Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Memories - The Back-and-Forth Cow

Years and years ago my sister wrote this story and it was published in the Ensign magazine. The story is true, other than it makes me look better than I am.  I reread it this week and it reminded me of those sweet days of living next to my sister and her family. I hope you enjoy it  . . .   

By Lynn C. Jaynes

Ande helping me milk the cow.

Several years ago my sister, Jane, and I inherited a wringer-type mop bucket. We were next-door neighbors, so sharing the bucket was a simple matter of organizing our cleaning days. Although we both had young families, lived on farms, and had large linoleum floors that needed frequent mopping, we didn’t have any problems getting the bucket back and forth. She knew where I stored the bucket and I knew where she stored it, so we just helped ourselves on mop day.

Jane and I shared other things, too. I borrowed her bread pans on baking day, and she borrowed the pressure cooker during canning season. We planted gardens side by side and raised chickens in the same pen. We used each other’s lawn mowers and fed each other’s children. She taught my children piano lessons. When her three-year-old daughter “ran away” to my house, I assigned the little girl some work that was harder than usual—and she was soon ready to go back home.

We cried when changes in our husbands’ employment separated us. Tearfully, we divvied up our wares. I knew I would miss her greatly.

About a year later, we were thrilled to be neighbors again. By that time, she had a pressure cooker and I had bought my own bread pans. I got to keep the mop bucket because Jane’s new house was mostly carpeted. That’s when we bought the five hundred-dollar milk cow.

I don’t even recall now who bought the cow first. But our arrangement was for one family to milk her in the mornings and the other family to take care of her at night. The cow gave enough milk to supply both families, and we raised calves besides.

Through the years, both families occasionally had financial struggles. I remember a time when taxes came due for my sister’s family. They were short about five hundred dollars. At that time, they owned the cow. So we bought the cow from them, and they were able to pay their taxes. Meanwhile, they still milked mornings, we still milked evenings, and nothing really changed.

Then one day we needed funds to pay medical bills. My sister and her husband bought back the cow.

I guess we’ve lost track now of how many times the cow has been bought and sold, but during these ownership shuffles, the cow has never even changed pastures or had her milking routine interrupted. As far as I could see, there was never any real advantage to ownership. Sometimes we had to concentrate to even figure out who the current owner was.

And Jane seemed to agree. One day as ownership was changing hands again, she remarked, “This is silly that we pass this cow back and forth and declare ‘ownership’ as if it really meant something. We ought to just give each other the money whenever it’s needed.” We laughed about it and dubbed the animal our consecration cow.

Awhile back the pump in our well broke. A new one was going to cost a fair bit, and my husband and I were trying to decide how to pay for it when the phone rang. It was my sister.

“I can’t believe your pump went out! Listen, do you need us to buy the cow?”

I smiled. It didn’t even matter that they already owned her.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Life in Our World: Fifteen (or so) pictures taken on the 15th (or so) of May in (definitely) 2015

Here is a snapshot of what our family was doing this week . . .

Ray:  Fifteen seconds wondering what is going on in the Supreme Court today.

Cali:  Dad is back.

Levin:  If it's good enough for George it's good enough for me.

Zeph: Building a temple. Mom only built the base.

Ande: The best part of my day has been this headband Cali made me. 

Ezra: For the sanity of all I took a 4.5 hour nap this afternoon.
Mom says that's what you have to do when you're a grump.

Joe: I call this a return on an investment.
I bought Ande this cookbook, now she makes me tikka masala and naan from it.

Ty: Michelle's brother Dallin sent us these hats from his mission in Peru.
This was one of many attempts at a decent picture.

Michelle: Thanks to a wonderful mother and husband,
I got to go back to sleep after a long night.
Next thing I knew, I woke up to sound of birds chirping,
it was 10am, and I opened my eyes to this. Life is good.

Afton: today Grandma Kathy helped me practice sliding down the pole,
and now I can do it all by myself!

Eliza: Today I went tromping thru the flowerbed and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a "snake."

Kathryn: Listening intently as Dad eats his re-heated dinner
and tells me about his day.

Jane:  Teaching the kids the Patty-Cake Polka while learning about the pioneers coming west.

Calvin:  Planting Jane's Mother's Day present - 2 almond trees.

Abe: walking with my boy.

Henry: taking my dad for a walk.  

Grace: picking flowers with Henry.

printable property of Kiki & Co.

I'm grateful for our workshop . . .

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thursday Thinking - "Babies are such a nice way to start people . . . "

A miracle happened this week in our family.  

On May 12, This little family of four became a family of five.

I love this picture of her on Michelle's chest and the wedding ring hanging from a chain around Michelle's neck.
Michelle texted soon after she was born:  "It's pretty cool how quickly (she) relaxed when (she) got put on (my) chest.
She went right to sleep. And pooped on me."

Welcome to the world baby girl!  Our family got better the day you were born.  

Thank you for getting her here Ty and Michelle.

Her name is Kathryn Cali Payne.  She is named after Michelle's mother, Kathy, and Cali.  Two of my heroes and women I love very much.

Three little girls.  Such a pretty and fun little family.

There is no danger she won't be loved.

"A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on."  ~Carl Sandburg   Welcome to this wonderful world Kathryn Cali.  We're so grateful you're here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday Memories - Dominoes

Ray and I have played dominoes ever since he and Cali got married.  In the beginning Cali played with us every game, but now she's often busy taking care of behind-the-scene things so that we can play. 

Sometimes the loser has to buy milkshakes and sometimes he just has to fix the root-beer floats. 

Dominoes is one of my favorite games.  And playing dominoes with Atlas in his goggles is my new favorite way to play it. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Life in Our World - What Life is All About

Six weeks of Spring.  Six weeks till Summer.  This is what Life in our World has looked like the last six weeks:

One Week:

Trevor, Michelle, and Cortney came to see us so Ray, Cali, and the boys came to see them.  It's nice being in the middle.

We visited, ate (food seems to be an important part of our gatherings . . . as rightly it should, I guess . . . for even lions share the spoils), and flew kites.

At least that's what I took pictures of.

Michelle playing a game with Atlas and Levin.  This is the boys' first sustained interaction with Michelle, but she has the kind of personality that envelopes and includes and they responded quickly and accordingly.

I'm not a kite-flyer, but Trevor is and he taught Levin, Atlas, and me how to get one in the air and keep it there.  

Our front window cracked a few cold winter's ago when the fire in the fireplace was too hot for the cold window.  Trevor, a carpenter by trade, helped Calvin to replace it.  This is how they brought the window home.  Calvin's a great buffer.

We ate well while they were here.  Ribs the first night and a crab pot the second.  And chocolate.  Lots of chocolate.

Family really is what life is all about.

Still Another Week:

The day before his 30th birthday, Abe took command of Crazyhorse Troop, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment.

We went to Fort Lewis for the ceremony.

sketch on the wall in the gathering room

The troop gave Grace a bouquet of roses.  Abe is standing above her left shoulder.

Abe asked Calvin to help him prepare a dinner for 90 of his men.  Calvin bbq'ed and made pulled pork.

As the troop gathered in the room and I saw all of the big boots, I panicked a wee bit.  Calvin and Abe asked me to help figure out the quantity of food.  I used old figures in my head that included regular appetites of men, women, and children, not soldiers. No worries. Calvin had beefed up the meat quantity and we had plenty.  And since no women were present, we had more than enough vegetable trays.

Freedom and family really are what life is all about.

And Yet Another Week:

Brent and Nesha Roylance and Calvin and I took the Young Men and Young Women from the Spanish Branch to Utah for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints General Conference.

In order to go on the trip, the youth had to read the entire Book of Mormon, attend church and mutual 80% of the time, accomplish several goals in their Duty to God and Personal Progress books, and the girls had to do a ten hour service project.

Two smart things we did for the 12 hour car ride (and the whole trip) is 1) took all their electronics/phones and gave them back for only one hour a day, and 2) every stop they drew a card for seat assignments.  Red was Brent's car, green was Nesha's car, and yellow was our car.  The kids and conversations were constantly revolving.  As one girl said to her friends, "I've known you guys forever, but I didn't know half of this stuff about you."

Here are the kids and Nesha ready for General Conference Sunday morning.  We listened to the first session in the Joseph Smith Building and the second session in the Conference Center.


On Monday we toured Temple Square and on Tuesday we stopped at BYU-Idaho for a tour of the campus.  It was a great trip and gave the kids perspective and new experiences - for many it was their first experience with a revolving door let alone General Conference or a college campus.  For all, it was spiritually uplifting.

The four brave souls that took the youth to General Conference.

We got home late Tuesday night.  After work on Wednesday I met Cali in Ellensburg and picked up Levin and Atlas so they could stay with us while she had Lasik surgery.

Calvin led the little boys in a prayer about the time Cali was going in to surgery.

Her surgery went really well.  For the next few days the boys and Calvin and I worked in the yard . . .

. . . did chores.  Levin gathers eggs with no fear of the rooster.  He learned that El Ta Ta and Dan love raw eggs and fed them both several.  They'd never had such sleek coats.

. . . we did projects.

. . .  and played.  But if you think these are doll strollers, you're mistaken.  They are spaceships.

And if you think irrigating boots are to keep your feet dry, you're also mistaken.  They are best when they're filled with water.

Ray came over on the weekend to pick the boys up.  Let it be documented that Ray fits between the car seats in the back seat.  No small feat for a 6'6" man.

Serving others, praying for, freedom, and family really are what life is all about.

The Week After That Week:

Ray, Atlas, Levin, Calvin, and I caravanned to Cle Elum to meet Abe, Grace, and Henry for an impromptu picnic.  It was cold, but it was worth it.

Calvin and I brought Henry home to stay with us for a week.

He was our happy little buddy.  

Abe and Grace came one the weekend and we spent it celebrating Grace's birthday, working, and enjoying each other.

Father-Son bonding is a funny thing.  Somehow rug burns and bruises and lots of sweat spells I love you in a very real way.  FYI, both were on the top sufficiently long to claim victory.  But judging by the severity of bruises and rug burns Calvin lost.

Taking care of your responsibilities, serving others, praying for, freedom, and family really are what life is all about.

And Then, Next to Last Week:

While Abe went to the field in training, Grace and Henry stayed with us.

We kept a pretty relaxed pace that included a nap every afternoon.

And a walk.  It was Henry's first time in the wagon.

It was also his first face plant from the wagon.

One night Grace and I attended a baby shower together and went to see Cinderella.  We both loved the movie.  It was a fun night.

 We had a good week.

And then it was over.  We met Abe in Cle Elum so he could take his family back home.

Love, serving others, praying for, freedom, and family really are what life is all about.

And Finally Last week:

The lilacs were in full bloom and you know it's going to be a great week if the lilacs are in bloom.

And it was other than that one day I was terribly sick and even missed work.

One day Afton called and asked if it was true that little girls need to play outside to grow healthy and strong.  I told her indeed it was and asked her if she would take a picture of something red, something yellow, something blue, and something green when she went outside and send it to me. 

In return I took a picture for her with something red, yellow, green, and blue in it.

I can't tell you how grateful I am for Facetime, Instagram, and texting so that even though Afton, Eliza, Zeph, and Ezra aren't at our home or in our arms as often as Levin, Atlas, and Henry, we are still very much a part of their lives and they ours.  It's a great comfort and source of happiness.

This week we also worked a lot in the yard and Calvin built a new trellis for the tomatoes.  He's certain this is his year for good tomatoes.  And I believe him.  He is a great gardener and he's always been such a good provider.  Actually, he's just a really great man and I'm grateful to him.  I love him. 

And through these past six weeks, we also learned that the position I have on my day-job was being terminated. We wondered what to do.  And wondered some more.  And then still wondered what to do.

Three rather long-ish weeks later, I was offered a full-time position doing what I've been doing for the last 14 years:  teaching high school aged students the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are grateful.  

Last night I snapped this picture from our driveway.  The peace the picture captures is how Calvin and I feel as we reflect on these last six weeks of family, answered prayers, and life. 

God, love, serving others, praying for, freedom, and family really are what life is all about.