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

Back to Oklahoma and Missouri

The week before this past week (April 27- May 4), we were in Oklahoma visiting with our youngest son and his family (a.k.a THE GRANDKIDS!).  They had recently moved from Moore, OK, to Edmond, OK.  We were excited to finally get to see their new home, and they were excited to show it to us.

As a family of five, they were in dire need of some more “space” in which to live.  They went from a house approximately 1500 sq. ft. to one around 2400 sq. ft.  It is a really nice house in a nice neighborhood.  It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a great room (kitchen and living room totally open!), and dining room on the first floor.  It has one bedroom, a bathroom, and a family room upstairs.  And MOST IMPORTANTLY, when you live in Oklahoma, it has a lovely storm shelter with access from inside the garage.  During our week there, we spent one afternoon and evening glued to the weather forecasters on TV and ready to go to the storm shelter on a moment’s notice.  That’s just a way of life in the springtime in Oklahoma.

The day after we arrived was a very special day for our oldest granddaughter, Jade.  It was her prom.  Jade and her mom spent the whole afternoon getting ready for the big event:  hair, makeup, getting dressed, pictures, etc.  We (the whole family) were lucky enough to get to have dinner with her and her date and his family.  They chose a sushi place for dinner and that was a first for Jack and I.  However, we weren’t brave enough to try any sushi.  Maybe next time.

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Jade’s dress really looked pretty on her. Jade’s date’s sister did her makeup and did a fabulous job.

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Just a beautiful young lady!

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A friend of Jade’s mom did her hair. It was really pretty; elegant and sophisticated but not too much or too “old” for her.

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Jade and her date, Micah.

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Ooops! Micah closed his eyes. The guys have to learn that they must look good in ALL the pictures because the ones that the girl looks best in will be the ones used or posted! 😆

Monday evening was another special event:  both granddaughters were being inducted into the National Honor Society (Jade – High School) and National Junior Honor Society (Kylee – Middle School).  Since they are both home schooled through Epic Charter School in Oklahoma, the induction took place at Rose State College with all the other Epic Charter School inductees.  There were A LOT of students receiving that honor that night.  I’m SO glad we were able to attend this special event.

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Sorry, this is a little blurry.  They are one their way to the stage.

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Miss Kylee walking across the stage after her name was announced.

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Miss Jade walking across the stage after her name was announced.

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Of course, Jackson had to get in the pictures with his sisters (L to R: Jade, Jackson, Kylee).

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Man! These grandkids are growing up WAY TOO FAST!!!

The rest of the week in Oklahoma we just “hung out” with the grandkids.  I took the granddaughters shopping a couple of times.  Jack and I played numerous games with them:  Scrabble Alphabet Scoop, Trouble, Jenga, and Animalopoly (just like Monopoly only with a jungle animal theme).  Why, oh why, did I say I’d play that Monopoly game?!  Jackson beat us all!  He is going to be a shrewd business man some day!  Too bad I didn’t get any pictures of us playing any of the games.

We did discover one pitfall:  When you leave your dog with the granddaughters while you run an errand, you come back to this:

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All wrapped up in a blanket because they thought she was cold.

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We like to keep Zoey’s hair in pigtails. We came home to the pigtails BRAIDED!

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They said Jade had to hold Zoey while Kylee braided. 😆 It did look pretty cute, though!

We spent the next week (May 4-10) in Springfield, MO, visiting Jack’s mom (Lill), brother (Carl) and sister (Carol) and her husband (Delano).  We played a lot of Skip Bo games with Lill, and I’m sad to report I didn’t win ANY of the games at all.  Jack won most of the games with his mom coming in a close second.  We had good visits with Jack’s Aunt Jerry and Aunt Glenda.  When we visited with Carol and Delano, we also got to see and play with their newest great-granddaughter, Francis.  Man!  She is a doll!  (I can’t believe I didn’t get any pictures of her)  Carl was down with his back, so Jack just went to his house one day to visit with him.  Thursday afternoon we took Lill for “lupper” (lunch/supper) at Asian King Buffet at 2:00 (Chinese food buffet with a  Mongolian wok).  From 2:00-3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays Senior Citizens (age 60+) only pay $4.99!  It was a pretty good meal!  I didn’t take ANY pictures while we were in Springfield – BAD BETTY!

Today (May 11) we got up early and are on the road to Arnold, MO (south of St. Louis).  My folks live there and so does my younger sister, Lisa, and her family.  We will be spending about a month there.  My parents are in their late 80s; mom is in a nursing care facility, and dad still lives at home.  It will be good to spend some time with them since we have been gone for 4+ months.

Since the next month will be all about spending LOTS of quality family time (and not about traveling), I probably won’t be blogging much.  However, who knows: we may find some interesting places to “visit” around the STL area that I could blog about.  We will see ….. just don’t give up on me if I don’t post anything for a month or so.

When we leave the STL area, we will be heading North for the summer.  We’re not exactly sure just yet where; maybe Michigan or the Wisconsin Dells area.  I guess you’ll just have to wait and see when I post again and tell you where we are.

So, for now ….. “On the Road, Again!”

Betty

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