Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Our Little Gigi is 8

Gianna Brianne, Gigi, is 8 years old! 
It is so hard to believe how the years have definitely 
flown by right before our eyes. 
Wasn't it just yesterday she was our first and only grandchild.

How we love this sweet, adorable, precious girl, 
to the moon and back!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Happy Birthday Brody!!

This sweet, little guy, 

Brody Noah Nicholas Bennett 

is another year older. 

He turned 5 years old, yesterday,

pictured here with his sisters, Hallee (left) and Gigi!

We sure love these "crazies" to the moon and back!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Glimpses of Christmas

I love decorating for Christmas. Over the years I've collected quite a few decorations, and many have special meanings! Here's a few "Glimpses of Christmas" around the Pavone home.
These little Christmas trees are probably from the late 50's. They were always on display in my parents house, growing up. My mom gifted them to me in 2002.

This beautiful white Christmas tree was made by one of my mom's best friends, Dot, in the 60's. 
It was always one of my most favorite Christmas decorations so I was thrilled when 
my mom gifted it to me in 2002. Look closely and you will see it is made of all different shapes of macaroni noodles.

Hand drawn cherished Christmas Cards made by my dad, dating back to the first year he made them, 1976-2000, and the last year he made them, 2002. He made them for everyone in my family and my sister's family each year; they are treasured by us all!

I made these stockings for our first Christmas after we were married in 1978. 
They are so big it takes a lot of stuffers to fill them. 

I made this Christmas Tree Advent Calendar for our first Christmas in our first house, 1979.
 Individually wrapped candy canes count the days until Christmas Day. I made many more of these Advent Calendars for friends and family. I also made one for each of my kids' families. Our grankids love putting the candy canes in the calendar pockets.

Another of my first Christmas decorations for our first Christmas in our first house, 1979.

My mom made this Christmas bunny family for us in 1981, the year our daughter, Nicole was born!

My very dear friend, Judie Provansal gave this treasured Christmas tree puzzle to me the year our daughters were in kindergarten together, 1986. Our daughters met taking dance lessons together, starting at age 3, and they are still friends today! Judie was a 5th grade teacher and I watched her daughter Emily during the year of kindergarten. I think of Judie with such love and am reminded how precious life is. Judie went to be with our Lord when my daughter and Emily were 11. Her two daughters, Emily and Nicole have grown into beautiful women of faith.

Another of my mom's cute handmade Christmas creations

 A new "Crazy Eights Table Runner" adorns my dining room table this year. 
(I finished quilting it before Thanksgiving.)

My newest Christmas decoration. For years I had a Santa cookie jar (in which we put doggie cookies not people cookies). The Santa was retired last year since it had a few too many chips.

A favorite of mine!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas 2014

2014 has been another wonderful year!
We have much to be thankful to God for, our health,our retirement,
our family and friends. We really enjoy spending time with our kids 
and grankids, and we see them as much as possible.

 The grankids, of course, are growing like weeds: Gigi is 7, and in 2nd grade; 
Brody, 4 and Hallee, 3 are both doing preschool with mom; 
Micah is 4, and in preschool, and Seth is 18 months and just running all the time! 
They love to learn and love for us to read to them. They often climb into our laps, especially Papa's, with a bunch of books to be read!
When we all get together it can be crazy and chaotic but loads of fun, too! As they say, 'young kids are exhausting,' and yet, we are so grateful for 
our family times and the love we share.

We enjoyed a lot of RVing (almost once a month) and did more traveling, too. Highlights of the year:  Jan: Las Vegas @ the Bellagio; March: RV'd in Arizona for Spring Training;
May: RV'd in Pahrump, Nevada for Nick’s firearms class;
July: Virginia for a week;  July 31-Aug 11: camping at Lake Almanor with the gang, 4 couples, our adult kids and 22 grandkids;
and Nov: our annual beach camping at San Elijo St Beach
with family. 
Our big trip of the year was a 2 month (Aug 11-Oct 8) USA RV Trip traveling with friends through 17 beautiful states in northern America: CA, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, No Dakota, So Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and back home! Seeing America was a dream come true; there was such diversity and beauty everywhere we traveled. The memories we brought home will last us a lifetime.

Yes, 2014 was a very good year! 
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas filled with God's Blessings!

Love, Karen and Nick

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My First 10 on 10: November 2014

For quite a while my daughter, Nicole, over at GidgetGoesHome has joined with Rebekah at a bit of sunshine posting 10 pictures on the 10th of every month to showing beauty in the ordinary. I thought it would be fun to give it a try and give you a few peeks into my day on the 10th:

Little moments go by all too quickly; it's nice to remember them!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Exploring the USA

We took our first USA RV Trip with our good friends, Sue and Bill, (and our dog, Sydney, of course!). Our wonderful journey started on August 11th when we left Lake Almanor in Nor Cal.We returned home on Oct 8th, 2014.
(we drove to the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado)
We spent 8 1/2 weeks on the roads of northern America in our 40' RV, towing our jeep, on our trip of a lifetime (the first of several such trips).
Nick and I have camped our entire marriage. We started camping in a tent, before we bought a camper. After the camper, we owned 2-travel trailers (18" and 24"), 2-Class C motorhomes (22' and 28'), 1-Class A 34' motorhome, and 2-diesel pusher 40' motorhomes. We have always talked about seeing and traveling through all the states of the USA.

Last year we bought our USA map (those of you who camp have seen the USA maps on the sides of RV's). On it, we put the states' stickers for the states we traveled to in 2013 in our RV: California, of course, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.  Now our USA map has 19 states' stickers, only 29 more states to go, 30 if we take our RV to Alaska!

Here's a look at our trip by the numbers:

We traveled 17 states:  (18 states if you count driving 20 miles through Arizona!).

We visited and or/traveled to:

*** 38+ American cities/towns

*** 6 cities visited friends

*** 8 National Parks:
    Glacier National Park
    Yellowstone National Park
    Theodore Roosevelt National Park
    Badlands National Park
    Rocky Mountain National Park
    Arches National Park
    Bryce National Park
    Zion National Park

*** 26+  Points of Interest and National Historic Sites, including:
    National Bison Range, MT
    John D. Rockefeller Memorial Pkwy (the road between Yellowstone and Grand Tetons)
    Little Missouri National Grasslands, ND
    Mt Rushmore National Memorial, SD
    Custer State Park in the Black Hills, SD
    Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
    Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, SD
    "Wall Drug," SD
    Jefferson Expansion, St Louis Arch Gateway to the West, MO
    Anheuser Busch Brewery and Budweiser Tour, MO
    Branson. MPO
    Air Force Strategic Air Command and Museum, NE
    Holy Family Shrine Chapel, NE
    The Mall of America, MN
    Minnehaha Falls, MN
    Harley-Davidson Museum, WI
    Wisconsin Dells, WI
    Vesterheim - Norwegian-American Museum, IO (both Sue and I are Norwegian!)
    Covered Bridges of Madison County, IO
    United States Air Force Academy and AF Cadet Chapel, CO
    Pike's Peak, (14, 115') CO
    Garden of the Gods, CO - National Natural Landmark
    Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge, CO
    Grand Mesa outside of Grand Junction, CO
    Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, NV

*** 4 baseball parks: Minnesota Twins, Target Field; Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park;
               St Louis Cardinals, Busch Stadium; and Kansas City Royals, Kaufman Stadium

*** 33 RV parks, including 3 state park campgrounds and 2 city RV parks

*** 28 days/nights of rainstorms with thunder and lightning, like we've never seen in southern California! Everywhere, along our trip, locals told us it was the "wettest" summer in years, which we can attest!

***12 audiobooks listened to along the way

*** 2,000+ pictures taken

*** and 8,600 miles put on our RV and 1,500 miles on our jeep.

America is so much larger than we imagined, with the most amazing beauty, vastness and diversity of the terrain. We saw green rolling hills, lush foliage and forests;
many rivers, including the Missouri River, the Mississippi River, the Arkansas River and the Colorado River; waterfalls: many lakes and the very Big Sky of Montana; the wildflowers; glacier, hot mineral springs, and geysers;the brilliant blue skies over America with the clouds almost close enough to touch; the beautiful sunsets;
the sunflower fields, as well as the endless fields of sorghum and soybeans, and corn fields; Hoodoos (spires); the plains; the many mountains, including the mighty Rocky Mountains; and many different wild animals, including: American Bison, Elk, Prone Horn Antelope, Mule Deer, Whitetail Deer, Prairie Dogs, bear, chipmunks, ground squirrels, and Mountain Goat.

We drove on two lane highways, interstates, back roads, and dirt roads; throughout National Parks; through small towns and large cities; in the middle of what seemed like nowhere, alone on an interstate and stuck in traffic (YES! there is traffic outside of California, although shocking, I know!); used 4 GPS's and a good old-fashioned Atlas, at one time, to guide us along our way, sometimes finding a "different" way to get to our destination. We drove on sunny clear days and through some torrential thunderstorms; had warm weather and some really cold weather in the fall (woke up to 27 degrees in Bryce Canyon National Park); through the plains, over the continental divide several times, and over the Rocky Mountains via the Independence Pass, 12,096 ft.

To see more of our trip check out  my flickr page !

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Spring Training 2014

We RVed the month of March in Arizona for Spring Training. It's become an annual trip for us, staying once again at Pueblo El Mirage Golf and RV Resort.

We met up with friends and family, played some golf, rode bikes, took walks,visited most of the spring training baseball fields, and enjoyed a lot of baseball games! 
Here's some highlights.

We also visited the Fire Museum in Phoenix, the Hall of Flame

To see more Spring Training 2014 pics, go to my flickr page .