Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dear Kids,
          Our Thanksgiving was the wildest and best ever. The pre-Thanksgiving party, Tuesday and Wednesday, involved Vanessa’s, Nora’s, and Allen’s families. Vanessa and I hiked the big loop, and Meg and Sarah came along. They didn’t know quite what they were getting into, but they kept up! The goats saw us go by, but they didn’t tag along, like last year. Dad and I were there at the cabin for most of Tuesday, and on Wednesday morning, the party came to us, at our house! More fun! Thursday we had fun with John’s, Tom’s, Donna’s, and Paul’s families, and Nora’s family came Thursday night for pie. That party carried over into Friday. I think the best thing was having two babies there. We passed Josh around, but Drew mostly stayed in his bucket. 
           Now we can plunge into the Christmas events! The Messiah in Heber will be Saturday and Sunday nights, December 12 and 13. Let us know if you plan to come either night, so we can plan an after-party. The family Christmas party with the kids’ gift exchange will be Saturday, the 19th. On Christmas Eve, Dad and I will be hiking Memorial Hill in Midway, with anybody who wants to come along. We’ll probably have hot chocolate afterwards, at somebody’s house. Christmas Day, does anybody want to get together for a Christmas dinner? Let me know. And of course we’ll have our sledding party on Saturday, the 26th, at the cabin. There’s no stopping the fun.
          Some of you have asked what Dad and I want for Christmas. We love big surprises, but if you want little ideas, I always like Ghirardelli midnight reverie chocolate, and gift cards to Amazon and Harbor Freight. I have two or three bigger-ticket things I’m buying for Dad, so if you want to go in on one of those, let me know. 
          My hand has healed fine from its latest surgery. John took out my stitches on Thanksgiving, using a little kit he brought along. He said he does that a lot, but don’t ask him to sew anything up, because they didn't teach him that in optometry school. 
           We're doin' great and lovin' it!  Mom

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Dear Kids,
          The most exciting event of the week was the arrival of Drew Reddick Hawkins on Friday. We knew he was going to be big, so we weren’t too surprised by his weight (9 lbs 11 oz) or his length (22"). He’ll be sharing his birthday with Allen, and with my sister Bonnie. (In such a big family, you can expect multiple birthdays, of course.) He has a cute, round face, and it looks like his hair will be light. Dad and I have been entertaining Dallin and Anna for the last couple of days, and they’ve kept us busy. It’s been pretty cold outside, but we’ve still taken them out to our playground. Yesterday afternoon Dallin didn’t want to get out of the toddler swing, so Dad kept pushing him. Every time we tried to take him out, he shook his head "no." Finally, after half an hour, he started crying, so we pulled him out and set him down to walk. He tottered around like a drunk. I think he was finally seasick. We’ve fed them on marshmallow mateys and fruit loops, and they’ve watched a lot of movies--well, half of a lot of movies. They always lose interest part way through, just when Dad is really getting into it. Overall, it’s been lots of fun. Bevan is picking them up this morning.
          I had surgery on my right hand last Monday–my third trigger finger in less than two years. The ring finger on my left hand is starting to go bad too, so I’ll probably have to have it done pretty soon. The surgeon told me that multiple trigger fingers are nearly always associated with diabetes, and I always have a lot of weird symptoms, so I got it checked out. I’m OK on that, thank goodness. My hand still hurts, and I’ll have the stitches in for another week.
           Evidently there’s going to be a pre-Thanksgiving bash at the cabin on Tuesday night, for everybody who’s going to the in-laws on Thanksgiving day. So far, I’ve heard that Vanessa’s family, Nora’s, and Allen’s are going to be there. Dad and I will be there most of the day on Tuesday. Thank goodness the fun never stops! It may be an off-year for some of you, but the fun never lets off.
          We’re looking forward to Thursday, for those of you who are "on" this year. See you then!
          Love, Mom

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dear Kids,
          Our Thanksgiving plans are shaping up. We’ll have at least Tom’s, Allen’s, and Paul’s families at the cabin for dinner at 1:00. Nora’s family will come in the evening for pie (probably at our house) and then they’ll be staying overnight at the cabin. I’m wondering if anybody will make the 10 pm run to the outlet stores. (Or is it 8 pm now? Or earlier? Pretty soon they’ll be opening at 6 am on Thanksgiving for the black Friday sales.) Donna doesn’t know what she’ll be doing for Thanksgiving. She’s planning to have a baby very soon. Little Hawk is going to be a big guy, whenever he happens to appear. 
           Dad and I spent Friday night at the cabin, for only the second time since we moved to our house two years ago. I want to get back into cabin life again. We’ve been so busy with our yard and house projects, I’ve hardly paid attention to it. But I’ve missed hiking up the hill in the morning, and watching the weir rabbits and other wildlife. Also, there are little bits of maintenance we haven’t kept up with. So we’re planning to go there every Friday night, just like we used to when we lived in West Valley, unless something else gets in the way. And it’s strange, although the cabin is only three miles away, it’s a totally different wold over there. So we’ll be there a lot more often now. If any of you are bored on a Friday night and want to come and stay over with us, we’d be glad for the company!
          Yesterday afternoon it was fairly warm and sunny outside, so we finished the final project on our playground–we fastened the bench to some wood blocks in the sand, so it will stay level and not blow over. We’ve had some pretty hefty winds lately. Our wonderful sand, our fine sifted playground sand, has been pretty vulnerable to wind. It blows away. We’ve lost at least a third of it. No problem. When spring comes, we’ll take our truck to the Heber pit and get some good coarse construction sand, which won’t blow away. It won’t be as fun for kids to burrow into, but maybe then they’ll try out the swings and the slide and the teeter totter instead.
          Life is good. I love you all. Mom

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Dear Kids,
          Katie was here until Tuesday afternoon, and we finished putting the pictures in her book. When she wasn’t finding pictures for me, she was watching the horses, outside our office window. She’d say, "Oh, look, someone’s coming to feed them! Now they’re running over to get their hay! Now they’re eating it! Now they’re jumping around!" So I started noticing them more. I had almost stopped watching them, but it reminded me how wonderful it is, having horses for neighbors.
          Oh, yes, the book. It was a miracle we finished it, but miraculous things happen when you write family histories. We had them all: a dead scanner brought back to life, missing picture files showing up, a program we needed to make pdf files, which John just "happened" to put on my computer a few weeks ago–it all happened. And we felt Grandma Allen helping us. We could almost hear her saying, "Oh, look, Les, they found the pictures! Oh, look, they got the scanner working!" (Maybe Grandpa Allen tweaked the scanner for us.) We had a wonderful time.
          I hated to see Katie leave, she was so much fun. But then I spent another day proofreading, and on Friday I took my pdf files to the BYU Press in Provo. (The files were too big to email, with our weak internet.) It was fun walking into the press building again. I worked there 45 years ago, when I got home from my mission. I tried to find my old office, but they had rearranged all the walls. It still smelled the same, though–machine oil and ink. A nice lady helped us order the books, and they should be ready in about three weeks. You’ll all be getting copies! Dad started reading the pdf files on his computer, and he couldn’t stop.
          What else? Dad and I had a wonderful hike along the Jordanelle yesterday. The weather was spectacular. We’re starting the Messiah practices tonight, so we won’t be having Zorro parties, unless you want to come earlier on Sundays. We’ll be here until 5:30.
          Love to all of you! Mom

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Dear Kids,
          Dad and I had a great trip to Idaho last weekend. We drove to Boise Thursday afternoon, and we had a lot of fun visiting with Katie, and going over her life story. Saturday morning we drove across the state to Rexburg, and we met Chris Harper at the temple there. (It’s high on the hill, and the air is totally clean, unlike any temples in Salt Lake or Utah County.) We stayed Saturday night with the Harpers in Newdale, and then we drove to Pocatello Sunday morning and went to church with Vanessa’s family. They were having stake conference, and we got there an hour late, but the talks were good, and we enjoyed it. We also enjoyed our Sunday afternoon there, eating pasta and going on a hike up in the hills. Early in the evening we left for home and had a nice drive. The weather was beautiful the whole way, and we saw some great scenery!
          While we were at Katie’s, and I was reading her story, she complained that it was starting to get boring, and I said we could fix that! We did–some of it while I was there, and I took a copy and worked on it Saturday and Sunday, on the way home. Katie really wants to have it done by Christmas, so we arranged for her to come here to our house so we could put in the pictures and print it. And that’s what we’re doing now. We worked for two days straight, and then she took off to visit Laurie and Bonnie. I was in a time warp, lost in the Katie’s story, so I just wandered around the house. Katie’s coming back this morning, and we’re hoping to finish the book asap. I don’t know how long she can stand to stay here and work on it, but I’m eager to keep going. You don’t count the hours on a project like this–you just keep working. 
           Tonight we’ll be having our usual Zorro-watching candy-eating get-together, but next Sunday night the Messiah practices are starting, so we’ll be tied up with that for several weeks. The performances are Saturday and Sunday night, December 12th and 13th. We’ll have an after party one of those nights, probably at Tom’s house, like we usually do.
         Winter is coming up! So is Thanksgiving! I’ll be calling to find out your plans as soon as we’re done with Katie’s story.
          Lots of love, Mom