Monday, January 25, 2021

Christmas in the Ozarks

 One of the only bad things about our lifestyle, is being away from the family during the Christmas Holidays. We decided to take advantage of our location and transportation to fix that this year. We secured SHIFT in her slip and asked some very willing boat neighbors to watch her while we were gone. We then loaded up the truck and headed to the Ozarks. While we were gone, I got a number of very reassuring texts from Kevin letting me know that all was fine in Gulfport. 

We first drove the 8 hours to Russellville, Arkansas and spent some time with our son Michael and DIL Audrey along with their two boys Connor and Cameron. They have just moved into a new house and it is spectacular. It has some amazing views of the Arkansas River Valley. 

Michael and Audrey's beautiful new house

What makes it really special is the amazing view of Lake Dardanelle and the Arkansas River Valley.

Amazing sunset while we were there.

Connor and Cameron. They are growing up so fast. We had a blast shooting archery and playing many different games.

Kim on the giant rock outcropping in their neighborhood. We had fun climbing all over it.

Michael and Cameron on the "Rock".

We stayed in Russellville until Christmas morning. It was great watching the boys wake up and see what Santa brought them. It has been many years since we have been able to enjoy a Christmas morning with family.

Connor and Cameron checking out what Santa brought them.

A Family Christmas is the best!

Connor opening a present

The excitement of Christmas morning - Nothing like it.

We stayed until mid morning and then loaded the boys motorcycles in the truck and brought them and the boys with us to Shannon and Brian's house for the second half of Christmas. The drive is only about 2 and a half hours.

Brian and Shannon had planned a Christmas feast at their house and it was great to see much of his family at the house. We had a great meal and it was great seeing all of the kids playing and interacting with each other. I only took one picture.

Our granddaughters Hannah on the left and Eve on the right.  

We took our grandsons to the ranch the next day to do some riding. I love to see the boys riding together. 

Will and Cameron riding on the pee wee track

Connor riding his Honda

Will's riding skills are excellent. Here he is keeping an eye on Cameron.

Our daughter Shannon gave us a photo session with a professional photographer for Christmas. On December 28th we got our entire family together for pictures. This is the first time we have all been in the same place since 2015. We loved it! Here are a bunch of shots and then some of the professional ones.

Will, Connor and Cameron playing video games.

Brian, Hannah, Mark, Michael and Scott. Always good to see my boys together.

Of course, Amelia is the star of the show.

Isabella, Eve and Hannah

Mark and Kim and Mark's future MIL Christi and our future DIL Callie. It was the firs time we had met Christi. It was great to hear about her future traveling plans. 

Brian, Michael and Scott

We really do still like each other. 41 years this month.

I really loved to be all together. Thanks to all for coming.

We are so proud of our kids.

Kim, What have we done?

Shannon's kids went to Florida for a few days to see their father, but we decided to hang out until they came back. We had some business to take care of and we tried to help out a bit around the house. We even got to see some SNOW!

Amelia playing in the skiff of snow. It did snow a bit more later, but it was just enough to turn everything white. 

We did get to celebrate Will's birthday before we left on the 5th of January, but we retraced our steps and went back to Michael's to drop off bikes and spend one night on our way back to Gulfport. 

It felt great to be home and all was fine with SHIFT, but we loved our time with the family.

There should be some sailing in my next entry.