Saturday, January 18, 2014

Christmas in Florida…Rumbold style

We decided this year to head to Florida to spend Christmas with our families.  But, as some of you know, only Wendi's family lives there, and not even all of them.  So, we sent out a plea to the Rumbold side and to Wendi's sister who lives in North Carolina, asking them to travel during the holiday season, so that we could see them on our trip to the states.  We believed that by traveling to only one US state, we would make the most of our time with our families, and Florida became the state of choice.  This, however, required the travels of those family members not residing in this warm, sunny state.

We were so blessed by the willingness and ability of those who made the trip, and we made memories there this past Christmas season that will NEVER be forgotten!  The first week of our trip back was spent with Ed's family in an amazing camp called Southwind, a Young Life Camp for students.  We rented out the camp and had available to us it's incredible facilities.  They had there enough room for all 27 of us in ONE gigantic house, which created such an atmosphere of homey-ness and family-ness.  As you will see from the pictures, Ed's parents came, as well as the families of Deryl & Sheri, Mike & Rachael, and Doug & Jessica.  We truly missed Jon & Jen's and Alan & Julie's families, in which are another 20 members…but, on that note, we were thrilled to meet up with Al & Ju's family of 8 on a long layover in Chicago on our trip back to Slovakia!!!


Thanks to all who traveled south (or north to Chicago) to make this Christmas of 2013 such a much-needed time of rest and rejuvenation for our family.  This blessed time with the Rumbold side, which has cousins aplenty for everyone, made it a bit harder to leave to come back to Slovakia.  But what a treasure to have such close relationships in a family,  even though it makes it harder to be apart.  We love you, Rumbolds!!!

New Year's with the Heinigers

After our week at Southwind with the Rumbold side, we got back in Dad Heiniger's white minivan (he graciously lends us this van every time we visit Florida) and traveled to the beach…Merritt Island.  There we entered a gated vacation house to begin our second week of family time, but this time with Wendi's side.  Wendi's parents live near, as well as Brian and Lori's family, so Dad rented this amazing vacation home for the week so we could all easily be under one roof, plus have an incredible vacation setting.  Chad and Erin's family drove down from Virginia that same day (thanks, guys!), where they had been celebrating Christmas with Chad's family, so we were all together again for an entire week!

The week was perfect!  We are 19 total on that side, and cousin time was precious…but so was sister/mom time, and guy time, and couple time, and whole group time…all of it was just exactly what we needed to refresh and encourage us.  Dad and Mom had planned so many fun things to do throughout the week for young and old.  AND…as a bonus to all of us, Grandma Milly and Aunt Mary flew down for 3 days, just to be with us.  Now, years ago that would have been considered sweet and fun, but this trip was that - and more...much more.  Because, you see, my Grandma Milly is now, since September 2nd, 90 years old.  Her willingness to travel with her daughter and her oxygen made us so thankful and blessed!  We so enjoyed every minute of our time with them those three days, and will treasure those memories made forever!!

Picking up Grandma and Mary at the airport
Ladies' lunch at the Olive Garden

Grandma Milly even wanted to fish!!
What a trouper…but with no luck.

Sweet conversations and sweet memories

Thanks to all who made this week in Merritt Island a treasure chest of memories for us and good conversations, times of bonding and connecting, and laughter that was indeed good medicine to our souls!  We love you, Heinigers!!