Sunday, January 15, 2017

Dear Kids,
           Last week I wrote about our wonderful, deep snow. But then it rained, and most of it melted, leaving a soggy mess. But then we had the most fabulous snowstorm ever, since we’ve moved here! From Tuesday night until Wednesday noon, we got a whopping two feet! It was a chore, digging out our car, because we needed to go to piano class Wednesday afternoon, but I almost didn’t mind, the snow was so beautiful. I did some of the digging, and Dad did a lot, and then our neighbor, Spencer, came over with his snowblower and did the rest. Meanwhile, at the cabin . . . well, I guess you saw the picture Allen posted. But there’s no stopping the cabin fun! Tom had a youth group there, on Wednesday night I think, and they dug out the fire pit and made a bonfire. John had his scouts there Friday night, and they had a great time sledding. In fact, they sneaked out at 1:30 am and were back on the hill, whooping it up. There was a full moon, John said, and it was as bright as day.
            Blackhawk helicopters have been flying over our house every day, north towards the mountains, and then back again. Maybe they’re training for a mission in the arctic! The horses in the field behind us absolutely hate them. They leap into the air and then and start racing whenever the helicopters go over.
            A week or so ago, Dad and I sorted all our tools, and we set aside the duplicates. They’re spread out on the garage floor: screwdrivers, files, wrenches–all kinds of things. It’s first come, first served, for anyone who would like to have any of them.
          I checked with John about the dates for the family reunion, because some of you have been wondering. It will be August 9-12 (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights) at Bear Lake, the same campground we had in 2012. I’m sure it will be a riot of fun.
           Love to all, Mom

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dear Kids,
          We finally have snow! Lots of it! There’s probably a foot and a half on the ground now, with more on the way. And it’s been cold--Friday morning it was 17 below. In honor of the cold, John threw an ice cream party Friday night. There was hot chocolate (to warm us up before the ice cream,) and billiards, and we watched the first "Star Wars" movie (in honor of Carrie Fisher). Then we ate lots and lots of ice cream. John had to buy five cartons at Smiths, because they were on sale, five for ten dollars. He saved money that way. Anyway, it was great fun. Thanks, John!
         When Dad and I go to IKEA (seldom) we never run into anybody we know, because the shoppers are all so incredibly young. They all look like teenage couples! How surprised was I to see Nora there on Monday morning! She was checking her kids into the play yard, before she started shopping. We would have visited longer, but Dad was just hauling out a "TV unit" we’d bought for our basement family room. So I handed off the pack of sweet rolls I’d bought on impulse, after I took out one for Dad. I didn’t need them! We’ve been living on holiday goodies for weeks now, and it’s time for a change. Anyway, it was great seeing Nora and all her kids.
           I made a nice new centerpiece for our dining room table out of a basket from the DI and some fake ivy. Then I put in some little fake birds, made out of styrofoam and real feathers. It looked really cute, until Tina destroyed it. And killed one of the birds. I found it on the floor, full of bite marks, with ivy strewn around it. A very sad sight. I was able to put it all back together, but the bird sure doesn’t look the same. Tina’s not allowed anywhere except in our bedroom now, at night, when we’re watching TV. I carry her in with welding gloves that Dad bought, so she can’t scratch me with her awful back claws. I’m reminded of what Tom asked when he was a very little kid: "What are cats FOR?"
         The fun goes on and on. I love you all! Mom

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Happy New Year to everybody! I think 2017 is going to be the best year Dad and I have ever had, and I hope the same for all of you.
          We’ve had beautiful weather here, while the Salt Lake Valley has been socked in with smog, and I’ve been reminded why we moved here in the first place. Five years ago, I could barely breathe, and now I have the lungs of a champion. On Friday I went hiking on the Jordanelle perimeter trail. The sky was pure blue, and the air was crystal clear, and I breathed it all in. By the way, I still have my state parks pass, (Allen has one, too, BTW) and if anybody wants to go hiking with me, any day, just let me know. Right now the trail is packed down and easy to walk on. We’re supposed to get more snow, but that trail is nearly always up for hikers.
           Yesterday morning Dad and I drove down to Thanksgiving Point to visit the McGettigans. They live there now! After twenty-something years in the old neighborhood, they moved! And their new house is gorgeous. And big! And it’s only a short walk from the Frontrunner station, so Glenn takes the train to work every day. They’re living their dream. They fed us a wonderful breakfast, and we talked and talked. Cara and Sam were there, and ate with us. Sam and Tyler are at BYU, and Cara is a senior a Paradigm High School in South Jordan. All of them are completely grown up! Jana and I were talking about how we used to tend the kids on Sunday afternoon while she and Glenn and Dad went to choir practice. I’d almost forgotten about that. We have so much history together! I haven’t forgotten the wonderful years I taught their kids piano. And the parties they hosted.
           I just looked at the calendar to see what’s coming up. It’s almost completely blank, except for Dad’s root canal on Wednesday. His first. (I’ve probably had a dozen.) Wish him luck!
          Love, Mom

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Dear Kids,
          It’s Christmas morning! It’s snowing! Santa Claus came! The baby Jesus was born! There isn’t a more magical time!
          Thanks to Nora for hosting the Christmas party Friday night! It gets better every year. Thanks to all of you who brought food, and presents, and your own special charm. Dad and I are always proud to see all of you working together, getting along so well, and taking such good care of your children. It’s a magical time of life for us.
            Our hike up Memorial Hill last night was quick and fun. It was nothing like last year, when we trudged through a foot of snow, like the Donner party. There was just a little snowpack on the road, and some mud at the sides. It started raining lightly, so we hurried. I didn’t want anybody getting soaked through. I know lots of families act out the nativity on Christmas eve, and sing Christmas carols, but I always like to hike up to someplace high and look out over the town. I always feel like my life is starting over again, brand new. And if there are kids and kids-in-law and grandkids along with us, it’s that much better.
          We’re looking forward to seeing lots of you at the sledding party at the cabin tomorrow. Allen has been cleaning and fixing things up there. (He said he washed all the sheets on all the beds–it took eight loads.) I’m bringing sloppy jo’s and potato chips for lunch. If you will all bring your leftover Christmas food and goodies, we’ll have plenty to munch on. There will be plenty of snow on the hill!
           Our ward sponsored a community bonfire at the Francis rodeo grounds on Wednesday night, instead of having a ward Christmas dinner. The bonfire was really gigantic, with lots of pallets and logs from Thompson logging, but they had poured on lots of gasoline and diesel, so the air was too toxic for me to stay around. Dad was helping fry scones in the food shack, and they had hot chocolate and wassail, too. The kids were running around and having fun. It was a great idea, and very original, but maybe they’ll hold off on the gasoline and diesel next time. The fire is probably still burning! It was still going a couple of days after the party.
          I hope you’re all having a wonderful Christmas day!
          Love, Mom

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Dear Kids,
          The thermometer says it’s -4 outside. My phone tells me it feels like -15. I hope our cats are snug in the garage. I’ve made special kitty houses for each of them (they won’t share) with heated pads inside. I made Tina’s first, and put it well away from the door, where Xena sleeps on her pad, but then I had to make one for Xena, too. Sometimes they trade.
           This week I’ve mostly been busy wrapping presents. I haven’t had enough boxes, but each day I’ve gotten packages from Amazon, and the new boxes were always the right size for whatever I needed that day. So now I’m nearly done, and the boxes are nearly gone. It’s fun to try and find exactly the right present for each person in our family. Sometimes I goof, but it’s always OK somehow.
          The Christmas party at Nora’s on Friday will start with optional skating at the Bountiful Rec Center. The session is from 12:00 to 2:00. Call Nora for details and the address. After that, there will be sledding and hot chocolate back at Nora’s house. Dinner will be at 6:00 (I assume you all have your food assignments) and presents will be at 7:00. It should be wild and exciting!
          On Christmas Eve, Dad and I will do our traditional hike up Memorial Hill in Midway. If there’s enough interest, I’ll do a soup dinner here at our house beforehand. Afterwards, we’ll probably have hot chocolate somewhere. I’ll call around and see what everybody wants to do.
          On Christmas Day, Dad and I will be in Heber Valley. We’ll be going to John and Heather’s sacrament meeting at 1:00, because I really want to hear the Christmas program Heather has put together. (Our own ward meets at 9, and they’ve planned a really strange program. I’m not going to that one. It would ruin my Christmas. Dad will go and sing in the choir, like a good boy.) After we visit with John’s family, we’ll probably also go to Tom’s and Donna’s. That night, anybody who wants to come can stay over at our house or the cabin, and of course Monday will be the sledding party. More about that in my letter next week.
         What a great Christmas season! Love to all, Mom

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Dear Kids,
          Thanks to Donna for hosting the Messiah after-party last night! She stepped up at the last minute and volunteered her house. Thanks to Tom for bringing his home-made sushi. It was a hit. He kept slicing it and laying it out, and we devoured plate after plate of it.
          The Messiah itself was very nice. The choir was enormous, and I made sure I was surrounded by good altos. I enjoy that music more every year. It’s a sing-along, and this time I knew the songs well enough that I could look up from my music and watch the people in the audience singing. (Of course I was watching the director, too.) There were some great performers in the audience! People in Heber absolutely love the Messiah!
         We’d had a practice that morning, and since it was supposed to rain and snow all day long, Dad and I hung out at John’s house instead of going home and coming back. It was very pleasant. We used the internet and watched John’s family come and go. John spent nearly the whole day cleaning his carpets. What a good worker he still is!
          Here’s a news tidbit: Allen went on a date! The woman is a Davis County prosecutor (in line to become a judge!) and they’d worked on a case together a while back. She’s Hispanic, and obviously very accomplished. He said it might not turn into anything, but they had a good time together. Their date? She helped him do "Shop With a Cop." He told her he needed a woman’s touch. Go, Al!
          Bentley has a great part-time job for Christmas: he’s working on the Polar Express! Actually, it’s called the North Pole Express, but it’s really the Heber Creeper, decked out for Christmas. They travel half way down the canyon to the "North Pole," where Santa gets on the train and goes down each car, talking to the kids. Bentley is dressed like a chef, and he serves hot chocolate, sings along with the piped-in music, and makes the kids laugh. Other workers are "elves," and they hand out cookies. It costs a small fortune for the kids to ride, but it’s always packed. I think practically everybody is from out-of-town. Anyway, it sounds like a terrific job. Go, Bentley!
          Has anybody seen my "Tall Book of Christmas?" It seems to be missing. Thank goodness I copied out "Giant Grummer’s Christmas" a while back, but I sure wish I had the rest of it. 
           Hope you’re all lovin’ the Christmas season! Mom

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dear Kids,
          I’m hoping for more snow, because it’s so desolate outside. There’s too much frozen dirt showing, and rocks, and magpie tracks. Oh, wait, those are deer tracks, and dog tracks, too. They like to scavenge our yard, because we’re right near the crest of their hill. Well, I’m hoping for snow to cover it all up, and remind me that Christmas is just around the corner.
         Allen has put up a Christmas tree in the cabin, which you might have seen on facebook. He decorated one of the outside trees with lights, too, and he wrote that everybody’s welcome there for the holidays. Thanks, Al, for giving the cabin so much Christmas spirit! We’ll be there!
         I’ve been Christmas shopping online, not that I’ve bought anything yet, but I’ve been roaming around Amazon, checking out toys and games and puzzles and books. I like reading people’s reviews–it’s so much better than just ordering things! I’ve been making my list and checking it twice. (Last year I left off Macie, and I had to scramble with a last-minute order.)
            If you’ve been looking on facebook, you probably saw Nora’s post about the Michelson’s house in Fruit Heights burning down. Yes, it’s the same house Nora’s family lived in, before they moved to the cabin, before they moved to their new house. Evidently there was an electrical problem, and the flames spread to the roof and to the basement. By the time a neighbor saw it, there was barely time for the family living there to get out. They couldn’t even get any of their stuff. The picture Nora posted showed that it was almost totally gutted. Whoa. That reminded me that the trailer we once lived in burned down a while after we sold it. Let’s all keep ahead of the fires, OK?
           I just checked We’re supposed to have snow tomorrow and Monday. Let it come!
           Lots of love, Mom