Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Date night with Brendan

August 31:  Today was Kelly's birthday. I was not ready for it whatsoever and have decided to celebrate it at the end of September instead! Dylan and Kelly went out for dinner and a movie, so Brendan and I did the same ... different movie, different dinner!
Since we were headed over to see The LEGO Movie, Brendan sang me the theme song, "Everything is Awesome" on the way to the theatre.
This is his cute little face when he sings ... he is holding his popcorn bucket in his lap and he climbed over to sit in the front seat for a little while (not while I was driving).
So we saw The LEGO Movie, which I had never seen. At first, I didn't like it! It was too odd for me, but it got better as it went along (thankfully). I liked the ending best. After we saw the movie, I convinced Brendan to go over to Smashburger's for a greasy hamburger and a chocolate shake.
We put our order in and they gave us #41 to put on our table. Brendan decided he would use it as the "door to his train" and he had the whole thing worked out and enjoyed himself hugely while we were waiting for our food.

He took his #41 very seriously.

However, when the fellow came with our food, Brendan did NOT want to release #41 back to the waiter and told him it was his "train door." The guy looked a little confused. We finally talked Brendan into giving #41 back to its rightful owners.
Brendan liked his chocolate milkshake!

He is the sweetest little person!

When we went back to his house and it was time to say good-bye, Kelly asked Brendan if he wanted to say good-bye with a HUG, a HANDSHAKE, or a HIGH-FIVE? Brendan came running to me and said, "A HUG!!" So I scooped him up and told him I there were all KINDS of hugs and I lifted him up as I hugged him. I told Brendan this was a LIFTING hug but that there were tons of other kinds of hugs too--wiggly ones, squeezing ones, quiet ones, twirling hugs .... you get the idea.

A sight to behold at Grand Haven

August 30:  Tuesday was my brother's last night here in Grand Rapids. He has been in town helping to orchestrate my mom's move two weeks from now. We decided to spend his last evening out at Grand Haven with mom. So we drove out there with the intention of eating at SNUG HARBOR and arrived just in time !!!

We love the big ships and we were able to enjoy seeing the CUYAHOGA back out of the channel into Lake Michigan. It was thrilling as always! And this was such a gift! My mom loves the big ships--we all do--from growing up in Detroit and boating in the Detroit River. One of my favorite things was when my dad would anchor the boat off the main channel and we would watch the parade of big ships coming and going ... from all over the world actually--but the lake freighters were always our favorites.

So, of course, I took a LOT of pictures ...
There was also something exceedingly remarkable about what was going on at the pier ... MY pier ... MY lighthouse!!!
Can you see?

Here's the story (briefly). The pier has been in significant disrepair for a number of years. There were actually people who wanted to get RID of the catwalk because there were no funds to renovate it.
Thankfully (yes!) the money was raised and August 30 was the last night anyone could walk on the pier until the project is complete some time next year! They are completely removing the cat walk, renovating it and putting it back together! I am SO glad.
The cat walk to NOWHERE ...
I've never seen my pier look so ... forlorn!

The infamous GATE that in January of 1972 (that is 44 years ago), during a sudden winter storm, I climbed to exit the ice-covered cat walk and go down the steps to near safety back on shore. It's a long story ... and it ended well!
I love this place so much ... 
Another Summer is drawing to an end ... 

Monday, August 29, 2016

A special birthday present

Monday, August 22:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!  For my birthday this year, I requested that all FIVE of the grandchildren come to Grand Haven with me for the afternoon. Thankfully, Kelly was willing and very happy to bring Brendan and me and the other four grands out at Grand Haven.

 The air temperature and the water temperature were both 76 degrees! It was very easy to get in and out of the water this way--because I HATE cold water and I HATE trying to get used to cold water and I am a complete wimp about it. How nice on my birthday to be able to swim and play on the beach and run back into the water, etc. without it taking so much ... effort!
 Chris and Matthew made sand castles, roads, canals, forts, and did an excellent job of all of it.
 This was Kaity-girl's first visit to the big lake. She was a little bit intimidated by the waves because even though they were not large, they had a VERY strong pull to them. 
 I loved watching these beautiful children have so much clean good fun together.
 Aren't they so beautiful?!
 Brendan spent most of his time IN the lake, as did Emma. They seemed to enjoy each other's company very much. Cousins are a very wonderful thing to have!
 After we went swimming, we walked to find a good place to eat. While we were walking, one of these two initiated holding hands. I watched them for quite awhile before I actually remembered to raise my camera and snap a shot. I missed some really touching moments on film, but I will remember them in my head for a very long time--such sweetness.
 These two adore each other.
 Brendan called this little area on the boat his "boat bed." This is the cool playground behind the YMCA in Grand Haven. It is a really good place to set kids loose to imagine and explore.
 My Emma ... my dear Emma ... so grown up, so fast. Why, it seems like just a few days ago YOU were a little tike and now you are a young lady. Fourteen is a very big deal. I remember it well.
 Brendan and Kaity played school bus for quite awhile. Brendan insisted Kaity be the bus driver and she very happily obeyed.
 Matthew demonstrated a small zip line to me. He was very good at this and not one bit afraid--probably because it is so much smaller than the one he had ridden over at the zoo.
 After our time at the beach had ended, I was invited over to Dylan and Kelly's. We ordered some pizza and shared it. Brendan and Kelly had made me a chalk birthday message on their front sidewalk but the message did not show up well in the photograph, so I cropped it off.
 Look at this adorable boy. I could just eat him up.
What a beautiful birthday. Thank you, Jesus, for your kindness to my family and for these precious grandchildren. I am SO blessed.

To the zoo again ...

August 21--Sunday afternoon:  The grandchildren and I had a late afternoon visit to the zoo last Sunday. It was a perfect-weather zoo day! The pelicans were resting on the rocks ...
 The children all gathered to say hi to him and get acquainted.
 The bald eagle was perched just so ...
 We visited the wallabies but they were very shy today, so they stayed inside their pens!
 We walked on over to where our favorite birds and very cool monkeys live. I forget the kind of monkey that is over on this side, but one of them was having a complete fit because a family was pulling a wagon behind them and the wagon made a loud scraping sound on the pavement. The monkey was quite displeased.
 We visited Balli, our cockatile friend--but took no pictures today. He was being highly uncooperative, hanging upside down and acting all aloof and stuck-up. We gave up on him talking to us and moved on to the barn owls.
 The kiddos had one last zip line ride for the summer. I thought the event was a $5/person charge, but found out it was $9/person charge and had to walk all the way back to my car in the parking lot to retrieve more money. Meanwhile, the kids rode the zip line and I never got a single picture of them doing it. I forced them to stand by the entrance and pose for a picture. Don't they look super excited about it?!!!
 Since we were up on the very top of the zoo, we paid a visit to the tiger habitat and got a very wonderful treat. The tiger was VERY friendly, and bit restless, pacing back and forth, back and forth, allowing several nice pictures.
 All of us enjoyed him very much ...
 These wonderful, darling, sweet, grandchildren ... I love them so much.
 We kept up our vigil for quite a while actually. It was fascinating watching the tiger strut his stuff.

 We played for awhile over at the little train, which the zoo moved from one end of the zoo to the very opposite end. Kaity loves this train.
 The other children are much bigger now but still climb all over it like a bunch of monkeys.

 Aren't these kids the BEST?!!
 We talked with our baboon friend a little bit. He was very quiet and not one bit interested in us today.

 These flowers were begging to be photographed ...

 And you will NEVER guess. We actually learned what a fox says! Yes! I'm not kidding. AND after listening to him howl his face off for five minutes, Emma could imitate him exactly. She was so pleased. Me too.
 We had so much fun watching and listening to Mr. Fox.
 We went into the aquarium to see the penguins for a little while, and the fish. Christopher wanted me to get a good shot of the fish so that he could use it as his background on FB. Here it is Chris.
 We played for a little while at the zoo playground, because ... the zoo closed at 6PM and we still had some time left to play.

Sunday afternoon outings are some of my favorite times of the week. I could not be more blessed if I had all the money in the world. You see, I have the love of these little hearts and I get to be their grandma. I also get to love them and share Jesus with them. What a privilege it is.