Thursday, December 31, 2009

People with Kind Hearts

Sara is the wife of a man I work with. She has sent me treats on all the holidays this year. Their family Christmas card is adorable (I'm keeping in my "to steal this idea" file). I blog stalk her. We've met a couple of times, but never really talked.

Today she sent in a hand-crocheted kitchen wash towel with a darling message for the new year. I said to her hubby, "When does she do all of this?" He said, "Sometimes she has a hard time sleeping."

I think Sara has a giving heart. Because if I had trouble sleeping (which I don't--I overslept my bus stop this week), I would get up with a book, not a crochet hook.

I heart Sara and her giving heart. Thank you for the towel and the example, Sara!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We're Going to Boise, Idaho!

Spencer bought a used recumbent bike yesterday. We are going to try to get back into shape INDOORS during this goopy, nasty, inversion season. Then we'll get back to running.

We're considering the Famous Idaho Potato Half Marathon in Boise, Idaho, in May. We could stay with Spencer's sister, so the trip would be inexpensive. The registration is only $35. And we will get a Famous Idaho Potato t-shirt after the race!! Admit it--you wish you were going to have a Famous Idaho Potato t-shirt.

Mark Made Me!

Mark invited me to lunch with some of our people and a vendor.

I said I would check with Karleen. Oops, she's not here.

Dave? Not here.

Mike--same.

Jared--you guessed it.

Mark said, "That's it. I'm taking charge. You're going to lunch with us."

OUCH! STOP TWISTING MY ARM!

Old or Stupid?

This morning I left plenty early to get to the bus stop. We're having a doozy of a snowstorm today. I waited for a bit in the car, then got out to wait at the stop itself. Just as the bus was pulling up I thought, "Gee, I guess I oughtta pull out my badge." Which is also my bus pass.

I want to interject here that I am very good about my badge. I always put it right back in my work bag as soon as I leave work so that I always have it. This is why I only have one work bag.

My badge was nowhere to be found. Thanks to my adorable, very distinctive winter hat that our beautiful daughter made for me, the bus driver recognized me. I got on the bus, and took the front seat so that WHEN I found my badge I could beep in. It was not anywhere in my bag. How can that be?

So I got on the phone and texted Briana, asking her to see if she could see my badge anywhere at home. On the table? By our bed?

And five worry-filled minutes later, it hit me. My badge was clipped onto my skirt and tucked into my skirt pocket. Because that's what I do when I wear this skirt.

I promptly texted Bri and told her I found the badge.


And now I'm wondering. Am I getting old? Or just stupid? Isn't that a cute hat?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Spotlight On...Landon

Today Landon gets to speak in sacrament meeting. Here is a copy of his talk:

Hi, I was asked to talk about my experience in singing in the priesthood session in October 2009.

As many of you know, a lot of us young men in this ward got to sing in the priesthood session. The practices were long and boring. They lasted for about 1 to 2 hours, two days a week. We practiced for around 3 months.

When it came day to sing we sang on the bus. We made the spirit so strong that some of us cried. We had at snack. We practiced for a long time that day. A lot of us felt good. We knew that we were doing the Lord a great favor.

As I went into the Conference Center I could feel the Spirit more than I could ever feel it before. Also it was the most scared I have ever been. There were about 22 thousand people looking at me live, but millions looking at me on TV. But when we started the meeting I said a prayer in my head to help me know the words to the songs. We did great in the first song.

Elder M. Russell Ballard was the first speaker. He was my favorite speaker. He talked about the relationship with fathers and sons: how fathers should listen to their sons and sons should listen to their fathers. Sons should talk about how school and friends are and tell their dads all about it. Fathers should talk to their sons about how to be a good father and respect all girls and children. But as he went on, I thought he could be talking about earthly fathers. But what if he also meant Heavenly Father as well? So that got me thinking a lot. Maybe we need to pray more. Maybe we need to pay tithing more. Maybe we need to read the scriptures more. I think we should do all of these things.

But I think that we should put all these things together. My family as three boys in it. So we should do all of those things. Get all 3 of us and read the scriptures, pray, and do everything to get our love for one another. I have the best dad in the world. He helps me do almost everything. Like he got me a dog, just for keeping my room clean for two months. He gave me the best room in the world. And he loves me very much. I also have a very, very, great, outstanding brother. At the time when I kept my room clean for two months, he went right along with it. He helped me get the best room without being asked. And he also loves me.

I looked up father in the topical guide, and it brought up Mark 7:10.

“For Moses said, Honour thy father and mother and whoso curseth father or mother let him die to death.”

That could go either way. If I curse my dad or Heavenly Father, I will be sorry. So please don’t let down your father or Heavenly Father. And talk to them daily and talk about everything that is on your mind. And love them with all of your heart.

Now moving on. My favorite song was Rise Up, Ye Men of God. All of the songs we sang great. I loved every minute of it. When we finished Rise Up, Ye Men of God, the Spirit was stronger than ever. I was in tears. I was so glad that we could do a once in a lifetime experience.

I know that my testimony got stronger that day. I know this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith lived and was a true prophet; that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet and that he does talk to God and everything that he asks us is God’s will. I know that the Lord did give me my family for a good reason, and that he let me sing in the priesthood session for a great reason. And He loves me very much, too. I love him, too. I am thankful to live on this earth at this time. And I leave this with you today in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


I love Landon!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dear Friends and Family,

This has been a sweet Christmas season for me. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I made a conscious decision NOT to stress about Christmas (as much as possible). A lot of it is due to the fact that our children can drive themselves around (believe me, this is WONDERFUL).

But mostly this is because of you, our dear ones. Thank you for the wonderful Christmas cards you sent. Thank you for the wonderful Christmas cards you blogged. Thank you for the merry greetings, the funny greetings, the joyful greetings, the reverent greetings. Thank you for the treats and kind words. Thank you for sharing your family traditions (both old and new). Thank you for sharing the ward activities (this is a big help to me). Thank you for blessing our lives in so many, many wonderful ways. Thank you for sharing the Spirit of Christ.

We love you. I love you!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the Day Before Christmas

'Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature is resting, from parent to mouse.

With work and with school and with choir gigs galore,
It hardly seems like we live here anymore!

The shopping bags are stacked in the preschool with care.
And we hope that our children don't sneak into there.

And food? Just the candies and cookies and bread.
We're hoping Santa brings some real food on his sled.

Neighbor gifts we delivered. More shopping? How merry!
Green salad and pasta and pies made of berry--

All ready for Grandpa and Grandma's to trek.
Mom's getting all stressed. In fact, she's a wreck!

But tomorrow's a day filled with family and fun,
As we peacefully celebrate the birth of the Son.

So we'll drop into bed with that sweet thought in sight.
Merry Christmas to you, and to you a good night!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Remember the story of the Christmas orange?

For the rest of my life I will never hear that story without thinking of President Monson, who sends boxes of oranges to various people and places--including Headquarters Facilities via Dave Clark--as a Christmas thank you. Have you ever eaten a prophet orange? I have. :)

(Incidentally, Spencer's Grandpa Hill used to give them a box of oranges for Christmas each year, so he remembers his grandpa when he hears that story.)

Ten Days of Giving Thanks...Day Ten

It's been a busy, busy time; but not too busy to continue thinking about what I am thankful for. (Just too busy to blog!)

I am thankful for Jesus Christ.

How to you fit all of that into one little blog? Without details, and without completion, I guess. Actually, even if I had all the time and space in the world, it would be impossible to say all that I feel.

Because of Jesus Christ, life is full and rich and meaningful and joy-filled. It all hinges on Him.

I am the oldest child in my family. This has given me the opportunity to be the leader in many ways (though each child is so, so important). This week I considered what it meant to Jesus when Father presented his Plan of Happiness in what I call the Big Family Home Evening. Jesus understood the Plan in ways that maybe some of the younger siblings did not. He knew that it would take courage and SO. MUCH. LOVE. to be the Savior for all of us. Perhaps He stood still, looking around at all of us and wondering if He was up to such a task. But in the end--and for all eternity!!--He did it. He volunteered to be our Savior, our Redeemer, our Advocate, our Exemplar. And then He completed the task, something that is completely incomprehensible but oh, so important to me. He did it with courage. He did it with love. He did it to completion. He did it perfectly. He did it for you. He did it for me. He did it for everyone. Ever. His atoning sacrifice is infinite and eternal. For eternity, I will never be able to repay or adequately thank Him for what He did--and does--for me and the people I love.

And all because He did what He said He would do--what He volunteered to do!--we have the tools for a beautiful today and the promise of a beautiful eternity with the people we love. We can return to our Heavenly Parents (this is meaningful to me because of the incredible love I have for my earthly parents); we can be sealed to our spouses and children (!!!! infinity) for eternity; we can continue to learn and progress forever; we can overcome the things that are difficult or painful or that hurt us; we can see beyond the diapers and the dishes and the other daily duties to something better.

And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.

I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.

But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way. --Bruce R. McConkie

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Proof That I Have the Coolest Husband in the World!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Post-It

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ten Days of Giving Thanks...Day Nine

I am soooooooooo thankful for my husband!

Who gets out of bed before everyone else.
Who turns up the heat just before I get out of bed.
Who puts up Christmas lights and earns bachelor's degrees WITHOUT the help of his wife.
Who uses his wife as a guinea pig to practice the things he's learned in massage class.
Who is the best cook ever.
Who worthily holds and exercises his priesthood.
Who listens to my stories. Till late at night. Even when I've promised to be quiet now.
Who encourages me to dream, dream big, and go for it!
Who is a friend to our children after he's done his job as their father.
Who always made sure that the dishes were done when I worked nights.
Who has never balked at changing a diaper, giving a bath, or cleaning up vomit (but might have balked a tiny bit at the middle-of-the-night feedings).
Who is going to school so that his daughter can taste success.
Who loves his family, sometimes in spite of themselves.
Who blows the snow out of the driveway and off the sidewalk. Every time.
Who qualified to run in the Boston Marathon!
Who willingly admits when he is wrong and sincerely apologizes.
Who hits a brick wall late at night but will keep going clear until the wall has hit.
Who is handsome and wonderful and mine!

I love you, Spencer Hill!

John Jones was a 27-year-old medical student who died in Nutty Putty cave (in Utah) while visiting family for Thanksgiving. He left behind a beautiful wife and daughter, and there is another baby on the way.

Do you want to help? Check out this auction! There are memorial funds set up at three different banks if you'd rather do it that way. See the link above for details.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ten Days of Giving Thanks...Day Eight

(I figure, since I've missed so many days in between, it's OK to post twice in a row.) :)

I'm so thankful for the bus!

The bus was very late this morning. The newer bus was already full, so I climbed on the older bus. The heat on the older busses is not that great, and the walls/windows stay very cold. It took an hour or more to get to work.

But I did not have to drive--someone else did the driving. The bus did not slide around in the snow, and I did not have to drive. I got to work safely, without having to drive in the snow.

AND I did not have to drive. Thank you, UTA!

Ten Days of Giving Thanks...Day Seven

I'm thankful for the snow.

There's actually a little story behind this. When I was in high school, I DETESTED the winter. I hated being wet and cold and miserable. It was so awful that I felt blue all the time. So when I was a senior, one of my Personal Progress goals was to try to find the beauty in each day during the winter.

You already know that I hate being cold. And I get cold so easily that it would be really easy to be miserable throughout the winter (and I admit it--I want to be a Snowbird when I grow up).

This morning Spence woke me with, "Get up and get going, Babe. You're going to need to leave early. We have 6 or 8 inches of snow, and it's still snowing." It's a pain to drive in. I worried about each family member as they made their way to work, school, or home. But it is a beautiful, marshmallow world outside. And we need this snow so badly for the coming summer months. And people are going to have a blast throwing snowballs and skiing and sledding and making snowmen. Forget the snowmen; it's too powdery for that. But kids will try, guaranteed! :)

I'm really thankful for the snow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanksgiving Point

Check this out!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ten Days of Giving Thanks...Day Six

This will sound like I'm making fun of this gratitude exercise, but honestly! I'm not.

I am very thankful for heating, air conditioning, and plumbing.

Grandpa told us that when he was a child, in the winters each family member had a rock that they would place in the fire. When it was bedtime, his mother or father would bank the fire for the night, and each person got their rock out. The rock was placed in bed. Everyone would run out to the outhouse for one last trip, then climb into bed with their rock (and usually, 3 or 4 other children). He said that in the winter you did NOT venture out to the outhouse at night because you just might freeze to death if you did.

I hate to get out of bed at night, because I think it's cold (even in the summer) AND because nothing (and I mean NOTHING) should interrupt my sleep. But if I need to get up and use the bathroom for any reason, I have no need to worry about freezing to death.

Yesterday I was cold. This is nothing new--I will stay cold till April (if I'm lucky) or May. It's winter. That's just the way it is. Spencer tucked me into my nice, warm bed with my thick, cozy down comforter. Then he turned up the heat in the house a couple of degrees. There I drank my nice, warm hot chocolate, which I'd made from tap water and a few seconds in the microwave.

When it was time to leave for my concert, I bundled up into my coat and ran out to the car, which was warm within just a few minutes.

When the summertime comes, we will turn on the A/C in house and cars, where we will live and drive in cool comfort. We are most blessed!

Our House Smells Like a Casino

We had Thanksgiving dinner at our house, and we cooked the turkey in the kitchen (because it was HUGE and HEAVY and we didn't want to have to lug it up the stairs from the preschool). It made a mess in the oven, which (I think) is really to be expected.

So Saturday I put the oven in lockdown and turned it onto "clean" mode. In case you don't know, this means that the oven heats up to about 9,000 degrees, and it just turns everything in the oven to ash. You wipe out the ashes and voila! your oven is clean.

Within moments of beginning the cleaning process, our upstairs was full of smoke. We opened every door and window (did you know it's REALLY cold outside right now?) and turned on every fan we could find. But too late.

In case you were wondering, turkey ashes smell like cigarette smoke. And if you try to use Febreze or other air fresheners, it smells like Febreze cigarette smoke.

Ugh. Our house stinks.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ten Days of Giving Thanks...Day Five

I'm thankful for work.

My daddy says, "We work to become, not to acquire." This is one of his sayings that I have had to think about a lot, and frankly, I'm not 100% sure I have a testimony of this concept--I am employed because I HAVE to be, so we can pay the mortgage and buy our clothes and pay our bills. However, I do believe that God intended for us to work, so I guess I'm on the path to testimony. :)

That said, let me tell you that I love my job. (Have I ever mentioned that before?) I work with wonderful, talented, exceptionally good people. We have plenty to do at work (thank goodness! There's nothing worse than not having enough to do!). I like the work that I do, and I think I'm good at it. And I make a decent living, especially since mine is a second income in our family.

I'm also so grateful for Spencer's work. He, too, has plenty to do, and he likes the things that he does.

During this difficult economic time, I am especially thankful for good employment.

I'm also thankful for the chance to work in arenas other than our employment. I'm glad to serve in our ward. I'm glad to have children, with all their needs. I'm glad to have different skills and talents that I can share with others. I'm grateful for our home (which, frankly, needs a LOT of work!).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ten Days of Giving Thanks...Day Four

Today I'm thankful for a happy attitude.

My parents were always "The glass is half full" kinds of people (still are, actually). We didn't have a lot of money, but I didn't know that. There were rules about bringing people home without asking first, but I don't remember ever being told, "No, that person cannot come over." We were always encouraged to share our opinions, even if we disagreed. Sometimes we had to agree to disagree. One morning I awoke to my mother laughing hysterically at my 14(ish)-year-old brother pitching a fit. We could be mad for a while, but we had no choice but to get over it.

When changes occurred, we were encouraged to look for the opportunities in the changes. (Anybody out there remember when we changed to the consolidated Sunday schedule at church?) :)

There have been a number of times, just this week, when I have caught myself thinking, "Well, at least we can..." or "This will not matter in ___ years" or "I'm so glad __________ happened" or "K, that's how it is. What can I do to change the situation?"

I consider myself a happy person. I consider myself a blessed person. I think it's because I had to practice that mentality through my childhood and youth.

Technically, I guess you could say I'm thankful for my parents, but family is coming later.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ten Days of Giving Thanks...Day Three

Today I'm very thankful for good friends.

Amy has a beautiful baby boy--have I mentioned that? :) Today she brought him to work so I could have some kisses. And yup, she lets me kiss and kiss and kiss. I'd probably kiss her cheeks, too, if it wasn't too weird. But I love her just that much.

My friend, Tahnee, said all the right things today when I was having a mini-meltdown. She is sarcastic and hilarious and sweet and good and spiritual--all within one wonderful conversation.

Over the past few weeks I've had some sweet, wonderful comments from nieces and "adopted" daughters and dear friends.

Tonight I pulled a meeting together to plan our ward Christmas party. The people who came to help were willing and happy and helpful. What more could I ask for?

I consider the ways that my friends have blessed my life, and this list could go on and on. Joanne taught me about being a safe harbor. Sylvia taught me about wearing your life out in service. Char taught me about listening and doing good just for the sake of doing good. Cathy taught me about loving someone the way the Savior would love them. Janet taught me about expecting the best from others. Charlotte taught me about being obedient. Sami taught me about sharing joy in everything. Mona taught me about loving with your whole heart. MaryAnn taught me about giving and giving and giving. Jen taught me about laughter in situations that might otherwise be very difficult. Stacy taught me about finding the good in everyone. Karleen taught me about living by faith. LouAnn taught me about accepting people just as they are. Brenda taught me about being comfortable in being confident. And this is just scratching the surface.

I have friends who are men, too, and they have blessed my life immeasurably, too.

The world is full of good people. Just keep your eyes open--they're probably standing right next to you!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ten Days of Giving Thanks...Day Two

Today I'm really thankful for our home.

A couple of years ago, Em gave us a plaque that says "Our House Is Just a Little House, but God Knows Where We Live." Actually, we have quite a large home--larger than I want, really. But the sentiment is the same. Ours is a simple, humble home. I'm not a huge decorator (much to Ashtyn's chagrin), but we have some nice things. There is much work that needs to be done on our home (always!), but it is a good house. It is well-built. It is more than sufficient for our needs. And love is spoken here.

The times that I appreciate our home the most are during extreme weather. This morning we awoke to a beautiful marshmallow world. It was FREEZING outside. But the snow was on the individual tree limbs and the sun was peeking through the pink-tinged clouds. And THEN I got to work and found that some of the Christmas lights on the Plaza were on this morning. Glorious!

But it was freezing. Our heat kicked on automatically. There was hot water in the tank, all ready for our showers. The wind blew outside, but not inside.

I love home!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Ten Days of Giving Thanks...Day One

I have taken this idea from Jodi, who I have never met, but who continues to be an inspiration to me daily.

(She did the 10 days leading up to Thanksgiving. I figure that giving thanks is as appropriate for Christmas as it is for Thanksgiving, so my ten days will overlap both November and December.)

Day One: I'm thankful for my healthy body.

I know, it seems cliche to be thankful for my health, but there it is. In August of 1995 I was diagnosed with MS. It was a very stressful time. I lost hair by the handfuls. I didn't even think I was finished HAVING babies, and now here I was faced with the very real possibility that I wouldn't be well enough to see my babies grown, married, going on missions, having babies of their own. At that time, 10 years seemed a long ways away; and a lot can happen in 10 years. In one moment I went from talking to my brother to not being able to see him properly. What would 10 years bring? Or twenty? Would there be more than that?

MS effected the way we thought, felt, and planned. Our plans for five or six children were instantly whittled down. We knew we were taking a risk--because why have children if they cannot have a mother?--but we got Landon here.

A couple of years later we brought Spencer's grandmother into our home. It was just six months that she was with us, but those six months were a tremendous blessing. Landon and Grandma were great buddies. I had the blessing to be allowed to help Grandma in ways that few got to (and she hated every minute of it). There was little she could do for herself. I helped with hair washing, toileting, meals, laundry, illness, and falls. I once asked her if she would fold the towels for us. It took her all day to have the energy to fold a load of laundry.

I rarely fold towels without thinking of Grandma. Of course, folding towels means that there is other laundry to fold. And dishes to do. And meals to make. And rooms to dust. And weeds to pull. And errands to run. And gifts to work on. And kids to take to practices and games and performances and play dates. And meetings to attend. And activities to plan.

Sometimes it's just all so overwhelming that I want to curl up in a ball and just cry. (Last night I took a night off and watched TWO movies. In my bed.) But as soon as I think of Grandma I remember how glad I am that 14 1/2 years after being diagnosed with a horrible, rotten disease, I am able to fold towels and wash dishes and make meals and a million (sometimes literally) other things. I'm not blind, I can walk completely unaided (and even run!), I have control over my arms and hands, I can talk and type and read, my brain and my heart and my lungs all function on their own, I can stand up without assistance and without falling down.

And our beautiful children are quickly reaching adulthood. While there are no guarantees (nobody gets them, you know), it looks promising that I will see our "babies" being missionaries, brides, grooms, parents, and maybe even grandparents. It looks promising that I will grow old with Spencer, and he will not have to care for me for the entire last half of my life. We are planning to travel and serve a mission and build a little house and laugh and love for many, many years to come!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Decidedly NOT Feeling Bah, Humbug!

I admit it. The holidays stress me out. There are a million things that I need to do, but there are too many places I need to BE to get them done. And don't even get me started about the financial cares.

This year I am pulling a bit of a Scarlet: I'll worry about it later.

For now, we're looking forward to having all of Spencer's family over for Thanksgiving. The floors need to be mopped and the groceries need to be purchased and food fixed and the bathrooms need to be cleaned and the entire house could use a thorough dusting. Eh, it will all happen eventually. Probably on Thursday morning.

I finished making my Christmas ornaments today. They look stinkin' cute. I was thinking about a flower on them, but everyone thinks they're great the way they are. So I'm not gonna worry about it.

Some of our family gifts are finished: Bert and Ruth, Glenda, Tiff's kids. There's still a lot to do, and I'm not sure how we'll pay for it. But somehow it will all work out. I'm just glad to have as much finished as I do.

I've made a lot of cookie dough for neighbor gifts. I'm gonna make the kids get in an assembly line to put it all together. Maybe next weekend.

I'm not 100% sure we're going to have lights on our house this year. It's so stinkin' cold that I can't bear the thought of being on the roof. But when we clean up from Thanksgiving the tree is going UP!

We've already been listening to Christmas music for a month. This is generally a no-no at our house, but with so many of us singing in Christmas choirs, it was bound to happen.

And guess what? Spencer fixed the ballast in the kitchen, which we have been without for YEARS. Woot! It's light in our house!

Bring on the holidays!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dear Ann,

Dear Ann,

Saturday night I dreamed that I was at Sweet Tomatoes with my sweetheart (this is a leftover from the fact that we DID go to Sweet Tomatoes on Friday), and there was a lovely woman sitting right across from me (behind him). I kept thinking, "How do I know her?" And then (we're still in my dream here) this lovely woman walked up to me and said, "Are you Aundrea?" When I answered in the affirmative she said, "I'm Ann Cannon."

I was so excited! I proceeded to tell Spencer all the wonderful things I know about you. Of course, I don't really know that much. She writes all kinds of stuff, including novels and columns. She teaches and mentors other authors. And children. And she loves cupcakes. And she knows other authors. And she works at a fabulous bookstore.

I woke up thinking, "Poor Ann! -- She doesn't even know me, but I love her. Poor Ann! -- Someday I will walk up to her and treat her like she ought to know me, and she will be completely baffled. Poor Ann! -- She probably gets this all the time." Yikes! I'm a groupie (or something)!

And then you posted a comment on my last, very uninteresting blog. And you called me "Friend." So, the way I see it, you are either clueless or a real glutton for punishment. OR--maybe it would be OK for us to meet sometime. I'll let you know the next time I'm going to Sweet Tomatoes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Let's Discuss Friday the 13th

Nah, let's not. Let's just say that I was glad for the weekend to begin. Here's our weekend:


This is Taylor with his date, Lindsay Bird, as they are leaving for the Sadie Hawkins dance. Awww...!

Here is Spencer, who used amazing talent, skill, and positive energy to create this pot for one of his teachers.


This is the view out our front door this morning.


This is what I've looked like every Sunday for three weeks (except sometimes without the smile). My cold is better, but Bri had a terrible case of the flu Thursday and Friday. The bishop invited us to keep our family home today and get better. While I'm getting lots of little projects done, it sure doesn't feel like a Sunday. *sigh*

And tomorrow I will head back to work, where I will hope that Monday the 16th is better than Friday the 13th was.




Thursday, November 12, 2009

Better Than Payday

I love my job. Have I ever mentioned that? I work with some of the greatest people ever.

When I REALLY love my job is when I get the little paybacks. Those of you who are parents will understand that sometimes the best things that happen are the little things, like spontaneous child hugs, or hearing from someone else about a wonderful choice your child made, or having your child give you some of the credit when they accomplish something. That is true at my work, too.

This morning has been crazy busy:

  • I've had a couple of different people come to my desk saying, "I know you will know the answer to this." I love it when I really do know the answer and can help them.
  • My boss called from off campus. He said, "You are the only one I can count on to work." (I laughed and said, "Yeah, if my kids aren't sick.")
  • After an emergency at one of the buildings last night, my boss needed a memo to the director within 10 minutes. I had the ICS people here working on my phone. I had someone here needing petty cash. I had a shop employee who needed direction on a project. The phone rang three times. I finished the memo, made a few adjustments, and printed it for his review. I answered the phone, took care of the petty cash, and placed my new headset on my ear. And Dave said, "Great! Send it. I don't know what I'd do without you."

It's almost better than payday to hear things like that. Almost.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day!

Click here.

And thank you, all you veterans and current soldiers. You are a blessing to all of us!

Monday, November 9, 2009

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

Last week Amy emailed me to say we was thinking about maybe going for a walk around Temple Square, maybe around 1:00 ish. Woot! Here I am with our Thomas. He and his mommy let me squeeze him and hug him and kiss him. They let me take off his socks and munch on his toes if I want to. This time I even got to babysit him while his mommy had a meeting with Karleen (our dear friend, pictured here with us). I love this boy! (Thanks for sharing, Amy!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Beautiful, Happy Fall!






Happenings:
Briana got a hairCUT! Isn't it adorable? She loves it, too. AND she won't have to pull her hair up to give massages.
Spencer and Briana finished their first quarter of school with flying colors! We are thrilled with how smart Briana is. And finding her niche is a huge, wonderful thing.
Jenny and Heather came over for massages this week. Jenny pronounced Bri's massage as the best she's ever had. Woot!
This is National Novel Month (or something like that). Tay's only assignment for the month of November in his creative writing class is to write a 50,000 novel. Don't do that math--it's 100 pages. He's busy. He's also a very good writer, so I'm anxious to read the finished product.
West Jordan High School's production of "Aida" is in two weeks. Ashtyn is busy.
As a family, we spent two hours doing yard work yesterday. We mowed the back lawn; poop-scooped; put away the trampoline; cut back the irises, mum, and climatis; blew all the leaves out of the gutters and planters; raked and bagged the leaves; weeded out some areas; and washed three of the four cars (Bri did hers earlier this week). Spence and the kids took Bella across the street to play with the wolves (she was worn out the rest of the day). Then gave shaved her and gave her a bath. I got groceries at Macey's and "stuff" at Walmart (including some items to work on Christmas gifts). We did lots and lots of laundry. Since winter is scheduled to come on Thursday, it felt really good to get all of this done. However, more than half the leaves are still on the Hauptfleisch's oak tree, so we'll be doing more...
I have had one doozy of a cold. I feel OK, but my nose is running like crazy and I have a terrible, terrible cough. I opted to stay home from church again today (2 weeks in a row!). Jen called this morning to see if I could sub in the nursery. Bummer!
Briana and I are being sustained as new Relief Society teachers today. We will team teach once a month. Doesn't that sound fun? She is my visiting teaching companion, too--my favorite I've ever had!
It's a beautiful time of year!

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Favorite Holiday

Click here.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bitter. Sweet.

First thing this morning I had a conversation with a co-worker (keep in mind that I have worked with him for 2 1/2 years) about the time that we spent living in Peoa, Utah. His eyebrows went up, and he said, "My wife grew up in Peoa. I think she may be older than you." When he told me her name I screamed with joy. This woman was 2 years older than I, and she was WONDERFUL. We sang together in Tapestry. We marched together in drill team. We did stuff together in YW. And when she was a senior and I was a sophomore we became good friends. That was when I moved to California, and I haven't seen her since. That was 25 years ago.

Today I learned that she and her husband, who adores her, have 6 children and live in Riverton. Their home is paid off, and they bought a small home in Randolph, which they hope to move to someday. She has a huge garden, a wonderful family of 3 boys and 3 girls, and a husband who thinks she is as wonderful as they come.

I adore Pam, and I'm so, so grateful to learn that she has had a happy life (her husband mentioned that her younger sister--my age in school--has had it more difficult). It brought tears of joy to my eyes as he showed me pictures of her and their beautiful family through the years. Their oldest is an RM; they have a daughter in college. The other two girls are teenagers. The boys are 8 (almost) and 4. They are beautiful, and I swear, Pam has not changed a bit. I smiled for so long my cheeks ached! Life is wonderful, and I hope that I will hear from her in the near future.

SWEET!

At the end of the day my friend Karleen yelled "Noooo!" from her office. She came out to my desk, her head hanging down and said, "I just got an email from Amy. She's gotten another opportunity, and she is not coming back." While I was sort of prepared for this (because what new mommy doesn't look for something that will allow her to be home with her family?), my heart is breaking. Except this is my sister-friend who I love deeply, so I am so happy for her to have this wonderful opportunity. Except I feel completely abandoned. Except it's better that I'm abandoned than her son, right? Yeah, right. Except my heart hurts.

I called Spencer to have my little cry at work. He said (rightly, I might add), "Well, Babe, you have gotten a friend for life out of this." I know. But it still makes me sad. Does that make me a bad person?

Rotten. All the way around.

Then I came home and got dinner started when Bri called from school. They needed their holsters for their class finals. And then Spencer said his teacher was wondering if, when I came, I could stay and have a massage (cuz they have an odd number in their classes). Oh, twist my arm!

So I got a wonderful Swedish massage for 50 minutes. From Rianna. For free. Gotta love it.

Sweet!

Take a deep breath. Tomorrow is coming.

This is Fantastic

I dare you to try to watch this without grinning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmDGntpZC3I

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Best. Halloween. Ever

I do not like Halloween. Each year I resent having to buy stupid costumes (or at least accessories). I hate the creepy, scary teenagers who come trick or treating after I should be in bed. I hate the blood, guts, gore, and scariness. I hate the sugered-up kids (especially our own) who need no reason to inhale that much sugar in such a short amount of time. I seriously hate Halloween.

Now I am the activities committee chairman. Can you say "Simplify?"

We put orange plastic on the serving tables. We put purple plastic on the eating tables. We set out cups, bowls, spoons, knives, napkins, water, margarine, and salt and pepper. The young women set out a few scarecrows. People brought either chili or rolls. Not even any dessert, because really? Who needs more of something sweet on Halloween?

Then we played pop-the-balloon, crab walk, and fill-the-cup-with-candy-corn relays with the kids.

I wore Taylor's referee shirt and whistle, which was great for getting everyone's attention.

We threw everything away. Everyone took their dishes home. We put all the "stuff" back in the closet. We swept the gym floor thoroughly. We put tables and chairs back. We locked the church. We were home by 6:00.

Briana went to a friends' home. Taylor and Ashtyn went to a choir party. Landon and a friend went trick or treating. Spencer went to the temple.

I did not do makeup. I did not have to go out in the cold or snow (which we only have on my years to go trick-or-treating. This year, of course, warm and glorious). I answered the doorbell about 4 times. I didn't have to hide candy from our kids. At 8:00 I turned the lights out upstairs and went to the basement to read.

You can call me a humbug, and I won't even care. It was peaceful and lovely. And I didn't have to take anyone trick-or-treating for the first time in 18 years. It's a beautiful thing.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The "Sweet" Things People Do

Karleen's daughter made these adorable bags (yeah, Cricut!).

Babe send this adorable gift to work for me.
They either really love me, or they're trying to undermine my health kick. :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dear...

Dear Jenny and Tracy,

You are the coolest people. Ever.

You are the kind of cool people who let us call on Wednesday to see if we can come stay with you on Friday, and you act like we've just announced that you won the lottery.

You are the kind of cool people who let us call you when we get into the city and then stay on the phone with us to get us safely to your house.

You are the kind of cool people who feed us awesome, amazing meals, just because we are there.

You are the kind of cool people who pull out playing cards at 10:30 p.m. so that we can have some fun together.

You are the kind of cool people who tiptoe quietly around the house so we can sleep in. Till 10:30. (Honestly!)

You are the kind of cool people who give up your Saturday to drive us around your "new" city so we can see the sites.

You are the kind of cool people who celebrate when our car won't start, because that means we might get to stay for another day.

You are the kind of cool people who call us when we are halfway home, just to make sure we are OK.

You are the kind of cool people who insist that we call you when we get home.

You are the kind of cool people who thank us over and over again for coming to see you and hope that we will come again soon and bring the kids next time.

Thank you for letting us visit you in Boise. We love you, we love your city, we love your home. We will come again soon. And bring the kids with us.

You are the coolest people. Ever.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dear...

Dear Sami,

Last night I was at two different craft stores, looking for the supplies to make Christmas ornaments. I have a fun idea, and I hope it turns out as cute as I'm imagining.

Anyway, since you are the one who began this tradition, I started thinking about you. Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Remember when I called you out of the blue to offer to watch your kids? Wow. You had to exercise a lot of faith to lend your most choice "possessions" to a stranger. I still smile each time I think of 6-year-old Raylee's prayers. I knew the names of all the grandmas before I really even knew you! :)

2. People sometimes ask me why Landon (the younger son) is the one who got his dad's name. And each time I think Our friends the Giffords did it just the same as we did. We're soul mates, I'm tellin' ya!

3. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the option to travel. Our trip with your family to Mexico was all that: moments of laughter, moments of dread (and probably tears), spiritual moments, and an entire week of beautiful relaxation. That is one of the most cherished memories I have!

4. How I wish that all of my callings were as special to me as the presidency we shared together!

5. When MaryLou told us about her two sons, and we were all stepping and listening to rock 'n roll and you and I were wiping tears from our eyes I thought, "This is a woman who would understand me." I'm so glad we had a better chance to get to know one another after that.

6. Will you make me some brownies? (Heehee--I had to add that, because you make the best brownies. ever.)

7. I miss you.

And I love you!

Loves,
Aundrea

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Amy, Here's An Imagined Conversation.

If you have Josh read this out loud, there will probably even be sound effects!


"Base 12, Base 12, come in. Over." (this is where the sound effect goes)

"Base 12. Go ahead." (another sound effect, please)

"Base 12, the Falcon has flown the nest!" (and here...)

"Roger that. What is your 20?" (you get the idea)

"The Falcon is in the Garment District. Do you want to rendezvous?"

(Note to Josh: This sound effect might involve an excited scream, NOT broadcast on the radio) "Roger that! Over and OUT!"

Here's hoping Tommy gets to come out and play very soon.

The Ultimate Compliment

Here are some compliments I've received in the past couple of days:


"Aundrea, I don't usually tell my personal life story to anyone, but I know I can trust you with this."

"Today I got thinking, 'Aundrea has a blog.' So I got online and searched till I found you. I loved it!"

"Absolutely! You CAN come over. I wish you would."

"How are you? Is there anything I can do for you?"

Maybe they don't sound like compliments to you. To me they sound like people who must love me--or at least put up with me. I'm a lucky, blessed woman.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Things That Make Me Happy

One could argue that nothing can make me happy--it is a choice I must make. OK. I'll buy that. But humor me for today:

1. Spencer and I got to have dinner with the Ulches last night. It was heavenly and happy and fun. Thanks, Bob and Stacy!

2. Today--in spite of the fact that I do not consider myself a runner--I ran 7 miles. Count them! 1--2--3--4--5--6--7! Isn't that amazing? Me!

3. Taylor dusted the ceiling fan yesterday. (Find joy in the small stuff.)

4. It is a glorious, perfect, beautiful fall day!

5. Tomorrow is a regional broadcast (Stake Conference). So while I get to dress up and go to church, I do not have to sit alone through Sunday School or Relief Society. AND we will be home just after noon. Woot!

6. Did I mention I just ran 7 miles!?

:)

It's a good day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

And the Winner Is...


Have you ever felt like you were part of the family, only you're not really? This award was given to me by my sweet friend-who-feels-like-my-sister-but-isn't-really, Amy. Amy had her baby yesterday, did you know? I've been talking for MONTHS about munching on that sweet boy, but when it came right down to it, he was being held by his grandma. And everybody knows that grandmas ALWAYS trump everyone! We'd been visiting for 15 minutes before Amy looked at me funny and said, "Why aren't you munching?" I was so glad to hear those words--they gave me permission to take a turn with Baby Thomas (who, by the way, is beautiful!).
Anyway, back to this prestigious award:
The rules state that I have to answer some questions and then pass this award along to five people (don't do the math or the statistics--it takes away the prestige of this coveted award, and I need to be validated right now, before another grandma trumps me!).
Where is your cell phone? Clipped to my planner. It rarely rings (thanks for thinking of me, Babe!)
Your hair? Surprisingly a huge topic of conversation right now, since I finally invested in a flat iron. (Personally I think everyone's just afraid to say, "Dude! Aundrea! Have you FINALLY lost some weight?!")
Your mother? My hero.
Your father? Smart, handsome, courageous, and the epitome of men, to me.
Your favorite food? Chocolate (which takes us right back to that weight thing again).
Your dream last night? Don't remember.
Your favorite drink? Water. But an occasional Sprite with lime is a great treat.
Your dream/goal? Travel. Lots and lots of travel.
What room are you in? Dining room (where else?).
Your hobby? Tommy munching, singing, reading.
Your fear? Not having enough faith to deal with the hard stuff.
Where do you want to be in 6 years? With Spencer, wherever he is.
Where were you last night? Hospital (Tommy munching), Costa Vida (yummy chicken salad), home in bed (movie watching with my honey).
Something you aren't? Quiet or reserved
Muffins? OK!
Wish list item? Just one? Really? OK, #1 right now is probably a fence for the back yard.
Where did you grow up? In the best home ever, but it moved around a lot.
Last thing you did? Folded laundry.
What are you wearing? Levi's, long-sleeved T, black denim vest, Earrings by Tiffany.
Your TV? Who cares?
Your pets? Bella, the chicken, who looks like a dog.
Your friends? I'm so lucky, there are too many to name!
Your life? Blessed and happy.
Your mood? Happy.
Missing someone? Mom had surgery, so I wish I could go "home" (to my Sacramento home). Spencer's at the temple tonight, and it's always better when he's here. Amy won't come back to work for 6 full weeks. *sigh*
Vehicle? Infiniti G20 named "Buzz" (as in: "To INFINITI and beyond!")
Something you're not wearing? Nylons, for one blessed day a week!
Your favorite store? That would mean I'd have to shop.
Your favorite color? Any color, as long as it's pink.
When was the last time you laughed? Minutes ago.
Last time you cried? About four hours ago.
Your best friend? Spencer
One place that I go over and over? Work, home, Walmart, Macey's, the church.
One person who emails me regularly? Daddy
Favorite place to eat? Olive Garden
I read lots of blogs, and there are people I occasionally blog-stalk. But the next five winners are:
1. Light Refreshments Served. They will never know they won, but I love this blog!
2. Home Is Where You Make It. Thanks for keeping me up-to-date with your life, Jax!
3. Jim & Em & Four of Them. Same, to you, Emily (but I can't link you to hers, because it's private)!
4. Let's Go Fishing! Becky is one of the busiest ladies I know, and I adore her. And her blog is sure to make me laugh. Every time. Love you, Beck!
5. Our Crazy, Fun, Incredible Life With Teenagers! So many bloggers are young mommies, and I love reading their stuff. But T is more where I am with her kids, she's in love with her hubby and kids, she works full time and is just an incredible woman. Thanks for writing, T. I love you and your family.
I have to be honest, my very favorite blog to read is Two Scoops. But there ought to be a no-touch-backs rule in this game (hint, hint!), so I didn't give this to Amy. Plus, she has Tommy--who needs a stinking award?

Shot in the Neck with a Crossbow

Remember that game called Gossip? It's where one person comes up with a phrase and whispers it to the person sitting beside him. That person then passes it along to the next person, and so on. By the end of the game, the phrase is usually pretty messed up.

I did not wake Tay up yesterday (mostly because I was asleep, too!). When he awakened, he went to the very end of school. Actually, I think the final bell of the day had rung. He went into the room where most of his friends would be, and the teacher said, "What are you doing here? I heard you got shot in the neck by a crossbow."

That's close to "Took a shot to the neck with a lacrosse ball."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Take An Aspirin and Call Me In the Morning

I went out running last night, and as I stretched afterward, Taylor said, "Mom, you gotta see this."

I said (still stretching), "OK, what is it?"

"A bruise," replied Tay.

"Lacrosse?"

"Yup."

So I walked over to look at a HUGE, lacrosse ball-sized bruise right at his collar bone line. While running drills, he had been running toward a teammate, who shot. Taylor, playing good defense, blocked the shot with his body. :)

As we gathered around the table for dinner, Tay began complaining of a terrible headache. He took some ibuprofen with his meal. But as we ate, he said that his eyes were bugging him. He asked if we could turn off the overhead light. He said he couldn't focus to see his food. This is when I started getting concerned.

We finished dinner, and he and I went to take quick showers. Then we went to the Instacare. It was about 8:00 p.m. We weren't even there long enough to sit down, and they sent us to the ER. We drove to IMC in Murray, where we sat. For a long time. With about 300 other people who were ill or injured. They brought us in for an initial screening and said it would be about 10 minutes before they took us back. 40 minutes later they finally called us back. (BTW, this really wasn't any surprise, considering that it was the ER and there were so many people there.)

When the doc came to examine T, he could hear a strange rushing noise in his carotid artery where he was hit. They were worried about a blood clot forming at that site, which feeds the brain. They did not want (and neither do we!) a blood clot or pieces of clotted blood in the brain causing strokes or brain damage. So he ordered and MRI/MRA to get a clearer picture.

Tay was in the MR area for about an hour and a half. They thought they could see an anomaly in the carotid artery, but they had not done the iodine contrast during the MRA, and they could not see it conclusively. So they ordered a CT scan. They thought they saw a subtle anomaly in the artery, but they did not think it was going to require surgery or major blood thinners. They told us to give Taylor an aspirin a day as a platelet inhibitor, and to call the specialist in the morning. They also ran a vascular ultrasound as a base point, where again they thought they saw a subtle anomaly. The specialist will probably run an additional ultrasound as a follow up early next week.

Taylor is fine, but he's sad, because he will not be playing lacrosse for a while--we'll know more details after we see the specialist.

We got home at 4:00 a.m.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Side of the Story

You know that look I give Spencer? You know--THE look. It says, "Leave me alone. I've reached the end."

I don't think Spencer has EVER given me The Look. Until Saturday.

I was standing about a tenth of a mile from the finish line and praying and praying that Spence was going to reach his goal. The time kept ticking. He didn't come. And then suddenly, there he was. I turned the camera on so I could take his picture running. I yelled, "Go, Spencer!" And THAT'S when I got The Look.

And I knew that he was hurting and in serious danger of missing his goal. So I took off on a run, yelling, "I'm so proud of you! You're gonna do it!" He asked me where the finish line was, and I said, "It's right there. See? We were here last night." And I said, "Babe, you're really close. We're gonna have to put on the push. Can you give me anything else?"

And I got The Look again.

So I shut up. And he said, "Keep talking."

So over and over again I said, "I'm so proud of you. You're so close. You're gonna do it. Keep going!"

When we crossed the finish line, gun time said 3:21:something. I was praying that he had crossed the start over a minute after the gun time. The people at the finish line quickly escorted me to the non-runners' area, and I headed straight for the results tent. The woman there told me that she could only give times to the runners. So I said, "OK, I'll just wait for him here." As other people were getting their results I was listening in, trying to figure out how close to his time they were. Finally the same woman asked for his bib number. After several tries (and about 10 minutes) we got his final result: 3:20:21. I called him and said, "Did you have to be UNDER 3:20?" He said, "No, I have a 59 second window."

I screamed, "Woot! 3:20:21! You did it!" And all I could do was cry.

I'm so, so proud of him. And I'm so, so glad I could help.

Later he said thank you for all the support and he wishes it would be my turn to do something. I said, "We're going to Boston in 2011, right?" He said something like heck, yes. :) I said, "So we're going to New York with my singing group next year, right?" He said, "Yes, we are."

Boston, Mass., Here We Come!


I QUALIFIED TO RUN THE BOSTON MARATHON.

This picture was taken about 10-15 minutes after I crossed the finish line, maybe a little longer I was dazed, totally out of blood sugar.

I truly do not know if I would have made it without Aundrea running the last tenth of a mile with me, I so wanted to stop, I could see the finish line but it did not inspire me at all. All I wanted to do was to stop running, but I knew I was within seconds of qualifying for Boston, with Aundrea by my side telling me how great I was doing I kept running and qualified for Boston with 39 Seconds to spare. Needless to say she did not get a photo of me in the last seconds of the race, instead of taking a snap shot of me, she recognized I was not doing well and came right to my side and ran to the end with me. She was promptly escorted off before she could cross the finish line. Aundrea is my hero.

I will forward more official photos as the become available.

The race went really well for me, I did not struggle until the last three miles. My legs just did not want to run at that pace any more. I could feel a blister develop by mile 10 but just accepted the fact there was nothing I could do about it. The blister popped at mile 24 and other than that I had no problems.

My time: 3:20:21

To Qualify for Boston I needed to cross the finish line by 3:20:59

YEA!!!!

Spencer P. Hill

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fun With the People I Love

Today we hosted a baby shower for Amy at work. Here are some things that you should know:


1. Ashtyn is wonderful. She was shopping with me last night for a l---o---n---g time. She has great taste in flannel. She has a wonderful memory. I love Ashtyn.

2. Briana is wonderful. She helped me get everything together for my big day, l---o---n---g after everyone else had gone to bed. She even stayed up after I was in bed to finish making this blanket for Amy. She did beautiful work, too. I love Briana.

3. Amy is wonderful. She is the epitamy of graciousness. She is happy and excited. And I'm pretty sure she really is going to let me munch on her baby boy! I love Amy.

4. Tahnee is wonderful. She made the most adorable invitations, and then she made decorations to match. Everything looked so cute! AND she made the most delicious brownies EVER. I love Tahnee.
5. Karleen is wonderful. Not only did she bring a gorgeous green salad AND Lion House rolls and honey butter (!) AND a darling gift for Tommy, but she also manned the phones for the entire party so I could be there. And she treated it as time worked. I love Karleen.

6 through 15 (at least). The ladies we work with are wonderful. Amy got some seriously adorable stuff, PLUS a $71 gift card to Target so she could get whatever she needs or wants. I love the people I work with!
It's a good day.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

PLUS


I'm having a good hair day. Let's celebrate life's victories! :)

The Kind Things People Do

As you can see from my previous post, the morning hasn't gone extremely smoothly. It's all OK--it's just life. BUT--

People are so kind!

Amy laughed a little and told me not to worry because everything was fine.

Dave brought me a plum he had just washed.

Briana made me some hot chocolate to go with the rainy morning.

Spencer told me he loved me.

Keith stopped by my desk to say thank you for taking good care of our men.

The men brought me a plate from their safety luncheon (yum! Olive Garden!).

Sometimes mornings go awry, and there's no sense crying or whining about it (so disregard my last post). And anyway, we are surrounded by good and kind people. Aren't we blessed?

To Make A Long Story Short...

Have you ever noticed that when people say "To make a long story short," it never is? This is no exception. :)

I took Lando to school this morning. We had a nice visit with the principal, who was very supportive of my concerns and for Landon's safety. She took the names of other kids who might have witnessed the incident so that Landon wouldn't be singled out as a narc. She also reassured him that they wanted him to be safe, and she offered him some safety alternatives.

I ran to my car (because it's pouring down rain--40 degrees lower in temp today than yesterday), and headed to work. But I'd only gotten a mile from home when Taylor called. He had Ashtyn and Megan in the van when they ran completely out of gas. I turned around to pick them up and take them to school.

Then I went home and picked up Briana and the gas can. We filled up the gas can and her tank (almost). She drove me to where Flo was parked, but neither of us had a key. So we went back home to get a key. We then drove back to Flo, put the gas in her tank. I drove the van to WJHS so that the kids would have a way to get home (and to their haircut appointment this afternoon).

Bri took me home, where I washed the gas off my hands and packed myself a quick lunch. She made me some hot chocolate, which I promptly spilled all down the front of my sweater. I had to get the wrinkles out of another set of clothes (I had done this last night so I didn't have to worry about it this morning--HA!).

I finally arrived at work at 10:20. *sigh*

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

7th Grade Should Be Outlawed

Landon called me after school today looking for Briana's cell phone number. It turns out that he was looking for a ride home. He'd "had a bad day." When I pushed him on what that meant, it turned out that he is being bullied at school. Not only do people punch him in the halls (for no apparent reason other than that he is small), but today an 8th grader in his P.E. class gave him a "titty twister" that put him in tears.

I couldn't get hold of Bri, but I did get Taylor and sent him to pick up Landon, who was afraid to walk home from school. *sigh*

Outcomes so far:

Landon has a large bruise on his chest.

I have called in late for work tomorrow. We'll be headed to the principal's office first thing in the morning.

I'm ready to sic Joe Speredon on the entire population of Joel P. Jensen Middle School.

Landon has been informed that if ANYONE lays a hand on him, he is to punch. HARD. (And I'm a pacifist!) And his dad and I will back him up.

Junior high bites. Seventh grade sucks.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dear New Mommy (you know who you are):

Being a mother is the best job in the world. It really, really is.

Just like any job, however, there are challenging and un-fun moments. Here are some things you get to look forward to:

1. A child who, in spite of hearing it (and saying it himself!) 400,000 times in the past few years of his life, cannot comprehend the meaning of the word "NO." Baffling!

2. Parent Teacher Conferences. Or worse, Student-Led Conferences. That is all I'm going to say about that.

3. Your children's friends. Sometimes you don't like them.

4. Homework. I know you think you finished school. Think again. If you have 4 children, you will go through school at least 4 more times. Don't let your brain go to slush; you will be sorry if you do!

5. Your babies don't sleep a lot at night. Especially at the beginning. And when they get sick. And when they are teenagers. Just sayin'.

6. Children yell. When they are babies, we call it crying, and it breaks our hearts. When they are teenagers, it's not so cute.

7. Your children will get hurt. They fall off their skateboards. They trip and hit their heads on TVs. They date people who break their hearts. They get in fights with their friends. And every hurt they have hurts you, too. Try to be prepared. You won't be prepared.

On the flip side, you also get to look forward to:

1. Successes that feel like your own, but are even better, because your child did it. Beginning with the first words and attempts at words, to their first steps, to their first great report card, and continuing forever. Biggest hooray! ever.

2. Your children will have joy. They learn to master their skateboards. They trip and pick themselves up again. They date people who don't break their hearts. They hang out with their friends. And every joy they have is yours, too. Try to be prepared. You won't be prepared.

3. Your children's friends. You will love most of them.

4. Your children as friends.

5. When your child yells "Mommy!" with joy, just because you walked in the door. If you're lucky, s/he will do that even when he's old enough to ignore you.

6. Your heart will grow beyond what you can ever imagine is possible. And keep growing.

Get ready. The fun is about to begin!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Not fair

I'm having a bad hair day today. No, really. It's bad. It's all because my groove was off this morning. So I'm wearing my hair up in a clip, and my bangs are straight down.

It hurts.

It's not beautiful.

AND I have one little 2" gray hair sticking straight up off my head, right in the middle, for all the world to see. This hair may as well be waving a flag, yelling a cheer, and moonwalking. It could not be more noticable.

And it's not fair that Spencer gets to shave all his hair off, while I have to glare and this rebel gray hair all day long.

I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

As My World Turns

Yesterday was the prime example of one of my days, which happens all too often.

6:00 a.m.--Get the kids up for prayer. Potty break, visit with Mr. Toothbrush, get dressed, pull my hair up (it was beautiful, let me tell ya!).

6:30 a.m.--Leave to take Landon to the orthodontist. Read 1/2 an article in a magazine in the waiting room. Have an impression of my teeth taken for a new retainer (to replace my 7-year-old one).

7:30 a.m.--Leave Dr. Curtis's office to take Landon to the middle school.

8:15 a.m.--Walk in to tell the attendance secretary where he's been, wave goodbye (because 12-year-olds don't want kisses at school). Go home and take a shower, do my makeup, and change into work clothes.

9:30 a.m.--Drive to work.

10:00 a.m. -- 4:15 p.m.--Work. Lots to do. It's all good.

4:30 p.m.--FINALLY get out of the office and walk to the car.

4:50 p.m.--Drive through at the bank for cash to give the hair stylist. Drive directly to Chelsea's.

5:30 p.m.--FINALLY arrive at Chelsea's house for a haircut. Relax for a few minutes while someone else does my hair.

6:15 p.m.--Leave Chelsea's and head straight to South Jordan Middle to pick up Landon from lacrosse practice. Drive Landon directly to his YM activity (do not pass go, do not collect $200). Go home and honk the horn to pick up Ashtyn. We go to Macey's together for a few groceries.

7:30 p.m.--Take the groceries in the house, drop them on the counter, and sit down to inhale some fatty food, because we are STARVING!

8:00 p.m.--Do the dishes. Quickly, before Landon calls for a ride home! Put on my running clothes and shoes. Log Ashtyn into the safety-locked computer so she can do her homework.

8:30 p.m.--Not fast enough! Landon calls. Pick Landon up at the church and take him on his promised outing to Iceberg. Enjoy a few quiet (as quiet as it ever gets with Landon) minutes (in my running skirt) with our wonderful son. Eating ice cream. A small one, because sometime tonight I still need to visit Nutrimirror.

9:30 p.m.--Pull into the driveway at the same time as Spencer and Briana. Gather everyone for prayer. Give Landon permission to stay up and work on his homework.

9:40 p.m.--Leave for the 4-mile run I promised myself I would do today. Run (relatively speaking) up and down Wood Green. A lot.

10:30 p.m.--Arrive home. Kick off my shoes and socks. Take some clean clothes into the bathroom and clear off my side of the bed so Spencer can go to sleep. Go into the living room and stretch. Visit Nutrimirror for today. Play a couple of games of wind-down Solitaire. Go into the bathroom and shower. In the dark. Because it's too late to turn on a bright light. Sleepwalk to the bed.

11:30 p.m.--Try not to fall asleep while I'm praying. Say, "amen," and fall asleep without even thinking about it.

Today? My eyes are puffy, my brain is slushy, my muscles are tired. And the remainder of the day looks quite similar to yesterday...

Thank goodness for busy days and nights--and for a healthy body that allows me to do it all!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dear Crazy Lady:

That shed doesn't belong to you. I know you are the supervisor, and it is your job to take care of the stuff in the shed. But it's. not. yours.

Repeat this to yourself: "It's not mine. It's not mine. It's not mine."

Keep going.

Because you are seriously worked up over nothing. Nothing, I tell you!

They went into the shed to fix the problem you've been whining about for months! They moved the stuff in order to keep it dry and non-muddied. Really, they were trying to help you.

Really.

So, the bottom line is:

  • No, you can't just lock the door at 3:45. And if you do, don't be surprised if someone uses another key to unlock it. That's what they do to open doors.
  • Yes, you can talk to the construction manager, but he's going to tell you the same dang thing.
  • Get over yourself, and get over it.

Sincerely,

Aundrea

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bad News...and Good News!

I specifically asked Brother Brisk if I had to attend ward council with this calling (activities committee chairman). He said no. I was glad.

Turns out he lied. I may never get over that betrayal!

I can't decide which is worse: the 11th floor or Ward Council. The dentist, for a root canal, is better than either one of them. Other than that, I have no feelings or opinion on the subject.

The good news is that I got to spend an hour and a half in nursery yesterday. Livvy sat on my lap and barbecued me some delicious Legos with ketchup and mustard. Everyone else played dodgeball against me and Briana. Jojo let me tackle her, which led to some munching (sorry for the "cherry pie (lipstick)" on her cheeks, Lara!).

And THEN I got to go to Primary, where the kids had made me and my counselors each a wonderful card. They also gave me chocolates (which I ate one of and shared the rest--sharing is good) and lots and lots of hugs. And I only cried a little bit. Which is good.

And I finished proofing my manuscript (I won't tell you what it was, because that would be a conflict of interest. But it took me over a week to spend a grand total of 3 hours on the proof. That either tells you something about my life or the book. Or both.).

The end.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy, Busy Saturday

Landon had his first lacrosse game of the fall season today. He's playing in the Junior League now (7th and 8th graders). He's so little, especially compared to the long, lanky 8th graders. Here's Landon on the faceoff (black jersey). Landon will get in and mix it up. But on his very first play of the day, he got hit hard. That made him pretty hesitant for the rest of the day. (But he's cute!)My parents have been in town this week, helping my grandma, who had hip replacement surgery. They left Orem Saturday morning and spent the rest of the day with us and Derek and his family--what a treat! We all met at McDonald's for lunch. Then everyone came to Lando's game, which really meant a lot to him.

Spencer and I went to TJ Maxx and found me a running skirt. You may or may not get a picture of it sometime in the future. :) I ran 5 miles in the morning--go, me! I also bought a cute pink running shirt, which I'm anxious to try out, just because I'm gonna look so cute! (heehee)

Friday and Saturday nights were the Sterling Singers' patriotic concerts at the Granite Tabernacle in Sugarhouse. We sang to a full house each night, and it was very well received. Briana and Ashtyn came on Friday night. Spencer and Mom and Dad came on Saturday. Spencer's mom brought a friend and came on Friday night, too. Thanks to everyone for your support. Everyone said it was lovely. Spencer said Daddy cried throughout, so it must have been OK. Mostly it was a LOT of fun. I got to meet and get to know a couple of new choir friends, too--how much better does it get?

AND I made it through "In Remembrance" WITHOUT crying. Incredible! (I love that song!)
(I'm in the lower left corner area.)



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On The Other Hand...

...I got up and used Briana's new flat iron on my hair, and it looks pretty cute today.

...I jogged 4 miles on Saturday. Without stopping.

...I made dinner, picked up Landon and Raymond from lacrosse, did nearly half of my manuscript, called all the neighbors about Friends of Scouting, picked up toner for the printer, and read two chapters of my book last night.

Okay, the list is short, but at least there is a list. :)

If I Were...

...super confident, I would be headed to Chelsea's so she could chop my hair off.

...awake, I would be having a much more productive and fast-moving day.

...a better, healthier person, I would not be craving a 12-oz. sirloin and cheese toast.

...more organized I would not be stressing over Friends of Scouting, a manuscript to work on, a Relief Society lesson to teach, and activities to plan.

...simply a Primary teacher, I would not be even THINKING about Friends of Scouting, a manuscript to work on, a Relief Society lesson to teach, and activities to plan.

...not a whiner, you would have nothing to read.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Answer is Automatically "No" If You Don't Ask

When I was the PTA president, one of my favorite quotes was "The answer is automatically 'no' if you don't ask." So there is a vendor that has brought donuts to the office every week for about three months. And my desk is centrally located, so that is where they sit.

I started giving Jeff (the vendor) a hard time about a month ago. "Bring something healthy!" He's been promising week after week, and last week I said, "Yeah, yeah. I've heard this story."
This morning, this is what showed up in Jeff's hands. Yum!
See the link at the right of my blog for Nutrimirror. Go green!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Merit Badge Earned!


Landon went camping with the Scouts last night; and caught and cleaned his first fish! They talked Brother B. into having a fish fry for their Scout activity on Wednesday (so we don't have to cook and eat it here at home)--Go, Spencer!
Ya just can't help but love that face!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Hilladay


Additional pictures are on the slideshow on the right.


Hilladay is:


A tradition that started at the end of a very stressful summer (1995).
Family, circle-the-wagons time.

An annual outing celebrating our family.

Sometimes a day outing, sometimes a vacation.

Loads of fun.


This year for Hilladay we went to the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, area. What beautiful country that is! Every single thing we did was fun: whitewater rafting, the Bar J Wranglers, horseback riding, a trip into Yellowstone (where we, sadly, did not see any bears). Our van is not a happy camper currently, so we took two vehicles loaded as fully as could be: just call us the West Jordan Hillbillies!


I love Hilladay! I recommend the Snake River KOA, Dave Hansen Whitewater Rafting, Float-ographs, The A-OK Corral, the Bar J Wranglers...


...and fun outings for every family!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Memories of...


15 years ago today, at 8:31 p.m., our beautiful Ashtyn Sarah Hill was born. She has been a light in our family, and we are so very grateful for her beauty, charm, personality, and spirit.


Ashtyn's initials spell ASH. We were trying to avoid this because I wanted to save the name Sarah for another girl. But we loved the name too much; and in the end we were glad we gave her that beautiful name. She loves it, too.


When Ashie was about 3, Grandpa Fish came to visit. She announced to me, in a small, raspy voice: "Gwampa say me Little Wat." (Grandpa says I'm a Little Rat.)


Ashtyn has about a million nicknames. Ash, Ashes, Ashie, Sass, Sassy, Sue, Sis, and da Bow Baby are the most common.


If there are two of our children at home, and one of them is Ashtyn, we are guaranteed a night of happiness. And the house will probably be cleaner than when we left.


Ashtyn has a special friendship with Briana. She announced to us this weekend that she loves us all, but she really, really, really likes Briana. (I am trying not to let my feelings be hurt--heehee.)


Ashie loves her daddy. He was her favorite from the time she was born. She was the only one of our children who came to Daddy when she was sick or tired.


Ashtyn is beautiful, feminine, talented, and good.


Happy Birthday, Sass!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Blue

I may be the only mom and in the free world who is sad that this week our children go back to school. This summer has been fun and productive and entirely too short. In the past I have celebrated our children going to school for the following reasons:

1. It gets quiet at home.
2. The kids have something productive to do.
3. Our children get to be educated.
4. The kids are bored and can now go hang with their friends all day.

This year, however, I am sad for the following reasons:

1. It gets quiet at home.
2. Those productive things for the kids to do also become things I have to do. (Seriously? Have you SEEN the packets of paperwork the parents get to fill out? I did about 1,000,000 papers and signed my name more than when we bought our house. And that was just to get them registered. Now comes the permission slips, the disclosures, the calendars, etc., etc. And then the REAL fun starts--a.k.a. "Homework.")
3. I want the kids to hang out with me and Spencer, not a bunch of dumb teenagers. (OK, this is partly a lie because we love our kids' friends.)
4. Each new school year means they are another year older. Briana is going to COLLEGE. (So is Spencer. Again.) Taylor and Ashtyn are both in high school. Landon is starting at the middle school. There is no elementary school for us. This is a sign of getting older--for them and for me. *sigh*
6. Going back to school is expensive. If everything is on sale, how come it all costs so much? :)

I'm just a tiny bit blue.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Jax and Myla

Today was the annual birthday barbecue for Bert's birthday at Bert and Ruth's home. This year all of our children opted to go (yeah! progress!). Jenny and Tracy are in Boise. Heather was at work. But everyone else came.

In the group was Jeff and Jax, with their daughter, Myla, who is 9 months old. What a sweet, darling girl she is! When I first walked into the house, Jax was changing Myla's diaper. As soon as she had her dressed again, she handed Myla to me. What a treat! I got to hold and love on this sweet girl (who had no problem at all with all of us) for a long, long time. I got lots of love from Jax, too, which was a treat (as it always is).

The first time Spencer and I came to Utah together was in May of 1988. We were engaged, and it was a trip to meet his family. Jacqueline was 8 months old at that time. She was a loving little one, too, and she let me carry her all over the place. I later became a short-term mom for this beautiful young lady. And now I got to love on her daughter, who is about the same age she was when we first "met." That was a sweet circle-of-life moment for me.

A funny: Myla is pretty darned bald. Jax asked me when she finally got hair. I told her that she was pretty bald on that first visit, and then I didn't see her again till she was 2. She had hair then. She looked a bit dismayed. I had to remind her that Myla really was going to get hair. :)

It's been a happy day.

A Rough Night

Spencer and I tried to go to bed at 10:00 p.m. last night. We were both very tired. I was nervous for the race this morning.

Ashtyn was at the computer in the dining room. Briana and Taylor were out with their friends. Spencer looked at me and said, "This is going to be a long night." Who knew I'd married a prophet? :)

Just 15 or 20 minutes after we'd gotten into bed, Spencer gave up and shut our door. Although she had it turned down low, Ashtyn's music was distracting.

Briana got home and checked in. Then she came in and said that Taylor had gotten a flat tire and needed help on Bangerter Highway. Spencer got up and went to help him. He found that Tay had hit a median (better than another car or people!) and had ripped the one tire's tread nearly off. They got the spare on and came home and went to bed.

Again.

Later the phone started ringing. It was 1:00 a.m., and we were receiving text messages. It turned out to be from Spencer's sister in Boise. I'm not sure why she was up at 1:00 a.m.

That didn't count the weird stress dreams I had, the night sweat I had, or the shivers I had (all at different times).

The alarm went off at 6:00. Ugh. It was indeed a long, rough night.

5K!


Before the race.


During the race.


After the race.
It was raining pretty good when we got to the park to start. It stayed cool through the entire race, but the rain didn't start again till just after we'd crossed the finish line.
I was surprised by how emotional I felt when I finished. We ran at the back of the pack, but I set a personal best time. My official time was 36 minutes and something. According to Spencer's Garmin it was a bit less than that, and I averaged about 11:30 miles.
(The kids were still asleep when we got home.) :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Memories of...My Mom

My mom has the softest hands in the world. (She used to be rivaled by Lois Marchant, but she's dead now. So Mom is the undisputed "Softest Hands" champion.)

She rarely leaves the house without rubbing her hands together. When we were kids she'd say, "Who needs lotion?" We could hold out our hands and she'd rub them in hers, to get the excess lotion.

I got too much lotion this morning. I was wishing my mom was here, because she would have taken it from me.

I Am Becoming A Maniac!

Poor Amy. Poor Spencer. Poor kids. I am going absolutely nuts.

About nutrition.

Yesterday--yeah! hooray!--my log was all green on NutriMirror. I was doing a victory dance all. night. long. Briana laughed. Spencer rolled his eyes. And I danced. And danced some more.

This morning Spencer and I got talking about different issues before he left for work. He was running late. I went running. This has been my rest/recover week BEFORE the race (tomorrow), so I only had a mile to do. I actually got home before he left for work. He took one look at me and said, "Was that fast? I thought that was fast! Was it?" (Name that movie!)

Best of all, if I run past the house less than a block (to Charing Cross or 7320) I am not winded by the time I turn back around and get home. I feel awesome! Three miles tomorrow is going to be a challenge, but I'm really excited.

Tomorrow is Bert's birthday party, and Ruth called to ask me if I'd bring a salad. My first thought was, "Cool! I could try a new recipe!" (If Char saw this, she'd have a heart attack!) Fifteen minutes later Bri walked into our bedroom and said, "Mom! Are you reading a cookbook?" (BTW, I found a great recipe to try. :) )

And today I just KNOW my log is going to be green!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile

Amy's belly.

A 15- to 18-month old who did NOT want to get back into the stroller after lunch. (When he saw me laughing at him, he gave me a big grin!)

PaymentNet accounts where I have EVERY single receipt I need.

Emails from my mom.

Phone calls from my sweetheart in the middle of the day.

Successfully completing my morning run (and not having to think about it tonight!).

Friends getting engaged. (Congratulations, Kim!)

Crazy, funny blogs!

The fact that I can eat 10 M&Ms and not feel terrible about it.

Quickly turn it upside down and smile your frown away!

The MOST Offensive Thing I Have Ever Seen

I realize that the members of the LDS Church are in the minority in the world. We are largely misunderstood and often misrepresented. Overall, it could probably be considered miraculous that we are not persecuted, as the early saints were.

This morning I went up to the main level lobby to pick up someone who was interviewing in our office. Security was escorting a "gentleman" (I'm using the term VERY loosely here) who was dressed all in white--white shirt, pants, sock, and shoes. In addition he was wearing a temple robe and cap. His face was covered in white paint, and he held a statue of the Christus in his hand.

I find people's mockery of sacred things to be terribly, terribly offensive, especially when most of them claim to be Christians. Really? Do they really think Jesus would do something like that?

I work for the Corporation of the President of the Church. I am surrounded by "Mormons," and that doesn't always equate to "Christians." But I have never heard someone mock something that might be sacred in another religion, and certainly not as a public protest.

*sigh*