FLORIDA!

I am SO sorry I haven’t published anything on this blog for a while. I guess some times we all just need to take a break from everything and just relax. That is exactly what we’ve been doing: relaxing and resting.

We have been in Florida for about eleven weeks now. We haven’t done a lot of “exploring” per se because we have visited and vacationed in the state numerous times. We have explored the city of Ocala, taken walks around the RV park, and generally just spent some time relaxing. Also, we have spent some time with our oldest son, Jeff, who lives about 45 minutes from where we are staying, as well as visiting with some Missouri friends that moved to Florida about the same time we started RVing.

We spent Thanksgiving weekend with Jeff and had a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Don’t get too excited…he didn’t cook; I did! 😂 That’s OK; I enjoyed fixing the small feast for the three of us. We also attended a truly wonderful benefit concert, “Stop Children’s Cancer – Holiday Traditions: A Musical Celebration,” that our son co-emceed. The concert featured the Alachua County Youth Orchestra, several area high school choirs and ensembles, and featured soloists who were childhood cancer survivors. It was truly a blessing to all who attended and raised a lot of money for children’s cancer research.

That is our son, Jeff, on the far right next to the Christmas tree.

After the concert we went with Jeff to his work Christmas Party. It was nice to meet his coworkers and the students/future weather casters he is mentoring.

Around the middle of December we visited our Missouri friends, Bill and Connie, who had moved to Deland, FL. We attended Bill and Connie’s community choir Christmas Concert, their church’s Christmas Cantata where they were in the handbell choir, and numerous neighbors’ “block” parties. Their neighborhood likes to get together and have parties! What fun!! It was a wonderful weekend filled with meeting new friends, listening to beautiful Christmas music, delicious food, and A LOT of laughter.

The Vee Gees’ (stands for Victoria Gardens, the name of their community) Christmas performance.

Bill and Connie (on the end of each row; right side of picture) ringing their bells at their church’s Christmas program.

Their church choir performing their cantata.

December 22nd we headed out in the car to what I affectionately call our “Christmas Tour.” We drove two long days to get to Edmond, OK, for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our youngest son, Mike, and his family. As always, we attended Christmas Eve church service and had a wonderful Christmas Day with the grandkids and family.

Jackson has discovered the photo “effects” button! 😂

The day after Christmas we headed to Missouri. We stopped in Springfield to visit with Jack’s mom and his sister and her husband.

Then it was on to St. Louis to see my folks and wait for the rest of the family to come in the next weekend so we could have our Christmas with them. After a busy, hectic, but fun weekend, we all met Sunday morning at McDonald’s for breakfast and our final goodbyes. It is always bittersweet lining up at McDonald’s and hugging every one, saying good bye, and watching them all depart for their homes in Indiana, Oklahoma, and Florida.

I’m not too sure these two are enjoying each other’s company. 😂

After shopping and spending all our Christmas money, it’s time for a nap!

Grandpa Gary and all his grandkids with spouses and great-grandkids!

Jeff flew home to Florida the day everyone else headed home because Jack and I were staying for a few more days in STL before driving back to Florida. I visited mom at Sunrise of Des Peres several times, helped dad get out his “Holiday” photo card, and even squeezed in some “girl time” with my younger sister, Lisa.

We headed back to Florida January 4th with a planned stop in Dexter, MO. We took our cute little Shih Tzu, Zoey, to her former groomer while we visited with some close friends for a couple of hours. Then we made a stop at the veterinarian’s office for Zoey’s annual shots. Needless to say, she was not happy with us after that. Then we really got “on the road” back to Florida. Our goal was to make it to the other side of Chattanooga before stopping for the night.

We made it, but it was a very long, exhausting day and evening of driving in a slow drizzle of rain and mist. We got up the next morning for the final leg of our 2700+ mile “Christmas Tour.” By the time we made it back to the RV at Silver Springs, FL, we were tired and so happy to be home. Yes, the RV truly feels like home by now!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

Oh, Christmas Tree!

This past Saturday evening we went to downtown Ocala, FL, for their 35th annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. I don’t think I have ever been to a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in my entire life (unless you count all the Hallmark Christmas Movie ones! 😆).

It started with a parade through downtown around 4:00 p.m., however, we didn’t get there in time for that. When we did arrive, we had trouble finding a place to park. They had most all of the downtown streets blocked off. I had read on the internet that they had a shuttle service from various parking areas, but I didn’t know where those parking areas were. We just drove around until we finally found a parking place. Before we left the parking lot, I did this “just in case” we had memory problems:

This way I could put the location of the car into my GPS if we couldn’t find it! 😂

We walked a few blocks following the “traffic” of people because we really had no idea where we were going. It wasn’t long before we started seeing bouncy houses, vendors, and even MORE people.

We walked around for a while looking at everything, bought a couple of corn dogs for supper, and found a spot to sit on a curb and wait for the lighting. I have no idea how many people were crammed into that downtown square, but there were A LOT!

Here are a few of my pictures:

The tree is in there on the left side, however, the two street lights make it hard to see it.

The tree before being lit up. I guess I was photo bombed.

Believe it or not, but the tree lights are not on in this photo.

The tree lights change colors!

Maybe one night this week we will go back downtown and get some better pictures of the lights without all the people in the way.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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