Sunday, December 25, 2016

Dear Kids,
          It’s Christmas morning! It’s snowing! Santa Claus came! The baby Jesus was born! There isn’t a more magical time!
          Thanks to Nora for hosting the Christmas party Friday night! It gets better every year. Thanks to all of you who brought food, and presents, and your own special charm. Dad and I are always proud to see all of you working together, getting along so well, and taking such good care of your children. It’s a magical time of life for us.
            Our hike up Memorial Hill last night was quick and fun. It was nothing like last year, when we trudged through a foot of snow, like the Donner party. There was just a little snowpack on the road, and some mud at the sides. It started raining lightly, so we hurried. I didn’t want anybody getting soaked through. I know lots of families act out the nativity on Christmas eve, and sing Christmas carols, but I always like to hike up to someplace high and look out over the town. I always feel like my life is starting over again, brand new. And if there are kids and kids-in-law and grandkids along with us, it’s that much better.
          We’re looking forward to seeing lots of you at the sledding party at the cabin tomorrow. Allen has been cleaning and fixing things up there. (He said he washed all the sheets on all the beds–it took eight loads.) I’m bringing sloppy jo’s and potato chips for lunch. If you will all bring your leftover Christmas food and goodies, we’ll have plenty to munch on. There will be plenty of snow on the hill!
           Our ward sponsored a community bonfire at the Francis rodeo grounds on Wednesday night, instead of having a ward Christmas dinner. The bonfire was really gigantic, with lots of pallets and logs from Thompson logging, but they had poured on lots of gasoline and diesel, so the air was too toxic for me to stay around. Dad was helping fry scones in the food shack, and they had hot chocolate and wassail, too. The kids were running around and having fun. It was a great idea, and very original, but maybe they’ll hold off on the gasoline and diesel next time. The fire is probably still burning! It was still going a couple of days after the party.
          I hope you’re all having a wonderful Christmas day!
          Love, Mom

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Dear Kids,
          The thermometer says it’s -4 outside. My phone tells me it feels like -15. I hope our cats are snug in the garage. I’ve made special kitty houses for each of them (they won’t share) with heated pads inside. I made Tina’s first, and put it well away from the door, where Xena sleeps on her pad, but then I had to make one for Xena, too. Sometimes they trade.
           This week I’ve mostly been busy wrapping presents. I haven’t had enough boxes, but each day I’ve gotten packages from Amazon, and the new boxes were always the right size for whatever I needed that day. So now I’m nearly done, and the boxes are nearly gone. It’s fun to try and find exactly the right present for each person in our family. Sometimes I goof, but it’s always OK somehow.
          The Christmas party at Nora’s on Friday will start with optional skating at the Bountiful Rec Center. The session is from 12:00 to 2:00. Call Nora for details and the address. After that, there will be sledding and hot chocolate back at Nora’s house. Dinner will be at 6:00 (I assume you all have your food assignments) and presents will be at 7:00. It should be wild and exciting!
          On Christmas Eve, Dad and I will do our traditional hike up Memorial Hill in Midway. If there’s enough interest, I’ll do a soup dinner here at our house beforehand. Afterwards, we’ll probably have hot chocolate somewhere. I’ll call around and see what everybody wants to do.
          On Christmas Day, Dad and I will be in Heber Valley. We’ll be going to John and Heather’s sacrament meeting at 1:00, because I really want to hear the Christmas program Heather has put together. (Our own ward meets at 9, and they’ve planned a really strange program. I’m not going to that one. It would ruin my Christmas. Dad will go and sing in the choir, like a good boy.) After we visit with John’s family, we’ll probably also go to Tom’s and Donna’s. That night, anybody who wants to come can stay over at our house or the cabin, and of course Monday will be the sledding party. More about that in my letter next week.
         What a great Christmas season! Love to all, Mom

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Dear Kids,
          Thanks to Donna for hosting the Messiah after-party last night! She stepped up at the last minute and volunteered her house. Thanks to Tom for bringing his home-made sushi. It was a hit. He kept slicing it and laying it out, and we devoured plate after plate of it.
          The Messiah itself was very nice. The choir was enormous, and I made sure I was surrounded by good altos. I enjoy that music more every year. It’s a sing-along, and this time I knew the songs well enough that I could look up from my music and watch the people in the audience singing. (Of course I was watching the director, too.) There were some great performers in the audience! People in Heber absolutely love the Messiah!
         We’d had a practice that morning, and since it was supposed to rain and snow all day long, Dad and I hung out at John’s house instead of going home and coming back. It was very pleasant. We used the internet and watched John’s family come and go. John spent nearly the whole day cleaning his carpets. What a good worker he still is!
          Here’s a news tidbit: Allen went on a date! The woman is a Davis County prosecutor (in line to become a judge!) and they’d worked on a case together a while back. She’s Hispanic, and obviously very accomplished. He said it might not turn into anything, but they had a good time together. Their date? She helped him do "Shop With a Cop." He told her he needed a woman’s touch. Go, Al!
          Bentley has a great part-time job for Christmas: he’s working on the Polar Express! Actually, it’s called the North Pole Express, but it’s really the Heber Creeper, decked out for Christmas. They travel half way down the canyon to the "North Pole," where Santa gets on the train and goes down each car, talking to the kids. Bentley is dressed like a chef, and he serves hot chocolate, sings along with the piped-in music, and makes the kids laugh. Other workers are "elves," and they hand out cookies. It costs a small fortune for the kids to ride, but it’s always packed. I think practically everybody is from out-of-town. Anyway, it sounds like a terrific job. Go, Bentley!
          Has anybody seen my "Tall Book of Christmas?" It seems to be missing. Thank goodness I copied out "Giant Grummer’s Christmas" a while back, but I sure wish I had the rest of it. 
           Hope you’re all lovin’ the Christmas season! Mom

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dear Kids,
          I’m hoping for more snow, because it’s so desolate outside. There’s too much frozen dirt showing, and rocks, and magpie tracks. Oh, wait, those are deer tracks, and dog tracks, too. They like to scavenge our yard, because we’re right near the crest of their hill. Well, I’m hoping for snow to cover it all up, and remind me that Christmas is just around the corner.
         Allen has put up a Christmas tree in the cabin, which you might have seen on facebook. He decorated one of the outside trees with lights, too, and he wrote that everybody’s welcome there for the holidays. Thanks, Al, for giving the cabin so much Christmas spirit! We’ll be there!
         I’ve been Christmas shopping online, not that I’ve bought anything yet, but I’ve been roaming around Amazon, checking out toys and games and puzzles and books. I like reading people’s reviews–it’s so much better than just ordering things! I’ve been making my list and checking it twice. (Last year I left off Macie, and I had to scramble with a last-minute order.)
            If you’ve been looking on facebook, you probably saw Nora’s post about the Michelson’s house in Fruit Heights burning down. Yes, it’s the same house Nora’s family lived in, before they moved to the cabin, before they moved to their new house. Evidently there was an electrical problem, and the flames spread to the roof and to the basement. By the time a neighbor saw it, there was barely time for the family living there to get out. They couldn’t even get any of their stuff. The picture Nora posted showed that it was almost totally gutted. Whoa. That reminded me that the trailer we once lived in burned down a while after we sold it. Let’s all keep ahead of the fires, OK?
           I just checked We’re supposed to have snow tomorrow and Monday. Let it come!
           Lots of love, Mom