Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dear Kids,
          Whoa, it’s cold outside! It’s -6 on my phone ("feels like -16") and -7 on our outside thermometer. I know it’s been colder here before, but winter just barely started a few days ago. We got that big snowstorm Monday night, one that didn’t just pass us by, like most of the others. We had about a foot of snow, the most we’ve had here since we moved in. Dad even had to shovel the driveway! (Allen came over and helped.) So anyway, this winter weather is really a novelty for us.
          And Christmas 2015 is already memories! The thing we’ll remember longest is our hike up Memorial Hill on Christmas Eve. Somehow I hadn’t imagined so much snow! But the young teenagers scampered up through the drifts, while the adults plodded up. Even Kim and Eli made it, Eli being hauled and carried a lot of the way. Our toes were frozen, but everybody made it! And thanks to Heather for serving the hot chocolate and goodies afterwards, at their house. Poor Julie is recovering from having her tonsils out, so we didn’t see much of her.
          Our sledding party at the cabin yesterday was very cold. For once, the kids didn’t spend as much time out on the hill. But the food was good. Thanks to everybody for bringing your Christmas leftovers! There was a little bit of everything. 
           This morning I’ll be giving my last Relief Society lesson ever in the Spanish branch. Because of scheduling problems, I’ll be going back to Francis 2nd Ward next week. When I started out in the branch two years ago, I was on exactly the same schedule as Dad, and we both got home at the same time. We ate dinner together and told each other what had happened at church.  Last year it was almost the same, but this coming year, Francis 2nd is 9:00 to 12:00, while the Spanish branch is 12:30 to 3:00. Each of us being alone half a day is not my idea of a good Sunday, so I’m going back to the fold. The prodigal is returning. I will really miss the branch, though. I’ve felt more at home there than I ever did in a regular ward.
          But life is good! I wish you all the best for the new year! Love, Mom

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dear Kids,
          Sorry we left the party early last night! I had so many things to do for today that I was worried about it all. Dad and I have to do the music at Elk Meadows this morning, and I have to play a special musical number there. I have to play the piano in Relief Society, if I get back in time. I have to play the organ in sacrament meeting, including Joy to the World with a piano accompaniment by a woman who is a fabulous musician. I have to sing in the choir, with some difficult alto parts that I haven’t been able to learn very well. When today is over with, I can get on with enjoying Christmas.
          We keep checking things off our Christmas events list. Check on the Messiah. Check on the family Christmas party. (Thanks, Nora. It was a blast.) I guess we don’t have anything now until Christmas Eve. We’ll be meeting at Memorial Hill in Midway at 6pm for the hike! (We’re supposed to have some snowstorms before then, so maybe we can play Donner party.) I’ll bring along some hot chocolate mix, if somebody wants to volunteer their house afterwards. It’s too far to come back to our place.
          Christmas Day we’ll visit the families in Heber valley, and then be at Nora’s by 2pm for dinner. Orphans are welcome. The sledding party will be the next day, Saturday, at the cabin. (Most of you know that Allen has moved in there, but we’ll still have our regular parties, like always.) I’m going to make sloppy jo’s. If you can bring your leftover Christmas treats, we’ll eat them, I’m sure.
          Ten magpies are out in our back yard, fighting over a ham bone I tossed out yesterday. I don’t care about shooting them--maybe because it’s Christmas.
          Love to all, Mom

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dear Kids,
          Dad and I really enjoyed singing in the Messiah last night. I got to stand next to Tom, since the altos are next to the tenors, and the tallest people have to stand on the back row. (Just like school pictures.) Nora and Donna and Bevan (and Drew) were there. It was a sing-along, but most of the audience just sat there, except for Nora, who sang all the choruses, and Donna, who sang some of them, and Bevan, who sang a few Hallelujahs. After the performance, we had a great party at Tom and Kim’s. I had tried out some new high-altitude recipes for chocolate sauce and brownies, so we had those, plus ice cream.
          We get to sing the Messiah again tonight. I’m glad we can do it one more time. The next Christmas event, the party at Nora’s next Saturday, has had a few changes. We won’t be going ice skating, since the rink isn’t open during the middle of the afternoon. But I’m sure we’ll still have plenty of fun. The party starts at 5:00 pm, we’re going to eat at 6:00, and the present-opening will be at 7:00. 
         The rest of our Christmas schedule is the same. All the details are in my letter from last week.
          Dad and I were just drifting off to sleep the other night, comfortably in bed, when Oreo walked into our bedroom meowing. Of course he’s not supposed to be in at all, so I sent Dad to investigate. One of us had left the door into the garage partly open, and both cats took advantage of that. Xena had settled herself on the beanbag chair in the meatloaf position. Oreo followed Dad through the house, meowing, knowing he’d get milk, which is how we bribe him to go outside again. (If we don’t get out the milk, he squeezes his big fat self under the couch and stays there.) Dad was able to lure both cats out to the garage again. Since he’s been giving them whole milk, they always do what he wants. 
          We’re having cold winter weather now, but no snow, just like last year and the year before. We’ve had an inch or so, a couple of times, but it just blows away. Hopefully we get some kind of serious storm before Christmas. Otherwise we might as well all live in California.
          We hope all of you are enjoying the season! Love, Mom

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Dear Kids,
          I’m just getting over a sinus infection, and Dad has been sick at the same time, with a cold and ear pain. We’re both constantly sniffling and coughing. I hope we can both sing for the Messiah practice tonight. Last Sunday night we both had sore throats. It’s funny that the Messiah is always put on early in December, when people are getting their first winter colds. But it always goes ahead, anyway. We’ll be putting it on next Saturday and Sunday night, the 12th and 13th. Nora’s coming Saturday night, so that will be the night of our after-party. I’m not sure where it will be yet, only that we’ll have it.
          The next big Christmas event after that will be the family Christmas party on the 19th, at Nora’s house. Tentatively, ice skating will be at 4:00 (same place as last year) and dinner around 6:00. And of course there will be the wild cousins’ gift exchange. You can call Nora for exact times and more details. On Christmas Eve, Dad and I will be climbing Memorial Hill in Midway, and anybody who wants to is welcome to come along. I always like to climb up high somewhere on Christmas Eve, and look out over the snow, and see the town lights. It’s different from when we lived in the Salt Lake Valley and hiked Ensign Peak, and looked out over that vast valley with all its lights, but it still gives me the feeling of Christmas. And of starting my life over again.
          On Christmas Day, Dad and I will be driving around the Heber Valley seeing what the grandkids got for Christmas, and then we’re going to Nora’s house. She’s having dinner about 2:00 pm. I asked her if any Christmas orphans could also come there, and she said Yes. Nobody wants to be an orphan on Christmas.
          And then, of course, we’ll be hosting the sledding party at the cabin, the day after. That will be Saturday, the 26th. I’ll probably have soup and rolls, and you can bring your leftover Christmas goodies. It’s always fun.
          Katie’s books were finished this week, and I picked them up at the bindery. They look gorgeous. I saved out enough for our family, and Laurie took the rest of them to Boise, where she and Katie were wrapping them up. I’m so proud of Katie for finishing it! You kids will learn a lot from her story. I did.
          Love to everybody, Mom