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ALL ABOUT IT... our journey from the hunt, the preps, until the big day and the life after.

Blessings in disguises

The start of our 2014 was quite..hmm..how should I put it…busy? Let’s keep it at that for now. 

Halfway through January, I found myself a job. Not as many hours compared with my previous work, but decent enough. We have finally settled in Calgary, at last. With both of us being employed full time, we started talking about purchasing a house this year or the next. It was exciting.

And then things started rolling differently.

Before January closed the curtains, Aweng found out his contract is ending by the end of march and after a few days, we got into a collision.

We were on our way to the dealership to trade our vehicle and merged to the inner lane to make a left turn, but because of the road being slick due to snow fall and sudden drop in temperature, the brakes did not work and the wheels kept going. We rear ended another vehicle. Both of our air bags deployed and the front of our vehicle was heavily damaged. I had a mild concussion and black eyes from the impact of the airbag on my face. Aweng, on the otherhand, did not have any injuries. He was quite shocked for a few minutes though but otherwise he was fine.

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It was quite an experience and we are really grateful to God that we are safe. It could have been worse since we were approaching the stop light. But there was another vehicle in front and that stopped our vehicle in going even further towards the intersection. Though I think we have a trauma because of what happened. Aweng and I get nervous whenever stopping and being close to another vehicle. We’ll get over it. I hope.

So here comes the first in our blessings in disguise. We purchased a new vehicle so we can still get the discounted deal not knowing if our old vehicle would be repaired or written off. We prayed so hard for it to be written off for that is our best option and our prayer was heard! Our vehicle was written off by our insurance. And because it is only a year and a half old, we are still under the waiver of depreciation. So they paid us the cost of the vehicle when we made the purchase a year and a half ago. Sweet, right? Way better that trading it off for a new one. Aweng and I were so happy that day. See how everything worked for us??? God is so amazing! 

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And that’s not the end of it. As I have mentioned, we found out that Aweng will lose his job by March 31st. Right away, we started our job hunting. We even applied to Edmonton if the position and employer is good enough for us to move. He had many interviews, phone and in person, but nobody has given him a job offer. Until March 3rd.

The job offer was in Edmonton and he accepted it. There is no way that he will refuse it since this one is with the government’s healthcare services. And here, if it’s anything government, it’s pretty much a lifetime position with great benefits and pays good. Well, not as good as the oil industry. My family was pretty happy about it too since we’re closer to them now. They can come and visit us even for a day without driving so far.

Everything just went well ever since the accident. New vehicle, new job for Aweng. Our move to Edmonton was pretty smooth. No stress at all with the movers we hired. And my employer in Calgary referred me to their main branch in Edmonton and I was offered a position. We are so blessed!

Aweng told me the other day that moving to Edmonton seems “meant to be”. It feels like where we should settle in for good since everything just fell into its place without us exerting that much effort. And as much as I love Calgary, I thought of it too. Us moving to Edmonton really feels like fate.

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Ten reasons why handheld devices should be banned for children under the age of 12

I found this through N@W. I think it’s something that Aweng and I have to keep in mind when we have one of our own :)

http://movingtolearn.ca/2014/ten-reasons-why-hand-held-devices-should-be-banned-for-children-under-the-age-of-12

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Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

I made these goodies last month. It’s the love month and also Aweng’s birthday, hence the “red” velvet cupcake. I found an easy recipe again at allrecipes.com. I know, i know. That’s my go-to recipe website for everything from cakes and cupcakes to meal recipes.

I took some pictures of the my cupcakes. They turned out good. I just didn’t followed the frosting recipe since there’s quite a bit of confectioner’s sugar. I think I only used 1 cup. I had Aweng taste it as well just to be sure it won’t be too sweet for him. 

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Below is the recipe I used. I have also attached the link in the photo.

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Happy baking!

Blueberry galore!

Whenever I have time, I would try to bake some muffins or bread so Aweng can bring it as a snack at work rather than buying them at the store. I think we save money that way and I know what’s in it. And of course, I always feel good whenever they turn out yummy! But hey, who does not?

Blueberries has always been cheaper as compared to other berries. It is so versatile for me as well since it does not have a very strong taste. It’s sweetness is just subtle that I love putting it in my cereal or oatmeal. I can eat it as it is. But the best part? I can make baked goodies out of it!

During the days of my job hunting, where there is nothing to do at home aside from chores, I did some baking. I just love the smell of our apartment when I bake. Hmmm..Yum. Anyway, I found a couple of recipes that are really good. 

The first one is the To Die For Blueberry Muffin. Very catchy name, right? But it sure as hell stands on its name. Really really good muffins! I found the recipe at Allrecipes.com .The only thing is, Aweng does not like very sweet stuffs. He likes it subtle sweet. When he say very sweet, like buttercream frosting sweet. That is why I never use the classic buttercream on my cupcakes. He said the muffin is good but a little sweet for him, so I’ll keep in mind to reduce the sugar when I make these again.

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The next one is Blueberry Zucchini Bread. This one is not an all blueberry recipe. I actually saw zucchinis at the grocery store and told Aweng that I would like to try making bread out of it. And this is the recipe that I found. We love this bread! It’s moist and the sweetness is just right. I was able to make two loaves from the recipe and froze the other one so it won’t spoil since there’s only two of us who’s going to eat it.

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Both of these recipes are a must try! They are very easy to make and the directions are easy to follow. You can also check the reviews and suggestions of others who have tried the recipe as well. Though I didn’t made any revisions and they still turned out good. But that’s up to you.  I have linked the name of the recipe as well as the photo of the recipe to the website so do check it out. :)

Enjoy baking!

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Our late 2013 Year-end Post

I know, I know. This is terribly late for a year-end post. But we have been busy for quite a while. A lot of things, expected and unexpected, had happened plus the fact that I just can’t form the right words in my head to do the post. I actually have a few drafts with just title. No content. Hahaha! It is there since I-don’t-know-when.

Okay, enough with my explanation. Where should I begin. This year is our first anniversary as husband and wife and we had planned months before to celebrate it in Edmonton. We both enjoyed it and agreed that every year, we are going somewhere for our anniversary. We also decided to write each other a letter each year making it a tradition. The idea was from a friend of ours (thanks krystle!). I think it would be sweet and nice 10 or 20 years from now, we’ll be sitting and reading those letters.

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We also had a great chance this year to watch the famous Cirque Du Soleil! It was a wonderful experience! if you’ve seen any of their shows, you know how awesome they are. I told Aweng I would love to watch them again whenever they are back in the city. And he feels the same way too. 

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It was truly a blessed year for us since Aweng finally landed an IT job in Calgary after months of job hunting. But since I cannot resign from my work yet, we were in ldr for 6 months. We were back to skype-ing again. He would sometimes visit or the family comes over instead if our schedule works. Just like when we went for the Calgary stampede and Canmore.

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Come end of November, I finally resigned from my job and moved to Calgary. We were very busy with all the buying of what we need like couch, bed and dining table. It sure was very expensive to move in to our own place but exciting at the same time. But I think the most exciting of all is setting up our first and very own christmas tree! image

The whole family came over to our place for Christmas. Our apartment was too small to have everybody so some checked in at a hotel downtown. We also had a photoshoot since it was the very first time that our family was complete. Oh it was chaotically fun!

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And our house in the Philippines? It’s all done and my in-laws has been staying there from time to time. I think it’s a really nice place to unwind for the weekend. The nice cool breeze and a few minutes drive to tagaytay. I’d love to see it with my own eyes soon!

Every year is always a blessing but I feel that we are more blessed this year. And our hearts are full of nothing but gratefulness, love and joy for His kindness. He listens and answers our prayers. He knows the desires of our hearts and He gives it. 

And so before I end this post, I’ll share one of my favorite bible verses.

" Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. The one who seeks, finds. And to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. " Matthew 7:7-8

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A visit to Canmore

A couple of weeks ago, I visited Aweng, with my brothers and sister-in-law, in Calgary and stayed there for 4 days and 3 nights. It was a blast! On our first day, we walked around downtown and watched the movie Elysium that night. The next day, we went to Olympic park to experience their new activity over there - The Luge. Afterwards, we drove to Calaway park and enjoyed the rides. I am not a big fan of extreme rides but I love love love the luge. Everybody enjoyed it and decided to try that again next time.

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The best of the trip is on the third day, which is hiking at the Grassi Lakes Trail in Canmore. Aweng and I rummaged the web for a not-so-hard trail and found the high-rated Grassi Lakes. It has both easy and hard trail that even a kid could finish, or so the reviewers say. Below are links for more information:

http://www.albertaparks.ca/canmore-nordic-centre/activities-events/trails/grassi-lakes-interpretive.aspx

http://hikealberta.com/hike/grassi-lakes-trail

http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g181727-d1907327-Reviews-Grassi_Lakes-Canmore_Kananaskis_Country_Alberta.html

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Anyway, we’ve decided to do this in the afternoon since we are all not early morning people. We started the hike around 2 o’clock and decided on taking the hard trail first and then the easy trail on our way back. Although it took us more than an hour to get to the top it only took us probably half an hour to go down and finish the whole trail. All in all, it was two hours. There was some really steep and rocky areas in the hard trail but otherwise it was easy. And benches are aslo offered to hikers who would like to stop and take a breath.

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Reaching almost the end of the hard trail is just what they say - great scenery at the top all worth your hike. The mountains are breath taking. We could see the Spray Lake where we drove around to get to the parking lot and also the town of Canmore. All of that if you take the hard trail. The Grassi Lakes at the end of the trail are also beautiful. The waters are so clear and the turquoise color is such an eye candy. There was quite a few boulders in the area, probably from the mountain. Others are covered with moss and surrounded by tall old trees which gives off an eerie feeling especially if you look through the forest.

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After all the walk, we rewarded ourselves with a sumptuous dinner at Famous Chinese Restaurant (that’s the name!) in Canmore downtown which is across Communitea Cafe. Thinking a meal for a group of four would not be enough for the five of us, we ordered the meal for the group of six. Oh we had tons of food before our eyes! We ate what we can and were not able to touch the two dishes that were served to us. We were so full we could not move. I was actually quite surprised since there was not a lot of raves at trip advisor for this restaurant. I think they’re very underrated since the dishes are good and everybody enjoyed it. Serving time was not that bad considering that we were hungry from our hike and only had a brunch before we left. The prices are also cheap since for that amount of food we thought it would be over $100 but it we only spent around $90 ( tip not included). So I guess, we will be coming again when we visit the Canmore area :)

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It was definitely a wonderful experience. Aweng and I decided to do this again next summer and would probably add some more trails. And maybe I could also convince him to buy ourselves a new pair of shoes for this new hobby :)

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3-Day Wedding Anniversary Celeb (Part 2)

This is a continuation of my previous post about our Edmonton getaway though this time, I’ll be talking about our field trip :)

Day 1

Coming from a night shift (no worries, I had some sleep), I made sure that my tank is full before going home around 7:30am. I had a change of clothes and ate breakfast with Aweng. Knowing we don’t have much time in the morning, I almost had everything laid out on our bed before I went to work yesterday so Aweng can pack them at night.

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At around 8:30am, we left the house and started driving to Edmonton. We arrived in Muttart Conservatory around 10:30am.

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First Stop: Muttart Conservatory. 

The Muttart Conservatory is a botanical garden located in the North Saskatchewan river valley, across from downtown Edmonton. One of the most well-known landmarks of Edmonton, the conservatory consists of three city-operated greenhouses, public gardens, as well as four feature pyramids for display of plant species found across three biomes, with the fourth pyramid hosting as a seasonal display.” - Wikipedia

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Second stop: Edmonton Valley Zoo

I am not a big fan of zoos simply because I never liked animals being in a cage but curiosity took over and I wanted to see what’s the difference with our zoo in the Philippines. It was pretty cold that day so most of the animals are indoors. The ones outside were the animals that are used to cold in the wild, like wolves and tigers.

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We checked in with our hotel afterwards and rested. We continued going around the next day.

Third stop: Royal Alberta Museum

The Royal Alberta Museum is located in Edmonton, Alberta and was named the Provincial Museum of Alberta until 24 May 2005 when Queen Elizabeth II visited, bestowing royal patronage.[1] It has a natural history exhibit, a wildlife exhibit, an entomology exhibit, a Native Culture exhibit, as well as some smaller displays. It also houses an entomology collection and an arachnology collection. The museum has three permanent galleries: Wild Alberta, Syncrude Gallery of Aboriginal Culture, and Natural History. The Museum also has rotating galleries that welcome travelling exhibits as well as host exhibits created in house by the museums curators.

-Wikipedia

We were there as soon as the museum opened in the morning. We enjoyed looking around and amazed at how realistic the exhibits look especially at the wildlife exhibit. We also came at the right time and saw the story telling activity. You would see parents and nannies bringing the kids there. They look so cute! Aweng said he’d like to do that for our will-be-kids too. There were also a group of elementary students having their class there. I guess they were exploring about insects and they all looked so amazed! Anyway, I think this one is my most favorite of all the places during our field trip :)

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Fourth Stop: Legislature Building

The Alberta Legislature Building is located in EdmontonAlberta, and is the meeting place of the Legislative Assembly and theExecutive Council. It is known to Edmontonians as “the Leg” (pronouced as in “ledge” and not “leg”).

-Wikipedia

Unfortunately, the building was under renovation so we weren’t able to see the beauty of it’s exterior but the interior is equally as marvelous. We had a tour and at the same time, a history class. We were told about the construction of the building from years ago, the previous premiers and how they were as a leader as per our historians. It is really a beautiful structure but the most amazing and weirdest thing about this is the magic spot. At the top level of the building, there is a certain spot where you can hear the fountain from downstairs like it was at the top of your head. Just like having a shower. They were saying it could be something with acoustics but they could not still figure it out. So if you’re in the area, stop by at the building and check out that spot and see for yourself ;)

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Fifth Stop: Telus World of Science

The Telus World of Science - Edmontonis a broad-based science centre inEdmonton,Alberta,Canada, operated by the Edmonton Space & Science Foundation. The centre is located on the southwest corner of Coronation Park in the neighbourhood ofWoodcroft.

The centre first opened in 1984, as a replacement for theQueen Elizabeth Planetarium[1]located to the east that had operated as Edmonton’s Planetarium since 1960 but had become limited by its 65 seating capacity. The City of Edmonton selected the Edmonton Space Sciences Centre as the City’s flagship project commemorating the Province of Alberta’s 75th Anniversary. The original building was designed by architectDouglas J. Cardinal.[2]When first opened, it was called theEdmonton Space Science Centreand then later it was changed to theEdmonton Space and Science Centre. In 2001, after a 14-million dollar expansion to the original building, the name was changed again to theOdyssium. On May 2, 2005, the center was renamed to the Telus World of Science - Edmonton after a $8.2 million, 20-year partnership withTelus.[3]The centre attracts over half a million visitors a year[4]and has Canada’s largest planetarium dome theatre (the Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre).

-Wikipedia

This is such a fun place! You can stay here all day and do a lot of things. They have different kinds of gallery, from robotics and space to environment and forensics. They also have cinemas like IMAX and a large dome theatre named Margareth Zeidler Start Theatre. Aweng and I played around and then watched Experience the Aurora at the dome theatre. It was definitely a great experience.

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There is a lot of place in Edmonton that we still have not checked just because of the weather. Most of them are open during summer season only. But we would definitely go back and visit them. We sure enjoyed this trip :)

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25 Ways to keep the music playing by Lucy Torres-Gomez

1. Dream together. It is fun, and empowering. Dreaming makes for a happy, positive space in the mind, and propels you, no matter how subliminally, to move forward towards making them come true. Dream small dreams, dream big ones. Just connect and be in synch and dream together. 

2. Make your home a happy home. Let it be a space where your man can retreat to after a busy day, a place where he can just relax and be himself and not have to worry about messing up how picture perfect everything must be. Allow him to put his feet up in the coffee table, to dump stuff on the nice couch, to make a mess in the kitchen. Let it pass when he forgets to put something back in its place. Just do it yourself instead of running after him, nagging about why he forgot for the nth time.

3. Keep yourself attractive. And interesting. We’ve all seen it happen countless times. The cat’s in the bag and you slowly decide to stop putting your best foot forward. Don’t let go of the very things that made him fall for you in the first place, physically and otherwise. This is not shallow, it is essential. Also, pursue interests and passion outside that of your man’s. When you come together at the end of the day you will have much to share with each other. 

3. Smell good. Always. Why do you think we involuntarily close our eyes with a smile the moment we bury our nose in the neck of a sleeping baby? Because the joy is so sheer, but so real. And it’s so good you’ll want to do it over and over again. Think about that. No man would want to kiss a woman who smells of kitchen spices, especially when she was not even slaving in the kitchen in the first place.

4. Never take each other for granted. That applies for things both big and small, but especially small because those are the ones that pile up to potentially become an ominous mountain.

5. Be gentle, especially with criticism. Naturally at some point, because you strive to inspire each other to be better individuals, you will have to tell each other where you have gone wrong. After that, move on. 

6. Do not have a Plan B. Marriage is for keeps. Do not go into it with the mindset that if it does not work, you have many options for a way out. If you start out thinking that way, already you are programming yourself that somewhere in the future, it will fall apart. And when that happens you will not even work so hard at picking up the pieces because you will simply deploy the Plan B you’ve had all along. It is better to go at marriage with a zest and verve that spells “great expectations” because most of the time in this game called life, you really do get what you expect.

7. Argue. Discuss. Fight. By all means, do all that. But do not stop loving each other through it all. It is healthy to disagree, but do so like the loving adult couple that you are. You can rise above any discussion intact and in one piece. When these things happen, give each other space to breathe and process what has been said. You will need a little time apart, even if it is just in different corners in the room. In short, know when to shut up and recognize that moment when all that needs to be said has already been said.

8. Cuddle in bed at night. And don’t forget to smile, and kiss, and hug each other. Do that when you begin your day, and also when you end your night. And every chance you get in between. These random acts will keep the fire burning. Get used to it so that you will miss it when it’s not there. Take advantage of the joy of text messaging. It is like being given the freedom and the chance to constantly write little love notes to each other.

9. Don’t lose yourself in the other person. Stay true to who you are, have a little life outside of his. He did not choose you so that he will have a shadow, a female version of himself. Celebrate your diversities, they will make for entries in that long list of why you love each other.

10. Eat together. Cook together. There is something about food and love that work very well together.

11. Pray over your man while he is sleeping. And love him in a relaxed, happy manner. You are not Bantay, the dog. You have a life to live, things to do, a household to run. You have to trust your man, the sanctity of your marriage vows, and believe that when it comes to temptation, God’s grace begins where his self-control may end. It is useless and disrespectful to yourself when you spend all your energy monitoring his whereabouts. Trust that he knows when he has a good thing going, and believe he will not do anything stupid to jeopardize that. Love is not about being suspicious or paranoid. That is no way to love.

12. Do not make marriage a license for him to always see you at your worst. Do not be so “natural” that you will go down and have dinner with his friends with your facemask on, in your duster, with uncombed hair. Do not pick your nose or let out gas and think it is cute and/or funny, and that he will think it is cute and/or funny. These are things that only kids under eight years old can get away with.

13. Love is an everyday commitment. Yes, it is an everyday decision. You wake up each day reaffirming the fact that nothing can and will take that love away. Make that part of your daily prayer.

14. Feel free to admire others openly. But tell him that he can look only, no touch. You do not have to take offense when your man finds someone else attractive. It just means a) he has good taste (if the woman is indeed pretty) or b) it is a full moon and he will snap out of his delirium soon enough (if the object of admiration is far from, shall we say and for lack of a better word, admirable). He may be having one of those days, similar to our version of PMS. Do not make “a” or “b” a reason to fight, or even so much as argue.

15. Get used to being affectionate. Be vocal about how you feel for each other, too. They are like talismans. A hug always feels good. Words heal. Use both in the best way possible, many, many times, all the time

16. Remember that your man does not have a crystal ball. The silent treatment will bring forth nothing but, you guessed it, silence. Tell him what is on your mind, and get it over with. Then you can move forward instead of steeping in (oftentimes unfounded) negative feelings of rejection, resentment, hurt.

17. Listen to great old love songs. At the risk of sounding like a broken record I highly recommend Rod Stewart’s “Great American Songbook Volumes I-IV.” Tony Bennett, too. And OPM. I can listen to those songs forever and ever. Sadly, the new generation of love songs (the greater lot of them, anyway) suffer from a poverty of thoughts; after the brilliant first stanza and if you’re lucky, a sparkling chorus, too, everything just sort of repeats and gets soggy and sappy towards the end, like they worried more about the words rhyming than they ever did the message). Somehow, they just don’t hold up as well as the old songs do where, long after the last line has been breathlessly sung, you still think about the words, and the thoughts they leave in your mind. And in a strange and unexpected way it makes you understand and appreciate your own love story better, and more. A good song has the power of making you feel all woozy and mushy and grateful to have someone to love and who loves your right back. It is a personal experience always. Don’t ask me how or why, it is just is.

18. Make time for what you choose to have in your life. Nothing comes from nothing. If you want intimacy and close ties with your loved one, spend time with him/her. Lots of time. Talk, and laugh, and build memories together. There are no shortcuts here.

19. Fan an interest in what your man does. You can drift apart if you have nothing in common.

20. Spirituality is important. Do not underestimate that. I will not be preachy here but suffice to say that making God a part of your marriage makes it more than just a little bit great.

21. For those with children: Do not be a great mother at the expense of being a great wife. You should not expend so much energy on the children that you do not have any left for your spouse.

22. Have loving conversations. Always.

23. Be affectionate, encouraging, and warm.

24. Do not be too breathless with life. Watch your pace. Physical exhaustion from all of life’s busyness will zap the romance.

25. Do not sweat the small stuff. Period. Really. It just is not worth it.

Our ‘Lil Corner | An update :)

Trying to update this blog by publishing our months-old drafts. We have been quite busy with work and Aweng’s big move to Calgary, which is another story by the way, but hey! We are back! I don’t know how active we will be, but we’ll try our best to share from time to time. :)

A little bit of an update with our little corner. Please bear with me :)

As of March: Building the second floor :)

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As of April: We have a roof! hooray!

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As of May: First coat, balcony..

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And as of June 04: Painting, windows, other finishing touches for the exterior:

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As of June 24: Finishing touches, flooring installation etc. Almost done!

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We are so excited to get this done and move on with the next project. Another expense but with God as our Provider, we know that everything will be okay. :)

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An awesome Cirque experience

Ola! It was drizzling that day but that did not stop us from going to see Amaluna by Cirque Du Soleil. We arrived a little too early at the site but since they were not letting people in yet, plus it was raining, we went back in our vehicle.

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The show started at 1pm and the venue was packed regardless of the weather! We were surprised at how close our seats were to the stage. Aweng said that even if we are sitting at the back, I guess we would not mind it since it’s not really that far. We just have to wear our glasses though since we have bad eyes (Aweng’s are waaaay worse!), lol. Cameras are not allowed so we did not have so many photos. There were a few who tried but they got approached by a cirque employee and was told cameras are not allowed. I guess if you’re quite persistent, then you’ll get kicked out.

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The show was 2 hours with half an hour interval for a break. It was so awesome that 1 hour went by so fast. Everytime they did an act, they get a   standing ovation from the audience. It was that cool!

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We definitely had a great experince. When they return again in either Edmonton or Calgary, Aweng and I will make sure not to miss it. Kudos to the whole group!

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