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Brian Benjamin Graylin was born to Chelsea and Rich on November 13, 2000. Welcome to the family, Brian!
Since all children were here for Thanksgiving, only David and Susan and their family were here at Christmas. Carl and I fixed ourselves an early lunch and then had David and Susan over to give the kids their gifts. Carl made a special pizza, something that is now a specialty for him. He is becoming quite a chef.
Mike took a job as the financial director of PEW Foundation, the second largest foundation in the world with lots of money to give away for worthy causes. It is a great job, but he will have to move to Philadelphia by the end of March.
Carl and I rented a condo near Margy and will be in Florida the month of February if all goes as planned. After a series of tests, the doctors think the pain I experience comes from spinal stenosis, but they do not recommend surgery. I am learning to live with pain medicines. Not the best but better than constant pain.
Postscript: Bets and Carl made it down to the condo.....so if you northerners want to get away from this LONG winter, just go down and visit them awhile!
Dad (Paul) took us all up to a lodge in the Poconos for the weekend before Christmas day. We had brought presents and a small tree to celebrate our family Christmas there. But we woke up on Saturday morning to find the presents and tree had mysteriously disappeared, and stockings full of coal (made from construction paper) in their place. A large note read, "Have a HORRIBLE Christmas. Signed, The Grinch." There were Grinch-shaped footsteps, too (cut from paper) along with the footprints of his dog.
Mary (5) and Nicholas (3), John and Jane's kids, were excited, and delighted by this turn of events. So of course we had to follow the footprints to investigate. We followed them downstairs to a closet that was "boarded up" with a large "DO NOT ENTER!" sign. At this point, Mary and Nicholas were beside themselves with excitement, and a bit of trepidation. They ran to the back corner of the room to watch as I opened the closet door, and lo and behold, there were our presents and tree, all locked up in paper chains. Mary spent much of the morning looking for the Grinch, since she was sure he could not have gotten far. She even had John take a picture up the chimney with his digital camera to be sure that the Grinch was not hiding up there. She only once suspected the true culprits, Holly (Meneses) and Bria (Hiebert-Crape), the two very tired teenagers who slept in that morning.
We all thought it was a great trick to play, and provided us with some great entertainment for the weekend. We also enjoyed great food and fellowship as a family, and the warmth of a fire in the main lodge gathering room.
Dick and Gwen Schroth had the "Christmas You Don't Want to Repeat". I had surgery just before Christmas so spent the holiday in bed or crawling on the floor claiming I could stand the pain not one more minute. We did drive to daughter Jean's for a family Christmas with the intent that I would make a bed on the floor by the fireplace and get up and join everyone for dinner. We should have known that Christmas with the Schweers always brings excitement. A few years ago Dick and Rusty set fire to the field by setting off firecrackers and burned off 70 acres of land. Another holiday Rusty clogged the sink by putting potato peelings down the disposal and we ate to the sounds of the plumber. This time we ALL lay on beds on the floor by the fireplace because the electricity went out just as we finished eating. (The electricity stayed out for 3 weeks!) The next morning we looked at the still dirty dishes in the kitchen and said, "Later," meaning Jean could handle it when the lights came back on.
We made our way out the driveway--barely, because of the many trees and electric poles down across the driveway and road to town--a gift of the ice storm. We went home but found we also had no electricity--and so no heat or light--so I moved in with a friend in Greenville for a few days. Dick made do with a couple of candles and a fire in the fireplace. We have a new respect for the early settlers of this country! Later we realized we had some kerosene heaters someone was storing in our barn but then also realized that kerosene was sold out for 50 miles around here. I look forward to next Christmas.
Gwen and Dick with Dick's son Ian and his (Ian's!) girlfriend
From: Jamie and Dale
Jamie reports that she and Dale are expecting their first baby in March. They just got a new digital camera and will be emailing pictures of the baby for our family newsletter.
We'll be thinking about you two, Jamie and Dale, and waiting for the exciting news. Get plenty of sleep now, while you can!
From: Phyl and Elmer
Phyl sent some pictures of their very special people---their grandkids. Pictures of Fran & Ken's kids are below these.
Anna with her mom's viola
Abby, Will and Catherine with loot
Grace in Storyland, Fresno
Toby and bear made for him by Phyllis
Greetings from Hanoi! Thanks, as always, for the Hiebert update.
A few pictures from our Christmas season can be seen (and copied or downloaded) at:
Hope all are well. We'll be in touch soon....
Ken, Fran & Co.
Ken out for a ride with his three
Loey sent these pictures to share in the newsletter. She and Gary were here in the States during Christmastime to see their little grandson Brian. They had a chance to visit some of the rest of us too, which was great. Loey was having fun with her digital camera. They're back in Kodai now, and you can see pictures of her trip to Goa with some her students at the Kodai website:
Loey with one of her friends
Loey wants us to know luggage still goes on top of the bus
Sorry there wasn't a Nov/Dec update for our family website. I had surgery in December so that slowed me down a bit, but now I'm back to my usual hectic pace....until June, when I retire! (Envious, Gwen?)
Our whole gang was here for almost two weeks at Christmas. We had a wonderful time. Gentry and John kept us all busy, and we now understand that having a whole village to raise kids would be very helpful to parents. Right, Pete and Kristin?
Pete and his boys
Adventure Boy and Bubba John find Bigfoot and his treasure
I realized again this Christmas how very important families are. I'm thankful for this gang of ours and for all of you. Mom is probably very impressed with all of us---and busy bragging about us to the other folks in heaven....and Dad's busy inviting folks over to have lunch with them.