Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Reggie is shrieking, trying to compete with the birds outside. The cats are lolling in the sun. I’m lolling at the computer, trying to get myself going. Outside the window, the cherry tree is covered with blossoms. Spring is definitely here!
      And Ramona has been shaved! According to Monica, Ramona has a little body, and a big puff on the end of her tail. I asked Monica to send pictures. Then I’ll put them up on (Ramona ranks up there with the rest of the grandchildren.)
      Last Thursday afternoon Nora and I drove to Pocatello to visit Vanessa and her family, and to stay overnight. Vanessa’s house looked fabulous, as usual. Addie and Ben had lots of fun playing with Sterling and Sarah, and I had fun teasing Kita Cat with the smell of catnip in my purse. I’ve never seen a cat get so high just from smelling it! (He didn’t inhale.) On Friday, we took the kids to a “petting zoo” in Chubbuck, where there were goats, sheep, little horses, chickens, pot-bellied pigs, and other kid-friendly barnyard animals. It was free! It’s behind a pet store, McKees, where there are monkeys and puppies and all sorts of fun things. So our morning was lots of fun. Then we went to Ross park, and pushed the kids on the swings. It’s funny–our trips to Pocatello used to include a trip to TJ Maxx and the Mall, but everything’s different with little kids. And more fun, too.
      Donna has a summer job, at Bingham Engineering, west of the airport. She’s going to be living at home, and commuting by bus, bike, or car. She’ll be working on “irrigation” projects (meaning sprinkler systems, not farming.) The men who interviewed her wondered why she wasn’t going back to Jackson, or to any of the other fun places on her resume, instead of spending her summer in an office. Too bad we all have to grow up! On Sunday Dad and I drove to Logan for Donna’s “parents’ day,” where you visit the student ward and have a nice little dinner afterwards. Donna and I sang the hymns in Spanish, since there was a “Himnos” book under her chair. After the meetings, at Donna’s house, she and Bevan taught us how to play “Ticket to Ride.” It’s a board game where you build railroads across Europe. Also, Donna told us about the cow she helped make, on the quad, out of branches. Her department worked together on it. Two days later, I saw a picture of it in the Tribune. If you look in, for April 25, in the Utah section, it’s called “a bully project.” The cow is actually a bull with an udder, go figure.
      Here’s more good news: Tom got a really generous raise. About 30%, with future raises scheduled. Go, Tom. His boss told him to buy a van for his family.
      Paul’s homecoming will be June 11th, at 9am. So, Paul, are you really going to come home? I guess we’ll get your travel plans in the mail when it gets closer. The first half of your mission dragged by, but the second year has gone really fast, at least for us.
      If you look on Amber’s blog, at , you can see her wearing a pink dress at Jenny Lynn’s wedding. It’s a totally different look for Amber, definitely worth seeing.
      Sharon and Seth are moving into a co-op townhouse in a couple of weeks. That’s where you buy in, (they’re taking advantage of the great ackerson low-interest loan plan) and pay lower rent than otherwise, and sell your equity when you move out. They’re really excited. Dad and I are going to Michigan in July, so we’re looking forward to staying with them.
      Ah, life is good. Lots of love, Mom

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Nora and James got moved into their new house on Saturday, with lots of help from family and friends. Thanks so much to all of you! Now they have the fun job of unpacking boxes and putting things away. And changing what they don’t like, which can take years. (As in 5 years, like our cabin, which still isn’t done.) Yesterday I helped Nora take down lace curtains that the nice lady who lived there before seemed to love so much. But we left the ones on the front window, because the lady and her husband aren’t leaving on their mission for 6 more weeks, and they might drive by and see them gone. Nora’s so kind! I wouldn’t even think of that. Nora and James went to their new ward on Sunday, and it’s older than their last ward, with lots of teenagers, but only 6 kids in the nursery. (James asked them, “Is this the only nursery?”) Everybody made them feel welcome!
      Thanks to Al and Missy for the great Easter Picnic last Saturday! The food was good, and the Easter Egg hunt was a blast! Tom took lots of pictures, which he said he’d put up on There should be at least one good picture of Julie, Carson, their Easter eggs, and the mud puddle. It was classic. I’m already looking forward to next Easter, so hopefully somebody will volunteer their house and/or park. This definitely ought to become an annual tradition!
      I’m slowly adding pictures and blogs to the family sections of So, if you have pictures you want the whole world to see, please send them to me! Or e-mail them. Or, I’ll choose the best ones from Tom’s gallery. I just uploaded some of John’s family, and I also put up a couple of new pictures from Sharon. And news–don’t you want the world to read your news? Please send me a paragraph or two about what your family is doing. People really do read this stuff.
      Something else you can give me: worn-out kids’ clothes you might otherwise send to the DI. I need stuff for the cabin, and I also want to have a couple of drawer-fulls here at our house. Kids are always needing emergency clothing. They sleep over unexpectedly. Or they fall in the mud, or pour punch down the front of themselves, or have accidents. Who knows. So, if you can, please save me your worn-out stuff. Anything is OK for an emergency.
      Sharon and Charlie are coming on May 31st, Yay! Seth is coming a week later. It will be fun to have them around for a few days, and, of course, we have to share them with the Thackers in Upalco. But I’m really looking forward to their visit. And Paul, you’ll be home about the same time! Yay again! We were so glad to hear your baptism went off so well! I can’t believe you’re coming home so soon!
      I’ve been trying to get our piano tuned, and who would have thought–I’ve been stood up or brushed off by four piano tuners! The fourth one was yesterday morning, and when I called him to see why he hadn’t come, he said he had to do an emergency tuning of a concert grand! Imagine that! I humbly asked if he had another time he could come, and we agreed on tomorrow. Who knows? But I’m desperate to have the piano tuned, because we’re having my spring piano recital here at our house. (They don’t let us use the Church any more, and the recital halls are all booked.) I only have 11 students, and three of them are McGettigans, and three more are Fultons, so there aren’t that many families. It think we can fit them all into our living room. It should be fun.
      I love you all! I pray for all of you every day! Mom

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Today is Addie’s “real” birthday, but we’re celebrating it on Saturday at our Easter picnic, along with the birthdays of Julie and Ellie. Thanks, Missy, for organizing it! I hope we’ll see lots of you there. It’s at 4:00 pm, and I think we’re meeting at Al and Missy’s house. I miss the old Easter picnics, when you kids were little, and we got together with all the aunts and uncles and cousins, but I guess it’s a new generation now. Anyway, we’re looking forward to Saturday.
      And naturally Nora and James will have totally finished their move by then. Their “old” house is already filled with boxes that are packed with their stuff. Lots of friends and neighbors have come over to help, including the ever-crazy Dave Mikkelson. They can always count on Dave to help out and keep them laughing. I’ve been helping, too, by patching their walls, and painting over the holes, among other things. Since Nora has painted every wall in the house a different color (practically), it’s been a fun challenge to locate all the different cans of paint. I think I’ve used about 12 different colors so far. Luckily, they saved most of them. The past two days have been really quiet there, because John and Heather have been babysitting Addie and Ben, to help out. But the little cuties will be back home when I go there today.
      Amber came by on Monday night to visit. She’s in town because her best friend, Jenny Lynn, (cousin of the Hewards) is getting married tomorrow. Amber spent an evening making mints for the wedding, and visiting with us. She showed me how to find her blog, so if you want the latest news on Amber every week, you can log on to She said that her mom has purchased a townhouse in Springville and commutes to Salt Lake every day. If you want to see a picture of Ginni, just look in the current (April) Ensign, where there’s an article about family history missionaries, with a big picture. Ginni’s on the second row, just to the right of the center. She’s wearing a beige dress.
      John says he’s going to run the July 24th marathon with Donna. He’s already training for it. Go, John! It should be a fun day. Monica is still planning on the Salt Lake City Marathon, June 3rd. She says it’s starting to get hot in Tucson, and she wants to get Ramona shaved. So she took Ramona to the vet, but when he reached into the carrier to get her, well, I guess Ramona was a little aggressive towards him. So he said she had to have a rabies shot before he would shave her. Monica tried to tell him that was just Ramona, her usual little self, but the vet insisted, so Monica paid for the shot. She says she’ll take Ramona to a groomer to be shaved, now.
      Donna interviewed with the Church for a landscaping internship for the summer. She got to see a model of the new Draper temple. She says it’s sort of boxy, like the Cardston temple, and really cool. Donna is one of nine applicants for the internship, but she’s hoping they’ll choose her. Otherwise, she might wait tables. At least, she’ll be living here for the summer, for the first time in years. That should be fun. She can give me advice about the yard. Bevan is all into the Masters Tournament. When he was here Friday night, he was excited because Tiger Woods had done so well that day. Donna says she showed Bevan’s parents our pictures on from conference weekend. They were a little shocked at the sight of the chocolate fountain. They like chocolate and all, but they thought that was a little overboard, just for a family party.
      My visiting teachers were here, and they asked my why I don’t work. I said I’m too busy. So I’ve been thinking it over, and here’s my job description: I’m a stay-at-home mom with an empty nest, but my tree is full of birds.
      I love you all! Mom

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Conference weekend was really a blast. Thanks to all of you who came! It just gets more fun every time, and I think we even listened to some of the talks! Allen and his kids arrived at the cabin just as the last of us were leaving Sunday afternoon, but he had a good time, too. Even without clothes for his kids, because we accidentally hauled out his bags right after he hauled them in. I guess we thought they belonged to Donna. In fact, when we let off Donna at the McDonalds at 45th South, to wait for her ride to Logan, I was surprised that she only took two things out of the car. I was sure she had more than that! But of course, it was Allen’s stuff. He said it was great–the kids just slept in their clothes, and he had less to do. Good thing we didn’t accidentally haul out his cooler full of food, which looks just like ours.
      The next fun event coming up is the Easter Picnic on Saturday afternoon, April 15th. (Don’t worry about the date. Taxes don’t have to be postmarked until Monday, the 17th.) The other reason that April 15th is important, is that it’s Julie’s birthday. In fact, we’re going to celebrate the birthdays of the three little April girls that day (Ellie and Addie, besides Julie.) After conference at the cabin, I was picking up stuff, and I found several pages of Julie’s notes from conference. One page had her “Wising List.” She wrote: conputer, sellphone, vidocamera, didgitel camera, soweing mashine, TV in my room, grand pino, biger bedroom, and paint my room hot pink. Underneath all that, she had written “Birthday List,” but there wasn’t anything listed under that. I guess none of her wishes were possible as birthday presents. Anyway, do we see a little of John in her? I don’t think John’s “Wising List” ever got any shorter.
      Now, back to the Easter picnic–it will start at 4pm on Saturday, the 15th, at a park by Al & Missy’s house, so I guess we can just meet there, and they’ll show us where to go. You can call Missy if you want a food assignment. Nora is sure they will be completely moved into their new home by then. James says that they’re going to totally finish on Friday, the 14th, and have it all done in one day! And if James has that for a goal, you can be sure it will be accomplished! So we hope to see a lot of you that weekend. If you can come.
      Today I drove to Orem, and then I drove Grandma and Grandpa to Heber, because Grandpa had one more appointment with John, to make sure of his glasses prescription. John says that Grandpa is to blame for all of us having irregular corneas, with our eyes changing from day to day. Anyway, Grandma and Grandpa were good sports, and the trip went fine. That big storm blew in just as we were in John’s office, and it drenched us when we went to eat at the Dairy Keen, (you gotta love the trainburger) and we drove back down Provo Canyon in a wild blast of rain and snow and wind. Naturally the storm ended about the time we got home.
      I was quizzing Allen about his police work in Centerville, and I was surprised to find out how much is coming together for him. He applied to do security at the Centerville DI, and they chose him, instead of an older guy with more seniority. It seems Allen is more pro-active than the other guy, meaning that he goes looking for trouble rather than waiting for it to come to him. No surprise, there. Al has also been chosen to do bike patrol, now that the weather is getting better. He’ll be out on a bike about 2 hours a day. I think he even gets to wear shorts! And besides all that, Allen has applied to be trained as an accident “Reconstructionist,” the officer who goes to the scene of fatal accidents and analyzes the skid marks, wreckage, & everything else, enters it into the computer, and comes out with figures like how fast they were going, whether they were buckled up–that sort of thing. Maybe he’ll even get to argue with lawyers in court, when the client says he was no way going that fast, so it wasn’t his fault. This should all be very interesting.
      Thanks, Tom, for putting up new pictures of conference weekend on It was fun to look at them and remember how much fun we had.
      Lots of love, Mom