Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!



Well, here it is . . . 7pm on Christmas day . . . we’re watching “A Christmas Story” and still recovering from the huge Christmas dinner we had here at the RV Resort at 1pm!

There was a wide variety of food to go with the turkey, ham and mashed potatoes provided by the resort.


Then there was the dessert table . . .






and I took these pictures early, before everyone had gotten there! 

Everyone enjoyed this gathering of our “RV family”, and not a single person went away hungry!












Waiting for Santa . . .The three of us had a nice Christmas . . . Bryce got his new bike and some workout clothes . . . Tom and I are still shopping for our presents – new bikes for both of us.  Bryce also got a fitbit from his aunt & uncle . . . it’s a pretty cool little gadget.  He wears it like a watch, and it tracks his activity and sleep to his phone.  He can also keep track of what he eats, calories, and set goals for himself in the app on the phone.

Pretty much a high tech pedometer, but the kids love their gadgets!!



My present came on Christmas morning, when the Navy Recruit Training Center posted 612 new photos to their facebook page . . .  Bryce and I were searching through them, and he spotted one of Nicolas!

My Christmas present -- a picture of my boy at boot camp!

No phone calls on Christmas, but this was the next best thing!

Last night and today were difficult without him being here with us, but in just 22 days we’ll get to see him graduate!  We can’t wait!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all our friends and family, near and far!

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Tour of Cypress Trail

Cypress Trail


Our winter destination this year is a little different from the places we’ve spent the last two winters.

This is an ownership RV Resort, still under construction, in a prime location in SW Florida.  We’re in Ft. Myers, but away from the beach, closer to I-75, and just south of the Caloosahatchee River.





Driving into the entrance of the Resort, you get a definite feel for the atmosphere of the Resort.

Entrance at night

 When we first arrived, Bryce thought it was going to be too fancy for us, but now that we’ve settled in and met some people, we’re fitting in pretty well.

Driving in on the main road through the resort.

Cypress Trail Resort Circle

The area closest to the Clubhouse and the lake is the most developed, since that was the first phase to be completed. 


Most of the sites in this area have been sold already, and have their patios and landscaping completed.

Updated Sites

Millionaire Row











One side of the club House has the kitchen and dining rooms where all of the events are held, and the other side is the office and recreation areas, and the laundry.

Billiards Room

Card Room











Laundry 2

The walkway between the two sides of the clubhouse leads to the pool and patio.


The pool is one of the biggest we’ve ever seen at an RV Park!

Pool & Spa

Also around the Clubhouse are tennis and pickleball courts,


as well as shuffle board and bocci ball.










Our site is in the 2nd Phase of the development.  The sites here are all in, but only a few are sold.

Site 158

Most of these will be rented this season, in hopes that they will sell.  We even have a “model home” across from us!












New Palm Trees


Phase 3 extends our road along the west side of the lake, with 38 brand new sites.  The trees were just planted and sod laid, and they are just waiting on the utilities to be hooked up, and then they’ll be ready to rent.



The lake is really just a big pond, but it’s very pretty and draws in quite a few birds.  The anhinga (or maybe they are cormorants??) seem to like the fountain,


but they are going to have to find a new perch once it gets turned on!

There are multiple herons and egrets that search for food along the banks of the lake,

Little Blue Heron



and a couple of wood storks that come around pretty much every afternoon . . .

Wood Stork

but don’t always get along!  They were both here this afternoon, on opposite sides of the lake, until one chased the other away!


So, we’re settling in pretty well here . . .


it’s a nice, relaxing spot to spend the winter,

Relaxing on the lake











Royal Palm


and I think we’ll like it here!

Pineapple Palm Tree



Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Celebrations & Cookies

After a busy week of work, and a little bit of Christmas shopping, we were ready for a break this weekend.  Saturday night was the resort’s Christmas Party, with a catered dinner and live entertainment.

Tom, Bryce and I helped with the setup and then stayed to enjoy the dinner & entertainment (at least Tom & I did, Bryce left after he helped clean up after dinner . . . he was afraid some of those ladies would try to make him dance! lol)  Dinner could have been better, but the entertainment was really good, and some of the folks at this resort are pretty rowdy!  We had a good time, and I even sampled some blackberry moonshine, from the Old Smokey Distillery in Gatlinburg.  It was really good, and so smooth!  I may have to get some of that!

On Sunday after mass, Bryce and I made gingerbread cookies while Tom found some people to visit with.


After an early dinner, we drove up to Punta Gorda for their Lighted Holiday Boat Parade.  Bryce checked out the parade route online, and determined that the closest of the best viewing points was Fisherman’s Village in downtown Punta Gorda.  It was about a 30 minute drive up I75, and we joined the crowds parking at Fisherman’s Village.


We’ve never been there before, and found Punta Gorda to be a cute little town.  Fisherman’s Village is a collection of shops and restaurants along a pier, surrounded by a Marina.




The Grinch arrived just as we did, and stopped for a photo with Bryce.

Tom had to settle for a big fish!


We had plenty of time until the boats would start passing by, so we browsed through a few of the shops.  Bryce found a couple of clocks that he liked!     DSC_0089









The Punta Gorda High School Band was playing a Christmas Concert, so we found a spot overlooking the water where we could listen to them.


Not long after the concert ended, we could see the boats coming into the harbor alongside Fisherman’s Village.  Unfortunately, the spot we had picked out for viewing (along with a bunch of other people) was not far enough out on the pier, and the boats were turning around and heading back out into the harbor before they got to us! 

We quickly moved to a spot further out on the pier, but it wasn’t as good a spot, and there were lots of people in front of us.  We could still see the boats as they went by, but I couldn’t get very good pictures.




I did manage to get a picture of one of the boats parked along the pier after the parade ended.




On top of all that chaos, Nicolas was trying to call me, and my phone wouldn’t let me answer!  I missed his call three times, but as we were walking out, he called one more time and I was able to answer it!  I’m so glad that boy is persistent!


We had a great conversation!  He’s still doing well, and passing all of his tests and inspections.  He’s at the halfway point now (I can hardly believe it!), and starting to practice drills for their graduation ceremony.  This week they get measured for their dress uniforms and get their graduation portraits taken.  His training group is not eligible to be adopted out for Christmas, but he said that they’ve already seen the menu for their Christmas dinner, and it looks pretty good!  He’s doing amazing well, and we’re so proud of him!  We can’t wait to see him soon!


Saturday, December 6, 2014

A VERY Happy St. Nicholas Day


Christmas, 1999

For the last two years, we’ve set up our Christmas tree outside on the patio, but this year I decided I wanted to put it inside.  We have a little more room in the garage now, and if we went with a smaller tree, we figured it wouldn’t be a problem.

walmart tree


After walking through a dozen or so motorhomes all morning, we were tired and didn’t feel much like tree shopping.  Since we were going with a little tree anyway, we just picked one up at Walmart.

Not quite the adventure of traipsing through the snow to find the perfect tree and cut it down . . . but it’ll work!




We put it in the trunk of the car for the ride home (THAT was a first!!), and when we got there, Bryce gave it a fresh cut and got it set up in the stand . . . then he went to watch football! 

DSC_0341I guess I’m decorating the tree!!  Smile

For a little Walmart tree, it didn’t look too bad!


I actually can’t remember the last time I decorated the tree myself . . . Nicolas has been doing it for quite a few years!  But, without him here to help me, I got busy with the lights . . .


OK, not a bad start . . . next came the ornaments . . .


It turned out really pretty!

I guess the garage is going to be my Christmas room . . . I used Nicolas’ desk as a display table.


Just watching me wore Casey out, I guess!


So, that was a nice way to spend St. Nicholas Day . . . but the highlight of the day was a phone call from Nicolas! 

I knew that Saturday is usually the day they get to make calls when they earn them, and on facebook I was seeing that lots of recruits in Nicolas’ training group were getting to make calls this afternoon, so I was anxiously waiting for my phone to ring . . . and then it did!

It was SO wonderful to hear his voice!  He sounded good, and he says things are going OK.  His RDCs aren’t too bad, although they’ve had quite a bit of extra PT this week.  He’s a section leader in his division, so he hears about it when somebody does something they’re not supposed to!  I asked how the food is, and he said it’s actually really good . . . today he had french toast, eggs and bacon for breakfast, and fajitas for lunch.  On Thanksgiving they had turkey AND prime rib!

He’s got a little bit of a cold, but he passed both his PT test and his swim test on the first try.  He sounded very confident and comfortable, and that’s a huge relief to us!  He was mostly concerned that we had gotten his phone (which arrived here very quickly) and his letter with his address (which took over 2 weeks to get to us!), and he was wondering why he hadn’t received any letters yet.  I told him that we just got his address, but now that we have it, we’ll be sending lots of letters – I sent 4 this weekend!

This conversation with my boy was the best St. Nicholas present ever!!

It was wonderful to talk to him, and we’re looking forward to his graduation on January 16th!