Wednesday, December 31, 2008

the year that was...

We blinked and it was gone! That's it for the year 2008 (well, almost)...but the memories live on. Here's a quick photo review of 'the year that was' over in my corner.

January ~ A little snow cleaned things up outside...and indoors we also had things deep-cleaned following some major smoke damage!

February ~ Great memories of a family reunion with all my siblings at Birch Bay.

March ~ Easter, pansies, paska...spring is in the air!

April ~ Our little visitor from heaven came...and went...and lives on in our hearts forever.

May ~ There was hay to cut...there were crops to plant...and always, there are cows to milk!

June ~ Father's Day weekend with family at the cabin at Shuswap.

July ~ Travels to Manitoba to witness Gillian's beautiful outdoor wedding.

August ~ A grand camping trip to the KOA and Birch Bay.

September ~ Celebrating the birth of Magdelyn Anne on September 29.

October ~ Guess who's 30?

November ~ Travels to San Diego, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree Park.

December ~ Celebrating Christmas with our special little people!

Much has happened in 'the year that was'...it is a good thing to pause and look back on occasion! As the sun sets on 2008, I would like to say thanks to all the friends and family who have been with me on the journey...and to Him who has been faithful....and from Whom all blessings flow.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

those were the days...

We had such good times together through the years...two families brought together by the circumstances of life...and held together with a glue called friendship. Our firstborn were six months apart in age...and our second children (two boys) were born hours apart in the same hospital. We visited in each others homes...and went camping together on several occasions.

How well I remember our camping trip to Lighting Lakes in the summer of 1977. We had the four sweetest little munchkins along...and hiked the trails of the Alpine Meadows.

We fed the squirrels Quaker Harvest Crunch...played '500 up'...let the kids catch frogs...and just had a wonderful time. As it turned out, both families welcomed daughters the following year...and they got along just fine. Our kids all went to school together...and the middle boys had their share of escapades!

Before long, they had all gone their separate ways. We ('the old folks' in this particular scenario) still get together for dinner...or an outing...but the paths of our grown children rarely meet. There's another whole generation of kids involved now...and spouses...and where our parties with the two families once involved 10 people...there are now 24. But why not try getting them all together for a reunion?

That's exactly what we did last night. Oh what fun!

There were a few spouses that had never met...and a whole slew of kids that took only a few minutes to warm up to each other! It was one large, noisy crowd...but how nice to re-kindle old friendships and make new ones. It seems plans for a future reunion are already in the works.

It's such a fun time of the year...getting together with friends old and new and enjoying the sweet warmth of the holidays in our homes.

Monday, December 29, 2008

snow going!

After several weeks of extreme cold...and huge amounts of snow last week...we have returned to our normal west coast temperatures and our snow will be going fast! Unlike those of you who live in colder weather zones...we experience the spring thaw several times each year. So before our snow has all washed out to sea...I'll leave with you a few 'boxing weekend' memories.

This was the view of our neighbour's place on Boxing Day...rather serene, but the mountain backdrop seems to be missing!

Just for fun...I'll stick in the same view on a typical spring morning. That's the picture I see first thing when I roll over in the morning...a changing landscape with each season.

I went for a few snow walks over the last few days...

...and found a few critters down the road that were feeling snowbound...and came to the fence to socialize a little.

By yesterday the thermometer showed 5 degrees Celsius...and all main roads were bare and wet. We had a wedding reception in the big city in the afternoon...and thought it would be 'smooth sailing'. Mapquest told us we would arrive at the designated place in 1 hour 28 minutes...but we left three hours before the event was to begin. That would give us plenty of time to make a few stops...and a have quick bite to eat.

Not fifteen minutes from home...we met a roadblock!

For over an hour we enjoyed the views from the Trans Canada Highway...


...views that we usually sail by! We listened to 'praise' music...though we never felt much like praising...and we wondered where all those other people were going on a Sunday afternoon...and hoping they never had flights to catch.

We watched snow plows...and we watched our watches...and we knew we would not have time for lunch! A semi truck accident on the Vedder Canal bridge had shut the freeway down for several hours on Saturday...a truck had gone through the railings and into the river below. Yesterday one lane was open to traffic...but that was not quite sufficient! Eventually we got past the bridge and arrived at our destination just as the event was about to begin...in just under three hours. Here's a reminder for the future...one can never leave too soon to arrive in Vancouver at the appointed hour...there are a few bridges to cross!

The holidays are a great time to get together with friends...and play games...and finish up all those holiday goodies you have on hand.

We had some friends over on Saturday night...and had a fun time playing Apples to Apples. I left the Christmas baking in the freezer and tried out a new recipe that I found over at In a Garden a few weeks back. Cranberry Bliss Bars are a Starbucks holiday favorite......and I posted my version of their recipe on the MGCC on-line cookbook, if you are interested.

It's Monday...still the holidays...so get out there and enjoy the week!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

perfect peace

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
peace...good will toward men.
Luke 2:14


Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace...
whose mind is stayed on thee...
because he trusteth in thee.
Isaiah 26:3

As the year draws to a close...and we enter a new one...may we exchange our fears for God's peace.

Friday, December 26, 2008

So this was Christmas

So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

I'm still singing the songs...but the calendar says Christmas is over! And it was a good one at our place.


We had the whitest Christmas in a very long time...and it felt much more Christmassy than our usual west coast weather. The snow fell all morning on the 24th...and my visitors came across the field on their horse and sleigh!


They made a few snow angels for me...and they were on their way.

Sometime in the afternoon we learned that the evening church service was cancelled...due to road conditions! What? Come snow or high winds...we would have been there...we wouldn't miss those 'choirs of little angels' singing because of a little (well...maybe a lot!) of snow. Our 'after church appetizer night' became an all evening event.

Baby Maelyn was the first to arrive in her chariot ...

...wearing a sweater set that her mommy once wore...and quite happy to spend the evening with this noisy throng.

Emme and Spencer perched themselves on the bar stools...so they could keep guard over the Christmas sweets! An appetizer buffet on Christmas Eve...with family...while the snow is falling outside...is just about the perfect way to celebrate the occasion.


We changed things up a little this year. Tradition has it that Santa shows up at the door on Christmas morning...while we are all at the table enjoying brunch. Emme and Spencer know the drill...and are waiting for 'Grandpa Santa' to disappear from the table...and show up minutes later at the door, in costume. Well, since it was snowing so hard...Santa had to start his rounds early this year...and suddenly showed up at the door as we were still nibbling on our appetizers. The grands were surprised all right...but not nearly as startled as Broni, who nearly fell off her chair.

Eventually, they all were coaxed onto Santa's lap...as you can tell, Ranen was not too thrilled about the whole thing! She wasn't really convinced that scary looking man was Grandpa Santa. Santa brought the stockings early...

...and a Christmas pillow for each of the grands.
Merry Christmas to all...and to all a good night! And with that...Santa disappeared down the hall...and was gone.

It wasn't long before they were trying out the pillows on the floor...and soon they were on their way out the door...'with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads'.

Christmas morning...and the farm chores began long before we knew that we were in for a glorious sunny Christmas Day. And here's why we don't pray for white Christmas's on a dairy farm...the snowy weather usually makes for a whole lot more work! On Christmas morning the barnyard needed clearing...so that the milk truck could pick up the milk as scheduled. But before that happened yesterday...a cow had managed to get her head stuck under the bars of her 'sick pen'. That called for hack-sawing through penning...and eventually freeing the distressed animal. But in the meantime...the milk truck arrived and got stuck. And all that while the guys were trying to hurry...so they could have some family time on Christmas Day.

We had our traditional brunch with the gang late in the morning...and then gathered in the great room to open gifts. I hardly remember what this looked like before the grandkids arrived...


...but I think I like this picture a whole lot better! What fun we had. (Oh yes...you may notice that thermos in the lower left corner of the photo once again. One of these days I'll tell you why it always shows up...when Tim is around.)

The three youngest were all getting the same gift from Grammy and Grandpa this year...so they opened them at the same time.

They were quite overjoyed with their 'little people' nativity sets...although Ryder was not too thrilled with having to wait until we were done opening gifts before he could pull off the packaging.

Soon enough...they had had Baby Jesus in the manger...and were acting out the Christmas story.

Emme and Spencer opened their gifts...NIV Adventure Bibles in pink and blue...and Emme read the Christmas story to us from the second chapter of Luke. Move over Heidi...I think Emme or Spencer will be reading the Christmas story to us from now on.

Maelyn needed a little help in opening her gifts this year...

...so Mommy had many packages to open. And at the rate she is growing...that little sweater dress will be fitting her in no time!

Time flies when you are having fun...

...and before long Ryder had his soo-soo and Ranen was sitting on Grandpa's lap and looking very sleepy. It was two o'clock and time for afternoon naps.

Lisa and Ranen bid us all farewell...we sent a 'brunch' plate for Kris who had to work on Christmas Day this year. Dairy farmers aren't the only ones who don't get statutory vacation days!

While afternoon chores were happening...Ryder had his nap...and Heidi, Maelyn and I went for a short walk in the snow.

All these Christmas activities are rather draining...and Maelyn decide it was time for a little break.

We pulled out the games...played Mexican train and Uno Attack. You don't actually have to know how to play Uno attack to play the game...the fun is in pushing the button and watching the cards fly out (ask Ryder)!

The sun set on a beautiful Christmas Day...and we sat around the table one more time...and then spent the evening watching old homemade videos...of the family in days gone by.

And that was Christmas 2008...a wonderful time together with family...celebrating the birth of our Saviour so long ago.