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Archive for the ‘Bagpipes’ Category

The motorcycle turned into the driveway at my mother’s apartment building in Welland, Ontario on July 27th and it’s been a whirlwind of family reunions, shopping, sightseeing and so much laughter.  We had a few days catching up with my Mom before our daughter Megan and our two-month-old grandson Bowen flew out from Vancouver Island to join us.

GG (Great-Grandma) and Great Auntie Betty both met Bowen for the first time and fell instantly in love — as we all have. It’s amazing how one little boy can be so entertaining.  Better than TV we watched Bowen constantly waving his arms and legs and sharing his adorable, impish grin.

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Our first family party was in St. Catharines with Chris’s side of the family.  The lower left picture is Chris with our niece Jenna.  We joked how amazing it was to see her two years in a row after attending her wedding last May.  Next up Great Aunties Robynne and Rilla visiting with their great-nephew giving us another one of his interesting facial expressions 😀

A very sweet moment was our great-niece Sloane presenting a gift to the baby. Sloane is 3-years-old and just adorable.  So bright and smiley and a reminder to us how literal little people can be.  Sloane’s momma Shannon looks like she’s having quite a serious conversation with Bowen.  We found out Shannon is going back to school to get a Master’s Degree to become a vintner.  Seems fitting that our nephew Jamie is an award winning brewmaster and his sister will be a wine scientist !!!  Thanks to you all for carving out a night to spend time with us.

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A few days later in St. Catharines 5 generations of family gathered to celebrate my Nana Collings 96th birthday.  You’d have thought we were at an awards ceremony with paparazzi taking thousands of pictures.  Nana held Bowen (who is the youngest) in the picture with her great and great-great-grandchildren.  The next picture is Nana surrounded by her own children: sitting beside her my father Bill, and in the back row is Liz, Jill, Ben, Dave & Josie.  My Uncle Owen from BC wasn’t able to make it.

And a very special moment was our own 5 generation picture with my Nana, my Dad,  Megan, Bowen and I.  It was wonderful to see my Dad’s cousin Janice from Detroit who made the long drive for lunch and headed back again right after.  My Uncle Dave joked that I’m not as young as I think I am — it was 50 years ago that I was the flower girl at his wedding.  I met cousin’s spouses and children for the first time and reconnected with cousins I hadn’t seen since I was a teenager.  The guest of honour looked lovely in lilac and reminded us all to appreciate every day we’re given.  And thanks Nana for paying for brunch for the whole lot of us.  I’m sure I won’t have bacon & chocolate covered fruit on my plate together at the same time anytime soon.

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Taking some time to sightsee we spent an afternoon in Niagara Falls.  Like a mini Vegas — Clifton Hill is very crowded on a hot day in August and hard for an easily distracted person like me to have to watch where I’m going with so much going on.  So excited to be on an adventure our great niece Sloane told us Niagara Falls is her favourite place.  That’s perfect because she lives there lol.

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The hot and humid weather has been challenging even with air-conditioned cars, homes and stores.  We happily took my cousin Stuart up on the offer to swim in his pool.  Bowen wasn’t crazy about being woken up with his feet in cool water but I suspect he’s a water baby just like his Mom.  When I saw that slide I couldn’t resist and no I’m not sharing those pictures with you !!  My heart was just pounding when I hit the water but what a rush !!  Stuart & Mandy we are thankful for those few moments of respite from the heat.  image.jpeg

The next adventure was a road trip to Haliburton where my brother Dan, sister-in-law Sue and our niece Vivian live on a beautiful treed 40 acre property with a river running through.  We sure appreciated having a camper/trailer in the driveway providing separate sleeping quarters for Megan & Bowen, Chris & I.  And oh happy day it was air-conditioned which we really appreciated the first night.

Saturday August 6th we all headed to Lake of Bays for the Kennedy family reunion.  This year’s theme was Wild, Wild West and I was on Calamity Jane’s Posse.  What a thrill to be on the winning team and have my name on this year’s trophy.  I won the Spelling beans competition by being the first one to open a can of baked beans, pour them out onto a tray and spell the word “chow” with my bare hands.  The festivities came to a close with my brother playing Amazing Grace on the bagpipes while the sun set.

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Sunday night we celebrated two August birthdays — mine & our niece Vivian’s.  We had a wonderful dinner in Norland, then headed back to Haliburton for cake & champagne.  What an amazing few weeks it was to be surrounded by relatives.

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There are so many people to thank: Chris’s family for hosting a wonderful bbq & get together, Auntie B for our own room & use of the Betty Boop mobile.  You’re an awesome roomie and I’m so glad you’re on Facebook.  Thanks to my Mom for giving up her bedroom for all of us and making space for so many extra bodies, loaning us your cool car and making sure we had loonies multiple loads of laundry.  Thanks to my honey for renting a van so we could travel comfortably up north.  And my apologies to friends and family we weren’t able to visit because we plumb ran out of time.  Tomorrow we get back on the bike and head south into New York State heading for friends in South Carolina.

Love & hugs from the road…

 

 

 

 

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Yesterday we had no plans until meeting up with my brother Dan for lunch so we had time to sleep in, organize the trailer and spend some time on the water in Parry Sound.  Just down the road from our motel we got stopped at the train tracks so we sat in the warm sunshine enjoying the 10 minutes of clickety-clack of cars carrying important cargo across the country.  The beautiful weather is perfect for all of us visiting or living in cottage country.  A leisurely water view lunch and catch up with Dan was followed by a meandering ride on mostly secondary roads.

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We stopped in Gravenhurst to have a look at Segwun, the oldest coal-powered steamship in North America.  The Segwun and Wenonah II are busy all summer long with dinner/wine & sightseeing cruises.  We sat on the porch at Muskokabilly’s with a cold drink enjoying the view.  I haven’t been to this part of Ontario since I was a kid.  Family friends had a cottage on the lake and I remember going into Bala to buy treats.image

Arriving at Dan & Sue’s 40 acre riverfront property we were welcomed warmly by Freeway and Sophie.  Freeway is the older dog and much more mellow than Sophie who is a retired explosives & weapons sniffing police dog.  We quickly shed all our bike gear, grabbed another cold drink and headed to the screen house.  An outdoor living room overlooking the river with lots of comfortable furniture.  The screens are very important being on a wooded property with water.  There are lots AND LOTS of mosquitoes, black flies and other winged insects that all want to bite.  Our 16-year-old niece Vivian and sister-in-law Sue both got home from work and after bbq burgers we went downtown to a waterfront park to watch Dan and his fellow Haliburton Highlanders Pipe Band practice.  This is Dan’s informal piper attire — we’ll get to see him in all his finery in a few weeks.  One more night in Haliburton and we’re off to the Niagara Peninsula for a few days with my Mom & family and the bike will go into the shop for a quick tune-up before we head to the east coast.

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Love & hugs from the road…

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