We flew into Buffalo late on December 23rd and rented a car before driving up to Toronto to spend time with our grandchildren. It was very mild when we landed (63F! in December in Buffal0) which made it very hard when it did get more wintery. Our friends, Maria & Bruno, who live not too far from Josh offered us a room in their house for our stay.
We enjoyed Christmas watching two and a half year old, Arya & Cyrus open presents and passing them out to whomever they belonged to. We did it over four sessions but they were still quite hyper by the end of the day.
Over our visit we had fun playing with them at home as well as going ten pin bowling one day. Who knew they had racks for youngsters to place the ball, push it and it rolls down the lane! After a couple more days of playing, we all drove in two vehicles to Kingston (about 3 hours east of Toronto), where Fran’s sister Cynthia lives, (she and her hubby went to Cuba for the week) and also where Fran’s mom is now living in a senior’s home. The kids visited with their great grandmother and then we spent the afternoon at Cynthia’s. It snowed that day and the season changed – yeck! Josh drove back home that night and we spent the week staying in Kingston and visited with Fran’s mom.
We then headed back to Toronto to spend more time with Josh’s family before driving back to Buffalo to catch a flight west where we rented a car and drove to Big Sky, Montana to spend a few days with Serena and met her boyfriend of one year, Kurt. They moved in together in November and live right in the village so they both walk to work. Kurt is very nice and we approve. 🙂 Serena (as Kurt had to work) took us to the Boiling River in Yellowstone National Park one day and it was a cold/hot outing. We saw lots of wildlife enroute including big horn sheep, buffalo, deer, a bald eagle and pronghorn. You have to walk through some shallow freezing water to get to the thermal areas and the water level is low so the water can be cold one minute and scalding the next; quite an experience. The next day, Serena and Fran went for mani’s before all three of us skied in the afternoon. We had not skied for seven years and Fran was a little nervous but took it easy and none of us fell. Big Sky has great powder and fun was had by all. Serena got us employee rates at the hotel (as well as a last minute upgrade), discounts on rentals and Kurt graciously gave us free lift tickets (he is a lift maintenance engineer). On our second night, Kurt & Serena cooked us a nice Asian meal and we had a second Christmas with them. We all enjoyed the hot tub at our hotel a couple of nights as well.
After leaving Big Sky, we went to our storage unit south of Seattle to pick up a few things. We then had to repack including bringing an old spare suitcase that was in our unit as we were bringing back too much stuff. Yes, we who like to fly carry on were going to check FOUR bags!