June 29. Friday.
This has become an annual event - watching the Ponoka Stampede Parade with my SIL Carol, my nieces Janice, Sarah, and Jessica (and their families), Victoria and her kids, and Victoria's mom and dad and their boys.
Kathryn could not attend this year for reasons that I do not remember so I brought Seth and Taliah along for the fun.
We sit at the end of the parade so there is always a long wait. Here, Seth, Ava, Taliah, and Victoria's little brother Josh stand in the street, watching to get the first glimpse of the police cars and RCMP riders that lead the procession....
My niece Janice spends her waiting time cuddling Judah....
Kaden, Seth, Taliah, and Ava wait patiently...
Does Kaden see the leaders?
Instead of sitting in a lawn chair behind the kidlettes, Victoria and I sat on the curb with them. It was fun to see the parade from their perspective.
I think the little ones waved at every single entry!
Later, I asked Seth what his favourite part of the parade was. Without hesitating, he said "The horses! And the monster truck!" A few seconds later he added "And catching candy!"
On our way back to our vehicles, once we'd crossed the road and the railroad tracks (stopping to turn and watch a train lumber by) the boys ran way ahead. We called them back so they wouldn't get out of sight. Ava tried to catch up as they ran back.
Seth slowed down enough to hold Ava's hand the rest of the way to her van.
My great nephew, Luca (Janice's oldest) celebrated his 6th birthday. His birthday celebration is also part of this tradition - we meet at my brother and Sister-in-law's home for the party.
Five little boys spent more time giggling and acting silly than they did eating. The boys' names are:
(from left to right) Kaden (in the hat), Luca, Donovan (Jessica's boy), Levi (Janice's youngest), and Seth.
After 'eating', they all ran off to play in Allan and Carol's impressive playground.
Seth takes a break from running to join Taliah in watching Ava play a game on my niece Sarah's phone.....
Sometimes you have to wonder.....how did we entertain our little ones without iPhones?
Great Auntie Carol cuddles Judah.....
The little girls have fun with bubbles instead of chasing their older cousins around....
The boys slow down long enough for Luca to open his presents.....
And then have cake - which is evidenced by the yummy mess around Taliah's mouth....
Finally, we have to leave. The 30 minute drive back to Wetaskiwin lulled my passengers to sleep. (Well, Seth was only almost asleep, actually)
But Taliah was zonked out.
The next day, my mom arrived before anyone else was up. She went into the house and settled herself on the couch for a quick nap while she waited for us to emerge from our trailer. LOL
She had risen early to be here so that she could ride with Jim and I to a family reunion just north of Edmonton.
This was a reunion of my Dad's family - the Johnson/Haunkenhus family. Haunkenhus was the family name in Norway - My great great grandparents changed their name to Johnson after they had lived in Iowa for a time - their new neighbours could not pronounce the original name.
We were celebrating 100 years of our family being in Alberta. My great grandparents, Martin and Marie, and 3 of his siblings settled first in the Fort Saskatchewan area in 1912. Some years later, Martin and Marie moved to New Norway to be near others of their nationality and religion (Lutheran).
I am so thankful for a large extended family - many of whom we know relatively well. We also met the 'Fort Saskatchewan' relatives whom I have never met. We gathered at a golf resort owned by the descendants of Martin's sister Kari.
This is my Great Uncle Sandy. He will be 89 years old this December. He is the youngest son of Martin and Marie. Uncle Sandy is a treasure. He was a Pentecostal preacher/pastor for most of his life after he returned from WW2 with his English bride, Lilly. Since they were our Great Uncle and Aunt, he instructed us to call them GUS and GAL (Great Uncle Sandy and Great Aunt Lilly). He is quite a card, still.
Sandy lives in Camrose, underwent quadruple bypass surgery last December, has Macular Degeneration which renders him legally blind, and he still walks a mile every day - usually up and down Main Street Camrose. He participates in seven church services each week (teaching at most, if not all of them) and goes to all the Nursing homes in town, his guitar in hand, to 'minister to the old folks' in song, teaching, and (get this) yodelling.
When we first moved to New Norway in 1994, it was Uncle Sandy who taught us about gardening. He came out to our 'farm' every week to work with us.
We are so thankful that God gave us that opportunity to get to know him then.
I think he is just 'hanging around' so he can be a part of the 'catching up' of the saints.
The blond lady is my dad's 'favourite' cousin, Ardiss. I remember visiting her and her family once in Kelowna when they lived on the lake. I always enjoy being around her - and not only because I know my dad treasured her.
Listening to Ardiss is my Auntie Mavis, my dad's sister. I'm so thankful that Mavis lives near enough to me that I 'run into' her often. I should really be more intentional about visiting her, but at least I see her from time to time.
This is Uncle Sandy's youngest son, Lyle and his wife, Addi. They were pastoring in Edmonton when we lived there - at the church where our boys went to the Christian school. Andrew was best friends with their son, Josh, so we got to know them outside of family gatherings.
One of the main events of the day was a family photograph. Representatives of each family were asked to wear a common colour. Martin's family wore blue and were by far the largest group.
Here, my mom walks with my dad's cousin Carolyn toward the place designated for the photo. My cousin Beth follows.
There were 115 people in the photo. It takes awhile to get that many people in one place, then to get them all lined up. While we waited in the hot sun, Jim visited with my cousin Jeff. Of course, my first cousins are well known to us since they grew up with me - and Jim was around from the time they were pretty young.
Back inside, out of the blazing sun......
My cousin Beth and in the background, Ardiss' daughter, Rhonda.
Beth's husband is 'our' pharmacist and we've seen photos of their girls in his office. We commented once how one of the girls looks like our Sophia. Seeing her in person confirmed our impression.
This is Emma Jarrett, Beth's daughter and Sophia's look-alike.
Dad's cousin Marie could not attend, but she sent a whole table full of heritage photos to be displayed. They were poured over, I can tell you!
I took this photo though, not for the table of family photographs, but because of the tender moment between Uncle Sandy and his younger sister, Lillian. Lillian is suffering from Alzheimer's and did not understand when someone offered her a glass of iced tea. Sandy took the glass and helped her to take a sip.
BTW....There were four of Martin's children at this event - Sandy, Lillian, a daughter in law, Beatrice, and the youngest, Nina.
And as a matter of interest - after the last reunion, 10 years ago, a family tree was made. This was also on display. From the original immigrants, Sven and Kari, there are 1100 desendants on this 'tree'. Seven generations.
The seventh generation documented our grandchildren, Emma, Elizabeth, and Sophia as well as my great nephews Luca and Donovan. Our children have added 9 more to that generation already.
Here is my dad's brother, LeRoy (seated) and his cousin, Dennis.....
As I said, this was a celebration of our family being in Alberta for 100 years. Our province honours families who reach this milestone.
The Minister of Education for Alberta, 'the Honorable Jeff Johnson' represented the premier (who, he said, wanted to be there but had to be in China) to make a presentation.
LOL. Of course, the honourable member of the legislature is none other than my 'kid cousin', Jeffery.
(And yes, I'm pretty proud of the fact that he has such an important portfolio in only his second term in office - although every time someone says 'the Honorable' I think of the little red headed boy who sucked his thumb and scratched his nose at the same time) (Sorry, Jeff.....was that disrespectful?)
Anyway, normally, the province honours the centurian family with a large bronze plaque. Maybe because of Jeff's connection with THIS family, the presentation was changed to be a smaller plaque for each of the 4 families.
Jeff presented Uncle Sandy and Auntie Nina with the plaque for Martin's family.
After the official presentation, Carolyn and Dennis read a short history of the family in Alberta. Their sister, Marie (the one who sent all the photos) has written the story of the 4 families. The 'reading' this day was an abridged version of that 'book'.
A labor of love, for sure, on Marie's part.
And finally, as the oldest member of the Johnson family, Uncle Sandy entertained us with a very abridged version of his own life. And when I say entertained, I mean entertained.
Like I said, this man is a treasure.
Whew......I know this is long.
My mom stayed overnight with us because Rob and Lana wanted to bring Finn out to meet her the next day.
July 1. Canada Day.
We started the day in church, where Mom was able to hear Vinjelu preach for the first time. That is, she heard him for the first time - not the first time he has preached. But it was the first time he preached as the pastor of the church.
Robert and his family arrived after lunch so Finn could meet his Great Gramma....
We spent the day outside, of course.
Rob and Ty 'raided' the deck box for all outside games they could find - beginning with Bocce Ball....
Papa and the girls watched from the sidelines...
Bocce Ball morphed into baseball.....
That did not last long, though, and soon Emma, Sophie, Rob, and Titus were playing croquet....
Great Gramma is an expert when it comes to fussy babies and she proved her skills today with Finn....
Were you wondering why Liz wasn't playing croquet with the others?
She was not feeling well and spent the day inside, reading and sleeping.....
Since Monday was a holiday in honour of Canada Day, Jim was home until later in the afternoon. We took advantage of the beautiful weather - warm, without being obnoxiously hot - and spent the day outside.
Jim started his day with coffee and the Word....
Then, while I began painting our fireside benches (of which there are no photos, sorry), he took it upon himself to mend the lawn chair that was ripped. Vinj kept 'hiding' the rip, hoping someone would sit on it and break through - giving us all a laugh. Too bad, Vinj.......it's fixed now! LOL
So, our busy weekend ended quietly - and colourfully.
But photos of the benches will have to wait until they are finished. So far, it has been either too cold and rainy or too blasted hot to continue with that project.