Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tuesday Tried It - Raspberry Control

If you've ever raised raspberries you know what a bother it is to keep them from becoming an overgrown, tangled mess on the ground.

This idea for controlling raspberries was on Pinterest, and though it was three times the project Calvin expected it to be, he did it.  And very well.  

We depend heavily on raspberries for jam, fruit leather, pies, cake, smoothies, and sometimes even muffins. These supports will make picking so much nicer and our yields heavier.

And speaking of baking and nicer and yields, here is an appropriate printable from Pinterest!PnkfH

Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday Memories - This Much . . .

Most kids play it when they’re five or six.  At least that’s when I remember playing it. David Gines, friend and neighbor, and I used to argue amounts. He bragged his dad was older, I bragged my dad weighed more. Certainly things to crow about.

So don’t ask me why Calvin is still playing this game at 63, but some day during the last year when I said, “I love you,” he said, “I love you more.”

And even more perplexing than him saying it is that I took the bait.

I said, “No. No. I’m pretty sure you don’t.”

He replied, “Sure I do. It’s a known fact.”

I asked, “Well, how much do you love me then?”

And just like the childhood game, whatever it was he said, I upped it.

This went on for a several months, when finally Calvin pulled out the BIG number. 

He said, “I love you more than the national debt.” Before I could argue that I truly loved him more than 17 trillion, he finished, “And we both know that number grows exponentially every day so you can't top it.”

He had me. He won.


A few days ago one of my students told a story of two brothers* who were the age that most people are when they one-up.

The older brother said, “I love you,” to his little 4 year old brother.

The little boy said, “I love you more.”

Game on. The challenge went back and forth it went.

“Nope. I love you more,” the older brother responded.

“I love you this much,” said the younger brother stretching his arms wide.

“Well, I love you this much,” said the older brother stretching his longer arms even wider.

“I love you as much as this room,” the little brother said.

“I love you as much as this house.”

“I love you as much as the whole wide world."

Then came the big one.  The older brother was sure the younger brother hadn't even heard of it.  He said, "I love you as much as the universe.”

But the little brother didn’t even blink, “Well, I love you as much as Jesus does.”

Trumped.  The older brother knew it.  Nothing is as deep or as wide or as constant.  Nothing beats the Savior's love.

I’m ready. I’ve got a new answer for Calvin . . . and a goal for me to obtain it.   


Thursday, May 15, 2014

14 Pictures for the 14th of May 2014

Calvin:  "I grill what I kill and I kill what I grill."

Jane:  Hydrangeas for the flower pots in front of the garage.
(HomemakingTip:  Put a flower in front of selfie double chins.)

Calvin and Jane:  YM/YW canoeing on Moses Lake

Abe:  The training may not be fun, but the view is great!
(Mount Rainier)

Henry:  Just like Grandpa Calvino

Grace:  Love this snuggly boy.

Cali:  Off to work instead of planting these.

Ray, Levin, and Atlas:  I (Cali) have stiff competition for Ray's lap these days.

Ande:  A typical Wednesday night:  Survivor.
Not typical:  pizza, chips and queso, and orange juice for dinner.

Joe and Zeph: A family walk . . . er drive . . . this morning.
Zeph waved and honked his horn.

Eliza:  Played musical car seats today.
No, not because I'm getting a little brother or sister.  I'm just growing too fast.

Afton:  Teaching Eliza to jump on the bed.

Ty:  I took Afton on a 5k family "Full Moon" fun run tonight.
She was the first one to cross the finish line!
But all she could talk about was the moon pie she got.

Michelle:  The end.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Life in Our World - Spring A to Z

This has been a month of going back and forth from one side of the mountain to the other.  We're so glad we have kids close enough that we are able to spend time with their families.  And facetime, instagram, and texts to stay in contact with everyone else.

From A to Z, here's a recap of the last month . . .

Albino moth.

I trapped this albino moth underneath a glass so I could show it to Calvin.  He says that isn't what it is, but it looks like one to me.

Bat in the belfry.

I opened the wood stove and found this petrified bat.  I try not to think about his last day.  The way he's perched here it appears he was looking out the window into the living room of freedom . . . and my face.  He was one of those bats out of hell; you should have seen the soot he knocked out of the chimney.


Levin and I went to the Shrine circus in the big red and yellow tent.  There were 12 tigers, 2 elephants, and 3 horses. We stood close to the tiger cages and watched them pace around and around.  One stopped and looked straight at Levin, opened his mouth, and growled BIG.  Levin climbed up my neck like he was a monkey and I was a pole.  He didn't let go for a looooong time, it was a very nice hug from a busy little boy.

Dan the dog.

Two seconds before this picture was taken, Atlas was laughing.  Dan has many talents, but reading social cues isn't one of them.  


Studying for a family life final while holding Atlas and Dan's paw in an effort to teach him baby skills.


It's that time of year when the frogs start their croaking chorus about 7:00 every evening. This one has been growing nicely with the chili pepper plants in the pump house.

The frogs are so loud can't help but notice them.  Levin hid among the weeds and said, "Ribbit.  Ribbit.  I'm a frog too."

George Strait concert.

From the very top row where we sat Cali posted, "Only the pigeons in the Tacoma Dome rafters paid less for their tickets . . . sing King George, sing."

True.  So very true.  (And the pathetic thing is I bought them right when they went on sale when there were thousands of seats to choose from, but I didn't know how to read the arena.  I venture to say after getting the Les Mis tickets on the back row and now George Strait that I will be relieved of all future get-the-tickets responsibilities.)

Cali, Abe, Calvin, and I had a great time . . . really great.  Seats don't matter when you've got the right company and sound system.  (Henry was too little to leave and Levin and Atlas were sick, so Grace and Ray stayed home.)

Henry Calvin Payne

Henry was given a name and blessing at Church.  It was such a sweet and comforting blessing.

Inca's Mexican Restaurant.

 We celebrated Grace's birthday.

Just sweet.

My good friend Laurie Clark died of cancer nearly five years ago, six months before any of her grandchildren were born.
Laurie's son, Nathaniel, and Abe were friends and roommates at West Point.  Sarah, Nathaniel's wife, and Grace were likewise friends.  Nathaniel and Sarah and their 3 children came to Henry's baby blessing. While the adults visited and fed and changed babies, I took Hannah and Camden Clark and Levin to the park to play.  I laughed at the things they said, pushed them on the swings and the merry-go-round, but mostly just watched them play.  I thought of Laurie and, while I have no doubt she is happy in the spirit world because God promises it is so, I wondered if she wouldn't have loved to have held those two sweet little grandkids and given them a kiss on the top of their heads that day.  I picked Hannah up, sweaty, sun-kissed, and sweet, and gave her a hug and a kiss and whsipered, "This one is from your Grandma Laurie."

No sooner had I kissed Hannah when I felt a reassuring warmth and the impression that while I cared for Laurie's little girl here she was caring for my little girl there.  It was just sweet.


Evidently this week was teacher appreciation week.  All of my students came in and told me why they loved and appreciated me.  The next day they wrote additional reasons on the board.   The day after that they added more.  Their answers were funny, predictable, non-predictable, heartfelt, and kind.  (I covered them up because I didn't ask their permission to share and some of them were a bit personal.)  I learned a lot from their comments, but most of all I appreciated their kindness and who they are as people.


Lots and lots of them.  It is a bumper crop this year, and after not getting nary a one last year they have been especially sweet.

I just found out that Calvin's sister, Charlotte, doesn't like lilacs.  I didn't know I knew someone who didn't like lilacs.  In fact, I didn't know such a person existed.  Do tell.  Is there someone else in the world that doesn't like lilacs?


Abe, Grace, Henry, Ray, Cali, Levin, and Atlas all came to help butcher.  The pioneers had their corn husking bees, quilting bees, barn raisings, logging bees, and sewing bees, and we have our meat bee.  Meat day is a great day and I love having everyone work together.  We're all set up with meat for the year now.

New Grill.

Happy Mother's Day to me from Calvin.  Happy Father's Day to Calvin from me.    

Object lesson.

Samuel, the Lamanite, high on a city wall.
Came to warn the people, and repentance was his call.
Arrows could not hit him, for a man of God was he, 
And he taught in the land righteously.

The story: The people wouldn't listen to Samuel because he told the people that what they were doing was wrong and they needed to repent.  No one likes to hear that they are wrong.  Samuel left, but the Lord asked him to go back and tell the people again to repent.

But the people didn't listen.  They had built a wall around their hearts and wouldn't let the Lord's words in. Samuel climbed on top of the city wall to preach since the people wouldn't allow him into the city.  Hard hearts, turned harder and the people were not satisfied just ignoring Samuel's words.  They began to throw rocks and shoot arrows at him to silence him.  But arrows could not hit him, because a man of God was he.

Samuel finished his message and, unscathed, got down from the wall and left the people.  He was never heard of again.

First the people walled their hearts against the Lord's words.  Next they refused to let the Lord's words into their city and homes  Finally they cast stones at the messenger to try and silence him and get others to disbelieve him.  What are some of the walls we put up to keep the Lord's words out of our hearts?

Let's tear down those walls, if we don't they get thicker and thicker and we'll eventually, instead of just ignoring the truth, we'll start to throw stones at it.  As you take a rice krispie treat from the wall, tell us something you can do to better follow the Lord's words.  (Answers included things like:  quit wasting time on phones and computers instead of reading the scriptures and doing more productive things, quit making excuses and take accountability, quit being selfish, quit putting the unimportant things ahead of the important things, etc.)


I went to the Taste of Home cooking show and won a prize.  In order to claim it I had to either do a dance (not gonna happen, no sir, it wouldn't be prudent) or yell out "I LOVE Taste of Home."

I love winning and I love free things, but the attention that comes with winning free things is very painful. (That is one thing that makes gambling so very unappealing to me.  The idea of all the bells and whistles and strobe lights going off on a big win and people turning to look who won is enough to keep my nickels in my pockets.)

But, I did it.  I yelled.  People looked.  We won a chopper.  

Quid pro quo.

A friend called to see if I had any eggs for sale.  When she stopped by to get them I told her they were a gift. We had a long visit about a myriad of topics - milk sales, mental health, mind games, marathons, and men (she's single).  A week or two later, she brought us this!  Oh my goodness.  This was hardly an equal trade (our eggs are not golden, much as our rooster thinks they are).   Her gift was so kind and generous.


I saw this idea for raspberry bushes on Pinterest and showed it to Calvin.  He has spent his evenings for the last week building these for our four long rows of bushes.  While our eggs may not be golden, our raspberries will be with this improvement.  One of the things I appreciate about Calvin is his ability to see and do.  Raspberry picking will never have been so fine.

Septic system.

It is what it is and it needed pumped.

Talent Show.

I saw one of the best things this week.  It was the Special Ed Talent Show at the high school.  I can't explain it.  I really can't.  It was such a moving experience.  I laughed and I cried.  The kids and their talents were so sweet and sincere.  What made it especially good was sitting by Jesse and Brindy Fredericksen.   Jesse cried right along with me when one boy sang karaoke to A Whole New World and when three girls dressed in their fanciest dresses and sang Let it Go.   Brindy had helped many of the kids prepare for talents and had taught one boy how to play the piano -- with chords.  What a great event.


The new dishwasher that the kids gave us for Mother's Day and Father's Day is incredible.  It cleans dishes until they sparkle.  It also saves time.  I have sometimes wondered if dishwashers really do save time, but I'm here to say they do.  What a grand gift to receive.


One Sunday morning we read Clara's book to Levin and then he went outside to help Grandpa cut lilacs for her grave.  We explained how she had died and her body was in the ground now, but some day she will be resurrected.  He was so excited to take the lilacs to her after church.  He was disappointed when she wasn't at her grave to play with him.  We explained again that she was gone for now, but we'd see her again someday.

Later in the week, Levin and I were throwing rocks into the canal.  He kept getting closer and closer to the edge and I reminded him that he had to be careful because if he fell in the deep water he could drown and die.  He said, "Like Clara?"


"Then I'll get resurrected!"

Yup.  That's right Levin.  You'll get resurrected someday just like Clara.

Wiener Roast.

We had a wiener roast one day while the young men were here working on their bows.  Why is it boys love to build and feed and stir fires so much?  I find that fact as fascinating as they find fires.  On the other hand, I've determined s'mores are a girl thing.


No picture for this one, but twice Calvin forgot to zip up his pants this month. Still makes me laugh thinking of it.  I asked him if he needs me to pick him up some elastic waist pants.

And that catches you up on life in our world . . .

Friday, May 9, 2014

Military Spouse Appreciation Day - Salute to Michelle and Grace

Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Calvin and I want to thank Michelle and Grace for all they do as military wives.

Michelle and Ty

Abe and Grace

They create loving, happy homes.  They deal with unknown schedules and uncertain military assignments.  They recognize that deployments and separations are inevitable.  They celebrate their husband's achievements, and encourage them when they're discouraged. They counsel and advise their husbands and fellow military wives.  They move frequently and are willing to start over, make new friends, go to new doctors, serve in new church congregations, and find the good things in the areas where they live.  They are kind, strong, conscientious, and loving mothers . . .

And they do it without asking for pity.  They serve willingly.  Thank you Grace and Michelle.  We love and appreciate you and your service to our country, your husbands, your children, and our family.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thursday Thinking - Nothing Better

Man, a dog's best friend.
The feeling is not mutual.
Levin:  "I'm shooting monkeys and gorillas."
Me:  "Good.  Shoot some more."
Levin:  "I can't.  They're all dead."

This week we got to have Levin and Atlas stay with us while Ray and Cali were in Hawaii on business. We had a wonderful time playing in the sun, doing chores, going to the circus, dancing the hokey-pokey, and eating . . . always eating.

When I was a young mother, I promised myself that I would never forget how exhausting the care for young children is.  I swore I'd never grow older and smile smugly and tell young mothers, "You think this is hard, you just wait until they're teenagers," or any other such thing.  And I didn't, because I remembered that fatiguing stage of early child development . . .  and it didn't take me long to learn that parenting takes incredible energy, love, patience, enthusiasm, and sacrifice regardless the age of the child.

But . . . I did forget.  I forgot how full-time mothering slowly, but surely sucks every last ounce of energy from your blood.  This week I fell asleep, deep and snoring, before the boys almost every night.

Mothers, you are amazing.  You run on empty for days on end.  You give when there is so very little left to give.  And while you know your Father in Heaven appreciates what you do because you feel that warmth and appreciation when you see them asleep at night or as you push them in a swing to the heavens.  And while you also know your children love and trust you because they run with open arms and ask you to fix everything.  But maybe you don't know how much most of society appreciates what you do.  I want you know know how much I admire you.  Whatever the age of people you mother, thank you for playing such an important role on Earth.

Sheri Dew said, "As daughters of our Heavenly Father, and as daughters of Eve, we are all mothers and we have always been mothers. And we each have the responsibility to love and help lead the rising generation . . .

"Every one of us can mother someone—

"Never has there been a greater need for righteous mothers—mothers who bless their children with a sense of safety, security, and confidence about the future, mothers who teach their children where to find peace and truth and that the power of Jesus Christ is always stronger than the power of the adversary . . .

"We just can’t let the Lord down. And if the day comes when we are the only women on earth who find nobility and divinity in motherhood, so be it . . .

" . . . rise to the challenge of being mothers in these perilous times, though doing so may test the last ounce of your endurance and courage and faith . . . "

How much I love being a mother.  Then, now, and forever.  It's the best way in the world to spend every ounce of energy.