Tuesday, December 30, 2014

An Olive Christmas

Last Christmas when our youngest daughter Emily was pregnant, I 'called dibs' on having her and Allan and the new baby at our home for Christmas this year.  Lloyd and I had been looking forward to it every since she joined our family on April 15.

I took many, many pictures of her experiencing her first Christmas and will really enjoy putting them into a scrapbook for her.

Santa Baby on Christmas morning

Examining the gifts under the tree.  

Emily, Allan and Olive

Modelling one of her new hats

Instead of crawling forward, she propels herself backwards.
Won't be long before she's up and running.

Modelling her new scottie outfit

All dressed up for a winter outing

Christmas dinner with Mike's family.  The kids were sitting
at a separate table, except for Olive in a highchair back in the corner.

Papa couldn't get enough of his littlest grandchild.

And neither could Grammie.  Lunch at Five Guys.

Typing her letter to Santa???
 There's nothing like kids in the home at Christmas, especially ones as happy and adorable as little Olive Rosemarie.  She really made Christmas a special treat for us this year.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Pre-Christmas Visits

Lloyd and I took a few days this past week to make the five hour drive up to Edmonton to combine medical appointments with Christmas present deliveries to the families of five of our kids who live up there.  It's amazing how much we got accomplished in such a short span of time.

Sara's family is moving into a new house so Lloyd spent Saturday, along with assorted siblings and in-laws, helping her and Mike paint.

Rob at work in his sister's house.  No furniture but the tree is already up.

And while the painting was underway, Emily and I went to bff Mickey's place for a much needed day of friend and scrapbooking therapy.

Noone bothers taking pictures of Mickey or me when this little
show stealer is there.  Emily is a baby-wearer so it's not unusual to
see the little head peeking around her Mom's shoulder.

We spent three days at Jenny's home where James kindly gave up his bed for us.  He was very happy when Emily and Olive came over for a visit too.  He loves his baby cousin.
James, Jenny's youngest son, and Emily's Olive

Olive's biggest fans.

Lloyd and I, Jenny, Emily and Olive went to Wendy's Restaurant for lunch , where Olive thought the tastiest thing on the menu was her Auntie Jenn.

Our visit with Amy's family was lots of fun.  Its always nice to get caught up with the kids and their varied activities.

Our Woolf cubs, Sydney, Aidan, Kenzie and Tate Woolf.

While we were in Edmonton Sara went public with the news that some of us had already learned.  Her fifth child, and our 22nd grandchild, is due in May 2015.  The more the merrier!

Jenny had some exciting news while we were there too.  Her first novel, Love Letters of the Angels of Death, which was published in 2013, and which has already won one award, has been nominated for the prestegious 2015 Dublin IMPAC Literary Award, along with other authors such as Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, etc.  So exciting!  Maybe a trip to Ireland in her future???  Her second novel will be coming out in 2015.

So we've had an exciting week or two.

And what's with my kids having their Christmas trees up before it's even December???  They sure didn't learn that from their mother.


Sunday, November 16, 2014


This past weekend four of our five daughters got away for a sisters' getaway weekend.  I love it when they do this - it has almost become an annual event. Sometimes, as happened this time, one of the sisters was unable to attend, and other times the event includes sisters-in-law as well.

I'm pretty sure they all enjoy these getaways and enjoy the chance to interact as grown-up sisters, free from the wants and needs of husbands and children, free to just be sisters again for a couple of days.  It was fun to see the pictures they posted on Instagram of them doing each others' hair and having fun together.

They went to Calgary this year, which is almost exactly half way between where some of them live in Edmonton and where Lloyd and I live in Lethbridge. And this time Lloyd and I were invited to drive up (2.5 hrs.) and join them for dinner on Saturday.

Lloyd, Mary, Amy, Sara, Jenny, Me
Mary lives in British Columbia and since its a week or so before her birthday, the other girls chipped in and bought her an airline ticket as her birthday gift so she could be there with them. With the Rockie Mountains between her and the rest of the family she misses quite a few family get togethers so it was really special for her to be there with her sisters.

What a fun time that was.   The girls are all different, with different personalities and life circumstances, likes and dislikes.  Yet they get together and interact so well with other, knowing that they are loved unconditionally by their siblings and parents.  Lloyd and I thoroughly enjoyed being involved in a small part of their celebration of sisterhood.

Mary, Amy, Sara, Jenny

Mary and Amy

Mary and her Dad

Selfie - Jenn and her Mum

Amy and Sara

Jenn, who hates to have her picture taken, and Me.

And just so Baby Sister, Emily, isn't left out...

May 2013 - Sara, Mary, Jenny, Emily, Amy
The MacKenzie Girls

And the reason Emily wasn't at the weekend getaway...
This little cutie wouldn't have enjoyed it, and she
would have starved if her Mom went without her.

Enjoy your sisters, they're the best friends you'll ever have.

Love you, Wendy.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Killing Time in the Airport

Have you ever found yourself alone in a deserted airport in the middle of the night?   What fun awaits!!  Well, not so much 'fun' as 'boredom'.

Lloyd and I found ourselves in that situation as we attempted to leave Arizona and head back to Canada.  For some sadistic reason, our outbound flight left at 7:05am. The airline requires us to check in at least an hour before boarding, which was to begin at 6:55am.  Not so bad, unless you factor in the time it takes to get from Surprise to the airport at Mesa...1.5 hours.  That meant we had to leave home at some ungodly hour in the middle of the night!  No point in going to bed and risk not waking up in time to get to the airport on time, so a friend offered to drive us to the airport, getting us there at 7:30pm...leaving us 10 hours to kill.

A beautiful night in the Valley of the Sun.  We sat
on a bench outside the airport for awhile.

Where we would line up to check in and get rid
of our checked luggage.  It wouldn't be open for another
eight hours.  We got to watch the clean up crew mop
and wash these floors.  Fun,fun, fun!

Just so we knew where to go when the time came.
Lloyd was such a good sport to let me take his picture
of silly things.

We wheeled our luggage around like homeless people.
We usually just take a small carry-on but since we drove
down and were on the road for 6 days, we had a bit more
stuff to take with us.  We left the car in our garage so it would
be there for us to use on our next trip.

At 5:00am the only cafe in the airport finally opened
so we had breakfast before boarding the plane.
As you can probably tell, the Mesa airport is very small with not a lot to see and do, and is deserted except for the security and cleaning crew for most of the night.  It was an interesting experience to be there for so long, but not one we'd want to repeat.

Once we were in the boarding area with the rest of our fellow travellers, they announced that our flight would be boarding shortly but they were unsure of whether or not we'd get to our destination because of a snow storm that was currently in progress in the north.  Fortunately, when we landed there was just a skiff of snow on the ground, not enough to bother such intrepid travellers as us.

So we're home safe and sound with lots of pictures to remind us of our adventures.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Very Scary Road

Yesterday Lloyd and I went on a little road trip here in sunny Arizona.  We wanted to check out something new so we drove to the small cities of Superior and Globe and on through the Tonto National Forest and from there, rather than backtracking and covering the same terrain on our return trip, we decided to take the Apache Trail (highway 88) past the Roosevelt Dam and through the canyons to Tortilla Flat and on to Apache Junction.

Here's what President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) had to say about the Apache Trail. I don't think it has changed much since his day.

"The Apache Trail combines the grandeur of the Alps, the Glory of the Rockies, the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and then adds an indefinable something that none of the others have.  To me, it is the most awe-inspiring and most sublimely beautiful panorama nature has ever created." 

Sure it's beautiful and grand and magnificent and all that Pres. Roosevelt said, but I'll tell you what the 'indefinable something' is...the scariest, narrowest, twisting and turning road you'll ever find!!!

The 38 mile segment traversing through the Tonto National Forest is designated as a National Forest Scenic Byway. The entire route has also received recognition as a State Historic Road by the Arizona Department of Transportation.  It took us over two hours to travel that 38 mile segment of unpaved, narrow, twisting road, up one canyon and down another, repeatedly. There were switchbacks and blind curves with no guardrails and barely room for one car to drive easily.  Occasionally there were little outcroppings that you could pull onto if you happened to meet a vehicle coming the other way.  Luckily we didn't.

In spite of the edge-of-the-seat nervousness, the scenery really was spectacular.  Lloyd wanted to stop at every bend in the road to take pictures, and we did stop wherever there was room for us to get out of the middle of the road.

Here's some shots of our adventure.

The Roosevelt Dam, where the road begins

Our first clue that this was not going to be an easy drive...the
dirt road with little piles of sand at the oter edge.  It followed the beautiful
river for quite a while.  The Salt River I think.  (Correct me if I'm
wrong Roe.)

No way to tell if something's coming around that curve

And uuupppp we go...Some of these shots are, of necessity,
taken out our spotty windshield.

Halfway up the first canyon.  You can just see the river in the middle
of the picture.  Our road can be seen cutting across the near hill.

A tight squeeze if we were to meet an oncoming vehicle.

The sun played a major role in the photo shoots.  I was
afraid we wouldn't make it off the trail before dark.  We
almost didn't.

Civilization in the form of a bridge.

A single lane bridge going down the canyon.

The sun creates interesting shadows in the background and
turns the side hills gold.  You can see the road we just
traversed in the center.
Almost to the top

A curve with a layout for stopping

Sun setting behind a saguaro

Golden sunshine on the cliffs

Don't know what lived in that cave

Pretty sunshine

Stopped on the road to get out and take pictures

The top of the steepest climb...I can't see those guardrails
being much help if we started to go over the side.

Sunlight and cactus

Another road we climbed...all uphill

Love those blind curves

Our road far below

A layout where we stopped to take pictures

Scary turn

At last...pavement...civilization...Tortilla Flat...thats the
whole town there...closed up for the day at 6pm.

And that's our great adventure.  The scenery really was beautiful.  I know the road doesn't look scary in the pictures but it really was!  Trust me.  Go see it if you're able, just don't invite me.  Been there, done that!