Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrapping Up Another Year

On Christmas Sunday we listened to Neil and other ward members sing and present a beautiful Christmas program. After we got back to the house, we gathered around the tree to open gifts. Landon and Eliza had gotten pretty overstimulated by the end of the day, and they had a hard time going to bed. Austin received the Monopoly Deal card game, and some of us played it to wind up the night.

Santa found Landon and brought him a Buzz Lightyear!

"These aren't the droids you're looking for."
"Try not! Do, or do not. There is no try."
We received a Christmas pickle to hide in the tree. Landon found it and got an extra treat!
Each year, the kids make a train. This time Landon and Eliza got to join in.
Monday was Boxing Day (practically speaking, it’s a lot like Black Friday in the US) and the third day of a four-day weekend, as most Canadians received both Monday and Tuesday off. A bit of new snow fell again overnight, so Landon and Mike played out in it, and a little later Austin came out to join us.
Heh, heh, heh!

Is this why you should never eat yellow snow?

That evening Neil pulled out the Anomia card game, a great Frenchys find (Neil finds the most amazing things at that store. It advertises itself as a used clothing store, but it is much, much more). Between Hallie calling out the category in addition to naming the item from that category and Mike reaching for the card as he was naming his items, we proved to be unconventional card players.

On Tuesday, Mike and Landon shot his bungee rocket in the back yard. That thing could get some real air and distance, even after it came apart. Later on, Mike, Hallie, Kathy, and the little ones went to Lunenburg for Hallie and Kathy’s spa treatment at EmOcean Spa. While the ladies indulged, Mike took the kids around town. Unfortunately, all the shops and museums, including the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic and the Bluenose II restoration, were closed. Still, we managed to see a few things.

Some of the characteristic architecture that helped put Lunenburg on the map as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Note the "Lunenburg bump," a uniquely local feature, on the front of the house.
The harbor at low tide. The red building is the Fisheries Museum.
That evening the Christmas tree came down. Bryce, Janelle, Austin, and Mike pulled out the LEGO VW camper van he received from Landon and Eliza (wink, wink) and had an epic three-hour LEGO build.
1332 pieces; . . .
. . . where to begin?
The engine and dashboard
Interior detail in progress
The camper top raises and lowers. Ooh! Aah!
Janelle and Austin's half: Completed!
With Bryce and Mike's half: The final result.
LEGO sets should definitely be built with friends. Great work, everyone!
Wednesday rain washed most of the previous days’ snow away. Mike, Kathy, and Neil worked, the boys hung out at home, and the girls and kids went to Halifax. Later, Hallie and Kira went over to Kathy’s mom’s house to complete work on a quilt Hallie and Neil had started work on a few days earlier.

We woke up Thursday to no lights. Power came back on before7 AM, but we had the chance to experience near pitch blackness out here in the country. Landon did not understand why we could not either watch TV or go on the Internet. The weather had cleared up, bringing in its wake sun, wind, and chilly temperatures. We wanted to get the kids out of the house to burn off some energy, so we headed to town in the afternoon. Austin came with us as we had lunch and visited Neil where he works at the local hospital cafeteria. From the hospital, we went to the DesBrisay Museum, a true gem of local history.

We've already seen one of these up close and personal this week!

After going to the DesBrisay museum, we drove over toward Lunenburg to see the Halifax and Southwestern Railway Museum. This labor of love has an S scale (1/64 scale, the same as Hot Wheels cars) model of the H&SW Railway as it looked during its heyday. The curator, Duane Porter, knew all sorts of information about the historic railway. In fact, he even said he had a degree in bovine scatology!

We went back to Lunenburg and Mahone Bay on Friday after Hallie spent some more time with Hazel on her quilt. As we drove down to Lunenburg, we took the LighthouseRoute from Bridgewater along the LaHave River and the coast, a very picturesque trip full of scenic waterways, secluded inlets, and brightly colored houses. As we reached the top of a rise near the Topmast Motel, we were treated to an incredible view of Lunenburg Harbour:

We caught up with our friends, the Jewers from Lunenburg and the Davisons from Mahone Bay, and the kids had a chance to show off and get to know everyone. We missed seeing Janelle as she headed back up to Dal while we were out, but we’re glad to know we’ll still be able to keep up with her on Skype.

The last day of the year started cloudy with the threat of rain. We got the house ready for a party to bring in the New Year. Hallie, Kathy, Hazel, and later Neil all collaborated to finish off Hallie’s quilt. Here is the finished result:
Yes, they're American lighthouses,
but there's a Nova Scotia tartan on the back!
Landon, Austin, and Mike took a break to launch Landon’s Mentos and soda geyser.

For some strange reason, soon after we opened the soda bottle it started to foam, so Mike quickly clamped on the Mentos tube, dropped the Mentos in, and jumped back just in time to get this shot without getting too wet.
In the afternoon it finally did start to rain. Landon had some chocolate milk and had produced for himself a wicked good mustache. He didn’t want his picture taken, so Mike showed him how to make a finger moustache.
I mustache you a question, . . .
. . . but I'll shave it for later.
We popped open some Christmas crackers in the early evening.
Is someone afraid of the big, bad noise?

What kind of cheese isn't yours? Nacho Cheese!
As midnight approached, the Dorey kids and their dad fired off this set of fireworks:

Happy New Year 2012!

Reflecting on the year, we’ve had some ups and downs, and we’re glad to report that the ups have outnumbered the downs. We posted less than half as many entries this year as last, but they are full of memories to last a lifetime! Among the highlights: Eliza came into our lives and has grown from a tiny infant to a fast and curious (almost) toddler. Landon continues to amaze. Among his many accomplishments, he learned how to ride a big boy bike, graduated from his speech class, and appeared in a commercial. We were able to do a fair bit of traveling, again having visited both coasts of North America and spent time with family and friends in places both familiar and new. We have made new friends and hard decisions. We successfully sold the condo. We bought a new car. In sum, a lot of what went on this year was pretty ordinary, but we feel so grateful for each bit of it, ordinary and otherwise. We know 2012 will bring more dramatic changes, because that's how we seem to roll. As always, we’ll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Riley and Breanne said...

Looks like you had tons of fun in Canada... like usual! Love those pictures! Glad you had a fabulous Christmas!