A Pieceful Life

A Pieceful Life

Welcome

I'm so glad that you stopped by, and hope that you enjoy your visit. Here you will find pieces of my life - quilting, cross-stitch, family, travel, friends.
My name is Peg - I am a 60ish wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend - and if we're not already related or friends, hope to become your friend too.
We live in the eastern end of the beautiful Fraser Valley, about 1.5 hours east of Vancouver, BC. Empty nesters, we have one son living just a few minutes away, our other son and daughter live in Alberta.
Comments are always welcome, always read - and answered if need be. Feel free to share, I love hearing from all my cyber-space friends.
Please do check out some of the links in my side-bar - you'll find other bloggers and fabulous people to visit.

Monday, December 22, 2014

And So It Begins

The holidays are here, well for us at least the celebrations begin by tomorrow.  Today, I’ll bake some muffins to have around for breakfasts, and finish up a couple of last minute sewing projects, do the laundry, make up the beds, and get out a jigsaw puzzle to do when the down times come – in a few days.

Tomorrow, my parents arrive and I have a birthday luncheon to attend.

Christmas Eve, our Calgary children and LV (7 months now) arrive and we’ll all be spending the afternoon and evening together with the other grandparents.

Christmas Day, brunch for 10 or 12 at 1100, skyping with a sister sometime during the day, turkey dinner for 11 at 600.

Boxing Day – well plan to do nothing but work on that jigsaw puzzle with my mother!

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Dec. 27 dinner with friends at their house

Dec. 28 we’ll move my parents down the street to a friends’ house to give them some time to just relax by themselves and to make room for the other children

New Years’ Eve our High River children and LW (2 1/2 months) arrive

New Years’ Day, brunch for 8 at 1100, goose (hunted by DS-J) for dinner for 8-12 at 600

Jan 2 – my parents head home

Jan 3 – Grizz’ family will be here for our annual get-together of snacks and sweets, and their first meeting with LV and LW – probably about 14 adults, 3 babies and 4 dogs!!!! 

Can hardly sleep for the excitement!

So now I’d like to wish you all a very, very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  See you in 2015!          

      Blessings, Peg

Saturday, December 20, 2014

In the Spirit

The other day I posted about the season of giving and sharing.  This morning, I read another story – it brought tears to my eyes as I thought of the generosity of this woman’s spirit, and knowing that it’s just one example of the love and kindness of many, many people in our world.  Read on:

Anne Marie MacDonald shows a letter given to her by a stranger who gave her money after helping her look for a lost wallet in Halifax. (ADRIEN VECZAN / Staff)

It was Dec. 9 and I was headed to downtown Halifax to do some Christmas shopping with $600 in cash that I had been putting away for this time of year.

My first stop was a clothing store on Spring Garden Road, to purchase a pair of pants I had had my eye on for the past year. The plan was to treat myself to these and get on with my Christmas shopping.

It was about 4 p.m. and the streets were busy. I parked on a side street not far from the store.

I went into the store and straight over to where the pants were located. I found my size and went to try them on. I set my keys down and noticed my wallet was not with me.

Frantically, I patted down my pockets and realized I must have dropped it somewhere. I quickly retraced my steps in the store and could not find it. I could feel myself panicking.

Under my breath, I mumbled that I lost something as I searched on the floor near another shopper. She heard me and immediately wanted to help: “OK, let’s retrace your steps. Where were you shopping in the store, and what cubbies did you look in?”

I told her there was $600 in the wallet. It was like we were on a mission, but after a long search, we found no sign of my wallet anywhere. I then retraced my steps back to my truck and back to the store. Again, no wallet.

When I returned to the store, the two of us continued to look in the same places and it was at that moment I knew I had to walk away. I introduced myself to the lady and said, “Thank you so much.” I was so appreciative of her help and concern.

I left the store. I was so disappointed but still thought there might a slight chance of finding it. After slowly retracing my steps a few more times to the truck and back, I decided it was time to leave.

As I was about to head home, my phone rang. It was a police officer. He told me he had found my wallet. And of course I asked the question about the contents. And of course the answer was no, there was no money found in the wallet. He told me to meet him in front of the store I was shopping in and we would have a quick chat about the incident.

The lady who had been helping me happened to be walking out, and I told her that the wallet was found but that there was no money in it. She waited with me until the police officer arrived and I said thanks again; at least we now knew what had happened.

I got home that evening and told my family what had happened. After feeling a range of emotions, I concluded that after all, it was only money; it could have been a lot worse. I also told everyone about the sweet lady who had helped me out. She was so kind and so genuinely wanted to help, and I honestly felt she was my best friend in that moment. I was very grateful she had been there.

So that was that — until I received a phone call from the store the very next day. They asked if I could come down. I asked why and they said a card had been dropped off there for me. Surprised, I asked “Was it from that lady who was helping me look for my wallet last night?” And they replied yes. I thought, wow, that’s so nice of her. I couldn’t make it there that day but the phone call alone put a smile on my face.

The next night after work, I drove downtown. After picking up the card I went back to my truck to open it. My eyes filled with tears. It contained $600 cash and this note:

Dear Anne Marie,

I wanted to write you to say that I have not stopped thinking about you since yesterday evening. Sometimes you meet someone and encounter a situation where you feel you just have to act. When you lost your wallet I felt simply heartbroken for you and where I am always so busy and focused I felt instantly that I needed to stop and help you. I went home and I told my husband and children about you and we all agreed that this was one of those moments in life where we wanted to do something. One day you will pay it forward to someone who needs your help, and that will keep the good going. Go and do your Christmas shopping and make it an extra special holiday.

Much love,

Anonymous

I was speechless.

I really want to share this story with everyone. Her thoughtfulness brought so much happiness to me and to the people around me. I learned so much about how an act of kindness can affect you. The values and qualities this lady exemplified through her actions and her family’s are ones I wish to emulate. Going forward, every Christmas will be a reminder to me that the spirit of the season is alive and well. Some people do act with goodwill and kindness with no expectation of acknowledgment or reward other than leaving a footprint in the sand. Someday I will have the opportunity to pay it forward, and I look forward to that day.

Anne Marie MacDonald is a massage therapist who lives in Halifax.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tis the Season

for giving and sharing.

Yesterday we went to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, and enjoy the entertainment.

(not my pics, sorry, forgot to take my camera)

But the Holiday Train is not just about entertaining – this 16-year-old tradition is a way to raise funds and gather food items for local food banks all across our country.

The train starts in Montreal and lands in Vancouver, stopping several times a day at communities across the country, where the local Community Services volunteers then set up collection points.  Of approximately 2500 residents in our little community, at least 500 of them gathered together yesterday to hear Jim Cuddy and Tracey Brown, and give for those less fortunate.

We were told that each dollar cash donation relates to five dollars worth of food – and CP Rail gave our town $7000.00.  With that plus the donations from last night plus the collections of our local firefighters last week and what ever else they collect, the coffers are full and should be full for a little while at least.

Other communities have different food drives at this time of year, like Cram the Cruiser – where local RCMP set up their vehicles at a collection point and folks can drop off their donations.  My little niece in Houston BC got behind this one and collected earnings from her craft sales to buy food to donate

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Yes, food is needed year-round, but in the spirit of giving, now is a good time to remember to share our wealth, so that those in need will have enough.

Happy giving!                      Blessings, Peg

Friday, December 12, 2014

Aah–That Felt Good

A day at a spa?  No, actually time with Brenda (sewing machine).

After a fairly lengthy separation, we finally got back together, albeit for just a short time, but it was goo-ood!

So what was the result of our joint adventure:

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This little ‘tree’ has gone to a friend in a care facility.  Saw this first on Renata’s blog A Loose Bobbin and she very graciously shared the pattern with me.

But I’ve not been idle.  This week in review:

Monday – bake butterhorns, sew the ‘tree’

Tuesday – a day for shopping and lunch with friends

Wednesday – bake tarts and squares, deliver the ‘tree’

Thursday – bake cookies

Today – will be candy making day

And I still haven’t done my Christmas cards and letters!!!

Happy makin’ and bakin’             Blessings, Peg

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

There’s much (cactus growing)DSCN8875

And everything’s glowingDSCN8889

Four calling birds

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The stockings were hung by the chimney with careDSCN8882

The (dog) was nestled all snug in her bed

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O Holy NightDSCN8877

Yes, even in the midst of our renos, we managed to get Christmas started in our house

Happy, happy season              Blessings, Peg

Monday, December 8, 2014

Adventures in Electricity

We finished the bedrooms!  Painted and new floors, fresh and clean and tidy, even found things we hadn’t seen in a long time, and managed to ‘recycle’ fairly effectively.

While doing the spare room, we had things piled up in our bedroom.  Then while working on our bedroom, we slept in the spare room, piling stuff up in the family room and dining room.  It was a mess!  But well worth it.  I’m sorry I forgot to take ‘before’ pictures, but here’s the result:

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Still a little work to do with curtains and some shelving, but essentially complete.

When we got to putting the master bedroom back together again, we of course were moving things like lamps and alarm clock.  Unplugging the alarm clock meant that the display went blank, but the battery would keep the ‘clock’ running until it was plugged in again.  Except that, when we plugged in the clock, there was no display.  Oh, brother, we wondered what could have happened in the 30 feet between bedroom plugs.  Then we discovered that that particular plug wasn’t working at all.  Okay, so take the cover off and see if we can discover any immediate concerns, like paint on the connection or something.  Nothing to be seen.  So we started checking a couple of other plugs.  ALL the plugs, both rooms were dead.  So out to the breaker box to see if there’s any apparent problems.  The ARC fault (not really sure what that means) was blown, wouldn’t reset.  We tried everything we knew to do, and were at the point of deciding we needed to find an electrician – really too bad our DSIL-J is so far away!  One last attempt – unplug everything from all the plugs and see if we can reset the breaker. 

It worked!  The breaker reset, we plugged in one appliance at a time, testing each as we plugged them in, all is good!  So we now have TV, digital box, internet modem, computer, printer, bedside lamps, alarm clock all working again.  Amazing to us that whatever caused that breaker to turn off, it only affected the plugs in those rooms.  The light switches all still worked throughout.

Electricity not being something that Grizz likes to play with, we were a little nervous, but all is well in the end.  And we have nice bright bedrooms once again with lovely laminate flooring.

Happy renos!                    Blessings, Peg

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Many wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and weekend to my US friends

Monday, November 24, 2014

Running Out of Time?

With Christmas coming, and all the shopping, baking, decorating, gift-wrapping to do, how do we find time to sew – Christmas gifts, guild or group projects, making and mending for the household, those quilts on the wish list?

Well, today I came across this list of tips to ‘fit’ sewing into our busy schedules.  They were posted on sewcanshe.com.  Of course the truly dedicated sewer/quilter will need to turn some of these the other way around to get the shopping, baking, decorating, gift-wrapping…….all done:

 

9. If house chores are keeping you from sewing, play a little game with yourself. Set a timer and alternate Speed cleaning for 20 minutes then sewing for 20 minutes. It's amazing how much cleaning you can accomplish with the proper motivation and you'll be surprised at how much sewing you can get done in 20 minutes.

8. Block or hide the distracting housework. Close the door to the laundry room. Shove the junk inside and close your children's bedroom doors. Put on your blinders and quickly walk past it all to your sewing room After all, no matter how many times you clean it, that mess is gonna re-appear. Your fabric is calling you! (note: I may or may not shove the dishes into the dishwasher just so they stop distracting me... and then it only takes a second to start it.)

7. Silence interrupters. Turn off or don't answer your phone. Don't answer the door unless it's the UPS man bringing more fabric. I'm sorry to my friends if this seems rude. But when people are busy at work, they routinely let calls go to voicemail. I claim the same luxury. And I will get back to you. :)

6. Keep a to-do list. I find that other tasks stop distracting me if I write them down. Then I know I won't forget them and I can put them out of my mind to sew for a while. 

5. Schedule it in. Plan time to sew first thing in the morning, right after lunch, after the kids get are in bed, etc. It doesn't really matter when... just make sure it's on your schedule. This could be once or twice a week or every day.

4. Set an alarm for when you have to stop - to go get the kids, get ready for work, etc. Knowing that the alarm will stop you, you can stop looking at the clock and focus on your project. 

3. Have a grown-up play date. Invite a friend over for a morning or evening of sewing. She might help you finish a big project, or you can each work on your own.

2. Pack a 'sewing on the go basket' (or bag). I must admit that I enjoy the slower pace of hand sewing just as much as I love sewing with my machine. So I keep a large-ish zipper pouch packed with my latest hand sewing project that I can grab when I know that I'll be waiting. Like on a long car ride, during my daughter's dance class, or in a doctor's waiting room. Paper pieced hexis are excellent an excellent start if you don't already have a hand sewing project.

1. Don't put away your sewing machine... keep it out and ready to go. This will be hard if you don't have a dedicated sewing area. But you know as well as I do that if you put the machine away it will be a while before she's out again.

I say, if your only sewing space is the dining room table, then sew-be-it, but if you can find even the smallest corner of a room, you’ll be happier with your machine always ready-to-go when you find those minutes in between all the other busy stuff

Happy sewing!                    Blessings, Peg

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mmmmm and Mmmmmm

Looking for a gluten-free, vegetarian turkey dinner?

Got a sweet tooth?

Well, the answer was posted on Facebook this morning:

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Gotta try this – just too much fun to pass up!

Happy turkey season!          Blessings, Peg

Friday, November 21, 2014

So What HAVE I Been Up To?

Playing with babies!!!

That’s just about it.

We headed back to Alberta to give our DS-J and DDIL-K a hand with their new baby.  K had a c-section and that combined with the lack of sleep that comes with a new baby, made things rather difficult for her.

This was, of course, not a hardship for us!  We gladly look for excuses to head to Alberta to help out any time, but especially now with the babies both out there…..

LW, born in October, is an absolute sweetheart, and just so very cuddly.  And during the two weeks we were there, he began to get the hang of going back to sleep in the middle of the night, and spending more of his day-time hours awake and delighting his parents’ and grand-parents’ hearts.138.4 wks

And then there were the times we were able to play with LV.  She was born in May and is performing just exactly as a six-month-old should.  Rolling and sitting and jumping in her jolly-jumper and starting to eat solids and laughing and chatting and squealing and for sure making her parents and grand-parents laugh with the pure joy of it all.  She even started swimming lessons!

324.First snow

It was a totally wonderful two weeks, and it was with great reluctance that we headed home.  But, home is where we need to be now.  With only 5 weeks until Christmas, and all that baking and shopping and decorating and gift-wrapping to do we really need to be here.  Besides, our kids really don’t need their parents hovering over them for weeks on end, right?  Tell me I’m right, and should listen to my head not my heart all the time.

Anyway, now that we’re home, we’re going to get started on some long-awaited renos in the house.  Nothing too major for the most part, and picking away at it one room at a time.  First up – painting and new floors in the spare bedroom.  That might be all we get done before Christmas, but it’s at least a start.

This, of course, means that quilting will be mostly set aside for the time being (also have a baby’s x-stitch Christmas stocking to get done, hopefully, in time).  Right now I’m so thankful that most Christmas shopping is done as I try to keep eyes open throughout the year and pick things up as I see them.

Anyway, that’s our recent activity in a nut-shell.  Will try to catch up with you all as I work through my blog reading list with some level of concentration.

Blessings, Peg

Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Biggest Challenge Ever

At least as far as quilting goes.

About 40 years ago, my mother made us a quilt.  We used it for a number of years, and it was getting thin and some of the hand stitching was pulling out, so I put it away to save for the memories.  This was before I started quilting.

After I started quilting, I pulled it out to admire the work that had gone into it, and was reminded how it had worn out.  And started to think about how it maybe could be restored.

Well, sometime last year I really started thinking about it, and earlier this year took the plunge to take it apart and see what I could see.  There was no binding – it had been sewn right sides together and turned inside out.  The fabric on the top is getting very thin, but no holes, no seams pulled apart but not 100% cotton either – possibly polyester or a poly-cotton blend.  The backing fabric appeared to be made from a sheet, a good quality one, that wasn’t near as thin as the top.  The batting was poly-fil, and bunching in some areas.  Size – about 85x95.

Okay, so now I knew for sure what I was dealing with.

A few weeks ago, our LQS had a sale on backing fabric, so I went out to see what I could get, and brought home a dark blue/black print, a little darker than the dark blue in the quilt top.

Then I got it all sandwiched, and loaded it on Big Bertha – then we went to Alberta to celebrate Thanksgiving and await the birth of our second grandchild.

On coming home, this is what I was facing:001

(Well actually not quite like this, but I forgot to take a picture when it was fully loaded)

I was really not sure that I could handle this.  Oh, man, this is huge!  It took up almost all the space I had on Big Bertha, and I was sure that I couldn’t roll up the whole quilt and still make a pass with my machine.

Finally, finally, I took the plunge.  The first few rows, the top thread kept breaking.  I tried everything I could think to do, but nothing seemed to work.  Then I just simply swapped out the spool of thread – and that was the answer.  No more breakage for the rest of the quilt.

Got about 2/3 of the way through, and just knew that I had to take the whole thing off, and turn it around.  I’d never done that before, but had been told by others it was do-able.  Yes, do-able, but not easy.  And then when it’s reloaded, you have to quilt from the front toward the back so as to prevent the fabric shifting and having a fold where the quilting lines meet.

But it got done!  Whew!  Actually once I was actually quilting, the sewing went fairly easy.  I chose to keep the actual quilting design very simple – both to make sure that my quilting lines would work when this was a large roll on the machine, and for my own sanity!

Here it is just after pulling it off the machine, thrown across our bed:

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You can see I just did a simple wavy line, which softens a little the angles in the pattern.  I made no attempt to make the lines exactly alike.DSCN8806DSCN8805

A little more work – trim the excess batting and backing, make and apply binding (which will be made from the backing fabric), press it all, and finally put it back in service.

But first a trip to Alberta to play with those grandchildren some more. 

See you all in a couple of weeks!                Blessings, Peg

Friday, October 31, 2014

It’s Friday, Oct 31

Yes, Halloween, not my favorite day of the year, not sure why, don’t want to analyze it right now.  But basically I resent jumping out of my easy chair every few minutes for 2-3 hours to hand out candy.

But let’s not dwell on that.  It’s the end of the month, and I have to admit that I have no starts or finishes to report this month.  We were away for half the month (playing with grandchildren so a wonderful time), then spent several days dealing with head colds.  Back to normal now, but heading away in a few days to play with those grandchildren again.

There is a rescue quilt on Big Bertha right now, will pick away at that for the next while. 

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And there’s Christmas ornaments and stockings to make.  And Christmas gifts to buy.  And Christmas baking to do.  This picture was posted on FB this morning – a little bit of inspiration:Christmas Bark Cookie Crunch

It’s amazing how quickly Christmas comes after Halloween – somebody has been reporting the number of Fridays for a few weeks now, and after today there are only 7 left.  Yikes!

Now Christmas, that’s probably my favorite day of the year, celebrating our Lord’s birth, family, friends, loving and giving.  And this year, we’ll have one grandchild in the house on the day, the second one arriving a few days later, so we’ll have both of them here at the same time.  Now that’s worth celebrating!

Speaking of celebrations, we’re going to celebrate a few birthdays this weekend, a bit of catch-up as well as celebrating ahead because we just haven’t been able to plan for anything near the actual dates.  It’ll be good times with family and friends – and aren’t those just the best of times!

Happy celebrations!  And if you’re a Halloween celebrator, Happy Halloween to you!                        Blessings, Peg

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Long Wait

is over.

This post is actually delayed because I couldn't get blogger to post a picture through my iPad so had to wait until we got home to a regular lap-top to share with you all..  But regardless, here's our big announcement:

Our grandson, LW, arrived October 15 weighing in at 10 lb. 11 oz.  He put the docs and mama through all the paces trying to persuade him to join us in the world, and eventually they decided on a c-section.


He is, of course, a pure delight for everybody, and it was terribly hard to leave him behind (as well as our kids and our granddaughter) when we came home, but we'll be headed back probably in just a few weeks to see them all again, and they all plan to join us over the Christmas/New Year holidays.  Lots of Nan-time ahead!

Happy, happy grandparenting!                                Blessings, Peg

Monday, October 6, 2014

Scrap Happy

At home, tidying up the last bits of end-of-summer work, waiting for ‘the call’ (baby now overdue), and getting in a little bit of sewing.

Two scrappy quilts, going for charity:004

Front and back of this one both scrappy:

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Just need to finish sewing the binding down on both.  So this will actually mean two starts AND two finishes for October already!

And now loading up an old quilt on Bertha.  This one my mother made for us about 40 years ago.  It’s well used, getting thin, and I took it apart a few months ago to re-sandwich and quilt.  The plan is to preserve it for the future.  So I’ll pick away at this for the next while, and I think when it’s done I’ll actually label it.

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This is the biggest quilt I’ve ever tried to do on Bertha – wish me luck!

Blessings, Peg

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hotel Adventures

Going to a hotel, especially one of a chain, one expects to sleep well, be warm and comfortable, move freely about the hotel premises, and go home relaxed and refreshed.

Well, this past month, we’ve had opportunity to stay at two different hotels, in two different cities, and the experiences have left us wondering about this world

First, late August, we were treated to a hotel room courtesy of the Calgary Highland Games committee.  A nice room, we slept well, and got up in time in the morning to pack up and be ready to check out before we headed out for breakfast – planning to return after to get our bags.  As we stepped into the hallway, we were met by a police officer who directed us quickly and quietly away from the elevator and toward a stair well.  If this wasn’t enough to have us wondering, we saw a few more police around the building, and then when we tried to return to our room, we were not allowed on that floor.  Period.  No discussion.

By this time, many of the police were in full SWAT gear, something like the picture below:

They even had one of those little camera thingies that looks like a vacuum cleaner so they could put a wire under a door to see what was going on inside. 

The hotel staff were more than gracious, extended our ‘stay’ well into the evening at no extra cost to us or to the Games committee, and we headed off to the field for the day.  During the day we heard some rumors about a ‘cheating’ spouse and a person threatening with a gun.  When we returned to the hotel, we received a letter explaining that a domestic dispute had required police presence, all parties involved were arrested, and nobody was injured.  As we checked out, the staff told us that, in fact, they knew nothing of the incident until police arrived in the morning.

Then this past weekend, we were in another hotel for a wedding.  We checked in, found a lovely room with a Jacuzzi tub, got changed and headed out for the celebrations.

We returned fairly early as we had our nearly-due pregnant DDIL-K with us and my parents, and they were ready to call it a night.

We stepped in, took shoes off, and Grizz said ‘what’s going on?  I just got dripped on!’  We looked up: 

We reported to the hotel desk

And requested another room.  Sadly for us – good for them – the hotel was full to capacity, and they had to move us to another hotel.  Again, staff was gracious and helpful, but not what we expected to be doing.

Ahh, adventures!                      Blessings, Peg

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Baby in the House!

DD-A and LV came for a quick visit.  They’re on their way to join friends for a pre-wedding celebration, and had a couple of days to spend with us.  What a treat to have a baby in the house again!

Bottles on the counter:

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A playmat on the floor:

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We converted the en-suite bath into a nursery for a quiet place for LV to sleep, and then spent our time playing with her:129125

LV did well with her first plane trip, and adjusting to a new house for a couple of days.  Her mama had a much harder time – first their luggage didn’t arrive with them, then when we got to her in-laws’ house to borrow a vehicle the keys couldn’t be found (they were with the in-laws in California), then LV wasn’t quite prepared to switch time zones.  But she’ll be joined later today by DSIL-J, and she’ll have night-time help again.  BTW – the luggage arrived a few hours later, and the car keys were sent by UPS and arrived the next day, so it all did work out but made for a few stressful hours.

While they were here, we pulled out a couple of photo albums and discovered that LV is a little clone of her mama.  How we had forgotten!  It was quite amazing to see.

We are on our way tomorrow for a wedding in Alberta, and some time with family and friends, including the expectant parents DS-J and DDIL-K.  Baby is due in just over a week, so our phone sleeps with us every night!

Happy baby times!             Blessings, Peg