Christmas Letter 2002

 

Over the past decades, I’ve always tried to write an annual Christmas letter to family and friends summarizing our family activities and highlighting our proudest moments. TODAY’S CHRISTMAS LETTER IS FROM DECEMBER 2002, word for word.

 
Merry Christmas!!
It’s been so long since I wrote a Christmas letter, I thought I’d better do one since my daughter began the tradition last year and put me to shame! What can I say – we’re all getting older and only some of us are getting better! Ha! Ha!

To start off the new year, we celebrated with our good friends and neighbours by hosting a New Year’s Eve Party in our ‘party room’ a.k.a. garage. A few years ago, Chris and Taylor put up drywall, some cupboards, added a woodstove for heat, and finished it with wall-to-wall indoor/outdoor carpeting. We use this space now for ‘overflow’, heating it whenever we have a gang for parties, Xmas, etc. but not usually for the poor Van.

Nellie turned 10 years old in January while Darin turned 25. Darin is the equipment manage of the Canadian Sledge Hockey team and traveled to Japan, Europe, and finally the Salt Lake City Olympics. I got to take the train to see my sisters, Faye and Betty, in Hamilton this month!!! Yeah – better than Europe to me!

In early February we held our annual skating party on the Rideau River in our backyard. As usual, we had a great time. On February 19th, Taylor turned 22 – he’s been living in Vancouver for a year and a half now and loves it. We REALLY miss him!

March began with a blast – Chris had a mini stroke which he’s mostly recovered from other than headaches which he never had, some memory loss, and slight loss of some small motor skills. However during the follow-up to find out what caused it, Dr.s discovered a hole in his heart! And he said he didn’t have a heart!! Not to be alarmed, though, since he’s probably had it his whole life and they’re just going to leave it for now. Poor guy – last year, after an ear infection (the only one he ever remembers having) he started to go deaf in his right ear. He’s mostly deaf in it now with some hearing loss in the other ear – he’s supposed to have an MRI, hopefully in 2003 (who knows with our health care system!).

We were distraught in April by the death of Grampa Bob Mellway. We will truly miss this wonderful Grampa, Dad, and friend. ūüė¶

In May, I turned 49! – weeeeee…. headed for the big 50! Of course, the country held a national holiday for me and some babe named ‘Victoria’, so we celebrated with a bonfire and fireworks! Melvin resumed his summer schedule of wasp venom injections to build up his immunity to stings since he has a life threatening allergy. He even carries an Epipen in a waist-pouch where ever he goes.

We opened the pool and added the solar cover to boost the heat – I even went in during the heat wave!! I was briefly in the hospital for a heart scare. Chris turned 42 – I told him that once you turn 40 you are over the hill and start to fall apart! Everyone passed and was glad school was over. Darin graduated from Carleton University with a degree in Computer Science. Marty got a job at a local store and still works there on weekends.

The summer was hot and dry again. Marty went to summer school to boost his Math mark for a couple weeks. And Faye came up again this year for a week at the end of July. We always have a great time mostly just relaxing.

Kristi turned 20 in August, Robin turned 27, his wife Natasha turned 28, and Marty turned 16 years old! Whew! We traveled to Hamilton to Faye and Joey and Betty’s at the end of August. We took Faye and went to Niagara Falls and had a great time on the Maid of the Mist and the Caves Beneath the Falls – a must for any Falls tourist!

The kids resumed school in September: Melvin in grade 3 – his favourite subject is Math. He just loves to figure things out. He also loves to draw and is an avid outdoors player. Nellie is in grade 5 at the same school. Her favourite subject is Art. She is a social ‘butterfly’ and has many friends, her most special being Alyssa ( the one year old neighbour I babysat last winter). Nellie is almost as tall as me now! Marty is in grade 10 now and presently loves playing Playstation2. He wants to attend University of Victoria to study Marine Biology when he’s done high school.

Kristi lives in Ottawa and is in her second year at Carleton University – she maintains an A average, receiving a scholarship every year. She also works at the Ottawa General Hospital as a bilingual ER intake clerk, in her ‘spare’ time! The love of her life is Mike, whom she’s known since high school and now a student at Carleton University too.

Taylor works as a bartender in Vancouver and also does DJing, ‘spinning’ records at clubs whenever he gets a gig. His girlfriend’s name is Mary. Robin and Natasha live in Victoria, B.C. where Rob goes to U Vic and Natasha works. They say they love it out there, but it’s VERY far away……

Darin and Amanda got married this October 6th in a beautiful outdoor wedding. The day was absolutely perfect and they were so awesome – they honeymooned in Hawaii. At the end of October, Amanda celebrated her quarter-of-a-century birthday.

Faye and Joey came up for Thanksgiving this year and as usual we had a real nice time. The biggest surprise of the month was that Kristi and Mike got engaged!! They plan on waiting a few years while they finish University before getting married. Mike’s a really nice guy and the two of them are just like two peas in a pod – except Kristi does most of the talking!!

Well, November’s been an interesting month – Chris had a possible gall bladder attack (Stones? = ultrasound in December) and during the bloodwork they turned up some abnormal results, so they’ve run some further tests. He’s feeling better now, but still has constant vague discomfort. This weekend we are going to have a Canadian Football League Grey Cup party to watch the championship game – well, we don’t stare at the TV, it’s just an excuse to get together for a pot luck supper and good discussion while the football game is on!

December 19th, Melvin turns 8. But before that, I have to get my B.C. parcels ready to mail – which means making the usual Christmas cookies, squares, candy, and special surprises in early December. Oh yes, I still have to finish my Christmas shopping/decorating/creating – with 7 children, 2 daughters-in-law, and one almost son-in-law (let me see 7+2+1= that’s 10!) plus Chris, other family and friends, I’d better close this letter and get busy!!! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year. And if you find yourself in our neck of the woods, we’d love to see you!

Merry Christmas!
Linda, Chris, Melvin, Nellie and Marty

Winter – Extended Edition

 

This week we celebrated the end of winter and the arrival of spring – officially anyway. ¬†It’s hard to believe that ‘spring has sprung’ though. ¬†This morning at 7 a.m., my outdoor thermometer read -20C degrees and the weatherman said it was going to reach a high of -8C. ¬†Whoopie…..not.

Dripping Icicle

Dripping Icicle

There is still about 30-40 cms of snow in many spots around the property and 4 foot drifts.  We had finally been experiencing warmer, near normal, temperatures last week after the record-breaking coldest winter ever.  The snow began melting off the roof with 2 foot long dripping icicles hanging down.  The temperature was above zero during the day and below zero degrees celsius at night Рperfect for maple sap running.  So last week, I tapped my maple trees to collect the sap for making maple syrup.  Now the little brother of the Polar Vortex has come calling and the sap has stopped running and the maple sap in frozen in the bottom of my jugs hanging on the trees!
My sister Betty shared photos over a month ago of temperate Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she lives: cherry tree blossoms, crocuses blooming, lush green grass.  The seasons here in Ontario seem to becoming 2+ weeks later.  What used to happen 30 years ago at this time of year, like the ice on the river breaking up, is later now.  The cold temperatures of January and February are now the bitter, unrelenting cold temperatures of February and March.

CrocusWM
The only thing to do is embrace the sunny albiet cold days with the promise that warmer days are just ahead. Soon we’ll be living with hot, humid weather and lots of mosquitoes!
The one thing that remains the same is that we celebrate my sister Betty’s birthday on the first full day of spring. ¬†Happy Birthday Bet!

Chris

 

June 1960 – March 2, 2008

1960

1960

 

1990

1990

 

1990

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1992

1992

 

1995

1995

 

1999

1999

 

2000

2000

 

2002

2002

 

2003

2003

 

2005

2005

 

2006

2006

 

2006

2006

 

Chris

Chris

 

 

 

First Born

 

Today I celebrate the birth day of my firstborn child – Happy 38th Birthday Rob!

Robin @ Twin One Glacier, British Columbia

Robin @ Twin One Glacier, British Columbia

His birth propelled me into Motherhood and my life changed forever. I was in University at the time and had planned on putting him in the day care conveniently on site where we lived in married student residence. Little did I realize before he was born, that my life would change profoundly with my deep love for him …… and all those plans were thrown out the window. Many years ago, I wrote the ‘story of the day¬†you were born’ in his baby book and I want to reprint it here as a celebration of the everlasting bond we will always share:

The Day You Were Born – August, 15, 1975 @ 9:07 p.m.
Well it was already the middle of August – you had been expected in the middle of July so I was beginning to believe that I would carry you around inside me forever! Your Daddy and I were involved in ‘Project Mobility’ – a compilation of buildings’ accessibility for the disabled in Kitchener-Waterloo. It was a summer job since we were still in University. On the day you were born, your Daddy went to work and I sat around our apartment waiting and eating watermelon in the 32+C degrees (90+F) heat.

After work, we went to the bank – I can still remember standing in line at the bank feeling very heavy and a bit nauseated. We went out to eat hamburgers except I didn’t feel like eating. Then we went to Canadian Tire to buy some car seat covers and a bicycle carrier for our car. Your Daddy installed the bike carrier as I put on the car seat covers. While doing this, I found a little lost boy about 1 1/2 – 2 years old wandering onto the street so I tried to find his parents. I can still remember carrying him, getting very tired. When I did find his father, I couldn’t help but lecture him on watching his son more carefully.

It was about 6 p.m. now so Daddy and I went up to our apartment to wash up. I realized then that I had been in labour and you would be born that night! I had my bath to relax me and help my contractions, which were very mild. I wasn’t sure if we should go to the hospital so early, but your Daddy thought we should. During the ride to the hospital, I kept hoping that my water wouldn’t break and get our new car seat covers all wet! But all went well.

After the doctor examined me, he said that you would be born very soon! Then he looked a little concerned and asked if we were having twins! I said “no I wasn’t” since I had an x-ray a few days before to see if you were full term. My tummy was very big so he was wondering….. Daddy was there all along wearing a mask and gown just like a doctor. Then you were born! The nurses exclaimed at how big you were and rushed immediately over to weigh you – 10 lbs. 14 1/2 oz.! They could hardly believe it – us too. Two student nurses who witnessed your birth were dumbfounded at everything. Your Daddy was the first to hold you, then me. Everything seemed like a dream come true. We were so proud of you.

12 hours old

12 hours old

The night you were born, I can still remember when I called my Mom to tell her of your birth. She had just got home an hour before from holidays down home with my sisters Faye and Betty. Faye answered the phone and said “well I guess you’re still waiting” and I said “well no, not exactly”. She said “What! A boy or a girl?” and I answered “a boy, 10 lbs. 14 1/2 oz.”. She screamed “Ma it’s a boy, 10 lbs. something!!” And I heard my Mother yell “WHAT!!”. Then we talked for a while about everything.
The next day Betty, Faye, and my Mom came up and made such a fuss! I felt SO good – my heart just throbbed over you with such intense love and pride. A few people thought we must have been your brother and sister and not your parents – you were SO big and us just 5’2″ and about 115 lbs! We just smiled and laughed.

So that’s what happened the day you were born.”

Salmonberry picking on Vancouver Island

Salmonberry picking on Vancouver Island

 

Birthday Cherry Cheesecake

Cherry Cheesecake

This past weekend, my oldest daughter celebrated her 30th birthday!¬† HAPPY BIRTHDAY KRISTI!!¬† Thirty years ago, I was the mother of 3 active boys, ages 2-7, so I was secretly hoping for a daughter.¬† I wasn’t disappointed!¬† We had moved to our new house the year before and I found a doctor who supported midwives and homebirths.

My children love it when I make them a Cherry Cheesecake for their birthday¬† (except Melvin who likes me to make him a lemon meringue pie).¬†¬† For some of them, it just isn’t their birthday unless they get Mom’s Cherry Cheesecake!¬†¬† So here’s the recipe from my cookbook, Mom’s Recipes :

CHERRY CHEESECAKE

Graham Wafer Crust:

1/4 cup of butter (please don’t use margarine), melted

1 heaping cup of graham wafer crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

Mix all this together and press into a 9X14″ pan.¬† Bake at 325 degrees for 7 minutes.¬† Cool completely.

Then mix with an electric mixer until creamy:

1 ‘brick’ of cream cheese, softened

Add:

1 can of sweetened condensed milk , added a third at a time (I have another recipe for making your own)

Then add

1/3 cup of lemon juice and

1/4 teaspoon vanilla.

Mix thoroughly.

Pour into the cooled graham wafer crust.

Top with a can of cherry pie filling or your own (I have a recipe for making this with fresh cherries).

Refrigerate at all times, if it lasts that long……

Kristi’s lake

 

Going on 60……..!!!!!!!!!!!

I had a birthday last weekend…….I turned 59.¬† We celebrated at my son Darin and Amanda’s with¬† delicious rotisserie¬†Barbequed¬†chickens, roasted potatoes, my favourite¬†broccoli salad, and a yummy rhubarb cake followed by a game of Bocce and a campfire.¬† And when Nellie, Melvin, and I got back home, I got to pick the movie to watch.

Birthday Campfire

Birthday Campfire

It occurred to me that now I’m going on 60 years old!¬† Six decades…..approaching¬† senior citizen age!¬†¬† I already get a ‘seniors’ discount at Shoppers Drug Mart, my car insurance, and now my bank (free unlimited transactions).¬† And all that is super great when it comes to saving money.¬†¬† But, I’ll tell you, it’s an ominous feeling to be approaching 60 years old and it makes you contemplate life in a real way.

Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything.¬† I’ve been really blessed having seven children.¬† I feel grateful to have lived in my home for 31 years now and plan on living out the rest of my life here.¬†¬† I feel satisfied that I’ve been dealt a good hand in the game of life.¬†¬† I’ve been happy with my life mostly.¬† However, sometimes life throws you a curve and things turn out not exactly as you’ve planned……¬† Some of the terrible challenges I’ve faced in my life have actually enriched my growth.¬†¬† After my Mom died suddenly in 1975, just a few weeks after my first baby was born, I eventually learned to adapt without her support, encouragement, and Motherly direction.¬† I always, and still do, feel her love.¬† Love can’t be seen, touched, heard, or smelled BUT it exists.¬† And because a person transcends¬†life to somewhere beyond doesn’t extinguish Love.¬†¬† And if I hadn’t been divorced, then I wouldn’t have met my soulmate Chris and had Nellie and Melvin.¬† So you see, it all works out…..

Looking towards the future, I feel both excitement and trepidation.¬† I hope to ‘cruise’ through my sixties, enjoying my little house and keeping up with the gardens as well as doing more visiting my family around the country.¬†¬† I want to stop and¬† “smell the roses” more often or let the grass grow a wee bit longer or do less weeding¬† or chop less firewood.¬†¬† But for now, I’m going to savour just being 59 years old!

Home by Marty

Home, by Marty

 

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