Christmas morning (Tuesday), we were up by 7:30 am and opened up a few presents from family and friends and it was very nice. We received a lot of candy and snacks (just what we needed) but appreciated the gifts. The rest of the morning was quiet except for 15 minutes of “face time” with Erin and her children. By noon we were finally into the showers and making a serious effort to get dressed. Pam put some ham in the oven to warm up and frosted a cake she made yesterday and at 3:20 pm we loaded up the ham, cake and cookies and headed to the Lagae’s for Christmas dinner. Jerald and Samantha had cooked a turkey and side dishes and invited neighbors (Laura & Matt) from their cul-de-sac and Marisol Perry’s mother (from the ward) who was home alone. We had also invited Alexis Connelly and by 4:15 pm everyone was present, and we had a prayer and began enjoying the meal and visiting. Everyone enjoyed Christmas morning and the Lagae children had received a lot of nice gifts. The highlight for the Lagae children was a swing set outside on their front lawn. By 5:00 pm we had eaten all we could and sat back and visited and talked about our day and then we said our goodbyes. In the evening we received calls from our children checking on us and it was the best part of the day.
Wednesday morning, we received a few pictures from our children on Christmas activities and it was fun to see them. Our grandchildren were getting big and old—how did that happen? I drove to the Naval Station and got a prescription filled at the clinic. Back home we did some work on our military-member list and re-arranged them by base with the goal to present something to Salt Lake about the need for a couple serving the Naval Air Station. At noon we drove to Costco and a little shopping then on to BJ’s where we filled up the van with gas and finally a little shopping at nearby Wal-Mart. We had a late lunch back to our apartment where we authored a letter to our undocumented military families in hopes they would respond. We ended mailing out 33 letters all over the mission and that would be our last-ditch effort before we started eliminating names from our lists. Pam had a nice visit with Johanna this evening.
Thursday morning, we left for the USO at 9:30 am and Dave Ostrum opened the facility. There was no bread or pastries today, so we began taking down the two large Christmas trees in the entrance and by the kitchen. After getting them boxed and bagged, I took down and boxed up all the Christmas village pieces over the cabinets in the office. Dave and I then went into the attic and arranged a few things before lifting up all the toys and clothes left over from the Christmas drive. We concluded the day taking down two more small Christmas trees and getting them boxed up ready to move upstairs. James McCullough would have a lot to do on his shift moving Christmas items into the attic. We hoped he would have help because he couldn’t do it himself. We left at 1:00 pm and returned to Arlington Hills area and had some lunch and then returned to our apartment. Pam worked on a dinner for the Fort Caroline Elders. At 5:00 pm I picked them up (Elders Hansen and Wojnar) and returned to our apartment. We had a nice visit and learned that Elder Hansen was from Riverton and Elder Wojnar from Bountiful. Pam fixed a wonderful dinner and following the meal we visited, and the Elders gave us a message.
Saturday morning began a morning of cleaning and laundry. I took down the Christmas tree and decorations and carefully packed them away for another year and then vacuumed the house while Pam cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen. At noon we drove to Costco and bought some stamps and returned a shirt. Back in Arlington we had lunch and then stopped at Wal-Mart and bought some page protectors for our scrapbook. We were at our apartment by 4:00 pm and Pam made some soup for tomorrow’s “Linger Longer” event at the Jacksonville Beach Ward.
Sunday morning Pam was up early and put the soup in a crock pot and began warming it for the “Linger Longer” activity at the Jacksonville Beach Ward. We left for church at 9:00 am and visited with the saints as they arrived and were pleased to see Chris & Shay Tuttle come in with their new baby. Also, the Jarvis’ were home from their vacation up north and had a great time. Samantha Lagae joined us for Sacrament meeting and Jerald and the kids were in the nursery. Didn’t see the Blacks, Heads or Alexis so hoped they were okay. Sacrament meeting was excellent, and Brother Christianson welcomed Chris Tuttle home from deployment and that was nice. Following the meeting we met in the relief society room for the final gospel principles class of the year and for the foreseeable future as the class was being eliminated next year. During the 3rd hour the Aaronic priesthood set up tables in the cultural hall and within 10 minutes all the pot luck food was set out and following a blessing the ward family began eating and enjoying the “Linger Longer.” There was a lot of good food and it was fun to visit around and enjoy the meal. Pam’s soup was a hit. After an hour, cleanup began, and we gathered up our things and said goodbyes all around and left for our apartment. On the way home, we stopped at two homes to see if we could meet the new military families in the Arlington Ward, the Gardner’s and Bankston’s but neither was home so would try again later.