Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving with Family

We spent a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving week in Florida with kids and grandkids and more family than we've seen in quite a while! Kristy and Cameron and Ruth hosted as many as 13 more of us at a time with smiles, hugs, a great house to hang out in, more food than even all of us could eat, and plenty of activities to keep us busy.

With Kim, Doug, Will, and Ella we flew Midwest Airlines from Kansas City to Orlando and then drove to the Tampa area. First up was a trip to the beach, of course, to play in the sand, walk along the shoreline and pier, and take some pictures of the kids and grandkids. Next came a day for the ladies and kids to drive to Kitty's parents' winter home for a visit while the three guys went saltwater fishing on Tampa Bay. No keepers but plenty of fish and a fun time.

A couple of days later Greg's parents flew in from Michigan, followed the next day by Michael, Mandy, and our little niece, Sonja. And to top it off we enjoyed a brief visit from Tine and Rob, Greg's aunt and uncle who were here from the Atlanta area.

(Remember to click the pics for larger images)

Wednesday morning we spent some time taking family portraits at a local park. That was soon followed by the "annual" family tradition of seeing which of the guys could hurt themselves during a pick-up touch football game. This year Mike and Doug barely held on to best Greg and Cameron as time expired. There were too many points scored to keep track - not exactly a defensive game by any measure. But most importantly no injuries other than some tired and sore muscles.
As a family we spent Thanksgiving Day relaxing around the house enjoying the time together, eating food that was incredible in both taste and amount, and watching football and movies on the wall thanks to the projection TV system the kids came up with. So much to be thankful for - so many blessings to enjoy - and the best was just being together.

Greg was the only one of the crowd foolish enough to get up at oh-dark-hundred hours to stand in line just to buy something at one of the very early Friday morning sales. Mike, Mandy, and Sonja were off to the airport for their trip home, while the rest of us spent some time later in the day at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa watching the fish, turtles, stingrays, birds, sharks and much more. Then it was time for the little ones to say good-bye to Oma and Opa as their visit came to a close.

Saturday was a warm and wonderful day at Downtown Disney in Orlando entertaining the kids before Kim, Doug, Will, and Ella and the two of us winged our way home to Missouri. We landed in Kansas City just in time to listen to the last quarter of the Mizzou-KU football game. Actually, we were more interested in keeping warm during the drive from the airport to the house as we were greeted by 20-degree temperatures!

What a blessed holiday week with so many family members!
A very Happy Thanksgiving indeed!

For more Thanksgiving memories click on these family blog sites:
Kristy and Cameron -- Kim and Doug -- Mandy and Michael

Friday, November 23, 2007

Annual Mexico Mission Trip

Over the Veterans Day holiday weekend, Kitty and Greg went to Mexico with 11 other people from our church to again build a home for a family in need. This year we were joined by teams from two other Midwestern churches and together we built a double-sized home for a larger family with four young kids.

It was hot, it was sandy (the van got stuck a dozen times!), the days were long, the work was tiring, but ... it was fun, it was worthwhile, it was amazing, it was a blessing!

The new home, family, and crew ... the old "house" (tent & shed) ...

... mixing the concrete .... framing the walls .... personal time ...

... wall panels go up .... the roof is added .... applying the stucco ...

... children's home visit .... kids in class .... jumping rope with Kitty

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ruth's 1st Birthday!

We were blessed to celebrate Ruthie's first birthday with her and Kristy and Cameron and many friends in Tampa the first week of October. Wow! She was walking and "talking" and growing up so fast! What a great party with games and presents and food and ...
well, just watch the video:

Seems like all of our grandkids love playing in the water. And taking walks. And snuggling up in Mema Kitty's lap. And so much more than what we could fit into this short video. For several wonderful days we played with Ruth and got to know her while mom and dad spent a couple of evenings out. She loves the radio - and loud! - so she can dance and sing!! But the time went by quickly and we had to say farewell until we can be together again for Thanksgiving.