We celebrated the Christmas Holiday and as I think back, bits and pieces of other Christmases present themselves. As a young kid growing up, our family did not usually get a Christmas tree until about Christmas Eve -- there is a lot of speculation as to why that was, but that was a magical time for us kids.
Our father brought the tree home and then as I recall, my folks mostly decorated it while we were off to dreamland . . . it was also the time that cigar smoke usually wafted throughout the house as my Father received a cigar from his boss each year and he smoked it while wrapping gifts and decorating.
Above can be seen some of the activities for this current Christmas -- some of the decorations, some of the many gifts, some of the Christmas "eats", the general mellow day.
It seems that the day takes forever to get here but then very quickly meshes into my memory and as always it has been a positive.
For us, it is the second Christmas (we are lucky) that we have had Dino. He was so patient as we opened gifts and always wanted to be right up close and personal as we tore through wrapping -- his favorite attraction. But we did get him a gift also and he knew when it was time.
He sat nicely and then got onto his bed and watched as Gail retrieved his "gift". He waited 'til he was told "okay" and then enjoyed his new "Nylabone" with fervor . . . we are always amazed as he treats any new gift with his undivided attention -- this left us time to attend to other unwrappings as well and then to brunch of delicious waffles . . .
Apres -- Christmas Day
As I said, Christmas day does go fast and we try to hold on to it for a while, but within a very short period of time -- the tree is "un" trimmed and removed and many of the decorations are carefully repacked for use hopefully next year . . .
These are some of the "after" Christmas goings on . . . we had a nice visit with Tim, Emma & Aiden, who stopped over the day after Christmas (they are visiting from Texas). The tree stands outside with Dino "checking" it out just before we reduced it in size enough to put it out for pick-up.
We will leave some of the outside lights up 'til New Year's. The moon this week was full and provided a few nights of amazing viewing -- pictures really never can do it justice but never-the-less we went outside each night and took a gander and a photo . . .
It is with sadness that I have to report that Iris Amelia Hiles Shumaker passed away on 22 December of this year. She is the only daughter of Harold Hiles and is a first cousin of mine (once removed). Her daughter Melissa was kind enough to send me an email with that information.
I never got to meet Iris and in fact it was not until many years into my family history work that I even knew much about her -- I knew her birth name -- Iris Hiles, but since women often change their names at marriage I could not find her . . . until I started exchanging emails with her daughter, Melissa, my second cousin.
Iris, from all the reports from Melissa was a very strong personality and I really wish that I would have met her. She was born in Spencer, Wisconsin and ultimately lived in California and then to Texas.
She had two children, Tim & Melissa and also now many Grandkids. All these people are directly related to my branch -- but as far as I know -- the two branches have never met each other . . . though our paths have come very close at times.
Above are some of the photos I have of Iris, most of them came from Melissa. Next to her baby picture is a group photo including the Cliftons who were visiting the Harold & Nettie Hiles' in Southgate, CA.
In addition the two maps show Spencer and Fredricksburg. Iris, rest-in-peace . . .
Some Websites that I Use
Like most of us, I use a variety of websites every day. One that I use and have for a long time is called
Snopes -- I use it to check on things like "urban myths" (that my brother is concerned about . . .) and to check out the reasonableness of some of the things I receive in my email e.g. health concerns and other emails relating to current events:
Above are some examples of the things I recently checked out -- if you have things that you want a second opinion on, you can check them out on Snopes to see if they have an opinion: SNOPES
Another site that I have started checking on is also fun and interesting:
Above is just an example of the "stuff" that can be uncovered while looking at this really fast growing site. I loved the photo -- that looks a lot like Dino, surrounded by couch pillows . . . but there is a whole world of things to explore at the site: PINTEREST
And lastly, I have mentioned this site may times before -- but it continues to be creative and useful as well. Since there are only two more days until the New Year -- this site has given us the information needed to set our table appropriately for the celebration on the eve . . .
It would be hard NOT to utilize this to really set the stage for the evening's dinner -- except in our case it's a bit much "for two" . . . though, if we were having a larger group, this would be an elegant way to celebrate.
Aside from the NYE table, this site has provided me with a ton of recipes suitable for many occasions AND they all have been excellent. Check them out for yourselves: NOBLE PIG
Happy New Year's to all !! See you in a few . . .