Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

To all my family and friends...Merry Christmas!! I didn't get many greetings sent off in the mail, so I wanted to let you all know that I'm thinking of you and wishing you the best this holiday season. I've finally begun my Christmas break, yee haw! Ken and I have braved the crowds and cold to do some last minute shopping and are preparing for our trip south to spend Christmas with family. Can't wait to be warm! I guess after not really having a winter in 9 years your blood thins out...getting older doesn't help...so now I carry my bean bag (portable heater) everywhere. We also had to buy a whole new set of clothes...coats, shoes etc. Chelsey commented that now, when we have the opportunity to have a 'white' christmas, we decide to go back to Arizona! Go figure! Anyway...I love hearing from all of you, reading your blogs and chatting on facebook...keeping in touch the technology way!! Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you at this special time of year. May God bless and keep you!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A "Sweet" Suite

Well...we're finally done!! Chelsey moved into her room and is happy to "have her space". We couldn't have done it without Dad, THANKS!! It started off like this...Then looked like this for a while...
And finally, this...
Chelsey's so happy to have her things in one place (hasn't had everything since Tucson) and looks forward to decorating. We're pretty glad she has her own bathroom! She loves the turquoise color!! We still have carpet to lay but we're gonna do that once the family room and stairway are completed. Yep, more sheetrock dust and paint! But it's gonna be a while before that gets done since I start back to school with new teacher meetings this week. ugh...summer's over for me!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


OK, so I lied...I didn't get back on line quite as quickly as I'd hoped. But now that I have my computer and my camera cord to download pictures, I should be a more frequent blogger...until school starts! Ha! So...here's my news...we moved...AGAIN!! Yep, we're in Utah now! I know, shock, but not any more shocking than it came to us. We LOVED Mississippi and truly didn't want to leave but circumstances necessitated a change and Utah was the only door left open to us...so we took it, reluctantly, but gratefully.

Leaving what I loved in Mississippi...family, friends, culture.There's nothing like living in the South! I loved being able to see "Faith" promoted everywhere. Store marquees posting Sabbath reminders, even the banks displayed scripture mostly about God and Country. Awesome! The culture...strong southern pride and sense of community. Family...we loved our time with family on both sides. My reconnection with the Wood family was a blessed gift, one I probably wouldn't have had had I not lived in Mississippi. I'll miss my dear friends and the best job ever...what an experience!!! Of course, leaving our beautiful 4 acres and giving up our dream was one of the hardest things to let go of...but we did...and we survived!

Coming back to Utah...being close to family (children and grandchildren) and church. There's nothing like Temple Square in the Spring! The girls and I spent a day at Temple Square shortly after we moved to Salt Lake City. It's was absolutely beautiful! We've had the chance to see "The Spoken Word" twice now...amazing!! Couldn't do that in Mississippi. For Father's Day we had a family dinner at Uncle Roger and Aunt Judy's. Reminds me of all the times we would drive up to spend Sunday evenings with them, have dinner and play dominos. There's been a few members added to the family since then which adds to the fun. I'm so glad to be back with my Utah family!!Ken continually reminds me of all the "perks" about moving here and says, "these things should count for something". Well, they do!
We've had a chance to visit with Jason, Hannah and the girls for Lilly's 1st birthday. What price do you put on that??? We had a wonderful time and look forward to many more visits!Riley and Alexis spent their 1st wedding anniversary with us! How wonderful is that?? They went to Lagoon and visited old Orem places. I'm so glad we're just a day away for them to "get away" to. Then Chelsey and I followed them back down to Phoenix for a visit with family there and because we drove, I could bring back 'stuff'. Ok...couldn't do that if I still lived in Mississippi. Bonus...Dad and Mom came up for a couple of weeks so Dad could help (nearly singlehandedly) finish the basement (just one of those "perks").

The Lord has blessed us in many ways...we left a place we loved to call home and looked forward to settling down there, but we were so far away from most of the children. Ken and I both loved our jobs and hated to leave the many friends we had made so quickly. As the Reverend Mother said in Sound of Music...when God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window. This is so true in our case. We've come back to a place we once hated to leave, back to familiar places, family and friends. Who would have thought??? Certainly not us!! But here Ken is back with old work buddies and against all odds, I've found a great teaching position...so we're settling down here to begin the next stage of our lives...grandparents!!

When I married Ken he told me "hang on for the ride". Well so far, it's been a doozy!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Didn't mean to stay gone so long!

So, things are a bit different since I last wrote. I had all sorts of stories to add to my blog, and they're still on the backburner, but for now...I just thought I'd better add something so you didn't think I had fallen off the earth. I should be up and running in a week or two and then can fill ya'll in on our happenings. Oh...I've remembered all day and reminded the whole family but then forgot to call to wish little Lilly Rizzuto a happy 1st birthday!!! Hope you had a wonderful day, sweet Lilly!!!! WE LOVE you!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Visits and more visits

For the past several weekends, Ken and I have traveled all over Mississippi visiting various family members. Seems like we're trying to fill our 'bucket' on fast forward speed. We've spent many peaceful weekends down at Ken's mom's home...just can't get enough of their quiet setting, sitting out on the patio or porch watching and listening to the birds and just being away from the 'busy' and feeling the 'calm'. They have an ideal place to be retired in!! We went again last weekend on our way to deliver Natalie back to her mother. The plan was that she would return to live with her mother when she turned 18...her 18th birthday was March 11th, so off she went. She took her little companion, Gus, with her as well. The house is a lonely place without them both and although Gracie didn't fully accept Gus back after he disappeared, she went around calling for him for days...so sad! So...we are officially empty nesters right now! AND I DON'T LIKE IT!!! I miss my girls but know that they are off onto the next stage of life.

Early in February went up to Ken's brother's house outside of Memphis, to visit his step-mom, who now lives there. Mom Liz is an amazing woman. She has such strength! She's been able to continue on without Ken's dad, which we thought would do her in. She's been through open heart surgery, has diabeties, finished chemo therapy (yes, she has cancer as well) and after a serious fall...she went into a tailspin with her health and we didn't know how long she would last. BUT, she's doing great! Pat and Kelly are awesome (her son and daughter-in-law). They have opened their home to her and given her such a wonderful place to live and be happy in. We had such a nice visit with them all.

Once again, we made a trip up to Corinth. And once again, Teddy drove over from Little Rock to meet up with us! It's been great to have this time to spend together. (I really appreciate your taking time out to be with us...Thanks!) This time our emphasis was the Civil War, as well as family history search. We stayed our first night outside of Tupelo at Aunt Peggy's. I loved looking at the old family photos she has compiled and she graciously, along with Uncle Bill's help, let me scan copies of the most amazing, really old pictures! Can't wait to work on them and create a picture family tree!! Uncle Monte made a suprise visit at Aunt Peggy's and brought Ken a set of lawyer bookcases...something he has wanted for years! Thanks a bunch, Uncle Monte!! We (Ken, Teddy and I) drove up to Corinth and traipsed through a couple more cemetaries and made the necessary stop at Borrum's for a chocolate milkshake, even though the temperature outside was freezing! We visited the Corinth Interactive Civil War Museum...a must if you're passing through, and after the usual 'southern' chatting with the workers, found out that the woman working in the giftshop used to ride bikes as a little girl with my Aunt Judy!! We ended the day at Shilo National Park, about an hour north of Corinth. We got a much different feeling here than at the Corinth museum. If you know your Civil War history, you'd know that Shilo was a two day battle that accomplished NOTHING but the deaths of over 24 thousand men and boys. It's here that the famous "bloody pond" is located. Where soldiers from both sides, and even the horses, came to drink and wash their wounds...so many so that the water became a pond of blood. I can't even describe the feelings I got driving through the fields and woods that were the battlefield. There are 5 burial trenches where the Southern soldiers were piled, and then buried...the utter waste of life...the tragedy of it all. Northern soldiers were reinterred, with headstones, in the National Cemetary there on the site. We left Shilo feeling 'heavy' and drove to Pickwick lake. Mom has talked alot about her fun at Pickwick. Well, we stayed at Uncle Jeff and Aunt Bette's breathtakingly beautiful lake house. After a great Prime Rib dinner, we talked into the night (well, I slept on the chair, Ken and Ted talked). Then we woke up Sunday morning to 2" of snow. It was the stuff dreams are made of...waking to a view of a beautiful lake and the deck covered with snow...a pure feeling of quiet. You could just feel your bloodpressure lower!! What an amazing get-away! I think I'd like to book a week in July and again in October (for the Fall colors)!!! Thank you so much Aunt Bette for letting us stay! Before we headed back to Jackson, we met up with the Oxford family and had a great short visit. No worries...I'll be back!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Jason's Home

Jason arrived home February 11th to a very happy family!! This picture was printed on the front page of the Colorado Springs newspaper. The caption read: "Audrey Rizzuto, 4, of Colorado Springs, helps her dad, Sgt. Jason Rizzuto, push a stroller to the car after he returned from Iraq. Rizzuto was welcomed home by his wife and three daughters." When we pulled it up on the web, it gave me chills and made his being home...REAL!! A huge weight was lifted when he called and said he was in America. You really don't realize how much you'd been "holding your breath" until you don't have to anymore. That was the feeling we felt after seeing this darling picture...such relief!! Then the very next thought that comes to mind is..."there are still so many more that need to come home." Hopefully that will happen soon, but until then, PRAY for all the soldiers. We are all proud of Jason, for his dedication to his duty and love for his country. What an amazing man!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


My hometown....Corinth Mississippi(Corinth Courthouse where Teddy personally saw and heard Elvis Presley singing on the courthouse steps!!)
Moving to Mississippi meant I was coming back to my 'roots'. Yep...many of you may not know it but I was born in Mississippi. Being a Navy brat, I didn't really grow up in the same town or state for that matter. I never felt I had 'roots'. After moving to Jackson, one of the places I had most wanted to visit was the town where I was born, Corinth. Here I had roots...as my father's side of the family go WAY back on both his father's and mother's sides of the family...some as far back at the early 1800's!! At the beginning of the year I got a chance to do just that. Not only was I able to drive the streets of the town and connect with the places so many of my family members were a part of, but I was able to visit with Wood family members I hadn't seen in 30 years!! It was quite the emotional experience for me. Since I started family research in 1979, I have learned the names and dates of so many of my relatives...trying to 'connect' with the family I didn't know. (My parents were divorced when I was 3) Mom told me the stories she knew and had gone to Corinth on a few occasions and taken pictures of many of the places I ended up taking pictures of, but it wasn't the same as actually being there. The town is a quaint southern town, with an amazing town square. The homes have character...it was beautiful even though it was the dead of winter! Teddy was our tour guide and stopped at every house I had any connection to. I remember bits and pieces of walking into Mumma's home and being at Granny's and I remember staying at the home my mother spent her teenaged years in...but to see them through adult eyes was different. How I wished I could walk through the houses again and pull a little of their 'spirits' from the walls. To hear the voices of Grandaddy and Granny Choate, although I think Teddy does a great imitation of what Grandaddy Choate must have sounded like! My visit with family was the highlight. We were entertained by Uncle Monte and Uncle Jerry, who both play the piano beautifully, but who also are great at telling stories that had us rolling!! Aunt Peggy shared her amazing scrapbooks with me...I wanted to run out and photocopy each page they were so filled with memories and some awesome family photos! I was thrilled to be able to see pictures of many of the family members I knew in name only...and now had faces to put with the names. I loved hearing stories told by my aunts and uncles, they put life into those pictures. It was a wonderful experience to be immersed in my ROOTS!!! Everyone was so kind and accepting...Thank you for your warm Southern hospitality!! :) My plan is to do it all over again real soon!!!
Corinth Sites...

Top left: The old Corinth High School where both my parents graduated as well as my grandparents. Top right: The Waldron Street Christian Church where my 'way back' Wood family were involved in its re-construction after the Civil War. My "MeeMaw" played the organ for church here for a zillion years. Town square Confederate soldier statue, and Borroum's Drugstore (across from the courthouse) where they have an old fashioned soda fountain and where we had the MOST amazing chocolate milkshake EVER!!

Old Corinth homes...Top left, the home of Pa and Mumma Wood, my great grandparent's. I remember Mumma had a chihuahua that scared the living daylights out of me. Top right, my grandparent's home, Cecil and Dorothy "MeeMaw" Wood. It's the smallest of all the homes yet 6 rambunctious children were raised there! Bottom left is the home of Papa and Grandma Hinton who were the grandparents of my grandmother (my great-great grandparents). They both died within months of each other less than a year before I was born. The bottom center home is where my mother lived as a teenager. The bottom right is Grandaddy and Granny Choate's home. I had my first birthday here and have vague memories of being inside. It was amazing to me to be able to drive through the town and see so many places where someone I was directly related to lived years ago.

Hinton family...I was given the middle name of Hinton. It is my father's middle name and the last name of his great grandparents (and his grandmother's maiden name). I never liked my middle name and asked my mother why she didn't give me a girl's name like hers...Anne. She would then tell me bits and pieces of what she remembered about my great-great Hinton grandparents. How much they loved each other, how sweet they were etc. After a while, Hinton didn't seem like such a strange name to me and I began to love the name. Enough so to pass it on to Chelsey. Here at the Salem Christian Church cemetary is the Hinton family plot. A way back Hinton grandfather helped establish this church and all the Hinton relatives are buried here. There's even a Hinton Road in town...if I could have, I would have taken the road sign home with me!!

Family...The Wood brothers, Teddy, Monte and Jerry, taken at Uncle Jerry's Oxford MS home. A real void was felt by the absence of Uncle Buddy who passed away last January due to cancer. He was spoken of with great respect and admiration...he was greatly missed.

I don't know how I forgot to take pictures of Uncle Jeff and Aunt Bette. They live in Oxford too and own the oldest floral company in town. We got a 'behind the scenes' tour of the shop...there was so much to take in even though Bette and Monte insisted that the shop seemed barren since all the Christmas deco had been taken down.The Tupelo family: Uncle Bill Hardin, (Ken and me) Teddy, cousin Brooks, Suzanne and Aunt Peggy Wood Hardin at the Hardin home in Guntown MS. It's a beautiful home that they built themselves and used a ton of the neatest old doors from Bill's grandmother's antebellum home.

Can't wait to see you all again...

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Holidays have come and gone....

Where does the time go?? I need a vacation from my vacation because we were on the go nearly the entire time we were off!! The time flew by and I feel sooo behind, but we had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends. Now we're on our second week back at work and it's "grindstone" as usual. Anyway... the highlights:
Christmas Eve we decided to run down to Grandma and Grandpa's for a little target practice. (What else do you do on Christmas Eve in Mississippi??? Ha!) This was a first time for both Chelsey and me...at least with a pistol. Chelsey was pretty good at it...I didn't like it at all. I'd much rather shoot a rifle.
Christmas morning found Chelsey having an "only child" Christmas because Natalie and Trevor spent the holiday with their mother in LA. It was a quiet Christmas morning compared to years past when we usually had 5 or 6 kids together. Who knows what next year will bring.New Years Eve was spent getting reacquainted with our grandgirls, Alivia, Audrey and Lilly. They wore Grandpa out with the tickling and "chase me, Grandpa". Lilly didn't want to have much to do with Grandpa but loved Aunt Chelsey. It was wonderful to spend time with them and to visit with Hannah. Thanks, Hannah for meeting up with us!!We also got a chance to visit with Utah family over the break. It's always great to go back HOME!! Loved the Prime Rib, Chris...you're the best!! Can't wait for the new little one...Emily and Jake...congrats! Ella, you're a doll baby!! As always, thanks Aunt Judy for letting us settle in for a bit...miss you!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Happy 23rd Birthday Riley...What an amazing journey you've been on!! I'm so happy you became a part of our family all those many years ago! Here's wishing you many more amazing years...ones filled with love and happiness.Ten years later and still going strong...We LOVE you Riley!!!