The week before the wedding was busy catching up on various projects and getting ready for friends and family to arrive.
Finished the flower girl dresses. Love how they turned out.
My friend and bridesmaid, Ruth, ( Skirted Blues ) and her husband, Mark. So glad they were able to make it out for our wedding and meet Austin too. They also were a huge help! Here they were filling the coffee favour bags.
Manicure and shopping a couple days before the wedding. It called for a Starbucks stop. =D
Loved my French Manicure and it lasted for about 2 weeks.
Erin (my sister and matron of honour)
We gave ourselves manicures that evening while enjoying more coffee. lol!
Ruth, Mark, Bradley, Erin, and Austin. We had to fit a couple games of Dutch Blitz in that evening. :)
Almost five years back, after a couple absolutely crazy months, I finished work at the dairy and moved over 500 miles away to start running a chicken farm on my own. An experience that I will never forget and one that I learned so much from. I grew up on a farm and was used to animals of all kinds but had never raised chickens or completely run a farm so it was a steep learning curve.
A year-and-a-half in, I started managing my neighbour's farm as well so that was another challenge as the barns were older, run with different systems, and there were a whole lot more numbers to deal with. :)
Raising around 80,000 birds in 8 week cycles never left me with any dull moments. Birds would arrive and the next five days would be spent checking the barns fives times a day. Then I'd continue to do chores and check them three times a day until the end of five weeks. Shipping was crazy since I'd be up all night for usually two nights in a row. Then it was time for barn clean out which I started on right away since there were four barn to pressure wash. There was a little time for the barns to sit between cycles and then a few days before placing, it was time to start getting the barns ready again. Getting good results from the plant, it made me feel like all the effort and work was worth it. When I had raised the last cycle of birds, I figured out that I had raised 6.5 million LB of chicken!
So many memories of the days when things ran smoothly and the days when everything would go wrong. The first chicken cycle shortly after moving there, the area had record rain and my yard had record flooding. :p I remember bucketing out water for hours, building gravel dams inside, checking the pump throughout the night, and thinking, "What did I get myself into??" And, it didn't end up being the only time to happen.There were stretches it seemed the alarms wouldn't stop between the barns, feeders, and coal boilers...around 2 AM at night when it was -30* or colder seemed to the most ideal time. Or, when the feed tube would get pushed out of place and there would be a couple tons of feed to bucket out. Or, when the pressure washer hose had to burst three times when I was trying to get the barns cleaned out quick. And, the list could go on for quite a while... But, I did manage to gain some trouble shooting skills and at the end felt like I could handle almost anything that came my way.
Though overwhelmed often, looking back I see it as a good experience. It helped push me out of my comfort zone and I learned that I could handle work that seemed intimidating or daunting at times. These past years were probably some of the busiest and hardest of my life and at the same time some of my best. One of the biggest blessings was finding a great church to attend. I won't forget the awesome group there and the friends I made during that time. So many genuine and thoughtful people who really cared. Many great memories: helping out at camp, Ladies Time Out, helping a friend with her restaurant, friends always making sure that I had a happy birthday, hot dog roasts, kind and generous neighbours, dinner invites, spontaneous get-togethers, Ladies Nights. and so many more.
It has been one of those chapters in life that will always stick close to me. One that has had an impact I won't forget. I'm thankful the ones who were apart of my life then (both far and near.)
October finally arrived and it was so exciting. It meant I would finally see Austin (after 3 months of being apart!) since he would be coming up with his brother to SK to help me move down to OR. No more weeks and months of being apart between visits. No more immigration forms to fill out and wait on on this side of the border. And, it meant that our wedding was next month! :)
I actually didn't mind packing and the house getting emptier and emptier made me feel like I was making lots of progress. :)
Austin and Elliot arrived later on the evening of the 9th. I had to return Stefan and Sherra's fridge and then take mom's washer back so I headed out earlier in the day and then met up at dad and mom's so we could load up the piano and stay the night.
After only about 4 hours of sleep, we had breakfast, said goodbyes, and headed up to my place to load up the rest of my stuff.
Elliot's truck and then a trailer that he was able to borrow from his boss. It ended up being the perfect size and everything packed in great.
The last half of September kept me busy making harvest meals down at the seed farm. Usually 10-12 meals each supper which had to delivered to sometimes different locations a ways apart. It ended up being a challenge getting to the location since there weren't many landmarks or road signs! By the end I was getting more familiar with the area and the roads.
Worked on different menus so there would be some variety with the meals.
The end of July found me shipping my last cycle of birds at my place and my neighbour's. The next week was barn cleanout and it was a relief to finish for the last time. Usually it'd take about a week to thoroughly clean 4 barns and it always felt good to have them done with a little bit of down time before getting for the ready for the next cycle. This time though, with cleanout done just in time, I was getting ready to go in for eye surgery.
On August 8th (exactly 3 months before my wedding!), I went in for laser eye surgery. The past year or so I had been thinking about how nice it would be to not have to deal with glasses or contacts any more. I was 7 when I first started wearing glasses and then mainly contacts since 14. The past few years my eyes seemed to be getting a little more sensitive and I ended up wearing glasses and contacts about an equal amount of time. The more I looked into eye surgery, the more appealing it seemed. How nice it would be to not have to bring your glasses along every time you travelled, contacts and contact solution (esp a pain if you want to travel carry-on :p), not have them fog up with winter activities or cold weather, etc. Plus, my then fiancé and now husband, was very supportive and encouraging in my decision. Knowing personally a few people who went through laser eye surgery, I felt more confident in moving ahead with it.
First I called the optometrist to make an appt and had to book it a ways out since I couldn't wear contacts for a month (due to astigmatism) before getting tests that were necessary for the surgery. That was towards the end of July and then I got an appt with Horizon Laser about a week later. I drove down to Regina (about 3 hours away) and had a good appt. Due to my cornea being too thin, I wasn't a candidate for LASIK surgery but I would be for PRK, another form of laser surgery. With both surgeries, you end up with the same results about 6 months down the road. PRK is more painful and has a slower healing time but then you don't have dry eyes as severe and there is no flap that needs to heal back in place. When I went to book the surgery, the receptionist surprised me by saying there was an opening in a week, and if not then, it would be several weeks before another available slot. So, I took the closest one and then tried not to freak out and get excited too much. lol.
The surgery went smoothly but recovery was slow. My parents took me to the appt since they don't allow patients to drive right after surgery, and I wouldn't be able to anyways. Then I stayed at their place for a while. The first 3 days were the worst. I was supposed to sleep pretty much that whole time because the eyes heal best with darkness and resting. Mom would help with the drops since at the start there were 4 different drops to be applied and some of them 4xday. There was a lot of pain those first few days. Then finally on the fourth day things began to feel gradually better. I was very sensitive to light still but at least was able to stay up part of the day and not have almost unbearable pain to deal with.
I went to my first post surgery appt at the optometrist and said everything looked good but my vision wasn't clear enough to pass the eye test for driving. Usually you can start driving about a week after but sometimes it takes longer. Recovery was much more difficult than expected. My eyes stayed blurry for quite some time with occasional moments/times in the day when it would start to clear up. The days seemed to take forever to pass by. I couldn't do a whole lot due to my eye sight, or lack thereof, and I like having something to keep me busy! My next appt was about 10 days later and I still couldn't see good enough for the driving test chart. That was discouraging but not totally surprising. My eyes were at least slowly improving but I was still dealing with blurriness, seeing double/ghosting, halos around lights during the night, etc, My next appt was 2 weeks later and I finally passed the test and was able to drive again after almost 4 weeks post surgery. That was such a relief and it never felt so good to have my licence back! :) You realize how helpless you are when you can't drive.
It was about 6 -7 weeks before it felt like my eyes were completely healed and vision was perfectly clear. The optometrist said they were healing well and he was happy with the progress. I had recently finished the last one of my medicated drops so then just had lubricant drops to apply as needed. So, the first part was definitely not fun but the surgery was totally worth it. I love not having the hassle of glasses or contacts to deal with anymore and definitely have no regrets about going with PRK surgery.
The time has come to start packing stuff up to get ready to move. Several of the big items I'm sending down to dad and mom's since they recently moved into another house. Dad and Graham came up with the stock trailer (cleaned out! :)) to move it down there.
I attempted a 3-D cake for the first time and was quite happy with the results. Not being familiar with 3-D pans, I didn't know what quite to expect while it was cooking. I looked online and found a good cake batter recipe as a regular cake mix by itself wouldn't be firm enough. The batter was quite thick and the pan started to over flow while it was cooking. I started to slightly panic and then did a quick search online and found out that overflowing is normal and actual expected (though I probably could have put a little less batter in and still been okay). It meant that the pan had completely filled so the shape of the cake would be right.
I made a triple batch of the cake recipe so I would have enough batter to make a car behind Thomas.
I used Wilton tips and colours for the decorating. The blue turned out a bit darker than the Thomas blue. There is always that fine guessing how dark it will dry. :)
Got the base of the face done and called it a night because I didn't want to be doing the most important details when I was tired. I wanted the face to look exactly like Thomas, not a pinterest fail attempt. lol.
Filling in the last of the details. I was pleased with the end result!
Adding smarties to the car
And, thankfully, the cake made the trip down the road safely for my nephew's birthday. :)