Monday, November 29, 2021

Fun With Family and Meeting Number Seven!

 November 5-17, 2021
Valencia - Desert Center, California; Litchfield Park, Arizona

Grandchildren photo overload ahead!!

California is a big state, so although we lived there most of our lives there are still many places we haven't seen and routes we haven't traveled. Since retirement we've added a lot, but we can still find new things to see.

Like our drive from the desert to the coast a few days earlier, our return to the mountains north of Los Angeles County includes a new-to-us Highway 95 from Highway 166 to Frazier Park. Unlike the previous drive, this route has zero other vehicles. It's a good thing as the road is very narrow, very winding, and in some places very steep. 

It's a pretty drive, but it gives us a view of the sad reality of the air quality in the Central Valley. So nasty, twice as bad as in the cities to the south.

Glad we didn't spend any time in "that"!
Frazier Park sits at the same elevation as Tombstone, the air here is crisp and clear, the temps nice and cool. 

Again we're at Lake of the Woods Mobile Village. Mostly permanent residents, there are a handful of overnight spaces with 30 amp FHUs that put us within a few miles of Ezra and Elliott and their parents. We're here for four days of getting caught up with our 6 and 1 year old grands. 

Since our last visit they've added a new family member - Rizer is a Doberman mix puppy, and a real sweetheart. I think he looks like Inubus :-)

Brian (my and our oldest) is working from home this Friday so we get to see all of them as soon as Ezra gets home from school. 

Ezra is an active 6 year old - still hard to believe he's grown up so fast!

With Momma Shalise, beautiful Elliott is fighting off the sniffles. 

Saturday is our first granddaughter Reese's second birthday party. Sadly Elliott is still showing signs of a cold so he has to stay home with mom and dad. But Ezra is excited to join us "down the mountain" at My Gym where all his cousins and their friends are having a great time playing on the equipment, singing songs, and enjoying snacks. 

It's also our first chance to meet our number seven grand - Penelope Anne is Reese's one month old sister. She's precious and so, so teeny!

Daddy Travis (Bill's number three, our number five) shares our newest grand with her PopPop.

Ezra taking on the climbing wall.

I have so much fun rolling him around (and out of) the big octagon.

Birthday girl Reese - point those toes girl!

M&M love the swings.

Putting on her birthday hat. I love her drink holder!

Mommy Emily and Daddy Travis with their precious two year-old.
Following all the activity at the gym, the family heads for pizza and more fun. We're at the same place we used to come when Richie (our youngest, now 24) was in flag football during middle school! He was 11 when Bill and I reunited, and now we have a 6 year old grandson and six others - hard to wrap my head around all that!

Cousins comparing their prizes from the arcade.

Bill and Corey (Bill's number two, our number three) getting caught up over cribbage. Matching hands along with the hair and glasses :-)))
Ezra and I play a lot in the backyard, we watch some football and movies, meals are eaten, Elliott entertains us all, time moves too quickly. 

Tessa milking the "I don't want to be down there with that puppy!"


Picking up Ezra from school.

Elliott loves Daddy's hat.

Sadly, our Monday time is cut short when the school calls with news that Ezra's class has once again been exposed to COVID. If we weren't heading to see the new baby and younger grands tomorrow we'd take the risk of carrying the virus, but alas we opt to return to the motorhome a few hours early. Sometimes it feels like we will never be free of this damn thing. The class is quarantined at their homes until they're tested on Friday. 

We're at Valencia Travel Village for a week. This tree-full park has been our go-to spot for visiting the kids since we went fulltime. 50 amp FHUs with varying size sites, we're always able to get level, and hook up to satellite. Unfortunately their prices have increased so much we no longer come for the holidays when they go up even more. 

No medical appointments this time, but we get the rig washed and waxed ($$$), and I get a little Christmas shopping started. It's nice to be in a big town where I know where to find everything!

More than usual, the kids are able to get together every day (in some combination), and we are in heaven! It's visits like this that make me question whether we'd be happier living back here, being more a part of their lives. Certainly we'd love seeing them all, watching them grow up in person, but our reality is that in-between the times we'd see them we'd be bored and wishing we were traveling instead. And the cost of living here would certainly mean giving up the motorhome and our adventures. Alas, no plans to change our life style for now.

Corey and Christie join us for dinner at our new favorite Valencia restaurant - Solitas Tacos and Margaritas. Not only does the name describe what we love, but their offerings for both are unique and delicious! And it's a beautiful interior to enjoy good company. Next time we see them they'll be parents - number eight!! I remember to get pics of them later in the week :-)

Borrowed from Google Images

Hanging out with Penelope means assuring Tessa she's still Daddy's girl.

Happy Nawma! Penelope already seems bigger than she did at the birthday party. 

Penelope with Daddy Travis, all tuckered out.

Momma Emily with Moz and Reese.

Henry and Momma Megan (our borrowed daughter) come for a visit at the park.

We spend an afternoon with M&M at their home while Mom and Dad are running errands. Dinner together with Nick (Bill's oldest, our number two) and  Jillian afterwards gives us more time to catch up.

PopPop helping Maximus repair his engine.

Mason sings his way down the slide. We love spending time with these two loving and energetic boys.

Saturday we join Corey and Christie for their "drive-by" baby shower. Fun to see everyone again!

Uncle Corey and Penelope - they live in the same condo complex, just a block away from each other.

Corey and Christie and Baby Gravel - they're waiting to learn the gender at the birth. Expected to be their Christmas gift.

Reese enjoying cake pops.

Bill and Corey

Almost everyone is able come over on Sunday for football and BBQ - it's hot outside so we spend most of it snugged indoors. Good to see Richie (Bill's and our youngest).

This slide is a gauge for how Ezra has grown over the years! 

Ezra keeps a good eye on brother Elliott.

This beautiful boy is always so happy.

Ezra, Shalise, Elliott and Brian

Our last day we visit Henry and parents Chris and Megan. Silly boys!

We're so happy to count Henry as one of our grands! 

Tuesday morning the wind has died down, and it's an easy and familiar drive to Desert Center, California. Friend's Kevin and Bridgette have a perfect spot to park next door. She's feeling under the weather so Bill and Kevin (best friends for fifty years) visit on the patio and I take a nap. 

We're up and out with the sun. Plans for a brunch meet-up means getting moving earlier than usual. Lucky for us driving east, there's cloud cover until the sun has risen enough to not be in my eyes! 

Kristy has found a perfect spot to meet that has a huge vacant lot for us to park just a block from the restaurant. She and Patty graduated a few years before us, but we've all gotten closer in our "later" years. It's wonderful to see them after two years! We have to drag ourselves away after a couple hours, knowing we still have another 3+ hours to get to Tombstone.

Bill, Jodee, Patty, Kristy and Tessa.

My least favorite repeat drive from Phoenix to Tombstone passes relatively quickly this time, and before 4:00 we are pulling into the driveway. Great to see Jeff - and no new vehicles have parked inside our house!

Family and crew health issues kept any work from getting done while we were gone, but we had told our contractor not to worry about it. It'll get done by Christmas.

Which is especially important as Ezra and Elliott are bringing their parents to spend the holiday with us!!

We can't wait :-))


  1. Grands are the best! We only have 3, but they'll all be here for Christmas! Such fun seeing your kids and their kids grow.

    1. Ezra thinks it's cool that "people he doesn't know" have watched him grow up :-))
      Wonderful you get to have all of yours with you for Christmas!!

  2. Elliott's eyes--so beautiful!! How fun to spend time with family and grands! I'm with you--I'm starting to think this damn virus is never going away. Glad to hear family is coming to spend Christmas with you guys!

    1. His expressions tell us everything he's thinking :-)

  3. Sometimes I feel like part of your wonderful family, watching these kids grow.

  4. Now let's see, there are how many kids and how many grands? A lot is all I know and that you have a great fun time whenever you visit any and all. Bummer about the darn covid showing up. Great than none of your BIG family has it.

    1. We have six sons between us with four of them married with kids, then Megan also married with one. No wonder it seems like we have a big family - whew!! I'm so happy all of us are vaccinated with most having their boosters.

  5. Grandkids are never an overload! Love all the smiling, happy faces. And what fun it will be to have Ezra and Elliot visit for Christmas.

    1. They sure make us smile, and it's so fun to share them :-)

  6. Never to many smiling children, especially when you've "made" them all! Fun times. I think your visits are even more special to them because they're aren't "regular" or "ordinary" as if you lived there full time. You're able to get to them often and that gives you the best of all worlds! Wonderful that you'll have Ezra and Elliot for Christmas!

    1. With their busy lives I think you're so right that our visits are more special. We're looking forward to having little ones here for the holiday!

  7. What a fun time for you and Bill with all the grands. Love seeing all the smiles. It's easy to see how much everyone is enjoying having you back for a visit. So many memories to carry you til the next visit. Christmas is for children. Having Ezra and Elliot for the holiday will such a treat.

    1. This was an especially great visit with so many get togethers - the older the littles get, the more they enjoy having us around!

  8. I almost missed this post...for some reason I didn't get a notification, but I checked in on you! I'm glad I did, because I love seeing your beautiful family and all of those darling grandkids. It looks like everyone really enjoys being together, which is a blessing. I agree with what Sue said, that your time with them is even more special because you aren't there all of the time. How fun that Ezra and Elliott (oh, and their parents, lol) will be with you for Christmas!

    1. And I almost missed this! Still can't believe we have so many grands in what seems like such a short time :-) Doesn't seem like six whole years since Ezra arrived. Our time with them is indeed so special!