Monday, May 25, 2015

Catching Up....

I can hardly believe that it has been two weeks since our last blog post.  Some readers have wondered if we exited earth for some far flung place.  Truth be told, I have lacked the motivation - coupled with some very busy days - to put thought to keyboard.  

Today's skies are grey with cloud and a mild rain is keeping us indoors.  So, why not check out the blogs I've missed of late.....and perhaps, just perhaps, conjure up a blog of our own.

So here goes......!

Jeanette's mom celebrated her 88th birthday.
Deni and Owen celebrating at Mary's 88th birthday.
 There was a buzz of activity with our telephones (Face Time) when my mother in law, Mary celebrated her 88th birthday.  Although Jeanette could not make it back to Alberta for the celebrations, the photos and telephone conversations made for some fun times.
Mary is thriving.......and she celebrated well.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Our Edmonton kids were out here on the west coast for a seven day visit.  We sure enjoyed that.  And we got to spend more quality time with one year old grandson, Owen. He also got to spend a fair bit of time enjoying the company of his cousins, Brie and Easton. 

Owen is likely not aware that he will be giving up some of his home space to a new baby sister come mid-September.  His mom, Courtney is expecting a baby girl near September 15th.  So....there is more excitement to come for Deni, Courtney, Owen..... and us.
Plenty of fun enjoyed in our sun room.
Our sun room has become the go to place for the grand kids to play.  And it seems we adults also gathered there when the grand kids were having fun.
With our daughter, Ginette still away in the far flung Egyptian Luxor region, we see a lot of Brie and Easton.  And with their dad, Trevor's busy schedule, his mom, along with Jeanette and I are spending  a lot of  time looking after our grand kids.  And it is a pleasure to help out.  

Although missing her kids and husband, Ginette is thoroughly enjoying her time in Egypt.  Texting us (with occasional Face Time chats) frequently, it seems this will be the first and quite possibly the only time she will agree to be away from her little family for such a long time.  Although a great contract, she sure misses her kids.  Going forward, she may only accept one week contracts or perhaps two, depending on the distances she needs to travel.  But what a great experience she is living!  And the business contacts she is making cannot be undervalued.  Her worldwide contacts list has grown exponentially.  
A picnic in the park with Courtney, Deni and Owen.
At 16 months of age, Owen is a curious little guy who enjoys everything outdoors.  And it is fun to take him on outings.
Owen and I are checking the flow of the creek  underfoot while Deni looks on.
Just following Owen, as he walks around, is fun.  Why?  He sees things we adults don't and he draws us to those spots.  What drives his curiosity is curious in itself....for us, that is. 

It was a pleasure to spend some quality time with Deni and Courtney too.  To be able to hang out and just chat about all things common was a pleasure for us.
"Where does this path go....?"
Back in the sun room, Easton (at 3 years of age) shares play time with Owen. 

Our little man is so mature for his age.  He is most engaging,
Easton's command of the English language and his sentence structure is amazing to us.  He seems so far ahead of the curve.  His conversations are often quite adult oriented.  
Little princess, Brie continues to amaze us too.  She is growing so quickly.
This was a good opportunity to catch a photo with our three grand kids in one place.
Fun in the park.....and a picnic too!
A new little orange tractor and trailer for Owen.
Owen and his folks had driven the 12 hours from Edmonton to Vancouver.  Seven days following their arrival, the photo below sees them leaving our driveway at 5:00 am for the return drive back to their Alberta Capital city.
Deni, Courtney and Owen leaving our driveway.....
Brie has taken to climbing on anything and everything she can.  

Playing with garden stones is fun for her these days.
When Jeanette and I look after Brie and Easton - including a weekly sleepover at our home - we take them on hikes and to other parks in the area.  It's fun for us and they also discover so many nice things in nature.
"Hey....I can see some little fish in the stream....."
Little Brie is good to follow our slow walk through the forested park nearby.
Of course, Easton has to climb anything he has not tackled before.

Brie surprised me with a little kiss while I was resting my eyes.  What a sweetheart.
Now, those readers who read through to the end of this blog may understand why I have not blogged more regularly.  So much of our time is taken up with our kids and grand kids.  To write a daily column could prove irksome for many readers, I believe.  So.....I plan to only write when there is something of interest to share.

It is not all about kids though.  Jeanette and I have participated in other activities.  I regularly golf with my group of guys and coffee with the 'Open Mic' crowd while Jeanette has had several meet ups with friends.  We continue to exercise our motorcycle in the area; often on pleasant evenings and on longer day trips.  And we continue to take our walks in the neighbourhood or in the parks nearby.

Our Egyptian business traveler daughter, Ginette will return home in early June to resume her parenting duties.  Jeanette and I will then garner a bit more free time.  So we'll see what fodder we can come up with to grace our blog pages in the weeks ahead.

That's about it from here, for now.

Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Fun With Family

Well......another busy week closed this Sunday past.  It was filled with plenty of activities.

The saws came back out for more back yard works
We had some perfect outdoor weather. Another project I had wanted to accomplish involved removing the wood style edging along our back yard walkways and replace it with composite material.  Anything to curb long term maintenance is always on my agenda.  The ratty 1X4 boards were looking peaked.  The new composite give it an everlasting finished look.
A very good result.....I might add.
While our daughter is on business in Egypt and her husband, Trevor is busy with his business, Jeanette and I take Easton and Brie for two days each week; including a Thursday overnight.  We did two overnights last week, for good reasons, and it was fun to have our little visitors.  Also an 'on call'  firefighter, Trevor had some fire-hall activities to attend to, over and above his business.  Busy guy!
Brie was keen on taking a swim in the back yard pond so we had to keep a diligent eye on her every move.
Dipping her bare feet into the cold water made Brie understand why it would not be a good thing to swim there.  Easton is well versed on not playing in the pond too.  Whenever the little people are outdoors, either Jeanette or I are there too. 
It's always fun to ride over to the nearby park for some bicycling and sliding.
We did head over to the local park a few times.  Easton gets a thrill out of riding the great bicycle track there and Brie has a blast sliding down the two slides in the play area.  It is a good place to tire the two kids out.  By the time we get them back home, they are more than ready for a nice afternoon nap.
Nothing holds little Brie back.  She has lots of fun.
Brie could go down the slide hundreds of times.  By the time we leave the park, she has  burned off a lot of energy.   And energy is in high supply with this 15 month old.
We caught up to Easton who was trying his might to ride the complex bicycle obstacle course.
Brie chose to walk the bicycle washboard ramps.
Easton gave his bicycle a break and chose to walk up and down some of the higher obstacles.
Our son and his wife, Deni and Courtney, along with their 16 month old boy, Owen drove from Edmonton to the coast last Thursday.  The are visiting this area till their return this coming Wednesday.   Last Friday was a planned day out at the Vancouver Zoo.  Jeanette, along with Easton and Brie, met Deni, Courtney and Owen at the zoo.  And what fun they all had together.

I was slated for some very minor oral surgery on Friday so I did not go along on the zoo trip. Everyone had a great time there.
Jeanette with Brie and Easton at the zoo entrance.
Courtney, Deni Brie, Easton and Owen.
Waiting for the little zoo train to come by.
It seems that all little kids (big kids too) always enjoy a train going by or taking a ride.  Easton is especially enamoured with trains.

Nana with her three grand-kids:  Easton, Owen and Brie.
The little kids had a great time together.  Letting them loose proved to be great fun.  Playing in the gravel is more fun - so it seems - than looking out for wild animals in the enclosures. 
Brie and Owen are sharing some special time together.....and speaking their own language, so it seems.
Half the fun of a zoo outing is enjoying a snack outdoors.

Easton was quick to point out a camel.
Knowing that his mom is in Egypt for another four weeks, Easton was quick to point to a camel and let everyone know that his mom is in Egypt where there are a lot of camels.  Good fun!
Meeting our friends, Lorne, Mariette, along with daughter in law, Leane and her baby on White Rock beach.
We had last got together with Lorne and Mariette at a White Rock restaurant better than three weeks ago prior to their departure to South Africa.  Back from their holiday there (and with many stories to tell), we got together on Saturday, on the beach in White Rock, for a couple of hours of fun.

Our son in law, Trevor joined us once he was free from his activities.  We enjoyed a fine weather day on the beach.  And the battered fish and chips were good too.
Mother's Day breakfast in Fort Langley
Deni, Courtney and Owen had arranged a Mother's Day breakfast in Fort Langley on Sunday morning.  We sure enjoyed that.  It was a special way to treat Jeanette and Courtney to a Mother's Day treat.
A special Mother's Day gift from Courtney and Deni to Jeanette.  A special potted plant
If memory serves me well, this pot is filled with herbs.  It's another addition to Jeanette's special garden.
The special Mother's Day gift.
We had met our kids on motorcycle on Mother's Day Sunday.  After the plant presentation, Deni returned it to their vehicle before we left for a nice walk along the Fraser River in Fort Langley.  Being Mother's Day drew many other people to the local restaurants and the river side walkways.  Nice.
Owen wanted to change things up.  Tired of his stroller ride, he thought it was fun to ride on my back.  Giddy up Grand Papa!
Before leaving to meet our kids in Fort Langley, Jeanette got on the telephone to chat with her mom in Alberta.  Mary was in fine spirits.  I got on the phone too and we shared some nice chat.  Later in the day, one daughter, Darlene was dropping by Mary's long term care facility to take her on an outing.  Here is one of several photos we received during their outing.  
It seems that Darlene bought a goat for her garden. This one won't keep the grass short however.
Once Deni and Courtney were ready to take Owen back to Courtney's mom's home for his afternoon nap, Jeanette and I rode east and ended up in the resort town of Harrison Hot Springs.  It was such a beautiful day for a countryside ride.
En route on Highway #7 towards Harrison Hot Springs.
We did not spend a lot of time there.  We treated ourselves to a small ice cream cone before motorcycling back for home.  We had one planned stop, at Lepp's Farm, in Abbotsford, for some prized 100% grain fed Angus beef burgers.  We bought a package of ten - along with a few other food items - before riding the final 15 minutes to our home.  We were parked in our garage by 5:30 pm.  A nice Mother's Day indeed.

Today (Monday), Courtney, Deni and Owen are moving from Courtney's mom's home to ours.  That is only a 20/25 minute drive from there to here.  We look forward to their two night visit.  Come early Wednesday morning, they will drive back to Edmonton.

Oh....and that bit of oral surgery I spoke about earlier?  All is well but I feel as though I lost a back alley fight.  LOL  It's minor...really.  Just a tad tender during the healing process.

And that covers the activities from here for now.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Whistler & Home Stuff....

Jeanette returned from her 12 day  Alberta visit with  Deni, Courtney, Owen; followed with spending several days with her sisters and her mom.  And a wonderful visit it was.
Owen was showered with gifts from his Nana
Deni and Courtney make it a point to read to Owen before bedtime.
Jeanette got to spend some quality time with Owen and his folks.  The little man is quite the fun character.  And he is such a happy go lucky guy.
Play time........
"I can see you......"

Special time with Nana
Following several good days visiting Owen, Deni and Courtney, Jeanette's sister Deb, from Calgary, Alberta, drove up to Edmonton. She and Jeanette then drove out to the Vegreville/Two Hills, Alberta area to spend some time visiting their mom.
L- R  Jeanette, mom Mary, Deb and Darlene

Jeanette with her mom
Jeanette returned home, here on the BC coast late last week, one day before our daughter, Ginette was taking flight to the Luxor region of Egypt.  She is there on business but has also planned some days to visit all of the stunningly rich tourist areas nearby.  Ginette will be away for one month.
Ginette's departure day for Egypt was made really difficult when having to say bye bye to her two children and husband.
Brie was not quite up on what was happening but Easton (photo below) was sad when his mommy was leaving for the airport.  The kids will be kept busy and they will get to spend every Thursday and Friday with us; including sleepovers.  With FaceTime and Skype, there will be plenty of opportunities for the kids to chat with their mom.

Saturday and Sunday were forecast to offer some stunning weather.  Friday evening, over dinner, I proposed that we motorcycle up to Whistler for the day.  Jeanette was up for that.
Saturday morning.
We left our home at 10:00 AM, Saturday morning.  Traffic was lite along the Sea to Sky highway to Whistler.  The views?  Stunning!
On the Sea to Sky highway.
Little traffic.
Approaching Whistler Resort
We walked around the Village centre.  And it was not busy.  Our visit fell between the two busy seasons; winter skiing and summer golf and downhill bicycling and hiking. This is a great time of the year to visit, in our view.
Our view from our outdoor lunch spot. at the foot of Blackcomb Mountain.
Click on this link to view the Whistler/Blackcomb WEB site.  
Plenty of snow on the mountain tops.
The view - south from Squamish, BC
The motorcycle was again put into service on Sunday morning.  I joined our 'Open Mic' coffee group in White Rock.  We had a nice turnout.  It's always a fun time.

Sunday afternoon, I joined a 'guy' ride to a local Harley Davidson motorcycle shop. We went  to check out all of the new motorcycles for 2015.  Some guys tried out some new motorcycles.  By mid-afternoon, we were off on a ride into the Harrison Hot Springs / Harrison Mills area, on a scenic mountain and riverside ride.

Three of the fellas were riders I met while in the Palm Desert/Desert Hot Springs area. It was nice to seen them once again.
Out with the old and in with the new.
One back yard project I did not complete last summer involved removing the small and unsightly planter on the east side of our deck.  Once I disposed of it, I began building a much longer planter.  By late afternoon yesterday (Monday), just before the forecast rain began, I completed the bulk of the work and put the tools away.
I managed to get all the power tools put away before the rain began.
Although all the 4X4 were pre-stained, once the edges are routered, the exposed wood and the end cuts will be stained. We plan to fill this planter - and another on the opposite side of the yard - with emerald cedar hedge trees.

And that pretty well colours our activities, these past several days.

Thanks for dropping in.