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 22, 2012

Middle School Christmas Concert ~ 2012

Tamarac's Middle School concert was every bit as entertaining as in past years. The children were dressed in their finest and sung out clearly and strong. Then the band had their turn. It is so great to hear  how the band improves from one year to the next. I was disappointed when the night ended. I was ready to sit and enjoy the evening for much longer.

Uncle Corey, where are the pictures of the band? You were in charge of my camera!
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Polar Express Train Ride ~ 2012

This is our second year riding the Polar Express to the North Pole. It was every bit as exciting as the first trip. The conductor made us feel right at home. Santa gave each of us a magic bell. Each time we saw the Hobo, we would ring it like crazy. Then up the conductor would get to grab him hoping to put him off the train. He never really accomplished that fete. We enjoyed our hot chocolate and cookies served by the pretty elves while The Polar Express book was read to us.

As you can see, Emily and Alex enjoyed their ride to the fullest. Don't worry, Santa, we will be back next year!!
Hugs and kisses,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Kristen and her Awesome Team

Every parent knows their children are special. And all children are. When Kristen, our child, was diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt our world more vulnerable than I could ever have imagined. I had all I could do to keep my emotions in control. I had to stay positive; Kristen expected this of everyone around her. And as I watched her friends and family stand together to help our daughter and her family in every way they could, I was so proud to know so many others saw Kristen as the special person she is. They jumped on board to lighten the weight on Kristen and Corey's shoulders.

Eighty people gathered to walk for Team Kristy on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in October. Everyone smiled, laughed, showed nothing but positive feelings. Our friends prayed for Kristen, many in prayer groups. We all kept our God and His saints very busy listening to our plea. It is my belief that satan walks the earth bringing bad things to good people. It is also my belief the strength and love of  Team Kristy and so many others overtook satan. We are too strong for him. And he fled.

On Wednesday, December 12th (12/12/12), Kristen was told she is cancer free!
Hugs and kisses,

Monday, December 3, 2012

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer ~ Team Kristy

October 21st was our first "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk. It was held in Washington Park in Albany, NY. Eighty some, mainly comprised of friends of Kristen, Corey, Kara and Emily, walked for Team Kristy.
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Day ~ 2012

Our Thanksgiving Day was wonderful, but challenging this year. Shelley found a great way for us to recall things we are thankful for in our lives. We each took two leaves, wrote something we were thankful for on each and hung them on a typically fall tree, naked of its own leaves. If  I could relive Thanksgiving, I would write on one leaf, "I am thankful for chemotheraphy."
Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our Special Day ~ Emily and Me

Emily and I decided to have our special day on Monday, November 12th, which was Veteran's Day. Our day started with Papa chauffeuring us to Crossgate Mall where we "put together" our bride bunny whose name is Brownie. Emily got to put Brownie's heart in her chest just before the last seam was sewn. Then we giggled the entire time we dressed Brownie.

Our next stop was at Chicago Uno for lunch. Em had macaroni and cheese she said tasted just like Aunt Shell's. Can't beat that. I had a salad filled with yummy grapes, dried cranberries and sesame seeds. Of course, Em had to help me eat it. Next we stopped at the candy store. We paid $15.00 for what would have cost me $.30 in the olden days; meaning when I was Em's age.

Our last stop was at Bath and Body Works. We got all kinds of foamy soap to wash our hands with. Of course, we had to stock up on the fruit scents of their pocket anti-bacterial hand gel.

We had a great day. We did fun things; we laughed a lot; but the best part was spending the whole day together. Can't wait to do it again.
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Halloween ~ 2012

How your Halloween costumes have changed over the years. There was Tigger, various princesses and now I'm not sure who you are supposed to be! I know we all still have a great time eating homemade chili (thanks, Aunt Shell) and laughing a lot. What I find funniest is you now Trick or Treat in Springbrook development where Nana and Papa or Shelley and Don lived when you all came home to us. Now it is our turn to tantalize the infamous Mr. Rogers! What goes around, comes around.
Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Miss Kara's First Blue Ribbon

A blue ribbon winner sketched by Kara! I am still in awe of the beauty of this creation. The depth of the grave marker, the illusion of the hand reaching out from the grave. The illumination of the moon has been captured so realistically, with its rays falling to the ground. Kara sketched this at the age of eleven. I can only imagine her creations in the years to come. She has been given a gift to develop and share.

This sketch was on exhibit at the Schaighticoke Fair this year and won the First Prize Blue Ribbon in its category. I am so thrilled and excited for Miss Kara. She loves her art and her literary ability writing wonderful stories, some biographic, some fictional. I am confident she will develop both and many people will enjoy exposure to her creativity.
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Our Pink Hair Extensions for Breast Cancer Awareness

October 1st begins Breast Cancer Awareness month. Both Papa and I have family members who have fought this cancer. Right now, our daughter, Kristen, is "fighting like a girl" and showing astounding strength and courage as her treatment brings her closer every day to becoming cancer free. Your family applauds you, Kristen, for your ability to stay totally focused and think positive. We, as a united  family, stand tall at your side.

Last Saturday we had pink hair extensions added to our hair in support of breast cancer awareness month. Kristen, you have so many friends and family doing everything they can to make your walk through your cancer as tolerable as possible.On October 21st there will be over 80 people walking with Team Kristy to raise money to find the way to rid the world of this disease.
Hugs and kisses,

Friday, September 28, 2012

First Day of School

I'm finally getting caught up on some of the important days in your lives. Kara could not wait for the first day of school. Kara, Nana is going to remind you of that in a few years. But then, I have to remember this is Miss Kara's first year in Middle School. 

Our Miss Emily always says she hates school; she hates cheerleading, she hates soccer. Truth is we know she loves all of them. And a little birdie told me she is the quietest kid in her class. We won't go into why.

Alex is in first grade and seems to be happy. One thing I do know, he hates homework!! Alex is a soccer player and really enjoys it.

Zack is in his last year of Middle School. Music is his favorite class. That is a given. He has been asked to join the High School Brass Band. I'm not sure who was more excited, his Mom or Zack. Zack, I know your music is important to you. You practice diligently and should be very proud to have achieved so much being so young.

Papa and I are looking forward to sharing in your school year. Special Person's Day and the talent show are only celebrated in Elementary School.  Alex and Em, we look forward to them. Then there are the concerts for all of you. We don't intend to miss one thing we are invited to attend. We are so proud of all of you and it is important to us you realize this. We are wishing you happiness and success in the coming school year.
Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Emily's 7th Birthday

Emily had a great birthday. The day began with Dad bringing her friends and her to Build-a-Bear, where everyone got to make a bear to bring home! They had cake and goodies. Everyone was happy.

Later that day Aunt Shell and family, Grandma and Grandpa and Papa and I got to enjoy cake and ice cream with Em and her immediate family. All you kids got to swim, jump on the trampoline and play games in the yard. Aunt Shell got to do something she has always loved. She and Papa helped Em put together her awesome Lego Set from Grandma and Grandpa. Emily was very happy and showed that sweet smile of hers all day.
Hugs and kisses,

My Castle in the Sand

I love the Cape. I love the quiet, the sand, the shells, the seagulls, the hydrangea, the rambling wild rose bushes; I love it all. It is so peaceful and serene. Papa and I have been spending about a week each year in Dennisport for over twenty years.

I love my memories of each one of you vacationing there with your forever family for the first time. You were only babies. I will hold these memories in my heart forever.

This year we all needed to be together to absorb what was happening in our family. Whenever we need to face a serious situation, we all come together. We don't need to talk. We find the strength we need as a unit; a family. We spent our time together and geared up for what was to come; not really knowing exactly what that was.

I know you are all getting older and want more excitement on your vacations. This may have been our last time spent together in this small town on Nantucket Sound. But that's OK; Dennisport will be there if and when we need it again.

It will always be your Nana's and Papa's castle in the sand.
Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Zack and His New Tin Grin

The day finally happened. Zack had his braces put on. He wasn't looking forward to the entire process, but I keep telling him how it will improve on his already gorgeous smile. I haven't heard him complain once, so it can't be all that unpleasant an experience for him.

Most of today's kids will have the most perfect smiles. It is amazing what a set of braces will do. Today I really think they are a status symbol, but the results last forever!
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Life at the Cape With Our Favorite People

We are all together vacationing in Dennisport on the Cape. The kids are having a great time. Em and Alex are enjoying being together, as usual.They spend lots of time at the Arcade. Thank you, Papa, for bringing four rolls of quarters for the crew! Then they spend the afternoon going between the pool and the ocean.

Zack has been practicing his overhand swimming in the ocean. He is really getting very good. Funny how most kids learn to swim underwater before they develop their overhand skills. He and Uncle Corey were in the ocean very early this morning snorkeling and hoping for some unique finds.

It has happened. Kara is officially a preteen young lady. I love her new hair cut. Her hair is always flattering to her sweet face. And her outfits are impeccably matched and very flattering. One never sees her without her lip gloss or lipstick. Thanks, Aunt Shell! But I must say, there are times I miss that little girl Kara was. Fortunately, I still have my Alex and Em.

Kristen has been behaving exactly as she should. She is doing what her body tells her to. Shelley and Kris are enjoying each other. Shelley spends time on her homemaking blogs and then fills Kristen in on what she will be doing to Kristen and Corey's house when they get home. It is so much fun listening to the two of them. They are so similar, yet so different.

Don is not really a beach person. I give him lots of credit for going with the flow. We are making sure our days include things he enjoys, too.

Our three men are loving having their card playing time together. Now that the kids activities have them running most of the time, their card playing has diminished. Such is life with children.

I find every phase of my grandchildren's lives very interesting. Right now, Ken and I have the best of both worlds;  and I am far from complaining.
Hugs and kisses,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Alex Celebrates His 6th Birthday

Alex got to celebrate his actual birthday in California with Heather, James and his cousins, Natalia and Anna. What an awesome treat.

But when he got home Mom and Dad planned a friends and close relatives party for him at Afrims in Colonie. All the kids had a great time in the Bounce Zone. Then they all got to play games like soccer, flag football, dodgeball and more. By then everyone was hungry and thirsty. Pizza and drinks were served.

Then along came the really good part. We got to sing "Happy Birthday" to Alex and eat his yummy cake. On the way out each child (and some adults) was given his goody bag and a bag of popcorn.

Alex's contagious smile remained on his face all day and into the evening when we celebrated his Dad's birthday with more cake and goodies. A double whammy birthday doesn't get any better than that.

Happy birthday, Alex and Don:~0
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Our First Film Family Portrait - July 2012

This is the first family picture we have of The Film Family. I was just thrilled to get it. I love Kara's new hair style. And our Em is looking so grown up. It sure didn't take long!
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Zack's & Alex's Mom Turns 40!

I can't believe my baby girl is 40 years old! It seems like only yesterday Shelley was eating handfuls of the beautiful teddy bear cake Aunt Angela's Mom made for her party. All our family celebrated with us which is like a small wedding. Papa and I have such great memories of that day.

Don planned a great surprise party for Shelley. It was held at Aunt TT's and Uncle Corey's. You can see in the layout above how many people were there (Do you see and kids? Nope. It was an adult party.). The best part for Papa and me was Zack and Alex had a sleepover at our house. We watched a movie; of course had popcorn. In the morning we heard our buddies asking for pancakes and bacon.

I feel so blessed to have so many memories of celebrations with family and friends. There are also those times a family has to pull together and be there for each other. And we always have. Your great grandparents must be so proud. They taught us what family means. My Dad always said if you have nothing else, you will always have your family. And, as usual, he was right.

Happy birthday to my sweet baby girl.
Hugs and kisses,

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nana's Special Gift from Kara

Now, you have to know how Kara came to give me this. She had just returned from attending Nature's Classroom with the rest of fifth grade. So she came to visit me with her Mom. She walks in the door and says, "I told Mom I should have gotten you a present because you always get me one when you and Papa go away."  But my Mom said, "No, that's not necessary."

Miss Kara sits down, opens her magic bag, takes out this "thing", and gives it to me. I asked her where she got it and out comes this statement, "A friend of mine was going to throw it out, so I said I would take it."

Well, while laughing like a hyena, I began making all kinds of different shapes with it. We had more fun. So the moral of the story is, "If your friend is throwing out a fun toy, take it and give it to Nana. She will LOVE it." When you visit, you can see it in the shape of a vase sitting in our living room!
Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Zack Enters His Teen Years

It is hard to believe my first born grandchild is now thirteen. These last twelve years have flown right by. After all, our girls kept us very busy getting ready for the rest of our grandkids to arrive. We have spent many years on the roller coaster ride of a lifetime. We are so blessed.

Zack and Alex are so lucky to have their own room up in the loft of their home. Mom set it up so great. She made them a couch, put a rug on the floor, had electric lights installed. The part I really love the walls are papered with world maps. So unique and appropriate. They have end tables, a book case. And now they have a great flat screen TV in their own quarters, thanks to Mom and Dad's birthday gift to Zack.

It really seems like Zack made out quite well. Nana and Papa gave him a generous gift of money, as he wanted to buy another type of guitar. He put gift money together and easily bought it.

One of Zack's greatest loves is visiting New York City. At first, this is what he wanted from Mom and Dad; a weekend in the city. Well, he and his family are just returning home from the city today.

It is definite; Zack had his cake and ate it, too. That's my boy. Why settle for less when you can have it all:~)
Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kara's Moving Up Day

Kara has enjoyed six years in Tamarac's Elementary School. She has made many great friends; she has developed the ability to lead. She is a great student. Kara is an all-around kid. We are so proud of all she has accomplished in these years.

In September Kara will cross over to the other side of Tamarac's campus and begin middle school. Many new avenues will be opened for her. We feel confident Kara will continue to develop her skills and be one of Tamarac's assets in middle school. We wish her well and will support her every step of the way.

Love you, Kara. Congratulations!
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Alex Moves Up to First Grade

Here he is. Our youngest grandchild, Alex, graduating from kindergarten. And the above pictures reveal the kind of kid our boy is. There he is looking sideways with that "I'm so happy and cool" look on his face. I love the stern look, only because we don't get to see it very often. Then he looks to the left with his wonderful every day smile. Alex doesn't smile. His whole face does.

See that boy in the lower right hand corner? That is the Alex I know and love so much. He loves to dress up when the occasion calls for it. But undoubtedly, his shirt tail is always hanging out. And his hands are always in his pockets. He looks like such a big little man!!

Congratulations Alex. You will love first grade.
Hugs and kisses,

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tonsil and Adenoid Surgery for Alex

Well, after all these years, it was determined Alex needs his tonsils and adenoids removed. He has been snoring almost as loud as Papa for years and his quality of sleep has also been majorly effected. So, we all spent June 25, 2012 at Albany Medical Center concerned about our youngest boy.

Pops and I arrived shortly before The Baldwin Family. Alex sat at Admissions with that sweet smiley smirk on his face that I love so much (This is the one he shows when he is the center of attention.). When all was verified, off he went. The next time we saw Alex he was being carried by Mom to the holding tank.

We were notified forty-five minutes later the surgery was complete and the patient was in the recovery room. The surgery itself took eleven minutes. The wait for him to "recover" was another story. Hours later, Don stopped by to tell us Alex was awake and feasting on an orange popsicle. You know good ole Nana. Off I went to check for myself just how our boy was doing

Oh gosh, he looked so tiny in that hospital bed. And he looked sick. He couldn't wait to show me the needle in his hand. The nurse overheard us and told Alex it really wasn't a needle. Alex was so intrigued as the nurse removed the tiniest tube from his hand. With that, I made my exit.

I'll tell you Alex is a real trooper. He didn't complain. He did as he was told. He was the perfect patient. Even at home he did as he should 90% of the time. He is now recuperating nicely. His Mom keeps telling us he has a frog voice. Papa and I hope to visit with him later today and check that out.

And so another memory for all of us; more an adventure for Alex, where everything "came out" fine:~)
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Our Spring Contest

I had lots of fun doing this layout. I must say I am not taking enough pictures. I had a difficult time finding an appropriate one of Kara to use.

I had long forgotten about the contest I initiated Easter Sunday. Papa and I put a butterfly net in each of your Easter baskets. So I set a contest in motion. Whoever proved to me he or she caught a healthy butterfly would be given a monetary prize. Well, sometime in June I received a picture on my iphone from Kara. There was her very healthy butterfly!! So, the winner is . . . . . . .Miss Kara Michelle.

Zack, it had to kill you that you totally forgot about the cash reward.
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kara's Girl Scout Troop Earns Bronze Award

Kara's Girl Scout Troop did a presentation called "Reflections of Empowerment" to earn their Bronze Award. Several of the girls wrote essays about women in history who empowered themselves to reach their goal long before it was fashionable. Each essay was very well written and very interesting.

Six speakers focused on the obstacles they encountered as women working in their chosen field. The following careers were represented: an attorney for human rights, an officer in the United States Army, a high ranking official from Rensselaer County, an assistant to the commissioner of a New York State Agency, a Brunswick Fire Company firefighter and a leader in the field of education. There was a question period after each speaker's presentation.

I was very impressed with the way the evening flowed. The program was very well put together. The girls presented themselves in a very business like manner. It was so wonderful to see so many family members in attendance. There is no doubt in my mind these girls will be successful in whatever direction life takes them. They all have so many people to empower them.
Hugs and kisses,