Wednesday, December 21, 2011

For Grandpa and Grandma Hand ...

I was recently in El Paso visiting Jesse, Diana and the children. I really didn't take many pictures while I was there, but I wanted to share a few that I did take with Grandpa and Grandma Hand. It's been two full years since they've seen their grandchildren ... so these pictures and the narrative are for you, Larry and Judy.

When I arrived on December 6, there was actually SNOW on the ground in El Paso and absolutely NO SNOW in Grand Rapids. How unusual!
This is Christopher putting together his Kre-O transformer building toy. In the past, Christopher has requested transformers for his birthday, but they seem to break rather easily and then he is frustrated. So I found these Kre-O building sets, and he was rather pleased to build it all by himself.
We also marker-colored hand puppets together one afternoon ... they were wonderfully inexpensive (49 cents) at Michaels ...
Matthew is six-and-a-half now and was SO happy to sit around the table and do just about anything that was suggested! We did a lot of building and coloring and the usual fun stuff. I love his smile in this picture.
I was happily able to attend Emma's school Christmas program. Not all of the classes were involved in performing. Chris's second grade, as well as Matthew's first grade class, were not included this year. This is Emma and her friend, April, performing "Deck the Halls."
This is Emma working on making some necklaces from a kit I found (again at Michael's). She was so pleased to receive it too. I loved watching her choose her designs and put everything together.
We got Jesse involved helping us build. When I was shopping for the kids, I had picked out an Erector set for each of the boys, and the boxes described the process as being easy enough for a seven-year-old to build ... but none of us were able to accomplish the project until we pulled Jesse into the mix ... and he was finally able to figure out the directions for us!

It was actually too cold to enjoy playing outside very much ~ which was such a surprise for me, based on the last time I was at the playgound in September and it was SO hot that week! But we did wander on down to the playground and hang out there for awhile at least.

I enjoyed going to school with the kids every day, eating breakfast and lunch with them, and attending their classes. They have really great teachers! It was really fun to walk into their classes and recognize their classmates (and even remember their unusual names: Alaric, Adonai, Tommarian, Cheyanne, etc.) and join in on their school day.
Emma has been benefiting from a great class that meets throughout the week, targeting reading and phonics, and tackling dyslexia and other difficulties. I loved meeting her teacher for this class. Above, is an assignment Emma did for her regular class. Each student had to write a little bit about themselves. Her teacher had each child's essay hanging in the hallway. I realize the spelling isn't 100% accurate, but it is so much improved from even a few months ago. I love how Emma tells everyone that the enjoys learning verses from the Bible, and I also love that she mentions Michigan.
This is my last view of the Franklin Mountains as my plane made its assent. I was blessed to be delayed long enough in Dallas on the way home to take a voluntary "bump" of that flight. I received a travel voucher for my next trip as a result ... how wonderful!