Sunday, June 28, 2009

And the Wife of the Year Award Goes To...

The last time Spencer dropped out of school I told him, "Don't ever talk to me about school again. I love you the way you are. No more school!" When he decided to go back to school, he told me just as church was about to begin so that I could not kill him. It took me two weeks before I could even talk about it. When I did I said, "You are on your own! Don't ask me to make dinner. Don't ask me to get the kids out of the house. Don't ask me to proof a paper. If you want to go to school, you figure it out. I've given all I'm giving to your schooling. And if you ever graduate, I will throw a huge party and invite everyone we've ever known to attend."

I'm sorry to admit it, but I was true to my word. No help.

But we had a great party last night! A woman from our single's ward, a couple from the first ward we attended when we were married, a family from the ward we attended when we first came back to Utah, a couple of families from our ward in Magna, family members, co-workers, and current ward and stake friends came to celebrate with us last night. We thank you all for being such wonderful friends! We love you!

(Pictures are on a slide show to the right.)

See you in two years when it's Taylor's turn...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Falcons Are People, Too

Big Sister Falcon is no longer larger than Little Brother Falcon. But she's still bossy.

Big Sister is mostly put-together. Nearly every feather is in place. Little Brother is rumpled. He doesn't primp or preen.

The falcons stand as close to the edge as they possibly can, looking over. They think nothing bad could ever happen to them.

While Big Sister is standing at the edge, Little Brother bumps against her as he goes running by.

The falcon kids think that if they run really fast from one end of the box to the other, they will fly. (They are not wearing capes.)

Mom brings dinner. She drops it off on her way to work (more hunting). The kids look at the food. They look at each other. They walk away from the food. They start whining. Mom shows up and feeds them. (It actually gives me hope to think that this happens in nature, and not just at our house!)

DAD brings dinner. He drops it off in his way to work. The kids look at the food. They look at each other. They walk away from the food. They start whining. MOM shows up and feeds them.

There are two baby falcons, standing at the very edge of the nest, 10 stories above the ground. You can see them from the ground. They have it programmed in their DNA to start wondering what is happening in that big, wide world. They stretch their wings. They run fast. They eat. They whine a little. They flap their wings. And Mom is sitting just above them (on the corner of the building), keeping watch.

Pretty soon our kids are going to leave the nest. We will be a little sad. We will also be really excited.

And Mom and Dad will do it all over again.

See? Falcons are people, too!

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Think I'm in the Minority

I keep hearing from people about how hot and yucky it is. How they are going to melt. How the bugs are conspiring to pick them up and carry them away.

Yeah, right. We have had 900 days of cold, people! We've been in sweaters! We've been in jackets! We've been under umbrellas! And tarps! IT IS ABOUT TIME FOR SOME HEAT!

Amy--who is a cold freak--keeps telling me about the gross, awful heat. This is the same girl who went for a walk in the rain. On purpose. And it was a cold rain, too! So now it has become a joke to see what kinds of comments we get on the weather. Amy even wanted to start keeping score on the point board, but I nix'd the idea, citing the fact that we didn't keep score on when people whined about the cold. (Of course, since she's the official score-keeper, she could pretty much do whatever she wanted. But shhh... don't tell!)

I just want to say, for the record--I LOVE THE SUMMER! It is warm and glorious and colorful. You get to wear sandals; or no shoes at all! You get to drink cold and wet and wonderful stuff without freezing to death afterward. There is watermelon. And cookouts. And it stays light forever.

So, let me know if you actually witness someone getting carried away by the bugs. Then--and only then--I MIGHT change my mind. In the meantime, pull out the squirt guns, the sunscreen, and the lawn chairs. Here's to a long and prosperous summer for us all!

Another Conversation...

Just this morning I was thinking (for no apparent reason) how my sweetheart is nothing like what I expected in a husband, and so much more! As I pondered I thought, "I guess I really expected my dad to be my husband!"


One of my dad's most lovable attributes is that he is a HOPELESS romantic. Lucky Mom! But Spencer is uncomfortable with much of the attention that would come with some of the activities that I would simply term "Romantic." As the years have passed I have come to realize that it doesn't matter what the world sees because privately Spencer and I have the best ever romance.


These are the things I pondered this morning. And then this afternoon I had an email conversation that went like this:


Spencer: Can you email me or text?

Aundrea: Is THIS good enough? Or shall I also tell you that I think the sun rises and set in my world because of you? Just wondering...

Spencer: May there never be cloudy days. I love you.


Here come the gratitude tears. Awww...

A Conversation at Work...

"Tayler!"

"I'm coming! Right now!"

***You know, I think I've had this conversation at home!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Are We A Judeo-Christian Nation?

I stole this link from Marianne, but it's because it's one that's really made me think this week. Thank goodness for talented people who can and do respectfully and articulately express truth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpQOCvthw-o

Monday, June 22, 2009

Spotlight On..


My dad, Jon Fish, is one of my heroes. Here is a non-comprehensive list of the stuff I love about my dad:


1. He always let me pick on him. No, really pick. He had little things in his eyelashes that I wouldn't be able to even see now, but I could sure find them when I had a child's eagle eyes.


2. He has a happy laugh, and he uses it often.


3. He always respected my ideas and opinions. Even when I was very young. And even when we disagreed. Still does. (By the way, he's usually right.)


4. He has loved all of us in a stupid, crazy way our entire lives. As soon as I married Spencer, he started loving him in the same wonderful way.


5. He's crazy about our children. Even when they're children. And even when they're 10-year-olds. And even when they're teenagers. And even when they're grown-ups!


6. There is never any competition for Daddy's love. He loves us all, and he does for us what he can when he can. The same goes for my brothers and sisters, and we all just know it and accept it.


7. He taught me to appreciate musicals. And music. Including how to hear a part other than soprano.


8. He loves my mom. This should be listed at #1. Whatever else my dad is, he is completely, 100% devoted to Mom.


9. He has never stopped teaching. I love the things I learn from him.


10. He takes care of himself. A couple of years ago Daddy was diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes. He promptly started exercising, eating right, and losing weight. He's currently doing well without being medicated. He told me once that diabetes would get him in the end, but it was going to be a long fight because he was going to win for as long as he could.


Days like Father's Day are days when I wish I was in California with the majority of my family. I miss them terribly and just want to be there with them for "stuff." But I'm a lucky daughter who hears from my daddy daily (more than once, thanks to email), and I love him more than I could ever express.


Thanks, Daddy, for your example and your love. I love you TONS!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dear Amy

Today is the kind of June day where you would have gone outside for your daily lunch walk, come back in, and said, "It is so gross outside! Ugh. It's too hot!" While I, on the other hand, went out and sat basking in the beautiful sun, my arms and face slowly burning, enjoying the soft breeze and thinking, "This is the perfect day!"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Life Goes On

Briana was well by yesterday morning. Thank goodness, no swine flu. Mary Ann's daughter is well, too. So far no one else in our families is sick. I guess we dodged the bullet on that one. But we had to err on the side of safety since we are in the first pandemic declared by the WHO in 41 years. Wild!

Today my mom is having a biopsy on her breast. We are in fast and pray mode for her.

Amy is loving Montana--great news for her!

Work is crazy busy. This is the second week of only one clerk, so everything is piling up fast. Since I was gone before, my pile seems especially large. The good part of that is that it makes the day fly by!

Taylor is filling out job apps. Briana is filling out invitation envelopes for our graduation party.

Spence and I are headed to a senior recital for Briana's friend, Anna Willis, this evening.

We all went to the dollar movies for Family Home Leaving last night. We saw "17 Again." Again.

So, all in all, life goes on.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Something That Has Never Happened to Me Before

My secretary in Primary has the flu. The swine flu. So does her husband and their 5-year-old daughter.

Our daughter has a raging fever and a terrible cough.

My 1st counselor's daughter has a raging fever.

Is it the swine flu? We don't know. These kids just got home from 3 days of camping in the rain and getting sunburned in between showers. But the CDC website this morning taught me that you can be contagious for 24 hours before you exhibit symptoms of the swine flu.

So.... The Sunday dilemma.

Marianne can't come to church. Should Mary Ann and/or I go to church? Do we let Lara take over all of Primary? Or do we go, running the risk that we could have something contagious that we could give to 40 children and their teachers?

I called Brother Curtis, who counseled with the bishop, and it was decided that our ward would not hold Primary today. All other meetings were still on, and parents could take their children home or take them with them to their other meetings. (I hope they took them home. But that's just me.)

Mary Ann and I (and the other 15 members of our two families) stayed home.

Things That Make Me Happy


This picture actually shows a number of different things:
1. Spencer.
2. Spencer sleeping peacefully. (At least he was till the flash went off.)
3. My soft down pillow (under his right arm).
4. A good book.
5. Clean sheets.
And then there is:
A warm, dry house.
Warm running water.
Laundry when it is done.
Singing.
Laughter.
Homemade bread.
The whole family around the dinner table.
The whole family.
Ibuprofen for aches and fever.
Solarcaine for sunburns.
Computers and blogging. :)

A Legacy of Laundry

Briana has the flu. Between that and camping, this is what our house looks like:

In every. single. room. These pix were taken after I'd already done, folded, and put away two loads. I've lost track of how many loads I've done today.

(sigh.)

It Was a Great Conference

I wish I could tell you that I loved being soaked clear through. I wish I could tell you that I smiled the entire time. I wish I could tell you that I was thrilled with the behavior of the kids and all of their leaders. I wish I could tell you that I wasn't too cold. I wish I could tell you that I love mosquitos.

What I can tell you is that the Goliath of wet and cold kicked my butt. But I stayed, so that was a small victory.

I can also tell you that all of those things that made this youth conference difficult were the same things that made it worthwhile.

It was a good experience. It was a good conference.


This was our ride for two days. Notice the pews on the "hay wagon." They came from an old church. Since there was no hay, the kids were calling it a "Pew Wagon." Spencer installed the shade umbrellas--turns out they were a godsend! Spencer and Kevin Bateman (the tractor and wagon owner) took turns as tractor drivers while I sat with the wards. (My bum hurts! :) )


This acreage at Mosida, on the southwest side of Utah Lake, is owned by the Church. It is mostly desert (part of it is farmed). They host "treks" there, so they had these handcarts on-site. We used them to haul our gear from the lodge to our campsites. This is Ashtyn and Michelle Winn.


This is our ward (Heritage 3rd ward). We wish we could have spent more time with them, but we were part of the stake committee, so we stayed on the hayride the entire time.



Here we are, ready to begin our conference. It's Thursday. See that patch of blue sky? Look carefully. It won't be there for long.


This is our 2nd ride of the day, Friday, with 2nd ward. We were caught in a DOWNPOUR! The tarps are covering everyone else in the ward, with just a few of us standing beneath umbrellas.



The hayride took the youth to the Valley of Elah, where Spencer taught the youth to throw tennis balls with a real sling at a life-size Goliath. This Goliath was painted on a 12-foot skid (from Boeing), which we planted three feet into the ground. It was painted by one of our stake youth, Michael Call, who is 17 years old.


This Goliath, painted by 16-year-old stake youth Jill Duncan, was posted near the lodge. We took pictures with each ward by this one after their hayride was finished. This picture was taken after our 2nd day, which was, thankfully, sunnier than Thursday. You can tell, because I'm seriously sunburned. :)

Here are some of our youth doing a Polynesian dance for our Saturday celebration activity (Ashtyn and Briana are at the far end. It turned out so good!


This is one of the short skits about facing our own Goliaths (Megan is trying to find the escape button as computer messages about "bad stuff" pop up in front of her). You can see the choir in the background.

We had hoped to be more in the open for this activity, but with rain threatening, we moved everyone under tarps. It turned out fine. We had a choir, the dancers, these skits (which were performed while the choir sang), and an activity where everyone got to do chimes together. Then the stake president spoke. We opened and closed with prayer. After the closing prayer we sang Becky's song (I taught the chorus to everyone on the hayride). It sounded so beautiful! The stake YW presidency wants to add this song to our conference DVD. Hooray for Becky for writing this wonderful song for us!

My Babies

I have three babies, did you know?

Two of the babies are the falcon chicks that are currently living at the top of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in SLC. I watch them all day at work. They grow amazingly, and we have begun to identify them. Amy and I will have to come up with wonderful names for them. But for now you will be glad to know that we have decided that one is a boy, and the other is his older, bossy sister. Maybe we'll name them Aundrea and Brant. Or Briana and Taylor.

I went away to Youth Conference and came back to find both babies have survived. They have grown a ton. They have gray and black feathers. They are not wobbly. Amy took good care of them in my absence.

My other baby is Baby Thomas, whose arrival is expected some time toward the end of October. He's kinda naughty because he's made his mommy really sick for far too long. But he's also beautiful. I know, because I've seen his picture. And his mother is as beautiful as they come, both inside and out. So how can Tommy be anything BUT beautiful? His mommy says I can be Aunt Aundrea to this precious boy and that I can munch him as much as I want.

But I went away to Youth Conference and came back to learn that Thomas and his parents are probably going to move to Montana. All I can do when I think about it is cry. I will miss Amy terribly. I won't get to munch on Tommy at all (because by the time I see him, he won't let me).

But I know Amy will take good care of him in my absence.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Good News and Bad News

The good news is that this week is finally youth conference.
The bad news is that we still have a TON of things to finish up.
The good news is that we have tonight and tomorrow night after work to finish.
The bad news is that we have a lacrosse banquet tonight and a youth conference activity (attending the the Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication) tomorrow night.
The good news is that we have a lacrosse banquet tonight and a youth conference activity (attending the the Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication) tomorrow night.
The bad news is that we still have a TON of things to finish up.

--Are you seeing a cycle here?--

The good news is that in 5 days youth conference will be a happy memory and we will be home, ready to sleep in our own bed!
The bad news is that we won't be sleeping much over the next 5 days.
The good news is that it will all be worth it.

Happy Youth Conference!

On my desk is a lovely wooden box, created by our super-talented guys in the cabinet shop. This box was made specifically to hold gas receipts. It is even labeled.
Today this was in that box:


I'm assuming it's labeled because I won't know what it is based on where it is located, where it shows the purchase took place, or that I cannot read the words GAS TOTAL on the receipt. I am grateful to whoever labeled this receipt in red letters for me.

That was very helpful!

But what I can't figure out is why the words are in quotation marks. It's not a real receipt, only a quoted one? This phrase was coined by someone important, like Winston Churchhill? It's the title of a forthcoming novel?

If you can shed any light on this, let me know.

And stop putting stuff in quotation marks unnecessarily!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

P.S.

The car's name is Roxanne (from "The Goofy Movie").

Youth Conference and the rest of a Saturday

This is our kitchen table:


Here is what we did today, in random order: Washed 3 loads of laundry (Aundrea). Folded 6 loads of laundry (Aundrea). Unloaded and loaded the dishwasher twice (Spencer, Landon, Aundrea). Mowed the lawn (Taylor, Ashtyn). Went to Batemans to check on Goliath, stones, and a foal (Aundrea, Briana). Went to two different art stores for paint for Goliath (Aundrea, Taylor, Ashtyn). Mounted three umbrellas on Batemans' trailer (Spencer, Taylor). Delivered over 10 graduation candy necklaces (Briana, Aundrea). Held practice for our actors (Aundrea, Briana, Taylor, Ashtyn). Strung about 200 chimes (see above) (Spencer, Aundrea, Briana, Taylor, Ashtyn, Landon). Made "sheet music" rolls for chimes activity (Aundrea). Made lunch (Ashtyn, Taylor). Made dinner (Aundrea). Made a birthday present (Ashtyn). Went to a birthday party (Ashtyn). Went to a family fun fair (Landon). Drove people around (Spencer, Briana, Aundrea). Had an interview at the temple (Spencer). Ran (Spencer). Helped Bert (Spencer, Landon). Gave a lesson on how to drive a stick shift (Aundrea). Drove to Magna in said stick shift-ed vehicle (Briana). Went to a drive-in movie (Briana). Shopped (Spencer, Aundrea, Taylor, Briana, Ashtyn). Prepared Sharing Time (Aundrea). Called chimes choir participants (Aundrea). Attended a baptism (Aundrea). Changed bed sheets (Aundrea). Burned fingers and/or hand (Spencer, Aundrea, Briana, Landon). Typed words to "As Zion's Youth in Latter Days" (Aundrea). Miscellaneous: shower, do hair and makeup, brush teeth, read, nap, laugh, cry (this was NOT Aundrea), blog, sudoku, pray, feed and play with the dog.
Here is what we did NOT do today: Homework! :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Briana's new ride





She hasn't name it yet. I think the only fitting name is Lightning, but it's her car to name. :)

video

It's official!




Ashtyn's 9th grade portfolio presentation




Ashtyn had a graduation today, too. She is finishing 9th grade at Entheos Academy, which has been a very good fit for her. Ashtyn was required to do a presentation to family and friends, school board members, and teachers. She looked lovely. She had put together a fabulous PowerPoint presentation, and she was confident and well-spoken. I was very proud of her today. She had a graduation ceremony tonight, which we missed in order to go to Briana's commencement. At her ceremony, she received a special certificate for science and another for language arts. Each of the sixteen 9th graders was highlighted by one of the middle school teachers. Ashtyn was the very last one, and her teacher got a bit misty as she talked about Ashtyn.
She is a beautiful, talented, happy, confident, and capable young woman. We are very proud of her!

Our beautiful graduate






The white cord is for lettering in FCCLA. The brown cord is for her enhanced diploma (Technology--Sewing).




Top picture is Ms. Nielson (the sewing teacher). The bottom picture is Ms. Peterson (the foods teacher). These women were mentors for Briana this year as teachers, FCCLA leaders, and friends

The end of sophomore year



Tay took pix of lots of his friends. His friends took a couple of pictures of him. These are the ones I like. :)

Briana with her loving grandparents



Bri's Grandma Ruth made her this beautiful afghan for graduation. Bri was thrilled with it. Isn't it lovely?

Briana's new look



In preparation for graduation, Briana went to visit with Chelsea. This is how she looked afterward. She looks adorable--and so grown up!

Woot 2!!


VICTORY!!

Woot!


HE DID IT!! (Completely and officially finished with his bachelor's as of Sunday, with a combined total GPA of 6.5!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thank you, Ma'am

Last night I went to Robert's, and as I left, the young clerk said, "Thank you, Ma'am. Have a nice evening."

Ma'am? Can I really be old enough that the clerks consider me a "Ma'am?"

I was discussing this with a woman on the bus this morning. She said that she doesn't mind being "Sister" somebody, but she can't quite get to "Mrs."

I have been Sister Hill since right after we were married. Many of the young ladies we lived near didn't like being "Sister." It made them feel old. Plus, "Sister" was their mother-in-law's name. I always liked being Sister Hill. It was the only difference between me and some of the children. (Really. The ONLY difference.)

When I started teaching preschool I was Mrs. Hill, because my first name is pretty hard for toddlers to say, especially compared to "Hill." Mrs. Hill sounded like a teacher, which is what I wanted. Plus, I had been Mrs. Hill at our children's school. If you volunteer for your children at a school, you are entitled to be known as Mrs.

I remember looking in the mirror one day when I was about 25 and realizing that my body had stopped growing up and was starting to grow old. My eyelids are what I particularly remember, because they didn't behave in the same elastic way that they always had. Perhaps I was sleep-deprived. Perhaps I hadn't drunk enough water. Or maybe my body was getting older (the most likely scenario). I wish I had written the date in my journal. Dear Journal, Today I am growing older. It happened overnight.

Now I am 40 years old. My body is definitely not what it once was, but I am a relatively healthy, attractive woman. I am also a happy woman. I believe that I have learned a lot of things along the road of life; but I'm still just me.

I'm the same me who toilet papered a lot of houses, danced during halftime, sang in productions, and felt like a princess in a beautiful dress. I'm the same me who ran around a high school and then a college campus, who held my own brand new babies, and stayed up till all hours of the night.

After my conversation on the bus this morning, I walked past the Lion House and the Beehive House on my way to the COB. I can't remember which one it was now, but my grandma lived in one of these houses for a time as a young, single, working woman. That would have been in the 1940's. She was wearing stiletto heels, cute dresses, nylons with a seam up the back, and her hair in funny curls. I was not even a thought in her mind. My mother probably wasn't even a thought in her mind! But I can't help but wonder if she looks at her 80-something self in the mirror sometimes and thinks, "Where did you come from? I'm still that girl!"

Or pauses when the sales clerk says, "Thank you, Ma'am."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Work Conversations 3

Kenny was telling Kim all about what he missed at lead meeting this morning: big, huge sweetrolls with creamy white icing and nuts all over the top; and frappé—a fancy word for punch—with it. It was creamy and frosty and cool. You know frappé, right? It’s that slushy stuff they serve at weddings. If you go to a wedding and you ask for another serving of slush, they think you’re really tacky. You have to ask for frappé, and they will think to themselves, “Now THERE’S a classy guy!”

Can you hear Kenny saying all of this?

So, I’m laughing like crazy, but mostly on the inside, because I don’t want to ruin his story. So Kim comes out and says, “Did you really have treats in lead meeting today?” And I could not tell a lie, so I said, “Yes, we did.” And his eyebrows go into this hairline and he says, “Oh, really?” And I nod seriously and say, “You really missed out.” Then I held up my bowl of chocolate kisses and offered him one.

And Kenny didn’t even backpedal one little bit!

Miracles, Celebrations, and Tender Mercies

Spencer finished school on Sunday. He turned in his very last paper. He earned an A- in the class. He is now officially a man with a bachelor's degree. Way to go, Baby!

Briana came home from school yesterday with a lovely baby blue cap and gown in tow. After paying some fines and finishing some work, she is qualified to graduate from high school. Commencement is on Thursday evening.

I'm so proud of both of them!