Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Homemaking Tip: It's Smarter to Travel in Groups

One of the great perks of being married is always getting to sit next to your best friend on an airplane.  I love this picture because it is so Calvin.  He is watching the wings -- watching the flaps open and close, the engines whirl, and whatever else he can see from his little peephole of a window -- and trying to figure out how they work.  He's wishing Ty was sitting by him (instead of his best friend ;0) so he could ask questions to someone who might know the answers.  The other thing I like about this picture is it shows the napkin he stuffed in his loose window shade so that it would stay open so he could see better.    

We're traveling today back to South Carolina to see Joe, Ande, and Zeph.  As we flew on filled flight after filled flight and weaved through four crowded airports, I could say we definitely followed this tip:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday Memories - The First Half of Summer


One of the sounds of our summer is crop dusters.  All the fields around our house get dusted at one point or another.  We love waking up to the sound of them zeroing in on the fields.

My niece, Charlie, and my sister, Chris

My sister Chris and her family came to see us for a few days.  We went to Seattle to Pike's Market.  Chris was a floral designer and she especially liked seeing the long row of flower booths and the t-shirt shops.  

Calvin and my brother-in-law Bruce pulled chairs out to the street and visited, and dozed, and watched people, and held shopping bags.  It was a great arrangement.

Levin reading scriptures to us.  Notice he is using his finger
as a marker and the book is upside down.  I wish I could remember
the story he told us.  It had to do with bad guys fighting good guys.

One morning my job was to stay in bed and hold Atlas and Henry while 
Cali and Grace got ready to feed them.  It was one of my favorite jobs 
of the whole camping trip, and wasn't nearly as rough as I look.   

We went on a good hike.  

Everybody, and I do mean everybody, had a good time.

Abe teaching Cali how to read compasses and maps.  

Ray, Levin, and Atlas swinging in the hammock.  I do believe Atlas is singing.
One afternoon while everyone else in camp was napping, Levin took me and Atlas on a little hike. 
He ran out in front and said in a matter-of-fact voice over his shoulder, “I’ll be the leader.”  
Then as a side comment, “If you get scared of moose or reindeer come and tell me.”  

Grace and Henry
I told Henry that he saved the camping experience for future generations.
If he hadn’t been so good we might have bagged trying to take babies in the future.

Abe cooking garlic biscuits and cowboy stew.

Calvin, Atlas, Cali, Henry, and Grace
Our camp was a long, long ways away. When we came to a fork in the road
(and they were both less traveled) and Calvin and Abe couldn't remember
for sure which road to take, Ray, Abe, and Levin drove ahead to scout them out.
Calvin, Cali, Grace, and I swatted no-see-ums and smelled the pines while we waited.

We had a great time camping over the 4th of July.  Our camp spot was clear back in the Blue Mountains.  It was a beautiful and primitive place to camp.  It was well worth the winding roads and the long drive.

Dog Days.

Calvin does not always believe me when I tell him it's hot.  

But I have proof.


The other morning we woke up to the strong smell of smoke.  If it would have been a month or two earlier I would have sworn the canal company was burning the ditch banks around the house.  Instead, Washington has several fires going and even though the fires are a hundred miles away, the smoke lingers over the Basin and ash falls from the sky.

As I was out jogging I saw all these blackbirds sitting in this dead tree with the smoke sky in the background.  It was almost Edgar Allen Poe'ish.

Fresh Picks.

We're eating a lot of red potatoes, onions, and green beans from the garden, and Calvin ate the first tomato tonight. The spinach and lettuce have already bolted and been fed to the chickens and pigs.  Fresh corn is available in town.  The peach, pear, and apple trees are loaded.  It's a year of plenty and we're eating very fine.

Girls' Camp.
Calvin is teaching the girls how to eat ants, because some day you just may be 
lost, hungry, and sitting on an ant pile.

We had a great year at Girls' Camp this year.  Really good.  We played a lot of fun games, ate good food, slept in fancy tents, and didn't shower for five days.  It was also a wonderful spiritual experience.  


I needed to finish four classes, or 11 credits, in 3 months to be able to graduate in August. I had just about given up on being able to meet the graduation deadline when the kids bought plane tickets, arranged with commanding officers, or cleared very busy schedules so as to come to my graduation.  Failing to finish was no longer an option.  I had to finish.  The pressure was heavy.  I took my computer to girls' camp and climbed the hill early each morning before the girls woke up to sit outside the caretakers' cabin on a bench or rock where I could reach an internet signal and turn in assignments.  I called friends who were English majors and asked them to tutor me in grammar so I could learn faster and pass the tests.  I asked Ande and Abe to teach me how to write a research paper and then proofread them.  I worked around guests, said no to outside activities, didn't touch the garden for a month, and stayed home from events so I could work on classes.  But wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles the assignments were all turned in and the last test was taken two days before the deadline. Now we wait to see if I passed.

Calvin and Henry

Sweet.  Close.  Warm.  Happy.

Jane's Birthday Supper.

Calvin fixed butter for supper with a dab of shrimp, crab, and corn on the cob on the side.  It was very, very, very good.  He's always so thoughtful like that.

Keep forgiving.

This little pot of marigolds has to work twice as hard to stay alive because I keep forgetting to water them. Twice I've let them get too dry and they've wilted and started to die, but both times they bounced back after they got water.

I know it's cheesy to over-moralize a simple watering problem, but I couldn't help but notice how quick they were to forgive and put out new blooms even though I was thoughtless.  Lesson learned:  a grudge doesn't help a thing, it just makes you dead and ugly so keep forgiving.


If this were a Facebook picture I would like it.  It's what our evenings look like.   We have a very good life and I like it.

Memorial Day.
Atlas, Ray, Levin, Cali, Cooper, Haley, Ryan, Henry, Abe, Grace, Dan's nose

Ryan and Haley, my niece and nephew, came to visit for the long weekend.  The men went hunting, made measuring boards in the shop, and taught Levin to swim in the canal, while we women did womenfolk things. My niece Jesse who is working in the asparagus and cherry harvest in Yakima came too, but she was the one taking this picture.

Not my circus.  Not my monkeys. 

I just heard the saying, "Not my circus.  Not my monkeys."  

More than likely you already knew it, but it was new to me and I can tell already it's going to be real helpful. Just this morning I was thinking about something that really isn't any of my business.  After a few minutes, "Not my circus.  Not my monkeys," popped into my head.  

Tonight we went out to eat pizza for Family Home Evening and to celebrate no more homework.  I was watching a mother and father with their adult daughter.  Pretty soon a man came in and joined them and it appeared the daughter was officially introducing her new boyfriend to them.  He had earplugs draped around his neck and those big earring holes in his ears.  I was just starting to make assessments and guess how everyone was faring when "Not my circus.  Not my monkeys" popped in my head again.   

That saying is going to help me mind my own business like nobody's business.   


Ty, Michelle, and the girls sent me this card with a box full of nuts and chocolates to give me fuel to finish my schooling this summer.  Inside the card it says "Happy studying!" The chocolates were to help me stay strong and the nuts were to keep Calvin occupied so he didn't sidetrack me from homework.

Afton added her own note of "happy birfday" and "we vacuum" to the bottom of it.


Last Saturday we went to the free concert in the park.  Collin Raye was the performer.  He was a great entertainer and I enjoyed it very much.  It was pretty hard not to:  the amphitheater sits right on the lake with the breeze coming off the water, people were in good spirits enjoying the evening and camaraderie, the music was fun, people sang along, and the mood was light . . . and we had a bag of popcorn we'd brought from home.  Pretty much perfect.


Tonight Calvin took me out to a field where a farmer has put a baseball cap on twenty or so of his fence-posts.  They're just standing there like sentinels watching over the field.

Now that I think about it, I'll bet his wife did it.  I'll bet his two-dozen John Deere and Cenex hats kept falling off the closet shelf and she got tired of tossing them back on it so she took them out to the field and nailed them to the posts.  

Front Row:  Cali and Nicole
Back Row:  Donna, me, Sonja, Sandy, and Jenny

Twice a year a dozen of us meet to work on projects at a retreat house.  Some of us scrapbook and make cards, others sew, and sometimes we just visit. We take turns cooking the meals and have a grand time and get a lot done.  We've been doing this long enough that many of our daughters go now too.

Here are half of us.  It was July 11th so we went to get free 7-11 slurpees.

Another informal retreat we had was when Ray and Levin went fishing in Alaska.  I had given Cali "a day of sewing" for her birthday.  Cali and Atlas came over and I played with Atlas while Cali cut and sewed little quilts for the boys' beds.  My niece, Jesse, came that weekend, too, and we had a great time together. Creativity is therapeutic.  Then Ray and Levin came over and we helped them cut up and freeze their coolers of salmon. Evidently fishing is therapeutic too.

SafeCo Field. 

Calvin and Levin

Cali, me, Calvin, Bruce, Charlie, Chris, Amber, Jake, and Atlas 

Ray and Levin, Red Sox fans

We attended a Red-Sox and Mariners game.  The Red-Sox got thumped.  Badly.

Estrella, Rocio, Breanna, me

We went to the temple and did baptisms last week.  It felt so good to serve other people and be with the people from the Branch.


Some sunrises are extra beautiful.


Last Saturday Calvin and I were working in the garden and I was in my bare feet.  I got stung by a bee and his stinger was so deep that brushing him didn't work.  I had to pull him out and then fish out his stinger.  It was a cause of great vexation.  I won't be going barefoot for another couple of years, by which time I will have forgotten again the pain of a bee sting and will have to re-experience it.  Some lessons take years to master.


Abe and Grace and Calvin and I went to Wicked.  We tag-teamed -- Calvin and I went to the matinee, then babysat Henry while Abe and Grace went to the evening show.  It was fun to spend the weekend with them.

Calvin and I need subtitles.

A month later, Abe and Grace spent one of their vacation weeks with us.  Time goes so fast when they come over and we had a great time together.


I attended work-training on my birthday.  Joe, who was our host, made a double-chocolaty, double-layer cake with pink sprinkles.  It was the kindest gesture.

Young Women and Young Men
Yenica, Dulce, Hannah

Yenica, Denielson, Adrain, Benexi, Gaston, Jonathan

We taught the kids how to play Dare Base one night.  It's an old game our cousins used to play with us when they came to visit.  The kids liked it as much as I did when I was a kid.  I spent most of my time in prison on this game.  My legs are not as fast as my head thinks they are and I got caught and put in prison.


It was our turn to feed the missionaries Sunday.  Their enthusiasm is not for the food, but rather for the work they are doing.  They really are excited, happy, and grateful to have the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others.  

Now on to making memories the next half of the summer . . . and blogging more frequently, because did I tell you my homework is done?

Do tell.  What is one of your favorite memories from the first half of summer?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fourteen+ Pictures for the Fourteenth of July 2014 . . . plus a trivia quiz

Calvin:  All these bees swarming on our neighbor's sunflower field
remind me of robbing the hives with my dad.

Jane: Still not crazy about jogging, but the feeling at the end keeps me doing it.

Ray:  Levin and I attempting to teach Atlas
how to jump for Family Home Evening.

Cali:  Ray took this picture.  He's working in the garden and I'm overseeing
and reading on the porch.  Isn't summer grand?  I'm also semi distracted
by how hobbity-y my foot looks.  

Atlas Lincoln Follet with Levin Buchanan Follett in the background.

Abe:  Celebrating Abe Day.
This started 3 years ago when Grace and her sister, Connie, were bored one day.

Grace:  This is Henry's, "I'm hungry, mom" look.

Henry:  This is me being irresistable.

Ty:  I was studying Chinese, but somehow Michelle found me like this.

Afton:  Mom and I played with bubbles today while Eliza napped.

Michelle:  My shoes got a few more miles on them today.

Eliza: We went to the swimming pool for Family Home Evening.
Eliza would also like you to note that she has grown a tooth since last month.

                          Joe: I got to enjoy a few minutes of Up before a short segment on the Bluffton News.

Ande:  Let's not talk about how many greasy tacos Joe and I ate.
(Hint: it's in the double digits.)

Zeph: Joe is doing his best to ensure Zeph is a foodie.
He made Zeph pasta mixed with snap peas, duck bacon, Parmesan cheese,
and topped with a raw egg yolk. Zeph says, "Yummm!"

Just for fun, Ande created a trivia quiz for our family to take a week or two ago.  She asked each family to submit four questions as well as a prize for the winners.  She uploaded the quiz on the internet so each family could submit their answers.

Calvin and I won!  (Luckily Calvin knew that Joe had a garage full of karate trophies [instead of soccer trophies] and I knew that Cali took a cadaver class [instead of a microbiology class], because those two answers tipped the quiz in our favor.)  Here are the answers:

  1. What mission did Abe serve in?   -Philippines Bacolod
  2. If Ray were to get a tattoo (which obviously he's thought about getting one), what would it be? -XI
  3. What was the name of Dad's first dog? -Screwball
  4. What is Afton's favorite snack? -Fruit Snacks
  5. What was Clara's first temper tantrum about? -Not getting her toenails painted
  6. The Nehila's garage is full of Joe's trophies from what sport? -Karate
  7. What gear setting does Ty use to ride his bike to work? (This was also his favorite gear setting as a missionary.)  -3-6
  8. Mom had plastic surgery on what body part? -lip
  9. Besides ghosts, Cali's greatest fear is this animal? -coyote
  10. So far there is one food Zeph refuses to eat. What is it? -eggs
  11. What play did Grace play the lead role in high school? -Cinderella
  12. What color are Eliza's eyes? -undecided (brown also an acceptable answer)
  13. For a summer, teenage job, did Mom work at... a gas station every Wednesday, the swimming pool on Thursday, or babysitting on Friday
  14. What is Ande's favorite brand of cheese? -Tillamook
  15. How many states has Henry been to? -3
  16. Besides teaching at the MTC, what was Michelle's favorite job? -EFY counselor
  17. Dad's first car was fast and beautiful...what was it? -Datsun 240Z
  18. Levin first learned to crawl by chasing after what? -Cali's ring
  19. Joe was surprised when Ande showed an interest in which sporting competition? -Women's World Cup
  20. Would Mom rather read: a biography, a self-help book, a novel?
  21. Atlas has to take this twice a week or this happens? -suppository/constipation
  22. For the last 12.5 weeks Ande has been suffering from what ailment? -morning sickness
  23. What gesticulation does Zeph do every time he says the word, "no"? -bats his hand (shaking his finger is also an acceptable answer)
  24. What bone did Grace break in the 7th grade? -ankle
  25. Ray once dated a cougar that was how many years older than him? -7
  26. Who is the original Seemore? -David Scott
  27. Levin has an imaginary sister. She's never been to the Follett's house, she's always where? -School
  28. Ande misled Joe while they were dating by saying she liked what food? -sushi
  29. How many states has Abe visited? -45
  30. What yearbook award did Michelle win her senior year of high school? -happiest senior
  31. What is Clara's favorite color? -pink
  32. What is Afton's most common breakfast request? -pink candy
  33. What was the name of Dad's horse while he was going to college with Mom? -Teddy Bars
  34. What word does Zeph say exclusively with an article in the front? -a ball
  35. What two items did the monkey steal from Ty on E-Mei Mountain in China? -Book of Mormon and pen
  36. How much did Henry weigh as of June 30th? 17.4lbs
  37. When excited, Atlas ALWAYS does what? -flaps his arms and legs
  38. How much does Eliza weigh? -21.5-22.5
  39. After taking the high school aptitude test, what was Mom encouraged to become? a craftsman, a counselor, a caretaker?
  40. Cali took a science class in college that only allowed four students in it. What was it? -dissecting cadavers