John & Anne Wiley

2011/02/28

Softly

This morning we woke to the softest snowfall imaginable. A sky endlessly birthing swarms of tiny white flies settling down, silently burying everything in muffled whiteness.

5730 Boundless Blanket

5730 Boundless Blanket

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WEM

We finally did it. After talking about it ourselves and with our hosts, several people asking if we’ve done it, and hearing from others that we Should do it, we finally did it. We all piled into the rental car and drove across town through a blizzard with snow blowing across the highway. Exiting to a semi-plowed surface street, at last it came into view through the car windows that even with heater full blast for the half hour drive still had ice on the inside.

1585 West Edmonton Mall

1585 West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall came into view, looking almost black and white in the light snow (even with the window down for this quick snap). Like we’re in Kansas on our way to Oz. Our main destination is the domed roof to the right in this pic (distant, above the black car). Just inside the door, everything was technicolor.

1595 Sub 'n Seal

1595 Sub 'n Seal

I went up on a bridge to show you both the sea lion show just visible through the fence at left, a submarine ride at right, the multi-level standard mall, and yes that’s snow collected at the base of the skylight being completely ignored by the throngs in shirtsleeves everywhere. This little world is a colorful combination of downsized Disneyland and Everything R Us all in a bubble with -25 degree windchill on the other side of that skylight. Could make a great disaster movie: to create an emergency, break glass. Quite a fascinating sociological phenomenon. Anne enjoyed the trekky starship hibernation pods (note the head and hands protruding on the left).

1598 Dry Water Treatment

1598 Dry Water Treatment

They are actually water massage beds. Think tanning bed, but you’re on your belly with water jets hitting a rubber film touching your back. They stay dry (most people had street clothes on), and it looked like you could dial up the jets much stronger than in a jacuzzi. We paid the reduced senior fare for the less expensive late afternoon entry to the water park part of the mall, suited up, and played grandparents so the real parents could have some fun together. Happiness all ’round. 🙂

1606 Happy Sitter

1606 Happy Sitter

Just left of my head in this snap is the climbing tower, and at the top is a bungee jump over the pool. If you can climb the tower fast enough, they give you a free jump. I’d just get a chiropractor, thanks. To the left of the waterfall is where the wild surf comes from. There’s a room-sized area where the waves are almost like a typical day at Santa Barbara’s East Beach. Except that area (just at the left edge of this pic) is a flotsam of screaming kids in special (expensive mall-approved) inner tubes. The lifeguards don’t let you swim under the waterfall, but everyone was still having a great time. My daughter thinks of it as a brief and relatively inexpensive Hawaii vacation. 🙂

1621 John's Joys

1621 John's Joys

Anne took a pic of me looking all melty-eyed and blissed out, so I snapped this to share what made me so deeply happy. Last is a fuzzy video capture of my beautiful daughter and her great hubby going to ride one of the water slides. It was such a delight to see them able to enjoy some time alone together while we so enjoyed making it possible.

1617 Quick Date

1617 Quick Date

What a fun and fascinating time we had! Shortly after this, we made the elaborate change back to Winter for the drive home. Anne made some great soup, and we watched the Oscars (hurrah for Colin!).

2011/02/27

Entertainment

So many entertaining activities we’re having! Time with family tops the list, and there are so many fun things we do together. Baby is of course infinitely entertaining for all of us. Today they also introduced us to an entertainment that, though we’ve read about it, is new to our experience.

1575 Team Sports

1575 Team Sports

Maybe everyone but us would instantly know what they’re doing, but we would have studied the photo for a while before guessing they’re playing Wii. Though we’d intended to go to the massive Edmonton indoor mall today, we ended up playing the various Wii games together for hours.

We did finally go out for a wonderful dinner at a popular place where we waited so long we began to wonder if they serve breakfast.

1577 Food Line

1577 Food Line

As you can see, it took a while to even get in the door. Luckily I wore my fanciest insulated rubber boots so as to stand out from the Edmontonians.

To complete our elegant evening we went for a fun few minutes looking at imported designer goods at a retailer you might have heard of. Anne and I found a few things we’d been looking for, as did our loved ones.

1578 Well Dressed Shoppers

1578 Well Dressed Shoppers

Some of you may recognize this as a WalMart entrance. It was actually a fun part of our entertainment, as every young family well knows. If all goes well, we’re in for another fun day together tomorrow. I’m so glad the weather hasn’t been good enough for flying, because we’ve been having such a wonderful time here!

2011/02/26

Personal Favs

I’m smiling, typing this. Another wonderful family day, this time starting with an incomplete medical appointment. Turns out we needn’t have worried about arriving a few minutes late due to an especially frustrating car seat (I’m becoming an unwilling expert). After waiting over an hour watching each woman in the full waiting room called by name to go in ahead of us, the nurse’s assistant came out and called, “April.” My muttered reply, “Oh no, they’re only up to April!” We had a jolly stifled laugh and carried on with small talk and memories of my daughter’s infancy.

After the only other woman waiting was called in, I went to get my famished daughter a snack and returned to find that we’d been told the doctor was called away to the hospital and we’re rescheduled for next week. I only relate this as context to share how kindly my remarkable daughter received this very unwelcome news. We had a good time joking about it afterward, and after some fun stops returned to her place to complete our shared enjoyment of Pride and Prejudice (the unsurpassed Colin Firth version). This then to introduce one of my fav pix from those thus far not shared here.

5728 Family Time

5728 Family Time

I hope you can get some impression from this snap how joyfully pleased I am to see them so happy together, cuddled up to watch one of our fav movies with us. Were it not for alert Anne I might have missed this photo that will forever hold a special place in my heart.

The other new fav I’m sharing tonight is this shot of a man who loves hockey, and though not having skated for several years was ripping up the ice when we found the inexpensive rentals next to the pond downtown. His delightful freedom and exuberance on the ice matches his tenderness in the cozy shot above. It brought my daughter and me much joy to see such happiness in the hard-working man who daily brings such happiness to her, building a strong new family for my grand daughter.

5586 Free Skate

5586 Free Skate

2011/02/25

Toe Toy

I’m very happy to report that grand-daughter is completely healthy, doing extremely well, and seems to have grown measurably every day. I know you’ll understand when I soberly assure you that this is the second most beautiful infant I’ve ever seen, and the little nuclear family is exceptionally delightful to be with. Since you already know I’m not boasting, hopefully it’s ok to share a new photo.

She’s been vocalizing a lot more and developing elementary hand-eye coordination so quickly now that we can see the progress every day. Even during the day when she wakes from a nap, often there’s some new behavior or skill. This dream learning is presumably why babies sleep so much, as their brains re-wire from the previous waking period’s stimuli. Well, yesterday and today she’s discovered she has feet.

5669 Foot Fixation

5669 Foot Fixation

She will stare at them, as in this photo. She’ll move them and try to grab them. She’ll kick the dangling toys in her playpen with them. GrandDad loves to watch and facilitate this process. 🙂

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