Thursday, December 28, 2017

December ~ 'twas all about Christmas

The rose blooming in my garden in December brings to mind an old Christmas carol...

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming
As men of old have sung.
It came, a flower bright,
Amid the cold of winter
When half-gone was the night.

The December sunrise came later every morning...
with the moon still hanging in the western sky.

The month started off cold and it was easy to turn our thoughts to Christmas celebrations. 

We started off the month with a MGCC Christmas party...
hosted by Anneliese this year. 

It was a beautiful evening with special friends...
good food and so much fun!

It was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Our 'life group' had a Christmas party early in the month as well...
always a highlight of the season.
The 'white elepant' gift exchange is always our entertainment for the evening.
A few items seem to re-appear from year to year!
Then there were the concerts...

Lucy played in her first violin recital.

Sweet Lucy...
she did a fine job!

Getting up in front of people is not one of Micah's favorite things to do...
but he surprised us all and played a beautiful old German carol called Ihr Kinderlein Kommet
(Oh Come All Ye Children).

Ranen has no fear of playing for an audience...

And there were school concerts...
featuring some of my 'elfin' grands.

And we also managed a trip into the city to take in Cirque de Soliel Kurios with the youngest five grands.
What a circus that is!

 Emme, Spencer and Ryder spent a few days with us while their parents were out of town...
and they quite enjoyed cooking their own dinner at the table...
raclette style!

It seems you can enjoy Swiss raclette even if you refuse to eat cheese.
There are plenty of other options.

One evening we took Maggie and Lucy on a Christmas light tour in our town.
There are some amazing displays...
and their favorites were the ones that danced to the music!

We delivered a few Christmas gifts to Dad and Marge the week before Christmas...
and Dad decided there was no better time than the present to unwrap the gifts.
Why not?
We never know what tomorrow may bring.
Tonight was the night we were to have an extended family gathering at their place.
The room was booked.
The food was prepared and Dad was so looking forward to having his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren together for a Christmas celebration.
But freezing rain in the valley today put an end to those plans...
and we have re-scheduled for another time.
It's just as well Dad and Marge opened their gifts the week before Christmas!

As for Christmas at our place...
we had a lovely time with the family.

 They all came for an appetizer buffet following the candlelight service on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Day, we had a late morning brunch and then exchanged gifts.

It seemed so quiet and peaceful this year...
the grands are all growing up so quickly.

We always manage to make a big mess...
and lots of good memories!

I will leave you with a few of my favorite snap-shots taken this month.

With cold temperatures, blue skies and snow-capped peaks...
I couldn't resist 'snapping'.

Where the corn fields stood a few months ago...
the winter wheat is now a lovely green against the the backdrop of the white mountains.

That was last week.
Tonight the field is under a blanket of snow...
with a layer of ice to top it off!

Red, white and blue.
Blueberry fields, snow-capped peaks and blue skies.

The wineter sunsets were amazing this month.
God paints the best pictures!

I will end with a photo of the grands taken on Christmas Eve.

Maggie, Emme, Spencer, Ryder (Pauline ~ exchange student from Switzerland)
Micah, Ranen and Lucy.

Thank-you for continuing to vist me here on My Front Porch...
even though the updates are few and far between.
I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Christmas...
and wish you the very best in the new year!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Remembered

with its parade of pacific storms in our part of the country...
has come and gone.

We honestly never know what to expect in November..
though rain is a guarantee.

Snow on November 2nd was not expected.
By nightfall, it was almost impossible to get to Heidi's place on the hill.

The coolish temperatures left us with beautiful mountain views for the next week or so...
until the clouds and rain arrived.

We had three birthdays to celebrate this month...
so we decided to start off the celebrations with a family bowling night.
What fun!
Bowling with such little balls was foreign to Pauline...
the Swiss student who is spending the winter with Tim and Heidi.

Apparently five-pin bowling is a Canadian thing.
Is that true? 

The kids all had a great time.

Brynja suddenly realized she missed out on the group photo...
so this shot was just for her.

Micah is eight...
a charming, delightful grandson.
He loves Lego, jungle animals, science and is good at Monopoly too!
Where have the years gone?

Emme and Spencer are now sweet sixteen!
I think they have been celebrating all month.

A cousin party was a good way to start!
But they had another big party in the planning for months in advance.
They wanted the whole family to join them in cheering on their good friend, Jordyn Huitema at the Canada vs. USA women's soccer match at BC Place Stadium on November 9th.

What a fun time we had! 

We all wore our red  #23 Huitema hoodies and made a lot of noise for Canada.

Jordyn got to play...which is quite something for a 16 year-old from Chilliwack...
and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

That was definitely a 16th birthday celebration to remember.

Oh yes...and then there was this!

They went out bright and early on the morning of their 16th birthday to write their driver's exam.
The computers were down and it was not meant to be.
The computers were still not working at the end of the day...
and then the offices were closed for the long weekend.
Can you imagine having to wait four extra days to get your L? 
That is the first step (of many) toward a full driver's license in British Columbia. 

They have now graduated from driving tractors and ATV's to driving a Mini Cooper.

I am looking forward to having them take me for my first ride!

We had a lot of rain this month...
but my photos are mostly from the 'good days'...
the ones I want to remember!

In the middle of a very wet week we had an appointment in downtown Vancouver...
and the rains held off during our time there.

It was quite lovely on the waterfront.

Back at home I have had a good view of the birds on our fields all month.

Though the trumpeter swans are beautiful huge birds...
once nearly extinct...
they have taken to wintering in our area and are not appreciated on the farm.

We chase them away daily...
often many times each day. 
It does not take long for them to clean off an entire field of winter wheat!

Besides the trumpeter swans,
the ducks and geese have also taken a liking to our farm.
Several hunters have been out there...
encouraging them to move along. :)

As the month neared the end...
all things Christmas were beginning.

Maggie and I visited the annual Christmas display at the local greenhouse last weekend...
and went out for lunch.
Her pick?
IHOP for pancakes. :)

November brought a lot of wet, grey and dreary days...
and also memories of evenings around the cozy fire.

A storm blew through last Sunday, leaving us without power...
but we made our way to the home of friends...
where the lights were on and the food and fellowship was good!
It brought back memories of Sunday afternoons from yesteryear...
where we always gathered around the Faspa table in one home or another.

Faspa is the low-German term used for the Sunday evening meal served in most Mennonite homes at one time...fresh buns, cheeses, meats, preserves, and cakes.

There is no mountain view today...
but I'll leave you with a picture of a brighter November day.
The leaves have for the most part 'gone with the wind'...
and we look forward to December. 

I wish you all a wonderful 'month before Christmas' your prepare your hearts and your homes.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October Snapshots

I am glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. ~ Anne with an 'e'

Let me share a few end-of-October postcards taken in my neighbourhood these past few days.

From the blueberry fields to the path along the river... seems the whole world was aglow this October!

We have had record breaking warm temperatures this past week, and most of the snow has disappeared from the peak of Mt. Cheam.

The late grapes are ripe for the picking.
The birds are eyeing them too!

The last crop of grass came off the fields mid-month...but the grass kept right on growing.

Out with the petunias and in with the winter pansies.

One Sunday afternoon drive found us in Columbia Valley...
right along the Canada/US border.

There were no border  guards and no passports required...
though I suspect there were cameras on duty.

We stayed north of 'the wall'. 

Columbia Valley is a laid-back little community that dead-ends against the border. 
It's the kind of place where bikes are parked on the road and left unattended.

Memories of Thanksgiving...
which seems so long ago already.
There is much to be thankful for.
Every day.

Heidi traveled to Nepal on a Himalayan Life missions trip...
which left Maggie and Lucy without a 'hands-on-mommy' for a few weeks. 

Thankfully, Pauline was there for them.
And I took them to track events and music lessons.

Lucy started violin lessons this fall and is doing amazingly well!

Maggie is a long distance runner.
She runs effortlessly...
and always places near the front in district meets.

We had the privilege of seeing Roy & Rosemary in concert with Chilliwack Symphony orchestra a few weeks ago. So good!

A quick trip over the mountain passes and the long bridge...
had us in Kelowna to celebrate my sister-in-law Martha's birthday.
We surprised her big-time!

Kelowna in October is lovely! 
Snow on the Coquihalla pass...not so much.

Last week we were in Whistler for two days.
It was sunny and warm...
the leaves were beautiful!
Had we been there a week earlier, we would have been dealing with over a foot of snow.

We had nachos on a patio in the village and watched crews putting up Christmas lights.
Good thinking...
to put up lights while the weather is pleasant.

Every leaf is a flower!
And that is a wee peek into life 'on my front porch' and beyond during the month of October.

Wishing you many treats on this 'tricky Tuesday'!