Sunday, April 30, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Will we ever have spring? I was optimistic a couple of weeks ago, because we had a few mild days, so I planted some new trees. But each night it’s been down in the low 20's, and we’ve had new snow on the ground almost every morning. An icy wind blows up from the Provo River, and it feels like December. My poor trees are in terrible shock. One of them, a flowering plum, is ready to give up on life altogether. Every morning I go out and talk to it: "Hold on, dearie! You can make it!" There’s a forecast now for warmer days ahead, maybe even some highs in the 50's, so I’m hoping.
          When we went to buy the trees, Dad and I borrowed the family truck from John’s house, and it ran really well. We felt very classy. We bought the truck a cargo net and a tarp, which we put behind the seats, so if anybody needs to secure their load, the stuff is there.
          Back when I thought it was spring, I started working in the yard again, way out in the back where I’m going to make a fire pit. I’ve been pulling out rocks and smoothing the dirt so I can make a patio around it. The fire pit itself will be smaller than the one at the cabin, and above ground–mostly for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs. I’m planning to have it all done by the 4th of July, so we can have a party and set off fireworks, there on the edge of the hill. I’ve had this plan for a long time!
          It’s my turn to teach Gospel Doctrine today, and the lesson is on keeping the Sabbath. I’m looking forward to it, because the people in my class always have such interesting stories. I learn way more from them than I do from the lesson manual.
          Life is good! I love you all! Mom

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dear Kids,
         Allen and Carson and Ellie slept over here last night, because Allen has to leave early this morning for some training, and the kids will be going to church with us. I always like having them here! Yesterday afternoon we went for a walk through our neighborhood, and then Allen fixed dinner, and then we watched the movie "McFarland USA." Allen says the Summit County Sheriff’s office is hiring now, but a lot of good people will be applying. Naturally he’s one of those good people! It would be my dream for him to work here! We can only hope.
         We’re not done with winter, here. I think Dad sent out a picture of our Friday morning snow, and there’s probably more on the way. It’s springtime in the Rockies! At least we won’t have to worry about a drought any time soon.
          Our next-door neighbors built a rail fence around their backyard, with wire mesh inside, so their dog can run free. (He’s been on a chain for several months.) Tina has always considered their backyard to be her territory, so as soon as the fence was finished, she slipped underneath, and encountered the dog, face to face. I was digging in our yard, so I screamed at him and swung my shovel in his direction. He backed off, and Tina ran along the fence until she was cornered. I jumped over the fence and got between her and the dog, who backed off. He looked like he was having a great time! Tina ran back along the fence until she found her hole, and squeezed back underneath. Then she ran under our deck, where she stayed all day. Since then, she sits just inside our garage side-door, looking out through the kitty flap. The dog sits on the other side of the fence, laughing at her. Tina growls, but of course he can’t hear it. He’s one of those Malamut wolf-type dogs, probably about 90% wolf. We hope Tina has learned her lesson. I don’t want to dig another kitty grave any time soon.
          Dad bought a pair of wide black chubs for his glasses, to keep them from sliding down. He looks like a ninja. Dallin wears them too, on his glasses. He looks like a little ninja. Life is good!
           Love, Mom

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Dear Kids,
          I hope you’re all having a wonderful Easter morning. I was just reading in the New Testament about the resurrection of Christ. The story seems brand new, every time I read it. It was certainly the most important thing that ever happened in the history of the world. I’m so glad we can all live again, and be together with our families.
          Thanks to Nora for hosting that wonderful, wild party yesterday afternoon. Nothing’s more fun than our family parties. The food was great. Thanks to everybody who brought their specialties! And could anything be better, for Easter Saturday, than having a park across the street? It was fun watching all the kids scramble for the plastic Easter eggs, with their treasures inside. I made a sweep over the area, when they were done, and I only found two that they missed. Thanks to whoever decided to build a park across from Nora’s house! (Oh, wait, the park was there first!)
          John’s family didn’t make it to the party, but I was very conscious of the fact that it was Julie’s birthday, and that she was turning 18! It’s incredible, that we have a grandchild who’s now an adult. Last we heard about her college plans, it was either going to be UVU or Snow. I don’t know if she’s made a decision yet. She wants to major in musical production.
          We haven’t seen baby Blake for more than a week, but Tom says he’s eating OK and doing well–gaining about an ounce a day. We’ll be visiting them later this afternoon, and hopefully John’s family, too. Donna and Bevan are in Boston for the marathon, which is tomorrow. Go, Bevan! A while back I was talking to Bonnie, and she said that whenever she has trouble going to sleep at night, she starts with Katie’s family and goes through each of her children’s families, naming off their kids in her mind. Then she starts though our family, but she always goes to sleep somewhere in the middle, because there are so many. What could be better?
          Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Sadly, Xena made her journey to the Heavyside Layer on Monday morning. We took her to the Arcadia Veterinary Clinic north of Heber, and they were very kind to us. I was with her to the very end, but Dad had to go outside and walk around. Xena has been his special girl for a long time. We brought her body home in a size 14 shoe box, and we buried her out by the playground, alongside the unknown cat I buried last year (in place of Oreo.) We’ve missed her a lot this week. But Tina is very proud to be our only cat now. She sits on Dad’s chest with her paws tucked in and smirks at me. I’m hoping we’ll find a new cat soon, or a couple of kittens, to knock that smile off her face.
            But, looking ahead to brighter things, Easter is next weekend! The picnic is at Nora’s house, starting at noon, and we’ll eat about 1:00. You can call Nora for food assignments, or maybe she’ll call you. (When I talked to her yesterday morning, they were leaving Las Vegas, on their way home from their cruise. I was surprised she could shift gears into Easter so fast.) We’ll have our usual Easter egg hunt! It should be a nice day. Sunshine. No snow. I’m really grateful for all the rain and snow we’ve had, but that white stuff’s getting me down.
          Thursday afternoon I stopped in at Tom and Kim’s to see baby Blake. (Not Frederick Barbarossa!) They had just brought him back from the hospital, for his bilirubin check, but they didn’t have the results yet. I carried him around for a while, and admired his pleasant little face. Every grandchild of ours is a wonderful blessing!
          While I was there, Tom was making sushi, with several kids watching. I watched, too. I wondered how he learned to make it, and he said he’d had samples at Smiths lots of times, and he always asked what they put in it. A roll of sushi at Smiths costs $9.00, but he can make it home for a dollar a roll. Go, Tom!

         Life is tremendously good! Love, Mom

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Dear Kids,
         The most stupendous news of the week, of course, was the birth of Tom and Kim’s baby boy last night around 8:00 pm. Tom put on facebook that his name is Frederick Barbarossa Ackerson, but of course it was April Fools day, so we’re waiting to hear for sure on that one. He’s 22" long and weighs 8 lbs 11 oz. We’re very excited about the arrival of this little guy!
           Friday night, Allen and Carson and Dad and I went to Ellie’s performance of Jungle Book at Centerpoint Theater. It was really good–probably the best production we’ve seen there. Ellie played several parts and the kids seemed to have a lot of fun throwing coconuts and bananas at each other. It was probably Ellie’s last production there–Allen says she needs more time for school work–but we’ve enjoyed all her productions, as well as the plays and musicals of the other grandkids. It makes a great social calendar for us!
          Going down to Centerville Friday night, Dad and I rode with Allen. He turned his blue tooth onto the classical piano music he listens to now (even when he’s out hiking in the wilderness!) and I enjoyed scrolling through and finding piano pieces I really like. He said he always has the music going, even in his cop car, especially when he’s transporting somebody to jail. His cop car camera records everything, so when they play video clips in court, there’s his criminal, with classical piano music playing in the background. He calls it "Go to jail with Mozart."
          I keep mentioning Xena in my letters, how she’s winding down, and it won’t be more than another day or two before she goes to the Heavyside Layer. Maybe even today, although it’s Sunday, since the Heber animal shelter is open this morning. (I just checked on Google.) Her belly has swollen terribly over the last couple of days, and she seems to be very uncomfortable, so we’ll kiss her goodbye and send her off. We’ve really enjoyed her, these last 17 years.
          Life is hard, but life is good. We love you all!