The Year in Pictures

Christmas 2005


This has been a year of tremendous joy and sorrow and to be certain, a time of change in all our lives. We are thankful to all who shared in our high times and low times.  The support of our family and friends keeps us strong.


December of 2005 started with Alex’s (#4 for Tricia and Pat) baptism on the same day as the ornament exchange at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken restaurant.  Jennifer turned 20 on the 9th.  In the middle of all this Lisa took a trip to Denver for a business trip.  There was lots of snow, but no skiing this time, just the kick-off of the new West Region team under the newly merged organization, USA Mobility. We returned to a tented under-construction restaurant at the Newport Dunes for WGA’s annual dinner.  We’ve been collecting all year for the White Elephant exchange at Mary’s house.  We were able to off-load some of our junk in exchange for a framed picture of Mary.  We stayed at home for Christmas Eve dinner after church, and early Christmas morning.  Then, on to the Williams family house for the one-by-one gift exchange that gets longer each year, as our family grows larger.  Damian’s brother, Joe, was able to get time off from his job as bakery chef on a Hawaii-based cruise ship to join us for Christmas.   We had quite a scare, seeing flames and black smoke coming up from behind the neighborhood houses.  A nearby church was on fire and literally burning to the ground.  As it turns out, the cause of the fire was arson.  Traditions continue – we sang karaoke at Mike and Sheila’s for New Year’s Eve, but we didn’t quite make it ‘til midnight this time.


The first birthday of the year, is Georgia’s, who turned 6 in January.  As Mike and Sheila’s only child (so rare in our family), Georgia is treated to some “over the top” parties. This year, she had a bounce house, and visits from Cinderella and The Bubble Guy.  The rest of us kept busy through the new year, too.  Lisa continued at Cal State Fullerton during intersession and Spring semester.  Her company is continuing to downsize and close offices.  So, Lisa began working at home full time, using Jennifer’s old room as her office.  This actually gave her a more flexible schedule while going to school and keeping up with all the kids’ activities.  Damian officially moved from Assistant Esquire (who did all the Esquire’s duties) to Esquire and he and Lisa attended the Elk’s inaugural ball in January.  Autumn and her troop-mates bridged from Brownie to Junior Girl Scouts.  Jennifer and all the girls kept busy with wedding planning.  The date is officially set for May 14.


Though Jake’s birthday is in January, he did not celebrate his 9th until February with a piñata party at home.  The next day, we hosted Super Bowl viewing and over-eating at our house.  Autumn completed her 4th grade mission project.  This is the last of four mission projects that we’ve overseen, and we’re glad to retire from the job.


March was a comparatively slow month, with just Danny’s birthday, Spring break and Easter to celebrate. We bring all the extended family kids to St. Thomas More’s Easter egg hunt.  This year Kim is in high school, so she is part of the Life Teen group that assembles and hides the eggs.  We’re pretty sure she still did some “seeking,” too.


In April, Kim spent a weekend at retreat with her first-year Confirmation classmates and teachers. Lisa took business trips to Chicago, then Dallas.  In Chicago, she spent time with a co-worker who is a stand-up comic and they quoted and sang Bill Cosby all week.  Then in Dallas she and her co-workers went to a Texas Rangers baseball game in an SUV limo.  In between, Chris celebrated his 12th birthday with a sleepover.  Jake’s birthday may have been late, but Rebecca’s (Tricia and Pat’s #2) 3rd birthday (May 1) was celebrated in April. Autumn and her troop participated in the Girl Scout Olympics.  Godmother Jeanne hosted Jennifer’s bridal shower.


In May, we start with Julie’s wedding shower, then Jenn & Danny’s wedding the next week.  They were married at First Congregational Church, with reception at Angelo’s and Vinci’s restaurant.  Jennifer walked down the aisle with both her dads, Andy and Damian. Kim was a bride’s maid, Chris was a groomsman and Autumn (with her “twin” Kara, Andy’s daughter) was a greeter.  All went well except for a brief fight between Lisa and the photographer.  The next day, we went to Jennifer and Danny’s house to watch them open gifts.  They took a short drive to Mexico for their honeymoon.  Autumn and her class went on an overnight trip to see the San Juan Capistrano Mission and stayed at the Lazy W ranch for an “early California” experience.   Damian spent a week in Fresno for the Elks.  At the same time, Lisa and the kids made cotton candy for Myford’s carnival.  It’s sad when hanging out with Elks in Fresno is the lesser of two evils.  At the end of the month Lisa finally graduated Magna Cum Laud from Cal State Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts.  According to Lisa, it took 3 ½ years, but according to Damian, it was 21 years in the making.  We had a little BBQ at home afterward with family and friends.


The girls went to Palm Springs for Julie’s bachelorette party weekend.  This was Jennifer’s first time out.  As it turned out, the line was so long for the club that Lisa, Janet and Linda decided to just hang out at the hotel bar.  The wait was just as long for drinks, but at least we could sit down.  Boy, are we getting old.  The kids finished school.  Towards the end of the year, Kim missed quite a bit of time from school due to unexplained headaches and stomachaches.  This was Lisa’s first summer off in three years, yet Kim had to go to summer school. Lisa used her break from school to take the kids to Sea World and several other trips throughout the summer (less interesting, according to the kids), like to various local museums and to see King Tut.  We celebrated our 16th anniversary at The Vineyard Room in Disney’s California Adventure with some of the best-ever food and wine.  That’s when we discovered that our hotel’s definition of “Jacuzzi suite” is a bedroom with a Jacuzzi in it, and not a 2-room suite with a Jacuzzi in the bathroom.  Lisa’s job as Regional HR Manager, was to officially end June 30, but they offered her a temporary assignment to stay on for an undetermined length of time. At one point during all the mass lay-offs, Lisa had been job searching for two years, with no luck.  Now, it was time to start again.


Julie and Luis were married on July 2 at St. John Newman’s church, with their reception at the Garden Grove Elk’s Lodge, complete with competing DJ and Mariachi band.  The highlight of the night was the cake-topper of gun-toting Julie and Luis.  Cousins Bobbi, Richi and Alexandra joined us for the wedding weekend and 4th of July.  Chris opted for karate classes in lieu of soccer this year.  He took a little break from karate for his heart procedure.  Chris has had Wolfe-Parkinson-White syndrome since before birth, which is an extra electrical path that can cause an unusually fast heartbeat.  The condition needs to be corrected before adulthood and Chris is now 12.  Since this condition and the procedure to correct it are quite rare, there were no doctors in Orange County who could perform the procedure and we had to go to Children’s Hospital of

San Diego.  The 5-hour procedure involves inserting a catheter from his leg to his heart (like an angioplasty), then cauterizing the area of the heart with the irregular electrical pathway.  Chris was very brave and worried less than we did.  Mostly, he was tired and bored.  Now, he’s “normal,” whatever that means!  Later in the month Autumn and Lisa went to Girl Scout Twilight Camp.  Lisa was assigned to supervise a teenage girl with Downs Syndrome.  It was quite the test of patience.  Sad times began when Jennifer’s Grandma Lamar passed away after months of suffering with a brain tumor.  Family and friends celebrated her life with a beautiful remembrance lunch with pictures, poetry, music and memorabilia from her life.


August brought on many of life’s surprises.  First, Lisa’s sister Linda was hospitalized for complications of her lung cancer.  On the day Lisa came to visit Linda and have lunch with Mom and sister, Barbara, Linda was released from the hospital. Linda arrived home and we turned on the Angel’s game.  Linda decided she did not want to take her oxygen, and she passed away just a short time later.  At 56, this was a life taken much too soon.  We will all miss her, especially Paul, Paul Jr. and Melinda, Tina and Mike, and the teenage grandchildren, Derrik and Brandon and Sara and Tesa.  During this time, Lisa’s luck on the job search started to turn around. Amazingly, that degree really makes a difference.  She received a job offer as an HR Director for Alarm One just in time, and started the day after her last day at USA Mobility.  No time off allowed!  There goes the flexible schedule, now she’s back to dressing in business clothes and commuting on the freeway (instead of up the stairs in her sweats).  In the process, Lisa had to negotiate time off from work to continue school because at the end of the month she started her teaching credential program.  Over the summer Kim visited some specialists to help determine the cause of her headaches and stomachaches.  As it turns out, one of her problems is that she has been suffering from ADHD and without recognizing the problem, she was struggling in school.  To address her stomach problems, she had to have several procedures, including an endoscopy.  The first step was the hardest – getting a needle in her to put her to sleep.  This took half the morning, some heavy-duty medication and finally some laughing gas to get her to take the needle.  We ended up with some lovely photographs of the inside of her stomach as evidence of several disgusting problems that were causing her misery.  Just two weeks later, she had to go through the same needle process again to get her wisdom teeth removed.  All that, and she got braces, too.  If she’s lucky, she’ll have them off by her senior prom.  Lisa and Autumn went to an overnight campout and hike at the San Diego Wild Animal Park with Autumn’s girl scout troop.  We’re not through yet . . . we sent Danny off to boot camp.  So, Jenn and Haylee moved back in.  Good thing Lisa doesn’t need that office, anymore.  Now we have 7 people and 6 cars in our house.  Having a toddler in the house again takes some getting used to.  Little Haylee had her 2nd birthday this month. Damian hosted the WGA Fantasy Football draft for his friends.  The kids are back to school at the end of August – Kim is a sophomore at Beckman, Chris is in 7th grade at Pioneer and Autumn is in 5th grade, her last year at Myford. Chris has zero period P.E., getting to school at 7:00 four mornings a week, then late start going to school at 9:00 on Wednesdays.  Jenn drops him off on those days.  I guess having an extra driver in the house can be convenient.


Damian’s Dad had been sick with an ear infection for months and recently it had gotten worse. Finally, an MRI revealed a serious problem.  Dad had a tumor and needed immediate surgery.  He went through surgery well and they removed about 70-80% of the tumor. Soon, he moved from the hospital to a nursing home.  We began spending Sunday “family days” with Dad at the nursing home.  Tom and Priscilla’s daughter, Ari, celebrated her second birthday on one such family Sunday.  Dad was back at home within a couple of weeks and his siblings Pook, Rick, Priss, Joannie and Annie came out for a visit.  Autumn’s birthday starts September’s “cake week.” She brought her friends Shannon and Vanessa for ice skating and a sleep over.  Autumn is quite busy these days.  Besides Girl Scouts, she started AYSO soccer this fall, and is involved with volleyball, band and PAL at school and she says next year she wants to start softball.  Even though Lisa is busy with work and school, she just couldn’t turn down her last opportunity to teach art to Autumn’s 5th grade class.  Cake week continues with Damian’s birthday – a surprise party for his big 40th! Kim took her friends Michelle, Breezy and Rachel to the Tustin Tiller Days on her birthday and a week later Lisa took Kim and a couple of friends to the Green Day concert.  It was an outstanding show and they were right up front showing their love for Billie Joe.  Kim designed a Green Day t-shirt that got her picture up on the jumbo-tron and an invitation to get posters and other goodies after the show.


After Damian’s big bash, Lisa’s birthday was a quiet one at home with curry chicken and cheesecake. We have a new great-niece this month – Lisa’s niece Jessica (with her husband Joe and son Holden) welcomed their new baby girl, Phoebe.  Aunt Priss returned for another visit from Seattle to help take care of Dad.  Tom and his family also came out, but Priscilla and the girls had to return for school.  Tom stayed for a month.  Danny graduated from boot camp and was given 10 days leave before returning to Camp Pendleton for three weeks on infantry training.  Mary hosted her annual Halloween party.  Lisa got the last-minute idea that she and Damian would be pirates.  That seemed to be the theme of the evening.  Autumn was also a pirate, Chris was a sumo wrestler (in a blow-up costume) and Kim threw together a cow-girl outfit.


In November, Chris and Autumn wanted to run in the Dino Dash, though no one else was really up for it.  Afterwards, Danny and Jennifer took Chris and Autumn to the beach for fishing while Lisa stayed home with Haylee, and Damian visited his dad (which he had done with every free moment of his time for the last two months).  Lisa settled in for what she thought would be six hours of free time to watch The Stand. It was then that Damian called to say that Dad had passed.  He had been sleeping since the Thursday before and it seems he waited until Sunday, when everyone was there with him, before his final good-bye.  Lisa and Haylee picked up Kim from LifeTeen then drove over to the house and the kids came straight over from the beach.  Everyone gathered around to pray the rosary, light candles and to say their sentiments to Dad.  The next few days were a blur – visiting friends and relatives, food, flowers, then the rosary, mass and burial.  Dad’s larger-than-life persona shone through it all.  He was honored with an Air-Force fly-by, courtesy of his South Carolina senator friend, as well as an article in the Orange County Register with his Santa Claus in the Park picture.  All the details of Dad’s illness, passing and services are included on the Williams Family website.  Life continues on and soon we were celebrating Alex’s first birthday. Nick’s 5th birthday would have to wait until Thanksgiving.  Danny and his Marine buddies were given the day off for Thanksgiving, so he brought 12 of his friends to dinner at his Mom’s house. Now that sounds like a Williams!  Kim took a trip with the church’s Life Teen group to a prayer day at Magic Mountain, which was good, since Kim had a lot to pray about.  At 10:00 that night we got a call from one of the chaperones to say that Kim was having trouble breathing, the bus had pulled over and they were calling an ambulance. So, we had to drive 75 miles to meet her at the hospital.  Before we showed up, they had to give her a shot (fun times for all!)  They were supposed to give it to her in the ambulance, but she wouldn’t let them.  As it turns out, Kim had a bad reaction to allergy medication, which spiraled into a panic attack.  Needless to say, she’s now on a new allergy medication. 


This brings us back to December.  Danny has moved on to school in Maryland for a couple of months with just a two-week break at Christmas. Because Lisa was so nice at the Toyota dealer, they gave her 6 tickets to Knott’s which we used the day of the ornament exchange.  It was a pretty good time except for “the ketchup incident” which probably should have landed Lisa in the hospital with a shot to calm her down, right alongside Kim.  We ended the visit on the water rapids ride that drenched Lisa.  Lisa is famous for making it rain just by visiting an amusement park.  It didn’t rain at all, but Lisa sure looked like she’d been through a storm!  Jennifer had to bring Lisa dry clothes to change into before going to the chicken restaurant for the ornament exchange. Lisa, Jenn and Kim went on to dinner with the ladies and Damian took Chris and Autumn home.  Autumn is so sad that she’s the last to do everything.  Autumn finished up her Invention Convention project this month. Yet another “last” we can cross off our list of dreaded elementary school projects that require parent “help.” Jennifer celebrated her 21st birthday at Dave & Buster’s.  Still, she was the designated driver.  The WGA dinner was down-graded to a tent in the parking lot of a restaurant at the Newport Dunes.  We had our choice of port-a-potties, or a chilly golf cart ride up to the restaurant. After one dance and winning a $25 gift certificate, a few of us moved on to Morton’s for drinks.  It was warm, servers came to our table and they had indoor restrooms.  Who could ask for more?  The next night Tricia and Pat went to their company function and we babysat.  Lisa had Alex, who was teething.  And each of our three kids was assigned to one of their three kids.  By the time they got home, we had the three girls sleeping to Dora the Explorer (because the 4 of them will never all be asleep at the same time).  Can you imagine how Pat and Trish do that every night, night after night?  Autumn had her first school concert, playing Jingle Bells and Old King Wenceslas on the flute.  She’s thinking she might like to try the drums later.  Finally in December, we have ICE, and as Autumn likes to say “ice is nice.”  We have had the Sears repairman out to the house at least every other weekend for the last three months to figure out why we don’t have ice.  That warranty was a good investment!  We’ve made some visits to the cemetery to share a Merry Christmas with Dad.  Damian made a potato battery to light up a Santa hat.  It’s so overwhelming to see so many gravesites individually decorated and to realize just how many families are missing someone this Christmas.  At this point, Lisa is trying to schedule a visit with her Mom for her 80th birthday and we are preparing for Mary’s annual White Elephant gift exchange.  But, everyone else got tired of bringing home bags of trash each year, so they changed the rules.  We have to bring a real gift – something new, something that someone would actually use. Now, we just don’t know what we’re going to do with the useless trinkets we’ve been gathering all year!


Wishing you all good health, peace and joy in 2006,


Damian, Lisa, Kim, Chris & Autumn

Jennifer, Danny & Haylee