December 14, 2014
As I write this I am sitting in the airport in Savannah GA waiting for my flight home to Denver after a short (but sweet!) visit with my parents & family in GA. The occasion of this visit was to celebrate the accomplishment of my younger sister Holly in her graduation from nursing school last week! She will be taking her state board exam to qualify as an R.N. on December 23, 2014. Holly has worked so hard during the years of classes and all the while raising 4 children with the help of her husband, Trey. I am so proud of her & so happy to be able to be there to congratulate Holly and spend some time with her & her family!
My other sister Vickie joined me on this trip and she & I both stayed with our parents who live in Sylvania, GA. How wonderful it was to visit with our parents and also our brother Jeffrey and his wife Karla and their sons! The older I get the more I pine for time with family whom we don’t get to see very often.
Writing this annual letter has been on my “to do” list since Thanksgiving, so I thought I would take advantage of this time in the airport & my layover in Houston to at least get it started!
2014 was jam-packed with activity, changes, trips & fun times with friends! We are so blessed!
We started off the year as we always do with our “Annual New Year’s Eve” party, which was attended by many good friends and even some new ones! It is always a fun time of fellowship & good friends (and good food!)
In January our youngest son Brady celebrated his 21st birthday. I can hardly believe that he is now 21 years old! Brady lives in Ft. Collins, CO and is attending Colorado State University studying Economics with a Business minor. He is working hard & is relieved to see some light at the end of his academic tunnel!
In February I created my new business VRAssist – a marketing and booking service for owners of vacation rental properties. I had been enjoying my “life of leisure” since retiring from Homeaway the summer before but was ready for something productive to occupy my time. I decided to leverage my experience and expertise in the vacation rental industry to help owners of vacation rental properties by handling all of the communications with travelers, managing their advertisement listings & handling the bookings for their properties. Since then I have taken on three clients for VRAssist and thoroughly enjoy helping them maximize their investments in their vacation rental properties.
Also in February Redgie took his annual golf trip to Myrtle Beach with his buddies from Altoona. He looks forward to this trip all year long and even though it means he is usually gone on my birthday I know how much he enjoys this time with his friends and am glad that he has this opportunity to connect with them each year.
March marked the 3rd wedding anniversaries of our oldest children, Shannon & Brooks, who married their sweethearts in a double wedding on the beach in La Jolla CA in March of 2011. Shannon & Robert live not far from us in Parker with their dogs Bruno & Roxy and Ruben the cat. Shannon is still developing her Personal Chef business & has several regular customers each week/month and is happy with the growth of the business. Brooks & Christina are still living in San Diego and stationed at North Island in Coronado, but not for long! Brooks has received new orders and will be a flight instructor at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL beginning in January 2015. They have a dog also, whose name is Rhino. (Yes, Redgie & I are the loving grandparents of three grand-dogs and one grand-cat!) 🙂
Redgie & I took a trip to south FL (from Tampa to Marco Island) in March to research the area for another investment property and while there I was able to visit with my childhood best friend Cindy and her parents! I was so happy to be able to see them and spend a lovely afternoon with them!
We went back to FL in April & investigated the Destin/Ft. Walton Beach area and ended up making an offer on a 2-bedroom condo on Okaloosa Island in Ft. Walton Beach. Despite some ups & downs during the whole closing process we finally did close on the purchase of that condo at the end of June! After the closing we spent 4 days preparing & stocking it for use as a vacation rental property. We love it and are looking forward to spending time there in the future when we are not renting it to vacationers. (You can view our listing for that property on VRBO.)
Also in April we took a trip to Bowling Green, KY for the sad purpose of attending the memorial service of our dear college friend, Ed Norman. Ed had battled cancer for a year and a half but finally went to be with the Lord on April 6, 2014. His funeral service was a wonderful time of worship and praise, carefully planned by Ed before he left. We still miss him but are comforted by the knowledge that he is whole and healthy in Heaven doing what he has always loved best….praising his Lord!
In May I began my part-time career working as a “Receptionist” for a property management company located in Destin, FL: Sugar Palm Vacation Rentals. I worked with the partners who own SPRs during my tenure at VRBO/Homeaway so it is fun to work with them again….it reminds me of the “old days” of working at VRBO when it was owned by our friends Dave & Lynn!
Redgie & I were fortunate enough to be able to take another trip to the Calistoga Ranch resort in Napa Valley, CA in June as a result of a promotion sponsored by Perdue. What a gorgeous part of the country! We loved the scenery, the wine tasting tours and spending time with the others on the trip in the beautiful setting of Calistoga Ranch!
In August I went to PA to attend our niece Amanda’s baby shower. What fun it was to learn they were having a baby girl during the shower when they did a “Baby Reveal”! (Even Amanda & her husband Corey didn’t know they were having a girl until that moment!) Little Anistyn Faye was born in September & Redgie’s sister Tammy is “over the moon!” to be a Grandma!
Redgie climbed a “14-er” mountain in August (Mt. Quandry.) It was a “bucket list” item for him & since CO has so many “14-ers” he was happy to have a chance to experience it.
At the end of the month I went back to the FL condo with my sister and our cousin Becky and spent a week enjoying our “first” (annual?) “Cousin Retreat”! Besides some “condo improvement” projects, we enjoyed the beach, the delicious seafood and each other’s company and were sad when we all had to go home!
Redgie went back to Altoona in September and participated in the annual “Precious Life” golf tournament with the same buddies from Altoona as go to the Myrtle Beach golf trip in February. I love to hear his stories when he comes home from these trips!
In October we attended a CSU football game in Ft. Collins with Brady…..it was fun!
November was the month that we celebrated Redgie’s 56th birthday! During the month he was able to arrange his schedule to allow him to attend a football game at our Alma Mater: Liberty University in Lynchburg VA. Joining him for the trip were his friends Steve, Ken & Alan (buddies from Altoona.) In November we also hosted Thanksgiving dinner at the BBH with Shannon & Robert, Brady, Don & Jan and Tim & Jodi. (Dave & Lynn were celebrating Thanksgiving in Oklahoma City with their son Mat & his wife Kenzie and their new darling baby boy Koven!)
Whew! That brings me to the present, traveling back home from my trip to GA and looking forward to the next week and a half until Christmas!
We send wishes to you all for a blessed & joyful Christmas season as well as a happy and healthy New Year!
Valerie, Redgie & Brady (and of course Bebe!)