Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of the Year

I started this blog last January 1 in response to a challenge to post a picture a day. Over the year it has evolved into a journal of the happenings in my family. I have enjoyed doing it so much that I have decided to continue for another year.

Here are a few final images of the end of this year.

A snowy day in Lethbridge yesterday as we started for home.

When we visited Lloyd's sister Cheryl, one of her friends brought out this beautiful angel to show me.

Three more Oilers jerseys - Mike, me and Lloyd. Too bad our team isn't doing so well this year.

A late Christmas visit with Mike, Avril, Alex and Kenny. Always fun to visit with the family and little grandsons.

For our Christmas Eve dinner this year, Sara made these little deck-of-card-sized personalized boxes for all the adults in the family (16 of us). She put slips of paper in each of them and they were passed around so everyone could write something positive about the person whose name was on the box. They're lovely treasures for us all to keep.


Sadly 2008 ended on a sad note for our family. Yesterday morning our niece, Tania's 12-year old son MacKenzie, collapsed from a ruptured brain tumor - a tumor they didn't even know he had. He never regained consciousness and was pronounced brain dead this afternoon. The family gathered at the pediatric ICU all day to give Tania our love and support and shed tears together. It was very sad. MacKenzie is the first child our large family has lost. He was loved by everyone and will be missed by all. He had expressed the wish some months ago that he would like to have his organs donated at his death so his family is honoring his wish. His death is providing the gift of life to several people who otherwise wouldn't be so blessed. What more could we wish for his legacy.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas at the Quist's

Emily, Allan, Lloyd and I went to Jenny and Anders' home for Christmas dinner this year. What a great time we had! It's always such fun to be in their home with the five grandsons.Here's some shots of the fun we had. I realized as I downloaded my pictures that I didn't take any of Jenn and Anders nor of the feast she had prepared - turkey, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, squash, brussels sprouts, green bean casserole, corn, potatoes, etc., topped off with death by chocolate for dessert.

Among her decorations, Jenny had four nativity scenes on display. The one pictured here is one I made (embroidered on muslin, stitched and stuffed) over 20 years ago. Somehow Jenn inherited it and has it on display in her home every year.

Anders lit a fire in the fireplace with the six stockings, now emptied of their bounty, still hanging on the mantle. Nathan, Emily and Allan watched the activities from the warm hearth.

The Quists gave Allan a lava lamp so we set it up to watch it in motion. It took awhile for the 'lava' to warm up and once it did, and became mobile, Nathan was fascinated with it and stood watching it for awhile.

Baby Jammers (who now walks) wanted to get into Papa's good graces so he got Micah's plastic golf club and ball and played with it...another golfer-to-be for Lloyd to teach.

Remember all that good food I mentioned above? Well, this is what happens after it is eaten - post turkey dinner hangover!

Micah decided to try out his new snow shovel. It was too cold for him to go outside and shovel so he stood in the open front door and shoveled the porch as far as he could reach - until the rest of us made him close the door to keep us from freezing.

Papa enjoyed a pre-dinner cuddle/wrestling match with Micah.

It was the year for Oilers Jerseys. Here Lloyd and Allan are showing theirs off. Other recipients of the popular Oilers jerseys this year were me, Max, Quincey and Curtis. Lloyd's has Gretzky's name and number on it from his glory days as an Oiler. The men plan on wearing their jerseys when they go to a game in Phoenix when the Oilers and Coyotes are playing. (Wayne Gretzky coaches the Coyotes).

Sam looks cool practicing his moves on his new snow board. Hopefully one of the moves doesn't involve any broken bones.

Nathan shows his style.

And Jonah tries his turn at it. Looks like their parents are going to have to invest in couple more snow boards before too long.

Micah became quite good at his basketball game, learning to beat Papa very quickly.

Lloyd loves the grandkids and wins them over from the time they're infants. Jammers is his little pal here.

A lovely time spent with a great family.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Festive Lanterns

When Amy visited last night she told me that she and Kenzie had made festive lantern decorations that day. I checked out how she made them and decided that I could make them with Charlie today.

The lanterns are made from the front of old (or new) Christmas cards. They're pretty and easy to make so here are the illustrated instructions.

Step 1: Choose the card you want to transform into a lantern. (Charlie is making her passport picture face - she has so many pictures taken by her photographer Mom that she tries not to smile when someone takes her picture).

Step 2: Fold the card in half lengthwise

Step 3: If you're working with a child, it helps them to cut if you draw lines for them to cut on. Draw a horizontal line half an inch from the open end. Draw a series of lines from the fold to the horizontal line, spaced evenly apart.

Step 4: Cut carefully on the lines.

Step 5: This is what happens when you don't cut carefully. These cuts were made from the open end, not the fold. They're both my mistakes. Charlie knew better than to do that.

Step 6: Fold the sides back until the edges meet, tape and/or staple at bottom and top. If necessary, make each individual fold sharper to accentuate the shape of the lantern.

Step 7: Cut a strip from the back of the card that you discarded and use it for a handle. Staple or tape each end onto the top border of the lantern forming a handle.

Step 8: This is optional but I think it makes the lantern look prettier. Cut a piece of red tissue paper to fit inside...

Step 9: Tuck the tissue inside the lantern and attach it loosely on the inside of the lantern.

Step 10: Display your works of art - it helps if you smile while doing it.

Step 11: Hang the lanterns on the tree, or string them along a ribbon or garland and hang them in a doorway, etc.

Stand back and enjoy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Crafters

I knew I had to have some kind of activity for the kids today - Charlie didn't have to go to school (holidays) so I figured she'd get restless in the early afternoon, and that wouldn't bode well for Max and me. So, I loaded up one of my scrapbooking carry cases with my Christmas papers, stickers, ribbons, buttons, card blanks, etc. and headed over there.

Here they are making cards. Max had fun plastering stickers on - the inside of his card was more elaborate than the front of it - a Christmas card for his Mom.

Charlie really got involved and ended up making five cards - one for Mom, Dad, Cousin Kenzie, Cousin Sydney, and Santa. She loved the stickers too and once I convinced her not to just plaster the card with random stickers, she did a really good job of choosing her stickers for the theme of her card. She wants me to take my scrapbooking stuff back tomorrow but I told her I'd think of a different activity for us to do.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Babies at Christmas

I love pictures of babies and Christmas trees at Christmas. Here are a few of my favorites going way back to 1986.

#5 Daughter, Emily's first Christmas - December 1986.

#1 Grandson, Jonah's second Christmas - December 1997

#14 Grandchild Elly's second Christmas - December 2008

Cat's like Christmas trees too - #1 cat, Whitey. December 2008

I know I have similar pictures of more of the kids and grandkids but I don't have time to search them our right now. Maybe another time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Craft Day

This morning I had a fun crafty time with Charlie and Max. I had bought a set of foam gingerbread people, stars and trees and decorations for them that looked like a fun project for the kids. We had a good time making these ornaments and hung them on the tree when we were finished. They look like cookies but they're just foam, as Elly found out. One of the Christmas trees has a couple of baby teeth marks in it.

These are Charlie's creations - she did more than Max and I put together.

Poor Max looks almost as sick as he feels today but he enjoyed making some of these - I made the rest.

And they make chic fashionable earrings too, hung on wire hooks. Charlie was very impressed with this.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Merry Christmas - A Look Back

It's a bit early for this, but I'm posting our Christmas picture (from 2006) anyway. I've been having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit and into the mood for shopping. That's all a thing of the past now. By noon today I had finished my Christmas shopping and was playing Christmas music and getting into cooking. I mailed off the last of my Christmas cards and parcels and now I'm free to enjoy the next 10 days leading up to Christmas. So, here's a Merry Christmas in the form of our 2006 Christmas card, beautifully photographed and designed by our middle child, Sara, at her photography studio/photo gift shop (First Impressions Portraits/Photo Gift World).

I've been planning for a while to do a post with pictures of me and my sweetie so here's us from this year down to 1969.

2008 - At Emily's wedding

Winter 2001

1999 - Niagara Falls

1991 - Looking good!

1971 - about a month after we were married.

January 1971 - a couple months before we were married.

1969 - Just a couple of kids - 19 and 20 yrs. old.

A lot has happened since this picture was taken 39 years ago. It's been a great ride. We're looking forward to getting old together now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Memories of a Year Ago

On a cold, snowy winter night a year ago this week, I received a phone call from my oldest daughter, with tears and fear in her voice. "Mum, the baby is coming, he's six weeks early. Can you come and stay with the boys." Of course, of course. Lloyd was out of town so I was on my own. I didn't even change out of my pyjamas but threw some overnight things in a bag, put on my coat, boots and gloves, and headed out to Lacombe after midnight, an hour and a half away. What else would a mother do?

Jenny's 4 boys (11, 9, 5 and 2) would be all right until I arrived there - they were all in bed asleep. Jenn and Anders had to head to Red Deer to the hospital before I could arrive.

Alberta's highway QE2 is not a pleasant drive in the winter, partially snow covered and dark. Luckily it's 4 lanes all the way. Once I was on the road I realized that no one knew where I was, in case anything happened. I pulled over and called the one daughter who I knew would be up working in the wee hours of the day at this busy time of year. So at least Sara knew what was going on.

I couldn't sleep once I got to Jenn's place and checked on the boys. I lay on the couch waiting for a phone call from Anders. It finally came about 2 hours after I arrived at the house. The baby was born safely and he and Jenny were doing well. Little Jammers (James Anders) was under six pounds, not the robust 8 and 9 pound babies Jenny was used to having, and was put into an incubator right away and hooked up to tubes for feeding and monitoring his breathing and other functions.

Anders got home just as the boys were stirring in their downstairs bedrooms. After talking to me for a minute or two he went down to tell the boys what had transpired while they slept. I heard the low murmur of male voices, then Jonah's excited "You mean he's born already", then a few minutes later "and Grammie's here too". They were an excited bunch that morning. Those boys love babies and were looking forward to having another brother, just not so soon.

I got to see the baby the next day - the first of ours to be premature and a bit sobering to see the tiny little body with tape and tubes on his nose and sprouting from all over it seemed. I was able to hold the precious little boy for awhile...such an emotional time. The prognosis was good from the start though so we tried not to worry too much. The family's main concern was getting him home for Christmas, and he ate and thrived so well that he made it home with a day or two to spare.

And just look at him now - a beautiful 1-year old boy, growing and developing at a wonderful rate with no apparent ill effects of his rush to get into this world. We're so glad you're here Jammers. Happy Birthday precious boy.