Monday, September 03, 2007

More trip highlights...

More trip Highlights!

Other highlights from our week on the West coast are many. I've scrounged the photos for the blog thus far, more to come of course. At the onset of this writing, I must warn you it will be photo intensive and long. A great tip to pass along may be to wait a bit for everything to download before scrolling ahead on this page. *wink*

All that said, here are some of those wonderful highlights.....

  • Having to work fast at grabbing the luggage on the revolving carousel when arriving into the Vancouver airport, rush to rent the vehicle, and then zoom straight from the airport to our preferred dentist in downtown (in rush hour!), after hubby decided upon appointments for all of us beforehand. Of course the very best part was the resulting freshly cleaned and gleaming white teeth for all with the wedding photos soon to come. Pleased to also know one son had a cavity repaired then and there, and another son will no longer be plagued with continued gum abscesses, even after a baby root canal was performed in the east, when the dentist pulled the baby tooth and found imminent damage would have been made to the permanent tooth without this good measure. I was happy to pack the pure cloves tagging along this trip in my handbag, away for the duration of the trip.

  • Multitudes of “welcome back west” text messages and telephone calls received. Some of us wanted to kiss the ground for a grand ceremonial hello. ( laugh)

  • Meeting the soon to be married couple the day we arrived along with the Maid of Honor, my second daughter in from Calgary. Admiring and recognizing a fabulous friendship between these two gals, flourishing over the years, even over the miles from geographical distances. Since age seven this friendship has become what it is today. Hugs!
Bride & Maid of Honor

  • Stopping by for obtaining and giving hugs to some of the grandchildren we had not seen since March, and our son & daughter in law also when viewing their recent renovations in their home on our way to the hotel. Your hard work is incredible you two! Congratulations on the huge progress!
  • Watching the look on our son's face when he gave his father a belated birthday gift, hoping to inspire him into artistry motion again. Thanks son!
  • Packing heavy books along over the air miles and finally being able to hand over a family future legacy, that of a "My Bookhouse" set of books for Aaron & Jenn's future family. The suitcases were much lighter afterwards. Enjoy!

  • Finding our hotel to be perfect for accommodating our family, with two separate bedrooms, full kitchen, and a swimming pool for the young ones to work off some of their energies during downtimes.

  • Shutting down our first night in town with dessert with the future bride and maid of honor after they followed us to the hotel and reserved a spot in the hotel’s restaurant for hubby and me to join them. It was then though that my hubby realized we should pay attention to the time change, not so for more hours in my day as I love to think, rather 2:00am became the norm for me while out west. He opted to leave early though.

Dear friendships are undeniable as these
eight children gather again.

Seeing a dear friend the second day when dropping off two children to her home for a visit and overnight. It has become a tradition for these two with their bosom buddy pals to spend stolen time together when we visit out west, so it continues and we all make the attempt to make it so. Thank you for having our children over, they love it there!

  • Spending impromptu and unplanned moments with my parents when time allowed us wee visits in between the tornado actions of our trip. Thanks Mom & Dad!

  • Spending a night alone in Vancouver with my hubby, hoping to “fit in” at the Vancouver’s respiratory office the next day, but even though unsuccessful, we enjoyed watching festive passenger crowds wave to us aboard the two docked cruise ships at the Pan Pacific Hotel, both about to embark on their journeys to Alaska.

Just in time to watch the emergency staged
practice happening on outer decks.

Eager tourists beckoned to the crowds on shore, music played on and the party was about to begin for them all. Fun! We were also able to have dinner and breakfast together, both quiet and lost in our own thoughts with the anticipation of the coming days. We both feel every couple needs at the very minimum, a weekend alone every year just for this purpose, to reconnect, to set new goals and to be still. Thank you to Adam & Therese for having the younger siblings overnight, and to Karen for having the older ones allowing us this time together!

Mirror before us, the background was spectacular!

  • Delighted to see a friend’s new baby daughter, when dropping off one of my children to visit two gathered friends in her home for the evening. I was lucky to see the wee babe again at the wedding, so precious! Thank you to Theresa & Louise for having our daughter over, she loved her time spent with your girls!

  • Completing the video footage and adding the music to the photos one unhurried morning, knowing everyone else with us was reveling in a relaxed and restful morning back at the hotel. Sneaking into my dearly missed and beloved favorite store, “House of James” browsing the stacks to see what was new and grabbing a latte to go for sipping along the way. Thanks again to Bill also for another memorable family movie!

Birthday breakfast with sinful
desserts after a nutritious fare!

  • Stealing an early morning breakfast with a friend from out of town, heading off shortly for her home again and unable to attend the wedding. Our tradition of having cake with one another for our birthdays was something she wanted to experience and share with me again, so following a well documented nutritious breakfast (smile), we were served two delectable plates of sinful dessert complete with candles burning inserted atop of them, for blowing out. YUM! Hard to fathom that type of food at 7:00am, but I suppose with the time change, it was really 10:00am for me though…laugh! Thanks to you pal! I'll never forget this breakfast!

  • Purposely stealing an entire evening with my own “Maid of Honor” Amanda, from our wedding thirty years ago, one of those long and overdue visits. It was decided prior to meeting, to allocate and reserve time for dinner to ensure us both a lovely and long catching up time together. Sad to have missed out on a visit also from my bridesmaid who was trying to join us that evening, a wonderful and dear childhood friend, when she was scheduled to work and couldn’t come. Thanks Amanda! Next time with you too Terrie!
  • Our older daughter saved the day in two ways; by purchasing a gold pair of shoes for her younger sister when everyone changed their mind from white to gold. As well she picked up a ring bearer pillow and added the lovely ribbons to it when I had none transported with me to offer. Thank you Alyse!

Hall decorating team at work!

  • Experiencing an amazing camaraderie with family and friends during the wedding reception hall decorating, having cousins of Mike’s stop by to offer a hand, wedding party members along, both sets of parents and other friends there to lend a hand. Hats off to the great team effort everyone!
Two wonderful friends for our daughter,
there for her, with her and for her!

  • Witnessing the beautiful support group around our daughter, the two gals both from out of town were living with her, working with her and loving her right through to her wedding day. Thanks ladies! These are the things friendships are made of; unconditional love and unselfish tendencies to work in unison for the good of the one requiring it. Two thumbs up to you, Carolyn & Jackie!
  • Enjoying a very memorable evening after the wedding rehearsal at Wayne & Carol’s home as I mentioned in my last post. Both families were relaxed and spoke of the next day with great anticipation. The dinner was a catered affair so only had to be served. Many hands made work light again, all pitching in and helping out. The food was delicious!

  • A special cake was served at the rehearsal dinner for a grand finale, and it was funny to watch the young couple began to practice smearing icing on one another early…laugh.

Icing smears begin early!

It was fun to watch the younger children run and play hard outdoors, and the little girls were invited to play along with Carol’s Barbie’s…smile (she has two boys remember, so this was a great moment for her!). As the evening crept forward, Carol made a presentation to our daughter, noting it was a Chinese tradition to give something to the bride the eve before her wedding from the family’s ancestry. A small box was placed tenderly into Ashley’s hand with deep and sincere emotion and hugs to follow, something from Mike’s deceased grandmother for her to wear. It has been a while since his grandmother passed away, Carol’s mother, but we could all sense how precious and how beautiful this moment was for everyone witnessing the scene before them. Emotions were high, tears fell, but oh to know our daughter has been welcomed into such a family meant the world for all of us. Thank you for having us over, thank you for the memory. We will never forget it!

The lovely flowers Bev grows...

  • Stopping enroute briefly to catch a quick hug with our florist, a dear friend who was unable to attend due to another wedding commitment. Her flowers were stunning as usual! Thank you Bev for the beautiful floral arrangements at this wedding as in the other weddings in the family in the past!

  • Driving to observe and be of service to the bridal party gals the morning of the wedding at the hair salon, and being a part of this early morning appointment on the wedding day.
Bedazzling head of curls!

Maid of Honor is loving her straight hair!

All-smiles from the nieces!
  • Bringing lunch for all the hungry gals offered them some food fare, and the time was beginning to fly with few spare moments before having to dress up in their formal attire, shortly after the makeup lady arrived. It was then I needed to return to the hotel to change myself, the meeting place for the rest of the family to do the same.
Granddaughter flower girl with her butterfly bandaid removed and all ready to go!

It's time!
The three bridal members working
hard to get the bride ready.

Bonds of sisterly love, both bridesmaids.

  • I was surprised to hear my brother’s voice at the front counter, and see his family after they had just arrived from the interior. They were disappointed to find their room not quite ready for entry, so it was all-in-the-family for them to join us in our suite for wedding preparations with one bathroom. We can tell we’re family because it all worked out just fine and we were happy to be there for them so everything fell into place just right. It was great to have you and your family attend, thanks for coming!
My brother and sister in law.

  • Allowing hubby and the little ones enough down time to catch a nap, grab a swim and relax in between events. It was high on the priority list not to return home as tired as the last few times we have traveled west, and also there was the necessity of preparing for the long days ahead surrounding the wedding festivities. We made it happen and as a result all ran smoothly, pacing precautions were just right.
Family hug time!

  • Being calm and cool on the wedding day, so I thought. Once at the church, memories of the last wedding occasion for our son and his new bride four years ago flooded over me. I became highly emotional and my usher’s duty was to keep me smiling all the way down the aisle because the photographer was crouching at the end of it snapping photos! Thanks Josh! He did great, and I did it without shedding a tear….that is, until the wedding sermon from the priest included details of “sickness and health” which caused my emotions to falter unexpectedly as leaky eyes created a natural overflow silently running down my cheeks as I attempted to get myself back into control. Unfortunately I am one of those people whose face becomes all red when tears fall and I can look all too serious when it's just me attempting to trun off the tap, and come to grips with a Kleenex in hand and a few deep breaths.
  • It wouldn't be right not to mention yet again, our thanks to our wonderful family and friends who came to celebrate this wedding day with our family, always there for us our cherished people whom we love dearly. From parents to siblings, from cousins to extended other family members, from cherished friends and new friends, we salute you and are honored by your presence! Thank you all!

  • Having friends volunteer to assist in the wedding reception cleanup duties, making it a little lighter for the families. Special thanks to Wayne & Carol for unassembling the two arches...Thank you to everyone, you know who you are!

  • Rising up early the next morning to attend our former church and see many old faces before our quick getaway for the next item of the day. Amazing how no one fell asleep during the sermon from fatigue either.
Family time - Brunch the next day to
celebrate yet more milestones!

"27" and a highchair;
that was the reservation for those present.

  • Attending a preplanned (after wedding day) brunch on Sunday, where both families reunited along with the wedding couple to celebrate four more special and momentous occasions. Balloons floated across backs of chairs for the celebrants, gifts and small piles of cards were observed on the tables in front of them. We were NOT going home without celebrating three wedding anniversaries;

My parent’s 55th anniversary

Wayne & Carol’s 32rd anniversary

Aaron & Jenn’s 4th anniversary

*AND* a birthday; Mike's 30th

Showing off his cake!

The photo frame with the family's greetings on it!

At the same time, it’s been a tradition to gather the day after a wedding in our family, a down time for all when everyone is relaxed (though tired) and enjoying the day after a wedding feast when all the cares and last minute details are in the past. This also served as a final meeting place for saying goodbye to many, assuring and offering affections and hugs... until we meet again.

Our little Rose was getting tired.
The youngest in the family at this time,
she was a real trooper all weekend long!

  • Having a rest at the hotel before attending an evening gathering and dinner at our former neighbor’s home, with four other couples, also former neighbors. It was like a giant neighborhood reunion, something so very wonderful for us. Our children were thrilled to play once again with their friends, romp the streets surrounding the former property, peak over the fence, play hockey in the cul de sac as in times past, and play in the new playground just over our former fence.

Hail, hail the old neighborhood gang is all here!

Unlike my normal self, I wasn’t thinking straight this visit, often forgetting to use my camera for snapping photos of things I delighted in remembering with great fondness. I apologize as I only took a very few pics this night and realized I had forgotten most of the guests after we returned to the hotel! Thank you John & Betty, Paul & Dona, Eugene & Bev, Dan & Maritza, and Jim & Barb. It was such a pleasure, thank you all so much!

One had to leave, and then there were three.
  • Being able to catch an impromptu and quick lunch with three of my gals to quench mommy’s horrid craving for sushi. If you recall, there is not a local restaurant near us for this delicious mealtime delight, so it was wonderful to capture the moment while hubby was out with a friend all afternoon. Just the heavenly scent of wasabi had me drooling for the actual visual feast ahead. Yummy yum!

  • Unbelievably we fit in an orthodontic appointment to assure our daughter’s early brace removal from her mouth was still as it should be. All was well, though she requires a new retainer and I laughed aloud when the front-end receptionist asked when we’d be available for a fitting. We were leaving for the airport immediately following the visit! That will be next time or out here at a local dentist!

  • My hubby was able to spend an entire afternoon with a good friend the final day in town, and after meeting at a specific location for me to pick him up, we headed to our next pick up point of the evening to retrieve his mother who would be accompanying us back home again for a visit. Together, from there we traveled to pick up the remaining three children, all the luggage in tow. We encountered a glitch, a set back if you will, when we realized the seven-passenger rental van would absolutely accommodate all seven of us to travel to the hotel at the airport just fine, but NOT with the luggage in the cargo hold area. Therefore, we had a problem! As the three children were awaiting our arrival at a son’s house, it was there they could also view our dilemma. Our son and his wife saved the day offering to assist in driving or we wondered how cramped and difficult that journey may have been in the end! In turn we invited them to dine with us once everyone was settled into the hotel rooms. Thank you Aaron & Jenn!

With two joining rooms there was plenty of space for a good night’s sleep the night prior to our wee hour departure, however the day ahead proved to be long for all. It is always so exciting to listen to the sound of jumbo jets zooming across the runways and soaring out into the skies full throttle ahead; waking up the travel bug inside and in turn begins to stir eagerness to get on a plane and go somewhere. Knowing I would be whisked away into those same skies very shortly, I dozed for a bit and then awoke all too early, laying there quietly circling my thumbs for two hours until it was time to wake up the rest of the bunch.

Once inside the airport terminal, through the customs booths and security line-ups, Starbucks was our first stop! "Gimme java" became my mantra of the morning, mostly as I knew I required it to get through this long day ahead with our two connecting flights, and I'd be the designated driver home after our final descent.

While waiting in our assigned terminal area in the wee hours of that specific morning, all were quiet when nibbling on our cheerios in our zip lock baggies with the milk inserted, also from the same coffee venue. I know both my hubby and I were reflecting on our trip with rewind video imaging enveloping our moments, determining that time does indeed whisk by so swiftly, we must savor every moment and place it into our hearts and memory banks forever.

Everyone fared well for the journey, though most fell asleep while I drove home. More coffee! (laugh) Dare I say, once at home, sleep was surely most welcomed – and lots of it!

Canadians at work (hockey player)

Treasure from Vancouver,
and hockey tryouts are this week!

Overall, as we return to our normal pace of life, we all agreed Vancouver wasn’t as warm for a summer trip as we had anticipated, but dare I say since we’ve been at home again, the sun has been shining down upon us each and every day, warming our weary souls and assisting us back to a natural rhythm of family living. Hockey tryouts are this week, piano lessons resume and registration for all the children's other activities fall into the next few weeks. Life does get back to normal again.

Thank you to everyone who made this trip out west memorable beyond expletives possible for expression! Hugs!

Our big beautiful family...

Thank you to our family whom we love dearly, “you’re in our hearts” (the preferred choice for the final song on my play list on this blog, so are your speakers on?) and for sure - we’ll be seeing you!

You are in our hearts, forevermore.... love to you all!