O Tannenbaum!

It’s hard to believe it’s Christmas eve and the temperature outside is 74 degrees. It’s supposed to be 72 degrees tomorrow so a white Christmas sure ain’t gonna happen this year. While the kids would love some snow, they’ve been having fun playing corn hole and horseshoes and other outside games. They’re all really excited about their individual Christmas trees and it’s all very hush-hush. No one is telling anyone about their tree so it’ll be a big surprise tomorrow morning. To tell the truth, Ben and I (and the other dads) are about as excited as the kids.
We’re planning on a HUGE crowd tomorrow over at the Koala Cove club house. The entire gang will be there… plus the grandparents and probably several others. There’ll be lots of food – the Christmas zip-line – and fun for all. We’ll give you a full report afterwards.
Ben and I (and the whole Table Rock gang) wish all of you a safe, healthy, Happy Holiday with lots to eat and good times with family and friends. MERRY CHRISTMAS. We love you! xoxo

Merry Christmas to all !

—Hi. It’s Keon. David sent a text inviting us to tag on to the URD Christmas post. Looks like I’m first. Rick and I will be celebrating five years of marriage tomorrow. It’s been a wonderful 5 years and we’re looking forward to “happily ever-after-ing.” I’d like share something that happened last Saturday evening. Rick, Travon and I were finishing dinner and Tra said “How come you guys don’t speak French?” I said “We just never learned, I guess.” He said “I’ll teach you if you want.” I said “That’d be great.” So we agreed he’ll teach us one new sentence every day. Think about it. Three years ago, this kid who didn’t even speak came into our lives – and now he’s teaching us French. He’s amazing and I couldn’t tell you how much we love him. Anyway, yesterday’s French-lesson sentence was “We wish you a Merry Christmas.” That’s “Nous vous souhaitons un Joyeux Noël” in French – and that’s what we’re wishing all of you! xoxo Keon and Rick
—Hey, guys. It’s Cal. Merry Christmas! We’re all excited about Christmas day over at the Koala Cove clubhouse. We’re so fortunate to be living here at the Lake in our “Covid-free bubble,” where we can all be together for the Holidays. Bella and Chance are about as excited as they can be. Bella is really happy to have Alyssa in her life now – and not being the only girl in the group. Chance is doing better and better with his Cochlear implant and he continues to speak with my Aussie accent. He struggles a bit when he’s around people who’re wearing masks because that makes lip-reading impossible. But he’s a trooper and always the happiest kid around. We wish you good health and happiness in the Holidays. xoxo Cal and Alex
—Happy Holidays, guys. This is Chad. It’s been an amazing year as our little family has grown… and now, we’re four. Matty is growing like a weed and is a little upset that the school break is so long. He loves school and especially loves reading. “Santa” is bringing him a “Kindle + kid-friendly content” for Christmas. Alyssa is settling in and enjoying her own room and bathroom. She’s had Bella over for two sleepovers and the chatter and laughing seem to go on all night. Tomorrow will be a big day as we celebrate with our Table Rock gang. Merry Christmas to all… we love you. Chad and Raef
—Hey, all. It’s Ty and we’re wishing you a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Obviously, 2020 has been a struggle, but vaccines are now becoming available and are a Christmas blessing for sure. Austin is excited about Christmas and having all the kids over for a “movie night sleepover” on New Years eve. Stay safe and take time to love your friends and family. Ty and Damien
—It’s David. We’ll be the last in this post to add Holiday wishes for you all. As Ty said, 2020 has been a struggle, but we’ve managed to make the best of it and stay healthy and happy here at the Lake. Dub is excited about Christmas even though he’s bummed that the grands won’t be here for the celebration. We’ll “FaceTime” with them tomorrow from Koala Cove – as we count our many blessings. Since Dub has been earning lots of money this year (Nathan insists on paying him $10.00 per hour – cash), he’s bought presents (on-line) for all his friends. I got a new credit card just for his use. Every time he orders something from Amazon, or wherever, he brings me the exact amount of cash for the card charges. I told him he could just wait till the bill gets here at the end of the month and pay me then, but he insists on paying as he goes. He’s a wonderful – and very responsible – young man. Ben and I hope your Holiday will be “merry and bright” – filled with good health and every happiness. xoxo David and Ben

Hot stuff, dude. Just wish we could see your face!

From David:
Things are finally settling down after a wonderful (if somewhat frantic) holiday at the lake and at home. Ben, Keon and I will all have a go at telling you about it.
Most of us arrived at Tablerock on Christmas eve afternoon. The cabin roofs were all outlined with lights – and Jim and a friend had put two pine Christmas trees in each of our cabins – ready for decorations. The kids had great fun going from cabin-to-cabin putting on lights and ornaments. We all spent Christmas Eve in our own cabins (or condos) so we could have family Christmas and “Santa” on Christmas morning.
On Christmas day, we all went to Cal and Alex’ for the big celebration. There were 25 of us, which included the Grands, Jim and Carol and Roberta and Mr Martinez. Alex’ decorations were breath-taking. Their cabin was an absolute Christmas wonderland done in silver and green with a beautifully decorated 12′ pine tree. We had wondered how they were going to seat us all for meals, but Alex had that covered with 5 square folding card tables, one round folding table and 25 (numbered) folding chairs. For each group meal, we filled our plates cafeteria-style and drew a number at the end of the food line. Then we each sat at the table with our numbered chair. It was a stroke of genius on Alex’ part because we all got to sit with different people at each meal. It was fun, and the kids absolutely loved it!
The highlight of Christmas Day was a “zip line” Cal and Alex had had built on one side of their living room. The kids (wearing Santa’s helper hats) would climb the five steps up to a small platform and straddle the seat. Then someone would hand them a gift and they’d announce “present for (whomever) from Santa” and ride down the zip line and tumble off (with the gift) into a box filled with brightly decorated foam cubes. What fun!
To keep this short as possible, I won’t go into all the gifts exchanged and received. I’ll just say it was an excellent Christmas and the kids all got their most wanted items. One highlight was the Apple watches the Grands gave each of the kids. They absolutely love them!
We wrapped up the holiday at the lake and headed home on Saturday so we’d be back in time to go the Chiefs’ game on Sunday. xoxo David
From Keon:
The Chiefs played the Chargers on Sunday and we took the kids (first game at Arrowhead for most of them). There were 14 of us, but no Bella who was adamant that “sitting out there freezing your tush off is just stupid.”
It was cold indeed, but we were all bundled up like Eskimos and the excitement of the game kept us decently warm. Of course a 31-21 victory and the news of New England’s defeat by the lowly Miami Dolphins helped. We’re all super-pumped at the Chiefs’ prospects for the playoffs – and soccer fan that I am, I have to admit that watching Mecole Hardman run a kickoff back for 104 yards is pretty damned exciting! xoxo Keon
From Ben:
Since David covered Christmas at the lake and Keon told you about the Chiefs’ game, I’ll tell you about New Years Eve.
Ty, Damien and Austin invited the kids over to their house to celebrate the New Year with movies, fireworks at midnight and a sleep-over in their media room. Since the kids were away, David and I invited Keon, Rick, Cal and Alex over for pizza, margaritas, smoke and fun in the hot tub. That afternoon, Chad called and wanted to know what our plans were. I told him and he said “O.K. if Raef and I join you?” I said “Sure! We would have invited you but didn’t know how Raef would feel about our ‘activities’ “. He laughed and said “How about if we come over and if Raef gets uncomfortable we can leave early.” So after dinner and drinks and lots of smoke, there were eight of us naked in the hot tub when our phones started ringing and the kids called to wish us a “Happy New Year.” Obviously our “activities” didn’t offend Raef because he and Chad did not leave early. After the hot tub, we spread quilts out on the living room floor, turned out the lights and jumped in a big naked pile. I couldn’t possibly think of a more wonderful way to bring in 2020! xoxo Ben