Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dear Kids,
          Carson and Ellie stayed overnight with us because Allen is doing a DUI roadblock down in Centerville. I asked him what was going on that they needed to catch the DUI’s, and he said "Halloween parties." Who would have guessed? I knew New Years and St. Patrick’s Day were big drinking holidays, but Halloween?! Anyway, we always enjoy having Carson and Ellie here. They entertain themselves quietly, reading or doing their homework.
          Dad and Allen are getting really excited about their Hawaii trip. They’re leaving early Thursday morning. I’m not sure how I’ll entertain myself while they’re gone. I think a big shopping trip to Salt Lake is in the works, although it might only be the rounds of the DI’s. I’ll probably do some hiking, too. This good weather is supposed to keep up for another couple of weeks, into the middle of November. I’ve prayed for a long streak of good weather so I can finish my yard projects before winter, but my arms ache from shoveling. And the Jordanelle Perimeter Trail has been calling to me.
          Tonight we’re starting practices for the Messiah in Heber. We’ll be practicing every Sunday night from now on. Our performances will be December 10th and 11th at 7 pm at Tom’s church. I’m sure we’ll have after parties on one or both nights. I’m really looking forward to singing that beautiful music, and for the parties, too.
          With winter coming on, I worried that Tina wouldn’t have a good place to sleep in the garage. She absolutely won’t cuddle up with Xena on the heated pad. So I made her a kitty house out of a storage tote, with a door cut in the front. (How many of those have I made!) and a heating pad inside. The first day she scoffed at her new house, and wouldn’t go in, but Dad suggested sprinkling catnip on the pad inside. That did it. Now she loves it.
          I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it. Have a great Halloween tomorrow! Mom

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dear Kids,
         We had Donna and Bevan’s kids from Friday through Saturday, and they were just delightful. They ate well, slept well, and played well. (Donna and Bevan are in Hawaii. I hope they’re also eating well, sleeping well, and playing well.) Dad and I had fun with the kids, and they helped me work on the hill I’m making out on the north side of our house. They dug and raked. There was less of a hill when they finished than when they started, but it kept us all entertained for a while. We watched movies and took naps, too. Now the kids are at Nora’s house. Dad drove them there last night.
           I would have gone too, but I’ve been practicing the piano–hours a day. It’s been a jump-start rehabilitation for my hand. There’s a young opera singer in our ward who isn’t doing opera at the moment because she has 6 kids, but she asked me to accompany her for two songs today–one in Relief Society and one in Kamas 4th Ward’s sacrament meeting. Of course I couldn’t say no. I’ve taken lots of ibuprofin to get rid of the pain, but when I play for very long, my fingers lock up. I discovered, though, that if I keep playing, they unlock again. I’m hoping for the best for us today.
          My sister Katie had a mini stroke on Monday. Here’s what Bonnie wrote: "It took part of the vision in her right eye. The loss is permanent (she said it’s like a little gray cloud) but she is very lucky it didn’t go to her brain. They said her brain will trick her eyes into compensating for that loss and eventually she won’t notice it as much. She’s really upbeat–says she can’t do anything about it, so she’s just trying not to dwell on it. It’s about 1/3 of the vision in her right eye." Of course we’re all praying for Katie. 
          Next Sunday night we’ll start Messiah practices, so tonight will be our last Sunday-night get-together for a while. Of course I have plenty of candy and oreos and chocolate milk and otter pops.
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dear Kids,
          Tom and Kim are having a boy! We’ve had a long string of boys now–there hasn’t been a girl since Anna. The new baby will be grandchild #33 for us, but I haven’t stopped to figure out how many girls and how many boys that will make. If any of you can tell me, that will save me the trouble of figuring it out.
           Early Wednesday morning, Dad and I went flying with Richard and Trish Gerlach in their Grummen Tiger plane. They bought it five years ago, and they’ve said several times they ought to take us flying, and we’ve always said, "OK," and it finally happened! We flew over Heber Valley, Kamas Valley (where we had a good look at our house from the sky) and Park City. All that took about an hour–as long and we’d planned to be up. The morning was cold and clear, and the reds and yellows of the trees were gorgeous. We couldn’t help comparing the Gerlachs’ small plane with John’s glider, especially how noisy it was. We had to wear headphones to hear each other. It wasn’t as smooth, either. But it sure was fun.
           I’m loving the long, warm fall we’re having, because we can still work in the yard. We turned off our sprinkling system about 3 weeks ago, when we had a heavy freeze, so now, about once a week, we’re watering our trees and shrubs by hand. Dad watered yesterday, and he counted every tree and shrub. 106, he said. I was digging on the north side of the house, making a hill for our new deer to sit on. We got some railroad ties to put along the edge of our gravel parking strip, and I’m excavating for those, too. Dad painted the skirting on our deck with oil stain, and it looks really good. So many projects, but I’ll never get tired of working outside.
           My hand is almost healed, and I’ll be playing the organ in church today. I’m looking forward to that.
          Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Dear Kids,
         Andy and Renae came Friday afternoon to stay overnight with us, because Mark and Tamri’s son was being baptized the next morning in the Provo River. Tamri and her brothers and sisters were all baptized there, so it’s a family tradition. I’m sure it turned out just fine. It was even warmer yesterday morning than it was predicted to be. And Dad and I had a lot of fun with Andy and Renae while they were here. We ate at the Gateway Grille. We talked and talked. We went for a walk around our neighborhood. Oh, I forgot to mention: they have a mission call, to the Washington DC South Mission, and their main assignment will be at the Northern Virginia Employment Resource Center in Annandale. They’ll have other assignments, too. They leave for the MTC on January 2, and they’re very excited about it. Andy had thought they might go foreign, since they have plenty of money, good health, and were willing to learn a new language, but they’re really happy about Virginia.
           Dad and Allen are really pumped up for their Hawaii trip. It’s less than a month away now. I bought them each a Hawaiian shirt off Amazon. I hope they’ll at least wear them to the luau. They are diligently planning what to see and do. Andy and Renae had lots of suggestions for Dad, since they’ve been to Oahu.
           My hand is still improving. I can play the piano for up to 20 minutes now, although it’s hard to do an octave. It’s still hard for me to type, and I make lots of mistakes. I still can’t use a needle and thread, or tweezers, or butter a piece of toast. Power tools are still out of the question. Dad and I have been working on the deck skirting around our pergola, so Dad has to do all the cutting and power nailing. We’re trying to finish as much as possible before winter sets in. I’m still digging in the yard, making slow progress. It’s funny that using a shovel and a rake were about the first things I could do after my hand surgery.
          I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Dear Kids,
         Our Saturday-night soup dinner and ice cream party last night was a total blast. There was a record crowd–at least 25 people, probably more. We ate record amounts of soup and rolls and bread, and we consumed large quantities of brownies (thanks, Donna,) ice cream, chocolate sauce, etc. I hope the men enjoyed the Priesthood session of conference, which they went to in-between. The rest of us played games and talked and ate still more. We sent the littlest kids out to run in circles on the deck. They played on the playground, too. It was a wonderful evening.
          Our yard-improvements are still moving along, in spite of the brisk fall weather. Yesterday Dad and John put up most of the pergola on our back deck. It’s exactly like the pergola out in the yard, and people must be scratching their heads, wondering why we need two. But we do. I hope it will look really good. Besides that, I’ve started digging on the north side of the house, making a hill for our new deer to sit on, and digging out another dry creek bed. People slow down as they drive by, probably wondering what in the world I’m doing now. They’ll see. I hope I can get most of it done before winter.
         The new family truck is going full speed ahead. We saw it for the first time last Sunday night, when Julie drove it here, with John and Jacob. It’s very big, and very impressive. Dad and I drove it around Kamas Valley. Yesterday Tom borrowed it to take things to the dump, and barely got back in time for John to pick up a pool table for his basement. I’m sure it will get a lot of use. John is hoping people will return it with a little more gas than when they borrowed it. I don’t think he expects you to fill the tank, if you borrow it empty. I’m sure these issues will sort themselves out.
          We’re loving our life here, and we love having so much family around.