Monday, 11 August 2014

C E L E B R A T I O N S ...

There's been quite a bit of celebrating here, on the dock of late …

Up until yesterday there was; Pablo's graduation, Pablo & the sharks, Sofia's visit, Cassia & Pablo's visit and our Christmas in July (C-i-J) party … but then the baby was born!

Thursday, August 7th, Mischa, Simone and Jasper added beautiful Billie to their family!  

She's a 9.5lb bundle of joy!   Cassia & Pablo were so happy that she arrived while they were still here visiting … so special to have a cuddle before the next time they see her (Christmas) when she'll probably be walking!!

But before Thursday and Billie…

There was our 39th wedding anniversary, July 25th.
We almost forgot it because it was the same day Cassia arrived and the day before the party. At some point we tried to watch our wedding video ( transferred from Super 8 to DVD) but it's so dark and there are so many holes where it burned on the projector overtime as we dragged it out to share with our (captive) guests, that it's almost impossible to recognize anybody and you seriously had to be there to appreciate what's happening - but we could tell how young and happy we were and that was worth celebrating!
Next year for our 40th we plan to be in Ottawa 
… and that should be enough of an excuse for … a party!!  

Then Cassia arrived for a two-week holiday . 

I'm not sure what I was most excited about - seeing her or having her with us to help with the party!  She is such a help (once she warms up in the morning).  Not sure she was quite as excited about meeting 33 of my paternal relatives - but they were happy to meet her.  Pablo didn't arrive until the next week so he remains a mystery to them.

Christmas in July Party.

Morning of the party … we fantasized that it was a blizzard
 - but alas! it was just fog!
It turned into the most beautiful day!
(remember - this is the depths of winter over here!)
The C-i-J party started out as an excuse to make egg nog.  I mean you just cannot make it (or shop for it, or even think about making it) when the temperature is hovering around 40c (as it is at Christmas here), and as it was, the party day was such a gloriously sunny day that it was only just cold enough that it didn't curdle!!. My usual egg-nog equipment was sadly in Ottawa so off the the Salvation Army to find a big enough bowl.  

I made 1.5 the recipe:

18 eggs yolks
18 egg whites
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups heavy cream, beaten
6 cups milk
6 cups bourbon
1 cup brandy
1 cup rum

It didn't even all fit in the new bowl so off I went to find another one!   I let it mature/ferment/age? for two weeks and for two weeks I made the necessary "taste tests".  It just needed  another 1/2 batch on the day to top it up,  et voilà there it was! 

                                 …well sadly there are no photos of the egg nog! :(
Not sure anybody really knew what it was and not sure if it really was that good or whether it was my displays of rapture that sold it so well  - but it seemed that quite a few liked it and we managed to plough through most of it!!  I had so much I was  "burping" eggnog in the end!!  I love my egg nog!!

Jasper enjoyed it ALL!
This is Bob who loved the egg nog …
and the mini Christmas puddings!

More rellies! Hi Betty!
Note name tags!  Easier for everybody - not just mum!
I must admit I had no idea how big C-i-J is over here!!  I mean I decorated a bit!!  I had the kiddie poohs help me decorate the tree and hang a few balls around and I put back up some of last year's cards and of course I played Nana and Raffi  and OK we had red &white plates and napkins … and yes the guests brought "Christmassy desserts" - but that's all I did. My hairdresser was having 28 people for a traditional SIT-DOWN dinner and she decorated and MADE her own crackers for goodness sake! There were others I heard of, there were even adds on TV/radio and then … I thought I was having an out-of-body experience when I heard them playing O Holy Night in the Laura Ashley shop while Cassia and I were there shopping (grabbing the bargains in full Christmas-spirit!) …and that was on August 3rd!

My goodness what would these people do if they had snow in winter!!??
Urgh - the egg nog is just off to the left!
This photo is taken late in the afternoon - the egg nog is almost gone -
we're onto the champers-  after most of the "Ingham's" had left
and the next lot of guests arrived - much to Joseph's "delight"!!
That is my cousin Karen - who lived in N.Y. - who kindly let us use her apartment one summer!
She might be our favourite cousin!! :)
I made florentines but there are no photos of them either!! :(

Next day Sofia arrived!!
She's our niece (Tom's daughter) and Cassia's cousin who is currently working in Islamabad!! So she was looking forward to some nice cool weather and doing some "normal"  things - like walking along the street etc.
A walk to our local cafe- such a treat for Sof!
She bought some henna and we decorated our hands (even for Joe!) and did some Bollywood dancing to celebrate Eid. and we did walk a million miles and she did go to the movies and she did meet some of my family and although she missed meeting Billie, she did meet Jasper and revisited with Mischa & Simone… but she also rested and relaxed and we sent her back to the front healthy and happy and we were so glad she came - because what were the chances that C&P would be here at the same time!! …

It was a Christmas miracle!!

A (henna) bird is worth …???
Bollywood Dancing
(video also available!)
Cousins … hanging out!

Dinner with Mischa, Simone, Jasper, and Simone's family
Jane, Barry and Sam!

Then in the middle of Sofia's visit Pablo arrived from Spain

He'd been there for four weeks defending his thesis so Cassia was pretty excited to see him and now that he is Dr. Pablo Garcia Valtanen - so were we!!
It's hard working earning your PHD!
His degree is in Virology (viruses!) and we are all pretty-gosh-darned proud of him. 
So we dragged out another bottle of bubbly and celebrated. 

 Then when he returned home alive from his swim with the  sharks (Great Whites) - it was more celebrating and ANOTHER bottle of bubbly!

That's not Pablo but the Canadian girl in the cage with him
… you get the idea of it all!
Dear Pablo even thought to take photos of the birds for his f-i-l to identify!…no it's not an albatross :(

Then … just when we thought we couldn't celebrate anymore… along comes Billie!!!

She makes me giggle when I hold her and makes me cry when I see Jasper holding her - oh dear- now I know what all those other grandparents were talking about!  


We are getting used to her name -we didn't realize how many other Billie's there are!  

Billie also happens to be the name of one of the dolphins down here -his picture is on the side of the Dolphin Cruise-boat (along with Hope and Ali) and we (Jasper and I) always walk down there to see the dolphins  - even though they frolic in front of us all of the time - Jasper finds it easier to see them on the boat of course.  So he remembers their names.  Before his sister arrived, if you asked Jasper what the new baby would be called he would say Hope or Ali!  More recently he came up with Tabitha - Tabby he said!  But now we have our Billie.  She has no middle name in keeping with the Dafoe/Fritsch tradition - no middle name for me, Mischa, Cassia, Simone or Jasper …and now … Billie.

Somewhere before Billie and after the sharks
… there was a visit from our friends Carol & Graeme (visiting from Canberra)
Carol - like me is an "ex Port Girl" so it was fun "doing" the old neighbourhood!

Surely Billie's not going to be one of "them??

. and of course some photos of Jasper to close out ...

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