29 January 2012

Comfort and Joy

Annual Adult Christmas Party

I loved Christmas this year a little extra. We had
several occasions to have lots of people in our home,
and it just felt good. So much good noise.
Then, the party would end and the door would
open and close, taking people with it.

Even though my family lives close by, the times we
are able to all get together seem to happen less
frequently because, well, no excuse seems valid.
But. It just doesn't happen often enough.
It finally dawned on me that I loved Christmas
a little extra this year because of our time together.

Mom and Dad host a Christmas dinner
and party for us, their children, every year. We
eat, laugh, and exchange gifts.
Mom and Dad always prepare the meal.

Eventually you realize that the reason God didn't
always answer your prayers is that He was
answering your mom's prayers.

Seriously? It happened again. Creed looked just
like dad at last years dinner. All dad is missing
is the jingle bell around his neck and you two
would be identical...shirts, vests, glasses,
and well, yes, the hair.

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody,
even one's own relatives.
~Oscar Wilde~

Molly and Matt

Steve and Bev

Dad's church tie. Tied by dad, for Creed.
Then, Rick painted it into a painting for Creed.

Rick and Deb

Creed and Ellen

I'm glad I take images like this one. Just a random
photo. But when I look at it I can feel that room.

Score! Tickets to a Sharks game from Steve and Bev.

Twentieth Annual Cousin Cookie Day

This is Davis.

This is Davis' Gummie Cookie.
Twenty-one Gummie's. We counted.

Ann, with Eliza, Benjamin, and Kate.

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that
the simplest things--not the great occasions--
give off the greatest glow of happiness.
~Bob Hope~

Anne Marie and Hailey

Anne Marie and Jeffrey


After decorating the cookies, we always have pizza
and ice cream cake to celebrate Ty's birthday.
(This year we tried to burn the house down.)


And then we decorate and eat more cookies!



Christmas Eve All-Family Party

We rotate from year to year hosting the party
This year, it was in our home.

We eat anywhere we can find a spot!

Lyn and Anne Marie

Game #1: Two people stand back
to back. Each person held a tray with several
Christmas items on it. One was organized and the other
was not. The goal was to describe to your partner
where to place each object so that both of the trays
would match. First team finished were the winners.

Yup! They match! We have a winner!


Game #2: Pass a bowl around with dice. If you throw the
number six you jump into the circle, put the Santa hat
and gloves on and try to unwrap as much of a multi-
layered Christmas gift as you can. If you are the person
that is opening it when the last layer is gone,
you get to keep the gift.
(In this case, Belgian Chocolates.)

One of my favorite visuals from that night was seeing
Emily yank that hat off from behind Jeffrey
when she rolled a six. Jeff had just gotten started.

Every single time Grandma got a turn to unwrap,
somebody else would roll a six right as she
finished getting the gloves on. If even!

Game #3: "Right/Left" game. Everyone brought
a $5.00 gift. I read a little Christmas story that was
full of the words "Left" and "Right." Every time I said
the words 'left' or 'right' each person passed the package
they were holding in that particular direction.
Pretty fun when you get going fast. When the
story was over you opened the gift you
were left holding.

Anne Marie got just what she's always wanted.

The best of all gifts around any Christmas
tree: the presence of a happy family
all wrapped up in each other.
~Burton Hillis~

(Mark...how's that Barry Manilow CD?)

Ellen got $5.00 worth of chicken legs.
Thank you Mark and Jeffrey.
Pretty dang fun.

A little music.

Cousin Laurie told a story, lifted from
Garrison Keillor. What a scream! We agree
she must return for an encore. Fun to have her,
Greg, and Anna share part of the evening with us.

My mother read from Luke II, a tradition we repeat
year after year. We also enjoyed one of the
beautiful videos the Church recently made
about the coming forth of the Savior.
And finally,...the exchanging of cousin and
giving of grandparent gifts.

Rick painted this painting of the first vision
for Scott. Called "Light Exactly." It
is really lovely.

The Three Musketeers

Even though Spence, Mark and Chase are "too old"
to participate in the cousin gifts anymore...
they continue to exchange with each other.
Pretty fun.
(Oh Spence...Sleepless in Seattle.
Just what you wanted.)

What a beautiful noise.
~Neil Diamond~
(Anne Marie, I wanted to send you some of that
'noise' via video. It's not working. Sorry.)

Traditional Christmas Eve P.J's this year
meant retro-U.S. soccer shirts for the boys.

Anne Marie gave Ty the sweater.
Ty gave Anne Marie the scarf.

Call gave Chase a skateboard. Giants colors.
Call had it put together just for Chase.

We were so happy Call and Whitney were able
to share a week with us after christmas.
TWO girls getting ready in my home. Fun!

We tried to take a photo with all of us
to record that we were all together.
Another day I may do a blog only
consisting of the 12 shots before getting
this one. What a scream.

Love this. Call with the train.

New Years Eve at Matt and Molly's

Hyer and Falke kids

Our kids have been life-long friends with the
Falke kids. We were tickled to squeeze a night
in together while every single one of them were home.

Brad and Kristy, Marie and Kris
Kylie, Chase, Anne Marie, Ty,
Abby, Macy, Whitney and Call.

Oh, the comfort--the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe
with a person--having neither to weigh thoughts nor
measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as
they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a
faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is
worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness
blow the rest away.
~Dinah Craik~

Oakland Temple

Four days after Christmas we went to the
temple for Hailey Holtzclaw's wedding.

Mr. and Mrs. Zack Morey

Life long friends. There were seven girls. Ever since
elementary school they have called themselves "The
Snails." A cafeteria worker dubbed them that
because they were always the last to leave the
lunch room. They have been the epitome of
"true friends" for years.

Kylie, Anne Marie, and Christy Lewis Martinez
(Also Snails.)

Myself and Marilyn Stokes.

Marilyn introduced Hailey to the Gospel. She used
to bring her to church when she was just a young girl.
Hayley was baptized when she was 12, served a mission,
and now has been married in the temple. Marilyn has
always played unique and special roll in Hailey's life.

Kylie and Anne Marie
It was a wonderful Christmas Season.