Saturday, January 30, 2010

How to Justify New Flooring -or- Damn Dog!

Tonight was our night to celebrate Landon's birthday since Briana and Spencer aren't home on weeknights. We left for a movie. When we came home we found that the doofus had shut herself into the downstairs bathroom. This is what we came home to:

What you are witnessing is the toilet paper drawer, now empty of its contents. The toothpaste is also emptied of its contents, as are the shampoo bottle and the bottle of hair gel. Additionally, the molding around the door is chewed up and the carpet and pad have been destroyed.

Spencer did wonders in making the bathroom at least usable. But the carpet is definitely ruined. I guess this helps us justify purchasing new flooring for this room. *sigh*

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spotlight On...

Landon Spencer Hill is our "baby." When he was little he would always ask me if we could have another baby because he didn't like to be the youngest. I told him that SOMEONE had to be the baby. And we're awfully glad to have our Rubber Bando in our family!

Today our "baby" is officially a teenager!

Landon has brought me an amazing amount of joy. He was my best PTA buddy for two years while I did nothing but school work. He may hold the record for most time spent in preschool--he attended all three of my classes when he was 4, and attended my afternoon classes after he got out of kindergarten when he was 5. Then during off-track times he loved to come to preschool with me.

Lando is a ham! He loves to be the center of attention. We love how confident and fearless he is. Except when he was three and wanted to jump off the roof--I didn't love that so much. He has never been afraid to ask questions when he needed clarification, and that is admirable.

Landon is one of the most happy people I've ever met. He was practically born with a smile on his face. His smile is infectious, and he genuinely finds joy in life. If the joy is at his sister's or brother's expense, all the better. :) Luckily he has Ashtyn wrapped around his little finger, and she protects him and scolds him, and things get better.

Landon wants nothing more than to be included with his older brother and sisters. As he is growing we are seeing him fit in more and more. When he was still in his baby carseat we all got loaded into the van. Spencer said, "Briana, you buckled?" "Yes." "Taylor, you buckled?" "Yes." "Ashtyn, you buckled?" "Yes." "Landon, you buckled?" And out of that tiny seat came a little "Yes." We turned around to find him just grinning in that little seat. He was so proud of himself for answering. We laughed and laughed.

Our newest teenager is a blessing to us!

Spotlight On...

Taylor Jon Hill was born at 11:53 p.m. on Friday, January 22, 1993. I had been laboring all day, but I was determined that, after 6 months on the market, our house was going to be sold at that 4:00 p.m. appointment! So I laid around all day, we sold the house, I ate a footlong Subway, and then we headed to the hospital. I was so grateful that Taylor graced us with his presence BEFORE January 23rd! He weighed in at 8 pounds 1 ounce, and in spite of his mother being stoned for the first few hours of his life, he thrived.

Briana, his 2-year-old sister, called him Tayo Jean (pronounced in the french way--"zhahn"), and Tayo-Jonny he became! We have had to promise to only call him that in private, though, since he doesn't want his friends to tease him for life or longer.

Our T has many talents. He is very respectful; he's confident; he has a lot of raw music ability (which is being honed in high school). He understands computers--he's been my go-to guy since he was about 8 years old! He worked hard to play lacrosse well. He's a deep thinker. He's an awesome writer, including fiction and poetry. He keeps friends for a long time.

When Tay was little, he always snuggled with a blankie. Or an article of clothing. Whatever he could find was fine. It made me a little gaggy when he chose dirty underwear from the hamper! Once he brought his pillow into the kitchen, where I was standing at the sink doing dishes. It was after church, and I was still in my dress and hose. He laid on the pillow behind my feet, and rubbed my nylon-clad legs. I had to step carefully so as not to squish our sleeping little man.

For a year or so (ya know, 6th or 7th grade) Taylor didn't do much snuggling with us any more. After that, though, he started draping on us--arms around the shoulders, head in the lap, etc. Sometimes it was a slight invasion of space, but for the most part I loved that we finally had our boy back in our arms (so to speak). Now he is taller than any of us, so when he puts his arm around me, I can lay my head on his shoulder. (I'm only allowed to do this in private, too, but that's OK.) I love snuggling with this boy-man!

Taylor is 17 years old. He is finishing his junior year of high school. In another two years (yikes!) we will be sending him on a mission. He's a fabulous young man, and I can hardly wait to watch him become the man I know he can be!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Random Joy

Our oldest son turned 17 on Friday. We celebrate on Saturday morning by having breakfast together at Virg's (thanks for the referral, Giffords!). It was yummy, and we did a lot of laughing. Taylor had several friends over on Friday night. If the noise level was any indication, they had a great time. They're really good kids.

Saturday afternoon, 5 of us (minus Bri, who went to Logan for the day) went to see "Extraordinary _______" with Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser. Good flick. We all celebrated that it did NOT have a 70's ending. Have you ever noticed how, in the 70's, all the movies had crappy endings?

Our youngest son turns 13 tomorrow. That means all of our children are teenagers, and I can hardly believe how quickly the time has flown by. We will probably celebrate Landon's birthday this Saturday (presents tomorrow, though). He wants to go to lunch and a movie, I think. He originally said he wanted to see The Chipmunks Squeakquel. We told him we didn't love him that much. Now I think he's leaning toward Tooth Fairy, which may not be a big improvement. :)

Did you know that for Christmas I got flatware service for 16 plus serving utinsels? It is so cool to open the drawer, find enough silverware to set an entire meal, and have them all match. Considering what so many other people DON'T have, this makes me feel bratty. It also makes me feel very happy. I can live with that.

Andrew is getting married in March, and there is a bridal shower for Carissa on Saturday. Welcome to the family, Carissa! (Jax and Jess, will we see you, maybe?)

One of my work friends has been offered a fabulous position, still with the Church. She is capable, and I think this job will be a perfect fit for her. I hope she takes it!

The sky was kinda blue today. Lovely!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

On Being A Mean Mom

Someone asked me today if I could give her lessons on how to be a mean mom. Yeah, like anybody really wants lessons. But she insists she does (because she loves our children). Here are some thoughts:

I had the meanest mom in the world. Really. She holds the title undisputedly. My mom had/has an absolute true north setting on morality (right vs. wrong). So I had the best example ever.

The term "mean mom" is synonymous with "Mother who loves her children." That means that I am not afraid to not be their pal and just be their mother--a mother who says no, quite often; a mother who tries to explain why, even when the answer is just, "Because I said so!"; a mother who expects her children to learn, grow, participate, and be responsible for items and tasks.

The term "mom" is not synonymous with "maid." There are some things that you have to let go, and others that are important to stress. But children need to know from the time they are very small that being part of a family has responsibility attached to it.

Children need to be allowed to make their own choices as much as possible. Let them dress themselves, even when they look like they've dressed themselves. But give them the consequences. When Briana was little she would not allow me to comb her hair. So I cut the front part off so it wouldn't be in her face. She dies a little now each time she sees pictures of herself at that time with what she calls her mullet haircut. OK, it was kind of a mullet. She tries to blame me, but I feel no guilt. If she had let me comb her hair, this would be a non-issue. As they get older, of course, the choices become more difficult, and so do the consequences. But if they have learned how to make choices while they are still small choices, they do much better at the larger choices.

Children need to know what is expected of them. You cannot mandate every action of every day. They need to be taught what it means to do a task thoroughly and correctly. They need to know what you believe is appropriate behavior. And they need to know that you expect excellence from them. They also need to be told that they are excellent, even when (and maybe ESPECIALLY when) they aren't being so great. I can't count how many times I've said, "You are a good boy (or girl)." I want them to expect that they are good and that I know they are good. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Children need to know they are loved and valued. It's important to show your love. I also think it's very important to verbally express your love, every single day. Hitting or hurting a child NEVER shows your love. Ever. Ideally, these things should not ever be used as a form of discipline. "Discipline" is not synonymous with "hurt." I do believe in touch, however. Children should be lovingly and appropriately touched every single day.

Children should never be allowed to undermine one of their parents. The greatest gift you can ever give your child is your love and respect for his or her other parent. I believe this is true, even if you are no longer with the other parent. Part of good parenting is not undermining your children's parents. My allegiance is to Spencer, and our children know it. There have been times when I've had to speak to Spencer privately about something I felt he did badly or wrong. There have been even more times when he's had to do that to me. But NEVER in front of our children. If I was wrong, I want to be the one to rectify it with our children and ask their forgiveness. I want to give their dad the same courtesy. I believe this only strengthens their respect for us. It also lessens the burden that eventually comes to us all when we realize that our parents are not perfect (who knew?).

I believe every family should laugh as much as they possibly can. I'm not talking about mocking each other or other people. I'm just talking about finding the humor, the goodness, and the joy in every day. I wasn't so good at this when our children were very small. I'm very good at it now (which just goes to show that there is always time to learn). But I don't believe parents should laugh at every "cute" thing their child does, because naughty isn't cute!

I'm no expert, and our children aren't perfect. How could they be, with such an imperfect mother? But I find and have found joy in our children every single day. I pray that one day (in the not-too-distant future) I will be able to say that our beloved grandchildren have very mean parents!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What Worked. What Didn't Work. Part 2

What worked:
Spencer found my pedometer in our bedroom. Woot! (Note to self: find a way to make it more stable on my hip.)

What didn't work:
I didn't walk 10,000 steps yesterday. It felt like I did, though.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What Worked. What Didn't Work.

What worked:
I was inspired by Kristi. What I wanted to do was sit and read all day. What I needed to do what accomplish something good.

What I did was clean our bathroom. REALLY clean our bathroom. I cleaned inside the shelves and cupboards and drawers. I washed all the walls and the floor and the sink and the toilet. I scrubbed soap scum out of the shower. I wiped down all the "stuff" that sits in the bathroom, like the trash can and the scale. I took down the 8-year-old shower curtain and the matching valance and replaced them with something newer and more hip. I bought a couple of rugs and a soap dispenser. I cleaned the silk flowers and put some new flowers in the cute yellow pot Spencer made for me. I threw away a kitchen garbage bag full of "stuff." (How does this stuff accumulate?) I reorganized the makeup and other bathroom paraphernalia.

Additionally, I did 4 loads of laundry, including folding and putting them away. AND I folded and put away the two other loads that were done but not finished.

What didn't work:
Uploading the photos from my phone to the computer. I took before and after pictures, just so I could feel good about what I'd accomplished. Mission NOT accomplished. However, I still feel good about the accomplishment. (And if you understood what I just wrote, congratulations!)

What worked:
Spencer and Taylor spent the day replacing parts in the downstairs shower. This has been needed for some time.

What didn't work:
What was supposed to take a couple of hours took all day.

We had Little Caesar's for dinner because it is nigh unto impossible to cook when you have no water.

What worked:
I finally picked up a little pedometer so I could participate in a challenge/drawing at work. I wore it all day and was up to 5,000 steps while I was at Walmart.

What didn't work:
It got knocked off my belt at the gas station, and I lost the battery cover.

What worked:
I jerry-rigged a new battery cover.

What didn't work:
I went out with Ashtyn and came home with no pedometer clipped to my belt. *sigh*

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lucky Me! (An Email Conversation Today)

Spencer: Hey, what ya doing tonight?

Aundrea: I keep hoping that this sexy guy in my ward will ask me out, but no luck so far this week. So I guess I'm not doing anything tonight.

S: Hey Babe, would you like to go out tonight? Dinner and a show?

A: I would LOVE to. What time shall I be ready?

S: Are we supposed to be at a wedding, photo shoot, massage appointment, work party, shower, Sterling concert, ward temple night or card making night with a neighbor? Just don't want to be flaky and forget something we said we would go to. How about I will pick you up at 6:30?

Stuff Like That

There is a gentleman in my supervisor's office right now. In the 15+ minutes he's been there, he's used the phrase "Stuff Like That" at least twice a minute.

It makes me wonder what phrases I repeat enough to make people nuts. Hmmm...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I Love Massage Therapy School!

Spencer called me Monday to see if I could "help out" in class on Wednesday. So last night I got another free massage. I got my massage from Rianna, and it was wonderful.

Beginning in February (which is the start of the next term), Spencer and Briana will be doing clinics at the school every Friday. You can get a 1-hour massage at a very reduced cost (because they are students).

It's worth the time and the money.

You deserve it.

It's good for your body.

It's good for your mind.

It takes away the stress.

BTW, you don't have to see Bri or Spencer. You can choose any student you want, or let the school choose for you.

See how good I feel today? This could be you. I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On the Brighter Side of Life

Today is Wednesday, which means it's six WHOLE days till Tuesday comes again.

Tonight I get to go to school with Spencer and Briana to be their massage dummy. Woot! This also means that I will get to ride home with them, which means I will see them for more than 5 minutes today.

It is YM/YW night, so I don't have to worry about leaving the other kids home. Not that they aren't capable--it's just that I think that occasionally they ought to have a mom.

I am wearing the CUTEST boots, which I got for Christmas. And a cute skirt, which swishes when I walk.

I have been able to do all of my runs this week without stopping to suck air.

Life is good.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dear Fiance,

I regret to inform you that I will be unable to marry you. Even though I think you are good and kind; even though you are worthy to take me to the temple; even though I believe you will be a worthy wife and mother; even though I love you very, very much; and even though our goals for the future coincide perfectly, I must respectfully withdraw my proposal of marriage. This is as much your mother's fault as your own. I am sorry to say that I cannot marry you because you do not cook to my expectations. Your rock-hard bread is better suited for the shooting range, and I'm eternally disappointed that your brownies fell to the bottom of the pan.

I realize that these are items that could easily be picked up at the store if necessary. However, it has always been a pre-requisite that my wife be able to cook. I only regret that I have not discussed this with you earlier in order to save both of us the heartache that must come with this decision. Rest assured that--in the future--I will only date people who have been properly screened for the appropriate cooking skills.

I believe it will be easier for both of us if we simply do not see one another. If you would like me to reconsider my decision, however, I strongly suggest you pursue an intensive cooking course of study. Upon completion of said course, and with proper proof of completion, I will gladly reconsider spending eternity with you.

Love, Your Not-Husband


I love Tuesdays and staff meeting. It's so much baloney!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Kids' Vocabulary

Have I ever mentioned that we have really fabulous children? Yesterday I got thinking about how big they are; then about how fun they were when they were small. Eventually that led to the fun and funny things our children have named things. Here is a small sampling:

Porky--prickly or spiked
Porkypine--a porky animal
Girl cheese--grilled cheese sandwich
Boy cheese--what Taylor wanted, because he didn't want girl cheese

The best part of this is that we now use the kid-isms more than the correct words, as in, "Please pass the foshfosh. I need to scrub the wamdade off my knee before I go to the dockster."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Time...and Feeling Old

Today I organized a little party to say goodbye to my dear work friend/sister, Amy. She has been at work for the past week, training Deb, her fabulous replacement. I know that Deb is going to be wonderful.

But my Amy is leaving. Again. For good this time.

Deb is the 5th clerk I've worked with in this office. The 6th if you count the woman I replaced. Jessica, Scott, Kurt, Kim, Amy, and now Deb. That's not even counting the other office.

And today someone brought up the fact that everyone down here moves on to something else. Except for Aundrea. I've been here 2 1/2 years, and I am, apparently, the only one who can't go anywhere else.

Is there something wrong with me that I don't really want to "move on"?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Know My Husband

A couple of my experiences:

Spencer hates our vacuum. He gets out the Consumer Reports. He reads everything he can find. He goes online and finds everything he can read about the top three models. Then he reads about 400 bazillion consumer comments about those vacuums. Then he starts taking trips to the vacuum aisle in every. single. store we ever enter. Depending on how stressed he feels financially, this can last months. Or days. Then he starts the real pressure on me. And depending on how stressed I feel financially, this can last days or months. And finally we purchase a vacuum that will probably last through the Millennium. Or longer.

We talk about maybe getting Taylor an MP3 player for Christmas. Spencer visits every website, every MP3 chat blog, every store. He chooses the perfect MP3 player and we buy it. Even though our child may want something different ("They'll love it when they see it!" And they do.).

Spencer thinks Briana should have her own car. Since he already knows what makes of car he wants, we skip to the shopping. Every website that sells cars between Montana and California gets checked, with emphasis on Craig's List and KSL in Salt Lake City. And the surrounding area. Which might mean Boise or Las Vegas--ya never really know. He finds a car in Heber. He drives up there and looks at it. It's a good car. The miles are relatively low. It has a great safety rating. I tell him no--she hasn't graduated. He finds a car in Layton. He wants me to drive up there to look at it. I tell him no, she hasn't graduated. He finds a car in West Valley. He goes and looks at it. I tell him no, she hasn't graduated. We're at a lacrosse banquet, and he is on his Blackberry, checking out cars on (because what else would you be doing at a lacrosse banquet?). He finds a car. She has graduated. We leave the banquet early so we can look at the car. It is $100 over our (my) budget. He talks the seller down $50. I cave, and we buy a car for Briana. It's a good car.

There is a pattern here. He shops. And shops. And shops. And in the end, we get.

This is a very good thing when you need a good vacuum cleaner. It's a good thing when you want to find a good, reliable, inexpensive car for your teenage daughter. But once Spencer gets the bug, the end result is the same: we buy it.

Today Spencer sent me a link for a house in a neighboring valley. Does this make anyone else nervous?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Loving the Sabbath

This morning I awake earlier than planned. But I am awake, and I love the feeling of waking up just because you are awake. The house is dark (it's winter) and quiet and warm, and I get the computer and any room I want all to myself.

I find myself thinking about the day ahead. I have no meetings. I have no lessons to teach. I have no choir rehearsals to attend. I consider the meaning of my fast today. I think of ways our family might serve. I ponder the sisters we visit teach.

I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt.
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?

I consider what His sacrifice means to me. What it means to our children. What it means for my hopes and dreams for in-law children to love and grandchildren to adore. Forever.

I think of how little He asks of us. I consider that there is so much more I should be doing. I marvel that He can make up my deficits and make me perfect. Someday.

It is a good day.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I thought about doing a "Year in Review," but I'm not as cool as other people (even though I really try, Amy). Plus, really, if you want to know all of it, you can go back and read it.

Nevertheless, here are some highlights (in no particular order):

Landon turned 12 and we officially have no children in Primary for the first time in 16 years. No attending Primary activities with the kids. No children in the Primary program. It seems a little bit like we ought to get a certificate or something. Of course, he still had Sunday School with his Primary class, so officially, this last Sunday was his last week in Primary.

I was released as Primary president in July. NOW no Primary activities and program. I'm more sad about that than our children being gone from Primary. Because everybody knows Primary is where I belong. What does that say about my maturity level? (I'll admit to knowing that the "Meet Your Teacher Breakfast" is happening right this minute. And I'm sorta glad I'm not there this morning. Sorta.)

Briana graduated from high school by the skin of her teeth.

Spencer graduated from college with a high GPA and a bachelor's degree. And he did it all on his own. And we had a big party.

Spencer and Briana returned to school, at Eagle Gate College, studying massage therapy. More nights without my sweetheart. BUT we'll have graduations again this year. AND I'll be living with my own massage therapist. I'll share him (professionally) if you ask nicely.

Taylor played lacrosse, and ended up in the hospital for an overnight stay.

We finally learned that Ashtyn's illnesses were caused by her being lactose INCAPABLE. We read a lot of labels while shopping.

Ashtyn started high school.

Landon started middle school with a bang, including some bullying and difficulties with teachers and a visit with the principal.

Spencer qualified to run the Boston Marathon by running the St. George Marathon in 3:20:21. I ran the last .10 mile with him. (Probably the only time I'll run in a marathon.)

I ran a 5K. And won a medal for my age division.

Nutrimirror became our friend.

Scott and Amy left me for greener pastures and I cried a little. Because I was (am!) sad.

Tommy came and I cried a little. Because I am happy.

Jimmy and Emily came to visit. Woot!

We spent Hilladay in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, area and had a blast. Cooking over the fire, sleeping in a cabin, running 3.1 miles (5K) in the mountains, river rafting, Bar J Wranglers, horseback riding. One of the best memories is seeing the cars packed to the gills. I heart Hilladay!

We made a fast weekend run to Sacramento over Labor Day and spent a morning on a raft in the river. And got to love on our Sacramento family.

I joined the Sterling Singers and had some amazing, beautiful experiences while letting my voice "grow" again. Briana joined in time for Christmas rehearsals and performances.

As always, we have been surrounded by wonderful people on our journey through 2009. We are filled with gratitude for our family and friends, for our employment, and for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here's to a beautiful 2010!