Wednesday, August 15, 2007

So long, farewell, see you next week!

Our precious week came to an end...

Life gives us brief moments with another…but sometimes in those brief moments we get memories that last a lifetime…”

How does one sum up one week of bonding time with loved ones, a week where precious people traveled east to spend time with us here, a time we thought wouldn’t present itself so soon.

We were simply thrilled to have family visit us in our new home and allow them to experience life in the east as we have grown to enjoy. The weather co-operated very well, with only one morning shower within an eighty-degree humid period.

After a few days of settling into a routine surrounding a typical time change from Pacific hours to Eastern hours, slowly we all became adjusted to a lack of sleep with the initial late (!) nights settling everyone down to sleep, including the adults and teens. The little girls (ages 5,6,7) kept their young auntie awake until almost 3am the first night, and the second night was somewhere around midnight, our time. As is typical, finally on the third night, all four little girls fell into a deep slumber from literal exhaustion and a great afternoon at the beach with plenty of fresh air and continuous running. Hubby here sent us into fits of laughter when cheering them all on yelling out; “Faster, faster”… hee hee

Another beach day saw waves whipping onto the shores, lucky thing for last minute thoughts on bringing along lifejackets for the girls. All wore them and squealed with delight as they were pushed back and forth on their backs, boogie boards, or tummies.

"Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things."

~Pierce Harris, Atlanta Journal

Clothesline training was in session every day with the wet towels and bathing suits ensuing from daily swims in the pool, or from the beach excursions they loved dearly. Each of the girls enjoyed this little assigned task, taking measures to use the clothespins correctly, and assuring their gear was on the line at the appropriate time during the day. In the evening, they brought in the laundry, and it was ready for the next day's swimming fun.

What fun!

Baby Bunny doll

At home with the bunnies each day.

The animals on the property were found lapping up all the attention daily, so many people paying them wee visits, petting them, showing great affection to them all. A lesson in patience for them was necessary, each time they say someone they thought it was time to play…again.

Crafts in session.

Crafts were in session often, anything from paper doll creations, to beading necklaces, to coloring. We had it all rolling with our new art center coming in handy for sure.

Guess who's playing tonight's bowling?

With our son toting along his beloved Nintendo Wii game system, he set us all into motion, challenging all to games of bowling, tennis, golf and a couple boxing matches. This is not the ordinary game system, rather one has to become very active in order to play, so no one was a couch potato, believe me. The last few nights together inspired our son to activate a bowling tournament, including all the youngsters.

What fun to see all the children standing up and throwing their arms up with the Wii device tied to their wrists, the motion detected balls using their virtual reality technology went zooming off towards the bowling pins. When someone was lucky enough to negotiate a strike, or a spare, all the cheers offered a surround-sound experience.

Bowling... It's all in the leg curl really.

The funniest of all was our son, a serious player (smile) who had a signature throw with his foot curling up behind him in the opposite direction. His enthusiasm was catchy, and all giggled when watching the happenings each evening when serious game matches were in session.

“Memories are the treasures that we keep locked deep within the storehouse of our souls…”

Taking a drive to visit one of the famous "chip trucks" by the waterside.

As is the summer ritual in the east, our friends hosted their annual pig roast while our guests were here, therefore everyone was able to experience life deep in farm country in the center of nowhere land, roasted pig dinner, hayrides, volleyball games and the grand finale of a very competitive football game on a freshly cropped oat field.

Serious football game about to begin.
Rules are being detailed here.

The bits of stalk remaining in the ground were spiky enough for anyone not to want to roll on it; however some were adamant on the “play” and suffered a few consequences in the end.

They are the first to get onto the wagon
for the hayride. Many joined in on both
wagons shortly afterwards.

One in particular was a grand save winning the game for the blue side. We had one son participating on the blue team, the other on the yellow team. Competition was high; results were many good sports shaking hands upon completion. The final play was captured on a video camera, so instant replays were often requested, quite funny really.

We promised to share the memories gathering here with the girls’ “horse fever”, so a riding lesson was previously reserved before their arrival. Excitement was high as we headed for the horse farm, thirty horses to view and say hello to, awaited the girls. The best part was watching their reactions to grooming the three horses offered for the lesson, and seeing the riding lesson in progress.

The worst part was the high heat and having to dress the girls in warm clothing and helmets, sweat pouring down their faces as they disembarked from the furry beasts. These gals were eager to ride, and loved every second of it.

Our girls were the instructor’s assistants, offering extra hands for personal coaching in learning how to walk, move around objects on the pathways, turn in opposite directions, spring into a full trot, perform scissor kicks, and around the world turns in the saddle for better balance, and other such regular lesson items.

The instructor, our girls’ teacher loved having the three gals for the lesson period, and giggled when our youngest granddaughter broke out into grand laughter during her trotting time, especially when she first belted out “I don’t want to go faster”. How cute this was.

Soccer match playoffs!

Soccer challenges in the back property were plentiful, everyone working hard to get the ball into the segregated net areas.

The dogs were entertained and trained on how to fetch a ball and return it, rather than running away and not wishing to give it up for another throw. Several daily sessions allowed the dogs freedom off their leashes to run about the property, and actually returning to the kids instead of heading for other neighbor properties. Whenever the dogs (the girls) saw our son or his wife, they barked or cried knowing they would come and play with them one more time each day.

One dog in need of plenty of water!

As is our tradition, we all desired a campfire and our wish came true one evening when everyone was gathered around with food and feasting in progress outdoors. The young girls experienced cooking over a campfire, one of them explaining to us that this was how Indians made their food, as she had prior knowledge of this detail from her history lessons in school. When it came time for roasting the marshmallows, they were not sure what to think of it, but loved even the burnt ones. Yummy yum!

Campfire lessons 101

See my tan from the football game!

The girls discovered our GREAT dollar store, one to make any serious shopper go ga-ga, offering stupendous buys for any young person with a bit of change. Earlier in the week we played many games of various “Lotto” versions, prizes being points towards this dollar store expedition day.

Colorful footwear by all present this week.

While in town, a sale on those fanciful “croc shoes” was noted, and we set off to try a few pairs on the young gals, and older ones too! One of our granddaughter’s croc shoes was broken while here after she chose to wear them for a soccer game instead of her running shoes. With fabulous season end pricing, all returned home with a little Dutch heritage in their attire. Aren’t the colors wonderful?

Birthday Duo - 8 & 28 years!

Uncle and Niece sharing the task of
blowing out their birthday cake together

We celebrated two birthdays as mentioned in my previous post. We had an actual birthday party, with ice-cream birthday cake, happily enjoyed by all for a combined celebration. Earlier in the week though, we treated our son and his wife to dinner at a nice restaurant, enjoying our time together.

She lost her front tooth here the
night before leaving for home.

My Uncle pulled out my tooth!

A highlight on the last evening after dinner, was watching our older son pull the loose front tooth hanging delicately by a thread out of our granddaughter’s mouth. Everyone stood nearby, cheering her on and celebrated the toothless grin afterwards. I packed up her newly pulled tooth lovingly to take home for her family to see in an envelope, so I wonder if the tooth fairy came for a visit yet. Smile

Just me and my uncle...

I am a miser of my memories of you
And will not spend them.

~Witter Bynner, "Coins"

Before too long, our time together necessitated the need to turn another page with our memory making, and we knew the suitcases must be packed up for their return flight home again. It was a restless evening sleep, knowing the alarm clock would sound off at approximately 3:30am. to allow for showers and a bite to eat. As we set off on our hour plus drive to the airport, it was still very dark outside, so all were quite relaxed in anticipation of their airplane boarding and flight home.

“Sometimes you already have what you pray for”

Alas when we arrived at the departures designated area, we were all brave and strong, realizing we get to see one another again next week when we fly out west for our daughter’s wedding day. Emotionally we were all very brave this time, containing our farewell cards tightly to our chests. However we will say farewells again in two week’s time from now, fully aware this will be our last time flying west for quite a long while in the future.

All is well, everyone arrived home safely, and it is our turn to begin the suitcase retrieval and packing lists for next week.

To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward.

~Margaret Fairless Barber, The Roadmender

(P.S. Precious memories continue. As we began to doze off late last night, a telephone call came in with a grand-daughter wanting to say goodnight to us. So cute! )