Saturday, February 13, 2016

thirteen in the desert...

Though we always hear that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas...I'm about to spill the beans.  We had such a good time there this past week...thirteen women from my family...and I am quite willing to share a bit of it with you!



It was last fall that my niece Gillian came up with the idea of having a 'girls only' reunion in Las Vegas...bringing together seven cousins and their six aunts from all parts of the country (two countries, actually).  She did all the organizing...in advance and while we were there....and it all unfolded as it should!


We flew in from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Iowa and Texas...and we all had flights of about the same length of time. We knew we would be in for quite a ride...when we all found ourselves on the roller coaster that first night.  How did that happen? Those nieces of mine can be quite persuasive! If I ever go on one again...remind me to remove my glasses first.  Just saying!


One of our first stops when we arrived was the grocery store where we picked up breakfast foods and snacks...so we wouldn't be spending all our time in restaurants. We just had a few special meals together as a group...including Mexican food one night.



The following morning all thirteen of us piled into rental cars and headed for Valley of Fire State Park, which is less than an hour north of Las Vegas.  The plan was to follow-the-leader and arrive there at the same time.  We should have known that with a population of more than 2 million people...the traffic through the city would be crazy.  And it was!  We soon all parted ways...and arrived at the park at different times and different places.  With no cell phone service...it took over an hour to 'find' each other once we arrived.  It's a great place to visit!


Some of us went to see Le Reve ~ The Dream at the Wynn Hotel one night.  Though I must say I'm not always the best at figuring out the story line...it was an amazing show from beginning to end...featuring stunning performers who danced through water and fire in a round theatre with a pool and stage in the middle. 


Later we wondered through some of the incredible hotels...all decked out in live flowers for Chinese New Year...which happened to be during our stay.


The Mandalay Bay Resort features an aquarium called the Shark's Reef...which was worth the visit. While some of us toured hotels and aquariums that day...the rest spent an afternoon around the pools...playing games or floating down the lazy river. 


It was the last night we would all be there...and so we had made plans to visit Gordon Ramsey's Steakhouse for dinner that night.  It was not until sometime that day...that we realized it was February 9th...which was my mom's birthday.  Though she passed away many years ago...it would have been her 90th birthday that day.


(Bev, Jeanne, Dot, Lauren, Jamie, Kathy, Gillian, Paulina, Mary Ellen, Heidi, Kim, Brittney and myself.  l-r)

And so we...her five daughter's, one daughter-in-law, and seven granddaughters from here, there and everywhere...met for dinner on her 90th birthday.  I'm sure she would not have chosen to have her birthday dinner in Las Vegas or at the Gordon Ramsey restaurant...but she would have been thrilled to have us all around the table! 



The Gordon Ramsey restaurant is in the Paris Hotel...across the street from the Bellagio which is an Italian-inspired tower behind a large lake featuring fountains set to music.  Quite lovely, actually.

Those are just a few of the highlights of our 'reunion in the desert'. But what mattered most about our time together was not what we saw or what we ate...but that we got to know each other in a new way.  I know that I have a great bunch of nieces...and sisters too, for that matter! 

I'll just add a quick postscript about what was happening back home while Heidi (my daughter) and I were a way.  Hubby had volunteered to watch Maggie and Lucy for several days while their dad was at work...and mommy was away.  And so he took Lucy to ballet...and got a little more than he had bargained on.  It happened to be costume fitting day...and all the moms helped the girls into their costumes.  All the moms...and one grandpa!  Then Lucy announced that she needed Valentine cards for her pre-school party...and so grandpa took her shopping for valentines. Oh...we laughed quite hard when we heard these stories!  But it seems a good time was had by all.

And so ends my mid-month post...a re-cap of a reunion in the desert.  Where the sun always shines and one does not need an umbrella.

Have a wonderful weekend!





 
 

Monday, February 1, 2016

january ~ a retrospective...

No sooner has the new year begun...
than the first chapter is already done!
January 2016.
This is how it looked through my lens.


On New Year's Day we took a drive to Hope...
where the snow lay thick on the ground...
and back along the other side of the river. 
It's always nice to see the valley from a different viewpoint!


We had sunshine and cold temp's at the beginning of the month...
the perfect weather for getting out and about on the trails.
The little fir tree still hanging on to the last remnants of Christmas decor made me smile!


It was also the perfect weather for sailing through the air with the birds...
at least someone thought so. 


The sun shining on blueberry fields always paints a lovely picture in winter!

We had family visiting the second week of January...
Bill, Jeanne, Matthew and Andrew from Iowa
and Kathy from Manitoba.


We took a trip out to the Othello Tunnels in Hope...
it's quite beautiful along the Coquihala River in winter.


We also visited the Cheam Wetlands Park once again...
and were surprised to see the lake frozen over. 

We ate at many different tables that week...
played lots of games...
visited a few shops...
and had some good family times!

Speaking of eating...
I'll share a few soup recipes...
that have showed up on our table recently.



'Tis still the season for soup!



It seems we find some excuse to visit Harrison Hotsprings most every January...
as we did this year.


It's a lovely retreat...
right close to home.


And a good soak in the mineral pools 'heals the body and soothes the soul'...
so they say!

And now on to a little 'personalia' from the month just passed...


For decades I have been singing the song 'When I'm Sixty-Four'...
and wondering what that might be like...
to be that old.
Now I know!
I turned 64 this month...
and it's all good! 
I am blessed to be this old...
and to have family and friends to celebrate the occasion with me.

Kris (our firstborn) had surgery on his hip once again this month.
And then yet again!
He is now on the mend...
and hopefully done with all the repair work from a motorcycle injury five years ago.

My dad became suddenly ill and spent some 'quality time' in the hospital...
also on the mend and doing well again.

A cousin passed away this month...
after a short battle with cancer.
I am reminded that every day is a gift...
and none of us can know what tomorrow may hold. 

Ryder played in a hockey tournament with teams from all over the province this weekend.
What fun to watch 10-year olds play excellent hockey!

The smile says it all!
Ryder's team 'The Chilliwack Warriors' took home the trophy.
I think Jeremy was smiling as well...
since he is the coach of Ryder's team.

And so ended the month of January!
I'm always amazed at how much happens in one month.







Friday, January 1, 2016

the year that was....



A new year is upon us...
a blank book of 365 pages waiting to be written.
I began on page one...
thankful for the sunshine, the snow nearby and the beauty that surrounds us.
We enjoyed a drive along the Fraser River...
a warm bowl of soup at a restaurant along the way...
and a late afternoon walk along the Vedder River.
it was a good start to the book called 2016.

Before I do too much writing in my new book...
let me gather a few memories of the year that was.


January ~ It was a mild and warm month...
and included some 'sister time' at Harrison Hotsprings Resort.


February ~ We cruised around tip of South America and spent a week in Peru.
The highlight? A visit to Machu Picchu.


March ~ Spring came early as did the blossoms!



April ~ Easter and tulip time! 


May~ making hay.


June ~ Camping at Whistler with Emme and Spencer.


July ~ Family picnics, camping, hiking and just enjoying summer in the valley.


August ~ a trip to the east coast of Canada 
...where we enjoyed the delights of Quebec, New Brunswick and PEI.


September ~ last grass harvest of the year.


October ~ A time for Thanksgiving!


November ~
The calm before the storm...as the valley was hit by a huge wind storm!

And then came December...


...and Christmas Day
(which always includes brunch with our favorites).


A white Christmas called for a Christmas Day late afternoon walk.



The last week of December included some fun times in the snow on the hills nearby...


...and lots of cold, crisp days in the valley.

It was a good year.

I thank God for His faithfulness...
and am thankful that 'come what may' He is still in control!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year.