Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dear Kids,
         The snow is still piled up, high. It hasn’t been warm enough to melt anything. There are gigantic drifts alongside the roads, where the snowplows have pushed it. The magpies are having a tough time finding enough roadkill to keep them happy, but Friday, coming down Highway 32 into Heber, I saw a couple of deer legs sticking out of a snowdrift, and the magpies were scrambling all over them. There should be more snowshoe rabbits for them pretty soon, too, because they’re turning up here and there, running across the road like idiots. Last year they dug up our lawn, but this year there’s too much snow. Dad has a friend over at the "coffee club" who measures water levels in the mountains, and he said right now there’s 24". That means there’s been about 24 feet of snow.
          What else? We visited Paul and Stefanie yesterday afternoon, for a belated birthday party for Paul, and the Riebens were there, too. We all admired the remarkable Josh. Paul makes him fly like an airplane (or "superbaby,") and he loves it. Earlier in the day, we’d had a sledding party at the cabin with the Barnecks, a young family in our ward with six kids. We took them up the hill in our Sienna, in two batches, since they don’t have snow tires. The first batch was all kids, and when I got them into the cabin, Allen was making waffles. The kids all declared that they were hungry, so Allen fed them. When their parents got there, they were all happily eating waffles. Thanks, Al! By the way, Allen has a Clavinova now, which he bought last week. And he’s started taking piano lessons from a teacher in Centerville!
           John discovered that Costco sells a really dark cocoa powder, twice as dark as Hersheys, and it only costs half as much. He brought me a bag last Sunday night, when we had a lot of people here. I mixed a batch of half cocoa, half brown sugar, and tested all the kids for "true chocolate lovers" by giving each of them a tiny taste. Only two passed--Aubrey and Abi. They both wanted more. Everybody else made a face. But then the three of us, the true chocolate lovers, each got more.  There’s no stopping the fun!
           Love, Mom

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Our snow hasn’t melted, but it’s compacted down about a foot. We had a few more inches yesterday morning, and there’s supposed to be more this afternoon and Monday. Otherwise, nothing exciting is going on here. Usually I have big building projects in January. Last year we were finishing the basement, and I was in a state of constant excitement. The year before we were getting new cabinets in the big bathroom and our office. The year before that, we had just moved in, and I was building miles of shelves for the library. But this year? I still have projects, but they aren’t very exciting. Shelves for the basement closets. Molding I never finished. Very dull. So I stand at the window and look out at the snow.
          Friday afternoon, though, there was a window of sunshine, so I went hiking at the Jordanelle. (Dad doesn’t come with me on those hikes–he prefers the treadmill at the fitness center.) My duck-hunting boots kept my feet dry, and the trail belonged to me! There was a small path tromped down in the center that I could sort of follow. I think it was mostly made by deer. But the sun was brilliant, and the sky was blue. Down on the reservoir, there were ice fishermen and snowmobilers. Other than that, it was just me and the snow. By the way, if any of you get in the mood for a winter hike, come and do that trail with me! There’s no place more beautiful, anywhere!
         This morning I’ll be teaching Gospel Doctrine in Sunday School. Since I was "nudged out" of Primary, that’s been my new calling. I love it. I only teach once every three weeks, because I rotate with two other teachers, but it always gives me a big high. The course for this year is the D&C and church history, but this morning the lesson is on the Book of Mormon. I want to get the people in my class to tell us the stories of how it has changed their lives. I ‘m sure they’ll come through!
          Love to all, Mom

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Dear Kids,
           Last week I wrote about our wonderful, deep snow. But then it rained, and most of it melted, leaving a soggy mess. But then we had the most fabulous snowstorm ever, since we’ve moved here! From Tuesday night until Wednesday noon, we got a whopping two feet! It was a chore, digging out our car, because we needed to go to piano class Wednesday afternoon, but I almost didn’t mind, the snow was so beautiful. I did some of the digging, and Dad did a lot, and then our neighbor, Spencer, came over with his snowblower and did the rest. Meanwhile, at the cabin . . . well, I guess you saw the picture Allen posted. But there’s no stopping the cabin fun! Tom had a youth group there, on Wednesday night I think, and they dug out the fire pit and made a bonfire. John had his scouts there Friday night, and they had a great time sledding. In fact, they sneaked out at 1:30 am and were back on the hill, whooping it up. There was a full moon, John said, and it was as bright as day.
            Blackhawk helicopters have been flying over our house every day, north towards the mountains, and then back again. Maybe they’re training for a mission in the arctic! The horses in the field behind us absolutely hate them. They leap into the air and then and start racing whenever the helicopters go over.
            A week or so ago, Dad and I sorted all our tools, and we set aside the duplicates. They’re spread out on the garage floor: screwdrivers, files, wrenches–all kinds of things. It’s first come, first served, for anyone who would like to have any of them.
          I checked with John about the dates for the family reunion, because some of you have been wondering. It will be August 9-12 (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights) at Bear Lake, the same campground we had in 2012. I’m sure it will be a riot of fun.
           Love to all, Mom

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dear Kids,
          We finally have snow! Lots of it! There’s probably a foot and a half on the ground now, with more on the way. And it’s been cold--Friday morning it was 17 below. In honor of the cold, John threw an ice cream party Friday night. There was hot chocolate (to warm us up before the ice cream,) and billiards, and we watched the first "Star Wars" movie (in honor of Carrie Fisher). Then we ate lots and lots of ice cream. John had to buy five cartons at Smiths, because they were on sale, five for ten dollars. He saved money that way. Anyway, it was great fun. Thanks, John!
         When Dad and I go to IKEA (seldom) we never run into anybody we know, because the shoppers are all so incredibly young. They all look like teenage couples! How surprised was I to see Nora there on Monday morning! She was checking her kids into the play yard, before she started shopping. We would have visited longer, but Dad was just hauling out a "TV unit" we’d bought for our basement family room. So I handed off the pack of sweet rolls I’d bought on impulse, after I took out one for Dad. I didn’t need them! We’ve been living on holiday goodies for weeks now, and it’s time for a change. Anyway, it was great seeing Nora and all her kids.
           I made a nice new centerpiece for our dining room table out of a basket from the DI and some fake ivy. Then I put in some little fake birds, made out of styrofoam and real feathers. It looked really cute, until Tina destroyed it. And killed one of the birds. I found it on the floor, full of bite marks, with ivy strewn around it. A very sad sight. I was able to put it all back together, but the bird sure doesn’t look the same. Tina’s not allowed anywhere except in our bedroom now, at night, when we’re watching TV. I carry her in with welding gloves that Dad bought, so she can’t scratch me with her awful back claws. I’m reminded of what Tom asked when he was a very little kid: "What are cats FOR?"
         The fun goes on and on. I love you all! Mom

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Happy New Year to everybody! I think 2017 is going to be the best year Dad and I have ever had, and I hope the same for all of you.
          We’ve had beautiful weather here, while the Salt Lake Valley has been socked in with smog, and I’ve been reminded why we moved here in the first place. Five years ago, I could barely breathe, and now I have the lungs of a champion. On Friday I went hiking on the Jordanelle perimeter trail. The sky was pure blue, and the air was crystal clear, and I breathed it all in. By the way, I still have my state parks pass, (Allen has one, too, BTW) and if anybody wants to go hiking with me, any day, just let me know. Right now the trail is packed down and easy to walk on. We’re supposed to get more snow, but that trail is nearly always up for hikers.
           Yesterday morning Dad and I drove down to Thanksgiving Point to visit the McGettigans. They live there now! After twenty-something years in the old neighborhood, they moved! And their new house is gorgeous. And big! And it’s only a short walk from the Frontrunner station, so Glenn takes the train to work every day. They’re living their dream. They fed us a wonderful breakfast, and we talked and talked. Cara and Sam were there, and ate with us. Sam and Tyler are at BYU, and Cara is a senior a Paradigm High School in South Jordan. All of them are completely grown up! Jana and I were talking about how we used to tend the kids on Sunday afternoon while she and Glenn and Dad went to choir practice. I’d almost forgotten about that. We have so much history together! I haven’t forgotten the wonderful years I taught their kids piano. And the parties they hosted.
           I just looked at the calendar to see what’s coming up. It’s almost completely blank, except for Dad’s root canal on Wednesday. His first. (I’ve probably had a dozen.) Wish him luck!
          Love, Mom