December was a month of blessings. We had Christmas parties and Christmas programs. We had our annual golf tournament with its putting, chipping, and sand shot contests. The highlight of the month was traveling to New Orleans for Rusty's graduation from seminary plus geting to hear him preach at his new church and to visit his new home. And there were Christmas presents and a trip to LegoLand for a day of fun. Bought myself a Christmas present: a 45 caliber pistol. That probably says something about me and about how I feel concerning the world we are living in now. The book: Now at 95,000 words - the end is in sight!
November was a time when Seth finished up his Fall baseball. He was on a traveling team in a Cal Ripkin League, and he had a good time. He played a number of positions including pitcher, catcher, shortstop, second base, and outfield. The family also got together for Thanksgiving at Robert's house in Lynette, Alabama. Our visit they are included a side trip to FDR's Little White House in the Warm Springs, Georgia and another trip to Wild Animal Safari where Seth, Savanah, and Bonnie Jane had their first opportunity to experience things like having the giraff's tongue almost halfway into the van as it sought food treats. And Natalie fixed another wonderful Thanksgiving meal and we had lots of fun just being together at their house. Also got to see the second rental property that Robert has purchased and rented out. He is well on his way towards being a real estate mogul. After three months of not during very well with my writing, had a burst of energy and am now up to 90,000 words, with the goal being 100,000 words. Can almost see the end of this project. Perhaps a draft sometime in the month of March. Speaking of goals, also finally made my goal of over 200 Gator Jokes on this Website. Enjoy it my Hog Town friends!
One of the highlights of the month was celebrating Bonnie’s Birthday at Walt Disney World in Orlando with Robert and his family and Sandra and her family. We stayed at one of Disney’s “value” resorts that worked out just fine. The rooms were clean and comfy, if not exceedingly large. And there was a fast food restaurant and the free Disney transportation to the various theme parks. After two or three rides on the Expedition Everest roller coaster I was more than happy to watch Charlie while the others rode even more. Steve Roberts had a pedometer app on his phone and said that we each walked 9 miles on Sunday and 9 miles on Monday. I believe that. It took me two days to catch up on my rest. Our Disney weekend was followed the next weekend by two wonderful visits. Anne flew in with Bonnie Jane to spend a few days here and my old friends, the MacIver’s: Tom and Marilyn, also came in for a visit. More good times. This month I helped my church with Trunk or Treat, a family fun Festival involving giving candy to kids that is dispensed out of car trunks. Much safer than having kids walking door-to-door in neighborhoods where cars are driving on the streets. The event also had inflatables, a band, classic cars and motorcycles, and free food and drink. It was been a major effort to help organize but very worthwhile in that we had over 2,000 attendees and we achieved all our outreach objectives.
Traveled to Alabama to spend Labor Day Weekend with Robert and Natalie. We drove up to Pine Mountain, Georgia, where we stayed at Callaway Gardens, a very nice resort that we had been to one night before on Memorial Day and in previous years during the Christmas Holidays to see their Light Show. Over Labor Day Weekend they had a Balloon Best which was very interesting and we enjoyed ourselves swimming in their Lake, playing in the pool adjacent to our cottage, and partaking of the other food and fun there. Later this month Ellen and her family came into town. They had a weeks vacation lined up at the Bon-Aire Resort on Saint Pete Beach. My Mom came in with them and got to spend some time with the family here plus we visited Ellen and her family at the beach for two nights plus Mom and I went up to Orlando to take in some of the sites there for two nights. It was a good stay. Also had fun all month watching Seth play baseball; he is a good athlete.
Of course, August is the month where kids have to go back to school, and that means Sandra has to again set up her classroom for the new school year. Just like last year, I went in and essentially did everything while Sandra talked in the hall with her fellow teachers. Well, this is my Website, that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it. In preparation for the upcoming baseball season, Steve enrolled Seth in a Pitching Academy. The Academy is run by a physical therapist and his goal is to teach boys about Seth’s age the proper technique for throwing a baseball so they will not end up with elbow or shoulder problems later in life. How about that? As of August 31, I found that in the previous 12 months I had written 60,000 words for Book #2, so I met my 5,000 words per month goal. Hooray!
Certainly the highlight of this month was another gathering of the Clan at the Club Med Resort at Sandpiper Beach. This is an all-inclusive resort near the Atlantic coast of Florida near Port St. Lucie that we had visited previously in 2009. In terms of the resort and what it offered, our trip there this time was perhaps even better. Tennis lessons, dance lessons, sailing lessons, volleyball lessons, a club for Kids, friendly sports competition, nightly shows, swimming, bocce ball, a small pitch and putt course, and lots of food and drink. We had such a good time that we’re considering going back next year.
The family gathered June 10-12 at Pensacola Beach to celebrate. We learned that Katie has a job (in a tough and competitive hiring environment). She was hired by the same heart hospital where she did her internship! Sydney also had a Recital to showcase her talent in Hip Hop. That girl can dance!
Went to Indianapolis to visit with mom and to be present for Katie Mitchell's graduation from Nursing School. Shortly thereafter she passed the state's certification exam and now she is RN Katie. Congratulations! A big achievement. Also had a nice Memorial Day Weekend. Got got to go to Lanett to be there for Benjamin Braden's sixth birthday celebration, which was a whole lot of fun; and to travel up to Callaway Gardens to spend Memorial Day there in a two bedroom cabin in the woods and to appreciate the magnificance of the resort. Still behind on my writing, but working on it.
The BIG event was the arrival of Bonnie Jane Zwerner on April 17. All was well. Rusty and Anne begin a new and wonderful adventure in life that involves getting up five times a night and watching that sweet baby sleep through the day. Sandra and I were honored and pleased to be invited there for the birth, and we stayed a week to help out. It was a great welcoming sweet Bonnie Jane to the family. Yes, behind on my writing.
Here in the Tampa area we marched into spring with continued softball and baseball. In addition to his local team, Seth is also a member of a travel team based in North Florida, so one weekend he played in a tournament with them in Jacksonville and another weekend he played in a tournament with them in Lake City. I was invited to join the Roberts family for both of these trips and had a very good time. While on the Jacksonville trip we stopped at St. Augustine which is always a nice place to visit. When we were in the Lake City area, we visited the Olustee (Civil War) Battlefield Historic State Park, which was okay, and also tried some geocaching, which was interesting except we didn't find as many caches as we wanted. I continued with golf and racquetball, and again won of my age group in racquetball as part of the Polk County Senior Games. There were so few participants that there really wasn't any competition, so I was there for the tee shirt - but did collect my medals. Rusty and Anne made their regular check ups anticipating the arrival of Bonnie Jane, and Sandra and I are waiting here with bags packed. How about this: Savanah is now 15!!! And, yes, I made my 5,000 words, so my publishers remained happy.
Spent most of my February applying suntan lotion while in my short sleeve shirt and shorts and thinking about the people in the Northeast who were shoveling 8 feet of snow every day. Who would want to do that? February was sports month for the kids, with many in baseball (Seth, Braden) or softball (Savanah, Skyler, Daylin). And Sydney continued with her Hip Hop lessons. The highlight of the month, of course, was Anne's baby shower here in Valrico. Sandra and Natalie did tons of work and it resulted in a great time for all the attendees. There were about 35 ladies who attended, but enough food for 70. (That was okay, I had great leftovers to eat.) Besides the food, there were fun games and Anne received many, many very nice presents. Yes, I made my 5,000 words. I know you were worried about that.
A busy January. Played in my golf association's annual tournament and did okay. Also finished the golf "yearbook." It had 28 pages and was well-received. The association voted to have another one for 2015. Visted my Mom in Indianapolis for a few days and that was nice. Got to see my dear friends the Bonine's as they came into town for business, and traveled to Alabama late in the month to be there for grandson Charlie's first birthday. Lucky for me that January had 41 days; that let me make my 5,000 words for this month also.