Keep Calm and Carry on


I’m such a slacker.

Blog, what blog?

Anyhoo, how’s everyone doing? Me? I’m a little busy. Yesterday I was setting up the PTA dinner for the teachers, and my favorite kindergarten teacher said, “Are you SURE you aren’t subbing this year?” I had another teacher ask me that just the other day. Yes, I’m sure. I want to be thinking about my sisters in Relief Society and my family, not using all that’s left of my brain to figure out how to manage a squirly bunch of kids. And $65 dollars a day? Please. So, no, I won’t be subbing for a while.

I am super pleased with my chime choir, though. I have 25 kids in my two groups, and they are progressing so quickly (most of them). Because I have several returning kids, it makes it so much faster for the group to progress. John is in 6th grade, and I’ve been thinking about what to do next year. Should I quit teaching at the elementary school? But I’ve finally “built” a program. It’s my 4th year teaching there, and I feel like I’ve finally established the choir. And where would I go? I tried to break into the Jr High charter school, but it didn’t really take. Maybe I didn’t do all I could to promote the choir, but maybe this isn’t the year for that.

mama bear

Change of subject.

This morning we had a little drama. Natalie has a debate tournament that is tonight and tomorrow. She thought she asked for Saturday off, but maybe she didn’t do it in time, because she is scheduled to work 3-10, and she hasn’t been able to get anyone to cover for her. So, we’re down to the wire, and she doesn’t know what to do. Add to that, she’s late, and doesn’t have shoes.

Which problem to work on first?

I went upstairs and brought down an armload of shoes from my closet that she could choose while she called her manager at work. She’s trying to keep it together while her manager tells her that she HAS to work her assigned shift, or get someone to cover it, or else she’ll get written up (or something like that), while stuffing her feet into my shoes.

After she got off the phone, she was even worse.

Mom takes over. Yes, I will drive you to school (text the neighbor to let her know).
Give me the numbers of everyone you can call or text and I’ll see if I can get someone to work even an extra hour.
Worse case, we come pick you up at the U of U and get you home in time to work at 3:00.
After I dropped her off at school, and put lunch money in her account, I sent a text to all her work people, begging them to please help us. I’ve already gotten one response, and I think if we break it up into small bites, we can get this shift covered.

I’m trying to help her understand that this is a SCHEDULING issue, not a catastrophe. No one is in the hospital. No one is in jail. It’s just a problem that we can solve.

Hopefully she can calm down and enjoy her debate event without super stressing about work, but she does need to realize that we keep our commitments, even if that means missing out on something else (which is also a commitment. Catch 22 there).

I’m hoping I can work my mom magic and I’m happy that I can be there to help her with these things. I only wish I could step back and be this calm when it’s MY problems that I’m stressed about.

Treasures hidden in the freezer


There aren’t THAT many perks of being the Relief Society President. Unless you really like meetings and worrying about people, and planning things, and rearranging your schedule and making visiting teaching changes… then it’s GREAT.

But today, as I was looking for something to throw in the crockpot for dinner tonight, I discovered a hidden gem. Tucked away under the frozen lemon juice (not to be confused with pineapple juice–yes, there’s a story there) I found this little beauty.


Mother’s day fudge.

Yes, I will admit it. I took the extras home with me. I handed a few out to people that I knew weren’t at church that day. And I stuck one in the freezer for when I thought of someone who I should give it to.

Seems I forgot.

And today, when I saw that fudge, it was like a little tender mercy to me reminding me that even though I may not be getting warm fuzzies every day from doing my job, it’s important, and I matter.

Temple Week


It’s our Stake Temple Week this week. It seems to always be the busiest week, and this one was no exception. I had plans to spend time in the temple, but my calling as the Relief Society President got in the way.

With a death in the ward, that meant a viewing on Tuesday, and a funeral on Wednesday. I didn’t have much to do with the viewing on Tuesday, except open up the church and make sure the flowers got there. On Wednesday, though, I spent almost the whole day at the church with set up, the funeral (I got to lead the music), and the luncheon. I came home and crashed for an hour and literally told the kids they could watch tv if they got their homework done, because I just needed a one hour nap before I went to bells rehearsal that night.

Thursday I did manage to make it to the temple. I was there almost two hours doing initiatory. But I really wanted to take the kids to do baptisms. John just turned 12 and so we could ALL go. I called to make an appointment, and they had an appointment available for Friday night. No way! I scheduled us. But I said we would have family names to do, and I wasn’t sure if we actually would have family names. I knew Natalie knew how to find names, but she was gone to a debate tournament, so I had to try it for myself. Thanks to the hopechest program and family search, I was able to find family names! I found 8 women and 4 men (Natalie had already found 10 men, so we had 14). I was worried that I didn’t have enough names, but they were fine with it.

On Friday, we had a scary situation when a dear friend and neighbor got lost in the canyon Thursday night and stayed up there all night. Friday was a day of lots of prayer until we found that she had been discovered, and that she was fine. She had just gotten lost, and when it got dark, she just stayed put. She had her dog with her, but couldn’t get cell service. Her husband and the authorities looked for her that night when she didn’t come home, and they found her car, but finally had to stop looking. They were looking again in the morning. Another couple of hikers found her and she was able to call her husband and they brought her home. Big sigh of relief. You can read the story here.

Friday night, it was only Jenna and John who were able to come to the temple with us, but it was such a great experience. Ryan got to baptize us (and a young man from another family). They let me do baptisms, too. I haven’t done that in 20 years, and it was really wonderful. Especially to have Ryan there with me. I loved it. I can’t wait to go again with all the kids.

So, even though I didn’t get to spend as much time in the temple as I had originally planned, I did actually go twice this week, and got my family to go. Big success!

The funny thing, though, was afterward. Jenna said that after a temple trip, the youth usually got ice cream or shakes or something, and even though I’m trying to do a healthy challenge, I agreed. We have to make going to the temple fun (for all of us). I texted Natalie and asked if she was home yet. While waiting for her reply, we decided we would go to arctic circle for shakes. Natalie was done with the debate thing, but she and her friend Maggie had gone to Arctic Circle. As we were pulling up to the drive through, Jenna said, “I just saw Cole go in!” What? Cole and his date had gone to play laser tag or something, and I guess they went to eat afterward. As we pulled around, we could indeed see Natalie and her friend inside, and Cole and his date up to the counter to order. SO FUNNY! It was like a family night at Arctic Circle (and we seriously never go there!). I had to text both Cole and Natalie and let them know that we weren’t stalking them, but we were right outside!

I’m going to count it as a successful week!

Early morning music


This is my fourth year of teaching chime choir at Highland Elementary. It’s been a rough road, but we did manage to get a choir together, and each year it seems to grow a little bit.

This is one of my groups at their spring concert last year.

I love handbells and love teaching music. I wish I could do it MORE. I tried this year to get a group going at a local charter school where they have up to 9th grade, but I didn’t do a good enough job of sharing my vision, and I only had one student sign up. Rather than thinking of myself as a failure, I’m going to consider that a tender mercy. Now I don’t have to haul chimes back and forth from one school to the next, and I can really enjoy my work with my elementary school kids. Yes, it would be really nice to teach an older group, but perhaps now, with all my church duties, wasn’t the best time to start that.


This is how they look when we practice. We set up quilts on the tables, the chimes on top of the quilts. Because kids at this school have two different start times, I have one choir that comes at 7 am, and one that comes at 8. Strangely enough, the 7:00 kids are there early, excited to see if they can set up the chimes before I get there. Really. The 8:00 kids come late, wandering in between 5-10 after 8. And my early group has 14 kids, while the later group is struggling at only 7 (which is really not enough to play all the notes, but we’ll make it work).

I try to make it fun, and today we talked about how playing chimes WAKES UP your brain. How you are using your hands, arms, eyes, ears, fingers, and brain ALL at the same time, and your brain has to WAKE up and get energized and if you wake up your brain by playing music in the morning, you will be SMARTER, and your brain will be more awake all day. No, they did not ask for scientific evidence, which is a good thing, cause I don’t have any.

One little girl, who is new, and who was 20 minutes late today, said, “Can’t we keep playing? There’s 15 minutes until school starts, we could just play more.” I told her she lost those 15 minutes by being late and she should be on time next time (rude, aren’t I?). As she packed up her backpack, she said, “I wish we had chime choir EVERY day.” Ooohhh.

THAT is why I do it. That is my paycheck. That is why I drag myself to the school by 7 twice a week.

My nemesis is back


Many years ago, I didn’t eat gluten. I know, Yuck.

I developed a skin condition sometime after my first baby was born, but didn’t find out what it was until after my second baby was born. There’s a long name for this condition, and you can read more about it here, if you want. It’s basically a rash that is caused by eating gluten. Wheat, barley, mostly. I can do oats (at least I think I can). Anyway, after my last one was born, the condition kind of just went away. Weird, but I wasn’t going to question my good fortune, so I started making bread, and enjoying gluten again. I thought maybe it was a hormonal thing, related to pregnancy, I don’t know. I was just happy to be able to eat whatever again.

Because cookies are my favorite thing. Ever.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I scratched at something by my ear and a water blister broke open, oozing out onto my hand. What the what? Shortly after that these little blisters began popping up on my face, around my eyes and nose.

I tried half heartedly to give up gluten, but it seemed to be getting worse. Itchy, painful, and ugly, so I went off of gluten. No bread, no crackers, nothing. And I made an appointment with the dermatologist. By the time the appointment came around, the next week, the sores had started to scab over and dry up. Which to me is a sign that it is gluten related. The doctor didn’t think it was that, since it presented differently than the typical rash on the elbows and knees and back. He told me to use a very expensive steriod cream on the rash, then he zapped a few age spots and told em to come back in a couple of weeks.

To test his theory, I ate gluten again. Tortilla, even some bread. And stuff started to reappear. Painful, itchy, yucky looking stuff. On my face.


I guess I’ve got to give it up.

Harder said than done. When I can’t think of anything that I can eat, I look in the cupboard and see pringles or chocolate…Gluten Free! That’s not the right way to do this, of course.

I went to a luncheon yesterday, and they served croissant sandwiches, pasta salad, and grapes. Then there were all kinds of yummy cookies and stuff, too. I didn’t eat the pasta salad, but I did eat the croissant. Couldn’t see how to politely scrape it off. I guess I’ll have to be more prepared and pack my own stuff.

It’s so discouraging. Really. I’m trying to lose weight, trying to eat healthy, and now this? So please pardon me if I’m grumpy, it’s like I’ve lost my best friend….bread. For now, at least. I don’t really know if this is a long term thing or not, but I know I don’t want the gluten consequences.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go have some peanut butter on a rice cake.

Time to serve


The phone rang this morning and it was the bishop. We talked about a few people and as I hung up I knew that my plan for the day was out the window. Today I would be working on the sisters in the ward. I started by making bread and texting one lady in the ward to see if I could come over and talk with her for a bit. I knew she wasn’t an early riser, so I figured I could have some bread done before I went to go and see her.

While the bread had been cooking and I thought about the large amounts of beans that were in the fridge, I contemplated asking my visiting teacher to come and help me snap them. We could get in a good chat, and get my “visit” out of the way. I texted her and asked if she was home, and she said she was, and let’s go to lunch. Lunch? Did I really have time for lunch? Ok. I told her I could meet her at about 1:00, which would be between the appointed visit with the other sister and my carpool pick up. I could just make it.

I got it JUST out of the oven before I went to visit. I grabbed a couple loaves and some squash. She was thrilled with the bread and the squash from my in-laws (they gave me enough to share).

I left a few minutes late, but got to the lunch place before my friend had ordered. We talked about her recent trip, and about how hard it is to deal with the death of her husband. She was agonizing over how to pick a headstone. I always have like the benches, and told her so, and she mentioned that she really liked a certain bench, but some of the family didn’t think a bench was dignified. “He’s your husband, and it’s your headstone, too, right? Pick out what you like.”
“I’ll get it, and tell them my Relief Society President told me that the bench was the best.” Ok.

After picking up the Jr. High kids, we had a little bit of time before John’s piano lesson, and I enlisted the help of the kids to snap some beans.

As I left to take John to piano, I grabbed two more loaves of bread, and looked up another sister’s phone number. We had been talking about her yesterday at a RS board meeting, and I knew it was time to see how she was getting along. He husband has Alzheimers. I dropped John off and called her to see if I could stop by. She was waiting for a nurse to come, but had a minute or two. When I arrived, I gave her bread, and told her that I thought it was time she let us help her a little. I said, “We are going to be bringing in dinner at least one night a week, and I’m not taking no for an answer this time. What night would be good for you.” I didn’t really want to bully her like that, but she’s going through such a difficult time, and if there is anything we can do in this delicate situation to help her, then we are going to do it. She agreed to dinner once a week. She didn’t have much of a choice, now did she?

Since the half hour wasn’t quite up, I ran over to another sister’s house to check on her. She’s been seriously sick in the first trimester of her pregnancy, and I just wanted to see how she was. She was up and looked good. Thankful for fresh bread, too. We chatted for only a few minutes, but it was good to see how she was doing, and let her know that we cared.

I was only a FEW minutes late to get John.

Home to the beans. Hooray! Most of them had been snapped!

The rest of the afternoon consisted of pressure cooking these beans. Man, it takes a long time!


As I look back at the day, it was definitely not the day I had envisioned. The laundry did not get touched, nothing got cleaned (except the wheat that spilled on the floor got swept up), I didn’t even make dinner. But I do not regret the service I have given today, and I know that I was guided in my actions today. I got a lot more done in one day than I normally would get done in one day (possibly two) and I know my family will not suffer or begrudge the fact that I didn’t take care of them today.

For FHE at night, I even had my family participate in the service day. They delivered bread, squash and beans to some more people.

I’m thankful that I was able to be flexible in my plans and take the time to serve.

Hey, there’s something on your face


During the summer, I discovered a water blister right by my ear. A day or so later, I had another one by my nose, and then two under my eye. And when they dried up, then it’s a flaky patch. I felt pretty much like a leper.

This reminded me of the rash I would get from gluten and wheat. Dermitiis Herpetaformis, they call it. But usually the rash was on my elbows and knees and buttocks, not face. Could it be the return of the gluten curse? After a few days of halfheartedly giving up gluten (by that I mean, give up bread, but it’s ok to eat a cookie), I get serious and cut out gluten, because the face was just getting worse. I felt so very ugly and it’s a very itchy and painful situation, too. By Friday, I had had it. I sent this message to Ryan,

I didn’t get a great response to the chime choir sign up this morning. I don’t know why I get my hopes up. I feel gross, my face hurts and itches, and I’m terribly irritable. (I got an appointment with the derm doc on Wed. I may have to sequester myself inside and not go out into public from now until them, though.) I get home to find the kids doing what else, but lounging on the couch with the tv on. No one did any of the things I asked them to do. I’m about to cry.

I tell you this, not so you will feel sorry for me and buy me pretty shoes, but so you’ll know why we had 5 children when you left the house and only 3 remain.

And maybe so you’ll feel sorry for me and buy me some pretty shoes.

Yeah, I’m pitiful. But by Monday, the rash had started to clear up. Tuesday was even better, with no new blisters. Maybe it really is the gluten. Should I still go to the dermatologist? Yes. I should. To ask him if it was what I think it is, at the very least.

Today was the day of the dr visit. New doctor in a different building, but I found it ok. After I checked in, I went and sat down in the waiting room and took out my kindle to read. I only got through about two pages before they called me back. I followed the nurse to the exam room, told him a bit of my story, and said I had a mole thing to check, as well. He went out and got the doc. Immediately. Seriously, I didn’t even have time to read at all. Wow!

The doc came in. He’s one of those people with a presence. Tall, nice looking, and smiley. He looked at the weird thing on my ankle and dismissed it as not anything to worry about (scar tissue, basically), and then I told him about my face rash. He got right in close to look at my nose, eyes, cheek, and said he didn’t think it was associated with gluten. He said he’d give me a steroid cream rx that should take care of that immediately. Then he looked at the age spots on my face.

Yes, AGE SPOTS. Although he said they were from the SUN, not from AGE. Trying to be nice, that one. “I can zap those spots, he said, Freeze them, actually,” And he whipped out a gun thing and aimed it at me. “Oh, we’re doing that right now?” I said. I was a little unprepared for his efficiency. “This will just hurt a little bit,” he said and then sprayed that freezing air or liquid nitrogen or whatever it was at those spots. Yeah, it hurt, but not terribly. He told me that these spots will turn red, and then eventually fall off, and there will be new white skin underneath. Cool! I’ve hated these spots on my face for a long time. I wonder if it works on hands, too. So, for now, I have darker spots on my face. Makeup doesn’t really cover them, but I’ll try.

Not sure if I should continue with the gluten free (I ate bread today) or not.

Mary Poppins


I was so sad that I couldn’t audition for a play this summer. With a family vacation and exchange students and bells concert it just didn’t seem possible. So, I volunteered to help backstage with Mary Poppins. Natalie was in the show and that way I could still be a part of the fun, but without all the weeks and weeks of rehearsals.

Being a cast manager was interesting. It’s a lot different to see a play from the wings, especially with a headset on. The first time I was on coms it was exciting and kind of fun, but also stressful. Anytime the director comes on and says “Cast manager, there’s a problem with….” it’s something I have to either take care of when that person comes off stage, or find someone who can take care of it. There were always 3 cast managers there each show, and we were in charge of managing the cast. Mostly, that means cueing people, helping with costume changes for the leads, making sure vital props for Mary are there, taking care of emergencies, and getting the vast amounts of kids to their places on time. I loved listening to all the cues that were going on (Cue scrim, cue track 110, parlor, go). So much goes into making a show look and sound good. If it were just the actors on the stage, the show would be so boring (and no one could see or hear them). I have a deepened respect for the stage crew!

On Saturday night I was on the headset again, and a few things didn’t go quite so well. Bert’s pants were rolled up funny at the cuff…fix that.
Why isn’t Winifred’s mic working well? See about that.
We seem to be missing a prop…find that.

Michael has No energy. Cast manager, talk to him about that, see if you can get him to be less distracted. Ugh. The little boy playing Michael is super cute, but he gets distracted. He says all his lines, and he has a lot, but sometimes he’s lacking in enthusiasm. So, when the kids came off stage, I said, “You guys need some ENERGY!” I gave them both jolly rancher candies I had in my pockets. Big mistake. I didn’t realize they were going right back on stage. Ugh!
Cast manager, did you talk to Michael about energy? Now he seems to have something in his mouth. I was so embarrassed, I didn’t admit my mistake right then, but you can bet as soon as that scene was over, I held out my had to them to spit that candy back out! I told the lead cast manager my mistake. “Oh, I’m in trouble,” I told her what i had done. “Oh, I gave them mints the other day and they did the same thing!”
That made me feel a tiny bit better, but I still felt so very stupid and guilty.
After a few more scenes, Jane comes off bleeding. “I’m bleeding all over my costume!” She panicked. I knew I had band-aids there at the desk, but in the dark I couldn’t get them open fast enough. I ripped a couple open and slapped them on her arm. It took three band-aids to cover up the bleeding part. She had injured herself earlier on a scateboard, and when she fell on stage (part of the dance), she opened that wound. Luckily, she only had one scene until intermission, when we could bandage her properly, clean the blood off the dress, and get her set. Just a little bit stressful.

That night, I felt SO bad about my mistake, but I felt worse about not fessing up to it. I should have just said something right away. I couldn’t go to sleep until I wrote an email explaining to the director my stupid mistake. She actually wrote back the next day and said she laughed when she read it, and not to worry about it. (Sigh of relief).

As my assignment was nearing completion, I breathed a sigh of relief. I would so much rather be ON the stage than behind it, but it was a good experience.

On moving out


Ryan and I took a quick trip to Ephraim last night. Megan’s car is still being worked on (long story there which I don’t want to go into), and she wanted to make sure she and her bestie are rooming together. We are trying to figure out how to get her down there for school.

So while she was working her last shift at Wendy’s, we took her stuff down to her new apartment. We were pleased to find that, even though the other 4 girls had already moved in, they had left one room vacant for Megan and Sarah. Two of the girls have been there for two weeks already. One is on the student council, and one is a manager for the football team. The apartment was clean, and the two girls we met seemed nice.

I’ve loved having all 5 kids here for the summer, and I hate to send them away. It doesn’t get easier.

Girls night out


Father’s and Sons campout means girl’s night for me. I had planned to take whoever was home (most of the time, I’m not sure who will be working or out with friends) to see CRAZY FOR YOU at the SCERA. Mr. E.’s summer show, and I knew lots of friends from Scarlet Pimpernell, so I wanted to go and see it. Plus, I just love musicals. All the girls were able to go, even Megan.

We went to dinner first, at Apollo burger. On the way in, we somehow got started talking about our stripper names. Don’t ask me why! Mom, what’s your stripper name? “Roxy,” I answered, without even thinking about it. That, actually, is my lounge singer name (thanks to Sharmyn, Michelle, and Melinda and one night in college when we had to come up with our lounge names). Natalie said hers was Glitter, and Jenna’s was… can’t remember. Megan did not have a stripper name, so we were trying to help her come up with one. Imagine the hilarity there.


After dinner, we went over to the theater, got our tickets and chairs (I made the girls each pay $1 for their own chairs. Cause I’m cheap like that, and I didn’t want to pay for EVERYTHING for the evening. I also told them they would have to buy their own snacks.


The show was fun. SO much tapping!! Wow!! At intermission we ended up having a popcorn fight. Ugh. These girls.

And we found a couple other friends from Mary Poppins enjoying the show.

Right after intermission, it started pouring. No warning. We had brought jackets and ONE blanket, but no umbrellas.

We ended up all four of us huddled under our one small blanket while it rained for 10 minutes. After it stopped raining, the stage crew came out to clean up the stage.


That’s Sherry right there. Not sure if I was allowed to take a picture then. They did say no pictures during the show, and this was technically not during the show. After 5-10 minutes of mopping and clean-up, they started the show again. We got one good scene of Bella Zangler and the fake Bella Zangler, and the heavens opened up again. Pouring.

So, like everyone else there, we dashed to get our tickets stamped, and went out the car. At least we were still laughing.

It was a fun (and wet) evening with my girls.

On the way home I heard from Ryan that the boys’ night was much wetter than ours. Their tent got soaked, and they decided to come sleep at home, since the outing was just up American Fork Canyon. So we all came home cold and wet. Summer storms. Gotta love them.