Monday, September 29, 2008

I spent a few days with Scarlett last week. We went to the library and the park. I noticed that Scarlett at 3 years of age already has mouse skills when she uses the computer. How quickly technology has changed! I compare this with my early childhood when my family received our first home phone when I was five years old.

Scarlett can use the computer quite well.

Of course the children's department at the library has thousands of books as well as computers, but I was surprised at the collection of puzzles and games.

Scarlett was dressed in her ballet clothes ready to go to class. She loved it!

Cathy and Scarlett talking together.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I've just had a busy and wonderful 10 days with children, grandchildren, and other family members visiting, then traveling to Cathy's house to spend a few days with Scarlett. Here are some of my favorite pictures:

Matt in the stroller and Scarlett in the wagon, having just finished a couple of times around the block.

Matt enjoying the park.

Kelly, Scarlett, and Matt reading a book together

Scarlett at the park.

Matt enjoying Gabe's skill on the slide.

Three cousins together on the playground.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Here is Scarlett walking the balance beam for the first time at her gymnastics class:

More of Scarlett's class can be seen here.

Scarlett at Gymnastics
This week I'm spending some time with Cathy and Scarlett. Yesterday I took Scarlett to her gymnastics class. If you look at the video below, Scarlett is the dark haired child in light colored clothing on the right side of the class. You can hear her shout happily a couple of times. She's not at all shy in class and really enjoys herself.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Here are my beautiful grandchildren. In the first picture are Scarlett, age 3 and Gabe, age 4. The second picture is Matthew, age 16 months. Two additions to the family are on the way. Early next year Gabe and Matthew will each have a new sibling. Gabe says the baby will be a brother named Jack. (This information is coming from Gabe alone!) Matthew and his new sibling will be less than 2 years apart, making for a very busy household for his parents for a few years. I am very excited to be the grandmother of all these wonderful children!
Family Gathering
Yesterday we had a family gathering at our house. We had a lovely day with family members coming from Chicago, several locations in Michigan, and New Jersey. With distances and busy schedules it isn't so often that we can all meet. For a late September day the weather was cooperative so Tony could barbecue. Everyone caught up on family news, new babies coming in the next year (2), eating delicious food, and just enjoying being together. In this busy life, it is important for families to spend time together in this way and really know each other. I am so proud of everyone in my family.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Matt's Here!
Late last night we picked up Tom, Kelly, and Matthew from the airport. Everyone went to bed pretty late, about 1 AM. Babies always wake up bright and early, ready to play. Here's Matt the first thing this morning, exploring Grandma's toy corner. What a joy to have him here! And the others are coming soon. Then Sunday is our annual family get together with family members coming from all over the state. The weather is sunny and crisp. This is a happy time!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This is my friend and student Etsuko who came to say goodbye to me today because soon she and her husband will return to their home in Japan. Etsuko is a new grandmother so we very much enjoyed sharing news about our grandchildren. I wish Etsuko much good fortune in her future and we will always remember her.

Monday, September 15, 2008

About Coco
Today Marta and Steve took Coco to the Vet Clinic at Michigan State. (Please read yesterday's post if you didn't already.) Coco had some alarming symptoms on Saturday morning so Steve and Marta took her to the vet's office near their home. The vet did some preliminary blood tests which resulted in a possible diagnosis of cancer. Everyone was shocked! Coco is a five year old healthy, kind, intelligent dog. This was unbelievable! Their vet recommended the consultation at Michigan State. Initially today's report was sounding less than positive, but most tests were run. Finally late this afternoon Marta called me; Coco doesn't have cancer but she does have a much less serious but treatable illness. Great news! We are so happy and perhaps Marta is the happiest of all because she loves Coco like her own child.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Here is Marta and Steve's dog Coco, a 5 year old boxer wearing a fleece winter coat that I made for her last January. Today we are all concerned about Coco and I'm hoping everyone puts forth his or her best thoughts and prayers for Coco's long and healthy life. She has always been in excellent condition but in the last couple of days came down with symptoms that are very alarming. Everyone who meets Coco loves her and we are hoping for good results for her.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Final Show
The final morning of our Alaskan cruise all passengers met in the ship's theater for information on disembarking from the ship. Disembarkation was handled very smoothly. Suitcases were placed outside our room before going to bed; they were whisked away and the next time we saw them was at the airport in Detroit. Cruising is an easy way to travel especially recommended for seniors since everything is taken care of by the travel company (though our cruise included younger people as well as families with small children).

After receiving the final information, the ship's crew entertained us with a song seen in the above video. The front row includes the chefs and restaurant staffs. Next are the entertainers who put on a musical and dancing show every evening. Behind them are all the other workers especially the cleaning staff who kindly tidied our rooms twice a day. This was a very international group with workers mainly from Indonesia and the Philippines and management from Holland (the Holland America Line) as well as a scattering of other countries.

On another topic I want to encourage everyone to have a blog! It's surprisingly easy and lots of fun. Friends, family, and even strangers can read it (or not) if and when time allows. Tony, my husband, has started a new blog here and has many memories which he plans to write and share. I think almost anyone who has a blog will find it a worthwhile experience.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Waterfall near Juneau
When we visited Juneau, we went to a salmon bake held outdoors. Salmon was cooked over an open fire and served with a full buffet service while we enjoyed some musical entertainment with our lunch. Then we could take a little walk to see a beautiful waterfall and someone panning for gold. Here in this video is the waterfall.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Weekend with Gabriel
This weekend for the first time Steve and Marta went away for a couple of days leaving Gabriel with us. I am very happy to report that everything went very well. Gabe seemed very comfortable with us, confident that we would take care of him, unworried that his parents were not home. Especially enjoyable was taking Gabriel to school and spending a few minutes visiting his classroom. He attends a Montessori School; I was very pleased with his class and his teacher.
Here of some of our activities and also a video taken Saturday morning when we went to a nearby playground. We had such an enjoyable time, and I think Gabe enjoyed himself too!

Enjoying ice cream!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

On the River

Immediately after our two mile hike/ climbing experience we got on this tube/ raft for a one mile ride along with river with our guide Ashley at the oars. The river was fairly calm and the scenery natural and beautiful. At the end of the ride hot beverages and cookies were provided so that we could all warm up. I remember my hands and toes becoming very cold during this experience.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

On the Trail

Tony and I have always enjoyed walking and hiking. Now that we're getting older, it's an interesting challenge to see if we can keep up with the other hikers. Near Juneau, Alaska, we signed up for a two mile guided hike up and down the mountain plus a mile raft ride back down the river returning to the starting point. The above video was shot on the easy trail after the harder up and down the mountain climbing was finished. During that time I would not have been able to manage the camera while climbing!

The View from the Ship

Here is a short video I took from the deck of the ship as we were overlooking the town of Ketchikan, Alaska. We were docked there for the day and were about to take off. In the morning we had gone on a rainforest tour, seen 3 bears, several eagles, and numerous salmon jumping in the river.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

On a Cruise Ship
I was always curious about staterooms on a cruise ship. It would seem like they would have to be tiny because almost 2000 passengers plus crew must be accommodated in a limited area. I was pleasantly surprised because the room is fairly spacious and comfortable with plenty of storage and a small sitting area. When we arrived at our stateroom, I quickly made a short video tour so you can see it here:

Back from Alaska

Very early Monday morning we returned from a week's vacation on a cruise ship, the Volandam (of the Holland America line) from Vancouver to Seward, Alaska. We had an amazing trip with approximately 1500 passengers like a moving city block exploring the inland passage along Alaska's coast. There was a lot of wild life: whales, dolphins, bears, eagles, and salmon jumping in the river. The first day of our trip we traveled from Detroit to Vancouver and everything went very smoothly. I'm very impressed with Holland America because everything is well organized. Our luggage was checked in at the airport in Detroit and we next saw it in our stateroom on the ship. In the Vancouver airport we met with many other passengers and Holland America reps who transported us by bus to the cruise ship where we checked in and immediately went to a wonderful lunch on board. Next we toured the ship which had 8 levels including 3 restaurants, swimming pools, a walking track, a gym, a casino, a library, many sitting areas, etc. I have several videos that I will be sharing plus lots of pictures can be seen here.