And 2013 Thanksgiving was all about family.
Jordan and Hillary with kids arrived Sunday night. It was SO wonderful...I cannot even begin to express. Because Hank was in SF for 9 days, we also got to have Marissa and her boys for events here (like dinner and play). Here is Robert and Oskar, both on Marissa's lap.
One of these night with the Florida cousins Oskar decided to walk with the help of a folding chair. Daphne was here and commented that she had several walker that she paid a fortune for (she's a PT for about 5 school districts) when all along she should have just had a Hatch chair. You can see how thrilled he is to be upright. What a boy!
I am going to guess that Jordan was a junior in high school when for Easter we decided to try our hand at Pysanki egg coloring. Jordan, always ever the quiet one, who seems to come up with clever ideas ended up making a Devil Egg (get it? Deviled Egg...devil egg?). It has been my favorite and I've kept it intact all these years. Sadly this turkey season, it looked more like a ball than an egg and got smashed to smithereens. I was sad. And I am amazed and how such an insignificant thing could be so important to me. Probably because it always represented a time that will never return to me again. So after the hubbub of the holiday quieted down, long after Thanksgiving had ended. I very carefully and slowly worked to add each piece of shell to the next, gluing and securing somewhat in place. Just about all the pieces had been recovered and kept and except for a small hole, the egg is once again 'whole' or nearly most. Then I spent days layering on the modpodge to keep it somewhat sturdier. Now, my sweet memory is kept up high on a shelf, behind the glass doors of the hutch.
As I worked on it, I was reminded of the nursery rhyme about Humpty Dumpty. All the king's horse and all the king's men weren't able to put Humpty back together again but a mom, this mom could and did. And from there went my thought that Jesus and Heavenly Father, through the Atonement and our own active involvement in that can also be put together again...whole and without even on piece missing. For that I am grateful this Thanksgiving season.
30 people were housed and fed at their home for many days....Thanksgiving was the holiday but the holy day was on Friday....when Guy was baptized.
As I thought about this holiday I am grateful that all my children have grown up to be great host/hostesses. Dawn is always having luncheons for the moms with kids in tow or special kids' parties honoring Dr.Seuss. Cara has often opened her home and pool to church gatherings and friends. Marissa always has pizza parties. Jordan has always held parties for their friends, particularly wonderful July 4th parties. And lucky us, we have always been invited to all such events. Jocelyn has the parties throughout the year, but she created a great holiday celebration for us this year for sure.
As each family arrived at Jocelyn and Steve's home, we all made our thumb prints and signed the print on the lovely canvas tree that Jocelyn had drawn, a lovely way to have a guest book. It was already hanging on the entry wall by the time we left.
Jocelyn made these pins for all the ladies.
And every family received this lovely basket filled with welcoming gifts, specifically geared to that particular family.
Before the baptism came the typical Thanksgiving fun. Jocelyn had planned and executed all the events for weeks leading up to these days and with Steve they pulled it all off. Here is her planning list that hung in her bedroom...probably all things were accomplished but not all in this order. I do believe this is what kept her sane. As for me, I was glad to be the granny, the older generation, and not have to figure all of this out. It's a joy to know all my kids can produce fun events and participate in all the fun planned by the other siblings.
First was the Turkey Trot. Dawn was supposed to have organized and directed this but since her 10K run, she's been injured but still hobbled through it. Here is how they prepared:
Marissa and Jocelyn
Jocelyn and Dawn
Jocelyn had planned this wonderful Match the Turkey game. The adults previously sent her what they were thankful for. It had to be a specific something that the younger set could relate to. These were written on the back of numbered Turkey Cards, stuck all various surfaces throughout the house. The kids were given scorecards, numbered turkeys. When they found a card (like the one Cody found on the bottom of this SLC temple picture), they had to read what it says on the back, and then race back to the adults and ask a question...like this: Are you thankful for technology? Are you glad your sister didn't die when you shot her in the head with an arrow? We would answer YES or NO. If YES, they'd put our name by the correct number and continue to find the next Turkey Cards. This allowed the kids to go nuts, racing around...and still made them interact with the adults. All the kids eventually won and each received a prize.
This is a lovely piece of art that I tried to find on Etsy. Love the nativity look but how it fits so perfects in the 'I' spot.
Scarlett adds something.
Autumn watched Adelle write.
Kipp thinks and writes On the back of each chair was a pennant with a name on it that said "Granny is..." and everyone would walk around the table filling in adjectives or comments or loves. This kept the kids somewhat out of the kitchen as the food was prepared.
Ella and Oskar The Barrett kiddies
The kids were so ready to eat...and so good to stay where they needed to be..Including Honor in her high chair. There were A LOT of cooks in the kitchen this day!
Here is the ever beautiful Renea Marks, Steve's sister. The stylin' Marissa is behind her. Jocelyn had prepared so much of the food ahead of time and yet when warmed it tasted as if she had just prepared it all that very minute.
Hank, Christy, Jocelyn, me
Eric starts to carve the fried bird and then with Hank they took off every last bit of flesh.
This was one of my fav moments. As Hank's getting off the flesh, he suddenly announces Pope's Nose and then held up the fleshy part. Now he has become Pope Henry. It wasn't until days later that I took the time to look up that phrase. I'd heard it forever but never thought it was a derogatory use about Catholics. It's also known as Parson's Nose and Sultan's Nose. I'm guessing everyone has a derogatory comment to make, no matter the religion. Isn't that interesting?
AT LAST! TIME TO EAT!
Sam tucking into this food, Scarlett enjoys the moment.
We all fit comfortably, the cousins sat with each other for the most part and everyone was very happy.
This was a lovely time for cousins to play together, just hang out, do whatever. Here's Henry with Evan....
Adelle with Honor.
After things got cleaned up, it was time for the traditional craft. This year's craft was doable by everyone and was so organized...all assembled in snack baggies. Steve probably wore out his fingers using a Dremel to drill holes in these Scrabble tiles. I need to find a bunch of Scrabble games before next year because these would make great gifts for friends. This is the word I chose:
While Renea taught me to play ROOK (at last, I think I've learned...now if only I had someone to play with), the kids and others played the candy bar game. Looks like Marissa got Oh-Oh'ed, whatever that is!
Friday dawned bright and lovely and altho people were a bit sluggish to get moving, eventually everyone was dressed for Guy's big day! We had received this invite in the mail previously. Just look at this wonderful face, would you! Is this not a kid ready for his covenant?!
Afterwards, on top of all the food we were fed at the Christensen home, they also served a lunch to all who attended the baptism. Here are the cousins hamming it up. Wouldn't it be nice to be Scarlett...the lone girl among all the boy cousins?
Robert and I had to depart for home after the baptism since he had to work the next day. This of course meant one walk through to be sure we had everything, kissed everyone goodbye and I snagged a couple shots of these pictures which Jocelyn had printed off and framed. These three were in the laundry room...very appropo for me since I love to iron and even ironed Hank's shirt for the baptism.Here I am holding Jocelyn at the Hatch reunion 1978 in Washington.
The top one is me as a 3 or 4 year old sitting next to my mom. From the look of the background I am certain we are at 6510 Morningside Drive, Parma, OH. This is my grandparents (Holman) home which my mom helped them buy with the small insurance money she received on my father's (Czekala) death. We lived here from the time I was 9 months old until my mom married Daddy Center and we moved up to 5806 Belmere Drive, Parma. It was just up what was then a dirt road (Dartworth), easily in walking distance.
The one under it is a picture of my godmother, my mom's 1st cousin, Patsy Ourednik, taken during her wedding shower. When I showed this to her she was so surprised and so happy.
We also stopped at the Country Cupboard just before the highway a bit. This is a wonderful place to shop AND eat. So many lovely gifts as well as fun plants. But soon...all too soon, we had to truly head for home. The rest of the crew stayed on for more fun and games and I was sad that we missed out on the rest of the activities. But driving home was lovely, the sun blinding at times but it was so peaceful around us but also in our hearts.
Our ride home
After we left, the family decorated these wonderful gingerbread houses that Jocelyn had baked and formed so all the families had to do was add the candies, at least the candies they did not eat. These hosues, as in our 'houses' (families) were built on a firm foundation, with royal icing that kept the walls intact, even when the leg of the table gave way and the houses slid to the floor. Not one of the houses was destroyed. It was another Thanksgiving miracle that Cara, in her Hanukkah message had suggested we look for, the miracles in our every day lives. So it will be with our family.
The road may get wobbly and our views may be tested. But if we remain built on that firm foundation we will be as the apostle Peter of Jesus during His time, speaking for all the faithful apostles, saying: Lord, to whom shall we go? Words of eternal life hast thou! James Talmage wrote concerning this: One thing kept them true. It was the experience of the past. This was the basis of their present faith and allegiance. They could not go back to their old past; they must cleave to Him.....It is thus, also, that many of us, whose thoughts may have been sorely tossed, and whose foundations terribly assailed, may have found our first resting place in the assured, unassailable spiritual experience of the past. Whether can we go for words of eternal life, if not to Christ? ... But he has the words of eternal life--and we believed when they first came to us; we know that He is the Holy One of God. and this conveys all that faith needs for further learning.
I am Thankful this season which leads to the next, the celebration of Christ's birth, the start of His Atonement for me...that I have been given this amazing HOUSE, filled with truth and testimony and from it have developed 5 more strong HOUSES. Be it ever so!