Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Senior Picnic in the Park

Dad called this morning to let us know that Mom and her gang from Menno Home were going to be at a picnic in the park, an event put on by the community. I thought that is a pretty great way for the kids to see Oma as going to her tiny little room at the home is not always an easy visit.
We headed there and hung out with them for about an hour. The kids could play and run back and forth and Oma could have her fill of seeing them.
It was a good visit, even though she complained about how cold it was every few minutes. When it came time for lunch Dad asked her whether she wanted a hamburger or a hot dog. Somehow those choices seemed strange to me for a group of seniors but I guess you never get too old to eat party food. Since Mom couldn't remember what a hot dog was Dad got her a hamburger and they found a place to sit at one of the tables. We took this as our cue to leave so the kids all hugged Oma goodbye and we were off. Hudson said that Oma always looks so sad when we say goodbye. I wasn't sure how to explain to them that I was sure Oma probably thinks that every time we see her may be the last time, even though we know better. Visits with Mom are often hard but this particular one, whether it was the setting or just her mood, was a pleasant one. I am so thankful for those visits...especially for the kids who don't as easily remember how she used to be.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Her first Nationals

Well, it was exhausting...but that is definitely not all. It was a great experience and she had a great time.
We arrived on Monday afternoon to a very hot Calgary. The event was held at SAIT (South Alberta Institute of Technology) and we stayed in university residence. Which apparently means no air conditioning. So combine the extremely hot rooms and sharing a very small bed with Reagan...well, let's say that sleep was pretty hard to come by. But on to the good stuff....
Reagan and her team competed all day on Wednesday and came away with 7 first place ribbons and 1 third place ribbon. There was some pretty good competition out there for them from Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. Skipping has not taken all the provinces by storm...yet. Needless to say, the girls were thrilled with the outcome.

Thursday was individual day and unfortunately Reagan did not qualify to compete as an individual. Only the top 8 from each province compete and Reagan placed 9th. So this day was a day of watching and cheering on her team mates, and also a lot of just hanging out with her friends. One of my favorite things about the skipping team is the comradery that forms between the girls. 
They ended the weekend with an ice cream social and dance on Thursday evening. Lots of silliness and giggles and fun.
Her first Nationals was a success and a great learning experience going into next year.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Braun Day

We enjoyed a picnic at a park in Burnaby today with my side of the family. We have endearingly named these gatherings "Braun Day" and we have been trying to make them happen a little more often.
I am thankful for that because these people are really great to hang out with and especially when those from a little farther away come home to visit.
Here's the day in photos (and a few names just in case 50 years from now we forget who we are :)

Henry, Mason and Lisa

Reagan, Hudson and Evie

Caleb and Tag

Maisy with Rudy and Opa (So nice to meet you today Maisy...Colorado is much too far)

Maisy and Tina

Wesley and Hudson (Wesley...I'm sorry that your Mom and Dad made you wear your sisters' jacket :)

Erin, Meg and Wesley

Tag with Micah who kept the kids busy with his fishing rods

Cooper entertaining Maisy

David and Maisy having a sword fight, Christine watching

Kids and Opa playing bocci

Looks like Tag and Opa might not agree on who's closest.

It was really nice to see those that we don't see often and especially nice to see the kids playing together with cousins whom some they have hardly met. But there is just something about family, isn't there?

Friday, July 15, 2011

My little worker bees

I figured the best thing to do when these three are driving me crazy with all their bickering and fighting is put them to work. On the agenda today: the playhouse.
There were spiders involved...and dirt...and the looks on their faces show how excited they were.

But the job got done.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jam Day

Today we headed back to the berry farm. Just me and the boys. Reagan is at camp this week and Tony had to go to work.
We go through a lot of strawberry jam every year as apparently all other jams are sub par. Only strawberry for my crew. Therefore, we have to pick a lot of strawberries. I don't always pick my own, sometimes we just walk into the farm stand and walk right out again with two flats of berries that some nice person has picked for us. But I am sort of on a "make these kids work for their keep around here" kick so why not make them pick berries. We were successful and it took us about an hour to pick 27 pounds of berries. They actually all really surprised me by not only picking and getting the product into the bucket rather than throwing it at each other, but also doing so without any complaining. Even when we got rained on. I'm not saying that I have no faith in my kids to get a job done, but really I had little faith that my kids would get the job done. I feared I would be picking and they would be whining. Love it when things don't turn out the way you expect.

If he doesn't know by now that making faces into my camera will only get you posted into blog land.....well...I'm just saying.

When you see pictures of Cooper taken outside with his eyes somewhat open, please realize it is a rarity. He seems to believe that opening his eyes outside is next to impossible as the pain is too much for him to bear. Only when I'm taking his picture though, mind you, the rest of the time he's fine. Again...I'm just saying.

The rest of the day was spent washing, hulling, crushing, stirring and jarring.

We now have exactly 62 jars of strawberry jam. If that doesn't last us 52 weeks, we probably need to seek some jam counselling.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Porch

What's summer without a trip to The Porch at Krause Berry Farms. We usually make at least a couple every year. Of course to get our flats of strawberries to make jars and jars of jam that never seem to make it to the next season. Also, to buy raspberries and blueberries to stock the freezer for smoothies all year long. But sometimes we go just for a slice of pie or a shortcake and some time sitting on the porch.
Pie eating is serious business...no time for smiles.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Holiday weekend

When Canada Day and Fourth of July both fall on the same long weekend and you live this close to the American border, what choice do you have but to celebrate both.
Friday was Canada Day and Reagan was performing with her skipping team on the main stage at Rotary stadium for our City's festivities. So of course we all headed down to watch her. Opa even joined us in support of his favorite skipper.
Along with watching Reagan, we enjoyed just hanging out on the grass and eating mini donuts and frozen lemonades.

For some reason this one just cracks me up.

Monday was the Fourth of July. We met up with our 'American' friends at Birch Bay to continue a tradition we started only last year. Only this year we had great weather instead of last year's rain. We brought with us tons of food and even more fire works. The makings of a great day at the beach.
Once the sun just starts to go down, the beach becomes completely lit up with fireworks from one end to the other. It is loud, smoky and probably a little dangerous. The kids love it.

Leslie was handing out dessert so she immediately had all the kids hanging out with her.

I have always said that Cooper is an old man in a kid's body....all he needs is a snack, something to read and a lawn chair.

And in the middle of all that we celebrated Reagan's birthday again - this time with all her friends. She wanted to go to Twisters Gymnastics Club so that's what we did. But the weather was too nice to be inside a stuffy (not to mention smelly) gym for snacks and presents so we set up outside for that part. She had a great time.