December 31, 2019

Christmas In The Sand! Cats For Everybody!

We celebrate Christmas at the beach in Florida again this year, and our theme is "Cats For Everybody!"

Christmas In The Sand! Cats For Everybody!

We flew from St. George to Dallas to Pensacola. While in Dallas on our layover, Lizzie realized there was a flight leaving in 40 minutes to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Why would she be interested in that? Well because Hunter is there on his mission.

We got some Tex-Mex food for lunch in Dallas. Mmmmmm. Here is Mitzi's ceviche. We love the strong flavors and fresh spices in Tex-Mex and as long as we were in Texas, we decided to give it a go and were not disappointed.

Christmas eve at the hotel, we open presents. Mitzi brought a small tree along and we brought presents to exchange. This was a big leap beyond last year when we literally had no decorations and exchanged no presents.

Lizzie had found these "Cats for Everybody" shirts and we opened them Christmas Eve. Smiles all around. Lizzie and Emily love cats, so therefore Mitzi and I love them too :)

Mitzi and I exchanged presents this year. Here's a couple of the presents Mitzi gave to me – balsa wood rubber band propeller airplane and a model airplane, she totally gets me! She also gave me a gift certificate to Richelles Day Spa and got us a sushi making class at Harmon's. I can't wait!

Mitzi opens her presents from me. Exotic Hungarian chocolate bars from Taste in Provo, Airpod Pros, and ad-free listening to Pandora.

Emily and Lizzie open their presents. These are part of the 12 Days of Christmas that Mitzi made for all our children this year.

We spent hours on the beach Christmas day. The weather was beautiful, about 70 degrees. The water turquoise, the sand white. Definitely the way to spend Christmas, we all agreed.

In the afternoon we went to the motion picture "Cats."   We thought we were all wearing our "Cats for Everybody" shirts to the movie..... obviously Mitzi and I were the only ones.

Christmas evening we had a hard time finding a restaurant that was open. We finally found one, rather fancy, and had a very nice meal.

On the 26th, I got ambitious and decided to make Mango Soup. This is a recipe I learned at Pritikin last year. We have loved it and I wanted to share it with Emily. Cooking it required some creativity because we are staying at a Home2 Suites and the kitchenettes don't have much in the way of cooking. But I borrowed an induction stove top, a tiny frying pan, and managed to make it along with some rice. It turned out really delicious and we all enjoyed it for lunch today.

We also spent more time at the beach. In the evening when the sun was about 30 minutes from setting Emily and I went down to the beach to do a photo shoot for her. The lighting was soft and she is beautiful.

We had dinner at The Back Porch restaurant near our hotel. It's right on the beach and made for a beautiful setting overlooking the beach and Santa with his dolphins of course. There are some cats that live under the restaurant and Lizzie got some kitty time. In the evening we went shopping at various stores. In Tommy Bahama I just had to try on this hat.

A nice old man offered to take our picture during the shopping trip.

Emily flew back to Arizona today.  We had a great time with her the past few days.

This evening we saw "Little Women" at AMC. It was a beautiful remake of a classic tale.  They had this huge Christmas tree in the middle of a round-about which made for a fun picture.

I was sitting at the kitchen table in our hotel and Mitzi just liked the way I looked. So she snapped this picture. Here ya go, Mitzi :) I love you and love being loved by you! You make me feel safe, content, and happy ❤️

Mitzi had found some very comfortable loungers down the beach and went there with Lizzie. Beach beauties!

The next day we had dinner at Chicken Salad Chick, a restaurant recommended by our neighbors the Bocchinos. They have wonderful chicken salads in many varieties and flavors and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

The following two days were foggy and wet. Mitzi and Lizzie ventured out of the hotel and into the weather, strolling along the beach to see Henderson State Park. The first picture is what they looked like at the beginning of their big hike. The next three pictures show what happened when they got to the end and were just about ready turn and and hike back. A rain storm hit them ... and they got completely drenched!

Mitzi got me a P-40B model airplane for Christmas.  We needed to run to a craft store to buy some model glue.  Mitzi was beyond excited when I asked her if she wanted to go to Hobby Lobby with me...... she loves this store!

I've been working on it for a couple days. As a child I loved models of all kinds, especially airplanes. It's been a fun activity and brought back many good memories. As mentioned earlier, Lizzie's boyfriend Hunter is on a mission in Honduras. He spent a year at West Point and is planning to go back after completing his mission. So Lizzie snapped a picture and sent it to him. He knew exactly what kind of plane that is!

On December 29 we went to Panera Bread for an early lunch. Mitzi asked what I was going to order, and I said it would be a surprise and make her laugh. It did. I ordered Turkey Chili in a sourdough bread bowl. She laughed because I keep trying chili and I never like it. But I keep trying. It sounded good. It even looked good. But I didn't like it.

She loved it! So she ended up eating it :) I also got a carbonated water and from the picture, I wasn't too excited about that either. It's probably because I hadn't even brushed my hair that morning.

Lizzie got a wonderfully tasty and warm cinnamon roll, and Mitzi got an almond croissant.

December 30 we had lunch at Real Thai Fusion. Their presentation was colorful and fun.

It was sunny and a bit cold on the beach, but Mitzi and I wanted to go out anyway. We bundled up under a blanket. Then kind Lizzie came out and brought another blanket and extra towels and it was comfy. The sunset was spectacular. The beach is a soothing place for us and we are grateful to be here at this time of year.

December 31.... We all went for a massage day at a weirdish place. We had lunch at Whataburger.... yum! Dippin Dots.....for dessert.  And then back to the hotel to watch the Utes in their Bowl Game....ugh  what a miserable loss!

January 1st I spent 4 hours at the Salamander Spa. Mitzi called and scheduled it for me, and encouraged me to arrive early and take it all in. So I did! It was super relaxing and helpful for my mind and body on this difficult day for me.

I feel very loved and cared for by Mitzi, she is amazingly kind and caring and I'm so grateful to be loved by her.

Mitzi and Lizzie went on another big beach walk. About 5 miles. The weather was cool but so beautiful, calm, and clear.

Our last Destin Dinner....... Bubba Gumps. We enjoyed a pear berry salad with raspberry vinaigrette, coconut shrimp, snow crab, cajun mahi mahi, and flashing specialty drinks. And Lizzie loved the mashed potatoes!

In 2008 when Lizzie was in first grade her family went to Bubba Gumps in California. The girls got these flashing cups they got to take home with them, and Lizzie and I thought it would be fun to get them too. And it was!

Today is January 2. We flew home to St. George. We were a little sad to end such a wonderful trip, and also looked forward to getting back to our wonderful shower, tub, and comforts of home.

As we went through the Dallas airport again, there was the same 12:09p flight going to Honduras (where Hunter is on a mission). We actually went to the gate and watched the people board. Here is Lizzie watching them, longing to be one of them :)

The airports and flights were a little cold so I gave Mitzi my jacket. I'm wearing a winter shirt her sister Gretchen gave me for Christmas and it holds warmth really well. Mitzi kept feeling guilty about wearing my North Face jacket and I kept reassuring her that I was comfortable and not cold. We had a couple laughs and smiles about it throughout the day. Our flight home went great, no delays and just a relaxing time together.