Friday, December 26, 2008

Life in My World—Christmas Past

Cali and Ande sledding on Christmas Day

Out in the garage in a couple of plastic tubs sits our Christmas . . . and what a Christmas it was. It was such an enjoyable day. My one big goal this month was to enjoy each day and neither wish one away or hang on to one too tightly. I’m feeling very goal-y and like maybe I should set monthly goals from now on instead of yearly ones.

On Christmas Eve while Calvin still worked on projects in the shop, Abe, Ande and I went sledding. We have 10-12 inches of powdered snow and Abe pulled me and Ande around on an inner-tube behind the four wheeler. We froze. As we rode along and the icy snow blew in our faces, I thought:

--“This is so absolutely ridiculous we could get in a car and virtually have the same experience—moving at a pace faster than we can walk—and we’d be warm without the wet or cold, but this? This is freezing fun and riding in a car is not. ”

--“How did the pioneers and early settlers make it through this cold? How?”

--"Almanzo Wilder is a hero for getting people wheat in -40 degree temps."

After we were sufficiently soaked and freezing, Ande and I came in and built the fire bigger to warm up while Calvin and Abe went to the feed store to get a real sled (that looks like a water trough . . . in fact, I think I’ll fill it with pop and ice next summer it’s such a versatile thing). We went back outside for a few more rides and then came in to make turtles—which quickly grew into a half a dozen other recipes, too.

I can see that if I’ve spent three paragraphs on one subject, this will be a thesis or dissertation (without the intelligence) so I’m going to change formats and list a few highlights of the last week instead:

--The gifts. The family gave me such incredibly thoughtful gifts:

Ande drew me a picture of things that I’ve given her (a lamp sits on two books; one is The Great Brain and the other a book of Robert Frost Poems. She said I taught her to love to read and that love and interest has grown and expanded). The picture has several other symbols unique and complimentary to my role as her mother. I just love it. It sits on a shelf in the living room where I can see it several times a day.

Abe gave me iPod attachments. I got an iPod a long time ago but have never used it. It seemed too expensive and I considered returning it. Then Abe downloaded everything on it for me and others needed parts from it so it sat full but unuseable for six months. But now? Now it has parts and is loaded and Abe will teach me to love it.

Cali and Ray gave me a plane ticket to see my sister in Oklahoma during spring break. I cannot wait to go and spend time with her and her family. I will see an armadillo, but hope I don’t see a water moccasin.

Calvin gave me muck boots. Oh, they are so handy and nice. They slip on, are warm and durable. He knows me. Then he and Ande also gave me a 24” Cri-cut. Later, when Calvin and I were alone in the kitchen I whispered to him that I was going to return it because it was too expensive. He got real stern and said, “I have a whole shop full of wood tools to help me do what I do, you need tools to help you.” I will keep it and do my best to get their money’s worth out of it.

We have a tradition as part of our Christmas Eve program to sit in a circle and write three things that we love and appreciate about each other on a sheet of paper. When everyone has had a turn to write, we roll the papers up and tape them closed and put them in the tree to open Christmas evening. We all love this tradition, especially because for the last four Christmases we’ve had a missionary serving and this is one tradition they can participate in being far from home. We e-mail the appreciations expressed for them and they e-mail our appreciations back. Ty sent his list . . . and it was just like he was in the room:

the irony of this picture is not lost on me

Here is what I love about you.


*You are hardworking and love your family.

*You taught me many things. Here are a few. They are similar to President Hinkley's 6 Be's.

#Be Clean. You said, "Were you born in a barn?" and "Your room is a pigsty."
#Be Smart. You said, "I'm know more." (teaching through example) and "You got funetta for brains boy?"
#Be Humble. Know More, See More, Smart More, need I say more?
#Be Grateful. You have been a great father that I can be grateful for.
#Be Prayful. Watching you pray with Mom every morning.
#Be Kind. The way you treat everyone. Especially Mom, Cali, and Ande.

*I love spending time with you. I don't care what it is. You are fun to be with.


*You are selfless. Others always come first in your book. I don't know how you do it. It is a great example to me.

*You have a great ability to teach and write. Once again, I don't know how you do it.

*You are resiliant. You can make it through any challenge. I love you.

*Bonus* You are my Princepessa.


*You like to have fun but don't ever let that deter you from the most important things.

*I think you and I just click and help each other stay sane by driving each other crazy.

*You make things happen. You are the Straw that Stirs the Drink. Sometimes you are even the Disturber of the Peace.

Ray...I don't know you (yet), but...

*You must be quite a people's person. It sounds like you can work and play and anything else with anyone. There are a lot of different personalities in our family and you fit right in the middle of it all.

*You are great to Cali.

*You have done some very interesting and cool things.


*You are loyal and a true friend.

*You have paved the way for me in everything in life. I always wanted to be like you.

*You are firm and unchanging despite what others around you think.


*You brighten any room you walk into. Some people really just seem to radiate light, and you are one of them.

*You are fun. It doesn't matter what we do together. I especially liked reading out loud to each other.

*You are great at anything inside a house. (Except cleaning a bedroom to Cali Standards....and who is good at that besides Cali?...)

I love you all so much. Happy New Year.

Love Elder Payne 潘長老

Okay, I can see list format isn’t going to work, either. I’m just too darn wordy this Christmas. Sufficeth me to say we had a wonderful Christmas. I’m so glad we have a holiday that focuses on Christ, giving and family. Christmas Past. Success. Here’s to Christmas future . . . and a wedding next week.


lelly said...

merry Christmas to the Paynes!!ffist

melanie said...

Jane, what a perfect post! Ty's lists made me choke up when he talked about each of you. How sweet of him to include Ray. I know Ray must see the blessings already of joining your family!

I'm so glad you got some surprises this year. You deserve them over and over.

Barb said...

Almanzo Wilder is a hero for getting people wheat in -40 degree temps!
You seem to have mastered the art of play, which is a real accomplishment for someone who does so much work!
Enjoy your 24" Cricut. Ah, blog envy.
I gave up on words for a Christmas post and just did a sample of pictures. If I'd have planned the post ahead I would have taken a picture of all the food because it seems that for us food is a big part of Christmas.

Marie said...

Can I tell you how happy it makes me that you were on the tube going for a ride with your kids, and not in the car watching?

Miller Family said...

You have such a beautiful, beyond words family. You can sense the pride, devotion, and great love you all share. I am glad too that you were on the sled and not in the car. Priceless memories. have fun with the Cri-cut. My little Ty thinks we need one. He enjoys scrapbooking with me once in awhile. Merry Christmas!

Alisa said...

Your post made me tear up! I love your tradition of writing to each other, I think its one I will adopt.
Any chance you want to meet a fellow blogger on your trip to OK?

MaryRC said...

just catching up on your blog... what a wonderful family you have spearheaded with such thoughtful ways and energy. wow you should be proud.

Becky said...

OK-starting with Calvin "being stern" with you and going straight through Ty's list, I just cried. I'm glad that Calvin knows that you need tools too (that is something that Jeff took a few years to teach me as well). And I can't think of a better Christmas present than those sweet words from your missionary...what a great tradition!

Merry Christmas Past!

Julie said...

Can I say again how wonderful I think Ty is and how extraordinary I think your family is? Such thoughtful things from everyone. I love your tradition! Definitely one worthy of adoption by the Phipps family. Let the wedding feast begin!

Lucy said...

I love the letter from your son. What a perfect gift.

Seth asked us the other day how people got around before snowplows. We explained that there was no need because there were no wheeled vehicles and if people really needed to get somewhere across the snow, they used a sleigh. It sure sounded fun and romantic to me after a few days of being stuck at home from the snow.

Sledding behind a moving vehicle...we need a few more years before I trust my kids with that!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you blog. It keeps me up on what's happening with the family and sometimes it feels like you're still living next door.


Anonymous said...

I love your traditions all around, this one has to be my new favorite. Thanks for sharing what Ty wrote- very perfect to read this time of year.

Woohoo to you for going sledding and not watching from the car! I want to be more fun in the snow. (I want to be you when I grow up!) It seems like so much work with kids this age. I used to love sledding and snowboarding!

My Christmas is back to tub form as well and I couldn't be happier!

michelle said...

What a great post!

I was thinking about the pioneers walking through the snow when my mom and I were trudging through slush in our pedicure flip-flips... how did they do it?

I love Calvin sternly telling you that you need your tools, too. I love your tradition and your missionary's participation. Most of all I love the thoughtful gifts your family gave to you this Christmas!

Kim Sue said...

again, love how your family does a wonderful job documenting life and expressing your feelings. wonderful lists to have forever and ever!