Visiting the Grandkids

January 31, 2018

One of the disadvantages of wood heat is that someone has to feed the fire.  If we both plan to be away for more than one day during the winter, it is necessary to find a house sitter. The last two years we were able to get a friend to house sit for us. This year, I decided I would not travel south with Ken for his annual winter getaway, opting to stay home instead. He is heading to Mexico in February, so I decided to fit in a visit to see the grandkids in January.

Baba and Gigi with baby Nora

Our newest grandchild, Nora, was born last September, and the last time I saw her, she was three days old. By the time we see her again in June, she will be nine months old – no longer a little baby. Ken visited the grandkids in November on his way to a one week site inspection in Mexico. So January was my turn for a little Baba time.



Christopher, Astrid and Emily



I flew into Vancouver and spent the weekend with Christopher, Emily and our 19 month old granddaughter Astrid.  As a bonus, Astrid stayed home from daycare on the Monday for an entire day with Baba.

Astrid is at an interesting age, just beginning to talk and assert herself. She is super cuddly, likes to read books, play with blocks, draw with markers, dance and sing. When you tell her we are going out, she runs and gets your shoes, coat and gear for you and then gets hers too. While I was there she loved to play a dress up game. She would get her coat and get you to help her put in on, then she’d get a sweater and put that on top of the coat, then another sweater, and still another on top of that. As many as she could get on. Too funny. She also liked to put on my boots and try to walk around in them. While Astrid loves to play with toys, her favorite thing is to clean up. After playing blocks for a bit, she wants to put them back in the container. And everything has to go in the right container.

Baba and Astrid

Astrid Swinging



Story Time




















Baba with Jacob and Nora

After my Vancouver visit, I took the Greyhound bus to Kamloops. Now, that is the way to travel the Coquihalla in the winter – no driving worries. I spent ten days visiting with Kelsey, Matt, Jacob and Nora. Nora was almost 4 months and Jacob 27 months.

They had snow when I arrived and Kelsey, Jacob and I had a blast making a snowman. Jacob liked to stand on the stump beside the snowman and jump and knock his hat off – over and over again. As the weather turned colder, we had difficulty getting Jacob outside to play as he hates mitts. But he burned off plenty of energy at the indoor play centers and trampoline parks. Jacob is jabbering full steam now and my favorite was “cold water” and “How ’bout this!!” whenever he wanted something.

Kelsey Jacob and Mr. Snowman

Jacob and his shovel

Playdough fun

Baking Muffins

Jacob feeding the ducks corn

Jacob snow fun with Baba
























Nora is a delightful, contented baby. She gets fussy just before sleep time, but otherwise is bright, alert and cheerful. Its easy to coax a smile or laugh out of her.  She adores her big brother and he amuses her to no end. He loves to snatch her soother from her and sit in her bouncy chair, but she does not mind – yet.


Jacob and Nora








After my Kamloops visit, I took the Greyhound back to Vancouver for another weekend and Monday with Astrid. This time we attempted a snowshoe at Bowen Lookout but had to bail out, it was windy and snowing big fat wet flakes. We opted instead for a hike at Atkinson Lighthouse.

Astrid with Baba and Grammy

Astrid hiking with Baba and Mom

Hiking the easy way, on Daddy’s back

Christopher Emily and Astrid
















I flew back to Winnipeg and then spent a few days in the city before Ken drove in to pick me up. It was a great opportunity visit with Kerry and Megan.  Grandkids Katie and Tyler were super busy with hockey games and practice but I did get to watch one game and have a short visit. I also got a chance to meet up with some friends I have not seen in a while.

And now I am back home again. While I always enjoy time with the kids and grandkids, it is nice to be back with the peace and quiet on the Ponderosa. Ken got the two upstairs storage rooms mudded and taped while I was away. He also did a pretty good job of cleaning up, which I really appreciated. While he is away in Mexico, I plan on painting these rooms and turning them into a meditation room and a kid’s playroom.

About Darlene & Ken

Experiencing life off the grid, building a home, and trying to live sustainably.
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1 Response to Visiting the Grandkids

  1. Sounds like you and Ken have similar strategies as Fran and I – keeping the home fires burning. Grandchildren sure do help keep things in perspective – living in hope and action.
    Interesting how In November we too, passed through Kamloops on the way to the grandkids who now are living in High River. Drove through Fraser Canyon to avoid the Coquihalla when we were going and enjoyed an easy and beautiful drive (snowless.) We hadn’t been through there for years – fall colours and all.

    I have to say I haven’t gone to Mexico for 25 years. Though Fran’s daughter,her husband and our 2 grand children are there right now.

    Point Atkinson is a lovely hike, isn’t it? I Hope the winter isn’t too harsh in Manitoba. it’s very mild here on Vancouver Island – more than usual. No freeze-up at all, and we could have kept our solar hot water heater connected this year without damaging it. That hasn’t happened in 32 years since it’s been operating. Of course the winters not over yet. Better safe than sorry.

    Cheers Darlene, to both you and ken – lovely to hear and see your parallel endeavors of the homestead off-grid lifestyle.

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