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 weather.com. We’re supposed to have snow tomorrow and Monday. Let it come!
           Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dear Kids,
          We had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We’ve never had better food! (Especially Donna’s raspberry pretzel jello and Stefanie’s sweet potato dish) There was enough snow for sledding, but we could still hike the big loop. Best of all was just the magic of the cabin. It loves a crowd. Thanks to everybody who was there!  And for those of you who weren't there, I hope you had a wonderful day, too.
          And now Christmas is upon us. The cousins’ gift exchange has already been worked out, and Nora has the details. If I remember to get it from her, I’ll post it separately. The big cousins’ get-together will be at Nora’s on Friday, the 23rd. Here’s our complete Christmas schedule, which I first posted a couple of weeks ago: (1) The Messiah in Heber, Saturday and Sunday nights, Dec. 10 and 11, with a possible after-party one of those nights. (2) The cousins’ party and gift exchange on the 23rd. (3) Christmas Eve, when we’ll do our annual hike up Memorial Hill in Midway, with hot chocolate somewhere afterwards. If enough people are interested, I’ll do a soup dinner before. (4) Christmas Day, (on Sunday this year,) Dad and I don’t have definite plans yet. (5) The day-after sledding party at the cabin on Monday, Dec. 26. I might try making elk meat chili again, if I can find a promising recipe on the internet. Our next-door neighbors have offered us all the game we could use. They have a freezer full of elk, venison, and moose (from their hunt in Idaho a few weeks ago, including 300 pounds of moose hamburger). Or, if that doesn’t work out, I’ll make the usual sloppy jo’s, but probably not from mooseburger.
          Now that it’s winter, and I’ve finally quit digging in the yard, I’ve turned to indoor projects. I’m making a gallery of family pictures in the stairwell, but most of my pictures are fuzzy black and white prints of images that I’ve lifted off facebook. What I really need are 8 x 10 color pictures of all your families. You can send me a print, or, which is probably easier, you can email an image to me and I’ll have it printed at the UPS store in Heber. I’m anxious to finish my gallery, so all of you can be on display for our guests to see!
          What a wonderful family! Love to all, Mom

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dear Kids,
          Happy birthday today, to Allen and Drew! It’s the third double-birthday in our family (Dad and Dallin, Josh and me), and maybe there will be more. In Grandma and Grandpa Allen’s family, there were even some triples! That’s all part of the fun in having a really big family.
          And Thanksgiving is only four days away! I think I’ve talked to most of you who are coming about food assignments. I hope we’ll be able to hike the big loop, those of us who want to, although we’re supposed to have two storms between now and then. Whatever happens, we’ll have fun. Vanessa’s kids are so excited, she’s bringing them to the cabin two days early!
            Friday, Dad and I went to the temple with John and Heather in their new Honda Odyssey. It was a great ride. John now has the distinction of owning two mini vans! I thought they’d sell the Sienna, but John said they’re selling the Infinity instead, and Julie will be taking the Sienna off to college (probably Snow).   I wonder what the magpies think about John having two minivans? They still can’t get over the Porsche. Meanwhile, the truck has been doing heavy duty, hauling building supplies for Tom and fence posts and cement for John, and Donna has also borrowed it.  Too bad it’s so far away for the rest of you who own a share in it!
           Tuesday night Dad and I went to see Julie sing and dance in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" at Wasatch High. It was lots of fun. It’s a very peppy musical, although none of the songs are memorable. (Julie says, however, that they’re all memorable to her now.)
          Is our good weather really coming to an end? I had three more days of working in the yard this week. We went on a hike with Allen and his kids last Sunday afternoon, and it was so warm we took off our jackets. (You know the word on Sunday hiking: "If you don’t break a sweat, you haven’t broken the Sabbath.") If winter ever does come, it will have to be a short one. Spring isn’t that far off now. 
           Lots of love, Mom


 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dear Kids,
          We’ve had another week of wonderful warm weather. Is it really the middle of November? I’m still having lots of fun digging in the yard. My dry creek bed on the north side of our house is nearly finished, but I’ve run out of rocks. I know there are thousands more ready to be uncovered as I work my way around the back, so that’s what I’ve started now. We’re supposed to have two or three more warm days, and then winter, maybe.
          Dad and Al got home from Hawaii late Wednesday night, and they were still pumped up from all the fun of it. Dad brought me wonderful presents–chocolate covered macadamia nuts, a small carved wooden cat, and sterling silver earrings that look like Hawaiian flowers. It’s been hard for Dad, getting back to everyday life. He’s often asleep when I’m awake, and vice versa. Tina the cat insists that we all go to bed on time, though. We make a cozy threesome.
          Thanksgiving is just a week and a half away! So far, we’ll be having Nora’s family, Vanessa’s (I think,) maybe Allen and his kids, Donna’s family, and Paul’s family. We’ll eat dinner at 1 pm at the cabin, hike the big loop, and then have pie and other goodies at our house in the evening. It will be Anna’s birthday, so we can celebrate that, too. Early next week I’ll call around about food assignments.
          After Thanksgiving, we’ll be totally into the holiday season. So far, our calendar goes: (1) The Messiah in Heber, Saturday and Sunday nights, Dec. 10 and 11, with possible after parties both nights. (2) The family Christmas party and cousins’ gift exchange, Friday, Dec. 23, probably at Nora’s house. (3) Christmas Eve, we’ll probably do our annual hike up Memorial Hill in Midway, with hot chocolate somewhere afterwards. (4) Christmas Day, (on Sunday this year,) Dad and I don’t have definite plans yet. (5) The day-after sledding party at the cabin on Monday, Dec. 26. If I’ve missed anything, let me know.
           We hope to see as many of you as possible, for as many events as possible.
           Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Dear Kids,
          Dad and Allen seem to be having a great time in Hawaii. On Friday they went to Pearl Harbor, where they saw the battleships Missouri and Arizona. Then they went to the top of Diamond Head. Dad sent me a picture of the view, but it was hard to see much from the tiny image on my phone. I think they did the north island tour yesterday. I’m sure Dad will give me a full report when they get home on Wednesday. Things have been lonely here, but at least the weather has been nice and I’ve been outside a lot. Yesterday I went to Midway, where Donna and I went shopping at "All the Stuff in the Barn." Then I went to Tom’s, where I had him tweak my mini-laptop. I also inspected his basement, which is coming along really well. Then I came home to our quiet house. The only time I REALLY miss Dad is at night. I take Tina to bed with me, but she’s a poor substitute. Around midnight or so, she always pokes her whiskers into my nose to let me know she wants to go out.
            My sister Jane had a terrible time after her gastric bypass surgery on Monday, and she still needs our prayers. I guess you all got my text about how she stopped breathing, and they revived her. After that she was in terrible pain, with violent nausea, and she couldn’t keep anything down for days. Finally, it seems like she’s doing better. Here’s my latest update from Bonnie: "Jane is improving every day. As far as post op, the nausea is gone and her pain is under control. She does have pneumonia (most likely from aspirating vomit during the intubation) and is on oxygen. They are trying to arrange home health care so it is looking like Monday that she will come home. She is taking short walks, sitting in chair, reading a little and talking. She has her phone if you want to text or call her. She looks like Jane again." I’ve been so grateful for Bonnie’s updates, since we can’t all be there at the hospital.
         Thanksgiving will be here in no time! It looks like we’ll have a nice big group at the cabin. I’ll be doing the turkey, dressing, gravy, and pumpkin and chocolate pies. Donna has already volunteered for the raspberry jello dessert. We’ll still need rolls, mashed potatoes, salads, and anything else you can think of, so call me for a food assignment if you’re eating with us.
            Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dear Kids,
          Carson and Ellie stayed overnight with us because Allen is doing a DUI roadblock down in Centerville. I asked him what was going on that they needed to catch the DUI’s, and he said "Halloween parties." Who would have guessed? I knew New Years and St. Patrick’s Day were big drinking holidays, but Halloween?! Anyway, we always enjoy having Carson and Ellie here. They entertain themselves quietly, reading or doing their homework.
          Dad and Allen are getting really excited about their Hawaii trip. They’re leaving early Thursday morning. I’m not sure how I’ll entertain myself while they’re gone. I think a big shopping trip to Salt Lake is in the works, although it might only be the rounds of the DI’s. I’ll probably do some hiking, too. This good weather is supposed to keep up for another couple of weeks, into the middle of November. I’ve prayed for a long streak of good weather so I can finish my yard projects before winter, but my arms ache from shoveling. And the Jordanelle Perimeter Trail has been calling to me.
          Tonight we’re starting practices for the Messiah in Heber. We’ll be practicing every Sunday night from now on. Our performances will be December 10th and 11th at 7 pm at Tom’s church. I’m sure we’ll have after parties on one or both nights. I’m really looking forward to singing that beautiful music, and for the parties, too.
          With winter coming on, I worried that Tina wouldn’t have a good place to sleep in the garage. She absolutely won’t cuddle up with Xena on the heated pad. So I made her a kitty house out of a storage tote, with a door cut in the front. (How many of those have I made!) and a heating pad inside. The first day she scoffed at her new house, and wouldn’t go in, but Dad suggested sprinkling catnip on the pad inside. That did it. Now she loves it.
          I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it. Have a great Halloween tomorrow! Mom

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dear Kids,
         We had Donna and Bevan’s kids from Friday through Saturday, and they were just delightful. They ate well, slept well, and played well. (Donna and Bevan are in Hawaii. I hope they’re also eating well, sleeping well, and playing well.) Dad and I had fun with the kids, and they helped me work on the hill I’m making out on the north side of our house. They dug and raked. There was less of a hill when they finished than when they started, but it kept us all entertained for a while. We watched movies and took naps, too. Now the kids are at Nora’s house. Dad drove them there last night.
           I would have gone too, but I’ve been practicing the piano–hours a day. It’s been a jump-start rehabilitation for my hand. There’s a young opera singer in our ward who isn’t doing opera at the moment because she has 6 kids, but she asked me to accompany her for two songs today–one in Relief Society and one in Kamas 4th Ward’s sacrament meeting. Of course I couldn’t say no. I’ve taken lots of ibuprofin to get rid of the pain, but when I play for very long, my fingers lock up. I discovered, though, that if I keep playing, they unlock again. I’m hoping for the best for us today.
          My sister Katie had a mini stroke on Monday. Here’s what Bonnie wrote: "It took part of the vision in her right eye. The loss is permanent (she said it’s like a little gray cloud) but she is very lucky it didn’t go to her brain. They said her brain will trick her eyes into compensating for that loss and eventually she won’t notice it as much. She’s really upbeat–says she can’t do anything about it, so she’s just trying not to dwell on it. It’s about 1/3 of the vision in her right eye." Of course we’re all praying for Katie. 
          Next Sunday night we’ll start Messiah practices, so tonight will be our last Sunday-night get-together for a while. Of course I have plenty of candy and oreos and chocolate milk and otter pops.
         Lots of love, Mom