Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And a wonderful time was had by all

How does one narrow a week's intense activity into one post? I'd say it's near impossible but here are a few pictures giving you all a taste of the fun and excitement of a house full of family.
First our daughter, her husband and family arrive from Saskatchewan. It's been 5 months since we've been together so these few days before Christmas are very precious.

Then there's the excitement of a birthday girl indulging in her beloved Chinese dishes at her favourite restaurant! Chopsticks are a novelty for K. and E. but quickly mastered!

The next day was spent preparing for the feast - with help from the Grandboys who are getting very proficient in the kitchen.

Then it was Christmas Eve, our son and his wife and children arrived from Seattle and the excitement mounted as the cousins walked in the door.

The house exploded with noise (I've heard it said that the definition of a boy is: noise with dirt on it!) It's a happy noise and it's accompanied by lots of activity from the smallest to the oldest!

Then it's Christmas Eve and the anticipation mounts to a fevered pitch!
The children get to open one present as the adults vote to determine who gets each "white elephant" gift. I got a HUGE lollipop which made me instantly popular with the children. (Aunt A. smashed it the next day to the delight of the kids and distributed the bits and pieces. Sadly (?) most was delegated to the "round file")
It was fun to see my sister and BIL's family finding lots in common with our children. They've not all been together very often and this was a great time of connecting for them all.

Then it was Christmas morning - stockings were opend early while we waited for Uncle R and Aunt A to arrive and they had fun with their little gifts.
En Guard! No one may pass without the magic word!

Princess E checks to see how her long pink gloves, look with her tiara and butterfly wings.

Grandboy E and his mom read the Christmas story with able help from the two kindergarten aged boys. Papa prayed and thanked God for His wonderful Gift and then we were touched to the point of tears when the children asked if they could also pray. There's nothing like hearing your precious grandchildren spontaneously offer sincere praise and thankfulness to their Heavenly Father for the gift of Jesus.
Then it was time for presents! Grandboy N was delighted with his first big Lego set.

E and K were equally delighted with their Power Miner Lego sets - "Just the one I wanted! Thank You Nana and Papa!

And then Uncle R opened his gift and the smiles were just as big from this overgrown Lego- loving boy. We thought that as he directs the sales of our filtration equipment to the Wind industry, this particular set was somewhat appropriate!
Then it was time for dinner - everyone pitched in setting the table, pouring water and putting out the goodies. It may not be the best picture but I loved watching our oldest boy carve the turkey and our potato mashing expert SIL take over the spuds.

After dinner it was play time in the shop and outside. The boys - big and little raced around on the bikes Papa and Uncle D found at Bibles for Missions - oh and uncle D did the track deftly maneuvering a handy dandy pallet jack.
The races got pretty exciting!

Baby B demonstated his 2 week old walking abilities by pushing his new red wagon up and down the driveway from the shop to the house and back again - twice!

Papa lends a touque to cover B's ears.

The day ended with games and putting together Lego.

Boxing day found us sharing brunch with Harv's brother and his family, playing soccer outside with the kids and visiting in front of the fire.
All in all a great time was had by everyone.
Now the house is quiet again - the tree will have to come down today and the excitement is over until we all gather together again.
How blessed we are to have family - I pray that everyone of you does all you can to keep family ties tight. It sometimes takes forgiveness and hard work but it is worth it.
Our family relationships are not perfect. There have been tense times among us but we are so grateful that each one makes the effort to be at peace with each other.
Wishing you all a happy 2010.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Chris

Happy Birthday to our wonderful daughter. You truly are a gift to us.
You've mentioned to me lately how you find yourself doing and saying things that remind you of me so I had to laugh when I saw the following quotation:
"Of all the haunting moments of motherhood, few rank with hearing your own words come out of your daughter's mouth." Victoria Secunda
We are very proud you; of the choices you have made, your commitment to Dave and the way you both have so much fun with each other and with your boys.
You're a great daughter, wife, mother and friend.

We are enjoying your visit with us so much and We love you.

Dad and Mom

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas school programs

We were so excited to attend our Grandchildren's Christmas programs yesterday and today. Grandson N is in Kindergarten and Grandprincess E is in preschool. We so enjoyed being a part of both events. Here we are all ready to begin decorating Christmas cookies.

N can't take his eyes off those tasty creations!

It was wonderful to hear them sing all four verses of "Joy to the World" and then take turns reciting the Christmas story from Luke 2. Their little minds are so sharp and isn't it the best to have them learning God's Word early on?

N's teacher then took pictures of each child with their family. It was so neat to be included.

Grandprincess E asked Nana to help her make her holly wreath at her Christmas party.
They also sang "Jingle Bells" for us - Baby B got right in there, ringing the bells with gusto!
The children showed us how well they too, knew the events of the first Christmas as their teacher used the flannelgraph to illustrate the story.

Then it was time for snacks and treats.
Baby B once again took an active part.
My, that boy can eat! Anything and everything!

In between the two program days, Harv and I spent an afternoon just bumbering around Seattle, poking our heads into antique shops, garden shops and taking in the wonders of Pike Street Market at Christmas. Of course I'd left my camera in the car so I can't share the wonderful Christmas bouquets so beautifully composed of evergreens, winter berrys, holly and brightly coloured dried flowers.
The handmade jewellry, hats, craft items and clothing on display there show such imagination. I also found a spice shop where I bought freshly ground star anise - that ingredient so essential to our Mennonite Christmas baking.
Tomorrow our daughter and her family arrive from Saskatchewan. We can hardly wait!
I'm quite sure there will be no time for blogging until after they leave so I'll wish all of you a
Blessed and happy Christmas
and a New Year
filled with
Peace and Joy.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Our next port of call was Kusidasi, Turkey where we boarded a bus
for the ancient city of Ephesus.

This city of 200,000 was once right on the sea but 2000 years of river silt has resulted in it being 8 km inland now. Our excellent tour guide led us through the excavated part of the city giving us a vivid picture of life there. It was a very wealthy city - a centre for trade that had many shops which sold goods that came from all over the world. She also told us that only one tenth of the city has been excavated so far. We couldn't help but wonder what all still lies under the surrounding hillsides?

This is a city that the apostle Paul knew well. He spent 2 years here preaching the Good News. I took some time to read Acts before coming here and found that Acts 19 came alive in this place. It was here that Paul's confrontation with Demetrius and the silversmiths of the city took place. It was incredible to us to be able to walk the streets that Paul had walked and hear the Biblical account confirmed by the tour guide. Before Paul came, the city was known for its many gods and temples. But our guide told us that not long after,

it became known as a centre for Christianity as evidenced by the numerous Christian crosses found throughout the city.

The statue below was one of many that lined the main avenue. All the VIP's of the city had their statues on the main street - a bit like the row of photos that hang in our city halls today.

The picture above and the one below are of the library - by far the most impressive and complete building in Ephesus. It was built by a prominent businessman named Celcius and featured double walls that enabled airflow between the walls. This was to inhibit the deterioration of the scrolls stored there. It has statues of several goddesses in the front and huge pillars. Absolutely beautiful even in it's ruined state - I can imagine how impressive it would have been in Paul's day.
The grand archways pictured below were to the right of the Library and opened up on to another wide avenue. We were impressed with the with the gorgeous architecture and marveled at how it had been built.

They even had hot and cold water in most of the private homes and public buildings, and communal latrines(with a marble seat!)and a vast drainage system.
Many of the private homes had wonderful mosaics on the walls and floors which indicated the status and wealth of the family living there.

The decorative carving on the buildings was so beautiful and often illustrated various myths and legends as well as famous battles. This carving depicts the goddess of victory, "Nike". Can you see the Nike Swoosh?

We were awed by the size of the main amphitheatre where Paul preached. It seated up to 25,000 people! The Romans added the upper section at a later date.
The Pillars behind the marble stage floor were part of the backstage and
once had a roof over them.

Harv took the picture below from one of the upper levels of the amphitheatre.
It looks down the avenue that once ended at the sea. It must have been so grand with all the pillars lining it.After a long day sightseeing, we went back to the ship and had a nice snooze on our verandah!

Next stop: Istanbul.