Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Custom Christmas

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we had our company Christmas party on Saturday evening, December 12. One of our favorite places to go is Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, and this year was no exception.

Here is a picture of the whole crew...employees, spouses, dates, and a couple of people who are contracted to help us run more smoothly. If we grow any larger, we will have to find a bigger room next year!

We celebrated a couple of big anniversaries this year.

Ken has been with us for five years now and was awarded his letterman jacket.

Doesn't it look sharp? I love these. (I opted for something a little more feminine for my 5 year jacket...but sometimes I wish I would have just gone for it! )

The five of us celebrated ten years in 2009. (From left to right: Chris, Porter, Jim, Billy and myself.) I can hardly believe it has been 10 years already!!!!

Look at these rings...complete with our company logo! They each have '10 year service award' on one side and the year engraved on the other side. (If you click on the picture you can make the picture larger to get a better look.)

These are the people who make my job possible. (Not alwasys easy...but possible. Ha!) I appreciate what each and every one of them brings to the team.

Merry Christmas from Custom Fire Protection of Texas! Here's to 10 more years!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Holiday Wrap Up

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope this finds you all to have had a very merry Christmas and looking forward to a wonderful New Year! We most certainly did and are.

I apologize for the lack of posts over the past few months. The holidays are my favorite time of year, but they also tend to keep me pretty busy.

We spent Thanksgiving in southeast Arkansas with my dad's family. Will actually had the whole week out of school, so we were able to spend an extended amount of time and enjoy a few extra days on the deer stand as well as visit family. It was a little different this year, with all the celebrations to participate in...but it was so nice to be able to share in the things that those who live nearby may sometimes take for granted.

I was able to attend a bridal shower for Casy and Samantha, a baby shower for Shelly and Troy, and to spend a wonderful Thanksgiving with the family at Rosa and Steve's cabin. On Saturday, the family gathered once again to watch as Casy and Samantha exchanged the vows that had to be postponed in 2008 due to the cancer treatments. What a time of joy and rejoicing! The wedding was absolutely beautiful...and the bride was stunning! The groom wasn't looking so bad himself, ha!

Upon returning home, it was "full steam ahead" as we prepared for our tenth annual company Christmas party. We had a blast! Can you believe it has been ten years since Custom Fire Protection opened it's doors? We have had changes in those ten years, but...WOW! We surprised two of the guys with rings for their 10 year service award. We only get to surprise them...because after that, everyone knows what is coming. We also gave out another five year jacket...that makes nine that we have awarded so far. And eight of those employees (which includes the three of us) are still with the company. We have been blessed, to be sure!

The Sunday evening after the party was tree trimming time. I posted some pictures from that last week. We have a lot of fun getting together for that each year. I don't know how long the tradition will last...but I will enjoy it as long as it does.

Thankfully, I finished up our family's Christmas shopping before heading to Arkansas for Thanksgiving. My motivation was to be able to enjoy more of the holiday and stay out of the crowds. As it turns out, the next few weeks took A LOT of my time doing year end paperwork and getting things turned in to our CPA. I still have a little to do, but it is doable even with the short work week ahead.

Even though I BOUGHT all the gifts (11 kids, in-laws and grand kids X 4 gifts each, plus stockings and do the math!) that doesn't mean I managed to WRAP all the gifts. I took the Wednesday before Christmas to wrap at work...and it took ALL DAY! I started around 11 AM and finished loading my truck around 8:30 PM! Please, PLEASE. PLEASE remind me not to try and do that again!

We trade off the family Christmas between Christmas Eve and Christmas each year. This year was our time to celebrate on Christmas Day. (The married girls set the schedule so that they are able to share Christmas with both families and not make either one forgo their traditional Christmas morning gathering forever...though I have a feeling that as the grandchildren get older this too will change.) So, Christmas Eve meant grocery shopping for me. My darling husband makes shrimp ettouffee by the boat load every year to indulge his family's wishes. This year he even did most of his shopping. (He only forgot the all purpose flour...which we should have had plenty of if I hadn't been so busy that I hadn't shopped since Thanksgiving!) I only needed the makings for Christmas brunch and the supplies to supplement his ettouffee with some seafood gumbo and chicken and sausage jambalaya in case there was anyone faint of heart who did not enjoy the sinus clearing effects of his fantastic ettouffee!

Christmas Day the whole family gathered to eat brunch, open presents and enjoy one another's company. We had a wonderful time and not a soul was missing. Mother was even here. She came the weekend before Christmas and was scheduled to leave the Monday before. But when her car broke down in Teneha, was towed to Shreveport, and wasn't repaired until Wednesday afternoon...we asked her to just stay with us until I could take her back to Shreveport on the Monday after Christmas.

That evening, we had friends join us for the big Cajun feast...minus the jambalaya. Sorry! I just couldn't manage it all!!! When all was said and done, we had 26 people (counting the little ones) gathered around three tables. Can you say LOUD? But very, very MERRY! After dinner, we took the white elephant gift a step further and made regifting a thing to be encouraged. Every one was asked to bring something they had received as a gift, but didn't want or couldn't use. You could also bring something you had purchased for your home/yourself but didn't work out...or you could buy something, but it had to be at least 50% off on the clearance aisle. We had a ball...and who knew that a bucket of popcorn would be the most sought after gift of the night?

Needless to say, Saturday and Sunday found me doing little more than watching a movie or reading a book. I was wiped! Jim managed to clean the garage on Saturday...but I haven't been able to do much more than a few loads of laundry and cook a few meals. (We finally had the jambalaya on Saturday evening.)

Yesterday was spent taking Mother back to get her car. An eleven hour event by the time it was all said and done. I don't want to drive anymore for awhile. Too bad I have to get up from here in a few minutes and make the 45 minute trek to work!!!

One more holiday left, and with it, one more Christmas to celebrate (with the Goode side) - this year in the West Memphis area at Paul and Sharon's. We leave on Thursday morning and will return on Sunday. We are looking forward to spending time with family and enjoying one another's company once again. I just hope Paul and Sharon are ready for the added decibel level that comes with our crew! We are a handful, to be sure. We will be at the Liberty Bowl on Saturday cheering on our beloved Hogs...thanks to a very generous Christmas present! Our first Razorbacks game!!! Can you tell we are a little bit excited?!?! I think Meagan may have even jumped for joy when she heard. She has been following our Hogs all season. Thank goodness the SEC did so well again this year or we would not have been able to watch all the games except one. They don't broadcast a lot of SEC games here in Big 12 country unless they are ranked...and boy, were they ever ranked this year!

So...that is our holiday wrap up for 2009. I will try to post pictures from work. The compact flash will not fit in my laptop and the adapter never has worked properly.

We hope that you and yours have a safe and happy New Year!

Much love,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tree Trimming Party

A couple of weeks ago, the family gathered at our home to carry on a Goode family tradition...trimming the Christmas tree together.

Every year, each member of the family receives a new ornament for the tree. Usually something that represents a milestone or an experience from the previous year.

If you do the math, you can quickly figure out that our tree has no room for the traditional round balls. Two parents + five children + two in-laws + three grandchildren = more than enough ornaments to fill a tree!

I thought that as each child married or moved to their own homes that they would want to take their ornaments with them. However, this has not been the case so far. They still collect a new ornament every year...but all the ornaments still reside on our family Christmas tree each year.

This year, we gathered on a Sunday afternoon for a late lunch of Kale and Sausage soup and tree trimming followed by homemade Christmas candies.

Brian is showing Jessica the proper way to hang an ornament.

Kelli and Will hanging their ornaments

Derrick has become an 'old hat' at this tradition thing...even though he still wants to know whether or not Jessica deserves a stocking this year. He is soooo competitive!

Meagan placing some of Davin's ornaments on the tree.
As the oldest sibling, she has the most ornaments to hang.

Isn't the tree looking nice?

Putting on the finishing touches!
For the next family tradition, I need to finish my pajama shopping. Christmas Eve always means new pajamas in the Goode family.
How about you? Is your tree decorated yet? Or do you wait until Christmas Eve? Are there any family traditions that you look forward to every year?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

La Familia Goode

A few more family pictures for those of you who have not already seen them on Kelli's Facebook page.

The Rodgers: Meagan and Derrick

The Hams: Kelli and Matt

The Goodes: Brian, Brianne and William
(I can't believe they aren't punching each other or something during this picture!) [Well, they probably are pinching each other behind the back so that I can't see it.]

Jim and Fonda with the Grandbabies
Davin (2), Maddux (9 months) and Brooke (2)
It was amazing. The little ones grew tired of picture taking so we decided to give them a break and get a few shots of just Jim and I. No sooner than Nicole had us in position than here came Davin sitting down beside his we ended up with Grandbaby pictures rather than one of the two of us. Yeah, we spoil them!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just A Hint

I just received my disc of the family pictures we had made before Thanksgiving. Here is just a hint of what is to come.



Pure Sweetness!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Be On The Lookout

...for two familiar faces during tonight's Houston Rockets game. Jim and Brian will be sitting behind the visitor's bench during tonight's contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Shaq and Lebron sitting just feet should be a good night! Go Rockets!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Still Here!

Wow, where did the time go? It has been a whole month since I last posted. I never meant to stay away for so long.

I blame it on facebook...and farmville, in particular. When I get a few minutes, that is usually where I end up.

Really, it all started before Thanksgiving when I decided that I was going to get all of my family Christmas shopping completed before we left for Arkansas. Two Saturdays and three evenings later...Mission Accomplished! I was so excited. I have never even attempted this before. It was so nice to know that I wouldn't be fighting the crowds to shop for all 13 of us!!! (Well, 12 anyway...I didn't buy myself any gifts!)

We also got together for family pictures one Saturday before Thanksgiving. Hope to have them in tomorrow so that I can order a few for the Christmas cards. Needless to say, that required a lot of shopping in itself. It sounded easy when we planned it; jeans and white shirts...but pulling it off was another story.

We left for Arkansas on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Jim and I wanted to get a little bit of time in on the deer stand before the holiday and wedding festivities began. Casy and Samantha were married the Saturday after. We also had a bridal shower for them and a baby shower for my cousin, Shelly. It was a wonderful visit! Plus we brought a few deer home for the freezer to boot.

We had snow here last Friday. It snowed and sleeted all day long. We didn't even make it in to the office before it started. Unfortunately, it was too warm here to stick. For some reason, Kelli had snow in her yard and she is well south of us. Go figure!

We spent a lazy weekend around the house. I did manage to get out and buy groceries on Saturday and to get our Christmas deer in the yard on Sunday afternoon. Other than that, we watched movies and visited with friends.

I will try to get some pictures up soon of Will's 7 point and of the family portraits. I hope that all of you are doing well.

And I will try not to wait so long between posts again!

Love to all,
Fonda & Family