of dreams about the enormous expense it will cost to come and see me on a (semi) regular basis. Your psychi is screaming "that costs alot of money for seeing your sister-which should be free!" but your heart is saying "it's my sister, of course I'll plop down ridiculous amounts of money for her, and be happy to do it!"

Think that's right?

Miss you!

TO: Brittney

It's possible! Or I'm not sleeping well, one or the other :) xoxo

TO: Heather

oh that could be it. Or a secret burning rage over Oprah's retirement?

TO: Brittney

What?! Oprah's retiring?

TO: Heather

uh YEAH! and Jillian Michaels wants to be the "next Oprah." Where have you been? Under a rock? I live in canada and I know this stuff.

Plus, there was an article about JM in that Women's Health mag you sent me :)

***

haha, I hope you enjoyed it! My sister is the greatest!

A Walk In the Park

We have a huge park right by our house.

Big, open, well manicured fields.

Gorgeous floral beds.

Fountains and reflection ponds.

Towering cypress and redwood trees.

Tons of winding sidewalks just screaming to be jogged on!

So Ian and I headed there on Sunday for a job together.

As we approached the park center, I noticed some sort of carnival or festival getting under way. There were tents and bouncy houses, a stage and food vendors.

Then, right as we entered into the festival area, a large, 100 foot banner was strung from one side to the other.

A large RAINBOW banner.

eh. heh. heh.

So we just carried on, making lap after lap, trying to ignore the interesting characters that were rapidly filling our favorite park.

{more nervous laughter here}

The Surrey Pride 2010 festival was very. um. Colorful.

And then a live band came on, singing "It's Raining Men," and we decided to head home.

Wasn't that an interesting story?

And also, the song "What a Girl Wants," is forever ruined for me.

Bummer.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2020

I've been thinking about the future alot lately.

About what God has in store for us, where He's going to lead us, and if we're going to let Him.

I won't try to pin down the future, but if I had to guess, ten years from now, in 2020:

*We will still be living in the Middle East

*We will be fluent in Arabic

*I will have finished studying and becoming fluent in French

* We will be parents....I'm not really sure how many kids. We have the philosophy of keep going until you don't want to do it again, haha. But if I had my guess, it would be between 4 and 6 kids.

*We will have adopted. I'd like to do both international and domestic, but we'll see where and what God provides.

*I'll be homeschooling!

*We'll have traveled all over the world: Turkey, India, China, all of Europe-but especially Italy, Greece, England, France, and Denmark are topping the list.

*We will have completed 2 stateside assignments- in 2013 and 2017

*I will have finished my Masters degree

Yup, that's about it. I try not to plan too much detail, because in reality I am a planner. And I would plan out every minute of the rest of our lives if I knew it would go by the plan.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Angry. Weepy. Bloggy.

I'm supposed to be napping right now.

I'm not.

Obviously.

Or else I have a really cool sleep walking capability- blogging!

I'm supposed to be napping right now because we have had a VERY packed five days, and the next five to fifteen look equally packed.

And when I have super busy days, that means less sleep.

And less sleep means one tired Brittney.

And, if you don't mind me talking in the third person for a moment, a tired Brittney means an emotionally overwrought Brittney.

Take last night for instance. We worked an 8 hour day, commuted home, made dinner, cleaned up dinner, pureeed and froze a bunch of over ripe fruit, vacuumed and hand mopped the floor and it was suddenly 9. I collapsed onto the couch with Ian and had one of those "mood swings," that can only be explained by my lack of rest.

I became enraged. Like, seriously angry. And I'm not ever an angry person. I was sitting on the couch and could feel myself get really angry (for absolutely no reason, mind you,) and, in a monotonous but kind voice, told Ian "I'm really, truly, angry." "At what?" Ian asked. "Nothing. I'm just tired." "oh, yeah. That's it honey. Go to bed." So I did.

I'm so glad that man understands me.

So, I'm supposed to be taking a nap right now because we worked another 9 hour day and we have small group (which acts as our house church here in Vancouver,) in an hour.

Plus I got all weepy.

And I try to spare Ian of the weepy version of me.

But since the glorious sun is out, I don't want to close the blinds, which means it is as bright as the blue blazes in here. And I feel like communicating with the world somehow. Enter this rather rambly blog post.

We're in week 15 out of 17 of our training in Vancouver. It's just insane. All of our friends are leaving in two weeks to fly to all corners of the world. We might never see them again. Some of them might lose their lives in their field. Or be jailed. Or deported. It's really sad.

{Aren't I just a ray of sunshine today? I told you I was weepy!}

We've got a 5 weeks left as of tomorrow. Two of which will just fly by. The last three? I'm not too sure of. We'll have to wait and see.

I'm saving up for photoshop. I'm really excite about that.

We signed up for our fall seminary class that we'll be taking online. Or textbooks just arrived and we have to have them read in the next 5 weeks, because we can't take them with us in our next move, for security reasons. Awesome.

I keep thinking about some of the families back home that I love so much. I think about how the next time I am in the states, those kids will be OLD! One of them will be starting college. That's just crazy to me.

I'm also thinking about how I miss ChickFilA. And Publix chocolate chip cookies.

And how grateful I am that we have root beer here. I love root beer. I'm not really sure where that obsession started.

All right. Nap time now I think.

Please keep me and my tenuous emotional state in your prayers.

Celebrity Morph by MyHeritage

MyHeritage: Celebrity Morph - Free genealogy search - Family history


Brittany had this over at her blog, Unexpected Surprises, and I thought it was really interesting! I uploaded a front facing picture of myself to see “which celebrity I looked the most like.” I’m not really sure if it’s real or not, but I thought the video looked pretty neat!

MyHeritage: Celebrity Morph - Trace family tree - Geneology

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cry Baby

I'm trying not to be whiney, considering just a week ago I was crying over the fact that it was still North Face jacket and Uggs weather, but I'm having a hard time succeeding.

It's currently breaking 90 in Vancouver, which I know is nothing compared to you eastern seaboarders, but please, empathize with me.

I was playing in snow not 7 days ago.

And now?

Now, it's so hot that we've instituted siestas into our daily life.

As of one day ago.

Siestas are actually pretty nice. We open the windows, turn on our one fan, refuse to run any sort of heat emitting appliance (dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, washer/dryer,) and use as little energy as possible for 3-4 hours.

I can see why places like Mexico, Spain, and the Middle East do most of their activity late at night, instead of the afternoon! It just makes sense!

In fact, as I type this, Ian is passed out next to me on the bed, with his hands splayed out over his head. It's pretty funny. If I was cruel, I'd snap a picture and load it for you to chuckle at.

It's so hot that we're contemplating stripping our bed of sheet and comforter.

It's so hot that I skipped lunch and choose to lay still in the shadow in our bedroom.

Seriously.

And the 90's? We all know that is not scorching hot, but without Air Conditioning, you never get a chance to cool off.

Okay, thanks folks for sticking with my cyber whining.

It won't happen again.

I think.