Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kids Again for Mom’s Birthday

Last summer, my brother Mike had the idea to celebrate our Mom’s 80th birthday with all of the six kids in Alaska (we’re scattered out between Alaska, Oregon, Kansas and wherever I happen to be).  Our Dad’s 80th birthday had been celebrated during a family reunion at Priest Lake, Idaho in 2010, so this seemed like a great idea!

Besides, Mom and Dad had for some time been talking about some of their ideas and wishes for future planning now that they were in their “Golden Years” and they really wanted to have a chance to discuss this kind of stuff with their six kids.

So on Saturday, November 10th, the out-of-towners descended on Wasilla, Alaska although brother Jon ran into flight delays in Kansas and didn’t actually arrive for several days.  The female family members who lived up there – sister Deb, sister-in-law Alana, niece Danae and daughter-in-law Kari – had all been busy planning the big birthday party for Sunday, the 11th.  We had a fun time with a gorgeous cake, fun decorations and lots of yummy food!  Thanks, gals!!!

The rest of the week was spent reminiscing and helping Mom & Dad with some household projects, including installing a new dishwasher and some computer work.

One evening was set aside for the “big” family discussion.  This was the first time we could remember having just the eight of us together since we were all adults and it was a truly amazing experience to feel the years fall away and be just the “kids” again!  Mike did an outstanding job of keeping the discussion on track and I believe it was very helpful to Mom & Dad to be able to express their ideas and wishes and also to hear our reactions.  We highly recommend that all families try to do this and we are certainly hopeful that this discussion will smooth the way for all of us as the years go by and we need to deal with changes/crises/etc.

The three brothers from out of town stayed at Mom & Dad’s and I stayed at Eric & Kari’s (sister Deb’s upstairs) so I got lots of grandson time!  Also got to take them Christmas shopping while I was there – wish John & I could do that every year…

On late Saturday night, November 17th, brothers Jon and Tim and I headed for the airport, dropped off the rental car and one by one, flew back home.  Mike had left a couple of days before as he had work commitments.  A wonderful time with my family…

Friday, November 9, 2012

Crossing Texas

Sunday morning, November 4, time to head east…  We left Benson a little before 9:00 a.m. and crossed the New Mexico border at 10:50 and crossed into Texas at 2:00 p.m.  We traveled about 260 miles and called it a day at 2:30 stopping at American RV Park near El Paso.  The campground wasn’t much more than a gravel lot, but it worked for an overnighter.

The next morning, Monday, November 5, we headed out a little after 9:00 a.m. and ventured 308 miles before stopping for the night at a rest stop near Iraan, TX at a bit before 5:00 p.m.  We’re in the mode…  Drive, eat & sleep!

Time to drive again: 8:15 a.m. on Tuesday, November 6.  263 miles later, we finally got across west Texas, arriving at Admiralty RV Resort in San Antonio at 1:30 p.m.  Time to settle down for awhile!  Neither of us felt like cooking, so we moseyed over to Schlotzky’s for sandwiches.  Can’t remember the last time we ate at a Scholtzky’s…

We spent the next few days running errands and doing a little shopping in preparation for Lora’s upcoming trip to Alaska.  And the shopping culminated on Thursday, November 8 in a big way!!  We FINALLY found the car we’d been looking for for who knows how long!  We had researched small sedans for ease of towing (don’t want to have to pull a fuse anymore), size (wanted something similar to the Cobalt but hopefully a little more comfortable), and mileage (we weren’t willing to lower our mpg and the Cobalt did pretty good).  We had looked at the Lincoln MKZ in Iowa, Washington and at least two other states, but either they didn’t have a hybrid in stock or they only had dark colors.  Since we spend the majority of our time in warm climes, we really wanted a light color – inside and out.  We had planned to wait and see what the new model 2013 looked like, but the deal South Park Lincoln in San Antonio offered us on a 2012 was too good to pass up!  Right color and it even has heated AND cooled front seatsSmile  Love this car!


We took possession today, Friday, November 9 and on Saturday, November 10, John will drive me to the airport for my flight to Alaska.  Hate to leave that brand new car, but family beckons!  All five of my siblings are planning to converge in Wasilla to celebrate our mom’s 80th birthday and have a chance to sit down all together to discuss our parents’ plans and ideas for the future.  Besides, I get to see Eric and Kari and two of our grandsons, Jacob & Jonah!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Arizona Adventures

After arriving in Casa Grande, Arizona yesterday, Thursday, October 18 and settling in at Rover’s Roost SKP Park, we got haircuts and picked up some groceries the next day before heading up to the Phoenix airport to pick up our friends from Washington state, Curt & Diane.  They flew down for a long weekend to celebrate their anniversary and we had a fabulous time taking 5th wheel shopping trips to Tucson and even north to Camp Verde.  Even got to see this tarantula at the campground!  Scary, huh?
On Tuesday, October 23rd, the four of us drove about 30 miles away from the campground to see Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.  This four story building from the early 1300s is the largest known structure of the Ancestral People of the Sonoran Desert. 
The walls face exactly north, south, east and west and there are openings that align with solstice sunsets and sun or moon at other times. 
P1160684Curt & Diane!
It’s always fascinating to get a glimpse – however brief – of other cultures.
On Wednesday, October 24th, John & I packed up and left Rover’s Roost at 10:45 am and arrived at LazyDays RV Park in south Tucson several hours later.  A few days earlier when we were 5th wheel shopping with Curt & Diane at LazyDays, the dealership gave us a camping coupon so we decided to check them out.  Nice park with lots of fruit trees!
We spent most of our week in Tucson visiting good friends from Iowa and doing housekeeping chores but did find time to tour Biosphere 2 near Oracle (north of Tucson) on Friday, October 26th.  This amazing facility was where the eight “Biospherians” were sealed in for two years in the early 1990s to find out if people could live totally enclosed in a large glass “bubble”.  It is now operated by the University of Arizona and is being used to study ecosystem processes under controlled conditions.  It is quite fascinating!
Saturday, November 3 – Time to leave LazyDays and mosey on down the road to Benson, AZ to visit RVing friends Bob & BarbAnna at Cochise Terrace RV Park.  We had a fun dinner out with them – thanks, B&B!
The view from our campsite was pretty cool!
Tomorrow we head on east, but had our usual fun time in Arizona!