Monday, December 21, 2009


Here is a little photo journey of our happy year. Enjoy!
Caroline has the honor of placing the angel on the tree this year.
Mama hangs the first ornament.

Caroline's first amazing pies for Thanksgiving- pecan and chocolate meringue. Wow!

We're missing Jill's family and Melanie's family, but enjoy our Thanksgiving day with Michelle and crew.

BYU beats Utah in overtime with an amazing touchdown pass. What a game! I started crying before regulation time ended and said to John that I just can't handle the stress in our life and this game too!!! Caroline and Melanie came and sat in front of us. What fun!

Caroline, visiting the Olympic Park in Park City. We watched bobsledders and then it really started snowing. Beautiful!

Porter joins the family February 17, a couple weeks early. Precious, precious baby.

John, Caroline, Jill and Paul at BYU Men's volleyball game.

Caroline, her roommate Lindsay and I went to Rascal Flatts. What a great concert!

Cooper and Will measure back to back. They are growing so fast!

Caroline running in the rain. We don't often get rain hard enough without thunder where we can run in it!

Family water fun- tubing the Logan River in August. L-R back row: Caroline, Jill, Michelle, Brian, me, Greg, Melanie holding Porter. Kids- Caroline and Elizabeth (Michelle and Brian's, Maya, (Jill and Paul's), and Will (Melanie and Greg's). Paul was in North and South Carolina for work. Cooper and Isabelle were with a babysitter. John took the picture. A very fun weekend!

John and me enjoying beautiful American Fork Canyon in September. 31 years of happiness.

Our scrub oak tree is the first to burst into color each fall. It's beautiful.

Will (Melanie's) and me on my 52nd birthday (Halloween). Whose smile is the biggest?!

Thanksgiving 2009. John and me and lots of delicious food.

John and Porter (Melanie's). Just chillin'.

Jill, Mama and me at the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple. Beautiful place.
Many of you know the challenges we've faced this year. Melanie's melanoma while pregnant, resulting in 5 surgeries, Jill and Paul moving to Arizona, Michelle and Brian moving to Logan, John getting laid off. All of these challenges are also filled with blessings: being able to serve Melanie and her family, witnessing the power of prayers by so many friends, families, and strangers for her, helping the kids move and knowing they are doing the right thing for their families, being able to visit them, Caroline finding a great job for the summer providing her with tuition this year while we're unemployed, having John home to help and to be with.
So many wonderful things in our lives, there's just nothing to complain about.
With Christmas in 3 days, we send our love and wishes for a wonderful Christmas filled with love and memories and thoughts of family. We know that families are the greatest joys on earth and we can take that joy with us to the next life because of the Saviour's love for us. Because of our Heavenly Father's plan of happiness, families can be together forever. There's no greater joy for me than this. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Leavin on a jet plane

My Mama just flew out to visit for the holidays~ hooray! We're flying to Arizona Wednesday to visit Jill and Maya. I helped move them down there at the end of October, so it's been 5 1/2 weeks since I've seen them and I can't wait! A very nice bonus is that I'll be leaving weather in the 20's to go to weather in the 60's~yee hah!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall 2009

One of the advantages of being unemployed is the time John and I get to spend together. This fall has been the best ever because we've been able to go in the mountains for drives and hikes and really relax and breathe in the beauty of autumn. Here are a few pictures of Fall 2009. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I just returned from Charleston, South Carolina after 3 wonderful weeks. August may not be the best time to visit because of the humidity, but it all felt great to me. As long as I got to the air conditioning or shady side of the street quickly! It was such a fun trip. John came for 2 weeks and Caroline for 1. We went to the beach multiple times and hit all the traditional favorites- the Market, Market Street Sweets for pralines, Waterfront Park, Farmer's Market for breakfast, Sunrise Park, the new pier at Mt. Pleasant. We ran the Cooper River Bridge and tried to run to the top to look down on a container ship coming through. We didn't make it- it was so fast! But when we looked at the bow of the ship we could see a dolphin jumping the wake at the front over and over again! It was so cool!

One day when we went to Sunrise Park we saw 10 dolphins and at least 7 the next time! One was especially playful and we saw his flippers every time he surfaced. Some were babies. The bigger, older ones were "scouts", swimming a little ahead and a little to the side, leading the way and making sure it was safe.

We had some good rain- every afternoon and a night or 2 the first week and only a couple times after that.

There was the Hassell/Tison Reunion the first Saturday and it was nice seeing family. We had a fun visit at Mama's after the reunion with 2nd cousin, Keith Waters, his wife Becky, and 2 of their daughters and a granddaughter. We laughed alot- that was the best.

We ate at all the faves- Bessinger's, California Dreamin', and S&S. Atlanta Bread Company fell from grace, but new places Camille's and Mc something or nother, took it's place well.

We cooked and cooked and gained weight. Worth it.

Mama, John and I went to Biltmore~ that was a highlight! What a beautiful place! And a love story! Then we drove along the Blue Ridge- gorgeous! It's been too long since I've seen them.

This needs to be part one, because there's so much more. Here are a few pics to spread the joy!

Then we came home to beautiful Utah. Dry air, blue skies, big mountains, apples on our trees. How can paradise be in two places?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer time

It's August and I wish the summer was just starting. It's goes so quickly and even though I am SO in love with fall, winter quickly follows. So I like to savor summer while anticipating fall. I'm in Charleston now and loving it, but wanted to throw in a couple pics from a hike John, Caroline and I took 2 weeks ago. We hiked in Big Cottonwood Canyon to Dog Lake. It was a wonderful hike with beautiful wildflowers, some taller than I! There was a small pond at the end. Along the way a breeze would catch us and cool us off. It was glorious!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Catching up...catching kids....catching colds

I never thought it'd be so long since I wrote. I wanted to talk about Melanie's "happening" this winter/spring, but it's exhausting to just think of it! I'll do my best.
Melanie discovered an existing mole on her right hand had changed to black. This was summe 2008. She heard enough comments about it that she scheduled an appointment with her dermatologist, who chouldn't see her until Jan 12th, 2009.
She went in and they scooped it out and sent it to the lab. Two days later she was called and informed her she had melanoma. Which happens to be the deadliest cancer. I think because people don't get in and get checked. It's very curable when detected early. I quickly got on the Internet to refresh and learn anew about this form of cancer. I found that it's not uncommon in pregnancy~ which Melanie was.
They told her she would have to have surgery on her hand to remove more tissue for testing, but not until the baby came. He was due March 6th. It's so interesting how my focus changed, from being excited about another baby in our family to getting the baby here so we could operate and get Melanie healthy. It was vital to me that her boys have a Mother- not just any mother- HER. And to insure that, we had to keep moving.
In February Mel had an amniocentesis, which showed the baby's lungs weren't quite ready. But they scheduled her for inducing 3 days later. On Monday Feb 16th she and Greg checked in the hospital and Porter Scott Liddiard was born 2 1/2 weeks early on Feb 17, 2009. He weighed 7 lbs. 4 ozs. and was as beautiful as each of our others, with a deep dimple on one cheek. All went well with recovery that first week and Will was and has been, a wonderful big brother.
One week later, on Feb. 24th, Melanie had surgery on her hand and a 4 inch cut in her armpit to remove lymph nodes. It was about 5-6 inches up her hand, between her 4th and 5th fingers and about 1 inch wide. Try to imagine pulling that thin, shallow skin together- it was glued, stitched and stapled together.
The short story is that it split- which isn't uncommon- but the long story is that it became infected and we had a battle to save her hand from "drying out", due to the open wound and tendons being exposed. We had a doctor appointment but not for 8 days. On the 2nd day I felt so shaky inside and told John we HAD to get her to a doc for an opinion on her hand. We are all a family of "wait and see" and "trust the person in charge" , but I was extremely disturbed and attribute it to the Holy Ghost's promptings. We called friends and neighbors and all worked quickly to get us an appointment. Our close friend, Ross Fulton, was able to get us in with Dr. Robert Fergueson, a cancer and trauma plastic surgeon, the next afternoon at 4, when he had completed his surgeries.
Dr. Ferg. looked at her hand and exposed tendons and gently and calmly began cutting dead tissue away and cleaning and looking. He told Melanie and Greg that she needed to be checked in the hospital then and since she had eaten cereal at 3:00, he would wait and come back to operate at 11:00 that night.
This was the 2nd of what became 4 surgeries. Dr. Fergueson saved her hand, I truly believe it.
Instead of a simple thigh skin graft to repair what could have been a simple split, Melanie had to have a large section of the top of her foot removed, along with an artery and veins, to cover the hole in her hand. She then had the thigh graft on the top of her foot.
An expected 4 hour surgery became 9 1/2 hours as the work was a little more complicated due to Melanie's squiggly arteries! But it went well and she was able to come to our home in a wheelchair, heavily bandaged from head to toe, practically!
A couple days later we received word that the larger tissue had tested clean for cancer. I can't describe the relief I felt. I had been living for 6 weeks for this phone call. I didn't even realize how much worry I was holding in until she left for that appointment. It was an unbearable hour.
During this time, from birth until...I don't even remember now...I spent many hours in their home, caring for all. I spent a couple nights there, and brought Porter home to stay here more. Greg's parents cared for Will. This allowed Melanie to rest and not be bumped by a 2 year old! Every moment she could hold Porter, I would place him in her arms and cushion him so she wouldn't feel his weight. She got up every 2 hours to pump so she could nurse him. She stopped all pain medications sooner than she probably should have so she could get back to feeding him. Her strength and courage and determination were huge. But we've always known that about Melanie.
Her ward rallied around her and meals were coming in by caring and generous people. Notes, flowers, baby gifts from people in our neighborhood, as well. Prayers were offered in meetings we weren't even in. It was a very humbling and touching time.
Ultimately she healed well enough to take care of herself and her little family. Hardest for her? I'd have to say being wise and getting off her foot! It would swell and hurt. But how do you do that with a 2 year old and newborn, both in diapers?!
She recently had her first 3 month cancer check and all is well.
I mentioned I spent time there and here at our home. It was consuming. John was completely supportive, eating his own prepared dinner alone, coming over to visit and hold Porter. The sisters were helps also, bringing dinners and doing what they could.
It is still very emotional for me to even write about. It has taken this long for me to try.
I have to say this, first in humor and then in all seriousness. There were miracles in our lives.
The first I call "The Miracle of the Underwear Drawer". I did enough laundry to keep John in clean underwear and occasionally his other clothing. For myself, I just kept going. The miracle is that every time I opened my drawer there was clean underwear for me!!! Funny, but true. Maybe I have too many!!!
The other miracle for me is that I am 51 years old and the energy it takes to maintain a little family is huge, especially with a newborn's hours. As a new mother you get very little sleep and your every minute is taking care of or listening for that baby. I got up with Porter many times and slept in the bed with him 2 nights (which means you pretty much don't sleep) and I still had energy and patience to deal with the days. That's the miracle. I believe that I was sustained with an extra gift of energy and patience and brain power from Heavenly Father. There's no way I could have done it on my own.
I don't want to make this sound all about me, because it's really about all of us who love Melanie and her family and were able to go beyond our daily duties and stresses and help serve them.
It was a blessing for me. I don't know how many times I thanked John for letting me be a stay home Mom/Grandma. There's no one I'd rather work for than my family.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I'm too tired for much right now, but soon I'll tell you about these two beautiful boys, but mostly I'll tell you about their mother.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

SuperBowl Sunday

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

This is the table I set for SuperBowl Sunday. Dau. Jill said in all the valley we were the only table decorated with Valentines instead of footballs! Only one in our party of 19 cared about the game! We usually record it and fast forward to the commercials. We don't even care about the half time show! Maya came in and was taking the chocolate hearts off the plates and eating them! I wanted to share the recipe for the meatball sandwiches~ they were such a hit. I used the marinara I always use. Take two jar of Ragu or Hunt's or whatever sauce you like. Add 3 cans of crushed tomatoes.Season with basil and Italian seasoning to taste. Remember the flavors will intensify as this cooks. I took 2 orange peppers and 2 red onions and pureed them in the blender. I started this when the kids were young and wouldn't eat those things if they felt them in their mouths. (My sis, Sondra, taught me this.) I stirred them in and added a bunch of Costco meatballs. Can't tell you how many- just figured about 6 per sandwich and how many would eat 2... Put it in the oven at 250* most of the day and then increased to 350*. The sauce thickened and the meatballs mellowed in the sauce. It's not scientific and I used what I had- doesn't matter the onions or peppers... Wish I'd had mushrooms to time. We had lots of leftovers and sent some home with kids and to neighbors and can freeze the rest. I think if you're cooking and can freeze, save yourself another cook day and freeze!
I took buns and basted with a garlic butter and toasted them. We put the mballs on, then sprinkled with Parmesan and a slice of Provolone. Then topped with sauteed onions with balsamic and red and yellow peppers. Fabulous! Enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

16 things about me

16 things about me 5:28pm
1. Lord Ashley Cooper is my 11th great- uncle. He never came to America and although the family astrologer said he was born under a very favorable star, he died in exile. I just thought I came from Georgia hog growers and tobacco farmers until I found Ashley about 12 years ago~ now I'm SOMEBODY! Ha! So...I like genealogy.
2. My family and I compose- mainly Christian music. Our girls and I have sung all around. It's so fun to sing together. My next song is country- "Any man'll do- how 'bout you?" Certainly not my own personal feelings about my John!
3. I enjoy cooking- today I made 4 loaves of whole wheat bread and 1 batch of monkey bread(cinnamon/sugar wheat rolls). I love bringing Bessinger Mustard Bar-B-Q sauce from home and slow cooking pork loin all day, then shredding it and saucing it and putting it on a bun~ which I am doing right now. I'm hungry! Just wish I could make those onion rings....
4. I lost weight and have kept it off 6 years now. I watch what I eat and exercise. I realized that things were showing up in my siblings- cholesterol, blood pressure- and diabetes from Daddy and saw the road I was on. I want to live while I live.
5. I love running- which is so not me. But running is easier than walking. I just kept going faster 'til it was easier to just run. Not a marathoner- what's the point?
6. I love entertaining- I love parties and wish I'd throw more. Christmas saw about 85 women here and the next week we had 8. Loved both.
7. I'm a info-maniac(!).I seem to know a little about alot. I'm a reference for friends and their children. Things just stay in my head. And timing can be so weird- for example- not a knowledge thing, but this is how it works- my youngest is taking a jogging class at school. We girls were at lunch and she mentioned how far she has to run for the semester and a sister said that Caroline could use a pedometer. "Funny thing", said I. I pulled a pedometer out of my jacket pocket! I"d just come from a hospital open house (they didn't know that) and they handed pedometers out! Crazy! That happens to me with info, too.
8. Apparently I like to talk. Just see how much info I'm putting down here! I make friends everywhere and it amazes my husband. The other day I heard a southern accent and asked the lady where she was from. Texas- but not really. She lived there long enough to pick up the accent. I know tons more than that about her and she about me. We talked about losing our fathers and children and living in Utah and so much more. That is what retail therapy is- I don't have to buy- just connect!
9. I scoffed at alot of alternative medicine and treatments---until I met my own quack! He's caused miracles for me and about 100 other people I've sent to him. Including my 3rd granddaughter, Maya. A miracle for her parents. We're hoping for another miracle for them now.
10. I'm amazed at the love that exploded within me when I became a grandmother. I love my girls so much and always knew I'd be a fabulous gma and love those kids, but WOW! Overwhelmed with love.What a blessing!
11. I love public speaking and teaching. Not the same as #8. For the past 2 years I've been blessed to teach adult Sunday School. I love it! I love class interaction.
12. I love music. I've been the church choir director for 10 years. LOVE IT!! Practice can get old, but performing is such a high! Especially when we're blessed to sing beyond our ability and preparation time! (Which is just about every time!). When they have sung songs I've just doesn't get better than that! I've been wondering how to get a spiritual into all these Western people! They need some Southern soul!
13. Along with number 12- I love to sing. Most of the time I have to sing tenor, since those are usually scarce. I've been pushed about trying out for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This may be the year. I love all kinds of is my number one now, but jazz, rock, new age, rap-not so much.
14. I love to sew. Don't do it often now, but I've enjoyed it. Made the girls prom dresses and Easter dresses and cute skirts, shorts, tops. Their heights are 5'9 1/2", 5'10 1/2", 5'10 3/4" and 6'1, so you can see that shopping for them isn't always fun- nothing's long enough! And a few quilts and drapes.
15. I love decorating our home- it's a house plan from Charleston. Wrap around porch, white siding, wood floors. Would be common there, but is unusual here. Here it has a balcony and a basement- no basement in Chas! Love it.
16. I love John. He is an amazing man. He's so unselfish and is so supportive and complimentary and caring of me. Heavenly Father was truly good to me when our paths crossed. We just celebrated 30 years in September and I'm hoping for 50 more!
There's more I love but that's more than you probably wanted to know!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Time Flies

Today is Mama and Daddy's 61st anniversary. I know, he's gone, but they are still a couple. Mama had a good day and actually didn't think about it. Lots of family around this weekend to have fun with. 61 years is a very long time. I've been married 30 and although that also sounds like a long time, it feels so short. I guess that's because misery lasts forever! and I'm happy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Here's the first thing I can remember cooking, followed by rice with butter,yummmm, grits, oh baby,......
1 stick butter/margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 c sugar
4 T cocoa
3/4 c flour
Dash salt
1 tsp vanilla
Stir together. Add nuts, if desired. Bake at 350* for 25 minutes.
I like my brownies done,not fudgy, so adjust your time according to your preference. Also, I added 1 T of cocoa to the recipe for a little deeper, fuller flavor. If you are using European cocoa you don't need more.
When done and still warm you can add a layer of mini marshmellows, return to oven to toast. When cooled frost.
My frosting is not defined but it goes something like this:
3 T cocoa
1/2 stick butter
2 c powdered sugar
A few drops of milk
1 tsp vanilla
See if it works and add whatever you need. You can top with more nuts while the frosting is still wet.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year

I watch a few blogs in the blog world and many of them are writing out their goals for the new year. That's something I gave up a few years ago. I can start a new challenge ANYtime- why wait until January? But do I? Something to think about. Some took the year and divided it into "focuses" like balance in January, meditation in February, inspired in March,.. I thought that was a good idea, one that gives a year's growth in different areas. I could even do that with the house projects- 2 bathrooms in January- do they need paint? caulk? cleaning out drawers? More of the deep cleaning than the surface cleaning... I like that.

Now, will the rest of the world stop running crazy so I can get something done??

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Holy Cow! As in Holy City Cow!

Do you recognize this cow? She is one of the most memorable icons of my childhood- the Coburg Dairy cow. She has been dancing around this sign for all the years I can remember. She's got on her holiday outfit, looking cheerful! (Drinking all that eggnog..!) I had to take her pic this past November when I was home. I always wanted to climb up there and go for a ride.....

Here are the beautiful fall colors right by my favorite Market Store- Market Street Sweets- better pralines than New Orleans! Gitcher free samples!

And a beautiful fiery sunset- ending another perfect Charleston day- there are so many!