Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

I've been trying all week to get another post done here, but there just wasn't the time and/or opportunity to sit down and do it.  So here I am, the afternoon of the last day of 2012, hustling to get one last blog post out to you.  Please be sympathetic if it seems a little scrambled.

We've had a great week here, visiting with all the family we only see a few times a year, plus having Emily and Allan share the holiday with us.  By the time we go back to Edmonton next week we'll have seen and visited with all the sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, and friends who live here.  Hopefully most of them will show up at our house tonight for our New Year's Eve party.

Here's a brief pictorial of our week.

Lloyd and I showed our Team Colors

Kenny worked on a puzzle

Emily and I went for a mani/pedi.  Em's blue polish matches her blue belt.
She'll look stunning at her next TaiKwonDo class.

I wore my new silk scarf when we went out to dinner with friends

We had Sunday brunch with Allan and Emily

at Mocha Cabana, a lovely little restaurant in a remodelled blacksmith foundry.

We drove around Lethbridge taking pictures of interesting storefronts and
buildings.  This was my favorite.

Allan set up our Apple TV and we spent evenings watching movies.

Kenny, Alex and I had fun with vinegar, baking soda and food color.

Emily cooked the most delicious dinner for us - braised short ribs over
a vegetable mash of cauliflower, parsnips, and carrots.  More please!

Emily and I worked on a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle - a Christmas tradition.

I practiced taking pictures with my new camera.  This
is Mike.

...and Lloyd

...and Emily

And that brings up to tonight - New Year's Eve.  Whatever your plans are, I hope you have a safe and happy celebration and a new year that brings you the best life has to offer.


Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Almost Time...

The tree is up, decorated with the family's traditional ornaments and bright lights...


The gifts are bought, wrapped and (mostly) delivered...

Parties have been enjoyed...

Greeting cards have been sent and received...

Christmas concerts have been attended...

Enough snow has fallen to qualify as a White Christmas...

And's Christmas Eve.  I'm thinking of my children and grandchildren in Edmonton, feeling the excitement that only the young really appreciate, as they prepare for their Christmas Eve dinner at Sara's home.  Such an exciting time for them to get together.  I'm missing them today.  Lloyd and I are in our home in Lethbridge looking forward to spending Christmas with our son Mike and his family tomorrow.  Tonight we're having a Christmas Eve dinner with Lloyd's sister, Cheryl and her daughter and grandson.  Different from our usual Christmasses in Edmonton, but fun none the less.  And even at this late date new traditions can be started.

Looking forward to tomorrow's excitement - the gifts, the grandkids, the turkey with all the fixings...even the quiet let down that always follows the big build-up to Christmas Day.

But today we face the fact that if its not done by now, it's not going to get done.  And it doesn't really matter in the long run if that last batch of cookies doesn't get baked, or the last stocking stuffer doesn't get purchased.  No one will miss it.  It's time to relax and enjoy the season.

And remember and ponder on the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place.  Place the baby in the nativity scene. 

Sing some inspiring carols.  And remember all the love that exists in the world.  And celebrate.

Have a very merry and peaceful Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Testing, Testing...

This past weekend Lloyd and I spent three hours at a TaeKwonDo studio watching daughters Sara and Emily and the rest of their classmates, young and old, as their skills were tested as they attempted to earn their next belt on their path to black.

The poonse demonstrated their mastery of the basic moves for their level.

Then they had to prove they knew the self defense moves taught so far.  Emily was asked to demonstrate this portion so lucky Sara sat it out.

Emily was 'attacked' by a black belt and proved that she could break free of her attacker.

Then it was time for them to break the boards, using their 'flying feet of death' kicks (I just made up that name :))

Both Emily

and then Sara, broke their boards on the first try.  The poor instructor got his fingers kicked repeatedly and painfully by poorly aimed attempts by some of the other students.

Then finally they put on their sparring gear for the final portion of the testing.  The Master assigned the sparring partners and they were off.  Sara's partner kept saying 'sorry' every time she made contact with Sara, which kind of begated the fierceness of the sparring.

Emily's partner was a fierce competitor and provided quite a good workout for Emily.

We were so proud of our girls (ages 36 and 26).  They provided a fun three hours entertainment for us and are becoming women to be reckoned with.

They'll find out tomorrow if they get to change their belts.  I'm betting on them. They were great.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Busy Season

I love this time of year!  So much to see and do and hear...and buy!  It seems we've been busy these past couple of weeks but it's mostly fun busyness.  All the shopping was done before December was a week old, and the wrapping of gifts followed closely.  It's amazing the variety of 'stuff' you see and handle when shopping for seven kids, seven kids-in-law, 20 grandchildren, a husband, and various extended family members.  Somehow it seemed easy and fun this year because we got a good head start and redeemed many thousands of air miles.  Now we're enjoying the more active participation/watching aspect of the holidays.

Brooklyn is in a choir this year so I went with her and her Dad when the choir was singing at a seniors nursing home.

Brooklyn is the cutie in the front row with the glasses.

Charlie, Max and Elly's school held an afternoon dress rehearsal for their annual Christmas concert so I was able to go and enjoy that hour of fun, and took some very bad pictures in the dark auditorium.

Max, singing an action song, not tormenting the boy in front of him!

Charlie, performing in the choir

Elly, in her first Christmas concert, in kindergarten this year

We held our annual adult's only family Christmas party last night - such fun.  Five of our kids live in and around Edmonton so they all were there.  We missed Mike and Avril, and Mary and Greg, but they were with us in our thoughts.

Quincey and I showing off our flashy new hats.

Emilly and Allan 'admiring' a glass high heel shoe full of chilies.

Amy was the 'lucky' recipient of an old fashioned apron, and one for her dish detergent bottle too.

Me and my girls, Amy, Cindy, Jenny, Sara and Emily
Lloyd and his boys - clockwise from top, Lloyd, Allan, Anders, Curtis, Quincey and Rob
Rob enjoying his gift, a book about hipster dads.

These parties are always such fun. We do a white elephant gift exchange as well as a cookie exchange, eat and play silly games. A great get-together.

I hope you're all enjoying the fun activities of the Christmas season and spending valuable time with family and friends.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Questions Answered

Had to participate in this meme challenge from LL Cool Joe via Grannie Annie

1.What was your favorite food when you were a child?
Peanut butter sandwiches

 2.What sound do you love?
The cry of a newborn and the sound of a brook running over rocks.

3.If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?
A family Christmas party

4. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? and Why?
I always wished I had a different name when I was young but I've grown to love it because of the person I was named after (Millicent).  I think I would have changed it to Dianne though - always my favorite name.

5. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?
My grandfather, who died when my father was 10.  I think I'd really like him.

6. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
I will Wait For You - Petula Clark

On The Road Again - because we've gone on so many road trips
Alberta Bound - moving to Alberta back in 1968 changed my life
Having My Baby - because of my seven
But my favorite song of all time is Unchained Melody by the Righteous Bros.

7. What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up?
Just about all of them at some point - I tear up at the drop of a hat.

8. What do you miss most about being a kid?
Having cats.

9. The best part of waking up is?
Waking up!

10. What story does your family always tell about you?
That would be the time when I was four or five and Mum gave me beets for lunch.  I decided I didn't like them and refused to swallow the one bite she made me take.  When I woke up from my afternoon nap I still had the beet in my mouth.  I guess I was stubborn! 

Well that was easy.  Anyone else want to answer the questions?


Don't you love it when even the crane operators take time to string lights on the huge crane high above the surrounding buildings!

I don't know why my night pictures always turn out brown.  The lights were very pretty against the blue/black sky last night.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Excitement of Another Kind

Our family had some very exciting news last week.  Our oldest daughter, Jenny, announced that her first book has been accepted for publication and will be available in bookstores and on Amazon next fall!  You can't imagine how proud we are of her for this accomplishment.

She's been writing since she was a child and won a scholarship for one of the short stories that she wrote in her senior year of high school.  For the past 16 years she has been a stay-at-home mom for her five sons and her loving and very proud husband.  In her 'spare' time, she has put her talents to good use, writing poems and articles for local, national and international publications, including five or six of the "Chicken Soup for the..Soul." books.  Even if this book doesn't become a commercial success (but I'm sure it will be, she knows that professionals in the literary world recognize her work and think it's worthy of publication.  Her efforts have been validated.

I can hardly wait to get my hands on a copy of Love Letters For the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist and start reading.  Jenn says I'll get an autographed copy of this book which, she says, is neither a romance nor a horror story as the title may suggest! 

Jenn and her family - four years ago.  I'm really going to have to get a more up-to-date picture of the whole group.