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