Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dear Kids,

          First off, here’s the agenda for the family reunion, courtesy of John.

Tom: Thursday Breakfast

Donna: Thursday Lunch

Nora: Thursday Dinner

Paul & Stephanie: Friday Breakfast

Vanessa: Friday Lunch

John: Friday Dinner

Sharon: Saturday Breakfast

Allen: Saturday Lunch at lake

Mom & Dad: Paper plates, utensils, and firewood

WEDNESDAY EVENING is dinner on your own and set up camp when you arrive after 3:00pm.

Beach all day THURSDAY with boat, kayaks, and jet skis. We have a 20' Ski Boat rented from 10:00-6:00. Lunch at the beach

FRIDAY we have a go cart track rented from 9-10 AM. Friday morning after go carts we will drive from the Go Cart track to Paris! We will explore the Paris ice cave. Lake Trail. Friday Afternoon we will hike to Bloomington lake and play on rope swing into lake.

FRIDAY or SATURDAY morning, early bike ride. At 5:00 AM, the cyclists will leave on their bike ride with crew van.

SATURDAY MORNING, Breakfast and then take down camp. Beach with Kayaks and Jet skis, and lunch at the beach. End of official reunion after lunch. Stay at beach as long as you want.

* * * * *

          Thanks, John, for planning this! I can’t wait. I’m sure we’ll have good food, great adventures, and lots of good memories.
          Meanwhile, Dad and I have had lots of great adventures. I didn’t write my family letter last Sunday because we were camping at Bryce Canyon with Donna and Bevan and their kids. We saw lots of gorgeous scenery, ate lots of good food (courtesy of Donna) and went on some great hikes. Sunday morning we went to church in Tropic, where there were probably 1,000 people in sacrament meeting. We went to Kodachrome Basin and hiked to Mossy Cave. It was all fabulous.
          We got home Monday in time to get ready for our fire pit party. Thanks to all of you who came! Thanks for encouraging me to set off the aerials. I have more to bring to Bear Lake.
          Tuesday we went to lunch with Bill Steele and his wife, who were also at the party Monday night. (Tom said, "There really IS a Bill Steele!) Dad and Bill talked nonstop about old times, and I learned a lot.
          The rest of our week has been wild and crazy. Charlie and Matthew are here now, but they’re leaving this evening for Upalco. We’ve had a great time with them.
          On with the fun! Lots of love, Mom

P.S. Here’s John’s list of the numbers of people for meals. There are 45 people in all:
Dad & Mom 2     Adults
John 6     3 Adults 3 Kids
Nora 8     2 Adults 4 Kids 1 Little
Vanessa 7      2 Adults 4 Kids 1 Little
Tom 8      2 Adults 3 Kids 2 Little
Allen 3     1 Adults 2 Kids
Donna 5    2 Adults. 1 kid 2 Little
Sharon 6     2 Adults 3 Kids 1 Little
Paul 3    2 Adults  1 Little

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dear Kids,
          The big news of the week is that Donna had her ultrasound on Monday, and she’s having (roll of drums) . . . a boy. Is anybody surprised? I knew. That will make nine boys in a row. 11 out of 12, if you start counting after Lucy. Of the 34 grandchildren we’ll have, the score will be 14 to 20, in favor of the boys. We love all these wonderful grandsons, but if anybody is ordering new babies, could you please put in for some girls? Actually, though, we’re thrilled to have so many grandchildren, and if they were all boys, I’d still be thrilled.
          Dad and I have had a wonderful and wild week. On Monday we tended Paige, Stuart, Isaac, and Anna. Paige practiced on my accordion, like she always does when she’s here. She’s making good progress. (Nora’s been looking to buy her an accordion, but they’re practically collectors’ items now.) The other kids played on the playground, watched movies, and got out toys. When my piano students came at three, we had eight kids in the house, but they all interacted very nicely with each other.
          Tuesday afternoon we drove to Pocatello, because Vanessa’s book club was reviewing Mutiny on the Bounty that night, and I wanted to be there. (I’ve been obsessed with the Bounty books.) We stayed overnight, even though Vanessa and Trent and Sterling were leaving at 4 the next morning for Trek. (Tom and Bentley and Emma were leaving that same morning, too. And Nora was gone to girls’ camp, and James to scout camp. So many of you were off having fun!)
          Thursday night Dad and I went to "Annie Get Your Gun" in Midway. Thanks to all of you who went in on the tickets, for Dad’s Fathers Day present. It was a wonderful production! (Last year it was Wizard of Oz.) We always love getting tickets for presents. In a couple of weeks we’ll be going to the 1812 Overture, at Snowbird. You kids keep us entertained!
          The family reunion is coming up in less than three weeks. I’m guessing John will be sending out the agenda pretty soon. I’ll ask him about it today.
          Life is good. We’ll never run out of fun.
          Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Our fire pit party for the 4th of July bombed, because practically everybody was going to be someplace else. No matter–we’ve moved it to the 24th, which is a Monday night. If you can come, we’ll have fun. If you can’t, that’s OK too. Actually, our fire pit doesn’t need an official launch. It’s ready any time. I have roasting sticks, and I’m going to start keeping marshmallows on hand (but not the chocolate-spread graham crackers, because we just eat them up), and we can have a flash party on a minute’s notice.
            Meanwhile, our actual 4th of July wasn’t a bomb at all. We went to Nora’s. I took all the fireworks, thinking we could shoot them off, and I’d buy more for the 24th. But just as it was getting dark, the wind started blowing furiously. It even blew out the snakes the kids were trying to light. I figured we couldn’t possibly shoot off our expensive fireworks in that wind. I went around to the back of the house to see if the wind was calmer there, and it was. So we moved the action. And as it got darker, people down in the valley started shooting off their fireworks. There were hundreds of aerials going off at the same time, and some big park displays. You could have called it "Valley of Fire." I’ve never seen anything like it. Remember when we used to sit on Tate’s lawn and watch the few paltry fireworks from the West Fest? This was a thousand times more spectacular. There’s a whole new era of fireworks now, since everybody can afford aerials. The 4th of July will never be the same again. Everybody can put on their own show. And I’ve still got my own packages for the 24th.
          We’re still gearing up for the eclipse on August 21. Dad and I will definitely be going to Idaho. And Sharon pointed out that August 21st is President Monson’s 90th birthday. Maybe he’ll grab onto the tail of a comet and go out in glory. Oh, wait, it won’t be a comet. I was thinking of Mark Twain, who was born at the appearance of Halley’s comet, and left this earth the next time it came around, 90 years later. We’re not anxious for President Monson to depart, but it will be glorious for him. He’s sure been a great example to us all.
           So much fun! What a great summer we’re having!
           Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Our fire pit is finished, and we tried it out last night, burning up a few pieces of wood. It works fine! So we’re ready for the Fourth of July. We bought fireworks at Costco with John–we went in on a deluxe $100 package, with the aerials that go off one after another, when you light the fuse. So Dad and I will be hosting a hotdog and marshmallow roasting party Tuesday night, probably starting about seven, since it doesn’t get dark enough for fireworks until pretty late. Let us know if you plan to come! You can bring your own fireworks if you have them. You can come way earlier, if you like, and your kids can play on the playground. We fastened down the legs of the swingsets lots better than before, so they can’t shift around when the kids swing high. We’re ready for fun!
          What else? Ellie stayed with us from Wednesday night until yesterday, and we had a good time with her. We ate vegetarian, and we liked it. We dragged her along with us to the senior center on Thursday, and to the temple on Friday. She sewed and wrote in her various notebooks and watched "Once Upon a Time." I asked her if it wasn’t pretty boring here, and she said no, it was relaxing.
           I’m still digging up rocks in our back yard. I spray them off with the hose, and then Dad hauls them out to the side of the road, where he piles them up. People still come by to get them. One of them is our stake president, Mark Durham. He likes to chat. I told him that a ton of "Jordan cobble" (the name for our rocks) costs $100 at Staker Parsons. He wondered how many rocks were in a ton, and I told him it was about the size of the pile he was looking at. He’s an investment banker, so he’s interested in things like that. I figure we’ve given away thousands of dollars worth of rocks in the last three years. And I still have thousands more to dig. Good thing I like it so much!
           We hope to see a lot of you here Tuesday night, to try out the fire pit and shoot off fireworks. If anybody has time earlier in the day, do you want to do the "top of the world" hike? The wildflowers should be beautiful up there! Let me know!
          Lots of love, Mom