Sunday, May 24, 2020

Dear Kids,
        So many fun events are on the docket!  Today is Sarah’s birthday, and there will be a party with cake and ice cream here at our house at 6 pm tonight.  Be there or be square!  Tomorrow there’s a Memorial Day barbecue and birthday party for Dad and Dallin at the cabin.  I think we’ll be eating in the early afternoon, but for an exact time, you’ll need to call Nora.  Eli’s baptism is coming up, but I don’t know any of the details yet. I’m sure Tom and Kim will get the information out to you.  If the baptism is done in a church, then the number of attendees is severely limited, so I told them they should use somebody’s hot tub or a  swimming pool.  The Provo River isn’t even a possibility, since the water is too high and too fast and too cold.
        Baby Chloe’s blessing is two weeks from today, June 7, at 4 pm, in Paul and Stefanie’s back yard.  I’m sure you saw the text notice.  It’s only for grownups, and if you plan to be in the blessing circle or hold the baby, you’ll need to wear a mask.  There’s a potluck dinner afterward.
        I’m sure you’ve all heard the good news about my latest CT scan.  I’m on cloud nine.  My tumors haven’t even grown back to the size they were when I started chemo, so the cancer is growing very, very slowly.  As I wrote in my text, Dr. Lewis says he thinks I can live for several more years if he can keep it out of my liver, and so far my liver looks really good.  There are two different tracks my cancer cells might have followed from my colon to my lungs: one track goes past my liver, and the other one doesn’t.  So my cancer probably took the better track.  Anyway, please pray for my liver, OK?
        I’ve been working diligently in the yard, and I hope to plant lawn in the front within a week or so.  I only let myself shovel dirt for an hour every morning, so I don’t stress my hip too badly.  Since I’m at least two months away from more chemo, I can have the hip worked on to stabilize it, and I have an appointment to see my orthopedic doctor in a week and a half.  Meanwhile, I’m trying to get as much done as possible, but I’m like the lady who knitted faster so she could finish her project before she ran out of yarn.
        Love to all, Mom

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Dear Kids,
        Andy posted a note last night that their grandson Lennox had just passed away.  What a sad time this has to be for Gary and Carly.  I’m sure they would all appreciate your prayers.
        Is anybody besides me eager to go back to church? Our Sundays are way too slow now!  At least the morning drags on forever.  Last week I put on a video about the Handcart companies, and that held our interest for a while.  Sunday afternoons are great, when people show up and we have the sacrament, but I’m not going to mind when church starts up again.  And when the temple opens up to ordinary patrons like Dad and me, that will be wonderful too. 
        As far as the virus goes, most of Utah has been changed from orange to yellow alert, except for Summit and Wasatch counties.  (And West Valley City, and downtown Salt Lake.)  I haven’t noticed that we’re a hotbed of infection, however.  I don’t know a single person who’s tested positive for the virus, let alone gotten sick.  So I’m brave enough to suggest that we might have a Memorial Day barbecue at the cabin a week from tomorrow, May 25.  It can be a birthday party for Dad and Dallin, too.  If you remember, it was Memorial Day of 2001 that we moved into the cabin, and we had a barbecue that day, too.  That was 19 years ago!  Where did the time go?  Anyway, let’s plan on a party on the 25th, and Tom has already agreed to make his famous dutch oven potatoes.
        Other events are coming up, but you’ll get notices.  Paul’s been talking of a baby blessing for Chloe, probably at his house, probably for adults only, but you’ll hear more about that.  Kim was talking about Eli’s baptism, but their plans are uncertain.  Conrad is probably going to be baptized in a swimming pool!  Too bad we can’t all be there for that.  But Maryland is still really locked down, even if we all could be magically transported there.  Well, the important thing is that these ordinances are done, not how or where. 
        Matthew showed up last Monday, surprising Nora’s family, especially Paige.  Nora had picked him up at the airport, but she told her family she was “running errands.”  He spent a day at Nora’s, and then on Tuesday they all came here.  Dad and I had agreed to drive him to the top of Daniels Summit to meet the Thackers, and Matthew will be spending most of his time at their farm.  At Daniels Summit, we waited at the lodge, where we walked around and looked in windows.  Everything’s still closed up.  Matthew found a snowbank and made snowballs and threw them. 
        Life is good!  I love you all!  Mom

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Dear Kids,
        If I thought gas was cheap last week, I was flabbergasted when we filled up at Sams Club on Tuesday. $1.46.9!  I couldn’t believe the receipt, but it was true.  Well, we’d all better enjoy driving all we can now, because it’s bound to go up again as people get out and about.
        I hope all you daughters and daughters-in-law of mine are having a great Mothers Day.  I’m so proud of the way you’re raising your families.  I know that all the hard work and time you put in will pay off wonderfully down the road.  There isn’t anything more satisfying that raising a family.  I’m so glad the Lord blessed Dad and me with so many children.
        Our yard is coming along!  It’s been hard, because my hip hurts where I have the stress fracture.  I try to limit myself to two hours each morning, and I try to favor the bad hip.  But things are working out!  Dad turned on our watering system Friday morning, and I can finally put in sprinkler heads on the line I didn’t get finished last fall.  And I have to fill in some uneven places with topsoil, and do some more edging, and then I can plant.  I’m just going to spread the seed over our old dead grass that I killed off last fall.  For our front yard, this will be the third time.  Our bishop, whose yard is always perfectly manicured, has been horrified both times I’ve killed our grass.  (He notices everything, because he’s a realtor for high-end homes.)  I hope we’ll have a gorgeous yard from now on.
        Now that daylight comes so early, our cats think they have to go out at 5:30 am.  Scout yowls and head-butts me, and if I ignore him, he tries the same thing on Dad.  So we just let them out, even though it’s still prime time for predators.  Luckily the cats usually head for the pasture, where it’s just horses, not coyotes or foxes.  Once in a while Scout crosses Hilltop and goes down the hill, and I worry until he comes back.  We can’t forget how Oreo disappeared without a trace.
        Donna and Bevan spent Friday night at the cabin, and we found them working busily when we went over there Saturday.  Donna was getting all the emitters working on the watering system, and Bevan was cleaning the shelves in the pantry.  We really appreciate any help we get!   Dad installed blinds in all the rooms that needed them, and I’m still unpacking boxes, mostly filled with wall decor.  It’s hard to remember where everything used to go.
        I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it!  Mom

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Dear Kids,
        Is gas cheap or what?  I thought it was cheap enough in Pocatello at $1.89, until we filled up in Salt Lake at Walmart for $1.85, and then we drove by the Rainbow Sinclair where, with the discount, it was $1.81.  What a great time to go joyriding!  Friday afternoon Dad was off at the cabin in his truck, so I took the Sienna for a drive up towards Wolf Creek Pass.  I knew the road would be closed off about 13 miles up, so I went that far and then turned around and came back home.  Too bad we already went to Pocatello, or maybe I would have taken off for Idaho, and who knows when I would have come back?
        Yep, we’re plenty buggy with the virus quarantine, but thank goodness things are starting to open up.  I’ll be glad when I can go back to the library and the D.I.  I’m even looking forward to going back to church, although I really enjoy doing the sacrament with our family each week.  I’ll enjoy going back to the temple, but it might take lots longer.  Yesterday afternoon we were visiting at Paul and Stefanie’s, where we went to admire baby Chloe. Stefanie’s parents were there, too.  (Practically everybody had masks on.)  I asked Paul about a possible baby blessing for Chloe, and they’re still not sure.  Back in the 80's, people were being encouraged to have their baby blessings at home, and I mentioned that to Paul. But he said they’d just wait and see.
        Here’s another sign of the times: we got a text invitation to a wedding reception for Jeff Fulton, but we would have had to drive through.  We were told we could visit a minute with the bride and groom, and that refreshments would be handed to us, but I couldn’t summon up the enthusiasm for us to go.  When Adam Fulton got married, we really enjoyed visiting with all our old friends from 5th ward who showed up, but at a drive thru, we wouldn’t have been able to see anybody!  We’re really happy Jeff is married, though, and I’ll send them a card and some $$$. 
        I was able to work in our yard practically every morning last week, and I’ll be planting  new grass in another week or two.  Right now everything looks terrible, with dead grass and drab-looking bushes and trees, but there will be a very dramatic transformation when the new grass comes up, and the trees get their leaves.  I’m just grateful to have enough energy right now to even be outside.  I’m enjoying it while I can.
        I hope you’re all enjoying life, too!  Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Dear Kids,
        Of course the top news story of the week is Bentley’s mission call to the Philippine Cibu mission.  The letter said he should report to the MTC in Provo on July 15, but I imagine that could be adjusted depending on circumstances.  Tom says that missionaries getting calls can defer their starting date for up to a year, but Bentley wants to go right away.  He’ll be learning Cebuano, which, of course, none of us had ever heard of until this week.  Tom says there are 23 missions in the Philippines, and lots of different languages.  Bentley’s in for a great adventure!
        Dad and I had a great time in Pocatello last weekend, “sheltering in place” with Vanessa’s family.  We went on walks, worked puzzles, and talked a lot.  Sunday afternoon we had the sacrament, conducted by Sterling.  Then Trent gave a really good “Come Follow Me” lesson about King Benjamin.  After that we went on another walk, and then we drove up to the site of the new Pocatello temple.  It’s high on the hill, north of Vanessa’s house, and it’s going to be absolutely beautiful.  You can see that now.  It will be a great change for Trent and Vanessa to drive just a few minutes to the temple, instead of all the way to Idaho Falls.  I envy them.  We have to drive at least an hour to any temple.  I sure would like one in Heber or Midway or even Kamas.  Or anywhere close, where the air is clean.  My lungs pay a price every time we drive down the canyon.
        I’ve been inspired by Nora’s long eyelashes, which almost look fake, but are very real.  She uses the glaucoma drops to make them grow, and Double Extend mascara by L’Oreal to make them look thick.  My lashes have really taken a hit from radiation and chemo, so I wanted to try the same things.  The glaucoma drops worked fine on my lashes, but my eyes watered all the time, so I gave that up.  The Double Extend mascara looked really good, but it made my eyes itch.  So my whole plan was a failure.  The point of all this is that I want to ask all you daughters and daughters-in-law, what’s a good mascara?  I’ve been using Maybelline Great Lash for years, but maybe there’s something better?
        Meanwhile, life stretches on for all of us.  I pray that we’ll get back to normal sometime soon.
        Love, Mom

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Dear Kids,
        I’m dating this letter for Sunday, but right now, while I’m typing it, it’s really Saturday morning.  Dad and I are leaving for Idaho in an hour or so, so I want to post something before we leave.  We’re going to Pocatello, since we haven’t been there for a year and a half, and besides, I need to go SOMEWHERE or bust or go totally crazy. Life is full of risks, and the curve is flattening in Utah and Idaho, and I’ve been pretty nonchalant about the virus anyway.  So I’m pretty excited to go.  Dad, too.  Normally when we visit Vanessa’s family they’re running every which way to their activities, and we don’t see as much of them as I’d like, so this seems like a good time to really visit.   Besides, I’m in between chemo rounds, and feeling pretty good.  The stars are totally lined up for this trip.
        What else?  Last night, Dad and I had just left John’s house, after picking up my new driving glasses.  We always drive up to Red Ledges and then down into Heber on Center Street.  We were coming down the hill when we saw a big group of people walking along the side of the road.   When we got closer I recognized Tom, and we realized this big group was just his family, out for a walk.  I know there are nine of them now, but we don’t usually see them all together walking down the road.  Of course we stopped to talk (social distancing, of course) and catch up a little.  We normally see them practically every Sunday night, but it’s been at least a month now.  Tom has more of a beard than before, and Eli’s hair is longer.  Hopefully, as things start opening up, we can gradually be more social.
        Gary and Carly Allen’s little boy, Lennox, has been fighting brain cancer, as most of you know.  He was  in remission for a while, but now the cancer is back with a vengeance, and he won’t live much longer.  Andy and Renae have flown to Florida to be with them.  I haven’t heard anything for a couple of weeks, but I’ll let you know when he passes away.  We know where he’s going, and how glorious it is, but it’s still hard for everybody.  Seeing his struggle reminds me how quickly cancer can come roaring back, and I’m appreciating every day I have.  Hopefully I have years left, but every day is still important to me.  I’m so grateful to be part of such a huge, loving family.
        Life is good!  I hope you’re all having great spring weather!
        Love, Mom

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Dear Kids,
         I hope you’re all having a wonderful Easter day!  I was sorry we didn’t have our traditional Easter picnic and Easter egg hunt yesterday, but there will be better years.  Besides, whenever I felt bad at not having a picnic, I made myself think about the real meaning of Easter, and why we celebrate.  When I was having that really rotten chemo back in December, I felt so horrible that I kept thinking about Jesus, and how he had suffered way more than that.  I’m really grateful that He did it for us, to pay for our sins, and that when we die, it’s not the end.  I know I’ll die in the next few years, but I’m not afraid, because I know I’ll go to the spirit world and be re-united with so many loved ones.  And one day we’ll all be resurrected, like Jesus was.  I’m really grateful for that.
         On Tuesday we needed for Nora to give Dad a haircut, so we planned to go to her house and Dad could have his haircut on the front porch, away from her family.  (It didn’t totally work out that way, but at least we planned it right.)  I took Sonia along in the cat carrier, and we put her in Nora’s garage, so she wouldn’t contaminate their house.  Nora and some of the others came out and petted her and made a big deal over her.  She loved it.  When we got home, she didn’t want to get out of the carrier.  When she finally did, Scout climbed in, and went to sleep, smiling.  Sonia sat by the carrier and glared at him and thumped her tail, but he didn’t care.  Maybe we’ll take him next time.
         Dad and I did a fun service project this week.  Our neighborhood mailboxes are on a concrete pad, but there were big holes on each side that were always full of water or mud.  So you couldn’t drive right up to the mailboxes without getting mud on your car.  Dad usually parked across the street, or in the street, or down the road.  So we took Dad’s truck to Staker Parsons and got a load of roadbase, and we came back and shoveled it into the holes and raked it flat and tamped it down.  At the end, Dad drove back and forth across it with the truck to really pack it in.  Since then, it’s seemed to stay put.  If we’d been paid, it would have been work, but since it was service, it was fun.  Lots of people thanked us while we were working on it, and I bet they’re glad not to get their cars muddy now, either. 
         While we were working, Dad noticed a neighbor house where a kid was riding a small motorcycle with training wheels.  We’d never seen that before.  It’s totally Kamas Valley!  We also saw a dad on a 4-wheeler, followed by three kids on 4-wheelers of descending sizes.    We’re definitely not in Salt Lake any more!
         Best wishes to all of you to stay safe and stay happy!  Lots of love, Mom