Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dear Kids,
      I just stopped by Nora’s house to pick up some metallic gold fabric. She’s been painting her kitchen cupboards for more than a week now, and she’s almost ready to do the last coat and hang the cupboard doors back up. I know how exciting that is, when you’re nearly done with a project, and you want to see how it’s going to look. Last Saturday I built the first two bunks in the agricultural shed at the cabin, and of course I had to bring out a mattress and try them out. After all these years of carrying the plans around in my head, it was fun to see real bunks. Same with Nora’s cabinets, only she just recently decided to paint them white. She’s in that mood where you absolutely have to change something in your house!
      I was borrowing metallic fabric because I need to make Golden Plates bean bags for Primary. We’re going to be throwing them into a Hill Cumorah that I’m making out of plywood (left over from the bunks.) I’m going to paint it green and decorate it with moss and leaves and twigs. Then the kids will get to take turns tossing the plates into the hill. Yeah, maybe it sounds irreverent, but I do what I can to keep things lively. And to get them singing. They tend to stare at me while I sing, like nursery kids. But I finally know enough of their names, and I’m not so terrified, that I can do something about it. Last Sunday I had a silky treasure bag filled with seashells, and each one had the name of a song taped to it. They knew they would get to keep whatever they pulled out, so when I got out the bag, all their hands went up. But I had been paying attention during the opening songs, and I said, “Only four kids were singing: José, Miguel, David, and Anita. They’re going to get to choose!” You can bet they all started singing after that. If they didn’t know the words, they pretended. (I’ve done that too!) By the end of singing time, they were singing better than ever before. When I ran out of seashells, one kid said he wanted the necklace I was wearing. So it was lively. My goal. Every week is fun.
      Dad and I are looking forward to conference this weekend. It might be very quiet at the cabin! So far, no rooms have been reserved at all! But Dad and I don’t mind a quiet weekend. Allen’s family and Nora’s family have RSVP’d for Sunday dinner, however. I’m making tortilla soup, the kind with chicken and peppers and picante sauce, where you dump in tortilla chips and cheese and sour cream. I haven’t made it for a long time, and it sounded good. Let me know if any of the rest of you are coming for dinner, so I’ll make enough. There’s still snow on the sledding hill, and the sleds are still out, so that could be a lot of fun, too.
      Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dear Kids,
      There’s not enough new snow in the mountains to tempt me to go snowboarding today, and it’s too cold for a bike ride. Might as well write my family letter! Things are quiet here, as usual. Paul came by on his way home from New Mexico (unfortunately he failed the test he went to take–but no matter, they went to Arches!) and now he’s back in Logan. Vanessa’s family was here Friday night on their way to California. They had planned to stay over at Nora’s, but she’s painting her kitchen cabinets, so everybody came here (Nora’s family, included.) It was lots of fun. Nora called it a late-nighter. She said it’s better than a sleepover, because everybody goes home to bed.
      I did my first long bike ride last Wednesday. It was cold, but fun. I rode along the Jordan River parkway, of course. It’s way too early for baby ducklings, but there were lots of duck pairs doing a lot of quacking. Geese, too, and swans. It’ll be a great summer.
      On Saturday, Dad and I did some more good work on the ag shed, and we painted the inside with polyurethane. Next up–the very large shelves I’m going to build, exactly the right size to hold camping mattresses. I’m hoping to do at least a couple of them this weekend. It’s very exciting. I’ve been thinking about this project for more than ten years, from the time Grandma and Grandpa had the cabin at Timberlakes. I wanted to build a bunkhouse back then, but they sold the cabin. I kept the plans in my head, though. So it’s fun to have it this far along. One bad thing, though–I was helping Dad paint on the polyurethane, and I did a little too much with my right arm, which I thought was all rehabilitated. It let me know I was wrong. So now my shoulder hurts again. Dang.
      However, life is still good. Let me know about your plans for Conference/Easter weekend. Only Allen has RSVP’d so far.
      Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dear Kids,
      We had a lot of fun at Sunday dinner last week, but we didn’t realize it was an important day: Reggie’s birthday! He was 15, and we didn’t even celebrate. I realized it later that night. Speaking of which (dinner, not Reggie), I’ll be cooking Sunday dinner again on April 4th, at the cabin. It’s conference Sunday, and also Easter. Everybody is invited. If you want to stay over Friday or Saturday night, you can reserve a room by calling Donna or me. Dad and I are going to be sleeping in the bunk . . . oops, the agricultural shed. I don’t know if any bunks (oops, shelves) will be built by then, but the inside walls and ceiling are finished. It looks really good.
      My sugar and chocolate boycott only lasted eleven days. I got over the physical addiction after about a week, but I couldn’t handle the mental. It was terrible waking up in the morning and knowing I wasn’t going to have any chocolate all day long. I could have kept going, but I couldn’t figure out a good reason to keep torturing myself. So I quit. That first bite of chocolate tasted really good. (The dove dark that Vanessa gave me, closely followed by a Lindt truffle.)
      John was on a diet to lose 25 pounds, not because he looked fat, but because he was too heavy to fly his glider, if he took oxygen tanks. And without the tanks, he can’t go higher than 12,000 feet or so. In the meantime, he was advertising the glider for sale. You guessed it. After he lost 20 pounds, he sold the glider. He came to the cabin yesterday to give me my new glasses, and I showed him that Donna’s birthday cake was still out on the counter, and there was a big pail of ice cream in the freezer. (Don’t ask me why there was still cake and ice cream, five days after her birthday. In our house, it would have been long gone.) Well, you guessed the rest. We all tanked up on the cake and ice cream, and I think John enjoyed it the most of all.
      Paul just blew in. He’s on spring break, and on Wednesday he’s going to Farmington, New Mexico, to be fire-alarm certified for Texas. By the way, he’s going to Lubbock now, not San Antonio. At least it isn’t El Paso, he says.
      We had fast Sunday in the Lighthouse branch today, since last week was stake conference, and I got up my nerve to bear my testimony in Spanish. They have the custom of everybody going up to the stand at the start of testimonies, so you have to commit yourself at the beginning of the meeting. So I sat there on the stand, terrified, for the first 15 or 20 minutes. When it was my turn, and I started speaking, I was so scared my words all ran together. But then I looked around and saw all the different people I know, and realized they all wanted to hear what I was saying. So I relaxed and had a really good time. I’m sure I slaughtered their language, but they were all very nice afterwards.
      Life is good. I love you all! Mom

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dear Kids,
      I’ve been NINE DAYS without sugar and chocolate. It isn’t getting much easier, like I thought it would. I think I’m just battling the bad habit now, not the physical addiction. For most of my adult life, I’ve reached for the chocolate when the going got tough. And without it, everything is tough. If I didn’t have the goal of reporting back on Facebook, I wouldn’t have made it this far.
      This Sunday, the 7th, I’m cooking dinner, so let me know if you can come. I think I’ll make spaghetti. Does anybody want to bring a dessert? I don’t think I can make cupcakes without tasting the batter and the icing, so let me know if you want to bring dessert, or anything else. We’ll be eating at 5:00.
      I went snowboarding with Donna and Bevan on Monday. It was a little bit icy, but lots of fun. We all had a few good falls. I wish we’d get some more good storms, but they always seem to break up or go north when they get here. Like today. A huge storm showed up on the radar, coming this way, but then it just fizzled. Oh, well, I can soon start bike riding again. I’m anxious to get back to the Jordan River Parkway, which I haven’t been on since Sept. 25th, that fateful day. My bike is anxious, too.
      Paul is licensed to install security systems here in Utah, and he actually got a call for an installation in Logan. It was for Michael Ballam’s mother-in-law. I guess it was just a couple of components, not the whole gravy train, but I’m sure Paul did a good job. If Paul goes back to work for Apex this summer, he’ll be in San Antonio, Texas. At least he’s having plenty of good adventures!
      Life is good! Lots of love, Mom