Monday, October 31, 2011

Sharing a Memory -- Preschool

It's been four full years since I owned/taught preschool, but there are just times every year that I think back and figure out what we would be doing.

Today is Halloween.  I won't lie.  It's not my favorite holiday; in fact, it's probably my LEAST favorite holiday.  But children's excitement is contagious, children in costumes are adorable, and I know at least two Halloween rhymes (for your reading pleasure):

Halloween cat! Halloween cat,
Why do you meow and meow like that?
Neither I nor the moon likes your tune,
So, scat! Scat, Halloween cat!

Five little pumpkins sitting on the gate:
The first one said:  Oh, my, it's getting late!
The second one said:  There are witches in the air!
The third one said: We don't care!
The fourth one said: Let's run!  Let's run!
The fifth one said:  Isn't Halloween fun?
Oooo, went the wind and OUT went the light.
Those five little pumpkins rolled fast out of sight!


You're welcome.  And Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sharing a Memory -- Don't Blink

Nearly 20 years ago we learned that I was pregnant.  Briana had just turned one, and we were thrilled.  Having already had a "normal" pregnancy, we didn't think a thing about telling everyone that another little one was on the way.  But just a couple of weeks after Christmas I miscarried.  In the middle of the night, with my husband out of town on a work assignment, I left our daughter in the care of a sister-in-law while my mother-in-law took me to the hospital and held my hand while I cried through a D&C.

I came home and slept for several hours.  My SIL offered to keep Briana through the day, but I was so grateful for that little girl that I asked her to just bring our baby home.  Bri was still really just a baby herself--only 14 months old, but she brought me an incredible amount of joy and peace.  She was also the PICTURE of normality, because babies don't know when Mommy's world has turned upside down; and normality was exactly what I needed.  So we spent the next days watching Beauty and the Beast (400 times, at least), eating PBJs, and having horsie rides to bed.  Daddy came home, and we moved forward.

A few months later, I was pregnant again.  This time we were more careful about announcing it to the world.  This time I waited a bit before going to the doctor so that it would be a more sure thing to hear a heartbeat. And this time the pregnancy was normal.

Our first baby boy was born just days past the one-year mark of that miscarriage.  He was beautiful and healthy, and he cried all. the. time. for four months.  But oh! how I cherished that little one.  Which is not to say that there weren't times when I wanted to run screaming from the room.  And I remember what it was like to feel like I might never have an adult conversation again.  There were days when people would say, "Don't blink," and I'd think You clearly haven't had a day like I have had or you would know that the best thing you could wish for me today is for this day to END.  I remember the diapers and diapers and diapers.  And diapers.  This is not something you forget, believe me.

Now suddenly it's been 21 years since that beautiful little girl first turned our world upside down, and nearly 19 years since that wonderful baby boy joined our family.  There have been two more beautiful babies since then (stories for another day).  There have been stitches and broken bones and broken hearts, flat tires and late nights and even move-outs.

Last night Spencer, Taylor, Ashtyn, Landon, and I sat at the dining table for a couple of hours and carved jack-o-lanterns.  We didn't have to hide the knives, and everyone (mostly) did their own work.  After I'd done some clean-up I went into our bedroom, where my phone was beeping with a message from Briana (because, remember, she's in Far-Away Logan) which said, "My mission papers went in today!"

I wish you joy.  I wish you normality.  I wish you nicknames coined by the children for their siblings.  I wish you a few stitches and broken bones and flat tires (nothing major, of course).  But let me tell you something:

Don't Blink!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Kinds of Things that Make My Day

Laughter:  Monday night I was putting together all the things I needed to be ready for the morning.  Clothes were  ready.  Lunch was ready.  Running gear was ready.  Phone was charging.  I said, "What am I going to wish I had tomorrow morning?"  Without missing a beat, Spencer said, "More sleep."

Friends:  I had a meeting yesterday on my friend's floor, so I stopped to visit with Karleen.  Carol joined us, and we spent 15 minutes visiting and expressing love and laughing.  Best 15 minutes of the day...  Until Karleen had to come to MY floor, so she stopped to visit with me.  Two visits with my amazing and lovely friend in one day--plus Carol.  Glorious!

Teacher's Pet:  Dave just came to my desk with an apple and three pears from his trees, announcing, "An apple for the teacher!"  I love the fruit.  Even more, I love the friendship.

Autumn:  It is darned cold in the mornings, but I love watching the leaves fall from the trees.  It's just therapeutic to watch each individual leaf float down, until the ground is strewn with yellow, orange, or red.  You should stop and watch the leaves.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Praying Aloud

As a child, I learned about prayer first from my parents.  We had family prayer and my parents helped me with learning to pray personally.  I don't really remember them teaching ME, but we would kneel in our living room or in our bedroom, and we would take turns saying our prayers.  They helped my little brothers and sisters learn the things to say to God.  Often for me, prayer time was just a contest with my brothers to see who could say the coolest thing to Heavenly Father.

When I got a little bit older I got to go spend time with my grandparents.  My aunt let me sleep in her pink (!) sleeping bag on the floor in her bedroom.  I liked it better there than in any other place, even though other places even had beds.  We'd get dressed and brush our teeth for bed, and then we would kneel at her bedside and silently pray.  This was my first experience with praying silently, but I liked it.  I liked feeling all alone with Heavenly Father, no one else listening.  I don't know how old I was the first time I prayed next to my aunt, praying at her bedside; but I remember it.  I remember loving the dark and the quiet and my aunt and my grandma and grandpa and my parents and my Heavenly Father.  I've had many sweet experiences praying silently in the car or by the bed or at my desk or in church--and in thousands of other places.

Lately, though, I've found my mind distracted as I pray.  It's probably a sign of age that I can't focus on anything quiet and still.  But it IS quiet, and I can hear people walking around or the TV on or or the washer finishing a cycle or a car coming into the driveway or whatever.  And I'm TIRED.  So when I'm alone (because I still don't like everyone listening in on my private conversations), I like to pray aloud.  Somehow it feels strange to start speaking--why is that?  I don't know, but I think it's like Satan trying to bind my tongue and maybe my heart.  Then I finally begin to speak, and little by little it becomes just a conversation. On my part, it's not pretty and flowery.  My language is still "thee" and "thine", but my thank yous are "Thank You"s and I say things like, "I don't really know!" and I find myself almost begging for things.  I'm not begging for houses or cars or jobs; I'm usually begging for the ability to forgive or to understand or for faith or for Him to watch over the people I love or to tell me what choice I should make.  I tell him about my friends' and family members' predicaments, and I ask Him to give them what they need. 

Invariably, I weep when I pray aloud.  I think that's because of God's side of the conversation.  I always feel loved.  I feel heard.  I don't feel dumb for the things I worry about, even when I know they are dumb.  Sometimes I have a very clear thought come to me about someone I should call or something I can do for someone or something I need to do.  Sometimes my to-do list is something big, but usually it is some tiny little thing like "Get tomorrow's lunch ready" or "You should review your Primary lesson."  It's funny how those tiny little things that are really no big deal feel like a really big deal when you know that Someone who loves you and is listening to you is willing to remind you to do something.

Pray. He is there.  Speak.  He is listening.
You are His child.  His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer.  He loves His children;
Of such is the kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Step One...Suzie Said So

...You must go to "Suzie Said So," where I am today's guest blogger.  I feel so important now.  :)

This is where I ramble for a minute, because you are not allowed to read further until you've visited Suzie.  It's not a chore, I promise.  Suzie is beautiful, talented, happy, and all-around wonderful.  So if you get stuck on her blog reading all of her charming posts, don't forget to come back.  I really want you to come back.

However, I don't want you to continue reading this post till you've gone and come back.

No cheating!  You have to go there first or you will ruin all the fun, you Fun-Sucker (another bonus)!

Step Two:  Check your answers

1.  Aladdin
2.  Pretty Woman -- Yes, I admit it.  I've seen it.  Unedited.
3.  Meet the Robinsons --  Another admission:  I've never seen this movie all the way through.  The trailer is quotable, though!
4.  Better Off Dead -- Totally dating myself with this one.  But, wait.  You've seen my picture.  You already know I'm old.
5.  The Incredibles
6.  The American President
7.  The Little Mermaid
8.  Sleepless In Seattle -- Still my favorite movie of all time.
9.  Aladdin and the King of Thieves --  It's been years since I saw this movie, but "Thor" has brought it back to life at our house
10.  While You Were Sleeping
11.  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
12.  Cars
13.  Sense and Sensibility
14.  Toy Story
15.  A Walk to Remember
16.  Mulan
17.  Apollo 13
18.  Finding Nemo
19.  The Princess Bride
20.  The Emporer's New Groove

Bonus:  17 Again
Another Bonus:  Freaky Friday

Step Three:  Leave a comment and post your scores. 

There are 20 points possible.  16+ is an A, and you can join our family.  Unless you don't want to be called "pathetic."  Whatever.

12-15 is a B, and you can come visit us any time.  But bring your own popcorn.

8-11 is a C.  You can visit, too, but we might send you running with Spencer.

4-7 is a D.  This is the one where you get lectured by Mom (that's me).

<3 is an EPIC (pun intended) fail.  But I still love you.

I hope you had fun, and I hope you'll join me for random fun again very soon!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sharing A Memory...Named After:

This post made me think about the discussions we've had about where our children's names came from.  Each has its own story, and Landon is grateful he was a boy, because he hates the girl name we had chosen for him.  Whatever.

When Taylor was two or three years old we asked him what his full name was.  He appropriately responded, "Taylor Jon Hill."  We asked him if he knew who he was named after.  He got a very puzzled look on his face, thought for a moment, and said, "I was named after Briana?"

Yup.  Right after Briana was named, Taylor was named.

P.S.  He was actually named after my dad.  And also, we loved that his name was almost like the prophet, John Taylor.  But, ya know, "after Briana" is also true.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It Threw Off My Groove

The director I (mainly) support is out of the country on business for a full week, beginning today.  I've been saving projects to work on while he is gone.

But truthfully?  I just really didn't want to come into work today at all.  And I don't want to come in all of next week, either.

So on the drive in I gave myself a good talking-to.  I'll spare you the entire conversation, but the gist of it is that I am a capable, confident woman who can do a good job and be helpful, even when I'm going to be mostly alone for a week. (sniffle)

And then the OTHER director called me into his office for our one-on-one. 

He threw off my groove.  Draw your own conclusions.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sharing a Memory...Taylor

In 1998, Disney released a new movie, "Mulan."  Disney movies have always been a need.  We did not forego seeing a Disney movie with our family for anything.

In 1998, Taylor was 5 years old.  He sat cross-legged on the movie theatre chairs in the old Reel Theatre in Magna. 

At about the halfway point in the movie, the Chinese army learns that Ping is actually Mulan, a woman, and they abandon her in the snow.  As they marched away, 5-year-old Taylor blurted out, "Rude!"

We love Mulan, and we watch it often at home.  There are many parts that are funny.  But nothing is as awesome as a cross-legged five-year-old blurting out, "Rude!"

Friday, October 7, 2011


Kayla probably thinks it's gross, but let me just give another shout out to Amber for her beautiful photography.  Isn't my new blog picture great?

Yes.  Yes, it is.

P.S.  I love Spencer.  I told him that when we dated, and it hasn't changed.  If it does, I will let you know.

P.P.S.  It won't change.  The end.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Along Abbey Road

My beautiful, amazing, talented cousin and blog-friend is selling some beautiful jewelry this month, in honor of breast cancer awareness month.  You can see the button to the right--isn't it cute?

As you know, my mother is a breast cancer survivor.  I also have an aunt who is currently undergoing radiation in her tooth-and-nail fight against this terrible disease.

Please consider visiting Along Abbey Road and purchasing one of these adorable necklaces.  Not only will you be hooked by Abbey's charming style and wit, you will also be benefitting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  Plus, you'll have an adorable, meaningful piece of jewelry for yourself and/or a friend.

In addition, make sure you're doing your monthly self-exams, dear lady friends.  With early detection, breast cancer is curable in 99% of the cases.

Happy Breast Cancer Awareness month!

Sharing a Memory -- Haircuts

Unfortunately, this subject is fresh on my mind.

Once upon a time I wanted layers added to my long hair, but I had no money.  So I asked someone to help me out.  She had cut hair before.  Apparently that was in the 1960's, because what I got was a terrible Florence Henderson-Brady Bunch/Goldie Hawn-Laugh In look.  It was awful!  Spencer cut another 3 inches off the bottom, and suddenly I had short hair.  Worst haircut ever.  Lessons learned:  You get what you pay for, I don't look too bad with short hair, and babies don't put short hair in their mouths.

My second worst haircut happened on Friday.  This time I paid for it, which ticks me off.  Spencer had to fix it again.  (Maybe we could send him to cosmetology school next...)  That was AFTER I made her re-do my bangs and she said, "What?  You want both sides to match?"  Not funny.

Chelsea!  Come back!  I need you!

There's a Reason I Hate Goodbyes

The main reason I hate leaving is that I am SURE to leave something behind.  If it gets left at my parents' home, it just has to stay there, unless they will mail it to me (sometimes it's worth it, sometimes it's not). 

Seriously, I can't ever leave just once.  It's maddening!  From purses left at the in-laws' to bags left at church to tickets left on our counter, leaving is a chore for me.

Yesterday I left to go to lunch.  I pushed the button and waited for the elevator to come.  At last it came, and I rode 11 floors down to where the cafeteria is.  That's when I remembered that my lunch was in the fridge.  On the 11th floor.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

General Conference

In the vernacular of my friend, Pam, and her daughter-in-law:  I am a General Conference SLUT.  That's right.  I just can't get enough.

I first tried to watch Conference when I was about 12.  I watched a lot, but I understood none of it.  What the heck does "apostolic" mean, anyway?  (This is a rhetorical question, kids.  I already know the answer.  But I didn't when I was 12.)

When I was 14 I was challenged by my seminary teacher (Hi, Brother Fuelling!) to watch Conference, and that's it.  I've been hooked ever since.  Some gems in the ensuing years:  Elder Ashton's talk on gifts and talents, 1988; Elder McConkie's testimony of the Savior (1986ish); Sister Dew's talk on motherhood (2001 or 2002); Elder Bednar's talk on the Lord's tender mercies; President Faust's talk on self-mastery; Elder Worthlin's talk, "Come What May and Love It;" Elder Holland's talk on the Book of Mormon.

When we moved to California, we had to go to the Stake Center to watch General Conference, because it was only broadcast via satellite to select locations.  My friends and I would pack picnics (as YSAs) and stay at the church all day so we could watch the entire conference without having to go home (which wasn't that far, but let's face it, Conference is even better when shared with the people you love.  And partying.)

After our children were born, and we lived in Utah again, my sweetheart (who is the best man in the world--have I mentioned that?) would take care of the kids all weekend long so that I could enjoy every last word of General Conference.  One year Elder Holland gave a wonderful, amazing talk DIRECTLY TO ME about being a mother.  And I heard every word because Spencer made sure that I could.

The thing about giving Mommy this time was that our children grew up knowing that General Conference was something special.  It wasn't really too long before they would either sit and watch with us or at least go outside to play so that we could hear.  (It helped that I snapped at them, "I'm trying to listen to the prophet, if you don't mind!"  How's that for love at home?)

One year at Christmas time I bought this beautiful counted cross stitch.  I worked on it, and then it got tucked away.  But it came out every Conference.  For about 4 years.  Seriously.  I worked so long on this cross-stitch of Mary and the Christ child that it was worth every penny to have it professionally framed, and it stays on our wall year-round.  And that, my friends, is how our General Conference tradition began.

Other families have traditions that center around food.  My tradition centers around handicrafting.  It's kinda the only time I really get into it, but for 8 beautiful, uninterrupted, glorious, spirit-filled hours, I work on some kind of handicraft.  A couple of years ago Bri and I spent all of Conference weekend working on costumes for the high school play.  I've made Christmas ornaments.  Usually I do some stitching of some kind.  Breezy has now joined me in the tradition.  Remember this cute pillow?  My birthday present began as a General Conference project.

Today I spent four hours stitching, listening, and crying tears of joy.  Also, did you see that adorable Primary choir?  Dang, I love those kids!  (How about the boy whose white shirt sleeves hung clear past his fingers?  Love it!)

The only bad thing about today is that it is over, so tomorrow is the last day of Conference.  For another 6 months.  *sigh*

On the up side, however, I have some CUTE crafting to show off!