Thursday, January 01, 2009

A wonderful time of the year

I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by loved ones and very best wishes for the new year. After we arrived in Fresno, we woke up Monday morning to see our car window smashed and while Dad made the necessary phone calls I spent the morning at the food pantry at church. I had a good time running around during the Christmas party for everyone, and even sat with Santa! Later that evening we headed over to the Smith's house for a really nice get-together with my "Aunties". We got to visit with Dr. and Mrs Smith, Dr. and Mrs. Chen, Becky, KC (on their anniversary no less!), Diane, Jeff, Susan, Nolan, Benjamin... oh and Sierra and baby around the bend Noah! Mrs. Smith brought out her leggo and tonka collection...bliss... well right up there with Susan's Ice cream sandwiches!I love playing with Nolan and Benjamin and we had such a lovely evening. The next day was Christmas Eve, which pretty much means a busy busy day catching up with all of our friends! Well, first Grandma and Dad had to put together Great-Grandpa Jerry's Apple cakes for our visit tomorrow. Then, we headed out at the Van Volkinburgs house where I got to see the Vans and the McGanns, and all of everyone's family! I even got to meet Meredeth's baby Lucy! It was fun to play with Josie, we noshed on cupcakes together, and we had a great time with Morgan and Andrew who tried to keep us in order, and did a really good job keeping an eye on us while the grown-ups chatted. Just after nap, the Mochizuki's came over for a bit. I enjoyed seeing them but was acting a bit off... I refused a cupcake to the shock of everyone. I did buck up a bit until they left, but turned sick so Mom and I just had a quiet evening at home while everyone else went to see Auntie Donna, John, Jenna, and their household of many many friends for the evening. They had a great time (and got a sneak peek at some of my Christmas presents), I was so sad to miss out, but I was feeling so much better the next day. Good thing too because it was Christmas! Wow... I totally was into Santa, Rudolph, the works this year.... and Santa delivered! What a treat! We started the morning opening stockings. Frankly, the first thing I opened (I think it was a cool dino flip book) would have been plenty to keep me happy, but there was more! After a fun filled morning playing with new toys (I must have been a good boy this year!), helping everyone open their presents and all in all enjoying spending a beautiful morning with everyone we finally sat down to a breakfast of norwegian pancakes and apples! Yum.

Finally, we headed over to Great-Grandpa Jerry and Great-Grandma Mary's home for even more fun and more family! We just missed Jason, Ann, Kaylee and Clark, but everyone else was there. All of my Great-Uncles and Great-Aunts, Cousins... everyone! We had such a nice day together. While we were celebrating (or sleeping in my case) in Fresno, they were having a great Christmas Eve Chinese Feast! Christmas Day at Great-Grandfolks' house is always filled with food... loads of yummy prime-rib, lobster, and abalone! Dad cooked up some of the abalone he brought Great-Grandpa last season in a traditional chinese dish with black mushrooms. It was Great-Grandpa's special request... he knew Daddy was the only one who could make it right! Dad did a great job... tender and tasty! I ate more than my fill of striped jello and cookies, the sugar kept me going all day long! After watching some movies (to aid digestion), I even got to spend some time playing football with Kellen! We were pretty good. After such a wonderful Christmas day, we headed back to Fresno for some rest. The next day was a little more relaxed. Just playing with my toys, actually getting the window of the car fixed. Actually, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Ry, Daddy and I went to the museum and saw the dinosaur exhibit. It was pretty cool, lots of bones and models, but alas no pictures allowed. I had a great time though and got a new book to learn even more about Dinsaurs! Saturday, we visited again with Auntie Susan, Auntie Diane, Uncle Jeff, Nolan and Benjamin. We got together at Lunas for some pasta and to see how everyone's Christmas went. We enjoyed a great lunch followed by some fun (and... more presents) outside. Nolan and I were getting quite good at acorn basketball with the trash can before we could stop all the gals from chatting up a storm. That night, I finally made it over to Auntie Donna's house where John cooked us up some amazing Pizzas in their own (!!) pizza oven. It was so nice to spend some time with them after missing out on Christmas eve. However, that evening we got some bad news... Great-Grandpa Jerry had taken a turn for the worse and ended up in the Hospital. He passed away on Tuesday, 30th December surrounded by his family. While his passing leaves us with a unfillable void, it also reminds us to celebrate a notable and honorable life.He was a great man who will be dearly missed. I am so glad that we got this Christmas together and I am lucky to have known him and will be carrying on his love for fishing and the outdoors.

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