Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dear Kids,
          Dad and I are heading south in the Sienna. We’re going to pick up Donna and Bevan and their kids and camping gear in Midway, and then we’re all going down to Goblin Valley for two days. Of course Dad and I didn’t think this up. We aren’t that adventurous. Donna planned it all and invited us to come. They’ve fixed all the food, and all we need to do is drive. What a deal! The weather is beautiful and I’m sure we’ll have a wonderful trip.
          We’re still trying to settle into the new house, and we’re still up to our ears in projects. The challenge for this week was trying to fit a rug under the three legs of my grand piano. We discovered that you can’t do it by lifting one leg at a time. At least you can’t get the rug in the right place. We even had the help of one of our bishop’s sons, and we still didn’t do it very well. But by then I had discovered that the rug had a warp along one side, and I decided we’d be taking it back. About five years ago President Uchtdorf gave a talk called "Lift Where you Stand," and it started with a story about moving a grand piano. They couldn’t figure out how to do it, until Hanno Luschin, who was just a punk teenager when I was on my mission there, said "Everybody stand where you are and lift." It worked. So when we get the new rug, I’m going to invite the young men in the ward to move the piano off the spot. Then we’ll lay out the rug, and put the piano back. I love how President Uchtdorf always gives such practical advice!
      Here’s the latest from Andy. He wanted me to forward it to you: Today we finished editing the book for Dad/Grandpa Allen and sent it off to be printed. He should receive the book in about a week. The book is 56 pages long, and I think that he will be thrilled with it, and can enjoy looking at it often. First let me express my deepest gratitude to every family in the clan. Every single family group responded in a timely manner, and allowed us to put the book together in just over a week’s time. Given we have over 50 families that contributed to the project, I think this kind of quick 100% response is amazing! I believe that the biggest factor to this success is everyone’s deep respect for Dad/grandpa. Also, thanks to Bonnie and Nancy for help in editing.  From my perspective, it was an incredible experience to witness the coming together of this project. As the photos and descriptions came piling in, it was overwhelming to witness the sheer volume of wonderful families, all doing incredible things. It just blew me away to see page after page after page of beautiful families. Truly, the book is a reflection of Lester and Marilyn’s righteous heritage.  We have created a share site on-line so that anyone who wants to can go and look at the book. Here is how you access it:
1) Go to (no password is needed)
2) There is a green banner across the top, click on the tab labeled "Pictures & Videos"
3) On the next screen you will see a photo album on the right side, click on that.
4) After the book opens, there is a "full screen" option above the pages that you can click on for better viewing. You can also select the "View Single Page" option to make it even larger.
This book will remain on-line indefinitely. If anyone wants to make any changes, corrections, or additions, please e-mail those to me and I will update the book (you cannot edit it from this site). Over the next week I will periodically update the book with the changes/corrections that I receive.
You can also order printed copies of the book from this site. I would recommend that you wait for the changes/additions that may come in this next week before you do that. Also, Shutterfly usually offers a 50% discount on photo books about once a month. When this happens, I will send out an e-mail alert to let everyone know who want to order printed copies. My experience with Shutterfly is that the printed books are of high quality and very professional looking. After I entered the Free shipping code and the 40% off code, the price was $65 for dad’s book. So at 50% off it should be between $55 and $60 per book. If/when you order, make sure you input all promo codes. Thanks again, Andy
          There. That was a long message, but I couldn’t figure out how to edit it.  Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dear Kids,
          Thanks to all of you for cooperating with Andy on his Shutterfly book. He said he had delightful talks with everybody! He has 52 pages ready to go. If you want a copy of the book, the cost will probably be $52. I’m getting one. I know Shutterfly is pricey, but it works! So contact Andy if you also want to spend big bucks to find out where everybody is and what they’re doing right now.
          I’m still dealing with the piles of stuff in our garage, and I bring in at least 5 things a day, but the pile isn’t getting any smaller. How does that work? Are gremlins adding new boxes during the night? And where are the really useful things? Most of the visible boxes have labels like "Liahonas in Spanish" or "Sienna head rests." Where is the box that says "All the rest of Christy’s clothes" or "The kitchen stuff I REALLY need?" 
          Dad and I are still working really hard to make this house livable. Dad paints and hangs blinds and replaces light fixtures. Our house, when we moved in, had the notorious "boob" lights. 18 of them. They were the default choice, and it would have cost a fortune to upgrade them through Fieldstone. So we’re re-doing them one by one. We’ve found some really cool ones at Lowes and Home Depot. My job, besides unpacking boxes, is putting in curtain rods and towel rods and shelves and extra cabinets. And lots else. It’s fun, but I’m starting to wonder what we used to do before we moved into this house. Oh, yeah, we used to hike up the hill every day. That far-away hill that we don’t have time for any more. Oreo wants to go back. His new territory stinks. Big bulldozers and backhoes are working across the street, putting in new roads, and he hates them. Maybe we’ll take him back to the cabin this afternoon and let him roam. I wish we could leave him there alone, but he needs humans almost as much as he needs good territory. 
          I hope you all have good territory. Love, Mom

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dear Kids,
          Thanks to all of you who helped us moved last weekend! It saved us a ton of work! Most of the stuff you moved is still in our garage, but I’m tackling it gradually. I’m trying to deal with five boxes a day. I don’t know how many there are all together, but since we’re never moving again, I’m not in a hurry. I just go out there looking for whatever I need. I have no idea where my winter clothes are, however. I was hoping to find them on the top of the pile, but they aren’t.
          Both Oreo and Xena have moved to the new house with us. I was planning to leave Oreo behind at the cabin, so he could take care of the rats and mice, but at the last minute we decided to bring him, too. He was terrified the first day and hid under the stacks of stuff in the garage. But the next morning, he was out in back perched on that old flatbed trailer, surveying his new territory, looking very proud. Xena doesn’t care where she is, as long as she has a bed and 3 meals a day. 
          My brother Andy has a plan to make a memory book for Grandpa Allen. Grandpa is living at Nancy’s house now, and he asked her, "Where are all the children?" (Obviously they weren’t at his 90th birthday party.) So Andy wants to make a Shutterfly-type photo book for Grandpa, to help him remember who his posterity are, and where they live. Here is his plan:
1) Each family unit (children and married grandchildren) need to take 3 or 4 pictures of their family members and the house where they live. I am not looking for portraits, simple snapshots will do. Since everybody in the world now has a camera phone (except for me) this should only take a few minutes to do. Just make sure that every person residing in your home is included in at least one of the photos. 
2) Type or text a short description including names of each family member, where you live, and a little about what you are doing (school, work, mission, etc).
3) E-mail me the photos and short descriptions at
There is no good reason to procrastinate this. It should only take 5-10 minutes Do it now and then I won't have to bug you again. I think that Dad (Grandpa) will really enjoy this book.
          So that’s Andy’s plan. I think it would be great if you would all contribute your bit. 
          Life is good! I love you all! Mom