Friday, June 20, 2014

Baby Birds

Daughter Jenny's back yard is full of plants and trees that attract birds.  Last week we stopped to visit with Jenn and the boys and sat in the back yard watching the birds.

Like this house finch,

...and this red-wing blackbird

 But my favorite was this mama robin

and her babies under the deck in Jenn's yard.

In a lovely coincidence, on the last day of high school for Jenn and Ander's oldest son, Jonah,

the baby birds left their safe nest and flew off on their own adventures...the cycle of life.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Scrapbooking Day at Last

Now that Mickey and I no longer live in the same city - actually 500 kms apart now - we can't get together to scrapbook as often as we used to.  Luckily Lloyd and I travel up to Edmonton often to visit the kids and grands and attend to various appointments.  Last week when we went up there I took a suitcase full of scrapbooking supplies and pictures and Mickey and I spent a whole day working playing at our favorite hobby.

Emily used to scrapbook with us but has been too busy working for the past few years to join us.  Now that she's on maternity leave she has decided to start scrapbooking again so she and Olive joined us for a productive fun day.

Of course a nice part of the day was spent holding our little star.

Mickey and Olive
Layout #1.  I have trouble photographing the layouts so they are perfectly square.
They're done on 12 x 12 inch cardstock.

She's wearing her Olive You onesie.

Emily wanted to do a layout of Olive's hands and feet.  Olive didn't want her to!  Olive won.

Getting the ink washed off her hand
 We never did get a handprint but we did get a cute little footprint for Emily to scrapbook.

We got busy when Olive went down for her nap and each of us produced a good number of layouts.  The ones shown here are mine because I forgot to take pictures of Mickey's and Emily's.

I love the way she's looking at Lloyd in the first bright eyed and interested.

Of course the layouts look better in real life.  The color is a bit faded out here.

The background of this layout is actual burlap fused onto cardstock.  It
makes a wonderful texture to bring out the texture of the woven basket the
baby is sleeping in.

At her first portrait setting at three weeks, given as a gift to Emily and Allan, the photographer
captured the smallness and sweetness of Olives hands and feet.  No, those
aren't her actual footprints on the paper.
It felt good to be back scrapbooking with Mickey again and to share our time with Emily and Olive. Friends, family and good productive fun.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Jennifer's Big Day

I think I may have mentioned in an earlier blog (or two) that our daughter, Jennifer Quist, has had her first novel published.  It has received excellent reviews across Canada and even in the US.  'Love Letters of the Angel of Death' is not your typical modern novel (neither a romance nor a supernatural genre) and as such has garnered the notice of literary groups.

Today, Lloyd and I, as well as Jenn's husband, Anders, and the two oldest of their five sons, were with her at the beautiful Government House when she, along with seven other artists of various types, was presented with the Lieutenant Governors Award for Emerging Artists.

This award is presented every two years to eight artists who are at the beginning of their career as an acknowledgement of their talent and an inspiration to help them continue.  It consists of a special medal engraved with their name as well as a very sizable cheque.  Not to mention the prestige and boost just having this award gives them.  In describing Jenny's work, the adjudicators said:

"Her writing is extraordinarily strong, powerfully handled, and evidence of a rarely encountered original voice." - Adjudicators

It was such a wonderful event.  Government house is so grand and elegant, yet the event was personal and warm.  The award was presented by its patron, His Honour, Colonel (Retired) the Honourable Donald S. Ethell, OC OMM AOE MSC CD LLD, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. (I looked it up to make sure I got the title right).  Although a formal event, this lovely man and his wife were gracious, kind and pleasant to speak with.  His Honour, in handing out the awards, had something humorous to say to everyone.

But it was our Jenny who uttered the quote of the day that had everyone laughing.  As he was presenting the award, His Honour said to her, "With all the writing you do how did you find time to have so many children?"  Jenn grinned and said, "Oh, they were just thrust upon me".

In European fashion each of the female recipients was given the two cheek kiss.

Facing the official media photographers, and me.
After the presentation of awards, the recipients and guests, about 50 people in all, were invited downstairs for a luncheon buffet where we were able to mingle and eat the loveliest little pastries, sandwiches and sweets.  I discovered that pansies are very tasty additions to canapes.

The Lieutenant Governor and his wife were available for official (and unofficial) photos on the patio and a kind guest (who I later learned is a professional photographer) offered to take a photo with my camera so I could be included in it.  He must have found my Canon Rebel Ti3 a far cry from his equipment.

Their Honours with the eight award recipients

The Honourable Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Ethell
Me, Anders, Jonah, Jenny, Sam and Lloyd
We were just a wee bit proud today!

Monday, June 2, 2014

To Oliver With Olive

Six-week old baby Olive went on her first road trip with her grandparents and her parents this past week...her first great adventure.

Our destination was the Okanagan Valley town of Oliver, B.C. where we were visiting our daughter Mary and her husband Greg and children Layla and Baron.  The trip consisted of a nine hour jaunt across the Canadian Rockies, so Olive got to see some exciting scenery.  She was an amazingly good traveller, sleeping most of the way, visiting with her car mates at times and crying only when she wanted us to stop so Emily could feed and change her.

Olive all snuggled and safe in her car seat
Oliver, BC is the wine capital of Canada.  The whole length and breadth of the valley is planted in fruit orchards and vineyards.  I didn't count the number of wineries there, but there were lots.  When Lloyd, Greg and Mary were golfing, Emily, Allan, Olive and I went and toured a couple of the wineries.  Beautiful places, peaceful and serene.

Tiny grapes just beginning to form on the vines

One of the vineyard mansions.

Rows and rows of grape vines.

Vineyards are planted on the hills as well as on the flat land.

Each row has a sign indicating what wine those particular
grapes will be made into.

This winery had a self-led tour of the wine making process. Those
barrels are full of wine in the process of fermenting.  The whole
room was cool and smelled wonderfully of oak.

The Road 13 winery was built to look like a castle.

Olive spent her tour in a wrap-around baby carrier. Emily literally
'wears' her baby. Easy and comfortable for both of them.
Walking in downtown Oliver, I spotted this graffiti
on a public phone on one of the streets.  Canada, eh!
As we were out driving one evening, this beautiful rainbow appeared

It turned out to be a double rainbow.  Can you see its double?

This small bridge had a large osprey nest in the top corner,
with an osprey chick peeking from the top.

Can you see him there?

This strange apparation is vines that have grown up a power
pole and along the wires between the highway and the river.

The beautiful Okanagan River runs through the center of the town.
The waters are high and fast moving at this time of year because
of winter snow melt in the mountains.

A calmer spot on the Okanagan.

It a beautiful place to be.
We had some fun times with family on this many more pictures to share...but I'll save them for another time.  Except for these last few of Olive and her fans.

Cousin Layla

Uncle Mike

Mastiff Maisie

Auntie Mary

Cousin Charlie
and Papa
Charlie is here because she, her sister, and mother (daughter Sara) came over while we were there to do some trail running in preparation for an upcoming race.  Here are a few shots of them, and then I'm done.

Charlie, followed by Baron and Mary, climbing up a steep mountain trail.

Elly, not quite dressed for it, but climbing anyway, on her way down here.

Sara, followed by Charlie.  Looks like Sara's carrying Elly's
Hello Kitty stuffie.

Elly leading Sara up the mountain, followed by Baron, Mary,
Layla and Charlie.

Sara finishing her race two days later.
And that's it for now.