Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The One Where My Baby Gets to Drive

Landon told me a couple of months ago that he wanted to drive Taylor to the MTC.  I told him he needed his permit in order to do that.

Sunday our son--who never cracks a book--spent the entire afternoon reading the driving manual.  Yesterday he took his written test and passed.

I spent several hours last night riding around with our son.  We took back roads, busy roads, the freeway.  I taught him how to use cruise control.  I reminded him to turn on the lights.  I told him if the car in front of him pushes his brakes, it would be a good time to stop accelerating.  I told him that I loved him a lot, because I NEVER took one of the other kids for drives just to practice, ESPECIALLY on the day they got their permit.

Landon must be my favorite.  I should have told him that.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sharing and Making Memories -- Toni

There was a family in Georgia when Spencer served his mission who really loved him and his companion.  Maybe they loved all of the missionaries, I don't know.  But Spencer was already sharing Christmas cards when we were married, and we have continued to do that with this wonderful family for the past 24 years.

When Taylor was born, Toni sent a darling church outfit for Tay.  It was a size 2T.  It was the cutest little outfit with black pants, a white shirt, a black bow tie, and a red plaid vest.  I thought it was very kind of her to send something so darling, and I remember thinking, "It will be FOREVER before our baby wears this outfit."

Of course, it wasn't forever.  And one day I thought, "Taylor has definitely outgrown his church clothes.  What are we going to do?"  And I looked in the kids' closet, and there was that darling outfit, which fit him perfectly.  He looked so cute, and it didn't cost us a dime (which was a really big deal).  I was so grateful that Toni had had the foresight to buy something that would fit our baby when he got bigger, and ever since then I've bought larger clothes for baby showers.

That was also the moment when I totally fell in love with Toni.

Since Georgia in the 1980's, Wil and Toni have been stationed at Air Force bases in Maryland and South Dakota.  They are now retired in Mississippi.  Their children have grown up, and their youngest (?) son now works for the Church here in Utah.  Toni came to visit this week, and we had the blessing to meet with her last night.  I can't even tell you how much I love this woman, and I am so grateful we got to meet.  I hope it won't be another 24 years before we meet again.  I also hope to meet Wil someday.  Maybe a trip to Mississippi will be on our horizon!

Happy Hilladay

Since T leaves on Wednesday, we held Hilladay early this year.  Here is a quick overview:

  • Go to Orem and paint north and south gables and beneath ramp at Grandpa and Grandma's house.
  • Have lunch at Firehouse Subs
  • Drive to Morgan and tube the Weber River
  • Go home and shower
  • Go to the stake barbecue for dinner
  • Laugh a lot
  • Do some sleeping
  • Get sunburned

  • Have a fabulous time!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Group of Four Words I Never Thought Would Come From My Mouth

"We need a lizard."

Landon is proving himself quite a zookeeper.  In addition to loving our dog, he has been keeping fish.  He's done a good job of keeping the aquarium clean and taking care of the fish, and he's had a lot of fun designing the tank, etc.

This week he sold his iPod and bought another aquarium, along with some bark and a heat lamp and a water dish.  Yesterday we went to PetSmart and adopted a long-tailed lizard and some meal worms.  He had to have a parent or guardian there to sign the adoption papers.  I promise this was not my idea, and I guarantee that I will NOT be the reptile-keeper.  EVER.  But Landon has shown that he is responsible enough for this, and he has been willing to pay for it.

So, please welcome the newest member of our family, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  (Do you think Landon will actually read any Longfellow in celebration of his namesake?  Yeah, me neither.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Modern Striplings

2,060 young men in the Bountiful Handcart Days parade.  Impressive!  (These are not my boys, but they could be.  Go forward in faith, young men!)

More Parenting Paydays

Yesterday was Taylor's "farewell" in our ward sacrament meeting.  At 9:00 a.m. he attended the farewell of one of his high school friends, and we attended another one in our stake.  Apparently, all of the "kids" (mostly choir members from WJHS who graduated in 2011 or 2012) from both previous sacrament meetings decided to come to our ward, too, as did many friends from Tay's YSA ward and other single activity groups.  That really touched my heart.  There were DOZENS of kids there.  (And actually, I shouldn't call them kids.  They are talented, beautiful, capable, WONDERFUL men and women!)  My two Utah brothers and their families were there.  My uncle and aunt from Heber came.  Our dear friends from Magna came.  All three of Spencer's parents were there, as was his sister and many of her family members.  We are so grateful for the wonderful support group that our son has! 

Taylor really struggled with putting this talk together.  He studied like you wouldn't believe all week long, but still it just wasn't coming together for him.  He stayed up late on Saturday night and said that he was on version 3.0.  By the time we had sacrament meeting, he said it was version 3.2.  Whatever version it was, he did a great job.

After Tay spoke, he, Logan, Chris, Craig, and Ryan sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."  They sang a cappella in 4-part harmony, and it was LOVELY.  They've held practices at our house during this past week, which was also a wonderful blessing.

Our stake president asked that we stay for our entire block of meetings.  Taylor didn't really want a "party," so we didn't do anything at our house afterward.  Because I had a Primary lesson to teach, I didn't get to do a lot of visiting afterward, but it was a marvelous payday for sure. 


At 7:00 a.m. yesterday, the stake presidency held a combined high council / bishopric training meeting.  They invited all of the missionaries who are leaving within the next month and their parents to attend the meeting.  One of the 8 who was there was a young man who just returned from his mission.  All of the other seven are young men leaving from our stake in the next month.  There was one young man with special needs who will be gladly serving at the Jordan Institute, which is just a couple of miles from our home.  The rest were boys who we have known since they were in elementary school:  TJ, CJ, Chris, Taylor, Kjel, and Mark.  They are going all over the world, including North America, Africa, South America, and Central America.  The stake president invited each of those 8 young men to stand and share their testimonies.  They each took just a couple of minutes, but they bore powerful witness of the Savior.  It was a marvelous way to begin a Sabbath morning.  My goodness!  The power in that room!


Our "sons" Craig and Chris were endowed in the Jordan River temple on Saturday evening.  We asked if it would be alright if we came, and they both said they would LOVE that.  It was so fun to walk into the endowment room and see Taylor and two of his dear friends sitting there.  Each of the boys, Craig and Chris, waved at me once I was seated, and it made my heart melt a little bit. 

Craig's mother was adorable as we greeted them in the Celestial Room.  She expressed her love for Taylor and her gratitude for our support of Craig.  Craig goes to Seattle, Washington, in early September.

I sat next to Chris's sister during the session.  She pointed him out and told me that was her brother.  I said, "Hey!  That's my son!"  Chris enteres the MTC on August 15th.  He will be learning ASL to teach in Mesa, Arizona.

We have "sons" in Washington, D.C.; Mexico; New York, New York; and other areas throughout the world

I know that in 9 days--when Taylor leaves--life is going to change a lot.  Those young men will be friends in a special way for their entire lives, but things will be different when they come home from their missions.  They will go to school and get married and get jobs and have babies and move away.  I am so grateful to have had the chance to be their Mama Hill during this season!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I Love Bren

You know how sometimes it's the tiny little things that make all the difference?  Well, Brennan took my cup to his refrigerator (downstairs) and brought me some crushed ice.

Brennan is my hero.

And also, did you know that I never eat ice without thinking about my dad first, and my Aunt Raneva second?  Now you know.

You're welcome.

Friday, July 20, 2012

There Was A Rat in the House

The dog door was broken one day when Doofus was locked out, and she didn't like it.  When I say "broken," I mean she literally hit it so hard that it broke the plastic piece in half.  Obviously, we've kept the cover on it since then, as there is a giant hole without the cover.

Since the weather turned nice in the spring, we've often taken the cover off so Bella can come and go as she likes.

Apparently another critter wanted to do the same, because when Spencer came home from work in the early hours of this morning he saw a rat.  He promptly shut all the bedroom doors, and--as he said--he and Bella went on a stakeout.  I don't know how long he lasted, but he came back to bed having left Landon and Tanner (who had been to the midnight showing of a new movie) and Bella on stakeout.

Landon came in and said that Bella had cornered the rat in the laundry room, the rat had bit her when she went after it, and she was bleeding.  He went back out and doctored the dog.  I heard scuffles a couple different times, and then he came back to bed, exhausted but triumphant.

I slept in between, but it was a VERY interrupted night, filled with worry, because I didn't want to have Ashtyn have a rat encounter, ME have a rat encounter, or--worst of all--a rat in the house!

Good thing I married that white knight.  Our young princes are pretty great, too!

Too bad the Doof broke her door.  She won't be going in and out on her own any more.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Conversation with Grandpa

A:  Have you had a good day today?
G:  (Shakes head)  There won't be any more good days till I'm in the ground.  And that will be a problem, because then you just lay there forever.
A:  I'm pretty sure you're not going to be in the ground. I doubt you'll care much where your body is.
G:  Instead I'll be BELOW that, burning in hell.
A:  (Laughing)  Well, if you're there, that's where I want to be. Save me a place.  And on the chance that you go to another place, save me a place there, too, will ya?
G:  Shore! ("Sure") I'll have the roof on the second story by the time you get there.
A:  If I know you, there will be a couple of extra bathrooms, too.
G:  (chuckle)

I'm not sure he knew exactly who I was.  I think he knew I was family, but I doubt he could have said my name.  That's OK.  We still had a fun conversation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Living with the Consequences

When you make a choice, you also choose the consequence of that choice.  Sometimes the consequences are good, and sometimes they are bad, but there is always a consequence.

If, for example, you are walking down the street in the extreme heat of summer and realize that your legs are the most pasty white you've ever seen--well, that might be the consequence of not going outside enough in the summer.

Or if you buy tanning lotion for your pasty-white legs, you might have to live with orange, streaky legs for a while.

So then you might have to make another choice:  Let the interviewer see your orange streaky legs? Or wear hose in the middle of the summer?

You can choose for yourself.  As for me, today is the first day I've been really warm at work in a very long time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sharing A Memory

The day Briana was born, I was the first mom to arrive in labor and delivery that day.  While I labored, woman after woman gave birth, so that by the end of the day (9:19 p.m., to be precise), there were no private rooms left.  So the last two of us to give birth shared a room.

The mother with whom I shared was of Latin descent.  OK, she was Mexican.  She left the baby in the nursery for as long as they would let her.  She never had a visitor.  She NEVER had a visitor.  She left the TV on all day and all night.  When they came to our room to fill out birth certificates, I learned that her baby was a girl named Elizabeth.  But she and her boyfriend (remember how she NEVER had a visitor?) hadn't decided which last name Elizabeth would have.  The night before we were to be discharged from the hospital, Elizabeth's mommy got on the phone.  She must have made ten phone calls, telling people that she had had her baby and asking for a ride home. 

While Elizabeth was snoozing in the nursery and Mom was watching TV, Briana and I hung out.  We talked to each other (we had to do it spirit-to-spirit because Bri couldn't talk, and I can't talk to babies without crying) and to our visitors, who included Spencer, my parents, Spencer, my brother, Spencer, my brother's friend, Spencer, my sister, Spencer, my co-worker, Spencer, my visiting teacher (with dinner, of course), and Spencer.  I also took phone calls from my grandparents, my parents-in-law, and Spencer.

On the morning we were going to be discharged, Spencer came early.  We dressed our baby in the special going-home outfit that my grandma had had made by one of her friends.  We took lots of pictures.  Finally we buckled our daughter into a car seat, went to our car, and carefully drove home to become a family.

I have often wondered what happened to Elizabeth.  She would be 21 now.  Did her parents stay together?  Did she have siblings?  Is she married and/or mothering her own child(ren) now?  Was she a good student?  What talents did she discover?  Did she look like Mom or Dad?  Did she stay in Sacramento?

Also, who decided that two female spirits would come to the earth on the same day, at practically the same time, and one would not even have a definite last name, while the other would be cherished and protected and taught?

There are no answers, but I still wonder.  Maybe someday I'll get to meet Elizabeth.

Monday, July 9, 2012


On Saturday, a friend of mine got married.  She works in the same department I do, so in this morning's floor devotional, it was announced that her marriage was on Saturday.  The director who was conducting said, "Where is she now?"  Of course, there were some chuckles that she was busy this week. 

He then said, "With that, we will sing 'They the Builders of the Nation.'"

I've had a couple of people thank me for my laughter.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Story of Our Bookcases

Several weeks ago, I decided that I needed to clean off the bookcases in our dining room.  They were dusty.  They were filled with things we no longer wanted or needed.  There were other things I wanted to put on the bookcase.  I wanted to reconfigure how the cases were arranged.  So one Saturday afternoon, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. 

I took everything off the bookcases.  Some of the books went into boxes to give away.  Some things went into more long-term storage so they can be pulled out later.  Some of the items went into the trash can, along with a lot of garbage I didn't even realize was on the shelves.  I pulled each shelf out.  I dusted it.  I swept beneath and behind it.  I carefully replaced it.

I organized the books that were left so they were in categories.  I bought a few bins and put some things in them, making the items more accessible without creating more mess.  I brought out some items that I haven't had for a while and put them on the shelves.  I even hung some pictures to make the whole thing more lovely.

Sometimes in life we need to do some cleaning.  It means a lot of mess.  It means you might not be able to sit down on the sofa for a couple of days.  It means you discover more garbage than you thought there was.  It means you give some things away.  It means some things need to be stored away for a while, while other things can be brought out to be used.  It might mean that your loved ones are inconvenienced and have to live with your mess for a while.  Maybe they will help you.  Maybe they won't.  But in the end, it's going to be better for everyone.  In fact, it can even make your world more lovely.