Merry Christmas to all of our Family and Friends

What an eventful year 2008 has been for us.  We welcomed 3 new grandchildren, celebrated a wedding, and took  5 major vacations. Retirement is still agreeing with us.

January 8th saw us on a LONG flight to Buenos Aires.  We sailed on the Star Princess to Antarctica as well as the Falkland Islands, and ports in Chile and Uruguay. The Naturalists on our ship claimed they had never seen 3 days like we enjoyed in the Antarctic Peninsula. It was spectacular and phenomenal!  The 16 day cruise flew by.

In April, we enjoyed a week in Disneyworld, and Pete’s childhood friend, Zall, joined us for a few days.  Pete and Katie continued on to New York and sailed on the beautiful new Queen Mary 2 for a 10 day cruise to the Caribbean.  There was a Black and White Ball, a Pirate’s Ball and a Masquerade Ball., very fancy.

Pete’s daughters, Jennifer and Liberty were both expecting this year, and on June 2nd, Payton and Taylor, beautiful twin girls, were born to Liberty and Kevin . Along with their 2 year old son, Trevor, they are now a family of 5. Jennifer and Hugo had their first child, Ethan, on July 24th.  We are so grateful that all three babies and their beautiful mothers are healthy.

On July 4th, we flew to Copenhagen. This was a spur of the moment trip that we couldn’t pass up. We were given free airfare for the Inaugural sailing of the Eurodam, Holland America’s new ship. It was exciting to have everything new. There were fresh flowers everywhere. We always meet such wonderful people on cruises. We visited three ports in Norway as well as Scotland and England. Oslo, Norway was very special, because our friends, Ellen and Syver, met us at the ship, drove us around the countryside in the rain, and took us to their home for lunch and conversation. 

August 8th was probably the hottest day of the summer, and it was the day of the wedding for Karen, Katie’s daughter, and John.  Their 4 year old daughter, Kaitlyn, was the flower girl.  It was a very special day for many reasons.  The Minnesota branch of the family, (Katie’s sister Chris, her daughters Heather and Lisa, Heather’s husband Sam and their two daughters Lucia and Amelia) as well as Katie’s 89 year old parents were able to be here.  Kevin, Katie’s son, arrived the night before the wedding.  We hadn’t seen him for more than 2 years. He lives in Odessa, Ukraine where he has some business dealings. The reception was loud and festive with lots of catching up with family and friends.  The happy couple took a Caribbean Cruise for their honeymoon.  Kaitlyn stayed with Grandma and Grandpa.

We loaded up the truck on August 24th and left for a big road trip with our Sea Doos.  We visited Jackson Hole (we went on a great float trip), Yellowstone where we met up with friends, Dave and Cindy, from Santa Barbara for a quick lunch, and Mt. Rushmore (the evening patriotic show was very inspirational). We continued on to Luverne, Minnesota to see Katie’s family

farm for a last visit. We also saw distant cousins of Katie’s that she had not seen for 40 years! We spent Labor Day weekend in Minneapolis with Chris, Katie’s sister, and visited the State Fair where we ran into a family we know from church in Hacienda Heights!

Next, we visited Elnora, Shirleen and Jason in Green Top, Missouri.  It was raining, but we had a great time seeing their home and visiting with their family. Next stop was Branson, Missouri. Pete’s long-time friends Lee and Rose Ann joined us for a few days. We took a “Duck” Tour, went Sea-Dooing (Rose Ann’s first time!) on the lake, played cards, and saw the Yakov Smirnoff show. He immigrated from Odessa, Ukraine, and was interested in hearing that Kevin lives there.

Our next stop was Page, Arizona where we went Sea-Dooing on Lake Powell for two days.  It was warm, beautiful, and practically private.  Hardly anyone was on that huge lake.  We definitely want to return.  A huge thunder and lightening storm escorted us into Laughlin, Nevada.  We Sea-dooed on Lake Mojave for a day, then headed for home. After 5000 miles and 26 days, we came back home to our faithful dog, Beau.

Granddaughter, Kaitlyn continues to live with us Monday – Friday while Mom attends Cal Poly Pomona, and Dad is truck driving.  She keeps us busy, and challenged with her growing mind and body.  She is full of energy and curiosity.  It makes life fun, also the reason we need so many vacations.

In November, we spent two glorious, restful ocean front weeks in Maui, listening to the waves hitting the sand.  Friend, Mike, and his daughter, Lisa, joined us for the first week. We snorkeled together at Black Rock, and enjoyed their company every evening.

As soon as we returned home, Thanksgiving festivities were upon us.  Katie’s parents were with us, as were Kaitlyn and her family.  We are so grateful for so much!

Pete continues to volunteer with the Industry Sheriff’s Department.  He and his partner, Troy, go out on patrol Thursdays as well as many other duties when needed, including long nights on DUI checkpoints. Pete received a Presidential commendation for his service this year.

Katie volunteers at church, this year was the fellowship committee.  Bunko nights with her girlfriends once a month are still the highlight of her social calendar. Shopping for gifts for 5 grandchildren also keeps her busy.

And now, as we prepare for the Christmas season with all the shopping, parties, decorations and cooking, we think of all of you and the memories and good times we have shared. 

Best Wishes to all of you and we hope to see you in 2009!

Sad news after we went to press, our Beau after 12 years of faithful friendship went to doggy heaven this afternoon, 12-16-08, he is sorely missed by his extended family. See his site



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