This is my second blog written to capture memories made with our grandchildren. The link to my first blog, "Meet Our Grandchildren," is listed below in the right hand column. Hope you have time to read some of it. Our journey to becoming grandparents has been full of adventure and much love.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Two Harps Like No Others

I wish my grandchildren had been lucky enough to meet my Dad. He was unique within himself. Was he the best husband and father? No; I don’t know anyone who fits either category. But he was the best grandfather to sixteen very lucky children, including our two daughters. Each of his grandchildren has special memories of times spent with their grandfather. And no two memories are the same. How wonderful is that.

My nine siblings and I have always had our Dad high on a pedestal, surpassed only by our Mom. Many immigrants from Ireland were called “Harp” at the time my grandfather came to America. And this name was handed down to my Dad and then to his first born son. He was Harp to all who knew him. Thus, the reason I have a special attachment to the musical instrument and the music that flows from it. I have always dreamt of having one for my very own.

Well, this Christmas Eve my husband fulfilled this dream. I now have two unique “Harps” in my life. One is my Dad, who will always be sitting on my shoulder. The other was given to me by the special man I was lucky enough to marry. You see, I married a man not unlike my father in many ways. For years Papa has heard me say, “My Dad can do anything. He can fix anything wrong in my life.” Well, kids, so can your Papa. He took up the reins my Dad had to put down and has fixed all humanly possible that he could in my life. How lucky is your Nana? Luckier than any one person should be.
Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Something to Think About

Old Barns and Old People

A stranger came by the other day with an offer that set me to thinking. . .

He wanted to buy the old barn that sits out by the highway.
I told him right off he was crazy.

He was a city type, you could tell by his clothes, his car, his hands, and the way he talked.

He said he was driving by and saw that beautiful barn sitting out in the tall grass and wanted to know if it was for sale.I told him he had a funny idea of beauty.

Sure, it was a handsome building in its day. But then, there's
been a lot of winters pass with their snow and ice and howling wind.

The summer sun's beat down on that old barn till all the paint's
gone, and the wood has turned silver gray.

Now the old building leans a good deal, looking kind of tired.
Yet, that fellow called it beautiful. . .

That set me to thinking. I walked out to the field
and just stood there, gazing at that old barn.

The stranger said he planned to use the lumber to line the walls
of his den in a new country home he's building down the road.

He said you couldn't get paint that beautiful.
Only years of standing in the weather, bearing the storms and
scorching sun, only that can produce beautiful barn wood.

It came to me then. . . We're a lot like that, you and I.
Only it's on the inside that the beauty grows with us.

Sure we turn silver gray too. . . And lean a bit more than
we did when we were young and full of sap.

But the Good Lord knows what He's doing.
And as the years pass He's busy using the hard weather of our lives, the dry spells and the stormy seasons to do a job of beautifying our souls that nothing else can produce.

And to think how often folks holler because they want life easy!

They took the old barn down today and hauled it away
to beautify a rich man's house.

And I reckon someday you and I'll be hauled off
to Heaven to take on whatever chores the Good Lord
has for us on the Great Sky Ranch.

And I suspect we'll be more beautiful
then for the seasons we've been through here. . .
And just maybe even add a bit of beauty to our Father's house.

May there be peace within you today. . .
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

And I do sincerely thank God for my wonderful friends and
family who care about me even though I show signs of weathering!

Hugs and kisses,
This was sent to me by a very special person and I had to share it. Thank you, Christine!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ready and Remembering

We are all ready, decorated inside and out. I am finally done baking. Ken cleaned up the kitchen and set the table for tomorrow. I looked around our home and everything is perfect. The tree looks perfect. Our flowers from The Film's and my brother, Gordon, and his wife are so uplifting to me. I believe flowers are one of God's most beautiful creations. The decorations are just right. Yes, everything looks so beautiful and holds the serenity of the reason we celebrate Christmas, but lacks the happiness of the holiday.

Tomorrow at about 1:00pm, the front door will open and in will come the joy of the season. Kristen, Corey, Don, Shelley and those four most wonderful little people will bring all the happiness in with them. There will be coats and shoes all over the entry to the house. The kids will be pushing to get to the M & M's first. Alex will run like the Roadrunner to the toys. Kara will position her five bags holding all her most precious belongings on a chair she claims as her own. Emily will have her latest electronic game to play with. And, God knows, Zack will have a bag carrying more Star Wars characters than any child should own.

We will have dinner in chaos. The kids will be thrilled to drink bubbly grape juice that looks like champagne from Nana's crystal. After dinner, we will go to church. I am always so anxious to visit the crib of Baby Jesus with His family. I always feel so peaceful. It reminds me, and all with me, the reason for the season.

Then it is on to Papa's and Nana's for presents. There are wrapping, cookie crumbs and mess everywhere. I look around and say to myself, yes, this is my remembrance of Christmas' past, spent with my family while I was growing up. We had far fewer presents; sometimes none. The dining room table was overflowing with food, homemade fruitcake and pies. My Dad was bragging that we had the "best Christmas tree in Cohoes." Actually, the one he was holding for us brought in a pretty penny, so we got second best. Second best is good. Mom was thankful the day finally arrived. Since my Dad sold Christmas trees to provide us with whatever he could, Mom was just glad the anxiety was over. It was always stressful for her to shop for so many children as the money came in as trees sold. But Mom was happy. Happy to have her family all together, laughing, fighting over some toy. But all together as a family. Christmas has changed in some ways, but remains the same in other ways.

The holidays are a time filled with joy, laughter and happiness, but they also bring memories into our hearts of those no longer celebrating with us. We remember family members and friends not here to celebrate with us for so many reasons. Those memories are a blessing. We can close our eyes and see and hear the voices of our loved ones. In our hearts, everyone is with us, celebrating as a family.

This is why I try to recount some of the memories we have shared with you, our children and grandchildren. It is beyond important to me that they, years from now, will close there eyes and remember their family, friends and all the reasons for the season. Merry Christmas and God bless.
Hugs and kisses,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Kara's Fourth Grade Christmas Concert

Kara had a great time at her concert. She and all her classmates were all decked out in their finest. What a difference between third and fourth grade. The kids all seem so much more grown up. And believe it or not, all the children were actually enjoying singing all the great Christmas songs.
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Zack's First Winter Band Concert

We attended our first winter band concert this year at Tamarac and listened as the Middle and High School bands serenaded us with awesome Christmas music. Actually, Zack plays the trombone in the Jazz Ensemble and the Middle School Band. These kids play so well together. They are a tribute to their music teachers and to Tamarac.

Zack has a great love for music and we are hoping it will always be part of his life. We look forward to enjoying many more presentations like this one. It brought back so many memories of Kristen playing the clarinet and Shelley playing the saxophone at Tamarac too many years ago than I dare to count.
Hugs and kisses,

Decorating Gingerbread Houses

Wonder how many more years we will be doing this?

It's fun to watch how the kids go about decorating their houses. Zachary is like a young contractor deciding where is best for the windows and doors. Alex has a great time eating the candy - one for the house; one for Alex.

Kara and Emily are so much more into how the house looks. It has to be pretty. So girl for sure. My Dad would say "esthetically pleasing to the eye."

It's all part of how we celebrate Christmas with our grandkids. They will have many memories to sit around a Christmas tree in one of their homes one day and remember what fun they had with Nana and Papa. Wonder if they will keep the tradition going?
Hugs and kisses,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Emily's Christmas Concert

Emily's Kindergarten class performed with enthusiasm for their first school Christmas concert. They sang "Jingle Bells" and "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas." Grades one, two and the entire audience joined in singing the two closing songs. We all had fun singing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Emily Receiving Child of Character Award

At various times throughout the school year Tamarac Elementary School awards children who were nominated by their teachers for having outstanding characters. We are extremely proud that Emily was a recipient of the award on November 30.

Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have of Emily. And what is she doing? She is walking off the stage. For some reason all the bright lights were left on in the auditorium and my pictures were beyond salvaging. I'm sure when Em's Mom reads this post she will be happy to provide me with a few pictures. When that happens, I will be more than happy to post them.

Congratulations, Miss Em. We are proud of you, as always.
Hugs and kisses,
PS - Mom came through. She sent me a picture:~)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Day - 2010

I have no idea why, but this was the most enjoyable Thanksgiving I ever remember. Kristen and Corey were our hosts this year. Wednesday night Michelle helped Kristen prepare everything ahead they could, so the holiday morning would be less hectic for Kristen. Our girls are a great team. They always work together. I'm very thankful for that. I hope they both foster this in their children.

Kristen's table looked so beautiful, centered with a flower piece Michelle "put together", as she says. I'm so proud Michelle inherited my Mom's creative ability. There isn't much she won't tackle and the outcome is always a work of art to be proud of.

Instead of the usual grace said every holiday, each of us, kids included, took a turn to say what they were thankful for this year. Each of my grandchildren was thankful for their sibling and family. Of course they threw in about five toys each.

It all centered on the fact we are so thankful to have each other and share in each other's life. It took some extra time to form our family as it is today, but it was so worth all the heartache and anxiety we all felt during the waiting period. My feeling is God knew what He was doing. And He has blessed our family beyond what I could ever have imagined.
Hugs and kisses,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Brunswick Bulldog Season

It is apparent Kara has decided she loves cheerleading. She has made such strides since last year. Her moves are sharp, as they should be, and she just about has the cartwheel perfected.

Emily has grown in so many ways since she started school. She has broken through her protective shell. Em loves being part of the cheering squad. Taking gymnastic classes has totally been to her benefit. She can do the split and her cartwheels are really almost down pat.

I am not a fan of football being played by little men or big men. But cheerleading, well that's a girly-girl thing; so that's OK. I have to admit, girls, Nana is very happy the season has ended:~)
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Time for School Pictures Again

It's hard to believe it is time for a new school year to begin; the very first for Emily. Both girls are very happy with their teachers and their social lives. Emily really did not have a period of adjustment. She just got on the school bus the first day and has been happy ever since. Kara loves learning and always has a book in her hand. Next to sleepovers, reading is her favorite thing to do. I hope the girls have a great year, learning, laughing and being happy.
PS - Zack's picture is forthcoming. Needs a take over for the first time ever!
Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another Halloween and More Chili

Halloween was celebrated as it is every year. Michelle makes a big pot of chili for our supper. She makes the best chili I have ever had. Then the kids go trick or treating with their parents.

Zack was Angus Young, a guitar player for AC/DC, who has been Zack's idol for about a year. Kara was one of those up and coming Monster High dolls. She always keeps up on what's most popular. Our Emily was the sweetest looking devil I have ever seen. Alex made a great Scooby Doo. I think it was perfect choice for him

The kids got lots of candy and had lots of fun. Next is Thanksgiving.
Hugs and kisses,

PS - I want you to know I had posted that Alex was Goofy for Halloween. See Michelle's comment. Boy, it really is tough to get old.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Look How Kara Has Grown

Ken and I visited Kristen and Corey to see their new kitchen table, which is beautiful. While there, the girls brought us up to see their newly decorated rooms. Both are so girly and sweet. Kara gave me a picture of her with her American girl doll; I believe it is Molly. The picture was taken at our house a few years back. If you look at this picture and then look up at Kara's picture on my blog banner, you will see how grown up she is now. On January 3rd, Kara will hit double digits!

I also have to include this in our blog. The Film family were out for the day, probably shopping. When they came home, Kara and Emily went to put all their bags and such on the kitchen table. Kristen immediately said, "Girls, not on the table. Put them on the counter." My "sweet, sharp" Kara immediately retorted, "Mom why did you buy a table we can't use?" You gotta love it. Kristen is turning into her mother and Kara is turning into Kristen. Who woulda thunk????
Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Almost Forgot . . .

A few weeks ago Zack gave me the best compliment a grandchild can give a grandmother. He said,"No offense, Mom (Shelley was sitting across from him), Nana's house is the coziest house I have ever been in." I chimed in and told him grandparents houses are supposed to feel that way. Grandchildren some how know there is not much we won't allow our grandchildren to do. Nevertheless, that's a moment I will always remember.
Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Today is Tuesday. Like every other Tuesday, Alex arrives around 7:20AM. He is in a great mood, as always. Of course, he wants to watch his "wake up" show. After the show, Papa tells Alex that he has to go to the store and that he should eat a good breakfast for Nana and be a good boy. Papa commences to give me instructions on how to microwave two pancakes and 4 slices of bacon (which I have been doing for ten years). I admit I don't cook, but really.

Next, to add insult to injury, Alex tells Papa, "Tell Nana to go to the store and you stay home." Papa leaves. Alex lays on the couch and crosses his legs waving one of them like kids do. I asked him what he was doing just laying there. He says, "I'm waiting for Papa." About an hour later he runs to the door and opens it. I asked him where he was going. His answer was, "Looking to see if Papa was home yet." Now I know what it feels like to be chopped liver. Another day with a grandchild. Another memory.
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Baldwin's Out for a Fun Fall Day

Zack and Alex had a great day at Bowman's Orchard. As you can see, they did more than pick apples. Alex looks like he loves the animals and riding that horse. He's so lucky to have his big brother to give him confidence.
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Zack's First Day in Middle School

Zack moved across Tamarac's campus to Middle School. He is now in sixth grade. He is doing great scholastically and socially. He has an awesome personality. I swear, if he was a salesman, he could talk anyone into buying his product.

One of Zack's biggest loves is band. He is First Chair for the trombone players in regular band and jazz band. The Burnin' Rockers are still together, practicing as much as time allows. I wish Zack a great year, using his time in school wisely.
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A New School Year

The girls were excited the first day of school and very eager to see the friends they didn't see over the summer. Emily wore a happy smile, being excited about her very first day in the Big Kids School. She had all the supplies her teacher requested in her backpack. It was quite the heavy load.

Kara is a fourth grader now. She wore the coolest sneakers with her too cool outfit. I think you all know by now, Kara is heavy into setting fashion trends. As you can see, all three of my girls had manicures, wearing the "in" colors of nail polish.

I hope our grandchildren have a wonderful year learning, having new experiencing , making friends and just being happy. These are just part of what our children and grandchildren should learn in school.
Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall is Here!

The summer has left us until next year. Camping has ended. The kids are back to school and instead of baseball games, we get to go to all those Bulldog football games ( well, to be honest Papa gets to go) to watch Kara and Emily cheer the boys on to victory. The summer was awesome. We got to vacation with and without the kids - the best of both worlds.
Hugs and kisses,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nana Almost Lost It - Over a Blog Background

Hi family. I have spent hours designing the background of this blog. You know how people say its fun. Well it is NOT when you are winging it. I still have to design a header, but that will wait until next week. I need a rest (plus I have a very busy, fun weekend planned).
Hugs and kisses,