Beach exercise

Beach exercise

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas



We wish everyone a very Merry and safe Christmas.

Our family has all arrived and we are looking forward to the next few days.  It will be the first time they everyone is together at the same time in quite awhile.  Cousins Victoria and Aleister already having a good time.










Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Getting ready for the holidays and a small problem



We are in our final few days of caring for out two grandchildren and are shifting our focus to getting everything ready for the arrival of family.  This has been a fun but tiring few months and a great way to have real quality time with the kids.  Caring for them certainly brought memories of when our girls were young . Victoria was heavily involved in making some Christmas cookies and Nico has enjoyed his second home during these final days.








The small problem seems to be related to the winter season.  We have a large wooded area behind our house and the area is well known for a variety of wild animals.  The largest are the black bear and white tailed deer. We have not had any problems with the bears, as we do not leave our trash containers outside.  Neighbors who choose to do so, will occasionally find their containers overturned and everything not deemed edible by the bears scattered everywhere.

 Since we back up to such a large woods, we have had the occasional deer in the yard.  The last few weeks it has been apparent that the deer were in the yard often overnight, as the piles of deer poop were growing all the time.  Now the last week or so, we have seen deer boldly walking around the yard during the day eating the grass.  That is my small problem.  When we moved in the house, the lawn had been neglected by the builder and the first owner who lived here only a short time. We have made real effort to bring the yard back and it is just starting to pay off.  Deer tend to eat the grass right to the roots, often pulling the roots up, as well.  I spotted one enter the yard while I was out walking Halley without a leash.  I quickly scooped of the dog and put her in the house before she disappeared in to the woods on the heels of the deer.  Amazingly, while all this was going on the deer remained in the yard.  Then Victoria wanted to go out and see the deer.  Even with us standing in plain sight, talking in a normal voice the deer continued to enjoy my grass.  After taking pictures and talking with Victoria about deer, she just kept eating.  Even when I left the patio, approaching her, she became more alert but kept on eating. You would think she must have known I had given up deer hunting years ago.








Since we enjoy watching the deer, we will just have to live with the damage to the grass.

Monday, December 09, 2013

It was inevitable



First you mix one 2nd grade teacher with 20 kids and you always see a lot of colds and flu.  Then send the teacher home to her family and you have three more people sick.  Then the two grand-kids spend all day with us grandparents and you get a whole family feeling poorly.  We are now into the second week of this and everyone is getting worn out.  It will certainly pass, but it is sure tiring in the mean time.


We had a good Thanksgiving and only had to keep one eye on Halley during the meal preparations, as she showed a lot of interest in the turkey.


As before, most of our time is spent trying to keep Victoria and Nico busy.  I have found that Victoria actually enjoys grocery shopping, so we have made two trips so far.  It is a great way to get her out of the house in inclement weather and the fact that she gets a free cookie from Publix certainly does not hurt.




 A lot of time has been devoted to getting ready for the Christmas holiday.  It looks like we will have all our children and grandchildren with us for the holiday.  This will certainly be a new record.  It will also be our second year in a house after six years being in the motorhome. Like most everyone else, we have certain traditions we follow. For many years we have had a nautical theme Christmas tree, where everyone who is around, gets to take part in the trimming.   When I was growing up, I lived on a farm with my parents, siblings and grandparents.  At my grandparents house, us mere children were never allowed to touch their Christmas tree.  To say they were fussy about the tree was a huge understatement.  Our role was to stand well back and stare with wonder at the finished product.  As a result, we have always let our kids help trim the tree and the truly awful bits were redone after they went to bed.  So now Victoria has had her chance to help.









Our Christmas decorations like all our furnishings reflect a life of constant moving, a blending of American and Dutch culture and our interests in life. We have been in any number of beautifully decorated homes that give no clue to what the occupants are really like.  The careful observer will learn a lot about us just my looking around.



Of course, no warm up to the holiday would be complete without some exposure to the great man himself for the little ones.  Santa actually made a trip around our daughters neighborhood in  a fire truck with escorts.   Then our first ever visit to a surf Santa.






Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Relearning skills of the past..



We have completed half of our time looking after our grandchildren Victoria and Nico. It has been lots of fun, very tiring, and occasionally requiring the patience of a saint.  Perhaps the hardest part has been the need to be on a strict schedule.  This is not something that we are really use to anymore.  We certainly have been reminded of our childrearing years and, as I have noted before, it is a young person's job!

Much of the time has been pretty routine stuff.  Feeding and changing Nico and trying to keep  Victoria entertained. 






There were lots of things to keep everyone busy.  First it was the Halloween event at the local zoo.




   
Then is the visit every Thursday to the library for story time and the weekly selection of books.



There was, of course, the occasional directions to not completely clutter up their parents house. 


We did a tour of the Fort Pickens historic site. We even went to our favorite fish restaurant in Pensacola Beach with their mom for lunch.  It turns out that Victoria loves Grouper bites with fries.




One of the big hits was a visit to the Gulfarium on Okaloosa Island.









On one slow day, Victoria and I went to Hurlburt Air Force Base and gave the outdoor aircraft display a close examination.  For some reason, she was not interested in my explanations of the importance and use of each aircraft and gave each a different amount of scrutiny based on a system I failed to understand.





Finally, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, Victoria, with a little help, built her own ginger bread house.


So it has been for the last weeks!