Happy Labour Union Movement Day

Hello friends,

Happy Labour Day long weekend!!! I hope you all have a excellent time celebrating the achievements of workers and the origins of the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement. Yay labour!  

Out at dinner for our 1 year anniversary!

Out at dinner for our 1 year anniversary!

To celebrate our labour day we decided to have a laborious-less Saturday and play tourist in the ol' MTL. I find that after living in a place for more than 6 months your list of local things to do slowly gets longer and longer to the point where you never actually do any of the really touristy activities in the city. For instance, there is an incredible cathedral in old town Montreal called Basilique Notre-Dame which houses the younger, less energetic brother of Quasimodo and we had never been. Or the famous Schwartz's Deli, a delicatessen restaurant established in 1928 by Reuben Schwartz, famous as the oldest remaining Montreal-style smoked meat restaurant. The restaurant also sells smoked meat by mail order. It is kosher-style rather than kosher. Sorry. But we had never been! (spoiler alert: we still haven't been to Schwartz's. We arrived for lunch for find a line up wrapping around the block. Neither of us cared that much for smoked meat sandwiches so we got Portuguese chicken. #worthit)

We got up Saturday morning, excited for the day ahead of us and to get ourselves energized we cleaned the house! Nothing says labour day like scrubbing a toilet. We were really trying to get back to the grass roots of the holiday. By that, I mean that Heather cleaned the house. In fairness, I've cleaned the house for the past two weeks because she was working on Saturdays so she cleaned the house so I could prepare a class I'm gonna be teaching this Wednesday at my buddy's business Totem Academy where I got to teach about making videos on a budget. Taking it back to my grass roots where I used pot lamps from Home Depot strapped to mic stands. 

Once the house was in order we hopped on our bikes and headed out to find food in the trendy part of town but, like I said, upon arriving we found a line around a block and a tour guide telling a joke about Schwartz's for the 300th time so we instead went to this little Portuguese restaurant called Rotisserie Romados known for their Piri Piri chicken poutine and natas. We've talked about natas before in one of our previous blog posts but if you're unfamiliar with these tasty treats they are Portuguese egg tarts which originated from convents and monasteries in the 18th century. They would use egg whites for starching their laundry, and use the left-over yolks to make pastries and cakes, which resulted in pastel de nata becoming more and more popular throughout the country, since the monks would sell them to the public. Growing up, I would eat Chinese egg tarts but I've got to admit, the Portuguese do it better.

We've had Romados' chicken poutine before which is incredible so we changed it up and had the Churiço poutine with a chicken sandwich, salad and natas for dessert and went to a park to enjoy our splendor and were approached by an adorable little cat who came to keep us company while we ate. Heather grabbed a piece of chicken to give it to it as a treat but the cat misinterpreted the gesture and rubbed its head into the chicken. It quickly realized its mistake and chowed down and then hung around and let us pet it before disappearing in between bites of poutine. 

After that we bought a basket for Heather's bike, which she's been wanting since she got a bike, and headed down to Old Montreal to the Basilique. It is such a stunning piece of architecture! You we always forget how breathtaking 18th century churches are to behold. Even more impressive is the fact that it was completed in only 35 months, working from April to October between 1824 and 1829. At the time of its inauguration, Notre-Dame Church was the largest house of worship of any religious denomination in North America. The carvings at the head of the cathedral and around the walls were stunning as well. One thing we loved was the abundance of female representation in their statues. So much of their influencing figures in the churches history were nuns. Another cool thing we learned, the three statues on the façade of the Basilica represent Montreal (the Virgin Mary), Quebec (Saint John the Baptist) and Canada (Saint Joseph).

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Fun fact, The great “Jean-Baptiste” bell in the bell tower of the basilique weighs 24,000 pounds (11 tons). Learned something new today.

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We went down to Costco afterwards to pick up some steaks and a 2kg strawberry rhubarb pie and headed to our friends the Hutchinson for some good ol' BBQing to close off the night. We can always count on them for good food. We had steaks with corn, egg plant, kale salad and pie and ice cream and, a little blast from the past, some Cool Whip! It was a good Saturday. 

Anyways, enjoy your Labour Day weekend! We're planning on riding roller coasters to continue our labour celebration ;) Till next time,
- Steven

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Chapter 35: Year One

This coming week is a pretty important one. Friday will be exactly one year since Steven and I were married. We have been really looking forward to It and I have been thinking a lot lately about the last year here in Montreal. We have been richly blessed this year and have just known deeply in our souls that this is exactly where we should be. Everything aligned its self so perfectly when we first moved here, I don't know how we could have managed otherwise. People graciously opened their homes to us while we apartment hunted, we found the perfect place the first day we searched, they let us move in half way through the month, and quite by accident it was next to the metro and bike path. We couldn't have scripted it any better if we were writing how we wanted our lives to play out. 

Also, I just feel like I need to brag about Steven a little. Life here would simply not be possible without all the hard work Steven puts in. He keeps our lives running smoothly, He dreams the big dreams for us, and holds me to a higher standard than I would settle for on my own. He keeps me silly, and makes me brave. He cooks 95% of the food we eat, does laundry and does it properly, and pretty much all our grocery shopping. He is our budget-er, and always pushing us to expand our horizons and take on more freelance clients as well as both our full time jobs. I know that as people grow old together, they tend to have different qualities that rub off on each other. I already know I will be a better person just by association with him, and can only hope some of his many wonderful qualities really do rub off on me. I feel so extremely privileged he is my husband. I have never met a more sensitive, thoughtful, loving man than Steven. He is a fearless adventurer and fiercely loyal friend. 

Not everyone knows this, But while we were dating, we actually broke up for almost 5 months. During those 5 months, we still spent quite a lot of time together, not by choice but because we shared responsibilities at church. We had to see each other two or three times a week. There came a point where I didn't want anything to do with him anymore, because it hurt too bad to be just "friends" with him when I knew we were perfect for each other. One day I decided I had had enough, and it was time to cut him out of my life for good. I made the decision, I prayed about it on my walk home and pretty much said "this is what I want, stop me if I'm wrong." When I got home I opened up my scriptures and read "Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward." I cried when I read this because I knew that I needed to keep struggling through with Steven. It payed off less than a month later, and I do feel like knowing and loving Steven has been the greatest most beautiful gift of all. 

So here's to the happiest year of my life, and our one year aniversary... But most of all, here's to Steven, the man who makes my world spin round.

Chapter 34: Cheese and berries!

Hey guys!

So the highlight of our week was by far the weekend! We grabbed some McDonalds and  met up with a big group of friends on Saturday morning, to go berry picking at a nearby farm! Honestly I had no idea what the itinerary was, or what we had really signed up for. We did so much! There were between 15-20 of us I think, so we all piled into cars and drove off an hour out of Montreal to the most picturesque farm you could ever see. It has been pretty rainy here this season, so the ground was saturated and super muddy. We rode this super old rusty cart thingy, like a hay bale ride but instead of bales, you're sitting on slightly rotten wooden benches. I was a bit worried we would break one since there were so many of us piled back there. Steven was sitting on my lap and that man has some sharp bones!

I LOVE BERRY PICKING. I go hard. I get inside the bushes, and find all the hide-y holes where most people don't think to go, so I ended up finding a lot of good stuff. We all had a blast and laughed so much while we ate. I mean picked. haha weird...

While we were nearing the end of our picking, the daughter of one of our friend's decided she and I were new bestfriends. She is so sweet, and took my hand to go find more berries for her little bucket. I am not entirely sure why we became friends, but I love it! Who knows with kids right? 

We took the tractor ride back from the field, and the bench I and two others were sitting on actually did break!!! It was so bad! The wood was rotted through, and the metal supports had rusted through, so really it was a matter of time. We felt awful though, because no one likes to be sitting on something while it breaks... dang..

After we bought the berries we picked (blueberries and raspberries) and we bought some strawberries because I could NOT resist. It was the first day they were being sold since it has been so rainy! They're really late this year, but let me tell you, the taste is well worth that wait!!! All the berries were incredible.

The couple who had the idea for this day trip treated us all to something called "Pet de Soeurs" Which is a classic French Canadian pastry. The name translates to "Nun's farts" what??? Yeup. Like Catholic nuns. farts. What the heck French Canadians! You constantly surprise and delight us. The pastry is like if you wanted to make cinnamon rolls, but had pie crust instead of bread. Which tastes as wonderful as you're thinking it will! They are sticky and flakey and sooooo delicious. It has been confirmed, nuns officially have the best farts (not that I ever doubted this of course) Thanks to Heidi! 

 

After berries we visited Fort Lennox. Parks are free right now for Canada 150, which was great! It was pretty cool, an old British army posting from 1812ish. We went up into the barracks and saw the officer's apartments, and stuff. My favourite part was the inspection, where an actor dressed as an officer came out and inspected the kids as new recruits. Then he demonstrated the firing of a riffle a few times, and actually fired it with blackpowder and stuff! The flames that shot out are so cool. 

Steven and a couple other people did the challenges around the park (spot two american soldiers hiding in the far tree line, load a cannon etc. ) and won a Shilling! He tricked Magnus by pretending to pull it out of his ear. To be honest, Magnus is too smart for that trick, but then his dad joined in and Magnus totally believed after that. It was kind of hilarious. Steven would put the coin back "in" and later pass the coin to Magnus' dad Mike. Mike would later pull the coin out of Magnus ear and blow his mind haha. He was like "how did you do this?? how did you make it stay there??" trying to put the coin back inside his ear hahah... classic

We visited an awesome cheese shop, and bought way too much cheese after we left Fort Lennox. We took our fruits, and cheese and bought baguettes and meat and made a picnic of it out by the river. It was truely lovely. Afterwards, we all felt the need to visit an icecream shop back in Montreal. We drove home (Devin stayed awake like a champ!) Our car was all pretty sleepy and fighting it bravely with different degrees of success. 

The icecream was incredible. I got rasberry icecream DIPPED IN ORANGE CHOCOLATE. It is my new favorite flavor combination. Good thing that shop is super far from our house haha. 

We went home shortly after this and practised a musical number we had been asked to preform at church. Its a french hymn called "Souviens-toi" and its really quite lovely. We have attached a recording for you if you wanna hear our nervous voices haha. Anyways it was a great weekend!! We had another picnic just with me, Steven, Amber, Devin and Pam today. It was the perfect temperature, and we just ate and then all lounged around under the trees talking and laughing. At one point point Pam said "Right now, there is literally no where I would rather be" and I think it was exactly what I was thinking. I will definetly cherish this weekend, it was one to remember for sure. 

 

Love,

Heather