Vernon Volumes text

Vernon Volumes text

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Farewell to 2015

Today is the last day of the year. Connor is playing at home with his buddy Logan, and Paige is going to Bartram Academy for their holiday camp. I'm getting caught up on work and finishing up year-end things like the blog. It's been a year to remember, it's hard to believe it's already over. So much has happened in the last year and there have been many ups and downs.

We're not planning to do any exciting celebrations tonight since we're pretty worn out from travel. I think it's going to be a quiet night and relaxing evening hopefully. We are all looking forwards to a new year and we will remember the people and experiences that made 2015 a memorable one.

The conclusion of our Odessa trip

The rest of our trip to Odessa was fairly quiet. After the football game and mani-pedi trip, the kids stayed with the Rudolphs on Sunday night. On Monday, freezing rain changed to sleet and the sleet eventually changed over to snow. The roads were a mess and Andrea and I didn't leave Genie's house the entire day. We watched "Making a Murderer" on Netflix and hibernated.

On Tuesday, the roads were passable and the Rudolphs brought the kids back to Odessa. We kept wondering if the kids would ask to play in the snow, but it was very cold out and neither one had any interest.

Wednesday morning we got up early and Amanda drove us to the airport. Although there had been lots of delays throughout the week from the snow, and although Atlanta had been experiencing delays that day due to thunderstorms, our flights were on time and went well. The kids were both wonderful on the flights. Connor watched some reality show "Chrisley Knows Best" with Andrea and Paige sat with me and watched some Disney shows. I remember dreading and stressing about flights in the past, but the kids are so easy and well behaved now, it's actually pretty relaxing to fly. After we landed in Florida I decided to get a quick pic of Paige by the window. She had liked looking at all the clouds when we were above them and picked out lots of different shapes in them.

It's good to be home in Florida and hard to believe the difference in temperature. On the way home from the airport we stopped at ate at Cantina Laredo and sat outside in the 80 degree weather. Everyone around us was wearing t-shirts and shorts and flipflops. I had dressed for the cold and was starting to sweat in my thermal underwear, long socks, and sweatshirt.

It was a nice change to be in the cold weather for a week, and we all enjoyed getting to see Genie, the Rudolphs and Gobles.

Mani Pedi in KC

While the boys were at the football game, the girls went in to town to get their nails done and have lunch. They all got pedicures, and Paige also got her fingernails painted. She loves to be pampered, and they all also got to watch the ending to the Chiefs game in the warmth of the spa while they waited for their nails to dry.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Chiefs game with Connor, Nate and Drew

On Sunday, December 27th 2015, we went to the Chiefs vs Browns game at Arrowhead stadium. Connor is starting flag football soon (his first practice was the day before we left for Missouri), and he has been following football this season and playing a lot of football videogames on his iPad and Xbox. Nate's friend Jesse got us tickets and we all got up early so we could get to the stadium and start some tailgating. The forecast for the day showed probable rain/sleet for the entire game and we were very happy that when we woke up it looked like the bad weather would end up passing to the South and East of us. Although the wet weather was going to miss us, it was still extremely cold and very windy. The temperature was in the low 30's and with the windchill it felt like the low 20's. We bundled up, and in the morning, as Connor was getting dressed I took a picture of him in each stage of his outfit.

We went to Walmart beforehand and Nate bought a facemask and gloves. I bought a big 20pack of handwarmers, which turned out to be lifesavers. We got to the parking lot early and Nate's friend had already arrived and parked in a handicapped spot right in front of the stadium. We played some "Redneck Golf" with Riley and Regan (his kids) and it was a good opportunity to figure out if we were dressed warmly enough. Connor started to get cold so I crammed a handwarmer down in each toe of his boots and one each in his gloves. I did the same for myself and it made a big difference.

We walked a few spots down and Connor took his picture with "Arrowman", who is often on TV with his outfit. We also were in a good spot to see the parade go by, with the horse Warpaint, some cheerleaders, and drummers. 

We grilled hotdogs, hamburgers, and bratwursts and filled up before the game started.

About 30 minutes before the game we went in to the stadium and found our seats. We were up really high on one end, almost right under the enormous oval screen. It was a perfect spot to see the A-10 Warthogs as they approached the stadium during the national anthem. The game started off well with the Chiefs receiving the ball and they drove right down the field to the end where we were sitting and we saw the touchdown catch just below us. At halftime, I put in fresh handwarmers in Connor's boots and we ate some pricey BBQ sandwiches. Connor was irritated with me for taking a while to eat and we missed the second half kickoff. Although we could see it on a screen nearby, he didn't want to miss a moment of watching it in real life.

The game wrapped up with the Chiefs winning 17-13. The Browns had the ball at the end of the 4th quarter and it looked certain that they were going to drive down and score a game winning touchdown just as time expired. Thankfully the last play of the game was short of the end zone and time expired before they could get off another snap. Everyone cheered, fireworks exploded above us, and Connor was thrilled that he got to see a win. He has told me multiple times afterwards that now his record for watching live NFL games is 1-0. For some reason, he worries that he is bad luck watching sporting events live.

It was an awesome experience to get to see an NFL game in person and I'm glad we got to share it with Nate and Drew.

Christmas in Odessa

This Christmas, we flew to Odessa to celebrate with everyone there. When we got in town, it was relatively warm and we were able to do a few things outside initially. We played some football outside, went for some walks and even played a little tennis. The kids enjoyed playing Uno, Memory, and Spoons with family.

The Rudolphs have been living with Grandma Genie for a little while now, so Chewie was at the house and we enjoyed cuddling with him.

The night before Christmas, the kids put on their Christmas pajamas and I snapped a few pics before bed.

In the morning, we took a few pictures before we opened up all the presents.

The kids worked together to pass out the presents and then everyone took turns opening gifts.

Connor got a cute dinosaur stuffed animal from the movie "The Good Dinosaur" from Grandma Genie, a stuffed Minecraft spider from the Rudolphs, and a stuffed bear made from some of Grandpa Garry's shirts.

Paige was excited that Grandma bought her a Disney Decedents doll. She got Lonnie, who is Mulan's daughter.

Paige also got a memory bear made from Grandpa Garry's shirts. Hers is primarily pink with a little blue interspersed. Connor's is reversed and is primarily blue with pink.

After presents, we had breakfast and then played some games. Nate and I got dressed a little warm and went to play some tennis. It was in the low 40's and a bit cold and windy, but we had a good time. We played three sets and it was a good workout in the cool weather.

The girls baked sugar cookies and Paige helped out quite a bit.

Before bedtime, Connor, Paige and Graydon ran around quite a bit and got hot. They took their shirts off and I snapped a pic of them in front of the tree together.

It was a good day for Christmas in Odessa and we're thankful we could spend it with Grandma Genie, the Rudolphs and Gobles.

I took a few videos and stitched them all in to one long video. It's pretty long, but has some fun moments.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Celebration in Florida

This year we're planning to go to Kansas City for Christmas, so Andrea and I arranged to have Santa come a little early. This weekend, before we left for the Mickey Christmas party we took some pics of the kids with the tree and presents and then some pics of the Santa presents before they were all opened up and destroyed.

The kids were very surprised to see all the good stuff that we and Santa had brought for them when we got home from Orlando on Sunday. Santa brought a big new Powerwheel for both the kids, a skateboard for Connor and a new iPad puzzle game for Paige. We took turns opening up all the presents under the tree and everyone had presents to give to everyone else.

We took a video of the kids coming in to see all the presents and a few of the present opening process. Unfortunately, we ended up taking only one video of Connor opening presents and three of Paige, but Connor definitely got his fair share of presents. Just not videos!

After we got done with the presents, Paige went outside with her new princess dresses and shared them with her neighbor friend Olivia. Connor drove around in the new Powerwheel for a little while as well, but was more interested in going inside to play with some of the other new stuff.