As Life Rolls On

As a friend of mine always says, "We plan, God laughs." You never know what life will bring, but the ride can be a blast!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It's hard to believe a full week with Jenn & Kevin has come and gone. The time flew by. We went White Water Rafting at Kicking Horse in BC. WHAT A BLAST! If Jason or James comes out during rafting season, we will definately go again. Bruce & Kevin golfed several times, so Jenn & I took the opportunity to go to Hertitage Village (if you are a history buff, and you ever visit Calgary, it's a definite must see). We also got some shopping in. Jenn took advantage of there being no PST. We had friends and family over for BBQ's. When Stephen and Gayle came over, little Katherine totally monopolized Jenn's time, because "Jennifer is my Big cousin, and she's my best friend!". Any time Kevin asked if he could join in, Katherine said no. She simply didn't want to share her big cousin. Yesterday, we went to Banff, and took the gondola to the top of the mountain. The sky was clear and the sun was out. It was breath taking. Jenn even hiked up to the top of the next peak 1 km away. No big feat for her, considering she is petrified of heights. I've attached some pictures of some of the things we did. No Banff pictures yet, they're still in the camera (I haven't made it to the 21st Century yet, I still don't have a digital)

Don't we look cute!

Getting ready for the big ones!

Amazing Scenery

Heritage Village

Story Time and All the Granddaughters

Cucumber Faces (my nephew and neice, Nathan & Emily)

Monday, May 22, 2006

This is my daughter Jennifer and my son-in-law Kevin. They live back in Onatrio and Jason lives with them. They are an amazing young couple. Jenn is a nurse in emergency medicine. Kevin is a police officer in the same area where Jenn's hospital is. They are able to work alot of the same shifts so that they get alot of time off together. Kevin will pop into the hospital to bring Jenn and her coworkers treats when they are working the same shift. Kevin gets alot of "attention" from the other nurses when he pops in. Hmmm.............I wonder if that's why he pops in.

I am now into count down mode however, as Jenn & Kevin arrive in 12 hours for a 1 week visit. Can you say .............. EXCITED! Bruce has been absolutely hilarious this past week. He has planned all sorts of activities while they are here, including several rounds of golf, white water rafting, and a trip to the top of the mountains in Banff. There are BBQ's planned with Stephen & Gayle and their kids, as well as with Kevin & Wanda.

The funniest thing though has been to watch him get the house "ready". Let's all remember that our house is brand new and we only moved in 3 months ago. Bruce had to ensure there was a new dresser in the guest room so Jenn & Kevin wouldn't have to leave their clothes in their suitcase. Then there's the new TV in the family room. This was so Jenn & Kevin would have their own space to hang out. Yesterday, Bruce polished and waxed the counters in the kitchen. Today, pictures that hadn't made it up yet were hung on the walls, the floors were all washed and polished, the carpets all vacuumed, the garage swept and washed. We picked up top soil for the planters and some preliminary plants. He was eager to get them all planted as well, but I said not yet, as the flowers still need to be delivered. How can I plant without the flowers! I got tired just watching him. He was like the ever ready bunny! He even went to bed earlier than normal. I'm thinkin' that he's thinkin' that tomorrow will come sooner if he goes to sleep early.

That all being said..........................I can't laugh at him too much, 'cause.................. I'M SO EXCITED, MY LITTLE GIRL IS COMING TO VISIT!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

This is a picture of what I see every day as I drive in and out of our small town and head into the city for work or whatever. It's interesting though how our life experiences form our point of reference when we look at things. When I was a teenager, people from Toronto would look at me and shake their head when I talked about my "town". The joke always was that we were said to live in the "boonies". Interesting, because now there is no real separation between that town and the city of Toronto. It is all built up and developed for miles and miles. It only takes an hour to get from downtown to the house where we lived, and that was in good traffic. Not bad at all by the city of Toronto standards.

Here in Alberta, we are living in a small town about 40 minutes from downtown Calgary (at the height of traffic). Everyone at work says I am nuts for driving so far. I work with a girl who grew up in this town, and she is always saying she can't believe how it has grown and how "big town" it has become. I have to laugh to myself, as to me, there are so many things that stand out as being small town. I laugh, however it is quaint, and I am so glad we chose to live here and not in the city itself. So without further adieu, I present to you...............................

Fourteen Ways You Can Tell You Live in Small Town Alberta

  1. You can sit in your kitchen, look out over the town and see farmers fields in every direction (quite beautiful and serene, especially as the sun rises)
  2. You realize you are one of the only people not wearing cowboy boots when you visit the local WalMart
  3. People complain about the amount of traffic because it took them an extra 5 minutes to get to work
  4. Even at the height of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the top sports story on the local radio news is the Rodeo standings
  5. In a week where the federal budget is handed down, the top talk around town is the upcoming "Little Britches Rodeo Parade"
  6. There is 1 recreation centre in town
  7. The municipal government has developed a "Town Approved Toilet List"
  8. More than half of the advertisments in the weekly local newspaper is for Bull Sales and upcoming Bull Auctions
  9. Several of the rural roads are close down for several weeks each spring so that they won't get damaged
  10. You have bug guts all over your windshield just from driving back and forth to work
  11. There is an RV Park smack dab in the middle of town, and it's FULL
  12. People have real, full scale Teepees erected in their yard.
  13. There is a self service Dog Wash right next door to the local self serve Car Wash
  14. The career section of the local newspaper says that YES, you too can have a career as a Boar Semen Collector at a local hog farm

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mother's Day is just a couple of days away. I have thought a lot this week about my own kids. I have said it before and I reiterate, they are amazing people. James is now in Korea, and found the first week a little challenging, but he seems to be doing very well now. Jason was sworn into the military a week ago and is now just waiting to hear when he goes off for training. Jenn continues to flourish in her profession (she is an ER Nurse and has already taken on some supervisory roles).

I think back often to when they were children. Jenn was always such a caregiver. I have pictures of her playing "nurse" with her Daddy when she was just 3 years old. She would always look out for her little brothers, to the point that when James was being pushed around by a school bully when he was 6 years old, she took it upon herself to pick him up from his classroom every recess to make sure he was safe. Then there's James & Jason. When they were 4 and 7 years old, they bought me a beautiful mug for Christmas (I still have it). It had a scene on it with mother bear and 2 cubs. When I asked them why they had chosen that mug with that picture, they giggled and said that they had 2 reasons. One was that I was over protective, the other was that they knew they didn't dare talk to me before I had a shower and a coffee in the morning. Pretty scary that children so young can know their mother so well! (Have I always been that transparent?)

I am however a firm believer that it takes a village to raise a child. My children have been very fortunate to have had many people in their lives that have played a key role in their upbringing. On this Mother's Day weekend, I would like to pay tribute to those remarkable, strong women who have impacted on my children's lives and the lessons that they have taught them.

I come from what today is considered to be a large family. We do not "camp out" on each other's door steps or "sit in each other's laps" per say, but we are close and are best of friends. I have 2 sisters (Barbara & Cathy) and 3 sister in laws (Evie, Gayle & Melody), commonly known as "The Aunts", who have all played a key role for each of my children:

Auntie Cathy: for reinforcing a love of reading and learning. For always having an open door, and for keeping the candy bowls full for the "Hungry Guys". For the special camping trips and your insightfulness in knowing when each of the kids needed special 1 on 1 time ............. Thank You!

Auntie Barbara: for treating Jenn like a little sister because she had only brothers, for showing your trust in my kids when yours came along, for teaching the boys how to belch on demand, for your example of taking appropriate risks and being independent, for encouraging imagination (giant crickets aside) ............ Thank You!

Auntie Evie: for your intelligence and the wonderful example you set when you returned to university to earn your graduate degree. For setting such a positive example in not allowing "obstacles" in your life stop you from what you love doing (music) ................ Thank You!

Auntie Gayle: for your wonderful pastoral heart and example to reaching out to and supporting others. For showing how to provide support to those society considers to be the "underdogs". For always being interested. For the amazing meals and goodies! ............. Thank You!

Aunt Mel: for showing great courage through a time that is unimaginable for any parent, for never wavering from your faith. For being such a good sport when you were initiated into the family with your first "spoons" game. ............. Thank You!

There have also been many incredible friends and acquaintances who have left their mark. Two who have truly set examples are Liz (my best friend), and Wanda, Bruce's ex sister in law, who we remained friends with) and Ruby (Jennifer's mother in law).

Liz: for your example of perseverance. For clearly demonstrating what true friendship and loyalty means. For all the days of relaxing at Wasaga Beach. .............. Thank You!

Wanda: for ensuring that the cousins were in touch and although there was geographical distance, that their friendships continued and grew. For demonstrating that true forgiveness can happen. For you wonderful, open newfie hospitality! ............. Thank You!

Ruby: for openly encouraging, supporting and taking great pride for all that Jenn does. For opening your home to her brothers and always making them feel welcome and comfortable. For clearly showing unconditional acceptance. .............. Thank You!

Last but definitely not least, and in actuality most importantly, both my mother and Bruce's mother have had an incredible impact on the lives of my children. In fact, my mom has had one of my children, first Jennifer, then James, living with her for the past 9 years as they attended university. Although Bruce's mom went to be with the Lord almost 6 years ago, the kids still feel her presence and speak fondly of her often.

Grandma Young: for loving unconditionally, for always being excited about what your grandchildren did, no matter how small, for Sunday dinners and the second birthday parties every birthday, for being so strong and independent, for instilling a love for the family's Scottish heritage. ................ Thank You!

Nana Sears: for always being there, for being a "second mom", for truly living your faith, for opening your home to the kid's friends, for showing unconditional trust, for finding a way to ensure each one of your children (including in law children) and grandchildren feel special in their own right (no small feat with the size of our family), for the family recipe. .............. Thank You!

To each and everyone of you, I thank you for the people my children have become.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bruce & I were in Edmonton this week. I had some business meetings I had to be at, and Bruce came along to keep me company on the drive. It's just over 3 hours straight north from Calgary to Edmonton. What we found to be quite interesting and surprising is that the landscape does not change at all the whole trip. This picture is the type of landscape we saw the whole trip, with the occasional clump of trees thrown in. We thought that we would have been able to see the mountains in the distance as we drove, however they are too far west to be seen. There was no lakes, the occassional river and some small spots of wet lands. Although it was beautiful in it's own way, well, it's not like "back home."

In Ontario, if you make a 31/2 hour trip north from Caledon where we lived, it was always interesting. The farther north you go, the more the landscape changes. The beauty of the rock formations, the number of lakes, the wildlife that was in evidence, the change in the type of vegitation, it all made for an interesting drive. Our kids always looked forward to that drive north every summer as we went to the cottage for a week or two, or went to the beach for the day. They always looked for the "big rock" as they knew it meant we were half way there. Bruce & I have always loved northern Ontario. It has always been our place to get away and find peace and contentment. We would take time away at a cottage on a lake over going to Mexico or the Caribean any time. We have often talked about buying property in northern Ontario when we retire. That dream is not gone. Although we are in West for now, and probably for many years to come, Ontario will always be home.