Tuesday, March 27, 2018

California Visit

This is actually the shot of the coast as we were leaving California

In my last post I highlighted the visit of my oldest daughter, her husband and our new grandson all here from Oregon and my parents visit  that coincided with theirs bringing them from their home in California.  We've tried for some time to convince my parents to downsize and move to Florida closer to us.  The last visit convinced them that was a good idea, so in February the girls, my uncle and I all flew to Los Angeles and took a shuttle van up to Thousand Oaks to my parents home to begin the task of cleaning out, packing up and clearing for the sale of the home they've lived in for the last 44 of their almost 60 years together.  It was a pretty major undertaking that had us busy from the time we arrived until the van arrived 8 days later to pick us up for our return trip.

Lauren, Hannah and Uncle Bill on the plane

My parents house in Thousand Oaks

We cleared the attic, sorted through all the cupboards, closets, shelves and any storage place in their home to help find what would be packed, what needed to be thrown into the 20 yard dumpster they had delivered and what needed to go to Salvation Army as a donation.  After packing items we chose the tools and furniture that could go into storage along with boxes and packed them into the truck to go to the storage unit they got as they prepare to stage their home for sale.

Bill and Dad cleaning out garage

Hannah and Lauren were making dumpster runs as the cleaning took place

Dad and Mom

The truck's almost ready to head to storage unit

While we were there my parents who have spent years making stained glass windows and decorations had a group from a retirement community in Arizona arrive to pick up the enormous amount of glass they had donated to them for their communities arts and craft center.  My sister and her kids also came later in the week to help us with the process.  It was a lot of work with long days, but it was rewarding as the time for our return arrived to see the progress we'd made. We'd filled the dumpster about 3/4 full and the storage unit about 1/2 full.  We'd even made a good dent in the mountain of stuff that had collected over the years in the garage. Uncle Bill and the girls really outdid themselves.

The dumpster's getting fuller
Me during the packing process

Mom packing up some dishes

Storage unit after our first truck load

Though they still have quite a bit to do they were off to a good start by the end of our week.  It wasn't all work and no play, my parents made sure we took breaks and ate well including taking us out several times for some wonderful meals.  One night in particular was fun going with them to a Japanese restaurant called Cho Cho Sans.  The chef has his grill at your table and puts on a wonderful show as he prepares our delicious meals.  Hannah and Lauren had never seen this before and loved it as well as learning to eat with chop sticks.

My nephew Jared taking a break on the weight bench

Hannah sporting grandpa's formal Air Force dinner jacket we found while sorting through stuff from the attic

Uncle Bill taking a quick nap after another days hard work

Break time during our packing
My sister Anna, her daughter Clara and my parents at Cho Cho Sans

Hannah mastering chop sticks

Lauren and Bill enjoying the food and fun

It was particularly cold for California the whole time we were there with the highs only in the upper 50's or low 60's. The dry air along with the cold took a toll on all our skin as it dried us all out and gave us incredibly chapped lips.  They are in the same zone as we are here in Central Florida, but unlike our subtropical climate they are very dry in a more Mediterranean environment.  I gardened in that for years when we lived there and had to learn, and am still learning to adjust to my Florida landscaping and gardening adventure. I still miss the mountains and hills we had there, but I've grown to really appreciate the green and water we have here in Florida.

Front yard from the second story window

Front yard with the incredible lemon tree that produces fruit the size of your hand

View looking across the street from their front steps

Courtyard and birdbath - overlook the ugly dumpster in back on the street  : ) 

Front door entrance

Mountains in the distance from second story front window

Back yard and hill from the patio off the side of my parents bedroom in the rear of the house

Succulents growing in the planters

Side courtyard and planters

Back planters off the patio

Fire pit behind the patio

So with our whirlwind week complete we boarded our plane and returned to Florida arriving late at night to sleep soundly over the next few days and recover from a busy, but really productive time in California.  I'm truly looking forward to when my parents  can join us here in Florida and we can have the chance to spend a lot more time enjoying their company. While we were busy there Kevin, Cameron and Cameron's girlfriend Courtney all kept our homestead running well here.

Our return flight to Florida

So long for now mom and dad, we're looking forward to your soon arrival in Central Florida!!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Enjoying Family Time

This past Thanksgiving was extra special with the arrival of my parents the day before from California and the day after of our oldest daughter Amber, her husband Eddie and their son and our first grandchild Elliot all arrived.  My Uncle Bill hosted us all for Thanksgiving dinner and then our weeks activities began as we all got to enjoy family time together.

Back left to right- Uncle Bill, Grandpa Scherer and Baba, Amber, Elliot and Eddie
Front left to right- Hannah, Kevin, Lynda and Lauren

Great Grandma Carr with Elliot

We all agreed that Elliot is adorable and his smiles and laugh kept us all entertained.  It  was wonderful seeing our parents with their great grandson and though Kevin and I had a hard time getting used to being referred to as grandma and grandpa, those are titles we love.

We enjoyed St. Augustine's Nights of Lights. With all the walking we would be doing I got wheelchairs for my parents so we could cover as much ground as possible with the limited daylight time we would have before our Trolley ride to see the lights.  Aside from a bumpier ride over the old cobblestones and uneven surfaces this worked out well.  The weather was great and it was a really enjoyable event to participate in.

Visitor Center

Inside the visitor center as we prepare to tour.  Grabbing area maps to find our way around
Cameron and Courtney outside the visitors center

Horse drawn carriage along the main waterside route



Our group, with the assistance of Courtney who joined us and graciously played photographer

Lauren being silly

One of the 2 tables at the restaurant for dinner. 

Bill, Baba and Grandpa at the other table
Amber and Elliot

Center Park with lights taken on our Trolley ride

Uncle Bill at the Kuckoburra coffee place we all got our coffee fix from

A day at the Sanford Zoo.  This was a fun outing and again the weather was perfect so there were lots of animals out and about to enjoy.

Amber has loved llama's for a long time, so when she was able to get up close to Andre on his walk she was thrilled

Elliot sporting his cool shades became the subject of attention as well
See what I mean?  HA HA...tourists 

Kevin and I

Decorating began for Christmas and with everyone helping out it was all the more special this  year.

Me adding the ribbon to the tree

Great Grandpa playing with Elliot

Baba's turn to hold him

Uncle Cameron and Mr. Smiley

Poor Jake feeling humiliated

Train time for the tree. We've since enlarged the track and cars to allow for presents

My turn- love being a grandma!!!

Grandpa and Elliot - both love the train

A day at Disney Springs was a great outing.

Family Christmas picture by the tree at Disney Springs

My girls!!  Hannah was thrilled that she's now taller than Amber, and looking at Lauren she doesn't have far to go.

Eddie and Elliot

Saying good bye is always hard, but with my parents decision to move to Florida it wasn't as hard. With technology these days staying in touch with Amber, Eddie and Elliot is a lot easier, but seeing them leave was really tough.

Goodbyes at the airport

The night before they left Amber and Eddie stopped by my uncles to say goodbye

Then the next morning it was time to say goodbye to my parents as they began their drive back to California

Lauren and Hannah with Grandpa and Baba

We LOVED our visit and now with Christmas quickly approaching we've been in full prep mode for the day.

So in advance Merry Christmas to all and a very Happy New Year.