Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lake Worth Beach

A visit home to Florida isn't complete without a trip to the beach. There wasn't a lot of unscripted time, but we managed to carve out a couple of hours while the weather was cooperating. Michelle's main goal was to take pictures. She succeeded. So did I.

Just in case you ever want to visit Lake Worth Beach and you don't want to take pictures or go swimming, you can choose to visit the playground or just sit on a bench and relax.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

More Christmas Break with Dad

The kids will be flying back to school on New Year's Eve morning (yes, that's when the tickets were the cheapest). In order to spend some more time with them during a work day, we met Dad for lunch. Isn't it always fun trying to find a restaurant that meets all the necessary parameters? It needed to be close to the office and Steven wanted steak. Fortunately, BJ's Restaurant was acceptable to everyone.
We took advantage of the extensive menu. Steven got his steak. After a fried calamari appetizer, Michelle tried a chicken and quinoa bowl. Wayne experimented with an anchovy pizza. I enjoyed a fresh mozarella and tomato salad, followed by some nice comfort food (fried chicken and mashed potatoes). 

What a fun interlude. We'll miss them when they leave again.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Break with Dad

Last year on the Saturday of Christmas break we took a trip to the Art Deco district in Miami Beach. We have mixed emotions when recalling that trip, and someday I'll have to blog about it. This year the chosen activity was a picnic at the Wellington Community Park.

Several months ago Brooke had fun spinning Grandpa on a similar playground apparatus in Atlanta; Steven had to see if it was fun. It was.
After wondering why Mom was taking pictures, they discovered that the other spinning playground apparatus was fun too.

The fields were quite wet and muddy, but fortunately, we timed our visit perfectly and stayed dry, avoiding the scattered showers throughout the day. 
We started our day with Michelle's vacation breakfast request of Biscuits and Gravy and are ending it with college football and a movie at home - a wonderful way to relax and spend time together.
Happy Boxing Day to you!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! 
We hope you're having a beautiful day. Here are some of our memories for Christmas 2015. 

Our city has a bi-weekly (in summer) and a weekly (in winter) Thursday activity called Food Truck Invasion. The calendar finally cooperated and we went for dinner a couple of weeks ago. While there we walked over to the lighted holiday display. I love Christmas lights.
Steven and Michelle came home for Christmas break. The next day we met Jeff and Alicia in Orlando to see the latest Star Wars movie. It did not disappoint.
Our Christmas Eve traditions were faithfully kept. 
Our friends' tradition is to act out the nativity. (We usually just read it.) We were happy to be their audience, and Steven and Michelle were willing participants.
Although we love having little kids around, Christmas morning is quite nice and peaceful when only adults are home. I didn't display all of our nativities this year, but getting out just my favorite still meant there were plenty around.
Favorite tradition #1 - Cinnamon Rolls and Scrambled Eggs for breakfast.
 The annual "in front of the stockings" pictures were taken.
 Followed by opening the gifts under the tree.
Funny story of Christmas 2015:
For a while Wayne has been talking about getting the disposable towels for guests to use in our powder room, but I wasn't sure where to get them. Earlier this month, I noticed a whole display while looking for something else (Bed, Bath & Beyond if you're interested) and decided to get some for him for Christmas. When he was shopping this week, he found the same display and got some for me to unwrap. Surprise! So, now when you visit, be sure to use them!!

Not so funny story of Christmas 2015:
While getting a box of Christmas ornaments off the shelf, an unnoticed smaller box on top slid off. When I put the box down, I noticed my finger looked awkward and I was unable to straighten it on its own, even though it didn't hurt at all. The official diagnosis is "mallet finger" (or a broken tendon) and the treatment is to keep the joint immobile for 4-6 weeks. Fortunately, I discovered that the middle left finger is not used extensively when playing hymns, nor in doing many other chores. (It is used when playing scales and thirds, and when crocheting*.) One of the highlights of this Christmas season was participating in the sacrament meeting musical program. I'm grateful I was able to play the piano and organ with only nine functioning fingers. Our Christmas Eve musical tradition was a bit choppy, but we managed that as well. We're thankful for tender mercies! And we're thankful that next year this inconvenience will be in the past.

*Discovered when making this little purse/tote/bag, which eventually did get completed in spite of a non-working finger.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Remembering Thanksgiving - The 2015 Trip

Last week we enjoyed a nice trip to Virginia. Fortunately it wasn't so frigidly cold that we wondered why we left Florida! And it was nice to enjoy some fall foliage.
We left home bright (or dark) and early, and at breakfast time stopped in Gainesville to pick up Jeff and Alicia. I tried snapping a few pictures of the graffiti wall and the stadium on the University of Florida campus, but they didn't really turn out. Because many, many other people were also traveling north, it took us a bit longer than it should have normally, but we made it to Woodlawn in time for dinner. As usual, it was wonderful to spend some time with family that we haven't seen in a while.

The next day it was time to prepare for a yummy feast. Everyone did their part! Holly's specialty is Green Bean Casserole, and she can always find someone to help her open the cans.
Wayne figured out that the kitchen table had a hidden leaf that had never been used. The extra space that created came in handy.
While the turkey and green bean casserole were cooking, Holly and the rest of us enjoyed using Facetime to talk with Brooke and her family in France. They had to substitute a chicken for the turkey, but otherwise managed a typical American Thanksgiving dinner themselves.
So much to be thankful for!
Friday several of us went back to the New River Trail State Park to help Wayne complete his goal to hike its entire length. There was a 15-mile segment left - from Byllesby Dam to Galax.
Wayne started with Jeff and Weston. In Gambetta, Weston's family joined them for the next three miles.
The kids had fun playing at Dannelly Park while waiting for Grandpa and Jeff to show up there.
Then they went back to take their afternoon naps, and I drove to the end to pick up the hikers.
It took eight years, but he did it! We are thankful that Jeff was there for the first part and the last part, and also grateful that other family members also got to keep him company along the way.
Once the hiking was finished, it was time to help Holly with her project - stuffing over 700 envelopes with her Christmas cards. She has a lot of friends! Fortunately, she also has a lot of kind, willing, and helpful nieces and nephews.
The great-nephews helped by staying out of the way! They had fun creating their own entertainment with Daddy's legs, balls, dinosaurs, and crayons.
One of my favorite memories of the trip was listening to Jeff tell his "how we met and got engaged" story to his grandmother. He also introduced her to the world of "selfies."
Thanksgiving is wonderful, but family is even more wonderful!