Holidays with the Kids 2017

 

Spending Thanksgiving at Ian’s and Christmas at Megan’s together as a family seems like a miracle.

This year, the holidays are especially meaningful because we almost lost our son, Ian, to critical illness. Thanks to the generosity of his organ donor and family, he received double-lung and liver transplant on Feb 28, 2017.  We are very thankful for the UCLA hospital staff, nurses, doctors, and surgeons for taking his severe and difficult case and making the transplant happen smoothly. Spending time together was sweet!

Thanksgiving

Megan’s place in Tempe Arizona houses our storage and it has great RV parking.  The roasting pans, turkey-brining bucket and stand-mixer were pulled out of storage and side dishes were prepared ahead of time and packed into the RV.   It was surprising that everything fit into the RV fridge except the turkey, which ‘chilled out’ in the cooler.

Southern California has very few RV camping spots that meet our holiday criteria:

  1. Close enough to Ian’s
  2. Long enough for the 40′ RV
  3. Available – it’s really crowded in California and holidays are booked well in advance
  4. Affordable – some are too expensive at $135 – $255 per night!

A place near Beaumont CA where we could commute back and forth to Ian’s in Fountain Valley California for only $10 per night seemed to fit our criteria so we gave it a try.  Ian drove over to see us on Wednesday, for Megan’s birthday, and got stuck in the holiday traffic coming out of LA, duh!  We are still learning and this one didn’t work – criteria #1 needs to include traffic time!

We enjoyed Megan’s favorite dish for her birthday, prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloin with apple cream sauce.  The RV really feels like home when we can cook like this and share it with loved ones. The next morning was Thanksgiving Day, and we drove a couple of hours to Ian’s. The traditional Thanksgiving meal was prepared there; side dishes had already been made ahead and just needed to be warmed so it was all about roasting the turkey.  It was a nice visit that included Huntington Beach Pier and Mile Square Park as we commuted to Ian’s over the next couple of days.

December

Usually, traveling with our house provides the flexibility to adjust the schedule and save fuel costs, but it didn’t work this time.  We would have stayed nearby in California to attend the UCLA Christmas Party with Ian.  Coach service had already been scheduled in Arizona by the time the party was announced, so we ping-ponged between California and Arizona.  We left Beaumont CA, dropped the coach off for service at Cummins on the way back to Tempe. That meant “moving out” of the RV into the car before driving on.  We stayed a few days at Megan’s, then picked up the RV and returned to California to a nice park called Golden Shores RV Resort in Long Beach. Golden shores park is much nicer than our last stay at Beaumont and it met all of our holiday criteria!

The UCLA Medical Center Christmas Party was on the 50th anniversary of the first heart transplant and during the largest full moon of 2017!  The party is held annually to celebrate heart and lung transplant patients and their families. This year, Ian was a featured speaker because his case was so unique and difficult.  His survival was a series of miracles that we feel blessed to receive. He delivered an emotional speech to over 300 attendees and it made this the most amazing Christmas party I’ve ever attended.

After the party, we returned to Tempe where I experienced the Christmas season in a warmer climate for the first time. Megan had decorated with items from our storage and it was very homey. Besides catching up on some RV and house maintenance, Bruce and I visited Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale.  Spending an afternoon in an atrium with hundreds of tropical butterflies dancing all around us was a treat!  It was an unexpected stop so I had to make do with my iphone camera yet again!

Christmas & New Years

We met some of Megan’s neighbors at an association holiday party.  Then out came the cooking utensils again as we baked lots of cookies. Ian made the trip over to Tempe for Christmas and New Years.  Good times together making meals, watching movies, playing games and celebrating holidays.  After experiencing the difficult year of 2017, we are expecting a smooth and wondrous 2018!   After spending most of the last seven weeks in Tempe, we are itchy to be on the road again.

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