Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas in Grand Rapids

Saturday we headed to Grand Rapids for our Christmas with my family.  Eva has a wonderful house for all of us to gather. 
 Erik and Lara came in from Cape Cod.  Matt, Diana and the girls came up from Tennessee and Jessica and Doug drove in from nearby Grand Rapids.
We gathered for dinner that evening and began our time of catching up on each others activities. 
 Sunday morning started with a great breakfast before presents. However this little one found her present a little early.  It is a cute little 'stool' that she can climb in and watch what is going on in the kitchen.  I think she liked it. 
 The grandchildren gathered around the presents. 
 They read the Christmas story with Gram.
 And the present giving and receiving began.  Erik received some accessories for his truck. 
 This sweet little one received a tea set from Gram.  She LOVES to play pretend and I had several cups of wonderful tea this past weekend. 
 I bought her a little pull toy.  I love to shop for little ones at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. 
 After presents a puzzle was put out on the coffee table.  This is just the first one that was completed this weekend.
 Leo drove over from Coleman. He and Erik had some great talks in the kitchen and many of us watched a little football.
 Eva had lots of help making Matt's birthday treat.  He turned 41 on Christmas day.  Everyone requests this fantastic dessert that Eva calls "Death by Chocolate"  and it lives up to its title. 
 The birthday celebration was a success. 
 Monday we were scheduled to go up to the Powers' lodge in Fremont but the weather would NOT cooperate.  Instead we stayed in town and found a great place nearby to go for a morning walk.  That was a good decision since the rain, snow and ice made the roads difficult in the afternoon and evening 
 They couldn't resist a 'selfie'
 And this cute family is expecting a new one in about 6 weeks.  A little boy will round out this wonderful family.  I am looking forward to meeting him soon.
 Another and MUCH more difficult puzzle came out and this group managed to find out that a puzzle with the title of Beach Glass is really quite hard but they CAN overcome any difficulties and accomplish the goal of completion.
Wednesday was travel and clean up day  Matt and Diana left by 9:00 and the rest of us stayed behind to help Eva take down some of her Christmas decorations.  Gram was babysitting so any extra help she could get was welcomed.  Erik and Lara left later and then Bud and I headed home. 

It was a wonderful time with family.  I am blessed with two great families, one here in TC and another that meets in GR to celebrate holidays at Eva's help.  I appreciate the blessings of family and this wonderful country where I live and enjoy the love and joy of my life. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas up North

It has been a busy and fun couple of days here in TC. 
 We spent our Christmas Eve at the Noble house.  All the kids were home for the holidays. Aren't they a good looking group???
 Brittany and John are living in Milwallki (sp??) Wisconsin.  Brittany is doing here residency in dermatology and John is working in Chicago honing his international law skills. 
 David is in his second year of medical school in Virginia at UVA.  I tried to take another picture of him that would me more flattering but he said this was his best shot.  He  Really is much more handsome than this picture. 
 Jack has a job as an engineer in Madison, Wisconsin and making a name  for himself there.
 Charlotte is ALSO in Wisconsin studying music at Lawrence University in Appleton. 
 Together they make a great looking group and they are as wonderful as they look.  It was nice to spend some time with them and catch up on their various activities. 
 The wonderful parents allow us to show up at all the family gatherings and have fun with their terrific children.
 This was the whole dinner group except for John.  He offered to take the picture.  Maybe he was trying to distance himself from the rest of us. 
 However, he couldn't escape this picture.
 Brittany and John brought their dogs.  It was a 3 dog household for the holidays. 
Bud and I offered to clean up after dinner while the rest of the group went to church. 
 This morning (Christmas Day) we went over to their house again and Bud fixed his famous French Toast.  It was a delicious brunch. 

UNTIL, Sue brought out the one gift that she forgot to give everyone, the umbrella hats to wear in the hot tub.  Of course they had to try them on and pose for the picture.  Walt was the only one that refused to wear his hat. 
It was a great day and to top it all off we went to the evening performance of the new Star Wars movie.  What a great Christmas.  Tomorrow we head down to GR to do it all over with  new group.  We are so fortunate to have such wonderful families. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Lewis family Christmas

The Charles and Catherine (Clarke) Lewis family had their yearly Christmas dinner this past Sunday in Coleman.  I try to attend every year so that I can catch up on what is going on with my aunts (no uncles still here on this Earth with us)  It is a GREAT opportunity to laugh and remember the 'good old  days' and you know we had MANY. 
 My Aunt Florence is the oldest and probably the most feisty of the family but she looks GREAT and is full of 'vim and vigor'.  Greta is just a few months younger than me and we spent a LOT of time together growing up.
 Aunt Kathleen is the 'baby of the family' but going strong. 
 I always insist on a picture of the cousins.  Of course it is just the 'real' Lewis's not their spouses.  I was asked by one of the husbands to include the spouses next year in one of the pictures.  I told him I would think about it but I have mixed feelings about that request. It seems to be the "Lewis way" to just take  pictures of the Lewis's without their spouses.  I have several pictures of my dad's family with just him and his brothers and sisters, NO spouses as documented evidence.  Maybe I could take two pictures next year.  Anyway, here we are.  It was a pretty good turnout of my generation.  We had 13 out of the possible 27 attending. 
 Aunt Mary is looking great too.  She lives just up the road from Mom and Dad's house. 
 OF COURSE the three girls had LOTS to talk about. It was good to see Kay and Greta, the two of my cousins that I spent the most time with when I was young. 
 Leo and some of the guys talked over the world's problems.  Leo looks pretty good.  I am thankful that he is cancer free and living in Coleman near family.
 I did my yearly duty of putting a wreath on the gravesite in Coleman.  No snow there either.
And finally, we stopped by Leo's house and dropped off our leftovers.  He has smoothed out the yard around his house and put in drainage so it is ready for grass this spring.  It is a beautiful little place in the woods.

SO, you can see I was able to get my 'Coleman fix' this past weekend and enjoy my family there. It was a great place to grow up and a wonderful family full of love and laughter. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

I am thankful for a wonderful weekend

We started out our Thanksgiving weekend on Tuesday by driving down to Grand Rapids to see family.  I will start by apologizing for the length of this post but a LOT happened.
 Sara, Leo and their little ones came early and were there when we arrived.  We hadn't seen them since the spring so it was good to have some time to see them and catch up with their busy lives.  Gram loved having her grandchildren around too.
 The youngest little one was there too.  She continues to grow and become cuter and cuter every time I see her. 
 Eva enjoyed having her around too.  She stayed at her house all day on Tuesday and Wednesday.  She loved having her grandchildren around for extended time. 
 Matt, Diana and the girls arrived Wednesday afternoon.  I brought along this car race track that was a big hit with all ages. 
 Isak especially loves trucks but everyone enjoyed playing with the race track set.  I sent it home with these two little ones,   I am sure that they will get more use from it at home. 
 Eva fixed a great dinner of ribs and mac-n-cheese.  We kind of let her cook her own birthday dinner but she IS a great cook.
 We didn't let he bake her own cake.  Jessica gave me the name of a good bakery and a family favorite kind of cake.  Eva was surrounded by her grandchildren and she loved every minute of the birthday celebration.
 This little one loved the cake too. 
 Afterward we had gifts.  The grandchildren were great helpers with the unwrapping.
 Sara is  wonderful artist and this was her gift to Eva.
 Then we had gifts for Isak and Sofi since their birthdays are coming up soon.  I wanted to give them my gifts while they were visiting. 
 Nothing like a little fun with Uncle Matt.  I don't know who ws having more fun?
 Thursday was a big cooking day.  Leo arrived from Coleman and as you can see, the guys liked watching football before the dinner. 
 And the girls cooked. 
 After dinner the turkey really put the guys to sleep after so much time and effort eating a wonderful dinner.
 Sorry guys but I just couldn't resist taking pictures.
 My wonderful husband really zonked out.
 After naps by the kids and the men, we had a late afternoon dessert of pie.  Leo said it was time for him to head home, before the last important activity of taking the family picture.
 Furniture had to be rearranged. 
 Several pictures were taken.  I am not as picky about everyone looking at the camera so my pictures aren't as good as the official picture. 
 I did my best but it seems it is hard to get everyone looking at the camera with their eyes open and smiling especially when you have so many little ones. 
 After pictures there was cookie decorating. 
 Everyone was involved. 
 Even the little ones had a good time although I am sure that the frosting knives were licked a few times. 
 He looks a little serious as he decorates his cookies. 
 Then Eva wanted to give Sara, Leo and their kids their Christmas presents.  It was a wonderful little time watching them open their gifts. 
 The big blocks and the trucks were a hit.
 Friday morning Sara and Leo headed home and everyone else went out to Horocks to buy Christmas trees.  The selection process went VERY quickly this year.  Jess and Doug found this great one for their house.
 Diana was very happy with her choice and surprised at finding it so quickly.  I know they have trees in Tenn. but they are MUCH less expensive here and it has become a tradition to take one home with them. 
 Everyone was happy, they only had to find one for Eva and that was a pretty easy process too.
 Meanwhile B. and I went inside and did a little shopping.  The two of us love to pretend and have fun shopping. 
 That night the tree went up in Eva's living room while she had a crew to help with the lights.  Unfortunately some of them had some problems with their fuse but she solved it later.  The grandchildren were able to help decorate some.
 Everyone got into the act.
 Lots of photo opportunities.
 Even the smallest one was a good helper. 
 Saturday morning Matt and Diana started for home.  Bud and I stayed on to help with the cleanup and decorations. I often put up the old tree from our farm, filled with Mom's decorations.  Once again I completed that little task.  I have put that tree up many times, both at the farm and at Eva's house. It is always a little trip down memory lane, using the old decorations that Mom collected.  I am sure that some of them are almost as old as me. 
 Meanwhile, Bud ran the vacuum and then put together Eva's gift to Jessica's little one. It is a step stool that she can use to get to the sink and help with the meal prep. 
Jessica and Doug checked it over and pronounced it perfect for future use.

SO.....  You can see that I took a lot of pictures and had a great time.  I am very thankful for my sister and her family.  They are very precious and we are so happy to have them in our lives.