Tuesday, November 30, 2010

sister time

It was so special having my sister visit us for a week. The night she arrived, we got all cozy on the couch, sipping chai tea, eating dark chocolate and getting all caught up. I loved it. 

The next day we  went on a walk to get a book for Kilmeny. I had been given a gift certificate to a bookstore when I got her library card. Apparently, that is one way they promote reading amongst children and Quebec publications. We browsed the shelves together, translating in our heads or guessing at things from pictures, it was a completely French bookstore. I got Kilmeny a souvenir of our time here in Quebec, a little book about Pierre Lapin. 

 Kilmeny has been taking a few steps between Jared and I, building up her confidence. Kendra got her to take quite a few steps all by herself. We were so proud! Almost every time, Kilmeny saw Kendra she would do this hilarious laugh/grin at her - like she was saying 'hi Auntie Kendra'. It was so cute! 

 photos were taken by Jared =)

Monday, November 29, 2010

bits and pieces


It's been awhile. At least it feels like it. I've been busy having a wonderful time with my sister, staying up late, freezing and exploring old cities, making soup, snuggling my little baby, laughing, crying, praying with my man.  We watched our first Christmas video last night complete with popcorn and peppermint hot chocolate. It was lovely and such a fun memory.

It snowed here in Montreal. And our neighbors have put up Christmas lights. It's beautiful when we go walking after dark, bundled up and breathing the crisp air. 

My black book is filled with all kinds of lists- blog post ideas, emails I need to write, things I do in the next two weeks before we start the trek back to Alberta, things I need to pack and areas I need to clean. 

I plan to be back to share more later but I just wanted to pop in and say hi. 

How was your weekend? Was it filled with bustling here and there or was it a quiet at home weekend?

And  it's Monday and I am so grateful, adding to my list...

blue skies and sunshine
neighbors Christmas decorations 
going home for Christmas 

the hope we have in Jesus 
the reality of who God is
the grace that He shows me every day 
my little girl's giggles 
her first steps
making Christmas memories with my man 
to-do lists
a warm house
peppermint hot chocolate 
Christmas music 
new life 
the knowledge that God changes people, it's not my job 
cardinal sightings on our back fence 
church bells on a Sunday night 
anticipation of seeing heart friends

photo: us in Quebec City, more to come....=)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

autumn moments

 I took Kilmeny outside several weeks ago. It was beautiful. One of those autumn days that make autumn what it is- a reminder to treasure each day and live in the moment. I knew I wanted to make a tradition of enjoying the leaves with Kilmeny when she was older and decided to start this year. Her first autumn. She sat. I raked. I plunked her in the middle of the leaf pile. We both lay down and felt the moist leaves around us, the dank smell tickling our nostrils, we looked at the brilliant blue sky. At least I did. Kilmeny wasn't that thrilled about lying down in the leaves. She much preferred to eat them. Or at least handle them.

The leaves are all gone now. The temperature is dropping. The leaves that remain are soggy. Their color seeping out of them. It was a beautiful autumn. Winter is coming soon. Snow is expected in the next couple of weeks. And we will enjoy it. 
My mom knitted this sweater for Kilmeny along with booties and a hat. She has long outgrown them. She is fast outgrowing the sweater. I love the sweater. I love my Mom for making it. Actually, I love my Mom because she's my Mom.

**edited to add** I wrote this early last week and autumn is now a distant memory with winter just around the corner. We bundle up like little snowmen when we go outside now. =)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dancing with her Daddy

This is why I love him. He grabs the moments and lives them. Turns the music on and dances. I stand and watch, alternating between laughing and crying at the precious moment. Then I grab the camera. 
In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if they go to bed a few minutes later? If the couch cushions get messed up? If everything does not go according to your plan? 

 These are the moments that make up our life. I have been realizing so much lately that to worry and wonder about the future is stealing from today. We have today. We don't know if we have tomorrow. My man is so good at reminding me of this. Yes, we both worry. We can get into a regular stew of worry. And just when the other is feeling more positive, we switch places. But we are choosing today to enjoy it. 

What moments are you enjoying today?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

a visitor

In just a little bit, my sister is going to be here. In Montreal. With us. 
I'm excited. 
We have lots of lovely things planned for her visit- movie nights, a book and doughnut party, exploring Old Montreal and a day trip up to Quebec City. As well as cozy visits on the couch.
I won't be blogging much. 
I had a few pictures to share so you'll be seeing those over the next several days and then I'll be back with lots and lots to write about. 

What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Real Life

My hair is damp from my morning shower. It is now 12:26pm. I drank my morning coffee around 11. We had breakfast before then. 
And my day started before that. My job doesn't require me to be showered, dressed and ready for the day and work  by 8 am.  
I'm not sure when my day started. It was one of those nights. I was up every couple of hours putting a wide awake little girl back to sleep. I will never have coffee at night again. Or was it the chocolate? Maybe the combination. 
I made breakfast and added to the pile of dishes by the sink. From last night's supper. We didn't do them. We opted to curl up on the couch and watch a movie together. After our baby was in bed. 

Her daddy got her dressed while I boiled the water for oatmeal. We didn't do our workout. The 30 day shred isn't a 30 day shred for us. 

But we smiled. We laughed. Her giggles filled the living room as I swung her around. We discussed freedom in Christ and what that means for us as we read part of Galatians and then moved onto modest and humility as we read a portion of Worldiness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World. 

The dishes got done. The kitchen is clean and quiet, until I go in there to prepare lunch which is little prep for me. Sweet potato and black bean chili from the freezer and yesterday's banana bread. The violin is being practiced and the baby is sleeping. 

Real life is what happens when you're making plans. I read that quote this week and found it amusingly true. We're just living today as it is. And enjoying it because we can. We're together. We're healthy. We're happy.  And that works for me.

What does real life look at your house? How do you enjoy it?   

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Joie de Vivre

I flipped through the book at an airport kiosk. I was waiting for a flight and glanced through the little bookstore to see what was being offered. I liked what I read and it made sense to me. I knew I wanted to read the whole book someday. That day came this fall. Our library out here doesn't have the greatest selection of English books so I was excited when I placed a request for this title and they actually had it. I read it. In a few days. It was good. It was inspiring. And it rang true with a lot of what I strive for.

It talks about slowing down and savoring. Of enjoying really good food. Of making the food yourself. Of family traditions and the wisdom of the generations. It talks about beauty and poise and how you don't look pretty just with a swipe of lipstick. 
It only increased my desire to travel. To Europe. 
Would I own it? I'm not sure. Probably not. It's readily available at the library and while I concur with a lot of what she says, I don't concur with everything and I'd rather spend my money on something I can completely embrace and then lend out and read. Again and again. 
But I'm so glad I read it. 
We lay our table each night with candles. We turn off the main light and slightly angle the sink light to cast more light on our table. The glow encourages us to rest, to savor, to enjoy, to talk. To let all the day's burdens and joys out. 
We buy a bar of dark chocolate. We savor a square alongside our chai tea. We are satisfied. 
We delight in what is most possibly the best baguette we have ever eaten. We let the nuances of the flavor and texture dance on our tongue. We eat the whole loaf. 
We walk to the grocery store. We only have a few items to bring home. We breathe deeply. We smile and laugh at our inside jokes. 
She talks about all of that in her book. And while I don't share the same experiences as her, I share the same passion for enjoying life. And I enjoyed her book. It's called French Women Don't Get Fat. 
She just doesn't talk about the reason why we can enjoy life so much. We can enjoy life in all its beauty and in all its gore because this is not where it ends. We're living with eternity in view, we're striving to follow what Jesus said. He didn't say it would be easy or fun but He did say that we would have joy and that we would have Him.       

Monday, November 15, 2010

Counting My Gifts

Because sometimes you feel in a fog, because sometimes you feel overwhelmed by the reality of life, because sometimes you just need a reminder of what life is and why we choose to place our hope in Christ. Because there is no other answer. 
That's why I'm adding to my list of gifts today on this grey November day. 

beautiful, peace giving, uplifting music 
fresh bread straight from the oven with my aunt's rhubarb jam
lamplight in the living room 
my sweetheart practicing hours and hours 
encouragement from friends' lives 
my man putting my baby to sleep when all she needed was her daddy's arms 
his arms wrapped around me 
his prayers over me, over us
 letting go and just doing the next thing (knowing this wisdom from my Mom)
fresh laundry dominated with pink

I feel better already. Want to join in?  


holy experience

beating the blahs

 It's grey outside. The sun sets earlier. The leaves are almost all gone, leaving just the bare branches as a stark outline against the sky. I love this month. I love all months actually. But sometimes there comes this little thing called 'the blahs'. You lose motivation to do anything, 'supper, do we need to eat tonight?'. The hours drift by and you feel like you didn't get anything done. Except the dishes and playing with your baby. Does that count? You don't feel like working on any of your projects and bombing around facebook sounds like fun, sort of. And you are trying not to think about the bar of dark chocolate with almonds in the pantry....

It's called 'the blahs'. They're nasty little creatures that creep in and before you know it, they're stealing your joy. 

Before I was married, I would often tackle some home  organization project like the bookshelves in the library or bake something like cookies or a dessert for dinner. By the time the task was over, the blahs were gone and my motivation was back. 

We had the blahs a couple weeks ago. Actually, who am I kidding? I had them again this morning. I'm just getting over them. Last time, we made some of our favorite creamy hot cocoa and talked and talked while the baby was sleeping. We felt better. 
There's not a lot to organize here, we don't have that much stuff and there's only two of us to eat up any baking I do. 
So, we bundle the baby in the ergo and set out for a brisk walk. We sit down and plan out evening activities until we go home which ensures that we actually will read those books and get those scrapbook pages done. We play uplifting music. We eat yummy food. We get more sleep. We pray. 

And soon the blahs are gone. 

What do you do when you're feeling blah? Do you cook, paint, walk, sing?  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Must Remember


In honor of the day, I thought I'd share some quotes that to me personify why we remember the soldiers and many others who gave so much so that we can live in freedom. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of war and peace, we all owe so much to those who fight for the freedoms that we live in. I also wanted to share a link to an  article my Dad wrote. He writes a weekly column in my hometown newspaper. He also shares it by email and a copy is put on the web each week. 

"The real heros were the masses of ordinary soldiers who fought and died in the belief they were making the world a better place and their inventive leaders who stubbornly refused to follow the old rules of war." Pierre Berton, Vimy

"But now standing on Vimy's crest, he could no longer think of himself as English. He was part of a corps of young Canadians who had accomplished the impossible and done it with flair and dispatch.....The British hadn't done it; the French hadn't done it; they had done it-the Canadians." Vimy, Pierre Berton

"We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growning strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender...." Winston Churchill, from his speech on Dunkirk at the House of Commons, June 4, 1940.

We shall never forget. We owe them at least that.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

 I was so blessed and loved by all your comments, messages and posts on my facebook and blog, thank-you. =) It was so special to be loved and to celebrate my day with so many friends, thank-you for making it special. It really and truly meant a lot to me. I cried. And it was a beautiful thing. I'm excited to tell you about my day and share the memories with you all. Kind of like prolonging the loveliness. 

We all slept in, even Kilmeny, which was a treat. Jared then told me what the first surprise of the day was, we were going out to Cora's which is fast becoming our favorite special breakfast destination. It was started here in Montreal  and has since expanded across Canada. The food is really good, the presentation is impeccable and the fruit is fresh. 

We decided to go out of Montreal and see a little bit of the surrounding countryside on our drive. Outside of Montreal, English is not commonly spoken which added to the memory of our breakfast out. Halfway through our meal, a waitress came over and asked us something. Thinking that she asked us if everything was good, we nodded and then she started taking our plates away. We said no, sorry we're not done. She felt terrible and all the staff gave us smiles as they passed us. It was rather humorous but it was a good reminder to us to clarify everything before agreeing to something. =)   

Kilmeny slept the entire time despite the full restaurant and we enjoyed being able to talk together and just be together.
 I had 'raspberry 4 lucie', a delectable crepe filled with raspberries, English cream and raspberry coulis. It was just as yummy as it was beautiful. 

We came home for a bit, read together and then got ready to wander around Old Montreal. The cobblestone streets, the old style lamps, the little cafes and shops, the walled gardens make it a wonderful place to wander and drink in the history. 

After a subway ride home, we got changed for our evening out. It has been such a gift to have a friend who is willing to watch Kilmeny for us, it's enabled us to have some time out together just as a twosome. This was the first time that Kilmeny really cried when we left, she is definitely getting older and understanding more.  

 We went to a fondue place which was a first for both of us. When we stepped in the door, I could see a bouquet of flowers on one of the tables and thought, 'how special' and then we were led right to that table! I was floored, Jared had ordered a beautiful arrangement for our table since it was my 25th. We had so much fun together. The manager walked us through the process and recommended menu items to us and told us to take our time. I love to sit and savor and talk while I eat and fondue was a perfect choice to do that. It was all very good. We split a dessert of profiteroles which were absolutely divine. They put sparklers in the profiteroles since it was my birthday. I was so excited and watched the sparklers that I didn't get a picture of them all ablaze. 
We lingered long, talking, remembering, dreaming and enjoying a special celebration. It was a wonderful day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

a mummy-daughter date

 Kilmeny and I have been going on these dates together from the time she was two weeks old. We step into a coffee shop, find a cozy, quiet corner, I order something and we settle in. The first time we did this, I spent the whole time watching people and taking in every bit of this little baby that was mine. This time, it was Starbucks. Jared was playing for some friends, a mock mock audition, and so Kilmo and I kept warm and cozy at the coffee shop. And then everybody joined us when the music was all done. 
We both had books. And I shared my toffee nut mocha. Kilmeny was more interested in the girl who was near us than reading. The girl was more interested in Kilmeny than studying. ;-) They had quite the conversation.

Christopher Robin Gives Pooh a Party and The Hobbit  were our books of choice. And since Kilmeny was entertained, I could delve into the world of dwarves, dragons and a brave hobbit and feel a little more brave myself. I did laugh (quietly) out loud at Bilbo's reasoning with Smaug and cheered (internally) when Bard killed the dragon.  
 This is what it looks like when you are ten months old. Our little corner was pretty much empty except for the student and another patron who let me know when Kilmeny was escaping her little corner. They were charmed by her and I was relieved that they weren't bothered by her little noises.
It was a special time. A tradition that we will keep up even after she outgrows Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear and she can order her own drink.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


It's November. It's grey and chilly and rainy. Just like November should be. Often seen as a depressing month, it's never been that way to me. It's the time to check out heaps of books from the library, bake cookies, pull out all those projects that you were saving for the winter and stay close to home. In my family, it's always been a month of celebration. We have three birthdays this month. And Jared's family has two. We're celebrating all month long. 
My younger sister and I are two years and ten days apart. We're two of the November babies and we have shared a lot of birthday celebrations. Until we got a little older and couldn't decide on the same menu. Actually we just wanted to have our birthdays so we could celebrate twice. We used to wish we were twins and pretended that we were when we shared our birthday celebration. 

My birthday is this Sunday. I still get this giddy feeling inside when I think about my day and love all the special things. I see everything on that day as a gift whether it's blue sky and sunshine or snow. I've already received some early birthday gifts and notes and those make me feel so loved. I thought it would be fun, since I am turning (gasp!) twenty-five, to share twenty-five things about me.  I really don't feel twenty-five but it normally takes me a little awhile to adjust to my new age. ;-)

So, here you go. 25 things about Breanne.

1. I really love just living life. I like to identify myself as a liver of life when that question comes up. I prefer to be seen that way than being defined by what I do. Although I admit to copping out and saying I was studying  world history a couple years ago because that generally switched the topic to one I enjoyed.

2. I like dancing in the rain, cheering at fireworks, waving at trains and doing other sometimes-slightly-embarrassing-for-those who-are-with-me things. Apparently I also like using run-on sentences. 

3. A mini-Cooper is my dream car. I just can't decide if I want a baby blue one or a red one with white stripes.

4. I've never felt called to raise a large family and it's never been my dream to drive a big van full of kids.

5. I'm a big believer in living in the now rather than always hoping for the next stage, i.e. as a single letting marriage and family consume me, as a mom letting the desire for another child consume my thoughts and conversation.

6. I love the Narnian chronicles.

7. I really like Audrey Hepburn.

8. Simple things thrill me like lamplight in the evenings and a good cuppa tea.

9. I love getting all glammed up for a date with my husband.

10.When I was younger, someone thought my younger brother, my younger sister and I were triplets. We're actually all two years apart but it was a fun five minutes...

11. If I could, I would have a whole closet full of shoes, for every occasion.

12. I'm a bit of a coffee snob.

13. If I were to get another piercing, I would pierce my nose.

14. A lot of people seem to think that pursuing music is Jared's thing and I'm just going along with it but we actually made a decision in New Zealand to pursue music, together. And every decision we make about music is made together.

15. I really love to cook and bake. I get excited about cooking for events that involve lots of people. And I get just as excited making dinner for the two of us.

16. I love being part of a large family and marrying into a large family.

17. I tend to hide behind what I feel people's impressions of me are. If they think I'm cute and sweet, I act cute and sweet. That's my defense tactic when I feel insecure.

18. I really love striving for a healthy lifestyle- eating local, organic produce, grass-fed meat, baby-wearing, natural health remedies etc.

19. I am passionate about God's view of woman and find it very liberating.

20. I love being a mom. It is one of the hardest and yet best things I have done.

21. I love my family fiercely and since I'm married, that includes a lot of people!

22. Jared is the man of my dreams and so much more. I love him with all my heart.

23. I treasure honesty in relationships and strive for transparency in my own life.

24. I really love New Zealand.

25. My ideal afternoon would include a book, a journal, a hot cup of something delicious and a few quiet hours.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


the fleur-de-lis, on Quebec's provincial flag
 when we first drove into Montreal three months ago, we were assaulted by all the sights, sounds and city that Montreal is. Our brains felt tired by the evening by reading all the French language everywhere and not really understanding any of it. 

We sat on the floor of our hotel room eating pizza, late at night, after having looked at a couple potential places to rent. It seemed a lot. Were we crazy? I remember texting my sister saying I felt overwhelmed, I've done a lot but this seemed to be too much. She replied back by saying that in a couple of months I would probably really enjoy Montreal and that she thought I was brave. I didn't feel brave. I felt scared and small. 

It's been a couple of months now. We go home to Alberta next month. And I felt it was high time to write a bit about this city that we're calling home. 

My first impression of Montreal was a big, sprawling city. Like any other city of the world. I didn't see the charm that everybody always talks about. I felt jaded. Jared would come home from his lessons all excited about the charm and culture of the city and I didn't understand. I didn't see it. 

But then I did. We took a day and toured Old Montreal, walked along the waterfront, whispered in Notre Dame Basilica Cathredral, stepped our way along crooked cobblestone streets. We ate fresh bagels from one of Montreal's famous bagel shops. We heard lots of French being spoken around us. We saw many black iron spiral staircases leading to people's homes. 

notre dame basilica cathedral

Montreal is more than all that though. It is made up of people. And people are the same the world over. I see our neighbor behind us in her kitchen preparing breakfast and dinner for her family at the same time I am preparing meals for us. I see our neighbor across the street take his little daughter for a walk, all bundled in her snowsuit and stroller just like I do with Kilmeny. 

French is the prevailing language here just like English is back in our home province of Alberta. But most people are more than willing to speak English, except for the poor man who had a horrified expression on his face when I started apologizing in English that I didn't speak French. In fact, some people prefer to speak in English as one clerk told us. The people are overall friendly and welcoming, especially when we tell them we're from out of province. 

a lamp post in old montreal

I'm glad to have lived here. To actually experience some of Montreal more than just passing through. It's helped me to understand people a little more, the sheer humanity that we all share, regardless of language or race. 
But I'm also very excited to be going home. Next month. I can't wait.    

Where would you live, if you could live anywhere for a few months? 

photos credit of my husband  

Monday, November 1, 2010

apple oat scones

I saw a recipe this past week for maple oat scones. It sounded interesting. After I glanced through it, I thought with a few modifications I could make it into apple oat scones. A recipe idea that I had been wanting to try but didn't want to venture too far the path of unknown, I wanted to use someone else's recipe. I was delighted with how the scones turned out, with my modifications, and am encouraged to modify more new recipes. 
We had these lovely treats fresh with creamy hot cocoa, they accompanied bowls of steaming pumpkin soup and will be enjoyed again today for our tea. I will tell you all about our tea tradition in another post, it's something we've established since being in Montreal and has nothing at all to do with Montreal, just the season of life we're in right now.
I was pleased at the small-ish amount of sugar, and the fact that they have oats and whole wheat flour in them making them a more healthy treat. They were more like an oatcake than scone but still very yummy. And they are perfect enjoyed on a grey-ish day like today. I just finished reading The Hobbit, a book I started this summer and have been reading bits of it aloud to Kilmeny. And then reading long bits by myself. Reading Tolkien always makes me hungry, if the hobbits aren't eating, they're talking about eating and they do have the most delightful descriptions. 

On to the recipe. 

Apple Oat Scones adapted from  here
1 c. unbleached flour
1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
2 t ground flax seed
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 c. butter, cut into pieces
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 egg
1 apple, chopped

Measure flours, ground flax seed oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt into bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles large crumbs. 
Combine buttermilk and egg. Mix with dry crumb mixture until dough forms. Too much handling will result in tough scones. Turn onto lightly floured surface, knead three or four times with floury hands. Dough will be sticky. 
Shape dough into large flat round or 8 small flat rounds (it's totally your preference, I did one middle-ish sized one and four small scones)
Place scones on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees. 
Enjoy with your favorite hot beverage and a good book (may I recommend The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien?) or a good friend.

And because it's Monday, because we're feeling so grateful and because counting your blessings is a great way to banish the greyness....I'm not sure why I'm talking about the grey so much today, the skies are grey but my spirit is light. 
- glorious light on the maple trees as the sun sets
- music that speaks the truth about Christ 
- grace and provision for today, that's all we ever need 
- a vacuum 
- a washer and dryer 
- grace
- amazing and incredible, to-the-detail provision of a need 
- a brand-new month 
- the sheer delight of being an aunt to an niece, another little girl in my life
- family

holy experience


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