Thursday, December 31, 2009

December Doings

I figured that since the year will be ending in a mere 6 hours by my watch, it's about time to recap some of the month's activities. Not that I've been that good at posting regularly to begin with.

This photo was taken the weekend when Caroline was baptized. I think we have our holidays a little mixed up at our house. This is Lexi, Braeden and Ella dressed up in Halloween Costumes (which were never totally put away where they belong) in front of the Christmas Tree. Merry HalloMas!

Tandy wrapped up my mantel while she was here. Nick helped her install the stuff and I had to wait until Christmas morning to unwrap the mantle. I did not peek. Not even once.

December started out very nicely with the baptism of our oldest grandchild, Caroline. I can't believe that she is actually eight years old! Time sure does fly by. I didn't think to bring the camera to that happy event. We did hurry right back home after the ceremony and her confirmation. Mike's Mom had an event to go to, and so did Nick. Caroline enjoyed her day, I think. She has a big and supportive family.

School ended mid-month and we headed to Southern California for Damian's homecoming (see previous post).

My friend and neighbor gifts (just the jelly jar, not the decos) that didn't get delivered (some of them) until closer to the New Year and never got the hot rolls to go with them, either. But it's elderberry jelly, homemade and very pretty and VERY tasty.
We have a lot of friends and neighbors.

Then there was Christmas! We love Christmas. Doesn't everyone? I do get a Bah Humbug spirit about me occasionally when all the commercialism takes over and all I can see is shopping and spending (both things that I really don't enjoy very much). But I love the lights, music, food and family. And, of course, the REASON we celebrate. I also love our sweet neighborhood and Ward with all the sharing that goes on. Eric wasn't here to put up our outside Christmas lights! Needless to say, they never got done. But our tree was nice. And we had lit-up reindeer in the bedroom windows that looked all right.

We made Caroline suffer through Christmas morning at our house because we wanted to wait for her Great-Grandma to come over, and we ALWAYS eat breakfast first. We have a yummy breakfast casserole on Christmas morning. She was happy with just the stocking at first, but then was kind of chomping at the bit. It was fun to see the kids (old and young) unwrap all the presents. I particularly enjoyed the gift that Tandy put together with some of the other kids. I have a new mantle display! The old swag is gone. It's only been there about 15 years or so. Ugh. My NEW mantle display is gorgeous. The finished product:

Yes, Gail actually got a "Cozy" for Christmas. It's like a Snugi, only better. ;-)
Jonathan got this WONDERFUL airplane toy from one of Damian and Tandy's kids and he absolutely LOVES it! He plays and plays and plays with it and is so happy! It's cute.
And Caroline made this really cute picture ensemble for me of her and Jonathan. It's in a tray and embellished very nicely. Gail took the very professional-looking pictures. Zoom in, it's really nice.

AFTER Christmas, I hosted a brunch on the 30th for my friends. These are ladies in the ward that I went walking with every morning for years and years. Only it's been years, jobs and kids since we've done that, and I've missed my buddies. We referred to the walks as "therapy" and "Walkie-Talkies," so this was a nice continuation of our talks. Truly, we just don't see enough of our friends, do we? And what better time to gather than the holidays--AFTER the hustle and bustle are basically over. Especially for Jan, who not only had a new grandbaby born weeks before Christmas (a living at home temporarily couple) AND Christmas AND a wedding the day after! Yikes. That makes mine seem rather tame by comparison. I served Quiche Lorraine and it turned out perfectly, if I do say so myself.

Tonight is New Year's and we're going to ring in the New Year by playing games, setting off home made fireworks(? a little leery about that one--I'll keep you posted) and eating lots of yummy snacks we've been accumulating and making. Every now and then Gail or I will say, "OH! I know what else we have that I forgot about!" and name some other nice good treat like Aunt Jannea's or Gayela's fruitcakes, or the shrimp ring that was in the freezer...and we have chips and dips and crackers and home-made cheese balls and artichoke dip and guacamole and . . . .well, TOO MUCH good stuff. I'm glad the next day is a play day.

and then it's back to the grind. I love holidays. :-)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Welcome Home!

Damian got home from Afghanistan on Thursday this week. Mike, Nick, Mike's Mom and I traveled to California to spend some time with him, his family AND my extended family. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera. Duh. I remembered the night before we left as I was laying in bed, but didn't get right up to put it with my stuff, so it got left behind.
We waited until Friday morning to leave because Nick had to work until midnight on Thursday. Mike was wanting to leave at midnight, but I talked him out of it. We ended up spending two hours in St. George waiting for a broken thermostat in the engine to get repaired. Good thing we weren't out on the road in the wee hours of the a.m. when that happened!

Got to Temecula in the late afternoon-ish. Fun times. Saw a LOT of picutures that Damian had taken, and he told us about a lot of his experiences over there.

Saturday afternoon was my Sorensen family get together. It was a smaller group than usual. We've lost two family members this past year, so that was sad. And the northern CA folks didn't make it. But it was still a nice gathering. (I'll e-mail you names later, Mom.)

Sunday, we enjoyed church with Damian and his family. Lots of Christmas programs. Next year, their ward meets at 8:30 a.m. I told Tandy that they should all just sleep in their church clothes. Ha. OR--it could be the "year of the Muu Muu and pony tail." She didn't agree. ha. 8:30 is ridiculously early to get self and 3 kids ready for church, fed and out the door. Yikes.

So, we'll be heading hom to Cedar on Tuesday, un less the weather scares us home more quickly. There's supposed to be snow on Tuesday in Cedar...but not as much as our missionary in Washington DC got! Blizzard conditions out there--2 feet of snow.

Gonna go play with grand kids.

UPDATE: For photos, check on Suz's and Tandy's blogs! Good job, ladies! And Nick. Damian, Ella and I had gone for a walk around the BIG block, looking at Christmas lights, so we were absent when the group photo was snapped. But Nick photoshopped us in! Just like that! What a talent, to tweak history like that. (Hey, we walked in the door within a couple of minutes after it was over and folks had started to disperse) They did try to call me--My cell phone was in my purse. Under the stairs. In the house. ;-)

Monday, December 7, 2009


Sometimes, you just feel like this.(Click on the image, and hopefully you can read it)

Especially around the holidays.

But isn't it fun?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like


Caroline and I decorated my new tree.

I've actually had this for two years, but this is the first time it's been used. We opted for a Silver and Red theme this year. There are a lot more ornaments on the window-side of the tree. (I think Caroline really enjoyed standing on the window sill/seat to hang them)

Thanksgiving games.

Sumo Legs

Smiley JonathanHe was trying to walk across the table on his hands. Silly boy.
Thanksgiving Day, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Random Acts

Random acts of... well, RANDOMNESS.

I was just finishing with work, speaking with my replacement staff member about our weird new phone system. A person came to the front desk and handed the student worker a piece of paper and said, "Give this to Linda." So when I got done speaking with Tammy, the student came over and gave a paper to me with the message as delivered. Only, it was a sheet of paper with three recipes typed on it. Why? Who would just come in the library and randomly hand me three un-requested recipes? One was for Zucchini cassarole, one for whole wheat fudge brownies, and the other was for some rolls or something. Was it a hint? A gesture of kindness? A mistake? Delivered to the wrong "Linda at the Library?" Who WAS this unknown deliverer of food instructions????

And, no, that's not what we had for dinner tonight. It was chicken noodle soup and home-made biscuits. But the Zucchini cassarole DOES sound interesting and I have one huge one in my fridge right now.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cedar City Birthday Ball

Every year on or around November 11, Cedar City has a Birthday Celebration. Yes, it is also Veterans Day and we celebrate that, too. But Birthday Parties are WAAAYY more fun! This year we celebrated the birthday on Saturday, November 7, 2009.

For the past 9 years, Mike has headed up one aspect of that celebration, and that is the Birthday Ball, which we have come to call the Birthday PARTY since "Ball" is a little intimidating. It is a fun event that I have managed to be absent from for the majority of the nine years he's done this. And for good reason. It's a lot of hard work AND it is also the weekend that us gals gather for All Girl's Weekend. So Mike has to do it without me. He has lots of friends and supporters, but basically he is a committee of one. It's been fun to see the improvements he's made over the years.

The highlight of this dance (which is basically what it is) is the live band AND homemade Dutch Oven Cobbler with ice cream. That last one is where most of the hard work is required. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is my photo essay ; 0) . Enjoy.

This is Mike. He's the star of the show. He cooked (with a little help from his friends) 34 dutch oven fruit cobblers, fed it to about 300-plus folks and hosted a very fun soiree in the SUU Ballroom.

This is sort of what it takes to make around 34 cobblers. That's a lot of fruit and a LOT of cakes. That does not include the oil, the eggs, the foil, the 44 gallon tote with paper goods, or the charcoal to cook them. Or the gallons of ice cream to serve WITH the warm cobbler.

Yes, Mike has a food-handlers permit. I scrubbed my kitchen, we used excellent hygiene, AND we recycled all the cans and paper boxes. I'm rinsing out cans here. That was a lotta cans.
Here's Mike's friend, Larry. He's dumping cans of fruit filling into the foil-lined dutch oven.
Nick had to be elsewhere, but he sent a bunch of his friends over to help cook. See the big stack of dutch ovens?

Shoveling hot coals around. I don't think I'll say anything more about that.
Just a little bit of child labor going on. Oh no! We forgot her pony-tail!
When they've been assembled and cooked, then they are loaded into the back of the truck for transport to the college campus.

Here's a nice shot of the dance band. They play REAL music--Big Band, 1940's era dancing music that is fun to listen to. And to dance to.

There was a floor show and part of the entertainment was a few numbers by the SUU Ballroom Dance Company. This was one of the numbers. I was actually gone for some of this entertainment, as I was out getting more ice cream or on some other errand.
And the highlight--The BUNNY HOP! Featuring Nick (in black shirt with tie) and his Grandma Liebhardt (in red sweater). Priceless. That was MY highlight, anyway. Thanks, Gail, for snapping this one!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Homecoming Tradition

Yes, it 's the annual Cardboard and Duct Tape boat race. Silly, isn't it? But we've been doing this as library people for quite a few years now. This is the second time that Julie and I have paddled together, and we actually BEAT our other Library faculty people, Randy and Ralph.

Julie and I waiting for the whistle (which was really an air horn). The crowds this year were bigger than ever! I saw FORTY entrants--they numbered them consecutively. There were four heats, and for the first time ever, they actually had a fac/staff heat! YAY! Usually, they just throw us in with whomever. Well, kids basically.

Raft in the water, climbing aboard. We lost some time here, being so careful. But it worked.

Paddle only with your hands. It is from one end of the pool, touch the side and paddle all the way back. Can you say tired arms?? Even after doing water aerobics! Ouchies. I could hardly use my computer mouse when I got back to work.

Desperately trying to beat those guys! Paddle harder!!

And, yes! We hit the wall before them, earning third place out of 4 or 5. I heard that there were 5 in our heat, but I only saw four finish. It was really close at the end. Really.

And a fun time was had by all. This was my first time on a raft-style craft. Next year? Possibly pontoon-style, sort of like a "ducky" in kayaking and river rafting terminology. Maybe. Depends on the time we have. I got absolutely NOTHING done at work today, between adapting the boat, adding more duct tape, racing, recovering, dressing and coming back. Yes, it was a very long day. And different.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Project

I had Tuesday off because we had planned to drive home from Reno that day. But since we were home early, I had time to tackle this project. Simple, but pretty. The pink ribbon is optional, as I think I'll put buttons on the waist area in the front to add flowers. This is for Caroline for her birthday. She turned 8 last week while we were gone.

Reno, Oct 2009

Mike and his mother and I traveled to Reno to visit our kids for the long Harvest Holiday weekend. It's a long drive, so requires a LONG weekend, and we made ours EXTRA long. We drove over on Thursday the 15th and got there about 4 pm. We got to visit with Katie and Hayden. Casey came home from work and we enjoyed dinner at home together and Hayden warmed up to us fairly quickly. He's such a cute little kid.

Friday, we did a little shopping. If you call going to Costco a "little" shopping. Even the regular-looking shopping carts are huge! Yep, everything is big in Costco. We enjoyed all the samples. ;-) Katie did her shopping while me and her grandma hung around and watched. We're such good helpers. ha. We also had lunch with a friend of Berenice's from Hawaii who lives in Reno now. It was fun to visit with her at the nearby Hawaiian restaurant. Here's a picture of Berenice with her friend, Easter.

Saturday, Mike nursed a wounded knee all day and enjoyed watching college football games. Katie took me and her grandma and Hayden to run some errands and then we went visiting. We went clear out to Genoa and it was a beautiful drive. We didn't find the friend that Berenice was looking for, but since we were so close, we stopped in to see Casey's grandparents who live in the Carson Valley. They are nice folks and have a lovely home. Hayden enjoyed playing there . Turns out, the lady that Berenice couldn't find attends the same ward as Casey's grandparents! Small world. Of course, they knew who she was and gave Berenice the contact information that was more updated than what she had from before. They enjoyed a nice chat on the phone.

Hayden is very flexible. Here he is chewing on his toes, just to get a reaction (don't puke, Tandy!)

Sunday, Katie left around 10-ish for California. We knew she was going to be gone with some girlfriends before we came, so since it was their stake conference, Mike, his Mom and I headed out to Carson Valley again so Berenice could actually SEE her old fried from the mission field oh-so-many years ago. And we wanted to attend a regular meeting, not stake conference. I mean, they are nice and everything, but we tend to run into a lot of those when we vacation. Ask any of our kids. It's kind of frustrating and silly at the same time.

Katie and Casey's house has a circle in it like ours. Hayden and I were crawling around in circles. I finally caught up with him. It was a fun game (but hard on old knees!)

So, our Sunday was full of visiting. Casey was home with Hayden having quality "guy" time together, Kate was off with her girl friends on an over-nighter, and we had yet more visiting to do. This time it was a cousin of Mike's. I believe Berenice said this guys grandma and her mom were cousins. Or her dad, maybe. Yes, definitely. her dad and Ron's grandma were cousins. I don't know what that makes Mike and Ron. Ron and Helen live in Sparks. They are a delightful couple, a little older than Mike and I, four grown children. They had family history photos to share with Berenice and even had copies for her of things they had found when at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City! What was really interesting, though, was that Berenice was able to positively identify many of the subjects in the old photos they had and they were very pleased about that. We spent almost 3 hours visiting with Ron and Helen.

Just snuggling on a Sunday morning. Katie, Hayden and me.

Then we came home to a nice crock-pot dinner of roast and trimmings. Hayden is such fun to play with. He's so expressive. If I ever get any pictures to download to the Blog, they won't show any of the great ones, just casual snapshots. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Monday morning it was windy and clouding up, so we decided to head home that day. Katie was getting back way later than she'd originally intended, Casey has Mondays off to tend Hayden, so we said our goodbyes and tried to beat the storm home. Only, I had one stop to make before we could leave and it took much longer than I'd anticipated. I had Hayden's portrait taken at Kiddie Candids photo place in the mall. She's never had one done of him before, and I figured it was way overdue. And since I had him, I took care of it myself. Also, we got a mile down the freeway and I realized that I'd left my wallet in Katie's diaper bag when I'd gone with Hayden to the photographer. So, we turned around to get that. It's a good thing I discovered it that soon! I'd hate to have noticed when we were clear in Ely or someplace else! Yikes.

We were rained on all the way home, but made it back safe and sound before 10 p.m. Long drive, good company and we listened to a couple of good books on tape during the drive. That's the only time we ever listen to books on tape is when we drive to Reno.

The REST of the story

Here's what we picked. One Saturday, 14 boxes. Most have found homes already. I spent about 8 or 9 hours that day washing, sorting and boxing apples. That was October 10.

Friday, October 9, 2009


So far, I think I've seen more of the Fall productions of the USF than I did of the Summer ones! Mike and I saw "Woman in Black," then I purchased tickets (Yes! I BOUGHT tickets! a rare thing for me, as I wait for the freebies--or work for them) for "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged." We went to see that on Wednesday night. Hilarious stuff. Laugh-until-you-cry kind of stuff. Silly, silly, silly and tremendous fun.

I HAD planned on going to "Hamlet" last night. I have tickets (free ones, sort of). It's an SUU production, not USF. I decided to stay home and dry pears instead. And Mike did dishes. AND made dinner! (BLT's) I'm tellin' ya, I'm not getting much done around the house these days! Long Week.

Tonight is the Inaugural Friends of the Library, "An Evening with Friends" Gala here at work. BIG party. from 7 to 9 pm. I don't seem to spend many evenings at home... So I'm looking forward to the weekend to stay home, do laundry and prepare a Sunday lesson. Maybe vacuum, maybe not.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Summer 2009

My talented children. Do you wonder that it is hard to get a good picture of these sillies?

Donna, Laura and Eric. September 2009
Mom and Robert
Katie, Hayden and Grandpa Mike
Hayden playing in the hose
Hayden playing peek-a-boo while we were trying to get a 4 generation picture.
But we DID get a 4 generation Picture!
Casey, Hayden, Katie

Random photos