Monday, December 22, 2008

Too caught up in the moment

On Saturday morning our alarm went off at 4:00 (o' dark o'clock). While Spence showered, I got our stuff all loaded into Flo (our van), and by 5:00 we were pulling out of our driveway. 10 hours later (exactly) we made it to Sacramento, where we are spending Christmas. We had some snow and some drifts before Elko--after that it was sunny, smooth sailing. Our kids are fabulous travelers, and we have the drill down pat, after making this trip roughly 210 BILLION times.

Yesterday we awoke to rain in the valley. LOTS of rain in the valley. That means snow in the foothills and mountains. We are so grateful to have come in a clear weather-window. Now we are just sitting here enjoying the wet!

We've played with my siblings and their children, been for walks, gone to church, had an adult game night, a GREAT (and very loud) karaoke party with the kids, and just had a wonderful time every moment. And how many pictures do I have? You guessed it. Zero.

So, here's the thing. I'm having too much fun to think, "I ought to grab a picture of this."

Last night during karaoke, I was so proud of myself. I jumped up. Ran out of the room. Grabbed my camera. Came back in to snap a pictures. You guessed it again. The battery was DEAD.

I guess I can't win. Don't worry, the battery has charged all night. I will try to do better.

But I am having the time of my life!

Friday, December 19, 2008


I work with a sweet man who I consider a friend. His mother passed away last week, and I attended the funeral. Mike was the last speaker, and he spoke truth and taught doctrine. At the end of this talk and a tribute to his mom he said, "Maybe the biggest compliment I could make to my mom is that I married a woman just like her."

If you haven't met Mike and Babe Smedley, you are missing a treat and a blessing. Babe is a rough-cut, good, spunky lady. Mike told me yesterday that Babe had said, "How can you say that I'm like your mom? I don't cook. I don't craft. I'm not like her." He replied, "Babe, you're like my mom in all the important ways--you're tough, you're devoted, you're confident." Then he looked at me and said, "All the same 'Aundrea' things."

(Have I mentioned that I love my job?)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not terribly exciting

I realize that this blog is probably not the most interesting thing that you read. I have several blogs that I follow, and some are better than others. But I love them all because I love YOU all. So for today's blog, I thought I would update you on some of the happenings at our house (what?! You don't love the random stuff I blog about?!).

Spencer is still my #1 main man. He is employed at Boeing, where he has been for over 12 years. We had some breath-holding earlier this year when the machinists union in Seattle went on strike. Things are nearly back to normal now. The airline industry, of course, is taking a hit in the current economic recession, so we will be seeing some changes in the near future. We are continually praying that our employment will be preserved. In the meantime, Spencer has been going to the University of Phoenix, and he will graduate with a bachelors in Business Administration in May of 2009. He's worked hard, and I am proud of him. He's also done it without much sympathy or support from his wife--you'll have to get that story at another date. Spencer is also training for the Salt Lake City Marathon in April. This will be his 3rd. He loves to run! Spence is the Scout Committee Chairman and the Deacon's Quorum Advisor. He and I are also working on the stake Youth Conference committee.

I am working as a secretary at the Church Office Building. I've been there for a year and a half, and I still love it! I work with some seriously wonderful people. I'm also still doing some freelance editing and proofreading, which is all for fun. I'm serving as the Primary president in our ward, where I love the kids so much and they think I'm strange and silly--I love it! What don't you love?

Briana is a senior at West Jordan High School. She's in the concert choir, she an FCCLA officer, she's taking photography and woodworking, and she works as a lifeguard at the Kearns Rec Center. She''s 18 now and beginning to attend YSA activities. Yikes!

Taylor is a sophomore, also at WJHS. He still plays lacrosse and he sings in Take Ten, the men's choir. He has about a million friends but his favorites are still Logan (in Magna) and Logan (in Orangevale). Tay also does a lot of writing, and he's turned out some decent stuff recently. Maybe he'll post a guest blog for me. Hmmm... Tay will be a priest at the end of January. I can't believe it!

Ashtyn is in 9th grade at Entheos Academy. She loves school. Everyone loves Ashtyn, and she is a happy, positive young lady. And I do mean young lady. She's really a beauty. When I say that everyone loves Ash, read All the boys love Ash. Who can blame them, really? What's not to love? Ashtyn continues to amaze us. She is a very conscientious student; she is a hard worker; she is a good friend; and she is slower than molasses in January! :) But she doesn't stop till the job is done. I am very proud of the person that she is. Ashie also serves as the Bee-a-Maid president in our ward (combined Beehive and Mia Maid class, in case you hadn't already figured that out). Ash occasionally fights some tummy trouble. She's had ultrasounds at Primary Children's Hospital twice. They revealed nothing. That's good news, but it doesn't answer the question What is wrong with our daughter?

Landon will be 12 in January--a deacon! He is in the 6th grade at Entheos. He's had a rough year at school. Part of the challenge is that Lando is seriously NOT focused on school. But each week we see him learning more and more; his prayers are often so sweet and tender. We love this boy!

This post would not be complete if I didn't add our chicken dog, Bella, to the page. Last year we had Abby, but this summer she got very ill and we had to put her down. (Another post for another time.) After a lot of searching, including drives to St. George and Cedar City, we found Bella. She has some anxiety issues and probably ate $200 worth of shoes this summer--she now spends her time alone in her crate. She goes walking with me each morning, but she is NO guard dog--she's too chicken. There have been multiple times when I've tripped over her as she's run between my legs. We love her, even if she is a chicken TURD.

We're headed to Sacramento on Saturday for a week. We'll spend our Christmas with Mom and Dad and my brothers (Brant and Gavin) and sister (Tiffany) and their wonderful families. That is all our children have asked for this Christmas. Thank goodness the gas prices went down! Our niece, Gracie, will be baptized the following Saturday, so we'll leave the next day to head home. Bella is staying with Spencer's sister for the week. I hope Jenny is still speaking to us when we get home. :)

We are all happy and healthy and well. We hope you are, too. Have a beautiful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Good News and the Bad News

The good news is that it is a snowy, beautiful morning.
The bad is that it is a cold, slick morning.
The good news is that I am well.
The bad news is that Ashtyn is sick.
The good news is that I have sick leave.
The bad news is that I got the kids to seminary very late.
The good news is that I filled up my 12-gallon gas tank (in Buzz, our car) for $16.50--$1.37 a gallon!
The bad news is that I dropped my cell phone while I was at the gas station.
The good news is that someone picked it up and turned it in.
The bad news is that I have to take Ashie to the doctor in the snowstorm.
The good news is that I can go with Briana to her Jaguar of the Month banquet.
The bad news is I'll have to drive to that in the snow, too.
The good news is Briana WON'T have to drive in the snow.
The bad news is that it's only 7:43 a.m. It could be a long day.
The good news is that it's only 7:43 a.m. It could be a great day.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The View After Work

For those of you (few) who are Utah-haters, I have a news flash: Utah is a great state! Let's leave the people out of this discussion for now and focus on the land called Utah. There are rivers; a huge, dead lake; lots of living lakes; mountains and deserts. There are hiking trails from north to south and from east to west. Bike, hike, swim, ski (snow or water), sight-see, even scuba--Utah has it all. (OK, there's no ocean.)

Of all of the sights to see, however, one of my favorites is Temple Square and the surrounding LDS campus. One fall evening I walked out of the Relief Society building at sunset, and my friend Joanne said to me (after a long sigh), "I think I could come out to this sight every night and never tire of it." She was right, and after a year and a half at my employment, I still never tire of it.

The beauty of the temple is that you can have an exterior view like this--what's not to love?--and enjoy it all the more because of what is INSIDE.

This is what my view of the east side of the temple looked like last night. Enjoy

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Spotlight On...

This is our youngest son, Landon Spencer Hill. There are several things I'd like for you to notice about this boy.

HIS SMILE--Landon has been smiling almost from the time he was born. He is an amazingly happy young man. He had to have his eye teeth removed about 8 months ago, as we strive to get his teeth to grow where they need to grow. He keeps hoping that the next time we visit with the orthodontist it will be time to go into braces, but those darned teeth just won't grow back! (One of them finally broke the gum line a couple of weeks ago). We have always laughed because when he smiles, his eyes nearly disappear. Which brings me to...

HIS CHEEKS--Landon has not one ounce of fat anywhere on his body, but he still has round cheeks. He hates them, but the girls and I agree that they are one of his most lovable features. Besides being very cute, they are wonderful for kissing; and lucky me! he lets me kiss them. He likes me to give him "1,000 kisses," which means that I either kiss them really fast for a long, long time or I do a funny-sounding pucker on his cheeks. Either of these can last for up to a minute, and he loves it. Let's be honest--I love it more!

THE WRISTBANDS HE IS WEARING--Every time he does anything that requires a wristband, he has to keep it till it's so nasty I insist he take it off. But saving stuff is very cool to him. His middle name could be Packrat. (You can see he did several fun things this past summer, when this picture was taken.)

HIS SENSE OF FUN--One of the reasons I love this picture is that it is SOOO Landon. This kid loves to play and tease and laugh. Of course, this most lovable characteristic is also one of his most annoying characteristics, depending on the context.

Landon has been fun for all of his life. Because he's 2 1/2 years younger than Ashtyn, he is kind of a family of his own sometimes. But we've all enjoyed this littlest brother (sometimes more than others). That said, one of the most wonderful things of all is to see him growing and maturing in wonderful ways. He watches his siblings closely, especially Taylor. His prayers are sweet and thoughtful. He has no inhibitions about asking questions and telling us everything.

Take today, for example. He called me from school to let me know that earlier this week, when "the lady" came to their school to discuss behavior, they decided that there should be quiet times. "I got into a little trouble today, Mom," he said. He proceeded to tell me that Wes had been talking to him, so he wasn't being quiet. He got three warnings and had to be sent out to the hall. In the hall he finished his paper that he was supposed to work on, and now he was calling me to tell me what was going on (part of the consequence to his behavior). Seriously, how do you respond to that? I asked him what he was going to do about this. He responded that he was going to move farther away from Wes so he could keep his voice under control. I told him that was good, but I thought he owed Mr. Loertscher an apology. Matter-of-factly, he agreed. I then told him that I loved him, and he hung up.

What am I going to do with this boy?

What would I ever do without this boy?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Phrase of the Day

My official title at work is "Senior Secretary." Secretaries--as opposed to clerks--give support to people, not just tasks. I like my job.

That said, I am also a clerk. I file, copy, email, track, change, and otherwise oversee about a lot of projects each week. I like my job.

One thing I don't like about my job--I get to answer a call center line. This is the line where people call to tell you that their trash didn't get emptied, the toilet won't flush, or any one of about a million other options they can choose from (or create).

I have a "favorites" list. The toilet splashed on me while I was still sitting on it. Someone puked during the film. My all-time favorite: My new filing cabinet doesn't match what I already had here. Seriously, folks, is it really that important?! OK, the toilets need to flush, and we do want to clean up the vomit. But the garbage can will still be there when the custodians arrive tonight. And your steelcase doesn't match?! I won't even go there!

Today I am freezing. My ring is sliding all around my shriveled little finger. I am wearing my coat and scarf. All day. Indoors. So I hope you will forgive me. When Bratty Miss Thing on the umpteenth floor calls to tell me she's had to take off her suit coat because she's too hot, I figure all I can do is choose a phrase for the day:


(Then I turn on the phone smile, cheerfully complete the call, create the work order, and move to the next line...)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

With apologies

On November 1st we awakened to Christmas music on the radio. Yup, NOVEMBER 1ST! That is just ridiculous. Since Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday (followed closely by my birthday--yes, that counts as a holiday!), I am irritated that it gets completely skipped so that we can move straight into the commercialized "Holidays."

And what is up with "modern" Christmas music? Can we not just listen to a hymn--lovely and full of worship? No, we have to jazz it up, add vocal tricks, and basically just ruin it. Neil Diamond, I love you. But I am not convinced that you love the Savior or the season when you "sing" O Holy Night. Even Santa Claus Is Coming to Town loses its fun when The Boss yells it at me!

After that little tirade, I hate to even admit it...but here it is: Christmas music has grown on me as this month has progressed. To be completely honest, I listen to VoiceMale's Jingles 2 CD off and on throughout the year. Ditto The Forgotten Carols. There are some Christmas songs that are so beautiful, so worshipful, so FUN!

Now here we are, the day BEFORE Thanksgiving, and I have made this blog's playlist my Christmas playlist. I hope you will forgive me. I hope you will enjoy the music I've chosen. And I hope your Christmas is as void of commercialism as possible.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A wish for you

Thanks to my dad for sharing this:

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off of your thighs!

Happy Thanksgiving !

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

The list of things to be grateful for is excessively long. To save our sanity (yours and mine) I will not list everything, but it is necessary to list some.

First of all, I'm really grateful for my sweet family. From my wonderful, amazing husband to each of our four beautiful children, to my parents and siblings, to all of my in-laws, and all of your terrific children (who I can't believe I can love SO much!), I have been so richly blessed!

I'm thankful for what we have in the gospel. I realize that not everyone has access to the fulness of the gospel, and I am so grateful. However, the gospel is truly for all of God's children. One of the real miracles of my life is not just that I have it, but that I know I do. We know so much! I am blessed every single day because of what I know. The gospel of Jesus Christ got me through college, the "diapers and dishes" phase, the late nights and early mornings, the good days and the difficult days. What would I ever do without it?

Today I am also really thankful for my job: that I have good, solid work; that I am happy doing what I'm doing; and that I am surrounded by incredible people. The highlight of my day is always going home--there's no place on earth better!--but it is amazing to me that I found work where I am so happy.

Lastly, here's to so many of you who have blessed my life: the kind grocery store clerk, the thoughtful bank teller, my dear friends and neighbors and associates and family. You've made my life better; you've made me want to be better.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Edward kept me awake

Last night (really this morning) was the opening night of the movie "Twilight." We are fans, and our girls just HAD to go to the midnight showing. (I did that ONCE, and decided it just wasn't worth it.) They finally got home at about 3:00 this morning. I was sleeping soundly until I heard them come in. I knew who it was, so I wasn't afraid, but for some stupid reason it woke me up completely.

I should have just gotten up. While I lay there in my bed I composed four really great blog posts, which, of course, I can't even remember this morning.

I guess you can be glad I didn't get up. You'd be sleeping just reading this.

P.S. Ashtyn loved the movie. Briana was disappointed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Spotlight on...

This is our beautiful daughter, Briana Nicole. She will be 18 in less than a week! Yikes! Most of the time, it seems impossible to me that that much time has gone by. And then I look at this beautiful young woman, remembering so many things, and I realize that she's had a full life. And I've been fortunate enough to be there for it!

Breezy has been a loving girl all her life. She still greets us happily when we come in the door, which we love! Briana loves music and musicals. When she was the only child, we must have watched "Beauty and the Beast" 5 times a day! She was singing those songs before she could speak full sentences. She opens with the high school tonight in "Once On This Island"--break a leg, babe! She's always been a willing worker and is good at deciding her own attitude. She has always been very dependable in taking care of her siblings, and we rely on her a lot for that. She hates that, of course (those of you who are the oldest child will understand--I certainly do!). One of Bri's gifts is the ability to keep friends. She swears that it's hard for her to make friends, but once she has a friend she has them forever. She has friends from when she was just two! Briana has never had just one best friend. She hangs out with a person or a group for a while; then, without burning bridges, she is suddenly spending time with someone else. In another few weeks she'll be back to that first group, and they just love her.

Breeze has always been very smart, but school work was overwhelming for her. One of the great things about her growing up is that she is discovering so many of her talents. We knew of many of them, even if she didn't. Many others are surprising and exciting for us. One thing she is quite good at is sewing. She has made some adorable items--Bri, can I have that pink bag?--including clothing, table runners, bags, quilts. She's even considering fashion design as a school major.

Briana, I love you so much! I think you are a beautiful, intelligent, amazing, talented young lady. I am so blessed to be your mom and I love that we are friends, too. I look forward to being your "sister" forever and ever!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

News from the other side of the world

My boss is in Israel. Yes, Israel. And because he's a workaholic, he even checked out a company world phone in case we couldn't live without him while he is on the other side of the world. Like if we had a crisis there would be ANYTHING he could do about it!

Back to the Israel thing. Yes, I am COMPLETELY jealous. I would almost give up my firstborn child to go on a trip like that. Almost. So when the world phone number showed up on Caller ID yesterday, I figured I may as well travel vicariously.

me: Good morning.
D: It's not morning.
me: Why are you calling me?
D: Just wanted to make sure my phone works.
me: How's your trip?
D: Our hotel overlooks the Sea of Galilee. It's dark. I can't see it.
me: I'm only hugely jealous.
D: The food is really bland.

The man is in Israel, for heaven's sake, and all he can tell me is that they should have brought salt and pepper with them? Something is seriously wrong with this picture.

Maybe it's just me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

There is BEAUTIFUL all around

My beautiful friend, Amy, talked me into trying a beautiful blog of my own. She thought it would be a beautiful thing. No pressure, of course.

With Amy, everything is beautiful and she loves it! I LOVE that about her. I often ask Amy, "What DON'T you love?" So far she's only come up with two things, and one was fortune cookies that don't give you a fortune. (She's right!)

Let's hear it, then. What DON'T you love?