February and March in Florida – Part 2

We made plans a long time ago (some time last fall) to fly our grandchildren to visit us in the RV in Florida for a week. Since our grandkids are all homeschooled, they can take their Spring Break when they choose. Our RV park is about an hour and fifteen minutes or so from the Orlando airport.

Along with their parents, we decided the oldest, Jade, would come visit first. Then, the day she flew home, the other two, Kylee and Jackson, would fly in for their week with us. As Christmas approached, our oldest son, Jeff, decided to give his nieces and nephew a “once-in-a-lifetime” Christmas gift: an all expenses paid day at Disney World with Uncle Jeff! Our three grandchildren were SO excited on Christmas Day when they opened that special gift.

We videoed their reactions but the video is somewhat blurry. I took some screen shots of the video, but the quality isn’t that great. However, I think you can see their sheer joy and excitement.

It all started with a gift box with a stuffed Disney figurine (Mickey for Jackson and Minnie for the girls) and a $25 gift card for a souvenir. However, at this time, they still did not understand the gift.

Then they were told to go get their iPhones and read the text message Uncle Jeff sent them.

It was at this point that we discovered that they could not access the link for the message because of the security restrictions set on their phones by their parents (good parents restrict their minor kids’ access to the internet on their phones!)

We all got the same text, so their dad read the message from his phone as they all looked on.

And NOW they realize what the gift is and the excited reactions begin!

They are all VERY excited! However, Jade was SO excited she shed “tears of joy!!”

The funniest part was when the parents admitted to them that they HAD ACTUALLY kept that secret from them for DAYS!!!

Then Uncle Jeff got big hugs from all three.

Jade arrived first on Tuesday, February 26th (just three days after we moved into our new RV (see previous post). The plan was for her to go to Disney with Uncle Jeff the next day. However, Uncle Jeff, the weatherman, had been in touch with Jade and her mom for a couple of days because it looked liked that Wednesday was going to be stormy enough to shut down rides and have the potential to make their day quite miserable. Through a series of phone calls, the decision was made to postpone the Disney adventure until Sunday. I could tell Jade was disappointed (as ANYONE would have been!), but she handled it VERY well. I was so proud of her maturity in this situation.

The day finally arrived for Jade’s Disney adventure. We drove north to Kissimmee to a spot to meet Jeff that was close to Animal Kingdom. When Jeff arrived, Jade went with him and we returned to the RV (we didn’t have a day planned that was as fun as Jade’s day; we had housecleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping chores to attend to). Here are some photos of the fun and sheer joy Jade had with Uncle Jeff.

Jade used her gift card to buy her first pair of Mickey ears.

Jade and Uncle Jeff are in the very back row.

Waiting in line for the Avatar/Pandora ride.

Waiting on Fantasmic nighttime show to start.

While Jade was with us, she decided she wanted to go visit Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL, which was only about a 20 minute drive from us. This is a contemplative garden and bird sanctuary consisting of a 250 acre garden and a 205 foot tall tower with its carillon bells. It is located on top of Iron Mountain, one of the highest point of peninsular Florida (approx. 295 feet above sea level. It is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here are some pictures of our visit to Bok Tower Gardens.

As I said earlier, Jade came the first week and the day she left, we picked up Kylee and Jackson for their week with us. We were staying at Rainbow RV Resort, Frostproof, FL. This RV park was really nice! It had a lot of things to do with the grandkids and many activities planned. We spent a lot of time both weeks swimming (and sitting in the hot tub!) as well as playing bocce ball, shuffleboard, pickleball, and horseshoes. We played numerous games of Skip Bo and taught the grandkids to play Gin Rummy. They had never played that game before, and they caught on quickly. They became really good at it, and we played it nearly every night. All in all, everyone of us had a wonderful time both weeks.

The week Kylee and Jackson were with us, the weather was great. They were anxiously waiting for the day to “cash in” on their Christmas gift from Uncle Jeff. Finally the day arrived to go to Disney World! Jeff wanted me to go along this time because their was only one of him and two of them! He even offered to pay my way, so I got to enjoy the day with them, too. The weather was PERFECT; it was a little cool in the morning then warmed to the low 70s in the afternoon! Even though it was a spring break week and there were a lot of groups of kids there causing the lines to be somewhat long, we had so much fun! The pictures tell it all.

Silly grandkids! They’ve learned that from Papa Jack. 😂

Waiting in line for the new Avatar/Pandora ride. The wait was THREE HOURS! The ride was: FANTASTIC!!!

This view NEVER ceases to excite me … and EVERYONE ELSE!

Mickey shaped food was EVERYWHERE!

Uncle Jeff, Kylee, and Jackson rode this ride. I did NOT! They are on the back row on the left side.

Waiting for FANTASMIC nighttime show to start. It was FANTABULOUS!

We really had a great time while the grandkids were visiting us. We were sad to see them go. After they left, we had a couple of naps to rest up from all the fun!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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

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