Sunday, January 4, 2009
Happiest of Holidays at Stonehill
It was a magical Christmas to say the very least. The entire family was there for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after. These pictures were taken by Eden Thome, one of Anderson, Dorn & Rader's employees and a good friend. She is an amateur photographer and did a superb job on the family as a whole and the individual shots, as well.
Olivia said the days were like Girls' Camp for her where you prepare a meal, clean it up and start preparing for the next meal, but there was lots of help and it went quickly. We had so much good food, good entertainment, good gifts, good conversation and good company that the time flew by.
Christmas Eve, we held our annual family talent sharing and show. Tavan's family sang an original song; Britta and Dallin played a duet on the piano and the family sang a Christmas song; Hannah and Jeff read a story (if I remember right); Micah was hoarse, but had good intentions; Jordan read "Visit from St. Nicholas," as is his annual duty, then Ruth played a Christmas song on the piano; Cedric had a new story that he illustrated in color and presented with PowerPoint; Grandma introduced us to a new Christmas carol; and Grandpa had everyone participate in an activity poem. It was a very fun evening.
Every family had a Christmas tree in their room, so Christmas morning we each exchanged gifts in our rooms, then went upstairs for a great breakfast. After breakfast we gathered around the little Christmas forest in the great room and exchanged gifts with each other. Grandpa read an adventure story about the children in the room under the stairs and Grandma handed each grandchild a present that contained a copy of the story and either a stuffed animal or a quilt that depicted a character in the story.
The rest of the weekend was like a cruise ship with nonstop activities and abundant food of the highest quality. We had a white Christmas in Washoe County, so the sledding hill to the side of the house got lots of use. We all tried out our new presents (including the shotgun Olivia got); watched movies; played exciting, come-from-behind-to-win Cranium games, played with the babies and generated a record amount of garbage that had to be taken to the bottom of the hill by ATV so the garbage truck would take it away.
Micah's, Hannah's and, of course, Jordan's families were still here for the New Year's Eve party. To make it even more fun, the Familia Garcia joined us for the evening. They had to leave before seeing in the New Year, but they let Esther and Raquel spend the night, so they helped us usher in 2009. They made gingerbread houses, played every kind of game, watched a movie, participated in a treasure hunt and, since the city would not have a fireworks display this year, many individual families did and we watched them all from the balcony. These special girls make everywhere they are someplace special and we have loved having them in our home.
Gradually, each family began to leave and with them part of our hearts. The last family left this morning and we now face a very quiet and empty house. In a way, you could get used to that, but how we miss everyone!
We wish our families, friends and loved ones everywhere the happiest, most rewarding (in every way) 2009!