Saturday, December 27, 2014

Life in Our World - Final A-Z Post of 2014

Aged for 60 Days.

After literally eating a ton of beef, Calvin has perfected the prime rib. No more guessing. No more hoping it turns out. It’s now a science as well as an art. Christmas dinner was very good.


I didn't do much Christmas baking this month as our home was under renovation, but the regular cooking still went on.

Cookies for Santa.

Levin and I baked a few cookies on Christmas Eve for Santa.


I like to think I run an organized home, but every time I deep clean there is more stuff to give or throw away, so I doubt my perception.  This time I finally let a Christmas gift from 1999 go. It was a box of first aid supplies from the Ellsworth family.  It included I.V.’s, sutures, and medication -- all things a veterinarian would have a supply of.  Even though many of the things had expired five or ten years ago, I had held on to them because they were my security blanket -- someone might need me to stitch them up in the face of a calamity or catastrophe.  I hung on to the bandages, though.  I can still stop bleeding.


All the new hens are laying now and they make such pretty eggs.

Family Night.

We spent Christmas with the Follett family, which included Ray’s brother Rob.  We ate seafood, shared traditions, read the story of the nativity from the Bible, and sang carols.  It was a special evening.

Girl #3.

Ty and Michelle just found out that baby number three is also girl number three!


Ray bought remote control helicopters for his brother Rob, Calvin, and himself. They made an obstacle course in the basement and practiced landings and take-offs.  Sometimes it took great restraint as a spectator not to swat the helicopters out of the air - especially when they buzzed your head.


We left Seattle the day after Christmas, stopped at home for more clothes and to feed the animals, then made a quick trip to Idaho for Bert's funeral.  (Bert is the father of Bruce, my brother–in-law.)

The parking lot of the funeral home was filled with pick-up trucks, and the funeral chapel was filled with men wearing wranglers, cowboy hats, and sports coats.  One of my favorite stories shared was that Bert often came into the house in the morning after feeding his calves and would ask his daughter or wife to make a couple of extra-thick bologna sandwiches and fill a quart jar with milk.  Bert and his family lived on a highway and men hitch-hiking their way across the country would often stop and sleep in his haystacks.  He found the men while he was doing chores and would get them something to eat before they moved on.

Calvin and I very much enjoyed seeing and speaking with friends from the community -- former neighbors and friends, people I used to babysit for when I was a young girl, the country vet, school bus-drivers, the Red Cross instructor that certified me in first-aid, the kind woman that was the chorister when I was the church pianist and organist in high school, and even a friend I rodeoed with.

The sweetest part of the funeral was the military honors performed by the Marine Corps and the final Taps.


Ande posted this picture and caption on Instagram:  Joe was a successful Santa (at the church Christmas party), even with his beard showing.  If successful means scaring the beejeebers out of your own kid.  


Ray and Cali made this kitchen for the boys.  Levin immediately proceeded to feed us broccoli and Atlas tried to drink the boxes of fake juice.  It was perfect for them.


Our mailbox was filled with Christmas cards and letters this month which we enjoyed very much.  I received this email on Christmas Eve from my WWII friend George who lives in North Carolina:

Jane, it is after 4 pm in the East, cloudy-been slightly raining all day and I just had to go across town to the bakery for a coffee 
cake.The town is desertd and the streets are as quiet as 
Bethlehem. I would imagine you are having rain also.
this year I will celebrate my 90th Christmas-outside the womb.

I hope you will have the most joyful holiday ever. 
and continue to drop me a note as often as you are moved to do so.
Friendship and love are intertwined and very delightful. 
Sleep easily tonight.  as ever,George 

Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus


Last year Calvin and I gave the Little People Nativity to the grandkids for Christmas. It was fun to see the kids play with them throughout the month.  

On Christmas Eve, Abe posted on Instagram:  The Nativity after Hankzilla comes through.  #wetried  
Michelle replied:  We tried showing our kids the Nativity story tonight.  But then Eliza showed up. Utter destruction.

Ande replied:  Ours is usually thrown with extreme force across the living room.

Cali replied:  Atlas end-zone spiked the angel tonight.  Gabriel was not pleased.  

Calvin and I are grateful the kids work so hard to teach their families and that Little People make sturdy nativities.

Nailed-it. Not.

I saw chocolate dipped, candy cane reindeer on Pinterest and thought for sure it was a craft our Young Women could be successful at. I couldn’t figure out why ours looked like the little dog that pulls the sleigh in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas until I looked at the Pinterest picture again and realized they’d used full length candy canes. 

There is a difference.  

Next time.


I had another teaching observation this month.  They're a bit stressful, but the feedback and a fresh perspective is helpful. One thing I worry about in teaching is that I don't stretch the kids enough.  One piece of the feedback was that I expect a lot from my students and they deliver.  That was as good a piece of news as getting an e-mail from George.  I really do have incredible students.  


This is the crew that made our home beautiful. The thing I like most about their work is they pay close attention to detail and want to make their customers happy. Our home is one shade of gray (except for two half walls that are a deeper shade of gray) with white trim.  

One morning as I drove to work in the fog, I worried, "Calvin Hates the fog with a capital h. What have I done?  I've made one big house of fog for him now.  He's going to be miserable.  He will probably Hate it." But he doesn't.  Now that it's finished, it is serene and calm . . . and light, and not at all like a foggy day.


My sister Chris often gives me cookie-cupcake toppers to use in my classes or for our grandkids. I have used hundreds decorating cookies, suckers, and cupcakes.  Just when I'm starting to whittle down my pile, she sends me a new, fresh, substantial supply.  Neighbors, feel free to use from my stash.    

Road Trips.

Calvin likes to drive and I like to sleep and write blogs and read while he drives. He listens and sings to the radio and shares his pop and m&m’s with me. We enjoy road trips very much and have had a few this month.  In fact, he told me this morning, "With the amount of miles we will drive over this vacation, I could have driven us back to Ande's (in South Carolina)." 

That's a lot of pop and m&m's.


A long time ago, in my life before this one, I used to make and sell crafts to supplement our income. I made dozens of these Santas. 

This month I resized the pattern and made new ones from Calvin’s old wranglers for the kids for Christmas. We put dollar coins in the bag. 

They were pretty cute.

Temple Trip.

We took the youth to the temple at the beginning of the month. Temple attendance is seldom convenient, but is always worth it. Many in our group had family names they’d found. I also got more family names ready to take to the temple and that always feels good.

Under $2.

Gas prices in Washington.   Some gas stations are 50 cents higher than others in the same town. Crazy.  Makes it nice for all of the traveling we've done.

Vinyl Flooring.

Our kitchen and dining room was in bad need of new flooring. We bought some vinyl planking and Calvin laid it. It’s beautiful and sturdy.


Calvin's dad made us a stool many years ago and our kids have begged Calvin to make one for them. He made them for Christmas.  The tops are hand-hewn with an axe from a log and the legs are apple limbs.  They are pretty cool. And sturdy. Sturdy seems to be important to me this year.


Ande is having a baby next week. I’m flying out Monday to stay with them. Can’t wait for Zeph to have his sibling and for a new child to join our family.


While in Idaho, Chris gave me some old pictures she'd found.  Calvin and I were little people once upon a time ago.  In this photo, I'm expecting Cali.

Z end.

What a grand year 2014 has been.

1 comment:

abe said...

What a great month!