Monday, August 24, 2015

And Summer Ends

And so winds down the summer of 2015.     

It's a bitter-sweet symphony, this life...
We all wish there were more days to play, more time in the sun, spent with those we love. I finally forgot what day of the week it is, and stopped watching the clock. I think in heaven we'll have a big clock smashing party, and a big bonfire to throw in all our schedules, our calendars, and our phones. Woohoo!!!! Best party ever!

The summer began by celebrating my dad's 65th. That was wild and busy, and a very hot day I recall also. We did our best to bless dad and celebrate him, with 22+ grandchildren running through the house, eating everything like a swarm of locusts, sticky and sweaty and all huggable and sweet. 

Then Lauren and I had to say goodbye to two friends that take up a lot of space in our hearts...we had great fun together but it was sad, knowing it was the "last time". Love you, Jan and Brooke!!

I spent a lot of time on the road, driving back and forth to camp dropping off and picking up kids. I think it was 10 separate trips, maybe more? They had fun, and so did I, hearing the stories and knowing memories were being built. 

What else did we do?
A couple of trips to find hot sand and cool water: my favourite. I even forced myself to swim and splash around instead of watching everyone else from the safety of a beach towel. 

I took the kids to the river on a blistering hot day. Everything is an adventure when you haven't been there before! And they actually talked and laughed together, and goofed off, something that the busy rush and stress of the school year seems to prevent. (Have I mentioned how much I love summer?)

There were beautiful sunsets and walks in the evening. I miss the long sun-hours of the day stretching into the night!

There was a sad and sudden trip for my grandpa's funeral (dad's side of the family). 
It was a tough but poignant time, going through old pictures, remembering.... Seeing extended family members for the first time in many years brought back pieces of childhood I had forgotten. We walked through the graveyard and visited the tombstones of other relations and friends. It is important to do that, to honour those gone, to give meaning and space to the role they played in your life. It is healing to walk together with those who are alive, remembering those who are dead, loving them still from afar. No matter how many years it has been. 

Goodbye Grandpa Donald. 
(He's on the right holding the saw, circa 1980's)

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We went to the mountains!!! Oh how beautiful. The trees, the flowers, the rocks, lakes, and glorious peaks! I enjoyed it so much I forgot to take pictures. And when I did take pictures my wonderful son kept making faces and hiking up his pants to his chest, looking ridiculous...I should post them anyway. That'll teach him!!
Should I..? 
Ah better not. I'll save them for his graduation or wedding slide show. 

Dylan was working all summer on a grader. It was a nice change for him, even with the early mornings and learning new things on the job. We were both really thankful for the work! I was grateful to be able to stay home and take care of things in the house, hang with the kids, and not be rushing out the door constantly. Here's Dylan in the Kneehill county grader. I brought him a coffee, just like I used to once in a while back in Edson, when he was working close by. 

Then, once again we were packing a few bags and heading up to Edson, this time to celebrate my grandma Bea's (mom's side) 90th birthday!! I love my grandma Beatrice Keyes so much. She is a gentle, caring, fun-loving, hard-working soul, of the pioneering sort from days of yore. She makes the best vegetable soups, so good for you, from her own garden. When I was a girl she taught me to milk a cow, took me for long walks to pick raspberries and find beaver dams, and showed by example how to use the hours in a day. 

It was a great time, getting together with the Carrot Creek relatives and celebrating   Grandma. I was nervous because I was singing, but it ended up being fun - and what a lovely, appreciative audience.

That's her, second from the left. Beside her younger sister who unfortunately fell the day before and got a black eye! My grandma Bea has 2 brothers and 9 sisters!! Pictured here are Isabel, Beatice, Edna, Dorothy, and Ruth. Lovely ladies with beautiful hearts and souls. 

On the way home the kids and I were able to do a little camping with my parents, which was a treat. We came down through Nordegg and camped beside the Brazeau River and then by Abraham Lake. It was breathtakingly beautiful at Abraham Lake, so blue and perfect. Thanks mom and dad! 

On the last days of summer, we took off for a couple of days and explored Waterton for the first time. Wow, an amazing place. It was at first very smoky from the U.S. forest fires, then stormy and raining, but we had a great time anyway. It's kind of fun hiking in a downpour, then warming up in the steaming car! We saw jagged mountain peaks, red rock canyons, sparkly waterfalls, and enjoyed strolling the quaint village of Waterton. Food! Books! Handmade jewelry! Paintings! Isn't there some way we could live always in the mountain parks? 
The lake was wild with wind and waves, but so much personality! It's wonderful how the weather and seasons transform the face of nature, and you experience it in a different way every time. 

Then we were looking for school supplies, backpacks, and discussing what on earth to pack for lunches. Really, we should have been nomads. Or that family that home-schools and travels across the world together. That's what we all really wanted. I guess that's what summer is for, and I know we were so blessed. To escape from routine is living! Even if we didn't have much time, and Dylan wasn't able to come with us very often, I'm glad I have the summer of 2015 to remember in the cold, scheduled days of winter. 

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