Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Sinterklaas kapoentje,
Gooi wat in mijn schoentje,
Gooi wat in mijn laarsje,
Dank je Sinterklaasje!

Saint NicolaasThrow something in my little shoe
Throw something in my little boot
Thank you, Little Saint Nicolaas

Every year in early December, in The Netherlands, Sinterklaas and his .... um, well ,,,,, friend (that's what we'll call him) Zwarte Piet arrive on a boat bearing goodies for the well behaved children. On the evening when he comes (not Christmas Eve) children set out their shoes and expect them to be filled with goodies the next morning.

Sinterklaas found his way from the Gray, Drizzly Low Lands to the Cold White North and filled our bunny slippers. I would say that he did a great job this year bringing Jerry the traditional chocolate letter, and Michelle festive candies that tasted just like candy corn.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Skirt

About two weeks ago, I finished my skirt. I learned a lot along the way about things that I have basically forgotten at this point, but I completed it. I made some gospel analogies along the way - seamripping = repentance (I did a lot of this), my inability to sew a straight line = apostasy (this created the need for seamripping), learning to read a pattern = understanding the scriptures (the pattern was like a foreign language) etc.

My goal was to wear the skirt in public. So the first Sunday after I finished, I put together this outfit. I haven't decided whether I looked cute or just a little frumpy, but here I am.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I have been wanting to learn how to sew for a long time, and a lack of a work permit has given me the freedom. I have my very own sewing machine and am in a class where I am learning with moderate success to sew a skirt.

I decided I wanted to make stockings to commemorate our first Christmas as married people.. I succeeded and I am very proud.

Experienced seamstresses (or the male version thereof) might be able to see areas where improvement is needed. I sure do. But this is my first sewing project success, and I am going to bask in the glory of it until tomorrow.

Monday, November 14, 2011

It Begins ...

On Saturday, Jerry looked out the window and said, "Oh, Michelle you aren't going to like this!" Well, I guess it had to happen sometime. Snow has hit the Great White North.
From this view from our apartment, you can tell that it wasn't a huge storm. That came today as the snow went from small specks to ominous marble sized flakes. True to first-storm-of-the-year tradition, drivers forgot how to drive and children were filled with Christmas cheer.

I took these on Saturday. On my way to the library, I walked through a small park downtown. I was shocked to find a tree that still had leaves on it.

The long winter is starting and it is time to put some real effort into finding boots for this Snow Grinch.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The River

Yesterday morning, Jerry peered out the window and informed me that ice chunks were floating down the river. Today, I decided to take a morning constitutional and check it out for myself. I bundled up and took a brisk walk across the bridge and found this.

If I can bear the cold, I will get another shot when the river is completely frozen.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Honeymoon Part 4: Universal Studios and Epcot Center

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is just a small sliver of Universal Studios. Jerry and I spent some of our time exploring other areas as well.
Jerry loved the Marvel superheroes.

My interests were slightly more literary. In Seuss Landing, they actually had a roller coaster dedicated to my favorite Dr. Seuss story. I was a little disappointed though when I did not have star on my belly by the end.
We also found this giant book.

The last hours of our honeymoon were spent at Epcot Center. I love the country exhibits that they have here and was so happy to get to return.

The Mexico pavilion is probably my favorite. Inside they have a very cheesy ride that takes you to lots of stereotypical places.

Jerry's favorite was China, of course! He even grew his hair out for the occasion.

We watched a street performer in Italy as the weather started to get bad.

Then last, but certainly not least, was the Canada Pavilion. Don't tell Jerry, but their film was probably the most interesting.

And thus ended our honeymoon adventures. After Epcot we headed to the airport and flew back to start real life together.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Honeymoon Part 3: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

After disembarking from our cruise ship, we drove up to Orlando to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Despite the fact that I thought it could have been slightly larger, it was pretty much mind blowing. We entered Hogsmeade to find the train station.
We spent our first hour or so exploring the town. It might look like a winter wonderland, but it was actually very hot.

Zonko's joke shop had puking pastilles, U-No-Poo, extendable ears, and many other magical prank devices.

The candy shop had an every flavor bean dispenser, chocolate frogs and much much more.

We wandered into the Three Broomsticks for lunch. I ate fish and chips and Jerry had chicken and corn.

The food was okay, but what was really good was the butter beer!

Jerry became a little addicted, and I thought it was a tasty treat.

Next stop was Olivander's to find ourselves a wand.

We had a lot to choose from. I chose Hermione's wand and tried to convince Jerry to buy Ron's wand. He said he only would if it was broken and came with duct tape.

During our Hippogriff ride, we found Hagrid's house. For some reason this really impressed me.

We found that Hagrid is still protecting Buckbeak. While I know that Buckbeak is very nice after you get to know him, I still thought he looked scary.

We spent a great two days with Harry Potter and took hundreds of pictures of which I have shared a few. Check my family blog for a tour of Hogwarts Castle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Latest Accomplishment

Check out my latest accomplishment on my family's blog! I am very proud!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Honeymoon Part 2: Cozumel, Mexico

The highlight of the cruise (besides the amazing sandwich bar) was Cozumel, a little island off of Mexico. You can see the island as we approach. Those fluffy clouds turned out to be a little ominous as it did rain when we first arrived. We didn't worry too much. We stayed on the boat and ate a sandwich.
The boat dumps you into the world's largest tourist trap with all sorts of duty free items. I was literally frightened that this was all there was going to be. But we actually found somebody that was selling snorkeling excursions and we took advantage. Let me digress a little and offer a cruise tip. Cruise ships sell excursions at highly inflated prices. Their sales pitch is often based on fear that you will not return to your boat on time if you choose an excursion after you get off the boat. If you wait, you can find many similar excursions from the locals at much lower prices. We discovered that everyone on the island lives by the cruise schedules. Unless you make a really bad decision an off boat excursion can be less expensive and more fun.

So, we found a snorkeling boat. They took us to two reefs. The water was clear and gorgeous and the fish swarmed around us when we fed them tortillas. Jerry and I were probably the strongest swimmers in the group and we stayed up witth the tour guide. He found us a sea cucumber and showed us lots of amazing things. I loved it.

After changing our clothes, took a taxi into town for Mexican food. While waiting for our meals we were serenaded with "La Bamba."

I was pretty excited to eat Mexican food in Mexico. This chicken and mole was delicious.

Jerry got a Mexican food sampler.

We strolled along the walk by the beach as the sun started to go down.

Then headed back to our ship (the one on the left. The island was flooded with eager tourists because hurricanes in other areas diverted most of the cruise ships to Cozumel.

Check back for our mainland Florida honeymoon adventures.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Honeymoon Part 1: Cruise Ship and Key West

So, two months later, I have decided that all of you will be interested enough in our honeymoon to endure it in more than one post. We took a lot of photos which is not typical for us, but it was quite an adventure. The night before the cruise, we wondered around Miami and found a restaurant that served some of my favorite Nicaraguan food. I was happy.

Every good cruise line features towel origami. I took a photo of it each night, but I think you get the point.

So my take on the cruise is this. It is literally the most relaxing thing ever. There is no schedule. Transportation, food, and entertainment are taken care of. But on the other hand it is five days of guilt-ridden gluttony. Whenever we found ourselves by the pool, I felt like I was at a floating frat party. But we found some lower key things to do. Our schedule went something like this - eat, sleep, swim, play mini golf, eat, sleep, swim, take a walk, eat, sleep, swim, read etc.

The boat even had a library. It may not surprise you that this was not the most crowded place on the boat. We ducked in here during our "Fun Day at Sea" and played some games. (I always have to visit the library)

Did I mention that we ate while on the boat. This is the lovely group of people that we ate dinner with every night. Two of the couples were taking vacations from their kids. The other two were coworkers that decided to go on a last minute vacation. One couple was Mormon and another was Canadian. You can see that we got along well.

Our first port of call was Key West. I am not going to lie, there was not a ton to do there and they didn't give us much time. We wandered into a toy store, and Jerry found this hat. I thought he looked pretty gangster.

We found a quirky little art museum called the Custom House. They had these art installations that would project your movements onto a framed piece of the installation. We got to be a part of art!

If you think that sounds like it was fun, just wait there's more!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Edmonton Reception

Because one wedding reception wasn't enough, we decided to have one in Edmonton as well. This gave Jerry a chance to celebrate with his friends of which there are many. Unlike our California reception this was held in a cultural hall and as previously mentioned was intensely DIY.
Luckily we had help. Pictured here was our de facto wedding coordinator. Everything beautiful, creative and interesting about our wedding was her idea. She was also our cook and made hundreds of little heart shape grilled cheese sandwiches for us.

The nice thing about having two wedding receptions is having two chances to get it right. For example, I always wanted cheesecake at my wedding. Also, my preference for cakes is square. We had a round wedding cake in California, but this one was square.

These are two of my new nieces. They make me laugh. The older one was very concerned that if she wore white to the reception that people might think she was the bride. The other was telling stories about the wild play date she had had earlier.

Here I am explaining how glad I am that they gave away the top of the cake. I think my in laws were feeling guilty that they started dishing it out.

Jerry feeding me cake. I'm pretty sure that we actually did better at this the first time. But it was fun to do again.
LinkWe had a lot of fun and Jerry really enjoyed his friends. I posted different photos on my family's blog if you want to take a look.