Saturday, March 26, 2011

Forty Years and Counting

Forty years ago tomorrow (March 27, 1971) I married my best friend.

We both knew it was the right thing for us to do. We were the ripe old ages of 21 and 22 with our whole lives ahead of us, just waiting for us to fill with adventures, love, and come what may.  We had known one another for seven years by then - his sister was my best friend before I ever met him.

The first picture of us together - we're probably 16 and 17.
Getting married was the best decision either of us ever made.  We've had our adventures which led us from one end of Canada to another, and from north to south of this beautiful country, and through a lot of the US.  At this point in our lives we are pretty much where we want to be, just putting in two more years till Lloyd retires.  We've accomplished a lot, had a lot of kids and grandkids, and are enjoying being 'just us' right now.  I can't imagine spending all that time, and more to come, with anyone other than Lloyd.  It sounds trite to say that we're soul mates, but we have a deep abiding connection and a love that has seen us through the trials of life and left us laughing.  We are truly 'Lloydandpat' - for all our individual differences (he likes golf, I like scrapbooking) we are One.

Self portrait by Lloyd - 2009

To celebrate our 40th anniversary, the kids are sending us to Las Vegas for a few days.  We leave today.  I'm not taking my laptop with me so won't be posting any blogs till we get back.  Here's a few pictures of us over the years.

Winter 1977 a few months before Mike was born.


Planning our future - Feb. 1971
Coloring at Christmas 1971 - 2 months before our first baby was born.

One for each of us - 1973

Family portrait 1980 - 6 years before Emily was born.

All seven kids - 1986

1996 - 25th Anniversary at West Edmonton Mall


1991 - Kids getting as big as their parents.


1986 - first family portrait with all the kids.


1985 - Washington, DC

2005 - Taylors Head Beach, Nova Scotia

2005 - Halifax Harbor, Nova Scotia

2005 - Portrait by Sara

Monday, March 21, 2011

Warm and Welcoming

The move is completed...well, except for the final organizing of possessions.  But everything is in its assigned room just waiting to be sorted and rearranged.  We had some great many people to thank.  This is when a support group of family and friends really comes in handy, although I wouldn't want to tax their friendship/relationship this way very often.

This feels like a warm, welcoming, happy place for Lloyd and I to stay until he retires.  There's so much natural light here...very different from the basement suite we just left.  If I get nostalgic for basement living, I'll just go down to the guest room in our basement until I come to my senses!  I can have a living plant here and not worry that it'll die from lack of sunlight. I can see what the weather is like before I head out the door! I have a large sunny scrapbooking room and Lloyd has a large office (which I'll use as much as he will).  It just feels good here. 

It was a hard move, but worth the effort.  I didn't take any pictures to share because it would just be pictures of boxes and messes.

Nothing more to report right now.  I'm working at organizing our home office right now and the computer was just too close and available for me not to take the time to dash off a quick blog entry.  Back at it now.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another Pair

Remember when I used to blog about the terrible two cousin duo - Elly and Aidan?  Well, they're now three and not quite so terrible.  Good thing, because their younger siblings are getting set to take over.

Aidan's brother, Tate, is now 10 months old and Elly's sister, Quinn, is 8 months old.  They're just beginning to be aware of one another and if they're anything like their older mentors, the families better prepare for more havoc.

Today Amy offered to take Elly with her and Aidan to a toddler's event at the amusement park at West Edmonton Mall if I would take care of Tate for her.  So I had the pleasure of watching my youngest grandchildren interact (or not) with one another and become aware of each other for one of the first times.

Tate is willing to share his toys with Quinn.

Snack time - poor Quinn is recovering from an eye infection and it still looks pretty sore.

Tate introduced Quinn to his St. Bernard brother, Bernie.

They emptied the toys out of the plastic bin, turned it over, and banged on it together.

And more sharing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Movin' On Up...

Now that I'm all relaxed from a week of hanging out in sunny Arizona with my best friend, Mickey, I'm rapidly becoming stressed again this week by packing, sorting and getting ready to relocate this weekend...and Lloyd is out of town at a business conference until Friday!

We've been living in a basement suite in our daughter's home for three years now.  It was a win/win situation. We had recently sold our big house to another daughter and her husband and had moved into a condo.  Condo living didn't agree with us, and when Amy and Curtis bought their house he was just starting out as a chiropractor and money was tight.  We relieved some of their financial burden by paying rent to them and we had a nice little suite with three, then four, grandchildren overhead.  Now that Curtis' chiropractic business/wellness center is doing so well they don't need the rent income as much as they need the space for their growing family.  Lloyd and I had also decided that we needed to live above ground where we could have the benefit of sunshine and natural light and more space to spread out.  So we've rented a two story duplex in a lovely neighbourhood just a few blocks from where we are now.  We had considered moving to our home in Lethbridge, but with Lloyd having two more years on his contract up north (an 8-hour drive from Edmonton) we decided to stay here in Edmonton rather than increase his commute to 13 hours.  This is our 24th move in 40 years of marriage.  Life has been a grand adventure so far. We hope we have just one move left - down to Lethbridge when we retire.

With Lloyd away this week it has fallen to me to pack.  It's surprising how much stuff can accumulate in a small apartment in three years.  So, with Mickey's help, I tackled the most important stuff ton of scrapbooking supplies.  No easy job!  I couldn't have done it withour Mickey's help.  Boxes upon boxes of paper, punches, paper,  embellishments, paper,  tools, paper, stamps, cardstock, albums and adhesives all had to be carried up steep basement stairs!  We filled the back of Mickey's van and the trunk and back of my car and made the short drive to my new place.  What took us a couple of hours to load only took us 15 minutes to unload.  My new scrapbooking room is large and sunny and bright.  I'm looking forward to organizing it after the rest of our furnishings and stuff are moved over on the weekend.

Lloyd has leased a truck for the weekend so we can do the move in one trip.  And we've engaged the help of sons and sons-in-law and their friends to help with the heavy lifting so hopefully everything will go smoothly (she says, not really believing that a move ever goes very smoothly).

So this week is a busy one, between caring for four of my grandkids during the day and packing and moving things at night, I probably won't have time to do another blog entry until next week.

And that's my life this week. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Time To Go

We're catching the 7:00 flight home tonight.  That means today is a busy one - packing, sorting, repacking, last minute shopping, final swim, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, laundry, packing, changing beds, final trip to Chipotles, closing down the house, and shuttling off to the airport at 5:00.

It's sure been a fun, relaxing, productive week.  Between us Mickey and I created 27 scrapbook layouts and one mini-album.  We ate at all of our favorite restaurants - some of them more than once or twice.  We scrapped in our pjs, not getting dressed till noon on some days. It wasn't unusual for me to get up at 5:30 am only to find Mickey working away on layouts on the dining room table.  We had no schedule except for our own, no one to answer to except ourselves.  This is what vacation is all about for two grammies.

Tomorrow we'll be back to reality.  Which for me means packing up everything Lloyd and I own at our current apartment and moving to a larger, above ground (as opposed to basement suite), duplex a few blocks away.  Instead of retiring and moving to our home in Lethbridge this spring as originally planned, Lloyd has renewed his contract with the NPTC for another two years.  Since the thought of living in our daughter's basement suite, nice as it is, is rather depressing (no natural light, steep stairs, etc.), and since she needs the space for her growing family (4 kids), our move works out for all of us.  We're just not looking forward to the work involved in the actual move.

Anyway, here's a recap of our week of relaxing in the midst of a very busy month.

We ate, and ate, and ate.  These are burgers at Carvers, but we also went to Paradise Cafe, Macayos and Chipotles.

We scrapbooked - any time of day - sometimes starting at 5:30 am

We took pictures - Mickey's are the best.

We posed for pictures.

We interacted with the butterflies at the Butterfly Pavilion at Desert Botanical Gardens

We met new critters.  This one was at the Botanical Gardens but we had our own little guys - we saw four at one time - on our brick walls around the yard.  They'd come out when we were in the pool.

We explored new places - Desert Botanical Garden.

We watched from the pool while these two little birds built a nest in our Joshua tree.

We went swimming - a lot.

And now we're packing for home, but we have lots of pictures to help us remember our March break, Grammy style.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Butterflies and Cactus

Mickey and I spent most of the day at the Desert Botanical Gardens yesterday.  I knew when I went there with Lloyd last month that I'd have to take Mickey.  And I was right.  She loved it as much as we did.  A bonus for us yesterday was the Butterfly Pavilion which just opened a few days ago.  What a great place!  Butterflies everywhere, landing on people and plants alike.

This little girl put her finger in front of the butterfly and it climbed up on her finger and stayed there.  With her mother's permission, a bunch of us took pictures of her.

A zebra longwing, giant swallowtail and pipevine swallowtail trying to share the same leaf.

Butterfly camoflague.  The light green manta ray shapes are actually butterflies.

Simply called a Queen

Pipevine swallowtail

Zebra longwing

Spicebush swallowtail

Giant swallowtail

Zebra swallowtail

This one is called Julia

If you're ever able to go to the Desert Botanical Gardens, don't go in the summer - it's much too hot.  Yesterday was a perfect 72F with a light breeze but my face still got red.  There's a lot of walking through the desert so water is essential to take.  The second Tuesday of every month features free admission after 1:00.  Otherwise it's about $13.00.  We spent four hours there yesterday and still didn't see everything - a good reason to make a return trip.  It's incredibly beautiful.

Monday, March 7, 2011

How Do You Spell Relaxation?

I spell it s-c-r-a-p-b-o-o-k-i-n-g.  I haven't had the time, space or inspiration to do much of my favorite hobby in the past few months.  Neither has my friend, Mickey.  However, this week we've overcome all our obstacles to playing with pictures, paper, adhesives and embellishments, with a vengeance.

Our days down here typically start when I come downstairs in the morning between 6 and 7 o'clock and find Mickey hard at work (play?) on the dining room table trying to figure out what paper goes best with what pictures.  So I jump right in on my side of the table and try to catch up with her.  We stop for breakfast around 9 and then continue scrapping till noon.  Then we go out for lunch, go shopping, come home and swim for an hour or so, and scrap again till ten or so, stopping briefly to eat dinner.

What a life.  Or more exactly, what a week!  I hear it's minus 22 and snowing at home.  It's so nice to be away from it all for a little while.  I have a hectic couple of weeks ahead of me when we leave AZ, so I'm taking advantage of this week of relaxation.

Here's a sample of some of my work this week.

Tomorrow we're taking a break from scrapbooking and swimming and are going to the Desert Botanical Gardens.  I'm willing to bet that Mickey will come home with no fewer than 100 pictures from there.  It's part of the sickness ;)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ahhhh! That's Better

Mickey and I got here in Surprise, AZ yesterday afternoon.  What a change from Edmonton! It's a different world down here - one of sunshine and blue sky and warmth!  Since we were up at 3 am in order to get ready and be at the airport by 6 (some of us take longer getting ready in the morning than others), we were pretty tired by the time we got here, went out for Mexican food, and stocked up on a few groceries, we didn't venture far from home.  Instead, we got out our scrapbooking materials and got right to work - relaxing work.

When I got up this morning, Mickey was already at work on her layouts, so we spent the morning scrapbooking.  I've done three layouts already - a remarkable feat for me!

 My first one was a tribute (?) to winter.

...and grandson Max.

...and granddaughter Quinney.  I'm on a roll, working with limited supplies.

But before I started scrapping this morning I called Lloyd and had him walk me through turning the heater on for the pool.  We're hoping to be able to have a swim later today.

We went to Paradise for lunch, then out saving money at Kohl's, and in an hour or so we'll be in the pool - another kind of Paradise.

Mickey has a brand new camera so she's been taking pictures of everything and anything, learning to master it.  The pictures in this blog, except for the ones of my layouts, are courtesy of her new Canon Rebel T3i.

We're not planning our days too much, just doing what we want, when we want.  Today's our resting up day.  Tomorrow we'll be more venturesome, and from then on we'll try to have an adventure or two. But for now, it's enough to be out of the cold and the snow and able to rest and relax.  We're loving it!