Every year the Haines family pack up their three kids and load an immense amount of supplies into their SUV to trek across the country from Kansas all the way to the North East and then, finally, to Florida, where they enjoy a week at the beach with family. Seth Haines and Brad served in the Marines together back in the day and Seth's wife, Shana, is a kindred spirit, so we always enjoy seeing them. We have been lucky enough to join them for a day or so the past couple of years and, on Thursday we met them in Boca Grande for our annual visit. It is always so much fun to catch up and see how much the kids have grown each year and this year was no exception.
Seth and Brad pretty much look identical to how they looked in the Corps circa 1992.
Look at those handsome guys!
Seth, just standing around looking charming.
The beach, unfortunately, proved to be a bust as a red tide bloom forced our early departure, but we had fun back at the pool at their vacation rental. The kids swam until they were blue and shivering and were forced out of the pool by concerned parents. Then we all ate sandwiches and junk food and enjoyed being around other adults while the kids warmed back up in the sun. After their core body temperatures had stabilized we all walked to a nearby school where the kids impressed us with their never ending energy at the playground. At the last minute I remembered I had brought the camera and snapped some pictures of Seth and Brad together.Brad was also able to get some video of Sunny and Harper playing on the slides.
It was a lovely visit and, although abreviated, we were so glad we had a chance to spend the day with them.
Thank you for your hospitality, Haines family. We can't wait to see you again next year!
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season this year. As for the Bookers, we were pretty busy. Christmas preparations happened just in the nick of time and, although done with love, were fairly scant.
Every year Brad and I go back and forth on the pros and cons of getting a Christmas tree. I really do have a major ethical dilemna with slaughtering a helpless tree who is just miding its own business, photosynthesizing its heart out, so it can be gussied up like a cheap tart only to be displayed in our living room for a week or so. But I do love a Christmas tree, too! I love to turn off all the lights in the house but the strand or twenty decorating the tree and cuddle up on the couch watching the lights dance while sipping something Christmas-y. So we split the difference this year and, on December 23rd, went to Home Depot where we bought a cone-shaped ornamental shrub which we will plant in our yard at some point after the holidays. In theory. It was a good compromise.
We own a total of nine Christmas tree ornaments. Note how they are strategically placed so as to maximize their visual impact.
I guess we were pretty good this year because Santa was very generous with us. Harper must have been a saint for the loot she raked in. Her gifts from mommy and daddy this year were a wooden train set and a dolly bed, but they paled in comparison to the bevy of dinosaurs she received. In fact, when she saw her doll cozily tucked in the little doll bed under our Christmas tree on Christmas morning, she literally picked up the doll by its ear and tossed it across the room to spend the next two solid hours tucking and retucking her dinosaurs in said bed. No plastic dinosaur ever had it so good.
Harper is so tricky to get any footage of these days. If she sees the camera at all she wants to look at videos on it, so you have to sneak up on her. Please note the dinosaur T-shirt on over her Christmas pajamas. Santa also brought Harper a cold for Christmas.
Her new dinosaur acquisitions include:
One dinosaur Christmas tree ornament (thank you, Santa) One set of squirting dinosaur bath toys (thank you, Uncle Ed) One set of mini plastic dinosaurs (thank you, Nana and Pa) One set of giant plastic dinosaurs (thank you, Santa) One set of dinosaur flash cards (thank you, Wayne and Jan) One dinosaur puzzle (thank you, Grandma and Grandpa) One restickable sticker book with dinosaurs (thank you, Bauer Jrs.) One dinosaur T-shirt (thank you, Brandons) Several dinosaur books (thank you, everyone)
Of course, there was other stuff, too. And I'm sure she'll love it all, right after this dinosaur kick is over.
We wish we could have spent this Christmas with every one of you. Maybe next year, after our investments in the lottery pay off. Even though we are far apart please know our thoughts are with you this holiday season.