Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Memories of the Past, Hopes for the Future

Many of our mornings start with a magnificent sunrise. How can a day be bad when it starts like this?

Tonight is New Year's Eve and we'll be spending a quiet evening at home with G, DIL, and Miss M. One of my favourite traditions...we write down all of our memories from the year (good & not so good), our biggest surprise of the year, and our hopes for the coming year. Before we do this, we look back at previous years. It's funny how you forget things and this is a way to keep all our memories alive.

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Time Flies

It really seems like yesterday that we picked Cody up at the airport for his 13 day visit. But yesterday we actually took him back to the airport to send him back to Ontario. How can 13 days go by so quickly?

A little recap of our Christmas:

Cody arrived on December 16. We had a quiet couple of days, and then G (Cody's step brother) picked up Cody and took him to Halifax for a night on the town. He stayed over at G and DIL's place, and the 3 of them and Miss M arrived at our place on the 19th. We spent a couple of quiet days at home (interspersed with trips into town and walks outside, etc) and G and DIL went back home on Sunday. Monday night we were supposed to pick up our friends at the airport. But weather was terrible and caused flight delays everywhere. Our 9:30 pm pick up at the airport turned into a 4:00 am pick up instead. We all arrived home at 6:30 am on Tuesday and headed to bed for a nap (gone are the all nighter days of our youth!).

The friends I mentioned are actually very special people....Cody's dad and stepmom. When we told people that my ex and his wife were coming to spend 4 days with us at Christmas, they look at us strangely and say "Really?". Yes, really. We are so very lucky to consider them friends. Cody's gift to the four of us was an outing to a movie. He's a Jim Carrey fan, so he took us all to see Yes Man. After reading a bad write up in the paper, I didn't have high hopes for the movie. But I really enjoyed it. Based on a true story, there's a good movie message about opening yourself up to new things. Something to think about for the new year.

Then it was time for a special birthday dinner. Happy Birthday to the man in my life.Unfortunately, 3 of our guests couldn't make it but we had a wonderful supper. And then a not so early bedtime for us folks that had only 2 hours of sleep!

On Christmas Eve G, DIL and Miss M arrived. Our house was full of people and laughter.One of the most heard phrases of the evening "No Cassie, No!". Our dog Cassie gets anxious with other people around and runs around grabbing things to chew. Over the holidays she ate (at different times) three bananas with peel, two boxes of instant chocolate mousse (including the boxes), a cranberry muffin from Di's plate, dinner rolls from the Christmas dinner table, my dog walking hat, and magic reindeer food (including the plastic tube). Magic reindeer food might be good for reindeer, but it's definitely not good for dogs. Oh well, I digress.

Christmas morning all the adults were pleasantly surprised. Miss M (age 7) stayed upstairs until 8 am...a very reasonable hour! Then came a marathon of stockings and presents. Good thing we all agreed to cut back this year. I can't imagine what it would have been like otherwise. The turkey dinner was preceeded by the family photo. Usually I set up the timer and run for the photo. This year I have a remote. Of course, I couldn't get it working so set up the timer after making everyone wait to eat. So this year's photo has me running to sit down.I didn't have the heart to make people wait longer for their turkey.

Boxing Day we headed back to the airport to drop off E and Di. We heard from them after they arrived home....3 hours late because of a delay in take off!

Saturday we headed out on a little tour to show Cody some of the sights. We stopped at the beach. The beach? Yes, John and I like going to the beach even in the winter. No one else liked it much though.This is one of my absolute favourite photos from the holidays. This was unplanned. I yelled for everyone to turn around and then snapped the photo. They are all so evenly spaced, it makes me laugh to look at. And don't they look warm?

Here is another funny one. I set up the remote to take a photo of all of us. This time, I got the remote working but didn't get the camera pointed in the right direction. Here is our group photo:
Yup, that's me. With part of DIL showing to my right. Ha! One of these days I'll get it right.

G, DIL and Miss M left us on Sunday. Monday we took Cody to the airport. This is the last photo from our visit:Yes, that's me with the remote. I finally got it to work!
And today. Today the house is quiet. The dogs are at peace. How can 13 days go by so quickly?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Comings and goings

Another lovely weekend with family. G, DIL, and Miss M headed home this afternoon and will return on Tuesday evening for a special celebration. Tomorrow night we are headed back to the airport to pick up a couple of friends who will be staying here through Christmas. We are spending a quiet afternoon with Cody. He lives in Toronto, but says he'd like to live in the country some day. Thirteen days of country living just might cure him of that thought!Miss M is seven and impatient for Christmas to arrive. I remember that feeling. When I was young, I snuck around the house and found a stash of unwrapped presents. That was the last time I did that! There is no fun in knowing everything ahead of time. Now I try to relax more and enjoy family. But it's hard not to fret about getting things "perfect". Really, there's not more to ask for if you can have friends and family with you. Well, maybe I'd like to ask my dog Cassie not to stand up on her hind legs and grab things from the kitchen counter...

Thursday, December 18, 2008


John just about blew it today. He started talking about the Phantom painting with Cody in the room. (which is a Christmas gift for Cody). Secrets are pretty hard to keep around here. I think we recovered nicely.With 4 animals in the house, why did I choose the cat to paint? This is why.Cody and Phantom 1993.Cody and Phantom 2008. Welcome home Cody. We're all happy you're here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Old Hair

Conversation from last weekend:

Me to Sir J (age 3): "How is Spencer doing?" (inquiring about his pug Spencer, who is 13)
Sir J: "Spencer is good." pause "He has old hair."
Me: "Old hair? What is old hair?"
Sir J: thinking. Smiles "Old hair is grey."
Me: "Who else has old hair?"
Sir J: looks at me. BIG smile. "Bama has old hair" (Bama is me)
Me: (thinking...well, he's honest anyway!) "Who else has old hair?"
Sir J: "Baba!" (Baba is John)
Me: "You're right!"

Sir J is pictured wearing a Thomas the Train fleece created by WezzerJoy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A whirlwind weekend

Our 18 day streak of visitors started with a busy weekend. Saturday we headed down the road to the big city to participate in a special church service for Miss M and a few dozen other little folk. Then back to G and DILs place to meet up with John's daughter A, grandson Sir J, and SIL2B (son in law to be). They arrived at midnight the night before but the airline lost all their luggage so they didn't make it from the airport until 2:30am. I guess they deserved a little extra sleep time!

John and I stole the 2 grandchildren and headed back home. Their parents spent the day together touring around (and heading back to the airport to pick up the awol luggage). A lovely afternoon for us with the grandkids...exploring outside and playing inside...followed by a great (and rather late) family dinner.Sunday was a wonderful family day. We started with a late (of course!) brunch compliments of John. Then we all headed out (6 adults, 2 children, and 3 dogs) to find ourselves a Christmas tree. Not so hard to do when your neighbour has a Christmas tree farm and tells us to pick any tree we'd like.
me, G, DIL, Miss M, A, Sir J, John, SIL2b

We got the tree back to the house, into the house, and decorated. Gifts were exchanged, which led to a crib tournament. And another great family dinner crowded around the table.

Monday was for touring, and back to the big city for supper at G and DILs. Lots of family portraits taken.
me, Sir J, John, Miss M

Our weekend guests headed back to Ontario early this morning. In a couple of hours, we're headed to the airport to pick up Cody. The rest of the week will be much quieter, with just Cody visiting. Can't wait to see him!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Give peace a chance...

a doorway in Mahone Bay

Today is the calm before the storm. Well, it's calm inside the house. It's already storming outside. Wind warnings in effect.

But inside it's calm. Today was the day for grocery shopping (me) and intense vacuuming (John) before we have a house full of people. I wandered (or should I say battled the crowds) through the grocery store, depressed at spending $7.29 for 4 litres of milk (outrageous!) and $200 for a small cart of groceries. But it wasn't all a downer.

We made a donation to the Salvation Army this year. A big enough donation to make us give second thoughts before doing it. But I had the pleasure of looking after this task, and it gave me a nice warm and fuzzy feeling. With any luck, our rrsp's won't totally crash in 2009 and we'll be able to do it again next year!

Then I got home, put the groceries away, and went to do my daily email check. I heard from a new blog reader today. She is raising funds for a very worthy cause and you should check it out. Not to mention that she's a very talented photographer and artist. Please go check out Shelagh's blog and take a look at her fundraiser:

Alice in Paris loves Art and Tea: Give peace a chance...........

Because giving is what it's all about at this time of year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas is coming - Part 2

Tuesday I was inspired to create some more Search Me toys, as a result of a couple of sales on the Etsy site. So instead of getting ready for 3 weeks of house guests, I was sewing (and subsequently using a seam ripper when I sewed up a bag...filled it with pellets...forgot to put the miniatures in...and sewed it shut!) Here is the Zoo Crew fleece pouch, which you can find here And the Let's Play Ball Search Me pouch, which you can find hereI made two other pouches as well, but haven't uploaded them onto the Etsy site yet. Being on dial up access makes uploading photo files an exercise in frustration.

Then, on Tuesday night I was finally inspired to paint a portrait of of my Christmas gifts for Cody. I based my painting on this photo:Not to worry...Cody doesn't read this blog so no Christmas surprises will be ruined. Here is the finished painting:I photographed it on a yellow wall, so the painting doesn't stand out from the background but you get the idea. Here is some detail:I was quite happy with the result. His chin is a little wonky, but not bad for a first attempt. Hope Cody likes it!
Yesterday, we were off on a little road trip to see Miss M's Christmas pageant. We were at the back of the room, so not good for photo taking.I'm sure all the parents and grandparents in the audience would agree that it was a fabulous concert. Lots of cute kids and great Christmas songs.
Tomorrow our first batch of house guests arrives. We'll see Sir J (our grandson) and his fellow travellers on Saturday. On Tuesday, Cody arrives!

Almost forgot...on Monday I posted some photos of all our snow. It's all gone now! On Tuesday, the temperature climbed 20 degrees (about 40 degrees Farenheit) and it rained like crazy. So we are once again back to a green landscape.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Black and White and a little bit more

We woke up to a black and white world today.It seems that winter has found us again.When I let the dogs out in the morning, I had to grab my camera. Because even in a world of black and white, there is colour.Not as much snow this time. We won't be snowed in. But the wind is sure blowing. We went down to get the paper this morning with Cassie and Mulligan. An hour later our tracks were all blown away. When we got back to the house, I went back out with my camera.You don't feel the wind blow when you're focused on beauty.And you don't feel cold when you catch a glimpse of the sun on the trees in the woods.And when you see some leaves, you remember that it will be spring again. Sometime.But not soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Father Christmas Festival

A little something to put you in the Christmas mood...lots of Santas! We visited Mahone Bay yesterday and they are hosting their 4th annual Father Christmas Festival. First, here is one of the sights that Mahone Bay is famous for:The 3 churches. On the left, St. James Anglican Church. In the middle, St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church. And on the right, Trinity United Church of Canada. And now for some Father Christmas photos. The religious Father Christmas:The colourful Father Christmas:The exotic Father Christmas:The most realistic faced Father Christmas: (I have a feeling he must be someone famous, but I don't know who. Does anyone know?)The traditional Father Christmas:The baker Father Christmas:And some whimsical Santas:I dare you not to be in a Christmas mood now!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas is coming

I'm happy to report that I'm ready for Christmas. Presents have been made or many handmade gifts as I could think of. Stocking stuffers have been bought and wrapped. Now it's time for meal planning. Then I can relax and enjoy all the visitors we'll have this month...18 days of family and friends!

I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by Lori of Lolo's Garden who was interested in a trade. Sounded fun, so I mailed off the Treasure Island Search Me pouch she was interested in. In exchange, she is making me some personalized goodies for our granddaughter. So now I have officially started on next year's gifts. Yikes.

You should head over to Lineanongrata if you want to have some fun. Julia is giving away advent gifts throughout the month on her blog. I read her blog regularly...such a talented woman. She lives on a winery in France. A little different than a farm wannabe in Nova Scotia!

Today we're off to Mahone Bay to visit their Father Christmas Festival (also home of the Scarecrow Festival). I'll share some photos with you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Family Photo Day

Tuesday was our "Family Photo Day". Every Christmas season we take a photo of the family outside. The thought behind it being that we'll make Christmas cards using one of the photos. Well, we've taken the photos over the last 7 years or so, but never managed to make or send Christmas cards. We usually try to pick a day after it snows, but sometimes nature doesn't cooperate. Good thing we went out on Tuesday, because today there is no snow on the ground!

So, how do you organize 2 people, 3 dogs and 1 cat for a photo shoot?First, you pick the spot.John came up with the idea of the apple tree location, and I think it was a great idea. My original idea was to trek us all out to the field, with our house in the background. But the apple tree was a great inspiration.Once you pick the location, you trek all the animals out (dressed up with their Christmas scarves). We kept Cassie on the leash since she is the least likely to come when she's called.
First, we get John in place, then it's his job to round up the animals while I set up the tripod, camera and remote.I snap a quick photo of John with the crew, and then go join them.I keep clicking the remote as John tries to get the dogs lined up, and pointed in the right direction.After taking about 20 photos (surely one of them is suitable!), we let the dogs run and pack up the cat.Pack up the cat? Yes, we carried him down to the apple tree in a sports bag!Now the only thing to do is pick our favourite photo.Then I crop it a bit.And add our Christmas wishes.Voila! It's done. (I'm showing you a very low resolution file here) I printed a copy of the photo at the Superstore. Now, maybe maybe maybe I'll get some cards ordered and we'll send out some cards this year!