Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thinking About Heading Back To The Land of Sun and Sand....

It got chilly here on the BC coast, overnight.  Forecasts for this area include bright sun, clear skies and a cooling off.  What that means is that our temperatures will hover slightly near or below the freezing mark.  Looking at the temperatures in the US southwest, the weather is not much better.  Several bloggers are moaning the cool temperatures. There are indications that an improvement is on the way and by the time we return, the heat should be back.  We are looking forward to that.

On the home front, we are spending time with our family and grand kids.  We've also been meeting with friends.  
Jeanette met with friends for Sunday morning breakfast while I was engaged with my 'Open Mic' friends.  When I met Jeanette later in the morning, I managed to capture this quick photo.  Gwen and Steve (right in frame) were soon to take the BC Ferries ship back to their home on Vancouver Island.  Ione and Mariette (left in frame) we will see again before we take flight to the US southwest.
Ginette was busy working on a presentation she will be giving in the Province of Saskatchewan soon so she took over my home office while Jeanette and I kept Easton and Brie occupied  It's not hard work but those two sure kept us busy.  And what a joy it was.  Without the distractions of looking after her two kids, Ginette was able to focus and complete her writing.
Jeanette and I got down often to play with Brie and Easton.
Easton enjoys lending a hand and got busy washing some dishes.
We had a lot of fun. By late afternoon, Ginette was ready to take Easton and Brie back home for dinner, before bath and bed time.  Easton wished to spend the night with us but we promised that would happen on Friday.  Jeanette and I will host the kids for an overnight while their folks attend a function.We love to have the grand kids stay overnight.
Brie has a cold and I woke up with sniffles this morning.  Hmmmm!
Brie, like her cousin Owen, has a similar desire to assist her Nana in the kitchen.
While Brie was being locked in to her car seat for the drive home, Easton was quite taken by the bright light emitting from the moon on a clear, cool night.
Checking out the bright moon...
Ginette about to leave back for her home.
Mid-morning, today will see Jeanette and I at Courtney's mom's home.  Deni, Courtney and Owen will be spending the day and night with us before we return them to the airport for their flight back to Edmonton, Alberta tomorrow morning.  It is a perfect day for outdoor activities.
Taken by a professional photographer, a most recent photo of Courtney, Owen and Deni.  Nice!
With Owen on a walk a few days back.
We have firmed up dinner and movie plans with friends for New Years Eve.  Other than a few more lunches and get togethers with other friends, we're re-focused on getting ready to return to the US southwest this January 5th.

And that's the way it's been here on the sunny BC coast, these past few days.

Thanks for dropping in.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Oh...What Fun!

As much as I tried to blog, it proved impossible with all of the family events and activities.  There were simply too many distractions.  Our home is quiet this morning and following a couple of hours editing so many photos, I can now write about the joy of Christmas held at our home.
Very early on Christmas morning, Mrs. Santa Clause is captured loading the toys for our visit to Ginette, Trevor, Easton and Brie's home.
Ten minutes after loading up the Christmas presents, we had coffees in hand and we're enjoying an early Christmas morning at Ginette and Trevor's home.  We shared in their Christmas, And the most fun was watching Easton and Brie open up their presents.

Easton was quick to show me the nuts and milk he had left for Santa. The goodies had been consumed!  He was so happy that Santa Claus had come by his house.  I mentioned that Santa had dropped by our home after leaving theirs and that he had left some presents too! 
What fun....
Ginette, Trevor and the kids had celebrated Christmas, on Trevor's side of the family, the evening before.  

To share in their little family gift opening was fun for us.  Deni, Courtney and Owen were celebrating Christmas at Courtney's mom's home - about 20 minutes from our home.   Later in the day, everyone would be meeting at our home for a Christmas day gift opening and dinner.
Christmas is so much fun with little grand kids involved.

Easton loves to play with his remote controlled toy train set.
Back at our home by noon, Christmas Day, Jeanette got busy with the completion of her dinner preparations.
By 3:00 pm, everyone was at our home and in the throws of sharing in the gift exchange.
To have our complete family - with grand kids - made for such a special Christmas for Jeanette and I.  We marveled at the fun we had just watching the little kids interact and enjoying the banter between the young adults.
Santa Claus did not disappoint.
Deni, Owen and Courtney were busy opening some fun toys.......
.....while Trevor and Ginette were helping Brie and Easton with some unwrapping too!
Deni, and Courtney with their new iPod
Our special gift to our adult kids was a Generation 7 iPod that was loaded with over 2700 cuts of music.  That is about 6.5 days of continuous music play.  With an extensive music library of over 35,000 cuts, I spent many hours editing and compiling a variety of music that we felt our kids and their spouses would enjoy.  They were thrilled with that Santa gift.  Shortly after we returned home, from the southern US, I booted up our desk top computer and loaded their iPods with the huge music file I had worked to create over several months.
Trevor and Ginette with their new iPod.
Much to my surprise, I got really spoiled by Jeanette and our kids who gifted me with a brand new guitar.  And a beauty it is!  I had no idea!  

Several years back, I gave Ginette my very old guitar.  Although she has a nice guitar, she really wanted my old one for posterity.  You see, that old guitar helped finance a good part of my university studies.  Having studied classical piano for 12 years (including Harmony), I played keyboards in a band for a few years and also played as a singles act (guitar) in lounges and clubs throughout the Province of Alberta, and more so in the City of Calgary, Alberta while attending university there.  In fact, when Jeanette and I met in Calgary (she, studying to become a nurse),  I took her to the club I played at on our very first date....and a few more times after that.  She also kept busy dancing with others when attending our band gigs.

Although I had contemplated a career in professional music, (fine arts piano) I was drawn to the field of film and television and.....well.....the rest is history.  I ended up completing my university studies in the US before returning to Canada and working in my chosen profession. 
It will take some practice to come up to speed - not having played for so many years - but, like riding a bicycle, my fading memory should bounce back some old favourite tunes and I could well get back to enjoying this as one of my hobbies.
Ginette brought her guitar along and we strummed a few bars.
Deni also has a guitar and he too strummed a few bars with Ginette.
While the adults enjoyed some pre-dinner chats, the grand kids found their own fun playing on the first landing on the stairs that lead up to our 2nd floor.

With far more toys in the kitchen and family room, they gravitated there.
And before long, the adults had also gravitated to the kitchen while Jeanette was busy with the final throws of putting her Christmas dinner together.
Deni got down to enjoy playing cars with the two boys, Owen and Easton
This oven housed the turkey and more.....
....while this oven housed the vegetables and tourtiere (French traditional meat pie)
Seeing his Nana busy with dinner preparations, Owen thought to join in and hand over any pots and pans he could dig out of the cabinet.  Helpful little fella.....!
We gathered around the dining room table to enjoy the fruits of Jeanette's labour.
That was an awesome meal.....
These occasions are truly special.  To be able to have our little family around the table is a gift of Christmas; all by itself.  That is the true meaning for Jeanette and me.
To have the grand kids joining us at the festive table was also one of the best gifts Jeanette and I could ever hope for.
"I ate all of my dinner, Nana!"
 Easton got a special treat from Nana......and he had to find it on the palm Christmas tree.

A very special time with our three grand kids. L-R  Easton, Owen and Brie.
Courtney, Deni and Owen spent Christmas day, night and Boxing Day at our home.  They returned to Courtney's mom's home last evening.  They will return on December 30th to spend the day and night with us before we drive them to the airport for their return flight back to Edmonton, Alberta, on December 31st.

We will see Trevor, Ginette, Easton and Brie on several occasions too before Jeanette and I return to the US southwest to continue our winter journey.

And that was our celebration this Christmas, 2014.  Oh....what fun it was!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'Tis Christmas Time......

We're ready!  And so is Santa! 

We've heard that Santa is about to leave his north pole digs and travel the world to deliver good cheer and bounty to the believers.  Here at our home, we wait and anticipate a festive Christmas. 
Meal preparation is underway.  The gifts are wrapped.  The yule tide music is playing.  And we look forward to sharing Christmas with our family.
And from us to you, a special wish for a very Merry Christmas, wherever you may be.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Busy At Home With Christmas Stuff....

Our Las Vegas to Bellingham, WA flight departure was on time.  We landed at 2:10 pm and our daughter arrived minutes after we stepped outdoors from the terminal.  Twenty minutes later, we were at the duty free store at the Lynden/Aldergrove border crossing. Once our duty free goods were collected, it was a five minute wait at the border, followed by a five minute drive to our home.  Great!
At McCarran Airport in Las Vegas - Thursday
Our truck was stored at an off airport parking facility, in Las Vegas, that also provided free shuttle service to the airport. It sure made life easy for us.  We could be at the airport long before our flight.  We preferred that option.  Within two hours, we had boarded our flight.  And the flight was full.
Our storage site close to McCarran Airport - Las Vegas. We saw license plates from several Canadian Provinces and US States.
The weather in Las Vegas equaled the weather we arrived to in Bellingham.  Both cities were at the same temperatures but Bellingham was more damp.  The unusual cool weather in Las Vegas was not to last long though.  And our weather back here, on the Pacific Northwest coast, was calling for rain.  That is to be expected in the winter months.
I needed help installing the Christmas lights and Easton was happy to lend a hand.
We arranged to look after Easton an Brie on Friday.  Ginette had some work related stuff to look into and Jeanette and I both looked forward to seeing the grand kids.  Easton was wanting to give me a hand installing the outdoor lights.

When they arrived at our home early on Friday morning, Easton could hardly believe we were home.  He asked where and why we had been away.  Although we Face Time, he was so thrilled to see us in person.  Hugs were fast and furious.  What a joy!

Brie was her usual smiley self and, although sporting a cold, she too was thrilled to see us.  She was especially thrilled to see her Nana.  She quickly cuddled into Jeanette's neck and shoulders.   That reception from our grand kids is reason enough to make the journey home for Christmas.
Easton had to be certain that I was doing a good job.  He climbed the ladder for a closer look.
He was pointing to ask if I was going to install lights on the second story.  No....not this year!  He was curious to check out the eavethroughs and then understood where the rain on the roof goes.
Heights don't bother Easton
My helpful little man identified the bulbs that were not working and would offer me the correct colour replacements.  That made my job easier.  
Installing the lights was fun.
Following a job well done, we were back indoors on time for some hot soup.
Brie had been indoors, keeping her Nana busy, while Easton and I were installing the lights.  When Easton and I got back inside, she had just awoken from her morning nap.  She was her pleasant self....and was quick to 'high five' her Grand Papa.  Yes, at ten months of age, little Brie knows how to high five!
It was so nice to hold our cuddly little Brie.
Lunch was enjoyed with the two grand kids before Easton was ready for his nap and Brie followed about one half hour later.  While they were down, I was upstairs in my home office catching up on blogs, email and snail mail too.  I read several Christmas cards from family and friends.
Brie's naps are shorter than Easton's.  She was back at play
Brie is so attached to Jeanette.  She is never far from her and it's interesting to see her quickly crawl to wherever her Nana is.  In the kitchen, she was curious to check out the baking process.

As soon as he awoke from his regular afternoon nap, Easton immediately reminded his Nana that Grand Papa had agreed to start the Harley Davidson with him.  That was true.  Before long, he was dressed for the outdoors, the motorcycle cover was removed and the roar and thunder could be heard in the house.  Brie and Jeanette came out to see what' the noise was about.
The rumble made Easton's day.  The noise did not bother Brie either.
Easton did question where the Kawasaki motorcycle was.  On 'Face Time' chats with him, I would show him the other motorcycle that was with us in the southwest US desert.  He was curious, nonetheless.  Conversing with Easton is such a joy. His grasp of the English language is amazing. He is no slouch with some Ukrainian and French words either.
"This is fun......."
Once we had exercised the motorcycle, Easton was truly satisfied with the result.  He then donned his bicycle helmet and rode around our driveway for a good half hour while I introduced myself to a new neighbour who was moving in, next door.

We already miss our former neighbours but we plan to see them over the Christmas holidays.  The new neighbours were busy with the move in.  We will get to know them better once they have settled in.

Trevor and Ginette  - Easton and Brie's parents - joined us for dinner before taking their kids home.  We were thrilled to spend time with them and we completely forgot to take photos.  How can that be? Too preoccupied, we resolved!

So, it was a good day, all around. Anyhow, we are thrilled to be back home for the Christmas holidays and we look forward to enjoying family time.  

Courtney and Owen flew here from Edmonton, this past Thursday evening.  They are at Courtney's mom's home while awaiting our son, Deni's Tuesday night arrival.  So, a lot to look forward too.  Owen will be turning one year old, this January 13, 2015.  He is a hoot to watch when we 'Face Time' with him and his folks, but to see them in person is something we look forward to.

That's it from here for now.

Thanks for dropping by.