Thursday, January 4, 2018

2017-18 Holiday Season . . . or Should I say Christmas Season?

I am a bit of a loss over the whole "Happy Holdays" vs. "Merry Christmas" hubbub that has embroiled out nation the last few years in December. I would think that we have several things much more important to the welfare of our country in these difficult, Trump-tweet fueled times.

To each his own . . .

We enjoyed a wonderful time during the Christmas Holidays right on into the New Year with family time being the main highlight.

BIG present to all Los Angeles Rams
fans on Christmas Eve!

Mary and Jacob's
2017 Christmas photo with Santa

2017 Christmas morning  photo
of Kevin in Las Vegas

Meanwhile, in Camarillo on Christmas day . . .
With my sister Marilyn at my side
and sister Linda and Mom Chuny seated

With our niece Lauren's
son Leo

Mom, Linda
and great-grandson/great-nephew Jacob

Mary and Mike in deep
conversation about gift giving

Mary was way more into

Of course Jacob shot Mike
with his new bow and arrow set

Princess Elsa of Arendelle
 was in the HOUSE!

So was G.I. Joe!

Laurie always sets a GREAT
Christmas dinner table!

 Mom's new fan courtesy of
Rosa Talavera in Murcia

Mom with great-grandchildren
Max and Leo

 Max, Jacob and Leo
trying to conquer a new game

The kid's table was packed!

Mom and great-granddaughter Mary

Jacob LOVES all things Star Wars

It was another great, GREAT Christmas day at our house, all of the credit going to Laurie's amazing efforts.

The next three short videos were all supposed to be photographs but I had my iPhone camera on the wrong setting . . .

Linda and Mary

Mom, Mary, Jacob and Moi

Jacob and Linda

The day after Christmas
we had not one but TWO
Princess Elsas of Arendelle!

Our season coaching the Varese Skorpions
now started in just three weeks!

But first . . .

Another trip to Las Vegas for a second
Christmas, New Years and a
birthday with Andy, Jenn and Kevin

We left the house at 5:00 a.m. and had our usual diner-style breakfast at this wonderful dive restaurant in Victorville after about two hours of traffic free driving.

Just before reaching Las Vegas, we pulled off the I-15 Freeway to see . . .

The Seven Magic Mountains,
up close and personal

It was, well, magical . . .

Immediately upon arriving at the Contreras Desert Home, we opened presents.

Turns out . . .

Kevin LOVES all things
Star Wars as well

The rest of the New Years weekend was dedicated to food and American Football, both College and NFL.

The Fiesta Bowl was  the Big Game
for us due to the Huskies

Final score, #9 Penn State 35 - #12 Washington 28.

Unfortunately, it wasn't that close.

After Sunday's NFL games,
the playoffs were set

Go Rams GO, beat the Falcons!

New Years Day was all
about these two titanic games

The Rose Bowl was AWESOME!

#3 Georgia 54 - #2 Oklahoma 48 in (OT)

The Sugar Bowl was a Crimson Tide domination much worse than the final score would indicate.

#4 Alabama 24 - #1 Clemson 6

New Year's Day meant only
two more weeks until my flight
to incredible Italy

Meanwhile, while the SEC was romping,
Jacob was in Oxnard gorging himself

January 2, 2018

Our son Andy's 44th Birthday

More gift giving

Kevin taking his Dad's photo

Andy about to open one of our gifts

Once again, Andy LOVES all
things Star Wars too!

In the afternoon we opted to go out to lunch to celebrate Andy's big day.

But first we went to the training site
of the NHL Vegas Golden Knights

They have two ice rinks at the Golden Knights facilities, Rink One was offering a free skating session which, unfortunately, ended in ten minutes.

Young Kevin was disappointed to say the least.

A bunch of ice hockey players
were working out on Rink Two

We watched them workout for awhile and then entered the Golden Knights' store.

Laurie likes men in uniforms

Kevin does too!

Note that Kevin is proudly sporting his new Golden Knights cap.

Yes, Las Vegas is a desert city

Lunch first and more adventures afterwards was the rule of the day.

What's this?

The Shopping Mall across the street from the Golden Knights' training facility has and outdoor ice skating rink.


The 2018 Winter Olympics start in
South Korea next month!

Working on his ice skating skills

Kevin may not be ready for either
the NHL or the Winter Olympics just yet

After lunch and then the skating session, Kevin decided to improve his mountain climbing skills as well.

"Climb Every Mountain . . ."

Who is that kid at the top?

Wait, could that be . . .

GOODNESS, it IS indeed Kevin!

Soon after this we said our goodbyes and headed home for the supposed five an a half hour drive from Las Vegas to Camarillo.

Our first stop was in Baker, California about 90 miles from Las Vegas.

It took us about two and a half hours to get there due to the intense post-New Years Day traffic.


Saw this postcard in the food court
in Baker

Was this an omen of great things to come with the Skorpions in Varese?

While we were driving, which took us EIGHT hours to get home, we got a text from Mike about Mary's newest outfit . . .

Princess Elsa of Arendelle is now

Reading Is FUNdamental!

I enjoyed two good reads over the Holidays, the first one with fun loving Italian criminals and the second one in the incredible darkness of the Nordic Noir genre.

Here are the opening lines of each book . . .

"The body floated facedown in the
murky water of the canal."

"The boy who would soon die laughed,
and sat up straight."

I was hooked.


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