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.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas with The Hines Family ~ 2013

Christmas with the Hines Family was festive and lots of fun, as always. I added a little more color to the tree with my handmade red bows this year. I have so many different bows, flowers and ornaments it is easy to change its look a bit. One thing remains constant; our manger. It sits at the bottom of our tree with the most awesome family ever in it, the Holy Family.

Christmas always holds precious memories for us. There is always someone who gets that special gift he or she has really, really wanted. This year it was me!! Papa gave me the most beautiful figurine of the Holy Family. I have always felt especially close to Jesus, Mary and Joseph because they were once an earthly family. Papa always gives me a precious treasure, but none as precious as this.

I have to include this year Alex also got the present he really, really wanted. His X-box 360. You know that never ending smile was on his face all evening.
Hugs and kisses,

Monday, October 28, 2013

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer ~ 2013

Washington Park in Albany was overflowing with pink on this beautiful sunny Sunday. The colors of autumn could be seen everywhere. The day and the place were perfect for this walk. There was music begging you to sing along. Smiles and happy faces filled the park. It is overwhelming to see so many cancer patients together. We all read the statistics, but this walk brings home the realization of just how many people are fighting this horrendous disease. Lots of money was raised. Lots more is needed.

Our Kristen walked with her team, "Team Kristy," as a breast cancer survivor:~) We all wore very large smiles this year. Her team raised $1560. Yeah!!

Breast cancer survivors wear pale pink sweatshirts. Next year I hope to see many more of them and far less pink hats keeping heads warm.
Hugs and kisses,

Friday, October 11, 2013

Zack's 8th Grade Graduation ~ June 2013

Zack, elementary school is behind you and now you step up the ladder into high School. You have shared all those years with Papa and I. We have enjoyed every concert, every Special Person's Day; just every part of those nine years. It has been so exciting watching you become the young man you are. Need I tell you how proud we are of you?

Your graduation day was sunny and bright. It was great to watch you walk across the same stage your Mom did to receive your diploma. My mind was crowded with so many memories.

After the ceremony, were all congregated outside to further celebrate with your friends and their families. Lots of laughter and picture taking was going on. It was another day we spent together making awesome memories.
Hugs and kisses,

Monday, August 26, 2013

Emily Turns "8" ~ August 25, 2013

Em's party was held on a very hot day. So a pool party was a perfect choice. The adults enjoyed sitting in the shade watching all the kids swimming, playing golf, swinging; totally enjoying themselves.

As always, Emily entertained her guests while she opened her gifts. She makes the smoothest, adorable gestures with her hands. It is like they are dancing. It is rather captivating.

These parties are not just for the birthdays and presents. They are times when family and friends come together and reconnect. With today's busy life style, it is so easy to grow apart. Nothing holds people together like children.
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, August 18, 2013

China Reunion in New Hampshire ~ 2013

 Hugs and kisses,

Friday, August 2, 2013

Alex Turns "7"

Of all our grandchildren, I would say Alex gets the most excited about his birthday. You just have to mention it and that twinkle appears in his eyes. Of course, he shows that "all over his face" smile. And, believe it or not, he is finally getting front teeth!!

His party was held at Aunt TT's and Uncle Corey's. That way the kids could go swimming. He had a joint party with family and school friends. Shelley made his birthday "ice cream" cake; our favorite!

I have so many great pictures from the party it was very difficult to choose the ones for the blog. As I reviewed them, I knew I had to post the ones showing his various facial expressions as he opened his presents. I love that Alex still has some "little boy" in him.
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Zack Turns "14"

It really is amazing. I blinked my eyes and Zack was a teenager when I opened them. We celebrated his 14th birthday with ice cream cake; his favorite (just happens to be mine, too). Mom and Dad surprised him with a futon for his room. He was happy with their choice. I'm quite sure he had been hinting for one rather openly.  I think it is a totally awesome gift for a teenager's room. Now he has extra seating for his friends and a comfortable bed for a sleepover.

It was a great evening. Zack entertained us per usual. He has a great people personality and needs no prompting to share it.

Zack, keep that personality; play your music; follow your dreams. They are the main ingredients for your living a great life. And remember, Zack, Nana loves you more than love!!
Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mother's Day ~ 2013

We always have a great time celebrating Mother's Day. This year we went to brunch at The Desmond. The food was great and there was far too much of it. Kristen's hair is growing back in. Hence, a great big smile on everyone's face. It was a special day for our family. We thanked God for Kristen's health and for His helping all of us get through the past year or so. Our family has been so blessed.

I was given an extra gift. When I went into the courtyard to get oodles of desserts, I was graced with the beautiful sound of a harp. Now, I know that was there especially for me:~)

And as you can see in my layout, great minds think alike. Kristen loves gnomes. Low and behold, she got two. The smaller one in soft, muted colors is from Shelley. The larger one dressed in bright, bold colors is from Connie. Who would think a gnome could be found boasting your very favorite saying, "Bite me!" Yes, our "sweet" Kristen retorts with this saying every chance she can. Connie always finds the most appropriate gifts.

We look forward to seeing where next Mother's Day will bring us!
Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Zack's Spring Concert - May 2013

I know I have said it tons of times, but I have to reiterate how much I enjoy the end result of  Tamarac's  music program. Hard to believe there can be so many talented kids all under the roof of such a small, rural school.

Zack's biggest enjoyment to date is listening to, playing and writing music. And he is good; really good. Much of his talent is inherent. It just happened naturally. And he picked up the ball and ran with it. He played two solos in this concert. You know, of course, our family was just beaming with pride.

I had to include the bottom picture. It was taken the winter of 2006. Zack was six years old and what is he doing? Playing his first electric guitar.
Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Special Person's Day ~ May 9, 2013

Papa and I got to spend time with Alex and his classmates once more on Special Person's Day. It felt strange not having to share our time between Alex and Emily. But Emily was off to New York City with her family at the Kelly and Michael Show (how lucky is she!).

This year the hour was spent differently and I enjoyed it so much better. We got to spend the entire time in Alex's classroom viewing the various stations displayed. There was no running off to the gymnasium or computer room. We got to see all Alex is doing right now in first grade with Mrs. Huneck.

Alex shared his journal with Papa and me. We viewed how much his handwriting and story telling improved as his school year progressed. We read the book he wrote with Bob Munch. We met his buddy, Samantha. I could go on and on.

Alex, we loved every moment shared with you. You are such a fantastic kid. We are so proud of you!!
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spring Concert ~ Emily and Alex

Once again I have to say Tamarac's Music Department is wonderful. The teachers spend countless hours working with our children. And it shows. This year's Kindergarten through Second Grade concert was so enjoyable. When the second grade sang Rockin' Robin, I found myself swaying to the music and singing in a whisper of a voice. I especially enjoyed the First Grade singing "Here Comes the Sun." After our long winter, we are ready for sunshine. The Kindergarten sing "Little Bunny FOO FOO." I could not contain myself. I sang this song to my kids and grandkids hundreds of times. And I LOVE it. So I had to join in.

Emily and Alex had a great time performing with the chorus. All the chosen songs were fun for the kids to sing. Christopher Siegenthaler, the Director, gets our kids to enjoy singing. He is such an asset to Tamarac's Music Department. I am looking forward to the Middle School's performance.
Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Easter at The Baldwin's ~ 2013

I'm finally getting back to doing some scrapbooking. We had a great Easter as a family at Shelley's and Don's. Brunch was delicious. We had far too much food again this year.

I'm glad I thought of doing the steps and stairs picture. It shows off the way to get to the boys' loft.

And as always, Nana stayed inside while everyone went outside to hunt for Easter eggs. I sat and enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee loving the quiet:~)

I love our Easter celebrations. Even though we eat at home, it is always somewhat formal. The table setting was very festive. Aunt Shell always thinks of a new way to make the place cards. This years was a marshmallow chick holding the place card.; a very neat idea.
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Kara's Lost and Found Letter

A couple of  weeks ago The Film's and The Baldwin's decided to stay overnight at the Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Water Park in Lake George. They got out an overnight bag and, to everyone's surprise, found the above letter from Kara to Nana and Papa inside.

In fifth grade Kara attended Nature's Classroom, an extension of the classroom where students participate in exciting hands on activities which are both academic and enjoyable. The following quote made by a teacher was taken from Nature's Classroom web site and sums up what it hopes to accomplish:

 "I expected students to grow in trust, caring and sense
of place in the world and how each person touches
and affects others around them. I expected their knowledge
 of the environment to grow.... You all have more than met
my expectations. In 13 years of outdoor education,
this is the strongest  program I have experienced."

After reading Kara's letter, I think every child should experience this camp. Every child should feel she(he) can be herself. Kara's letter tells us a lot about education in schools today. Just take the time to read between the lines.

Now, please peruse my layout and find the following: an owl, a deer, three birds and a squirrel.

PS - Alex is the first to let me know he found all the animals. He is the winner of a crisp new one dollar bill!
Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Power of Positive Thinking

 I have known for a very long time that both our daughters are strong. I just didn't know how strong. The day Kristen and Corey told Papa and I that Kristen had breast cancer, she stressed the importance of  her being surrounded by positive people. There could be no crying, no sadness. And, by gosh, her family and friends pulled it off. Then we all rejoiced with her. Her cancer was gone.Was it influenced by the power of positive thinking? No one will ever convince we otherwise. You go, Kristen. Back to living your normal life. God bless you.
Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Celebrating Chinese New Year ~ February 10, 2013

Emily, I must apologize for not adding our family celebration of Chinese New Year this February 10th to our blog. This year is the year of the snake; not my favorite reptile. But then, I don't have a favorite reptile. We had a wonderful time reminiscing about your Dad's and Grandma's trip to WuWie, China, Gansu Province to bring you home to your forever family. You came to us so happy making all of us fall in love with you with no effort. It just happened.
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Zack Receives January's Trustworthiness Character Award

Congratulations to Zack for being recognized as one of the Students of the Month on Feb. 1. The awards, which were read over the morning announcements, are part of the Middle School’s Character Education Program to recognize students in front of their peers. Trustworthiness was the Character Education Theme for January and the faculty selected Zack as one of the students to receive the award because they feel he embodies this quality and serves as a great role model for other students, as said by Assistant Principal Chris Rockwell.

Zack, you are a great young man with a fantastic personality. You are a High Honor Roll student. You can dream big and shine as bright as you set your mind to. I have always been very proud of you.

Oh, I would like to mention that Kara also achieved High Honor Roll status:~)
Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Remembering Our Amanda

I can think of nothing to say; I will love you always and forever. Some day we will celebrate your heavenly birthday together.
Hugs and kisses,

Kara's12th Birthday

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
"Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of  Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. . . ."

The image on Kara's cake is the symbol on the cover of the Hunger Games books. I had no knowledge of these books, so I questioned Papa, the avid reader, about them. I must tell you when I read the above description I was horrified that Kara would be reading these books. Papa tells me they are really good and he loved all three of them. He testified that they are acceptable reading for Miss Kara. Personally, I find it very strange for a twelve year old to read books on such a subject matter. I guess Nana has to get with the times.

Kara had a great time at her family party. Her very words were, "I love having parties like this where everyone you love and everyone who loves you are here."

Miss Kara had a sleepover the next night to celebrate with her friends. Lots and lots of friends!!!!
Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas of 2012 ~ Our Most Wonderful Christmas Ever

This year it seemed that summer was never followed by fall, let alone the Christmas season. Papa and I lost all sense of time from July 11th through December12th. Once we learned our Kristen was cancer free, time marched on.Our fingers began burning our keyboards as we ordered gifts for family and friends.

We decorated our house. Papa did lots of running from store to store, while I was busy making cookies and goodies for Jesus' birthday. Our celebration began, as always, on Christmas Eve. Shelley's and Don's friends Debbie and Andrew, who have blended into our family, joined in the festivities.

One of my Facebook friends shared a wonderful poem relating the birth of Jesus centering around  M&M's. I put together four bags of them for our four wonders and placed a copy of the poem on the front of each bag (You can see them in the above layout.). Kara read it as our grace before dinner. So apropos for our family; we LOVE M&M's.

We have always loved Christmas. Anyone who knows me is aware of how much I love to give and get presents. This year's gift will never be surpassed. Thank you, Baby Jesus; my special friend.

Oh my gosh, I almost forgot. Everyone always says our Alex has a smile from ear to ear every time they see him. Not so much in the picture in my layout above. I had many where he sported beautiful smiles, but I just had to prove a point; no one smiles all the time. Not even our Alex!!
Hugs and kisses,