The highlight of December was in learning that Rusty and Anne are due to have another baby: Due in July 2018. What a blessing!!! This was also the month that Robert graduated from Georgia Tech with his MBA, culminating an 18 month intensive effort that his bank helped him greatly with while Natalie carried a lot of the weekend load with kids, including new baby Luke, as Robert attended classes in Atlanta. Way to go! And we also had a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas right after Christmas. Just think: Most of the USA was enduring freezing temperatures while we were swimming in the Caribbean.
A fairly quiet month. Had Thanksgiving dinner with Joyce's daughter Michelle, and her husband Howard, and their son. Sandra and Anne's family travelled to North Carolina for some fun in the mountains, Karens's family visited relatives in Naples, and Robert's family enjoyed the holiday at home with Natalie's family.
One of the nice activities in October was being able to meet up at Epcot with Robert and his family as they took some time for Disney fun to celebrate Everett's birthday. Also visited Seaworld with Joyce Pollicina, and had a good day there. Yes, I kept up with my golf and racquetball.
The month begin with a very nice Labor Day weekend at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain Georgia, where Robert's family, Karen's family, and I stayed in one of their Southern Pine Cottages and enjoyed some of the many activities there such as their Birds of Prey show, their Discovery Center, their Zip Line for kids, swimming at Robin Lake, climbing on the floats in the Aqua Park, and watching the Balloon Fest. Also travelled to Orlando for fun at Discovery Cove - a bit pricy but something everyone has to do at least once. Seaworld runs a first class operation at Discovery Cove. And the tickets for there came with a bonus: tickets for nearby Aquatica and Seaworld, so we tried Aquatica in September also. The month ended with me attending my Lawrence Central High School Class of 1962 reunion in Indianapolis. Wow, my classmates are getting old ... !!!!
August was back-to-school month for Daylin, Braden, and Skyler, Karenís children; for Savanah, Seth, and Sydney, Sandra and Steveís children; and for Benjamin, Everett, and Charlie, Robert and Natalieís children. The triplets returned for 5th grade at Chimino Elementary, a very fine school close to their home. Savanah and Seth returned to Seffner Christian Academy for their senior and freshman years, and Sydney began to experience home schooling under the tutelage of Sandra, who took a leave of absence from public school teaching. Benjamin, Everett, and Charlie attend a Montessori School in nearby LaGrange, Georgia. I visited with Robert and Natalie to help celebrate robertís birthday, and later travelled to New Orleans to be there for Rusty and his Birthday Celebration.
Early in ther month Robert and Natalie and family visited, and just after that Rusty and Anne and family visited; and we had fun in each case. In mid-month we enjoyed a stay at Universal's Cabana Bay Resort and played at Volcano Bay, its new water park right next to the resort.
One of the events for this month was a trip up to visit Robert and Natalie and their family, and especially to meet their new baby Luke. The visit also included a day trip to Butts Mill Farm, a throwback farm that included games and things for kids to climb one, a petting zoo, miniature golf, and the picnic area. There was also fishing in its pond, and I am pleased to report that everyone did catch a fish.
The amazing event of this month was the birth of Luke Collins Braden. PTL!!! It was such a blessing to see their wonderful family grow. May was a traveling month for Rusty and Anne and their children. They drove to Alabama shortly after Luke's birth to be there with Robert and Natalie and share the joys of the latest addition to their family. Then they drove down to Valrico for over a week to visit here with family and friends, and - of course - I just loved it. Then they traveled back to Alabama to be present for one of Rusty's nephews high school graduation before returning to New Orleans. Whew, that's a lot of miles. While they were here, they attended the funeral service for Steve's dad Paul Roberts, who died following a stroke at age 79. Paul was a great husband, father, grandfather, and friend, and he will be missed.
April was the month for weddings, with niece Shannon having her wedding reception on Ocracoke Island in North Carolina and with daughter Sara of long time friends Pam and David Duke having her wedding at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Two very different venues, but two wonderful locations.
Nanny (Mom), Ellen, and I took a Mississippi Riverboat Cruise. We had a great week of cruising and sightseeing that included visits to New Orleans, Natchesz, Vicksburg, and Baton Rougue. Plus we toured three antibellum plantations and the Angola State Prison.
We had some fun getting part of the family together at Universal Orlando. Grandkids continued with spring sports. Here are some pics of Seth playing on the JV Baseball Team at Seffner Christian Academy,
The amazing event of this month was the birth of Ryan Kent Zwerner. PTL!!! And the grandkids kept up with school and their activities, such as Sydney's soccer.