Sunday, December 25, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Merry Christmas, everybody!  I hope you’re all having a wonderful day!  After church, Dad and I are going to drive around Heber valley to visit our three families there.  I hope we’ll see the rest of you on Monday, for our sledding party at the cabin.  It’s supposed to be 41 degrees–warmer than it’s been, so the hill should be nice and slick.   Tom’s fixing his famous pulled pork.  If you all bring your Christmas leftovers, we’ll have quite the feast, and of course it’s always fun to get together one more time.

Jacob received a great early-Christmas present: a new mission call.  He leaves for Alabama again on January 2.  We’re really happy for him and we know he’ll do a great job, just like he was doing before.  Go, Jacob!

If you got the picture of Dad standing in front of a trailer, you know what our new family trailer looks like.  Yes, it’s for everybody to use.  Dad and I went halfsies with John to buy it, and it will be stored at his house, alongside the family truck.  John pointed out how easy it will be for anybody to come and borrow them both at the same time.  The trailer is 6 x 10 feet with sides, so it will be good for hauling almost anything.  We hope it will have many good adventures.

Our next family book club will be two weeks from today on January 8 at 5 pm.  We’re reading Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl.  I’ve read it a couple of times, besides listening to the audio, and it’s really good.  Besides that, it’s short.  It will be our tenth selection–can you believe we’ve been going that long?  Hooray for kids who can sit still, even if it’s only for ten or fifteen minutes.  We have a marvelous family.  Our next Super Sunday will be January 22 at Nora’s house.

I’m doing great with my hearing aids now.  I can wear them all day, and I mostly forget I have them on.  My two months of chemo just ended and I have two months of feeling good ahead of me, so my life is wonderful.

I love you all!  Mom

Sunday, December 18, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Thanks so much to Nora and James for hosting the gift-exchange party yesterday!  It was a smashing success.  I took out my hearing aids before we left home, because I was expecting a lot of noise, but it wasn’t half bad.  The fun outweighed the noise, anyway.

And this evening is book club; we’ll be talking about A Christmas Carol.  We’re meeting at 6 pm instead of five because of scheduling complications, but we’ll have just as much fun as ever.  Our actual book discussion usually only lasts about ten minutes, so don’t be afraid to join us.  Next month is my turn, and I’m choosing Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl.  It’s short and lots of fun.

And Christmas is nearly upon us.  One more week!  I’m sure all your kids are counting down.  On Christmas eve we’ll be watching Christmas Eve on Sesame Street here at our house, as well as having hot chocolate and pumpkin cookies.  If you want to go somewhere, please come and join us.  We’ll have Donna’s family for sure.  Christmas Day we’ll be out of church before noon, so after we eat, Dad and I will be driving around Heber valley to visit John’s, Tom’s, and Donna’s families.  I don’t think we’ll get any farther afield than that.  Then, on Christmas Monday is our sledding party at the cabin.  Bring your Christmas leftovers!  Tom is going to make pulled pork, and Donna’s bringing mac n’cheese, so we’ll have plenty of real food to eat, besides the goodies.  There’s plenty of snow at the cabin, but I don’t think anybody has packed down the sledding hill yet.  

How does a cowboy dress up for a funeral?  He puts on a vest and bolo tie over his workday levis and cowboy shirt.  We found that out yesterday when we were helping out with a funeral in our ward.  The lady who died was an older cowgirl, just younger than I am, and she died after surgery for colon cancer.  That was really sobering to me.  I’m lucky to still be alive four and a half years after my colon cancer surgery, and I’m definitely beating the odds.  But it isn’t just luck–I’m convinced your prayers for me have a lot to do with it.  Thanks so much for that!  I’m really fortunate to have such a big, wonderful family.  I definitely hit the jackpot.

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, December 11, 2022

 Dear Kids,

The Messiah is tonight!  I realize Nora and Paige are just getting back from the East Coast (and Vanessa and one or two of her girls, too) but the rest of us can party.  The before-party will be at 5:30.  We have to apologize to Kim for dumping on her, since she might not even be there, but if all our parties waited for a convenient time, we’d never have any.  The Messiah itself is at 7 at Tom’s church.  

Next Saturday is the skating and gift party at Nora’s house: Skating at 2, dinner at 4, and gifts at 5.  How I wish I could still skate!  Unfortunately that part of my life is over, but I’ll think about how much fun the rest of you are having.  Fortunately I can still enjoy book club, and that will be next Sunday at 5 here at our house.  We’re reading A Christmas Carol.  There’s still time if you haven’t gotten to it yet.  It’s a wonderful story.

I twisted Tom’s arm so he’d agree to make us some pulled pork for our sledding party the day after Christmas.  Donna mentioned making mac and cheese, and if the rest of us bring our Christmas leftovers, we’ll have plenty of food.  Heck, we always do.  There’s plenty of snow at the cabin, with the promise of still more.

Yesterday Dad and I drove down to Salt Lake to go to a memorial service for John Graham, a great friend of ours who died a couple of weeks ago.  (He’s the father of Chandra, and grandfather to Carson and Natalie, our honorary grandkids.)  It was nice seeing nearly all of the Graham family.  We’ve been friends since 1977.  (John and Nora used to play with Chandra when we lived on Lake Park Drive.)  After visiting with all of them, we drove out to West Valley to the library since I had some books in.  And since we were so close, we drove by the site of Westlake Jr. High.  You remember it was pretty well destroyed by the earthquake there a few years back.  They totally demolished the old school and now they’re building a brand new junior high which is supposed to be a STEM school.  (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.)  I guess it’s supposed to be a magnet for really smart kids, but will ambitious  parents really take their kids to West Valley to go to school?  I guess we’ll have to see.  Anyway, the building is going to be really nice, but it may not have the personality of the old school.  It definitely won’t have Miss Strassburg and her pals.  Boy, those were some great musicals you kids were in!

I hope you’re all enjoying this Christmas season.  It’s the most glorious time of the year.

Lots of Love, Mom

Sunday, December 4, 2022

 Dear kids,

What dreary weather we’re having!  I sure would like to see more blue sky.  When we get closer to Christmas, though, everything will be a lot more cheery.  We have some fun events coming up.

A week from tonight is the Messiah at Tom’s church at 7:00 pm.  There will be a before-party at Tom’s house at 5:30–that always seems to work better than an after-party.  If you can come, call Kim for a food assignment.  The Messiah itself should be spectacular.  I wish I were singing in it, but this isn’t my year.  Tom will be our only family member in the choir.

The family Christmas gift-exchange will be Saturday, the 17th.  Skating is at 2 pm, dinner is at 4, and we’ll do gifts at 5.   I’m not sure what the menu will be, but it won’t hurt for each of us to call Nora for a food assignment, and any other details she might have for us.

The very next day, Sunday the 18th, at 5 pm, will be book club at our house.  There’s plenty of time still to read “A Christmas Carol.”  It’s plenty short.  I’ve been through it several times and it gets better and better.  Dickens really understood Christmas. 

And it isn’t too early to start thinking about an after-Christmas sledding party.  Monday or Tuesday, the 26th or 27th–let me know which day is better for you.  There should be plenty of snow at the cabin.  Maybe we can get Tom to make us some pork, and we can all bring our Christmas leftovers.  Hey, it’s a tradition!  We’ve been doing it for more than 20 years now! 

I’m typing this letter with my hearing aids in.  I neglected them for a couple of weeks because I felt so lousy, but now I’m wearing them a few hours every day.  They really take some getting used to!  I can hear the computer keys clicking as I type, which is weird.  

Most of my health problems have improved, except for my poor swollen lip.  None of my doctors have had any suggestions for me.  I’ll be going to the wound clinic again tomorrow, so maybe I can get somebody to take a serious look at it.  Meantime, I sure appreciate all your prayers.  I had chemo this past week, and even though it’s never pleasant, I really feel your love and support.  My life is good because of our big, loving family.

Lots of love to you all, Mom

Sunday, November 27, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Thanksgiving was a blast, from what I heard.  I’m so sorry I couldn’t participate.  I was having an awful time that day with all my cancer-related pain:  my swollen lip, my new wound (on my backside, near my old one), my nosebleeds, my gut pains–it seemed like there was no end to my troubles.  I really appreciate those of you who came by to see me, and brought the Thanksgiving spirit with you.  And I’m happy to say that most of my pain is getting better now.  At least it’s improving.  I’m proud of all of you for carrying on the festivities without me.  What a family!

Our next event is the Messiah, on Sunday night, December 11.  I think there’s going to be a before-party at Tom’s house, but I’ll find out for sure and give you the details next week.  The Messiah itself starts at 7:00.  I’ll be in the audience with you guys instead of singing in the choior this year, because I’ve already missed three practices and I don’t feel good enough to go tonight.  Whatever.  The Messiah is always glorious, whether you’re singing in the choir or singing in the audience or just listening. 

The family Christmas party is Saturday, December 17.  There will be ice skating at 2 pm, dinner at 4, and the gift exchange at 5.  Nora has sent out the cousin exchange list, but if you didn’t get it, contact her.

Book club will be Sunday night, the 18th.  We’re reading A Christmas Carol by Dickens.  I thought the language was going to be too hard for the littler kids, but Donna says her family is almost finished, and they’re doing ok with it.  She’s been emphasizing the important parts, and she said, “They get it!” 

Now that the weather’s cold, Scout tries like crazy to get in.  He’s just a grey streak whooshing past Dad’s legs when he opens the door.  Then we have to track him down and put him back outside.  Sonia is very smug because of her indoor privileges.  She just smirks, with her eyes half-closed, like proud cats do. 

I’m a proud cat, too.  With such a family, who wouldn’t be?

Love, Mom 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

 Dear Kids,

I have hearing aids!  I only wish they didn’t amplify the little noises.  When I walked into the house, the furnace was running, and it sounded like the vacuum cleaner.  When I started the dishwasher, I could actually hear the water running into it.  I’m sure I’ll get used to the new order of things, and my life will be a lot better.  When Dad and I watched a movie together yesterday afternoon, he kept asking me to turn the volume up.  What a change!  Since the hearing aids came from Costco, we’ll now be regular customers, since I have to take them in for cleanings and adjustments.  Yesterday we wandered around a little bit in there, and I found the candy aisles.  They have Utah Truffles.

And Sharon is here!  And Matthew!  Sharon showed me some pictures from the BYU game, and it looked like everyone was having a great time.  She said it didn’t really feel cold until the end.   You couldn’t have picked a colder day if you’d tried!  At least BYU won.  That would have been a terrible humiliation to lose to Dixie.  Oops, Utah Tech.  They just barely changed the name.

And Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday!  How did it come so quick?  At the cabin, we’ll be having Nora’s, Vanessa’s, Allen’s, and Paul’s families.  Tom’s family is going to Texas!  How exciting is that!  Wherever you are on Thursday, I hope each of you has a wonderful day.  

I went to the first two Messiah practices, but my health problems are getting in my way now.  I still haven’t healed up totally from my tooth extraction, and my lip is split open from the violence of it.  Anyway, we won’t be having a Messiah after-party because Kim and Nora, and who else, Vanessa (?) will be coming home from their trip to New York that day.  (I think I’ve got it right.)  Back to the Messiah–at this point I’m not sure I’ll be able to sing, so it will probably just be Tom from our family. If anybody can come, the performances are at Tom’s church at 7 pm on December 10 & 11.

Book club was really fun last Sunday night, and we had a great (but short) discussion of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  Donna is in charge for December, and she has picked A Christmas Carol, by Dickens.   We’ll have to move our discussion to December 18 because of the New York trip.  I hope there won’t be too many conflicts. 

What a cool family we have!  I never get tired of writing about all our adventures.

Love, Mom 

Sunday, November 13, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Sharon and Matthew are coming this Friday, but I don’t know exactly what their schedule will be.  Saturday they’ll be going to the BYU-Dixie game with several of you, and I hope it won’t be too cold.  Winter has hit really early this year!  Thankfully cougar stadium will be a little warmer than Kamas Valley.  Sharon said they’d manage with layers and hand warmers.  No stoppin’ the fun!

The misery of my life goes on and on. Tuesday I had to have a tooth pulled, and since my body doesn’t heal, I’ve been in a world of pain.  I thought it was going to be a simple root canal, when the tooth started throbbing, but Dr. Condie’s x-ray showed that the bone was mostly disintegrated and the roots were infected.  He hoped the tooth would pop right out, but it took lots of hammering and chipping and drilling.  When my jaw thawed out that night the pain was easily a 10.  I had Dad give me a blessing and that helped a lot.  Since then I’ve been on non-stop oxycodone, some of it from old prescriptions I’ve kept on hand.  (There’s a limit to what dentists can prescribe.)  If you have anything on hand and want to contribute to my pain relief, I won’t say no.

But there’s no stopping the fun.  We’ll be having book club today at 5 pm, and we’re discussing Tales of a Fourth Grade nothing.  I had never read it before, so I really enjoyed it, except for all the examples of bad parenting.  You can bet I never spoiled any of you kids like “cute” little Fudge is spoiled.  More on that tonight!

  And Thanksgiving is starting to shape up!  So far, we’re having Nora’s family, Vanessa’s, and Allen, and I hope there will be a few more.  When my tooth pain settles down, I’ll be making phone calls.  I know it will be fun, whoever comes!

I’ve never had much good to say about Costco, but they evidently have the best prices on hearing aids, so Dad and I bought a membership and I went in for a hearing evaluation.  I flunked.  They ordered hearing aids for me (after we paid) and they’ll be in next Saturday.  So maybe by next Sunday I’ll be hearing what most of you are saying, and not just nodding and pretending.  How exciting is that?

Life is good, no matter what.  Love, Mom

Sunday, November 6, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Ug.  I had chemo this week.  I’m pulling out of it now, but it isn’t pleasant.  John had some good advice for me, since he’s experienced chemo: “Alternate good books with good Netflix.”  We don’t have Netflix, but we have a lot of good movies, so I’m taking his advice.

Aaron is recovering OK from his appendectomy, but it’s taking time.  Jacob’s foot is gradually healing, and he has his boot off now, but John says it hurts him a lot to walk.  There’s no telling when he’ll get back to Alabama, because it depends on how his physical therapy goes.

Normally I like snow, but we’re having it way too early this year.  After all those good hikes Dad and I did, it’s hard to look out the window and see all the white stuff.  I should appreciate the moisture, since we always need it, but it’s hard to have our beautiful fall end so abruptly.  

Our next family event is book club a week from today, 5 pm here at our house.  We’re reading “Tales of a Fourth-grade Nothing.”  It’s a fast read, and terribly funny.  I expect we’ll keep having book club through the holidays.  I’d hate to miss even a month.  We rotate choosing books, from me to Nora to Kim to Donna.  If you have a suggestion and want to join us, let me know.  It’s always fun and entertaining.  I like how even the young boys are able to sit for five or ten minutes, long enough to talk about the book.

The next event is that Sharon will be coming on the 18th, maybe with Matthew and maybe not, depending on his football schedule.  I know a lot of you, including Sharon (and maybe Matthew) will be going to the BYU-Dixie game on Saturday, the 19th.  I’m afraid it’s going to be pretty cold, but there’s no stopping the fun, especially if it involves BYU football.

Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away, on the 24th.  Let me know if you want to have dinner with us at the cabin that day.  We’ll eat about one, and have pie about 4 or 5.  I’ll be making my famous pumpkin pies, of course.  I don’t know how many more years I can keep it up, though.  

We won’t be having Super Sunday again until January, because of the holidays.  When we do, it will be the fourth Sunday, at Nora’s.  So many people!  So much fun!

Love, Mom

Sunday, October 30, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Aaron had his appendix out on Wednesday afternoon.  He hadn’t been in pain very long, and they diagnosed it right away by testing his white blood cells.  The surgery went well, and they sent him home a couple of hours later.  Dad and I went to visit him on Thursday, and he was hobbling around, holding an ice pack to his stomach.  He showed us his incisions–three tiny ones with staples that were going to dissolve.  No stitches to remove!  Appendectomies sure have changed from the days Nora and Sharon and Allen had them.

I hope you all have a fun Halloween tomorrow.  I won’t, because I have to start chemo again.  I don’t mind, though, because my tumors have been growing and I’m having trouble breathing again.  I always look forward to the first couple of infusions because they help my breathing so much, but then, after that, I have a lot to complain about.  Overall, though, I’m glad for the chemo, and it’s definitely lengthening my life.

I just finished reading “Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing” for our book club in two more weeks.  I’m definitely one of the few people who’s never read it before.  Judy Blume?  Everybody loves her.  I thought the book was pretty silly, though, but I know the kids will love it. 

And the next thing coming up after book club will be Thanksgiving, on November 24.  Dad and I will be fixing dinner at the cabin.  I’ll do the turkey and gravy and pumpkin pies.  If you want to join us, let me know, and we’ll decide what you should bring.  It will be one of my off-weeks from chemo, so I should feel OK. 

I colored my hair bright red for Halloween, so I should get a few stares in church today.  One of my friends, Lois, who has beautiful silver hair, was asking me about making her hair purple.  I loaned her my purple dye, and it turned out fabulous.  She ought to get a few stares in church today, too.

Yesterday I went on a short hike up the Rocky Top trail, but it was cold and muddy, and I couldn’t breathe very well.  That’s probably a good way to end the hiking season, so I won’t be yearning to be out on a trail somewhere.  Oh, well, Dad and I had some great hikes!

Love to everybody, Mom

Sunday, October 23, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Super Sunday is today at John’s house at 4 pm.  If you read his text, you know his grill is out of commission but his hot tub is ready to go.  Bring whatever food you want.  We still have never had a dinner with all desserts.  (Or what if we had a dinner that was all vegetables–can you imagine?)  Today will be our last Super Sunday until January, because of Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up.  

But we can continue on with book club.  Thanks, Nora, for last week’s discussion of “Toys Go Out.”  Our next book is “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” by Judy Blume, chosen by Kim, and we’ll be discussing it on November 13.  

Tonight is the first Messiah practice, continuing on through December 11, when we’ll put it on in Tom’s church.  Our Sunday evenings during that time should be about the same, though.  When Dad and I skip out to go to the practices, the party can continue on without us.  

On Tuesday afternoon Dad and I had a wonderful hike on the Shingle Creek trail up on Mirror Lake highway.  The weather was gorgeous, and the fall colors were fabulous: green pines, yellow aspens, blue sky, and a few reds here and there.  We had a feeling it might be our last hike for the year, or at least the last one with bright autumn colors.  Our first winter snowstorm hit yesterday afternoon, and it probably hit at some of your houses, too.  Winter comes whether you’re ready or not, but at least our sprinklers are blown out.  (Thanks, Bevan, for bringing the compressor!)  Otherwise, the preparation for winter is all mental.  I imagine myself in the bean bag chair by the window of the landing, with a good book in my lap.  I can sure handle that!

My visit to the wound clinic last Monday went really well.  When I showed them my new injury (on my arm) they pulled out some goopy gauze, laid a piece across it, and bandaged it.  Since then it’s been itching a little bit, which is a good sign.  Dad has to change the gauze and the bandages every two days, but he’s getting to be a pro at wound care.  My other wound, in that most delicate of spots, is still giving me trouble, but Dr. Moffit said he has many more tricks in his bag.  I hope one of them will finally work.

I hope you’re all doing great and loving life!  Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, October 16, 2022

 Dear Kids,

I’m typing with my right arm raised up because of the pain from my scrape last week.  

Because I’ve been on chemo, wounds don’t heal, so every day it feels like I just injured it.  It looks the same too.  I’m not worried, though, because tomorrow is my regular day to go to the wound clinic, and now I’ve got two things for them to work on.  

And this afternoon is book club, 5pm at our house, be there or be square.  We’re talking about Toys Go Out, and Nora will be leading the discussion.  By the way, this is our seventh book.  Who’d think we would have gone through so many already! Tom’s family will be choosing our book for November, so we can start in on it when they let us know.  I absolutely love book club!  It has worked out even better than I expected it to.

And next Sunday, the 23rd, is Super Sunday at John’s house.  The weather should still be nice, so we can run around on his new lawn in back.  The fun will start at 4 pm, and the food is always good.  Bring whatever you want, unless you hear differently.

Whenever I go out ministering, my ladies always ask how I’m doing, so this week I told everybody about my scraped arm and our adventurous hike up Rocky Top.  Two of my ladies are old timers, and they both said the same thing: “There’s rattlesnakes up there.”  (One of them added the information that when Francis was settled, it was all sagebrush and rattlers.)  Dad also heard about the rattlesnakes from his friends at the coffee club.  So, was that going to scare us away from our new favorite hike?  Not at all.  We were back on the trail yesterday, but we only went half way.  And I listened for rattling and hissing, but I didn’t hear a thing.  We watched the bushes beside the trail, too.  If it were a real danger, it ought to be posted on the billboard at the bottom, where it shows the map.  So I don’t think we have much to worry about.  We’re not going to let rumors keep us home.  Besides, I only have two more weeks before I start chemo again, and I have to get in as much fun as possible.

Thursday night we went to Provo for the wedding reception of Ben Findlay and his new bride, Skye.  All of Nancy’s family was there, and it was fun to see them.  The reception was in a barn-like building by the train tracks, so Dad and I drove over to the transportation hub and waited for the frontrunner train to come in.  When it did, at least a hundred people got off.  We were amazed.  It was a beautiful evening, and not even dark yet.  There won’t be many more of those!

Love to all of you!  Mom

Sunday, October 9, 2022


Dear Kids,

As you saw from the pictures Al posted, we made it all the way up Rocky Top yesterday.  And just as I thought, you can look down on our house.  In fact, you look down on the whole Kamas valley.  It was only Dad, myself, Al, and Tom that did the hike.  And going up, we had a glorious time.  Coming down was something different.  I tripped on a rock and fell on my arm, skinning one spot totally.  It was a bloody mess.  Al bandaged it for me then and there, and when I got home I cleaned it and cut off the loose skin and wrapped it in gauze and tape.  Then, back on the trail, Dad was having a tough time coming down.  His back hurt, so he had to take it really slowly.  Tom had already gone on ahead to get home for Eli’s football game, and I was hustling ahead because of my arm, so we were all spread out.  But it was glorious weather and couldn’t have been more beautiful.  If any of you want to hike it any time, let us know.

I had a wonderful time in Arizona with my sisters.  What did we do?  Eat and talk.  Bonnie’s house there is too beautiful for words.  It was hot during the day, but perfect at night.  When I woke up both nights at midnight, I went outside and walked around the pool barefoot.  What else? We drove to the Mesa cemetery and looked at ancestors’ headstones, and we also tried to work a 1,000 piece puzzle, but it was too hard.  It didn’t even matter.  It was just fun being with my sisters. 

Scout was missing the whole time I was gone, but he showed up again yesterday morning.  We wonder if he has a second family and they kept him in.  He’s such a fine cat, who could resist him? 

Next Sunday is book club, and if you haven’t read Toys Go Out, there’s still plenty of time because it’s so short.  I’ve started keeping a list of what we’ve read, and it’s getting long!  So we’ll meet next Sunday, the 16th, here, at 5 pm, and there will be refreshments.  Be there or be square.

And the following Sunday, the 23rd, we’ll have Super Sunday at John’s.  Bring whatever you want.  It’s always fun.  

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, October 2, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Our bread and soup party last night was a blast, not to mention the good we got out of conference.  Oh, yes, and the raccoon–he made things very lively, until his owner came and got him.  (And kissed him.)  Thank you all for everything you brought, including your wonderful children.  I know kids don’t always (or ever) get much out of conference, but I think our example sets them in the right way.  I hope you all enjoy the rest of conference today, and that it will be a good sabbath day for all of you.  

This coming Saturday, October 8, Allen and Dad and I are going to hike the Rocky Top trail to the very top, where we should be able to look out over our house.  If any of you want to join us, we’re meeting at the little parking lot just off Highway 32, (after it crosses the river, if you’re coming from Heber) at 8 am.  It’s at the entrance to Rock Cliff State Park, but you don’t have to pay anything to park there.  The trail head is maybe a hundred yards from there.  If you have any questions, call or text me.  

On Wednesday I’m flying to Arizona with my sisters, and we’re staying at Bonnie’s house until Friday afternoon.  I’m pretty sure we’re just going to talk and eat and watch movies, but it will be a great retreat.  Bonnie’s incredibly generous with her house, and she’s even paying for our plane tickets.  Have we got it made or what?

Our friends the Garcias were here visiting from Phoenix, and we had a good time with them on Friday.  Their kids, Natalie and Carson (ages 12 and 10) are honorary grandkids of ours.  We went to the cabin and they had fun driving the Yerf Dog.  Dad has put a 2-gallon gas tank on it (taken from an old lawn mower) and it can go for miles now.  

Upcoming events: Book Club October 16, and we’ll be discussing Toys Go Out.  Our next Super Sunday will be October 23 at John’s.  We can run around on his new lawn and break it in.  Oh, here’s a great event that most of you know about already: Sharon and Matthew will be here for the BYU-Dixie game on Nov. 19.  I know a lot of you are already planning on going to the game, and I’m sure you’ll all have a great time.

So many people!  So much fun!  Love, Mom

Sunday, September 25, 2022

 Dear Kids,

It’s Super Sunday today, but we’re not meeting at Donna’s house, like I wrote last week.  We’ll be at Hamlet Park, the same place we met last year after Dallin’s baptism.  When you’re coming into Midway from the direction of John’s office, it’s on your right as you swing into town.  The fun starts at 4pm, and most of you have food assignments from Donna herself.  She has some beef that Tom is going to smoke, so she wants the rest of the meal to come out right.  I’m sure it will all turn out great.  

And next weekend is conference, so we’ll meet here Saturday night at 5pm for our bread and soup dinner.  Bring whichever you like.  The 6pm conference session is for everybody, not just women or men.   We’ll have our TV tuned in for whoever wants to watch it, and the rest of the group can play outside.  It’s supposed to be nice weather.  Next Sunday night Dad and I won’t be home because we’ll be going to my mission reunion.  I didn’t think we would have them any more, but one of my former companions is getting us together again.

Book club is October 16, and we’ll be talking about Toys Go Out.  It’s short and crazy, and everybody should enjoy it.

On my sisters’ twitter thread, Nancy posted a picture of Claire Hughes, Whitney’s daughter, and Caleb Anson, Amy’s son, eating lunch together in the Brazil MTC.  They happened to meet up after Caleb heard Claire talking about her grandfather, Charley Allen, who lives in Bountiful.  What a small world!  That reminded me that another of Charley’s granddaughters, Emmie, is in Adelaide’s mission.  Dad was wondering what the chances are that anybody would meet up with a second cousin in their mission, and I said that if you’re part of the extended Allen family, it’s probably 100%.  I’m sure Grandma and Grandpa Allen are proud of their “Army of Helaman.”

We’ve had such wonderful fall weather this week that Dad and I did two hikes on the Rocky Top trail.  The trailhead is just 5 minutes from our front porch, so it’s quite a temptation.  If we ever make it all the way to the top, (4 miles, one way) we should be able to look down on our house, and all the rest of Kamas Valley.  I’m planning to make it sooner or later.  Who cares that we’re both 75.  

Love to everybody, Mom

Sunday, September 18, 2022

 Dear Kids,

The family reunion yesterday in Lindon was a blast.  I was glad so many of you could make it, and I wish everybody could have been there.  Bonnie and Barbara did a great job planning it.  We all liked that park (I especially liked the little zip line) and we’re probably going to try to do it there again.

The next family event, even before conference, is Super Sunday, next week (the 25th) at Donna’s house.  The fun will start at 4 pm.  Bring whatever you like  We always have a great selection of food!

And then conference is the week after that.  Saturday night, October 1, we’ll have our traditional bread and soup dinner here at our house, at 5 pm.  The Saturday night conference session is for everybody this year, and it starts at 6.  I hope we can tune it in OK.  Last year Bevan took the little boys, and a football, to the park up the street during the session.  I’m not saying anybody has to do that this year, but it sure made for a calm conference experience.

We’re pushing book club back again next month, because Donna and Bevan will be coming home from the Grand Canyon on the second Sunday.  So we’ll meet here the third Sunday, October 16, to talk about “Toys Go Out.”  What a crazy book!  It’s short and funny, and I think you’ll all like it.  I have an extra copy, if anybody wants to borrow it.

I’m enjoying my 2-month break from chemo.  My last scan showed that my main tumor had scrunched up a little bit.  It looked like the diagram for an amoeba.  It isn’t interfering with my breathing right now, so my life is good. I’m still going to the wound clinic once a week, and my incision is closing up, a little at a time.  It doesn’t hurt much any more.  Thanks so much for your prayers on my behalf.

Last Saturday Dad and I hiked a little more than a mile on the Shingle Springs trail, up on the Mirror Lake Highway, and I loved being out in the open.  If any of you want us to go on any hikes with you (short, not the Grand Canyon) we’re game.  Isn’t this fall weather exhilarating!

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, September 11, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Wednesday afternoon it was 90 and we were sweating up a storm.  (We feel really put-on here if it gets up to 90.)  Saturday morning it was 37 and I had to turn on the furnace. It’s just as cold this morning.   Looks like summer left with a bang.

So tonight is book club, and we’ll be talking about Mr. Popper’s Penguins.  What a book!  I read it twice and I loved it both times.  We’ll have refreshments, of course.  Last Sunday night somebody left some chocolate chip cookie dough here, so I’ll be baking that up.  There are always other goodies, too.  I’m putting off the S’mores for another time.

The Allen family reunion is this coming Saturday, and here’s the message Barbara sent out: “The Allen reunion is Saturday, Sept. 17 from 10-2.  The address is 200 North State Street in Lindon.  Just look for the red, white, and blue balloons.  There will be a fish pond for ages 1-10 and tons of other prizes for some “number/birthday” games.  There will be lawn games such as Corn Hole and others.  Don’t forget to bring your food and feel free to make a dessert to share.  I think Grandma and Grandpa Allen will be so happy and proud of us.”  

And October conference is just 3 weeks away!  Dad and I will be hosting our usual bread and soup dinner on Saturday night, Oct. 1.  We’ll start at 5 pm.  More details later.

We had a lot of fun with McGettigans on Labor Day.  We met them that morning at the entrance to Rock Cliff, and we hiked up the trail that starts at the free parking lot.  It’s called Rocky Top.  It’s a great trail because it slopes up so gradually, but you get a really good view eventually.  There’s no shade, though.  Still, I was glad to find where it was, and Dad and I will be hiking there again.   Monday afternoon we went to the rodeo–“barebacks, broncs, and bulls.”  It was great fun, but terribly hot, even under an easy-up.  But we made it through.  Nothing makes you feel “small town” like your local rodeo.

Love to everybody, Mom

Sunday, September 4, 2022

 Dear Kids,

When I wrote my letter last week, I mentioned that three out of our four college freshmen were moving into their new quarters.  Whoops–I was wrong.  It was four out of five.  I forgot about Del.  She moved into her apartment at Weber state, with three roommates.  They have a kitchen, so they were getting everything they needed to live well.  Allen and Jenny were helping out.  When Sarah gets started in another week and a half, we’ll have five college students in the family–all of them freshmen!  I’m excited for all of them.

Paul’s and Donna’s families spent last night at the cabin, and they’re all coming to our ward this morning.  It will be nice to have them here.  Donna and Bevan were in this ward years ago, up until Anna was born.  I’m guessing at least somebody will still remember them.

Tomorrow McGettigans are coming for Labor Day and the rodeo.  I hope it won’t be too hot for all of us to have fun.  We’re going to the bird refuge at Rock Cliff early in the morning, so Jana can take pictures and we can hike around.  Then, the rodeo starts at 2 in the afternoon– “Barebacks, Broncs, and Bulls.”  Are we rednecks or what?  I’m sure it will be plenty exciting, but I feel it for every cowboy who hits the ground hard. 

Next Sunday is book club again–already.  We got bumped back last month, so it has come around fast.  Not to worry–you can read Mr. Popper’s Penguins really fast, if you haven’t read it already.  Dad and I watched the movie a few days ago, and it’s nothing like the book.  The only similarity is the penguins.  

And the Allen family reunion is less than two weeks away.  It’s Saturday, September 17, at a park in Lindon.  The address is 200 North State.  We’re meeting from 10 am until 2 pm, and I’m sure it will be lots of fun.  At least the weather will be cooler by then.  You’re supposed to bring your own lunches, and probably drinks, too.  It’s always nice to visit with cousins, and you never know who’s going to show up.  Be there or be square!  

I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it!  Mom

Sunday, August 28, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Super Sunday is this afternoon at Paul’s, or rather, at the park near his house.  It’s called Chelsea Meadows, I think, and the address is 1401 North 2575 West in Layton.  Bring whatever you want, or most importantly, yourselves.  We’re meeting at 4 pm.

And this is the weekend that three out of four of our college freshmen are leaving for school.  Ben and Emma left for Snow yesterday, and Bentley is leaving for Logan this afternoon.  Sarah, who’s going to BYU Idaho, doesn’t start until September 13, because of the odd trimester system there.  All the elementary and middle school and high school kids are already back to the grind, except for Sharon’s kids.  Humm–I don’t know about Jackie.  I don’t know if they’re on the east coast system, or the west.

Yesterday afternoon Dad and I helped John plant and rake the last section of his lawn–the big part.  Three years ago I gave John a gift certificate (on his birthday) that entitled him to our help in planting his lawn.  Finally he called it due.  We were glad to be in on it.  He’s spent several weeks spreading topsoil and raking rocks and doing sprinkler heads, and finally–guess how long it took to plant and rake?  About an hour.  We were glad because it was pretty hot, but it was really satisfying to finally help him finish it.  It’s sort of late in the summer for new grass, but it’s supposed to be hot this week, and that will help it along.  

Last Monday I had my first appointment at the wound clinic, and I’m going back tomorrow.  They can’t promise I’ll be cured because (1) I have cancer, (2) I’m doing chemo, (3) I’m having avastin, and (4) I’ve had radiation to that spot.  Four strikes against me, but they’ll do what they can.  Their first line of attack is medical honey.  I know, I’d never heard of it either, but they said they’ve had  good success with it.  Every morning when I get out of the shower Dad applies the honey (from a little syringe) and then he bandages it.  I could have had home health come, but I’m sure he’s just as competent, and it’s a lot more convenient.  I don’t know if a week of honey has done much, but it seems to feel a little better.

Two weeks from today will be book club again, and we’re doing Mr. Popper’s Penguins.  I read it in one afternoon and really enjoyed it.  We might be having our S’mores night then, too.  I’ll let you know.

So much fun!  Life is good.  Love, Mom

Sunday, August 21, 2022

 Oops, here’s something I forgot to put in my letter below.  Next week will be Super Sunday, and we’re having it at Paul’s house instead of Donna’s.  It will be at the same park we had last year, Chelsea something-or-other, at 1401 North 2575 West in Layton.  See you all there!

 Dear Kids,

I’m late uploading my letter today–I simply forgot to write it.  It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Book club is today at our house, 5 pm.  I’m looking forward to talking about Summer of the Monkeys, and I presume Tom will lead the discussion, since he recommended the book.  We’ll have refreshments, of course. Next month we’ll be doing Mr. Popper’s Penguins, so you all can get started on that one, if you want to.

People in the family are still vacationing, even though school has started.  John’s family went to Boise for a wedding (on Heather’s side,) and Al has been backpacking in the Uintas.  He camped in a pouring rain Friday night, but last night was supposed to be better.  You know it’s got to be tough to backpack and camp in the rain, but Al is the definition of tough.

I had the unpleasantness of chemo this week, plus the pain from my unhealed wound in the most delicate possible place.  Tomorrow I have an appointment at the wound clinic at LDS Hospital, and I’m really hoping they can help me.  It’s been hurting me for several months now, but has been especially bad lately.  My oncologist, Dr. Lewis, said the avastin I’m getting really interferes with any kind of healing, since it cuts down the blood flow in the body.  It’s great for shrinking my tumors, though.   I’m thankful for that.

Most of our big events have already happened, but don’t forget the Allen family reunion on Saturday, September 17, from 10 am to 2 pm.  It will be at a park in Lindon, and I’ll get you all the address when it gets closer.  I’m sure it will be a great event.

I can’t think of any more news.  I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday.

Love, Mom

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Dear Kids,

The big event for today, of course, will be Bentley reporting on his mission in their sacrament meeting.  It starts at noon, and Tom’s ward meets in the church on 500 North in Heber, next to the elementary school.  The after-party will be at Tom’s house, and if we’re lucky there will be some kind of smoked meat, courtesy of Tom.  Brisket, maybe.  Or some fabulous barbecue.  Tom always does fantastic meat.

Then, next Sunday at 5 pm is book club, at our house, where we’ll be discussing Summer of the Monkeys.  I presume Tom will lead the discussion, since he suggested the book.  Anyhoo, it should be fun and interesting.

Then, two weeks from today is Super Sunday at Donna’s house.  Do any of you think we get together too often?  It seems about right to me.

I had thought about having a S’mores night Labor Day weekend, but maybe we’ll wait another week or so after that, maybe until the next book club.  Because of Bentley’s homecoming and the 5 Sundays in July, book club was pushed back, so it will come up early in September.  I think it will be my turn to suggest a book, and I want to do Mr. Popper’s Penguins.  It’s short and fun and easy to get into.

So many events.  So much fun!

Some of you kids went in on a tree Donna was getting for my birthday.  It came, and Donna’s family planted it, and it looks really good.  It’s a Red Baron Crabapple tree, meaning the apples are red, not the leaves.  It’s supposed to have gorgeous pink blossoms in the spring.  So thanks, all of you who went in on it, and thanks to the rest of you for the birthday presents you gave me.  I was deficient and didn’t send out thank-you notes.  I can blame it on the chemo that I had.  I’m doing my last infusion tomorrow, and I’m holding my breath that it won’t be as bad as last time.  I sure appreciate all your prayers!

I hope you’re all enjoying the late-summer monsoon we’re having.  Friday afternoon Dad and I went to John’s to help him plant his lawn, but after an hour of work the rain came roaring in.  We had to quit for the day.  Yesterday we had a gully-washer here, and hopefully it didn’t wash away all the meadow grass I planted.  You can’t win.  We never have nice gentle rain storms, like they get on the east coast.  It’s boom or bust.

Love to all of you, Mom 

Sunday, August 7, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Now that the family reunion is behind us, it seems like summer is over.  I know some of you grandkids will be starting school very soon, and it doesn’t seem possible.

The next big event is a week from today, August 14; Bentley will be talking in church about his mission.  The meeting starts at noon, and Tom’s church is just east of the elementary school on 500 North in Heber.  (There’s another church farther east–it’s not that one.)  The after-party is at Tom’s house, and if you want to contribute to the meal, call Kim.  

And two weeks from today, August 21, is book club at our house.  We’re reading The Summer of the Monkeys.  It seems like forever since we’ve met!  It’s a great book, and if you haven’t finished it, there’s still plenty of time.

The biggest news at our house is that Dad finally got the mouse that’s been hanging out under our refrigerator and stove.  Sonia had spent hours gazing under both places, but hadn’t done anything about catching it.  (Scout could have done it, but he’s an outside fellow.)  Dad had set traps on three different nights using peanut butter, but the mouse hadn’t touched them, so he asked his friends at the coffee club, since they seem to know everything.  They told him to use pieces of Hershey chocolate.  He tried that Friday night, breaking a little Hershey bar into bits.  It worked!  Early Saturday morning he un-set the traps and then let Sonia in.  She crept towards the dead mouse with her neck stretched out long, like she was the most ferocious hunter ever, but we weren’t fooled.  Anyway, the mouse is gone, and if his relatives show up, we know how to take care of them.

Friday night Aaron was ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood, and Dad and I were able to be there, along with the Price grandparents and all John’s family.  John did the ordination, and it was really a sweet event.  Since I had been having a tough time after my chemo, (I’d been having horrific cramps, along with a wound that won’t heal) I asked for a blessing from John and Dad.  It really helped me!  You can never doubt the power of the priesthood.  

What a great family we have!  Love, Mom

Sunday, July 31, 2022

 Dear Kids,

What a wonderful time we had with all of you yesterday at Bear Lake.  I was sorry we couldn’t be there longer.  Oh, yes, and thanks for the birthday cake and birthday wishes!  Dad and I left soon after that because there was a chance we could be home in time for Dad to work on the sprinkler valves I’m using for the new meadow grass I planted.  Back to Bear Lake–Thanks to Monica for planning it so well, and for John for supervising the go-kart rides, and to Tom for supervising the pickle ball, and to Al for providing the lemon yellow sunshade we like so well, and for all of you for bringing food and equipment and children and your wonderful enthusiasm.  There never was such a family!  

Tomorrow I’ll officially be three quarters of a century old.  Since my birthday comes after Dad’s, it isn’t so hard to be one year older.  Actually, I’m grateful for every year I have now.  In connection with that, I’ll be starting chemo again tomorrow.  What a great birthday present.  Actually, I’m glad to have it, since it helps me breathe better.  

Bentley will be giving his mission report in their ward on August 14, two weeks from today.  I’m not sure of the exact time, but I’ll put it in my letter next week.  Tom’s church is the one next to J.R. Smith elementary on 500 North in Heber.  I’m sure there will be an after-party at Tom’s house, so if you want to bring something, contact Kim.  Yay for the family events!  There can’t be too many!

And there’s still three weeks for your family to finish reading Summer of the Monkeys.  Our official book club will meet August 21 at 5 pm at our house.  Two weeks after that is Labor Day weekend, and I’m thinking of having a Sunday night S’mores party then.  It will depend on the weather.  It should be cooler, and the sun goes down earlier, now.  That will make it better for an evening campfire.  It seems like it’s been Labor Day Weekend when we’ve done it before.

There’s no stoppin’ the fun!  Love Mom

Sunday, July 24, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Happy Pioneer Day!  This has always been one of my favorite holidays, since I love the pioneers and what they accomplished.

And we’re all geared up for the Ackerson family reunion, starting Thursday.  Thanks again to Monica for getting out the itinerary.  If you have any questions, contact her, but it looks like it’s really well-planned.  Dad and I will be there on Saturday, no matter how I feel.  You simply don’t miss the reunion, whatever.

I’ve had a tough chemo round again this time, but I’m willing to keep doing it.  I feel like a wet noodle all the time, and just sort of icky.  After the next two rounds (August 2 and 15) I’m hoping for another two months of feeling good. Thanks for all your prayers for me.

I’ve started reading Summer of the Monkeys for our next family book club, scheduled for August 21.  It’s long, but it never drags.  I read it once before, and it’s fun to be going through it again.  I bought a paperback copy on Amazon, but Tom was reading an epub version on his tablet.  And I’m sure there are lots of copies at the libraries. Thanks, Tom, for the recommendation!

Sonia is convinced we still have a mouse.  She sits for hours looking under the stove or the refrigerator.  I think she’s just excited about the smell, which is still lingering.  I think the mouse is gone, because Dad has set traps for two different nights and we haven’t caught anything yet.  

This is definitely the vacationing time of the year.  Tom’s family is in Texas for the Bentley reunion.  Sharon’s family has been in the Uintas for the Thacker reunion.  Allen is also in the mountains.  I’m sure some of the rest of you are spread out.  Go, Ackersons!

On Friday Dad and I went to the Heber airport so Dad could help John with his glider.  It was probably a hundred degrees, but John was running around in the sun like a little kid on Christmas.  It was his second flight this week– on Wednesday, he and a lot of his friends did a flight honoring Tom Mecham (owner of the dead cat) who had died the week before, and whose funeral they’d just been to.  I wondered if we should exhume the cat and bury it with its owner, but people told me not to bother. 

I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it.  See you all at Bear Lake!

Love, Mom

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Dear Kids,

Bentley comes home this Wednesday!  (July 20). That’s three more days.  He’ll be on Delta flight 2556 arriving SLC at 10:28 am.  Your best bet for seeing him will be at the airport, since Tom’s family is leaving the next morning for a Bentley family reunion in Texas. 

And thanks to Monica for getting out the itinerary for our Ackerson reunion, starting a week from Thursday at Bear Lake.  If you didn’t get the info, or if it wouldn’t open on your phone, contact Monica.  Looks like our reunion will be non-stop fun.  Dad and I can only be there on Saturday, but we’ll cram in everything we can that day.

The Allen family reunion has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 17, 10 am to 2 pm, at a park in Lindon.  The agenda will be about the same, except that there won’t be any swimming.  I’ll have more info when it gets closer. 

Wow, my letter is nonstop events so far.  Our family book club will be reading Summer of the Monkeys and we’ll discuss it on August 21.  Thanks to Emma for leading the discussion on Flat Stanley last week.  It was a fun book!

Sharon and Charlie and Conrad will be arriving this afternoon, and Nora’s family will pick them up.  Then they’ll spend a day at our house, and then head out to Upalco.  Matthew and Lucy are already here.  We’re sure glad they can spend time with us at this most event-laden time of the year.  

Dad and I dropped in on the campers at Mirror Lake yesterday.  (Donna’s, Nora’s, and Tom’s families.)  We walked (slowly) around the lake and then we just sat an marveled at all the goings-on.  There never was such a family for having fun!

Wildlife troubles: Dad heard a ruckus in the garage a couple of mornings ago, and when he investigated, there were four small raccoons getting into our cat food.  Dad had pushed the lid down hard on the plastic bucket, but their little fingers are so nimble they were able to pry it off.  We’ve now moved the bucket into the mud room, and I have to make sure the cat food dispenser and bowl are empty every night.  We’ll get the best of those little varmints!  More wildlife troubles: There was a mouse in our kitchen Friday night.  Sonia chased it back and forth, but it finally hid under the stove where she couldn’t get it.  Dad drove to Food Town and bought four mousetraps, and set them up along the wall, but the mouse was too smart for them.  Any home with two cats should be totally free of mice, but Scout is out hunting day and night, and can’t be bothered.  Sonia’s plain incompetent. 

So much fun!  Summer rocks!  Love, Mom   

Sunday, July 10, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Sharon passed her test!  She’s now a nurse!  She thought she wouldn’t know until tomorrow, but the results were available earlier, for a small fee.  ($8)  A week ago she was all bogged down in red tape, but she contacted her state senator, who cleared the way for her.  She found out last Wednesday that she could take the test the next day, or three weeks down the road.  She was totally prepared so she went for it.  Go, Sharon!  We’re very proud of her.  

We were all disappointed that the Allen family reunion was postponed.  Barbara was helping Bonnie make phone calls, and she didn’t get through to us until 9 pm Friday night.  She had left me a phone message earlier, which I didn’t notice, but when I went back and listened, she said there were “complications,” so maybe it wasn’t just the weather. Anyway, I’ll let you all know as soon as we find out if and when it’s being rescheduled.

Our family book club meets tonight at our house at 5 pm.  Be there or be square!  We’ve been reading Flat Stanley, and Emma will take charge of our discussion.  There will be refreshments, too, of course.   Maybe just cookies, or maybe more.  Be there! 

John has had a rough recovery from his tonsillectomy, but he said that’s typical for adults.  He has to take ibuprofen every 6 hours, and he’s still on otter pops, especially at night when his throat dries out.  I know he can still use all our prayers.

The Centerville fire on July 4th is old news by now, but it was cool seeing Allen on the KSL news, talking about it.  He looked very official, like always.  The fire wasn’t close to Nora’s house, but up where Ben’s girlfriend lives, they were prepared to be evacuated.  Luckily everything turned out OK. 

My chemo this time was a little worse than usual, or maybe the hot weather aggravated it.  I’m on the upswing now.  I was feeling so miserable yesterday afternoon that I had Dad drive me up the Mirror Lake highway.  We went as far as Provo Falls, and by then I felt a lot better.  Beautiful mountain scenery helps everything!

Lots of love to everybody, Mom

Sunday, July 3, 2022

 Dear Kids,

John’s tonsillectomy on Friday turned out fine.  He bought 160 otter pops to get him through, and he said the ice felt good in the back of his mouth.  Heather made the doctor tell him he can’t push any wheelbarrows of dirt until a week has gone by, so he’s having to put his grass planting on hold for now.

The Allen family reunion is this coming Saturday, July 9, at Laurie’s house.  Here’s the info:  The reunion will start at 10 am in Laurie’s back yard.  Bring your own food, drinks, and yard games.  There is a pool and Laurie wanted me to say that if young children will be swimming in the pool, their parents need to be in the pool with them.  There is a park nearby that has pickle ball courts. Laurie’s address is 2273 S.  Lookout Ridge Drive, Mapleton, Utah 84664.

Bonnie sent out another note saying that it will be pretty hot that day, so the main activity will be the swimming.  And visiting.  You might want to bring camp chairs so there will be enough seating.  See you there!

And our family book club will be next Sunday at 5 pm here at our house.  I’ve read Flat Stanley twice now, and it’s really good.  It seems like everyone but me was familiar with the story already.  It’s short, so there’s still time to read it.  Be there or be square.  

Jana McGettigan was here from Monday until Wednesday, because Glenn was out of town helping Brett move.  We went down to the bird refuge at Rock Cliff park, but a storm was brewing, and when it hit, we had to run back to the car.  When we got home it was absolutely pouring, and Scout was walking down the road in the rain.  Dad called him over, and he was so wet we had to dry him with a towel.  He enjoyed the attention.

I’m starting chemo on Tuesday, and I’ll wear my pump until Thursday.  I’m anxious to get going with it, because the pressure is building in my lungs.  The scan showed that my tumors are on the march again, but I’m confident the chemo (and the avastin) will knock them down, like it’s done before.  I appreciate all your prayers on my behalf.

I woke up yesterday morning to a chorus of dog howls and cat meows.  It must have been Harley, the Alaskan Husky next door, along with Scout and Sonia.  They weren’t exactly harmonizing, but they had a very plaintive song going.  I wish I could have recorded it.  I’ve heard lots of cat yowling at night, but never before with dog accompaniment. 

Life is good.  I love you all.  Mom 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

 Dear Kids,

It’s Super Sunday!  We’re meeting at 4 pm at Nora’s house, even though Allen is in charge.  Bring whatever you want!  Don’t worry if  it’s crazy.  The food you bring is always delicious!

Bentley has his travel plans!  Who could believe his mission would be over so fast?  He’ll be arriving home July 20, but he won’t be speaking in church until August 14, because of family reunions and fast Sunday.  I’m sure we’re all excited to see him again, and hear all he has to say.  He certainly won’t say it all in church–he’ll be talking about his mission for the rest of his life, just like the rest of us have been doing.

Donna and Anna went to camp last week, and Donna was the official camp cook.  She had 21 girls to feed, as well as leaders.  She says it was hard but fun.  They were at the Heber Valley camp, so they weren’t too far from home, but camp is camp.  I’m glad they both had a good time.

I got Flat Stanley from the library and read it in less than an hour.  I really liked it.  We’ll be talking about it at book club on July 10, here at our house.  Emma will lead the discussion.   Be there or be square!  There are lots of copies of the book at all the libraries. 

And the Allen reunion is a week from Saturday.  I put all the information in my last letter, and I’ll include it again next week.  It’s always fun to see all our far-flung cousins.  Laurie has a great yard, and there will be plenty to do. 

I’ve been trying to get rid of the ground squirrels at the cabin–the ones around the big moose.  I want to plant some shrubs and flowers there and I don’t want those squirrels eating the roots.  I bought a 5lb container of cayenne pepper from Amazon, and I dumped some of it down each one of their holes.  I hope it makes them scram.

I had a cat scan of my lungs last Monday, and I’ll be meeting with Dr. Lewis tomorrow afternoon.  I’ll be interested in what he has to say.  I’ve been feeling pressure when I try to breathe, so it’s probably time to go back on chemo.  Whatever.  I’ve had a great vacation from the stuff.

Life is good!  I love you all!  Mom

Sunday, June 19, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Congratulations and Happy Father’s Day to all you fine sons and sons-in-law of mine.  I really appreciate how well you are taking care of your families, and the good examples you set for them.  Keep it up, you great guys!

It’s Super Sunday next week, June 26.  Al is in charge, but we’ll be meeting at Nora’s.  4pm, bring whatever you like, and we’ll have our usual mad bash.  

Yesterday afternoon I tagged along with Dad and Al and Jenny to Dad’s birthday dinner and movie. We saw Top Gun Maverik at the Gateway theater, and it was fantastic, but probably too much tension for old people like me. We also checked in with Del and her sidewalk art, because she was participating in the competition there at the Gateway. Her entry was really good, but Dad and I didn’t stick around for the awards, so we don’t know how she did. Go, Del!

Thanks to all of you who participated in book club last Sunday.  Our next official meeting will be July 10, and we’re reading Flat Stanley.  Emma suggested it, so we’ll nominate her to lead the discussion.  I haven’t read it yet, but I have it on hold at the library.

Here’s a heads-up regarding the Allen family reunion on July 9, which is less than 3 weeks away: The reunion will start at 10 am in Laurie’s back yard.  Bring your own food, drinks, and yard games.  There is a pool and Laurie wanted me to say that if young children will be swimming in the pool, their parents need to be in the pool with them.  There is a park nearby that has pickle ball courts. Laurie’s address is 2273 S.  Lookout Ridge Drive, Mapleton, Utah 84664.

Dallin shot a ground squirrel at the cabin.  He got a bb gun for his 9th birthday, and he’s been itching to shoot things.  He wondered if he could collect the $5 bounty that I offer for magpies but I had to tell him no.  Magpies are way harder to shoot, especially with a bb gun.  The ground squirrels have taken over the dirt hill around the moose in the front yard, and I’m going to try using cayenne pepper to urge them to move.  A last resort will be poison.  It would be too gruesome to have Dallin shoot them all.

Paul’s entire family has covid.  Paul caught it from one of the guys he works with, and evidently Stefanie and Josh and Chloe caught it from him.  I hope they all get well soon.  Paul said it gave him the worst sore throat he’s ever had. 

I hope you’re all lovin’ summer!  Have fun with all your goings-on!  Love, Mom 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Dear Kids,

Don’t forget book club is this afternoon at 5pm, here at our house. We’ll be talking about The BFG, and if you didn’t get around to reading it, come anyway.  Donna got a cartoon BFG video from the library, and she’s going to show it after our discussion.  She has made “Human Beans” for refreshments, and I’ve made Gally Gelumpigans. It’ll be fun.  

And two weeks from today we’ll have Super Sunday, courtesy of Al.  I’m not sure yet where it’s going to be, but I’ll let you know in plenty of time.  I assume it will be at a park, like last year.  It’s always great when our family gets together.  

Vanessa started the Squaw Peak 50 mile trail run yesterday at 4 am, but she wasn’t feeling very good.  Trent had had some flu-like symptoms, and she was hoping she wouldn’t get it, but it was already setting in.  Can you believe she made 25 miles anyway?  What a woman of iron!  She had Sarah pick her up at Hobble Creek canyon, at the half-way point.  She was very disappointed because she had trained so hard, and she had plenty of water and food, and everything was going to be better than last year.  But I had been wondering if the heat was going to be a problem.  I’d had visions of her collapsing and passing out from the heat, so I was very relieved to hear that she’d dropped out.  But I’m sorry it didn’t work out for her.  Maybe next year!

John’s having his tonsils and adenoids out on July 1.  We hope it’ll go well.  You think of it as a kids’ operation, but John said it’s actually pretty dangerous.  People tend to collapse and stop breathing two days later.  I wish I didn’t know that!  I’m sure all our prayers will be with him.

My breathing is still fine, and it’s been 2 months since I’ve had chemo!   I’ve had a lot of fun working at the cabin, pruning bushes and putting dirt back around the fire pit.  My good times probably won’t last forever, but I’ve really been enjoying every day.   I have a cat scan scheduled for a week from tomorrow, to see how my tumors are doing.  If I have to go back on chemo, I can handle it.

I appreciate all your prayers for me, and the really good people that you are.  Love, Mom 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Thanks to all of you for making our anniversary party so wonderful!  Thanks to Sharon and Monica for flying in for the occasion.  Thanks to Kim for picking up the food!  Thanks to Sharon and Dad for decorating.  Thanks to all of you especially for coming!  It was truly a fantastic occasion.  

The next morning we drove to Pocatello for Sarah’s graduation, and it was great.  It lasted less than an hour!  They do graduations right in Pocatello.  Dad and I left before the after-party really got going, but I was way tired from the day before.  Still, we could see that a ton of hamburgers and hot dogs were going to be grilled.

Friday afternoon we drove to Alpine for Morgan James’s wedding, and it was a gorgeous occasion.  There were eight bridesmaids and nine groomsmen!  All my siblings were there except for Ben and Mark, so we had a lot of fun visiting.  I know some of you came to the reception later, where the next generation hung out.

Now Dad and I are playing catch-up.  We finished the fire pit at the cabin yesterday morning, and it was nice to put in the perma sand and spray it down, after having that project underway for so long.  My friend Lisa Elms is borrowing the cabin for her family reunion June 16-18, so I didn’t want to have such a big unfinished project in the way of all those visitors.

Coming events: Family book club will be here at our house next Sunday night, June 12.  We’re reading The BFG.  I finished it in record time because it was so good.  Be there or be square!   The Allen family reunion is barely a month away, on July 9 at Laurie’s house.  Her address is 2273 South Lookout Ridge Drive in Mapleton.  I’ll pass on any new information as it gets closer.  And of course our Ackerson reunion is July 28-31 at Bear Lake.  Monica is in charge, and she’ll get out our assignments in plenty of time.  

Look, my whole letter has been taken up with events.  What else is there?  Oh, our cats, who demand a lot of attention.  Scout has trimmed down by eating mice, and his fur is nice and glossy.  Sonia isn’t really into grasshopper season yet, but she catches flies and spiders around the house.

I know you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it!  Mom

Sunday, May 29, 2022

 Dear Kids,

What a busy and crazy and fun week we’ve had!  Well, actually, most of the craziness was on Friday.  It was Dad’s and Dallin’s birthdays, and Del’s and Ben’s graduations.  Ben’s ceremony was at 7 pm, though, which would have gotten us home around 10, so we went to his seminary graduation last Sunday night instead.  It was really nice, and they called on him to bear his testimony, along with some other kids.  Hey, it worked.  And then Friday morning early we drove to Ogden for Del’s graduation, which started at 8 am.  We met Allen and Jen and Nora there, and it was a great ceremony.  And guess whose name was called out first?  It helps to be an Ackerson!  (If there aren’t any Abbots in your group.)

Dad and I got home just in time for him to go meet John at the airport and help him put his glider together.  John had a great flight.  He went all the way to Evanston.  Meanwhile I was at the cabin trying to finish up my fire pit remodel.  I was all ready to put down the perma sand when I read the directions, which said it shouldn’t be rained on for at least 24 hours, and it shouldn’t be subject to freezing temperatures for 2 days.  Both of those things were forecasted to happen, so I covered it all with a tarp and went home.  We’ve planned hot dogs for the little kids at our anniversary party Wednesday, but there’s other ways to cook them.  

Dad hasn’t had a birthday cake yet, so Donna’s bringing one to our house tonight.  Thanks, Donna!  You’re all welcome to come help celebrate.  Dallin had his party yesterday, I think.

And then Wednesday is our anniversary party, and we’ll start eating at 5 pm.  I already ordered the food from Bam Bams, and it should taste fabulous.  Just like last summer.  The cabin is up for it!  We’re not sending out formal invitations, but if you’re reading this, you’re invited.  I’m expecting us all to have a great time.  Sharon and Monica are flying in, so all you 9 kids will be there together.

And then two weeks from today, on the 12th, is our family book club.  I’m already reading The BFG.  It’s scrumdiddilyicious.  The story moves fast, so you’ve all got plenty of time.

Allen broke his tailbone skydiving.  He’ll have to tell you the details.  There’s no stoppin’ the fun!

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, May 22, 2022

 Dear Kids,

I’m excited for Super Sunday this afternoon, especially since we’re going to honor the high school graduates: Aaron, Ben, Sarah, Emma, and Del.  I’m not sure if all of them will be there, and I’m not exactly sure what the agenda is, but I know it will be fun.  Nora has done way more than her share of the planning, so thanks, Nora.  Be there or be square.  4 pm, Nora’s house.

Thursday night Dad and I went to Aaron and Emma’s graduation in Heber.  It was loud and crazy and fun.  The names of the graduates were read off in alphabetical order, so Aaron and Emma were first and second, out of more than 500 kids.  I was very proud of them.

We’re also incredibly proud of Sharon, whose graduation was the very same day.  Too bad we couldn’t have been there, too!  Sharon can now add some more initials after her name: RN and BSN.  Her courses and practicums were tough, but she made it, and we’re sure she’ll have a wonderful career as a nurse.

Oh, yes, and we’re also very proud of Julie and Spencer for graduating from UVU.  But their graduation ceremony was a drive-through, because of covid, you know, so we weren’t part of that.  We congratulate them, anyway!

Last week I wrote that the dinner time for our anniversary party on June 1 would probably be around 6, but we’ve had to change that to 5.  If you can’t make it by then, just come when you can.  I’m hoping we’ll have plenty of food, and I’m trying to calculate everything as well as possible.  Kim suggested that we get hot dogs for the little kids since they might not appreciate Bam Bam barbecue, and I think that’s a good idea.  If I can finish the fire pit remodel, they can roast them outside.  If not, we’ll just cook them.   

I know there’s still a lot on your calendars, but don’t forget our next family book club will  be on June 12 at our house.  We’re reading The BFG by Roald Dahl.  It’s a great book, although there’s one scary part.  Well, maybe there are a lot of scary parts, but if the kids can handle it, I can.

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, May 15, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Changes, changes.  We’ve had to change the location of Super Sunday next week, and also of our anniversary party on June 1.  First, Super Sunday: we’ve moved it to Nora’s house so their family can participate, and then do Ben’s Seminary graduation at 6pm.  So we’ll meet at Nora’s at 4:00.  There will be something special to honor the high school graduates, although I don’t know what.  Nora and Donna are in charge of that.  Otherwise, bring your normal dinner contributions.  It’s always a great meal–no matter that it’s so random.

Then, our anniversary party: since we changed the date, we can’t have it at Francis Park, because somebody else already reserved it for that day.  So I guess the cabin will be the next best place?  Or does somebody have a better idea.  Let me know if you can think of something else, because it’s coming up fast.  We’ll probably eat around 6 pm, but you can come lots earlier if you want to hang out or hike.  This is the best time of the year to enjoy the cabin, because it’s so green.  And it stays light until about 9pm.  So it will be a lot of fun.  If you’re reading this, you’re invited. 

We had a great discussion for our family book club last Sunday.  Everybody liked Chocolate Fever.   For June, Donna’s family is in charge (although it will still be at our house) and Dallin has chosen  The BFG by Roald Dahl.  I love that book! (Although there’s at least one disturbing part.)  I’m pretty sure there are plenty of copies at all the libraries.  Our club meeting will be June 12.

On Friday afternoon Dad and I went to the Heber airport so Dad could help John launch his glider.  I was planning to check the freezer for maybe another dead cat, but the freezer door was open and the refrigerator was turned off.  It’s still the beginning of the season for glider pilots, so I’m sure they’ll turn everything on eventually so they can keep their drinking water cold.   But I don’t expect to ever find another surprise like that cat.  John and Dad spent a long time setting up the glider, because it was John’s first flight of the year.  But once John got up, he said the conditions were fabulous.

Just like our family.  Fabulous.  I’m lucky to be the matriarch of such a group!

Love, Mom

Sunday, May 8, 2022

 Dear Kids,

It still snows at least once a week, but our grass is green and spring is here.  The cats have been rolling in the dirt.  Dad needs to get out the lawn mower and rev it up.  He’s been working on putting a new gas tank on the yerf dog, which takes him to the cabin two or three times a week.

Our family book club meets today at 5 at our house.  I’m excited to talk about Chocolate Fever.  Everybody is invited, even if you haven’t read it.  We’ll have brownies and pumpkin cookies for dessert, plus anything that anybody else brings.  It’ll be fun.

And Super Sunday will be two weeks from today, on the 22nd.  Allen can’t host after all, since he’s in charge of the police barbecue that day.  Humm.  I sort of remember the same thing happening last year.  So Donna’s turn is next, and Al will be in charge for June.  Donna, I’ve kept forgetting to ask you.  How about it, for the 22nd?

And our anniversary party on June 1 is coming up fast.  I keep forgetting to call the city to change the park to that day, (city hours are very short), but the party will go ahead no matter what.  I’m excited to have all you grown kids here, plus some of your spouses and children.  I never imagined being married 50 years.  On Friday Dad and I went to the Provo temple to do a session, and seeing  the flowers and the green grass and the fountains brought it all back to me.  Back then the temple was brand new, and now they’re already planning to rebuild it.  When we got out of the session we drove down to see the Vineyard temple that’s under construction.  That’s where we’ll go when the Provo temple is down. 

I have to give a talk about Mothers in church today.  How’s that for having a great Mothers Day?  Actually, I like talking in church.  But it’s still a little stressful and I’ll be glad when it’s over.

Lots of love to all of you.  Mom

Sunday, May 1, 2022

 Dear Kids,

I think most of you have gotten the message that our 50th anniversary party has been changed to Wednesday, June 1.  That’s because Sarah’s graduation in Pocatello is June 2 at 3pm. Thanks to Sharon for contacting everybody and arranging for the new date.  I’m really glad that everyone can make it, even Monica.  We’ll have to get a good picture of Dad, myself, and you nine kids.  I haven’t contacted the city yet about reserving the park for the 1st, but if it isn’t available, we’ll meet somewhere else.  This party will happen!

And next Sunday will be the second meeting of our family book club, talking about Chocolate Fever.  I realize it’s Mothers Day, too, but hopefully that won’t get in our way.  5pm, our house.  Be there or be square.  I think reading together is one of the best things a family can do, and I’m grateful to Nora for getting this ball rolling.  

Last Monday I had my CT scan, and Thursday I met with Dr. Lewis, my oncologist. He was really excited to show me how my tumors have shrunk.  The main one we’re watching, the “canary in the coal mine,” had shrunk from 1.8 to 1.5 centimeters, which might not sound like much, but it’s 20%.  And that’s just the diameter.  If you think of it in 3D and do the math, (4/3 π r-cubed) the volume shrank by 42%, which is spectacular.  Besides that, some of the tumors looked like doughnuts, because they were dying from the inside.  Needless to say I’m really happy.  I’ll be off of chemo now until the first of July, so I’m planning to do lots of plain, ordinary things like hiking and working at the cabin.  

Paul and Stefanie and their kids stayed over here Friday night because they had an appointment at John’s office Saturday morning.  It was really fun to get out my toys for the kids.  (One tote at a time, of course.)   Paul and Josh got out the legos and put together a little car with a man.  Paul wanted to take it home, so I said he could.  Some things never change, and I guess fascination with legos is one of those.  

I hope you’re all doing great and enjoying this pleasant spring weather.  Yeah, we had snow this week, but it melted within an hour.  There’s no stopping summer!  It’s coming! (Sharon’s family has had warm weather for weeks, but we won’t stew about that.)

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, April 24, 2022

 Dear Kids,

McKay’s baptism yesterday was really a nice event.  Besides the baptism itself, one highlight was Dallin and McKay singing a duet.  Who knew?  Another highlight was Allen arriving in uniform with all his police gear strapped around him.  The boys were thrilled.  Al was on duty, so of course he had to have all the gear.  It was great.

Donna and Bevan got home from Boston Monday night, and all their kids had done fine at Nora’s house.  Bevan’s time in the marathon was 3:15.  BTW, Vanessa’s talking about doing the Squaw Peak Trail run on June 11.  It’s 50 miles of punishing turf.  She has new strategies for this time around, and she thinks it might not be so brutal.  Let’s hope.

Upcoming events: (1) Family book club here on May 8 at 5 pm.  We’re reading Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith.  Be there or be square.  (2) Super Sunday on May 22, at a spot to be chosen by Allen.  We’re going to be honoring the 5 high school graduates for 2022. (Aaron, Ben, Sarah, Emma, and Del) (3) June 2, remember, is our 50th Anniversary party, probably at 6 pm, at Francis Park.  There’ll be Bam Bam barbeque and lots of fun.  (4) July 9 is the Allen family reunion at Laurie’s house in Mapleton.  I’ll have more details when it gets closer.  (5) The Ackerson family reunion will be at Bear Lake July 28-31.  Same spot–Rendezvous Beach.  One detail we didn’t know last time is that every car past #12 has to pay a $50 camping fee.  So if you can manage it, one car per family.

My last chemo was nearly two weeks ago, and I’m having a CT scan tomorrow to see how my tumors have done.  I’m betting they really shrank, because I’ve been breathing so well.  I’m sure all your prayers have been helping me, too, especially the prayers of your kids.  Heavenly Father really listens to them.

Thanks for all you kids do for Dad and me.  We really appreciate it.

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, April 17, 2022

 Dear Kids,

Happy Easter, everyone.  The Party at Nora’s house yesterday was a blast, and the only hang-up was Dallin getting lost, temporarily.  Thank goodness he was only playing football with another family over in the park.  With his hoodie up, it wasn’t obvious that was him.  Dad located him.  (Dad had on a Centerville Police hoodie Allen gave him for Christmas, and he looked very official, looking for a lost child.) Dallin only felt bad that he missed the Easter egg hunt, but McKay shared his eggs with him, and several other kids did, too.  All’s well that ends well.

McKay’s baptism is next Saturday morning (the 23rd) at 10:30 at Nora’s church.  There will be a lunch afterwards at Nora’s house.  Since we’re having so many events in April, we’ve decided to put off Super Sunday until the end of May.  It’s Allen’s turn next.   It will be interesting to see where he decides we’ll meet.  All you kids have done a super job of hosting.

The first meeting of our new family book club went really well last Sunday.  I think these books can become an important part of our family culture, like Nora bringing black cookie dough to make Jenny Linski cookies, and some red for the cat’s shawl.  Everybody knew what that was all about.  Our next book, suggested by Nora, is Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith.  I read it already, and I really enjoyed it.  It’s short and funny, and I think you’ll all like it.  There are plenty of copies in all the libraries around here.  We’ve sort of decided to hold book club on the second Sunday of each month, so it won’t be too close to Super Sunday on the fourth.  That would make our next meeting on May 8th.  I’m already looking forward to it.

Donna and Bevan have been backpacking around Boston since yesterday morning.  In the afternoon they took a trolley tour which Donna said was really interesting.  On Monday Bevan will be running the marathon, and as soon as he’s done, they’ll jump right on their plane for home.  Their kids are at Nora’s.  (If it sounds like Nora’s been busy lately, she has. And how!)  We’re hoping Bevan gets a good time on the marathon, but the bottom line is, it’s Boston!  What could be cooler?

Enjoy your Easter Sunday, and enjoy what it really means.

Love, Mom

Sunday, April 10, 2022


Dear Kids,

The first meeting of our family book club will be this afternoon at 5:00 at our house.  We’ve been reading Jenny and the Cat Club by Esther Averill.  You don’t need to have read all of it.  I’ve read it twice, I liked it so much.  The author definitely understood cats.  The idea behind the book club is that we’ll choose books you can read together with your kids, and then we’ll meet once a month or so to talk about them.  I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.  

And next weekend is Easter, so we’ll be meeting at Nora’s on Saturday (the 16th) at 2 pm.  Bring eggs for your kids, and you can call Nora for a food assignment.  It’ll be cool that day, probably about 50 degrees at Nora’s house.  Whatever the weather, whatever the menu, whoever can come–it will be great fun.  

Some of you have asked if there’s going to be an Allen family reunion this summer, so I asked Bonnie, and this was her answer: Laurie Jacobson has graciously offered to host on Saturday, July 9, in their backyard.  They have a large space with a pool, basketball court, patio area and a lot of grass for volleyball, etc.  It will be the usual where everyone brings their own food and drink and we enjoy visiting while the kids play.  I will get back with everyone on details of time (morning) and other details, but put Saturday, July 9, on your calendars.   Please let your children and grandchildren know about this.  

So we have that to look forward to, and our own Ackerson family reunion at Bear Lake the last weekend in July.  So many good things up ahead!

Sharon has had two job offers from hospitals, and she needs to do some shadowing to learn more about both places.  One job is med surg (you know, medical, surgical) and the other is intermediate care.  One starts August 1, and the other on August 26.  Naturally I hope she takes the one that starts later, so she won’t have to leave our family reunion early, but in the long run it won’t matter.  We’re really proud that she’s done so well!

So much is going on!  Dad and I are really lucky to be matriarch and patriarch of such a great family.  Love, Mom