Sunday, September 29, 2013

Friday and Saturday with the grandchildren ...

The final weekend of September ... how can September have passed by so quickly? I feel sad just thinking about it! I love September and hate to see it go! 

I was glad to pick the grandchildren up after school Friday afternoon. Here they are on the porch of The Beach House ...
I spent a few hours (!) at the library Thursday afternoon choosing books that I knew we would enjoy reading together. I had a LOT of help from my niece, Shelley, and her blog She gives really helpful book reviews and shares them there ~ books her boys have especially enjoyed and ones she personally appreciates. I made a list of some of her suggestions, and headed on over to the library. I was able to find quite a few really good and fun stories for us to read together! 
The grandchildren, looking through my library basket ...
We read FOUR books as soon as we walked through the door
Friday afternoon!
We are getting used to each other now on Friday evenings and have a "usual" routine of stuff that we enjoy doing. We eat a yummy dinner, read a lot of books, build models, play games, do some art ... and usually end the night watching a movie on the not-so-big screen of my MacBook Pro. By this time, the kids are all in their pj's and snuggled into their sleeping bags on my lighthouse rug in the middle of the main room of The Beach House. We move some of the furniture around and make a nice space for everyone to sleep (ah ... sleep is the final goal of the night!).
The boys spent a lot of time Friday night redesigning their LEGO spaceships. I'm so glad they enjoy building, and I'm so thankful I have a good amount of LEGO's for them to build with! We actually did get to sleep before midnight, and then everyone (more or less) slept in until 8:00 Saturday morning. 

 Saturday morning, we spent a some time outside around my little house. I had just had some work done on it, because the skirting was in bad need of replacement. AND the heating ducts were in terrible shape as well ... no wonder I was so cold last winter! But NOW, everything is repaired and replaced and I feel much better about the impending cold that will soon be upon us.
I showed the kiddos my lawnmower and everyone took a turn mowing my pathetic lawn. I grabbed my camera only at the last minute and caught this picture of Emma. She really enjoyed the lawnmower. We did a little raking and bagging of leaves as well. Emma is a very good assistant! 
Christopher was far more interested in drawing Star Wars characters ... 
And Matthew continued to delight in Origami, folding and making all kinds of interesting stuff! I'm not much help in this regard because I am rather mechanically challenged, although I have improved on that score due to folding paper airplanes ...
Emma and Chris playing a game of
pirates and townsfolk ...

Matthew keeps himself pretty busy with
LEGOS too ...

Christopher, creating some music!
After lunch, it was time for an outdoor adventure. We have an art fair/contest in Grand Rapids called ArtPrize. I think this is year #4, but I'm not positive. I love art and I love this event, but I do NOT like crowds and lines of people, etc. I wanted the children to get a "taste" of ArtPrize, so we ventured downtown and parked near the fish ladder ... 

 I think we enjoyed THIS part of our adventure the best, mostly because the river is so lovely and the fishermen were there catching salmon, the fish were jumping the ladder, the ducks were entertaining, and the children were pretty mesmerized with the entire spectacle. 
Emma and Chris watching the fish!
We walked along the river and underneath bridges until we finally got to Ah-Nab-Awen Park and finally saw some ArtPrize entries there (which I failed to photograph). There were even a few fellows tight-rope walking on a low wire and a higher wire strung between some trees ... it felt like we were at a circus!

The kids were quite taken with the fountains at the Gerald R. Ford Museum. So we hung out there for a little while and enjoyed ourselves ... 

There are a few hills at the park, so the kids climbed to the top and log-rolled down them. I didn't get one single picture that turned out of them rolling down the hills ... 
 But it was fun to see them run and play ...
Christopher always seems to find an
alternate route ... sidewalks are so boring.
 We did manage to see quite a few outdoor ArtPrize entries. I think this one was our favorite. It is titled: "Silk Waves" and it is right IN the Grand River. We met the lady who designed it too! The lines were far too LONG to go inside venues to see other entries ...
I think I wore these guys out Saturday afternoon! We did a lot of walking! We crossed the Grand River via two different bridges and got to hear local musicians (and even small children who were playing instruments on one of the bridges) too. We explored lots of pathways and stairways and boardwalks. I'm so thankful we got to experience a little bit of ArtPrize together this year!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Little fellow was super serious today!

Kelly and Brendan came over today to visit and to do some laundry as well. Brendan had fallen asleep during the drive over to my place, and he never fully woke up during the whole time here today. I've never seen him so serious!

Brendan, playing with my magnetic butterfly ...
Kelly was playing the piano for a little while, something she does beautifully (without being able to read a single musical note!), and then Brendan wanted to take a turn too. 

 Doesn't Brendan look almost like a REAL pianist in these pictures?! He just looks so comfortable with his hands and his body positioned just so ...
We went outside and played in my leaf gutter for awhile ... because ... it was a beautiful day and Brendan likes to play in the dirt! But even then, he was totally SERIOUS! 

I didn't see one single dimple today, dearest Brendan! I think our baby was just tired! But sweet as he can be ... always.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekend rompings ...

It was a little bit cool outside Saturday ... but the great outdoors was calling LOUDLY to us ~ "Come, come and explore!" So right after lunch, we heeded the call and headed on out for an adventure!

Emma, climbing on a wiggly chain
ladder at the park ... we pretended it was
a helicopter ladder and she was
being rescued from the
deep blue sea ...
 The last few weekends, we had driven up to Rockford to do our hiking; but it had been almost a month since we'd been to Townsend Park, and everyone was aching to return!
I love to see these kiddos run and play. We had such a nice time following footpaths in and out of the woods ... 
We crossed many little bridges. The stream was beckoning and we longed for the warmer days when we would get IN the creek and lift up rocks looking for critters! But it was too cold Saturday to do that. Christopher, however, got himself as close to being IN the creek as possible!

Emma's motherly concern came out all over the place ... Christopher has no fear, and Emma has plenty to last for both of them ... and more! Look at her expression with Christopher sitting on the ledge of the bridge ... he got all dramatic in the next picture ...
We hiked lots of trails that were new to the kiddos. I'm used to hiking here. It was wonderful to look back on all the times in the past I had been to this park WISHING with all my heart that the kids were with me ... ah, sometimes dreams DO come true! 
These next few pictures are of the kids by the gnarly tree ... they were pretending it had captured them and they were prisoners ... 

Aren't they hilarious?! 
Christopher! Don't fall in!

Another dramatic shot of Matthew and Emma ... conquering the world! 
Matthew has a way of running ahead ...
but I don't worry about that because I can see him just fine!

I was so thankful to God for allowing us to enjoy His awesome creation ... so unhindered by the world's heartbreaking tragedies ... free to roam and play and imagine ... happy wanderings! 

These are the times I will treasure until the day I die. This is (to me) what living is all about! Just the peace and joy of breathing the fresh air and enjoying God's great mercy in our lives! 
Doesn't Matthew look so small up on this
hill under these TALL trees?
After hiking and exploring for quite awhile, I decided to take the kids up the road a bit and show them Pickerell Lake. It's a nature reserve and a very unusual little place. 
I love this picture of Christopher!

Matthew and Christopher enjoyed this boardwalk very much. It stretches out across a corner of the lake. But Emma ... she wasn't at all happy to be out on a boardwalk in the middle of a swampy lake! 
When Emma is anxious, she shows it ...
Look at her worried face! 
 When I announced that we wouldn't go any further, Emma turned tail and ran back across the boardwalk at full speed. She couldn't wait to get off that thing!
We went back to The Beach House to enjoy ice cream sundaes and play a few more games. MEMORY is one of our favorites. I never ever ever win this game. I have a terrible memory! But it's good mental exercise for me, so I play it with the kids whenever they want! Perhaps it will save me from early Alzheimer's! 
Almost, without fail, Emma wins this game hands down! 
Christopher takes losing very very

Emma, concentrating hard to see if she can
make just one more match!
It's always sad when the weekend comes to an end. We drove back to Grandpa and Grandma Hands house. I was hoping to see baby Kaity for a few minutes and was able to snap this beautiful picture of Kaity and Emma together. 

I love this beautiful picture of Emma and Diana!
Another weekend has come and gone. So thankful for these sweet times of making memories together.