Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dear Kids,
      The newest blog on is Tom’s! He just started it last week. You can see a picture of his dream home in Heber (just kidding–it’s a dump, listed for $285). He also has pictures of the new barbecue rack, and the view from the top of the water tank. Of course all the blogs have great pictures. Missy’s blog shows them putting sod in their back yard, and Donna has some great pictures of their trip south. I check all the blogs every day, and I love reading everybody’s news.
      The birthday party barbecue Sunday night was lots of fun. We were so glad Grandma and Grandpa Allen could make it! Some highlights of the party and Memorial Day weekend were: (1) Grilling on the new barbecue rack! Thanks to Jerry Thacker! It worked great. I’m sure it will get lots of use now. (2) Observing DaveMatheny’s new goats next door. We’ve all been wondering what the weird “temple” was for, (aka the Rameumpton.) He told me it was a goat house, but I didn’t get it. Until I saw his new goats climbing to the top of it. You can see it on the new slide show in “Tom’s Photo Gallery.” The picture shows them halfway up, but they climb to the very top and stand there. (3) Bentley and Bevan fishing in the beaver pond. They caught two fish! One of the fish died because the hook went too deep, so they brought it home, and Bentley said he was going to eat it. (4) The flag raising on Memorial Day, and singing “God Bless America,” with Nora playing the guitar. Let’s make it a tradition! (5) The robin’s nest in the playhouse. Luckily the mother bird doesn’t scare easily. She came and went while different grandkids climbed up to look at her babies. So far, the baby birds are doing OK. (6) Dad and I mixing cement for my curbing. Ok, I know, that’s not new or memorable. I’ve been working on it forever. (7) There was lots more-- lots of food and fun and Yerf Dog rides and 4-Wheeler rides. Thanks to everybody who came and brought food and presents. I hope Dad sends out thank-you notes for all his loot. He really made a haul.
      Some of you are starting to ask about our family picture appointment at Mike Rogers’ house. So far, we’re still scheduled for 8:30 am on Saturday, July 7th, the day of Monica and Neil’s wedding. I know it’s early, but it’s the best I could do. Maybe the first ones of you to get there could have your individual family pictures taken, and then he can do us all together at the end. He has to leave at 10:00 am to do a wedding that was already scheduled, but of course, weddings always have priority with him. So the bottom line is, we’ll have to move fast, but you kids have always been quick for photographers. I remember standing in line for an hour at Kiddy Kandids with all nine of you kids, and just one baby ahead of us. When it was finally our turn, it took maybe 10 minutes for the lot of you. It’ll work.
      Missionary farewells are coming up. On June 17th, David Tregaskis and Austin James are both speaking in their own meetings, at 9:00 and 11:00 am. There are luncheons at both houses, afterwards. Since it’s also Fathers Day, Dad and I will be going to visit Grandpa Allen, too. That means we won’t be home all day, but it’s OK–Dad got plenty of attention on his birthday. But I’m sure he’ll enjoy taking calls on his cell phone.
      What a great family we have! I love you all!       Mom

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dear Kids,
      For once, we found something interesting and exciting in the mail–Monica and Neil’s wedding announcement! They look wonderful in the picture! I think they should both be models. The announcement itself turned out really nice, too. I was glad to see that the map of the cabin turned out so well. That energized me even more about finishing my projects there. I still have big rocks strewn all over the ground, trying to fit them into my rock wall. I’ve been mixing and pouring cement for my concrete edging, and making patio blocks. I’ve been digging holes for shrubs, too, and I’ve dug so many new rocks out of the ground, I have to enlarge my rock graveyard. But it’s all good. It’s all coming together. And of course, by the wedding day, there will be horseshoes and badminton set up, and tables, and luscious food, and bluegrass music . . . it’s going to be memorable.
      In the short term, we’re also looking forward to the barbecue this Sunday night for Dad’s and Grandma Allen’s birthday. We’ll have our new barbecue rack by then, which Jerry Thacker is welding together for us, and we’re going to lay it over the fire pit to grill our meat. (I’ve been eager to try this for a long time.) We’ll start cooking about 5 pm, but most of us will be there earlier. The next day, Memorial Day, will be a total work day for me, but if any of you stay over, I’m sure you can have lots of fun.
      Al had some excitement on the job this week. There was a guy who’d gotten away from them a couple of days earlier, and Al spotted his car and started after him. The guy jumped from his car and ran off on foot. So Al pulled out his taser gun and tazed the guy in the back. The guy fell face first onto the concrete, stiff as a stone. Yay, Allen! Good use of “un-deadly” force! Remember when John wanted to get tazed? Maybe he could look up this fellow and ask him about it.
      Last Saturday morning Vanessa ran the Ogden Marathon. Dad and I were at the finish line when she came in, and I have to say, she looked better than practically anybody else in the race. You know that near-death look they always have? (Except for Kim in the “Top of Utah,” and Monica and Brynne in the Salt Lake Marathon). Well, Vanessa looked like she’d maybe been having a mild workout. She and her friend Amy made it in 4:42, I think. Afterward, we hung out with Vanessa and Trent and the kids in the park at the finish line, and sampled the bananas and creamies. Then we drove to Nora and James’s house for a birthday lunch for Tom, Sarah, and Meg. (Now that our family is getting big, we’ll probably have more and more birthday cakes with multiple names on them.) Later that afternoon, Trent’s team was playing in Logan, so he took off, while the rest of us dozed in Nora’s living room. That night Addie had a dance recital, but Dad and I were too tired to go. (Something about watching all those marathon runners come in, it just wore us out.) But later Dad and I drove Vanessa and the kids up to the Riverside exit, north of Tremonton, to meet up with Trent. A cop stopped to see what we were doing, but when he saw we were only switching around car seats, and moving sleepy kids, he could see it was all OK. It was late and crazy, but it was fun to visit with Vanessa. We don’t get that chance often enough.
      Well, I have to finish this letter and upload it. Not mail it out. It’s the end of an era, as far as the “Mom Letter” goes. I’ve had lots of fun sending them out in envelopes, with expensive stamps on them, but now that postage has gone up yet again, and you all have internet access, I figure everybody can read my news online. And everybody else’s, while they’re at it. The blog links are all there!
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Anybody driving by our house in the middle of the day would see both the Windstar and the truck parked in our driveway, and think we were both home. But they’d be wrong, of course. Dad’s been riding his bike to work every day for a couple of weeks now, and he’s getting into pretty good shape, besides saving money on gas. I ride my bike almost everywhere I go, except to the cabin, and to Orem. And Paul takes the bus to work. I figure, the only way to fight back against high gas prices is to not drive. It works. It doesn’t matter how much gas costs, if you don’t buy it.
      The only problem with Paul riding the bus is that he comes home covered with dirt. I wonder what they think of him, on the bus. And wouldn’t you think an engineering intern would dress preppy and sit at a desk, or at least run errands? Paul is right down in the dirt! They’re working under the overpass at 5th East and I-80, drilling out soil samples. Paul says he can stand it OK for the summer.
      Yesterday I came home from the cabin nearly as dirty as Paul, because I’d been doing practically the same thing. But without heavy equipment. I’m trying to plant shrubs around the deck, according to the landscaping plan that Donna made for me, but the soil there is 80% rocks, big ones and little ones, packed in together. It takes about an hour to dig one hole. But it’s all fun. Monica and Neil, it’s going to look great for your wedding!
      I updated, making hyperlinks to everybody’s blogs. That makes it lots easier for all of us to check each others’ news. I don’t have a link for Tom and Kim yet, but I’ll put it up as soon as their blog gets going. I think I almost convinced John to write one. I tried to convince Paul, but he just grunted at me. Who else? Vanessa, Monica, it’s so easy! Vanessa, you could tell us all your family news, and Monica, you could upload pictures of Ramona, my favorite cat. I think it would be great if there were links to everybody in our family.
      We received a wedding announcement from Chris Paxman! He’s marrying a nice-looking girl named Jillian Richter, at St. Thomas More (a church, I think, near Willow creek) and their reception will be at the Marriott Hotel up by the U. The only problem for us is the date: July 7th. Same as Monica and Neil. Now what are the chances of that? I’ll be sorry to miss it.
      I just came back from visiting teaching, but since I only write good stuff about people now, I don’t have any news to report. Just kidding. Jimmy Simko has moved his wedding date back, to September. They’re still in love, but they have lots of business details to clear up. Kim Wiseman is now a grandmother. (She’s only a little older than John.) Mark Wiseman is going to Nashville to become a country singer. The Bunkalls are still the greatest family I’ve ever known. Christy Montoya Walk and her husband Jeff are going to be on America’s Funniest Home Videos for the third time, this time competing for a lavish 2-week vacation, including a cruise. Amy Rasmussen turned 81 yesterday.
      Speaking of birthdays, we’re looking forward to the party for Dad and Grandma Allen on the 27th. Call me if you have any questions. I have a great present for Dad, not as good at the Yerf Dog, but something he’ll like.
      Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Paul got a summer job! He has an internship with an engineering firm here in Salt Lake, working outside, taking soil samples for some kind of drilling they do. They’re paying him $12.00 an hour, and he can take the bus to work. Thanks to Bevan’s Dad for the tip! I knew Lloyd’s work involved getting jobs for engineering graduates of BYU, but I didn’t know he could also find jobs for engineering students headed to Utah State. I’m glad to know Paul will be well-employed, even though he won’t be going to the Tetons. Right now he’s down at Lake Powell, on a Hole-in-the-Rock expedition, so he’ll start the job next Monday.
      The graduations last Saturday went really well. Except for the weather. Wouldn’t you know I’d be driving through a snowstorm over Soldier Summit, both coming and going? But at least it was sunny in Price. Meanwhile, up in Logan, it was raining and snowing for Donna’s graduation. Dad rode with the Hawkins’, and they had a good time. Even Bevan’s brother and Grandfather came along! Meanwhile, back in Price, Tom and I sat through Paul’s graduation, and I was a little nostalgic, thinking I might never sit in the BDAC again, surrounded by cowboy boots and levis. Then, over in Sessions, watching Paul clean out his room, knowing the whole place will probably fall to the wrecking ball pretty soon. Lots of good memories there!
      Sunday we trekked up to Heber for Julie’s confirmation. (Her baptism was the day before. Nora and her kids and Grandma and Grandpa were able to be there.) It was fun to see John’s kids, like always, little Aubrey asleep on John’s lap during Church, Jacob and Aaron bouncing around with excitement. Julie looked very grown up in her special white dress (which, it turned out, was itching her) and she got some nice presents, which she didn’t expect at all. We had dinner at John’s house afterwards, and the Prices were there, too. Danny’s home from his mission in Russia, but he was still wearing his missionary tags. He flew in late Friday night, and they hadn’t had time to get him officially released yet.
      Meanwhile, in Michigan, it was Matthews blessing day. Too bad none of us could be there, or any Thackers, either. Sharon says her friends had a nice dinner for them afterwards. She has pictures on her blog. By the way, I’m going to finally do some work on our family website again, and I’m going to make hyperlinks from each family to their blogs. Now that we have Sharon, Nora, Missy, Kim, and even Donna blogging (all on blogspot,) it will be a lot easier for us to keep up with each others’ news. Also, I need to update all the pictures. They’re all at least a year old, some even older. So if you could send or e-mail me anything, I’ll put it up.
      I took Jana McGettigan to her chemo appointment last Friday. It was really eye-opening. Here are all these nice ladies in headscarves and wigs, getting their “poison” (Jana calls it) through an IV, as cheerful as they can be. They call it the “party room.” They read and sew and talk to each other to pass the time. It makes you think really seriously about your life.
      We’re looking forward to Dad’s birthday at the cabin on the 27th. I’m guessing the fun will start about five in the afternoon, or even sooner, if you want to come earlier. Why don’t you each bring your own meat to barbecue, and call me for a food assignment. With luck, Grandma and Grandpa will come, too. If you haven’t been to the cabin lately, it’s looking even better than before! Donna made up a shrub-planting design, and I’m trying to follow it. My main goal is the wedding on July 7th, but I’ve already done a lot of digging and raking and rock hauling and cement pouring. It’s all fun.
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Here’s a news flash: the three ‘88 boys all have their mission calls! Austin James is going to Nashville, Tennesse, leaving June 27th. Matt Allen is going to Richmond, Virginia, leaving July 11th. David Tregaskis is going to New Jersey, probably about the same time. And Matt’s farewell will probably be the weekend of Monica’s wedding. Richard and Jeanne are coming from Canada, to have his farewell in their old South Jordan ward, and they’ll want to have it just before he goes into the MTC. So the fun events will be piled close together this summer.
      Speaking of missionaries, I was cleaning up my stuff at the cabin yesterday, getting ready to go home, and the doorbell rang. That hardly ever happens. Never, actually, unless the grandkids ring it. So I went to see, and it was the missionaries, out door-knocking! They had parked their car down at the bottom of the hill, and were having a great afternoon hike, wandering around to the different cabins. I wanted to say, “Don’t you guys have any real work to do?” but of course I was polite. I told them to go visit Dave Matheny and the Galmores.
      Our bike ride on Antelope Island Monday night was lots of fun. The scenery is beautiful–lots of tall grass, sagebrush, big rocks, and blue sky. We saw antelope, buffalo, and rabbits. I had hoped the road would run along the shore line, and therefore be nice and flat, but it winds over the hills. So we huffed and puffed some of the time, and coasted downhill the rest of the time. At the start, Allen had told us there was a good reason why bikers wore spandex. And had good bikes. He said we would believe him by the end of the ride, and he was right. After 22 miles, I wished I had worn spandex. If I had any. And I tried out Allen’s police bike, which is better than mine. It coasted, when mine didn’t. But the seat was harder, so I traded him back. Paul rode Tom’s old mountain bike, which he had found in our shed. Dad rode his Walmart bike, the one like mine, and later on, when we stopped for food on the way home, he hobbled around and told everybody we’d been on a 1,000 mile bike ride. Still, it was lots of fun. But we should have had bug repellant. I have lots of little bites around my face, and in my scalp. (I keep imagining I have lice.) Other than that, I can highly recommend Antelope Island as a great ride. If anybody else plans a bike ride there, count me in!
      Julie’s being baptized this Saturday, at 1:45 in the afternoon. Call John for details. Dad and I will be going to her confirmation on Sunday afternoon, because of the Saturday graduations. (Paul’s and Donna’s). John and Heather’s block is from 1 to 4, in the church on 5th North that’s closest to Smiths. There’s a dinner afterwards.
      Dad’s birthday is coming up, his big six-O, on May 27th. Since it’s a Sunday, I thought we could have a party at the cabin that night, and then anybody who wants to can stay over. (It’ll be warm enough to put mattresses in the greenhouse, if we have to.) It’s Memorial Day weekend, so most of us won’t have to be back home the next day. I’ll invite Grandma and Grandpa, too, since it’s Grandma’s birthday as well. I can’t promise anything as spectacular as the Yerf Dog two years ago, but it will be fun, all the same.
      Sharon is training for a 10K. She said it was hard finding one that wasn’t on a Sunday, but there’s a “Melon Days” race in August. Go, Sharon. Meanwhile, we’re still planning on Vanessa’s race on the 19th. I’m sure she’ll do great.
      What a wonderful family we have! I’m so proud of you all! Love, Mom