Our Christmas and New Year 2017

We had a whirlwind driving trip over the Christmas break, driving up from Houston to NE Dallas area to pick up our Aunt  Doris (sister to Bob's mom).  That's a 5 hour drive for us, then on to NJ from there  - 1500 miles over 2 days.   Each way, then our trip back to Houston area.    I'm getting too old to handle these get there as fast as you can trips... but then again it would have been 8 travel days instead of 6 if we added one day on each end.   That's exhausting too.  Aunt Doris had not seen Mom since 2011, travel is difficult for her now.   Happy she agreed to go with us driving, flying was not an option.

The town my husband grew up in is so quaint.  I love it there and would have always considered moving there.   I understand his reasons on why he did not want to work there, 2 hour commutes/traffic added to your work day is not fun.   But when you can stay in the community, oh my gosh I love it!  It was a community built to raise your family, the train stops there, walking distance from our house.   2 houses down and the shops start.   You can walk just a few quick blocks to restaurants, convenience stores, bakeries, delis, banks, doctors, parks.  Another community starts minutes away and the next town and on and on it goes.  No chain stores allowed in that town (10 minutes away yes...)  The yards are small but over the past 100 years, they are all beautifully landscaped.    Houses are EXPENSIVE there.  I can't imagine how jobs pay that much more to allow all these people to live there!  But somehow they do.

Ho-Ho-Kus Inn, established 1790.  George Washing stayed there, I think he may even be buried here or nearby but I don't remember for sure. 1 small block from home.

Doris Franson Friedel, Anita Franson Wagner, Bill  Franson
Bill Franson, Bill Wagner, Valerie Wagner, Doris Friedel, Anita Wagner,  Bob and Mickey Wagner.   Mom is 86 and Dad is 89.  Will be 90 in March.  Still walking everyday, still using the stairs.

Dave and Jack came to visit from Connecticut.  Bob and Dave met their freshman year @ Slippery Rock.   I met Dave in the 80's at TAMU  but our friendship really started after Bob and I changed from friends to dating which was 27 years ago.  Dave and Jack are among those few people that we have always been in contact with over the years since college days or even grade school.   You know, you probable have a few of those awesome friends too!

Jack, Dave, Bob, Doris, Anita, Bill
Gizzy went with us, too long to be at kennel and too much work for our 21 year old that stayed home.   He has days that he works 12 hours plus commute time and that does not work well for a small dog that likes to go out every 2-3 hours or a tired boy that gets home and does not want to deal with a needy dog after all that.

Our elf on a shelf!  He's not too happy about being there.   What a good dog.
The beginning of our trip, sunset coming in through the window at Aunt Doris' cabin at the lake.
It was very cold, wind chill of 5 and in Texas that is cold.... view taken from inside, one of the ponds - not the main lake is visible from her house. 

Her A-frame cabin during the summer when we were there.   For you quilters.... guess what awesome store in only 20 minutes away and we DRIVE right by on our way there?    Stitchin Heaven!
5 o'clock traffic somewhere  - and the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile!   The plates said "Big Buns"

Finally we get there, they had snow several days before but none fell while we were there, warmed up to rain even!   It was all gone by our 6th day.  Giz was afraid of the banks of snow but within 24 hours he was a pro.
I took a few pictures of the neighborhood on the last day.   Most of the snow is gone.  Giz loved walking around the block,  Sidewalks!  No getting feet wet in the grass. We walked 4-5 times a day.

Homes have the prettiest yards, tall trees for privacy.

Giz in Roanoke, VA  La Quinta.  Happy to be out of that car.

We stayed at La Quinta's coming and going.   A "suite" with 2 beds and a pull out sofa for Mickey.   No pet deposits - yeah!  

And finally - Happy New Year!
Mom and Dad are doing much better than this summer, both seem more accepting of Mom's memory losses and mobility issues.   Household arrangements, meals have all been taken care of.  Dad has been eating and sleeping, plans are in place.   Everyone is maintaining well.