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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our Magical Family Christmas

I went into this year's Christmas season very different from prior years. My season always began in October. Shopping lists were started. I loved picking your brains (and your Mom's before you) for clues to what you each wanted. The list for needed baking products was on the counter (Papa hates clutter on the counter).

This year Nana had pneumonia and could do literally nothing. Being a typical type A controlling person, I was so sad our family traditions would not happen this year. Of course, no one could make my magic happen but me. Right? Wrong.

Papa jumped right in there. Besides taking care of me, preparing the house for the holiday, he shopped for each of you. I was really impressed when he showed me the excel document he created to keep everything in control. Christmas Eve Papa cooked and set a beautiful table. Your Moms baked cookies and TT made garbage bread.

It was a magical Christmas. I sat and watched as all these elves just made Christmas Eve and Christmas happen exactly like previous years. They scurried around and as if with fairy dust each aspect of the night and following day went perfectly. It seemed so strange, yet so wonderful. I could not prepare our beautiful Christmas, but my family could.

This reinforced for me what a wonderful family we are. We live as one unit. We are available to each other for whatever is happening; the good, the bad and the ugly. I found a definition for the word family online: a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not: the traditional family.

Our family is not the traditional family. We are so much more than that. I believe each of us was hand picked by God and put together to form this one unit - our family. I have a poem framed and displayed in our home. I believe it is a very apt definition of us as one unit:

Our Family
is like a patchwork quilt
with kindness gently sewn.
Each piece is an original
with beauty of its own.
With threads of
warmth and happiness
it's tightly stitched together
to last in love
throughout the years . . .
Our family is forever.

Thank you, God, for our wonderful family:~)
Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Kara and Emily at The Polar Express

Sometimes the best laid plans just don't always play out. Connie, Ray, Ken and I planned on bringing Kara and Emily to Saratoga to ride The Polar Express to the North Pole. (And yes, this is our second time this year. That's too long a story to tell.) Then good, old Nana had to get pneumonia, which means I got to stay home. Connie was great and sent pictures to my phone throughout the evening.

As you can see, the girls enjoyed their ride as much as the boys did. I may not have been on that train, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Look at the smile on Miss Em's sweet face. Then there is Kara doing the mouth thing she did as a baby when she was happy and shy at the same time.

I was not there physically. Yet I got to see the happiness my girls experienced on their way to the North Pole. It really is going to be a Merry Christmas.
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kara and Zack's Winter Concert 2011

Kara and Zack had separate concerts, as Kara is in Elementary School and Zack is in Middle School. There are only so many pictures you can take; therefore, I decided to combine both concerts into one blog entry.

Kara, you looked absolutely gorgeous in your festive dress. And so grown up with your curly hair pulled to one side. The combined finale featuring third, fourth and fifth grade choruses singing "Peace On This Silent Night" was sung beautifully.

Zack, your concert featured the Middle School chorus and band. The chorus was great as it always is. The sixth grade band played first and sounded like all beginning bands. They put their all into their playing. It is wonderful how the talent musicians have increases with practice. I tapped my foot right along with your seventh and eighth grade band as you played "A Holly Jolly Christmas."

Next year we will only have one concert to attend. Both of you will be in Middle School. That will seem very strange. We better not get used to it. The following year Em will begin her concerts at Tamarac Elementary School!

It just doesn't seem possible.
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Happy Day with Kara

Last Sunday we were invited to Kristen's and Corey's for dinner. Long before we left, Kara called and asked that I bring the red nail polish she bought me. She wanted to polish my nails. I love it!

Kara painstakingly applied a bottom coat of bright red polish. My pinkie finger and thumb next had white strips applied horizontally and vertically. These strips were then covered with green polish. Kind of looked like ribbon candy. HO HO HO was painted in white then green on the other fingers. As a final coat, Kara applied my red glitter polish. My nails looked gorgeous! And little did Kara know, she made her Nana feel special.

I couldn't wait to go to my lunch date the next day to show my manicure off. My friend, Mary Ann, thought I had them done professionally.

Thank you, Kara, for that wonderful experience; doing something just for your Nana.
Hugs and kisses,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Our Ride on the Polar Express with Our Boys

One Christmas Eve many years ago, a boy lies in bed, listening hard for the bells of Santa’s sleigh, which he has been told by a friend do not exist. Later that night he hears not bells but a very different sound. He looks out his window and is astounded to see a steam engine parked in front of his house! The conductor invites him to board the Polar Express, a train filled with children on their way to the North Pole.
~an excerpt from A Teacher's Guide to The Polar Express written by Chris Van Allsburg~

Our visit with the boys on the Polar Express to the North Pole was awesome. The train car was full of over excited, happy kids smiling, laughing; just enjoying the night. We had hot chocolate and cookies served by dancing waitresses. Santa's Elves went from table to table talking to every child. The conductor of the train gave each child a bell attached to a red ribbon. Sometime during that evening he gave me a magic bell, too. Then we had a visit with the hobo who sleeps on top of the car.

The conductor was having fun harassing Zack. He kept telling him not to expect gifts from Santa. Zack played right along with him. It was so fun.

Suddenly Santa appeared! He made his way down the aisle and spoke with each family. Alex was in awe of him. When asked what he wanted for Christmas, he said, "Nothing." Santa stayed and had a cookie with us. A magical moment, for sure.

Then the singing and dancing began. Elves and waitresses brought merriment to the entire train car. Alex was busy all evening just trying to take everything in. He kept saying, "Nana, I am so happy," over and over. Zack had a big smile on his face. He was just the greatest big brother, as always!

I thought the magic I felt with the girls at The American Girl Doll Place was the epitome of happiness and could never be matched. I was so wrong. The magic we all felt on The Polar Express Train ride to the North Pole equalled it in every way.

To see families sharing this night together gave me such a warm feeling. Christmas brings out the best in most people. We forget our problems and enjoy the season with each other. Hopefully, we remember the reason for the season; the birth of Baby Jesus, laying in a manger in each of our homes.
Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Alex's Kindergarten School Picture - 2011

Alex has adjusted very well to school. I have to admit I held my breathe for the first week. But he gets off the school bus every day wearing a big smile. He talks about his new friends, and most importantly, loves his teacher. He lost his first tooth this year; or should I say he knocked out his first tooth this year. One change he has made to make his Nana very happy is to adjust his smile so we can no longer see his tonsils. That's really a great change.

Alex, stay as happy and full of life as you are now. Don't sweat the small stuff!
Hugs and kisses,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

So Different, Yet So Alike

I found this so funny. Here's the story. Aunt TT and Kara went Christmas shopping together. Well, as everyone knows, Kara is our hat and bag lady. She sees a hat she just loves. So Mom buys it for her.

They finish shopping and are ready to go home. Aunt TT gets a message and picture from Aunt Shell. She and Zack were out shopping for Alex's gifts. They saw a hat and sent a text and picture to Kristen saying Kara would really love it.

See below.

My girls think so much alike about their kids. And yet, they really are so different.
Hugs and kisses,