Merry Christmas 2018


Santa display

December 5, 2018

Every year it seems I begin this annual letter marvelling at how fast the year has flown by…but this year it seems especially so! It has been a year of much coming and going and we have arrived suddenly to Christmas! As best as we can estimate Val was away from home about 155 days in 2018! If you add those days to Redgie’s busy work/travel schedule you can imagine how much more time he spent away from home this year.

We have traveled so much and had such a full year that for the sake of brevity (if you can 2562 words “brief”!) I will try to condense it all into a bullet point list of events.

(Click on the photos for larger view.)



  • Jan 1: Went to Dillon to take down the Christmas decorations in the condo.
  • Jan 4: Flew to FL to close on our 3rd condo in Fort Walton Beach.
  • Jan 4-Feb 7: We spent this time installing new floors & having the condo painted, furnishing & stocking the condo for rent. Val’s mom came from GA to help with this big task and we were so thankful to have her help!
  • Jan 12-15: Val’s sister Vickie came to spend the weekend with us & Mom and help with the condo.
  • Jan 14: During a visit with Brooks & Christina and Christina’s parents who were visiting from CA we learned that we were going to become grandparents in August!! Redgie & I have dreamed of becoming grandparents for so long we are so excited and grateful that our dream was finally going to come true! God is so good!
  • Jan 19 – 23: Val’s dad drove to FL from their home in GA to spend a few days with us and celebrate his 80th birthday together on 1/22/18. We drove to Pensacola that day to have a celebratory dinner with Brooks & Christina. The next morning Mom & Dad left to drive to their second home in Lake Placid FL.
  • Jan 25: We flew back home to CO because the next day Redgie was scheduled for a medical procedure. It was not the best timing since we were not finished with the condo in FL but the schedule was out of our hands. Everything went great so the next week we flew back to FL to finish the work on the new condo. One week later we flew back home to CO. Our first guests checked into the new condo on 2/9/18.



  • Brooks & Christina stopped by our house on their cross-country drive from Pensacola to San Diego where they were moving to for Brooks’ new assignment as the “mini boss” on the USS Portland. They were happy to be moving back to San Diego. We got to “Rhino-sit” while Brooks & Christina took trip to Belize to be with Christina’s family. Rhino was the easiest dog to “sit” because all he ever wanted to do was take a nap! Redgie took him for a walk around the neighborhood twice a day though, so he did at least get that much exercise.
  • Feb 24 – Mar 1: Redgie went to Myrtle Beach at the end of the month for his annual golf trip with his Altoona buddies.
  • Feb 23 – 28: While Redgie was on his golf trip Val went to Washington D.C. to keep her sister Vickie company during a conference that her husband Jim was attending. We stayed at the Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor for five days. It was fun! We visited Old Town Alexandria and did some shopping, enjoyed some fun conference events with Jim and even had a “cousins reunion”! Vickie & I grew up inside the Beltway and our cousins still live in the general vicinity. Sisters Terri & Diane and our other cousin Becky all made plans to spend the afternoon at the Gaylord with Vickie & I. We had so much fun visiting, having lunch, laughing and reminiscing about our childhoods.



  • Apr 12 – 16: A trip to Lynchburg to spend a fun weekend with Bill & Melanie (from Delaware), Steve & Sue (from Altoona) & Ken (from Pittsburgh). We enjoyed going to Convocation, eating lunch in the student cafeteria, going to a couple of baseball games, attending church at Thomas Road Baptist Church on Sunday and sharing lots of laughs and memories and stories.
  • Apr 19 – 22: A trip to Portland OR to attend the commissioning of the USS Portland. It was very interesting and fun to get to tour the ship, attend the christening ceremony, and best of all spend so much of the weekend with Brooks. He looks so handsome in his uniform and we don’t often get to see him in his “official” capacity.
  • Apr 25 – May 12: A trip to the Fort Walton Beach condos to take care of any necessary maintenance, re-furnishing and restocking the condos.
  • While I stayed in FL Redgie flew to San Diego for a few days to help Brooks work on installing a new deck on the back of the house that they bought when they moved there earlier in the year. Brooks was trying to get it done before he shipped out for 10 weeks that summer so Redgie was glad to be able to help.


  • May 18 – 20: We flew to San Antonio to attend a vacation rental conference. I was proud that my little business VRAssist was able to provide this opportunity for Redgie and I to spend a few days with others in the STR industry. We learned a lot, enjoyed meeting so many interesting people and enjoyed the city of San Antonio.
  • May 27 – 30: We spent another three days up in Dillon at the end of the month. During that trip we spent a day in Vail exploring the town. That was fun!


  • Jun 20 – 24: We made a quick trip to Fort Walton Beach to help our friend Melissa get her new condo on the beach ready to put on the vacation rental market. It was a whirlwind few days but enjoyable nevertheless because we got to share that time with Melissa and her sons Alex and Nick.



  • Jun 28 – Jul 5: We went up to Dillon to spend the week of the July 4th holiday. We love Dillon in the summer and usually will take a bike ride, go hiking on our favorite Lily Pad Lake trail, go to the Farmers Market (which this year was right outside our building on the road that runs beside the lake), enjoy the free concerts in the newly renovated Amphitheater which is only a block from our condo, and eating at our favorite restaurants in Dillon and Frisco. Because of the fire hazard this year there were no fireworks so that was a disappointment but we enjoyed the trip anyway!
  • July 27: Shannon, Redgie & I went downtown to view the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. That was very interesting!
  • Jul 29: We attended the wedding of Hannah Cantwell and Connor Whitson. The wedding was beautiful, full of joy and love and laughter! We were honored to be invited.



  • August 3 – 13: We flew to San Diego to attend the super-secret-surprise combined baby shower for Christina & Brooks and her friend Chrissy & Joe (who were expecting their 2nd son in October). Brooks almost pulled off the surprise but at the last minute a fumbling attempt at deception (which he never was very good at!) alerted Christina that something might be up. However, she was very surprised when she arrived at the shower to see many members of her family (her parents, sister Jessie, and Aunt & Uncle) so in the end it turned out fine.

During that trip Brooks & Redgie worked on finishing up the deck on the back of the house and Redgie & I searched for a small apartment to lease. We decided that we were going to want to spend as much time as possible in San Diego after our first grandchild was born and didn’t want to impose on Brooks & Christina for lodging. We ended up finding a small but nice 1 bedroom apartment only 1.5 miles from their house.

  • After we got home from that trip we spent a week gathering up anything that we could spare at home (dishes, pots & pans, linens, etc), packed up the car and on August 18 we began the drive from CO to San Diego. We spent the night in Las Vegas and on August 19 we moved into the “tiny tiny house”.
  • August 22, 2018: Our beautiful new granddaughter Charlotte was born. I was able to be at the hospital when she was born but unfortunately Redgie was out of town on a business trip (in Charlotte, NC coincidentally!) No words can describe our joy at finally becoming grandparents after so long of dreaming of this day.



  • September was spent in San Diego where we visited with Brooks, Christina & baby Charlotte as often as possible. Redgie did tear himself away for a trip to Lynchburg to attend Liberty’s first football game & first game in the FBS conference. He enjoyed the weekend with his Altoona buddies. We returned home to CO on September 30.



  • Oct 10 – 15: A fun weekend in Lynchburg again with Steve & Sue and Ken. The guys went to a hockey game on Friday night and all of us went to the football game on Saturday. On Sunday we attended church at Thomas Road Baptist Church.
  • Oct 28: Redgie & I took a day trip to Dillon with our friends Jan & Vini. They helped us swap out the summer decor and bedding for the winter decor and bedding. On the way back down the mountain we stopped in Idaho Springs for dinner at BeauJo’s pizza….yum!
  • Oct 31: We flew back to San Diego.



  • Nov 1 – 9: In San Diego we enjoyed spending as much time as possible with Brooks & Christina and Charlotte. In just the short time since we left at the end of September Charlotte had begun smiling, cooing and giggling so it was so much fun to play with her and enjoy her emerging personality. We also got to enjoy a dinner & evening of visiting with our friends Steve & Jeanie Laird who were in town at the same time coincidentally.
  • Nov 9 – 19: Our fall trip to the beach condos to do the usual maintenance & restocking and enjoy the beautiful sunsets every evening and as much delicious seafood as we could eat. On November 17 Reg & I took a day trip to Auburn, AL to attend the Auburn vs Liberty football game. Unfortunately Auburn crushed the LU team.  😦
  • Nov 19 -24: We drove to my parents home in GA to spend a few days and Thanksgiving with them. As usual my mother was the “hostess with the most-est” and had spent several weeks preparing meals and treats for our visit. It was wonderful to get to visit with my brother Jeff and his family and my sister Holly and her four children. Unfortunately my other sister Vickie and her husband Jim were not able to come but they are planning a visit to Mom & Dad’s after Christmas.
  • Nov 24 – 28: On Redgie’s 60th birthday (Nov 24) we left GA and drove to Lynchburg in time to attend the freezing, rainy Liberty football game. You can bet if it had not been Redgie’s birthday I would not have been sitting in that stadium that day! But, being the good sport that I am I endured the bad weather and eventually the rain did stop and Liberty won the game so all was well in the end.


We’ve been home in Denver since Nov 28 and have been working on getting the Christmas decorations up, Christmas cards addressed, shopping done and anything else that needs to be done before Christmas because in two days we head back to San Diego for 10 days…we need our Charlotte time! We’ll be back home on Dec 17. We look forward to spending the holidays with the kids (except for Brooks, Christina & Charlotte who will spend Christmas with her family in Palo Alto.)

Update on the kids:

B&C Family Portrait

Brooks & Christina: You already know that they became parents this year and I am sure that is the most important news/change they’ve ever experienced. It is precious to watch them both become loving, caring parents and we thank God for this special blessing. Brooks learned that he will become promoted to the office of Lieutenant Commander in February. Christina continues to enjoy her job as the Project Manager of the White Rhino Conservation project at the San Diego Zoo. Rhino has adapted to becoming a “big brother” with his usual laid-back personality and lots of naps.  🙂

Shannon & Robert*

Shannon & Robert still live in Parker, CO. Robert got a new job this year as an aircraft mechanic on a mobile response team for a different company. He is doing the same kind of work as he had before but is not traveling quite as much as he was before which is a good thing. Shannon continues to work for Sugar Palm Rentals (vacation rental property management company in Destin owned & operated by friends from VRBO/Homeaway). She just recently was invited to join the team on a full-time basis which makes her very happy as she really enjoys her job and working with the folks at Sugar Palm. Our granddogs Bruno & Roxy and grandcat Ruben are doing well also!

Brady & Colbie*

Brady continues to work for Enterprise Rental Cars and lives in Denver. He and Colbie have been dating for 2 years and really seem to get along well and love & care for each other. We are proud of the young adult Brady is becoming as he transitions from being dependant on us to being responsible for himself and making his own decisions about his life. Their dog Benji completes our menagerie of granddogs (and grandcat)!

Reg with baby Charlotte*

Charlotte and Pappy

Redgie continues in his role at Perdue, traveling much of the time as usual. He is starting to look forward to the time when he can retire so we’ve begun to work on plans that will perhaps expedite that date. He is not one of those men who say they want to work until they die…Redgie wants to enjoy time with family & friends, travel for fun (not work), play golf and go to as many Liberty football, basketball and baseball games as possible!

R&V Food for the Hungry

Dec 2, 2018

As for me, this year I resigned my small part-time job with Sugar Palm when I learned that I was going to become a grandmother. I knew that I would want to be with the baby as much as we could manage. Now I keep myself busy with VRAssist and the management of our own vacation rental properties. (At the present time between VRAssist and our properties I manage 14 vacation rental properties!) I look forward to as much Charlotte-time as I can get in the coming  year!

Reg & Bebe

Bebe turned 10 years old this year. (I thought she was 9 but Redgie insists she is 10!) She has gone with us on just about every trip….I wish she had her own Reward Miles account and could earn points for all of her travel!


We thank God for all of his many blessings to us this and every year, but this year especially with the birth of our precious granddaughter. We pray that all of our friends & family will experience the same blessings from God and be filled with the joy and gratitude of this very special Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Merry Christmas and sending our love,


Redgie & Valerie (and Bebe!)









Merry Christmas 2017!


Denver City and County Building at Christmas

Today is Monday, December 11, 2017 and it is actually early for me to begin writing my annual Christmas letter! This season seems so quiet and relaxed compared to Christmases past. The reason must be because our children are all grown and living on their own and so I don’t have all of the usual planning, cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping etc, etc, etc, that I used to do when they were growing up at home. I miss those days of having children at home because that is when the “magic” of Christmas seemed so near.

When I reflect back on this past year it seems as if we were away from home more than we were at home. Our year looked like this:

January 2017 collage

JANUARY: I went to Dallas right after the New Year to spend 2 weeks with my sister Vickie to help her after she had a hip-replacement surgery. Her surgery went very well and she recuperated well but I was glad I planned on staying 2 weeks instead of one.


My sister Vickie is on the bottom left of this photo

Towards the end of the month Redgie & I went to Lynchburg VA (the home of our alma mater Liberty University) to purchase a new 3 BR/2.5 BA home (seen in the collage photo above). We spent 6 weeks furnishing & stocking the home to get it ready to put on the vacation rental market. While I was there my mother came from GA to help me with the shopping, decorating and furnishing of the property. She was only supposed to stay one week but ended up staying two. Thanks, Mom!

FEBRUARY: While I continued working on the house in Lynchburg Redgie took a short break and went to Myrtle Beach for his annual golf trip with his buddies from Altoona. As usual, they played a huge number of rounds of golf and enjoyed the fellowship of long friendships.

Myrtle Beach Golf trip

Ken, Reg, Steve & Dale

 MARCH: Two days after returning home from Lynchburg we received a letter from the HOA of the community informing us that we could not rent the house on the short term market. What??

Long story short, the HOA prohibits rentals for less than 6 months so we were not in compliance with the HOA bylaws. Ultimately it was our fault that we missed this little clause in the poorly organized 144 page HOA document. However, before we even made the offer to buy the house we called the HOA management company office and specifically asked the question and were told that Cornerstone “follows the same rules as the City of Lynchburg.” That sounded like good news, since we had already researched and did not find any rental restrictions in Lynchburg for short term rentals. To back that up we saw listings in Cornerstone on VRBO and Airbnb so we knew that other owners in our community were renting on the short term market.

We appealed to the HOA board for an exception but were denied.

In the meantime, we learned that while the City of Lynchburg did not have any restrictions against short term rentals, neither did they have a provision to provide a business license to operators of short term rentals. In a phone conversation with the City Planner I learned that we could apply for a Special Use Permit (the process that hotels and Bed-and-Breakfasts went through to obtain a business license.) But the City Planner basically told me it was a crap-shoot if we would be approved since the City Council did not have a plan in place for short term rentals.

All of this felt like a door being shut on our dream of owning a second home in Lynchburg and sharing that home with others on a short term basis. So after owning the home exactly 2 months we decided to list the home for sale. The good news is that we got a contract on the house just 17 days later. (Stay tuned for the rest of the story!)

The last weekend of March saw us traveling to Monterey, CA to attend Brooks’ MBA Graduation ceremony. He received a Masters degree in Business Administration from The U.S. Navy Post Graduate School. We enjoyed spending the weekend with Brooks & Christina and visiting with Christina’s parents Irene & Harry and family in Palo Alto. We are very proud of both Brooks & Christina for working so hard to obtain their Masters degrees!

APRIL: We spent 2 weeks at our condos in Florida in April. For one of those weeks we had the company of our good friends Jan & Lanny. It was so much fun having them stay with us! We enjoyed beautiful beach weather, lots of good seafood and lots of laughter and fellowship. I hope they’ll consider making this an annual event! During those two weeks Redgie & I (as usual when we make the trip to one of our properties) spent time fixing, upgrading, replacing, stocking and generally making sure the condos were all ready for the busy summer season.

Apr 21 Jan & Lanny at the Back Porch

Lanny & Jan

When we got home to CO at the end of the month we were just in time for a spring blizzard which dumped several inches of heavy, wet snow everywhere. What a shock to my system! But, we need the moisture so I didn’t complain (too much!)

Apr - Beach and Snow view

 MAY: We went back to Lynchburg on May 14 to pack up the rental house and put everything in storage. Since the time we started advertising the house as a vacation rental till the time we had to stop advertising we had taken 5 bookings and were able to honor all of the bookings, for which we were grateful. The good news was that it supported our hunch that Lynchburg is a good location for vacation rentals. But it was still very bittersweet to un-do everything that we had just spent 6 weeks doing. We were scheduled to sell the house to the new owner on May 19 but the closing was delayed for a couple of weeks. While we were in Lynchburg we spent some time with our local realtor and looked at lots of new properties. Eventually we found one located only 4 minutes from the Liberty campus and made an offer, which was accepted. And so for the 2nd time in 6 months we started the process of buying another home.

On May 30 Redgie and I boarded an overseas flight for a 2-week Baltic Cruise that we were sharing with 8 other couples – 18 of us in all! We were cruising on the Princess Cruise line, which was very enjoyable. We had a day and a half in Copenhagen and then on Friday we boarded our ship, the Regal Princess to begin a 12-night Baltic cruise!

Our itinerary included stops at the following ports of call:

Oslo, Norway 6/3/17
Berlin, Germany 6/5/17
Tallinn, Estonia 6/7/17
St. Petersburg, Russia 6/8/17 – 6/9/17
Helsinki, Finland 6/10/17
Stockholm, Sweden 6/11/17
Copenhagen, Denmark 6/13/17

We had such a great time visiting a part of the world we had never been to and sharing those experiences with so many of our good friends.

(Click on a photo in the collage to view its caption)

 JUNE & JULY: We didn’t get home from the cruise until June 13. On June 26 we were back in Lynchburg to attend the 1st of two County Zoning Commission public meetings to address our application to operate a short-term rental in Campbell County. As soon as we got home we headed up to Dillon to spend our annual 4th of July holiday week at our condo there. We love spending this time up in Dillon! There is so much to see and do during the summer time. It is our favorite time of year in Dillon. Every time we go up to Dillon I hear Redgie say at least once “I love it here!”

It was during July that we received word that our dear friend Don Robnett passed away after a long battle with cancer. He & his wife Jan had been housemates at the BBH with us and Dave & Lynn for a while and it was during that time that we grew to love them both. Our hearts broke for Jan’s loss and we still think of and miss Don’s sweet smile all these months later. 


Our good friend Don Robnett passed away on July 2, 2017. We miss him…

AUGUST & SEPTEMBER: On August 1 we were back in Lynchburg to attend the final public hearing to approve our application for a special use permit. Good news, it was approved!

Aug 1 Celebrating at Monkee Joes

We celebrated the approval of our Special Use Permit with a visit to Monkee Joe’s Ice Cream…yum!

We went back home for a couple of weeks and then came back to close on the purchase of the new house on August 16. What a process! But FINALLY we could get the house put together and start taking bookings.

The new house (called “Candlers Mountain Retreat”) is located just 4 minutes from the Liberty University campus, which will be a great benefit to the families who rent our home while visiting their student at LU, or alumni coming for a game, or online students coming to attend some Intensive classes.

Right behind the house is a horse farm. Our favorite “neigh-bor” is William the Donkey. He’s a real friendly cutie!

(Click on a photo in the collage to view its caption)

Little did we know that it would take 7 weeks before we were finished and back home again. The rest of the month of August and all of September saw big changes at the new house: new wood floors, new paint, new appliances for the kitchen, new washer/dryer, plantation shutters for all of the windows and some new furniture & bedding since this house had one more bedroom and one more living space than the first one. My favorite project was the very large accent wall in the main living/dining/kitchen area that we covered with whitewashed shiplap. It was a true DIY projects and looks awesome (if I may say so myself!

To view all of the “after” renovation photos of the property please visit our website here.

It wasn’t all work and no play, though. Redgie & I enjoyed going to Convocation at Liberty, attending services at Thomas Road Baptist Church and a couple of football games at Liberty too! Go Flames!


Reg and Dane at Convocation at Liberty


The “71” flag is in honor of Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr.


The “Spirit of the Mountain” marching band performs during a football game

Jan 29 TRBC

A Sunday service at Thomas Road Baptist Church

Reg took a side trip to Altoona in September to participate in the annual Precious Life Golf Tournament. He enjoys playing golf in this tournament with the same buddies from Altoona that go to Myrtle Beach together every year. He got to see his sister Tammy & her husband Mark for one evening before they headed up to Clarion to celebrate their granddaughter’s 3rd birthday.

OCTOBER & NOVEMBER: We enjoyed a couple of beautiful autumn weeks at home at the beginning of October. Reg & I (and Bebe) took as many e-bike rides as we could fit in during this peaceful interlude.

Bebe turned 9 years old on Oct 8.


Happy 9th Birthday Bebe!

By Oct 21 we were on our way to FL for our annual fall trip to the beach condos. My sister Vickie and two of her best friends from high school (Ellen and Patty) joined us for the first week. They stayed in one condo and we stayed in the other. Vickie, Ellen & Patty had a wonderful week reminiscing, laughing and talking. I had fun with them whenever I joined them (which was often since Redgie had to travel a good bit that week.)

We left FL and traveled straight to Lynchburg on November 8 to spend the long weekend at the new house with a group of our friends from Altoona. Steve & Sue, Mark & Cathy and Ken joined us for a Liberty-filled weekend. (All are alumni except for Sue, who graduated from Penn State but we don’t hold that against her!)  🙂

We went to convocation on Friday, ate lunch at the student cafeteria, attended a basketball game Friday night, went to the football game on Saturday and attended church at Thomas Road Sunday morning before everyone hit the road to go home. We had SO much fun! I hope we’ll be able to plan many more weekend getaways like that in the future.

Val, Cathy & Sue

Val, Cathy & Sue

The gang at the Snowflex

The gang at the Snowflex at the top of the LU campus

Thanksgiving dinner was at our house and we were happy to share it with Shannon & Robert and Brady & his girlfriend Colbie. After dinner Redgie and the kids played a fun game of “Ticket to Ride”. Everyone had fun!

Thanksgiving fun

The next day (on Redgie’s 59th birthday) we headed up to Dillon to spend two nights. We swapped all of the summer decorations & bedding for the winter decorations & bedding and decorated the condo for Christmas. That is always fun! We went to Pugs for dinner and Redgie enjoyed seeing his “local friends” there as always. (He says he feels like Norm on the TV series “Cheers” because whenever he shows up the local guys yell “Regggg!”)

DECEMBER: Since being home from Dillon I’ve been spending time decorating the house for Christmas and shopping for & wrapping all of the gifts that needed to be mailed. Now that that’s done, it’s time to get our Christmas cards ready to mail. I may be the only dinosaur left who writes long Christmas letters and sends actual mailed Christmas cards! But since I’m a terrible correspondent all of the rest of the year I’m willing to do it if you are willing to read it!

We are looking forward to a real family Christmas this year since Brooks & Christina will be here in CO with us during the holiday. They are wrapping up their time in Pensacola because Brooks has received his new assignment and will be stationed back in San Diego! They are very happy about that! Brooks’ new assignment will be as the “Mini Boss” of a new ship: the USS Portland, which will be commissioned next April. They are looking forward to the move to San Diego next February. We’ll miss being able to see them (and our granddog Rhino) when we go down to Florida; it’s been great having them so close by in Pensacola.

Brooks, Christina, Rhino in Pensacola

Shannon & Robert will be with us at Christmas, also. Shannon keeps busy working for Sugar Palm Rentals (the same property management company that also employs me part-time) as well as helping me with VRAssist. She also drives for Uber & Lyft whenever she wants to earn some quick extra money. Robert continues to work as an air-frame mechanic on a mobile response team. It means he is traveling a good bit of the time which has been an adjustment for both of them, but I think he enjoys the challenge and enjoys traveling to new places. Our granddogs Bruno & Roxie & grandcat Ruby/Ruben (long story!) are all well and happy that their mommy does not have to leave them alone every day when she goes to work.


Also joining us for Christmas is our youngest, Brady. Even though he does not live far from us we don’t get to see him very much because of his demanding work schedule at Enterprise. Brady lives in the Wash Park area of Denver, sharing a house with 3 roommates and a dog named Benji (a real cutie!) He and Colbie have been dating for more than a year and he seems very happy. I’m glad for any time we are able to spend with Brady so I am really looking forward to Christmas this year with all of our kids and their “significant others”.

If you are still reading this letter then I thank you for your dedication! We love each and every one of you and think of you often throughout the year, though you wouldn’t know it since I don’t write much. That’s why I’m telling you now!

We wish you all the very merriest of Christmases, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Blessings to you,

Redgie, Valerie & Bebe

Reg & Val Christmas 2016