Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dear Kids,
          We enjoyed visiting with everybody who came to the family reunion yesterday! Charley volunteered to be in charge of the next one, which will be in two years. Let’s see what he will cook up! Whatever the agenda, it’s always fun to see people and catch up on news and gossip.
          After the reunion, Dad and I followed Tom and Kim to Daynes Music in Salt Lake, to "help" them look at pianos. Dad and Tom and I took turns watching the little kids while Kim talked to the sales people and tried out different pianos. They finally decided on a 5'8" Essex piano, made by Steinway, but inexpensively, by robots. The demo model had been sold and was going to Wyoming, so they have to wait a week or two for theirs to come in from a warehouse. That’s going to be exciting. To me, nothing else is as much fun as playing a really good piano.
          Last week I went to Delta Stone in Heber and ordered a new rock that will say "River Bluffs." (They old one was hauled away by Ferell Knight, who said he could use it.) I was thinking of having a picture of a river under the writing, and I didn’t like anything they had, so I looked up Suzette, who is a really good artist. She lives in Midway, right by the Homestead. The picture of the river didn’t work out, but since she’s always driving around looking for things to paint, I told her to come up to our house and paint the view. The next evening she showed up. She set up her easel and umbrella right on Hilltop Road, and started painting. People stopped to ask her what she was doing. Dad and I were raking dirt and hauling rocks in the yard, but we kept walking over to see the picture. When she was done, she gave it to us. She said she’ll probably come back here to paint again.
          Oreo hasn’t been interested in cat food lately. Could it be the little bunnies we’ve been seeing by the edge of the road? They’re so cute! He can’t be eating them! Hopefully he’s finding rats and mice instead. Since they graded our yard, he has to go farther away to hunt, but I think he’s finding better prey now. Xena just sits in the garage on her box all day long. She’s 14. We don’t know how much longer she’ll last.
          We’re looking forward to Paige’s baptism July 12th. Hopefully we’ll see a lot of you there. Love, Mom

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dear Kids,
          I finally got some guys to come and grade our yard, but they did a terrible job. I was all excited the night before when we came home from Salt Lake and the backhoe was parked in our yard, and I was thrilled the next morning when it started chomping into our dirt and spreading it around. One guy worked the backhoe while the other one used a bobcat, but it wasn’t long before I saw that they didn’t really know what they were doing. They just moved dirt. No way did they get it level. They worked for six hours and said it was all they could do, because of the rocks. I told them the ground wasn’t level, and they said sorry. Their bid had been lower than I expected, so I paid them off and was actually glad to see the last of them. What can we do now? I guess Dad and I will finish off the yard gradually, leveling each section as we go, with a good old fashioned shovel and rake, and using the wheelbarrow to move the dirt where we want it. (And to move the rocks where we don’t want them.) What else can we do? Nobody else was willing to come and do it. I’ve been telling people how much I like working outside, and I would actually be disappointed if our yard were completely finished, but I was hoping to get a better start than this!
          Dad and I really enjoyed Carly and Levi’s sealing yesterday in the Salt Lake Temple. Several of my brothers and sisters were there, along with a few cousins. (Including Donna and Bevan, from our family.) It was especially nice having children come into the sealing room! The baby, August Gordon, is only a few weeks old, and he cried during the ceremony, but of course it didn’t matter. The sealing is valid, whatever!
          Don’t forget the Allen family reunion next week in Provo at Riverwoods Park! I’ll probably be calling everybody, to make sure nobody missed hearing about it. And don’t forget Paige’s baptism July 12. The nice thing about having a big family is that there’s always something coming up!
          I’m still enjoying the Spanish branch in Kamas. Today I had a lot on my plate: Dad and I went to church first at Elk Meadows, the local care center, where we were in charge of the music. Then I had to give the opening prayer in Sacrament Meeting (not a big deal if it had been in English) plus hand out a notice I made (in Spanish) to all the parents of the primary kids. Oh, yeah, I led the music, like always. I try to memorize the hymns in advance so I look like I know what I’m doing. Then I had to do sharing time in Primary. When I was ready to breathe a big sigh of relief, the branch president assigned me to be in charge of the branch’s float for the 24th of July parade. I told him that wasn’t really mt thing, and he said it wasn’t his, either. Of course I agreed to do it. The children’s parade is a big deal in a small town. It will be fun.
          Do I sound tired? I am. Off for a nap! Love, Mom

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dear Kids,
          Yesterday Dad flew in the B25 that’s on tour at the Heber airport. John paid for it, as a birthday and Fathers Day present. It’s mild to say that Dad was both excited and terrified for the flight. When I saw that old rattletrap on the runway, I was terrified myself. When it revved up, it sounded like 100 lawn mowers, and it belched out clouds of toxic airplane exhaust. I had to run to a field about 100 yards away to get away from the smoke, and it still got into my lungs. Dad said it was surprisingly smooth taking off and flying, but so loud they had to wear earmuffs to muffle the noise. The passengers (probably 8 people) got to take turns going up into the cockpit during the flight. They were only up about 20 minutes, which seemed plenty long enough. When the plane touched down, we were all immensely relieved. John and his family were there, and Jacob kept begging for a ride, but John said it cost too much. Jacob said the B25 is his favorite bomber. He’s been flying it on a video game.
          A couple of weeks ago I forwarded Bonnie’s e-mail to you about the Allen family reunion on June 28 (Saturday). If you didn’t get the information, we’re meeting at the same park as always (Riverwoods), you bring your own lunch, and there will be lots of fun and activities. All of us Ackersons are supposed to wear blue, but it doesn’t have to be a solid color. Our pavilion is reserved from 9 am on, but Bonnie guessed the reunion wouldn’t really get going until about 10. 
          And besides that, Paige’s baptism is coming up! It will be Saturday, July 12, at 2:20 pm, at Nora and James’s church (2050 North Main) in Centerville. (Same place as McKay’s blessing.) There will be an after-party at Nora’s house, of course.
          Since Dad and I finished building our window wells, our landscaping has come to a halt. I’ve had a terrible time finding somebody to come and level our yard. There are big dirt hills and bumps and dips, and we can’t possibly make it look good until it’s level. But all the excavating companies are busy right now, and they don’t return calls. I finally found a guy who was going to do it yesterday, but he called the night before with a song and dance about his truck breaking down. I think that just meant he hadn’t finished the project he was doing somewhere else on Friday. He said he might get to it this coming Thursday or Friday. It’s very frustrating, after working so hard, to come to a standstill.
          But life is good. The air is clean here. Our cats are well and obnixous. How can I complain?
          Love, Mom

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dear Kids,
          Last weekend was fabulous. Thanks to all of you that fed us and entertained us and delighted us with your wonderful children. We really enjoyed Meg’s baptism in Pocatello. It’s always fun to get together with the Suttons, and they all bring such wonderful food to the events we share! All the Sutton grandchildren look like ours, and there are even a few actual clones! 
          Dad and I spent Saturday night in Brigham City, along with Donna and Bevan and their kids, who were traveling with us. Andy had planned a party for my brothers and sisters, and most of them were there, even Katie from Boise! Of course I don’t have room for all the news and gossip and wild tales that went around. The best news is that Carly and Levi are being sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on June 21. They sent out an e-mail invite along with a facebook invite. Dad and I will be there for sure. We attended their original wedding in Boise in 2005, in the garden of the old territorial prison. What a party that was! This will be even better.
          Back to our travels: Sunday we drove to Centerville for McKay’s blessing. It was a wonderful meeting, and the after-party was great, too. Great food, great people. I hiked up the mountain with Trent and Vanessa. I never can keep away from that trail when we’re at Nora and James’s new house. Also, we really enjoyed playing their new piano. I can’t keep away from a good piano, either.

Yesterday morning Dad and I finished our last window well. I can’t believe we did all that! While I was laying the third to the last block, Oreo and Xena came to investigate. They sat down to watch me. When I laid down the strip of mortar, Xena walked over and stepped in it. I called Dad to come and get them away. It reminded me of when children used to watch me do my projects.
          On Monday Dad and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary by having lunch in Heber at Chick’s Café. (Thanks to those of you who went in on the gift certificate for Dad’s birthday!) I can’t believe we’ve made it 42 years! Of course we have the children and grandchildren to prove it!
          Lots of love, Mom