Friday, December 31, 2010

"Christmas Morning......"

I LOVE Christmas morning! This year certainly was no exception. ;) For some unfortunate reason, I didn't even get the chance to ask Don if he wanted to open 1 package on Christmas Eve, as has been tradition for us (what can I say...he humors me).....we had been busy, I guess. Sad, isn't it? ;)

Here is our Christmas tree, surrounded by the packages that would soon keep us in constant delighted surprise as they were opened. Did I say how much I LOVE Christmas??!!

Here is Don with his "yearly" Christmas ornament. A piano this year which is similar in looks to what he actually does play......minus the glitter, of course. Sir Elton John, he isn't...... ;)

He found several CD's under the tree and in his Christmas stocking.......

This was one of my favorite "surprise" packages for him.......yes, all were securely taped to the bottom of the box so that no movement or noise came from the package when picked up. :)

He also received a few DVD's. This one was as much gift to me as for him. ;)

And some liquid refreshment, too.

Some "instructional" gifts included both CD's and DVD's.....

Others came in book form......

And, yes, some regular reading was included as well........

An edible gift, too. Some "Great Dane Beer Infused Chocolates".......aren't they beautiful?

More from our Christmas tomorrow.......

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Horseback Riding in Michigan....."

While visiting in Michigan, I went with Patrick, Julie, and Abigail to the horse barn where Julie does some riding. There are 2 horses that Julie has access to ride....the 1st one being a very gentle one so that Abigail gets to go riding as well. This is "Abigail's" horse getting groomed by Patrick, prior to Julie and Abigail's ride. As you can see, Abigail has no fear....... ;)

Julie and Abigail mounted and ready for their ride around the arena.

Here is a close up of "The little Snow Princess" all bundled up and ready to ride. ;)

The ride is actually a walk around the arena with Patrick as escort. :) Usually once around the ring in the Winter cold and the ride is over, but in the warmer months, Abigail gets to ride for a longer time.

This is the other horse that Julie rides. I was told both horses names but have forgotten them. Having just come inside from the paddock, Julie puts it's halter on prior to taking it down to groom before the saddle blanket and saddle go on.

Family portrait. :) After this was taken, I went with Patrick and Abigail into Manistee. Julie stayed at the barn, groomed her horse and rode for awhile. This horse is a bit more "frisky" so Abigail is not allowed on it, but being so, gives Julie a good work out, too.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"It's All About Abigail......"

Well....maybe not all. I wanted to post a photo of their Christmas tree, too. I helped Patrick set up and decorate it. The bottom half of the tree is wrapped with lights and the whole thing is behind a huge trunk and child gate to protect it from a little inquisitive girl. She was totally infatuated with it and tried many, many times, to get closer to it. :) This will most likely be the last year that they will be able to protect it this way..... :)

Poor Abigail had a bad diaper rash while I was there, too. She was given a little reprieve and allowed to run around for a bit "diaper-less". Being the nice and considerate Grandpa that I am, I did not try to get a "blackmail" photo to embarrass her in her teenage years.....

I baked some banana bread one of the days I was visiting and these next few photos are of Abigail enjoying some.......

Is she a "photographic ham" or what????

A "dainty" eater, she is not.......

Patrick holds her "Kitty" while Abigail has "Cookie Monster", a gift from Uncle Sean at Thanksgiving when he came to visit.

Abigail wearing her tie-dyed "onesie" that Don gave her for her birthday. As you may have guessed, "Kitty" gets carried around quite a bit. :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Snowy Michigan....."

When I arrived in Michigan, there was easily a foot or so of snow on the ground....perhaps 5" of it newly fallen. In fact, Patrick was on his tractor plowing the driveway. He also had to clear a path to the "guest camper" door, too. ;)

As you can see in this photo, it was snowing as I arrived. It actually snowed every day I was there.

Each morning we awoke to new snow. Thankfully, it wasn't in any large amount, but enough to keep everything pristine white.

Patrick and Julie's home, outside of Brethren, MI, is in the Manistee National Forest.

They do have neighbors, but no one as close as most of us are used to........

The "Guest Camper"......I know I have posted photos of it before, but none with snow on it. :)

Guests have a beautiful view of the forest, too.

I have made some changes inside the camper. I took down the table and made that into the bed, leaving the couch "as is" so I have a comfortable place to read or knit without having to set up and take down the bed each day.

On one of our trips into Manistee, we stopped at a popular bargain store, where I found these throw pillows at an extremely good price, making my "sitting area" even more comfortable. ;)

More of my Michigan visit tomorrow......

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Early Michigan Christmas......."

Abigail helped Patrick open his box of hand knitted gifts from me. He received several pair of hand cranked/hand dyed socks, plus a pair of felted clogs, which he is showing Abigail in this photo.

Julie received a hand knitted shrug, but this was actually her birthday gift. The vest I had knitted her for her birthday in September, didn't fit her (I knitted it too large!), so this was to replace the original gift.

Next Abigail helped open Julie's box of more hand knitted gifts. She, too, received several pair of hand cranked/hand dyed socks, plus ..........

Another style of shrug.

Here she is modeling it. I was very pleased to see her when she got home from work (she left before I went into the house in the mornings from the "guest house") that she had worn both shrugs to work, one on Thursday and the other on Friday. I felt very complimented!

Abigail being silly......

This was either the last bottle that Abigail had, or next to the last.....she no longer has a bottle before bed, but is a "sippy" cup girl from now on. :)

More from my Michigan visit tomorrow......

Friday, December 24, 2010

"An Early Christmas With Abigail....."

During last weeks visit with the kids in Michigan, we celebrated an early Christmas. Todays post is granddaughter Abigail opening her gifts from Don and me.

She had just opened the one with her "new" loon.....I say new because we'd bought her one last year when we were on vacation in Bayfield, WI, up on the shore of Lake Superior. After we saw and bought the "new" one, I had a flash back of our getting her one before, but figured "why not another"? ;)

Who says a little child can't hold onto one present and rip open another? :)

A little sweater that I knitted for her. We found the pattern and yarn when we were in Center Harbor, New Hampshire, at the main shop of "Patternworks" (, while on vacation this past summer. Gotta always be on the lookout.........

In the same package was another little surprise.....a "glittery" horse Christmas ornament.

She figured she better set her loon down to help open this bigger package.

Takes 2 hands to get a good grip for ripping wrapping paper........

I had also knitted her a soft and fuzzy robe for her to wear when she is a bit older/bigger. Again, we found the yarn at the Patternworks shop in New Hampshire.

Next post, Abigail helps Patrick and Julie open their Christmas gifts......

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"The Last Posting of Claire's Visit......"

On the Friday night of Claire's visit, we went out to dinner and had Barb, Geoff, and Rob join us. After dinner, we came back to the house as we had some time to kill before we were off to the Brick Lounge to enjoy "Piano Fondue" (dueling pianos). In this photo, Geoff is looking through a photo album that Claire brought with her, which she left with us so Don could scan photos that we don't already have.

Here, Rob and Barb join Geoff in looking at some of them as well.......

Jumping around chronologically, we move to Sunday morning when we met Sheila (in red) and Penny at Sardine for brunch. It was a very somber time......NOT!!!! We laughed and laughed, having a very good time! See the smirk that Sheila is trying to hold back? That should give you an idea as to what sort of time we were having......

Later, when we arrived home, I decided it was time for Claire to open Christmas presents. First, from her stocking.....a PEZ dispenser. She GUESSED what it was from just feeling the wrapped package!!!!

Another present was a "re-gifting". My Great Aunt Dordy was a china painter and painted some Christmas plates in 1959. I felt it time to give Claire one for her studio apartment, knowing she did not have room for a Christmas tree. This way she can still decorate a little for the season.

One of her main gifts was a shawl that I knitted for her. Hopefully, she will be able to put it to good use. :)

We had a wonderful time with Claire during her visit to Madison. We hope that she will come visit again......also, we hope that she will be able to join us for a few days when we celebrate Don's 60th birthday in Traverse City, MI this coming Spring, too. Time will tell, eh? :)