Saturday, December 15, 2018

Merry Christmas!

gift tags by Julianna Swaney.
December 2018

(Cliff’s notes version:  Merry Christmas, we love you all, and have a happy New Year!)

Dear Family and Friends (who include all of those we love, like, and can endure respectfully for at least a day), 

Merry Christmas!
The self-inflicted pressure of writing a Christmas letter has driven me to my basement lair with a large diet coke and an extreme yearning for chocolate.  No chocolate means a lot of staring at the almond colored wall 3 feet in front of me.

Like a person who has to say out loud what they are looking for until they find it, I must review this year’s calendar to remember what we’ve been up to for the last 12 months.

Let’s see, according to January Reed & Douglas turned 16 (and if you know how the Gregorian calendar works, that means next month they’ll be 17!) To continue, someone went to the dentist, something about dry-cleaning, wrestling, and making cupcakes for something.

I drew a lot of hearts on February, more dentist appts., dance, karate, band, etc.

OK, I’m no longer focused on the almond colored wall and the year is coming back to me.  Besides two of my kids turning16, they also got glasses and drivers licenses, and for some reason my acid reflux meds aren’t working like they used to.  Baby A. and B., as the ultrasound lady first introduced them to me, are now taller than me and can sing way lower than I can.  Reed joined track again and got into throwing the javelin.  After we cut down our maple tree, I found him trying to carve one of the branches into a javelin, or spear --same thing.  Baby B., aka Douglas, is one of our 3 karate kids and earned his second-degree black belt this summer – Hiya!  I remember that I was so happy when my thoroughly exhausted son didn’t mind giving his mom a hug in public.  Of course, I was then covered in at least 3 hours’ worth of sweat, so hmmm…

In March I have marked “girls’ fieldtrip to hospital.”  If I hadn’t also written “bring lunches” in parentheses, I would have thought this was just another case of “humoring the hypochondriacs.”

April had its beautiful daffodils and clumps of colorful tulips. In our church ward, Chris was called as the Elder’s Quorum president –a busy calling, but spiritually rewarding.  Sadly, in the Spring, Chris’ grandpa Stilson passed away at the age of 94.  What a kind and wonderful man, and a great example for his family and friends of how to live a joyful and good life.  Is it weird that the phrase, “they don’t make them like they used to” comes to mind when we think of him?

In May, our two youngest, A. and B. (part the second), Miriam and Elizabeth, turned 8 and were baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Their two of older brothers, Reed and Douglas agreed to baptize them.  It was a wonderful day and a treat to have so much of the family there to witness the sacred ordinance.

I also see that in May, our middle, unique, and the only one who got his own space while in mom’s uterus, had a band concert.  It was not a surprise when he chose do percussion.  Since I seem to be inheriting my dad’s hearing genes, it’s not too bad for me.

In June I might have gotten older, but it’s hard to recall…uh, what were we talking about? Ballet recitals, a return to warm days and water sports. July brought the official entrance into the teenage years for Isaac, 13!  The symptoms that come with these years still only show up in moments of stress and when someone else ate the last hot pocket or peanut butter chocolate chip cookie.

July and August were soooo hot and all those lovely gardening plans I made in June wilted, unlike the weeds.  A couple trips to Island Park, ID for me and the girls, kept us cool.  Reed also made a trip up there to help Uncle Dave and Aunt Jodi work on their cabin. One of the highlights of the summer for Chris, our boys, Chris’ dad, and their cousins, was a trip east to visit a variety of sites from our church’s history.  We have an awesome picture of them in front of the Nauvoo Temple as well as a humorous one of 5 teenage boys and to adults squeezed into our 7 passenger Suburban.  Thank goodness for windows, AC, deodorant, music and audiobooks, especially while crossing Nebraska. You’ll have to talk to them about more of their experiences.

September…dentist, school, homecoming dances (dating—a frightening side effect of turning 16), oil changes, band concert (…and that’s Douglas on the trumpet!) …Oh, and I started my part-time job as the computer lab lady at my girl’s elementary school.  I love all those kids, but the 6th graders would have a hard time fitting into my “can endure respectfully for at least a day”-letter category.  A happy shout from across the school of “Merry Christmas!” might be about all I can manage on some days, but then they might have the same opinion of me, hmm.

October, the month I made Isaac a mostly complete Gandalf the Gray costume, which I finished on Halloween afternoon.  The night before he was therefore forced to go to our Trunk-o’-Treat as Randolph the Red, Gandalf’s much more stylish roommate.

November! Thanksgiving in St. George whose residents all seem so smart in the winter, but not so much in the summer (I fit that category several times in my life as a St. George resident) …renew vehicle registration, Dr. appointments.  Chris aged.  He’d been doing so all year, but I don’t think he realized it until he played pickleball with his sons and nephews.  I’m sure he doesn’t remember, but I have the feeling his subconscious self was looking for the shuffleboard while waiting in the drinking fountain line.  Nah, he’s quite the racquet ball player, and this was the first time he’d played pickleball.

December, at last!  Dentist, no really, Isaac had a cavity.  Also, a month full of hope, and a reminder of the wonderous things about life, filled with kindness, charity, love –and most importantly, the celebration of the birth of the person who most embodies those qualities, Jesus Christ. 
A month by month review of this year, both in its simple and not-so-simple moments, reminds me of how important and wonderful life is and can be.  It’s the daily experiences not penciled into the calendar that are also of great value.  The hugs, kisses, kind things, learning moments, sad times, hard times, family, friends, and lots of love, are what makes every day count. 

gift tags by Julianna Swaney.“As we Seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always.”—Thomas S. Monson

Lots of love,
The Williams Family (Chris, Becky, Reed, Douglas, Isaac, Miriam, and Elizabeth)

P.S. Sorry this is so long.  I know after getting into the habit of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, anything longer than 3 sentences can be taxing on us.  Glad you made it to the end of this epistle!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Christmas 2017- The Case of the Giggles


My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is, Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Now, lets see if I can manage a brief Christmas letter as opposed to the mighty epistles I usually send at Christmas. 
Merry Christmas to you all!  We miss you, especially those of you who are in another state, or more than 3 hours away.  2 ½ hours away, not so much 😉
We are all well as far as I can tell.  Teenagers ability to answer this question is always brief, frustrating to the point that I must challenge them to use up to 5 words when I ask them, how are you?  Thats when I get, uh, fine, whats for dinner?  I then answer, uh, cereal.  The kids are all growing quickly and I now must tip up my head to talk to two of them (Reed & Douglas). I dont think they find me all that menacing any more. 
Current events/stats/facts/curiosities:
Reed is now 6 tall and will be 16 next month! He does karate & track and enjoys keeping up with politics and current affairs, just like his dad.  His favorite color is orange.  I dont know why, I think he was under pressure when I asked him, and thats the first one that popped out of his mouth.  All I could say was, Orange?! Why? then he said, I dont know.
Douglas is now 510 in his stockinged feet, and will also be 16 next month.  He does Karate, plays the trumpet and some other instruments, and has just started wrestling.  When he told me he wanted to start wrestling, all I could picture was the guy in my high school German class spitting in a cup all during class in order to meet some weight goal.  I said he could do it if he promised not to spit in a cup during his German class.  His favorite color is grey.  I told him that wasnt considered a real color, but a color without color, still he refused to budge.
Isaac is 12 ½ and almost as tall as I am.  He, like his two older brothers, also does karate.  He, like most of his generation, would have a charging cord reminiscent of an umbilical cord attached to him, leading to his tablet; allowing constant charging via the power of body heat or heartbeat. Isaac is the goofiest kid in the family and has a really hard time resisting a joke or prank, to his sisters annoyance. Threats of confiscating his tablet helps to curb this tendency. His favorite color is dark purple, though last night he said it was puce, which is a shade of purple, but in my mind, will always be the color of a tick, ew.
Miriam is now 7 and is about 45 tall, and taller when she jumps around, which is often.  She is currently in a ballet class and is the tallest kid there. She can seem a big gangly next to the other girls, but I think shell grow into the art. Miriams favorite color is red (one of my favorites too).  It was pink, but I think she has chosen the non-conformist route, rather than fall into the expected pink and purple trap. She likes to read chapter books- this I believe she sees as a step closer to being a grown-up.
Elizabeth is also 7 and is about 43 tall.  She too is in ballet and doing well. She easily enters the magical role of a dancing princess.  She is a funny girl and thinks in such an entertaining and unique way. Her favorite colors are pink and purple--some girls cannot resist the tug. She loves meat sandwiches with mustard, mayo (NOT Miracle Whip!), lettuce, and cheese.  She made me one, and wow, such skill!  She is a morning person and will pop right up and continue the conversation that sleep had forced her to abandon the night before (FYI, her sister is NOT a morning person).
Chris and I are pretty much the same, From now on Im going to try to be the sameThe same as what?...The same as people who arent different. -Whats Up Doc.  Give us a call if you want more info on us 😊.
Well, in this letter, brief means that I kept this to one page.  Again, have a Merry Christmas, full of charity and love toward all!                         Love, The Williams Family

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2016 Williams Christmas Letter, the long version.

December 2016

Dear Family & Friends, (Unabridged Version)

Know that you are loved and that we wish you a Merry Christmas and a productively happy, and/or happily productive, New Year.  As I am just starting this epistle a few days before the postal service goes on vacation, there is a chance this will come after the holidays.  Just think of it as an opportunity to keep on being “merry,” per my belated letter’s request.
At the moment we are all healthy, and are being kept that way thanks to the magic of vitamin C, and luck.  With the many opportunities given kids for collecting infections to be brought home for the sharing, I am amazed we don’t all have variations of colds, flus, bacteria, and viruses, not to mention lice and fleas.  There are times when I wish my kids would just keep all contact with the rest of the world to the elbow-to-elbow tap (see the movie “Young Frankenstein”).
I, Becky, am going to give you some sort of an update on our family. As a kindness, I did ask my kids to write a paragraph’s worth of their favorite events, or experiences, of the year.  I will also share what I can from my perspective.  I will fill in the blanks in their narratives as I see fit (a scrivener’s prerogative). As it so often happens, most things worth remembering happen in the warm flexible days of summer. 
I’ll start with Reed, he being the oldest by 2 minutes or more (I was pretty medicated and didn’t get an accurate count between baby removals).  He is 14 now, but will be 15 on the 10th of January.  He still has blond hair, blue eyes, and is starting to make me feel very short; he’s “almost” 6 feet tall.  The most memorable part of the summer for him was when, for 3 weeks, one after the next with maybe a day to shower and sleep in his own bed, he attended 3 different camps starting June 20th and ending July 8th.  In his own words he writes, “First was scout camp which included: climbing, repelling, running, hiking, fishing, rafting, kayaking, shooting, swimming, and snacking with joy.  The next week was Yellowstone which included chilling with the relatives, getting driving lessons from aunt Jodi, canoeing down the river, snacking and doing the many of the other things one does while up there.  Then, the next week after that was track camp at BYU.  I was able to meet a lot of people from everywhere, as well as work on my athleticism.  A final trip, separate from the camps, was our trip to Capital Reef, but we stayed in a hotel so it can’t be called camping.  To summarize, it all came down to snacks, work, and lots of fun.”
Next, Douglas, the second born.  I’m not sure how the Dr. decides who to pull out first in a C-section.  Is it the one sticking a foot out? Actually, I don’t really want to know, gross.  He is also 14, almost 15 and is now just as tall as me, which is 5’9”, when we stand up straight.  He has dark blond hair, dark blue eyes, and like his brother, now has to shave.  Not often, and not much, but I have threatened to wax their upper lips while they sleep if they don’t use those razors.  I don’t think Douglas realized how much I’d share about his life before he gave me his “paragraph,” or else he would have written more in his own words.  However, this summer we were very happy and proud of him when he, at the age of 14 1/2, earned his Eagle scout rank.  As he says, “This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to earn my Eagle Scout rank.  With the support of my amazing scout troop, I completed my projects and all the other requirements.  This was one of many highlights of the year.”  The Hill Air Force base near us, has a lot of old aircraft that they mean to use for different purposes.  Douglas and those in his troop, cleaned out an old C-130 in order for it to be fitted out as a classroom for teaching kids.  Douglas also participated in those camps and vacations Reed mentioned.  I’m so glad they have a love for the outdoors and camping.  The love of camping was inherited from my side of the family, for Chris has absolutely no love for it.
Isaac, I-Man or, as aunt Jodi has nick-named him, “Socks.”  He is now 11 but is the size of a 13-year-old and, according to his doctor will most likely hit 6’5” or more.  He still has blond hair, and big, innocent-looking, brown puppy dog eyes.  I can’t prove it, but I think he gets away with a lot more mischief than he should, because of those eyes. At my prompting, he took more seriously the definition of a paragraph of info when he shared his favorite experience of the year. “I liked when we went up to Jodi and Dave’s cabin at Island Park.  One of the best parts was when we floated down the snake river and my dad hurled up his breakfast into the river.  Another time was when we went to see the geysers.  Also, when we saw the wolves, bears, and birds.  Lastly, the summer was epic!”  I’m always interested to learn what one or another person finds of interest in shared experiences.  Maybe the episode of Chris getting sick while canoeing wasn’t as “epic” to Chris, but unfortunate.  I didn’t even remember it until Isaac brought it up (no pun intended) again.  I was in the canoe ahead of his and my view of the river was quite glorious.
Elizabeth, another twin also born approximately 2 minutes before her roomie, is now 6 yrs. old.  She is tall for her age, has dark blond and very curly hair.  She has also inherited the big brown, innocent-looking eyes that her brother Isaac has, but with long curled eyelashes, and the power to tear up on command.  She too manages to get away with more than I suspect she should. She has a wonderful imagination and an honest perspective on life, always trying to puzzle out how things are and work.  She has the biggest heart and gives great hugs and kisses.  When I asked about her year, which seems to have only existed, like the others, in the summer months, she too talked about our trips.  Quote: “I liked Yellowstone the most and liked watching the buffalo cross the road.  I liked canoeing on the river and watching the squirrels on the trees next to the water.  I liked sleeping in my aunt and uncle’s cabin and eating the breakfast uncle Dave made.  We went horseback riding.  My horse ran fast and I thought it was nice of the horses to give us a ride.  My horse kept bonking me into the branches of the trees.  I liked the cowboy who was teaching us how to ride the horse.”  As I transcribed her words, I thought what do you mean you “liked” the cowboy?  I’ll have to see if this liking of her cowboy (the college student working a summer job) leads her to an interest in Wranglers and boots, I hope not. 
Our second daughter is Miriam, technically our youngest child, though differentiating between a couple of minutes seems somehow unfair and maybe to some, insulting.  At this point she doesn’t care, other than having the novelty of being able to use the superlative when referring to her age.  Being the “-est” at something can be quite a big deal for a 6-year-old.  With Miriam, we have another blond, but with hazel eyes this time (Eyes that look blue one moment, green another, and gray most of the time.  Whatever that’s called).  She does NOT have that knack for appearing not-guilty.  I think if she could figure out how to tame that high pitched scream, she might start appearing more innocent at the end of a bout with her siblings.  Never the less, she’s still a sweetheart and can give a hug like a sloth clinging to its favorite tree.  Now, to continue with her first person narrative of a memorable time in 2016: “This summer I got to ride a horse and the cowboy said I was pretty good at riding.  I like summer and playing in the water at Capital Reef with my family, Grandpa Hartvigsen, and grandma Debbie.  I like the summer so much that I would like to be in the water all the time and be a mermaid. I also like my whole entire family; my brothers Reed, Douglas, and Isaac and my sister Elizabeth. I love this whole world and Jesus and he always love us, and that’s nice.”  Yes, that is truly nice!
Chris didn’t give me a written paragraph of his most memorable moment of 2016, so I get to decide for him (can you hear my wicked laugh?).  Actually, if I could guess, I’d say he liked our trip to Yellowstone and the surrounding areas the most.  Unlike Isaac, the memory of his bout of boat sickness will be suppressed, and replaced with the awesome views of waterfalls, incredible geographical and geological sites, and of the time spent with a family that loves him to bits.  Chris works really hard and takes such great care of all of us.  He’s a wonderful husband and friend and we are blessed he is ours.
I say amen to all of the great memories shared by my family.  My memory is currently attached to the wall upstairs, and is at the moment labeled, “December.”  Many of my own goings on seem to be contained in digital social media.  I love, love, love my family.  They are my joy, part of who I am, the people who make me laugh, and give me the most smile lines.  I know I am so blessed to have them, as well as all of you.  Christmas is the perfect holiday and is celebrated right when many of us are committing to make better choices and to live them.  Christmas is celebrated because it’s a time to remember the Savior.  To remember who he truly IS, why he was born, why he willingly atoned for our sins, why he died and was resurrected.   Christ loves me and you and he is here for us all, to comfort and to save.  I hope we all will remember this fact and go forward with the comfort and hope this truth offers.  Have a Merry Christmas all! 
The Williams Family

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Here's a picture of the first of my three boys, Douglas Williams, to become an Eagle Scout. We are so proud of him; for his hard work in learning, applying his knowledge, and taking an active part in making a better community. For his Eagle project he, along with the help of his scout troop, cleaned out and worked toward repairing a C-130 airplane at Hill Air force Base, done in preparation for it to be converted and used as part of a classroom. He has such an awesome troop and fabulous leaders. I am so thankful for all who have helped him work toward this achievement.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


How we spent last Friday and Saturday...So productive of us!

Salsa (adjusted 2015 version)
Here's the basic salsa recipe we use (the way we make it, we get around 17 pts. per batch):

About 35 Roma tomatoes, peeled, cored, cut into chunks (enough to fill a 2 quart pitcher after they've been cut up and some of the juices drained).
2 medium onions, chopped (chop fresh, don't store)
5 stalks of celery, chopped into small pieces
1  red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
4 T. cilantro, chopped (we add more, because we like it)
3 12-oz, cans tomato paste (prefer Hunt's brand)
Your choice of chilies
2 c. vinegar (we prefer the apple cider vinegar)
Spices:  Prepare beforehand in separate baggies or cups for ea. batch
3 T. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 T. sugar
1 Lime juice (from 1 whole lime)
1 T. lemon juice

Chili Pepper Prep:
Slice & seed w/ gloves.  Place in a large bowl and coat with olive oil and sprinkle coarse salt over all.  Place closely together on a cookie sheet, then bake at 400 for 30 minutes.  Use a processor and mix to a paste.  Add to  salsa.
(If you like, add frozen corn or whatever else you like in salsa. Sometimes we put garlic and other peppers in, depending on how spicy or strong you like it)

Tomato Prep:
  • wash, make an X slash on one end of tomato, the place in simmering water for 20-30 seconds then drop into ice cold water and skin will slip right off.
  • Chop up tomatoes with a serrated knife and let some of the juices drain so the salsa is not watery. Squish more out if you want the salsa thicker. Let them sit while you prepare the other veggies.
Other veggies:
  • Chop and put into the food processor for a bit, depending on how chunky you want it. You can also use a potato masher or blender. As you get everything mashed up, start putting it in a large pot.

  • Cook salsa in large pot
  • Stir so everything is incorporated and bring to a boil. Stir often, and turn the heat low enough so that the bottom doesn’t burn.
  • Ladle hot salsa into scalded pint jars, and process for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Family Vacation, at last!!!!!

I have not blogged for an ETERNITY, so here I go!

After at least 11 hours on the road, we finally got down to see the family and the beach. Oh, how I missed the smell of salt water and that cool breeze that comes from the ocean! Yes, I swam but those pictures, along with the Loch Ness monster ones, have been long lost. Each kid had their favorite day and activity. Mine was the beach, Mr. I loved picking raspberries, the girls weren't sure if they liked the beach or swimming in aunt Heidi’s pool most. We all got sunburns and for some, in some not so fortunate places. I finally bought a back scratcher to reach the itchy stage of the burn. It's not polite to ask anyone standing near you to scratch your back, or at least that's what I've heard. It's nice to be back, but I still wouldn't mind owning a beach house, hut, or sand castle. We didn’t make it to Disneyland this time as such a trip would cost us at least a thousand dollars with the 7 of us.  That’s one we’ll have to save up for.


More to come from the rest of our trip!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 Christmas: The Annual Narrative

Merry Christmas!

December 9, 2014

Dear Family, Friends, and People who receive this due to an incorrect address,
Merry Christmas! 

I must admit, this holiday has snuck up on me, and the hiatus between Halloween and Thanksgiving didn’t even seem to happen. All I can say, is I’m grateful for the ability to do a lot of my Christmas shopping on-line. I am haunted by hopeful lists to Santa from children who think they’ve been good enough to deserve iPhones and pet dogs. We realized it was time to remind our kids why we celebrate Christmas, and that it’s not a holiday about getting, but giving and remembering Christ, and to live by the example he has set for us. I suppose it’s my fault for putting off commercialism earlier in the year, when hearing “Will you get me…” such and such? And answering, “Wait until Christmas.” So, Chris and I have been doing our best to bring them back to Earth. Chris’ work and some other companies are helping out refugees from Sudan and other children in need this Christmas by taking them to Walmart and helping a child shop for what he wants or needs. Many of these children have never had a Christmas gift. Chris will be taking the 3 boys early Saturday morning to be a part of this. It’s so wonderful that there are businesses and people willing to do something like this and I’m glad my kids are able to help.

I’m trying to think of an appropriate summary of our lives through the year of 2014, but it’s kind of a blur. Wasn’t I just making a Jawa costume, gluing on Vulcan ears, and finding the perfect bowtie for Dr. Who? I’m still finding dum-dum sucker sticks in odd places, along with other unwanted, but slightly tasted, trick-or-treat spoils (lots of fruit flavored Tootsie-Rolls, ew!). I suppose I’ll try to sum things up by examining each child.

Reed and Douglas both shed the small desks, chairs and knee-high children of elementary school and
started Junior High. I must say, I pity those poor 6th grade teachers who have to be the ones to introduce the subject of puberty and at the same time, be tortured by kids not yet committed to deodorant. However, it must be 10 times worse for Junior High teachers! Reed and Douglas will be 13 in January and I still haven’t gotten my head around the idea. I’m sure it will hit me when, in a year or two, I will have to tilt my head upward to look at my child and say, “go to your room for a timeout!” Mr. Douglas is currently in band learning how to play the clarinet and bass clarinet. Reed is working hard in German and can practice with his mom, who has to keep referring to a dictionary for long forgotten vocabulary. All three boys are in Karate and love it. Isaac at 9 is nearly the size of a junior high student. He still hasn’t found the virtue in doing homework, nor has he mastered the skills necessary for not teasing his sisters, but at his center he is a very sweet and loveable boy. I think it must be written in law somewhere in the mind of the male child, that little sisters are supposed to be teased by older brothers.

The girls…4 years old…need I say more? Perhaps. Much of their cuteness and antics have been posted on Facebook and will be used as evidence in the case that commits me to an insane asylum. To put it nicely, let’s just say they have enquiring minds. Only this Sunday, when I went about putting some make-up on, did I find that the sponge for applying powder had a large bite taken out of it. Don’t come to our house begging for a Band-Aid because they have long ago joined the crayons as mediums used for mosaics and frescos. Also, if you want to borrow tongs or a potato masher, you’ll have to feel for them in the back yard grass or hop into a window well. Still, just gotta love ‘em. How boring and predictable it would be to find my make-up in one piece and Band-Aids where they belong.

I must brag and say, Chris and I are the parents of some awesome kids and we daily thank Heavenly Father that they are ours forever. Chris has had a yearlong battle with his Chevy Impala and I think a truce and treaty are in the making. Something like, “if you ever break down again, I will roll you off of the highest cliff and into the deepest ravine!” I do all kinds of things; I just can’t remember what they are by the end of the day. All I know is I have a feeling my time was well spent. I’m kind of like the Sasquatch in the woods who looks like he’s up to something but all you see is the lumbering hairy figure as it hides behind trees or mountains of dirty laundry.
We hope you are all well and happy. Have a Merry Christmas!

Chris, Becky, Reed, Douglas, Isaac, Miriam, & Elizabeth Williams

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas! And how things really are…

Christmas 2013blackand white

A while ago, I was teased about presenting a picture of how we really look as a family.  Pre- primped .  Here’s our…uh…realistic photo and family Christmas letter:


(Note from Editor: If you have glasses, find them now).

A Novella, “A Christmas Letter” by the Williams Family Published by the Williams Family, Inc., Copyright © Dec. 2013 (just kidding about the copyright, it was just fun to write.)

This year I thought I’d experiment with perspectives and short stories in Christmas letter writing. I’m going to experiment with 3rd person omniscient, but because I said “experiment”, this may end up being a bit of 1st person, some head-hopping, 2nd person, or a whole chorus of varying and conflicting points of view. Where was I? So, let us begin.

Prologue: The year was 2013, their elevation 4,449 ft. above sea level, and the temperature a toe-tingling 20 degrees F., when the Williams family sat to recollect the past year and to decide what to, or what not to, reveal. If they were to package their story for the faint of heart it would go: Chris works at R.C. Willey doing beneficial stuff to their computers, Becky watches 5 kids, uh…and does other stuff; Reed, Douglas, and Isaac attend school, study karate, and also do less beneficial stuff to computers. Miriam and Elizabeth stay home with mom, enjoy playing with monkeys and horses, and avoid vegetables, but feel guilty about it. The End… However, this letter isn’t for the faint of heart nor does the author care about weak hearts or digestive complaints. This author is going to attempt to tell the audience plainly, and with as many polite words as possible, what the Williams’ family is all about. Also, it will have to take only 500-ish words (editor: this actually turns out to be 1,914 words (editor eye-rolling)).

Chapter One: Early one morning, Becky sat in her living room casually perusing an article on cross-genetic species regeneration, when the lack of 3 year old conversation caught her ear. The silence was deafening in its ominous warning. Guiltily, yet reluctantly, she put down her reading and ran downstairs to see the reason for the silence. She had to brace herself on the wall as she looked down on what appeared to be a chain of General Mills volcanos. Nearly every box of cereal had been upended to create separate mounds of Cheerios, Fruit Loops, Grape Nuts, and Lucky Charms. At that moment, it was no longer the silence that was ominous, but the shocked song of “no, no, no’s” coming from her mouth. She nearly echoed Charlton Heston’s famous phrase from Planet of the Apes, where he yells, (edited) “Gosh-Dang you all to heck!” Instead, she just took a picture and texted it to their father. Her logical side told her she’d better laugh instead of cry. Besides, if there was ever a need for this kind of evidence, it would best if it wasn’t tampered with.

Chapter Two: Chris sat quietly driving home with only the sounds of the road, and another traffic report in the style of a Greek chorus. His mind wandered from work to his bishopric calling (2nd counselor), and on to his family. He began thinking lovingly of his 3 strapping sons, adorable (editor’s note: also talented, majestic, and cuddly) wife, and of course, his two, doting daughters. Chris thought of a recent conversation he’d had with Elizabeth, one of the twin three year old girls who were still rapturously pleased to talk about the simplest things; such as bathroom etiquette and the proper uses of sharp knives. But, there are times when the mind can wander, when what a parent has to say really isn’t that interesting. The girl’s parents had made pizza for dinner that night and it was one of those nights when everyone was starving and therefore ornery about it, and neglectful of polite dinner time conversation. Chris asked Elizabeth, “do you have your pizza? / Elizabeth: NO! /Chris: Do you want pizza? /Elizabeth: NO! /Chris: Are you hungry? /Elizabeth: NO! /Chris: Are you cute? /Elizabeth: (pause)…I are cute!” The final response gave him a bit of hope that she really could still listen, that she was still his little girl, and she hadn’t passed over to the blatantly-uninterested side where parents were background noise. She was just contrary! What a relief!

Chapter Three: School had been tedious that day, and Reed dreaded having to go home and try to use his Jedi mind tricks to dissuade his mother from forcing him to do his homework. His Jedi powers had been running low of late. Doors wouldn’t swing open with a slight twitch of two fingers, and he’d lost his light saber, again! What he needed was a handful of his mother’s hidden stash of M&Ms and one of his dad’s Cokes. His parents were so strict! He hadn’t even had a cavity in at least 2 years and the caffeine in the Coke never kept him awake. (The wakefulness was a result of the iPod hidden under his pillow at night). After a smelly bus ride home, he stumbled into the house, dropped his backpack and coat as quickly as he could, and kicked off his boots barely avoiding the entryway lamp. He looked around and noticed his mom wasn’t in the room; the computer was logged in and was begging for cyber companionship. Just one quick game of Minecraft, and a short video on sloths, then he’d jump off and adopt a casually bored post-school look. It worked, only he’d been on the computer long enough that he’d forgotten the time and ended up viewing three of his favorite sloth videos instead of one. Where had his mother gone? Then, almost imperceptibly, he heard a creak of a stair plank and someone struggling for breath, only this breathing seemed to be coming from a device that regulated the breather’s intake and output of air. Then he heard something like a threat about someone’s father and a death star. As if inspired, he remembered his light saber was wedged in between two couch cushions, and at the same time he felt a tremendous spike in his Jedi powers. His uninterrupted cyber time and sloth observations had refocused him and he was able to defend his mother, who was being slowly strangled in Darth Vader’s cloak. Reed knew that this guy definitely was not his father and sent his black helmeted head bouncing down the stairs, thump, thump, thump…

Chapter Four:

Douglas, the second-born Williams son (by a mere three minutes), felt the tiny age difference most strongly in his shorter stature; but, height wasn’t everything. In fact, there was a lot more to him than the eye could see. He had powers, super powers, which none but his closest friends and family knew about. He was strong (like Mr. Incredible), had a keen sense of humor (like Condor Man), was very intelligent (like Iron Man), and could jump and swing from objects with little ease (like Spiderman). As all super heroes know, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” So between rescues he did his homework, read great books, played with friends, attended his Karate classes and scouts, and made sure to give his mom and dad a hug and kiss before bed each night. Only then could he answer the calls for rescue and a few light hearted comments perfectly timed between punches, smashes, webbings, and blasts.

Chapter Five: Finding himself abducted and sitting in an alien ship, Isaac was foolishly left unrestrained and began playing with random buttons and switches. Before his captor could stop him, they were off! Because the switches reacted with the pusher’s DNA, thoughts, and personality, they found themselves hopping from one of the boy’s favorite places to the next. First, his baptism in August, his best friend Cameron’s house, and then the hill he often sledded down. From there to Disneyland, then to his cousins’ houses, Lake Michigan, all the grandparent’s houses, the beach, and finally back to the mound of snow he’d left his backpack on. His alien abductor quickly decided that the whole alien-abduction thing was too much of a risk and ejected Isaac from her space craft, then zoomed off planet to hide in a moon crater. Isaac was disappointed, but couldn’t wait to get home to tell his family all about it.

Chapter Six: “Zizzy. Open. The. Door!” called Miriam angrily from her room where she was currently trapped. Child locks are the bane of every curious 3 year old child’s existence. This time was not a parental trap, but one of her twin sister, Elizabeth’s, making. As far as one could tell, there was no reason for the act - it could be done, and so it was. Elizabeth knew payback was inevitable, but the temporary thrill of control was worth the small infraction. The age of boundary testing was escalating. Food, as a medium for art, had long been accepted by the masses, starting with the first mashed potato mountain, and Elizabeth knew it. What her parents thought of as “three year old messes,” the chocolate hand prints emotionally pasted down the stair walls, the sculpted mound of bananas guarded by a moat of honey, the Jackson Pollock inspired tomato splatters on the kitchen wall, and the aforementioned cereal ring of fire; were all results of a social non-conformist, free of the 8 ½ by 11 paper boarders…On a side note, Elizabeth loves Curious George, and would gladly join him whenever and in whatever jungle he chose…

Chapter Seven: Unlike her sister, Miriam loved the traditional mediums – pencils and ink, and reserved bananas for eating, not mashing. However, she too had no respect for boundaries. Every bare surface in the Williams home begged to be covered in swirls, letters, shapes, and line art - and Miriam obliged them. Her free spirit also had a place for obsessive order, for taking her toy horses wherever she went: The car, the bath, to bed, and when she couldn’t take them, they found nice little hiding places under beds or behind flour containers. Earlier that summer, she attended a picnic where real live horses were giving children rides. After her ride, she had to get off and had the most extreme temper tantrum of her life. She happens to be in the 95th percentile for height, so I don’t see jockey-ing in her future, but perhaps a cowgirl or horse trainer…

Editor: Unfortunately, there was a paper shortage and this novella had to come to an end. The Williams family really just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, express their immense gratitude to their friends, family, and most importantly to their Savior Jesus Christ; his life, example, and the greatest gift of all, his atonement for all. We love you all and thank you for your love and support through good and tough times. Have a Merry Christmas!

Love, The Williams Family XOXOX (those kisses were also from the author and editor).

Monday, November 18, 2013

Halloween 2013: Tooth Decay Day!

This was the first Halloween in which Miriam and Elizabeth actually took an active part.  They properly walked with their bags in hand, held mom or dad’s hand and knocked on doors.  They almost mastered the traditional greeting, “trick or treat” but the one thing we hope to teach them by next year, is that after we knock, we do not let ourselves into their houses.  Ah well, they were cute enough that no offense was taken.


A Wookie, Duct Tape Man, and Pirate Black Beard

These three boys had a great time and came home loaded with potential cavity tools.


A pair of woodland fairies, or at least that’s what we decided they were.






Isaac and his good friend Cameron

This year, Isaac gave a half hearted attempt at dressing up.  He just wanted to hurry up and get trick or treating.  Where is the proper respect due to this ghoulish holiday?

Merry Christmas!

December 2018 (Cliff’s notes version:  Merry Christmas, we love you all, and have a happy New Year!) Dear Family and Friends (...