Saturday, March 18, 2017

Our Family Last Summer

This grandmother likes little more than gathering her family all together. On July 19th, 2016 our kids, who live in the Philippines, arrived in Calgary. The entire Alberta contingent was on hand to greet them. It was here that Denise, Larry and Avery met Everett (who was ten months old) for the first time. Bill and I hadn't seen him since he was a just few weeks old. He was born while they were living in Columbia, Maryland on September 18th, 2015, just six weeks before Adam was transferred and the little family moved to Manila.

Avery, Amira, Bill, Adam, Larry, Denise with Everett and Laura

July 26th, both our daughters and their kids came to spend the better part of a week at our place. 

For years, the doll house has been a prized play thing for Avery and Amira. Neither of them have ever thought to climb it. We brought it into the living room and in less than two minutes the grandson was scaling it. I suspect we're on a very different learning curve by having a boy child in the family! 

It wasn't easy keeping him off of this
Grandkids in the bathtub

We've got a pretty fine Spray Park here in Claresholm, Alberta. The weather could have been more favourable, but being as it was cloudy and cool, it kept these cousins on the move ... 

This was the best I could do to catch Amira and Avery at the Spray Park

Back in our yard they were less likely to turn blue as we would fill the pool with warm water.

Denise and the grandkids.  This pool isn't big enough! 

Amira got sick during this visit which precluded Gran spending a night in the playhouse with the little girls as we had done in 2014. Maybe this year?  

Me on our back deck with all our grand babies

Playgrounds are always popular and we've got a few good ones here in town. This one, by the tennis courts, where Bill and the big girls played, has the fanciest and largest selection of equipment ...

Amira and Avery rocking it
Amira and Avery getting along 
Amira and Avery sort of getting along

The girl cousins are often at odds with one another. It gets pretty testy at times. Someone suggested it's because they don't see much of one another. Thoughts on that anyone?

The girls and I made cupcakes

I didn't think I could manage both granddaughters together in the tiny Anne Frank Room for a painting session. As Avery has often been in there with me, we waited until after she and Denise had returned home so that Amira could have some one on one time with Gran. Amira embraced mixed media and had definite ideas about how and what she was painting.

In the Anne Frank Room
Paint or cupcake on her face?
Her first creation
Second painting
... and her third

On July 31st we drove Laura and kids to Canmore. Adam had returned to Manila, to work for a couple of weeks. He did come back to Canada, but oh the jet lag he must have suffered. In Canmore we all sought out time with family and friends ...

At Bill's sister's place - Linda (to the right of Bill) and Ron

At the time, Denise and Larry were managing operations at the Canmore Hotel (now closed and under renovations). They too were in Canmore but as it was the busy, August long weekend they were pretty tied up with working the place, so only some of us took in the Canmore Folk Music Festival - Alberta's finest and longest running folk music festival.

Gramps and Everett

... where we met all sorts of folks we don't see very often ...

With Hope Moffat, Laura's amazing kindergarten teacher from 32 years ago

I found my protege at her festival booth. It does not surprise me that she keeps up her art practise (and there is great satisfaction in that for me) for she so very keen to learn when we worked together. I participated in the art mentoring program with the Canmore Elementary School. Opal absorbed like a sponge. She would often ask to stay on after our session had ended and I aways said "Yes".  

With Opal Retzer.  After 13 years we still maintain (always will) our mutual admiration society 
Flashback to June 6th, 2002, in my Canmore studio - Opal, age 11 with her copy (coloured pencil) of one of my watercolours 

All good things must come to an end. It was time for Bill and I to head home from Canmore, but first a lunch with Laura and kids ...

Amira and Laura

August 15th, the family assembled for our grand finale when we camped at Mount Kidd RV Park in Kananaskis Country ...

Morning light on The Wedge at Mount Kidd RV Park
Avery with Laura, Amira, Adam and Everett at the grandparents camp
Larry and Denise at their adjacent site.  They have a super deluxe outdoor kitchen set up
Amira and Avery in the wadding pool at Mount Kidd RV Park
All of us together, August 16th, 2016

Looking forward to the Koebels return to Canada this summer!


  1. How wonderful to see all these family photos, Alice - it's little wonder that you so love your family get-togethers. Aren't you a fabulous-looking bunch of coconuts?! It makes me laugh that Amira and Avery sometimes struggle to get along - reminds me of my sister and I at that age.

    1. Thanks for chiming in here Win.
      Coconuts indeed, lovely but but also crazy.
      I appreciate your sharing just how brilliantly you and your sister got on as kids!