Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Christmas Loss

Today, December 26th, my oldest brother Jim passed away.  Jim was the first born of nine brothers and sisters.  He was born on my mother's 18th birthday.   Here he is with Mom and the rest of his siblings.    This was taken back in the late 70's.

Pictured:  Back row, left to right - brothers Mick, Chuck, David,k Bill.
Front row: left to right: Sisters Ronda and Sandy, Mom, Me and Brothers Jim and Don.   Of this group the only ones left are my baby brother David and I.

And here is Brother Jim and his family.  This was taken the summer of 2013.  Pictured: Jim, his wife Gloria and children Carol, Glory, Kathy, and son Tim with his wife, and 2 of Jim's grandchildren. 

Jim was 82 years old.  Love you Brother!

Christmas 2013

Growing up, Christmas was always a time to be with family, to decorate the house, family gatherings and Xmas carols, Midnight Mass, and mom's and dads and brothers and sisters and sons and daughters gathered around the tree and around the dinner table.  After we moved to Florida it was pretty much just Rich and I, except for the year that Denny and Krystal and the kids came home, or with our good friends Don and Linda who were our neighbors for several years.  Then it was celebrating the holidays at whatever RV Park we were at, pot luck style, but lots of fun meeting and making new friends.  

This year, for the first time in about 6 or 7 years, we actually have a Christmas tree up again and we are spending the holiday in our new home.

Christmas Eve - The day began as any other - sitting on the lanai having our morning coffee.  Today we had company..........

About 1:00 in the afternoon, Rich made his pumpkin pies ( three of them).  I had picked up a couple of steaks at the local meat market - so put them in to marinade.  Dinner was grilled NY Strip Steak, baked potato, grilled asparagus and garlic break.  Delicious!!!  We relaxed and watch a movie and about 9:30 before it was over, Rich finished off the first pumpkin pie.   Presents were wrapped and under the we called it a day. 

Christmas morning, we were up about 7:30 and enjoying our morning coffee once again on the lanai.  Joining us this morning were the resident ducks, perched atop boat house.

The tree lights were on and the Christmas music playing as we opened our gifts.  Santa was very good to both of us.... Rich got stuff for fishing including a fish weight, anchor and rope, he got shorts and sandals, and a new thermos and lots of chocolate!  Santa gave me a new watch and pocket book, a deep fryer and a day at the Spa including a massage, facial and much more!  I love you SANTA RICH!

Then it was time to get dinner started - the meat and potatoes in the oven.........  Since Nick and Tonyia do not have family to spend the holidays with, we invited them to join us for dinner.  A few days earlier, we had dinner at their place and they surprised Rich with a VERY unexpected XMAS gift.  A Coldwater Outfitters, Fish Fillet Station, for the dock.  He'll now have a place to clean and fillet all the fish he wants!  Thank you Nick and Tonyia. 

Dinner was excellent.   If you've never used the oven  a for cooking - they are wonderful. 
The ham, studded with whole cloves and covered with a pineapple and brown sugar glaze came out deliciously moist.
Fresh made biscuits, scalloped/Au gratin potatoes,  fresh green beans tossed with olive oil, garlic and cherry tomatoes, and glazed carrots completed the meal. 

After dinner the guys spent most of the afternoon down on the dock fishing.  They would have taken the boat out - but it was a bit too windy..........  Tonyia and I spent the afternoon on the lanai playing Mexican Train.  We all enjoyed a little holiday cheer, be it a glass of Sangria, Eggnog and Cinnamon Whiskey, or just a plain old can of beer.  While the weather was beautiful and the guys tried real hard - the fish were just not biting.  Rich is holding about the biggest one for the day!!!

Of course the highlight of the day was hearing from Denny and the family.  He called early in the day and Rich and I both were on the phone for a while.  And Santa was very good to them as well.  
Back in November a special Soldier friend of Denny's contacted him and wanted to do something special for him and his son.   According to the post on facebook this Soldier wrote:  "you are largely responsible for mentoring me and helping pave my career..... Thanks goes to you."  This is what he did.    Our grandson, Dalton is a huge Colts fan and Bryan Grantham was able to get 2 autographed pictures from multiple Pro Bowl center Mr. Jeff Saturday signed "To Dalton and Dennis.... God Bless...#63 Jeff Saturday".  According to Dennis. Dalton was in awe with a smile from ear to ear!  Picture below of Dennis and Dalton with the photo, joined by our grand daughter Chauna. 

Rich and I are so fortunate.  A beautiful family and so many great friends. 

 Merry Christmas. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Having Fun with Miss Ava

Well today Ava's Mom and Dad are coming to pick her up and take her home.  We've really enjoyed having her for the week.........Here's a few more pictures.  I think she enjoyed her stay!

If we didn't see her around - we'd check the bedroom and find her buried in the pillows~  She loved to roam around the back yard, but she's still not sure if those ducks are real or not!  We didn't take the boat out on the water - but she kept we put her in the boat.  She wandered around, but like the driver's seat the best.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A fun weekend

It all started Friday evening when Nate and Krystal stopped by long enough to drop off Miss Ava, as they headed on to Miami for a week long cruise.  What a great Xmas Present for the two of them!!   Meanwhile we get to enjoy the company of our favorite little girl for a while.  

She seems to be settling in and enjoying herself.  She likes the kitchen chair when I'm sitting there on the computer.....she can keep her eye on me AND see what's going on outside.   She likes running around in the big back yard, and she's claimed her seat out on the lanai.  In the evening she takes to her favorite  blanket either on the couch or the recliner - wherever she can be closest to the both of us.

She does NOT like to be left alone!  On Saturday she was alone for a couple of hours and when we returned every pillow on the sofa except one was on the floor in the living room.   She isn't going to like it on Monday evening when we have to leave again.  Dinner at 6:00, follow by the Placid Lakes HO Association members meeting from 7-9.  She's getting a little more acclimated, so I'm sure she'll be fine.  We'll leave her a treat, the light on and the music playing!

On Saturday morning Nick and Tonyia arrived about 8:00 am and brought us breakfast from McDonalds.  A cup of coffee and they loaded the boat and headed out to fish.  

Just before noon, Tonyia and I left for Lunch and Bunco at the Meeting House.  We had a great time.  ( Can't believe I did not take my camera!!!)  Great assortment of food and desserts and fun games.  We both came home winners, Tonyia with $20 and me with $10!  

In the meantime the guys had some pretty good luck on the water.  Nick would send Tonyia a text every time they caught a fish.  The ended up with 12 fish for the day( would have been 13 - but that Pike got away from Nick before he could get it in the boat!!)   Rich had them all cleaned and in the freezer by the time we got home. They brought home crappie, shell crackers and one big Bluegill.  

Nick got the trophy fish for the day - the only one deserving of a photo!  Here is is with a very nice large mouth bass!   

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dinner with Nate and Krystal


This summer Nate and Krystal and Rich and I spent four months in The Villages.  Not a  week would go by without Krystal and I meeting up for one thing or the other at least four our five days out of every week.  And the four of us would get together for dinner at least once a week.

Rich and I left The Villages about a week early because we were in the process of buying the house and selling our RV.  By the time that Nate and Krystal got back to Peace River - we were already gone.  All of us have been busy and despite every effort we have not been able to get together.

But last night we drove to Sebring to meet up with them for dinner at Cody's Roadhouse Grill

Wednesday is two for one fajitas - And dinner was  delicious!  We sat and talked for quite a while after finishing our meal and then a little more time out in the parking lot!   It was so nice to see both of them again.   They are off on their cruise on Saturday - and we get to have Miss Ava stay with us for the week.    We look forward to having her with us, and look forward to spending more time with Nate and Krysal over the holidays!  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Shopping, Dining Out and Meeting up with Friends

It's been another busy week.  We continue to have a hard time trying to find an area rug for the living room.  After returning the first one we ordered on line from Home Depot - we found another one while there shopping in the store.  We asked them to order the rug, and made arrangement for them to come and measure the office and the guest bedroom for carpeting.  They came and measured, but we are STILL waiting for the area rug to come in.   Hopefully before XMAS!

We were invited for dinner with our new friends, Al and Barb ( Can't believe I still don't have a photo!)  They had us over for a fish fry.  We had shell crackers ( fish that the two of them caught fishing right here on the lake.  She fixed some backed beans and macaroni and cheese.  Delicious.

We went to the local Placid Lakes Country Club for pasta night with Nick and Tonyia and will definitely go back there again.  Best pasta we have ever ordered out!

In the meantime we ordered a new wagon wheel rocker to go with the bench on the front porch,  found a few more wall hangings for the living room and started to do a little decorating for the holidays.

On Sunday our friends Buddy and Diane came to visit for the day.  It was great to see the two of them again.    We feel good that they could finally fit us in to their busy schedule.  We saw them last back in September when they visited us in The Villages.  They are now back in Wauchula. Both of them sing and play an instrument, and during the winter months here in Florida they meet up with other "jammers" in the area and sing/entertain at several of the parks. They do this most every night - and on Sunday mornings at their church....

It was nice to just sit and talk and catch up on what's been going on.  About 4:30
Rich put the Chicken Kabobs on the grill.

I finished the potato and,corn on the cob inside and we all enjoyed a delicious meal.

And thank Buddy and Diane, for the lovely gift.

A beautiful Christmas Pointsetta which adds the perfect holiday touch to our front porch!

On Wednesday we have dinner planned with our friends Nathan and Krystal in Sebring.    We have not seen these two since we left The Villages in September!  It will be so nice to visit with them again.