Monday, October 08, 2007

Hello visitors!

Hello Visitors again....

Hello summer still!

(You didn’t believe me did you?)

Yes, it is supposed to be the season of autumn. Yes, it’s supposed to LOOK like it’s Autumn, but somehow we are still being blessed with amazing summer-like weather in the upper nineties on the thermometer, at times necessitating the need to visit the beach and take a nice dip…that is, if the water is cool enough to offer some cooling off comfort and not a bath of warm water.

We just bid friends adieu after spending all last week with them in our home. Two families of twelve gathered day after day to make memories and enjoy one another's company, here in the east.

Visiting the "chip" truck near the water's
edge of course, closed after this weekend.

They were so hot, all raced to be the first in the water!

This past week we have had the pleasure of visitors from the west, a family of six who became part of the family and we loved how they folded in, making themselves right at home.

Company has arrived!

We are creature comfort type of people, quite informal in fact; therefore whether someone was having a morning cup of coffee in the library or on the back deck, we sprawled out and rolled into a daily routine all together.

Hotcakes ready, at least the first batch is here.

Cooking for twelve was fun, the older children assisted in the kitchen with their daily home economics nutritious breakfasts. In the photo above, we canned cold cereal for this day and all enjoyed the hot fluffy pancakes with fruit instead. Yum! Overall, we did what came naturally for meals, and were able to offer good fare to all with plenty of help and able hands pitching in to make work light.

Their children are our children’s bosom buddies for the most part, long-time kindred spirits who paired up for the six days while both families visited.

Jumping was a daily activity!

They shared and completed morning chores before whisking themselves off daily to enjoy their shared love of hobbies, play games, jump on the trampoline, play with the animals, play sports, perform horse and animal care, overall all continuing to enjoy their time together as a group, or with their individual friends alone. Often we would see a pair mosey by our general area, clothes having been swapped or borrowed, and even shoe swapping color exchanges with the girls. One particular day the older girls swapped one shoe (only one!) and each had on different colors and styles, per foot!

Chess, checkers, crib, and other assorted games were beckoning a champion, so there were players challenging others throughout the week to join in the fun. The Nintendo Mario cart game came out with four controllers, prompting a tournament between the two fathers and all of the children. Guess who won?

We had a great visit, and it was again a reminder that good friends never do have to say goodbye, they merely catch up when they are together again at another time where they left off. It helps that both mothers are also kindred spirits, reveling in our shared interests and common grounds all week long (did I say books and coffee? – smile), including the daring escape for a night out alone to attend a local card class, enjoying the creative process together once more.

The boys and men enjoyed their shared love of hockey, either by all attending our son’s hockey practice, listening to the Vancouver Canucks game, or by playing/watching almost hourly hockey in the sports court. As if that wasn’t enough for them all, the Friday night ball hockey league fell during one evening on our sports court where boys of the local area gather and team up to challenge one another with their fanciest footwork. Never will you clearly see such a marvelous event where the boys set up night lighting, take the hockey game stats and offer a small trophy upon the completion of this particular league our son composed with his friends. All look forward to it with an eager anticipation, and our visitors were able to see why. Fun!

It’s quite something for me to have friends admit they've enjoyed the experiences I've detailed here, therefore once again, these visitors requested to take advantage of the wondrous weather and enjoy similar things for themselves.

Let's see if you can remember all of these below yourself.....

Campfire mealtime feasting outdoors...

Sing around the campfire...but boy oh boy,
was it ever a hot day for it!!!

He found the perfect V-shaped
branch to set his skewer on.

Marshmallow mess

Temperatures kept soaring to all time highs as the days came and went. Therefore, the intense heat welcomed several visits to various beach front locations to get nearer to the water's edge. The children lapped up their time in the water, obviously summer-like weather offered bath temperature comparisons for a lovely soak midday.

The water was warm, still is!

Looking like a tourist, we both snapped our photos.

Caribbean autumn?

Aside from local beachside wonders and barefeet water walks or swims, we also meandered about when it was requested to see a few small towns with the heritage homes featured there. I was intrigued how this family actually read the blog here at regular intervals, noticing the rooftop restaurant we loved ourselves, asking to have dinner there together when an evening presented itself for the two couples to do while the children took part in a wild and competitive soccer game and nighttime hide and seek. Of course no visit would be complete to our area without a visit to the local dollar store (wink), so certainly we had to fit that in too. I will assure you all here and now, the visit has been a hit with each of our guests, all amazed at the bargains awaiting them there.

We had a photo taken of the four of us,
not on my camera though...boohoo..
so we await the day a few more pictures
come our way you two...wink.

Lest you feel we were simply reliving all our own experiences, it was such a pleasure to usher a few fun introductions for our friends not yet discovered in their own area in the west. First there was the introduction to "M&M Meatshop" stores, and a visit to a local shop. My friend came away with a catalog and eager excitement to try them in the future. Next there was a fun introduction to a "Tim Horton Ice Cap", also in the west but never tried. The heat of the day hinged on our entry into this restaurant and all welcomed the slushy ice cold drink, even the children! The girls of course wanted another one a few days later, their new favorite drink.

Slushy cold Ice Cap hit!

During this visit the girls assembled and begged to take a trip to the local shopping mall, mostly to have a photo sketched of them while in same photo booth we took the girls’ grandmother into. Yes, they shopped of course, but the photo booth was something else, so very fun for them all and made a memory for certain.

All four had entered the wonderful
world of a photo booth.

Daily horse stall cleaning was still a priority and a responsibility for our daughter. No problem though as her friend is a fellow horse nut. Both made their way to the barn next door each day, cleaning, riding and showering the horse down, before placing her back into the field again.

Our visitors loved horse riding on Ashes.

I have a terrible time admitting though here the weather during our visit was almost too hot! We opted to enjoy the indoors to escape from the heat, a place where air conditioned comfort reigned supreme and the children often gathered to get out of the boiling sun. Imagine, knowing full well it is indeed autumn, but not having it register yet with the fooler-weather outdoors!

A trip to the natural sand dunes
sure felt great on the feet!

Note the red shoes.

I snickered when my friend couldn't find her summer sandals she packed for the journey, lending her my red "crocs" for the week to get her through the summer heat. I teased her she needed to buy herself a pair, or if she preferred I also have an orange pair and our daughter had a light blue pair for her to slip her tootsies into each day.

I wasn't able to snap the variety of photos I should have to capture the memories, but our friends were able to shoot them. Without them all loaded here for you to see though, I hope this gives you an image of our week together, most memorable, and uplifting before they had to drive northeast to visit their extended family for the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

Early morning the hockey guys!

These two played hard everyday in the sports court, sometimes found hobbling along with sore (very sore) muscles afterwards. If one was out of shape before he arrived here, boot camp was in session while he was visiting with us.

Have a very safe trip while driving home again. It was great to spend time with you, we miss you already!