The Trials of a Busy Mom

Author: Ryan (Page 1 of 2)

End of a Season, Start of a Season

Hi Ho, Guest Host Ryan here.

Tonight I put on my headlamp, and went out to search for some peaches. I managed to find *2* peaches still on the tree. It’s officially the end of Peach Season here at the Erickson household. As Paige has already posted, it’s been our best Peach harvest *ever*, and we’ve managed to share them with quite a few people, as well as all the bottles Paige put up.

It’s amazing how fast you go from this:

to this:

We also have the start of a new season, with what we believe is the first of the eggs from the chickens we picked up earlier in the year. It’s quite a bit smaller than the regular layers’ eggs.

Can you spot the new layers’ egg?

Lastly, we have another start of a new ‘season’ in our family. The first of our kids’ generation got married last week. Congratulations, Camille!

Time moves on.

CCC — Count the Chickens Contest!

Howdy, Ryan Here (Paige’s worse half!). I don’t post here too often, probably for good reason, but since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d guest-post. Hi, Paige! XOXOXO!

Paige loves contests, so all of you should also love contests, too, right? I hope so, because I’m offering a contest to all of Paige’s many blog visitors.

Here are the rules: If you didn’t know, Paige is somewhat of a chicken collector. She’s been bugging me to get some real chickens for at least a couple of years. We haven’t done that, but Paige *has* brought together a modest collection of chicken-themed items. These are all currently hanging or sitting in our Kitchen and/or Living Room.

Do not count this Chicken.  :)

The person who guesses closest to the correct number of chickens and chicken-themed items will win the prize.

Included: Any chickens or chicken-themed items, hanging, sitting, framed, etc. on the first floor (main floor) of our home.

Excluded: Any chickens on any DVDs or VHS tapes or movies in the family room. I seriously don’t want to have to check all the VHS covers… “Chicken Run”, no thanks! Food items in the pantry also do not count.

The Prize is a Sunday dinner invite with all the trimmings for your whole (immediate) family. If you live out of state, I’m sure Paige can come up with something suitably impressive. 😉

Post your guesses in the comments, and I’ll post the correct answer later in the week, probably on Friday. Needless to say, you can only guess ONCE, and the first person to guess a particular number ‘gets’ that number.

Anyone visiting the house this week (book club, etc.) is disqualified unless they enter their guess *before* said event.

Good Luck and Happy Valentine’s Day!

(Paige here. Let’s all work on Ryan to allow me to get some REAL chickens, shall we?)

Or we could get one of these for the yard, right?

Teaching to hate

In case you can’t tell, that’s John coming home from school, and stomping mightily on Dandelions, which are the bane of Paige’s existence this time of year.

— Ryan

15 Things I Love About Paige

* Paige is Creative
She teaches the Relief Society lesson about once a month, and always has creative, fun ideas to keep the lessons interesting. She also makes balloon animals!

* Paige is Lucky
She works hard for it, but she does win a lot of radio contests. She’s our entertainment budget. We’ve been on trips to St. George, Disneyland, San Francisco, and most recently, Cancun, and we’ve gone to many other fun activities due to her ‘luck’.

* Paige has Friends
She makes friends easily, and seems to have friends wherever she goes. She also keeps in touch with her friends from Elementary school through college, and they’re all great people.

* Paige Supports me
She doesn’t complain when I have to work late or when I am off to work on someone’s basement, etc. She didn’t even raise her eyebrows when I told her I was going to rip out all of our light switches and replace them with new ones! She may roll her eyes at some of my ideas, but I can count on her backing me up.

* Paige is Musical
Paige has a great talent for music. She loves to sing and play bells, and she plays the piano as well.

* Paige is a Geek Girl
Although she probably wouldn’t admit it, Paige likes her gadgets. She likes the automation system in the house, and she loves the roomba.

* Paige has a great family
Paige’s parents, Pat and Eugene are pretty much the ideal in-laws. They aren’t critical or condescending, they invite us to events and activities and for sunday dinners, and are good company.

* Paige is Adventurous
She has always had a sense of adventure, and is willing to try pretty much anything at least once. When we were first married, we used to do spontaneous trips and getaways (one time, we decided to go to the grand canyon one afternoon, and left that night!), and although it’s harder with the kids, she’s still up for a good adventure.

* Paige Loves our kids
5 kids is no easy feat to pull off, but even though they try her patience (and mine!), Paige loves the kids, and would do anything to help them grow up into responsible, nice people.

* Paige is Beautiful
She is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen or expect to see.

* Paige is Smart
‘Dumb Blonde’ definitely doesn’t apply here. Paige is a smart one.

* Paige is Clean but not a neat freak
Although Paige works hard to keep the house clean and tidy (and tries to get the kids to help), sometimes you have to give a little.

* Paige is Patient
I give her plenty of opportunities to test her patience, too. 🙂

* Paige Likes Parties
Ever since I met her, Paige has hosted parties. Whether a Sunday cake get-together in her apartment at BYU, planning a fun birthday party for one of the kids, or having neighbors or friends over for a BBQ in the back yard, Paige likes to host parties.

* Paige is Kind
She is always thinking of others, and when she hears that someone is having problems, she helps out.

The tragic tale of scout camp

I mentioned in my previous post that Cole and 4 others had come home from scout camp last night. And after they left, two more came home, dry heaving all the way. I just got a call from one of the leaders, and our conversation went something like this:

Mr. Scout: Hi, this is Bob, and I just brought two more kids home from scout camp.

Me: Oh, my word! Is there anyone left up there?!

Mr. Scout: Well, we’ve got three boys up there right now, and the Scout Master.

Me: So, do you think it’s the flu or food poisoning? (I’m sure hoping it’s food poisoning!!)

Mr. Scout: Well, what we think happened was, one of the boys’ families had this last week (I won’t say which family it was, to protect the guilty). It went through the whole family, and then “this other kid”, who had gone over there to play, also got it, and was sick the day before camp. He got better, and his parents brought him up a day late to camp.

Me: Oh, no. So we could all be getting it.

Mr. Scout: And we’re just checking on the boys to see how they are doing. I’ve got to go back up there, since Mr. Scoutmaster isn’t supposed to be up there alone.

Me: I’m so sorry. Good luck. Oh, and is Cole’s gear still up there?

Mr. Scout: Yes, we brought them all home without their gear, so I’m not sure how we’re going to be getting that all home. (If I were him, I would have been crying by now. Screaming out something like “Don’t make me go back there!”)

From the parents who I’ve talked to, all of their boys had it way worse than Cole did. Cole was sick a couple of times, not all night or every 15 minutes like some of his friends.

But, in order to keep those germs confined to Cole, I’ve just banished him to his room. “I know you are feeling better, son, but in order to preserve the rest of my family (and myself!) I’m going to have to send you to your room for a while. Step away from the computer while I clorox the whole thing, and have fun reading in your room. Or take a nap. I’ll send you up some food later.” I’ll just keep these Clorox wipes handy just in case I need to redisinfect anything.

(It’s a good thing my paranoid sister does not read this blog, or I and my family would be banned forever. And she would never send any of her children to scout camp. Ever.)

My other camper, Megan, came home a little while ago. She’s bright eyed and bushy tailed and trying to tell me all about camp. When I showed her her newly cleaned and organized room, she said, “Cool!” Wow! Quite different from Cole when he comes home from a camp-out. She must have slept some. Being the nice mom that I am, I told her I would love to hear all about it…..after she had a shower.

The Great Snorkeling Adventure

Hola! On Wednesday we planned to be a little more adventurous and go snorkeling. See some little fishies. That kind of thing. We were supposed to go to a certain store in the “Isle Mall” and meet our guide at noon. Ok, so we went about 10 so we’d have time to browse the shops, etc. I think it listed the time as three hours in the brochure, without all that much information. We met up with the FunJet guy at noon, and got on a bus. We met a couple from Romania currently living in Chicago, and she asked if they were providing lunch. I didn’t know, but thought I’d read that they would provide soda. “I should have brought some food,” she said, and I was thinking the same thing. Oh well, if we miss a lunch it won’t kill us, since we’ve been eating so much at all these buffets. The short bus ride turned into an HOUR bus ride, with the last few minutes through windy, bumpy roads. Do you see where I’m going with this? There’s a little thing called motion sickness that I struggle with, and already I wasn’t feeling too great. At the place, they split us into groups who were doing different activities–4 wheelers, fishing, snorkeling, horseback riding. We got into the snorkeling group and waited for our guide, Fernando or something like that. He led us over to a big catamaran and we all took off our shoes and climbed aboard.

Now, at first, sailing is quite fun. You’ve got the wind in your face, the beautiful blue water, the sun, the sunscreen, and it’s quite an experience. But when we sail in one direction for about 20 minutes and then sail right back to in front of where we started, I get a little tired of it. Then they put down the anchor and explained to us how our snorkel gear works. Don’t breathe through your nose. Only your mouth. I should be able to do that; just think yoga breathing only the opposite. Ryan had a little trouble with his mask–he thought it maybe was his large head, but got it on. We donned our flippers and life jackets, put our masks on and jumped into the ocean. After a bit of panic every time I put my face in the water, I started to breathe. At first I would breathe out under water and then lift my head up to breathe in every time. You don’t see many fish that way, however, so I finally got brave enough to stick my face in and keep it there for a few breaths. And, wow! There are fish RIGHT there! I didn’t see Nemo, but I think I saw Dorie and her cousins. There were a lot of yellow and grey fish, some black ones, some brown ones, long swishy plant things–it really was incredible. Ryan’s mask kept giving him trouble and filling with water, so he got a lot more water up the nose than I did, but we stuck it out. I guess we were swimming around for 45 minutes or so, and I was exhausted. It wasn’t nice calm clear water like they show in the brochures, it was hard work.

When we got back to the boat, I pulled myself up and plopped down on the floor and stayed there for a long time. The motion sickness was back and I felt like I was going to throw up. I took a grateful drink of Pepsi and then a water bottle from the guides, and sipping that helped a little, but that boat was still rocking, rocking, rocking! We went to another place, and about 3/4 of the people jumped off to snorkel some more. I sat in my spot, not moving the tiniest little bit, trying to overcome the motion sickness. “I don’t want to be adventurous,” I told Ryan, “I want to sit on my balcony and read my book.” Ryan didn’t opt to snorkel the second time, either. I’m not sure if it was because he was worried about me or because he didn’t want another dose of salt water. He couldn’t find his nose plugs until later, although they were right there in his pocket. We heard from our Romanian friends that the snorkeling was better at the second stop–I guess it was 10 feet deeper– but I really didn’t care. I just wanted to get back to dry land. What a wimp!

After everyone came back aboard, our guides brought out the “spinnaker”, which is a smaller sail that has a rope seat thing. You jump out to the water, situate yourself on the rope seat, and then the guys let some of the rope out and the wind whips the sail (and the passenger) up in the air. It’s kind of like a mini-parasail. Anyone who wanted to “fly” lined up along the side of the boat and took a turn. If I had been feeling well and a lot more brave, I would have loved to try it. I tried to encourage Ryan to do it, but he didn’t want to go, either. A couple of gutless wimps, we too.

We finally arrived at the beach around 5:15, just in time to use the bathroom and then board the bus. I had the plastic bag from the waterproof disposable camera that we bought for a make shift barf bag that I thought I might have to use on that windy bumpy bus ride, but eventually the road evened out and I survived. I was extremely grateful to get back to our hotel!

We had time to shower and change before we met our friends for dinner. We compared stories of our days and enjoyed dinner, then went to the show together. Ryan opted out of the show, and came back to rest in the room. So, although it wasn’t the perfect excursion, we were adventurous. We canceled our trip for today, which would have taken us back to that same place to ride 4 wheelers and jet skis. We maybe should have scheduled that one first. Today we plan to relax here by the beach, hit the market and NOT be adventurous.

A few full size pictures from the trip are available HERE

UPDATE: All the pictures from the trip are now posted here.

Our ‘Do-Nothing Day’

Since we had planned on doing a lot of walking and climbing at Chichen Itza on Monday, we left Tuesday open as a day to just lounge around the hotel and maybe go to a flea market or something like that.

We woke up quite late, around 10:00am, and showered and went down to the breakfast buffet at the Albatross. It was good as usual, but by the time we were finishing, they were telling us that the buffet was going to be closing soon, at 10:30. We were done, so we left. We decided that we were first going to WalMart, to pick up a phone card (the ones the tour guides at the hotel sell are $10 / 20 minutes, the ones at WalMart are $10 / 43 minutes, more if you call from a ‘local line’ instead of a pay phone).

We thought that pretty much any bus going in front of our hotel would go past WalMart. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and we got on a bus that after it arrived in Downtown Cancun didn’t go past WalMart. I asked another bus rider about it, and he didn’t know or couldn’t communicate with me well enough to tell me. The bus driver then asked while furiously driving where we wanted to go, and after telling him ‘WalMart’, he said that we needed to get off, go to the other side of the street, and wait for the ‘R2’ bus. We got off at the next stop, intending to catch the R2 to WalMart. There goes another 130 cents! (bus fare is 6.5 pesos per person, each time you get on the bus).

So, we get off the bus, and we are immediately requested by several locals to ‘come to my shop… good things in my shop’… ‘flea market is right over here…’. We were dumb enough to follow one of the locals, who showed us a couple of shops, helped us pick some nice souvenirs (the price wasn’t bad, but we could have EASILY found things ourselves at Market 28, which is a huge flea market we had planned on hitting a little later), and then he expected us to ‘tip’ him after making our purchases. I guess our ‘shopping helper’ did get a nice burrito for lunch on us.

After our ‘shopping and bartering experience’, we went back across the street to catch the R2 bus. Another bus (wasn’t an R2, but it had ‘WalMart’ on it’s destination list painted on the front) soon came, and after confirming with the driver, we hopped on. It wound around the downtown area, and we were totally lost. Paige started recognizing things, and realized that we were close to WalMart, because she recognized the car dealerships that were close-by. The driver told us to get off at that corner, and WalMart was kitty-corner across the street.

In WalMart, Paige shopped for a few items (a ‘sarong-like’ cover for her swimsuit, etc.), and grazed around the store a bit. I kept telling her how much things are in dollars (mostly by covering up the last digit in the price), and it didn’t seem to me like things were that great a price. At the register, the total was $320 or so, and Paige jokingly gasped at the price, and the checker hit a button and magically changed the price to Dollars. It was pretty funny.

After check-out, there were people trying to sell us various things, still inside the WalMart. Very strange. One woman was very insistent that we should check out some sort of non-time-share (which usually ends up still being a time-share), needless to say, we were not interested. She did tell us that we needed to go out the WalMart and to catch the bus on the same side of the street that said ‘Hotels’ on the front. Nice of her, that.

While checking out, we asked the checker about phone cards, and she pointed us to the Customer Service desk, but at the Customer Service desk, they insisted that they don’t sell Phone cards. As we were walking out of the store, there was a kiosk just inside the door that sells them. Apparently, the Customer Service guy doesn’t know about the kiosk 5 feet from his desk that sells phone cards. Heh. As we were heading out the door, the time-share woman approached us AGAIN! We told her that she had just talked to us about it, and she informed us that we had really talked to her identical sister, and indeed, there the first one was, waving good-bye sweetly.

After her earlier bartering to get the t-shirts, Paige wasn’t nearly as interested in going to Market 28, which was somewhere fairly nearby in the neighborhood, but we may go back Friday if we’re not too worn out.

The trip back to the hotel was thankfully uneventful. I tried to convince Paige that we should go get some lunch, but she said that it was still too early for lunch, since we had eaten a few hours earlier. We put on our suits, and went out to the beach. We sat in the sun for a while, reading books and Paige listened to her ‘Donny’ Christmas music. It was nice. We then took a short dip in the pool, and ordered some soft drinks from the poolside bar (another first!).

We had our late lunch at Las Gaviotas (the Seagulls, I think), which is the beach side lunch buffet between the pool and the beach. We sat overlooking the beach, and nearly had to scare off the namesake birds from diving down to our food.

Our dinner tonight will be at the Steakhouse, which is in the same location as the lunch was, but it’s a reservation-only dinner restaurant at dinnertime.

A few full size pictures from the trip are available HERE

UPDATE: All the pictures from the trip are now posted here.

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