Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Yay, it snowed! Well, not very much, but at least there’s white stuff on the ground. Our dead front lawn is covered over! And now that there’s snow, I can get serious about Christmas. I’m makin’ my list and checkin’ it twice. I received at least 15 toy catalogs in the mail this year (they’ve got my number now) so I’ve had lots of fun going through them. And ordering stuff online. Christmas shopping is totally different now.
      Donna and Bevan came by last night after Donna went to traffic school in Murray. Yep, she had a ticket a few weeks ago, and had to work it off. (Not so different from the penalty charts I used to have on the refrigerator.) Donna’s working with Bevan at Deer Valley now, since the landscaping is a little slow right now. Paul is hoping to work at Deer Valley too, during his Christmas break, but it all depends on how many regulars show up from last year. I’m grateful to Paul for playing four chess games with me during Thanksgiving. Sure, he beat me three times, but it prepped me up for playing Terry Coon Sunday night. We were having study group here, and of course Terry wanted to come early and start a game of chess. I beat him the last time we played, so he was all geared up. But I got a little advantage early on, and then I happened to mention that I didn’t want to blow my lead, like those poor Utes. That hit him where it hurt–he’s a big Ute fan. So every time I wanted to rattle him, I mentioned those poor Utes again. Of course it wasn’t fair, but I won. I’ve gotta use all my tricks, when I play Terry.
      I’ve also discovered how to play chess online. It’s endlessly fascinating, moving your pieces, and watching the other pieces move, and it could be anybody in the whole world you’re playing against. But I’m trying to limit myself to one game every night, after my work is done.
      Jeanne and Melissa came into town last night, and Dad picked them up at the airport. In their car, of course. Then they came here and visited for a while, before they drove to Jeanne’s parents house. It was nice to see them again. There’s a big hole in our family, since they moved to Canada. If you want to keep up on their doings, Megan has a blog at Right now there are some funny pictures of Jack, their dog. He hates the cold Canadian weather, and stays in the house all the time. Matt, in his missionary letters, always says hello to Jack. Can you imagine anybody missing a cat that much?
      We’re looking forward to all the Christmas fun. Nora’s gingerbread party is Saturday afternoon, December 15th. She’ll send us all more information. We’ll have our usual sledding party the day after Christmas. Sharon and her kids are coming January 8th, and I can’t remember if Seth is coming then too, or later. But it will be like Christmas all over again. Monica and Neil, don’t you guys think you could make a Christmas trip to Utah? Is there a time when you’re both free?
      Meanwhile, we’re doin’ great and lovin’ it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Dear Kids,
      We had a great Thanksgiving here at the cabin. But now it’s the day after, and the turkey carcass is out in the field, picked clean by the magpies. I just finished off the dressing, and I’m eating the next to the last piece of pie. Dad is fixing the washing machine (won’t spin) and Paul is doing homework. But the holiday was great while it lasted. Al and Missy and their kids came to the cabin the night before, and hung out with Tom and Kim. The kids are a great matchup–Ellie played with Emma, and Carson played with Bentley, and I didn’t notice any fighting at all. Dad and Paul and I came Thursday morning, with Grandma and Grandpa. They really enjoyed getting out for a day! Grandpa especially likes that ride up Provo Canyon. Some of my family had said they couldn’t go, but all those people were out of town, so Grandma said she could do whatever she wanted. She used a cane to get up the cabin steps, and a walker the rest of the time. Her knee seems to be healing fine, and we hope she’ll have a lot more mobility than before.
      Our great entertainment (besides the turkey dinner) was watching the video of Allen getting tased. If you haven’t seen it, it’s on Missy’s blog. A few weeks ago, when Boyd was visiting us, Allen was talking about the relative advantages of getting shot vs. getting stabbed. He said he’d rather be shot. Maybe that’s why he looked so excited, before they tased him. After the shots hit–well, you can watch it and see for yourself. He said it really hurts.
      After Thanksgiving dinner, some of us went and hiked the loop–Allen, Paul, and myself. Coming down, by the beaver pond, I got all excited about some moose tracks on the road. I said, “Hey, look at the moose tracks!” Allen said, “Hey, look at the moose!” There were three of them, just ahead of us, next to the road, eating the bushes. We talked as loud as we could, so they’d run away. There wasn’t much chance they would stomp us, but we didn’t want to see.
      Last night, Nora and James and their kids came to the cabin, from Ogden. So it was round two of fun. They slept over and went home this morning, so now it’s quiet again, and we’re sort of bored. I laid some more sod on the sledding hill, probably the last for the year. I never thought I’d still be working on that hill! Usually we have snow before Thanksgiving. Who knows when winter will ever come?
      Last Saturday was my duet recital at Riverton Music, and Robyn Noel had her students play, too. Her Dad played Jurassic Park with her, which was really cool. All the Fulton kids and the McGettigan kids were splendid. Jana McGettigan showed up without her wig, and her new hair is very short and very curly. Jana and Robyn and Stacy Menlove and I played the March Militaire quartet. It was so much fun, I wanted to do it all over again. In fact, the whole recital was so much fun, I wished we could do it again.
      Dad and I are having a Christmas Music open house again this year, probably December 18th. So start rehearsing. You can sing, play the piano, eat cookies, play the kazoo, whatever you and your kids want to do. We’ll invite my piano students and some ward members, too. If you have any friends who want to come, they’re also invited.
      I’m really excited about all the other Christmas fun coming up, too. Love to all, Mom

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Allen just called a little while ago, asking for Dad. He wanted to talk to him about a UTA hit-and-run in Centerville. Seems the bus turned around in someone’s driveway, and took out their mailbox. UTA settled for $2,000, to pay for the new mailbox. Hey, they can turn around in our driveway anytime! I think our mailbox is worth even more than that!
      If you look on Nora’s blog, you can read about the Kamas Turkey Trot. She and Kim cleaned up on the prizes! It was Saturday morning, at the fitness center. Kim did a 5k loop around Kamas, and Nora did a 1-mile walk on the track, pushing Stu in his stroller. Nora won second for her age group, and brought home a pumpkin pie. Kim took third, so she didn’t win any official prizes, but she brought home armloads of leftover treats–potato chips, go-gurts, fruit . . . all of it free. It didn’t even cost them anything to enter the race. What a deal! Our tax dollars at work, I guess. Maybe we all oughta join in next year.
      Grandma is doing great with her new knee. She even had the energy to escape from Berkshire, the rehab center. It was like a prison. I should have wondered why they didn’t have phones in the rooms! Her therapist was downright sadistic, not letting her have pain meds before her therapy, or oxygen during the sessions. He wouldn’t let any visitors watch what he was doing. Grandma says he seemed to enjoy hurting people. She asked him what he was so angry about, and he said it was his ex-wife. He was working on another man in the room, and when the man complained, the therapist said he would have to get used to it, because he was stuck there. Then Grandma told him, “Well, I’m not stuck here!” She checked out and got herself moved to Orchard, the place that Justin runs. Her new therapist is very gentle. She’s making good progress, and should be out in a few more days. We’re hoping that she and Grandpa can have Thanksgiving with us at the cabin.
      I spent Tuesday in Orem, taking Grandpa back and forth to Orchard to visit Grandma. My brother Mark showed up there, and we talked for a while. I asked him about his divorce. (Most of you know that he and Heather have been separated for several weeks.) He said it’s a done deal. They did the quick kind, where you don’t divide things up. If you have problems later, you go back to court. But it’s all pretty sad. Heather is going out with her old high school boyfriend. She’s even bringing him to Thanksgiving dinner at her mom’s house. Mark is going to Boise with Katie’s family.
      If you check “Tom’s Photo Gallery” on our home page, you’ll see that he put up a slideshow from October conference. There are some great pictures of kids smashing the pinata. We’ve gotta have the cutest grandkids in the world! Some of the adults are pretty cute, too. Only trouble with Tom’s slideshows is, we don’t see Tom! So that’s what happens when you’re the official photographer.
      I guess we won’t see many of you for Thanksgiving, but Christmas will be great! We’ll put out more details when it gets closer.
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dear Kids,
      We’re having such beautiful weather, I decided to put up our Christmas lights. Xena helped me. She head-butted me while I was sitting on the roof, close to the edge. No matter, I got the lights up. Usually I wait until it’s so cold my fingers can hardly work the plastic clips. This year I’m totally organized. My catalogs are piled up. I’m makin’ a list, and checkin’ it twice. I’m totally psyched about Christmas.
      Speaking of which, Missy sent me the following gift exchange list, to pass on to all you guys. Here it is: ADULTS: John and Heather give to Allen and Missy; Nora and James give to Monica and Neil; Vanessa and Trent give to Donna and Bevan; Tom and Kim give to Sharon and Seth; Allen and Missy give to Paul; Monica and Neil give to John and Heather; Donna and Bevan give to Nora and James; Sharon and Seth give to Vanessa and Trent; Paul gives to Tom and Kim
      KIDS: Julie gives to Meg; Jacob → Stewart; Aaron → Ben; Aubrey → Paige; Addie → Aubrey; Ben → Sterling; Paige → Charlie; Stewart → Bentley; Sterling → Ellie; Sarah → Ali; Meg → Jacob; Bentley → Julie; Emma → Matthew; Ali → Carson; Carson → Emma; Ellie → Addie; Charlie → Sarah; Matthew → Aaron
      Thanks to those of you who have put Halloween pictures of your kids on the blogs. It makes it so easy for me to get the photos for my scrapbooks! I can’t believe how cute all the costumes were! I think everybody had fun, too, especially Tom’s kids. They went to Heber to trick or treat with John’s kids. Then, after they had made their haul, they sat down to trade. Naturally Jacob had to trade away all his chocolate, and Bentley got it. (I’m sure Bentley was glad to trade off his Laffy Taffy and dum dums.) So Bentley ended up with nearly 100% candy bars. I’ll have to go to the cabin and sift through his stuff. See if he still has any Kit Kats or Almond Joys.
      Monica says that it’s starting to cool off in Tucson. She did a “Tin Man” triathalon, (as opposed to the “Iron Man” variety) where you swim less, bike less, and run less. She said it was lots of fun, in spite of the hard core types who were taking it very seriously. She also reports that Ramona is still out of control. Why am I not surprised?
      I had a phone call from Jeanne a couple of days ago, and she’s coming to Utah after Thanksgiving to do various errands. We’re going to pick her up at the airport. Can you believe it’s been more than a year since they moved to Canada? Melissa is moving back to her old neighborhood in South Jordan, so she can live with the next-door neighbors and graduate from Bingham High. Jeanne also reports that Mike and Moka are expecting a baby in March. I still can’t see Richard and Jeanne as grandparents. They’re just kids themselves!
      Grandma seems to be recovering OK from her knee surgery, at least so far. She’s in a rehab place called Berkshire, at 370 West 500 North in Orem. I’m sure she’d appreciate any visits.
      Lots of love to all you wonderful kids and kids-in-law and grandkids! Mom

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Halloween was a blast. I love how it goes on for days and days. We didn’t get to see Al and Missy’s kids on Halloween, so they came over last night, with their costumes on. We still had trick or treat candy! Our neighborhood has gotten really weird, as far as trick or treating goes. On Halloween night, we had a batch of about 25 Polynesian kids (the grandkids of the older couple across the street,) all in one group, with their pillowcases and plastic pumpkins. And then there were just a few more, here and there. The McGettigans and Fultons always indulge us by stopping by and letting us take their pictures. (Tyler McGettigan was Harry Potter. All he needed was the scar on his forehead added on–the rest was authentic Tyler.) So Halloween night was pretty quiet. Nora brought her kids to our house on Halloween afternoon, and I gave them candy and took their pictures. Tom and Kim were taking their kids to Heber, so I asked Tom to take pictures of his own kids and John’s, and put them up on his blog. For me, it’s all about the pictures. Vanessa, I hope we’ll get some pictures of your kids. Sharon, I’m sure you’ll put some up on your blog.
      Grandma Allen is having knee surgery this morning. She’s really optimistic this time. Naturally we all need to pray for her anyway. Yesterday I spent a few hours with her, taking her to the hospital for her pre-op tests, and then to get her hair done. I’ve never met her hairdresser, Joyce, but I’ve heard about her for years, so it was fun to sit there in the salon and watch her work. She knows everything about my brothers and sisters–all the dirt! More than I even would put in the family letter! Wow.
      It looks like we’ll be having a quiet Thanksgiving. Allen’s family is coming to the cabin for sure, and hopefully Grandma and Grandpa, if Grandma is OK to travel by then. Maybe we’ll have Tom and Kim. Vanessa–we haven’t heard from you, so I assume you guys are staying in Pocatello. Or going to some exotic vacation destination. And Paul . . . we hope you’re not going to some girlfriend’s house instead of coming home. So there won’t be very many of us. But it will still be fun.
      And Christmas is coming up fast, too. We’ll be having our usual day-after-Christmas sledding party at the cabin, on December 26th. (Who could believe Halloween is over and we’re already thinking about Christmas?) Nora and James are going to be Mary and Joseph in their ward’s Christmas Pageant. Little Stu is going to be the baby Jesus. Stu is the only baby in their ward, so he gets lots of attention. I’m sure he’ll be great in the pageant, not crying. (Of course the real baby Jesus never cried. We know that from the songs.)
      I don’t have any other news this week. Nothing fit to print, as the old saying goes.
      Lots of love, Mom