Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dear Kids,
      I’m up late tonight, but I’m too excited to sleep, anyway. Dad and I are leaving early tomorrow morning for Florida. Our home teacher (Eric Fleischel) is picking us up at 4:30 am. Yeah, it’s a crazy hour, but you know about those cheap flights! And we’re just about ready to go! We have Donna and Bevan’s tent, a queen size air mattress, and some bedding, besides our clothes and other stuff. Dave Noel arranged for our car rental in Miami, and I mapped out the closest Walmart to the airport, so we can stock up on travel food before we head south to the Keys. I’ve made reservations at three campgrounds, for the first four nights. I even looked at the campgrounds on Google Earth! I located the LDS church on Key West, and found out their meeting times on Sunday. I have three travel books about Florida from the library, and lots of people have given us advice. So I think we’re ready to go!
      I’m leaving behind lots of fun projects, but they’ll still be here when we get back. Donna got me a pallet of dead sod, which was actually pretty green, for the sledding hill at the cabin. Last Saturday I laid it all. (It only went about a fourth of the way up the hill.) Bentley helped me, with his little rake and shovel (in between sessions with his batting machine, which was in between hitting golf balls.) Since then, Donna got another half pallet, but she says she can put it down. This so-called dead sod is easy to come by, because clients who pay $150,000 to have their yards landscaped only want beautiful green grass. All the better for us!
      Speaking of the cabin, they’ve already had snow there! Check out Tom’s blog! You can see that winter is on the way!
      My brother Richard left a car at our house, for us to sell. It’s a 1999 Mercury Sable. Richard says our neighborhood is the perfect place to sell it. We don’t have the title yet, so Dad has been driving it to work every day, instead of riding his bike. I don’t blame him, since it’s getting pretty cold in the mornings.
      Richard and Diedre Tregaskis had a baby girl, Abigail, on Sept. 26th . She weighed 6 lbs, 9 oz., was 20" long, and looks like Diedre. They are thrilled to finally have a baby.
      We’re hoping to see at least some of you at the cabin on conference weekend! I’ll be fixing Sunday dinner, and we’ll eat about 12:30, after the morning session. Let me know if you plan to be there, so I can make enough food.
      Lots of love, Mom (the Florida Travel Queen.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dear Kids,
      I spent a couple of hours at Nora’s house today, helping her hang pictures and shelves on the walls. They painted just before Stuart was born, and there’s new carpet (like mine, or I guess mine is like theirs. You know, the brown shag from the seventies.) Anyway, we had fun hanging things up, and eating cookie dough. James has a new way of making chocolate chip cookies: you make the dough into balls, but instead of cooking them, you freeze them in a plastic bag. We ate so many that I had to make another batch. I think I’ll make all my cookies this way now.
      Donna was here for a couple of days, taking her licensing test. She said it was really hard. She won’t know if she passed for several weeks, because they have to evaluate the scores and then grade on a curve. I guess they make up a new test every year, (why else would it cost $700?) so they don’t know if the questions were too hard or too easy. Donna says they were too hard. But her boss paid for the test, so she won’t mind taking it again if she needs to.
      Last Sunday afternoon Boyd Ackerson came by! I know, he hasn’t been to our house since 1993, but he’s on a road trip to South Dakota (Little House on the Prairie Country) and it was great to visit with him. He’s an investment accountant and lives in a nice house that he owns in Washington. I asked him if he wanted to come back to Utah in the winter and go snowboarding with us, and he said maybe we could pull his leg and get him to do it. So we set a date: February 2nd. Groundhog Day. We’re going to get Jesse to come, too.
      Ward news: We received a wedding invitation for David Higham. Yep, David, the younger one. Not Daniel, the older one. Who would’ve thought? He’s getting married October 5th in the Salt Lake Temple. Sharon, didn’t you used to babysit those boys?
      Other ward news: Jana McGettigan is starting to have her hair grow back again. She lifted up her wig and showed me a little fringe of curly pixie hair along her forehead. She said she needs to wait until she has more hair on top, so she can do something with it, before she goes out in public without her wig.
      Sunday night, the 23rd, at 6:30, there’s a birthday party for Grandpa Allen at the Tregaskis home. Nancy is serving ice cream and cake. She said any of you kids are welcome to come, if you want to. You probably don’t need to bring Grandpa any presents, since they’ve had to give away so much of their stuff. But I’m sure he would love to see any of you.
      Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dear Kids,
      I’m visiting Grandma and Grandpa at the Seville this morning. We walked Grandma to the beauty shop to have her hair done, and then Grandpa and I went down to the 2nd floor game room to check out the magical ice cream machine. Naturally we both had to put money in, just for the fun of watching it work, and then of course we had to eat the ice cream. There’s a pool table there in the game room, and Grandpa racked up the balls, and we played. He’s really good! I had never played before, but still I managed to get a few balls in the pockets. Grandma and Grandpa seem to be settling in pretty well here. Their house hasn’t sold yet, so they’ve dropped the price to $329,000. It’s being painted right now, and Bonnie says they might have to put in new carpet, but she thinks it will sell pretty soon. Lots of people are interested–they’re probably just waiting for the right price.
      Speaking of buying and selling, the Harvard Classics topped out at $152.50 on e-bay. It was really exciting, watching the price go up in the last few seconds. Dad and I were at the cabin, and I was watching the end of the bid on one of Tom’s laptops. Tom was watching on the other one. We both kept hitting our refresh buttons, and the price kept jumping up. I had no idea anybody wanted those books so badly! When I was little, we used them like bricks to build our playhouse. It’s a miracle they weren’t totally beaten up. Well, now I’m so excited about e-bay, I’ve listed another set of old books that’s been on our shelves for years, “A Picturesque Tale of Progress.” The last full set went for $102.00. And then there’s “My Book House,” which went for $162.00. It sure beats sending them to the D.I.
      Little Stuart James Mair seems to be doing fine. He turned a little yellow, so they’ve been putting him in the sun, on the floor in Ben’s room, for a little while every day. Addie and Ben supervise, to make sure he’s OK. Paige isn’t sure about this whole new development in her little life. She thought the status quo was just fine, when she was the baby. Too bad this little upstart had to arrive.
      Donna’s been studying hard for her landscape architect’s licensing test, which she’ll be taking on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. She’s been reading books like “Construction Contracting,” about 500 pages of small print that doesn’t have much to do with landscaping, but she says she needs to know it all. I’m sure she’ll do fine. Tom has been knocking his head against a brick wall, trying to pass a computer-networking competency test. His boss says it takes several tries. Tom has a good attitude, though, and he says he’s learning a lot. He’ll surprise himself and pass one of these days.
      I’m in the market for some dead sod. Donna thinks we can get some from Park City nursery, since they usually just throw it away. Only now that I need it, there hasn’t been any for a while. I want to use it at the cabin, on the sledding hill, for erosion control. I know they make erosion batting, but this would be thicker and cheaper. And the deer would like walking on it better.
      Dad and I are leaving for Florida on September 28th and coming back October 4th. So we’ll be here for conference weekend. We hope to see at least some of you then, if not before.
      Lots of love, Mom

Friday, September 7, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Great News! Stuart James Mair was born yesterday afternoon at 2:48 pm. He weighed 8 lbs. 6 oz., and is 20½ inches long. You can see his picture on Nora’s Blog: During Nora’s labor, James had his laptop in the room, and uploaded pictures during the day. Now that’s technology!
      Other baby news: Amy Tregaskis Anson had her baby on August 31st. He weighed 7/8, was 20“ long, and they said he looks a lot like Caleb. They’ve named him Jacob David Anson. Katie Rickett Raymond also had her baby (boy) on the 31st, or maybe the 30th. She wanted to have him before the school-year deadline, so she was induced. It was a long labor, and they finally did a C-section, but at least he made it before the deadline. Let’s hope she doesn’t change her mind in five years and hold him back, after all that trouble.
      Andrea Hill came by last Sunday! They’re home from China, settled in St. George, and she’s loving America. Little things like driving a car, sending her kid to public school (it would cost $20,000 a year to send him to an English-speaking school in China), things like that. The only thing she really misses about China is her full-time maid, who only cost $200 a month, and taught her Chinese besides. Andrea came by our house to get some bar stools that she had ordered from Diamond Mattress in Salt Lake, where Renae has an account. I had picked them up for her on Friday, because the place wasn’t open on weekends. Besides getting the bar stools, Andrea wanted to know how all of you were doing, so I showed her She was delighted. She said every family should have a web site. Rachel said the same thing a couple of weeks ago, when we were in Albuquerque. She said, “I need information!” and I told her there was more than she could every possibly read. She didn’t think so. But, Vanessa, she was disappointed that you don’t have a blog. Andrea was, too. Couldn’t you please get on the bandwagon! Monica and Neil, it’s so easy! I would really like to see pictures of you! John? Paul? It only takes a few minutes to upload that all-important “information” that Rachel was so excited about.
      I’ve had lots of fun on e-bay lately. It’s even more fun than, because you have the excitement of watching your stuff go up in price. I listed the old set of Harvard Classics that I got from Grandma and Grandpa about 30 years ago. They’re not in very good shape, so my ad said, “If you want to really read the Harvard Classics, and not just put them on a shelf, this is the set for you!” I also included a picture of them, sitting on the white shelves, with beanie babies just above. There have been several bids, and now they’re up to $51.00, plus postage. I’ll be glad to send them to a good home. I also discovered the fun of using CraigsList, where I sold two mountain bikes that dad won at UTA, which were sort of cheaply-made, and too small for us. I listed them as “Two for the price of one–$49.00" The price was probably way too low, because we had dozens of calls. But at least I sold them! It’s not about the money, but just the excitement of making a sale! I probably missed my calling in life!
      I have the pictures from Mike Rogers. They really turned out great! I’ll sort them out and get them to you all.
      Live is good! Lots of love, Mom