Saturday, June 30, 2007

Belated Father's Day Wishes

I am a Daddy's girl. I know it. I can't help it. You see, my Dad is a workaholic, so gaining his attention and affection was a goal of mine growing up. Some of my earliest memories are of growing up on the farm in Manitoba. My Dad would work in the fields all day, come in for supper (or we would drive it out to him in the fields) and then go out and do work around the yard or back into the fields again in the evening. I remember my Mom putting me to bed at night and NOT being able to fall asleep until my Dad yelled, "Good night, Fion!" up the stairs. Yes, there have been times when I begrudged my Dad for not being around much, but as I've gotten older, I've begun to let that go. I know that he provided for my family very well and we were blessed with many things that my friends didn't have ... and that was because he worked so hard. But looking back now, I would give up a lot of those "things" we had just to have him spend a bit more time with us.

One of my best memories is from Grade 12. It was awards day at school and I was hoping to get Athlete of the Year. As I left the house, my Mom asked why I was all dressed up and I said, "Just because" or "Last week of school" or something like that. Since I didn't know if I was getting the award and I wanted it really badly, I didn't want to tell my parents that I might be getting it in fear that I wouldn't, and then everyone would know my disappointment. Well, when we were being ushered down the hall to go to the gym for the awards ceremony, I saw my parents in the hallway. Right then I knew I was getting the award because the school must have called them otherwise why were they there because I hadn't said anything. Anyways, the point I'm getting at is that the awards ceremony was during the day, so for my Dad to be there, he must have taken time off of work to come and see me get this award and that meant a lot to me. He took many pictures of me and of course embarrassed me by making me get my picture taken with Mr. Mouat (the man my school was named after who was about 99 years old), but now I'm glad I have that picture (I'd insert it here, but darn, all my old pictures are in storage ... ha ha).

This sounds like I didn't think my Dad was a good Dad, and that's not what I'm meaning to say. I've talked to my Dad about him not being around much when I was growing up, so it's not a secret. It's just part of our story .. good or bad.

My Dad came from the generation where you MUST be a hard worker if you wanted to get ahead because they were farm kids growing up and most of them didn't get to finish High School because they had to help their Dad's on the farm. His Dad came to this country with nothing and made a good life for himself, so I'm sure my Dad wanted to make his Dad proud as well and follow in his footsteps. And my Dad did just that. He has been in the construction industry for well over 40 years and many companies have asked him to do projects for him all over the place. He's done very well for himself.

My Dad is the guy that most everyone loves. He'll talk to ANYONE (seriously ... anyone), he's funny (ok, funny might not be the right word ... you know that Dad sense of humour that you kind of roll your eyes at, but he tries at least), he calls everyone Buddy (mostly because he can never remember their name), he likes his yard neat and tidy and his vehicles clean. Every time I'm at their place, one of my cousins or Uncle or Aunts is calling him and my Mom to say hi, ask if they can come over or ask for some help. That may not sound like a big deal, but my Mom has 11 siblings and my Dad has 9, so there are a LOT of Uncles, Aunts and cousins to choose from, and I'm proud that my relatives feel so comfortable to call on my parents. My parents also make an effort to be involved in their lives now that they are adults (my cousins, that is), which I think is cool.

In the last couple of years, I can tell that my Dad has been working on bettering himself. As I've gotten older, he's called me for advice on things, asked me where he went wrong as a Dad and told me many times how proud he is of me. At first it kind of freaked me out that my Dad was asking ME for advice, but it has definitely brought us closer and helped me understand him better. I like that he feels he can talk to me about stuff that's on his mind, and believe me, I'm not afraid to call him out on something if I feel he's in the wrong. Maybe I should say, I'm glad that he's not scared to talk to me about stuff. ha ha Watching him treat me as an adult instead of his "baby" has been a great transition (although I do enjoy still sitting on his lap like I'm still his "little" girl).

So there you have it. I'm a Daddy's girl. I love my Mom equally and I know that she got shafted a bit by readily showing me her love and not making me work for it, but I've been trying to make up for that in the last couple of years, too. Hopefully she's noticed a difference in my return of affection for her.

Happy Belated Father's Day, Dad! I love you.

The people who's place I'm currently staying at are relatives on my Dad's side, and when I saw this picture on the wall, it freaked me out because it looked like my Dad. I said, "Who's that?" to which they answered, "That's your Dad's Grandpa." Of course it is! Don't they look alike? I think that's so cool.

Now, for something funny for a Father's Day tribute. My niece, Bailey, made her Dad a card and I had the pleasure of being able to see it. In this card she put different memories of her Dad over the years. Take a read ...



After he put their dog to sleep. :(

I wish I could hear you all laughing right now. Isn't that awesome? When she saw us laughing, she honestly didn't know why. This was just another memory of her Dad and she innocently put it down on paper ... and THAT'S what makes it so cute. It was hard to convince her that we weren't laughing AT her but that we really LOVED her card. Too cute!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Alberta trip - Part 6 - Final Installment

After our week long adventure at my Mom and Dad's, we went up to my sister's (Carolyn) place and hung out with her, my bro-in-law (Fred) and my nephew (Clay) and niece (Bailey). The cousin's had a GREAT time. They played together SO well ... of course Auntie Fiona was kind of forgotten then and had to hang out with the adults, but that's ok! :)

I don't know if you read my post last summer from when I went to my sister's place, but they always have an abundance of animals to play with, and here's the newest addition.

Meet Emma. Emma is Bailey's dog. They have another dog, Bear, and Bear had to get eye surgery so Fred and Care said they couldn't afford to get Bear's eyes fixed and to buy another dog, so Bailey went and emptied out her bank account and bought Emma herself because she wanted her so badly. Isn't that cute?

Every time my they get a new puppy, they let it inside in the evenings for a little bit before bed. Emma zonked out on the floor, but I couldn't resist picking her up and giving her some hugs.

Of GREAT importance on Sunday was that Clay got baptised. We were all very proud of him by taking this big step. Here he is before he gave a short testimony.

I was trying to post a video here of him getting dunked, but youtube won't let me download it and because I was videoing I didn't get any pics of it. But trust me, he did do it in a very cold Pigeon Lake (I think that was the name of it) and here he is after he came out.

Hugs of congratulations!!!

For some reason I just loved this shot of the dogs on the porch with the kids playing on the trampoline off in the distance.

Everyone together except for bro-in-law, Craig (and Mom's taking the picture)

What a difference 5 years can make!

Saying goodbye as we drove off. :(

When we got about 10 minutes down the road, this is the weather we ran into. It fit my sad mood. My parents put on their German, mournful music which also fit my mood.

Why so sad? Well, usually when I leave my family I'm pretty sure when I'll see them next (even if it's not for a few months). This time, if I go to Malaysia at Christmas, I don't know when I'll see my sister and her family in Alberta next, and if I don't go, I don't know when I'll see my sister and her family from Malaysia next. Sometimes it would just be nice to be able to phone each other up and say, "Hey, wanna go for coffee?" But I'm pretty sure that will never happen, so I have to deal with it. But it still makes me sad.

I will try to focus on the good times we had and that new memories were made. All in all, a wonderful trip.

This concludes my trip to Alberta. Just think ... 6 posts for only 11 days. What's going to happen if I go to Malaysia for 4 weeks??? Thank you for putting up with my million entries. :)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Alberta trip - Part 5

Celebrating Jode's belated birthday at White Spot.

Poker with Papa - Jode's Father's Day gift to Dad and her kids taught him how to play

Gotta keep your Poker face, Papa!

Jackson and I learning the dance to Crazy Frog - In Da House which quickly became the song of the week

Trampoline Fun

Alberta Trip - Part 4

Ok, just to warn you, I looked through my pics again and there might be more than 1 or 2 more posts. I just can't leave any out, but I'll try to post them all soon. :)
I have to dedicate this post to my Mom. She is so cute. She had no idea that I took these pictures, but she'll soon find out. Hi Mom! :) My Mom should never, I repeat, NEVER, have chapped lips. She must have stock in chapstick that I don't know about. It's everywhere in her house. Shall we take a tour?
Top left: beside the computer
Top right: on the kitchen table (there's 2, maybe 3 in there)
Bottom left: in the cutlery drawer
Bottom right: on the kitchen counter (2 there)
Top left: in the junk drawer by the phone (notice she put this one - all white - in with the glue sticks - this could prove disastrous)
Top right: bathroom sink (2 again)
Bottom left: bedroom dresser
Bottom right: en suite bathroom
Top left: bathroom medicine cabinet (because the 2 on the ledge in the above picture weren't enough)
Top right: en suite bathroom drawer (2 again)
Bottom left: bedside table
Bottom right: living room side table
That concludes our tour ... of the FIRST FLOOR!!! I didn't even start taking pictures of the basement or the garage or the car. Don't get me wrong, I'm just teasing her. She's so funny. Each grandkid got their own chapstick when they came because coming from Malaysia where it's incredibly humid, their whole bodies were dry all the time. Leave it to Grandma to have an extra (or 2 or 3 hundred) chapsticks laying around. haha
My Mom is also very good at recycling. Dare I say she's the QUEEN of recycling. No, not just pop cans and newspapers. EVERYTHING! If you bought deli meat at the grocery store, well, the little bag the meat came in can be washed and reused after the meat's all gone. She's got little bags hanging everywhere in her kitchen drying. Also, if you use a napkin at lunch but don't REALLY use it, you'll find this ...

Your name on it so that you can use it again next time.

Along with being the Queen of Recycling means that you must buy recycled clothes as well. Well, my Mom's got that one down pat as well. Don't get me wrong. She dresses very well and 9 out of 10 times you'd NEVER know it was from a Thrift Store. I think every clerk at every Thrift Store must know my Mom's name. She took my sister and I there and my sister found some GREAT clothes for my nieces and nephew. But just to be silly, we asked them to try these outfits on as well.

Needless to say, we had a good laugh. Side story: at the Thrift Store we found the movie So I Married An Axe Murderer and a few episodes of the first season of Bewitched. My nieces and I watched these downstairs and when I crawled onto the pull out bed between them, Sydney said to me, "You're more like a big sister than an Aunt," to which Ashtyn added, "Yeah, but a much, MUCH bigger sister." Aaaaah, kids. :)

Anyways, I would like to conclude this post with something that's not teasing my Mom (although all the stuff above is in good fun and it's what makes my Mom, my Mom, so I love all those things about her). While I was at my parents place, my Mom made some of my sister's and my favourite meals.

A good Mennonite favourite is Borscht. Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm. (side note: I purposely put that piece of bread IN the soup for my friends who can't stand soggy bread ... haha) Although Borscht is great, my favourite meal is ...

ROAST BEEF AND POTATOES (oh yeah, and some vegetables, too, if you want)!!! My Mom's roast beef is so tender that it almost melts in your mouth. Mmmmmm, I can almost smell it now. I jokingly said to her, "Is this buffalo meat?" and she said, "Actually, some of it IS buffalo, but most of it's beef." But you know what? I didn't care. It all tasted the same to me and I LOVED it all. (side note: my friends Lori and Rachel T. have made roast beef for me because they know it's my favourite meal and I love them for it. They are wonderful friends and they come in at a CLOSE second to my Mom's.)

One of my sister's favourite desserts is the chocolate pudding my Mom makes. My favourite dessert (other than Paska) is cheesecake and my Mom made it for me one night, but I was so happy that I gobbled it up and forgot to take a picture.

Thanks Mom for being so cute and taking my teasing with a grain of salt. Love you!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Alberta trip - Part 3

At the place my parents live in now, it's a large complex with a bunch of duplexes side by side. This complex has a 4 km trail around it (which I only ran once) and a few lakes here and there. When my parents lived on the ranch, my Dad had a quad that he would boot around on and my Mom wanted something too, so they bought a golf cart. Well, this golf cart was just too much fun for the grandkids.
Ashtyn and Jackson would bomb around in this,
While Sydney and I would ride my parents bikes (or the "seniors" bikes as Syd liked to call them)

Along the way you would see many different creatures.

Here's the Momma duck and her 10 ducklings.

Mr. Gopher

The horses in the neighbours field.

Watch out! If Ashtyn's driving she may scare away the ...

Jack Rabbits and ...

the Geese, but I really wouldn't mind if SOMEONE could scare away these pesky creatures ...

Mr. Mosquito!!! In the early evening they got REALLY bad. So bad that if you were driving the golf cart and you were talking, more than likely you would end up with a few in your mouth. Not so much fun. But other than those guys, there was LOTS to keep us busy at Papa and Grandma's. We also played ENDLESS amounts of Uno, Skipbo, Memory, put together puzzles and played Bubble Trouble on the computer.
Only one or two more entries ... I promise. :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Alberta trip - Part 2

One of the days I was there, we went to Spruce Meadows, which houses all things equestrian. It was a beautiful day and we say a lot of beautiful horses.

When we first got there, we watched a few different races. Ashtyn says to me, "Does it hurt the horses to make them race like that?" I said, "No, but it makes them work hard." She thought about that and then she said, "If it's making the horses work, why do we do it? Why don't we just enjoy their beauty?" Good question, Ash. Didn't I mention that she is a lover of all animals? :)

Beautiful lilac bush. I guess you can tell from the squinting that it was a bit sunny.

This is Ashtyn's foot beside mine. Poor girl. Only 11 years old and she already has size 10 feet. Good luck finding little girl shoes.

They brought out 3 mares with their foals and there was a "Name the Foal" contest. Sydney and I have both entered. Keep your fingers crossed!

Before the jumping started, they let the riders walk around and check out all the jumps and then they opened it up to spectators to go on the course as well. Ashtyn and I stayed in the stands, but this is Sydney in front of the closest jump to us.

And here's someone jumping over that very jump.

It really is very beautiful.

Here's Ian Miller practising on his horse. We left to go eat for awhile and we missed him jumping by seconds ... literally. When I ran in, I saw him crossing the finish line.

But all in all it was a GREAT day! Thanks Mom and Dad for taking us there.