Friday, November 30, 2012

Almost December

It`s the last day of November already - time to get out the advent calendars and start counting down the days to Christmas.  There`s no one more fun to be with at this time of year than the grandchildren. The only bad part about today was that I had to miss being at Aidan`s kindergarten Grandparent`s Day today, since we had to come down to Lethbridge for a few days.  I`m sure he had a fun time with his Auntie though and I can have some time with him when we go back to Edmonton on Monday.

Today I had the pleasure of taking care of Mike and Avril`s three kids, aged 6, 4 and 2, for a few hours. What a fun time we had!  As soon as they got here I announced that we were going to put up the Christmas tree and decorate it.  Kenny`s immediate response was ``Good, because we have lots of experience``.  They had helped put their own tree up just a few days ago.

So we all crawled down into the crawl space storage, except for Hannah who sat at the entrance holding a flashlight.  Kenny was shocked to see that I had five boxed Christmas trtees down there, and we shuffeled them around until we found the one I wanted - one that was only six feet tall and slim.  Next we went down to the basement storage and located three large plastic boxes of ornaments and decorations.  Rather than carry the heavy boxes upstairs, we opened them up down there and each of the kids made several trips up to the livingroom carrying smaller boxes of decorations.  They were so excited to help and to see what treasures Grammie and Papa had in their Christmas boxes.

(The following pictures are slightly blurry and out of focus.  I couldn`t find my `real`camera so used my new cell phone camera and was a bit unfamiliar with it.)

Kenny and Alex helped `fluff`the branches of the tree after Kenny advised Grammie which of the three parts of the artificial tree went where.

Hannah found the box of old ornaments which I hadn`t had on a tree in a dozen or so years, and put most of them on.  I didn`t go for style with my Christmas tree, but for fun and enjoyment of the kids.

 Alex was very careful with his placement of the ornaments, wanting to get each one just right.

Three Christmas angels under my tree.

Kenny took it upon himself to set out decorations on my sofa table.  He did a lovely job.  I don`t think I`ll be changing it at all.

And then he and Alex set up the small nativity set.  Somehow Joseph was missing this year so we promoted a shepherd to the role of Mary`s husband.

Then Avril arrived to take the kids home at the same time that Papa arrived with Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner, so our fun and visiting extended another couple of hours.  We took a plate of food to their Dad (our son Mike) who was working a few blocks away and had a visit with him before Avril took the kids home and put them to bed.

The kids brought Christmas to our home today.  It was a great time. 


Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Week at Home

It's been a busy week since coming home from BC.  Ooooh  those mountain passes are terrible in the winter, but we made it back safely.

Canada followed the example set by the Americans and had Black Friday sales here - Black Friday being the day after the American Thanksgiving.  They're really a big deal south of the border.  Our sales were not quite as great as the US ones, but most of the stores participated and there were lots of bargains to be had.  It was great fun being out and about with the crowds, getting lots of Christmas shopping done at great discounts.

Yesterday I had a birthday date with my 9-year old granddaughter, Charlie.  What an interesting child she's turning out to be.  We sat in a restaurant of her choosing for two hours and we chatted the whole time.  She has a lot to say and makes very intelligent conversation.  Someone had told her that the world is coming to an end in December so we had a discussion about the Mayan Calendar and superstitions and science and the planet's life cycle, etc.  It's good to enjoy her while she still likes hanging out with 'old' people! 

Charlie's 9th Birthday Portrait

I spent a day this week with Mickey scrapbooking - the best ever scrapbooking day I've had - I was really on a roll and got lots of pages done.

Here's some of the best ones.

Hope this week is a good one for you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Last Day in BC

Today we relaxed with the family, went for a drive, and just enjoyed our time together.

Their bull mastiff, Maisie, loved all the attention she was getting.  She enjoys company as much as her family does.

She likes to challenge Mary for the role of alpha female, but Mary knows how to handle her.  Maisie is just a pup after all - barely a year old - and she's still learning her place in the pack.

I wanted a picture of silly Baron wearing his new glasses, but every time I went to press the shutter button on the camera, he moved.  I got some cute expressions though.

This stance and expression is just like his dad.

And this was his 'this is as good as it gets' expression.  He really does look handsome in his glasses.

Layla and I were drawing on her white board when Maisie decided she wasn't getting enough attention.

Then we went for a drive from Oliver to Penticton, stopping for a look around Kaleden on Skaha Lake.

This shell is all that remains of an historic old hotel on the shores of the lake.  It has no roof, windows or floors and you can look in the front window holes right out through the back ones and onto the lake.  You can see vines growing through one of the windows from the inside.  The back yard is well kept with picnic tables for a nice recreational area on the shore of the lake.

It was a cold windy day at the beach at Skaha Lake.  Just look at those waves rolling in.

We spotted a brave and lonely para-surfer out there in the cold.  He looked like he was really enjoying himself as he skimmed along the waves.  We couldn't understand why he didn't freeze out there.  My hands got numb just holding my camera.

Can you spot him out there on the water just to the left of his para-sail?
 Meanwhile, a bundled up Baron runs along the beach to try to keep warm.

 When the para-surfer came close enough to us so we could see him better, we noticed that he was bundled up against the cold too. What fun he was having!

In the evening, back at Mary and Greg's house, we had a belated birthday celebration for Lloyd, whose birthday was last month.

Layla and Baron had painted pictures on canvas for him - very colorful.  I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of Baron's, but it was very colorful too.

And now we need to get a good night's rest for our 12 hour drive home tomorrow.  We're concerned that all the rain we've had here in the valley has translated to snow in the mountains so we want to be well rested for what could be a trying drive home.  It was worth it though to be able to visit these kids of ours who live farther from us than any of the others.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Christmas Fair at Spirit Ridge

This has been a very good day, in spite of the fact that rain fell continuously the whole day and into the evening.

Lloyd and I enjoyed a 3-hour lunch with some friends that we hadn't seen in 32 years.  The talk went on and on and still we left with a lot of things yet to talk about.  Bill and Meredith are one of those couples who, when you see them again, you pick up right where you left off.  That is, if you even recognize after so long a time between meetings.  It's a happy circumstance that they now live just a few miles from Mary and Greg here in the Okanagan.   We'll definitely be getting together with them again.

But the main portion of our fun day happened when Mary, Greg, Layla and Baron arrived at the Spirit Ridge Resort for the Christmas fair.  So much to see and do.  The rain didn't dampen anyone's spirits and the only event it cancelled was the hot air balloon.  The basket was there, with the operator in it lighting the huge flares, but the balloon itself couldn't be inflated or attached because the rain would make it too heavy.  Everything else was perfect though.

Mary, Layla and Baron with the hot air balloon basket

We checked out the many beautifully decorated Christmas trees of which these are just a few...

Just ignore that strange child in green He's not ours.
including a frightening Hallowe'en themed tree, while drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows and hot apple cider.

The kids played in the bouncy castle room...

While their parents and grandparents watched and visited together....

Mary and Lloyd

Then we went to the cookie and ornament decorating room where the kids got down and dirty with cookies, ornaments, paint, frosting,  and candy of all types.

while parents and grandparents looked on and even helped a bit.

Then it was off to the bonfire pit where the kids toasted marshmallows with their Dad's help

and, using the chocolate and graham wafer crackers provided, they made delicious s'mores

Papa with his first ever s'more

Layla savoring her s'more
 We admired the giant tipi tree of lights.

And then, for the grand finale, the kids got to sit on Santa's knee and tell him what they wanted for Christmas.

Baron was less than thrilled!
 We topped the day off by going out to dinner before coming back to our rooms to rest up for tomorrow's adventures with the Bournes.

Hope your day was a happy one too.