Friday, January 30, 2009

Birthday Mania Escapes


This little man is about to have another birthday.
Isn't he adorable?
So, there's no better way than traveling up to the mountains.
We thought we'd have a quiet getaway....

When they asked how we were celebrating Dad's birthday,
they thought it more than ideal, to join us.
It looks like a continuation of last weekends bash.


"Skiing is a dance, and the mountain always leads."
You know where my heart leads.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Birthday Mania

The Teacher is getting older.
This angel was born on January 27, 1980.

Was she an angel?
She loved life right from the beginning.
Animals was the name of the game.

It didn't take long and I realized,
I did not have a girl who wanted dolls.
She wanted to feed the animals, play with them, pet them.
She wanted to go camping, fishing, motorbiking.

Ah, Ha!!! I did catch a picture with her in a dress.
There are the girls, Mikki & Suzanne in their twin dresses
and their ever popular Cabbage Patch Doll.
That was short lived.

And yes, she does play the violin.
It's music to my ears.
Maybe she'll perform for the next birthday.


But of course it's more fun playing with friends.

And as most of you know her today,
she is our Teacher and she loves to hike,
surf, snow board, cycle and you name it...
Live outdoors!
Everything but cook!

Yesterday we celebrated with the family.
A festive meal around the table,
accompanied by playing on the floor with the Little Men.


And then....it was time to dress up!!!
Oh, yes!
These adults checked out all the family pictures on my fridge
and decided it was time to make a new tradition.
Family Pictures!
And then the Dog....In the House????
Oh No!!!
They wanted to have their picture on the fridge,
but it needed to look different than everyone else.

Not only inside, but we all needed to go outside,
bundle into our warm winter coats,
stand freezing, waiting for the photographer,
jumping up and down, holding hands,
just to keep warm,
all for the sake of a
Family Picture!

Yes, we had another birthday,
and we made some new memories,
Happy Birthday Suzanne!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Simple Organizational Tips.

I have no clue where the time is going.
The weekend is past and we did a little bit of this and a bit of that.

I've had a project on my mind for the past years???
Yes, sometimes it takes me awhile to figure things out
and then finally it all comes together.
Off to Vancouver we went, in search for a wall unit.
I can't stand stuff lying around all over the place.
And finally with the addition of our grandsons,
there was a new need:
Storage for there Toys.
Well I found a solution to my problem,
and I'm always thankful to my partner,
who loves to escort me to Vancouver,
granted we only eat a 50 cent hot dog at IKEA.

Anyways I had packed my tape measure and was enjoying looking around.
As most of you know....that's fun.
We finally found what we thought would look perfect...
packed it up and we headed, Home Again.


This is my mudroom before,
It wasn't bad, but what it needed was some space management.

Saturday was a cold wintry day with wind chills up to -15.
As I was busy in the kitchen, using my culinary skills,
he was in the back of the truck assembling the new storage units.
Just bake a man his favorite pie, and he'll do anything for you.

There are Days and there are Days....
Today I felt domesticated and baked up a storm.
After all it's birthday month in our family.
Over the next month we will celebrate 10 immediate birthdays.
So I started with Anneliese's bread, it's to die for....
Then, Trudy's Granola is always a staple,
Cake of Genoa from Lovella for the Birthday girl.
And of course my own home made pie.
All these recipes can be found on the
Mennonite Girls Can Cook Blog.

With the help of adult children,
it didn't take long and the results were visible.
As you can see, the red and green boxes are color-coded for those little men.
It keeps things simple and clean.
They were a Hit...
There's even some space left.

So of course we celebrated and had pie for breakfast...

When you couldn't find those boys,
we all knew they were in the Mud Room,
examining there new color-coded boxes.

So much for my weekend.
Guess who's birthday we celebrated?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a Day!

The day started with an outburst of emotion and excitement,
as we sat and drank coffee glued to the TV,
watching the Inauguration Ceremony of Barack Obama.
I love the pomp and circumstance and
all the details that make this event so special.
Didn't Michelle Obama make a statement for fashion?
So elegant, so classy.

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

"America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations. "

How come is it so easy for people to believe in someone they haven't met to make change in their lives, and yet they find it so hard to believe in themselves.
It's time that we start believing in our selves to make changes that will make a difference for the future generations and to be part of the process in helping one another.

~~~~~~~

On the lighter side,
while some of my friends are comforting themselves
with the warm sunny beaches in Hawaii,
others are enjoying the balmy warm 10 degrees in the valley,
yet, others of us have chosen to continue enjoying the winter air.

We took a quick trip up to the Caribou, to visit another Royal Couple.
We love to go and chill out in their beautiful lake front property,
winter and summer.

Up the Coquihalla.
What a beautiful clear sunny day....until

we found ourselves in fog.
Not only fog, but salt and sand and guess who keeps
spitting the sand back at us....
Not even the cleaners could keep up.
Those Trucks!!!!

It didn't take long, and we were out of Cache Creek and up to the
summit and the sky opened clear and wide.

Just one more kilometer....
Can you see the most spectacular beach front property just on the other side?

Up the driveway we head.
I think you are getting the picture.
The beauty of winter up here is breathtaking.


A long driveway all cleared for us.
What in invitation.

And it didn't take long and we were enjoying the cozy living room.

Oh, by the way this is the wonderful Royal Couple
that hosted us for three days.
Rod & Ursie.
(John's sister)

Breakfast in Bed.

A knock on the door means room service, with coffee,
and we all sit in their big cozy bed room looking out at the beautiful
scenery through their frosted paned windows.

It's dusk, and the fog is settling in.

Another day and another sunset in the life of the Caribou.

Thanks Rod & Ursie for a wonderful weekend away.
You know how to give us the experience of the Caribou.

Cruising back home enjoying the scenery...


and capturing the wild west in it's captive blanket of snow.

Finally we see the back view of Mount Cheam
and we know, it's only 20 more minutes till we're Home Again.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Looking Good after 40 Years!!!

I was 10 years old.
I was in Grade Five.
I went to Upper Sumas School.
I wore my hair in a page boy style.
I had five brothers and my sister was not born.
Living on the family farm provided me opportunities of a life time.
My dad nailed up a basketball hoop on the side of the barn, no pavement, just gravel and that's when my brothers decided to teach me how to throw the ball in the hoop.
Of course, all the house/barn chores had to be finished.

My brothers and I attended MEI in our high school days. We did not make any choices.
One of my only outlets was to play on the Basketball team and in those days there were no parents willing to pick us up...We had to get home to chore.
But I found an older team mate who would offer to drive me home. YaHooo!!!!
(I could get out of farm chores!)
Somehow I was the first one in my family to play on the MEI school team.
I loved the game and continued playing through my college days at Briercrest.

Forty years later, I'm still sitting in the gym, cheering, getting fired up, for the TWU Spartens. I love to follow the game and feel so honored to watch my nephew Jon, play the game. Jon has played point guard for the past years, and is now recovering from an ACL injury.
But just watching his love, passion and inspiration for the game and his players, has inspired us to be a part of the TWU Spirit.

This past weekend, I was sitting in a crowd of spectators and noticed various old time friends. Finally I realized, that I was chit chatting to the starting five that played at MEI 40 years ago. (1965-1969). Doesn't that sounds so ancient?
During halftime I urged my brother, Vic to fetch a ball, and twisted all those gals arms to poise for an alumni shot in front of the TWU Spartans logo.

Starting from the left is Jake, (Ruth Sherk), long time friend, and sister to George Heidebrecht.
Cheryl Ohman,(Davies), mother of Liesa (TWU Womens Team), daughter of one of our favorite BB refs, Ed Davies, who passed away several years ago. (She was our downtown rivalry from Mission)
Then comes Marg Bartel, (Schmidt) who was a farmers daughter and loved the game. She, now actively watches her nephew Jon make Game plans for the TWU Spartans.
Cris Reimer, (Braun) daughter to Coach Eva and Jake Braun, who coached the MEI men's/girls teams up till 1970. Her daughter Stephanie also played for TWU Spartans.
Last, but not least is Elsie Schmidt, (Loewen), related to all the Loewens and Falks that have left a legacy in BB. She is also the proud mother of Jon and my wonderful sister in-law, who along with her husband Vic, have become our traveling buddies, to all the TWU games.

We still love to reminisce over one of the most historical basket ball moments, when MEI won the provincial tournament at UBC in 1963 with outstanding players George Heidebrecht, Ed Suderman, and Jim Falk.
Some of you will remember those days.....
We all congratulated each other, priding ourselves for staying fit and trim after 40 years.

I'm not sure who taught you this position Elsie....Could you please explain?

Those were the days my friends.....

Stay posted to see the final results of the Spartans and the Vikings.
On the weekend I heard the captain of the TWU Spartans say,
"Do you guys want to go to the Nationals or don't you?"

Stay posted and I'll bring you up to date with their latest recruit to the Spartan bench.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Family that Cooks Together

They may not all want the family farm. Many times I don't blame them.
The last post caused quite a reaction in our family.
There were tears of laughter as each of them took time to add their two cents worth.
My son gave me the permission to post his strong reactions. Have a good laugh and sense of humor especially those of you who come from a farming background.
"I started listing off the reasons I didn't choose farming - not because I didn't think it was a good career; rather I look up to mom & dad - for they've worked harder, than anyone else I know. When everyone is tucked into their beds having hot cocoa, mom & dad are out shoveling snow, patching burst pipes, calling the electrician, plowing Bustin Road themselves so the milk-truck can get through, hiring helpers who complain they're sick, tired, drunk, or need higher pay to shovel the shit the farm hands out. There are fences to fix, cows to chase, generators to hook-up, machinery to fix, machinery to maintain, catching big, heavy chickens at midnight, farm upgrades, building new infrastructure to stay in competition with the other farmers that are doing everything I've already mentioned, plus more. There's the need to be able to predict health issues, before they strike the chickens dead; there's the ability to pick-up dead chickens every day, and interpret how each one died. If its upside-down, that means one thing; if they're side-ways, that's another; if they're on their tummies, that's another. There's so many ways to die, and that all tells mom and dad something about what to expect tomorrow. If dad can't be his own vet, he has to hire an expensive vet which means no profits this batch. Then there's balancing the weather inside with the turbulent Chilliwack weather.

What about the economy? Free-trade agreements being made worldwide? Recessions? High grain prices? High gas prices. Oh, did I forget to mention the stress of having a mortgage on a house; let alone a lifetime mortgage on a farm?

Think you're up for farming? Go on dad's emergency call-list. The dozen times dad's put me on it, when they've gone away - even when I've been the last one on his list for the alarm company to call, I've almost every-time got called out to the barn at 2AM, 5AM, or in the middle of playing Rook with my wife, Lora on a Sunday afternoon. And if I got called, I know the 5 hired workers dad had, the alarm company called before me, all either ignored their phones when they saw the farm call, or were too drunk, or too unreliable to answer an emergency cellphone.

Thank you mom and dad, for taking care of the farm, when we've all abandoned it, but still been able to hold onto the very special lifestyle it does offer, when the farm is taking a break from calling you. Thanks for all your hard work in the face of adversity. Thank you for never expecting me to take-over the farm; or quickly realizing that I had other dreams to pursue."

Just as a side note....I need to tell you that all three children have university degrees and followed their professional dreams. Discussing the pros and cons of careers can be debated for hours and hours on many a Sunday afternoon.

But never the less, let's quit complaining about the family farm, and talk about contributing to the nutrition of an active family. Look at those adults prepare, Fishy in a Pocket.
You can find this recipe on Mennonite Girls Can Cook Blog.
If you want a fun filled evening, invite your adult children to cook in YOUR kitchen.
Remember it only gets better.

Monday, January 5, 2009

And You Want the Family Farm?

It's midnight and
they are all snuggled in their feathers sleeping soundly.

We, the parents are still outside,
shoveling snow at what time?
Yes, it's midnight and we've had a dump!

The snow is level with the front steps and
I declared the front entrance CLOSED!
He took the front end loader and blocked the sidewalk.
No more shoveling than necessary, for me.

"Wake up little ones."
The farm chores need to be done.
Not like your regular work hours,
punching the clock from 8-4.

And Oh!, I'm so tired"
I hear those words echoed many times.
Bless your hearts dear ones.

What?
The day has just begun.
It's midnight and their's work to be done.
The trucks can't get through....
They are stuck!
Can we still get some more grain?
Who's awake at this hour?
The schedule is off and so are we.

But the coffee's made and off to the farm we go....
Yes, there's work to be done.


And you want the family farm?
I saw you all enjoying a hearty lunch today.
I didn't hear any one volunteer to help out shoveling the driveway?
And you want the family farm?

Oh yes, we lament,
but remember the choices were all made by us!

Last prayer at Midnight
Are there coons in the corn?
Is the calf being born?
Is the tank running over?
Are the cow gorging clover?
Is the gate latch undone?
God I've watched it all day
And I'm tired.
If I may, I'll just put out the light
And you watch it tonight!
Mary Fenoglio

Stay snuggled in your feathers dear children
and dream away!

And you want the Family Farm?


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Opportunities


This is a New Year 2009!
We will open the book. It's pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.

The book is called Opportunity,

and it's first chapter is New Years Day.


I am reminded of the many friendships and relationships that
I have encountered through my blog world.
I would never of dreamt that I would of found myself sharing
practical experiences of life and family with so many blogging friends.

I have reflected about my family and friends
that have played a large part of my life.
So many of you have supported me, encouraged me,
laughed with and walked with me through the challenges
and celebrations of the year 2008.

This photo resembles all the family members of a recent gathering.
Shoes lying in the front entrance...
tells me that people are coming and going.

I think of the people that have walked
through my home in the past year....
Have I made a difference?
Have I judged them?
Can they trust me?
Have I gossiped about them?
Do I look at them with a heart of love?
Or do I look at them like,
"What do you want from me again?"

I think of the many new opportunities this year.
Some are written in stone and others are waiting to evolve.
As I move forward into a new year of possibilities and opportunities,
I ask You, Heavenly Father to shine through me into the lives of others.

“Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”

William Ward

May you all be able to reach out and
make the best of your opportunities in Year 2009!