Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Here’s the latest New Baby News: Uncle Ben reports that Jeff and Emily had a baby girl on October 18th. Her name is Kimberly Joyce, she was 19.75" long, weighed 7 lbs 13 oz, and her voice sounded like “a very small bear.” Not to be outdone, Uncle Andy reports that Dan and Amanda are now the parents of Micah Paul Allen, born Oct. 20th, no size or weight. But Andy says, “Apparently some of the Allen genes made it through this time. The young boy reportedly has big hands with short stubby fingers, and space for an extra toe between the 1st and 2nd toe.” All this information came to us by e-mail, but on Sunday, Dad and I went to Brigham City for Gary’s homecoming. It was lots of fun, as always. We saw Mark and Tamry’s little girl, Elsie, who was born soon after the family reunion in August. She has cute auburn hair, lots of dimples, and smiles a lot. In case any of you are keeping up with Grandpa Allen’s number chart, the newest baby, Amanda and Dan’s, is #157. #158 will be Jamie’s fiancee, Andrea Fleming. #159 and #160 will be a toss-up between Andrea Hill’s baby and Bevan. Since Andrea and Dan are living in China, she’ll go to Hong Kong to have her baby, scheduled for December 15. That’s the same day as Donna and Bevan’s wedding, of course. But when you factor in the time difference, the baby is likely to come first. One interesting thing about Andrea is that her baby won’t be able to go back into China for about 2 weeks after it’s born, because they have to apply for its passport. There’s a special hotel where the new mothers stay, waiting for their babies’ passports. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Renae’s going to fly to China to take care of the older kids while this is going on.
      Back to the numbers: #161will be Charles Allen’s fiancee, Julie, and #162 will be John and Heather’s baby. Sharon and Seth’s will be #163. Since I don’t know of any other babies or weddings before July, Neil could come into our family as #164. But of course you can never keep up with all the new happenings in the Allen family. (Edit: Kim is due December 8th)
      While Dad and I were in Brigham City, Andy demonstrated his new web cam for us, like we’d never seen one before. A year ago he didn’t even have internet access, and claimed he didn’t need it, and now he’s hooked. He’s made all his kids get web cams, too, since two families are in California and one’s in China. Andy dials them up and has the parents put the kids in front of the cam, so he can talk with them. So we got to see Dan and Amanda’s new baby in Santa Barbara, and watch Dan act goofy, like always. Andy told Dad and me that we absolutely had to hook all our kids up with web cams, but I told him when you’re going on 18 grandkids, it isn’t such a big deal. (Just kidding of course.)
      News from Price: Paul reports that he and his engineering buddies are building their trebuchet (like a catapult, I think) for their class project. All the kids in his statics class get to take their catapults to Moab, where they’ll stay in a motel and hold a competition. I think they’re going to throw pumpkins with them. Sounds like a good use of students’ tuition money, doesn’t it? Or our tax dollars? But of course it’s all good.
      News from Pocatello: Vanessa and Trent started laying their sod last weekend, and Vanessa finished up Wednesday morning just a couple of hours before it snowed. Meg can sit up now. Sterling is finishing his soccer season, but with 4-year-olds, it’s pretty casual. At their most recent game, Sterling’s team only had 6 kids, but the other team had 11, all of them on the field at the same time. If they kicked the ball out-of-bounds, they just kept kicking until they got it back in. You can guess who won.
      I just finished reading Missy’s blog, about their trip to St. George. There’s a cool slideshow, too. Here’s the link: I wish you all had blogs. It’s really easy to start one on blogspot. In fact, I had to create one so I could post a comment about Missy’s pictures. Also, Amber has some cool pictures of their record-breaking snowstorm in Buffalo. And her story of their power being out for 2 days. Here’s her link: Have I convinced anybody else to start one up? I hope so.
      Bevan is moving to the cabin on Nov. 11th, when he starts working at Deer Valley. Meanwhile, Donna has discovered that for spring semester, her classes will only be on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So she’ll move into the cabin right after the wedding, and just be in Logan from Tuesday mornings to Thursday afternoons. She won’t even have to rent an apartment there! And she can work at Deer Valley with Bevan on Mondays and Fridays. What a deal! Donna wants everybody to know, however, that she expects the cabin parties to keep going on. If we let her know in time, she and Bevan can escape somewhere overnight, and leave the cabin to us. (Tom does the same thing too, of course.) So there’s no stoppin’ the fun!
      Nora and her kids are here to look at Halloween costumes. I’ve gotta go!
      Love, Mom

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Biggest news of the week: There’s going to be another Julie in the family! Charles finally got engaged to his girlfriend, who some of us met at the family reunion. She’s tall and thin, and I can’t even remember her last name! I think she’s from Oregon or Washington. The wedding date is December 29th. I’ll pass on more new as we get it.
      Dad and I had lots of fun at the cabin last weekend, because Tom and Kim and their kids were there. It was UEA weekend, and the weather was great. (At least on Friday.) Kim fixed wonderful meals. (Some of it she was going to freeze so Tom would have good dinners during the week.) Dad finished staining all our new siding on the cabin, and even started on the second coat of the older part. He loves to stand at the top of a tall ladder with his paintbrush and jug of stain, listening to his IPOD, (Right now he’s listening to “The World is Flat,” by Thomas Friedman), and he can paint all day long without getting tired of it. Meantime, I’m down below, raking rocks, yelling at him if the stain drops on the deck. It works. I’m hoping we can do some more this weekend, but it’s getting colder all the time.
      Monica reports that Ramona has been attacking lizards. When Monica finds a big one, she calls Ramona, and tosses her at the lizard. Ramona likes to eat them head-first. After clearing all the mice out of the cabin, she thinks lizards are easy work. Meanwhile, the wedding plans are coming along nicely. Monica is still planning to have the marriage in the backyard of the cabin. Who’s going to perform the ceremony? Monica said Neil wants somebody in a cowboy hat. Maybe it’ll work . . . . We know for certain that the food will be good! Monica said something about a band, too.
      Donna’s wedding plans are coming along, too. I think she’s decided on the chocolate wedding cake, not just on the inside, but all over, like Vanessa and Sharon had. She wants the frosting even darker than ever before.
      Yesterday I went to visit Grandma and Grandpa, and we had a good time. I showed them some funny videos on their computer. (Now that they have cable modem, it’s a lot easier to waste time there.) Remember how I told you that Christy Montoya Walk and her husband Jeff won $10,000 on America’s Funniest Videos? You can see their winning video if you google “over-excited dog.” It’s hysterical. We found some funny cat videos, too. Grandma was really entertained. We talked about the book by Richard Bushman, a biography of Joseph Smith called “Rough Stone Rolling.” I’m in the middle of it right now. We all have the same opinion of it. Then I put on the video “Mormons and Mobsters,” which is pretty silly, but we had a good time watching it. I really enjoy my visits there. I only wish I could go more often.
      On Sunday I went to the stake president’s office to get my temple recommend signed, and there were a whole slew of people waiting in line. Including Dennis Nordfelt. It’s still funny to see him on the outside, instead of the inside. Somebody had been commenting that he’s had the titles of Colonel, Chief, Mayor, and President, so I asked which one he liked being called. He said any of those are lots better than what they call him at work. We talked about grandchildren, and he said they’re going on 27. He says we’ll never catch up with them. There were so many people in line ahead of us, he finally had to leave before he got in. He said he was fixing Sunday dinner for some of their married kids, and he had to “get his meat on.” He said to tell you all Hi.
      Life is good! I love you all! Mom

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dear Kids,
      When Dad got home from work Tuesday afternoon, the UPS truck was in front of our house, and the driver was unloading two giant boxes that were for us! They were bicycles! I had almost forgotten–for Dad’s 30th anniversary with UTA, they let him pick out a prize from an on-line catalog. The farther through the catalog you got, the better the prizes were. The last one was these two bicycles, his and hers. Dad ordered them, but I didn’t think they would really come. But the boxes are now in our living room. I’m going to take them to the cabin tomorrow, and Dad will put them together there. I always wanted bikes at the cabin, besides Missy’s Huffy that’s already there. Even with the Yerf Dog, I sometimes want to hop on a bike. So that will be fun. Except that the cabin garage is getting full of stuff.
      Most of you remember Mark and Jenn Woodruff, who lived in our ward for so many years. They moved to Albany, New York, because of Mark’s job, and we were all sad to see them go. Then, a few weeks ago, Angie Holden told me that they would be moving back to Utah! I said, “Back to our ward?” She said, no, they had better things in mind. They were definitely going to be moving up. So where’s “up?” Allen and Missy’s neighborhood! Yep. Missy saw them in Church and thought they looked familiar. When they saw Allen, they made the connection right away. So, Al and Missy, tell them Hi for us. Congratulations for living in such an upscale neighborhood.
      Seth and Sharon are in the middle of a fun week–Seth’s parents and Lucinda are visiting there right now. (I wish it were us!) Sharon said it’s really pretty there now. The grass is all green, after lots of rain, and the leaves are red. She said the temperature is perfect. They might go to Nauvoo with the Thackers. I’m even more jealous!
      Sharon said she’s been to see Nick and Tara’s baby a couple of times. I guess she has a ton of dark hair, unlike Carson and Ellie, who definitely take after the Ackerson side of the family. Oh, well, nobody said cousins had to look alike.
      I just got a nice thank-you note from James’s parents, who spent Friday night at our cabin, along with Nora and James and the rest of his family. I figured they would play a lot of games–they always do–but they also hiked the little loop. Friday night it rained like crazy (I know, because I was there, and I didn’t want to leave for home while it was pouring) but they had good weather on Saturday. When they got back from their hike, they had missed some real excitement–one of the Galmore dogs had killed one of Matheny’s chickens. Too bad. I had just chased the chickens out of our yard that morning. Mother nature knows what to do with careless chickens.
      Tuesday night was our Relief Society service auction, and I was so excited to auction off my item--a free snowboarding lesson! I had a picture scanned from a magazine, framed, with a snowboarder in the air, and the caption said “This Could be You!” I thought that would inspire lots of the ladies in our ward to want to try it. I was so wrong! They all said they didn’t want to break their necks. Only two ladies even bid on it! But the lady (girl, actually,) who won, Bekah Davis, is the really adventurous type, and we’re going to have a lot of fun. She’s from Preston, Idaho, and her uncle is in “Napoleon Dynamite.” She’s a returned missionary. She used to be a flight attendant for Sky West. She has the same Eddie Bauer dress I have. We’re soul sisters! I can’t wait for the snow!
      As always, “Doin’ great and lovin’ it,” Mom

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Conference weekend was so much fun, I’m still recovering. I mean, trying to get back to my normal ordinary boring routine. But wasn’t it great while it lasted? Tom said it was the most fun conference weekend we’ve ever had, and I agreed. It was certainly the best weather, if that’s possible. Maybe Tom will put up a new slideshow with all the great pictures he took. And that’s not counting the bridal pictures of Donna, and the engagement pictures of Donna and Bevan. They’re going to have a hard time choosing from so many good pictures!
      Monica is moving ahead with her wedding plans, too. She talked to Tom about checking out some barbecue food from Gateway Grille. (You know, that restaurant at the main intersection in Kamas, where you turn left to go to our cabin.) So Tom’s assignment is to go to this restaurant and sample their barbecue. Maybe he’ll have to go two or three times! If the food is good, Monica is going to have them cater her wedding! So we’ll have really great food we can sink our teeth into, not just frothy punch and little nut cups. Oh, and I forgot the most important detail: The date will be July 7th. That’s 2007. So the official date is 07-07-07. Funny, my lucky number has always been 7, so I’m sure the wedding will be a fabulous affair.
      I’ve been working hard on my outside cabin projects, trying to get as much done as possible before winter, so I’ll be that much further along next spring, so it will look as good as possible for the wedding. Dad and I finally got some more siding, and Tuesday we were working at the very top of the cabin, around the chimney. It’s the part the neighbors have been wondering about, how we could possibly get up there! Several of them slowed down to watch us, and one man walking down the street just stopped and stared. We had set up ladders on the balcony, resting them on both sides of the chimney, and we were up at the very top, clinging on, handing the nail gun back and forth. Finally we had to climb onto the top of the roof, to work around the chimney. The wind was blowing, and we tried not to look down. I’ve always been afraid of heights. Dad, too, it turns out. But we were both very brave. There’s only one little spot left. I’m hoping to finish it tomorrow.
      I signed up dad and myself to be poll workers at the November election. The new voting machines are all computerized, so we had to go to a training session this morning, and practice setting them up, checking in voters, voting ourselves–it was all lots of fun. Except that the trainer started getting really rude to me. I kept asking questions, and he kept getting more hostile. (These were really ordinary questions! Nothing ridiculous.) Finally, he said if I interrupted him one more time, he was going to have to ask me to leave. Hello? He was being paid to train us. I told him he was supposed to be helping us learn, not barking at us. He said he wasn’t barking. The rest of the group said, yes, he was. When it was over, we filled out evaluation forms, and several of us said he was rude. I even called in a complaint. Dad is worried the guy will lose his job. I couldn’t care less. And in spite of all that, Dad and I are looking forward to the election. Dad gets to “encode” voter cards. I’m a “receiving judge.” We’re assigned to work at the Redwood Miltipurpose center. It should be an intersting day.
      I can’t think of any news. We just saw most of you. We missed the ones we didn’t see.
      Lots of love, Mom