In December 2002, Jennifer celebrated her 18th birthday with her friends, having pizzookies at B.J.’s. For Christmas, Santa brought us our own karaoke machine for our house - - so we can practice for New Year’s Eve at Mike and Sheila’s. We actually stayed up ‘til this year. On Christmas day an upcoming “new arrival” was announced by Pat and Tricia. Tricia is due in August and they will then have three children under the age of 3! Those crazy Catholics!
Early in January, we suspected something was up when Jennifer cleaned and packed her room. A little further detective work revealed that she was pregnant! What a shocker!!! Ok, now, deep breath, relax, calm down (sorry, the incident still brings back recurring trauma). Jennifer and her boyfriend Danny are expecting their baby in September. It looks like September’s cake week is turning into cake month. Pat and Tricia’s reaction was “you b****, you just had to have the youngest grandchild!” But, the race isn’t over yet . . . Tom and Pricilla are expecting their third baby (a girl, we suspect) in September, as well. Jenn also decided she was done depending on the dying bug or moped for transportation. She bought a Civic from Danny’s sister. Let’s just say that this event caused enough drama in our house that if fully described here, would bring the Family Christmas Letter to an “R” rating. January also brings Georgia’s 4th birthday party and Jakob’s 7th. Jakob had a skating party, the day after we attended a school skating party. Kim and Aunt Mary each won a small coke from the snack bar for winning a race in their age group. Mary’s age group consisted of Damian and Mike. Super Bowl, once again, was at our house.
February began with Jennifer and Danny attending the winter formal dance. They borrowed Damian’s car and took two other couples and lived to tell about it. Autumn is really enjoying her Brownie troop. She loves having something all her own to do, without those bossy siblings. They earn “try-it” badges, go on field trips and sell cookies. Lots of Cookies. Over 200 boxes earned Autumn a “cookie diva” pin. We won’t tell how many of those boxes ended up at our house. Lisa was on a business trip to Las Vegas, and had some time for a visit with her Mom. Chris and Autumn’s school celebrated Loved Ones Day, including a performance by Autumn and the rest of the second graders. They sang My Country ‘Tis of Thee and the State song – singing all 50 states in alphabetical order! Myford offers so many opportunities for parent involvement. Damian attended Donuts with Dad and Lisa volunteers to teach Art Masters in both Chris and Autumn’s classes about once a month. On Valentine’s Day it seemed no one wanted to revive the guys-cook dinner party tradition. So, Damian and Lisa went out alone to Fleming’s. That’s where we discovered chocolate lava cake. Damian has been trying to perfect the recipe ever since. And y’know, there’s no such thing as a bad chocolate lava cake.
In March Lisa went on a business trip to Denver and stayed an extra day to go skiing at Breckenridge. Even though she had skied twice before, she still insisted on taking an all-day beginner’s lesson, and she successfully avoided the basket ride down the hill behind the ski patrol. Kim attended an honor roll dessert at her school for her first semester performance. It’s amazing how those D’s turn into B’s in the last month of the semester! Lisa, Damian, Mike, Mary and Joe had a bet in January to see who could lose the most weight in 10 weeks. Between the high stress and heavy celebrating, Lisa and Damian weren’t exactly leading on this one. The prize went to Joe. We all celebrated with a big breakfast at home and Fleming’s (again) for dinner and more cake. The bug has been revived and is now transporting Damian’s Dad around town. Lisa’s Mom came to town and we had a little gathering at Linda’s house with us, Mom, Linda and Paul, and Pam and Ken and their kids.
In April, Jenn went for her first ultrasound to see if the baby was a boy or a girl. All that was determined was that the baby was uncooperative. Kim made secret plans to participate in a Locks of Love charity event. Locks of Love takes human hair donations and makes wigs for children with permanent hair loss. Kim had 10 inches of her hair cut off and donated. She was even quoted in the Irvine World News saying “at least my hair will be pretty on someone else.” Lisa and some of the Williams adults went to see Les Misrables and to dinner at Maggianos. That’s a little too much culture for Damian, so he stayed home and babysat. Chris celebrated his birthday with a bowling party, including pizza and cake in “the ocean room.” Chris’ birthday was on Easter this year. So, the same day as his party, we also hunted for eggs at church and dyed eggs at home. We ‘relaxed’ on Easter by eating all day.
In May we ran the cotton candy booth for Myford’s second annual carnival. Lisa, Jenn and Kim volunteered to work with Autumn’s Brownie troop to make a Mothers Day mini photo album. Autumn celebrated her First Holy Communion and we had lunch at B.J.’s. It was Chris’ and the 4th graders’ turn to perform at the Open House. They sang and danced to the tunes of the early California pioneers and gold miners. Chris described it as the most embarrassing moment of his life. Jenn and Danny attended the proms at both of their schools. This month, Jenn’s doctor told us that the baby is a Boy. We eagerly awaited the arrival of Tyler Michael. Trish and Pat’s Rebecca celebrated her first birthday. Pretty soon, she won’t be the baby anymore. Kim attended a PAL event at Universal Studios. They saw a limousine that carried either Clay Aiken or Ruben Studdard of American Idol fame. How exciting to be so close to someone famous!
In June, Jenn graduated with a diploma and everything. The family celebrated with a barbeque party at our house the following weekend. That was the same weekend as our anniversary. Lisa surprised Damian with “we’re staying home” and ordering dinner from Tustin Brewery. In Kim’s last week of school the 7th grade visited Medieval Times because they were studying the Medieval period of history. Lisa and the family women went to Arizona for relaxation and pampering, staying at the Fairfield Scottsdale Princess where Tom works. The lowlight of the trip was a visit to an outdoor, self-service hick bar/hamburger joint. This place made Dick’s Last Resort in Myrtle Beach look like a five-star fine dining establishment. We blame Priscilla and those pregnancy cravings. While Lisa was away, Jenn moved out. When Lisa said “pretend I’m there and have a good cry” Damian accused her of being drunk.
We celebrated July 4th at the annual Keelson Avenue block party. We have a great picture of the three pregnant bellies – Jennifer, Tricia and Priscilla. Kim once again attended Girl Scout camp at Camp Scherman and was in the intermediate horse camp. We went to the WGA family function at the Orange County fair. Deep-fried Twinkies, dizzy rides and baby pig racing. Who could ask for more? A couple of weeks later Jeanne hosted a baby shower for Jennifer. Jenn went home with a Honda-full of baby boy presents. At the end of July, Tricia and Pat welcomed their new baby, Sarah. They are now outnumbered – with brother Nick and sister Rebecca. This one actually looks like a Williams with dark hair and blue eyes.
In August, Autumn was invited to the wedding of her second grade teacher, Miss Donnelly, now Mrs. Quinn. Damian hosted the annual fantasy football draft at our house. One night around midnight Danny called to say, “we’re going to the hospital.” Over 12 hours later, with a shocked look on his face, the Doctor said, “It’s a girl.” Haylee Marie is going to be quite the tom-boy with all those boy clothes and baseball décor. Actually, everyone immediate went out to buy everything pink. So, she now has two complete wardrobes. Cake week has now officially expanded into cake month. The last weekend of August is Labor Day weekend. Damian likes to make as many visits as possible to the international food fair in Orange. On Sunday, Damian took Chris and Autumn to the food fair and told Kim she had to stay home to go to church with Lisa. Kim was bitter. After church, Lisa said “we’ll just go get something to eat, since everyone else already ate at the food fair.” While enjoying Tony Roma’s Kim said she was glad she didn’t go to the food fair. Somehow, on the way home from dinner, they passed by the Pond. First Kim noticed all the people and thought there was a hockey game. Then she saw the sign that said “American Idols in Concert.” When they pulled in and paid for parking Kim asked why we had to pay to get through this street. Then finally, she said, “I’m so blonde!!!” Kim enjoyed the concert very much and Lisa enjoyed having a 12-year old with her so it didn’t look like she was going for her own enjoyment.
Everyone returned to school in September. Autumn is in 3rd grade and is in Brownies again. Chris is in 5th grade and is playing another season of AYSO soccer. Kim is in the 8th grade, she’s a spirit squad captain and is very involved in the school leadership group, PAL. Altogether, they are very busy. Tom and Priscilla’s new baby, Ariana, arrived in September. She is the last of the three 2003 babies and the last of Tom & P’s three girls, after her sisters Miranda and Isabella. Autumn celebrated her birthday with her friends Katelyn and Monique with a sleepover and Disneyland. Kim had a luau sleepover with about 10 of her friends. Damian’s birthday at home was much quieter.
By the time we get to Lisa’s birthday in October, we already have a lot of leftover cake. So, we went for ice cream at Cold Stone. Kim and the Pioneer spirit squad marched in their first parade at the Tustin Tiller Days. We had scheduled the triple baptism in October. However, Tom and P decided to have Ariana baptized at their church in Arizona and Jenn and Danny planned a trip to Atlanta to show Danny’s relatives baby Haylee. So, Sarah was baptized all alone. Jenn returned from Atlanta to find that Albertson’s had locked out their employees during union contract negotiations. So now, she is “working the corner” (with a picket sign, of course). Mary hosted her annual Halloween “dare to bare or scare” party. On Halloween night, we sent the kids off to trick or treat with their friends so that both of us could stay to work the haunted house. Damian’s dad, as Gandolf (or Moses) helped us out, too. We actually had some complaints like “isn’t that the same ghost you had last year?” What ungrateful little goblins!
We made the kids run the 5k race in the Dino Dash the first weekend of November. Damian and Kim finished in 39 minutes, Chris finished in 46 minutes and Lisa and Autumn came in at 53 minutes. We have a year to train to improve our time for next year. Or, we could just sit around and eat a year’s supply of Thin Mints like we did this year. For Damian’s Mom’s birthday we had Japanese food at Tsunami, then cake compliments of Heather and Ben. Lisa and Autumn went to a Brownie’s mother/daughter sleepover. Yep, that’s right . . . 13 girls in one room and 13 moms in another room. Autumn had fun. For Lisa, it was the longest 24 hours of her life since being in labor with Autumn. Jennifer, Danny and Haylee have now moved into their own apartment in Orange. Kathy, Jeff and their family came out to visit for Thanksgiving. The boys were deep-frying turkeys and we had food going in and out of four ovens all day long. We almost had enough turkeys so that each person could have their own. That’s what happens when the grocery stores give them away and it only takes 45 minutes to cook them in the fryer.
In December Kim joined a youth service group, Rainbow Girls, with her long-time friend Stephanie. Jenn didn’t do much celebrating for her birthday, but we did manage to get her a refrigerator. When you don’t have any cold food, you realize how much we take for granted. And so, the parties begin. After months of rumors that the WGA Christmas party had gone away, they announced the party would be held at the Back Bay Café. Then, it’s on to the annual ladies ornament exchange at Knott’s. In the middle of all the eating, shopping, wrapping and such, Lisa will be finishing her A.A. degree in Business Administration and in Liberal Arts, ready to move on to Cal State Fullerton next year.
We wish everyone a joyous holiday season and a new year of happiness and good fortune.
Mark your calendars . . . Next year we will be having a big party for our 15th anniversary on Saturday, June 26.
P.S.: The annual reminder . . . If you received this by snail mail and prefer to access it via the web (complete with pictures) at www.williamsfamily.org, or vice-versa, just email and let us know. Damianwilliams@cox.net or Lisawilliams@cox.net.