Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

Major snowstorm?  White Christmas?  Uh, don't think it happened.

The weather guessers on TV have been predicting for the last week that we would get a major snowstorm come in last night and we would have a very rare White Christmas in our area.  We did get some sleet in the wee hours of the morning that did cause some major accidents on the highways before dawn.  By the time I got out and around the street crews had done their jobs and the roads were fairly clear.

Picked up my mother-in-law around 10:30 this morning and headed east to Midwest City.  We spent Christmas day with my niece, and her granddaughter, Carrie.  Actually it was, like last year, at the home of Carrie's in-laws, Mike and Barbara Carpenter.  Barbara always has a fantastic dinner prepared for all the family and has been very gracious to include my mother-in-law and I in all their holiday activities this past year.
Carrie with her son J.J. and husband John

Before we sat down to a great meal we exchanged gifts.  Carrie gave her grand mother a huge box of chocolate candy (almost five pounds worth).  She gave me a fantastic print of a painting of the ship I spent two and a half years of my life, which included two tours to Vietnam, the USS Newport News.  She had the picture matted and framed.  This is one of the greatest presents I've ever received. 

We headed back to the west side of town in the early evening so we could get back before the wet streets started freezing over.  Once home I made a pot of coffee and built a good fire and am thinking about this holiday season.  This year, without Joanne, has been very hard and each special occasion/holiday has not been easy.  But, now instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself I'm contemplating how lucky a person I am.  This Christmas season has been good.  Have spent time with all my kids and grand kids along with other members of my family.  I am very blessed to have all of them to love and support me.  Life is good.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

A evening with granddaughters.

Spent this evening with youngest son, Alan, and his family.  Visited with the girls, who were very excited about Santa coming tonight.  After awhile decided we needed to take a road trip so the parents could prepare the place for Santa.  The three girls and I piled in my car and headed to downtown Oklahoma City to see some Christmas lights.  First stop was at the Devon Tower, the new 50 story building built my Devon Energy Company.  They have some great decorations out on their lawn.  It was extremely cold so we didn't spend much time outside the car.  Otherwise we'd have crossed over the street to the Myriad Gardens to see the lights there and go over by the outdoor ice skating rink.

After leaving downtown we drove over to Heritage Hills to see how the houses were decorated there.  Heritage Hills is an old portion of town just to the north of the downtown area.  This is where the original city founding fathers built their mansions.  The houses in this area are very large and mostly well over 100 years old.  Soon it was time to head back to the kids apartment.  They needed to get ready for bed so Santa could make his appearance later this evening.  Before heading home I had to get a picture of the three in front of their Christmas tree.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas 2012 has began

Good food and plenty of family.

The Stone clan celebrated Christmas a few days early.  Due to family scheduling we decided to have our family Christmas celebration today.  We all trekked up north to Enid, Oklahoma, to the home of middle brother and his wife, David and Elizabeth.  We had a total of 27 family members there today.  My arm of the family consisted of ten of us.

Both of my sons came with me along with their ladies.  Above standing with me is (l to r) Alan and Cathy and Alex and Christi.  Standing in front are Alan's daughters, Aurora and Cadence, on each end and his twin step-daughters, Katlyn and Madison, in the middle.  (My other granddaughter, Emma, was not able to go with us today.)  We were also joined by Cathy's sister, Grace, who is visiting from Wisconsin.  (Grace was taking the picture for us.)

In addition to my group my three brothers were there with various family members.  Oldest brother, Bill, and his wife Nancy; Chester and Susan had eleven members there, all but one granddaughter who was with her boyfriends family down in Texas; David and Elizabeth were joined by their daughter, Lisa.  Of course, our Dad, the Stone family patriarch was with us.  He brought his bag of gifts for the grand kids and great-grand kids.  Here he is with my four granddaughters getting the gifts ready to distribute.

We all shared a great and bountiful meal together and had a good visit.  Nothing like getting together with family.  One thing I have always tried to instill in my children:  "When all fails around you family is always your fall back position."  I am a very fortunate man to be blessed with the family that I have.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Another birthday

A new car and some little cars.

Today we celebrated my great-nephew's birthday.  John Michael Carpenter, Jr., or J.J. as everyone calls him, will turn six this next Monday.  He kept informing everyone he was still only five and would not be six for two more days.  The party was at his grandparents house in Midwest City.

J.J. is the son of my niece, Carrie.  He is definitely into toy cars and just about everything he got for his birthday was in that vein.  At Thanksgiving I had asked him what he wanted this year and he informed me "A 1987 Buick Grand National" just like the one his Dad used to have.  Of couse, he was wanting a diecast model of the original.  Believe it or not there is a site online, out of California, that handles these exact things.  (Here the birthday boy opens his presents while his mom and a couple of cousins look on.)

After the gifts were opened and the eating of some great snacks, provided by Carrie and her mother-in-law, we all went outside to watch the opening of the Batman pinata.  Rather than hitting this pinata with a stick the kids just had to pull the ribbons and out came the candy.  Well actually, the opening in the bottom was rather small so the candy came out with the help of Mom shaking it.  (Assisting J.J. is his cousin Caitlyn with his cousin Alex looking on.)

The top present for J.J. was from his parents, Carrie and John.  This was a self propelled, battery opearated Viper.  J.J. has had a ball cruising around the back yard in his new wheels.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Out and about viewing Christmas lights

Dinner, Christmas Lights and the Park.

Got out to view Christmas Lights with a long time friend.  Have known Jimye Faye since grade school days when our families attended church at Kentucky Avenue Baptist Church.  We decided to catch dinner and then drive around viewing the lights.  Started out a Irma's Burger Shack on the north side of town.  This put us up by the Chesapeake Energy Company campus to start.  This company goes all out in decorating their campus with lights.

Next area was the upscale suburb of Nichols Hills.  This area is considered the "old money" area of the metro area.  This town is made up of very large estates with enormous mansions.  In years past the people living there did a major effort in decorating their houses.  We were a little disappointed this year.  As the residents have gotten up in years they have stopped putting up the lights.  There were several that were very impressive but not near what we would have seen in years past.

After Nichols Hills we headed downtown to the Myriad Gardens.  This is the "Central Park" of Oklahoma City.  This park is directly across the street from the newest structure in Downtown, the Devon Energy Tower, a 50 story skyscraper that recently opened.  In the park Devon Energy has sponsored a large outdoor ice skating rink during the holidays.  The City has offered this rink in years past but it was several blocks away in front of the Civic Center.  By moving it to Myriad Gardens they were able to make it larger.

Devon Energy has also gone all out in decorating the grounds around their new building.  In addition to covering all the trees with lights they have gigantic Christmas tree ornaments displayed on the lawn.  Theae are large replicas of the traditional red balls that people have put on their trees for many years.  This is Jimye Faye standing by the largest of the ornaments.

We both had a good time viewing the lights and reminiscing about life.