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Grandparents Visit

September 9th, 2004  · stk

Grandpa and Grandma Pilley came out for the better part of a week, with their tent-trailer and Sasha, their dog, in tow. (Well, I guess Sasha got to ride in the back seat, but you get the idea). They had a great visit with their #2 grandchild, Alexandra, who was delighted with all of the extra attention. It's the second Edmonton visit for Gran Pilley, but the first for Grandpa and he got the nickel tour of our new home, shortly after he arrived.

Outings for the week included a trip to Fort Saskatchewan and we all took a brief ride east to see some Plains Bison at Elk Island National Park. It was a nice visit and we're extra thankful, because they sewed and installed a Roman blind in our bathroom. They also gave us two curtain rods for the two remaining curtainless windows (when we moved in there were NO window coverings in the house). THANKS!

Scott was absent for part of their visit, because he had to fly down to California to pick up our Honda Accord, which we've been storing at his parent's ranch. Wouldn't you know, they sold the ranch and are moving into a rental house, temporarily, until they can locate a permanent place.

The cows, sheep, chickens, pasture, orchard, garden, yard, watering and general caretaking has become onerous and down-sizing will allow them more travel time. After all, they're supposed to be retired! Anyway, with the sale of the ranch, the storage option for the Honda evaporated and Scott had to make a trip down to bring it up north. It was a long drive, but he enjoyed visiting with his folks for a few days, as well as stopping by to see an colleague from his oil-company days, now retired and living in Logan, Utah. Visiting was nice, but he missed Alex and Rachel and was happy to be home, after a week of traveling.

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Alexandra

Gran Visits

August 8th, 2004  · stk

Grandma Pilley made the trip out from Vancouver because it's hard to pass up a round-trip airline ticket for less than $100 (well, a bit more, actually, because of fees, taxes & an airport improvement 'donation' - don't you HATE that?).

She came out to visit us, help with some window-coverings (she runs her own 'soft furnishings' company in Vancouver - upholstery, covers, drapes, pillows & such). She was a BIG help and instrumental in getting two very nice sets of drapes up in the dining room window. We think that the neighbors appreciate the drapes too, because now, when Scott gets up in the middle of the night for a 'midnight snack', in the buff, he's NOT flashing the neighbors when he flips on the kitchen light!!

Anyway, we didn't leave Gran locked in the basement sewing ALL the time! We took her & the Oop out for a picnic lunch at one of the big Edmonton parks - Goldbar Park. We took the Oop, because we wanted her to have her first experience feeding the ducks, but even though we ate our lunch by a pond, none came.

Later, when we walked back across the North Saskatchewan River on one of the pedestrian bridges, we spied a bunch of Canadian Geese hanging out near the parking lot. Dubious about both the size and nature of these pooping machines, Scott was hesitant about letting Geese be Oop's first experience with fowl (FOUL?). Rachel had her heart set on a bird-feeding experience, however, and convinced an over-protective Dad that we should try. The birds were interested in food, no doubt, taking all the bread crumbs that were brought for that specific purpose - even FIGHTING over them. Alex laughed with glee and squealed with delight! Right until the very end, when the food was gone and the birds decided that MAYBE the Oop's fingers could be consumed.

Thanks for coming out Gran! It was a fun visit.

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Topsy-Turvey: An Update

May 3rd, 2004  · stk

Family News (Short Version)

New Abode: It's our first move of 2004, but our fifth since Jan 1st, 2003! We've moved out of our little coach-house, boxed our belongings, left out only what is necessary, stored the rest, and are (once again) house-sitting the Pilley residence while they are away to England. It won't be for 5 months, this go-round, but only for a month or two. We've said it before and we'll say it again, "Moving sucks!" (but house-sitting is easy on the old wallet)! We think that Scott fractured his right thumb during the move (what a klutz)! We're now ensconced in the main house and busy updating our site from the 3rd floor office.

Trip to CA: Before we began boxing, hauling, stacking and carting ... we took a 1,200-mile trip down to northern California to visit Scott's folks at their ranch. It was a long trip, especially for tiny Alex. We left at 3:30 in the morning (so Oop could sleep). We crossed the border with nary a problem and drove and drove and drove and drove. (Okay, we stopped for breakfast at a Denny's and lunch at a Burger King ... Alex needed to get out of her car seat and Mom needed a fried potato fix). She was quite the little trooper (not one tear shed). We had a wonderful time at the R2 ranch. Grandma and Grandpa Kimler fell in love with their little granddaughter. What's NOT to love? She's such a happy baby, such an EASY baby! Below are some snaps from that visit.

Alex rode a swing for the first time, at the Pilley house, only day's before we left for California. She enjoyed swinging SO much, that at the last minute, we tossed the Pilley toddler swing in the back of the van. We're glad we brought it along, as she just had a ball, swinging under the patio at the R2 ranch. (We're a tad concerned that if she likes swinging at this young age, that Alex might grow up to be an 'adrenalin junkie').

While at the R2 ranch, Alex was introduced to a variety of farm animals. While she can growl like a bear, she hasn't learned the fine art of mooing like a cow. She got plenty of instruction from the big beef cows on the ranch, who - despite their size - were far more afraid of Alex, than she was of them.

Tricky Tranny: As easy as the drive down to California was, the drive back was even easier ... that is, until we got to Seattle. We stopped to spend the night with our Big Ride friend Dave (and his super girlfriend, Karen). The next morning, when we got into our van to come home ... NO POWER in ANY GEAR! Tranny GONE! We had to have the vehicle towed (thanks Dave, for having the premium AAA membership) to a garage across town. We hopped on a bus to Vancouver and managed to get home around 7pm. It was a looooonnngg day and (AGAIN) the Oop was terrific. (Even managed to make friends with several of the bus passengers with her quick smile and perky demeanor). Our van, on the other hand, is on our #%@#-list. Cost of repair? $2,675.00 So much for our "bargain" used car!! (A reminder to ourselves: NEVER, NEVER-EVER buy a used car off a lot.)

Moving Again: Oop's Canadian tour is now on hold. Van isn't powerful enough to tow the old fold-up camper. Neither Mom nor Dad can imagine car-camping for that length of time. Plans are up in the air. Rachel has not yet heard from the University of Calgary, but expects an acceptance letter any day now. We're leaning toward the University of Alberta (Edmonton) anyway. Perhaps we'll take a drive out to look for a new place, so that we can get settled before the term starts in early September.

Oop @ 7 Months: Hard to believe that our little girl is now 7 months young. Dad baked her a 1/2 birthday cake on her 6th-month "birthday". (It was a double-layer, half-circle vanilla-chocolate cake. It was quite cute and admired by all). Oop had her first taste of 'cake' and decided it was PRETTY GOOD! In fact, Alex liked it so much that she thought every fork-full should end up in HER mouth. None for the commoners, only the princess!

She's now gotten the hang of "solid" food and her repertoire includes: (pureed) peas, apples, bananas, carrots, rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, and various tidbits gleaned from the plate when mom and dad aren't looking! Oh yes, and CAKE! The BIG news for little Alex is, however, that she's MOBILE! We can't claim "crawling" yet, but it's a squirmy, rolling, pushing and pulling bundle of energy that knows no bounds. She's had a couple of disasters (pulling things down on top of herself), which result in tearful crying fits, but they don't dampen her spirit of adventure (5 minutes later she's off and into new things). We've now got our HANDS FULL!!

Gran Pilley gave Alex a "jolly jumper" for her half-birthday. What a wonderful gift (for BOTH Alex and her parents)! "Thanks, Gran," Alex says, bouncing between the door of the bathroom and the kitchen (darn near the only place in the house the bloody thing hangs from, because of the way the doorways are constructed). She growls, bounces and coos ... keeping herself happy and entertained for long periods of time. A great baby-sitter.

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