Sunday, December 26, 2010

After a full week Christmas is now past

Another great meal, another fun family gathering.

We finally warped up the 2010 Christmas season tonight. We had Jo's family members here tonight for our annual Christmas dinner. Jo's Mom and niece were with us, Mardell and Carrie, along with Carrie's son, J.J. After a great ham dinner we retired to the living room to exchange gifts and watch J.J. tear into his presents. We had gotten J.J., who just turned four earlier this month, a firetruck that was almost as big has he was. To his mother's consternation it made siren and radio noise when you pushed buttons on the side. Also, his great grandmother had gotten him a police helicopter that also made sounds when you pushed the buttons. (He had been asking for a helicopter for some time so he was really a happy little boy.) After opening the presents we had a really good visit with Carrie. We did miss seeing her husband, John, but he was involved playing soccer this evening. Being another gun enthusiast John and I usually have fun comparing our collections.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day with the Stone Clan

Plenty of food, plenty of family, a good time by all.

The annual Stone Family gathering this year was in Purcell, Oklahoma, at my oldest brother's house. We did have a houseful although there was one person very obviously missing. This was the first Christmas that our mother was not with us at the Christmas Dinner Table. She is no longer able to walk and is confined to the nursing home a few blocks away. This was the first time in my parents 73 years of marriage they were not together on this day. Dad did go visit her this morning and was going back over after we all left. We did not stop by the nursing home today since we had so many of our group with us.

Joanne and I had ten people attending this years Christmas gathering with us. Pictured here are (l to r) Alan and Cathy, Joanne, Mardell (Jo's Mom), myself and Alex. In front are Cathy and Alan's girls, Madison, Katlyn and Cadence. Not included in this picture is Cathy's sister, Grace, who was visiting from Wisconsin. The other family members were: My Dad, George; brother Bill and his wife Nancy; brother Chester and his wife Susan, plus their son Jason and son Tim with his wife Sherry and their son David and daughter Sara; brother David and his wife Elizabeth; Nancy's Mom, Lilas, and her brother Charlie and his wife Amy. Several of the family members were absent due to work schedules or being with their spouses families. Each family brought part of the meal so there was plenty of food for everyone with much left over.
We all spent the afternoon visiting and catching up since the last time we were all together. This was Madison and Katlyn's first time with all these family members and they seemed to have a good time and enjoyed our large family. Dad had requested that we not bring him or Mom presents this year. With Mom in the nursing home there is very little that she needs that is not provided for her. Also, at age 91 they both pretty much have everything they need. Dad did receive presents of the edible kind, which he really does appreciate. He was able to open packages of peanuts, cookies and peanut brittle. He did wear his red "Christmas" shirt, which has become a tradition. His older brother, Delmer, bought these shirts for himself, Dad and their brother-in-law, Joe, many years ago. Dad has worn this shirt every Christmas since. It is even more meaningful since Uncles Delmer and Joe have passed on.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another Christmas gathering

Three more little girls and more presents opened.

Tonight Alan, my youngest son, came to visit with his family. He and Cathy brought our youngest granddaughter, Cadence, and her older, twin sisters, Madison and Katlyn. This was the first time the twins had met our new little Bridgit Jeane and they all had a big time playing with our little dog. After the girls all opened their Christmas gifts we all sat around the table and shared a chocolate chip pie and visited. We had a big time with the girls and they seemed to enjoy the gifts they received. Cadence will be four years old this next February and the twins are now eight. It's kind of funny, as a Dad I only had little boys. Now as Grandpa I'm surrounded with all these beautiful little girls.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An afternoon with the girls

Some big horses, playing at McDonald's and feeding a few birds.

We decided to take our two oldest granddaughters, Emma and Aurora, out for some fun this afternoon. We've been meaning to do this for awhile but just have not done it. First stop was the Express Barn. The Express Personnel Services company is owned by a guy named Bob Funk. He also owns some huge farms where he raises registered Black Angus cattle. (An article in this mornings paper showed that he was the 57th largest land owner in the United States.) In addition to his cattle operation he has a large team of Clydesdale horses that appear in parades around the country pulling a large wagon. He has his specially built barn open to the public to see the horses six days a week. The barn was built by hand by a group of Amish folks that came from Iowa to build it. These are beautiful horses in addition to being huge. The girls really enjoyed seeing the horses plus the other livestock on the place. This included a Zebra and some miniature horses. Each horse has it's own stall and are very friendly. Most will come to the door of the stall to allow you to pet them, as "Elvis" did here in the picture. Others just stood back and watched us. Marty would not come close but stood their twitching his nose at us. After touring the barn we went outside to look over the other animals and other items on the farm. The girls got a chance to board a stagecoach. Since both girls are cat lovers they had a big time playing with the friendly barn cats that were on the premises.

After leaving the farm we headed back into Oklahoma City and stopped at McDonald's for a quick snack. The girls had a great time playing on the indoor climbing toy for an hour or so. All refreshed we headed to Lake Hefner, one of the city reservoirs, after stopping by a local grocery store for a loaf of bread, to feed the birds. We drove around the lake to Stars and Stripes Park where the largest collection of birds hang out. Here we found an abundance of ducks, Canadian Geese and seagulls. We spent a while feeding bits of bread to the birds. The ducks and geese would come right up to us begging for a treat. The large geese can be pretty intimidating but one would eat right out of your hand. Aurora was the only one brave enough to hold out her hand to feed this goose. The seagulls would fly above us and grab the bread out of the air when we threw it up toward them. This was a great outing with two of our girls. Something we need to do more often.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The tree is up and the first Christmas gathering has come and gone.

We finally got the Christmas Tree up this past Friday and the other decorations put out. This is little Bridgit Jeane's first Christmas as part of our family and she was not really sure what all was going on. We have already found her trying to check out what was in the Christmas presents that were in the sacks under the tree. Had to set them up on the mantle since they had edible items in them for the grand daughters.

Due to scheduling problems we usually wind up having more than one Christmas gathering to be able to include all the extended families. Tonight we had our two oldest granddaughters, along with their mother's, here for dinner and exchange of gifts. We had Emma and her mother, Shelly, and Aurora and her mother, Maegan. Emma's little sister, Lily, was also with us. Also joining us were my oldest son, Alex, and Joanne's mother. Aurora, the middle grand daughter was dropped off early by her other grandmother so she got to spend some time with us before the rest of the folks arrived. This was her first time to visit since Bridgit Jeane came to live with us. She had a good time having Bridgit chase her around the house. We had a great lasagna dinner followed by Joanne's fabulous upside down apple pie. After dinner we adjourned to the living room for pictures and to have the kids open their presents. They made a good haul and all seemed to enjoy what they got.

The picture to the right is Joanne and I with Emma, Aurora and Lily. The picture on the left is Emma and Aurora playing with Uncle Alex. The next gathering will be on Christmas Day with all the Stone clan at my oldest brother's house. Then on the next day, Sunday, we will have Joanne's family here at our house.