Sunday, April 16, 2017

Dear Kids,
          I hope you’re all having a wonderful Easter morning. I was just reading in the New Testament about the resurrection of Christ. The story seems brand new, every time I read it. It was certainly the most important thing that ever happened in the history of the world. I’m so glad we can all live again, and be together with our families.
          Thanks to Nora for hosting that wonderful, wild party yesterday afternoon. Nothing’s more fun than our family parties. The food was great. Thanks to everybody who brought their specialties! And could anything be better, for Easter Saturday, than having a park across the street? It was fun watching all the kids scramble for the plastic Easter eggs, with their treasures inside. I made a sweep over the area, when they were done, and I only found two that they missed. Thanks to whoever decided to build a park across from Nora’s house! (Oh, wait, the park was there first!)
          John’s family didn’t make it to the party, but I was very conscious of the fact that it was Julie’s birthday, and that she was turning 18! It’s incredible, that we have a grandchild who’s now an adult. Last we heard about her college plans, it was either going to be UVU or Snow. I don’t know if she’s made a decision yet. She wants to major in musical production.
          We haven’t seen baby Blake for more than a week, but Tom says he’s eating OK and doing well–gaining about an ounce a day. We’ll be visiting them later this afternoon, and hopefully John’s family, too. Donna and Bevan are in Boston for the marathon, which is tomorrow. Go, Bevan! A while back I was talking to Bonnie, and she said that whenever she has trouble going to sleep at night, she starts with Katie’s family and goes through each of her children’s families, naming off their kids in her mind. Then she starts though our family, but she always goes to sleep somewhere in the middle, because there are so many. What could be better?
          Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Sadly, Xena made her journey to the Heavyside Layer on Monday morning. We took her to the Arcadia Veterinary Clinic north of Heber, and they were very kind to us. I was with her to the very end, but Dad had to go outside and walk around. Xena has been his special girl for a long time. We brought her body home in a size 14 shoe box, and we buried her out by the playground, alongside the unknown cat I buried last year (in place of Oreo.) We’ve missed her a lot this week. But Tina is very proud to be our only cat now. She sits on Dad’s chest with her paws tucked in and smirks at me. I’m hoping we’ll find a new cat soon, or a couple of kittens, to knock that smile off her face.
            But, looking ahead to brighter things, Easter is next weekend! The picnic is at Nora’s house, starting at noon, and we’ll eat about 1:00. You can call Nora for food assignments, or maybe she’ll call you. (When I talked to her yesterday morning, they were leaving Las Vegas, on their way home from their cruise. I was surprised she could shift gears into Easter so fast.) We’ll have our usual Easter egg hunt! It should be a nice day. Sunshine. No snow. I’m really grateful for all the rain and snow we’ve had, but that white stuff’s getting me down.
          Thursday afternoon I stopped in at Tom and Kim’s to see baby Blake. (Not Frederick Barbarossa!) They had just brought him back from the hospital, for his bilirubin check, but they didn’t have the results yet. I carried him around for a while, and admired his pleasant little face. Every grandchild of ours is a wonderful blessing!
          While I was there, Tom was making sushi, with several kids watching. I watched, too. I wondered how he learned to make it, and he said he’d had samples at Smiths lots of times, and he always asked what they put in it. A roll of sushi at Smiths costs $9.00, but he can make it home for a dollar a roll. Go, Tom!

         Life is tremendously good! Love, Mom

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Dear Kids,
         The most stupendous news of the week, of course, was the birth of Tom and Kim’s baby boy last night around 8:00 pm. Tom put on facebook that his name is Frederick Barbarossa Ackerson, but of course it was April Fools day, so we’re waiting to hear for sure on that one. He’s 22" long and weighs 8 lbs 11 oz. We’re very excited about the arrival of this little guy!
           Friday night, Allen and Carson and Dad and I went to Ellie’s performance of Jungle Book at Centerpoint Theater. It was really good–probably the best production we’ve seen there. Ellie played several parts and the kids seemed to have a lot of fun throwing coconuts and bananas at each other. It was probably Ellie’s last production there–Allen says she needs more time for school work–but we’ve enjoyed all her productions, as well as the plays and musicals of the other grandkids. It makes a great social calendar for us!
          Going down to Centerville Friday night, Dad and I rode with Allen. He turned his blue tooth onto the classical piano music he listens to now (even when he’s out hiking in the wilderness!) and I enjoyed scrolling through and finding piano pieces I really like. He said he always has the music going, even in his cop car, especially when he’s transporting somebody to jail. His cop car camera records everything, so when they play video clips in court, there’s his criminal, with classical piano music playing in the background. He calls it "Go to jail with Mozart."
          I keep mentioning Xena in my letters, how she’s winding down, and it won’t be more than another day or two before she goes to the Heavyside Layer. Maybe even today, although it’s Sunday, since the Heber animal shelter is open this morning. (I just checked on Google.) Her belly has swollen terribly over the last couple of days, and she seems to be very uncomfortable, so we’ll kiss her goodbye and send her off. We’ve really enjoyed her, these last 17 years.
          Life is hard, but life is good. We love you all!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Thanks to John and Heather for hosting the party last night! It was really a blast. We all enjoyed visiting with Monica and Neil and Jackie. And then, of course, we all had fun talking to each other. And the food was fabulous! Thanks to everyone for the good things you brought! Nearly all our family was there–we were only missing Sharon’s family (distance!) And Vanessa’s family (Disneyland trip) and James, who was home wiring their basement. Go, James! It’s a huge job, and he thinks it will still take him eight more Saturdays. But he’s saving $4,000. Meanwhile, back at the party, there was no stopping the food and the fun.
           Next week it’s General Conference, but I have a different plan this time around. Since Nora’s and John’s families will be out of town, and Kim will definitely have a new baby by then (it looks like he could come any minute) we won’t have our usual CafĂ© Rio dinner at the cabin on Sunday. Saturday night I’ll host my usual soup dinner at 5:00, for anybody who wants to come, and the guys can go to the priesthood session after that. Then we’ll have ice cream here afterwards. That’s the only plan I’ve made. Meanwhile, we’re all anxiously waiting for that new baby!
          Easter’s in three weeks, and Nora has already volunteered to host the Saturday picnic at her house. I’m sure we’ll have the Easter egg hunt across the street in the park. We’ll give out food assignments when it gets closer.
          Meanwhile, my life is totally taken up with digging in the yard and teaching my piano classes. Dad goes walking at the gym, talks to his friends at the coffee club, repairs my wheelbarrows, and overindulges the cats. Life is good.
          Love, Mom

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Monica and Neil and Jackson flew into Salt Lake yesterday, and they came by Donna’s house to pick up camping gear so they could head south. Dad happened to be there helping Donna install a faucet, so he got to see them, and he took a picture of himself with Jackson. The rest of us will see them next Saturday, at the party at John and Heather’s. It starts at 3:00, and if you don’t have a food assignment yet, call Heather. It’s going to be great fun, like always, whenever we get together!
          Dad and I drove to Pocatello Tuesday afternoon so I could go to Vanessa’s book club. They were discussing War and Peace. They’ve been meeting for ten years now, and they only read classics. (How I wish there were a group like that here in Kamas Valley! I put a suggestion on facebook a couple of years ago, and didn’t get a single response!) The discussion was great! I wish I could go every month. Dad and I stayed over, and had a good visit with Vanessa’s family. We were dizzy at their comings and goings, though. Sterling had drivers ed. Sarah had volleyball. Macie had dance. Vanessa had just come back from the temple, and she had an appointment to get her eyebrows waxed, so I went along to watch. It was fascinating. Vanessa said they normally have a lot more on Tuesday evenings, including piano lessons and activity days, but they’d been cancelled. I wonder at her stamina! Anyway, we had a wonderful visit, and she fed us very well.
           Xena, our poor zombie cat, is still dragging herself through each day. She’s 17 now. I think she’s completely deaf, and I wondered if she were blind, too, so I had John examine her eyes. He used a small flashlight to look into them, and he said she has extensive cataracts, so she probably doesn’t see much. I keep wondering when she’ll make her journey to the Heavyside Layer, but she’s still hanging on. Her life must still be worth living.
          My life, meanwhile, is wonderful, especially because of all you kids and your families! I love you all.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dear Kids,
          I’ve been working in the yard again, these past two days. It’s wonderful. Some places are still muddy or snow-covered, but there are other spots where my beloved rocks and dirt are ready to be dug into. And our playground is free of snow! Yesterday afternoon Donna brought her kids here for a "field trip," and they played on our swings and airplane and slide and sand digger. The playground has definitely been our best outside project so far!
            So, while we’re enjoying spring, it looks like Sharon’s family is finally going to have some winter! They’ve had their snow pants and snow gear all ready, but so far they haven’t had any good snow to play in. Hopefully that will change this week! I have Derwood, MD on my page, and I can see that they have 100% chance of snow for Tuesday.
            Our plans are set for the get-together for Monica’s family on the 25th. The party starts at 3pm at John and Heather’s house. Dinner will be at 5:00. Heather has your food assignments, and I think she’s contacted everybody by now. If you haven’t heard yet, text her, and she’ll let you know. We’re really looking forward to the party, and especially to seeing Monica, Neil, and Jackson.
          Jamie and Andrea Quinn had a baby boy this week, James Maddox Quinn. You’ve probably seen the pictures on facebook or instagram. The next family baby will be Tom and Kim’s, coming up really soon! Kim’s due date is the 31st, but their babies have a way of coming early, so we’re getting anxious to see this new little guy!
          All my piano classes are going great guns right now. In Heber, I’ve expanded my time slots so I’m busy from 9:30 am to 12. I have ten people, and they all come! It’s really hectic, but really fun. Our classes at the Lighthouse Church are doing really well, too. I teach my seniors from 3 to 4, and then we have our regular class, sometimes with up to 20 students. One of my very first students from the Spanish class has come back, with her oldest son, but she has four more kids now, and they all go into the nursery, so Dad is busier in there than ever. Sometimes he has 9 or 10 kids. I thought he would protest, but he said he’s never had so much fun. Who would’ve thought?
           As you can see, we’re doin’ great and lovin’ it. I hope you are, too.
           Love, Mom

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dear Kids,
          I didn’t write a letter last Sunday because we stayed over at McGettigans (who live at Thanksgiving Point now) on Saturday night. They had a party for lots of old friends from the 5th Ward area, so we had a lot of fun talking to the Fultons, Parkers, (Heath is a bishop!) the Newtons (Kenny’s older brother, Brent, and his wife, Cathy) and various other great people we’ve known for years. I didn’t want to drive home late, so we stayed over in their guest room, and came back early Sunday. We drove directly to Elk Meadows, the care center in our stake, where we were scheduled to help out with the music. From there we went right to Church. When we finally got home we’d been on the road for more than 24 hours, (we’d started out Saturday at noon with a trip to the Provo Temple,) so I took a nap instead of writing my letter. I didn’t have any news, anyway.
          But now, I’ve got to mention all the fun things coming up. Monica and Neil and Jackson will be here on Saturday, the 25th, (less than three weeks) and the party will be at John’s house. I’ll let you know the exact time, and what to bring, in my next letter. Conference is the weekend after that, but I’m not sure of our plans, because Nora’s family will be on a cruise, and Tom’s family will probably have a brand new baby. Easter is late this year, the middle of April, and Nora has already volunteered to host the picnic and Easter egg hunt. That will be on Saturday, April 15.
          Besides all the fun things coming up, we just finished a crazy weekend. Thursday night we drove to Centerville to see Paige’s musical, Mulan. (Paige herself was Mulan’s mother, and she wore a black wig. She was really cute.) We slept over at Nora’s that night. (Not in the basement quarters–it’s not that far along yet. James is working on the wiring now.) We drove home Friday morning, in time to help with the music at a funeral in our ward. (The old people have been dropping like flies. It’s been a long, cold, winter.) Friday night Donna’s bunko group had a cabin party, so the displaced people stayed over here: Bevan and the kids, along with Allen and Carson and Ellie. That was lots of fun. Last night was an ice cream party at John’s, and we watched a Jason Hewitt video. The fun goes on and on.
          It’s starting to feel like spring. Yes, there’s a storm coming in today, with 100% chance of snow by tonight, and more storms after that, lined up on like little soldiers, but you can definitely tell spring is coming. And we’re so ready!
          Love to everybody! Mom