Sunday, December 31, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Dr. Engen took the stitches out of my forehead on Friday morning, and my face is starting to look better. The swelling is nearly gone. The top of my nose looks a little skewed, but I’m hoping that will improve, too. If not, Dr. Engen can fix it for me. He emphasized how much tissue he had to take out! I’m really grateful to have it taken care of. I’ve been hearing horror stories about people who lost noses and cheeks and parts of their necks to basal cell carcinoma. I found a new dermatologist (Dr. Horsley should have retired by now!) and Dad and I both have appointments to get looked over for any other problems.
          I’ve felt so much better that on Thursday and Friday afternoons I went for short walks along the Jordanelle Trail. There’s practically no snow, so it’s great for hiking right now. If any of you want some great winter recreation, come and go hiking with me!
          Last night Dad and I went to my brothers’ and sisters’ annual holiday party, which was at Bonnie’s house. Our white elephant presents were the best ever! I had found a black Christmas tree angel at Walmart, with led lights. Barbara got it, and she was delighted, and plugged it in right there. I also re-donated some sister missionary action figures that I received two years ago. Dad got a set of Richard Simmons cook books, which disgusted him so much, he "forgot" to bring them home. My cousin Colleen was at the party! Remember Colleen? She used to live in Heber and work at the Mavrik–the old one. Her house had llamas in the back yard. She’s back in Heber now, living in a trailer she bought, at the Mountain Valley RV park, out toward Daniels. Her dad, my uncle Johnny, is 96 now. He’s at the Legacy care center on North University in Provo.
          At the party, we were talking about the big Allen summer reunion, which we only have every two years, now. We’ve tentatively scheduled it for July 28, 2018, probably at the same park, Riverwoods.
          Tonight is New Years Eve! I still have a couple of packs of fireworks left, like the ones somebody set off at our family reunion at Bear Lake last summer. If you’re here when it’s dark, I’ll set them off. I won’t even wait till midnight!
          I hope you’ll all have a great new year! Love, Mom

P.S I forgot to mention that Tommy's baby blessing will be two weeks from today, on January 14.  The after-party will be at John's.  I'll have more information next week.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Dear Kids,
          I hope you’re all having a wonderful Christmas Eve Morning! I love that peace you feel right before Christmas, especially on Sunday. I love celebrating the Savior’s birth. The story of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus never gets old.
          My surgery on Thursday turned out really well. Since I’d had such terrible nausea the first time, Bonnie told me to be sure to ask for the zofran patch. I didn’t know there was such a thing! They stick it on your neck, and it keeps the nausea at bay. So I woke up after the operation feeling fine, and I even ate a pack of oreos. Dr. Engen came in and said they definitely got out all the cancer, which made me feel even better. I have a big jagged wound running down my face, next to my eye–Dad texted you all the picture, so you can see how great I look. But I don’t care. If anybody asks, I’ll say I got run over by a reindeer, like the song. ("Grandma got run over by a reindeer . . . ") I’ll say his antler ripped my face open.  By the way, thanks for all your phone calls and texts, and especially for your prayers for me. I know that made a big difference.
         I really want to go to Church this morning, so I’m having Dad drive me up to Elk Meadows, the care center in Oakley, where sacrament meeting only lasts 25 minutes. Dad will probably go to the meeting in Francis 2nd ward after that. And otherwise, we’ll be home all day today and tomorrow. Come and see us! I have lots of Christmas goodies, although I forgot to buy hot chocolate mix. We’ll be watching Christmas videos and movies. Sharon sent us "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street," which I especially love.
           And there’s snow on the ground! The sledding party on Tuesday will actually include sledding! I don’t know if I’ll make it over there, but I’ll send Dad with the sloppy jo mix. You can call Allen with any questions. And if anybody still wants to pass off "the Grinch," I still have plenty of $10.00 bills.
          Merry Christmas to all of you! Love, Mom

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Dear Kids,
          What a great party we had at Nora’s last night! And Sharon’s family was there via skype! That means a record number of children were opening presents together. The food was fantastic, thanks to everyone who helped. Congratulations to Tom’s family for passing off "The Grinch." There’s still time for the rest of you–it’s a $10.00 payout to anybody who can do it, and you have until Christmas.
          Dad and I won’t be home tonight, because we’ll be going to Allen’s piano recital in Centerville. It’s at 5 pm, and the address is 1298 North 400 West. It’s a church across from a park. Nora and Al will be playing a duet together, and I’m really looking forward to it. They’ve been practicing together at Nora’s house.
           I’ll be having the surgery on my forehead this Thursday, so Christmas itself will be different for us this year. We won’t be hiking up Memorial Hill on Christmas Eve, because I probably won’t be up for it, and it’s a Sunday, besides. But Dad and I will be home that night, and we’ll have cookies and candy and hot chocolate for anybody who wants to come by. Same for Christmas Day. I want to watch a lot of Christmas movies and really enjoy the real Christmas spirit.
          Normally this time of the year I’m having lots of fun wrapping presents and getting them to all of your families, so this year has been really different. A couple of nights ago I was feeling sort of depressed, thinking "How can it be Christmas, if I’m not wrapping presents?" So I got out "The Tall Book of Christmas" and read it from cover to cover, and I felt a lot better. The Grinch was right when he realized that Christmas doesn’t come from a store, as much fun as all of that is.
          There’s no snow on the ground, and very little in sight, but we’ll still have the sledding party at the cabin the day after Christmas. There’s always plenty of fun to be had at the cabin! I’ll send Dad over with the sloppy jo mix, even if I’m not there myself. Allen will be in charge. Thanks, Al!
          There was a flock of magpies out in the pasture behind our house a few days ago, and a black and white cat cavorting with them. We got out the binoculars and looked closely, but it wasn’t Oreo. He’s probably cavorting with magpies in the sky. It’s been almost three years, but we still miss him. Tina takes up the slack, however. Dad bought a giant lion puppet at the DI, sort of a muppet, with a big mouth you can open and close by putting your hand in from the back. Tina is terrified of the thing. It’s been lots of fun.
          I hope you all have a wonderful week! Love, Mom

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dear Kids,
          I’m really looking forward to the Messiah tonight! I only wish I could be singing in it myself, but I was never in good enough shape after my surgery to go back to the practices. Tom and Bentley will both be in the choir, though! There’s a pre-party at Tom’s house at 5:30 pm. I’m bringing pumpkin cookies. Be there or be square!
          The family Christmas party is next Saturday afternoon, the 16th, at Nora’s. There’s ice skating from 12:30 to 2:30 (call Nora for the address), and dinner is at 5:00. We’ll start the gift exchange at 6:00. For me, this family party is the real Christmas. It doesn’t get any more exciting than that, with 30 kids squealing and opening presents.
           Next Sunday night, the 17th, Allen will be playing in a Christmas piano recital in Centerville, and there are rumors that Nora will be playing a duet with him. The recital is probably at 5:00, at a church, but I don’t know any more than that. I’ll have more details next week.
           I’m not sure yet of our plans for Christmas. I really would like to do the Christmas Eve hike up Memorial Hill, but my surgery is just three days before that, and I don’t know what kind of shape I’ll be in. Same for Christmas day. But we’ll absolutely have the sledding party at the cabin the day after. (Tuesday, the 26th.) Even if there’s no snow. Plan on bringing your Christmas leftovers, and I’ll make sloppy joes.
          Sharon called to tell me about a test question she had on a biology exam. A woman that’s heterozygous for color vision (one good x chromosome, one bad) (that would be all you girls in our family) is married to a color blind man. Sharon had to diagram the chances for each child, girls and boys, to be color blind. After she answered the question, she put a note to the professor that this was her family, exactly. Also Grandpa and Grandma Allen, which is why I have deficient color vision. (Two bad x chromosomes.) Sharon will be having finals this week, and so will Julie, and even James! Good luck to all you college students!
          I’ve had a terrible pain in my abdomen, sort of on the side, for the last couple of weeks, ever since I went off the painkillers from my surgery. I finally went to Instacare and saw a doctor, and they even sent me for a cat scan. Nothing. But I was still in misery. Then, after I prayed about it, the phrase "bruised rib" came into my mind. I googled it, and it described my symptoms exactly. Then I went on Amazon to see what a rib brace looks like. Then I went to Walmart and bought it. Thanks to my three favorite corporations, Google, Amazon, and Walmart, I’m out of pain now. Thanks to Heavenly Father, too, and all your prayers for me.
          Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Dear Kids,
          After three weeks on his back in the wheelbarrow, with his feet up in the air, our metal buck has been returned to his place of glory, on the hill next to the doe. (She said "thank you." Those "moving" deer have terrified her, and she needs the protection.) Dad and I did the job yesterday. (I can now get out a little bit. I coached while Dad did the work.) We now have four 16" spikes driven into the ground, one under each foot of the buck. There are metal cables looping through the tops of the spikes, and going up through the buck's feet.  I don’t know what could possibly knock him over again, but we might find out next fall, when the mating season comes around again.
           We’re all really grateful that little Tommy is doing so well! The valve in his heart closed, and he was able to come home. Dad and I dropped by Donna and Bevan’s to see him on Monday morning. He’s so cute! The house was very orderly, but Donna and Bevan are finding out that four kids is one more than three. Donna said she keeps losing track of Drew. He was dragging a blanket, with a binkie in his mouth, looking very pathetic. He was glad to climb into Dad’s lap. It’s tough for a little kid when he’s no longer the baby!
            I’m recovering pretty well from the surgery I had just before Thanksgiving. They've scheduled the next one for December 21. The timing isn’t very good, right before Christmas, but I’ll just be glad to get it over with.  I have a lot of confidence in Dr. Engen, and I'm sure he’ll get out the rest of the cancer. Plus, since he’s a plastic surgeon, he’ll keep my face looking good. Somebody said, "What do you care about your face, as long as they get out the cancer," but I do care.
           The Messiah is next Sunday night, 7pm, at Tom’s church, and the after-party will be at his house. I’m really looking forward to that! And the family Christmas party is on the 16th. There’s no stopping the fun! Dad and I haven’t made any definite plans for Christmas, but hopefully we can get around to see some of you, or maybe we’ll make you come and see us! And then there’s the baby blessing to look forward to, January 14th. I’ll be making pumpkin pie, for everybody who missed it on Thanksgiving.
          The fun goes on! Love to everybody!  Mom