Friday, September 29, 2006

Do you recognize...

This city??

It's Montreal!!! Now why would I have pictures of Montreal? Because I just went there this last week. Last Wednesday my boss came into my office and asked if I wanted to go to Montreal for a conference, she apologized because it was really last minute, but there was an opening they needed to fill and they wanted to know if I would go - on the company of course. So without even thinking about it I said "YES, of course I'll go, need you even ask?" My boss then went on to tell me that it wasn't as much of a business trip but more of a retreat, and to top it all off we were staying here (Fairmont Queen Elizabeth) and I was allowed to bring a Guest. So of course my first thought was Ben. Of course I'd bring my husband, who would be crazy enough not to bring their husband to Montreal? So I called him and invited him on this all expenses paid holiday, obviously I wasn't convincing enough because he said he couldn't go. I should understand though: he runs his own business, it's really new and he's really (really -really) busy right now. He just can't leave his clients without heat and water when he promised it a week ago. I really understood. So I then tried to think of who would really enjoy a city like Montreal and I quickly thought of this person:

My Mom of course!! She's just the type of person you would want to take to Montreal. She speaks French, she appreciates the architectural beauty of old cities and she can shop for hours (cause really, that's what Montreal's all about). So she agreed and we flew out together bright and early Sunday Morning prepared for a fun week. The conference started out with a welcoming reception at Le Parquet, which was a very modern building built around some very old traditional Montreal buildings. There was so much good food there that I was sick by the end of the night. The next day, we spent the morning in classes. Now this might sound boring to some of you, but it was really sooooo interesting. Then with the Afternoon free, Mom and I went shopping. Let me tell you, shopping in Montreal is quite an experience. We shopped all up and down Sainte Catherine Street, which is basically the central shopping district, a place where all the stores want to be. So we definitely saw the best of the best. Then on Monday night we went to a Caban a Sucre party up on Mount Royal. The view of Montreal was breathtaking from the top of this "Mountain", just stunning (check out my pic at the top of this post). The party was fun too, especially the lumberjack competition:

Tuesday was activity day and we could choose from tons of amazing things to do (golfing, spa, race car driving, white water rafting etc.) but of course I chose the shopping tour. Our tour guide took us all through downtown Montreal and we shopped our little hearts out. Montreal has this amazing underground shopping centre. There are at least 2 levels of shopping completely underground, hence the name "the underground city". It was so fascinating because just when you thought you were done shopping, there would be another whole underground level that needed to be explored. We also checked out the traditional Montreal stores like Simons, and Ogilvy which were very fun!

Then Tuesday afternoon we went on a bus tour of Montreal and saw lots of neat things like the Biodome, the Botanical gardens, the site of the 1976 Olympics etc. Oh and we stopped and took pictures of the St. Josephs Oratory, which is supposedly really famous (I'm not that cultured though so I have not idea how famous)

We saw lots of really neat stuff. But the best part was when the tour was done and we went for dinner at Reuben's for their famous smoked meat sandwich. Can you say delicious??? It was heavenly.

So Wednesday was another day of classes which we skipped for a good cause: Shopping! I just NEEDED to make it to H&M which is much more important that networking and making business contacts, right? Anyway, us poor Western Canadians are seriously so deprived because this store Rocks!! Then after our shopping spree we went back to the Hotel to get ready for our Masquerade ball at Windsor station. We got all dolled out. Here's a picture of the night. Although we all had our masks, there was a lady there that thought we needed hats too (hence the crazy hats on our heads).

Anyway, I'm sure this is just super long and boring for all of you so I'll wrap it up. Our last day (Thursday) was spent in Old Montreal where we got to see all the old (really old) buildings from when Montreal was originally built hundreds of years ago. It was seriously so beautiful.

The best part of it all was when we were walking back to our hotel and you could see this great mix of old traditional structures right next to new modern buildings. This was neat, especially since it's now a rule that any renovations of old buildings must maintain the orignal exterior so as not to lose any more history. We won't be seeing many more "new" buildings in Montreal and it will maintain it's current charm.

Anyway, that was the trip. I hope you enjoyed my novel!! I know it was long, but I'm just so excited that I got to go to Montreal on my company and even more excited that I got to bring my mom. It was really neat to see one of the first areas in Canada that was settled and all the great Canadian history that Montreal holds. Canada's a pretty cool country, eh?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I cook...

Not Bake.

So yesterday, while Ben was busy outfitting his new work van, I was busy outfitting our countertops with all sorts of baking. I had big plans in mind. Well as it turns out the countertops weren't exactly 'outfitted' by the end of the day. I blame the garbage can, which being the greedy monster he is, ate most of my baking. I'll explain:

My first attempt at the mini chocolate chip banana muffin recipe resulted in flat and very dense muffins (hockey puck material). I guess I forgot the Baking Powder. So I tried again and was careful to remember the baking powder. But, since I'm still in training it's no surprise that I put a bit too much batter in the muffin tins. As you can see they looked sort of like muffins on steroids. Then finally, as the saying goes, "third times a charm", I managed to perfect the recipe - at least I think. The muffins were delicious and wonderful, mmmmmmmm. Anyone want the recipe?

So, if you think the "Third Try" muffins look good, why don't you stop by my house on Saturday at 11AM for a little taste? Oh, and while you're here, (WARNING, shameless promotion coming up) you should have a look at the Shade Clothing party I'm hosting. The clothes are awesome and the food will be great (that is if I can convince Becc to bring some cinnamon buns). Anyways, I hope to see you there! Call me if you need directions.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Favourite Pictures

So, I'm definitely not a photographer or anything, but I just had to post these two pics cause Marcus is sooooooo cute in them. He seriously has so much personality - I love it! The first one's him laughing at Ben, I think all Ben's doing is give him the old 'shifty eye' look. Something about it made Marcus go crazy, he was laughing for so long!

This one's just another example of how cute he is. He's just so sweet.

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Zoo Time

These last few weeks have been pretty busy around here - I'm hoping things start to slow down soon. But regardless, here are some pics from the Zoo a few weeks ago. We went with the McCance grandchildren and had tons of fun. The kids were cute and I think they really liked all the animals - although Carson did sleep through half the trip. Emily got to do everything, serioulsy everything. She played at the park, looked at all the animals, fed the Giraffe, went on the train ride and most importantly ate some sweet icecream. I have to admit, I was a bit jealous of the whole Giraffe thing, I never got to feed any animals when I was little. The day was lots of fun and very tiring. I think that had something to do with Carsons 7 AM wakeup call. But it was all worth it because we love those kids so much!!! Anyway, enjoy the pics!

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Baby Alexander

Alexander Kenneth is here!!! We're all so excited that Tan finally had the baby and that Marcus can finally see his new baby brother, cause we all know he was so excited (j/k). He is so cute!! The funny thing is, he doesn't look like Marcus, yet Marcus is so cute too. Anyway, Tan looks great, Alexanders perfect, Marcus hasn't noticed and Nates a great dad (well Tan's a great mom too).

Here are some pics (I didn't take any of these, and since they were emailed to me the qaulity is a bit low - but the cameraman is great!!)

In the Hospital

Baby and Dad (Nate)

Marcus checking him out

Me and Alexander

Sarah, Matthew and Alexander

Grandpa and his Grandsons (except Marcus - where is he?)

Tan (the Mom), Becc and Alexander