Thursday, December 30, 2010

Families at Christmastime

Lloyd and I have often thought it would be nice if all of our kids lived in the same town as us, but as they've found their own place in life (and Canada) we're enjoying the fun of making trips to visit those of our kids and grandkids who don't live nearby. This Christmas, for the first time in a long while, we've actually been able to visit with all seven kids, their spouses, and 20 grandkids.

We enjoyed Christmas in Edmonton with Sara's, Amy's, Emily's, and Rob's families. Then on Boxing Day we drove an hour south to visit with Jenny's family. From there we drove an additional 4 hours to our home in Lethbridge where we're enjoying visiting with Mike's family who live down here, and Mary's family who live in BC but travelled 12 hours over the mountains to spend Christmas with her in-laws near here. They've spent the last three days with us. It's great to see the cousins who only see one another two or three times a year become reacquainted and enjoy playing with one another.

For some reason or other I don't have good pictures of Christmas this year - the flash on one camera wasn't working and I'm a klutz when it comes to my Canon Rebel. Here's a small sampling of some of the better ones.

Board games at Christmas instead of solitary video games
Charlie and Andrew playing, baby Quinn watching - Edmonton

Three of the four Woolf cubs in Edmonton - Tate's first Christmas (Amy's children)

Mary (from BC) bonding with her niece, Hannah, in Lethbridge

Mike's boys and Mary's son - cousins becoming friends in Lethbridge

Layla (Mary's daughter) fell in love with her little cousin Hannah (Mike's daughter)

Mike holding his boys, Kenny and Alex, until they overcame their
shyness with their Auntie Mary's family

Layla and Grammie playing air hockey - a popular game this year

Papa, Mary and Baron playing air hockey

Elly's new car - Edmonton

Lloyd cooking our traditional Christmas breakfast

Mike helping Hannah with her gift

Layla and Baron Bourne - Mary and Greg's kids

Papa and Max (Sara's son) playing a large version of air hockey.

And that's how our Christmas unfolded - lots of family, food and fun.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Waiting for Santa?

Percy is a bit of a prima dona, if that can be said of a tomcat. This large Balinese Blue Point lays around the house purring (hence his name - Purr-cy), waiting for his friend Mickey, of indeterminant breed, to entertain him, or bring him mice or birds to play with in the summer. Never have I known him to climb a tree.

Until Christmas - and not just any tree - an artificial decorated tree standing in the comfort of his living room. In truth we probably have to blame Mickey for Percy even thinking of climbing the tree...she showed him how.

He tries to look fierce, but in reality he's just...well...just a pussy cat! His greatest joy in life is sitting on your book or paper or whatever it is you're doing and purring loudly begging to be rubbed and petted. And we usually accommodate him. Surely Santa will put something for him and his friend under the tree this year.

Merry Christmas Percy and Mickey!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

She Almost Had It

Our youngest grandchild, Quinn, will be 5 months old tomorrow, so now she's old enough to be doing new tricks and learning new things for us to oooh and aaah over. Today during our floor time in the warmth of the south facing livingroom she tried her darndest to roll over.

"So Grammie, do you want to see me to do a trick?"

"Unhhh, ooooh, strain, grunt, unhhh - am I there yet?"

She was clever enough to use the big red flower attached to her mat as a tool for pulling herself over.

And she's up on her side. She's such a little roly-poly that it's hard for her to stay on her side. See how she's still using the big flower for pulling.

"Oh no! I fell back. Help me Grammie."

So I flipped her onto her tummy so she could see how she's supposed to end that particular exercise. One of these days she'll do it all by herself. Hopefully when she does she'll be on the floor and not roll off a couch or a bed.
There are so many changes in the first year for these little guys. If you miss a month of seeing them, chances are you'll miss something exciting. Go Quinn, and Tate, and Hannah, and..., and..., and....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tree Time

I had almost decided not to put up our small tree this year, especially since we'll be away from Boxing Day till New Year's Day. But then I read my daughter Mary's blog this morning and changed my mind. As fate would have it, I ended up with daughter Sara's three daughters this afternoon while Sara took Max to hockey, so we all got to work and decorated.

Elly and Charlie

Charlie setting up the Nativity

If you followed the link to Mary's blog you'll know that we used to make ornaments when the kids were small and some years our tree was totally decorated with home-made ornaments - blown and decorated eggs, knitted bears, tiny stockings and mittens, painted plaster ornaments, and lots of others. Since the kids have left home, each of them taking some of their favorite and/or sentimental home-made ornaments with them, I've been buying old fashioned glass ornaments which remind me of my childhood Christmasses and putting them on my tree.

Today, after reading Mary's blog, I ignored my glass ornaments in favor of what I have left of the homemade ones and a few store-bought ones that I've had for ages. Charlie and Elly enjoyed seeing all my old ornaments, especially the ones with their mother's name on them, dated so long before they were born. I gave those ones to Sara when she came to pick the kids up.

I've seen trees in three of my children's homes so far this year and on each tree there are eggs or knitted ornaments that I made when they were young. It's nice that they appreciate the memories that those ornaments bring back to them.

Cross stitched ornament from 1998

Knitted mini-stocking - 1980s

Cross stitched stockings - 1990

Knitted bells - 1970s and 80s

Beaded stitched mini-stockings 1990s

Wood ornaments made by DIL Avril - 2008

Purchased Arizona souvenir ornament - 2009

Porcelain wreath with granddaughter Layla's
picture. Made by daughter Sara - 2007

Purchased picture frame - 2008

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Festival of Trees

In Edmonton every December for the past 26 years the University Hospital Foundation has treated us to a three-day long Festival of Trees. A large conference center is decorated in all things Christmas. It's an incredible sight. There's crafts room for the kids where they can decorate their own small Christmas trees, make Santa hats, etc., and for the parents there's a tea room for rest and refreshments, as well as a gift shop, sweet shop and ice cream shop. Local schools and clubs provide entertainment on the front stage. But the best part is the trees.

Mickey and I spent several hours there today, taking pictures and admiring the trees. There were over 100 of them, as well as a room full of gingerbread houses (which we forgot to visit). Here are a few of the best pictures. It was tricky getting good pictures because of the way the trees were grouped and the flood lights which changed colors regularly making white trees look at times blue, green, red, purple or gold.

The branches of this tree were made of pale green curved glass...very delicate and beautiful.

This butterfly tree was decorated with quilted fabric hearts.

This beautiful candy-themed tree was one of the people's choice award winners.

A hearth grouping

The display by the Edmonton Oilers NHL team features the team colors of copper and blue and the jersey of our #1 draft pick this year, Taylor Hall. Go Oilers!!

The snowmen on this tree had vaguely disturbing jack-o-lantern looking faces.

I love the penguins on this tree.

A delicate Angel topped tree

Pretty blue tree

This tree was trimmed in delicate glass and crystal but my favorite part of the display was the crystal glass reindeer in front of it.

A happy grouping of trees.

A white tree with Canadian woodland critters featured.

Mickey in front of the tree decorated with Mickey and Minnie Mouse

The white tree in the center is decorated with stuffed characters from the Toy Store movies.

This tree was garlanded with a huge feathered boa.

Toy Story tree up close

That's the fairy godmother standing with a tree decorated with princesses.

This was my favorite - the bright and happy Sunflower tree.

So that's just a few of the trees we saw today. Now I have to trim my own little tree - it won't look anything like these beautiful specimens, but it'll be ours, trimmed with ornaments we've had for years, and it'll be beautiful for us.
Have fun with your own tree trimming this year.