Sunday, December 31, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Christmas came and went and still we didn’t get any snow, but it was a great holiday anyway.  It would have been greater for me if I hadn’t been sick, but those things happen.  I was sorry we couldn’t drive around Heber and visit everybody, but we did make it to Donna’s house for Christmas dinner.  I sat in the sunshine and watched all the activity.  Monday there wasn’t much snow for the sledding party, but everybody seemed to be having a good time anyway.  I enjoyed sitting in the greenhouse listening to what everybody had to say, and soaking up the sun.  I enjoyed the smell of Donna’s Navajo tacos, even though I couldn’t eat any. 

Two weeks from today (January 14) will be book club, and we’re reading Sled Dog School.  Since I’m in charge of the discussion, I’ve already started writing down my questions.  The first one is: “When Matt yelled “haw” at his dogs, did he mean for them to turn right or left?”  There, everybody will get at least one right.  I’m really enjoying the book, at least my second time through it.  

On January 28 we’ll be combining Super Sunday with Emma’s farewell.  It works out well to combine the events, and besides, Allen would normally be in charge, but he’ll be laid up from his surgery on the 24th. Am I the only person getting nervous about this?  I’m sure the Lord will bless and protect both Allen and Spencer, but I’ll be relieved when they’re both recovering.

Dad and I have been enjoying all the Christmas presents you gave us, and especially all the chocolate.  Dad didn’t used to be a fan of dark chocolate until he found out it’s supposed to be good for your heart, and now’s he’s eating it up!  So thanks, everybody, for all you gave us.  Our most spectacular present was probably the giant framed picture of our family, the one I used on our Christmas card.  I’d been too sick to hang it, but yesterday morning I felt a little bit better so we got out the tools and put it up.  There never was such a family!  I didn’t really “get it” until I saw the picture for the first time, and realized how many people there were.  So thanks to Donna for getting us the big framed version, and to all of you who helped pay for it.  Thanks for all the rest of your presents, too.

I hope you all have a pleasant New Years Eve tonight.  I have fireworks left over from the fourth of July, and I’m planning to shoot them off.  Actually there’s only one pack, but it’s ariels.  I’ll probably get them out as soon as it’s dark.  We don’t have to worry about starting a fire, do we?  It’ll be too cold.

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, December 24, 2023

 Dear Kids,

I’ve been sick for the last several days so this letter will be a lot shorter than usual. Dad took me to the ER yesterday and they tested me for covid, flu, RSV, pneumonia, and several other things, but it all came up negative.  They concluded that I have “a bug.”  Very helpful.  Anyway, since it’s Christmas Eve, you’re all welcome to come here in the evening, and I will try to stay out of the way.  We’ll have the usual hot chocolate and pumpkin cookies, plus popcorn.  Besides, my neighbor dropped off a carton of vanilla ice cream along with two bottles of topping, leatherby’s hot fudge and caramel.  I tasted them both before I got sick and they’re exquisite.  

Tomorrow we’ll try to get around and visit those of you here in the valley, if I’ve improved a lot by then.  Tuesday will be our sledding party.  It pretty well plans itself.  Lunch at 1pm, featuring Donna’s chili, and everybody’s leftovers.  Lots of people, and the magic of the cabin–it’ll be fun.  

I haven’t thought ahead to book club, but let’s meet the third Sunday.  That will give me plenty of time to recover. We’re reading Sled Dog School, and you’ll really like it. 

Love to everybody, Mom

Sunday, December 17, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Book club is tonight at 5:00, and we’ll be talking about The Family Under the Bridge.  Donna will be in charge of the discussion.  It’s a great story, and not terribly long, and I’m sure we’ll all have fun talking about it.

Next Saturday afternoon is the cousins’ party.  The ice skating will be at the Bountiful Ribbon from 2 to 4 pm, and dinner is at 5.  If you don’t have a food assignment, call Nora.  The next day, Christmas Eve, Dad and I will be home in the evening, if anybody wants to come by.  I fondly remember all the Christmas Eves where we hiked up a hill somewhere, but I’m just not up for that any more.  Besides, I don’t like being cold.  So we’ll be at home drinking hot chocolate and eating pumpkin cookies and watching Christmas movies.  Couldn’t be better.

On Christmas Day, Dad and I will probably drive around Heber valley and visit you three families there.  We have to see all the toys and wrapping paper and boxes, and feel all the excitement.  The next day will be our sledding party at the cabin.  I was pretty confident that there would be plenty of snow, but our storms have evaporated.  It doesn’t matter, though–there will be enough people and food to make a good party.  Donna’s making chili, and if the rest of you bring your leftovers, there will be plenty.

If you run into Jacob, you can ask him about his little chiquita.  Her name is Enys and she’s from Mexico and very cute.  Rumor has it that they’re getting serious.  We’ll have to see what happens.

John’s eye surgeries went really well.  He says that he’s seeing better now than he ever has, since he was 15 and was fitted with his first pair of glasses.  He can see in all directions, not just straight ahead like with glasses.  He still needs reading glasses, but overall he’s really excited about his vision.  My sister Bonnie was having the same surgery on Thursday, but just one one eye.  Her other eye will be this week.  John fitted her out with some interim glasses. 

Our work at the cabin is finished!  It went really fast at the end.  When you come to the sledding party you can see how cute the bunkhouse looks.  I think our contractor wanted to get paid off before Christmas.  He’s lucky we’re not going to make him wait like we had to wait for him.  

We hope you’re all ready for Christmas and feeling the hype!  Love, Mom

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Dear Kids,

It’s the Messiah tonight!  We’re meeting at Tom’s house at 5:30 for a Super Sunday type dinner–bring whatever you have.  My ministering sisters dropped off some stuff here yesterday, so that will be my contribution.  The Messiah itself starts at 7.  I’ve been practicing the choruses, but of course it’s not like actually being in the choir.  I feel smug thinking about all the rehearsals I’ve missed, though.  I’ll enjoy singing along, hopefully with Nora on one side of me and Donna on the other.  I need help to hear the alto parts.

Next Sunday night is book club, and we’re reading The Family Under the Bridge.  It’s short, so if you haven’t started it yet, there’s still time.  I’ve read it through twice now, and I enjoyed it even more the second time than the first.  Book club meets at 5 pm, like always, and if it lasts more than 15 minutes, that would be unusual.  You parents are fostering a great love of reading in your kids by participating.  I’m glad for the little bit of reading I did with you kids.  Remember The King With Six Friends?  We sure didn’t have all the choices that are available now.

A week from Saturday is the cousins’ gift exchange at Nora’s house.  Ice skating will be from 2 to 4 pm at the Bountiful Ribbon, and dinner will be at 5.  If you don’t have a food assignment, call Nora.  It will be wild and crazy, like always.

Dad and I will be home on Christmas Eve, two weeks from tonight, so feel free to come over, if you want to.  We’ll have hot chocolate and pumpkin cookies, plus whatever other goodies happen to get dropped off here in the meantime.  Of course we’ll watch Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.  It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without watching the little girl who looks like Sharon skating with Big Bird.  Oh, wait, Sharon doesn’t look like that any more.  No matter.  It’s all about the nostalgia.

John’s eye surgeries are this Tuesday and Thursday, so we’ll all want to remember him in our prayers.  Allen’s and Spencer’s surgeries are just a little more than six weeks away.  It’s not too soon to start remembering them.

The day after Christmas will be our sledding party at the cabin.  Donna’s going to make chili, and we can eat up all your leftovers.  I’m sure there will be plenty of snow.  There’s already enough for a good slick trip down the hill.

Our contractor never did finish his work on the bunkhouse and garage, but I’m pretty sure it’s because he ran out of half-logs.  He’s certain to want the rest of his money for Christmas, so I hope that he’ll finish by then.  He left a whole pile of ladders in the garage, so I’m sure we’ll see him again.  

I hope you’re all having fun gearing up for Christmas.  Lots of love, Mom 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

 Dear Kids,

There are so many fun things coming up!  Of course!  It’s December!  A week from today is the Messiah, and we’re meeting at Tom’s house for a before party at 5:30.  It’ll be sort of like Super Sunday, so bring whatever food you want.  The Messiah itself starts at 7.

A week later, the 17th, is family book club.  We’re reading The Family Under the Bridge, which is a great story.  We’ll meet at 5 pm.

The cousins’ gift exchange will be Saturday, the 23rd, at Nora’s house.   Ice skating will be from 2-4 pm at the Bountiful Ribbon, and then we’ll eat at 5.  You can call Nora for a food assignment.  

The next day, Sunday, Christmas Eve, Dad and I will be home, and for anybody who wants to come by in the evening, we’ll be having hot chocolate and pumpkin cookies.  Of course we’ll be watching Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, and any other Christmas movies that people want to see.  On Christmas day Dad and I will probably drive around Heber Valley and look in on those of you who live there.  You can show us your Christmas presents.  

I really haven’t thought far enough ahead, but I assume we’ll have our after-Christmas sledding party on Tuesday, the 26th.  We should have enough snow by then for some good sledding.

There, is that enough activities?  If you can’t join us for everything, we understand.  Maybe it’s possible to celebrate too much, but I’ve never felt that way.  

John is going to have eye surgery on December 12 and 14, one day for each eye.  He’s going to have lens implants.  It’ll be free for him, because the eye surgeon is a friend of his, and he operates on his fellow eye doctors for free.  Allen’s (and Spencer’s) liver surgeries will be January 24.

Sonia hates this cold, snowy weather we’re having.  When it’s time for her to go out, she hides under our bed, right in the middle where we can’t reach her.  I have to get a broom and run it under the bed, pushing her out, and then Dad grabs her.  She acts like she hates us, except that she still sleeps on my legs at night, and on Dad’s lap when we’re in front of the TV.  That would be a cat for you.

The work on our cabin and bunkhouse has slowed way down because of the weather, but it’s really close to being finished.  The bunkhouse is looking super.  The contractor tore off all my decroded edgings and put on his own, and they look way better.  With the half-logs on it, the bunkhouse matches the cabin way better now.

Life is good.  I love you all.  Mom

Sunday, November 26, 2023

 Dear Kids,

The next family happening will be Drew’s baptism this coming Saturday, December 2, at 10:30 am. The address of Donna’s church is 250 East 200 South in Midway.  I’m sure there will be an afterparty at Donna’s house, although I don’t know any of the details.  Call Donna if you want to offer your help.

Our family dinner was going great for me last Sunday, until I faceplanted on John’s sidewalk, carrying out the turkey carcass.  Luckily the Heber Hospital ER is just a few minutes from John’s house, and Dad drove me there.  Sharon, the nurse, came along.  They did a CT scan of my head, to make sure I didn’t have a fracture or any brain bleeding, and they x-rayed my knee and wrists, because they hurt.  I hurt my shoulder and arm, too, but I didn’t realize it then.  Luckily all those places took the brunt of my fall, or it could have been much worse.  They took five stitches to close up a cut over my left eye, and bandaged up my hand, where it was bleeding.  (Oh, yeah, thanks to Kim for cleaning up the blood on John’s sidewalk.)  By the time we got back to John’s house I had one heck of a black eye, and I looked terrible.  Thanks to all of you for being so tactful about my appearance, and treating me so kindly.  Now, after almost a week, my black eye is nearly gone and my stitches are out.  All’s well that ends well.  Sadly, I never got the chance to deliver the turkey carcass to the magpies.  Donna threw it away.  Next year I’ll be more careful.

The Messiah will be two weeks from today, on December 10.  We’ll meet at Tom’s house for a before-party, probably about 5:30, since Tom will need to be there at 6 pm.  For the rest of us, the Messiah itself starts at 7.  

Our next family book club is December 17, and we’re reading The Family Under the Bridge.  I got it from the library and I’m already on my second time through it.  It takes place in Paris, and even if you know nothing about the city, you’ll still enjoy it.

Anna and Ali are both working on the Heber Creeper Polar Express.  Anna is an elf, and Ali is a “Santa Baby.”  I’m sure they’re both really cute.

Even though it’s been cold, our contractor and his cohorts have been busy on our cabin.  They’ve pretty well finished the soffit and fascia, and they’re starting on the bunkhouse.  They’re wrapping it in Tyvek before they put on the half logs.  They said, “It won’t be so breezy in there now.”  We expect the work to be finished this coming week, and then we’ll be handing over more cash at the bank.  I’m glad they’re finishing before winter sets in for good.

So much fun!  So much going on!  Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, November 19, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Most of you have heard that Julie’s husband Spencer has been waiting for a liver transplant.  They only needed to find a donor.  All of his family was tested and none of them were a match.  Allen heard about it and had himself tested, and he’s a perfect match.  He has a big healthy liver (maybe from all those miles of hiking?) and the blood vessels are all in the right places.  So they’re going to take part of Allen’s liver and transplant it into Spencer.  Allen’s liver will regenerate itself, so it will be its regular size again.  The surgery will be done in January.  We’re just really proud of Allen for making this sacrifice, and we’ll all be praying that things go well. 

Our family Thanksgiving dinner is this afternoon at 4:00 at John’s house.  You all have your food assignments.  It’s going to be a great event.  On Thanksgiving day, those people with nowhere else to go will meet us at the cabin at 1pm.  Tom is doing brisket.  I’m doing macaroni.  Nuff said.  

Speaking of the cabin, our contractor finally came through.  He and a couple of other guys have been doing the soffit (under the eaves, outside) and the fascia (right next to the roof.) They have the half-logs for the bunkhouse all laid out and they’re being painted.  The most exciting part of the project is a giant cherry-picker they rented, for working around the roof.  Dad and I were offered trips going up in it, but we both declined.  We’re not as adventurous as we used to be.

Our next family book club will be December 17, and we’re reading The Family Under the Bridge.  I have it on hold at the library in West Valley, but I haven’t been down there to pick it up  yet, so I have no idea what it’s even about.  Normally we have book club on the second Sunday of the month, but the Messiah in Heber will be that night.  (December 10)  I wish I were singing in it, but my lungs aren’t clear enough yet.  I’ll be singing in the audience, sitting next to Nora.  All of you who are coming–let’s sit together, OK?  I love the Messiah.  Tom is in the choir, but he was really discouraged after the first practice, because he was the only tenor.  Hopefully that will improve for him. 

I’m looking forward to seeing nearly all of you this afternoon.

Love, MomS

Sunday, November 12, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Book club is at 5:00 this afternoon, here at our house, like always.  We’re reading My Side of the Mountain.  If you haven’t totally finished it, that’s OK.  Lots of you have been really busy this past month.  I’m planning that we’ll still have book club in December, even though things are likely to get busier still.  Have you all noticed how dark it gets, and how early?  What better reason than those long dark evenings for your families to read together!

A week from today will be our family Thanksgiving dinner at John’s house, at 4 pm.  Sharon says you all have your food assignments.  Last year I swore it was my last year for making pies, but I’m feeling a lot better this year, and I’m up for it.  I’m sure anybody could bake my pumpkin pies if they used my recipe, but I still feel like it’s my responsibility.  Anyway, back to our family dinner–I’m looking forward to seeing so many of you.  What a family we have! I was just overwhelmed by the sight of such a gang when we had our big picture taken at the family reunion.  It’s such an impressive picture that I will be sending out Christmas cards for the first time in at least ten years.  I have to show you off to my brothers and sisters. I’ll also be sending them to each of you kids, so you can put up my card with all your others and let your friends and visitors see.

As I’ve written before, on Thanksgiving day we’ll be having a barbecue-type meal at the cabin for everyone who wants to be there.  I’m going to pay Tom to make brisket for everybody.  Donna is in charge, so if you want a food assignment, contact her.  I figure we’ll be eating about 1 pm.

The contractor we hired to work on our bunkhouse and cabin still hasn’t started the project, and now there’s snow on the ground.  When it was snowing on Tuesday, Dad got a text from him that said they would give the snow one day to melt, and then start on Thursday.  Needless to say, they didn’t show up.  And of course the snow didn’t melt in one day.  We had made a $10,000 down payment, and since the contractor was willing to give us a 10% discount for cash (real cash, not a check or venmo) we met him at the bank.   It was fun to see their machine count out one hundred hundred-dollar bills.  You can probably figure why he wanted his money under-the-table like that.  I don’t care.  I just want to see the work done.  People are still building all over the valley, so there’s a chance it will happen.

So much going on!  I love you all!  Mom

Sunday, November 5, 2023


Dear Kids,

I hope you all set your clocks behind for today, so you didn’t have to get up any earlier than you needed to.  It’s nice to not have it so dark in the morning, but from now on evening is terrible.  It gets dark so early that 6pm seems like bedtime.  

My radiation went just fine.  I’ve been coughing a lot (I can just feel that tumor rattling around in my chest) and I’ve been really sleepy, but those are the worst side effects I’ve had.  Thank you for all your prayers.  I know they’ve made a difference.  I won’t know how effective the radiation was for at least a month, when I have my next scan.  I’ll let you know how that goes. 

Book club is a week from today at 5 pm.  I hope you’re enjoying My Side of the Mountain.  I’ve read it three or four times, and it always makes me want to go live by myself in the wilderness.  I don’t think I could have a peregrine falcon for a pet, though.  They’re terrible birds!  In the book, Sam paints a very complimentary picture of them.  They’re killers, though. 

Our family Thanksgiving dinner will be two weeks from today, at John’s house.  Will 4:00 work out?  I haven’t talked to Sharon about a time yet.  She and her family are coming on the 16th or the 17th, I forget which day.  Her plans are so complicated that I couldn’t very well follow them, but like always, she’ll pack as much fun into their vacation as possible.  They’re having dinner at the Thackers in Upalco on Thanksgiving day, when we’ll be having our second dinner, this time at the cabin.  It will be a very relaxed affair, and Donna is in charge.

I guess you all know that Tom and Kim hiked the Grand Canyon on Friday.  That hike must be really addictive!  I called Tom Friday night, after they had finished, and he said he’d had a much easier time than two years ago.  He was really in good shape.  Of course Kim is always in good shape, and she finished 10 minutes before he did.  Now I’m wondering, are these Grand Canyon hikes going to be an annual thing?  I sure wish Dad and I could participate, but I can’t even hike around the block these days.  Yesterday afternoon I felt so shut in that we drove up the Mirror Lake highway.  It’s pretty brown and bleak now, except for the spruces and pines, but still really beautiful.  I forget that we live so close to nature up here.  

Winter is closing in!  Sonia’s spending a lot more time inside, sleeping on the white bench in our bedroom.  I’m always glad to have her safely inside, away from the hawks and coyotes and foxes.  She’s five years old already, and we’re hoping she lives many more years.  Like me.  I’m not worried about foxes and coyotes, but I do appreciate all your prayers for me.

With love, Mom

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Dear Kids,

If you’re reading my letter you know that typing in just won’t get you here any more.  You have to type  But I don’t know how to get the word out to people who have been shut out.  I sent a text to all you children of ours, but there are only nine of you, and I sometimes have as many as 35 readers.  This is one of those problems that doesn’t seem to have a solution. 

Meanwhile, we’re all looking forward to Super Sunday at 4:00 at Tom’s this afternoon.  I’m looking forward to the good company, including Charlie Thacker.  I hope his plans work out OK.  I hope most of you can be there.  Like always, you can bring whatever food you want.  There’s always plenty.

And we’ll be having our next book club on November 12.  We’re reading My Side of the Mountain, which is the twentieth book we’ve read in book club.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been going this long.  I hope as many of you as possible are reading the books together as a family.  From what I’ve been studying lately, that’s one of the most important things you can do for your children’s success in life.  I wish I had done it longer with you kids, but I figured once you could read on your own, you were good.  I could have done better, although all of you have been extremely successful.

I guess you all saw the pictures of Allen traveling to Wisconsin (including his flight with Aaron) and canoeing with Monica’s family.  Go, Allen!  Do it while you can!  I wish Dad and I could still travel, but it isn’t possible for us any more, so the lesson from that is you should have fun while you can.  Our lives are really good, but we just can’t do all we used to.

Speaking of which, my radiation starts tomorrow, and we’ll be driving to Salt Lake every day until Friday.  We’re going to listen to Gone With the Wind.  The radiation department gave me a whole folio of information, and I read it all, but nothing told me how I’ll feel being radiated.  I guess I’ll just have to find out.  When I had it before, it wasn’t so bad.

Three weeks from today we’ll be having our family Thanksgiving dinner at John’s house, and nearly our whole family will be there.  I just assumed John would have plenty of places for us to sit, without counting how many of us there were.  I don’t mind standing up to eat, and if some of us have to do that, it will still be great.  Sharon is in charge of the meal, and it might not be too early to contact her and see what you can bring.

So much is going on!  Life is good.  Love, Mom  

Sunday, October 22, 2023

 Dear Kids,

John is wrapping up his soaring for the season, since his insurance runs out the end of this month.  Yesterday we went to the airport to help him with his glider, what little we could.  My contribution was to wipe the dead bugs off his wings.  It was surprisingly easy.  He gave me a spray bottle and some paper towels, and I wiped away.  

Next Sunday, the 29th, is Super Sunday at Tom’s.  (And Kim’s birthday, too, you’ll remember.)  I assume we’ll be eating at 4pm, like usual.  I’m pretty sure Tom will be cooking up one of his barbecue specialties, like usual.  I’m sure there will be plenty of food–there always is.  Charlie Thacker is coming!  I’m really looking forward to talking to him about school.  We won’t be having Super Sunday in November, because of our two Thanksgivings, or December, because of Christmas.

Our next family book club will be on November 12, the week before our big Thanksgiving bash.  We’re reading My Side of the Mountain, one of my all-time favorite outdoor books.  I first read it at Tom and Kim’s house many years ago.  I never wanted to run away from home, like Sam Gribley, but it’s fascinating how everything works out for him.

We were sorry we couldn’t go to the temple Thursday night, but it was too late for us.  I’m sure it was a wonderful experience for Emma.  Won’t somebody upload pictures on the family thread?   I want to see how happy everybody looked.

I start radiation a week from tomorrow.  It’s about time for me to experience something new, and I don’t think it will be too bad.  BTW, Dr. Newbold prescribed Valtrex (valacyclover) to try clear up the cankers on my lip, and I started with a massive dose.  (I’m only telling this story so some of you can escape the same result.) About 36 hours later I had unbearable cramps, and it was like my insides exploded.  I fainted, and I threw up.  It took me three days to totally recover.  So, if your doctor wants you to take Valtrex, beware.  You have to be a really large person to tolerate a heavy dose.  

Such pleasant stuff!  Sorry to bore you with my troubles, but I’m hoping to save someone else from the same fate.  Luckily most of our lives are pleasant and free of pain.

Lot of love, Mom

Sunday, October 15, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Book club is today at 5:00, and we’re talking about The Great Brain.  I finished reading it a couple of weeks ago so I don’t know if I’ll be able to answer any questions, but the book itself is definitely a winner.  I baked some brownies in honor of JD’s dog Brownie, and Nora might bring ice cream, so we’ll be having great treats.  Be there or be square.

Two weeks from today, the 29th, is Super Sunday at Tom’s house.  Charlie Thacker is planning to be there, so we’ll have a lot of fun talking to him.  I called him to see about his plans, and it sounds like he’s doing fine in school.  We can question him more closely when we see him.

And our early Thanksgiving dinner is just over a month away.  We’ll be getting together on Sunday, November 19, for a real turkey dinner.  Sharon will be in charge, and I’m sure she’ll be making assignments.  (Yes, the Thackers will be here--all of them.)  We’ll meet at John’s house, so it will be a very elegant meal.  Then, on the real Thanksgiving day, we’ll be having a barbecue-type dinner at the cabin.  All of you who are having your “on-year” can get together with us.  Donna will be in charge.

Too bad the eclipse yesterday was such a bust!  I hope it was sunny down south, where it was “total,” but here it was just cold and dark.  In fact, I had mostly forgotten about it yesterday morning, and the dark sky was getting me all depressed.  I called Nora about book club, and she reminded me that the eclipse was going on.  I was so glad to know the sun would be getting brighter again!  By afternoon it was warm enough that I could go out and prune shrubs.

I just finished a week of chemo and my next challenge will be radiation, from October 30 to November 3.  I’ll be going every day for the five days, so that will be a lot of driving for us.  I had a pre-radiation scan last Wednesday, and they gave me a bunch of pamphlets to read, which I haven’t gotten to yet.  I don’t need to know every single thing–only if it’s going to hurt or not.  I had radiation 5 years ago, and it wasn’t too bad.  I’m hoping for the best this time.  If it works really well, I might have more time off from chemo, time enough for all my “hurts” to heal up.  Right now it’s my left foot, my back end, and my lip, besides some neuropathy in my fingers and toes.  In fact, it’s hard to type, so I’ll end this treatise.

All my love, Mom

Sunday, October 8, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Book club won’t be today, but next Sunday, the 15th.  We’re reading The Great Brain, and it’s a relatively long book, compared to what we usually read.  Some of you needed more time, and it would have only been three weeks since our last discussion.  By the way, it’s the nineteenth book we’ve read since we started our book club.  If anybody wants the complete list of what we’ve read, let me know.  Congratulations to all of you for keeping it going so long.  

We’re moving Super Sunday back, too, to the 29th, because of complications with the 22nd.  We’ll be meeting at Tom’s house, and the 29th just happens to be Kim’s birthday, so we’ll all get a chance to wish her well.  I don’t know how long it’s been since we’ve been doing Super Sundays, but they’re sure working out nicely.  Thanks to all of you for opening your homes to us.

And our family Thanksgiving will be at John’s house, for sure, on Sunday, November 19th.  I’m warming up to the idea of celebrating on Sunday because we can have another dinner on the real Thanksgiving, the 23rd.  I’ve heard rumors that Tom’s going to cook a brisket that day. We’re going to have barbecue food–mac ‘n cheese and BT cake for dessert, so if you don’t have any other plans for real Thanksgiving day, you can put that on your calendar.  We’ll be eating at the cabin.  I was hoping our construction there would be finished by then, but we haven’t heard anything from our contractor this week, and we’re running out of time before winter.  By the way, are all contractors like that–they promise you everything, and then you never hear from them again?  At least when you do the work yourself, you can start whenever you want to.  I’m glad for all the years we were able to do our own work.

This last week was my good week, (I’m doing chemo again, starting tomorrow) and on Thursday afternoon we drove to Smith and Morehouse with our ministering couple, to look at the autumn leaves.  They were a really bright yellow!  It was perfect weather, and we walked part way around the reservoir.  That was the end of my fun for the week, though, because on Friday Dr. Engen burned some pre-cancers off my face, and yesterday I had a root canal where a bridge had fallen out of my mouth.  I was in the chair for more than two hours, but Dad held my hand the whole time.  He didn’t even look bored.  I was definitely not bored, with all the pain.  Dr. Condie kept having to inject more anesthetic into my mouth.  But it’s all healing now, so I’ll be in good shape for my chemo tomorrow.

Aaron goes into the Provo MTC on Wednesday, and Andy and Renae, who are greeters there, will be looking out for him.  I’m not getting Sarah’s letters, so I’ll have to contact Vanessa and get on her list.  I’m so proud of our missionaries!

Love to everybody, Mom

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Dear Kids,

Hasn’t conference been great?  Dad and I watched yesterday’s morning session just fine on our main TV with our powered antenna, but by afternoon we couldn’t get a signal.  We tried the library hot spot but we couldn’t connect up, so we ended up huddled in front of my little computer screen watching it on YouTube.  It worked fine, though.  Just as inspiring.  Better than the days when Dad used to listen on short wave in Virginia.  I’m looking forward to today’s sessions.

You all seemed to get Sharon’s text about Thanksgiving.  We’re delighted that she and her family are coming.  Since they’re going to the Thackers’ house in Upalco for Thanksgiving day, Sharon came up with the plan of having a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with our family the Sunday before.  When it gets closer we’ll figure out what time.  Sharon will be in charge of the meal, so I’m sure she’ll be assigning out the food.  I’m doing pies, even though I swore off from that job last year.  I should be in better shape this time around.  We need a place where everybody can sit down, so that means either the cabin greenhouse or John’s house.  I vote for John’s house, because the setting is so elegant, but if Heather says OK, we’ll all have to bring our foods pre-cooked.  More about this later.

Book club should be next week, unless I hear that some of you haven’t had enough time.  I’ll call around and see.  We’re reading The Great Brain, and I’m enjoying it just as much as the first time around.  Nora will be leading the discussion.

And then, when shall we have Super Sunday?  Since we have five Sundays in October, we could either have it the 22nd or the 29th.   It’s Tom’s turn, so I’ll check with him and let everybody know.  

Dad and I never did put up the half-log siding on the bunkhouse, and it’s been more than ten years, so we’re going to hire it out.  This is the first time we’ve ever had other people work for us.  We also need to have work done on the cabin, where the wood around the edge of the roof (fascia) and soffit under the eaves are all decroded.  We got a bid for both projects, and Dad was horrified, but I wasn’t too surprised.  Needless to say it’s going to cost us a lot, but that only underscores how much we’ve saved over the years by doing our own building and landscaping.  I wish we could do the work ourselves, but people in their late seventies need to slow down.  We just can’t do what we used to.

Still, life is plenty rewarding.  We love you all!  Mom

Sunday, September 24, 2023


Dear Kids,

Congratulations to Emma for her call to the Kansas Wichita mission.  Her service will begin January 22.  I’m just so proud of all these grandkids serving missions. I couldn’t be happier.  

Today is Grandpa Allen’s birthday.  If he were still alive, he’d be 100.  Yesterday I met with my brothers and sisters at Bonnie’s house, and we had a party in his honor.   We had BT cake with ice cream, especially for him.  All my siblings were there, even Ben from Albuquerque, and all their spouses except Monica.  I didn’t gather up any gossip, except for some news about Bonnie.  She said we all had to be out of her house by 6pm, because she had a date.  We said we wanted to stick around and check him out, and probably harass him a little bit, but when Dad and I left, everybody else was picking up their stuff, too.   I’m glad she’s having some fun in her life.

I’m still not sure if we’re doing the soup and bread dinner for conference this coming Saturday night.  I’ll check with everybody tonight and let you all know.  I can’t believe it’s already time for conference again, but it should be, because I’m on my sixth time through the talks.  You only have to read one every day to get through all of them that many times, and it really helps me with my life, especially the challenges I have now.

Book club last week was great.  For October we’re reading The Great Brain, Book 1.  It’s been several years since I read it, so I’m looking forward to going through it again.  Book club will be October 8, just two weeks away, unless something else comes along.  Then, October 22 will probably be Super Sunday again.  We’re due to meet at Tom’s this time. 

Our hikers made it out of the Grand Canyon yesterday afternoon.  Congratulations to Nora, Vanessa, Allen, Monica, and Donna for a trek well done!

I met with my radiation doctor on Thursday, and he didn’t promise me any fabulous results from radiation, but he thought it would probably help me breathe better.  I can go for that!  He said we should wait until my current block of chemo is over with, which will be October 11, and then he wanted to give it about three more weeks after that.  So it will be the end of October before anything happens.  I’m glad I have more time to prepare myself mentally. 

Life is good.  Love to all.  Mom

Sunday, September 17, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Book club is this afternoon at 5:00, and we’re talking about Frindle.  I have some good questions prepared, and I’ll be throwing out candy.  Then, if it isn’t too windy, we’ll build a fire out in our fire pit and make S’mores.   Our beautiful fall weather isn’t going to last too much longer, so we have to make the most of it.

Two weeks from now is October conference.  I’ll call around and see if you guys want to do the soup and bread dinner Saturday night, and then watch the evening session here.  Your kids can run around outside, if it isn’t too cold by then.  Or they can walk up the street and play football in the little park.  We’ll see what everybody wants to do.

At the end of this week, Allen, Monica, Donna, Nora, and Vanessa are doing the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim.  I think Nora and Monica are doing a modified version and camping out in the bottom.  Everybody’s  starting on Thursday, according to Allen, and spreading it over three days, so it won’t be the monster marathon like when Vanessa and her friends did it in one day.  I wish I could do it.  It’s hard to have my best days over with.  (Physically.  Otherwise, my best days are right now.)

I have an appointment with the radiation doctor this Thursday, to talk about when and how they’ll do the radiation on my lungs.  Right now I’m in the middle of a block of chemo, so I’m guessing they’ll wait until that’s over with.  Just guessing. I’ve met this doctor before–it was five years ago when I first had my colon cancer, and he radiated that area.  Now I have sores there that won’t heal, but hopefully it will go better this time.

I talked to Vanessa and asked her how Sarah’s doing.  She flew to the Mexico City MTC on a flight with about 50 other missionaries, and she’s doing great there.  It’s a very secure facility with eight-foot high concrete block walls and lots of chain link.  Sarah will stay there about 5 weeks, till October 20, when she’ll leave for Chile.  I’m sure she’ll have a wonderful mission there.   Aaron will start his MTC work on October 2.  After a week at home, he’ll go to Provo, and then, after a couple more weeks, to Iowa.  I’m so proud of our missionaries! 

Things are good!  I love you all!  Mom

Sunday, September 10, 2023

 Dear Kids,

I guess you’ve all heard about the change in plans, and that Super Sunday is today instead of next week.  That’s because Doug and Anita Price are tied up with their stake conference next week, but today will work OK for them.  So today is a combination Farewell/Super Sunday, and it all starts at 10:30 am at John’s ward, 1365 East Center Street in Heber.  Aaron will be speaking.  Lunch is right afterward, at John’s house, and nobody needs to bring anything, because it’s all taken care of.  With all their special diets, it’s tricky.  Speaking of which, John has been on the Keto diet for three or four weeks now, and he’s lost 16 pounds.  I asked him what his goal was, and he said probably 50 pounds, because he just turned 50.  “50 for 50,” he said.

So next week will be book club, here at our house at 5 pm.  We’re reading Frindle.  I’ll be throwing out candy to the kids who answer the questions right (and there will even be questions geared to Tyler) and if all the circumstances are right, we might do s’mores afterwards in the back yard.  My fire pit has been unused for too long.

Yesterday afternoon Aaron was endowed in the Provo Temple, and it was a great event.  It was wonderful seeing so many family members there.  Dad and I have a special feeling for the Provo Temple because we were married there, and it’s going to be hard for us when they “rebuild” it.  While it’s closed, we’ll probably go to the Orem or the Taylorsville temple, but neither one of them is very convenient, and it will take time to build memories in either place.

I haven’t written anything about my piano classes for a long time.  We’re still going strong at the Heber senior center.  It’s going on 10 years that I’ve been doing it, and some of my ladies have been with me nearly from the start.   A couple have dropped out, but I’ve just had two new ladies join up, and I hope they’ll be with me for another ten years.  I really hope I can keep it going that long, but having cancer makes it iffy.

Speaking of which, I’ll be talking to my doctor tomorrow morning and I hope to have some answers about radiation.  I’m supposed to be thinking it over, but I’ll just let my team make the decision for me.  At any rate, I’m sure I’ll still be doing the chemo.  I’ll be wearing my pump from tomorrow until Wednesday, and I’ll feel icky until Thursday or Friday.  Onward and upward!

Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it!  Mom

Sunday, September 3, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Josh’s baptism was a great event.  Thanks, Tom, for zooming it to Sharon in Maryland.  There were a couple of blips, but it seemed to work fine.  Thanks, Paul and Stefanie, for the wonderful lunch at your house afterwards.  It was fun to see the Riebens and talk to them again.

Donna says her kids are really enjoying Frindle.  She reads one chapter to them every night, and the chapters are really short, so it works out well.  If you haven’t started it yet, there’s still plenty of time, even though book club is next Sunday evening.  (Sept. 10)  Come and have fun!  It’s my turn to lead the discussion, so I’ll be throwing out candy, like always.

Super Sunday will be combined with Aaron’s farewell, at John’s house two weeks from today.  (Sept. 17.)  John says to bring your food pre-cooked, since some of his family members are super sensitive to foods that are cooking.  I think John’s church starts at 9 am, but I’m not sure, and I’m not sure on the address, so I’ll put those in next week. 

Paul is moving ahead to yet another job, but we’re not worried because every job change has been a step up for him.  He’s been hired by Gardner Engineering in Ogden, and he’ll start working for them on September 25.  He interviewed with Gardner once several years ago, but went with another choice at that time.  Go, Paul!

My cancer has been progressing, which, of course, is what cancer does.  The main tumor in my lungs used to be nicely cavitated (full of holes) and misshapen, but since my last scan it has grown by about 50% and filled in.  (All my other tumors are still cavitated. ) Dr. Lewis mentioned the idea of radiation, just on my one big tumor, and I’m supposed to be thinking about it.  I know about radiation, and I know there can be unpleasant side effects, but I’ll probably go for it.  I don’t know when it will start, if I tell them yes.  I’ll let you all know.  I really appreciate your prayers for me, and I know I’m living longer because of them.  I know the Lord especially listens to your children’s prayers.

Life is good!  Keep on doing good things, everybody.  Love, Mom

Sunday, August 27, 2023

 Dear Kids,

I guess you all got the word that Super Sunday is at Nora’s house this afternoon.  4pm.  Be there or be square.  This is going to work out a lot better for John’s family, because they can combine Super Sunday next month with Aaron’s farewell on the 17th.  

Meanwhile, Josh’s baptism is this coming Saturday, September 2, at 11 am.  The address  of the stake center is 1715 W. 1600 North in Layton.   There’s a lunch afterwards at Paul and Stefanie’s.  We hope to see most of you there.  

Then, book club will be September 10th.  That’s coming up quickly, because we’ve been off schedule the last couple of months.  We’re reading Frindle, which is about a boy in middle school who invents a new name for ball-point pens.  It sounds crazy, and it is. 

I saw from a link on my phone that the family photos by Quinn Calder are available.  Wow, he took a ton of pictures!  I don’t know how anybody can possibly choose.  I’m sure Donna can tell you what to do next.  I’m impressed that our family is so wonderfully photogenic.

Yesterday I went to the Heber airport with Dad to help John fly his glider.  Dad helps John put it together, including scotch tape to hold the wings on.  (There are big bolts, too.) I don’t do anything helpful except drive the golf cart around a little bit.  (The golf cart tows the glider to the launching spot.) John inherited the golf cart from his friend Tom, who died a few months ago.  And Tom was the owner of the dead cat I found in the freezer at the hangar, if you remember that story.  Anyway, they got the glider assembled and then the towplane launched John into the air.  He found a good updraft and was soon near the top of Timp, where hikers at the shack took his picture.   He didn’t stay up very long, though, because some big storm clouds were building up, and he saw some lightning.  I asked John what happens if a glider gets hit by lightning, and he said the wings fall off and you parachute down.  I guess we could do without that kind of excitement.

Tomorrow I go in for chemo again, and it will go on until the second week in October.  I don’t mind too much, because I’ve had such a wonderful vacation, but I sure appreciate your faith and prayers in my behalf.  I know I’m living longer because of all of you.

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, August 20, 2023

 Dear Kids,

What a great week we’ve had!  There have been at least three good rainstorms, and it hasn’t been so hot.  I don’t mind summer winding down, and all our Heber Valley grandkids are back in school.  Life is good.

Book club is this afternoon at 5:00 at our house.  We’re discussing Bunnicula.  It’s a great story!  The Dracula rabbit, Bunnicula, sucks all the color from foods and leaves them white, so I have to think of some white refreshments.

And Super Sunday is a week from today, on the 27th, at John’s house.  I’m pretty sure we’ll be meeting at 4:00.  It’s always fun to see what food everybody will bring.  I’m still waiting for the Sunday when it will be all desserts!

Then, Saturday, September 2, will be Josh’s baptism.  It will be at 11 am, and the address of the stake center is 1715 W. 1600 North in Layton.  Even though it’s Labor Day weekend, I hope most of you will be free to come.   The invitations are really cute!  Bonus points if you can name the temple in the picture.

Yesterday we had a great time at the cabin with our friends, the Garcias.  They took turns driving the yerf dog, which Dad got working for us.  Even Chandra drove it.  You remember the Garcias–they came and raked gravel with us in June.  We all bought lunch at Food Town, my favorite deli.  Everybody gets what they want, and I don’t have to prepare a thing.  Can’t beat that!

It’s been seven weeks since I had chemo, and I have one more week of freedom before I go back.  It’s been a wonderful time for me.  We had the family reunion, Bentley’s wedding, and the trip to Pocatello, besides at least three hikes, and we finished the tile in the pantry of the cabin.  When I’m back on chemo, I’ll just think of all the good times we had.  And with such a wonderful family as ours, there will always be good times.

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, August 13, 2023


Dear Kids,

Congratulations to Aaron!  He’s been called to the Iowa City, Iowa mission, and he’ll start on October 3.  I’m sure he’ll be a wonderful missionary, and we’re very happy for him.

Dad and I are headed to Pocatello this morning, and we look forward to seeing a lot of you there.  If you need last-minute directions, the address of the church is 1701 Bartz Drive.  There are two chapels next to the interstate, and we’re meeting in the one farthest east.  You can follow google maps, which takes you off the interstate and winds you north through town, or you can take our usual exit and backtrack.  I’m sure it will be a wonderful meeting.  It’s Sarah’s farewell, and Sterling’s homecoming.

Next week, the 20th, is book club at our house, at 5 pm.  We’re reading Bunnicula, which is crazy and fun.  I’m looking forward to what everybody has to say about it.  Super Sunday will be the following week, the 27th, at John’s house.  Kids and teenagers are welcome to bring their swimsuits and sit in the hot tub.  If any adults want to join them, they won’t be turned away.  

Dad and I did two great hikes this past week.  On Tuesday we did the walk around Mirror Lake with our ministering couple, Susan and Dan Joos.  Dan has a heart condition and can only walk where it’s flat, so it was perfect.  The weather was awesome, and hardly any people were there.  After our hike we had a picnic that Susan fixed.  You know, ministering people are always asking what they can do for you, so I was the one who suggested the hike.  I definitely needed that.

Then, on Friday morning, we hiked the Nobletts trail on the Wolf Creek highway (Hwy 35) with Al. He had camped overnight after the wedding reception, and met us there.  It was way more taxing than I expected, since I’d heard it was a nice family hike.  It was only 2 miles round trip, and mostly shady, but there were some steep places.  We did see a couple of families hiking, and the little kids were doing better than we were.

Speaking of the wedding, wasn’t that a wonderful event?  The temple was beautiful, and the reception was great fun.  I loved having it at the Red Barn, which is only 10 minutes from our house.  And of course it was great seeing most of you there.  Where we used to always be having baby blessings, now it’s going to be weddings and missionary events.  What a family!

Love, Mom

Sunday, August 6, 2023


Dear Kids,

Bentley’s wedding is this coming Thursday, and I’m sure you all have the information on your invitations.  If you’re going to the actual wedding, you need to be at the Provo City Center temple at 1:30.  The reception is at the Red Barn in Oakley, from 6 to 8.  The address is 4300 Highway 32, but it isn’t really on the highway–it’s off on a side road.  Google maps can get you there.  I’ve heard a rumor that there will be real food available for family at the reception, besides the refreshments you would expect.

And a week from today is the big shindig in Pocatello.  The farewell/homecoming starts at 9 am at the church on 1701 Bartz Drive.  Your smartphones can get you there, too.  It’s the building closest to the interstate.  Afterwards there’ll be the usual fabulous food at Vanessa’s house.  

Other events: Book club on August 20 at our house.  We’re reading Bunnicula.  Super Sunday will be the next week, the 27th, at John’s house.  We’ll start at 4 pm.  Teenagers and kids who want to sit in the hot tub need to bring their swim suits.

Aaron submitted the paperwork for his mission a couple of weeks ago, and he’s expecting his call this Tuesday.  I don’t think he’ll be doing the usual online “opening of the mission call” thing, but we’ll all find out pretty quickly where he’s going. 

With all my Amazon birthday credit, I ordered a battery-powered pruner like the one John has.  I knew it would be too heavy for me to use, but my plan is for Dad to do the work while I tell him what to cut. We tried that out yesterday morning, and it worked nicely.  We pruned around the bottoms of some of our fir trees, and Dad loved using it.  So thanks, all of you who gave me Amazon cards.

I’m still thinking over the family reunion, and how much fun it was.  I’m always nervous before it starts, and I’m in a high state of excitement while it’s going on.  Then there’s the letdown when it’s over, and life gets back to normal.  Thank goodness we have all these other events coming up.  There’s no stopping the fun.

Love, Mom

Sunday, July 30, 2023

 Dear Kids,

The family reunion is ending this morning, and it has been spectacular.  Thanks so much, Donna, for planning it so well!  Thanks to all of you who prepared meals (and cleaned them up) and to those of you who helped with activities.  Every reunion we have is better than the one before it, and I expect that will keep happening.  Dad and I especially enjoyed the day at Deer Creek and the hike around Silver Lake.  Dad didn’t especially enjoy the drive home over Guardsman pass, since his brakes smelled like they were burning up and the heat melted one of his hubcaps.  But hubcaps are cheap, and even the brakes seem to have survived.

Bentley’s wedding is practically upon us.  It’s fun being the grandparent of a kid getting married, since you don’t have any work to do, and you can just sit back and enjoy everything.  The wedding is less than two weeks away, and I’m sure that either Bentley or Cambree could tell you the exact number of days.

And two weeks from today is the combined farewell/homecoming of Sarah and Sterling.  The meeting is at 9 am, and the address is 1701 Bartz Drive in Pocatello.  It will mean an early drive for lots of us, but there’s nothing I’d rather get up early for.

Book club is on August 20 (We’re reading Bunnicula) and Super Sunday is on the 27th at John’s house.  Then September will be upon us, with even more fun events.  If I ever act crabby at these family events, it’s only because I get so tired.  I’m always happy to be together with you.

Sonia has put us on notice that she’s tired of the heat.  I want to tell her that we’re tired of it, too.  If we would only spread ourselves out on our backs on the floor, like she does, we could probably tolerate it better.  I’m just glad we live near the mountains where we cool off so well at night.  

Love to all of you, Mom

Sunday, July 23, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Sterling is home!  His plane landed on time Monday night, but his luggage didn’t get there until Tuesday.  Luckily it was delivered to his house.  Vanessa says he talks with a sing-songy accent, like other missionaries who have been speaking Spanish.  I hope he still has his cute accent when we meet for the family reunion!

And the family reunion is upon us!  We’ll see you all Thursday night at 6:30 at Huber Grove, where the family pictures will be taken. We’re supposed to wear neutral colors.  The rest of the agenda is foggy in my mind, because it disappeared off my phone, but Dad and I will keep up with the rest of you.  Well, maybe we won’t go tubing on the Provo River, or play pickle ball, but we’ll be good spectators. 

The next big event after the family reunion is Bentley’s wedding on August 10.  I assume you all have your invitations.  I was going to color my hair pink for the summer, but I’m holding off because it might look too startling in the wedding pictures.  I know grandparents aren’t really the stars of the show, but I don’t want to spoil anything.  

The rest of our events for August are all on Sundays.  On the 13th the action moves to Pocatello, for the combination farewell/homecoming for Sarah and Sterling.  The meeting starts at 9 am, and the address is 1701 Bartz Drive.  It’s not the same church where we’ve met before, but I’m sure your phones can find it.  On the interstate, you can see two churches together near the ISU campus.  Vanessa’s building is the one closest to the interstate.  You can take the same exit we’ve always taken before, though.

The Sunday following, the 20th, will be book club at our house.  We’re reading Bunnicula.  I read it once, long ago, so I need to pull it out again.  I remember that it’s really crazy.  The Sunday after that we’re due for another Super Spreader (oops, Super Sunday), and it’s John’s turn this time.  That will finish out the month, but there’s no stopping the fun. 

Sonia has been complaining of the heat.  She spreads herself out long on the floor, and glares at us when we walk by, as if we could do something about it.  Dad and I know it won’t last, but she thinks it will be forever.  But we all know the summer is winding down fast.

I hope you’re all enjoying it!  Lots of love, Mom 

Sunday, July 16, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Holy cow, Sterling comes home tomorrow!  Too bad it’s so late and far away for most of us!  He lands in Idaho Falls at 9:08 pm.

And this afternoon is Super Sunday at Paul’s at 5 pm.  We’re having it later so there will be more shade in Paul’s back yard, which will be good, since the temperature is supposed to be around 100.  Whatever–there’s no stopping the fun, where this family is concerned.

Speaking of which, Dad and I drove up to Mirror Lake yesterday afternoon to partly get it on the camping trip that Donna organized.  Besides Donna’s family, there were Nora’s and Tom’s families, and Allen besides.  Dad and I had already had a really long day, starting with working on the tile in the cabin’s pantry, so we didn’t stay long, but we ate lunch with Donna’s family and hiked around the lake with Bevan, Donna, and Al.  It was absolutely gorgeous, and cool enough that I had to wear my fleece.  Most of the kids were out on the lake in kayaks and paddle boards, and we waved to them as we walked by.  When we got back to camp we were absolutely worn out, so Dad and I headed home.

Two weeks from today we’ll be winding up the family reunion, and I hope you all received the agenda.  If you have any questions, contact Donna.  Thursday night, after the family pictures, we’ll sing happy birthday to John if he’s good enough to bring those chocolate cakes from Costco.  We’ll sing to him anyway even if he doesn’t, but we all know how much John likes going to Costco.

Other upcoming events to have on your calendar: Bentley’s wedding August 10, Vanessa’s combined meeting August 13, and book club here on August 20.  Nora suggested we read Bunnicula, which is a crazy and fun book about a Dracula bunny.

Looking ahead to school starting this fall–Although Dad and I turned our backs on BYU almost 50 years ago, we’ll have three grandchildren going there: Bentley, Adelaide, and Charlie.  We wish them well, along with all the other college, high school, middle school, elementary, and preschool kids.  What a family!

Love, Mom

Sunday, July 9, 2023

 Dear Kids,

What a summer we’re having!  It’s just one event after another.  Book club is this afternoon at 5, and we’re reading The Sign of the Beaver.  I hope you’ve all had a chance to read it, but I know most of you are in the middle of hectic summer activities.  Anyway, we’ll be discussing it.  Then, next week (the 16th) is Super Sunday at Paul’s.  Before, we’ve always met at the park, when we’ve gone to Layton, but this time we’re meeting in Paul’s back yard.  For that reason, Paul wants us to come at 5 instead of 4, because there’s more shade then.  Also, that will give Donna’s family more time to get there, since they’re on such a late schedule.

On Monday, the 17th Sterling comes home.  He’ll fly into the Idaho Falls airport at 9:08 pm.

Then, the next big event, which I keep forgetting to mention, is the family reunion starting Thursday, July 27.  Donna is working on the agenda, and she’s planning to get it out asap.  Each family reunion seems better than the one before it, and I’m sure this one will be the best of all, so far.  I know we’re having pictures taken Thursday evening, so make sure you don’t wait until Friday morning to show up.  Because it’s so close (Huber Grove), Dad and I will be there the whole time.  I’m really excited about it.

The next big event after the family reunion will be Bentley and Cambree’s wedding on August 10.  I’m sure Tom’s family will give us the whole agenda when it gets closer.  And then, the Sunday after that (August 13) most of us will be driving to Pocatello for the combined homecoming and farewell of Sterling and Sarah.  By the way, Vanessa’s ward meets in a different church now.  The address is 1701 Bartz Drive, and since there are two churches together, it’s the east building.  I’ll keep repeating this information as it gets closer.  The meeting starts at 9 am.

One further item: Josh’s baptism will be Saturday, September 2, so you can put that on your calendar, too. 

I got through my week of chemo OK, and I even felt good enough to help Dad prune trees yesterday.  Then we went to the cabin and he did some good work on the gas tank of the Yerf Dog.  It turned out so well that we were able to take the yerf dog on a good spin.  I know a lot of you have been missing driving it.  That’s all OK now. 

I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it!  Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, July 2, 2023

 Dear Kids,

I’m sure you’ve all heard about John “landing out” in Bedford, Wyoming.  Dad had been following John's flight on his phone, but when he saw that, all of a sudden, John wasn’t going anywhere, we were afraid of the worst.  Luckily it all turned out OK.  John’s group chose Afton for their fly-in because it’s surrounded by fields, and the field John chose was very soft.   He said it was the softest landing he ever made.  One funny thing–on Sunday John went to church in the Bedford ward, and one lady said, “You look like the guy who landed in our field yesterday!”

Sterling is definitely coming home on the 17th.  That’s only two weeks off!  He’ll be landing in Idaho Falls at 9:08 pm, which makes it nearly impossible for any of us Utahns to be there, but it’s still great that he’s finishing such a successful mission.  The combined sacrament meeting for Sarah and Sterling will be August 13 at 9 am.  Vanessa’s ward meets in a different building now, and I’ll have the address when it gets closer.

Book club is a week from today at 5 pm here at our house.  We’re reading The Sign of the Beaver.  I started reading it a couple of days ago, and I couldn’t put it down.  I had forgotten it was so good!  I’m looking forward to hearing everybody’s comments.  

Paul and Stefanie are in charge of Super Sunday this month, and they’ve chosen to have it on the 16th, just two weeks from now.  I’ll let you know the location in my letter next week, but I’m guessing we’ll meet at the park we’ve gone to before.   The time will probably be the same–4 pm. Like always, you bring what you like, and we’ll put it all together.  BTW, Josh will be getting baptized September 2, so we’ll have that to look forward to.

Dad and I laid the last of the tile in the pantry of the cabin, a job I had put off for ten years.  I wasn’t sure I had enough energy to do it, but I definitely had enough adrenalin.  Dad mixed the mortar for me, and got out the lumps, so all I had to do was spread it and put down the tiles.   Our next job will be doing the grout, and then putting the doors back up, if they still fit after 10 years.  I love projects.  I don’t care if I’m 75!  I don’t care if I have cancer!  If there’s a fun project, I’m going to figure out how to get it done.

Which reminds me–I have chemo again on Monday, but it’s the last of four infusions, and then I have eight weeks of freedom. Onward and upward!  Love, Mom

Sunday, June 25, 2023

 Dear Kids,

I hope summer is going well for all of you.  There’s no end to the adventures!  Donna and Anna went to camp, and John towed his glider to Afton, Wyoming, to a fly-in, where he spent a full week.  Dad looked up Vanessa on his phone and found out she was in Island Park.  I’m sure that’s only the beginning of the fun you’re all having!

Our next book club will be July 9, and we’re reading The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare.  I read it several years ago and really enjoyed it, but I’ll definitely be reading it again so I can answer the questions.  It will be the sixteenth book we’ve read together.  Thank you all for making book club such a success!

We’ll probably be having Super Sunday on July 23 or 30th, depending on what Vanessa’s plans are for her kids’ farewell/homecoming.  I’ll let you know when it gets closer.  Paul will be in charge.

Sonia is still totally crazy about tuna.  While Dad is dishing it up, she dances around on her hind legs like a circus animal.  When he puts it down, she gobbles like there’s no tomorrow.  We keep wondering if she’ll get tired of the stuff, but so far it’s not happening.

Dad and I are totally immersed in summer projects.  Dad spent more than two weeks on the cabin’s watering system, because all the things that can go wrong with plumbing, went wrong.  He ended up getting a new manifold and new valves, and endless small parts, but finally it all worked, with no leaks.  I’m glad it’s finally working, because we’re supposed to have warm sunny days for at least two more weeks, with no rain.  Our bushes and shrubs at the cabin finally need our water.  My summer project for now is pruning shrubs at our house, but I haven’t been able to do much this week because of chemo.  

I’ve been having a lot of trouble breathing lately, but my oncologist couldn’t see what was causing it, when I saw him last Monday.  He advised me to buy a pulse oximeter, the gadget they put on your finger in the doctor’s office to see if you have enough oxygen in your system.  Naturally I ordered one off Amazon, and now Dad and I have fun checking our oxygen levels.  Yesterday morning, when I was absolutely gasping for breath, my score was 100 percent.  Dad, who breathes just fine, came in at 94.  Crazy!

Too bad there’s nothing more exciting in our lives!  But we love you all!  Mom

Sunday, June 18, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Happy Fathers Day to all you sons and sons-in-law of mine!  I’m so happy with the way you’re raising your families, and the good examples you set for them.  I’m sure you know how important fatherhood is, and when you get to be senior citizens like Dad and me, you’ll see it even more clearly.  Thanks!

We’ll be having book club this evening at 5 at our house, and we’re talking about Superfudge.  Donna’s family will be at the Hawkins’, but they said they finished the book anyway.  The rest of us will have a good discussion, and great refreshments, of course.  This is the fifteenth book we will have read together.  We won’t be having Super Sunday this month because of the events of last week and this week, and I’ll let you know about July.  

I was sorry to miss Adelaide’s homecoming last week, but I had been in the LDS Hospital ER all night long.  I had a bowl blockage, and it was terribly painful.  They gave me two units of morphine and then cleaned me out.  When the morphine really kicked in, I got terribly groggy, and when we got home I slept all day Sunday.  Dad did, too.  We couldn’t go anywhere.  My abdomen has been hurting for most of the week, but it’s finally feeling better.  All’s well that ends well, and I thank you for all your prayers for me.  It could have been so much worse.

Dad is really excited about the new phone that some of you went in on for Fathers Day.  He can connect it up with the Apple watch John gave him a little while ago, and do all those twenty-first century things that most of you are doing.  Dad offered me his old I-phone, but I prefer to stay in the twentieth century with my simple little android.  If any of you want his old I-phone, I’m sure he’ll give it to you.

Now that we’re into summer, we’re into cabin projects.  Dad is working on the watering system, which is a challenge every year.  I’m working on the pantry, getting ready to lay the tile we cut a couple of weeks ago.  We had to trim off the bottom of the door into the water-heater room, so it would fit over the tile.  It’s been lots of fun.  By the way, thanks again for all your help in raking out the gravel last week.  It turned out better than I ever imagined.

What a family!  We love you all!  Mom

Sunday, June 11, 2023

 Dear Kids,

The gravel-raking party was a big success.  Thanks to Donna, Nora, Tom, and their families, along with Allen, and also Chandra and Natalie Garcia.  Thanks especially to our nice neighbor with his tractor, who saved us hours of work.  It looks really good–nice and level and even.  Thanks again to everybody.

Adelaide is home!  Lots of you came to the airport Thursday night, but Dad and I couldn’t come because I was having a bad chemo week.  Donna showed me her pictures, though, and it looks like it was really wild and crazy.  We’re glad she made it home safely, and hope her re-entry into real life will go smoothly.  Her homecoming is today at noon in Nora’s church.  Nora’s having lots of chances to play hostess these days.

Because of the homecoming, book club is being pushed back to next Sunday, which is also Fathers Day.  No matter.  We’ll meet here at our house at 5 pm, and have our usual great discussion.  And there will be goodies, too.   The next week, the 25th, would normally be Super Sunday, with Paul hosting, but because of all the events, we’ll push it back to the end of July, or even August, because of Sarah and Sterling’s farewell/homecoming.   We’ll see how it goes.

We went to Jana McGettigan’s funeral last Tuesday, where we ran into the Fultons, the Littles, the Brian Parkers, and the Barbutos, along with several other people from our old ward.  We saw Glenn, Tyler, Sam, and Kara, too.  It was fun talking to everybody, even though it was such a sad occasion.  Actually, Dad and I really only went to the viewing, just before the funeral, because I was wearing my chemo pump and needed to stay close to home. 

On Goodreads, I reached my goal of 1,000 books this past week.  I’m going to reward myself with a one-pound box of dark chocolates from See’s or Cummings’. Naturally I won’t stop writing book reviews.  Onward and upward!

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, June 4, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Adelaide is coming home on Thursday.  Yes, this Thursday!  Her plane lands at the Salt Lake Airport at 8 pm, coming from Atlanta.  Everybody is welcome to come to the airport.  Dad and I won’t be there, since I’ll be having a bad chemo day, but we’ll see her next Sunday.  Her homecoming will be at noon in Nora’s church, which we’re all familiar with.  The after-party will be at Nora’s, of course.  You can call her for a food assignment.  And since book club was going to be this coming Sunday, we’re pushing it back to the 18th, Fathers Day. (It’s funny, our last book club was on Mothers Day.)  As you all know, we’re reading Superfudge.  It’s hysterical.

And our gravel-raking party will be this Saturday at 9 am at the cabin.  Bring your rakes and your muscles.  Lunch will be at the Food Town Deli, paid for by Dad.  If there’s any problem getting the gravel, I’ll let you all know in time.  If you have any questions, text me.  I assume everything will go OK.

Jana McGettigan passed away on Memorial Day.  We had visited her nine days earlier, and I had no idea she was getting that close.  She seemed comfortable and alert, so things must have moved fast at the end.  I’ll have to ask Glenn about it.  The funeral is this Tuesday at their stake center in Lehi.  Jana and I had been friends for 28 years, and she knew all you kids, so this is a big loss for us.  I had been hoping she could make at least one more trip to our house, and that we could go down to the Provo River and I could watch her take pictures.  After all those years she had cancer (22) I still can’t believe it finally happened.

Dad and I had eye exams at John’s office on Wednesday.  Aaron did a scan of my eyes, and Jacob took our orders for lenses.  Heather was there, supervising the office, and John did our exams, of course.  The office is truly ACKERSON eye care.  Next thing you know Aubrey will be in there helping out, although last I heard she was happy with her job at the UPS store.

Super Sunday for June will be on the 25th, three weeks from today, and Paul will be in charge.  There will be more info when it gets closer.

Our lives are busy but good.  We love you all!  Mom

Sunday, May 28, 2023


Dear Kids,

I guess you all got the message that Super Sunday has been changed to Super Monday, because of Memorial Day.  It’s a tradition, of course–the Memorial Day barbecue at the cabin.  It’s been 22 years since our first one.  We’ll be eating at one pm, and Donna assures me that all the food has been assigned out.  So we’ll see you there!  The bridge still hasn’t washed out, thanks to the cooler weather we’ve had this week.  

But the water could still rise.  Donna is ordering the gravel for our gravel raking party on June 10; four dumptrucks full!  If the bridge gets dangerous before that time, she can always cancel it, and we’ll get the word out.  But otherwise, bring your muscles and your rakes and meet us at the cabin at 9 am on Saturday, the 10th.  Lunch will be at the Kamas Food Town deli, and you can choose whatever you want to eat.  Dad will pay the bill.  The food town deli has become my kitchen maid of choice since I’m not as robust as I used to be.  It works.

The day after our gravel party, Sunday the 11th, will be book club at our house.  We’re reading Superfudge by Judy Blume.  I read it in a couple of hours when I was trying to make myself read Siddhartha by the German author Herman Hesse.  Both books had come into the library in 2018.  Siddhartha was still pristine, but Superfudge was crinkled, bent, and worn out.  So we know who the more interesting author is!

I just finished a chemo week and it wasn’t any fun, but I’m feeling better now.  And I’m grateful that it’s lengthening my life.  I’m learning that not every moment of every day has to be devoted to something useful and constructive.  Sometimes I just sit and meditate, and my life is better for it.

Sonia is loving the warm spring weather.  She prefers going out at 3 am every morning, so if I’m not awake, she breathes on my face.  Then she tickles my face with her whiskers.  So I get up and put her out.  I got some free cans of tuna from the senior center food bank in Heber, and Dad decided to offer her some.  What a difference!  She totally gobbled it, instead of just daintily nibbling, like she does with regular canned cat food.  She licked her plate so clean that I could have put it back in the cupboard.  (But I didn’t.)  Obviously we need to feed her tuna now. 

Life is good!  I appreciate all of you so much!  Keep praying for me!

Love, Mom

Sunday, May 21, 2023

 Dear Kids,

I’m guessing I’ll see most of you at Ben’s missionary farewell today.  The sacrament meeting starts at noon in Nora’s church.  (The one you pass just before you turn up Old Haul Road.)  Lunch will probably be about 2:30.  I can see from Nora’s text thread that most of you have signed up to bring parts of the CafĂ© Rio lunch.

Next week will be Super Sunday, and Donna’s in charge.  We usually meet at 4pm, and Donna will send out a text telling us where it’ll be.  It’s always fun, and we’ve still never had a Sunday where we had all salads, or all desserts, or all of anything, for that matter.  Our next book club will be June 11, and we’re reading Superfudge.  I’m pretty sure it’s a sequel to Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, which we read several months ago.  Superfudge is our fifteenth book, since we started book club.  

Speaking of books, most of you know I’m really active on Goodreads.  For several years I’ve had the goal of hitting 1,000 book reviews, and I’m getting really close now–I’m only seven books away.  I’m trying to decide what my reward should be.  Any ideas?

I hope you’re all getting in shape for the gravel-raking party at the cabin on Saturday, June 10.  Remember that everybody who works gets treated to lunch by Dad and me.  You don’t even have to be part of our family to come.  If you’re reading this, you’re invited.  If you can round up a rake and bring it, so much the better.

The Provo River keeps rising, and it’s supposed to top out the middle of next week.  We still don’t know if the bridge to the cabin will be covered.  If so, nobody will be allowed to drive across.  It’s all very exciting.  I’m glad we don’t live over there full-time now.  Yesterday I went hiking at the Jordanelle, and the whole delta leading into the reservoir is covered with rivers and streams.  Farther up the canyon, lots of the pastures are flooded.  Poor cows!  Most of them have been moved to other places.  Even at the cabin, the ground is totally saturated.  You can’t hike up the hill without getting your feet muddy.

Monday morning I start chemo again.  I’ve had a really good break, so I’m OK with it.  Please keep praying for me!

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, May 14, 2023

 Dear Kids, 

Happy Mothers Day to all you beautiful daughters and daughters-in-law and honorary daughters of mine!  I hope you all have a wonderful day.  I really appreciate the tremendous job you’re doing raising your families, and I can tell you there isn’t anything more satisfying you will ever do.  My greatest happiness comes from you children and grandchildren and any others I might get a chance to be a mother to.

Book club is today at 5 pm, here at our house, and we’re discussing Socks by Beverly Cleary.  I was going to make some cat-shaped cookies for dessert, but my kitty cat cookie cutter was so tiny I decided to make a BT cake instead.  I can’t even remember that last time I baked a cake.  I was inspired by Andy’s birthday this week–he said Renae made him a BT cake, and that got me going on the idea.

Next Sunday is Ben Mair’s farewell.  The meeting starts at noon at Nora’s church, and the after-party is at her house.  You can call her for a food assignment.  The Sunday after that, the 21st, is Super Sunday at Donna’s house, or wherever Donna decides to have it.  I’ll have more information in my letter next week.

The gravel-spreading cabin work party will be June 10, starting at 9am.  Bring any rakes you may have at home, because I don’t have enough.  Donna’s arranging for the gravel to be dumped (4 truckloads full!) on the driveway and parking lot, and hopefully we won’t have to be raking it too far.  Lunch will be provided by Dad and me at the Kamas Food Town deli, whatever you want to eat.  We’ll foot the bill.  If you aren’t part of the Ackerson family but you want to come and help us anyway, you’re more than welcome.  

I have one more week of feeling good before I start chemo again.  I went hiking on the Jordanelle Trail two or three times, but I was eager for a little bit more, so Dad and I drove up Highway 35 ( Wolf Creek canyon) yesterday.  We didn’t get very far.  There’s a trailhead called Nobletts at milepost 12, but beyond that the road’s still closed.  We hiked about 100 yards on the Nobletts trail until we were stopped by a snowbank and a mini lake.  Still, it was fun getting out. 

The Provo River runs alongside Highway 35, and it was fun seeing the water so high.  Hopefully our weather will stay cool so it won’t get any higher.  Our cabin neighbors who are full-time are being advised to have 3 days’ worth of food and fuel and water, in case there’s trouble with the bridge.  That rickety-looking bridge has been a worry for the last 20 years.

Luckily my life is relatively free of worry.  I love you all!  Mom