Chapter 15: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Another week come and gone and this week has definitely helped us get in the spirit of Christmas. I'm sure many of your have heard of the rodent under our sink fiasco. For those of you who missed it, we had a furry visitor this who came uninvited at 7:30am on Monday. I had already left for work so I wasn't there to see what it was but it would growl every time Heather made any noise. I was really excited to come home and find out what it was but when I arrived home I found that there was a big hole under the sink leading into the wall. Our landlord came and set up some rat traps with cheese but Heather and I are pretty positive it's a squirrel and I don't know if they like cheese. Heather put some peanut butter out for it but nothing yet. We hear it in our walls every day at 7:30am like clock work and we still have no solution of how to get rid of it. We'll keep you updated on any progress. It snowed this week both here in Montreal but also in Vancouver. Weird, right? I've been telling everyone here that it just doesn't snow in Vancouver and here Vancouver has made me out to be a liar! It's right at that perfect temperature for snow but not too cold - the perfect weather for buying a tree. I had a very idealized vision of the conditions for getting a tree. It needed to be snowy but not blizzarding, during the golden hour so we would have perfect light for photos and close enough that we could walk our tree home. Now you may think that I'm going to tell a story of how it was a total disaster and that it was nothing like what I wanted but not this week! Everything was perfect! I met Heather down at the Atwater Marche a few blocks from our house, and we explored the fraser and balsam trees until we found the perfect tree. The difference between the two trees is that fraser trees have a bluer tint to their needles and, although thicker, they tend to be less fragrant than the balsam trees. We decided to go with a balsam tree because really wanted that smell of pine when we come home. Then we posed with our tree and took some pictures (obviously), got it wrapped up and carried it home.

But we didn't have time to set it up because we had to rush off to perform in a Christmas musical performance. One thing that really helps welcome the Christmas spirit is singing carols. There were a number of wonderful performances. There were a number of choir performances, a guest performance from the local Catholic church and a French acapela group that was incredible. We had the privilege of performing in 4 numbers and with some remarkable musicians. Unfortunately, we don't have any recordings to share but we'll try and get something to share later. We did renditions of "Guard Him Joseph" by Sally Duford, "In the Bleak Mid Winter," "Go Tell it on the Mountain" (with a gospel swing feel) and "The First Noel." It was definetly too many numbers, our voices were hoarse by the end but it was worth it because it was so fun! We still have no idea how we ended up in so many numbers considering not many people know us and no one had heard us preform before... bit of a gamble on their parts but it worked out so good in the end!

And then today we finally had the chance to set up our tree! When I say the balsam trees are fragrant that is an understatement, especially in our apartment. We walked in to a delicious wave of pine scent, and turned on "White Christmas" to get us into the christmas spirit. We were very simple with our decorations and made our own star out of sticks but it fits right into our little home and warms it up. Starting our own traditions has been super cool. We have 12 notes on the tree, and have decided to write something we love about each other each of the 12 days leading up to christmas as our own advent. It was Heathers idea and Im really excited to try it out, we will let you know how it goes. After we decorated the tree, we tried to pose for a photo with our tree using a timer and... it's a lot harder than it looks! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas indeed. Let us know what you think of our Christmas decorations, I'm sure we will be doing more decorating in the coming week.

Heather got all tuckered out decorating the tree

Until next week,

- Steven

ps massive photos i know. its heathers fault, we couldn't decide which ones to post and it got late so....