Christmas was spectacular. This year Chris and I spent Christmas with my family done in Naples, Florida. For those who don't know where Naples is, just take I 75 all the way down and get off before you go across Alligator Ally that takes you East to Miami. It's basically right before you hit the Everglades. Since I no longer work I wanted to go down early to help set everything up. My dad has a house down there but he and his wife Bobbi live in Sandy, Utah full time. No one lives in the house and it just sits. We want to sell it but it's just really hard with the market. It's hard selling a five bedroom house.
On December 17th, Chris and I met my brother Parker and his wife Lauren and their little girl Eliana at the Temple. It was so great seeing them. Since Parker lives in Cape Coral which is about a 30-40 minute drive North of Naples they took me down. I haven't seen Parker, Lauren, and Eliana for about a year and half so it was a real treat seeing them! Eliana is huge!! Gosh time flies, I remember seeing her in the hospital here in Tally. Chris and I went to the early morning session and they got to the temple at 10a.m. so we just took Eliana out on an outing.
We walked around the temple grounds and saw all the fountains. Went up and down the stairs and counted together. She got a little confused with Chris and I started counting in Spanish. HAHA
So did Chris!
Chris and I had to try out the awesome seasaw too!
We went left we all said bye bye to the swings and the slide. Eliana included a bye bye to the "wet"
Parker, Lauren, Eliana, and I left together and made it to Cape Coral where my sister Ashley picked me up. She lives in Naples with her husband Brian. I stayed with Ashley for two nights. I would have stayed in the house but Parker said there were lots of dead palmetto bugs (basically cockroaches) and it scared me. Brian dropped me off at the house on Monday and my cleaning commenced. I vacuumed and mopped. Cleaned bathrooms and opened the shades. No one has stayed there since last February so it needed some TLC. I didn't have a car but I brought my bike and thankfully there is a Publix about two miles away so later that day I went and got some food items. It was hard riding back... I brought my reuseable bags and at first had them on each shoulder but then that didn't last so I put one on my back like a backpack and the other in the front.
On Tuesday, I had a chance to hang out with my good friend Melissa who is attending law school down in Naples. It was so great to catch up. We went running (mostly walking) on the beach and then had a wonderful lunch. Wednesday I just kinda relaxed and read a lot. There is TV and cable in the house because the community supplies cable but I just was not interested so I actually finished a book called "The View from Saturday" good book by the way.
That night I babysat Eliana because Parker and Lauren went to their birthing class, FYI they are expecting a baby boy. Eliana and I had fun, we watched a little Yo Gabba Gabba, she took a bath, and then we read a lot of books. She wouldn't go down to sleep, let's just say I sang lots of Primary songs to try and get her down. I was close but nope, once they got home daddy did the honors. Wednesday my dad and Bobbi got in.
Thursday, Bobbi and I went shopping while my dad cleaned the icky pool deck. Christmas Eve afternoon my oldest brother Chandler and his wife Shelly and their four children, John, Brittnay, Devon, and William made it in. They drove all the way from Michigan. The first thing the kids wanted to do was go swimming. The water was FREEZING but they didn't mind. We had pizza for dinner and then just hung out. Chris made it down that night at about 9:30p.m.
Christmas day was wonderful. Just lots of family time, which we all needed. We haven't been together as a whole family in a really long time, like over four years I would say. Chris and I went to church with Ashley and Brian. The talks were wonderful and I was really nice to focus on the true meaning of the day. Dad and Bobbi stayed home with the kids. It was just too much to get everyone ready for church. The afternoon was spent just relaxing and preparing dinner. We all contributed something to the meal and it was wonderful.
Monday was a beach day and we meet Parker and Lauren half way at Bonita Beach.
Here we all are! Brian didn't make it out but we saw him later. Left to Right: Kendal, Chris, Ashley, Brittney, Shelly with William, Bobbi, Dad, Parker, Lauren with Eliana, John, Devon playing in the sand, and Chandler
The pool at the house heater is broken and has been since we moved there almost ten years ago, so we all (except Parker and Lauren) went to Ashley and Brian's community pool. The kids loved the hot tub.
Chris had to leave that evening to get back to Tallahassee to work the next day so he had to leave at 5p.m. I was sad to see him leave but was VERY thankful he was at least able to come down for Christmas day and the day after. The rest of the stay was just fun and relaxing. Brian's sister lives in Pensacola and so Brian and Ashley gave me a ride home on Thursday since they were going to Pensacola for New Years. I'm sorry I don't have very many pictures. But I got a least a few.
I'm so so so happy I was able to spend this time with my family. We all live far apart and it's hard to get together. I love them so much and so happy that we have been sealed as a family for time and all eternity. I'm grateful to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ because without his birth we would have have the atonement which is his ultimate gift and blessing to us. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I'm really looking forward to this new year.