Harry Potter

Chapter 17: We're Back!

Hey y'all! We had an amazing Christmas, and didn't want to interrupt Christmas day with a post, so today is a double dose kind of a day. We will tag team this one, tackling one week each. First up, covering Christmas day is Steven!

This was our first Christmas as a married couple and sadly we weren’t able to make it home for the holidays. Leading up to Christmas we experienced a huge wave of emotions since it's Christmas time but we knew we weren’t going to be able to spend it with our families. For both Heather and myself, this time of the year has always been very family centred and both of our families have Christmas traditions which we knew we weren’t going to be able to take part in being so far away so we decided that we ought to take this opportunity to start creating our own family traditions and what better tradition to start with than good food.

Heather thought it wasteful to cook a whole turkey for just the two of us (I disagreed but marriage is all about compromise) so we looked for something smaller. At the bucherie the butcher suggested a roti de dinde which translates to turkey roast - It’s a turkey for 2! At Atwater Marche, our local farmers market, we picked up some fresh thyme and rosemary, some nice cheese and other goodies for our holiday meals. We also bought some oranges for our stockings - Fact: stockings must have oranges; they fit perfectly in the toe*

We made so many delicious things - to start we made gingerbread cookies on Christmas Eve from a recipe Heather's mom gave her. We had no reference of how many cookies the recipe would make so we ended up with at least four dozen - COOKIES FOR DAYS!!!! Then we put together an adorable spread of cheeses, meats, olives, crackers, strawberries, spanakopita and bubbly. We munched on that while watching Home Alone (the first one of course) and later opened one gift each before Skyping home with our families. Heather's family has a tradition where we read Christmas stories and then the nativity so we were able to join in on that. There's one touching story that makes Carol (Heather's mom) cry every time she reads it. She took on the brave task of reading it this year, that is, until she fell apart and had Mark finish it because she couldn't. The evening continued to the point where Heather was straitening my hair because her brother and I wanted to see who could look more pervy. He won (it's all in the centre part), but I looked super Asian (#heritage). After Skyping we wrapped up for the night and left out a plate of cookies and chocolate out for Santa.

On Christmas, we went to church where we got to sing in the choir to invite the Christmas spirit and then came home and made the best french toast we've ever eaten! It's all in the ingredients - if you can find some, buy real light-maple syrup. It makes all the difference. We bought some fresh bread so we could cut thick slices and then ate it with strawberries and real whipped cream. AMAZING!!!! Then we opened our gifts.

I love how Heather gives gifts. She'll listen so intently to small things I talk about and then tuck that information away for later. Ages ago I had been telling her about how sometimes when we're climbing it's a little straining on my neck to look up while belaying the whole time so for Christmas she bought me these mirror glasses that help me see the climber without having to strain my neck! So perfect! She also got me a lapel pin and some new tie clips because I told her a lot of my ties are too narrow for the one tie clip I own. For Heather, I gave her the new Harry Potter book with some fleece-lined jeans because, for anyone who knows Heather, she loves being warm more than most things so she loved them.

Then we made our roti de dinde which we made with garlic, potatoes, onions and carrots and then baked it in butter because butter ;) We couldn't find an exact recipe that we liked so we just browned the roast, covered it in fresh sprigs and threw it in the oven. Then we ate it with steamed veggies and baked mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows. I could have eaten that whole roast by myself but I shared because love.

This was a really special Christmas. Though we were both sad that we weren't able to be with family this Christmas we had each other. Having just gotten married and moved away we don't really have a lot so it was pretty stripped down and it became an opportunity to focus on the things that matter most. On our wall we have a painting hanging which Heather made which says, "If my heart was a house you'd be home." It's a lyric from an Owl City song which made me sceptical because Owl City but I've been thinking about that a lot this holiday season. Moving out here immediately after being married has been a big challenge. We've had to learn to adapt and compromise and there have definitely been hard times but they're outweighed by the fact that I'm facing them with my best friend. It's been hard making our humble place our home but Heather has my heart so whenever I'm with her I'm home.

Tag team Heather*

After Christmas was over we got packed up for a little skiing up at Mont Tremblant, a "mountain" about an hour and a half away from Montreal. I say "mountain" because for us Rockies kids it was so little! How adorable! In all honesty though, the whole mini mountain thing is really nice on your car, and they compensate for the elevation by having these giant snow makers all over that are blowing out hot steam which turns to snow when it hits the freezing air outside. It makes for a pretty uncomfortable ski lift ride being blasted with wet snow, but its worth it to have constant fresh powder!

So in preparing for this trip, we mentioned that we would be skiing for Steven's 30th birthday to his brother Joe. Joe was SO excited for Steven, and I didn't see why he was quite so excited. You see, Steven had led me to believe he had been skiing before a few times, so it wasn't as if this was really a new experience or anything... Turns out Steven has been cross-country skiing. Not downhill skiing. NOT THE SAME. Like at all. So upon arriving at the ski hill and spending forever getting rentals and all that sorted out we finally made it to the slopes. I couldn't see a bunny hill, but since he had "totally been skiing before a few times" I figured we would be okay anyways. I knew I would probably need to give him some pointers and remind him to pizza but since he had gone skiing about 15 years earlier I thought it would come back and then we would be good to go. As it turned out, he had no idea what he was doing. but at this point, we were already up at the top of the hill, so there is not a lot to do about it but learn on the slope! Steven is a really good ice skater so I knew that he would be able to get skiing pretty quickly, but I did worry when I saw how badly he was doing at first. The very first thing you learn to do when you put on a pair of skis is to point your toes together and "Pizza" your way down the hill. It's basically a snow plow and slows you down. For some reason, Steven could not get it. He would try, get scared, hockey stop and fall onto his hip. (He has a pretty epic bruise as proof!) I could see him getting frustrated but trying to be positive. Then all of a sudden, he just got it. Not the pizza, (that took a whole day longer) but he got skiing. I was teaching him to zig-zag his way down because it was more like skating, and as soon as he got it, he really got it. We were in business! zipping down the mountain weaving back and forth. It was the craziest thing to watch as he evolved! That first run took probably 1.5 hours (instead of the 15 minutes it took after that) but after that it was pretty much smooth sailing for Steven! He has been officially converted and may never snowboard again :)

We were staying at this lovely cabin for two nights while we were in Tremblant, and it was ADORABLE. I could not have been happier. It reminded me so much of our Lake house, but smaller, Quebecois, and with heated floors haha. The owner Claude had a garden where he grew his own produce and chamomile teas. He had chickens who provided the eggs at the all organic and locally sourced breakfast provided every morning. The whole experience was so relaxing and we were so in love with it.

 

Our only contentions were the lack of wifi - which would have been fine if we had planned for it, but because we weren't expecting it we had a hard time structuring our time at first. Fortunately, we had brought some books up with us and did a lot of reading out loud together which is always my favourite way to spend our rare spare time. When we were little my mom would buy a series of books and give us kids each one of the books in our stockings for Christmas, and this year my mom sent us a box set of one of our families favourite series when we were young: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, by Patricia C Wrede. If you want a fun series to read with your kids, I would highly recommend this one. The female characters are strong-willed, smart, kind, practical, ambitious and brave. I think it is fair to say these books shaped me in a lot of ways. They were the beginning of my feminism - hands down - and it has been really interesting to go back to them and find myself looking back off the pages. I looked up to the headstrong, witty main character. A woman who knows what she wants for her life and is fearless about asking for it. It was humbling to realise that although It wasn't natural for me, over time I have become a confidant, articulate person much like the ones I looked up to from the pages of the books I read as a young girl. (And as a side note - my brothers all loved these books as well, boys can love stories with strong female characters too!)

 

We had so much fun skiing, and took our time on the drive home. We were so tired we pulled over and took a nap half way home, even though it was only a 2 hour drive haha! We spent the next few days relaxing (Because we couldn't physically do much anyways haha) we ran errands and had an accidental Starwars marathon. After watching Rogue One we reeeeeaaaally wanted to watch episode 4, which we were able to do thanks to our friend Sam. (long story..) Then because we had some more time on our hands  we watched episode 5, and after that it was like well... we're almost done... we might as well make it an official marathon... haha. We did that last year too, its becoming a bit of a tradition.

Speaking of traditions, New Years is actually a pretty special holiday for us. We have known each other for years and knew of each other for longer than that through friends of friends. It took a long time for us to realise we should go on a date and even longer for that to stick, but one of the most significant nights in our early courtship was New Years eve. It happened very spontaneously, we ended going dancing with two friends. After dancing for a few hours our companions were tired, while we wanted to watch a movie... So we dropped them off and proceeded to have a spontaneous unforgettable adventure. Since we watched a movie together that year, last year we watched jaws, and this year we watched 2001: A Space Odyssy.

After our movie we went to Vieux Port where they were having a giant dance party/concert thing. It was incredibly fun. We didn't really know any of the acts, but they were all quite short so if you weren't into one, it was only like 15 minutes long anyways! There were like at least 4 acts an hour for two hours I would guess. The funniest was near the end when the performers started doing what we are assuming were traditional Quebecois songs? About drinking and about meat pies? Anyways it was amazing and hilarious, and some of the performers had lyric sheets, while the audience knew all the words! it was awesome.

The highlights of the night were the giant Coca-cola bottle ice sculpture, free cokes and light stick things, and CONFETTI CANNONS. Here's a picture of me loosing my mind. Really all you need to know how I felt about that magical moment. We watched the fireworks and had a kiss at midnight, and pretty much its gonna be a terrific year. 2016 may have been bad for some things, but for me and Steven it has been one heck of a year to beat.

Cheers, Merry Christmas, Happy New Years

Heather and Steven

Chapter 14: super stechy sushi

This week is kinda funny, we pretty much did everything we normally would do in Vancouver! Montreal, y u no hav yummy sushi?!?! Oh you do? Oh wait, its so expensive I just will keep pretending it doesn't exist. Because there is no way I can justify it... We found a groupon for an all you can eat sushi place, and decided to go with Denmber (Devin and Amber). We were really excited... until we got there. It was DEAD, in a weird part of town, and definitely looked a little sketchy. But as we had already purchased our groupons and were soooo hungry we went ahead and got our food. Probably the worst sushi either of us has ever had! So, the search for well priced, sized and tasty sushi continues. (Vancouver we miss you!)

Friday - We escaped!!! We went to an escape room here called A-maze (clever right?)  Escape rooms are pretty much exactly what they sound like. You let yourself get locked in a room with people and you have to investigate to find the way out. You look for hints and passwords and keys until you finally get out or you time runs out. and we got out so fast! apparently we are in the 25th percentile. (granted it was the easiest room there but still proud none the less.) It was the lost temple themed one so we were feeling like Indiana Jones which was so fun. before we did the escape room we entertained ourselves by playing a few rousing rounds of Jenga (see video!)

https://youtu.be/VnpkVq_dQpA

More christmas presents are arriving in the mail, being wrapped and now are sitting together in our living room, and we are getting SUPER excited to get to open them! or rather Steven is, since all the wrapped gifts out there are from me to him haha. I'm on top of it this year, what can I say!

img_8034img_1767-2Saturday we really needed a day at home doing all the things we keep meaning to do but don't since we are never home. Part of that included making christmas decorations!! We are so happy with how they turned out, we made stockings and a throw pillow cover, and some pictures to go in frames. Next step make decorations for the tree! and get a tree. We also did a little christmas baking - we made this amazing recipe for pumpkin cheesecake bars, we HIGHLY recommend. YUM.

We spent today rehearsing all the musical numbers we will be performing this coming Saturday at the stake musical fireside, then went to the house of some lovely friends and ate food and watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. It was a really nice evening!

well Im sorry if this post was boring or brief, I missed my nap today and I am fading fast...

love

heather

Chapter 9: They Did The Monster Mash

Happy Halloween! This week was jam packed for us here in MTL - I started my new job at Micanan on Tuesday (I'm working as a video editor for the company as well as for their sister companies Smoke Show and Outro.io. Essentially, I'm an asset for all 3), Heather's brother, his wife and their youngest came and visited us during their trip out east for a conference and we planned and hosted our first house party at our new apartment. Mummy Pizza BitesTo get ready for it we made a couple trips to Ikea (we've finally got a bed frame to sleep on and a place to put our clothes), Value Village (because it was a Halloween party) and the local costume shops for makeup and liquid latex. With a lot of help from our friends Amber and Devin and Pinterest we were able to pull it off. Some of the hits of the night were these Halloween Mummy Pizza Bites and Wassail Cider. Tea and popcorn were smashing hits as well once everyone had satisfied their sweet toothes. We also both realized this year that neither of us likes Halloween playlists. After listening to about 10 minutes of Halloween music while setting up for the party we switched over to Christmas carols and some good ol' Bing Crosby. It may have been a little early for some, but Heather was so stoked on it! (We are also in our ward's amazing new choir and one of the perks is getting to start singing christmas music much earlier than we otherwise would!

With a photo booth and chocolate spiders the party was an absolute success! Costumes were mandatory for the party and everyone pulled out all the stops for their costumes - We had Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega from Pulp fiction, a Film Noir couple and their cigarette, Sylvestor and Tweetie and many more. Heather and I were Bellatrix Lestrange & Lord Voldemort (before he lost his hair and nose, and apparently Bellatrix was a ginger?). There were a few embarrassing moments during and after the party, but these lovely new friends have embraced us regardless! We feel blessed to have found such amazing people here in Montreal, and can't wait to host many more gatherings in the months to come.

14600943_10154567743685126_5835586747166518335_nOne of these embarrassing moments was all Heather's fault. While preparing for the party the coffee table was looking rather empty so Heather went through our books to see if we had some good material for coffee table literature and pulled out a Chrissy Teigen cook book, the Chronicles of Narnia and... the Kama Sutra - a book we received as a wedding gift. She jokingly put out the Kama Sutra underneath the cook book called "Cravings" and bet me no one would even notice it. I didn't think it was a good idea, and said we shouldn't have it there, and decided to leave it as a joke only until Amber and Devin arrived to help set up. I planned to remove it before everyone else arrived. Unfortunately, it just never got out away. Heather admitted she remembered about it and neglected to remove it - thus making it her fault what ensued. Later in the evening while Heather and I were off in the kitchen getting some food we heard someone say something about Chrissy Teigen (oh no.) it would all be okay, as long as no one picked up the Chrissy Teigen book.. but then we heard a sharp squeal from Jason. Raucous laughter ensued and we knew that our little Easter Egg had been discovered. Surprisingly, everyone was super chill about it! We can really talk about anything now, and no one should be surprised ;)

All in all, it was a blast! We made new friends, embarrassed ourselves, ate some good food and have enough tasty goodies for days! Thanks to everyone for making this such a great party!

- Steven

 

Ps. Heather makes an amazing Kim Possible (I'm a less convincing Sherlock Holmes haha. we needed some easy throw on costumes for a ward youth halloween activity.)

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