Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas in Florida 2012

We flew from Mesa, Arizona to Florida for Christmas.  We were very busy and I'm here to admit our mistakes.  We forgot to take our camera when we visited Debbie's sister Donna and the rest of the Butler family, the staff of the Tampa Bay Toll office, the Christmas party at Ernie's Welding, our friends Paula Williams and Suzie and Brad Bohannon. We had great visits with all of them, but sadly, no photos to share.  We did visit the Casola Family in Citrus Springs and Debbie's brother Ernie Chonko and the extended family in Webster. We did remember the camera on those occasions. 

                                                   Visiting with Tom & Marlo Casola & kids, Sergio & Angelina Monge

Marlo and Tom open a gift of blessed holy dirt from Santaurio de Chimayo
Sergio, the avid reader gets books
Angelina gets Junie B. Jones books
La Familia
Deb and me at the Casola's Christmas tree
                                                                      Christmas Day with the Chonko Family in Webster, FL                                                                   
Yes, the Chonko tradition is to hang the tree upside-down
Tiffany & son Zakkary were having fun

Ernie got a new coffee mug
Mama Kim got a gift basket of goodies from our travels
Zack likes discovering what is inside the empty boxes
Jesse got a new saddle
Amy got lots of gifts
Zackkary got a motorcycle like Grampa Ernie's
Debbie's jean jacket was big, but we'll get the right size
Vince got a jean jacket too!
Dad Gabriel and son Zakkary play a new guitar
The visit was not all play, a good days work on the ranch was great for me
Ernie brings in wood for the nightly bonfire
The nightly bonfire keeps us warm on the cool Florida nights


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Arizona State Capitol, Phoeniz, AZ

Today we drove into Phoenix to visit the state capitol.  We were surprised by the number of beautiful monuments outside the Capitol.  Across the street are 24 monuments, commemorating things like WWII, The Navajo Code Talkers, The Persian Gulf War, The Korean War, Vietnam War, 911, the Battleship Arizona and many others.  We spent our first hour or so there reading and enjoying those monuments.  Then we went inside the state capitol building.  We had a private tour with a volunteer named Larry.  This capitol, unlike any other has a weather vane atop the dome.  Inside we normally stand on the bottom floor and take a photo looking up at the dome.  At this capitol you go up to the 4th floor and shoot down at the floor in the rotunda.  This year is the centennial (1912-2012) of Arizona's entrance into the union as the 48th and final state, prior to Alaska in 1959 and Hawaii in 1960.
The Anchor from the Battleship USS Arizona
The mast from the USS Arizona, sunk at Pearl Harbor
The Korean War monument
Monument honoring Arizona's fallen K9 dogs
WWII Navajo Code Talkers
The Vietnam Memorial and lists of Arizonians who died there
The Arizona State Capitol Building
The Great Seal of Arizona
The state weather vane turns with the wind
A twisted piece of the USS Arizona, sunk 12/7/1941
Arizona's flag
Wax figure of Arizona's first Governor, elected to 4 non-consecutive terms
Debbie with a very old cactus, could be 200 years old


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Val Vista Resort, Mesa, Arizona

We are at Val Vista Resort in Mesa for six weeks visiting Glenn & Terry Gordon.  They are the parents of our daughter-in-law Heather. (we share grandchildren)  We have been doing a lot of nothing, relaxing, swimming, and playing at the resort.  We watched the Christmas parade on Thursday night and enjoyed a block party at Glenn & Terry's on Saturday.  We also attended the Cowboy Christmas party, headlined by  OK Corral.  Saturday was also the Army-Navy game and Glenn and Vince were on opposing sides.  Navy won for the 11th consecutive time.  Go Navy!       The weather is great, everyday in the mid to upper 70's. 
OK Corral
Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus were in the parade
Red Hat Ladies were in the parade.

Mary & Joseph were in the parade, but were is Jesus?
Nana,  Papa Gordon and Spike were in the parade
Grampy Pugliese in the Navy hat & Papa Gordon in the Army hat
Grammy Pugliese & Nana Gordon celebrating after the block party

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thanksgiving at Brother David's in Kingston, N.Y.

After visiting Vincent for 5 days, we drove up to my brother David and his wife Eileen's home.  They opened up their 38' trailer for us, making us feel right at home.  We got to spend some time with their children, Monica and Mike.  Mom also lives in Kingston, and brother Gregg and family live nearby in Port Ewen.  Around 30 of the family gathered for Thanksgiving.  It is always great to spend time with the extended family, as family is really what life is about.
Brother David and daughter Monica(Dave had his gallbladder out 2 days before)
Debbie and Mom ready to eat
Great Nephew Adam, Brother Gregg, Gregg Jr.
Nephew John, Niece Ivy Rose and Great Niece Madison
Vince, Quinn, Vincent, Heather Paris, Maryann, Catrina, Madison, Ivy, Adam
Ashley,(Jeremy's Girlfriend) Nephew Jeremy, Catrina
David's daughter Monica and his wife Eileen
Vince, David & Cousin Danny shootin' the breeze
Vincent and Paris

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Trip 2012

We flew from Phoenix to Newark, New Jersey on the Friday before Thanksgiving and stayed the first night in the Hilton near the airport.  Bright and early on Saturday we drove up to West Point, New York to attend the Army vs. Temple football game at Michie Stadium and to the annual tribute to veterans.  Some of the Corp marched on the field and the paratroopers came down, the last one with the game ball.  We met Vincent and Quinn there and watched Army get pummeled 56-32.  It was a cold and blustery day.  Afterwards we went up to Walden, New York for a 5 day stay with Vincent, our daughter-in-law Heather and grandchildren Quinn (11) and Paris (9).  We had a great visit and while there we held Christmas and Quinn's birthday a month early.
Son Vincent and Grandson Quinn
Grammy and Quinn
It sure was cold at the game
The Army Cadets across the way, and they stand for the entire game
The Army Mule Mascot visits our grandson in the stands
Vincent and Heather, what a great couple
Granddaughter Paris, what a doll!
Quinn at wrestling practice
Grammy and Paris at lunch
Paris opening early Christmas gifts
Quinn opening early Christmas gift