Friday, February 27, 2009

Comfort Food

Isn't it interesting how some foods - mainly from our childhood - have that magical ability to make everything feel better. It could be something our mothers made on a regular basis that we associate with the warmth and safety of home, or maybe a sometimes treat that reminds us of good times.

Our family has some of those comfort foods. Beef stew is one, although maybe I feel that more than my kids do. Mac and cheese is another. My mother used to make baked beans and home made brown bread on Saturdays. Good stuff.

Early on in our child-raising adventure Lloyd and I started the tradition of Friday Popcorn Night. Someplace I have a picture of our two oldest (now 37 and 36 but then 3 and 2) standing on a chair together watching the popcorn pop, waiting for it to be ready. That tradition continued off and on for over 30 years. It's still a favorite treat.


Now the grandkids enjoy popcorn afternoon. Lately when Charlie goes to Kindergarten in the afternoon Max wants me to put his Spiderman movie on and make popcorn. He and Elly and I then sit on the couch with me in the middle holding the bowl of popcorn and watch the movie and eat popcorn. It's a nice time. One of the many benefits of being these kids' babysitter 4 days a week.

Aidan and Elly

There was no school for the kids yesterday because of teachers' conference. Sara and Amy wanted to spend the day with their older kids at Galaxy Land at West Edmonton Mall but the babies would have slowed them down. So I took care of Elly and Aidan while the Moms and the big kids went on their outing.

Elly is 15 months old and Aidan is 19 months. They're just beginning to interact with one another in their play. They were so cute.

First they watched Baby Einstein - up close and personal.

Then they took their baby for a walk - there was some 'active discussion' between them about who would actually push the stroller and what 'baby' would be pushed. Aidan wanted a little green alien stuffy in the stroller, but Elly insisted on her big blue baby.

When Elly decided she had enough and wanted to go home, Aidan was right there to help her on with her coat! She changed her mind though and Aidan was left holding the coat.

They were easy little people to take care of. The big kids had a great time at WEM riding on roller coasters, carousels, bumper cars, and everything that they were tall enough to be allowed to get on.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

4 x 4 and 5 x 5

This is in response to a tag from another blog I follow. What you do is go to your pictures folder and post the fourth (or fifth) picture in your fourth (or fifth) folder. So here they are. Thanks Kath for the tag. I won't tag anyone but if you want to take the challenge on your own blogs, go for it.

This is my 4 x 4. It's Lloyd driving the car, taken with my Blackberry. I love this picture, and this man.

This was taken a couple of years ago. It's grandkids Kenzie, Nathan, Jonah and Max climbing on the roof of the playhouse in our back yard. Max needed a helping hand but he quickly got the hang of it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Jennifers - Together Again

These lovely young ladies first met in elementary school in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. In an era of too many Jennifers, these two friends shared both their first and middle names, Jennifer Lynn, but also their last initial - M. Theirs is a friendship that has lasted through the years in spite of not seeing one another for years at a time. Our family moved from Nova Scotia to Alberta three years after this picture was taken in 1986. (Our Jenny is the blonde)

They wrote to one another, phoned one another, and when it became possible they emailed and otherwise corresponded via today's modern technology. About a year after we moved west, our Jenny, who had worked and saved her money while attending high school, flew back to Nova Scotia to visit her friend Jenny. After that they didn't see one another until last year when our Jenn and her husband attended a conference in PEI and the girls arranged to get together back there. By then they had husbands and eight children between them. Lots of changes, but their friendship was just as strong as ever.

This year the Nova Scotia Jenn's husband gave her an airline ticket to Edmonton, Alberta for Christmas so she could come and visit our daughter in Alberta. What a guy! Trouble is, Alberta is not at its best in February. That didn't matter though. The girls were reunited and are enjoying one another's company for a week, and Muisifer (as we affectionately called her) is becoming reacquainted with Jenn's siblings who she hadn't seen in almost 20 years.

It's nice to see a friendship like that last so long over such a distance. Here they are now - not all that much changed in 20 years.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sunset Archery

We stopped at Jenny's place on our way home from Lethbridge today. Anders and the boys were eager to show Papa their skill with the bow and arrow so they went out into the back yard to shoot at a pizza box.

I came out (without my coat) to take pictures but ended up giving it a try too.

This was taken from their back deck. They have a huge back yard!

Lloyd gives it a good try as the sun starts to set.

It was Jonah's turn just as the sun was setting. I just had my little Fuji so the pictures aren't as good as they could be, but I sure like the affect.

And that's it for today.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Quiet Weekend

I have had a very quiet weekend. I haven't been out of the house since Friday morning. I like to retreat occasionally and just do my own thing and since Lloyd is out of town, this long weekend was a good opportunity for that. I'll be ready to be out and about tomorrow.

I spent the weekend sorting through my pictures and trying to get some scrapbooking done. I ended up completing four pages - two singles and one double page layout. I'm not used to working with 8.5 x 11 inch pages so I found it a bit difficult. The 12 x 12 are much easier to work on. Anyway, here's what I ended up with....layouts from January in Arizon.

The title page for the album.

Double page layout about cactus.

Charlie and the orange trees. I scraplifted this layout from a scrapbooking website.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day 1975

February 14, 1975 marked the last day in 20 or so years that Lloyd and I celebrated Valentine's Day the way it is supposed to be celebrated. On that day 34 years ago our third child and second daughter, Amy Luellen, was born and Valentine's Day became instead Amy's Birthday. As with all my kids, she was 2 weeks late arriving, but I didn't mind. We already had an almost two and almost 3 year old at home so we had plenty to keep us busy while we waited for Amy to put in an appearance.

Hers was a very easy birth. I had never heard of an epidural back then so of course I didn't have one - natural childbirth all the way! And we didn't do routine ultrasounds back then either so we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl. It really didn't matter at that point because we already had one of each and this third one was a tie-breaker. What really moved me to tears during labor and delivery was when I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and for the first time I heard my unborn baby's heartbeat fill the room. It was an amazing and emotional experience for me. After the standard 5-day stay in the hospital (such a lovely rest) we went home and Amy became part of our daily life.

Her name, appropriately, means "beloved". We didn't know it at the time, we just liked the sound of it, but it made us feel good when we learned that we named our Valentine baby so well. Her middle name, Luellen, is also my mother's middle name.

Amy, at 18 months, with Lad

Amy at 4-years old.

Amy in Elementary School

She has grown into a remarkable young woman - wife, mother of 3, registered nurse, and nurse instructor. She's a beautiful, loving, peaceful, compassionate woman. I'm proud to call her my daughter.

High School Graduation

Amy and Curtis, August 10, 2001

Curtis and Amy with Sydney, Aidan and Mackenzie

Amy today at her 34th birthday party.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Elmo Love

Max is recovering from his recent tonscillectomy/adenoidectomy and Elly is working on getting her molars so both were having an up-and-down day yesterday. At one point in the early afternoon we were all in the living room where the winter sun was shining in with a surprising amount of force, creating lovely areas of warmth and shade. I took advantage of the natural light and photographed the two of them. I love this picture of Elly with her hair full of static electricity.

A couple of years ago on her 3rd birthday, Charlie went to the Build-A-Bear store and made a lovely soft Elmo. He has a sound chip in his arm that, when pressed, makes him say "Elmo needs a hug" and after the hug is given "Aaahh. Elmo loves you". In these days of hard-bodied dolls that do everything except work for a living, it's nice that they have this soft cuddly toy from their mother's era to play with...especially when they're not feeling their best. These pictures represent the most pleasant, fun part of our day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Looks Who's Visiting...

The Bournes...daughter Mary, Greg, kids Layla and Baron. Baron has a Dr. appointment tomorrow so they arrived Saturday from Oliver, BC. He's six months old now and growing like a weed...a sweet little blue-eyed weed. Layla is a very good big sister. It's so nice to see them again.

He doesn't really stand up on his own, but he can managed when propped between his Mom and his Sister.

Nice smiles.

Here's our boy! What a sweetie. The spot in his left eye is the only visible evidence of his Goldenhar Syndrome.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Twenty-Five Things

I've been tagged on Facebook half a dozen times to post a note called Twenty-Five Things About Me. I've been thinking about it for awhile now and have finally decided to do it on this blog instead of (or maybe as well as) on Facebook. I don't know if I can think of 25 things, but I'll give it a shot. The idea is for each person to write their 25 things and then tag 25 people to do theirs. Here goes:

1. I love the sound of the cry of a very young baby.

2. Although my sister and I are just under a year apart in age, we didn't become friends until we were married and had children. I love her a lot.

3. We own a house in Lethbridge and one in Arizona, yet we're living in the basement of our daughter's house in Edmonton. Go figure.

4. I used to think I was shy but I'm not - I'm just reserved.

5. I've discovered that I can make friends who I treasure, outside of my family.

6. I've also discovered that I don't need a lot of friends in order to be happy - just a couple of really good ones.

7. The music of the 60's is still my favorite.

8. I used to worry about dying young of a heart attack. Now I worry about living too long and getting Alzheimer's.

9. If I'm still alive and rational when I'm 80, I'm going to take up sky-diving with my big sister.

10. I've always considered having and raising 7 beautiful, successful, law-abiding, decent, talented kids to be my greatest accomplishment and my contribution to the world.

11. I was made to have babies - with 7 full-term pregnancies I didn't have one day of morning sickness and loved the feeling of carrying a baby under my heart.

12. I've lived in 6 of the 10 Canadian provinces, one foreign country (Germany), and now I guess I can say I live part-time in Arizona as well.

13. I love going on road trips with Lloyd.

14. I've never been able to understand how people who live their whole lives in one small area think their area is the best in the world, when they haven't seen or experienced anything else. Expand your horizons people. There's a lot of beautiful world out there to be explored and enjoyed.

15. Although scrapbooking has been my hobby of choice for six years now, I sometimes miss cross-stitching, which I haven't touched since I picked up scissors and glue.

16. I've always been proud to be left-handed like my Dad. I was disappointed that none of my kids were southpaws in spite of both of their grandfathers being blessed that way. I guess the gene skipped a generation. Now I have left-handed grandchildren. We're special ;-)

17. Lloyd and I are perfect for each other...still very much in love after 38 (almost) years of marriage.

18. I buy lottery tickets when the jackpot reaches at least $10's my retirement plan.

19. For years I didn't like my first name, Millicent. Then my sister's sassy girls started teasing me by calling me Aunt Millie. I've liked it ever since - especially the way it looks printed out. I was named after Dad's mother who I loved. Still, I'm glad to have a simple name like Pat to fall back on.

20. I think I have pretty feet, my best feature, but they're topped by gross kankles so the effect is spoiled. Thanks Grammie Logan. I'm envious of nicely shaped ankles when I see them.

21. Still on the subject of feet, I find it impossible to wear flip-flops (remember when they used to be called thongs?) or anything that goes between my toes. Ridiculously uncomfortable.

22. I believe in the existence of life beyond earth. I think it's supremely arrogant of mankind to think that we're the only intelligent species in all the universe.

23. I'm opinionated and stubborn - can you tell?

24. I got my ears pierced when I was 18. I sat in the kitchen of my cousin's friend's house and held an icecube to my earlobe until it was numb. Then the girl held a bar of soap behind my earlobe while she shoved a needle through my ear and out the back into the soap. Then she quickly put a sleeper into the wound. The sound of cells popping was so gross that I almost didn't get the second ear done. Never had any infection from it though.

25. I'm a middle child - that explains a lot about me.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Candy and Earrings

My 6-year old granddaughter, Kenzie, and I finished off a box of See's chocolates that I brought back from Arizona. They were sooooo good, hand chosen by yours truly.

Kenzie enjoyed them as much as I did

And was disappointed when they were all gone.

She also got her ears pierced today, so the chocolates were by way of celebration.

Her little sister, Sydney, got hers pierced today too but she wasn't around for the 3 years old she prefers marshmallows anyway.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday

We got home from Arizona last night - sad to leave that beautiful place but I guess all holidays have to end sometime. We'll be back. It was exciting to be there when the Cardinals won the right to go to the Super Bowl. We have adopted the AZ teams as our second favorite teams to support, right behind the Edmonton Oilers hockey team and the Edmonton Eskimos football.

Lloyd, the Cardinal fan

We were excited to watch the Cardinals make such a good showing in the Super Bowl today - for the underdogs, they sure gave the Steelers a run for their money. They were great. That was the first football game I've ever bothered to watch, and although I don't think I'll ever be a football fan, it was fun to see 'our' Arizona team do so well.