Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spotlight on...

Ashtyn Sarah Hill was born naked, as expected. But if you knew her at all you would believe me when I told you that she was born in a pink, ruffled dress. This picture tells it all: she is a princess.
Really, she is. Ashtyn smiled early, and she has never stopped. Except when she is sick, which is another story (and includes us at the pediatrician and the hospital lab today).
Ash is a very conscientious worker. She is great at school and will work hard till the homework is DONE. She has a goal to make bread every Saturday for a six weeks. Today, in spite of not feeling well, she made 6 loaves of bread. If you ask her to do the dishes, she will stand there for an hour, but she will not walk away until the dishes are done.
That brings us to the next thing you need to know about Ashie. She has two speeds: slow and slower. But she is ALWAYS worth the wait!
If there are two children at home and one of them is Ashtyn, everything will go well. There will be no fighting, and chances are the dishes will be done or the living room will be newly cleaned. That's just how she is. She can even boss her older, taller brother around; but he just loves her so much that he will do whatever she told him to do. The flip side of that is that she will do anything anyone asks her to do. She's just helpful like that.
Everyone loves Ashtyn. I don't blame them. She laughs at everything, she is consistently happy, she is smart enough to NOT be annoying, she's adorable, she's a hard worker, she's inherently helpful, she's positive, she genuinely loves people, she is good.
Ashie heard a cute story at Oakcrest camp last year about a girl who everyone ostracized, but she made fabulous zucchini bread. So if Ashtyn hears us talking badly about someone--even if they deserve it--she sweetly says, "I'll bet they make great zucchini bread." She makes us want to be better.
That may be the nicest thing anyone can say about another human being.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The cutest shoes I have ever owned

At the risk of your thinking that shoes are my favorite things...

What's not to love, really? No matter how fat you feel on any given day; no matter how big the bags beneath your eyes; no matter if you have a huge stain on your shirt; no matter WHAT, a great pair of shoes looks great on your foot! That is why women love shoes. Anyone can go shoe shopping and find something that looks fabulous. Even me.

These red shoes were purchased for me by my mother-in-law. I will admit that they are not the most comfortable pair of shoes I own. She really could have gotten one size larger. But these shoes are so adorable that I just love them, and I'm always excited when I can wear them. In fact, I once went shopping just to find an outfit that would go with these shoes. While I was in the dress store someone asked me what shelf those shoes were on. It was a proud, joyful moment for me. It almost brought a tear to my eye.

Today you deserve to get to wear your most adorable shoes. Go ahead! It will make you smile!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Spencer LOVES Me!

I am married to the best man in the world. I know there are some of you out there who may disagree, so I will compromise and say that I am married to the best man in the world FOR ME! Really, I am.

Remember those butterflies you felt when you were getting ready for that really special first date? I still get those!

But I'm not dumb enough to think that butterflies=love.

Here's how I know Spencer loves me:

1. He cooks. All the time. Really well.
2. He eats when I cook.
3. He listens to me ramble about every detail about my day. Every day. And I mean he really listens. Like he knows that Amy is just mediocre, that Dave eats ice cream when he's stressed, and that Karleen learned how to make bagels.
4. He brought me a pink pearl eraser and left it on my nightstand. That's for my Sudoku gaming habit.
5. He lets me do Sudoku in bed. Even if he's sleeping.
6. He made Bella leave our bedroom this morning so she would leave me alone and let me sleep in.
7. He took me out to see a chick flick today.
8. He took me out to see a chick flick today, even after running 18 miles this afternoon. In the rain.
9. He always tells me I am beautiful. Some people would be alarmed at the consistent lies, but I'm mostly just charmed.
10. He wears white shirts with the sleeves properly buttoned when we go to church, because he knows I like it best that way (I am SUCH a sucker for a man in a suit!).
11. He doesn't laugh at me when I've had drama that day. Until I'm ready to laugh, too.
12. He doesn't make me go to the auto parts store.
13. If we go to the auto parts store, he's OK with my standing in the corner and watching the TV till we can leave.
14. He doesn't roll his eyes when I start to cry. Maybe he does, but he waits till I'm in his arms and I can't see him rolling his eyes. Wait, no, that can't be right, because with as many times as the tears come for me, if he rolled his eyes, they'd stick that way. He just doesn't roll his eyes.
15. He folds the towels in thirds. Because that's the way I like it.

There are dozens more ways that I know that he loves me, but I can't stay up all night. He says he doesn't sleep well till I'm there with him. After 18 miles in the rain, that probably isn't the case tonight, but it's a lovely thought.

And in case you were wondering, I love him, too!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Spotlight on Taylor


Taylor, our oldest son and our 2nd child, was born on January 22, 1993, which makes him 16 today. For his birthday he got a new suit (he will be at the sacrament table in a couple of weeks!).

He will probably kill me for posting this picture, but you all will understand that his mother thinks he's sexy, even if his hair is a mess. (Give him a break. It was 5:30 a.m.!) You gotta admit, he looks great in his suit!

Taylor has been a really good boy and a very good son. He plays lacrosse for West Jordan High School, and he loves it. He was involved with student government at the middle school level, and he may go back to that another time. He's very popular at school, and he has about a million friends--mostly girls. Who can blame them? He even has a date with a senior TONIGHT! Taylor is also a very good student. He has a love for science and hopes to studying engineering in college (at least that is the last plan that I heard). He also sings with Take Ten, the men's choir at the high school, and he's very good at it.

Mostly Taylor is just a really great person. He has a testimony of the gospel, and he tries to show it through his actions every day. He serves as his seminary class president. He is respectful of women, particularly. He has always been very good to me. When he was a baby he loved to snuggle. He was very friendly to EVERYONE (I was afraid he would just happily walk away with a stranger). He has a smile to die for. Our version of snuggling these days includes my head on his shoulder because he is so tall. Taylor makes me laugh all the time--I realize that this isn't really a stretch, but it's enjoyable nonetheless. :)

T is good friends with both Ash and Bri. His best friend is Logan Gifford, who lives in Magna and has been his best friend since they were about 3 years old.

His dad and I think he is about as great as they come! I love you, Son!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Myla Raelle Blackham

This is a four-generation shot that includes Myla Raelle; her parents, Jeff and Jacqueline Blackham; Jax's parents, Jeff and Gayle Hill; and Jeff Hill's parents, Bert and Ruth Hill. Bert and Ruth are my parents-in-law; Jeff Hill is Spencer's brother.
When Jax was in entering 4th grade--and still using the name "Jacqui"--she lived with us during the summer. She then stayed with us during the school week and went to school at Copper Hills Elementary. She was a huge help at our house, especially with Lando, who was a baby, and I mostly just thought of her as another daughter.
Now Jax is married and has a baby of her own. And you can tell that she loves it all. She and Jeff live in Wyoming. They were able to get their own house, and she takes care of Myla and their home. She's definitely a first-time mom (they put a sign-up on the whiteboard for anyone who wanted a chance to hold the baby), but she obviously loves her. I was even more tickled by how much her Jeff (Blackham) loves both her and their baby.
Jax's dad, Jeff, who has not always been the ideal dad, gave Myla a name and blessing in their ward in Price yesterday. Jeff was not able to do this for his own children, so this was a first for him. And he did a BEAUTIFUL job. If I'm going to be completely honest, I should tell you that I often refer to Jeff as "the one who is keeping me out of the Celestial Kingdom." But this weekend he was on very good behavior, and he honored his priesthood beautifully in naming this lovely little one.
It's amazing how much I love this little girl because I love her mom so much. Now Jax has a beautiful mother (it's not me) who is an example of honored motherhood. But I can't help it--I still think of Jax as my own. And I love her daughter, even though Myla probably won't really know me at all.
But all this love reminds me that I want to be with all of these people FOREVER.
And maybe--after this weekend--I can!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Counting My Blessings

Today I had the opportunity to speak to two good friends. Both conversations led to the fact that we are so blessed, even as we face adversity.

When I was 23 I had a miscarriage. It was not a fun experience, and I would not wish it for you or ANYONE. But I also would not trade it, because right from the beginning I was able to see Father in Heaven's hand in blessing me through this trial. That was the first time that it really occurred to me that even when I can't choose what happens, I can choose how I react to what happens.

For the most part, I try to be a happy person. It helps that I spend my life laughing at all of you--sometimes because you were even TRYING to be funny. You are cheap entertainment.

But I believe that you have to choose to be happy, even when things are hard.

I'll be honest. I feel like my life so far has been pretty easy. Am I blessed because I'm happy or am I happy because I'm blessed?

I don't necessarily think of myself as a woman of faith, but I'm sure glad to KNOW that God is there.

Why NOT be happy?

P.S. You may have to remind me of this when I'm whining to you about something hard. Nevertheless--it's true!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Laws of the Universe?

Is there an unwritten law somewhere that says you can't have a good hair day twice in a row? I really don't think I do that much different each day as I do my hair. All I know is that yesterday was a really good hair day. I was just doomed for today.

I should have taken a picture.

Ode to My Boots

O, lovely boots!
Your beautiful, chocolate brown matches many outfits.

O, scrunchy boots!
Thy shape is unique and--well--cute!

O, comfy boots!
I adore your soft faux-suede caressing my feet and legs.

O, old boots!
I mourn your aging surfaces.

For I shall never again expect to find such marvelous
Beautiful boots!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Habits of sanitation...

Do you have a "pet" item of personal care? For me it's the toothbrush. Mr. Toothbrush and I are good friends, and I believe everyone should be friends with him as well. Please.

I also have a complete routine for getting myself ready for the day. And if anyone throws off my groove, something is bound to get missed. Add this to the list of things that make me weird--I can take it! I work in order, and my process is not necessarily a lean one. I go in and out of the bathroom, back and forth to the sink, and don't mess with me!

This morning I'm blaming the dog. As far as I can tell, I got back in the groove, but somehow I missed the deodorant. Ewwww! Hopefully I do not offend too badly, but I'm disgusted.

Now aren't you glad I shared?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cue the Water Works!

My work buddy, Amy, is a woman I sincerely love. (see Two Scoops) She has it all: a wonderful sense of humor, a skill base beyond compare, brains, beauty. Most importantly, she has a husband she is totally in love with. I've met Josh once, but I feel like I know him--and it's a good thing!

This year Josh and Amy "came out of the closet" about their infertility. Amy has a tender heart, but she doesn't people to tiptoe around the issue of children. Believe me, when you know someone aches to have a child of their own, it isn't easy to "be normal." I have tried to be normal, though, and Amy has not only exhibited grace but incredible faith.

Yesterday Amy went to the doctor. He diagnosed something and offered her a pill that will--hopefully--"fix it." Naturally, there are questions and hopes and fears and a million other things.

For me, there's mostly tears. Those of you who know me will be shocked at this revelation: I cry over EVERYTHING. I cry when I'm sad. Happy. Angry. Excited. Frustrated. Let's just stop there--you can fill in the emotion blank. If there's extreme emotion, I weep.

Please keep Amy and Josh in your prayers. Theirs will be a BEAUTIFUL family!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Marley & Me (sort of)

While we were in California, we went to see "Marley & Me." I highly recommend this movie, though it's a tear-jerker toward the end.

It is interesting to experience something and then watch someone else experience it (even if it is just a movie). So, here's the rest of my dog story:

For YEARS I have used the excuse that we couldn't have a dog because I already had 20 children at our house every week--I didn't need another one. Then I stopped teaching preschool, but Grandma Glenda was allergic to dogs. Then Grandma moved out, and I was out of excuses. You really can't win when your husband takes the children's side. Let the dog shopping begin!

After looking at 400 dogs between the Utah Valley and the Salt Lake Valley, we ended up with Abby. She was a sweet little black pooch, and very smart. I hated to admit it, but I loved her. And then, just 9 months later, she started swelling. She couldn't run or jump any more. We visited the vet several times, and it was determined that she had a genetic condition that probably would not get better. Abby was obviously in pain and just miserable, so we had to put her down. We prepared the kids as best we could, and we all shed lots of tears. That was a Sunday. On Monday Spencer emailed me. The email said, "1:00 today." I called him, and he was so sad he couldn't even talk.

Let's forget for a minute that I unwittingly loved this dog. Even though I hated to admit it. Still. But my sweetheart and our four beautiful children had broken hearts. So even if I hadn't loved the dog, my heart was breaking, too. I started crying at work, and I finally just took the rest of the day off in order to be wife and mom.

Spencer and I took Abby into the vet's office. He thought we could just say goodbye and leave her, but I just couldn't do it. I just could not bear the thought that our dog might be thinking we abandoned her.

Let's just say that things didn't go terribly smoothly for Abby. It was awful, and we spent a lot of time in tears. And THEN we had to go home and tell the kids that she was gone. Cue the tears. Again. And again. And again. For days.


However, it was only about a week before everyone started saying we needed to go find another dog. Do these people not know how awful this is for me? Not the HAVING the dog--the LOSING the dog. Ugh.

This time the search extended from SLC to Utah Valley to St. George (yes, just to shop for a dog). We ended up with a large dog, all white this time, who we named Bella. I've already given you a bit about Bella (By the way, Jenny and Tracy did take our name in vain while Bella was with them during Christmas. They won't do that for us again. But we're sure grateful to them!). All I know is that Bella better last till Lando is 19 or older. I don't know if my heart can take that loss again.

She's a dog, but she's also part of our family.

Can you even believe I just said that?