Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dear Kids,
          We’re having wretched Memorial Day weekend weather! Dad went to the air show in Ogden with John’s family, and I think Nora and her family are camping at the Spruces in their pop-up trailer, and they’re all getting rained and snowed on. Vanessa says they didn’t plan anything at all. Memorial Day is nearly always cold! I had called Vanessa to find out about Sarah’s baptism–it’s next Saturday, June 2nd, at 2 pm, at Vanessa and Trent’s ward: 42 Princeton Street. (Same place as Sterling’s baptism, Luke’s blessing, etc.) There will be an after-party at Vanessa’s house, and food, of course! I’m looking forward to a trip to Idaho! Dad and I haven’t been anywhere for a long time. June 2nd is also our 40th wedding anniversary! I was hoping we could do something fun to celebrate, and this fits the ticket exactly! It’s hard to believe we’ve been married 40 years, but with John turning 39 in July, it guess it’s been long enough.
          I really don’t have any other news, so, to fill out my letter, here’s a bio of Dad and me that I wrote for our ward newsletter. (We’re still considered "new," even though we’ve been here almost a year. I wondered why there was so little turnover, but Dad pointed out that it’s really hard to move when you have horses and cows.) Anyway, here’s the bio:

Family Bio for Chuck and Christy Ackerson
          Chuck was born in Arlington, Virginia, and Christy was born in Glendale, California, but grew up mostly in Utah County. They met at BYU, where they were in the same ward, and even in the same home evening "family." They will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in June. They have nine children ranging in age from 27 to 38: John, Nora, Vanessa, Tom, Allen, Monica, Donna, Sharon, and Paul. They now have 28 grandchildren.
          Chuck has been a UTA bus driver for 36 years. He is currently #3 in seniority out of hundreds of drivers, and he trains many of the new drivers. He is often featured in the media-- most recently in a KUTV2 feature on March 31. Christy has been a piano teacher for 25 years, and she has also done a lot of writing, editing, and tutoring. They both enjoy snowboarding, playing chess, and going on long bike rides together. In addition, Christy likes big construction projects, and Chuck is always willing to help out. Chuck likes trap shooting, fiddling with the computer and reading books on his Nook.
          Interesting tidbits about the Ackersons: Christy once babysat Kurt Bestor. When she was in high school, she wrote a masters thesis for the BYU football coach. She has read the Book of Mormon in four languages, and she knows how to use a transit and a laser square. Chuck is a backyard auto mechanic, has a degree in nondestructive testing, and has earned his "3 Million Mile Safe-driving" award from UTA. On one of those miles, his bus was used as a "getaway car" for a robbery, without his knowledge.
          Chuck and Christy have lived in West Valley for 35 years, and they bought their second home in Woodland 10 years ago as a "cabin. At the present time Christy is having some lung trouble, and she can breathe a lot more easily in the clean air of Kamas Valley, so she’s living here practically full time. Chuck is here on weekends, so it has worked out very well for them to become members of the ward. They are really enjoying their new friends here!

          I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Lots of love, Mom

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dear Kids,
          We were all thrilled by the birth of baby Eli on Monday morning. He surprised us by coming early! Tom called me at the cabin at 5:00 that morning (of course I was awake!) to see if I could come and help with their kids. I was glad to hop in the car and go. Trieste and McKenzie came a little later in the morning, and we all went to the hospital to see Eli when he was just a couple of hours old. He’s very cute, of course. I’m sure you’ve all seen the pictures on facebook.
          One more May birthday! It’s such a great time of the year to have a party! There will be a birthday party for Dad on Sunday, the 27th at Donna’s house in Midway. We’ll be having hamburgers, and we’ll probably start eating around 5:00. Be there or be square! If you’re up for a food assignment, call Donna. I wish I could host a party at the cabin, but it’s looking its very worst right now. The dark before the dawn! Dad was so sick of chopping out tile that he decided to finish in one long marathon. He took Friday off work, and started early in the morning. He worked furiously in a cloud of red dust. (We went through lots of N95 dust masks!) He was sort of crazy, and he wouldn’t stop until it was done. That was about 4 in the afternoon. I was amazed. Of course it will be weeks before we get rid of all the red dust, and many years from now, we’ll still be finding things covered with it! Meanwhile, we ordered the cabinets from Donna and Bevan’s friend’s dad, Kent Winterton. His bid was less than half of what Home Depot would have charged. He says he’ll have them finished and installed inside of six weeks. Here’s hoping it all works out!
          I moved my hispanic piano class to Wednesdays, Dad’s day off, so Dad could go pick up kids, and drive them home again, and I wouldn’t have to sit in the car breathing all that exhaust in the late afternoon traffic. It makes a long day for us: my piano class at the Harmon Home in the morning, chess club after lunch, and then the hispianic piano class, but it’s nice to have it all in one day. Besides, Dad helps set up the tables. And he even helps teach the beginners. (OK, they’re practically all beginners, even after two years!) One little kid, Jonathan Mask, said he wants Dad to ALWAYS be his teacher! Donna and I have worked so hard, (and Kara, too) for so many months, and this kid prefers Dad! You never know.
          Hope to see lots of you on the 27 th! Love, Mom

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dear Kids,
          OK, so I’m a murderer. I destroyed a magpie nest! I should have gotten a clue when the same magpie flew away from our big pine tree every time I stepped out the greenhouse door. Finally, this morning, I got suspicious, and set up a ladder and climbed up to see. I knew immediately when I saw all the twigs up there. But I’ve never examined a magpie nest up close and personal. Inside all those twigs, there’s a real nest of mud and rocks. (We knew all along they had no class.) There were seven eggs in the nest, and I threw them down into the parking lot. (Luckily they weren’t baby birds, because I wouldn’t have had the heart to kill them.) Then I started flinging the twigs down, but I had to get a crowbar to break up the nest. It was practically cemented to the tree. When my work of destruction was done, I raked up all the twigs and carried them out into the field. Meanwhile, the magpie was watching. When I left, she flew into the tree and jumped from branch to branch. She was very confused. Finally she flew off into the field where her mate was waiting. ("Yo, Robert, our nest is gone! We’re free!") And they flew off together. I told Dad my story, and he said I should get $35.00 in bounty money for killing seven magpies.
          Speaking of Dad, I found out he knows practically zilch about the Dr. Seuss books. I thought everybody in the world knew them all by heart. We had gone to see "Seussical" at Valley Jr. High, because Spencer and Elise Fulton were in it. It was a great production, but Dad didn’t get it. About the only Seuss he knew was "I do not like green eggs and ham" and the Grinch. I started talking about Horton and the Whos and the King’s Stilts and Bartholomew Cubbins, and he hadn’t heard any of it. Luckily all the books are on Amazon, so I’m ordering them one by one, and we’re reading them for home evening. I started with "The King’s Stilts," and I have "Bartholomew Cubbins and the 500 Hats" coming. Maybe those earliest books aren’t so familiar now, but they were the best ones. I’ll take them all to the cabin when I’m done with them. There’s so much more to Seuss than green eggs and ham!
          I’ve been very busy at the cabin laying tile. I’ve done about 100 square feet, and it’s starting to look really good. I went looking at kitchen cabinets, however, and discovered that you sometimes have to wait five or six weeks for them! (That’s from Home Depot.) I have to get everything done by the end of July, so I have to make up my mind and order them soon! Donna and Bevan’s friend’s father, who has his own cabinet shop, is coming to give us an estimate tomorrow. Why are cabinets so stressful?
          But life is good! I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dear Kids,

          I’m uploading from the Kamas Library today, and there’s not much going on here. If I were in the deli at Food Town, there would be lots of people around me eating corn dogs, and maybe there would be free samples from the bakery, but there would be lots of distractions, too. On the other hand, maybe I need some distractions today. Oh, well, I’m here.

          We’re looking forward to seeing lots of you at Ellie’s baptism tomorrow. I put up the address last week: Redwood Road at 1100 North in North Salt Lake, 2600 South in Woods Cross. I just looked it up on our GPS. It’s an hour and five minutes from the cabin.

          Paul arrived safely in Sacramento yesterday. He says he has a nice apartment and a nice lead tech, so what more could he ask?

          Dad and I have definitely decided to sell our house in West Valley (cry cry.) I have lots of projects I want to finish there first, and I was dragging my feet, but we’re going to put it on the market at the end of the summer no matter what. This back-and-forth life is too hard, and I feel like I don’t have a home, even though we have two of them. We did find a house we’re interested in buying, and it’s only 10 minutes from our cabin. I had thought we didn’t want to buy a real house in Kamas Valley, but the air is even cleaner there than in Heber and Midway, and there’s even less traffic. The owners of the house we like aren’t in any hurry to move, so we’ll probably talk with them again when our old house is sold.

          I have so little time when I’m in West Valley, and so much to do, that I decided to drop my last three piano students: Kara McGettigan and Elise and Spencer Fulton. These three were the hardest of all to give up! I don’t usually cry unless I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I shed a few tears when it was time to talk with their moms. Even if I start teaching piano again when we get moved, I’ll never have such good students again!

          Well, I’ve got to get back to the cabin, because I’m all ready to start laying tile. I’ve put down about 150 square feet of wonderboard–enough to at least start laying tile on top of. Dad still has about 100 feet of old tile to chop out, and it’s the worst of all, but he’s gradually getting it done. Life moves on!

          I love you all! Mom