Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

My first date with Spencer almost wasn't.  He was the 4th date I had that week, which is evidence of the theory of Feast or Famine.  The first 3 dates were not that great.  Except for the one that was REALLY awful, I don't really even remember who my dates were with or what we did.  But it was enough for me to swear off dating.  I was ready to call Spencer and tell him that I was unable to get together with him.

Fortunately, I lived with and was raised by Ms. Dependable; therefore, I did not feel that I could cancel with Spencer, when he had been planning for over a week.

Spencer and I have been together exclusively since that first date.  It has been 23 years ago, yesterday, that we had that date.

When we were dating we often put our noses and foreheads together to talk.  Yesterday he left the stand just before Sacrament Meeting began.  He knelt on the bench in front of me, leaned over, and put his nose and forehead on mine and said, "It is an anniversary today." 

My heart went pitter-patter.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Miracles!

Subject: The dockster just called




…tissue was clean – all is well



No evasion into the nodes…

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Just Wanna Be Home

1.  Spencer
2.  Our children
3.  A razor
4.  My pillow
5.  Spencer doesn't snore.  Also, if he gets up before the sun, he doesn't talk to me.
6.  My drugs (My head is spinning, because I forgot one of my prescriptions.  Now that I haven't taken it since Tuesday morning, I'm kinda miserable.).
7.  I'm stuck between flights for 2 1/2 hours in Phoenix, AZ.  There is no question that Phoenix is a lovely place.  And while PHX may be "The Friendliest Airport in America," it's still just a dumb airport.  Why don't they have movie theatres in airports?
8.  My gloves.  It's 75 degrees outside, but I am stuck IN the airport, and my hands are freezing!
9.  Three days is a long time to be away from home, the routine, and FAMILY.

I brought a book to read.  I was in Phoenix for a couple of hours on Tuesday, too, so I finished my book.  So I went into the airport bookstore and chose a book.  That's scary--What if I hate it?  What if it's boring?  What if it's crass?  I chose a book by an author I had read before.  The book iss not bad, but I don't love it. 

CAN I BE HOME YET?!

Friday, December 10, 2010

It Never Goes According to Plan..And That Is Good!

You know that I have started an online MBA program.  I finished my first course, which is a required course for all students of that university.  Basically it is a "How-To" course:  How to enroll is each class, how to find books and other sources online, how to contact people when you need help, how to submit assignments.  It was fairly straight-forward.

After completing that class I had to get enrolled.  It's not difficult, but it is the first step in getting my online access to about 400,000 things.

I thought that perhaps I would be able to spend some time doing school work during these days away from work and home.  But, alas, it has not worked out that way.  I'm still waiting for all those access things to be done.

That's a bit of a disappointment.

HOWEVER...

I have had the chance to do some visiting and some cleaning and some driving and some Christmas-gift designing and some TV-watching and some more visiting.  And I found the frozen yogurt shop, which is very important.

This has been a little vacation with a big slice of peace of mind.  Tomorrow I will get on an airplane and head back to "Life As We Know It."  The school plan will kick in; the Christmas shopping and gift-assembling will need to be done; the emails will have to be answered; the RS lesson will have to be taught.  For now I'm basking in the fact that life did not go the way it was planned.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Was Us for a Long Time

Update on the Girl's Mom

Yesterday the girl's mother had surgery--a single mastectomy of the left breast.  The girl's mom chose that route to simply get the cancer out of her body.  The doctors tested her lymph nodes, and the preliminary results look very good.  The mass they found in the breast was quite large (golf-ball size in diameter, but the girl doesn't know how thick), and it contained about 25 "peppercorns" of black cancer.

The girl's mom is feeling quite good.  Her appetite last night was good, as was her sleep.  Unless something goes wrong with the drainage, etc., her mom will be home from the hospital within a few short hours.

The girl's dad said that her mom cried a lot when she was in recovery.  But the girl and her mom know that this surgery makes her no less a woman--especially when it comes to how the girl's dad feels--than she has always been.  The girl and all of her family are very grateful for your thoughts and your prayers and your kind words.  The family is also grateful for good medicine, good doctors, and good caregivers.  And also that this surgery was "textbook" and went so smoothly.

The girl also needs to tell you that she is very in love with her wonderful husband who made it possible and supported her in her choice to travel to see her mom for a few days.

The girl is incredibly blessed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Laughs

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Stressful Week

Monday:  Sterling Singers Christmas Concerts at Libby Gardner hall (UofU).  I left work at 3:00 to make it on Trax (with Briana and Bestest-Friend Brittany) to the U.  We sang till our chops were busted.  I took a call from my dad between rehearsal and our first concert.  He was informing me that Mom was having a single mastectomy on Tuesday the next week.  I cried, and many of the SS-es came to make sure I was OK and give me a hug.  Some of them were people I didn't even know!  Kind people are a blessing. 

We got home at 10:30 p.m.  It was a very long, cold walk from the Trax station to the Conference Center, where our car was parked.  Bri and I have decided that we have already seen enough of the Christmas lights on TSQ.  Our family disagrees.

Tuesday:


Woot, woot!  I drove home, picked up Ash and Landon, and we headed to Murray High School for Eagle Gate College's graduation.  Both Spencer and Briana graduated with highest honors, thus the gold ropes.  I'm so proud of both of them!  Afterward we took other pictures and did some visiting, then went to dinner.  We got home around 10:00 p.m.

Wednesday:  My first day of school at WGU, but the computer was having issues.  I was so frustrated!  I didn't get much done, but I made a showing.  Between shopping trips for...

Thursday:  The ward Christmas party, which was my last activity because the Quorum of the Twelve love me just enough to change the Handbook and eliminate this position altogether.  I left work early so I could get set up at the Church.  Briana and Landon helped me set up tables and chairs.  Many HUGE thanks to Stacy, Brenda, and Jen, who decorated multiple tables each.  Some of the YW in our ward also did tables; Ashtyn and Briana decorated the stage.  Did I take pictures?  No, of course not.  You'll have to take my word for it--it was cute!  We had dinner and played a game involving white elephant gifts and Christmas music.  Then we cleaned up and came home.  I was home by 8:30, so I went to school for a little while.  More computer issues, but not as many as the night before.

I also booked a flight to Sacramento for next week's surgery.

Friday:  Spencer had massages, so I came home and went to school for a long time.  And FINALLY got a lot done.  We went to bed after 11:00.

Saturday:  Did a bit of early shopping with my sweetheart, then headed to Magna for this:


This Beverly Hillbillies/Woolus Atkinson load, headed to the dump, is what is left of the carpet in my brother and sister-in-law's house, along with some couches they are dumping.

Then I came home and went to school while Spencer and Briana went to help lay flooring.  You'll have to check out Becky's blog for those pictures.  Spence is pretty sore today.  It's taking a long time to heal from that ladder fall.

This is what Ashtyn did with her day:


Ashtyn's projects are always expensive. We purchased:  Meringue powder, powdered sugar, candy canes, hard Christmas candies, SweetTarts, gumdrops, Dots, Neccos, Smarties, pretzels, sugar cones, LifeSavers, Skittles, licorice pull-aparts, Gobstoppers, another cake-decorating tip, and probably more. But it turned out darling, and she had fun doing it.  Her house is even made of real gingerbread!  Because of the expenses she incurs, we always tell Ashtyn she's fired, because we can't afford her.  But who could really fire Ashtyn (who had a stressful week of her own)?

Taylor--who sleeps here, but we never see him because of WJHS Madrigals performances--called to see if he could bring the Mads over last night.  There were about 15 kids here, in addition to our 4 and Logan.  Colton POH-lujek said I'm the best mom ever, and some of the kids said I could be MadriMom.  I think that was because of all the candy lying around the house, but I decided to just say, "Thank you."  This group even sang a couple of songs for us.  We love it when our children bring their friends over!  (I bet the Fishes downstairs don't love it quite as much.)  Spencer and I went to bed at 11:00.  I don't know what time the house quieted for the night.

Work was also crazy-busy (just the way I like it) this week; and also my headlights died just as I was leaving for work one day, so I was very late that morning.  I had to wait for the sun to come up before I could drive anywhere.  Why do stupid things like that always happen in the winter?

I am looking forward to a day of worship today, before beginning another hectic week.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! And Merry Christmas!

We have had a sweet, relaxing, beautiful Thanksgiving weekend.  We spent the evening of Thanksgiving Day at Jenny's home, surrounded by much of Spencer's family.  It was a lovely dinner, and we had some fun conversation as well.

Friday morning our boys and our nephew got up early to go Black Friday shopping.  Why?  I don't know.  They didn't know, either, except they wanted to say they'd been shopping on the morning of Black Friday.

Black Friday is also know (this year) as Briana's birthday.  Our baby is now 20.  It's funny how some things can just feel like a sock in the stomach.  Our daughter is 20.  Twenty.  How can that be?  Believe me, it's been a fantastic 20 years.

Last night Spencer and I wanted to go out together, but we couldn't find it in us to leave our bedroom.  So he watched a movie and I read a book and we went to bed early.  Then we got up this morning and went on our date.  We had breakfast at Village Inn.  I have to say that these morning dates are some of my favorites because we are both awake and looking cute and happy.  :) 

Our conversation ran the gamut, but one of the things we discussed was another sock in the stomach:  In just over a year, our Taylor will be 19.  It makes my heart clutch just a little bit.  He will be a fabulous missionary.  I can think of nothing more that I would want for a 19-year-old boy; but my mommy heart cracks a teeny-tiny bit when I think about it.  I don't think that makes me any more weird than nearly every missionary mother on the planet.

It's been another quiet day today, and I'm so thankful!  My heart runneth over (even if I can't find words for it)...

And P.S.  Thank you for all of your kind comments.  The girl's anger has gone.  It hasn't been replaced by anything yet, except a little sock in the stomach whenever she thinks about her mom being sick and far away.  Please continue to pray for the girl and her mother!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Story of a Boob

Once upon a time there was an 18-year-old girl who lived at home, but who attended a YSA ward.  One day a member of the high council told the girl that she should make a more concerted effort to keep her parents informed as to what was happening in her life.  The girl was frustrated that her father had been talking about her to the HC member.  But she was trying to be teachable, so she thought, "You know, I should try harder to keep my parents in the loop."  Later that same day, the HC's wife asked the girl if things at their house had calmed down and then asked her--with great feeling--how her mother was doing.  The girl had had no idea that her mother wasn't perfect and wonderful as always.  But she thought, "If I don't tell them things, I can't expect them to tell me things."

Later that same week, the girl received a letter from a friend which was quite disturbing.  She thought, "This is exactly the kind of thing I ought to tell my parents about.  And as a bonus, they will have some wonderful advice for me."  So she went home and poured out her heart to her parents.  To her surprise and consternation, the girl's father went completely berserk.  He told her she was being stupid and should expect this kind of drama; and he stomped out of the room.

THE GIRL WAS VERY, VERY ANGRY.  She began to cry in frustration and told her mom that it wasn't right for her father to talk about her to the HC member and then keep things from her.  She expressed her opinion that if they wanted to know about her life, it should work both ways.  The girl's mother defended her father (which was the right thing to do) but said that she would discuss this mistake with him.

The girl was not that angry with her parents for another 24 years.  But then one day the girl received a phone call from her parents.  She knew instantly that something was wrong, but it must be something that had just happened because she had just spoken with her mom less than 24 hours ago.  The girl's mother told her that three days previously she had had a biopsy on her breast, and she had learned that day that the results were positive:  she had breast cancer.  The girl's mother explained that they hadn't wanted anyone to worry, so they had not said anything about the biopsy.

THE GIRL WAS VERY, VERY ANGRY.  She understood her parents' point of view, but she disagreed with it.  Maybe there was nothing she could do, but maybe she would be able to pray for her mom.  She felt that there was a double standard, because if something like that had happened to her, she would have been in trouble if she hadn't kept her parents informed.  She knew that her sister--who lives with her parents--was completely in the loop; so why weren't the others informed?  She wondered if her mom remembered how hard it is to not be close to family when things are happening, and how hard it is to feel connected to them, and how much it hurts when she can't be there with them.

The girl is afraid of what emotions will come next.  Fear?  Sadness?  Worry?  But right now, anger rules the universe.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Merry Christmas

This page has my entire Christmas wish list on it!

One from Spencer, one from Dean, one from Gary...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Illness, More Memories, More Fun

Our Ashtyn is sick again.  We thought she might have strep.  That test came back negative.  The doctor thought she might have mono. That test came back negative.  Poor baby!  She's been poked and prodded and checked so many times she is a walking pin cushion.

I was watching my friend, Dorothy, who was having lunch with her daughter and Rachel's boyfriend.  As the two young people bantered back and forth, Dorothy started laughing.  She shook her head as she bounced quietly up and down--and she looked just like my grandma.

Jax called me yesterday to see if they could host a family gathering at our house on Sunday.   We're very excited!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Don't You Love?

Kleenex that doesn't pop up properly.

Head colds.

Party planning.

Noisy water bottles.

I Must Have Lost My Mind

It has been a month since I ran.  I didn't really miss it.  But Bri and I decided we'd better get busy, so last night we went to the Oval as soon as I got home from work.  We were only scheduled to run a mile, and it was fabulous!  It felt so good!  My legs didn't ache.  My breathing never got out of control.  We didn't have to stop.

Awesome.

This morning we got up and went before work.  We did 2 miles.  I felt good.  Briana struggled a bit.  But we were there, and we did it.

I can't believe I'm saying this...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Big Money Movie

If you are old (like me) and grew up in Utah, you might remember The Big Money Movie with Bernie Calderwell.  He was this weird-looking guy in huge glasses who each afternoon "hosted" an old movie on KSL.  I think he might have spun a wheel for prizes or something.  I don't remember the details; because what kid wanted to watch an old movie in the middle of the day?

One day I was at my grandparents' house (in the family room that used to be the garage, which was down a couple of stairs and had RED carpet and lava stone on the fireplace) and started watching this old movie.  This is the exact day I fell in love with Doris Day.  The movie was "Tea For Two," and it is a mu.si.cal. from beginning to end.  I loved it!

After that, I checked in on The Big Money Movie every chance I got.  Nothing was ever as great again.

ANYWAY, I have looked for "Tea For Two" at every video store and on every shelf at Walmart for 30 years.  Others have found it, but I never did.

Welcome, my friends, to the 21st century and NETFLIX (!), who had "Tea for Two."  There are 6 of us using this service, and our children would not let me cut in line for which movie came to the house next, so it has taken several weeks; but "Tea For Two" showed up at our house last night.  Briana sat and watched it with me, and we giggled at how silly it was, and we loved the singing and the dancing.

OK, it didn't move me the way it did when I was a kid, but it was a delicious moment.

And now I have to send it back so "Singin' in the Rain" can come!

Favorite Things

One thing I love about our children is that they are not afraid to laugh out loud.  It tickles me when I'm in another room and they are watching a movie and they all belly laugh.

Yesterday Landon laughed out loud while reading a book at school, and someone told him that is weird--if you can read in your head, why can't you just laugh in your head?

Sad!

Laughter is good.  Children's laughter--even when they are big children--is good. 

Our children are good.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This Was in the Gray (Interoffice) Mail This Morning

My many friends make me very happy!  I smile.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Master's Degree, Here I Come

I have applied to and been accepted for an MBA program through Western Governor's University.  It is all online work. 

I will begin school on December 1st.  Wish me luck!

Woot, Woot!

Spencer passed his certification exam!  Wahoo!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Don't Worry

Taylor made it home.  At 1:40.  He's still among the living.

Neither of us (Spencer was up worrying, too) went back to sleep very quickly.  It was a very late night.

But at 8:00-ish we got up and gathered the family to head to Orem.  The plan was to help my grandparents do some home and yard work, mostly including doing some tree pruning.  Derek was there, along with Brant and their three oldest boys.

The girls and I got there a bit later, but we started dusting and vacuuming.  There was a large, empty box in the living room, so I was taking it out to the truck (where tree branches were also being loaded), when Spencer fell from the ladder.  He hit his head on the tree trunk, and it knocked the wind out of him.  We opted to call 9-1-1.  The emergency operator was wonderful, and the Orem paramedics were fabulous.  Spencer was coherent and thought he was fine, but we both understood that it would be better to have everything checked out.

Coming into the E.R. in an ambulance gets you first-class, fast treatment.  We were back at Grandpa and Grandma's in about an hour. 

Spencer has many scrapes, including a pretty good chunk of skin and hair missing from the back of his head.  He is sore everywhere.  But there are no broken bones, he required no stitches, and he retained his sense of humor.  The ER doc asked him where he felt the most hurt, and he said, "My patella and my rhomboids."  The doctor said, "Where do you work?"  And Spencer responded drily, "Boeing."  The ER doc and nurses and paramedics all got a kick out the fact that someone who worked building airplanes could tell them that his rhomboids and patella hurt.  They looked at me with eyebrows raised and I said, "That's nothin'.  You should hear him at home."

And that, my friends, is just how quickly life can change.  I am grateful that my sweetheart is not more seriously hurt and that our lives did not change drastically in that instant.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I Don't Usually Wait Up, but...

Taylor had to work this evening.  He told Briana that he was going somewhere after work, but she doesn't remember where.  And he will be back late.

So...where did he go?  Who is he with?  What are they doing?  What time is "late"?

And at what point do I consider killing him?  After I've received no response from the 6th text?  After I've called him more than 3 times?  After it's tomorrow?

Just wondering.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

P.S. I Also Wanna Do This

Check this out!

Daring to Dream

When I first started a blog, I wanted to make people laugh.  Never mind that I'm not funny.  :)

This blog has kind of evolved into a journal of sorts. 

My english teacher in 7th and 8th grade, Mr. McCormick, used to say, "Low thinkers talk about people.  Medium thinkers talk about events.  High thinkers talk about ideas."  I don't think I'm a very high thinker, but when something crosses my mind for any length of time, I find myself wanting to write about it.

So I'm combining this blog (which includes all of you, my kind friends, who join me even though I'm not funny), my journal (which often talks about people and events), and my ideas in this post.

The book I'm proofing is called "Dare to Dream" by Whitney Johnson.  Seriously, it's awesome.  Many of you like reading things you can chew on, and this is one of those books.  Make plans now to purchase this book.  It's empowering, it's thought-provoking, it's well-written, it's inspiring.

And I am doing a homework assignment right here.  I'm going to be "inking" what I've been "thinking."  These are some of my dreams.  They will take some time to realize, and they will not happen all at once.  I will probably "go on dates" with each of these dreams in order to decide how far I want to follow them.  Life will definitely take its own twists and turns, making it necessary to re-think and re-evaluate my dreams.  I may forego some dreams for others that are more important to me as time goes by.  But writing dreams and goals down is important, so here goes:

I want a master's degree.  I don't know exactly what I want to do when I grow up, but I do know that I want to be educated.  I also want to have pursued opening the doors that need to be opened in order to get there (wherever "there" is).

I want to act.  I don't care about being famous, but I want to be onstage.

I want to write and publish a book.  I don't know what my book will be, but someday I want to be published--preferably by a major, reputable publishing company.  I don't care about making money.  I just want to do it and do it well.

"If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly."  --G. K. Chesterton

I think I can do just about anything badly.  I can only hope that the practicing will help me to eventually do these things well.

Therefore, I'm giving it a shot!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm a Sicko

This morning I took an allergy pill and took Landon to the orthodontist.  By the time his ortho appointment was finished, I was decidedly sleepy. The drive home was eternal.  I was taking Lando to his school when he remembered that he had forgotten his backpack.  The detour home took forever.  I finally got home, undressed, and climbed into bed.  For four hours.

I've fought exhaustion all day. I've also blown my nose enough to use an entire roll of tp and a half of a box of Kleenex.  I stayed awake, though, so I would be able to sleep tonight.

Easy, right?  I should be able to take another allergy pill and say good-bye to the world for 5 -- 6 hours of slumber.

Apparently it doesn't work that way.

In other news, I am proofing a book for DB, and I love it.  When it is published, you might just receive a copy from me.  It's that good.  It's non-fiction, and I think all women of all ages should read it.

The end.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hooray for Brannah!

Yesterday Briana took her national massage therapist certification exam.  She was very, very nervous.  She had a crying meltdown on Sunday.  She asked her dad for a priesthood blessing, which he gladly did for her.

She awoke Monday morning with her hands shaking.  She fixed herself a good breakfast and had a shower.  She did some last-minute studying.

She called me in the afternoon to tell me she'd passed!  Now the school will work on procuring the license, and she will begin looking for work.

Woot!  It's so exciting!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

This has been a good weekend.  When I left work on Friday afternoon, I was wishing it was Monday so I didn't have to face it all; but it's been a lot of fun.

Friday Landon cleaned up the house so he could have his friends over for a Halloween party that night.  We provided treats, and they entertained themselves.  I finally got home at midnight after taking everyone home.  I don't remember the last time I was up till midnight.  I must be getting old.

We awoke to toilet paper in our trees again.  Man!  Those people were up LATE!  When I went to clean up, the kids across the street came over and said, "I don't know why some keeps TP-ing you.  Do you want us to rake your leaves?"  I told them they were fine, and thanks for the offer.  Then--seeing their faces--I said, "You're welcome to come over and rake and play all you want."  The boy yelled, "She said yes!"  And pretty soon there were 5 or 6 children in our front yard, playing in the leaves.  It was adorable.  (Just a few years ago, our children did the exact same thing in our neighbors' yard.  Where is the time going?)

I got a lot of laundry done and cleaned our bathroom and my side of the bedroom, including changing the sheets on the bed.  I finished putting together final touches on prizes, etc. for the ward Halloween party.

At 3:00 Landon and I headed to the church to set up the party.  Three and a half hours later I got home with a lot of stuff and another successful party under my belt.  Many, many thanks to everyone who brought food, helped with clean-up, did games, and just participated.  Kayle and Kaitlyn manned the cake walk, which was organized by Mandy, who also provided some fun Halloween music.  There were some darling, darling costumes, and they were not just limited to the children.  There was plenty of food (my biggest worry).  And Jen had the hit of the night with the donut-eating contest. My hero was Spencer, who was at the store until after the party started (it's hard to eat chili and stew when there are no bowls!). 

Ashtyn had spent the day (about 4 or 5 hours) working on a ceramics project to make up for her attendance in that class.  Within 1/2 hour after she finished, the pot had cracked.  She was devastated.  So Spencer stayed home from the party set-up to help Ashie throw another pot.  After they shopped for me and dropped things off at the church, they left again to go to Dylan's, where Ashtyn asked him to the Sadie Hawkins dance.  She also got texted on Friday night, when Zach asked her to go out with him.  Her first date is on Friday night--they're going to a movie and Jamba.  :)  Once they got back, they came to the church.  Spencer picked up Landon, and they went to get Taylor from work.  Ashie helped me clean up.  Except for Lando, my family missed the party entirely.

I came home and got cute, and Spencer took me to dinner and a movie.  I had gotten to have a bowl of stew at the party, so I just got a milkshake while he had his dinner.  We were both pretty quiet during dinner, but it is a blessing to simply hang out with my sweetheart. We did some quiet visiting and some laughing together.  How I love him!  We saw "Hereafter," with Matt Damon.  It was slow and very long and not at all what I expected.  We were glad to get home and climb into our beds.

Going out meant we missed all of the trick-or-treating this year.  That's the first time EVER for me.  We don't get many t-o-t-ers at our house, so Ashtyn was willing to take care of it. Megan was going to come over and "help." When I left, Logan and Landon were watching a scary movie on Netflix, pausing it to pass out candy.  Taylor worked till 6:00 and then went to the WJHS choir Halloween party.  Briana had gone to a party with friends in Logan. 

Today is church (of course), visiting teaching (no, we DIDN'T procrastinate till the last day of the month), and a choirside with Sterling Singers.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Great Big Stuff

You MUST watch this.  It's Tay's audition that I told you about.  It turns out that someone DID film it.  He's AWESOME!

Those Funny Word Verifications

You know how when you comment on some peoples' blogs you have to do a "word" verification?  The computer spits out some random image that includes letters and sometimes numbers, and you have to type them in a response screen.  I've never really understood what this does, but whatever.

Today I had one that spelled a word:  "PARCHES."  Do you know the meaning of that word?

PARCH
1.  (n.)  Southern Utahn for "porch." (pl.--PARCHES)  All the neighbors were  sweeping their parches in their gargeous arange farmals.
2.  (v.)  Southern Utahn for making one thirsty.  Hiking always parches me.

This makes me think of my grandma, who was Southern Utahn.  Thinking of my grandma makes me smile.

You Shouldn't Go to Walmart

So, it's Thursday night last week, and Team Top Run is staying in the Casa Blanca dive inn and casino in Mesquite, Nevada.  And at 3:30 a.m., we all meet at the car (which is when the picture below--where I'm in my skirt--was taken).  We had a 5-gallon water jug we were going to fill, but no real good place to fill it. So we decided it would just be easier to make a fast stop at Walmart to purchase a couple of gallons of water.

Because I was in the back, and because it was 3:30 a.m. (which is, by definition, NIGHT!), I stayed in the car.  It took quite a while for everyone to get back.  They fill the water jug and climb back into the van, shaking their heads.  Mary Kay then tells this little tidbit:

They found the water, grabbed three gallons, then grabbed a couple of other items.  They stand at the cash register, but no worker is there.  Mary Kay goes to find an employee to ask for someone to come check them out.  She says to the woman, "We're in kind of a hurry here."  The woman responds, "You shouldn't have come to Walmart."

That, my friends, is what we call CUSTOMER SERVICE.  *sigh*

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We Feel the Need, the Need for Speed!

Briana's first run

My team giving my high fives as I run (femininely) by (if you look carefully, you will see that my little finger is raised--[insert eye roll here]).



Our fabulous--and extremely handsome--driver!


Top Run Van 1:  Rich, Briana, Aundrea, Spencer, Kayla, MaryKay, Dan



Team Top Run: Kayla, MaryKay, Aundrea, Dan, Spencer, Sarah, Blake, Jeff, Kari, Bob, Stacy

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dear Amy,

I came back from Las Vegas to 130 emails *sigh*

But now that I’ve gotten things at least sorted, I wanted to thank you for your support and love for Ragnar Las Vegas. You are a dear, cherished, wonderful friend (still!).

And NOW (you lucky lady) I will tell you about the run. Wasatch Back was a very empowering experience for me. It made me feel like I could actually maybe be a runner (although we’re still using that term very loosely). As far as my running goes, I came away from Las Vegas with some goals for my own progress in terms of distance and speed.

But Las Vegas for me was mostly about Briana, which was completely unexpected.

When Spencer realized last week that he would not be able to run, he suggested we have Taylor take his place. Then he said (with Bri sitting there), “Or Briana could do it.” Both Spencer and I immediately jumped on that, knowing how empowering and fun Ragnar had been for both of us. However, the truth was that since Spencer is a strong runner, he had a tough runner position. But when Bri said that she might be interested, we both kinda downplayed the difficulty while playing up her strength and ability to really conquer this.

During Bri’s first leg she had some tough hills. At about Mile 1.5 she came up to where we were ready to support her, and she looked MAD! She said (and I will laugh about this forever, but it wasn’t funny for her), “This is about as flat as my chest!” I ran with her for a bit, and she cried a bit. I told her she was strong. She said she was going to kill your mom because NOT anyone can run a mile. We both laughed a little, and she started a downhill stretch. I told her that the next two miles were downhill, then she had a mile of uphill, and the last mile was downhill. I also told her that Mary Kay and Rich both thought they could take over the remainder of her leg if she wanted them to. By the time we’d gotten that far, she was feeling calmer. We agreed to meet at the bottom of the hill in 2 miles. When we met there, she was good. I asked her if she wanted us to meet her at the end of the next uphill mile, and she said, “No, I think I can do it from here. I’ll see you at the end.”

She was wiped out and very like me in that she didn’t want to talk to anyone at the end of her run. But it gave her some power, and she rocked her second run (which was around 4 miles). She did lots of walking, of course, but she did the distance.

After our van was finished with Leg 2, we went to a hotel room we had gotten, and we all pulled out our sleeping bags and sacked out everywhere. We got about 3 hours of sleep there. When we woke, Bri was nearly instantly in tears and she told me everything hurt and she didn’t know how in the world she was going to do another 6+ miles. I told her not to worry about it because we could all pitch in and do the distance for her. Immediately after that, however, everyone started talking about how tired they were and how everything ached and how they were dreading Run #3. I worried like crazy about Briana.

Our Van 2 had a very difficult night, so we had an extra hour to wait at the exchange, and there were three runners before Briana, so she slept like the dead in the back of the van for another couple of hours. When she woke up, she was feeling so much better. She got some food in her and started preparing for her run (her choice, as I gave her the option again).

Her last leg was on dirt/rock road. It was tough running, but it was flat. We met her at Mile 1.5 and Mile 3, and she was good. When we met her at 4.5, she was hurting mentally. She asked me how much farther, and I told her I thought it was about 1.5 miles, maybe a bit more. She said, “I can do that.”

It was actually a full two miles, but she did it. When we were at the exchange, we could see her way out there, and once she saw the exchange she ran all the way in. There was another team there, and we asked them to make a bridge with us. They were very sweet about it, and they also provided a tp finish line for her to cross. We all yelled and yelled, and I want to cry when I think about the kind support those strangers gave to our runner, who may have had no business being in the race at all.

I gave Bri as much support as I could through all her runs because she was kinda mad at her dad while in the heat of the moment.  But when she finished, he was immediately by her side, and she laid her head on his shoulder while he told her how strong and wonderful she was.

She told me after Leg 1 that she didn’t think Ragnar was as fun as we had made it sound. But after she was breathing again after her last leg, I grinned at her and said, “Determined enough to run a half.” She grinned back and said, “Not stupid enough to run a full.”

We are in training for a half marathon in the spring.

And Briana has a Ragnar shirt and a medal to show to the world how cool and strong and capable she is.

I am very grateful. And proud.

Love to people who make us more than we think we are and more to you (a two-fer!)

Aundrea

P.S. Our team name was “Top Run” (my brilliant idea), and it was really fun. We yelled and texted movie quotes at each other through the race; Mary Kay bought these glow sticks at the dollar store that we waved like we were on a runway; and Stacy lent us the Top Gun soundtrack, which we blasted intermittently throughout the course. So. Much. Fun. At the finish line we all wore our Top Run shirts (I’ll post pix later) and our Aviators. We were very cool. (Who knew when I saw Top Gun 400 times as a teenager that it would be such a huge part of something I did in my 40’s?)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Results of Therapy on 2LL


Thank you, Carol!

I Have Not Done One Thing Right Today

Yesterday I was just mad at everyone I come remotely close to working with.  Fortunately I have therapy readily available on 2LL.  Nevertheless, when 4:30 came, I left work RUNNING.

Today I can't seem to get anything right.

Basically, I vote to go home, go to bed, and start fresh tomorrow.

Or--ya know--try again after lunch.  Whatever.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Did You Get the Memo?

Today is red day.  Nanci and Sharon are in red today, too, but the best part was going to my former home to find Sara and Deb in red as well.


Karleen missed the memo, so she took the picture.  We told her that tomorrow we're all going to wear the same underwear.  Sorry, no pix.  :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

All the World Comes to Me

When I "lived" on 2LL, we always figured we got just about every call there was to get for the COB.  Which we did.

Except, apparently, for those calls that come to the 10th and 11th floors, which all eventually land at the 11th floor receptionist's desk.

Today I covered phones for the receptionist.  I was in Dean's office, doing some filing, when my headset beeped.  I answered "Facilities Finance.  This is Aundrea."  There was a pause, and then my dad said, "Uh, hi, Luv!  What are you doing answering _______'s phones?"

When my dad isn't calling me but gets me anyway, I call that proof that eventually ALL calls come to me. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spotlight On...

Monday night was the fall concert for the WJHS choirs.  For those of you who were not invited, DON'T LOOK AT ME!  The kids called me on my way home from work and said, "Are you coming to our concert tonight?"

(And while I am thinking about it, the Christmas concert will be $5 per person and is a fund raiser for the kids' choir tour.  Tickets go on sale on November 1st.  Taylor doesn't need to raise this money, so call Ashie if you wanna go.)

Anyway, the choirs were all really fabulous, but I gotta give huge kudos to Concert Choir, who seriously wow'd us with "Lord of the Small."  Their diction, their intonation, their balance, their dynamics were all incredible.

The Madrigals are also WONDERFUL, and they look beautiful and oh-so-modest, which I love.

Did I remember the camera?  Of course not.  But hey!  I didn't even know I was GOING to a concert!

Eh, who am I kidding?  I would have forgotten it anyway.  How do I know this?  Because last night was the Spotlight Players auditions for The Wedding Singer, and I did not have my camera there either. 

Mr. DeHaan gave each student involved 4 tickets to give to friends and family.  We went and watched the auditions and then got to vote on who we would choose for the parts in the play.

Ya know those cheesy home videos that people post on You Tube?  And ya know how sometimes those are really cool?  That would have been Taylor last night.  Seriously, he ROCKED his audition and his song and his acting. 

I know, I know, you think I'm exaggerating just because he's my (AWESOME, TALENTED, HANDSOME, AMAZING, WONDERFUL) son.  Well, I'm not. He's seriously a shoo-in for the part he auditioned for.  Seriously.

No, really.  Seriously.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Grounds

If you're itching to see the last of the summer flowers at Temple Square, you are too late.  On the Saturday after General Conference, dozens of volunteers come in and pull out flowers.  When I came in to work on Monday morning, most of the summer flower beds were empty.

One of my gardener friends said, "Yup, this is the beginning of the end."  And then she threw a handful of tulip bulbs onto the bed. 

Which is the beginning of the beginning.

Another Sweet Experience at the Care Center

Everyone should get to hang out with perfect people.  A lot, if possible.

A little is good, too.

Sunday I got to play the piano at our Care Center branch again.  The speaker in sacrament meeting was the mother of one of the residents.  She and her husband have other, older children.  When their youngest was born, she came very prematurely, and the doctors told them that her development would be somewhat slower that other children.  Therefore, the mother didn't think much of it when the baby wasn't doing the things that other "normal" kids did.

It was not until their daughter was 9 months old, they were living in a distant state, serving as mission president and matron, and the baby got ill that they learned that she was "not normal."  I tried to imagine what it must have been like for this mother, the Mission Mom, living far away from home and extended family, to learn that her adorable and adored baby girl was "not normal."  I wondered how many tears and prayers and discussions she and her husband had together, considering what was the best way to care for their daughter and what it would mean for them to have the care of this child through the remainder of their lives and what aspirations and dreams they would never realize for her.

When Jesus Christ visited the people of the Americas, following his Resurrection, He taught and blessed and visited with them--one by one.  He bade them good-bye.  And then--sensing that they did not want him to leave--He said:

"Have ye any that are sick among you?  Bring them hither.  Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner?  Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy."

Vicki was so perfect in her pre-mortal life that she now gets to live in mortality completely free from Satan's influence.  Her parents understand that.  So if Jesus came, would they take their daughter to Him and ask Him to heal her?  And what would He say?  In the eternal perspective, Vicki needs no healing.  If He healed her mortal mind and body, would she then be accountable, and would she know how to use her agency?  Would that truly heal that girl?

The people in the Americas, healed at His hand, knelt before the risen Lord and kissed his feet and bathed them with their tears.

"And it came to pass that he commanded that their little children should be brought.  So they brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him, and Jesus stood in the midst; and the multitude gave way till they had all been brought unto him...and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them."

There is more to this beautiful story, but what struck me was that even if a parent had not taken a child like Vicki to be healed of the Savior, they could certainly have taken her--though in an adult's body--to Him when He gathered the children.  And either way, she would have been blessed at His hands.

It is sweet to be taught of the Holy Ghost.  It is blessed to know the Son of God.  I felt God's love on Sunday, along with profound gratitude.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bless You

Shortly after I started working for the Church, one of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles passed away.  His funeral was on a weekend.  While there were many of our "crew" on the Temple Square campus working the funeral "event," the building was empty and quiet.  I volunteered to be on campus working the telephones and radios during the funeral.

Just before the funeral was to begin, we received a telephone call from the secretary to the First Presidency.  His first words, after introducing himself, were, "Bless you for taking care of us."

My boss daily uses the words "Bless you" as a phrase of thanks.  It would not be meaningful, I am sure, if he seemed insincere or if the words became trite.  But every time he tells me "Bless you," I am grateful, for I believe that somehow God will bless me, just because Dean said so.

And perhaps the greatest blessing is the opportunity to work with good, sincere, imperfect people.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Purple Vibes!


Of the 10 or so secretaries on the 11th floor, 7 of us wore some form of purple today without consulting with one another.  I think mine is more red, but they said that I counted.  :)

Pam (Real Estate), Nanci (Meetinghouse Facilities), Shana (Temple and Special Projects--Headquarters Facilities), Aundrea (Facilities Finance), Amber (PFD--Human Resources), Rebecca (Temple and Special Projects--Headquarters Facilities), Karen (Temple and Special Projects--Interior Design).

Fiddler on the Roof has a 70's ending

In the 1970's movies always had sad endings.  I like to think that the directors, writers, actors, and everyone else simply had faith in the public's ability to think through to the (happy) ending of the movie rather than think that they were all horribly depressed.  For an entire decade.

Anyway, we watched Fiddler on the Roof this week (thank you, Netflix!).  Briana said, "Why do they keep doing those weird camera shots?" 

"It was the 70's," Spencer replied.

"Is this going to have a 70's ending?" she asked.

"I've never seen this movie [insert exclamation here (!)]," he said, "so I don't know.  But it's funny so far."

Two hours later Briana looked accusingly at me as Spencer said, "That was a 70's ending."

Hey!  It's not my fault!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Randomness

When my eyes water and I blink, my eyes splash.  I can prove it, because every time I cry or I go out running or my allergies act up, my glasses are all spotty when I get back.  I had to wash my glasses three times today at work.

My left foot is a half size smaller than my right foot.  I always try on shoes with my right foot so I can be sure to get a shoe that fits that foot.  My left shoe always flops around on or around my foot.  When I walk down stairs in noisy shoes, I sound a bit like a horse:  CLOP, CLOP, CLOP.

I love pink.  I always have.  I also love flowers and ruffles and sparkles and tiaras.  I wish I could dress up in little-girl clothes and pull it off.

I still wear retainers at night.

What's not to love, right?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Memories: Inspired By Ann

On the first day of 4th grade, I got sick.  It wasn't cool, because the first day of 4th grade also happened to be the first day in a new school.  When I came to school on Day Two of 4th grade, I was assigned to a new class.  I had gone to the school to find the original classroom.  Now--just one day later--I had a new teacher in a different part of the school, and I had a hard time finding my class.  Therefore, absent on Day One; tardy on Day Two.  Day One + Day Two = Tears.

But that's not what I wanted to tell you about.

On Day One (you remember, I was sick), Mom took me to the doctor.  She had seen Dr. Ely before, but that's the first time I remember seeing him.  He was a loving, gentle man.  He gave me kisses.  Which a doctor could never do now.  But he was just a sweet, kind man, and I believe he loved his job.

Anyway, Dr. Ely looked me over.  As part of the general examination he checked my eyes, and guess what?  Not only was I sick, I was blind!  Sick + Blind = Tears.

Mom and I did not pass go, and we did not collect $200.  We went straight to the eye doctor and then straight to the department to order glasses.  Which was not cool.  Because what 4th grader wants to wear glasses?  4th grade + Eyeglasses = Tears.

Two. Weeks. later, I had new glasses.  Which I was dreading.  For two weeks.  (Modern-day miracle:  60-minute eyeglasses!)

But they put those hateful specs on my face, and I learned that there were individual bricks on the buildings, there were individual leaves on the trees, and it was really possible to read the street and restaurant signs on the way home!

Oh, lovely, beautiful spectacles!

I never washed my glasses.  I hated the way there was a glare when they were clean.  When they would get particularly bad, my mom would lick her index and middle fingers, hold them up like a number 2, and smudge them down my glasses (one finger for each lens). 

Ann's grandma just cleaned her glasses for her.  My mom licked mine.  But both are sweet memories.

Funny how life is...

That was her way of MAKING me clean my glasses.  I hated it when she did that! 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Following the Prophet--I Am Grateful

I am so glad to have the family that I grew up with.  My parents are about as great as parents get.  My brothers have been my friends, as has my sister.  My siblings married wonderful, wonderful people, who I love.  I ADORE my nieces and nephews.

Two weeks ago my SIL spilled scalding water on herself and got terrible second-degree burns.  Last week my her husband--my brother--got a scrape on his leg, and it turned into cellulitis.  And last night their youngest broke his wrist.  These things are all terrible, and their luck is obviously not the greatest right now.  But I'm so grateful that things weren't worse in any of these circumstances. 

I'm just so glad that our family is relatively healthy, well, whole, and happy!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Funny Conversation

Ashtyn:  Landon, get out of the bathroom.  I need to shower.

Landon:  Can I at least pee before you get in the shower?

Ashtyn:  No.

Landon:  Come on!

Ashtyn:  Just don't pee on the floor!

Landon: Yeah, Ashtyn, because that's what I do!


I realize that I'm very tired right now, but this struck me so funny!

On Sharing A Bed

(With thanks to Noelle for the inspiration...)

When Spencer snores, it means he's really tired.  When I snore, it means I'm asleep.  But sometimes it also means that I'm really tired.

Spencer ALWAYS falls asleep before I do.  He has this knack for being out before I can count to 10.  (Really.  I've tried it.)  And when he's super tired, he's snoring before I can count to 15.

Those are the nights when I sleep on the sofa.  I'm not being a brat.  It's just that I know how tired he is.  So rather than try to figure out how to get him to stop snoring, I just leave the room and let him get some well-deserved sleep.

Several years ago, I was exhausted.  Seriously, seriously tired.  And for nights and nights in a row, Spencer kept touching me to make me roll over and stop snoring.  Only it didn't work, because I was TOO TIRED AND THAT'S WHY I SNORED!  On about the 50th day of not sleeping (I NEVER exaggerate!), I finally said to him (rather irritably, I'm sorry to report), "Honey, I'm tired.  If you are the one having trouble sleeping, then do what I do--go sleep on the couch!"

The next morning I found him on the couch.  I had slept the entire night through.

But guess what?  I felt bad that he was on the couch!

Ya just can't win in situations like these...

Following the Prophet--I Am Grateful

I have a good job.  I am surrounded by many good people.  I am busy all day every day.  I get to dress up and feel pretty.  I've made many, many sweet friends.  I am able to contribute to our family's welfare in a very measurable way, including paychecks and insurance.

I am very thankful for good, steady employment.

Adventures in Shopping

This morning I wore a new outfit to work.  Many people have commented on the beautiful purple color, which I prefer to call "Plum."  This is something, because most of the people I work with are men.  I know it's an unfair generalization, but here it is:  men don't pay attention to clothing!

Here is what happened.  Thursday night Briana and I were home alone. I needed to pick up some muslin at the fabric store, and I asked Bri if she wanted to go.  While we were there I remembered that I needed something at Robert's, so we went there next.  As we were leaving Robert's, I decided to make a stop in at Dress Barn.

Those of you who know me well know that I don't like to shop.  So you will believe me when I tell you that this was a pre-meditated stop.  I hadn't planned on doing it right then, but I had considered doing some shopping for a couple of weeks.  Briana was flabbergasted that I was going to walk into a clothing store.  She was also excited!  Pretty soon she was handing me stuff to try on left and right.  A rather large sum of money and an hour later, we walked out of the store. 

The outfit I'm wearing today includes a sweater, a skirt, a necklace, earrings, and a bracelet.  Briana pretty much chose all of it, but I love it, too.  It makes me feel cute and fashionable, but still professional.  There are a few other items that we also picked up, and I will use those in the coming weeks.

Sorry no pictures.  I'm cute, but not THAT cute.  :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Bumper Effect

From Jodi's blog:

The Bumper Effect



The third graders went bowling today, and oh, what fun it was! The bowling alley had bumpers up in all the lanes, to assist the kids in knocking down the pins. Some balls were thrown with great strength, while others actually stopped in the middle of the lane. Some bounced from bumper to bumper, while others sailed gracefully down the long, slippery lane. And yet again, a little parable for life hit me, this time at the bowling alley.



On hard days, it seems as if our balls will never go straight, as though we are destined to land in the gutter, no matter what we do. But just when all hope seems lost, a "bumper" appears to straighten us out, give us a little bounce and send us on the Right way again.



In my life, these bumpers are a wide variety of things and people. Friends, neighbors, family and loved ones are often the bumpers that help me, guide me, and even correct me when I am off course. Inspirational books and music can also give me a little bounce when I am leaning too far to one side. My dedicated husband daily gives me extra strength to keep going down the lane when it feels I am too slow to ever make it. And for me, the good words of the gospel of Jesus Christ give me constant help when I am too fast, too slow or too crooked. And, on days when I am sailing straight down the line, my bumpers are there to cheer me on my Savior awaits with a warm embrace and encouraging word, whispered through his Spirit.



No matter how many pins we knock down in any given frame, we can always be grateful for the bumpers that helped us get down the lane. Who and what are the bumpers in your life?
 
My bumpers are the same as Jodi's and I'm so very grateful for each of them!  Now if I could just find the parables in life the way my sweet friend does!

I Learned a New Word This Week

de·fal·ca·tion :  The act or an instance of embezzling.

I'm sorry to say that I learned this word at work.  It is an ugly word.  Because of the world we live in, it probably won't be the only time I ever say this word.  This, however, will be the only time you will ever hear the words "Aundrea Hill" and "defalcation" in the same sentence.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Think His Forklift's Sexy

THE BACKGROUND:
A few weeks ago Boeing held a Forklift Rodeo.  Spencer--a desk jockey for the past three years--was coerced by his co-workers to go out and compete.  When the results were in, he was the 3rd place winner.


TODAY:

We went to Usana for the state Forklift Rodeo.  You can see from the signage that this was a HUGE event.  (There were nearly 50 participants from companies like Squire-CocaCola, Usana, ProLogistics, 3M, Firestone, Morton Salt, etc., and this was the 8th annual Forklift Rodeo sponsored by the Utah Manufacturers Association.  WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?  Sheesh!)


THE EVENTS
The obstacle course:  Spencer lost one point on this for having to back up in order to line up with the pallet he needed to pull off the shelf.  This picture is during the second half, when he had to BACK through the course.


Dock loading:  Spencer did this one flawlessly.  One of the judges sidled up to the other and said, "He's really close to the side--did he hit it?"  The man replied, "Nope!  He's just good."


Forklift inspections:  The participants had to inspect a forklift for safety conditions, calling out what they were doing as they went.  Spencer also did this one flawlessly.


THE RESULTS ARE POSTED:


That's 299 out of 300!


THE OUTCOME:

Spencer wins!


THE PRIZES:



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Post-Its


GPA

Now that the kids are back in school, it might be a good time to tell you that Spencer checked his GPA for the 1-year course he just completed.

4.0 !!!

He is totally awesome, wonderful, amazing, and everything nice.

He Said, She Said

He said:  I need to--WE need to get this presentation done by this afternoon.

She said:  Let me know when you've picked up the signature sheets and made the copies.

He said:  I need a PowerPoint right away.

She said:  Let's get together and do these travel requests.

He said:  I want you to screen the applicants for me.

She said:  Would you be able to cover the phones during this time?

He said:  When you contact this person, you only need to send the one document.

He said:  This needs to be booked for that date, and you need to decide on the food.

(Each of these was a different he or she.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Invented Braiding

I'm a blog-stalker--did you know?  My blog-buddy, Noelle, always puts random, funny, poignant things on her blog, and I wonder:  WHERE DOES SHE COME UP WITH THIS STUFF?

And then I remember the weird things that go through my mind.  Like this, which came to me while I was braiding Ashtyn's hair yesterday:

My mom learned to crochet when I was 5 years old.  Her first project was a tablecloth, which won a blue ribbon at the fair (no joke!).  By the time I was 6, it was fairly common to see Mama sitting with her crocheting.  Before I finally asked her to teach me, I played with a  lot of yarn.

One day I was playing with three strands.  And I braided them.  And I was so proud of myself for coming up with this amazing thing!  So I went to my mom to show her what I had discovered.  Only she was completely blasee (sp?) about it, and said, "Yeah, that's called braiding." 

What a letdown.  And then I thought, "Cool!  Nobody had to show me how to do this braiding thing!  I figured it out all on my own!  I. Am. Awesome."  (Okay, I probably didn't think OR say Awesome, because that word didn't enter my vocabulary till the 1980's--but you get the gist.)

And then I braided many, many long strands of yard, which I glued to a tennis ball.  It was a doll, see?

Gimme a break.  I was six.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Donut Dash

Add caption




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Our starting line was at the Ulch's home, where we served juice before the "race."

This is the finish line where our activity today was culminating.  Since this is small, it's hard to see how cute it is:  Briana made the streamers; the Jensens chalked in the finish line, and we had treats galore!

Friday, September 10, 2010

P.S.

I don't know why my last post has those two extra pictures at the top.  I've tried to get rid of them, but then I lose other stuff, so they are stuck there.

I just wanted you to know.

It's sad, though, n'est-ce pas?  Because it ruins the effect of the latter part of the post.

I'll get over it.  Will you?

Please?

Check This Out

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This is an ibex.  Most of us call it a mountain goat.  Apparently the ibex lives in Asia.  So most of us would call it an Asian mountain goat.  But now you can call it an ibex, because that is what it is.  This particular ibex might have a name, but I don't know what it is.  Since he is not here, we cannot ask him his name.  Also since he is not here, it probably doesn't matter.  Moving on...



This is--I presume--a family of ibex.  I'm only assuming they are a family because they are not here for me to ask.  However, there are ibex of all ages and both genders represented here, so I think it's appropriate to assume it's a family.  Because really?  Would a teen be seen with adults or young ones if it weren't a family?  I rest my case. 
By the way, in case you don't know, the females are the ones with their hair combed and their beards shaved.  I realize it's hard to see that with their backs turned to us.  You'll just have to take my word for it.



Apparently this family of ibex wanted to go on a hike for Family Home Leaving.  Dad Ibex must have been in charge of this activity, and I presume that Mom is out of town.  Because there is NO WAY a mother of ANY species would approve this kind of family activity!

Amazing!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

And Also...

My fantastic "work" water bottle that Deb got me at the beginning of the year is leaking profusely.  That's just rude.

BUT my new job is going very, very well.  I was so busy on Tuesday that I could hardly breathe.  Let's celebrate!

My hair does not look as cute now as it did before I left for work on this windy morning.  But it is short.  You can't have everything, but it's good to get something.  :)

My home teacher (who works for a large vendor that our company uses) just stopped me to say hello.  Wasn't that kind?

Tummy Aches Are a Headache

On our way home from California, Ashtyn wasn't feeling well.  With her, we always figure she got some milk.  But then yesterday Spencer had to leave work early due to tummy ache, which also included fever and exhaustion.

Is Ashtyn sick due to milk or some bug?  I don't know.  And I don't know whether I should force her to go to school or not.

This morning I started having pretty major tummy rumblings.  So far I'm not having fever hot flashes/cold chills.  I hope I don't! 

What a pain.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Updates

We spent the Labor Day weekend in the Sacramento area.  We rented a van, and we pulled out very early in the morning.  The van had a DVD player, so after we slept for a couple of hours, the kids chose videos to watch.  Fastest drive to Sacramento EVER!

We went to Dillon Beach for our official Hilladay on Saturday.  The weather in Sac was forecast to be perfectly HOT, so we hoped that that would extend to the coast.  About 2 miles inland, it was gorgeous; but on the beach it was windy and cold.  That didn't stop us from playing, of course.  I'll post some pix later.

Sunday we went to Sacrament Meeting, where we were greeted warmly by many.  We didn't know any of them, and they did not know us.  So when we would introduce ourselves as Fishes (me, anyway), there were mostly raised eyebrows.  One brother even said, "I have known the Fishes for 20 years, and I didn't know they had an older daughter."  I get that a lot.  That's what happens when you leave the nest first, I guess.

After Sacrament Meeting we went to Apple Hill.  It was opening day, and the weather was gorgeous.  I LOVE the smells up there!  It's too bad we don't drink, too, because all the vineyards were having tasting days.  I think wine looks beautiful, but the smell is awful! 

The first thing we did at Apple Hill was buy a caramel apple.  Very, very disappointing!  Later in the day we bought a pie to take home--it, too, was pretty average.  What a bummer.  But there were some fun boutiques, and we each chose a piece of fruit to snack on.  I brought home Asian Pears for my bosses at work.  And some for us, too!

Our drive home also went really fast.  Literally.  We made it home in 9.5 hours.  We didn't ever go more than 82 mph, but we also didn't really make any stops.  We got gas in Reno, then drove through a fast-food place for breakfast.  Lunch was just snacks in the car, and we made one quick potty break at a rest stop.  So we sailed on through!

We found everything good at home.  Brant and Laurie have painted the basement, and it really looks fantastic.  They have a home now!  We are going to go halfs with them on a storage unit, so I hope our house will be cleaned up very soon, too.

Yesterday at work they made some announcements regarding changes in the Physical Facilities Department.  I have not had such a crazy day in a long, long time.  I loved it!  Except there wasn't time to use the bathroom or eat--so I was extra glad to go home.  Today's been a bit quieter (on my end), and I've been able to get a few things done.

Ashie stayed home sick from school yesterday.  She still wasn't great today, but she couldn't miss today's classes.  I hope by tomorrow she'll be 100% better.  Ugh.  It gets so old!

We sold our car yesterday, and Spencer is on the hunt for another car.  It's better that he change cars than homes, I guess, but I swear we hold a record for the most vehicles owned.  :)  In the meantime, I am carless.  So I rode halfway to the school with Tay and Ash (and the others they pick up for seminary), and they dropped me at the bus stop.

I didn't have time to get my hair cut last week, so today is the day for that.  Woot!  I need it badly!

That's our exciting life.  OK, so it's not that exciting.  But it's full and it's rich and it's happy. 

I hope you are, too!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just. Can't. Wait.

1.  Our beautiful Jax may be a mommy for the second time (she was scheduled for induction yesterday, I think).
2.  I get to go get a haircut today.
3.  Today--TODAY!!!--is Spencer and Briana's LAST day of school.
4.  We are leaving on Friday morning for Sacramento.

WOOT!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Have OCD Tendencies, But...

I have a cute ruffly sweater, which I keep at work.  I like to have it around for those (frequent) moments when I get chilly.  I also have a fabulous pink jacket.  I wear my jacket to work often because it's always cold on the morning bus.  My cubicle has a great coat hanger, where I hang my cute ruffly sweater.  My fabulous pink jacket goes onto the great coat hanger over the cute ruffly sweater.

This morning a man I work with walked into my cube area saying, "OK, it's driving me crazy."  And he straightened my fabulous pink jacket on its great coat hanger over the top of the cute ruffly sweater.

I felt like I needed to apologize.  Can you explain that to me?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

House Update

This is what the dining room looks like.  It's worse than this picture suggests.  There is a path to the computer, but you have to go around the table, which is currently covered with junk.  Most of this stuff--including the organ--will need to go into storage.  We'll probably have to rent a storage unit.
I cleaned the living room carpet on Friday night.  It's still our dingy carpet, but it's missing the stain spots (darn!).  We still need to bring our furniture upstairs and take the Fishes' furniture downstairs.
The girls have made their bedroom look adorable!  Besides the cute paint job, they've done a fantastic job in organizing all their stuff.  (I snapped this picture while they were asleep--yup, Ash is sleeping with her legs up like that.  :) )
The closet pictures on the right is the one you can see in the picture above.  Spencer added another closet (the one on the left).  Both sit on top of the existing, built-in desk, which you can see below. 
This picture doesn't do justice to how well they've organized their stuff.  Shoes on the bottom shelves, personal items on the middle shelves.  Clothes hung in the closet.  The hair and makeup stuff is in the organizer with white drawers.  Bri bought a mirror for the space between the two closets, and they sit on the stool to get themselves ready.

Ashtyn got her downstairs bedroom completely emptied, so Brant and Laurie will be able to move in there.  I think they cleaned the carpet last night.  Moving into that room will free up their "kitchen" (formerly the preschool).  That will also allow room for us to move furniture up the back stairwell, which is wider and much easier to maneuver through.

We also emptied the family room (except for furniture), which involved emptying all of the DVD cases and putting the disks into an organizer.

Most of the visual work happened while the Fishes were out and about.  They were pretty excited to come home to open space for them to use. 

The end (of Phase I) is in sight.  It's getting exciting.

And for all you nay-sayers out there:  Yes, this is working out beautifully.  WE LOVE HAVING THIS FAMILY HERE WITH US!

Night Out

Why do I never remember the camera?  Suffice it to say that we were the cutest group at the theatre last night!

Briana took Ashtyn to the Hale Center Theatre last night (Ashie's birthday present), and I got invited to go.  We saw "Pirates of Penzance."  It was such a fun production!

Mostly it was fun to hang out with our girls.

Why?

Markie's favorite word is "Why?"  A conversation yesterday went like this:

Mark:  What is she doing?
Bri:  Stretching.
Mark:  Why?
Bri: Because she's gonna go running.
Mark:  Why?
Bri:  She just wants to exercise.
Mark:  Why?
Bri: So she can be healthy.
Mark:  Why?
Bri:  Because.
(VERY slight pause)
Mark:  What is she doing?
Bri:  Stretching, silly.
Mark:  Why?
Bri:  Because.
(another small pause)
Mark:  What is she doing?
Bri:  Stretching.
Mark:  Why?

This is just one example of the types of conversations you can have with a three-year-old named Marcus.  Our kids get annoyed.  I just think it's funny.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I'm Impressed

Last night my brother came into the upstairs portion of the house.  I could see that he was tense.  He said, "If L and K want to meet at the football game, would you call that a date?"

You don't live with 3 brothers, a sister, and/or 4 children without learning that often you are going to have to justify your answer.  And sometimes I dread having to try to justify the answer.  So I took a second to think, cringed, and said, "Yes, I think so."

He said, "OK then!"

I am impressed with my brother.  He had, apparently, been having words with their oldest son and was looking for some validation.  He didn't really need my validation--he already knew the answer, and he was holding the line.

He was being a responsible father.

I am very impressed.

***

Right after my brother said, "OK then!" his wife walked into the upstairs.  She said, "What's going on?"  He replied, "L is grounded for a week.  He's being a fart about this."

She responded, "OK," and she shrugged her shoulders as if to say, "It is what it is."

Maybe she knew the entire situation--I don't know.  Whether she did or did not, there was no hesitation on her part to back my brother up in this.  It was the right thing to do.

I am impressed with my sister-in-law.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Signs of a Good Life

My boss took a very long lunch today.  He's entitled to do that.  But he feels guilty about it.

I think that's weird.  But that's just me.

He was in his office, with the door closed, for another hour or so after his long lunch.  Meeting.

When he finally walked out of his office he apologized, because he had to go to another meeting.  I'm not really sure why the apology.  Do I look like I need a babysitter?  Does he think I wish I were in all those meetings?  I don't know...

Anyway, all this guilt-mongering was to my benefit, when my boss got back from that last meeting with a brownie in tow.  For me.

Yup, I'm gonna like this job.  :)

'Tis the Season

Today our children go back to school.  Do you know what that means?

It means it's time to get sick.

Yes, folks, get ready, get stocked, get sick!

Now that we are all in close quarters all day, the germs will start to spread like, well, germs.  Make sure you have your cold meds, cough drops, and kleenex!  Stock up on hand sanitizer, soap, and laundry detergent! 

And while you are preparing yourself and your family, could you come take care of EVERYONE on the 11th floor?  Because EW!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Where Were You?

Sixteen years and nine months ago, I went off my birth control for about a week.

Sixteen years and 8 months ago, I learned that we were going to add Baby #3 to our family.

Sixteen years and 7.5 months ago I started praying for a sweet, easy baby.

Sixteen years and one month ago I was the last of the five mommies in our ward to still be pregnant.

Sixteen years and two days ago I went to a birthday party for my mother-in-law.  I thought I just might have a baby on her birthday.  You know, to celebrate.  But Baby changed her mind and went to sleep.

Sixteen years and one day ago I sat at the kitchen table for hours, trying desperately to finish a very large sewing project I had been working on.  I was sure that I was going to be interrupted by a delivery trip to the hospital.  Each time I was sure it was time to stand up and call Spencer, Baby would change her mind and go back to sleep.

Sixteen years ago today I had an appointment with the doctor, who checked me and said, "It doesn't look like much is happening."  I probably cried; at any rate he said, "Let's send you up to the hospital for a non-stress test.  The nurses at the hospital promptly hooked me up to a monitor and announced, "Woah!  Those are HUGE contractions!"  (Wasn't it nice of them to tell me that?  What if I hadn't known that?)

Sixteen years, one epidural, some tears, a small nap, some food, several book chapters, a few visitors, and some hard pushing ago, our Ashtyn Sarah Hill was born.

Heavenly Father answered my prayers by giving me a sweet-natured, happy, helpful angel girl.

Boy!  Am I grateful for the past 16 years!