Friday, December 21, 2007

Dear Kids,
      I just came in from shoveling snow, about 10 inches of it, off our walk and driveway. I was happy to do it. I’m still delighted with every snowstorm we get. It blew in last night, just before my Christmas music open house, but people came anyway. The kids played their music, and sang (including James and Nora’s kids, who sang a cute song), and then they romped around and played with the cat while the grownups ate cookies and looked outside at the snowstorm. It was so totally Christmas, with the snow falling and the music playing. We’re going to do it every year.
      And who is this cat they were playing with? Simba! The Hawkins’ cat! I think she’s supposed to be Bevan’s cat, but they can’t have her at the cabin, and Lloyd and Beverly have gone away for three weeks, so she’s here. She’s an African cat, and she loves to purr, talk to people, and lick their faces. And she’s obsessed with Lizzette. No kidding–we received a Christmas letter from Lizzette and Theral, with a picture of both of them, and Simba went crazy over the picture. She did starfish paws on Lizzette’s face, and licked it, and sat on the photo. Then she chewed the edges. When I put the picture on the counter, Simba jumped up and got it again. Maybe Lizzette reminds her of Trisha, Bevan’s sister, who brought her home from Africa. Who knows.
      Christmas Eve, Dad and I will be going down to the Seville to visit Grandpa and Grandma, but we’ll be back at our house by about 7:30 pm, maybe sooner, for the hike to Ensign Peak. I know those of you with little kids probably can’t come on the hike, but if you want to hang out at our house anyway, we’ll probably have some Christmas Eve goodies. At least we’ll be having hot chocolate when we got back from the hike. I’m not sure of our plans for Christmas Day, but we’ll definitely be going to the cabin that night. And there will be great sledding on the 26th, with all this snow! Maybe Tom will have an igloo built by then! We’ll probably be eating in the early afternoon, when Dad’s cousins get there. Let me know if you want to bring something. I’m thinking of making sloppy jo’s. Who can believe Christmas is going to be over with so soon? Actually, it feels sort of over with already, with all the present unwrapping that went on Saturday night at Nora’s house. But at least Dad and I got to see the kids unwrap the presents we gave them! I vote we do it that way every year!
      Since it feels like Christmas is practically over with, I’m making new year’s resolutions. This will be the best year yet! One of my resolutions is that I’m going to fix Sunday dinner on a regular schedule, probably the second Sunday of each month, and everybody is invited. I’ve been a slacker this year.
      Dad and I wish you all the merriest of Christmases! Love, Mom

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Whoa, even more snow! It has piled up in the ski resorts, and Deer Valley has all its runs open. Not that it’s a benefit to any of us snowboarders, but Paul has a chance of working there with Donna and Bevan during the Christmas break. He’ll probably be joining the “gang at the cabin” (as Grandma calls it), also known as “the squatters” (a term of unknown origin.) At any rate, we hope it all works out for him. He tried to get his job back at Migrant Glass, (oops, I mean Mygrant Glass), but they said they’re never very busy in the winter.
      We’re looking forward to the gingerbread party tomorrow at Nora and James’s house. I’m planning to dole out lots of presents! This is the earliest I’ve ever been ready for Christmas. I’m grateful to all the publishers of toy catalogs and the fine UPS man, who carried those gigantic boxes to our door. It’s all been really fun.
      Last Friday night was Nora and James’s ward Christmas dinner, and they did the “Journey to Bethlehem,” with Nora, James, and Stu as Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. Dad and I were invited to come along and help with the other kids, which we were delighted to do. You know those little bags of play coins they use for the Roman money? I remember that when our ward did it, Gorden Shaw (who was a very scary centurion) handed out the money, and it was those chocolate coins, wrapped in gold foil. Nora’s ward had the fake American money from Oriental Trader, but it was still a hit with the kids. Paige was perfectly delighted to dump the coins from her little bag and then pick them up, one by one, and put them back in. That kept her occupied all while the pageant was going on. Nora and James wandered from one “inn” to the other, looking for a place to stay. James had one line that went, “I seek a room for the night for my wife and I.” Even though it was ungrammatical, he said it just like they wanted him to. Overall, it was great. Nora said while they were sitting in the stable, and she was holding Stuart, she realized what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph. We could feel it, too.
      And meanwhile, outside, we were having this fabulous snowstorm. Huge flakes of cottony snow! The whole evening could have been Christmas eve, it was so perfect.
      Speaking of which, Vanessa says that she was telling Sterling about our Christmases here at home, and how they only got one thing from each grandma, and also one thing from Santa. So Sterling wanted to know, “Why didn’t you just ask Santa to bring you more presents?” Now, how would you answer that one?
      Jana McGettigan is going to have surgery again, just after Christmas, so could you all please remember her in your prayers? She and Kara are in “Christmas Carol” together this year, and we got to watch them last Wednesday night. It was great. I always love the end, where Scrooge says, “I’m not the man I used to be!” It’s Christmas and New Years rolled into one!
      We’re looking forward to the sledding party on the 26th. Dad and I will probably come the night before, and the fun will go on all day. Also, don’t forget our Christmas Music Open House, here, on the 20th, from 7 to 9 pm. Even if you don’t want to perform, make your kids do it! It’ll be lots of fun.
      Love to you all, Mom

Friday, December 7, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Yay! Another storm is on the way. They’re promising more snow. I hope it’s as good as last week. Well, Dad and I didn’t think it was so good last Friday night, when we were stuck on Highway 40, along the Jordanelle Reservoir, in a blizzard. The traffic was crawling along about 5 mph. We were on our way to Midway to watch Julie’s clogging recital. We thought we had plenty of time, but at 5 mph, you only go five miles in an hour, duh. We were still stuck in the traffic when John called from the recital and said Julie’s group had just finished their act. But we got to watch it later on video. We drove to John’s house where they were having a birthday party for Aaron, and Tom’s family was there, too, so you can guess it was pretty lively. When the party was over it was still snowing. Dad and I had planned to drive to the cabin, but I said we were staying the night at John’s, because we still haven’t put the blizzak tires on our car. Tom’s van didn’t have its blizzak tires, either, so they all piled into his little car for the drive back to the cabin, and left their van at John’s. The next morning, it was still snowing. I watched it on, and as soon as it looked clear, Dad and I set out, with Dad driving Tom’s car. I was driving the van. Of course it started snowing again, and the road was as bad as I’ve ever seen it. At the cabin, we parked both cars at the bottom of the hill, and called Tom to come down and get us. But all that didn’t dampen my excitement about the snow! I couldn’t wait to tromp down the sledding hill! With the sod under the snow, it’s smooth and fast. Everybody can plan on lots of fun sledding now! It’ll be good till spring.
      Speaking of sledding, we’re all still planning on the cabin party the day after Christmas. Dad’s cousins will be there, too, like last year. It should be riotous. We’ll probably have chili or soup bowls, good winter-weather comfort food. And also, speaking of Christmas parties, we’re looking forward to Nora’s gingerbread party on the 15th. She says to be there by 4 pm, and bring a bag of candies for decorating gingerbread houses, plus a potluck item for dinner. (Something that goes with potato soup.) Also, I think, your kids’ cousins presents, if you have them. My Christmas shopping is well underway, and the UPS truck has been bringing me giant boxes of toys. It couldn’t be more fun.
      Jeanne was here last week, and I drove her to the airport Monday morning for her flight back to Canada. But just as I arrived back home, she called and said her flight had been changed to 3:30 in the afternoon. So of course I went and picked her up, and she did errands with me. We went to Walmart and Kohls and the post office, and to the Winder Dairy store. Then we came home and looked through toy catalogs. It was lots of fun to visit with her. She says it’s so cold in Calgary, some days it doesn’t even get above zero. (I gave her a pair of smartwool socks to take home.) She also says that Mike and Moka are having a baby girl, and they’re naming her Bentley.
      At the Macey’s grocery store on 78th South, they put a grand piano in the entry way, and you can sign up to play Christmas music on it. So I did. I played for an hour on Tuesday morning, and I earned $2.00 in tips. Dad said I should donate it to the missionary fund.
      Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it. We’ll see you all soon!