Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas & Aerobeds!

With SIXTEEN bodies occupying space in our humble abode over the holidays, I was absolutely grateful for Aerobeds. They were wall-to-wall in the family room, spilling over into the living room and office, stacked a mile high during daytime hours.

Here's the line-up.
Kids, grandkids, godchildren and assorted mates!

There were LOTS of group hugs
with piles of loving folks.

and long chats around the fireplace
with foot rubs galore . . .

and sometimes silliness prevailed . . .

Kelty started off Christmas day with a BANG
as she jumped off the top of the hot tub
and into a cluster of snow-ladened bushes.

With THAT many people around the Christmas tree,
there were a slew of presents to open.

And we most definitely had terrific time of it.

Well, maybe occasionally
there was a little STRESS
in our bulging household.

Here is my grandson
retreating to the safety
of his
beloved blankie . . .

Quite frankly, I'd do it all over again,
mega-cooking orgies and all,

I unequivocally ADORE
these people.
A concentrated mass
only made the holidays sweeter.

(Part 2 coming soon.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow Arrived

My canyon was decorated with the Glorious White Stuff during the night and I "broke trail" during today's hike with the dog. A decent work-out!

Good thing they replaced my kitchen skylight last Friday. It had a sizable crack up the side and I was thrilled that the new one went into place just before the storms.

Lifting off the old skylight . . .

Looking up to the unobstructed heavens,
from my kitchen stool . . .

Setting the new one into place . . .

Also, this week brought a visitor from Texas - another spinal surgery survivor who I met on the National Scoliosis Forum. Kelty invited her to the barn on Monday and we both rode horses. No cantering, Dr. Boachie. I promise!

Thank you, Kelty
for making it a memorable experience
and a post-susrgery "First"!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In this home,

. . . my daughter Leah and her husband Cody
along with their three little girls -
Brinley and Avery

and little baby Aspen.

Just got back from a week among these people I love. Did far more than I ever thought possible, considering my mega-surgery in May. It would be fair to say I've evolved into the typical doting grandma.

Leah fondly remembers all the FUN STUFF we did in her childhood and has duplicated several of our traditional amusements. On Sunday we whipped up a whopping batch of chocolate pudding together and then plopped it into the bathtub with the girls. Giggles and silliness prevailed!

Brinley is now in full-day kindergarten. I surprised her at school one day and we ate lunch together

Avery has inherited my smile
and she charms me with her grins.

Yes. It was cold there.
Snowy too.
When Cody was clearing the sidewalks,
the girls jumped onto his snow shovel and got a ride.
And another one.
And another one.

On Monday evening, we made gingerbread houses. Brinley was intent on her creation while Avery was intent on the colorful candies.

On my last day in Ohio, baby Aspen had a surgery and casting to correct her club foot. Here's a shot of Leah and the babe with the medical tech after the procedure was completed.

I'm already missing this family of five and it was terribly hard to leave them bawling at the airport. Tears were streaming down the face of my daughter and my granddaughters as I gathered my luggage and said my goodbyes. Apparently my 2-year-old Avery was screaming "GRANDMA, DON'T YOU LEAVE ME!!!" as I walked off.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving & More

Lots of DOINGS over the Thanksgiving holidays. Guests at Ginger's Bed & Breakfast included . . .

Dana (godchild) & Glen Rusche
Brooke (another godchild) & Mike Lowrey
Arian & Jill along with their little ones,
Kenneth & Audrey

Kelty slept at her own place, but hung out here with the gang. (Her husband Duane spent the weekend on a quest to connect with long-lost relatives in Quebec, Canada.)

We started the holidays with an energizing evening at the Kangaroo Zoo. Adults as well as kids bounced around on the mega-sized blow-up toys.

Below - my kids, grandkids, and two goddaughters

The next day, everyone trooped off to ride horse with Kelty at the indoor arena where she teaches. Here's a dear shot with my daughter and son

And, taa daa, here's TITAN JR. - Kelty's new dressage horse

We all met over at Arian's new enterprise "Cafe Fresh" - a restaurant located in Orem that serves a wide variety of healthy meals. There are three owners and Arian is the "silent" partner.

Thanksgiving was a small affair this year with ten of us (including the grandkids) - just the right size for this gal who hasn't fully gotten her energy back after May's spinal reconstruction.

Here's the way it use to be.

And the above photo shows only the SIDE table, not the head table.
We really packed 'em in!

Here's our gathering for 2008 . . .

With my low energy reserves, it's a good thing my kids (pictured below) and goddaughters stepped up to the plate and made things HAPPEN!

The weekend ended with my granddaughter Audrey's baby blessing on Sunday. The OTHER grandma (pictured below in a 4-generation shot) sewed her drop-dead gorgeous dress for the occasion.

Little Audrey charmed us all!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Collection of Goddaughters

Dana, Victoria, Ginger
(Taken today.)

This school year and last, my goddaughter from Canada has been living with me while attending high school here. Legally, I am Victoria's guardian. However, there's simply no GUARDING required with this gal! She's on top of her school work, comes home at a decent hour, doesn't have a pesty boyfriend. Nope. I'm not guarding her at all . . . just relishing an energetic and delightful teenager.

Vic has four sisters and, one by one, they have adopted me as their godmother. (Actually, one by one, their godmothers assigned at birth finked out. Only Vic has been mine since the very beginning.) Each of them has done their college studies in Utah and so they've landed at my place frequently. Individually and collectively, they have a special place in my life.

Brooke is the eldest. She and my son Arian were dear friends, especially during their college years. This shot was taken during one my cookie decorating parties. She was always game for any event at our place and fit right into the family

Paige is next in line. She and my daughter Leah are the dearest of friends. In fact, Paige just got back from visiting Leah in Ohio and you can read all about THAT on Leah's blog.

Dana lives in California, but it's hard to really believe that! She's a frequent visitor and it's fun to hear her giggling downstairs with Victoria when the two of them get going.

Breanna, on the right, just left to serve an LDS mission. She was last year's regular bunker at Ginger's Bed & Breakfast, as her parents named it. She attended a college three hours north of here and often spent here weekends with her adopted godmother and sister.

So, that's the line-up.

MaryJoy (the birthmother) and I were childhood friends and we found each other again in SPAIN of all places. The relationship rolled on through the business of getting married and having babies and getting those babies married. (All of mine, half of hers.) Our families have traveled together and had a blast.

This (rather poor) shot was taken at Lake Osoyoos in British Columbia, Canada in 1996. Both of family dogs were in attendance. Victoria is leaning into me - front row. We had some great evenings around the fire at the shores of the lake. The kids slept under the stars.

Here we are in the Yucatan (Southern Mexico) back in 1999. We took along MaryJoy's parent's who are on the right with MJ herself on the left. (I'm behind the camera.) We did some fabulous snorkling in the clear Caribbean waters. Our cabana was right on the beach. No electricity.

Sometimes we get our family members through blood and sometimes through pure serendipity. I feel richly blessed to have FIVE amazing goddaughters (and their birth parents) in my life.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Late Fall

Late fall fills my heart with an aching. I think, perhaps, it's the intense and transient beauty.

The slant of the November sunlight.

The brilliant and subtle hues of the season's final show.

The red berries and translucent seedpods and earthy acorns.

I want to bottle it all up, so I can pull forth the colors when it's February and we're sloshing around in various shades of grey.

The blazing yellow maple (ABOVE) is the last tree to lose it's leaves in my back yard.

Up in Rock Canyon,
most of the leaves have fallen
and they provide colorful and fragrant carpeting along the trail.

The seed pods on this tree catch the late afternoon light.

There's lots of vibrant green moss in the canyon. Not just in the river bed, but also on fallen timber and along some of the north-facing cliffs. The colors are brighter after a spell of rain or snow. I love feeling the warmth of the moss in the depths of winter.

These mountains will be dressed in white after the first dump of snow. This shot was taken after crossing the five bridges which take you into the pine forests in the upper range of the canyon.

This last shot was taken at the trail head
. . . just a hop, skip and a jump from my home.

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