Tuesday, December 29, 2009


"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” Edith Lovejoy Pierce

I saw this saying and thought what an appropriate way to look at starting a new year. Each year we are given a book with blank pages to fill in. I'm wishing you all the best as you start filling in your blank pages. Everyone have a fun filled, yet safe Happy New Year! Love you all.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A little more Christmas

I just wanted to share a little more Christmas with ya'll. It came and went so fast this year.

December 23 we had our last "official" event. It was a new one for us this year. We did it for some of our very own neighbors....the Polk County Sheriff's office was able to help 6 family's right in our own neighborhood and Santa was invited along to help hand out gift. This is Santa in front of the tree at the Eloise Resource Center where the event took place.

Our own Scott D'Elf noticed Santa's reflection in the bulbs. Wish I had a better camera but I still like the effect of this.

Every year Hut and I get invited to his ex-mother in laws house for the Christmas party. Santa always manages to be there. Here is Santa with Alicia, Hut's daughter.

And here's our grandson C.J. posing with Santa. I have no idea where Hut is (wink, wink).

Alairah, our granddaughter is at that stage of being scared of Santa. She has a death grip on her other grandmother, Susan.

The day after Christmas we met up with Scott, Wade, Diana and Layla at Bass Pro Shop. Of course Grampy got lost and we couldn't find him. Seems he went to the North Pole.

Grampy with the reindeer.

Layla posing with the reindeer. We hadn't found Grampy yet, so that's why she's posing alone.

Daddy made it snow on Layla and she's loving it.

My little angel Layla posing in front of the Christmas tree in Central Park in downtown Winter Haven.

Mommy, Layla and Daddy in front of the tree.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ooops....2 posts today

This actually makes number 3, lol. I accidentally did two posts today so make sure you don't miss them. Happy Holidays!

Some Crazy Christmas Pictures

We took some goofy pictures over the course of all our events this year and I just wanted to share them with you all. Even though we do many events and we are tired by Christmas.....it's a good tired. And we get goofy at times, whether it be from stress or being tired...we just let loose and have some fun.State Farm had a snowman contest. This snowman allowed you to be a snowperson so here I am.Hanging with my homies. Santa and Scott D'Elf goofing around.My "pimpin'" Santa. Don't you just love his hat.Scott and Liz trying to imitate the real thing, lol.

Posing with the real Santa.

Molly's first good look at Santa. She's looking right into his eyes.
Now she's realizing there's cookies to be eaten.
Layla's visit with Santa. She has no idea that it's Grampy.

Look at that happy face.

Project Outreach

I posted a News Chief article about this event earlier. We do this event every year and it's one of our favorites. I just wanted to share some more photos now that I can upload photos. I am going to just put the photos out in the order of how we visited their houses.This was our first stop. These children were so excited and grateful. The youngest boy even gave Mrs. Claus a mood ring. It's the first gift she's ever received and she is going to cherish it.Our second stop produced two really shy children. Single mom household and she's had two heart surgeries recently. You will see on the counter top that Mom baked us some Cinnamon buns. YUMMY!!!Our next stop was a family with 5 children. Our next stop was in Auburndale, which was the next town over. This was the picture that was in the newspaper. This little girl lost both her parents within a year and now is living with her grandparents.This family was also mentioned in the newspaper. The woman is taking care of her children and her brother's children while the men try to find work.Another family with quite a few children. These children were so happy to see us. It just fills your heart with joy.This was a hard family to visit. They had lost their toddler just a month ago. Someone had accidently backed over the baby. It's hard to explain all the feelings going through you for something like that. I could not image what it would be like to lose a baby, especially at this time of year.This family is just a little down on their luck. Hopefully the New Year will get them back on their feet.This was our last stop and it was kind of funny. The police department contacts the parents numerous times before the event. Well they could not get a hold of the mom, they just spoke to the oldest son all the time. He failed to let his mom know we were coming so she was REALLY surprised! But she was so happy! It is so worth it every year to bring some joy to families who would have little or nothing.

This is a token photo of Scott posing with some of WHPD's finest. Without these men and many other officers, this event would not take place.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Country Christmas Parade

Since my computer was down with a virus I haven't had a chance to blog. Now it's time to play catch up. We went to a Christmas Parade in the small town of Polk City a couple of weeks ago. So here are the photos I took of it.

All of the floats were pulled by tractors. I liked the tractors more than the floats, so sorry, not pictures of the floats. Of course hindsight is 20/20 and I realized I should have taken pictures of the floats. There's always next year, lol.

This is the second tractor.

This guy just had his tractor in the parade with no float.

This guy was pulling the most important float of all and YES I did take a picture of this float.

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus ..........................

And there they are ......Santa and Mrs. Claus. What a way to arrive in Polk City. This was a short parade but one of the best I've ever been too. Hopefully we can go back again next year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Not Wanted

This is kind of a depressing blog, but I want to know....do you ever feel like you're not wanted? The past two days comments have been made that make me feel like I'm not wanted, I'm not welcome. It stems from a decision I made over a month ago. I do not regret that decision, yet I'm made to feel like I'm the bad guy and I'm not welcome to join in some family events. If I'm not welcome, that's fine, but others will suffer for it, too. Thank you for letting me vent, although, right now, I'm not feeling any better. I'm almost wishing the holiday season were already over with so I could get on with my life and not have to deal with these people that I try to keep happy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Palm Gardens gets a vist from Santa

The Winter Haven Police Department does alot of wonderful events during the holiday season. Once of them is visiting the Palm Gardens nursing home and entertaining the residents and handing out gifts to them. Santa always pays them a visit as does the Pinewood Elementary School Chorus. It's lots of fun for all.

This is officer Terry Bowden introducing the event to the residents.

This is Santa and Mrs. Claus' friend Jean. Jean works at the nursing home.

This is after the event. We all got together for a photo.

Front Page News!

Santa and Mrs. Claus made the front page of the local newspaper here in Polk County and I wanted to share with you all.


With sirens wailing and service lights flashing, the Winter Haven Police Department delivered a little Christmas to nine families and 30 children for Operation Reach Out on Saturday.

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus accompanied the multivehicle team as it raced throughout the city and announced its arrival at each destination with plenty of fanfare.

The police department started Operation Reach Out in 1995 with Officer Terry Bowden of the school-based DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program involved as the coordinator each year. "We used to find those in need in the community a long time ago when we had a bike unit," Bowden said. "Since we lost the bike unit, I meet with the DARE officers who meet with the (Polk County) school officials and guidance counselors, and that is how we get our (list of ) families."

In 1995, when Operation Reach Out had only three or four families to help, the police officers would buy the food and gifts, Bowden said. "We still let the officers buy kids toys," Bowden said. "They get sizes for the children that are posted on a wreath (in the department) and they select a child's name and the wish and go purchase it and wrap it and bring it back to be distributed.
"In the last year, Wal-Mart has been involved, and so we use their money and go shopping with the police and community officers. They wrap the gifts, and that includes the staff and officers' gifts that are all put together for distribution.

Through the SHARE Food Network, $50 worth of groceries can be purchased for $27, Bowden said. "The Police Benevolent Association provides the money for the families' meals," he said. "The meals are already packaged by the SHARE people and we pick them up and deliver them that day along with the gifts." The SHARE menu for the holidays this year is a ham and all the trimmings.

Among its stops, the Christmastime caravan visited Maribel Fuentes, who was looking after her two children and her brother's two children. "Business is slow right now," Fuentes said. "I am in landscaping. If there isn't a lot of grass to cut this time of year, there is no work."

Bowden said Operation Reach Out can serve about nine families annually.
"There have been many other calls for assistance, and those calls have been referred to other agencies or emergency services," the officer said. "Sometimes people call us as a last resort and we take them on as an emergency and then help them out."Bowden said that those associated with the program have seen an increase in families needing help. Some of the stories they hear are about people who have lost their jobs through layoffs or for other reasons."Many have a lot of kids and they are working, but it is just not enough," Bowden said. "A lot of ours are tragedies, where children lost their parents and grandparents are taking care of the kids."

Ten-year-old Noel Owens lost each of her parents within a year of one another. Santa and company came to the Gillard home, where Noel resides with her grandparents, Lee and Shirley Gillard. "There sure are a lot," Noel said after being presented a bag filled with wrapped presents.

"The young children get more and that is because their gifts cost less," Bowden said. "The children get at least three or four gifts each. A lot of them will get clothes. One family wanted warmer coats this year. When we go shopping, we buy toys and clothes. They (the families) are going to be really blessed."

Those who contributed to Operation Reach Out this year "are people who are thankful they have jobs and want to help other people," Bowden said. "It is good for our community."
Assisting with the deliveries, which included candy cane giveaways, were several police officers and Winter Haven Police Chief Buddy Waters, his wife, Betty, and their dog, Sassy, who, dressed for Christmas. Police Capt. David Brannan and his wife, Kim, have participated in Operation Reach Out each of the past four years. "We help distribute and deliver the gifts after other volunteers have had the fun of shopping for the families," Kim Brannan said.

After photographs are taken with family members and Santa and Mrs. Claus at each stop, the caravan would head to the next household with police sirens and lights on.

"I have been volunteering with the police department for seven years doing things like taking children's fingerprints," Jim Bernardoni said. "For this program, I helped wrap and load the gifts. I do this because I love working with kids and I love to see them smile."

This is an awesome event we do every year and we just love it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Birthday To My Wonderful First Born

My Biker "Baby"

It's hard to believe that yesterday (12/19) my oldest son turned 25. It seems like only yesterday he was a teeny tiny little guy. Now he's married with his own family. Where does the time go? Our journey through his life together has had a few bumps, but what a wonderful journey it has been so far. And I am looking forward to the journey we have ahead of us. I LOVE YOU, WADE!

Wade and his beautiful family, Diana and Layla with Rossi in the wings, lol.

Layla sharing a milkshake with Daddy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sorry, I'm not really a slacker.

I am having issues with my computer right now so I am unable to upload any pictures of all the cool things we've been doing. If I could upload from work, I would,but unfortunately I can't. I'll figure out something. For example, this past weekend we went to 3 Christmas parades and 2 Christmas Festivals. That was fun just for us because this week Santa and the Mrs. with Scott D'Elf making cameos, is busy, busy, busy. Wednesday is our only free day. But of course now that I've stated that, someone will call and need us then. But that's okay because I just LOVE this time of year. We also saved another dog this past weekend. We brought home a bassett hound from one of the Christmas Festivals. Scott somehow found himself talking to a city worker who said the dog had been abandoned and that they were going to call Animal Control to come pick it up. Our Animal Control holds animals for 30 days and if no one shows up to claim it, they try for another 30 days to adopt it out. After that the animal gets euthanized. So once Hut heard Animal Control, he told the girl, we'll take the dog home. We named him Baxter, but I think that's going to change to Buddy because that's what we all call him, lol. He's taking to our other pets really well and our other pets are still getting used to him. Once I can upload photos, I'll post some pictures. Tonight we are off to an event with Foster children. We did this event last year and it became one of our favorites. Last year Santa got to sit down and color with the kids and they all had a blast. So we are looking forward to this one. Tomorrow night is Santa calling. This is an event where we call children whose parents have registered them for the calls. I will not be Mrs. Claus, I will be the North Pole Operator. I will place the call to let the children know that Santa is on the line for them. We will do this for about 2 hours. Hut's been doing this for close to 10 years now. I've only been able to do it for the last couple. But we get to do it together and we have alot of fun. Thursday is a really busy day for us. We have 3 events that day. I had to take the day off. In the morning we do an event with the police department at a local nursing home. Last year was the first year I did this event. It's just as much fun as doing an event with children. Those older people are so happy to have a change in their lives for a few hours. The police department hands out gifts, we sing songs, we go caroling down the halls for people who can't leave their rooms. In the afternoon we have a new event with a place that helps adults with psycological problems (I'm trying to be politically correct here, but I'm not sure I am, oh well). So I can't really say anthing about this event. Thursday night is our Snow Central here in Winter Haven. The City supplies snow to play in and slide down. Santa and his helpers will be there, bounce houses for the kids, lots of vendors. It's always tons of fun. Friday night we do another event for different Foster children. Hut's done this one for the past 3 years, this is my second year. It's a good event, we have fun doing it. Saturday we have 2 more events, Project Outreach with the Winter Haven Police Department and the Police Department Christmas Party. Project Outreach is through the DARE program. It's a program to try to keep kids away from Drugs. Officer Terry Bowden is the one who heads up this program. He gets a list of about 12 families in need from the local schools. Not only do the police officers by gifts for the kids, but food is also taken for the family to have a good meal on Christmas. Walmart donates $2,500 every year to help out with this. It's a great cause and we love doing this one. The police department Christmas Party I've helped with off and on during the past 10 years or so. Hut's been doing it a loooooong time. We enjoy this. It's great to be able to mingle with law enforcement with their families. That's a side of them most people don't get to see. After that we have nothing booked yet. But you never know. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures from these events in the near future.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Scott's firepit

Scott has been dying to build and use a fire pit. We had some fire resistant blocks that he scrounged up and built a "redneck" fire pit. The other night after the cold rain it was perfect for a fire.
Scott really made it a redneck fire by pulling out the seat of his truck to sit on.
Bailey has joined Scott in enjoying the fire.Not one to be outdone, Molly is now enjoying the fire with Scott.
Hut finally makes his way to the warmth.
Here's Hut giving Liz a hard time about ALABAMA beating the Gators in football.