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


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.


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.


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.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Things I Like

  1. The movie "Lost in Austen." It is about a young woman from modern NY who finds herself in Elizabeth Bennet's place in her favorite book "Pride and Prejudice." That's where the fun begins.
  2. The book "Hunger Games." Set in the future, it is a story of one girl's survival in a brutal contest of strength, skill, and wits.
  3. The book "Enchanted, Inc." The main character is an Immune, someone who cannot be influenced by magic, which makes her the perfect person to work for a magical company. Filled with goblins, fairies, wizards, and humor.
  4. Berry parfait. EVERYBODY loves parfait! Non-fat vanilla yogurt, blackberries (I used the frozen ones) and Fiber One cereal. Crunchy, sweet, beautiful, and less than 200 calories. Yum!
  5. It is my friend. Check it out!
  6. Taylor, who is working on his Eagle project. Finally.
  7. Briana, who is seriously deliberating about school and other options. I'm proud of her for trying to do the right thing.
  8. Ashtyn, who has learned to crochet rag rugs while at YW camp.
  9. Landon, who looks adorable in braces (I'm hoping to post pics tonight).
  10. Spencer, who is my cheerleader (even though he could probably walk faster than I run).
  11. The Children's Justice Center 5K & Teddybear 1K, for which we signed up today.

Who Knew?

  • that I could jog three whole miles? (There was one very short water stop.)
  • that I would buy a cookbook? (I still hate cooking, but this was VERY intriguing, very cute, and every recipe was under 200 calories!)
  • that on August 10, 2009, I would wish I had a sweater while waiting for the bus? (Mildest, most beautiful summer EVER!)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

21 Years

I know that you will not be able to believe me (because of my youthful looks, I'm sure) when I tell you that Spencer and I have been married for 21 years.

That's a long time, but it just doesn't seem possible.

21 years is long enough to:

  • Have four children.
  • Live in 3 different apartments and 3 different houses in 4 different cities in 2 different states..
  • Travel to Mexico, Washington, D.C., the Caribbean, and Alaska, along with smaller weekend and day trips.
  • Work for a lot of different people and companies.
  • Graduate from college (both of us).
  • Have a miscarriage.
  • Get laid off from work.
  • Bury a brother and three grandmothers.
  • Drive about 50 different cars.
  • Have 4 different dogs.
  • Have a HUGE plethora of callings.
  • Gain some weight and lose some weight.
  • Be diagnosed with a chronic illness.
  • Hold 14 Hilladays (with #15 scheduled in a few weeks).
  • See a lot of movies, change a lot of diapers, wash a lot of dishes, fix a lot of cars, mow a lot of grass, eat a lot of popcorn (and maybe a few M&M's), and do a lot of kissing.

Last night the two of us went to dinner and a movie and discussed some of our memories. And suddenly 21 years seemed like a long time. I was barely 20 when we got married, so I've been married longer than I was single (that distinction won't come for Spencer for a couple more years).

But the years have flown by, and we have been extremely happy together. We LOVE our children and enjoy them so much! We love each other and are the best of friends. I've always been able to trust him. He has always listened to me. We laugh a lot and work a lot and play a lot.

I love you, Baby! Thanks for 21 beautiful years--I think the best is yet to come!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Proud of Myself!

About 3 weeks ago I went jogging for the first time. It was ugly. My muscles hurt, my heart beat about 400 times per second, and my lungs burned.

This past Saturday morning I got up early, but not as early as Spencer, who was running* 12 miles. I started going north, and when I had reached 1/4 mile I was not happy. But I could see Spencer and his running buddy coming toward me, so I couldn't stop (it was a pride thing). By the time we passed one another (and I got a little bit of encouragement), I was almost at 1/2 mile. So I started telling myself, "I can get through one more song on the MP3 player." Then another. And so on. Pretty soon I was at a mile and starting to think I might be able to do the 2 miles I was scheduled to do. At nearly 1.5 miles my muscles were beginning to whine a little bit, and I thought, "I'll do a short rest at 1.5 miles." As I got closer to that mark I thought, "I'll finish this song, and then rest." The song ended after the 1.5 mile turn, and all of a sudden I thought, "Holy cow! I think I can do this!" So I kept jogging for a couple more songs. When the third song started I knew I was going to make it, and I did.

Spencer and Kent came into the house after their run. When they heard that I'd done two miles (as opposed to their twelve) they both cheered and high-fived (hooray for your own personal cheering section!). I was so proud of me!

Yesterday I was supposed to jog 1.5 miles, but Spencer needed a runaway, so we left the house for a while. Today I was scheduled for just a mile. So I thought I'd try to combine them (a little bit), and I jogged 2 miles. I'm really slow (two miles took a half hour), but I got into a rhythm before the .5 mile mark this time. I still talk my way through songs (thanks for the playlist, Taylor!), but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be able to do that 5K in a week and a half. I'm getting excited.

*At best I can only call what I do "jogging." But at the pace Spence runs, it's definitely "running."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happiness is...

...gathering the family for prayer, and then spending 1/2 hour just talking and laughing and teaching and learning.

...feeling the Holy Ghost as people you love in your family, ward, and neighborhood share their feelings about the gospel and the Savior.

...knowing and hearing that your son has a testimony.

...receiving hugs from many little children.

...watching your daughter take a leadership role among her peers.

...listening to your son reverently perform a sacred ordinance.

...crying as valiant children sing: "We are children holding hands around the world, like an army, with the gospel flag unfurled."

...having a dear friend take your hand to lend comfort and support when your heart might break.

...knowing that you are leaving loved ones in wonderful hands.

...delicious dinners!

...having a cherished friend take you in her arms and whisper, "I love you."

...knowing that there is more to life than mortality.

...singing praises to God with extremely talented people who share your convictions.

...having your children greet you happily when you walk in the door.

...getting to climb in bed with your best friend to end a beautiful day.