Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's that time of year when things get put on a 'to do' list and then it takes days to get them checked off! The Weekly Reader has been on that list for the last week but I'm learning in my growing age to be more flexible and allow for distractions....or maybe procrastination. Probably a little of both. Distractions come in lots of forms around here, but lately, Luke has decided he is no longer going to be content sitting on the sidelines. Because I love to see him light up whenever I look his way - he has had Pavlov conditioning from Grandma Becky - I can't resist picking him up and getting some Luker Loves. Then Cooper has suddenly become very mischievous just as his mom is becoming very heavy with child. Cooper is exploring drawers, cupboards, closets, and even the out of doors. He has discovered that he can open all of the doors which has alarmed Emily and now she can't sleep at night for fear he is going to wake up and wander outside and fall into the fish pond! She could only go for so many nights without sleep so they had to come up with a plan. Plan A was to lock the outside doors. What....lock us safely in? That's unheard of on Hickory Hill Farm. Anyone can walk in at anytime here - it's open door policy as I'm sure you all know. That's made me nervous on occasion, too, when I'm home alone. Plan B was to change the door knob on Cooper's bedroom - both plans are in place and things are under control. Emily is now sleeping again....well sort of. She has to make several trips to the bathroom during the night as it goes with being nearly nine months pregnant. Emily and Jake have run away for the weekend for one last chance at peace and quiet. It is Jake's birthday today - not quite 30 but getting close! Jake shares a birthday with Wayne Vickers, not quite 50 but close - Jana has planned a party for him at Medeival Times tonite. But tonite I have Luke full time and Gary is returning from FL, so we'll miss out on the four course meal, the jousting and fencing and everything else. Happy Birthday these two guys!

Last Sunday was a special day when Jasper David was blessed. He was wearing the little white suit Josh wore exactly 33 years ago on the very same day, Nov 30. Jordan and Amanda were with us as well as Hutchings, Allreds, and Vickers - a circle of family priesthood holders placing their hands on that special little baby. Jasper David was perfectly quiet while his Dad, Joshua David, gave him a beautiful blessing. Lili and Sofi were missionaries and had their next door neighbor friend with them as well as her parents. I'm sure Dagmar had her hand in that - she is always including non-members in things we should all be including non-members in! She is the exemplary missionary in the Jewkes extended family.

The blessing brought the perfect finishing touch on a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Jordan and Amanda drove up from FL late Tuesday night with Jonah being on his best behavior. He is such a handsome, cute, happy, fun baby. Gary and I have decided that we have the best, the cutest, the brightest, the funnest grandkids in the entire world and that's the truth. We have felt it all along, but now there is indisputable proof over and over, like 20 times over. We had a tableful of guests on Thanksgiving with all of the GA families (the Allreds quite by accident and at the very last minute - they were scheduled to be in Augusta with Jason's family until Ella and Lincoln came down with colds; they have a little cousin in cancer treatment that can't be exposed to any obvious germs), Jana and Wayne (we adopted Kailey as well for for a couple of days - she is such a great help and fun to have around), the mission President and his wife and son (who at 18 is expecting his mission call this week), the senior couple in the office who were just delightful (she confessed that she was reading the Twilight series but realized she was addicted when her first waking thought was about vampires and so she dropped the books 'cold turkey'- now you know why we all enjoyed her), the office missionaries who also live in our ward, Sue and Jerry Parker, and Meredith with her husband and little girl. Parker even stopped in for some dessert and to sign (mentally at least) a contract to put up our outdoor Chrstmas lights which he did faithfully. I loved Thanksgiving - no one had to work too hard, everyone magnified their cooking assignment (John David Ethington's rolls were better than mine which hurt my pride a little), and Emily made the cutest little favors yet. Dagmar cooked two turkeys when she heard about the crowd that was coming - two delicious, tender, juicy turkeys, gravy included. I am quite impressed that I was able to delegate the two most time consuming jobs to a guy and a brand new mom! About all I had to do was show up!

We had a delicious meal then a Thanksgiving gratitude circle, minus the Berkana talking stick. Amanda was thankful that she gets to be a full time, stay at home mom and she also told us that she has the best husband, so I didn't dare tell her that I really do. Jordan was grateful to be nominated for best husband and to have a good job and a son that he adores. The mission President said he was grateful to be living a dream of serving a mission with his wife! Hopefully Gary and I will be able to do the same in the near future (although probably not in the president role). Dagmar and Josh were very, very grateful for their new little boy, and that was what I was feeling a lot of gratitude for, too - a miracle in the day of miracles! Gary was thankful for the opportunity to have his testimony of faith increased (he forgot to nominate me for the best wife, but that's o.k. because he told me that in his 101 Things card I got for my birthday!), Emily and Jake are thankful for each other and to have four capable hands to manaage two little boys and almost three, and I can't remember what everyone else was grateful for - either that or I didn't hear what they said - probably the latter. Either way, there was a wonderful spirit of gratitude to Heavenly Father for rich blessings of life and testimony.

Seems like we traveled around the USA a few times later that night with our Tickets to Ride. Emily always manages to win...well nearly always. If it isn't Emily, then it's Jake. Either way the Hutchings dominate. Jordan joined the game, but had a hard time deciding which routes to keep and which to toss, so that kept him out of the winner's circle. As for myself, I just keep being a good sport as best as I can. Besides, there was banana cream pie, apple pie, pumpkin cheesecake, and other delights to keep the losers happy. On Friday Claire and Jason led the gang out to Mega Maze where nearly everyone helped shoot a basketful of golf balls over the driving range, bat a cage-full of baseballs at slow (Claire, Emily and the wee ones), medium (Jordan), and fast (Jake and Jason) baseballs. Then we headed indoors to the actual Mega Maze of slides and chutes and ladders and ball-y mattresses. For some crazy reason Emily thought she could climb around it all, and she got stuck in one of the chutes because it wasn't just Emily, it was Emily and Ethan-soon-to-appear; the owner had to come and push her (them) out! Luke and Jonah howled when they were dumped in the pile of balls. Even Jacob Jewkes was climbing around - tall, six foot Jake, and there was a very clear sign that read, 'No Adults Allowed!' It was a fun afternoon topped off by lunch at El Charro. Nightime found us riding around the country again on the trains. Actually, maybe this was the night we went to Australia. When we came out of the theatre there were mixed reactions: Gary, Jake, Emily and Claire loved it; Jason, Jordan and myself thought it was all rather dramatic, but then, I was only watching and not hearing much, so maybe it was even more dramatic than I realized! (Amanda was neutral, I think, but don't trust my memory). It was fun to get out of the house and see Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman no matter what you thought of the movie. Saturday was the annual D-Day as in Decorate. We had so many good helpers that it ended up being V-Day as in Victory. The fastest decorating job we've ever done and that included the outside lights by Parker. Victory indeed and I hardly had to do a thing.

So now that D day is past, this house has lots of busy grown-up elves around...and a traveling Santa. Gary has been in FL most of the week, and is heading to Dallas next week. We are contemplating another 'older folks' Christmas dinner party which would make it our third annual such event. I did hear a talk at general conference about establishing traditions, so maybe we should move beyond contemplation to action on the fourth annual deal.

Gary has been writing rather faithfully in his journal the last few months and he asked that I attach his last journal entry with this Weekly Reader – his thoughts on a subject that is addressed every single general Priesthood meeting.

I hope you all enjoy the fun days of December and are able to soak in a little bit of what it's all about. It’s the month to be especially good – oh, never mind. I know you all are and don’t need reminding.

Love, Mom