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December, 2008

Monday, December 29

Weíve havenít blogged much this month.  We havenít done much worth writing about except around the holidays; so Iíll write about that.
 
Daughter Tina and granddaughters Amanda and Lindsey arrived on Sunday December 21.  It was so great to see them.  The girls just get prettier and prettier every time we see them.  We saved hundreds of dollars flying them into Orlando instead of Tampa.  We picked them up and drove back to the Tampa area.
 
We had reserved them a place right on the beach in St. Pete Beach.  The room itself turned out not to be so nice, but the beach and the view from their room was great.  It was also too far away from the rest of the family so they only stayed there 3 nights and then moved over to the Tampa area for 2 nights. 
 
After driving back from picking them up in Orlando we went shopping at the Brandon Mall.  We met up with daughter Nicole and had a late lunch/early dinner with her.  Then of course we continued shopping.  The girls didnít do all their Christmas shopping before they left Illinois; they saved some shopping for here.
 
We celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve with all the family together including Mac's mom, her new husband Harry, our younger daughter Nicole, her hubby Aaron and our grandson Austin, older daughter Tina, and grand daughters Amanda and Lindsay.  We had dinner, gift exchange and attended church in the evening.
 
We went to Busch Gardens twice while in the Tampa area.  I lived in the Tampa area for 4 years before we started full-timing and weíve returned each winter for 4 years and this was my first year to visit Busch Gardens.  I enjoyed it very much.  The animals are interesting to see and the staff seems very knowledgeable about the animals.  We had a few meals in Busch Gardens and the prices were quite reasonable also.  The wait for the rides wasnít too long; I think the longest any of us waited for a ride was about 20-30 minutes, not bad at all.
 
The day after Christmas we all headed out for Orlando.  We rented a condo there for the whole family and it was really nice.  Nicole and hubby Aaron joined us too, but little Austin had a cold and had to stay at his other grandma's this time.  There was a large heated pool that the girls enjoyed and we had enough room in the three bedroom, two bath condo to spread out and not be under each others feet.  We stumbled over a Wal-Mart the first evening so we were able to get drinks and snacks at a reasonable price. 
 
We visited Sea World in Orlando and it was really nice.  We thoroughly enjoyed the park.  There are so many great exhibits to see and the shows were very entertaining.  We ate lunch and dinner in the park and we felt the prices were very reasonable.  I think everyone had a great time at the park. 
 
The girls left from Orlando on Sunday headed back to the cold of Illinois.  Iím glad they were able to enjoy the weather down here and it was great to get together and build memories for everyone. 

Each year I look forward to having the whole family together.  We've done this almost every year since 2000, either at spring break or at Christmas.  A few times we visited Mickey Mouse (Disney World, Orlando).  Other times we went to Universal Studios, or stayed in the Tampa area.  One year we had a camping site on the Gulf of Mexico -- they were all fun. 

Nobody knows what the future holds; but hopefully we can do this for many years to come.  I enjoy it, and I believe that we're giving our kids and grandkids wonderful memories they can always look back on and share.  A lifetime seems like a long time, but when you're over 1/2 way through, you start realizing it's not forever.  Every year that goes by is 365 days you'll never get back.

I hope everyone reading our blog had a Merry Christmas (or a Happy Hanukkah as the case may be) and I'll be back in a few days to wish you all a Happy New Year!

 Yes, in case you're wondering, I'll also make a new year's resolution to post more frequently on the blog (no reason to disrupt the tradition).  :-)    

 

Continue to January 2009

What did we do in Decembers of years past?  Click below to see.

December 2007

December 2006

December 2005

December 2004

 

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