Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Back to Normal --- Whatever Normal is!

Every year my daughter and her family visit one of the sets of "grandparents" for Christmas and so we were fortunate to have them spend ten days with us over the holiday period this year.

They do come at least once a year so my six year old granddaughter already had a list of places she wanted to visit while they were in Vancouver.

"Nanna, when are we going to Granville Island?" Several of her favourite places are there, including the Kids Market and the "rock shop" or the Crystal Ark where she fills a plastic bag with tumbled rocks of her choice. I'm afraid that she is no longer satisfied with the small bag. So far the medium one is satisfactory but I am sure she will be graduating to the large one soon.

"Nanna, when are we going on the little train?" This is the miniature train which runs year round in Stanley Park but the route is decorated with lights and wonderful displays for the Christmas season, more formally known as Bright Nights.

"Nanna, do they have Build a Bear in Vancouver?" Well they surely do, although this involved a trip to a far-off mall I am not familiar with. The beaver was her choice but my 43 year old daughter just had to have the Canadian bear and she bought a Mountie outfit for him as well. She called him Trudeau, after our charismatic Prime Minister of the late sixties to the early eighties, a slightly more dignified name than Woody, the choice for the beaver!

Woody and Trudeau

A family tradition in our house when my children were young was that the stocking could be opened first then the gifts were opened after church. My granddaughter was quite happy to go along with this now that she is 6 and what's more she insisted on us waiting for her uncle to arrive before we could touch a thing under the tree except the stockings. Luckily he came right after we returned.

Stockings are serious business!

A big hit this year was the gingerbread house I bought for her at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. The students made them, with all the proceeds going to the local children's hospital. I think it was supposed to be a circus tent but I called it the Yurt. We dove into it right away but it did last a long time and we ended up discarding the last of the base which had become more like concrete than gingerbread. Sorry the photo is not brilliant but it turned out to be not so easy to photograph.

Gingerbread House

Now they have returned to their own home and lives. They survived the new restrictions for flying into the USA, which of course were not effect when they travelled here. This adds an extra hour to the check in and now that hand luggage is so severely restricted those overhead bins are quite empty. The six year old was not allowed her tiny backpack with her books and games so lucky they were going on the red eye flight. Her parents were forced to carry their laptops in their hands as their laptop bags had to be checked. So many people were muttering, clutching their laptops in their hands but they were not allowed the battery chargers. Of course those checking in for the BA flight to London had no such restrictions which made everyone ever crosser. There were 15 security people at the gate alone, even after the previous check everyone had gone through and they were thoroughly patted down. The pleasures of flying these days!

The grandparents have resumed their quiet lives and all the toys have been put away until they return to visit again in the summer. Trudeau was left behind till then since there was simply no room for him in the suitcases but I will take good care of him till then.

The first photo above was taken at a trip to the beach and this was a treasure she found. Of course it had to be recorded, "Nanna, take a photo!" was the imperious demand. I always used to think that a four year old was the "perfect" child but I think a six year old might be even better!


Carver said...

Wonderful post and photographs of your adorable granddaughter. I feel like I've watched her grow up on your blog. Not to suggest she's grown up but she has changed a lot over the past few years.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

The Mountie bear looks so cute. Your granddaughter looks adorable too. The cake is also impressive.

I do wonder if the terrorists will have won when air travel becomes simply impossible what with all the restrictions.

Even when they fail it looks like they score anyway, what with the way they change our lives and make us restrict our own freedoms.

CherryPie said...

Oh what a lovely Christmas you must have had :-)

Rositta said...

This was the second Christmas we spent with the offspring and grandkids in sub zero Calgary. We had actually wanted to go somewhere warm like Cuba but we can do that anytime. Time spent with family, especially at Christmas is memory making for young people. Your granddaughter is beautiful. Happy New Year...ciao

Ellee Seymour said...

What a very, very pretty little girl. I can imagine you are great pals.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

She's very like you, isn't she? In looks, I mean. I like Trudeau!