How much Christmas can a person stuff into your Christmas stocking? All of our stocking in this family are over-flowing with "Christmas" and we are very grateful. It's wonderful to have the "Christmas Spirit"come way early in the season. We've had Christmas' that were just so hurried we didn't realize what we had, until the day of Christmas or a trip to Utah after Christmas. The lights and Nativities were all still up and I think, "Whoa..I didn't slow down enough to soak this all in."
Steve is always Christmas..everyday of the year. Scrooge! j/k He's kind and thoughtful and always, always doing good for others. I wish I could be more like "my hero."
Kiely didn't go to her orientation at college to be with us and ride the engine again as a "little girl." She didn't want to miss it at all. I guess she'll just be getting "orientated" lol her first day at school.
One of our friends, Chris Garmon, was riding back on Foothill Road while Steve was bring the old engine out to storage after the parade, at Limonera Ranch. He said, "Steve was raring through Foothill Road all by himself, grinning from ear to ear. He loves that truck. I love it, too! I love it so much the last time I rode in it, I broke it's siren. I wound the siren up to tight and it quit. But! Hark! It had a bell and Steve didn't have hearing for a week after. I went a little nuts.
Kiely's favorite Christmas presents have been the wonderful letters of recommendation for scholarships at the agriculture college. They each have been a present to her like nothing she's ever received. Mr. Flores her agriculture teacher, and FFA adviser, and dedicated counselor gave her the best letter she's ever received. Mr. Flores works so hard at getting each high school senior off to college with scholarships and so much time spent with even the application requirement. One child is crazy, we know...but a whole bunch of Seniors with deadlines. His work load is hard, yet he wrote this wonderful, amazing letter for Kiely. She's been out of high school for almost three years, but he remembered and detailed all the things that Kiely was known for doing during her attendance there at high school and in the community. Kiely didn't show me the letter for a couple days. I'm not sure why, but I think it's quite emotional for her to read it. Words can really be treasures.
re "hunky-dory" Tatum got a huge branch way into her leg. The branch was wider than an arrow
I'm still not though decorating the tree. It's all ready to finish, just that my blog was yelling at me to write something. Yeah, and I can fill it in so fast. Not all things a and went way inside her calf. Dustin and Steve were both here and they removed the branch, but Tatum ended-up in the hospital for over 5 hours.
All the grandchildren were crying over Tatum. I couldn't keep all the grandchildren hushed. They saw her wound and it scared them and like most times crying is contagious. I sat about 10 or 11 grandchildren down at my table and fed them three gallons of black cherry ice cream and chocolate fudge brownie flavors. The crying stopped and I told them all they could have as much as they wanted. Funny.... that was only one small bowl each. The trick here is that you tell them ahead of time, "You can have all you can eat," so they eat slowly, enjoying each bite. There was not a "brain-freeze" headache with even one of them, because they weren't in a hurry. Success! By golly, they didn't need very much to fill their little stomachs. The plus here is that they were all sent home with ice cream for dinner. Oops.
Tatum was told not to go out to the dump area along with the boys--they also were not in the right place, but they did anyway. It was a good call to take her to the hospital because she had big pieces of wood still there in her leg. Yes, she went to school the next day and didn't even say another word about it. Yes, this is "Danger Ranch" and don't you forget it!
You might want to read about my skunk encounter, I wanted that one too. Anyway...my grandson heard all about Perri, and how I loved the actor. He was Billy Mumy and red-headed and freckled actor that was my first true-love (haha) on TV. He was also the child in the series, "Lost in Space." Walt Disney made it so real for me and I still wanted a squirrel.
To all of you that are confused with this fixation of a rodent, let me remind you their were no squirrels like that fluffy-kind around here while I was growing up. No where! The kids with guns shot them for fun. Now, the ground squirrels are different...they are big rats with a bit of a furry tail, but not like this. I looked at Perri like I loved the chipmunks in the desert, and that's a whole another story.
The point of this is that my grandson wanted to give me Buster for Christmas. He set a "Have-a-Heart" trap and then had to go home. Yes, he put cat food in it and yes he caught Buster, but I didn't know because it was going to be a surprise. He forgot to check the trap or thought that he wouldn't really, really catch Buster. But...he did, and in about a week he checked the trap. Buster was there, but not alive. I feel so bad for my grandson. He tried to make me happy. I tried really hard to just make it look like he was doing us a favor by ridding our home of varmints in the attic. "No worries, just clean the cage," I told him and then I went in the bathroom and cried silently. My little friend of so many years is gone and I know my grandson knows he made me sad, somehow... and that even made me sadder.
I'm looking at my star on my tree thinking... Should I get out the angel and put her up there? What really goes up there a star or my beautiful angel? The star...I have so many angels in heaven looking after us all and I appreciate them looking after us, my lovely angel, even as beautiful as she is would never do them justice. I know they're so much more than I could describe or imagine.
Kenna's fourth birthday was wonderful and all she wanted was homework like her big brother and big sister. How cute is that? And if that isn't enough, how about all she wanted to do was to go around and sing carols at our neighbor's doors. It was a Relief Society night so members of the Church wouldn't be home. We went to all our neighbors and friends that are not members of the Church and we went out on a very, very, cold night. Utah people...you woulda' froze!
We sang 'til we lost our voices and the little grand children (lots and lots) and nieces and nephews started to even dance and act out the songs, these little improvisations were exactly expressing their emotions with the Christmas Spirit and just emerging with this great enthusiasm. That was their way of expressing the happiness of it all. Our neighbors laughed and took pictures. The Mupu community is rural so our neighbors, all up the canyon, just about never even have "Trick or Treaters" at Halloween, let alone, carolers--accckkk and it was rainy and cold in California! Surprise!
We had the cold and the snow fell all over the hills and mountains around us. The grand kids even had a snow day and brought it home.
The fire department had two Christmas parties. One for the adults and one for families. Steve and my son, Dustin worked on the adult night and it was a blessing to them and their crews for they were able to be available to handle a huge multiple, vehicle collision and they were really able to help.
The family party was wonderful. It was done by so many people. Steve was handed the assignment because he wanted to keep this tradition going. Some disagree with that because they don't have young ones at home or haven't been on the department as long as "the old-timers" but it's a chance to invite all former fire department personnel and also their families. It's like a class reunion with a whole bunch of children. I attended this same party with the fire department as a little kid and I'm so happy this tradition is continuing. I hope it stays on forever. Our food was wonderful and Uncle John (Steve co-worker that drives and works the engine) was Santa. He was perfect. The grandchildren thought he was so great! He really knew their names and he had a familiar voice. I think all sat on his lap! John is a very sweet Santa. He's PERFECT!
Our ward had a huge program and my Marnie was the Chair. Marnie is the Activity Director and Janet Grant just put on a terrific program. It was a tremendous task. I know Marnie learned a lot from her direction. It was wonderful. The most beautiful thing about it was it was an Interfaith Community Program held in our building. Well, we do have the biggest....We celebrated with many, many different churches in town.
Marnie was concerned and well as many others the day before the program that the pictures around in our building were faded and warped. We wanted all to see that we loved the Savior and we also rejoice at the Savior's birth. The maintenance room needed a key to turn on the heat early. Of course the our ward wanted it to be warm and cozy that evening. There in the little closet of the room, where the heater stands, was many, many brand new pictures! They were very large, framed, and had gold letters at the bottom explaining each picture. I think Marnie's heart about flipped, a prayer was said and there, Heavenly Father eagerly sends down the blessings. I think all of the program committee had a "happy dance" right there in the foyer. Heavenly Father sent a gift to our whole ward. The Church of Christ wasn't going to be attending, but dear Sister Grant.... when one segment of the program canceled, she was anxious to plead with the Church of Christ to come and sing. Many are our neighbors and we know them really well. They offered to help us and as they came in our building were going all around asking about the portraits and our "glorious" pictures. "Where did we get them?" ugh........ in the closet. I don't think they said that.
We had wonderful soloists and the music was played with prelude of a Spanish Harp with Xavier Montes. (He went to high school here and was buddies with my brothers in FFA) We had the Presbyterian bell choir and they were such a treat. Our little primary children got up to sing and I held my breath. Many of those little ones were my kin. "Please don't jump around and scream, please..." Angels again came and whispered in their ears to stay good. Or...was it their moms and dads with a stern warning? Anyway, they were fabulous, and tender, and sang so well. The gentleman next to Steve hadn't said a word though out the whole meeting. I tried to talk to him when I sat down but he was quiet and maybe there under an obligation? I don't quite know. He didn't smile until the children sang. He just turned to my husband while the primary children were coming down from their assigned place on the podium and said, "That (medley) was wonderful and it must have taken a lot of work of someone, to pull that off!" Steve just grinned Yes, they are a choir that is beautiful all year long and we are so blessed. Thank you Gail Pidduck for your dedication to the primary. Yes, work...but really the best calling in Church. I know!
The Interfaith Celebration of Christmas was really well-attended. It filled us up and The Church of Guadalupe and St. Sebastian has over 6,000 members in town. They also were in this program, so many Catholics attended. I saw so many of my old classmates from school, our neighbors, my husband's, my dad's, and my grandfather's customers came... as well as those connected with the schools, city employees, CERT team members that Steve teaches, and so many people that he has helped in fire department calls. My Steve seemed to know everyone. We gave out and received many hugs that evening.
Grandpa's birthday was celebrated again this year by going to Disneyland.
How could we miss it? It was the most relaxing and happy time for all. I feel the fireworks are just for Grandpa Doug. Beautiful songs accompany the fireworks show and Grandma Dune was able to see the new updated "Small World" this year. We had a fun breakfast at the "Story Tellers" cafe. Again, a big raccoon character scared me. It sure looked like a big rat! Yes, I screamed. Kiely was trying to get "Brother Bear's" attention and was pulling on his back. We needed a Christmas picture and the bear would be perfect! The bear turned suddenly and she was the same height as his huge mouth-full of teeth---right in her face, and it startled her. She laughed so hard, I thought she would fall down. Her giggly laugh got everyone around laughing even the bear was laughing in his suit.
That is something because they are
not ever supposed to break character and speak.
Maybe laughing doesn't count.
not ever supposed to break character and speak.
Maybe laughing doesn't count.
Steve was asked by the Port Master at the Ventura Harbor to be a judge at the Christmas Parade of Lights of all the boats and ships at the Harbor and then some. We had a fantastic dinner and lots of our family were there. Dustin and his kids sat on the opposite jetty, except we had his Tatum with us. Now the grown one were signing back and forth with the cell phone lights. It was so fun. I've always been close to seeing this beautiful parade but never have gone. I saw so many families from Santa Paula and we were able to catch-up on old times. The Harbor Master took Steve and all of our family out on a cruise to see the fireworks. I stayed because I get seasick watching a boat. Harbor Masters have a great job! Scott is really perfect for the job, he is such a fun guy to be around.
I haven't written in my blog for so long. I'm trying to keep up with my swimming and it is getting really difficult for me. I'm stepping it up to prepare for the chores that Kiely has been trusted with all these years. I did way too much Friday and had heart problems, it's that run-away heart thing. Kiely already knew about it. She dreamed that I was hurting in my chest. She dreams things and they do come true. It really is scary to me, not really the heart.... because I have lots of medicine for that, but that she knows things. It's the same gift that my Bree was given. I still went to Church on Sunday, but felt like I had been running all night. I had to be there because Steve was the main speaker. He spoke and related scriptures and we sang the songs that matched the verses. It was a great program and I'm glad I lost my voice again singing Christmas songs and really understanding the real meanings of the songs and how they tell the story of Christmas.
It's fixin' to storm again, however the blue sky and sunlight would make me think that's not gonna' happen. Steve's off on Christmas and today he's out on the tractor killing the weeds. The horses are out in the pasture going crazy with fun wiggles in the beautiful sunshine.
I think we're having a "White Elephant Exchange" for a Christmas party, Christmas Day at Marnie's and for Christmas Eve. we're going to my mother's house. Both places are next door. One on one side and my mom on the other.
Oh my Bree in Arkansas...How I miss you and your dear family. I love you all so much and miss you! There's always the opportunity to begin great traditions at your own home. Walmart? lol Yes, we started shopping there now in Valencia, too. How 'bout those Hawgs? Did you get one of those lighted in your yard this year? Bree, do you remember me dressing you all up like the Nativity scene and taking tons of pictures every year? I would post a couple photographs, but the tree is on top of my picture trunk and taking down the tree would be something that would take "three men and a boy to do!" I love to think of those times, even though they were so hard. Our house was without heat and electricity, Yeah....we're so old... we needed to be electrified, here. No, just kidding, we were still in construction and borrowed lights with extension cords from the horse arena and my mother and dad's house. We did get a wood burning stove for Christmas. We couldn't afford heat, so The Mill, our business neighbor gave us one from his store. Brand new! HEAT! That was a wonderful Christmas Gift. Forever Remembered! The Mill was good to us in many ways, called all our kids "Barney" because they only knew Marnie, my middle daughter, and that morphed to "Barney" and then the whole Hengehold Family called all my children "Barney" easy. Dustin wouldn't look at them when they called him Barney, so they called him "Bub" and he was okay with that. He was only five years-old. I wonder if any Hangehold family knows any of my kids real names? We are blessed to know them and will forever be grateful.
Tons of grandchildren are flying through the door. Rattin' each other off and and climbing over unwrapped presents. Another very full day. I think I'll go outside and take some summer-like Christmas pictures. Yippeee! Kiely is bringing in pizza. YUM! My dear, wonderful husband enjoying his favorite ride of the year, pulling tractor. Merry Christmas!