December 2019
...and a few days in January
Thanksgiving was over and, boom, Christmas was coming!  We organized our shopping lists, started baking cookies, sent out some holiday cards, and pulled the tubs of
decorations into the house.  Our Christmas tree brightened up our living room and soon boxes from Amazon were piling up in our spare room thanks to the whole family
having things shipped to us.    

Mid-month we drove to Tucson to attend the "Victory Summit" sponsored by the Davis Phinney Foundation.  Davis Phinney was a professional cyclist who was diagnosed 20
years ago with Parkinson's Disease at age 40. His foundation now does great work helping people 'live well' with Parkinson's. Our day in Tucson was a great inspiration.
We still had our regular activities to attend and some of them shared the holiday spirit.  Tom's duplicate bridge group always has a Christmas party and includes
spouses...a "happy hour" with so much food it turns into dinner.  The Phoenix Boys Choir gave a wonderful concert one evening to add to the holiday mood.  Of course
there was still Tom's weekly golf game, Mary's tennis matches, our monthly "Pegs and Jokers" night, weekly card bingo games, and Mary got in some time sewing and
playing in her ladies' card group.  The ladies' card group also makes a regular Sunday morning outing to Starbucks, but one Sunday we gathered, with our spouses,
instead at the home of one of the ladies for a delicious brunch.  We celebrated Christmas Eve with a group of our old RV neighbors, sharing appetizers and Christmas
cheer with those of us still in the park for the holidays.  We had a delicious Christmas dinner with three other couples at the home of a former neighbor.
As many others were relaxing and cleaning up after the big holiday, we were ramping up thing at our house getting ready for the "invasion" of our family.  Our daughter
and son-in-law, Ann and Matt, arrived around midnight on Friday, December 27 with their dog, Sibby, and a truck full of luggage, gifts and supplies for a week of fun.  They
had planned originally to come from Texas on the next day, Saturday, but after the Ohio State Football team won the Big-10 Championship and was scheduled to play in
the Fiesta Bowl about an hour from our house, tickets were bought and plans changed!  So Saturday afternoon, we drove two vehicles to Sky Harbor in Phoenix to meet
the plane arriving from Michigan.  Matt picked up our son, Reid, and the two of them went straight to the stadium for the big game. (They had good seats and a great time
in spite of OSU's loss).  Mary and Ann brought our daughter-in-law, Kathleen, and granddaughter #4, Evelyn, back to our house.  On Sunday, Matt drove to Sky Harbor
again to pick up our three oldest granddaughters, Coffey, Close and Merrick, and Close's good friend, Andrew as they arrived from Austin. Unfortunately, Coffey's new
husband was unable to get time off work, so he had to share our holiday adventures by phone.  The next week was a bit chaotic but filled with fun, love and laughter.
First on our week's agenda was our family's 'traditional' Christmas eve (OK-so we were 5 days late!)  We made several gallons of fresh squeezed orange juice and
'overnight' French toast for the next morning's breakfast and pies for dinner.  The granddaughters mixed up some "reindeer food" and spread it outside for Rudolph and
the gang, and then left milk and cookies for Santa's extended rounds.  We gathered to read "The Night Before Christmas".  With that all taken care of we spread out to find
our beds...we had rented a "2 bedroom cottage" from the park's rental inventory and a "park model with a casita" from a private party here in the park...so everyone had a
bed.  Bright, and not too early,  the next morning the eleven of us gathered again around our Christmas tree to open all the gifts, followed by a big breakfast.
After breakfast we got outside for some fresh air and exercise.  Taking advantage of the ball diamond across from our house, the granddaughters got us flying kites,
throwing frizbees and playing with a big ball. Matt and Ann had made us a wonderful cornhole game for a Christmas gift, so a family tournament was a must. We'll enjoy the
game even more as the weather warms up a little.  
The rest of the week was filled with lots of other adventures.  We tried our luck at the park's regular bingo game...without success!  The "kids" spent some time building
gingerbread houses. The brave among us spent some time in the swimming pool. (It was just a little too cool for the "native Arizonans." ) The kids helped us with a few
"fix-it" chores around the house.  There was a lot of cooking and eating going on.  We had our second annual family bowling day. (No professional scores there!)  And
somewhere in there we had New Year's Eve.  There was, again, plenty of food, music and games, and we watched the ball drop live on CNN at midnight Eastern time....and
we're pretty sure everyone was asleep by midnight Arizona time!
 
All the fun and family time had to come to an end starting on Friday, January 3.  We drove Reid, Kathleen and Evelyn back to Sky Harbor for their noon return flight to
Kalamazoo.  The Texas granddaughters' flight to Austin wasn't until midnight, so they came up with a plan to swing by a bakery they found listed on-line on their way to the
airport.  It wasn't really on the way, but they convinced us all to join in the trek and we each enjoyed creating our own treat at "Cinnaholic," a vegan bakery.  You start with a
basic cinnamon roll, then choose your frosting flavor and all the toppings your heart desires.  They were quite tasty!!!  We let Ann and Matt take the kids the rest of the way
to Sky Harbor and we returned home to bed at a decent hour.  Coffey's husband Nate was the lucky guy who got to pick the travelers up in Austin and deliver them all home
in the middle of the night.   Saturday morning we gave our hugs to Ann, Matt and Sibby the dog as they started their long drive back to Texas.   And so ended a wonderful
week with our kids and grandkids.  We sure wish they weren't so far away.
January is under way....a few days to recover from the holidays and activities in
the park will get into really "full swing" as more and more winter residents arrive.
Evelyn helped decorate the tree in
Kalamazoo.
Our tree had lots of sentimental
ornaments.
Davis Phinney is an inspiration to those
attending the conference.
We were among about 800 attending the
event at the Tucson Convention Center.
The "Tour Choir" from the Phoenix Boys Choir , ages 8-14, spent last summer travelling in Europe.  
They gave us a great concert.
There's always a good spread at the bridge buffet!
Our Saturday night "thing" is card bingo.
We had a bright sunny morning for our Christmas brunch.
On Christmas Eve we gathered in one of the community rooms.
Those reindeer travel a long way to get here, so
we mixed them up some food.
Then we spread it out on the front walk.
Coffey read us The Night Before Christmas.
Close and Andrew took a turn at squeezing oranges.
Coffey made the pie filling.
Room to run, fly a kite, and kick a soccer ball helped burn off some
energy before Christmas dinner.
We even watched some "pros" on TV trying to
learn some cornhole technique.
Andrew and Ann were the winners of
our family cornhole tournament.
The water was warm, but the air was cool.
Its a good thing you really can't read the scores...but we had fun!
Eveyln had a little extra help, but soon got the hang of it.
There was some serious building going on.
A few of the finished gingerbread houses.
The menu at "Cinnaholic" was a little overwhelming.
Just one of our purchases.
return to our "home page"
return to "What we've been doing"
Ann brought the family new Christmas"jammies"  
Nate joined us via Facetime from Texas.