goodbye 2011!

Well boys and girls... this is it. The last few days of the amazing year that was 2011.
Since the birth of this blog back in 2009, I've been compiling a list of memorable events at the end of each year. It's great to look back and realize how much has changed, or how much you've accomplished in a span of 12 months. For the past few years, each year has been as great or better than the one before. My life is amazing, and I feel truly blessed. Here is my year, all summed up nicely:

It got off to a bit of a rough start. I had just returned from vacation. I was more homesick than I ever thought possible. My laptop stopped working, severing my main form of communication with Ryan. A terrible cold forced me to call in sick for one of my favourite trips (Sydney/Auckland). Fortunately, the good outweighed the bad. I was newly engaged. I'd spend a good portion of my days just staring at the gorgeous ring on my finger. I knew that someday Ryan and I would be reunited for good, and I had forever on my mind. Ryan bought and sent a brand new laptop to me all the way from Canada. I had an amazing new roommate who became one of the best friends that I'd make in Dubai. We bonded immediately through our love of food. I survived January. The rest was a breeze.
This spring, I saw amazing places. I walked on the Great Wall of China. I sat next to tigers in Thailand. I ate crepes in Paris. I discovered a newfound love for Hong Kong. I took a solo trip to Vienna, Austria and indulged in some of the world's best desserts. I brought my country count to a grand total of 36.
I managed to make it make to Canada in February, March, April, and May. In June I bid farewell to the sandy city of Dubai to return for good. Home was great. I surrounded myself by friends, family, and my fiancé. This summer, Ryan and I took a 4 week road trip through the western states of the USA. I went to Disneyland, fulfilling a childhood dream.
He achieved his dream by obtaining a pilot's license... rather exciting for both of us.
Fall rolled around. We planned our dream wedding and began the countdown. I scored a job with a Canadian airline, allowing me to do exactly what I love doing without the catch of having to live on the other side of the world. Training was long and stressful, but afterwards I flew to Hawaii, and got paid for it.
Ryan and I became real grown up people, and purchased a house... our very own perfect little home!
I spent Christmas with the people that I love, a perfect end to an pretty incredible year.
Looking back, it's been one of the most eventful and life changing years, and with 2012 will come just as much excitement and adventure. I'll become a completely different person... at least in terms of last names. Bring it on 2012... I'm ready for you!!

tales of Christmas travels

While most people packed their bags to head home for the holidays, I packed mine and reluctantly said goodbye to my beloved house and fiancé. Somebody has to work the flights so that everyone else can be home for their Christmas festivities!
It was December 22, and the airport was chaotic. People and suitcases were crammed into every corner. Our flights were not surprisingly completely full. Day one sent me to Fort McMurray, back to Calgary, and then on to Vancouver. I got a short night's sleep before waking up to what was set to be the biggest day that my airline had ever experienced in terms of passenger volume. It was the busiest day of the year, and we were off to one of the busiest airports in the world... LAX. We landed in our little 737 as I stared longingly out the windows while we taxied past a total of 3 A30s. As much as I love my job, I can't help but to miss my big, beautiful, former office. We loaded some more passengers and returned back home. I was lucky enough to have a short layover in Edmonton, so while the rest of the crew went to the hotel, Ryan picked me up and took me home!
Christmas Eve began at 3:30 am for me. We flew to Vegas, on a flight full of families. Apparently Vegas is more of a kids destination than I was led to believe! With 2 hours on ground, we wandered the airport aimlessly, picking up a much needed extra-espresso Starbucks drink for the ride home. Back to Canada we went... on to Kelowna! I checked in to my hotel to find a chocolate Santa on the bed, courtesy of the hotel. I'd been so busy with work that it hadn't really dawned on me that it was almost Christmas! I was lucky enough not to have to spend the evening alone. My mom's friend Michelle, who has known me since the day I was born picked me up and took me to her house for an evening of food and fun. I had to call it a night quite early, as I had another disgusting wake up time the next morning.
When I woke up, it was Christmas! I snacked on my chocolate for breakfast, feeling as though working Christmas day exempted me from eating anything healthy. On the plane, my crew and I exchanged cards, chocolates, and small gifts... they were perhaps the greatest crew I've worked with to date. Just a short flight to Calgary, and we were done! There were hugs all around as we wished each other a Merry Christmas and headed to our homes! I felt so fortunate to have the chance to finally spend a Christmas with my family! An hour and a half later, I was at my mom's house! I spent the day with my mom, brothers, puppies, and later on in the evening we were joined by Ryan. It was a quiet day full of overeating, but I wouldn't have changed a thing. I was surrounded by my family for Christmas!
On Boxing Day, I joined the shopping fanatics in waking up early... only I was headed back to the airport while they rushed out to score bargains. I'd never seen the airport so busy. Both of the parkades were full, and after 5 minutes of driving in circles I finally found a spot to park in the overweight vehicle lot. It was absolute madness, and I could only imagine the type of day I had in store. As it was a new pairing, I had a new set of crew. I wasn't ready to move on from the amazing ones I'd flown with the past 4 days, but I had no choice. After another day of flying I landed for another layover in Edmonton. Ryan and I met up with his family to exchange gifts a day late. I had to get to bed early yet again, so unfortunately there wasn't a lot of time to visit.
Finally, I'd reached day 6. After today, I'd be done flying until 2012! With 5 flights, each completely full, it was one heck of a long day filled with a decent amount of drama and delays. Eventually, we landed in Calgary and that was it. I'd survived the incredibly long 6 day stretch, and it was finally time to go home for real... not just on a layover!
I hit the highway and made the 3 hour journey back to Edmonton. It was so good to be home.
My Christmas gift from the lovely masses of passengers was a sniffly, sneezy cold to take home with me. I shared my sniffles with Ryan, because I'm just that kind.
It may have been busy (okay, absolutely crazy) but this Christmas season really wasn't so bad!

It was lovely...

It was lovely, it really was...
...from start to finish...

 Each year on Christmas Eve when I get ready to pile the gifts under the tree I always think we've not done enough...
that our love for each child might be measured by how many gifts they receive the next morning
or by how much money we spent

Each year as I set everything lovingly under the tree
I am overwhelmed by the reality of how generous the Lord has allowed us to be 
and how generous the Lord is with us

in more ways than just tangible gifts...

When we drove through the devastation that is Joplin on our trip two weeks ago we were brought to tears...
and still I am affected.

Acutely grateful and aware of the ways the Lord has spared us, and so thankful to
with family
in our house
under a roof
in the warmth
with food
our own clothes
fresh water
wrapped gifts
Gifts that we don't NEED
only things that we 
small tokens
weak gestures
attempts to represent
and symbolize
the most





a tiny baby
helpless in an animal feeding trough
wrapped in strips of dirty rough fabric

here to save

So...embracing all this, we had a wonderful Christmas. We spent the days with family, crammed in small houses, talking above noisy children, waiting for slow food to cook, cleaning up messes, laughing, hugging, and loving every precious moment of it.

I am ready to put behind me all the tears and unanswered questions of this year and
turn to face the only One who knows the answers
and follow Him into the next year,
the future that only He is certain of...

Worrying about what lies ahead and trying to answer things for myself is too big a burden for me to carry
and I gladly




to my Savior,
the precious tiny babe
come to save the world.

Happy New Year!
May you look to Him for the truth, and the true measure of your gifts.

Ephesians 3:20-22
Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.


Merry Christmas!!
Wishing everyone an amazing festive day... especially all of my fellow crew around the world who are hard at work today trying to get people home to their families!
I've finished my shift for the day and I'm home for the first Christmas in a few years.... and the very first time that Ryan and I will be together for the holiday since we've started dating! My hope is that everyone else is even half as happy as I am!

improv baking

I'm not really housewife material. Cooking? Not exactly my strength. Like many girls, I do enjoy baking... but I'm not necessarily skilled at it in any way.
A few months ago I discovered cake pops. Delicious balls of cakey goodness, coated in a layer of chocolate. I had to make them. I stumbled upon a recipe and made my very first batch earlier this month. They were a hit, primarily with my 17 year old brother. He consumed many of them, brought some to school to share with his friends and a special young lady, and the next day there were none left.
With Christmas around the corner, I've already purchased an awesome gift for the brother, but I couldn't resist making some more cake pops for him. Nobody else would ever appreciate my attempts at baking quite as much! With a new house and a pretty new kitchen, baking should be a breeze... right? Well, no, not really. As I spent the morning lovingly making little balls of cake, I realized that I need to unpack a few more boxes and buy a few more supplies. I improvised, because that's what I do. Now I'm going to teach you all how to make your very own delicious cake pops.
1. Bake a cake. Any flavour, any type. You can do it from scratch, or if you are feeling like these take more than enough effort already, you can buy a box mix like I did. I love pre-mixed cake, I don't care what any of you happy baking homemakers say. It tastes delicious. I went with rainbow chip, because that happens to be a hit with my brother. Oh, and it helps if you have a cake pan. I didn't, so I used a casserole dish instead. It took forever to bake, but I'm just that dedicated.
2. Take your cake out of the oven, and destroy it. No, really. While it's still warm, take a fork and mix it all up into a fluffy mess of cake.
3. Ruin whatever chance of it being remotely healthy by adding a rather large glob of icing in whatever flavour you choose. Since they are coated in chocolate, I went with plain old vanilla. Mix it in throughout your cake... it will become sticky, delicious glue.
4. Use a melon baller or ice cream scoop to make little round cake balls. Or, if you are like me and have neither of these, use your (scrubbed and washed) hands. Ewwy, gooey mess.
5. Place the balls on a cake sheet and stick them in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Or if you don't have baking sheets or a freezer, I found that tin foil and a cold snowy deck did the trick. There are advantages to living in sub-zero climates.
6. When the cake balls are good and set, dip them in melted chocolate. I used this as an excuse to persuade my fiancé that I absolutely needed to own a chocolate fountain. I intended to take photos but it was a messy process and I was too busy licking chocolate from my fingers...
7. Sprinkle some sprinkles or cookie crumbs or whatever you'd like on your cake pops before the chocolate hardens. Stick them in the fridge to set, and then serve them to your favourite people! Easy as pie! Though I'm really not sure that I'm ready to tackle something as complex as pie at this time...
Wrap them up in pretty little treat bags for a yummy gift... or if you have none and they are for your 17 year old brother who could care less, saran wrap and a bit of ribbon works just fine.

For those of you who read my blog solely to read about my flight attendant adventures, I apologize. I'm trying out the domesticated thing to pass the time during my vast amount of days off between flying. I'm back to the skies again in a few days, and I'm likely to be full of stories just for you!


I'm unabashedly excited!

We had a wonderful time last week on our impromptu trip to Dallas and many other places. I'm so glad we got to go, and so thankful for Marvin's job that allowed us to!

I LOVE Christmas...

I LOVE this week of preparation, of our hearts and home...

We do Advent, but are scrambling to catch up since we missed two weeks being gone...

Marvin always makes Christmas so magical for me, especially! I don't know how he does it, but he's amazing. We didn't celebrate Christmas as kids at my house, so he's trying to make up for a childhood of lost memories!

I can't wait to share our trip with all of you...but right now

It's time to roll up my sleeves and get to work!

(and get Ava out of the bathtub...)

{Ava took this at one of the many beautiful places we went last week...}

come in for a tour!

Oh! Hi guys! I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately, but unfortunately I'm without internet until December 28.... I know, I know. How is it possible for one to survive such a length of time without a large dose of Facebook and Twitter each day? Don't worry, I'm coping. I've got an iPhone to feed my addiction.
So, here we are, day 6 in our brand new house. I'm in love. I still giggle and say "Let's go home!" every time that Ryan and I are finished loading up another shopping cart full of stuff that we just can't say no to. Seriously, we need to kick our shopping habit ASAP, but everything is just so pretty and looks so great in our house!
Anyways.... I've been off work and kicking back at home for the past week. It's been a lot of work but it's all coming together quite nicely! I thought I'd take you all for a little tour of our lovely abode! Come on in, and please, wipe your feet.... we are kind of a bit overprotective of our hardwood floors.
Well, I tried to take a photo of the wreath on the front door. It's very pretty, I assure you. I made it myself with some floral wire, pinecones, and ornaments. As I was outside in the dark trying to snap a shot to share, I heard noises outside and living in a brand new subdivision on a currently uninhabited (minus us and one other family) street, I ran back inside and locked the door. It was probably a deer, since we back onto a field.... but I wasn't willing to find out.
Soooo here is our kitchen. Our beloved, beautiful kitchen. I will bake great things here someday. We are currently waiting on delivery of a fridge and dishwasher, so it's been a week of fast food for us!
You may notice that we don't have a table in the dining room, but have no fear.... it will arrive later this week! We got a steal of a deal just because we were at the right place at the right time. Not that you care, but I'm really excited to brag about getting 4 chairs and a table for only $200.... 60% less than the original price because it was a discontinued product. Go us! Follow me into our living room. Our tree was the first thing to occupy this room. Before the chair, before the couch, before the boxes had been unpacked. I love Christmas and I've waited 2 years to set up a real live tree. They don't grow in Dubai, just in case you wondered.
These are our stairs. More importantly, this is our clock. We love our clock. You can't really tell from my little picture, but it has a vintage map print on it. When Ryan insisted that it was beautiful I was a bit hesitant as to whether we should in fact own it. It was the last one on the shelf, and when another shopper came up and eagerly asked us where we'd found it, I was sold. I became possessive. It was my clock now. It grew on me and now I could never imagine us apart.
Upstairs you'll find our guest washroom. Take a guess at my favourite colours.
Not that this is very interesting, but here is our laundry room. I took a photo just to show off the sign on the wall, which states "When I said I do, I didn't mean the laundry". We aren't quite married, but nothing wrong with a little forewarning for my husband-to-be.
Okay, I actually don't mind the laundry... it's the vacuuming that I can't stand. Fortunately, with our fancy-schmancy new vacuum that we just purchased this evening, I've never seen anyone as eager as Ryan to vacuum every square inch of a home.
We have 2 other bedrooms upstairs, but they are empty and boring and thus not worthy of a photo. One is for our office, the other will be for guests. Not, I repeat, not for babies. Not any time soon. Our house is far from childproof.
Come into our room! It's got a few things that we still want to do, such as perhaps purchase a bed frame. That said, we love our room and it's oh-so-cozy. Again, can you guess my favourite colours?
Ladies, hang on... (and gentlemen, but this is more of a girls and gays thing...) we're about to enter the best part of this place. Step inside my amazing ginormous closet. The photo is deceiving. We've actually got a dresser just to the right and even a wide angle camera lens couldn't get the whole thing in. I'm in heaven. Excuse the mess, we are still getting organized and I've persuaded Ryan to get rid of some of his many, many shirts that I've never seen him wear.
What home of mine would be complete without airplanes scattered throughout? In my many shopping trips I've come to realize that vintage aircraft decor is actually quite popular right now. I'd like to think that I'm ahead of such trends... I've proudly displayed a little Boeing 737 for many years now, and it has more meaning to me than the average home decorator.

Oh, and last but certainly not least, my fiancé and brand new roommate, Ryan. He's my favourite part of this house!
Thanks for visiting, but just so you know, this doesn't excuse you from stopping by in real life. Yeah, that's right. Come visit. We have chocolates on the counter and drinks in the makeshift cooler that we are currently using for a fridge. If I'm not in the sky, I'm up for visitors!

Minus one...

It's been a bit over a year since my miscarriage

I still cry and miss my baby...

I think about how old she'd be right now...she pops into my head at odd times, and I mentally fit her in to what we're doing. 

I always feel like someone's missing and am constantly looking around, counting to make sure we've got everyone. 

I have friends who had babies around the time I would have had my angel, and it makes the empty space in my heart even bigger when I see them.

I also have friends who have shared the pain of miscarriage...but they've gone on to have other children.  "But what if I can't?" I always think...
We've tried...and I had one more miscarriage...

Discovering and dealing with related health issues should make it easier to bide my time. Some days it does, but some days it doesn't.

They say time heals everything, but I'm not so sure. Part of me is forever changed...will forever be longing...
Despite the sadness, I've come to terms with the reality that
it happened.

I am a mother of five...
two of whom I've never kissed
but will someday.

It will forever be a part of who I am
we will always have a part of our family missing.

Our family is not yet complete.
God has promised me to one day fill my aching arms again...but the waiting is so hard.

Grain Free Raisin Cookies

We all want a sweet treat during the holiday season!
Thankfully, there are some delicious recipes out there that will help if you are trying to keep your family on track.
I honestly can't remember where this one came from...I think a friend sent it to me.
The batter is just as tasty raw as it is baked, and sometimes we just eat it by the spoonful right out of the fridge!

Grain/Gluten-Free Raisin Cookies

10 TBSP grass fed butter (not as tasty with grocery store butter, nor as good for you!)
1/2 C raw honey
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 C almond flour or meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda (not GAPS legal)
1 C shredded coconut (you can leave this out, we like it in!)
1 C raisins

Dump it all in a bowl, make sure the butter is very soft first, and mix, mix, mix! Get your kids to help, this is a great, fool-proof recipe for them to make!
Bake at 350 for 10 min. ***Cool on pan***
(That is very, very important. The butter needs time to re-harden slightly before you try and move them)

The Storm Last Week!

We had a storm last week. The power was cut all night and the airport was closed. Just wanted to share a few pictures...Skye slept through it all. So did we, after 10:00 p.m.

honey, I'm home!

Life is great.
That was the thought going through my mind over and over again as I sat in my comfy chair adjacent to my freshly decorated Christmas tree, snuggled up to my fiancé in OUR house. It's ours! We are home at last, and I couldn't be happier.
With my vagabond style life, it was hard to imagine that I'd ever love being home. Being a domesticated house-fiancé (between flights) was never really something that I envisioned for myself. Now that I'm here, it's great. I wake up, and I want to clean because I live here. I want to bake in my beautiful kitchen. Ryan comes home from work, and I kiss him and ask how his day was. We are disgustingly cute and insanely normal, and you know what? I love it.
It's been a busy few days filled with unpacking, cleaning, and nervously awaiting the first dent in our hardwood floors. We've hung our pictures, decorated our 100% real living tree, and settled in to the first place I've had to call home in a long, long time. We are still waiting on the arrival of a fridge and dishwasher, so we've resorted to a lot of fast food for the time being.
Since this is our home, we can make it reflect the things that we love... namely travel and aviation. We've got pretty little airplanes and globes and knick-knacks from the over 40 countries combined that we've traveled to. Oh, and wait until you see our fridge, if it ever arrives. I've got a rather epic fridge magnet collection, and I don't care how tacky it is.
I live here. I live with my best friend. We own a home. I repeat: Life is good.

Our first photo together (after a long, long day of moving) in our new house!


Me: "Who told you that?"
Ava: "No one! I just found it in my head!"


Ava: "Mom? I'll miss you when I'm dead..."


Ava: "I wish I had fourteen children, then I could have a mansion and fourteen beds!"


Ava: "Mom? When am I gonna be old enough to go on a stage? I want to sign up for one right now! And I'll be fine with a crowd."


Ava: "I'm guessing that God is writing our prayers on little Post It notes and hanging them up with our names on them?" (after bedtime prayers one night!)

Stuffed Shells

As promised, here is the first of many recipes I want to share.

Our GAPS/grain-free journey is possibly nearing it's end
I've learned a lot
and added some great, nutritious recipes to my repitoire!

This recipe is called 
Stuffed Shells...
and the "shells" can be bell peppers, steamed cabbage leaves, or any other cup shaped veggie you can imagine!

We used green bell peppers...

1/2 lb grass fed ground beef
3 large mushrooms
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 C chopped spinach
1 1/2 C ricotta cheese (I used kefir cheese)
1C shredded mozzarella (I used raw grass fed cheddar)
1/2 tsp parsley
1 beaten egg yolk
4 bell peppers or 8 lg cabbage leaves
2C tomato sauce

Steam cabbage leaves if that's what you are using.  Brown beef and add veggies. Cook till soft. Mix ricotta (or kefir cheese), half the mozzarella, and parsley in a bowl, add meat mixture. Pour a little of the tomato sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. Stuff your veggie shells with the mixture (or roll your stuffed cabbage leaves), set on the sauce. Pour the rest of the sauce over the tops and add the rest of the shredded mozzarella. Bake at 350 till cheese is melted.

Tips: I would recommend steaming which ever veggie "shell" you decide to use prior to filling and baking. The first time I did this, the green peppers took FOREVER to cook.

{I adapted this recipe from one over at Modern Alternative Mama's place. Check her out!}