Hidden Gems: Nephews & Niece, Campfires & Trampoline…

I love to take photos & lots of them as anyone who knows me can attest to.  But it seems that although I am good at taking lots of photos, I have been terrible at sharing them!  Even my own family hasn’t seen many of my photos & they are in most of them!DSC_0358I’ve taken some really good ones recently, especially of our niece & nephews & what good are they if they just stay hidden away on my computer??

DSC_0315Take this photo of our youngest nephew Mr. Blake… could he get any cuter?  He is just so smiley all the time… he has the best smile & the best laugh. There is nothing better than his baby giggles! (Can you tell I am a proud Auntie?)

DSC_0333While I love that Grandpa is making him laugh, I also love how he’s got his eyes on Auntie B taking his photo!  Although his sister tries to tell him, he doesn’t yet think of Auntie B as the paparazzi…


DSC_0323Look Auntie B, I picked a chive for you!DSC_0349Lily is funny about taking photos…. sometimes she doesn’t want to be very cooperative & gets right in my face (as with the chive photo) but sometimes she is the best & without me even asking her!  She stopped to smell the flowers all by herself!DSC_0366For a four year old she takes pretty decent photos too.  I am sure I was not half as good when I was 4.  I have a feeling my parents never even let me touch the camera when I was her age…. actually, I’m pretty sure this is true…. I saw my Dad cringe just a little when I so trustingly handed Lily my camera.  But she took a decent picture of Auntie B (which is hard to do)!DSC_0371Although I really like taking photos of nature & animals in our yard, I love taking photos of people (especially the kids)… you just never know what you might capture.DSC_0543No, Jude is not possessed…. just really enjoying eating his ribs…. & perhaps hamming it up for the camera a little bit.  He ate more ribs than even Uncle Colin (I think) & sure showed us how to eat ribs.DSC_0546He demonstrates perfectly why I am not a big fan of ribs…. they are so darn messy!DSC_0540One of the things that our nephews (& Lily) like to do when visiting Auntie B & Uncle C’s house is to have a fire.  It is a good thing that Uncle Colin likes to burn things.  When they know a fire is a possibility, the boys are relentless at bugging Uncle Colin to start it…the weather was rather questionable the day we last had a fire with them.  It was a little windy so we weren’t even sure if we would be able to have a fire…. but Colin doesn’t like to disappoint, so he lit one for the boys…. DSC_0554It was still pretty windy… & the photos make it look like the fire was WAY more out of control than it actually was.DSC_0555DSC_0559DSC_0565And of course, if you’re going to have a fire, you’ve got to work for it!  The boys love going to the wood pile & picking out the logs they are going to burn.

DSC_0577DSC_0578Sometimes it is good to have fires in your pajamas too…. but you still have to do the work!

DSC_0692In December when we had the kids here to get our Christmas tree, Lily found a Y stick out by the fire pit… & Uncle Colin has saved that Y stick for Miss Lily ever since. DSC_0689 He leaves it in the tree stump where she planted it & it’s a constant reminder of her in our backyard.  She got reacquainted with her Y stick the last time she visited.  Here she was telling us something very important about the Y stick!DSC_0686We often feel that when the kids come to visit we don’t have that many fun things for them to do outside (especially when compared to the things they see in our neighbours yards)… so we decided to buy a trampoline…. a big one! DSC_0601 While the boys have not jumped on it too much yet, Lily has made VERY good use of it.  Pancakes, it seems, are very good trampoline fuel, for those of you who are wondering. DSC_0600 One morning while we were jumping on the trampoline Lily said to me “Auntie B, I had pancakes for breakfast & they just make me sooooo jumpy!!”  Where she comes up with this stuff, I haven’t a clue but I thought it was hilarious!DSC_0621DSC_0619DSC_0631We discovered that the trampoline creates lots of static & not only did we get shocked like crazy but we also had stick up hair!  DSC_0614Blake didn’t want to be left out & got some crawling in as long as no one else was jumping around too much.DSC_0607Uncle C was really good a bouncing Lily around…. but jumping gave him hiccups!DSC_0637Mommy, Daddy & Blake were the cheering section while Auntie B, Uncle C & Lily bounced around!DSC_0634DSC_0665We have long known that Lily has a memory like an elephant but she really proved it recently.  Last fall she heard me talking on the phone to Uncle C about Luke & Jude shooting walnuts in our backyard with the big slingshot. DSC_0329 Well, ever since then, every time she saw us she reminded us that the next time she came she wanted to do walnut shooters!  May is not exactly walnut season…. so we had to come up with something else to shoot… water balloons!!  We told her we were “watering” the farmers field behind our house & she loved it!DSC_0642 So did her Daddy as you can see from the smile on his face…. one is never too old to shoot water balloons!DSC_0652This post I think, really gives you a sense of why I called my blog “BS… ramblings about food, photography & life….” this is just me rambling about my life & throwing in some photos!  And next time, I will ramble about food…

Barbies Are A (Little) Girl’s Best Friend…

For months now, every time I have seen my niece at my parents house, I always get the same question: “Auntie B, can we play with your Barbies?”  I am not even sure how all of my old Barbies ended up in my room, umm, I mean, Lily’s room at my parents.  The last I had seen of them they were stored away in my parents crawlspace.  My parents must have come across them at some point & transferred them to the closet in Lily’s room.  Well, talk about temptation.  I’m sure it drove the poor little girl crazy to see all those Barbies & not be able to play with them.  Gramma & Grandpa had a rule, you see… Lily was only allowed to play with the Barbies with Auntie B.  So, every time Lily & I found ourselves at Gramma & Grandpa’s at the same time, I always got the same question: “Auntie B, can we play with your Barbies?”DSC_0836-2

I must admit that the first couple times, I brushed Lily off, saying we would play with the Barbies later (I now feel terrible about this seeing how much she really loves playing with them).  I think this was my OCD talking… not, literally, but that’s my excuse.  I’m a nut when it comes to organizing things, keeping things together & with all the proper pieces.  Although most of these Barbies have to be over 20 years old & were played with like CRAZY when I was younger, every single Barbie was dressed in the outfit she came in, accessories & all.  I was afraid of what Lily would do to these Barbies.  I’ve seen her play with other dolls.  The first thing to do is always rip all the clothes off so they’re naked!  And when I say rip, I mean rip (there was a Barbie who lost a head this way).  Part of me felt like I had not kept these Barbies in such good condition for all these years for Lily to come & tear them apart.  Case in point.  The first time we played with a “few” of the Barbies, Lily tore the sticker off a Barbie hat.  This sticker had been on the hat for over 20 years but within 20 seconds of being in Lily’s possession, it was off.  I do realize however that she’s a three year old & was super excited to play with Auntie B’s Barbies. Plus, she’s the sweetest little girl ever & I love her with all my heart.  It’s not her fault her Auntie B is crazy!

Once, I had told Lily that we could play Barbies & then we ran out of time.  As Colin & I were getting ready to leave my parents, Lily came running up to me wild eyed & panicked. “Auntie B!  We didn’t get a chance to play with your Barbies” she wailed.  Oh. Did I ever feel bad.  Fast forward a couple of months to February, maybe even March.  Lily was once again at my parents & so was I.  Lily asked me the standard question: “Auntie B, can we play with your Barbies?” For some reason, this time I said yes, we can play with all of them.  Well, you should have seen her eyes light up!  She was like a kid at Christmas.  I got the tote of Barbies, we took it down to the family room & within minutes it looked like a Barbie tornado had passed through.  There were Barbies everywhere.  Lily was practically jumping up & down she was so excited.  Right then, I knew I had done the right thing by letting her play with all of them.  What was I saving them for anyways?  My daughter one day?  Perhaps, but why not let Lily play with them in the meantime? DSC_0826

We sat on the floor playing with each Barbie.  I told her about each Barbie,  what she was wearing & what she came with, details my parents found amazing I could still remember.  It was funny because she kept asking me what every Barbie’s name was… I don’t think she liked it that I kept saying Barbie.  Apparently I was not as creative as she is growing up because all of her dolls have their own names, including such names as Latoya & Edwin.  She didn’t like it that both the Ken’s were named Ken, or that all the “junior Barbies” were named Skipper (I think she is actually now called Stacey). DSC_0827

Every time someone walked into the room Lily would jump up & say “Auntie B is letting me plaaaay with alllllllllll her Barbies!!”  It was very cute.  On this particular day, Auntie B’s OCD hadn’t quite disappeared as we were only playing with the Barbies – we could not undress them.  But that was okay with Lily & we had a blast.  My Dad & I even went to the basement & dug out the Barbie cars, which Lily thought was fantastic. We decided that day that all of the Barbies would go with Auntie B back to my house & that from that point on, we would only play with the Barbies at Auntie B’s house.  Lily was okay with that but tried to convince me to leave one of the Barbie cars so she could play with it.  I wasn’t going to until the tears started flowing.  Lily said she was just having SOOOO MUCH FUN with Auntie B that she was sad I had to leave.  Well, what could I say to that?  I had to leave her a car. DSC_0832

Now, the Barbie story does not end with Auntie B taking all the Barbies to her house.  No, not in the least.  Auntie B was planning on visiting Lily at her house only a few weeks later (I realize now it must have been in March when we played with all the Barbies) & I had to promise to bring some Barbies with me, so we could play at Lily’s house.  She tried to convince me as well that I should bring the Barbie camper, but I told her I would see (& never did end up bringing it).

A few weeks later I found myself packing to go to my brother’s house & along with packing some clothes, I also had to pack a bag of Barbies.  I felt like I was 8 years old again.  When I was a kid, my best friend Carly & I played Barbies all the time (Car – please forgive me for the photos!). Brandey & Carly Barbies 1_0002

And I mean, ALL the time!  I don’t remember us playing Barbies so much when we both lived in London but after my family moved away, we played Barbies every time we saw each other.  From the time we were about 8, Carly & I used to take the Greyhound back & forth to visit each other.  It’s probably something most parents wouldn’t do today, but Carly & I used to take the bus alone, back & forth between London & Hamilton. Our parents would put us on the bus with a bag of clothes & a bag of Barbies & we’d be greeted at the other end by the other girl & her parents.  We did this multiple times a year, for years.  Once together for the weekend, our parents would rarely see us except for meal times. If we were at Carly’s, we’d be in the basement & if we were at my house, we’d be in my room.  Brandey & Carly Barbies 1_0001

Like when I played with Lily, there would be Barbies everywhere.  We would play for hours, creating houses & dressing the Barbies up.  We would just get a house created & then decide that the Barbies were going to move (or something) & we’d have to do it all over again.  I think we were forced to go outside when it was nice, but otherwise it was all Barbies, all weekend.  I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or not to admit that I had such Barbie fever as a kid. Brandey & Carly Barbies 1_0003So, back to packing to visit Lily. I packed a bag of Barbies just like I would have going to visit Carly.  Since the last time Lily & I played Barbies at my parents I had managed to track down my Barbie clothes.  I packed Barbie clothes as well so this time, Lily & I could not only play with them but undress & redress them as well.  Auntie B was getting braver & braver everytime we played Barbies.  But by this point, I figured, why not?  I had already seen how much Lily loved playing with them, & well, I’d do pretty much anything for that girl.

Speaking of doing pretty much anything, Auntie B not only brought some of her Barbies to Lily’s house, but she also brought Lily her very own Barbie.  DSC_0877

Now, she has Barbies that other people had given her but this one was different because it came from Auntie B.  And it was not just one Barbie, but two!  Barbie & her little sister Stacey.  While shopping for this Barbie, I learned that Barbie has changed a lot since I was a kid.  Her joints are different.  And Ken has real hair!  Not, literally of course, but he has hair like Barbie, not just the painted on plastic kind from when I was a kid.  In any case, Lily was over the moon that Auntie B brought Barbies to play with but also a Barbie just for Lily.  Lily’s mom told me that Lily slept with her Barbies the first night she had them.  How cute is that?

As you can imagine, Lily & I played a lot of Barbies that weekend.  It was rather interesting because, of the clothes I brought, she didn’t like all the things I didn’t like as a kid, which are outfits I now think are cool!  Perspective is everything I guess.  I think, however, I may have created a monster.  Playing Barbies is something Lily wants to do with me all the time now!  During the course of the weekend I don’t know how many times I heard, “Auntie B, just leave Blake (her brother) with Uncle C & come play Barbies with me!”.  DSC_0891

Bossy little thing, but of course, I did as she asked (Auntie B & Uncle C both happen to be wrapped around Lily’s little finger)!  Once again, when we were leaving, I had to promise to bring Barbies to Gramma & Grandpa’s house at Easter so we could play again. DSC_0888

I talked to Lily on the phone a few days before Easter when we would play Barbies again.  She asked me if I could bring the Ski Barbie for her, which I thought was funny.  DSC_0829The first day her & I played with allll the Barbies she wanted nothing to do with the Ski Barbie.  I told her I would bring Ski Barbie though & she was super excited.  While I did bring my bag of Barbies to Gramma & Grandpa’s at Easter, we never got a chance to play.  So, the Ski Barbie will have to wait until next time, when the Barbie saga continues.