21 Nov 2012: Jacob finds himself up a tree!
A couple of moms of recently returned missionaries warned me that my son would have a difficult transition after his return. "He won't know what to do with himself," they told me. So I prepared myself.
Chris, Jacob, and Dylan share a tree.
I needn't have worried. Jacob has been on-the-go, nonstop, since his return. He hit the ground running!
21 Nov 2012: View from the path on the Mogollon Rim Overlook near our home.
One of the first things he did was join his brother and sister and new brother-in-law for a hike to the Mogollon Rim, one of our favorite hikes from the time my kids were just babies.
Jacob is also extremely social, so he spends a great deal of his time getting back in touch with old friends from the area, as well as getting on Facebook or speaking by phone with his old mission companions and other people he met on his mission in northern California. When Jacob makes a friend, it's a friend for life!
And what missionary doesn't miss his mom's home cooking? On the day he returned, we hadn't even gotten home yet before he requested that I make him some of my fried chicken! I was happy to oblige. (My fried chicken is low-carb, dipped in a batter of eggs and heavy cream and spices, then rolled in ground pork rinds and parmesan cheese!)
24 Dec 2012: Jacob fries up some chimichangas.
In return, Jacob has returned to the kitchen and cooked up a storm for us. On Christmas Eve I asked him to make us some of the beef chimichangas he used to make so often before he went on his mission.
Fudge made from scratch.
Of course, Jacob's favorite type of cooking is baking from scratch. Our kitchen now always seems to have a layer of flour everywhere, just like it did in his pre-mission days! We have enjoyed his homemade bisuits and gravy for breakfast, as well as endless desserts. He has also been called upon to bake for other activities, such as the singles home evening group he attends on Mondays.
Pumpkin pies for Christmas Day.
Jacob baked like a madman for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. For New Year's Eve, he's been in the kitchen most of today preparing pans of fudge. I've started discussing with him the need to slow down on the baking after the holidays so Ed and I can start eating right and losing some weight! How can a person diet when the house always smells like baked goods?
16 Dec 2012: Santa and his elf!
One of the things Jacob most looked forward to after his return was resuming the role of Santa Claus. Several years ago, Jacob inherited a nice Santa suit from an elderly man in church whom Jacob had befriended. After he passed away, his wife told Jacob her husband really wanted him to have the suit.
Since then, Jacob has enjoyed dressing up and surprising the children of our neighborhood with a visit from Santa Claus, with a stocking full of candy canes. He missed doing his Santa thing while he was gone, so he was thrilled to don the red suit and make his rounds again this month.
And this year he had a new companion: a Christmas elf! It turns out that Jacob's new brother-in-law, Chris, has an elf costume his mom made him many years ago! They had a great time treating the kids!
Where did 2012 go? It has been a year filled with challenges and blessings, and I almost hate to see it go. On the other hand, I expect even greater things from 2013. What could be luckier for us than "13," a baker's dozen! (Thanks, Raymond Lee, for that insight!)
May the New Year bring you and your loved ones every good thing! God bless you all!