Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Today! November 27th 2014

 We woke up with the plan to go for a good walk with Paul & Luba ~which we did!  Then when we return to the house we wandered about on their 4 acre property!

There comes the turkey's....oh my just look at the size!!

This bird should be really happy he was not in the pan today..."Tom" is what Luba calls him!

 Luba showed me the walnut, almond trees.

 The sheep like to graze on the "greener" side...and ran through the gate when we opened it!  Naughty!
Paul & Nick chatted at the picnic table...while Luba introduced "this city girl" to all the different trees she had planted!  Orange, lemon, grape vines, raspberries, fig & apple trees....and I tried the fruits from all these trees...can't be any fresher then that!!!
You can see the roof top from the field...Paul & Luba have done a lot of work these past years to the house!
 At 3 pm we headed to Larry & Carlene home to visit with the family!  I have known Carlene even longer then my Nick - such a special day with good friends!
Aaron their son with wife Angela and kids were there too...and Deanna their daughter!  Such a treat to see the family again!

 Everyone was busy in the kitchen...mashing potatoes, cutting the Turkey & Ham and preparing all the trimmings!  Yum!
We all enjoyed a very lovely dinner together with the family!  So relaxing and we had a chance to share some about our trip to Asia!  

Baylee was dishing up!

The Dutch shuffleboard game was set up and we played a round! (Larry & Carlene had purchased one themselves with they all came up to Bend 4 years ago to visit us there!) 
It was so fun...hadn't done that for quite a while! 
Seth threw 126 on his first turn!  Wow!

We had such a nice time with the Merrell family!  So good to be together again - we are like family!
What a wonderful time we have had in Modesto...enjoying a visit with friends!  My girlfriend Carlene & I go way back!  How precious those  relationships are! 
 Thank you Larry & Carlene for inviting us to join you and your family this was a real treat!!!!
Tomorrow ~ Friday morning we head out of the coast!  We will meet up with Dave & Meg in Carmel - a beautiful area well known for the gorgeous homes there and a "17 Mile Drive" on the coast.  There is also a well known golf course there...where the Big tournaments are held.  But the ocean views...yes the California coast is vast and beautiful!

We look forward to the drive and the weather should still be in the 60's on the coast the weather report says!  

We are thankful for family and good friends!  For our wonderful and blessed experience & safe travels these past 16 months, making and meeting so many very special people in all these beautiful places...we are thankful for the safe return back to the US and we are thankful
to be for now in a motor home...traveling south with my best buddy - Nick! 

The Adventure continues....and we are thankful for that! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving at Paul & Luba's House

 Nick & I called our brother in law Frank Saenz in Patterson and we were able to meet up with him!
Frank had moved down from Bend & Madras OR area 1 year closer to his own family~
Frank is a Medical Translator...English-Spanish/Spanish-English and still enjoys it!
Nick saw this Ferrari on the parking Lot...go Nick!

OK Nick - dream away!

In the evening we enjoyed a special Thanksgiving Dinner with our dear friends....and all being immigrants - it was wonderful to remember how we all came to this country!

 Paul & Luba immigrated to the US 25 years ago...fleeing Ukraine for their faith in God.

They have 3 children Sveta, Ilya and Luda!

 Little "Zion" and grandma Luba! 

 Luba was busy preparing most of the day...and family began to arrive around 6 pm~
 The is little Olvia - the newest family member!

 Little Leia, Elizabeth and brother Luke posed with their Indian outfit which they had made especially for Thanksgiving....very very nice!!!!
A special Apple pie we too used to order when we lived here in Modesto!

 Paul got busy cutting the Turkey - that was so juicy and tender...Good job Luba...delicious!

A Lovely Thanksgiving with dear friends!  
Thank you Paul & Luba for inviting us to join you for Thanksgiving....we so enjoyed spending it with the family!  You are a blessed family!  
God has bountifully blessed you these years in America! 

And Nick & I are ever so grateful to have you as friends!
And to stay on your property these past days while visiting here in Modesto!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Visting in the Bay Area-

Today was a tough day...Nick & I drove to the Bay Area to go visit my step-Dad Jim.  It was hard to be back in the house...seeing Jim again and not Mom!  The reality hit hard!  Just a knowing she is no longer with us..Mom passed away while we were still in Germany....on August 7th. 

It was good to sit with Jim and just talk...and comforting to be together.  The three of us - Nick & I and Jim...spent that year in their home taking care of Mom...and we made many special memories together...and it was so good to be together once again but the realization hit me of course!
Al...Jim's Neighbor came to welcome us!

Jim & daughter Denise

Jim's daughter Denise also came by to see us and...Denise had suddenly lost her husband 1 month after Mom's passing too!  Oh how heavy our hearts are...with these losses...and yet...we know it is very much a part of "life" isn't and death?!

Still we are assured in the God we serve and love....our Mom and Denise's husband Jerry are with the Lord...and we have that assurance thankfully!

We are comforted yet we are saddened! It was a blessing to spend time together! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Special Day Today - Celebrating a Birthday!

 Yes it was! A special day today...and I was blessed with phone calls & texts and emails and cards and gifts and Facetime with Jas & Milou and Skyler! 

Paul & Luba invited us out for dinner in Turlock - to Cool Hand Luke and it was good!  We enjoyed a very special and intimate time with them this evening! 

It was a very nice day! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

From Chico to Visit Family in Lodi and then to Modesto!

We have been busy for the last couple of days since arriving into CA!  We drove from Chico south on Hwy 5 to Lodi where Nick has his aunt & uncle ~ they had moved to Lodi from Modesto a year ago and we have not yet seen their new house!

The park called Flag City RV              Lodi ~ Flag City RV Park
 was new to us!  It had so many motor homes and 5th wheels and trailers parked...all traveling to get to family for Thanksgiving which is this Thursday in America! 

 A special day to remember our heritage - immigrants coming to America to seek a better life...from all over the world!  YES......that includes my family and Nick's family too!

And YES!!!! we immigrants are ever so thankful for our parents bringing us to this beautiful country!

So Nick & I parked the motor home and then we unhitched the car and headed into Lodi!

Lis & Gerrit were a blessing to see!  Nick aunt
uncle had moved a year ago to Lodi and liked it very much!  They had a very cute home and both were very happy in their new community and church! 

We had a lot to talk about especially about Indonesia - both Gerrit & Lis were born in Indonesia -both from Java!  So nice to share with them our experiences.  They both followed us on the blog they said and really enjoyed reading about our time in Asia

Next day we headed to Manteca and then Modesto...stopping by old friends in Manteca~

Fred & Wendy are long time friends!  Fred is a Dutchie and Wendy was my neighbor and they met 27 years ago...can it be so long ago??? 
Wendy was working today but we would be back on Sunday again!

On Sunday we did meet up with Fred & Wendy and went to church with them ~ Fred was doing a teaching in the adult class on "Christians for Israel" and it was very special and informative!  We were proud of our friend! 

We then headed to Modesto and called old friends who - had a very large lot that we could park our motor home on....and they said Yes! come and park on our property!  Paul & Luba happened to be flying back that very day from Ukraine - visiting family there.  How gracious is that to allow us to enter on their property and they are still flying back from New York! Sweet!

 Paul & Luba have a lovely home!  A tudor style with a drive up gate and then another gate to the backyard.  They have goats & chickens and turkey's and quails (which lay very tasty eggs!)

 Paul & Luba have both worked hard to make this a beautiful home and garden - they have many types of fruit trees and they both enjoy their home!

We are blessed to be able to stay with them on their property!
 Here is their their oldest daughter, Sveta & her husband Stephen and their 4th child ...little baby Olivia  - very cute!

Then we headed to Carlene & Larry to visit with great to see old buddies!  The next day we went to Dave & Meg's house and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon & evening with them!  Meg's parents are now living with them - so it was great to visit with Frank & Barb as well!  What a treat!

 A good hearty soup Meg made for us with quinoa and brown rice....a good soup it was!

We are going to join up again Dave & Meg in Carmel at the end of the week!  I have a Birthday on the 24th and Meg on the 28th - their anniversary is on the 29th and ours is on the 30th!

Hey we will celebrate it together in Carmel on the Beach - nice!

Meg & Mom cozy on the "love chair" together!  Dave is comfy in his chair too...get those feet UP Dave!

Little Holly Meg & Dave puppy is only 1 year old and has already learned so many tricks!
This toy poddle's are so smart!  Her "Ellie" too learned so quickly!  Just look at this!  Sweet as can be!