Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas on Vancouver Island 2014

Well December is just about in the history books.  It has been a busy month.  We have had more opportunities to go with the missionaries to teach.  That has been really great.  We have tried to visit people and take them a treat for Christmas.    But the biggest treat to us was a visit from family.  Tara and Brett made the long journey to Canada to be with us for Christmas.  They loaded up all 5 kids, their presents, decorations for our apartment, games, and even sugar cookie dough ready for cutting and frosting.  What a wonderful time we all had.  They really brought Christmas to us.  We love our family so much and it was simply awesome to have some with us.


Here comes the Ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria.  It was fun to see them come in. 
Here they come, driving right off the ferry.


Elder Nickels is waiting to direct them where to go.

Of course the first stop is for Pizza.

Then we got to see the Live Nativity put on by the Victoria Stake.

Trevor and his buddy.

It was a beautiful depiction of the nativity. We all very much enjoyed it.  Welcome to Victoria.
They got right to work and started decorating our humble apartment.

When they were through we had a couple of tiny decorated trees and a bunch of beautifully wrapped presents.  It was so fun.

Everyone resting after all the work, but now onto cookie decorating.

Nothing like frosting sugar cookies.

Tara, Bryton, and Taylor getting them finished up.

Tate loved blowing bubbles in the backyard.  It was actually a sunny day.

That evening we went to the Craigdarroch castle and heard a one man telling of "Christmas Carol,"  just the way Dickens use to present it.  It was fantastic.  I really enjoyed it. 
Christmas Eve we headed to Butchart Gardens to see all the lights.
The Bollwinkel Family,
 (minus Tate who was asleep in the stroller).

Elder & Sister Nickels.

We all enjoyed the lights.

They had tooooo much fun ice skating.


Christmas Eve always brings new pajamas.  This year the Bollwinkels were Elves.

Christmas morning finally came and all the presents were opened.


Took a tour of the Gingerbread houses after Christmas.

 Tara loves the 1st place Gingerbread house.

We toured the museum in Victoria. 

Grandpa and Blake

Taylor  LOOK OUT

Elder & Sister Nickels in Victoria.
Bollwinkels in Victoria.
  1.  Christmas in Victoria. (Lights and Elves)!!!

It has been a wonderful year.  It was a great way to end an eventful year.  Thank you so much for a wonderful Christmas season.


Friday, December 12, 2014

December 2014

Well here we go into our 2nd December away from home.  It really feels different this year as opposed to last year.  I guess last year I knew that I had another Christmas away from home, but this one seems much harder.  I am missing my family this time of year. 

We started the month out with the annual Nativity Display at the Sidney Ward Chapel.  They display over 700 Nativity sets.  There are 500 or so in the gym, then a white room, and a whimsical room.  It was an amazing display.  We were fortunate to serve as Hosts on different days.    The picture below was part of a backdrop to some of the nativities.  It was beautiful, so simple, but so powerful in its statement. 

These were painted murals.  They took up the entire end of the gym.  It transformed the room.  It was very impressive. 

Maybe this can show how it all looked.  Kind of hard to tell. 

This is down the middle of the room. 

I loved the following nativity scene.  It was a pile of gifts and then when you stood back, you got the shadow from the light shining on the presents. 

This was the white room.  It was beautiful from ceiling to floor. 

And of course there always has to be a quilt to add to any event. 

December 10, 2014

It came time to get ready for December Zone Meeting.  Elder Nickels and I decided that we wanted to make sure each missionary on the island had a sock for Christmas.  We bought 50 socks and went to work.  We put Canada 2014 on all of them and then embroidered their name.  It was fun to bring a feeling of home to them for just a moment.     We had a Christmas dinner for them after Zone meeting and gave them their socks.  Of course they had the traditional 'sock' items in them. 
After we got them all embroidered, we put out all the good 'stuff' and the sisters helped us fill them.  It was a lot of fun, and I think helped the sisters feel like it was Christmas. 

 They are all filled and boxed up ready for delivery.  We get to give the Victoria Zone their sock personally, but we had to box up the Nanaimo zone and send them up with the sisters.  We cooked the Christmas Dinner for the Victoria Zone and as such could not attend the Nanaimo Zone, which was held the same day and time.  We missed not seeing those missionaries  We hope they enjoyed their bit of home.

At the  church and time to cook Christmas dinner.

Sister Duvall and me working hard in the kitchen.
Christmas Dinner is served.  It was a wonderful day. 

Merry Christmas. 
We are so grateful for that star that shone so bright that humble Christmas night.  So thankful for the Savior that came to this earth to save us all.  So grateful that we are able to return to our Heavenly Home someday. 
 So grateful for His birth.