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Sunrise at Tombstone, AZ

Monday, 31 December 2018

And then there were 2 plus Freya. HAPPY NEW YEAR

Saturday, December 29th, was another drizzly cold day. I spent the day doing laundry for the 4 beds that were changed, including the motorhome and cleaning out the fridges of leftovers. At 10:30 am "to my wondering eyes did appear" a pompom on a toque bounding by on the sundeck. Our deck/rock crew, were here. Totally unexpected but welcome. Glad we were home. Made a pot of split pea soup from the ham bone and shared it with the boys to warm them up on such a cold day.

We've ONLY been waiting two months to take these pics!

Sunday turned out to be a spectacular sunny day. More laundry and house tidying for me. Ray worked replacing the lock sets on the doors.  It's taking forever to get anything done with only one very slow carpenter and Ray getting extremely frustrated and does not want to wait anymore. Derrick and Matt showed up at 8am this morning. More disappointment regarding the laying of the deck tiles ... the tabs on the feet that the tiles sit on are all exposed sticking out of the top of the tiles and when you break them off you can still see them. Ray is "off the wall mad" again and now David Coulson himself will be here on Wednesday, January 2 to see what is to be done. Will this job ever be done!

Matt added more mortar to the rock work that will need to dry and acid washed the fireplace downstairs.

We were going to have a piece of slate for the stove to sit on but it was going to be another three weeks (of course because it wasn't ordered three weeks ago when it should have been!) before they could get it so we decided that since we have so much rock around the yard, we would use that if they could get it level. I think that at least this is finished.

The guys did a cleanup though and most of the mess they had made on our new concrete is now picked up. They left about 1:30 to return tomorrow for the final day (they think). After they left I hosed off the concrete myself to get rid of all the grit so it does not get into our hot tub. We have not been able to use it very much due to all the junk and mess around it lately.

Being such a beautiful day I started our fire at noon and Ray and I sat out there for a couple of hours enjoying the fresh air. Hate to waste the few nice days we have by not getting outside and enjoy the calming effect of looking at the lake.

Monday, December 31st, New Years Eve

This morning cold and clear out at -2C. Burrrr. The deck guys showed up about 8:15 am, all of their tools and tile saw frozen up. They ended up using the angle grinder between the tiles to take down the black nubs on their hands and knees while they also finished the edge tiles. Once the deck was done they mortared the rocks that had fallen off the house during the deck demolition.

They finally finished about 2:30 pm after cleaning up the deck, the mess downstairs with the tile saw and moved up my fire table and lazyboy frames onto the deck. Yeah! Now to find the chair backs and cushions that are hidden somewhere in the basement storage area. The only thing left to do on the deck is the transition to the stairs, we need a piece of wood or tile so you don't see under the deck tiles and our gate.

Ray had another contractor stop by yesterday to check out the work left to be done and if he could take the job over if our meeting with Coulson went south.  If Coulson won't provide another carpenter for the remainder of the jobs and have them finished within a month (Ray Speaking ... we are SHIT CANNING him!)  So we shall see. This guy lives in our area and has good references and does not charge an extra 20% on materials!

My housekeeper came today after missing the mid-December cleaning ... so the house was not cleaned completely for a month. I did the vacuuming and bathrooms a few times in between. Nice to have the dusting, bathrooms and floors done completely, especially after all of our Christmas traffic. Jackie and her helper left at 3:15 pm and now it was time for me to get ready for company for dinner.

We invited Pat and Darryl over for appetizers and a light dinner as they had their grandchildren with them. The boys played upstairs in the loft with the TV and lego while we visited downstairs. After dinner we went over to Pat's house so the boys could go to bed there and had more appetizers and toasted to the New Year at 9 pm to 10 (It was a really long toast with multiple glasses of champagne. lol) Back home by 10:30 and to bed. I forgot to take any pictures. (My bad) so here is a picture of our guests from Christmas Dinner and one of the kids taken this fall.

Darryl with Ray

Severin and Ashton, so cute.

They are such nice people and we really enjoy their company. Great to have wonderful neighbours literally one driveway between our houses.

Happy New Year! Looking forward to 2019 and finished renos.

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Saturday, 29 December 2018

Christmas Week, and Garrett and Kat are here with my Grandpuppy Kira

It's Christmas at Kyle's Kottage!

Saturday afternoon at 3:30 our power came back on. Totally unbelievable. Thanks to BC Hydro. We were starting to think that we would still be out for Christmas. I guess Ray and I did not have to set up our whole living room and kitchen with power cords from our Motorhome's generator. lol

Garrett and Kat arrived about 1:30 pm. Fabulous to see them. There was another horrific accident on Highway 18 coming into Lake Cowichan so we called them to divert to the old Lake Cowichan Highway to miss it. I had Garrett and Kat help me get our big barbecue back up onto the sundeck as I would use that to barbecue our prime rib for dinner. Thanks guys it was quite the chore but so worth it for dinner. lol

After they settled in it was time for Kat and Garrett to decorate cookies that Kat made and brought over.

Such concentration.

Our fabulous daughter-in-law, Kat
Kristi and Jason came later as they still had no power in Nanaimo and needed to run their generator for a couple of hours.

When our power came back on, Garrett and Kat helped gather all the extension cords so we could plug all our stuff back into the wall sockets. Ray and I definitely are now quite prepared if the power should go out again so we know what to do much faster. I will clean and restock our fridge tomorrow once it has cooled down.

At 4 pm Kristi and Jason arrived ... now we have a total of 4 dogs going crazy all over the house. Just what Christmas is all about, lots of good food, lots of people, lots of dogs and lots of noise. Our house full of good cheer.

Kristi decorating cookies too.

Jason eating the baking. lol
 Grandma (me) has new toys for the pups to occupy them today.

While everyone was visiting I was busy cooking dinner. I had prepped everything earlier so it was pretty easy. Now the power was back on I was "instructed by Garrett and Kristi" that I could make yorkshire puddings to go with the Prime Rib.

The dogs were fed before dinner, Kira is on a special diet but not very enthusiastic!

No mom .... I do not want that, where's the beef!
They turned out fabulous.
Nice to use candles for ambiance instead of light to eat dinner by. lol
 As I did all the cooking ... I had a cleanup crew. Thanks a bunch guys. Jason was exempt as he is still getting over a broken ankle from curling. :)

Great having you all. 
 Kristi and Jason had to leave about 7:30 for Nanaimo as Kristi is on call at the hospital for 48 hrs as of 8am tomorrow morning. They also needed to run their generator for a couple of hours before bed. Was great to have you and we will see you at 7am on the 26th for our formal Christmas.

After Kristi left everyone was full and very relaxed, even the pups. What a great day.

Watching The Christmas Chronicles (great movie!)

Christmas Eve day. We were all up by 6:30 am, although Ray had been up at 5:30 am. It poured rain all night but we all stayed warm and dry. Kat was up by 7am and we all sat around having our coffee and Carolans. Kat was ecstatic I had taped the Curse of Oak Island series for her, so we watched that for an hour or so. The kids and Ray started on our Christmas Puzzle while I got dressed. I made blueberry pancakes and everyone managed to finish them all off except one. lol Garrett said he was in a "food coma" and needed a rest before attempting to saw up some timbers for us for firewood. Ha Ha.

Well today was supposed to be quiet, however Kristi and Jason still do not have any power, Christmas Dinner is December 26th a few days away and we don't know if they will have power by then. Sooooo, Jason and Kristi have decided to hold Christmas here instead which means Jason's parents and grandmother will be here for the 25th as well.  I spent a good part of the day organizing the motorhome that I have not really been in it since last December before I flew home for Christmas last year. A lot of stuff was just chucked in and not organized. Now because our renos are not completed downstairs, Grrrrr, we need to house 5 more people overnight for 2 nights so the motorhome will be used for Jason's parents. Jason's grandmother, Joyce will stay upstairs in Kristi's room and Jason and Kristi will bring their trailer and stay in it in the driveway so Kristi can sleep on the 25th during the day as she will have just come off her 48 hour call shift at the hospital. (The first 6 hours of her shift she delivered 4 babies ....) Two other guests of Kristi's who were invited for Christmas dinner at her house may have to bring air mattresses and sleep on the floor in the loft.

Fortunately everyone is very helpful and my kitchen is large so we all can get the dinner done. I have also invited my next door neighbours for Christmas Dinner on the 25th as they are alone without their grandchildren for the day. Whewwww It will be a blast but OMG stay tuned. There will be 5 possibly 6 dogs running around the house too. Ho, Ho, Ho!

Monday, we were all up by 6:30 am to start our morning with our coffee. We all watched Kat watch "The Curse of Oak Island", quite entertaining, as she gets so involved talking to the TV. We went to the Country Grocer for breakfast to give me a break from the kitchen. Thanks Garrett and Kat for buying us breakfast.

The rest of the afternoon the kids and Ray worked on the Christmas puzzle in between Kat helping me in the kitchen. Stuffing made, cranberry sauce made and Kat made banana bread and helped make 3 different appetizers for tonight and tomorrow. I am pooped. Everyone is on their own for dinner with appies and left overs. Kat has graciously done most of the dishes for me. Love that girl. Garrett is a hurting unit from all the firewood cutting yesterday.

After our baking extravaganza ... Kat had her tub with wine and candles in Kristi's room, Ray and I headed for the hot tub and Garrett laid back on the couch after taking the dogs for a walk. Tonight a Christmas movie .... the calm before the storm with all the people  arriving tomorrow.  This time we watched "The Man Who Invented Christmas", a great show about Charles Dickens using personal experiences to write "A Christmas Carol".

Many more pictures to come for the holidays. :)

Christmas day, Jason and Kristi arrived with their trailer in tow, just before noon. She had a quiet on call shift and got to sleep so they were able to come early We moved ours and Garrett's car out of the way so they could back all the way in. The kids spent the rest of the afternoon playing games on the dining room table until Jason's parents and grandmother arrived about 3 pm. Boy did the present pile grow under the Christmas tree.

We managed to get a great picture of Kat, Garrett and Kira around the Christmas tree.

Pat and Darryl were over at 4pm to join us for dinner. Lots of laughs and great conversation along with Brown Sugar glazed ham and all the fixin's. The house manages well with a boat load of people. Ray and my first attempt with filling our large dining room table. lol Nadine brought a bunch of her yummy baking that we had for dessert.

Dale carving the ham.

Kat, Pat and Nadine. (Kat tidying getting ready for dessert. Thanks a bunch.)

Darryl, Pat, Garrett and Kat

Pat keeping Joyce company.

Darryl and Pat left around 10pm as they have their company coming tomorrow. Ray and I headed to bed as well. The kids stayed up for a while but I think Nadine and Dale headed out to the motorhome. As it turned out Jason was unable to sleep all night in their trailer ... he did not level it and it was tipped too much for him to get comfortable. He also mentioned that Kristi had a rather large pillow and when she turned over (frequently) she would hit him. lol (He leveled the trailer before sleeping another night. lol)

With the big dinner happening Christmas Day, we moved the Christmas puzzle upstairs and the kids and Ray spent a lot of time over the two days filling in pieces. They have done pretty good over the past 4 days. Kat and Ray kept at it until it was 1 pm, December 27th, now there is only about 30 pieces of the sky to finish.

Christmas morning everyone was up by 7am except Dale who had to be prodded by four dogs leaping on the bed. lol  Kristi made a batch of her scones to keep everyone going for opening presents. We would have breakfast later.

Once Dale had showered and was "somewhat alive", we began our 3 hour session of opening presents. In the Kyle family we only open one present at a time so everyone can see what they got before moving onto the next present. With 9 people, this did take some time. lol

Garrett was Santa's elf first but after an hour and a half it was Kristi's turn.

All mine I say!

Dale and his mom Joyce.


Jason and Kristi got Ray a new fly rod.

We all took a break for more coffee, Garrett got the dogs all stirred up with their new toys. lol

Kristi's turn to be Santa's Elf.
Ray and I bought both girls a good knife.

Kristi putting on her new earrings Jason had made for her to match a bracelet she already has.

Dale opening his gift from the family.

I received a new jewelry box.
Ray also blew me away. Our original wedding album was shredded up by our German Shepherd puppy so we've never had a wedding album in 41 years. Last year, when Ray's mom passed away, we inherited all of her old picture albums including a duplicate wedding album we gave her. Ray put together our wedding album from her pictures and had the cover engraved. Very sweet. He also had our wedding picture framed.

Man we look young!

Nadine modelling her new housecoat.
After everyone was thoroughly spoiled with presents it was time for brunch. As this was supposed to be Christmas at Kristi and Jason's they took the lead cooking breakfast. I cooked the sausages out on the barbecue on the back deck. It sure was handy to have both barbeques up on the deck to use as ovens.

Jason always making sure his Grandma is well looked after.

Fabulous breakfast, thanks Jason and Kristi! Mimosas as well.
After breakfast, Nadine busied herself with getting the Turkey ready for the oven. With everyone's help, the dishes were done and the table reset for Christmas dinner in no time. The afternoon was spent visiting and a lot of time spent on the Christmas puzzle upstairs. With such a late breakfast Nadine just made a cheese and meat platter as well as lots of baking was put out to munch on for the afternoon.

The dogs all had a spectacular time with their new toys and of course had lots of walks and treats.

Dinner turned out great. Again we used the island buffet style.

Nadine checking on the birds temperature.

Dale teaching Jason how to properly carve a turkey.
Christmas Dinner 2018
After a delicious turkey dinner, we sampled some of Nadine's pies, an apple and pumpkin. Only a few partook though as we all were so full.
Nadine taking our pictures. lol
After dishes and the food put away, it was time to watch a Christmas Movie, the Muppets Christmas with Fraggle Rock and Sesame Street.  We also watched "A Christmas Carol", particularly after seeing the movie earlier about the writing of the book. 

December 27th

Jason and Kristi were packed up and on their way by noon as were Dale, Nadine and Joyce. We took some family pictures before everyone took off. 

Five dogs... look closely for the "snack" perched on the hearth! (Freya, Athena, Zeus and Kira with little Gizmo in the rear)

Nine Adults (Front Row: Nadine, Jason, Joyce, Ray and Garrett. Back Row: Dale Kristi, Deb, and Kat)
Garrett and Kat stayed until about 3 so we had a campfire outside for a couple of hours, using the timbers Garrett chopped up earlier.
Almost finished (30 pieces left out of 1000) before Garrett and Kat leave for Kristi's house.

Freya and Kira enjoying being outside with us.
 Ray and I had a quiet evening and I was in bed by 8:30. Pooped out.

Friday, December 28th

We decided to drive up to Nanaimo this morning and visit all the kids before Garrett and Kat leave for the mainland tomorrow. They had forgotten one of our presents at Kristi's. Turned out to be a large anchor garden ornament. Thanks guys. I stayed for 15 minutes, leaving Ray and Freya there  and then headed out to Port Alberni. We needed to close out our safety deposit box that we have had there for years. I retrieved some paperwork and headed back to Nanaimo for Costco. Arrived back at Kristi's to pick up Ray by 4. After saying our goodbyes to the kids we headed home for 5pm. A long driving day for me but at least it is finally done.

That was our Christmas.