20th Annual Forever Friends Gathering

January 16th was our chance to get together with some of our dear friends, all of which we’ve known for 30 years or more. I’m not sure if it’s really our 20th year of doing this, but it’s been a long time.  It started when we lived in Southern California for 18 years and nearly every winter we’d come back to Phoenix between Christmas and New Year’s to visit family and friends.  We always tried to reserve one day to gather with a few of our dear friends that we’ve known since the late 70’s when we lived here in AZ the first time.  Most of these friends were married around the same time as us and had children at around the same time.  Our kids have known each other since birth and hopefully our grandkids will be the same.
This year the Mozingos graciously hosted the gathering.  It’s really one of our favorite places to go, because it’s like going out of town, even though they’re still in the metro Phoenix area.  You’ll see why from the photos.

This first pic is the inside of their front door.  They built this adobe home themselves and it has so many gorgeous touches that make it unique.  I just love the character of it.  The sidelight is made from the bottom of wine bottles.  I love the way the light shines thru it.

Most of us arrived by mid-afternoon so we could watch the Cardinals playoff game against New Orleans.  We had high hopes, but if you know anything about football, you’ll know that they lost miserably, so the attention soon turned to the delicious food, wonderful fellowship and beautiful weather outside.

We each brought something to contribute to the meal.  Appetizers, drinks, desserts, soups, etc.  I won’t go into a lot of detail because I forgot to take pictures of the food before it was picked over, but as always, we had so much more than we could eat and EVERYTHING was amazing!  If you don’t want to come to these gatherings for any other reason, you will come for the food.  We are all very good at putting on a good spread.

During half time, many of us wandered outside to get our minds off the game and to see the latest developments in the Mozingo compound.  Some of us were fortunate to get a tour of Rand and Michelle’s winter garden.  Brimming with gorgeous greens, turnips, radishes, cauliflower, broccoli and more.  It was fun to see and sample so many delicious healthy treats.  Thanks Rand!  You’re a gardening inspiration.

After the tour we all just hung out in the back yard for a while.  I decided this year that I wanted to try to take a group photo at these annual gatherings so that we can look back at the growth and changes that have happened.  Sadly we haven’t done it all along, but we still have lots of photos of these times together each year.  And now that I have a tripod and a remote control for my camera, it makes it that much easier.

The Thompson clan was out in force, but the rest of the families were a bit light on kids.  I think our kids would have loved to be there, if they weren’t living in other states. We need to figure out a way to do this when they’re in town sometimes.  And Emolyn was the only grandchild here, so needless to say she was quite the center of attention.  I look forward to the day when there are scads of little ones running around, experiencing what true friendship looks like and the love, grace and joy that fills these times together.
Can you tell that her Uncle Tyler adores her?
She’s at that perfect age when she’ll do all kinds of “tricks” with the prompting of
adults around her. We saw many animal impersonations, ad-lib songs, dancing and so much more.
What a fun age she is!
And here’s Aunt Miranda singing with Em.
Enjoy the rest of these photos.  They are self-explanatory.  I hope you get a picture of this wonderful place, group of people and time together.  It’s one of our favorite gatherings of the year.  We wouldn’t miss it for the world.

We decided that next year we want to bring marshmallows, chocolate and Ginger Snaps and make a new kind of s’mores.  Doesn’t that sound delicious?  But what should we call them?


We had an awesome time at our Annual Friends’ Get Together on Saturday!

Check out the rest of the Family & Friends pics in the slideshow on the right.

As always, we enjoyed way too much food, even though we tried to keep it light this year. Everyone brought “leftovers” from the holidays, most of which were sweets. We also had a few appetizers, some great breads and 3 delicious homemade soups, absolutely amazing Seafood Bisque (thanks Michelle), Jay’s wonderful Chicken Vegetable, and a great new recipe for White Chicken Chili (Thanks Betty Crocker).

Then some of us played a new game (to us) called Traveling Pictionary (thanks Kevin). It’s tons of fun and all you need is paper, pens and a decent-sized group of people (like 6 or more). There are no winners or losers, just lots of laughing.

The rest of the gang sat by the warm fire outside and caught up on the latest in each other’s lives. I’m kinda sad that I didn’t get a chance to get out there by the fire. I was enjoying time with the “kids” and never got outside to enjoy the “grown-ups”. That’s one of my favorite times of year, slowing down for a few hours to catch up with some of our dear friends. What a blessing to have these people in our lives after over 30 years and seeing our children grow up together too! We love being back in town so we have more chances to enjoy these precious friendships.

Sadly we missed a few of the kids and regulars from the group, but we hope they get to join us next year. We really need to set a date now so we can all block it for next season.

We also stopped before the gathering at ASU to take some family photos in front of Grady Gammage, the beautiful auditorium designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. They’re in the slideshow as well. Enjoy!