Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Merry Christmas 06 from the House of Jones!

Is it me or are these years spinning at breakneck? Sheesh, this year sure pulled a fast one!

This year saw Mr. Jones all over the province and into Europe presenting on Gentle Teaching, and saw his agency in Saskatoon open at least one new home for people with intellectual disability, and if I’m not mistaken, three. Once again his time was at a premium, and once again he managed to cut the pie into fairly even pieces. He’s cut back on some of his volunteer time in order to take a few classes too, and did some pretty fine landscaping in what was once the bare canvass of our back yard, which soon had a full lawn, trampoline and a poor man’s pool or rich man’s paddling pool, depending on which half of your cup is full. Thanks to Tim’s connections in Denmark we were able to host two ladies from Solund who came to learn how Gentle Teaching works within his agency here in Canada. It was a neat experience, especially in realizing just how North Americanized our meals are and how bizarre they are to people from elsewhere. (I've learned to trade my burgers, peanut butter and white toast for pate, good cheese and dark bread - a definite trade up in my books-!) Land is at a premium in Europe; the ladies expressed how fortunate we are to live in a country of wide open spaces where our kids can play in a backyard ‘garden’.

This year saw Mrs. Jones become a mentor in Gentle Teaching herself, presenting to teachers, parent groups and Education students, and promoting the upcoming conference ( both locally and while in
Belgium. Also this year, Mrs. Jones gave a lot of time and effort building a new magazine for a new publisher in Saskatchewan. For Christmas this year, that same publisher gave Mrs. Jones a lovely song and dance. This makes two publishers that Mrs. Jones has personally witnessed go belly up in the past 5 years….which has the potential to make a person a little gun-shy when it comes to publishers. But on the fun side of life, the two of us spent a little down time in Paris and the Dominican Republic. Unforgettable experiences, both.

Junior Jones #1 is a handsome young man with wonderful goals. He hopes to join the German exchange program next year, spending 3 months in
Northern Germany. And so, he got a job baking yums at Tim Horton’s (a little underage but the job shortage around here is working to his favour). I suppose it naturally follows that a would-be world traveler with a little cash in his pocket would soon also have a special young lady in his life. It’s been exciting for him and a kick for us to witness all of these life events.

Junior Jones #2 quietly said ‘enough!’ to the AcTal program, where the peer group wasn’t exactly healthy, and with a sigh of relief resigned himself to Grade 8 in the regular public school system (which really felt like time off for all of us!). He was delighted to be invited into the Science Trek program, which as its name suggests is a science-themed segregated classroom for kids who have science-heavy interests. The class advertises that after this year the kids will have a Grade Nine science credit in their back pocket – nice. They spend a lot of time out-of-class, so he was unable to join band or other extracurriculars, which is disappointing to him, but he still plays his trumpet whenever he can and is looking forward to Grade Nine – especially music - at the brand spankin’ new high school next year. He’s got some great buds and his stress level is down in the normal range, which gladdens Mrs. Jones’ heart immeasurably. He began seeing an orthodontist this year, which has him wearing night gear similar to that worn by a young Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He’s a trooper about it though. He has the coolest imagination and the neatest philosophies on life, both general and specific. A great orator he is quickly becoming.

Junior Jones #3 has expressed, almost every day, that this is the best day of her life. She began Grade 5 AcTal in September and is TOTALLY eating it up. She joined band and LOVES playing her clarinet. She went to her first school dance and it was AMAZING. She has a super group of girls who are the BEST FRIENDS EVER. To understate things a tad, she is an enthusiastic chickie and a whole lotta fun. Her hamster Spotty is healthy (although an asthmatic - I’m convinced Spotty is allergic to hamsters) and well cared for, no surprise there. J3 continues to hone her writing skills. I swear some days, that girl’s novel will be published before mine!

This year we said a fond good riddance to our beast of a van and hello to a basically new replacement. Hello, warranty! Welcome, working heat and air conditioning! We love you, CD and DVD players! Welcome to the new millennium, House of Jones!

It was a special treat for us to meet reconnect with some dear friends over this past year and meet some truly fine individuals along the way. It's been a resolution of ours to stay in touch with the friends we've made across the globe. Doing that ain't easy, but there's a lotta joy in the attempts.

We are all relatively healthy, happy and in a very nice place in our respective and family lives, and if you are reading this then you are a part of the life that we cherish so dearly. From all of us to you, have the Merriest of Christmases, and all the best in the coming season.