Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Visitors from California!

This past Wed-Mon we were blessed to have four tall, cheerful, musical people from California visit us in our Spruce Grove home: Marilyn, Mariann and Mitch! They came bearing gifts, as you can see below.
Hope still remembers how to open presents...
...and show them off too!
Having devotions their first evening here. Everyone was trying to win Hope's affection by being creative with the toys. See the piece of Duplo on top of Marilyn's head?
Deciding what to think about Mariann.
While here, they blessed us incredibly by digging into projects needing attention in our back yard, as well as other places around the home here. Josh took Friday off work, so here you see him and his good buddy Mitch starting on stripping the deck so it could be re-surfaced with a better kind of paint, as the old stuff was peeling terribly, though it looked like it had just been put on before we moved in October.
Hope helped by staying out of the way. Josh picked up Tim Horton's to give our American friends a taste of good Canadian coffee! Thankfully, Hope knows that the drinks which come in those cups are "hot" and she's not supposed to touch them.
After helping me clean and freeze strawberries for the freezer and make lunch, Mariann took after the poppies that weren't doing so well beside our garage. She thought they had too much soil around them, (poppies are the CA state flower, so she should know) so she carefully removed some soil and thinned the plants, keeping the soil for us to use elsewhere. :o) I later found out that she is recovering from a broken wrist, which made me all the more grateful for her sacrificial work!
The guys again - this time with a smile for the camera. After a couple hours of work with one metal brush and one scraper, the decision was made to go back to Home Depot and invest in some chemical stripper for the deck. The smell of it made me feel sick, but it did it's job. And, as of this morning, our deck is now painted!
Since the gang were rather muddy from working outside, and since it was such a beautiful day, I decided to serve Taco Salad outdoors! Three cheers for disposable dishes!
Hope didn't like her high and lofty perch for too long when she saw that Daddy and Mommy were sitting down on the lawn, so Mitch unhooked her seat from the chair and set her down near us. I had made iced peppermint tea with fresh leaves from the garden for lunch, and Hope decided she should help me drink mine. :o)
But that wasn't the only thing she did with it!
From this point on I decided it was her cup of peppermint tea, not mine!
Yes, she did eat the chip after dipping it in the tea!

Stay tuned for more pictures...

A trip to the UOFA Devonian Botanical Gardens

On Saturday, we took our guests to the nearby Botanical Gardens! Josh has been wanting to go there for years, and our friends were quite interested in it themselves, so we thought it would be a good idea to have a day out together. First, we walked through the Japanese part of the garden, where there was this great big gong! Mitch brings out the relaxed/funny side of Josh, which was great for my hard-working hubby. Only problem with this pose is the location of Josh's left hand (the post is supposed to swing into the gong to make it sound)! Ooops!
Yes, Mitch is as tall as he looks!
And yes, I am as short as I look. Not even standing on the top of the curved bridge helped! Oh well! I like my height.
It was a hot summer afternoon, and the Doodle-Bug played herself to sleep in her stroller. She slept with her foot up like that for a good while.
A branch of a Tamarack tree.
A pomegranate growing in the Butterfly House.
Don't you love God's creativity?
A photogenic butterfly - at last. :o)
Just love the daintiness of this beautiful little flower.
Getting out into the sunshine we saw some flowers common to our local growing area.
Can't remember what this odd looking plant was called, though it looked like a miniature Palm Tree made out of Aloe Vera type leaves!
More of the plant.
While most of the garden was beautifully maintained, Mitch spotted this one skinny, very tall tree that was obviously the furthest thing from alive. Decided it would be a good posing post for him! Had it not been for my tummy and a toddler who wanted to crawl all over me while I was taking the picture, I might have actually been able to position myself to get the whole tree in the shot.
Note the tip-toes.
Awake with a smile, though not at first, as a bump from Daddy caused her naptime to be over on rather short notice. :o)
More beauty.
Bashful blossom.
Two California gals with their state flower, the California Golden Poppy.
We were hot and needed to sit down in some shade for a break. Hope was ready for a break from the stroller, so around and around and around Josh and I she went in this cute little circle.
Picking up her hat along the way, to give it to Mommy.
"Hi-a." One of her most recent words.
Feeling refreshed, we got up to resume our tour of the garden.
Hope wanted nothing to do with the stroller at the moment.
She was quite content to walk on the grass, and our long-legged companions didn't seem to mind her toddling pace.
Hey - it looks like Hope has the lead as everyone comes out of the glen. Notice the tallest one of the bunch is pushing the empty stroller. So happy to be free.
Daddy took her hand so she wouldn't fall and skin her knees on the bricks.
Just love to see how Josh loves his little girl!
Guess what we're about to do?
Not that this is the best action toddler's shoulder joints, but it sure made her giggle, and hey -we all survived this as a kid, so it can't be that bad. Sure helps the slow moving one catch up with the rest.
My dear ones.
After much walking we finally made it to "The Maze" a narrow winding pathway cleared between Caragana bushes. It circled around and around, in and out, till arriving a some strange looking metal creation painted orange in the center.
Off they go into the maze.
After the maze, we climbed a little slope to this tower, erected in the honour of a Scottsman. Sorry, I'm not good with history or names, so I don't remember the name of the man.
It was a cool little tower, architecturally speaking, that is.
After the tower we came upon a section called the "American Trial Plot." These orange flowers looked like marigolds on steroids.
I think they were called "Tanganes."
The pathway separating the garden plots was made out of recycled rubber tires, which gave a cushy sensation when you stepped on it.
Recognize these?
Good ol' delphiniums! I think I'll plant some next year to give our front bed some height variation. Thanks to Mitch for the suggestion. :o)
Wild mushrooms grow everywhere on rainy years!
A stranger kindly obliged and took this group shot of all of us before we got in our vehicles to come home for supper. L-R Mariann, Marilyn, Josh, Erin, Mitch, and Hope.
After supper, while I was bathing Hope and putting her to bed, the rest of them got together around the piano to sing some old time favourites that Albert used to play. Marilyn went to college with Albert, so she remembers his style from those days. I think Hope liked the live music as she was going to sleep.

Thank you to our friends for coming all this way to visit us! We were blessed incredibly by the Spirit of the Lord in you!