Monday, December 29, 2008


Apparently the Utah County Building is having some "issues".

Friday, December 26, 2008

Have you ever seen an angel????

Two sweet happy angel sisters Erika and Melissa.
Pretty In blue.

Angel Father-in-law teaching Tyler about being 
the best angel he can be!

An Angel mother with her angel twin girls.

An Angel dear husband with his devil wife...
Who spawned this devil child who can't seem to keep
her middle finger down at early morning
Christmas hours.
She's an angel though!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


The Christmas tradition of "real" caramel making is alive and well in the Anderson home.  Christmas is not the same if a batch (or three) of Grandma Neen's caramels is not made.
Arline taught me this delight before she passed away and I will forever be grateful for 
this lost art which she passed to me.
She also taught me the the cherry chocolate making skills (see last blog).
Our delicious wrapped caramels.
See the stocking?  Erika made that for Tyler with no pattern...what a talent.

This is a great recipe for Caramel Bugles.  Usually I use Bugles but this time I tried "Pirate Booty"  or corn puffs.  It is really delicious.  Here's the recipe:
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
2 cubes butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Mix and stir constantly on medium until temperature reaches soft ball stage.  Pour over bugles (or corn puffs) and mix together.

Terry loves it!  And ME!  

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Family of Dips!

Advance Warning:  Cherry dipping is NOT the same as skinny dipping.  In fact, eating said chocolates results in less skinny dipping!
Last Friday, our family spent the evening dipping cherry chocolates.  This is a yearly tradition ever since my mother-in-law taught me the fine art over 10 years ago.
Now she is no longer with us here on earth but her candy making lives on.
Here is a beautiful picture of the end results:

We made almost 200 of these beauties. 
Plus, we dipped almonds AND homemade caramel. (another Christmas must have)

Here's Erika and Tyler along with our little helper, Ali.
He just jumped right up and put his paws on the counter like he was ready to help.

Here's Terry teaching Ali to wrap the fondant around the cherry.
I think he just wanted to eat it!
(oh, and there's Melissa in the background enjoying some homemade caramel)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fixin' and Missin'

Things are looking up!  I've felt great for the last couple of days.  I was able to put my trees up and decorate our home.  It took me about two weeks from start to finish because I took it so slowly, which is the story of my life these days.   It's all done and I feel all happy and festive inside.  Here, take a look:

Front Room

Family Room

Today was the first time I've felt that returning to work was something I could possibly do.  In fact, I got a little bit excited about it.  I miss my kids and am dying to see them.  I've purchased a little present for each child and I'll deliver them the day before school is out for vacation (Dec. 19).   I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy about my sweet first graders.  This is probably because Adrianne (my co-teacher) dropped by last week with a disc of Halloween photos of the class.  I love, love, love to teach at Halloween time.  But, due to the tumor, I missed it all.  After looking at these pictures, you can see why I miss them and love them so much.

ARRRRR...The Pirates

Gimmee an "A"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Melissa!

The birthday girl!

Today is my oldest daughter's 21st birthday.  I don't know how that happened but it did and I'm so proud of the adult she officially is!  We (Terry and I) had the privilege of spending the day with her. 

The best part?  The party!  Melissa's friend Susanna planned the whole thing.  It was held at a swanky new night club in downtown Provo.  I know that sounds like an oxymoron but it's true.  The place is called "Sparks" and serves all non-alcoholic drinks.  Each person who came got one drink and bottomless appetizers.  We all dressed up and had a great time.  Have a peek at all the fun...

Melissa and Susi

Erika (my baby daughter), me, Melissa, Susi
(Yes, I curled my hair and my leg is showing above my boots...oh, the horrors!)

Erika with a Shirley Temple.  That's cotton candy on top.
That was our favorite part.'s non alcoholic!
I loved this little mock appletini.  It was like cold wassail.  It really put me in the mood for the holidays.  Oh, and see my manicure?  Terry actually did it!  He is an 
artist after all!

Blowing out the candles.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm a teeny, tiny bit discouraged...dang it!

I'm so tired!

If you know me well, you know that I like to keep myself busy.  I teach school, I work at Bath and Body Works about four days a week, I like to go shopping, etc.  I like to keep busy.

So, when I was planning for the big surgery, I had it all planned out that at the magical six week mark I would be perfectly fine and ready to resume my life as I knew it before.  WRONG!  There is nothing magical about six weeks.  In fact, I've been home now for 40 days and I'm still not ready to take on the world.  

Every day I have tried to get out and do shop, walk in the mall, go to Barnes and Noble.  By the time I'm at my destination, I'm ready to come back home.  I'm exhausted.  I'm so discouraged.  I thought I'd be better by now.

I do feel better as far as the pain goes but not as far as the exhaustion goes.  I put my problem to the friends I love and trust on my Weight Watchers message board.  I got two responses that really made sense to me.  They cheered me up and I read them every single day.  Thanks to my dear friends Boo and Mo (not their real names obviously) for being so eloquent and also for their permission to post their responses here.  They really do explain what I couldn't put into words about my healing.

1st from Boo:
Tami, it takes time.  Besides the anesthesia, your body had been severely injured.  Yea, the doctors did it purposely and in a controlled way, but your body doesn't know that.  It knows it's been injured, and is taking care of itself.  Your energy will come back.  I promise.  Poor sweet Tami. :(

2nd from Mo:
Boo is exactly right.  Surgery is major trauma to the body.  Think of it like a car accident, or other major trauma.  Like Boo said, it was trauma that was very controlled and contained, but still trauma.

On top of that, you had this thing that grew very, very slowly ad started pushing your organs out of the way to make room for itself.  Your blood vessels carried blood and oxygen to it, and it was starting to damage some of your other organs.  Then, one day, it's gone.  So now instead of the slow pushing movement of your organs in one direction, they have this giant space to move back into and slosh around.  Ouch.  Plus, the organs that the tumor damaged need to heal as well.

All of this requires energy.  It doesn't feel like it, because it's not the kind of energy expended when you get up and move, but trust me, your body is expending it.  Your cells and processes are using a lot of energy to give you your strength back and get you, not back to normal, but in better shape than you were in.

It takes time.  You will get there, young lady (I liked that part). Patience.

Pretty good advice eh?  So now I'm being patient and letting my body do it's job.

Thanks Boo and Mo.  

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Last Day of Official Thankfuls...

This month has been interesting for me as I have thought of three things to be thankful for this year.  I am truly blessed in my life with a wonderful family, true friends, and comfort.  I am blessed with a testimony of the gospel which I love.  I am just plain old blessed!  Here are three more specific "thankfuls" for this November:

1. For my niece Adrianne (Happy Birthday today!).  She has always impressed me.  I've watched her since she was a baby.  I wasn't very old when she was born (10?) and I feel like we have almost grown up together.  She has been a trooper growing up with five brothers and holding her own through the whole ordeal.  She is now a wonderful mother of four daughters...her reward (?) for enduring so many men growing up.  I love her.  I admire her.

2. For my seven grandchildren:  Royan, Milo, Issy, Eli, Audrie, Lyla, and Olivia.  I can't even express how much they mean to me and how I love being Grami Tami.  The best part is, I will have many more grandchildren in the future and I have enough room in my life to love and adore and SPOIL them all.

3. For November 2008 and taking time to write my three thankfuls each day.  I needed this.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Still Thankful For...

1. The Faith Hill Christmas cd.  
Seriously...go buy it.  It is gorgeous and I'm letting you know right now, 
I cried in over half the songs.
2. Great deals at Target.  I can always find them.  
So, if you need to find a deal, take me along.
3. New fluffy pillows.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thank you....

Thank you Mrs. Cottle for teaching me to love musical theatre way back in fifth grade.

Thank you Mom for teaching me to love Little House on the Prairie and to know it's okay to cry during tv shows  (and commercials)

Thank you Dad for teaching me how to laugh at and recognize a great joke.

Thank you Wendy Shaffer for helping to mold my character as a young woman.

Thank you Donna for teaching me how to make gravy, rolls, turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and just about every other good thing I cook for my family.

Thank you Bruce for teaching me how to be punny.

Thank you Orem, Utah for bringing Sunflower Market to town.

Thank you Terry for teaching me patience. And for loving me even when I say stupid things and forget about the patience you taught me.  I love you.

Thank you Alanis Morisette for the inspiration for this post.  :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

On this most thankful of thankful days I'm thankful for...

1. My best friend Kathe for her delicious meal she fed us.
2. Comfortable pants.
3. Service opportunities.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day Before Thankfuls

1. Shoes...lots and lots of shoes.
2. The knowledge that I have a wonderful extended family who loves and cares about each other.
3. My white chocolate cheesecake recipe I'm making today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday's Thankfuls

1. The puppycam (see my sidebar)
2. My darling daughter for taking me shopping today for 45 minutes.
3. My other darling daughter in her cute white pants.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Thankfuls

1. Family traveling to Utah right now.
2. Leftovers
3. People who comment on my blog (ha!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sabbath Day Thankfuls

1. My journal is my new best friend.
2. Big family dinners (today we're doing a small Thanksgiving)
3. My Home Teachers who have taken such 
good care of me through this whole surgery thing

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Today I'm Thankful For

1. Johnny Depp (I'm watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
2. Modern Medicine
3. My dog Leo when he snuggles up against my back when I sleep.

Friday, November 21, 2008


1. Good hair days (today is one!)
2. My home (If I've said that before, it's important to mention again!)
3. Bananas

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankfuls for the 20th

1. Dr. Soissen
2. My car to get around in (even though
it's old and's paid for!)
3. My Fitflops

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My worry after visiting the doctor today:

I hope I don't mix these two up:

Kidney Beans


Today's Thankfuls...

1. My dogs Ali, Mac, and Leo.
2. My invisible Weight Watchers friends.
3. The Price is Right

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I'm moving my thankful list to my blog text.  I don't know why.  I guess I'm just trying to add to my posts.   So, what am I thankful for today?
1. The remote control.
2. Melissa's unselfish, giving nature. 
 Everything she does, she does quietly not looking for praise or attention.
3. Ethel Hood's homemade wheat bread.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An Evening At the Hospital

A Human Kidney

Kidney Beans

Well, yesterday my kidney decided to rebel after having its friend "The Stent" removed.  The hole left in the kidney was having spasms and trying to close up.  I called the doctor and he said to come into the hospital.

While there, I had the following things done:
1. Blood work
2. Ultra sound:  They found that I had fluid backed up into my right kidney.  That's not good.  The doctor said that if there is no drainage, I would have to have surgery to replace the stent and also place some tubes through my back to drain the fluid.

At this point I was BAWLING!  I could not handle any more surgery.

3. Sent for another CT Scan.  This was to see if there was any movement from kidney to bladder.  While waiting for them to tell me I could go home, I was in so much pain that I almost made a bed for myself on the dirty carpeted waiting area.  Terry was very patient with me.

So, I finally got home around 7 o'clock and got some pain medication in me.  I've felt much better since then.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Warning: Gross but cool!

The Most Exciting Part of my Day:

I got my stent removed.  This was kind of the LAST foreign object left in or outside of my
body following my tumor surgery.
First let me say...I have never been more NERVOUS in my entire life.  I'm sure it was because I had no idea what to expect.

For those who don't know what a stent is, it is a tubular support inside a blood vessel or canal.  It helps with the healing of whatever it is supporting.  In my case, the ureter.  It's like a cast.  Today, I got it out.  Here's how:

I had NO anesthetic (I know...Wonder Woman.  Actually, they don't give any or I totally would have taken it.)
So, let's take a look at the first picture.
This was the first instrument I saw when I walked into the room.  It is the tool that the doctor inserted into my yingyang.  The white tip on the end is actually a camera.  It takes pictures as it moves through the ureter.  In the next picture you can see the monitor that shows the  pictures.  I was able to watch it all as it happened.
There was also a long metal pick type thing inserted through the instrument.  On the end of the wire was a little "pincher" that grabbed the stent so the doctor could pull it out.

Most comfortable chair EVER!

This is the BEFORE picture.  You can see the light blue cord coming out of the white mass (I'm not sure id that's the bladder or what but I think it's the bladder...correct me if I'm wrong) that is the stent.  The doctor grabbed it and................

The stent is out.  The black dot is actually a suture.  Dr. Lee said that Dr. Soissen did a great job with the reconstruction.
I'm really not sure what went on in there and I'm not really sure that I want to know.

I was bold enough to ask the doctor if I could have my stent.  His nurse cleaned it well and put it in a container for me.
Here it is next to my Big Gulp.  I had no idea how long it was.

The whole procedure lasted about 10 minutes.  IN FACT (and this is hysterical) Terry missed the whole thing because he left to get me a Diet Coke from the cafeteria.  We had been told that Dr. Lee was still in surgery and wouldn't be done for quite some time.  In fact, the nurse didn't even have me get ready.  So, we thought we had plenty of time for Terry to run for drinks.

So, they gave us a copy of the pictures so Terry could see them.

I am so glad it's over.

Monday, November 3, 2008

One Last Hospital Photo Journal Post

Here I am, the innocent patient.

Contemplating my future whilst looking at this hideous wall.

Ahhh!  Much better to look at.  My darling daughters, Melissa and Erika.

Getting nervous.

This is my FAVORITE picture.  We were all waiting for "them" to take me to surgery.  Everyone was on some sort of electronic device...This picture was taken by my "half daughter" Melissa who laughed hysterically when she saw us all.

Here I go!

My nose was freezing!

Yay!  My favorite beverage.

The nurses insisted on getting me up to walk as soon as possible.
This is me "resting" along the way.

The computer saved my sanity.
I loved my inflatable leggings.

Water is good.  I had a beautiful view of the mountains.
Oh, and, PEACE!
Or, perhaps I'm asking for two more Diet Cokes.

My darling BFF Kathe.  She visited, called, or emailed me
I'm reading a sweet little booklet from my first grade class.

Some snacks from Kathe.

Part of my every day routine.

"Just a little poke."

A couple of nurses (the one in green went to Sunset View Elementary when I was a teacher there and she remembered me!)  Kathe's in there too.

One of my many walks around the floor.

Just checking to see if I'm covered.  Plus, Kathe wanted her bum covered too.

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