Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thinking of you, Christopher, on your 9th birthday!

My grandson, Christopher, is nine years old tomorrow and I can hardly believe it! He and his family moved to El Paso, TX when Chris was just three-and-half AND he hasn't been back to Michigan since Christmas of 2008. That's a really really long time to be away from Michigan. 
I'm posting some of my favorite pictures of Chris from this past year or so. He's gotten so grown-up looking, it makes my heart sad!
Christopher is an on-the-move kind of kiddo, so it's difficult to get good photos of him. I have tried all year to get him to stand still long enough to actually get in a picture and have it turn out! But I do like these ones of him very much. He is growing up to be a very nice boy ~ he is sensitive and caring. He is quick to learn. I enjoy spending time with him. 

Every now and again, I catch him quite off guard and then I snap a decent picture of him. I don't like posing for pictures myself, so I totally understand. Christopher doesn't like it either and oftentimes will make a horrid face at me when I point my camera his direction! I suppose I deserve it! I love the picture above ... it shows how beautiful his eyes are (!) and I love his freckles too.
This is an action shot that I was lucky enough to catch! Christopher, mid-air, ready to launch a stomp rocket! 
Chris, eating breakfast at school at 7:30 a.m.

Chris's favorite thing to do at a playground? Climb OUTSIDE of the equipment and find a comfortable place to relax! This is Chris on the outside of a tube slide ...
Chris is very serious about sketching. I've told him he is an artist ... and he is! He is quite talented and very confident about his artistic abilities. I'm so glad about that! He gets so much enjoyment from it too. 

Actually, all three of the kiddos are natural artists ~ it's one of the favorite things we do together.
I love this picture of Christopher feeding Kaity a bottle ~ because as "rough" as Chris is (and he is!), he is also very tender. I think he makes a wonderful big brother to baby Kaity.
I'm not sure this picture (above) of Chris was taken this year or not ... I'm thinking it's a little bit older than that ... but I love it of him, so I'm including it anyway! I love his smile in this picture.

In September when I visited El Paso, the children and I began studying the armor of God together. Chris and Matthew had been in a summer Sunday school program where they had studied it as well! So, I was really just reviewing it with them. We memorized the verse from Ephesians 6:10: "Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." It was good to talk about WHO are we told to be strong in ... ourselves? No! We are to be strong in the Lord ... and WHOSE power? Our own? No way. We are to be strong in HIS mighty power. I really enjoyed talking and praying with the kiddos about this ... and we asked the Lord to help us be strong in HIM every day I was there.

Hopefully, when I see everyone next week, we'll continue to study what it means to "put on the full armor of God."

Sending you lots of love on your birthday, Chris. I LOVE being your grandma!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Photos from Thanksgiving week ...

It was a busy week last week ... Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year. I went out to Rockford with a close friend last weekend and listened to the high school choir sing some carols and then the mayor made a speech and "lit" the lights of the town to launch the Christmas season.  
Kelly's family was getting together down in Indiana for the actual day of Thanksgiving, so we decided to have a turkey dinner ahead of time ~ we got together at my beach house last Sunday and celebrated with thankful hearts. Brendan is cutting lots of teeth, but he still enjoyed himself exploring my little house. 
Brendan is a fast crawler now and can get anywhere he wishes. I love to watch him go! 

I can barely remember what life was like without Brendan ... he showed up and stole all of our hearts! 

Dylan is playing "Shut the Box" and Brendan is helping him ...

On Tuesday, mom and I were chauffeured down to Detroit to spend the holiday at my sisters! My nieces and their kiddos were going to be visiting and it isn't often that I get to see them.

This is Terry showing Nolan how to play billiards. Terry and Ruthanne have moved into the house that Terry and his dad built many years ago, and it is now beautifully renovated. 
This is my niece, Shelley, and her husband, Bob. They have two beautiful boys: Matthew and Nolan. Bob works with Apple computers and Shelley does a million things all at the same time ... one of the most interesting is that she is a marvelous illustrator (published!) of children's books. 
Ruthanne and Shelley on their three-season porch

 My niece, Shari, and her husband, Mark, were also in town from Appleton, Wisconsin. Esme' and Asher are playing with their grandma (my sis) out on the porch. Ruthanne has lots and lots of fun toys to play with ... I am very envious of this Mattel racetrack! I'd like one here at my beach house!
 This is Esme', my great-niece, and my sister's only granddaughter. Isn't she darling?
 And this is Matthew Owen, the very first grandchild of my sis. He is a beautiful boy in so many ways.
This is my niece, Shari! I hadn't seen her in over two years!

It was so good to see Shelley again ... she and Bob
now live in the house where Shelley grew up!

 This is Nana getting acquainted with Esme'. It's been over two years since we've seen her and she is now almost 4-1/2. She talks up a storm and sounds like a teenager, which is very fun to listen to.
This is Mark and Asher enjoying the scrumptious dinner Ruthanne prepared. My sister is a marvelous cook. 
 Shari and Mark didn't come to visit until the day after Thanksgiving. It was so fun to have them all together and watch their kids play together. 
Shari and Asher

We also got to do some "FaceTime" with my brother David in Florida. Isn't technology so amazing?!

This is my brother, David, and Zach (Rachel's 2nd son), and Daniel (my nephew) and Rachel (my niece). We visited long-distance for quite awhile without any cost (if you subtract the exorbitant amount we paid for our computers).  

Christmas is four weeks from tomorrow ... I have much preparation yet to do! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nine+ months, and so much fun!

Aren't these two CUTE together? 
Yes, they are! :)  I love being with these two dear people ... they can turn a sad, cloudy day into pure sunshine and laughter! 
Brendan has teeth! Yay! And he likes to use them ... and is enjoying eating REAL food along with the grown-ups in his life!
This is a darling picture, isn't it? They have TWIN expressions! 
I love you, Brendan, sweetie. 
We did a lot of music the other day. Brendan was less than enthused by this "baby" tambourine. I'm thinking I'll have to get a more authentic version for him ... 
Brendan really liked my soft foamy ABC/1-2-3 puzzle and was able to take it apart and ... chew on parts of it ... he really enjoyed that part.

"Oh no, Grandma ... there's a bunch of chunky babies inside your pot-belly stove! What should we do?!!" 

Brendan likes those babies in the mirror. His mama doesn't think that he "gets" that the image is actually HIM ... but it was fun to watch him look back and forth at his mama and try to figure out HOW on earth there was more than one of her ...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Yesterday at the north shore and Muskegon with my brother ...

Yesterday afternoon started out with mild temperatures and lots of sunshine. My brother, David, had come into town for a brief visit and since we both love the water and the beach and everything related to it, we headed out to Grand Haven to take a nice, long walk. Usually, I can hardly take a bad picture out here ... but out of yesterday's 262 pictures, not very many of them are very ... remarkable. I am only posting these ones because they are "borderline" acceptable ... besides, I want to journal our day together and since I am not a good writer, I simply MUST use pictures! 
Aside from the fishermen out on the pier, we didn't see any other folks out and about. I love the beach when it is secluded like this ...  
 Naturally, there were plenty of seagulls ... I love them. I wish I could take flight like they do ...
David and I hiked along the north shore in Grand Haven, never out of sight of my favorite lighthouse and piers. The wave action wasn't anything very exciting, but it was very nice to hear the sound of the breakers just the same. 

We were trying to figure out HOW this enormous stump arrived on shore ... it obviously was cut down from someWHERE ... but there it was out on the beach! David is wearing a sweatshirt that was a gift from his daughter (my niece), Elisabeth ~ Stetson is where she went to law school.
 We decided that since it was such a nice day, we'd just drive on up to Muskegon and have a look around over at Pere Marquette. I still can't decide which is my favorite place really ... because I absolutely love both of them.
 Both David and I were really surprised at how LOW the lake level was ... we could see and measure it more clearly here in Muskegon than we could in Grand Haven. The rocks my brother are standing on are usually submerged. I have never seen them exposed like this!
 And for some reason, although this plaque most likely has been out on the breakwater for years and years, we noticed this yesterday and I photographed it hoping that I could later google these two fellows and find out what happened to them. Do you see that they are twins? They died 9 years apart. I wonder how? I've googled every single possible name and date without any success at all in gaining any further information. I found out their middle initials and exact dates of death, but not the whys and wherefores of any of it at all.
This is the Coast Guard lighthouse that is inside a small harbor right off the beach. I have never in my life seen the water so low in this harbor.  
 This is the breakwater that leads out to the South Pier Light. The water is usually covering most of these rocks. I did enjoy climbing down and walking on them and exploring a bit down here ... but I didn't find anything hugely interesting at the bottom or anything. Aren't these mammoth rocks?! And yes, that's David walking the breakwater ...
By late afternoon, there was ZERO sun which made the air feel so much colder to me! But it really was quite a mild day and we enjoyed ourselves so much out in the peacefulness of this beautiful place.
Most of my pictures were too dark. I tried to edit them and lighten them up, but even then it was difficult to turn any of the pictures into a "good" photograph. That's OK. I have 100's of beautiful pictures of the lakeshore. But spending these hours with David was precious and very happy for me.
Thanks, David, for making time out of your busy life and taking this quick trip to Michigan.