Bruce & Betsy Blais
Richardson, Texas USA

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In addition to some of the special things we did in 2010, here are a few of the other things going on around here. These included holidays, birthday parties and other fun events. It also includes some unusual winter weather we had this year.

Unusual Winter Weather

We had snow for Christmas in 2009, and then got hit again February 11th. The last notable snow was February 14th, 2004. February seems to be the snow month for us. I recall "The Inventor of the Internet" saying the climate was heating up. Couldn't tell it from the winter we had this year. It has been colder and wetter than I can ever remember, and it has snowed more than ever. Here is how the front yard looked at 7:30 the following morning.

The Elm on the left drops its leaves in the winter, so it did not accumulate too much snow. The Oak, on the other hand, stays green through the winter and collected a lot more snow. It lost a small branch in the process. Some of the neighbors trees took a harder hit as seen below.

When we get snow, which is every 4-5 years, it usually melts immediately on the streets and sidewalks. Well, it melted at first, but it came down so fast and hard, that it eventually started accumulating. Here is one of the street at 7:30 AM the day after.

No big deal you say, until you realize we don't have any snow plows.

The patio furniture on the deck gives good idea of the amount of snow that fell. The official snowfall amount was 12.5" and broke the all time record of 7.8". The weather records started being kept back in the 1898. The previous snowfall record for February 11th was 1.4".

Below is the view from our second floor offices looking towards Glenville Park. It was beautiful while it lasted.

We'll get to enjoy this event for about a day before it all melts. It is was up in the 50s the following day.

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Zach's Birthday

Zach's birthday came just before Mardi Gras this year, so we celebrated it by having a Mardi Gras party. Everyone put on beads and temporary tattoos and we played a version of musical chairs blind-folded. Instead of the traditional birthday cake, Zach got a King Cake.

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Dallas Arboretum

We normally go to the Dallas Arboretum each spring for "Dallas Blooms" and went on March 9th this year. This is about a month earlier than normal, and things weren't as colorful as they are later in the spring. 

Timing is difficult. You want to get there while the tulips are still in bloom and the other flowers are also starting to come out. They started "Dallas Blooms" early this year, and we went just a bit too early. Yes, that is really me, 30 pounds overweight. As soon as the weather got nice, I started working it off.

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Unusual Winter Weather (Again!)

The night of March 20th, we had our third significant snowfall of the season. The official amount at the airport was 1", but amount on the ground in Richardson was reported at 5". A few miles to the north in Allen, they got 9".

The neighborhood looked nice, but enough is enough! This snowfall broke a record that has stood since 1937.

The wind gave us blowing snow conditions as you can from the trees above. It blew off the flat open areas but in the protected areas, like the deck, accumulated considerably more than the "official" amount.

All of the snow in the sunny areas was gone the same day, with the snow in a few shady spots hanging around until the next day. The 60F temperature the following day finished off all of the remaining spots.

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Dallas Arboretum - Part 2

Since the Arboretum wasn't ready earlier in the month, we decided to go back at the end of the month. Things were much further along. Here is a photo from the same spot as the photo above, just three weeks later. Notice how much further along the flowers are. The location is near the entrance to the Arboretum overlooking the Jonsson Color Garden.

Below is a shot of Betsy  pausing for a photo opportunity at one of the urns along the Paseo de Flores.  The Paseo is a walkway that runs about a 1/4 mile from the entrance to the Arboretum to the Alex Camp home, and is lined with flower beds of all kinds.

Bruce and Betsy pausing for a photo opportunity at one of the many gardens along the Paseo.

A view of Nancy's Garden from the Paseo with White Rock Lake in the distance.

More tulips along the Paseo. The building below is the side of an extension to the DeGolyer home used as a restaurant and cafe.

Tim and Betsy in the east end of the Lay Ornamental Garden near the Water Walls.

Bruce and Betsy (below) by the Koi Ponds in the west end of the Lay Ornamental Garden. The Water Walls are in the background.

Betsy at the south end of the Jonsson Color Garden. This gives a perspective on the size of the Arboretum.

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Another Easter season has come and gone. This is a hectic time of year for us because we are heavily involved in Holy Week activities: Seder, stations, prayer watch, the Great Vigil and the Feast of the Resurrection on Sunday. After all of the religious activities, it is Easter dinner with the family. Mario, second from the left, is Holly's latest, and Brandon, on the far right, is one of Bret's friends.

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Tim's Birthday

Tim had another one this year, just like every year. It was supposed to be a surprise party, but Zach unknowingly "spilled the beans" and Time caught on. Even though he knew what was happening, he tried to look surprised.

What's a party with food? Here is part of the clan devouring snacks.

Having filled up on snacks, now it was time for dinner.

The party game this year was the "duck walk". Everyone grabbed their ankles and was supposed to walk like a duck. It is a good thing this photo was taken from the finish line instead of the starting line.

Then it was onto the gift exchange.

After the gift exchange, it was time for cake and ice cream.

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Spring Time

Mothers Day

Alissa's Volleyball Tournament

Granddaughter Alissa has been playing volleyball on a local girls youth league, and have made it to the tournament round. Here are some shots of her in action during one of the final regular games.

The team meeting. Alissa wears the number 13 jersey and is the girl with the water bottle just to the left of the coach with the red hair.

Here is an action shot of Alissa getting in position to return the ball.

Another good return.

She can even do it over the shoulder!

It was on to the finals for the Servivors. They got all the way to the quarter-finals before being eliminated. Here is Alissa at the brackets.

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Ariana's Choir Finale

Ariana has been in choir this year and recently went to state competition. They gave a special encore presentation of the songs they did at the competition. Here are the seventh and eight-grade girls doing "My Guy". Ariana is in the second row left of the director.

Eight-grade girls doing a tribute to their teacher since they are moving on at the end of the year. Again, Ariana is in the second row left of the director and to the right of the micorphone.

And the combined sixth, seventh and eight-grade boys and girls choirs doing the finale.

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Christmas 2010 was like most. Mass on Christmas Eve and family at grandma and grandpa's (that would be us) on Christmas Day. Here is grandpa and grandma on Christmas Eve.

The next morning, the tree and presents are waiting the special occasion.

The table is set.

The girls are in the kitchen preparing the feast. Here is Grandma Betsy and daughter Holly.

Even the oldest granddaughter, Ariana, is getting into the spirit by making muffins.

All this while Tim plays Christmas carols on the piano.

Next, it's dinner.

Now, it's on to the gifts. Here is Betsy with her music player with daughter Chrissy in the background.

Next is one with Holly getting a little something to make the holiday season more festive.

Here's grandson Bret getting a new X-Box game.


Next is granddaughter Alissa getting cosmetics and gift cards.

And then there is granddaughter Ariana getting a similar gift.

And at the end of it all, a family photo less grandpa who is taking the picture.

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Version 0.9, December 26, 2010