Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dear Kids,
      I’m wrapping Christmas presents on the dining room table! Can you believe it? After all those years of huddling in my bedroom with all the wrapping paper and presents, and setting them out in the basement hall for you guys to carry upstairs, finally I can wrap presents out in the open! There’s nobody here to see them! I’m using a different roll of wrapping paper for each family, so I can keep them sorted out. It’s lots of fun. I’m having fun fiddling with each toy before I wrap it up.
      So what’s the plan for Christmas? On Saturday, Christmas Eve, we’ll be having soup bowls here at out house, probably about 6 pm, maybe later, and then everybody who wants to can hike Ensign Peak with us. The rest can stay home and take care of the kids. Christmas morning there’s a breakfast at Nora’s at 9:30. Call her if you want to bring something. Christmas night, the fun at the cabin will start at 6 pm, or so. Nora’s cooking a ham, and I’m bringing funeral potatoes, so it will be like a Christmas dinner. Again, Nora, the queen bee, is in charge. Monday morning it’s a free-for-all for breakfast, so bring all your leftover Christmas food. About noon we’ll have sloppy jo’s and chips and that sort of thing. Hopefully there will still be enough snow to go sledding. It’s melting here, but usually it’s a lot colder at the cabin.
      Tuesday night is the party with Dad’s cousins, at Marla’s house, at 7 pm or so. They hope as many of us as possible can come. I’m sure they’ll tell us all their recent adventures. If you can’t remember how to get there, call me.
      I got the Blizzac tires for the Windstar! Dad had to special-order them from Big O Tires, and he had to buy an extra set of rims, because you take them off in the spring. But I cheered when they were finally on. Friday night, Dad and I went back to the cabin to check on the pipes, and although the road was a sheet of ice, we zipped right up. So if anybody has trouble getting up on Christmas, we’ll come down to get you. Of course it’s not very exciting to go up that hill without slipping and fishtailing, but I can get used to it. About the pipes–they all thawed out, and nothing was broken. Yay! I made Dad crawl underneath to check on things, and he found heat tape that wasn’t plugged in, so he hooked it back up. I think we’ll be fine now.
      Rachel had her baby. Here’s the e-mail from Ben: Zachary Charles DeBuck, born December 17, 2006. 7 lbs. 2 oz., 20 inches long. Reddish hair, fair complexion, looks like all the rest. Rachel had an easy time of it, with a labor lasting just a few hours. All is well. Looking forward to Grandpa Allen assigning a number.
     This morning I talked to Grandpa Allen, and he said little Zach DeBuck is number 151.
      Sharon and I went snowboarding Friday, on Chickadee (Snowbird,) and we were looking forward to a great day of it. But at the bottom of our first run, Sharon slipped, fell back on her wrist, heard a snapping sound, and she just sat there in the snow. It hurt too much for her to get up. I had ibuprofin in the car, so she took 5 of them, but we weren’t able to make any more runs. Her wrist started swelling, so it was probably a sprain. Later on we went for a hike, because she was so excited to be in the mountains. Those of us who see mountains all the time, and snow, and blue sky, and pine trees–we get used to it. But Sharon thought it was wonderful. Last I heard, her wrist is doing better, but she won’t have another chance to snowboard this year.
      Tom is getting quite the reputation as a photographer. If you want to see his wedding picture of Brittany, Kim’s sister, look at It looks professional to me! He’s always buying equipment and lenses on e-bay.
      Things you find out visiting teaching: JaceBills is out of jail (drugs.) The neighborhood up by Harmons has rats. KatieRickett has broken away from Dan at last, after 10 years, and is living at home again. Nathan is home, too, and works at the Triad Center as a security guard.
      I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas! I only wish all our family could be here. But Monica, Paul-- we’ll be talking to you!
      Lots of love, Mom

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Dear Kids,
      Our house is finally full of people again. Well, not as full as it was in the old days, but we have Donna, Sharon, Seth, and Charlie. Besides Dad and myself and Reggie and the two cats. So there’s plenty going on again. Donna starts her job back at Deer Valley tomorrow (where she’ll see Bevan every day!) and Sharon and Seth and Charlie flew in this afternoon. Donna and I picked them up at the airport, and they were exclaiming how warm it is here! (It was 33°. Monica, we all want to come to Tucson!) This evening, everybody’s going to bed early. The Thackers are still on Michigan time, and Dad is asleep on the couch (Webelo scouts today) and I’m just getting over an intestinal upset. I think it was food poisoning, from our Study Group Christmas dinner Sunday night. We all came from great distances, and the food sat out for a long time before we ate. So Monday morning I had terrible cramps, nausea, diarrhea, the whole bit, and it was violent. But in 12 hours it was over. And my sinus infection came back, so I had to start another round of antibiotics. And my back is improving, but it sure is hard to throw up when your back hurts. So I was really hating life yesterday, but today it’s all good.
      Vanessa and Trent came to town last weekend, for a Jazz game and the Cousins’ Christmas party, and it was really fun to see them, and Sarah (who’s just a little toodle bug) and Sterling. Vanessa had an ultrasound, and it looks like she’s going to have a girl! (She says the baby wasn’t very cooperative, but they’re 90% sure.) Vanessa is still swimming, and she finally learned how to do a flip turn, just like they do when they race. Another lady showed her how. She’s amazed, after 6 years of swimming, she finally learned how to do it.
      Heather had a lump removed from her shoulder, and it turned out to be more extensive than they thought. They kept pumping local anesthetic into her, until, according to John, it was about four times the normal amount. So she was pretty sick from the anesthetic, when I talked to her the next day. She had another lump taken out five years ago, when they were in Ephraim. They always send the lumps to be biopsied, but she says there’s practically no chance it could be malignant. We hope she recovers soon!
      Donna, always the adventuress, has been riding her bike around Logan in this sub-zero weather. (I had really started enjoying my bike, but when the show fell, the bike went into the shed). But here’s Donna riding her bike around when any normal person would be bundled up in several layers of coats, and bumming rides from roommates. She’s lost eight pounds. Her roommates are all trying to lose weight, but the aren’t willing to use the “Donna method.”
      Last Friday morning I drove to the cabin, for the first time in two weeks, but I couldn’t get up the hill. It was barely above zero, so I should have been able to zip right up, but I guess the front tires are really worn. Normally I wouldn’t mind walking up, but I had a whole carfull of stuff–blankets, Walmart sacks, 2X4's, hampers full of clean sheets. Luckily, Vaughan Stanley was right behind me, the bodyguard, the guardian angel of Woodland Hills Drive. He hauled me and all my stuff up the hill. He said to get Blizzac tires for my car. They’re made of soft rubber that really grips the snow. So Dad called around the next day. They’re very expensive, but I’m going for it.
      Then, when I got into the cabin, I could tell it was lots colder than normal. I guess that’s because Dad and I hadn’t sealed up the outside opening to the crawl space. It’s sort of like leaving a window open. In the downstairs bathroom, the water in the toilet was frozen solid. Some of the water lines were frozen, too. I put a heater under the house and sealed up the crawl space, and after several hours, I had water again in most of the lines. It didn’t like any of them had burst, fortunately, but I never did get water into the little bathroom. This weekend Dad and I are going back to put heat tape on the water lines. It only gets that cold once or twice in the winter, but we’ve got to be better prepared.
      I’m looking forward to Christmas. Paul, it’ll be great to talk to you!
      Love, Mom

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Dear Kids,
      Dad and I drove to Price Sunday night because Tom was singing in Mr. Wilson’s “Messiah.” It’s always great music, and it hits the high points and is done in an hour. What could be better? We got there early enough to have dinner with Tom and Kim beforehand, and Emma entertained us by playing peek-a-boo with her bib. (Get this: she already goes pee-pee in the pot!) Bentley ate lettuce with his fingers. Dad and I snarfed down the wonderful lasagna that Kim had made. Tom was supposed to be at the auditorium by 7:00, so he left at two minutes before. I love Price! Kim walks to work, which is the elementary school right across the street. Sometimes Tom walks, too, when he doesn’t want to warm up the car. (In Price, in the winter, nobody’s cars ever get warmed up. They get to where they’re going first.) But Tom and Kim’s days in Price might be numbered. Karl Bentley has been transferred to Vernal, but Kim’s Mom and sisters will be staying in Price until McKenzie graduates, in May of ‘07. Then all the Bentleys will be gone. Tom’s job has its ups and downs. I think he ought to start looking in Utah Valley, or Salt Lake. Even though he probably won’t be able to walk to work.
      Dad and I slept over in Tom and Kim’s basement, in a big comfortable bed, surrounded by piled up furniture and lamps. The people who own the house are off on a mission, and lots of their kids’ stuff is stored there. It was pretty cold that night, and when we left the next morning, the wiper fluid in our car was frozen solid. But now the cold weather has moved up here, and the cats are freezing on the deck, looking very pathetic.
      Saturday night Dad and I had free tickets (family and friends night) to see the McGettigan kids in “A Christmas Carol.” Tyler was doing his last stint as Tiny Tim, for the 5th year. Sam was one of the Cratchett boys, plus other minor parts. Kara was Little Fan, and Harriet Cratchett. It was a great production! On MSN’s list of things to do at Christmas, along with the lights of Rockefeller Square, is “A Christmas Carol” at Salt Lake’s Hale Center Theater! It’s number four on their list!
      Tom is going to fix up so there’s one more link, to “Ackerson Kids’ Letters.” That’s so all you married kids (and singles) can e-mail me with your news, and I’ll just put it up on the site. That way, if I don’t mention you in my letter, you can put up your own news! I think it’s a good way for all of us to keep track of each other. I’ll let you know when the link is ready.
      My back is doing a little better. Everybody fasted for Grandma last Sunday, and I figured I could get in on it, too, by having Grandpa and Dad give me a blessing, when we stopped by Orem on our way to Price. But we left much earlier, so I had Dad and Tom give me a blessing, when we were in Price. And right away my back started to improve. It’s got a ways to go, but at least it’s getting better. Hey, I want to go snowboarding as soon as possible! Sharon and I are going up to Snowbird, when she and Seth get here next week. So you can see how anxious I am to feel good, besides not enjoying my back pain.
      Last night Dad and I went to tithing settlement, and I told Bishop Little I need another calling besides playing the organ. I told him I can’t sit through three meetings, and I’d even be willing to do nursery. He said, “Why can’t you sit through three meetings?” I tried to explain, but how could I say, “Relief Society is boring” and “Sunday School is a drag.” I told him I need to be busier. So I deserve whatever comes my way, even nursery. I’d much rather roll out play dough and eat crackers, than sit through meetings, listening to lessons.
      So all you kids that are restless and hyperactive, you know where it comes from.
      I love you all! Mom