Sunday, December 18, 2011

Life in Our World – Christmas Things


We had a cookie exchange with the Golden Girls for Mutual on Wednesday.  The Golden Girls are all the women 70 and over in our ward, the young women are all between the ages of 12 and 18.  We had dozens and dozens of cookies.  The girls served the women cookies, hot chocolate, hot apple cider, or a glass of cold milk and then sat and visited with them.  The girls also filled plates of cookies for the Golden Girls to take home with them.  Both the girls and the women told Christmas stories.  Some of the Golden Girls remembered bathing behind a makeshift curtain by the kitchen wood stove in a galvanized tub.  One was certain that on a backyard trip to the privy she saw the image of Santa and his reindeer go across the front of the moon.  Another remembered that her parents told her and her siblings that their Christmas present that year would be a new baby.  The parents did a really good job of convincing the kids that they would need no other present, the baby would be enough.  They eagerly awaited the baby's arrival.  She was anticipated.  She was loved.  But the problem was the baby came early in November and by Christmas time all of the kids had forgotten the magic of a new baby and were sorely disappointed that she was the gift that year.  The young women concluded the evening by singing a couple of songs to the women.  It was a sweet, sweet evening in more ways than one.  

Golden Girls and Young Women and their leaders

Levin and Cali

Cali and Levin came over to see us while Ray was traveling on business this week.  Ray, Cali, and Levin fly to Thailand this weekend.  Calvin and I didn’t think we’d get to see them until after Christmas, but she called to say they were coming and it was such a great surprise.  It was fun to laugh and play with Levin.  He’s in the stage where he attack kisses you.  He has figured out how to blow raspberries on your cheek and he loves doing it.  He can’t always remember how to do it, but he remembers just well enough that he keeps trying and succeeds once out of every three tries and leaves your face sticky with his slobber every time.  We got him a little Fisher-Price tractor with a farmer, cow, and pig for Christmas. 


I mentioned that this year for exchanging gifts in our family we're all giving three of our favorite things to each family.  Favorite things might be a movie rental for a movie we liked this year, a new recipe, a song, a cooking utensil, a book recommendation, game, ink pen . . . whatever we can think of that we want to share with everyone else.  It's been a fun challenge.  I would have loved to give everyone a Bosch mixer, Cali wanted to give everyone an iPad, Calvin would have liked to give each family a gun safe.  Obviously we had to rethink our favorite things.  Calvin and I have been busy making our favorite things -- you can smell the gift he thought of, you can touch the gift I thought of, and we both chose the gift that you can see.      


Ande finished her student teaching!  The students brought her gifts and cards and asked her to come back.  Her supervising teacher wrote her a wonderful review.  I said, "Oh Ande.  You must have made a difference." (She taught To Kill a Mockingbird as part of her syllabus.)  She said, "Oh not really, they probably do that for everyone."  I said, "I don't ever remember taking a gift to a school substitute or begging them to come back."  

She was bemoaning her graduation a month ago and said, "We went on a trip to Hawaii for Cali's graduation; we went on a trip to New York for Abe's graduation; and we went on a trip to Colorado for Ty's graduation.  Who wants to go on a trip to Rexburg, Idaho in the middle of winter for my graduation?"  I told her I did and that we didn't go on trips to those places, we went to those states to watch a graduation, and that we would love going to Idaho because that was where she was graduating from.  She was not convinced.  She said, "Let's go to Disneyland for my graduation."  She was certain she did not want to walk at graduation.  I called the other kids to see if Disneyland was an option and they all agreed it would be a great thing to do for Ande.  So, with the exception of Ray and Cali (who are in Thailand), we're meeting at Disneyland next week for Ande's graduation.  It just so happens to be her birthday while we're there as well.  I imagine she will wear her birthday badge with great enthusiasm.  We are so very excited.  And so proud of Ande.  I have loved listening to her classroom experiences and how she taught different concepts and handled different situations.  As Ty always says, "She's a natural."

This was the last time we went to Disneyland.  Ande made a chain and strung it down the hall and then when it got short enough hung it from the refrigerator.   This time there was no time to make a chain.  We're just going.
(This is what a picture taken with a 2 mp camera looks like . . . and we thought we had arrived.)

Cali, Ty, Calder, Ande, Abe, Cache, Jesse
So much has happened since our last trip to Disneyland.  The kids have grown, graduated, married, and are having their own children.  The Ellsworth Cousins -- Cache just finished teaching English and taking a walk-about China, Jesse is an artist and paints windows for businesses while finishing up high school, and Calder is taller than Ty.  Good thing we're going again.  We need a new picture with Grace, Michelle, and Joe in it.  And then, we'll have to go again to get Ray and Cali in one.  And then we'll have to get one with grandkids.  I see many trips (and Dole pineapple whips, one of my favorite things at Disneyland) in our future.


A merry Christmas to you, blog readers.  Thank you for reading and commenting and sharing a part of your lives and time with us.  It is very much appreciated.

Dear Family and Friends,                                                                                                                                      December 2011

                A merry Christmas to you all.  We hope you’ve had a great year.
                Eleven is considered a propitious number in our family, so we’ll sum up the year with eleven of our favorites –

1.     Calvin moved Grace to their new home in Colorado in February.  Grace had been living with us in Washington while Abe was deployed.  It was sad to see her go as she’d been our buddy for the whole year, but it was great seeing her finally get to set up their first permanent home.
  1. Abe returned home safely from Iraq in March.  Calvin and I flew down to join Grace to welcome him home.  What a wonderful sight it was to see the soldiers reunited with their families.
  2. A week later Ande and Joe got married in the Seattle temple.  As the family sat together in the sealing room I thought, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”  Joe is a fun asset to our family and we are lucky to have him.
  3. Two months later Ty graduated from the Air Force Academy.  Two of my sisters and their family joined us at this event.  Ty was a top graduate which made the ceremony that much more enjoyable.
  4. Two days later Ty married Michelle in the Denver Colorado temple.  Déjà vu.  It just felt so good to be there with all of the kids.  Michelle is quick to laugh and quick to love.  We are very blessed she chose to join our family.
  5. Calvin and I officially became empty nesters.  While it was pretty darn painful as each child left home, once they all took flight it has been anything but sore.  It’s amazing how often we have grilled cheese sandwiches for supper now or run into town for nothing but an ice cream cone.    
  6. In June Ray and Cali had a son, Levin.  What a fun thing to see the kids be parents.  What joy to have a baby to hold and love.  Ray swears Levin has my feet.  Good thing they’ll be big, because it looks like he’ll be Ray’s height.
  7. In September I started my 11th year of teaching seminary.  Who knew?  It was a one year commitment when I started.  It’s been a real blessing.
  8. In October Calvin, Ray, and Trevor met in Idaho to go deer hunting.  They met up with my nephews, Ryan and Jake, and also my brother-in-law Bruce.  They had a great time and came home with meat. 
  9. In November Calvin and I flew down to watch the Army – Air Force game in Colorado Springs with Abe and Grace.  Later in the month we celebrated Thanksgiving at Ray and Cali’s with their family, and Joe and Ande too.   The best part of being an empty nester is having four more homes.  The kids are great hosts and we are proud of them.       
  10. In the middle of this month Ande will graduate from BYU-I with a secondary teaching certificate in literature and art.   How I wish I had had her for a teacher in high school (or for our kids’ teacher).  Even Shakespeare makes sense when she interprets him for me:    “'Tis but an hour ago since it was (ten), And after one hour more 'twill be (twelve); And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe, And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot; And thereby hangs a tale.”  ~William Shakespeare  

                It’s true.  We are happily ripening and rotting as we write our tale.  Thank you for being one of our blessings and a wonderful part of our tale.  Have a merry, merry Christmas, and here’s to 2012!
                    Calvin and Jane Payne


Angie said...

Super jealous of your upcoming Disneyland trip. The Dole Whips are my favorite as well!! Merry Christmas.

Debra price said...

Such a sweet post!! I am so thankful that I can count you as one of my friends. Have a very merry Christmas and a year full of reading!!

michelle said...

I wish I had known about your cookie exchange activity earlier! I'm going to keep that in mind for the future - brilliant.

I can't remember ever even liking a substitute or student teacher! She must really be a natural.

I love your favorite things idea for Christmas. Sounds like another one to file away for the future.

I can't tell you how much I love your Christmas card photo.

Derek-Jenny-Kaitlynd-Ethan-Dylan said...

Merry Christmas!

Love the picture of you and Calvin! He is such a good sport!

Becky said...

Merry Christmas!!!

Loved the photo of you and Calvin so much that I had to show it to Jeff. I told him, "I like these people."

Leigh said...

That is the best Christmas card picture I've seen this year! Merry Christmas!

camery said...

Merry Christmas! I LOVE the picture of you and Calvin!!! I looked at your YW activity pictures and was happy to recognize many faces. The problem is, everyone seems to be getting a little older. hmmm. i guess that's what happens when you haven't seen them in more than five years!! yikes. I guess my own mirror could have told me as much. where is that pause button??

Rhonda said...

Thanks for the Christmas card.

Have a great holiday and enjoy your Disney trip!


Deanna/Mimi said...

You make everything brighter for us all. What a gift you are to everyone who has physical, emotional or spiritual contact with you. You certainly emulate the Savior in so many ways. What an honor it is to know you through your blog, plus the things my grandchildren say about you as their seminary teacher. You are loved, admired and respected. God bless you Jane. May your "gifts" continue to be felt not only here but everywhere you go in life. Hugs, Deanna

Deanna/Mimi said...

You make everything brighter for us all. What a gift you are to everyone who has physical, emotional or spiritual contact with you. You certainly emulate the Savior in so many ways. What an honor it is to know you through your blog, plus the things my grandchildren say about you as their seminary teacher. You are loved, admired and respected. God bless you Jane. May your "gifts" continue to be felt not only here but everywhere you go in life. Hugs, Deanna

Tyler - Danielle - Emree said...

Love your blog as always and lov your family! It is always a pleasure to read and I look forward to another year of inspiration.