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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I'm Back...

Wow, I think you know that December has been a whirlwind of a month. We have been off to so many wonderful places and celebrations while squeezing in the sale of a business and the closing of a 5 room office that we have been in since 1984! Thought we could do a quick visit back to the highlights before my mind starts heading to Valentine's Day - which I have to admit it has done a time or two these last few days...really, what is wrong with me??

We started our trip in Tampa for 3 days at a tax seminar and then were off to St. Pete to help my daughter and her family move into their new house! An added bonus was that we got to see Caitlin in her Devilette parade uniform.

There was so much to do before a complete move-in could happen but Caitlin was hosting her school's Devilette team here for their Christmas party so we decided just to decorate around the chaos! Somehow we had NO trouble doing that!

The first weekend we were there, Jennie and the "littles" came down to help. I tell you, those kids are hard workers...and, their legs are so much younger than ours that by the end of the day, we had them running up and down the stairs with arm loads of stuff. Of course, they had some fun along the way too! They used some of the boxes and ended the weekend with a long train. Here, Presley was just starting but had to make sure she had a hat to fit the mood!

After each day of hard labor, a slumber party was enjoyed by all!

One of the nights we were there. we got to attend Caitlin's National Honor Society induction. And, the night before, we had a fun time at the mall helping her pick out a new dress and eating at "Red Robin" - our first time ever!

Then, we rushed to a basketball game just in time to see her "exit" the floor. There just were not enough hours in the day for all we had to do!

Also got to meet all of the team and her sponsor at the party. After the young ones left, us older folks had our own little party out on that beautiful porch at night!

One night, we walked to the "Neighborhood Tavern" for dinner and then onto the downtown bay walk and all of the beautiful lights.

We ended up staying a week and would have stayed longer if we didn't have Christmas waiting for us! But, now that we are retired, we will be back often!

A day or so at home and we were on our way to Gainesville where we got to pick up grand daughter #3 from school and spend some time with her before attending Hannah's IB Diploma ceremony. How proud we are of this young woman!

Before we knew it, we were enjoying our Nutcracker weekend with the girls. I know this picture is not the best but I had to change my photo editing program and even though I cropped and lightened this picture on it and the improved picture is what I see when I go back to that program, when I download, it defaults back to the original. You will probably be able to see that happening on a number of my pictures. There must be one final step I am not doing...if anyone has an answer, please let me know.

In any case, Presley had taken a short nap during the second half of the ballet and had just woken up, so she was having nothing to do with photos at this point of the day.

By the time we got downtown, she was bright eyed and bushy tailed again and smiling for the pictures!

And, by the time she was on her holiday sundae, she was beaming!!

After dinner, we almost always go for a carriage ride around town, but, apparently the "thrill" has worn off - or we had all been doing way too much and were just too tired - and all they really wanted to do was go home and watch a movie in front of the fire and the lit tree!

On Christmas Eve we went to a candlelight children's service with Jen and her family. The kids all sang and it was beautiful!

On Christmas day, it appeared that Santa had FINALLY visited our house...truly not ONE wrapped gift under that tree until a few hours earlier!

I'm sure you've heard of Mom's bag of tricks....well, this is Nana's basket of bribes.
Presley has been having fun doing more silly faces than smiles lately and I was still trying to get a picture that I could use for this year's Christmas New Year's cards so I devised a little bribe with the bags of reindeer noses...and it worked. Those kids would have done anything I asked to get one of those bribes treats!

I found this free printables at "whimsicallydetailed" but there are lots of them on Pinterest - just pick your favorite. The chocolate "noses" are Whoppers and the Rudolph nose is actually from a box of gummy reindeer noses that I found at Dollar Tree but any round, red gummy could be used.

Papa is in his glory with four of his girls!

Finally got us all in one place at the same time - although it appears some of us may have already eaten too many "noses"...and cookies and candy canes and......

Two days after Christmas, my husband and I celebrated our 49th anniversary. We usually don't make a big deal out of these celebrations - we've had our share - but, all of a sudden, a little impromptu celebration was put together and we found ourselves downtown again having a wonderful evening!

I will close this LONG post with two of my favorite gifts - Santa pictures. I really thought I was done getting these pictures with the 4 older girls and I quit asking as I didn't want to put them on the spot. Imagine my surprise when they presented me with this picture of the four of them that they did all on their own - and presented it to me in a beautiful handmade frame. These girls really know their Nana...and I love them so much for that!

So that is it for this holiday. I truly am already looking at everything red that I have out and thinking of how I can use it for Valentine's day. So much to do... so little time! Stay tuned!

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