Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Of all the excitement we’ve had lately, the “Founders Day" Dinner at CEU on Saturday night ranks right at the top. Most of you seemed to know that Dad and I were going to receive a Major Award, but they had told us that Paul was getting the award. And Paul had said that John was getting the award. So I figured the whole family was getting an award. And it was sort of like that. They gave us a “Distinguished Service” award for sending so many of our kids to CEU. So thanks, kids, for all your years of work (and fun) there. I thought maybe we set a record for the most kids from one family to go there, but Tom pointed out the name of Cody Peacock’s mom on the “Distinguished Service” plaque. They had about 13 kids, and nearly all of them went to CEU.
      So we didn’t set any record, but they gave us a wonderful dinner. The food was really good. The printed program had our picture on it, along with the other “benefactors” and such. And it was sure fun to have so many of you show up. I was completely surprised that Vanessa (and Meg) made the drive. (They honored Vanessa as the “black sheep” of the family, for bypassing CEU and going directly to Utah State, and a man in the audience cheered.) Before the dinner, Paul was taking coats from people coming in. (Unfortunately, he didn’t get any tips.) John had fun walking around Sessions hall, and he found Heather’s old room. There was a new “Heather” living there, but she wasn’t home. The rest of us stood around and ate hors d’everes. We talked to Brad King and Todd Olson, and the president of CEU, Ryan Thomas. At the end of the dinner, they gave out the awards, and Dad and I were the very last. We got a stand-up crystal plaque that looks like broken glass. I like it. They took our picture with President Thomas. (Oh, no! I put my arm around a Democrat!) It was great fun.
      After it was over we went to Bentleys, where all the kids were being tended. (Nora’s three, Tom’s three, and Meg.) They had hired two extra “baby holders,” because Trieste and McKenzie were gone off to the Young Women’s broadcast. The house was alive with kids! Karl Bentley looked like he’d been run over by a truck. Otherwise, things were fine. Later on, Nora was outside running after Bentley, and she tripped and scraped her knee. I mean, she really scraped it! As in, skin and blood making a long skid mark on the cement. She had to go see a P.A. on Monday to get it treated. That night was Ben’s birthday party, and in spite of her pain, she made a cute cake with monkeys on it, and decorated the house. Ben got at least two trucks, and a new bike.
      Last Thursday Seth had to “defend” his research proposal, the one about making rats sick. (I was working on his paper, a couple of weeks ago, which was a big part of the project.) So finally it was the big day for him to meet with the professors. He took them bagels, as a bribe. (Sharon said that was no different than high school, when she tried out for Madrigals.) And we all held our breath, and said our prayers, and waited. And he passed! I’m sure he passed with flying colors, but it was a big load off his mind, to get it over with. That night, Sharon said, he was watching TV, not knowing what to do with himself, with nothing to worry about. I’m sure Charlie was glad to have Seth available to play with him again.
      We’re looking forward to conference this weekend, and I’m sure we’ll have fun at the cabin with those of you who are able to come!
      Love, Mom

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Dear Kids,
      First of all, some dates to put on your calendars: (1) Grandma Allen is planning a one-day family reunion for Saturday, August 4th. We’ll be at the usual Riverbend Park in Provo, near University Avenue. (I scheduled the park myself, in fact, when I was visiting Grandma and Grandpa last week.) There will be more details coming.
      (2) I’ve been trying to schedule a time when we could have a family picture taken (all 37 of us), the same weekend as Monica and Neil’s wedding. I called Mike Rogers, and he only schedules “sittings” three weeks out, because if a wedding comes along, he’d rather do that. So the best he could give us, so far, is Saturday morning, the 7th, at 8:30 am. If he doesn’t get a wedding for Friday night, the 6th, he can do us then, but we won’t know until the middle of June.
      Speaking of real estate, Trent bought a duplex. This is his third property, counting the house they live in. He’ll be a real property titan before we know it. Or a slum lord. (No, not that!) Anyway, about this duplex–Vanessa said that Sterling was so excited about it, he wanted them to move in right away. Too bad Tom and Kim can’t buy a Pocatello house and magically transport it to Heber.
      Allen’s cat has been keeping me well entertained. She races around the basement, leaping off shelves and windowsills. She’s a true Gumbie cat, with “tiger stripes and leopard spots.” And she yowls like a jungle beast. She gobbles kitten chow and digs her claws into the carpet. For that, she has a declaw scheduled for next week, along with the standard operation and shots. Anyway, she’s delightful.
      Conference is coming up the weekend after next. I’ll be fixing Sunday dinner, between the two Sunday sessions, so if you’re planning to eat with us, let me know. I presume Tom and Kim will have the Moose bedroom, because Tom’s already settled in there, and Donna and Bevan are in Glacier, but if somebody wants to claim Cowboy, let me know. The snow is practically melted off the hill, so if anybody wants to hike the loop, I’m game.
      Looking forward to seeing you all soon! Love, Mom

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Aubrey’s baby blessing was really nice. It was fun to see Heather’s parents and sisters. I noticed that Jenny had an engagement ring. She said yep, she’s met the right guy. He lives next door to her. (She moved in with her Aunt.) John said that follows the rule of proximicity (or something like that.) You’re more likely to marry your next door neighbor than anybody else. Well, it worked for Jenny.
      Carson and Ellie had a sleepover here Friday night. We had lots of fun. They played with toys and watched movies. Carson saw me making cupcakes, and he said, “At my house, after breakfast, we always have dessert. And our dessert is always cupcakes.” So of course I said he could have cupcakes for dessert, after breakfast.
      I’m finishing my letter here at Grandma and Grandpa’s, once again. Their piano is gone! Grandma couldn’t sit on the bench very long without pain, so she decided to give the piano to Bonnie. Meanwhile, the piano Bonnie’s had all these years, which used to be Grandma’s, which is the one I grew up with, is going to Mark and Heather’s house. It fits their 50's decor perfectly. So, now there’s more room in Grandma and Grandpa’s living room, but no piano, boo hoo. Oh, well, if Grandma decided she needs a piano after all, we can have the fun of going out and choosing a new one. It’s always fun.
      Our next cabin get-together will be April Conference weekend, March 30th to April 1st. Anyone who can make it, it should be fun. Seth’s dad is making us a barbecue rack to put over the fire pit, and if we’re able to get it by then, and if the weather’s nice, we can grill meat over the fire. I’ve never done it before, but it ought to be fun.
      Lots of Love, Mom

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Dear Kids,
      I’ve been sitting here going over a paper that Seth has written. It’s a research proposal that he needs to submit, and it has to be approved if he wants to move ahead in his program. So it’s pretty important. My real problem is that I don’t know the terminology, so it’s hard to check the grammar and usage. If you ever wondered why Seth doesn’t talk about his work, it’s because none of us would understand it. It’s all about injecting mice with various substances that will make them die. That’s way too simple, of course, but the bottom line is that “mice will be sacrificed, and lungs and spleens will be harvested.” Eventually, though, Seth might find cures for terrible diseases like Lupus. Go, Seth!
      I was going to write that Al and Missy got a cat, but then I checked on Missy’s blog and found out that the cat has disappeared. You can still see a picture, though. It’s a nice gray tabby cat. Oh, well, those kind are a dime a dozen. I hope they’ll get another one, if the first one doesn’t come back.
      Saturday was Charlotte’s sixth birthday, and I met Nora and James and their kids at the cemetery, like always. I found the grave site before they got there, which is usually pretty easy, but this year there were several inches of snow on the ground. And I usually bring pink latex ballons, one for every year, but this year I ended up with mylar, because I had to go to a different dollar store. Mylar’s great! When you let the balloons go, you can see them for a long time. (We let Addie keep two, because they were so pretty.)
      We had a nice trip to Price on Sunday, for Ali’s baby blessing. The meeting was great, the dinner at Bentleys’ house was great, and it was a beautiful sunny day. Dad and Tom and I took Bentley and Emma on a walk out in the dirt hills behind the house–you know, the area that goes on and on with no civilization until you reach Colorado. The dirt hills are pretty steep, and they’re well worn by 4-wheelers. But there was a great view from the top. On beautiful, sunny days, wouldn’t everybody want to live out in the middle of nowhere? Trieste and Karl are keeping their home there in Price for a while, even though McKenzie is graduating from high school, because housing prices in Vernal are so high. So they’ll continue with their commuter marriage, just like Tom and Kim, just like Donna and Bevan. You do what you gotta do.
      Vanessa’s training for a marathan in May, in Ogden. She had already been preparing for a triathalon in August, which she still might do, but she’s got some friends doing this marathon, and they have fun running together. Very laid-back, according to Vanessa. She’s also been going on temple trips with the ladies in her ward–they meet at their church at 3:30 a.m. for the drive to Idaho Falls, to make the 5 a.m. session. Who in the world goes to a 5 a.m. session? Farmers, that’s who! And early rising ladies in Vanessa’s ward. For some of them, it’s their only chance to go.
      Jana McGettigan had her first chemo treatment on Friday, and I hear it’s been really hard on her. She’s taking anti-nausea medication that’s making her really groggy. I haven’t called her, because I don’t want to be pesky, but I might drop by this afternoon. Her kids came to piano on Monday morning, but Mary Lou Little brought them.
      Tom finally hit a deer! It was inevitable, for all the times he drives along that Lower River Road. He said his Blizzak tires stopped him cold, and the deer went down, rolled a couple of times, jumped up, and ran away. He sees lots of wildlife on his travels, and now he carries his camera on the front seat of his car. He got some good pictures of a fox, which he said he’ll put up on his Photo Gallery (along with the pictures of Donna’s wedding, and Ali’s blessing.)
      Hope you’re all doing great, etc. Love, Mom