Superpaige's Pad

The Trials of a Busy Mom

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Gluten Free

No one wants to be that person.
SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDS
It makes me think of that ONE runny nosed, scrawny kid in elementary school who has to sit by himself at the lunch table with his soy milk and non peanut butter sandwich. Or that snooty lady at the restaurant who insists on asking the waitress over and over, is this gluten free?

There was an Elder in my mission in Germany that had all kinds of dietary needs. The members didn’t like inviting him over because they didn’t know what to fix for him. I heard rumors that they would just give him boiled potatoes and meat. I feel so sorry for him. You know what they do very well in Germany? BREAD. Brotchen. Hard rolls. Schwartzbrot. And those delicious sauces! Yum. You know those aren’t gluten free.

Welcome to reality. I’m now that person.

They say pregnancy messes with your body. If there was some issue lying dormant…BOOM. It comes out in pregnancy. Mine was this rash. The doctors said it was pregnancy related, so I thought it would go away when I wasn’t pregnant anymore. Not so. So after my second baby was born and I couldn’t stand the itching and the pain, I went to a dermatologist who took biopsies of my skin and declared that I was a celiac and could not eat gluten.

It was like a death sentence. Not eat bread? Or Pasta? Or baked goods? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Needless to say, living gluten free is not a death sentence. It’s an annoyance. There are so many gluten free options, now, and with all the people doing low carb, it’s not even that weird to ask for a hamburger with no bun anymore. Some may even say Gluten free is ‘trendy’. But don’t get me started on which restaurants really stink at the gluten free burger (McDonalds–shredded lettuce with a plain patty on top of it? You call that a lettuce wrap?)

But that being said, parties are hard. I usually wander around the potluck table and think, well, if I pick out the good stuff from that, I could maybe eat it. I could peel off the cheese layer from that pizza, but that’s way too much gluten contamination. Cookies? Out. Cake? Out. Is there a fruit or a vegetable that’s plain? A burger?

Gluten free has come a LONG way in the past 20 years. Menus are marked with the gluten free symbol. Waiters don’t look at you SO much in annoyance when you ask if something is gluten free, or if you can have your burger with no bun. There are better breads and cookies, and you don’t have to go to the health food store to buy them. I can get frozen waffles, pizza crust, even cookies and muffins at my local grocery store. But it’s still more expensive and not as tasty. Let’s me honest.

I had a while there that my symptoms went away after my last child was born, so I went back to eating whatever. But about a year and a half ago, the rash came back, and now it’s non-negotiable. If I eat that half of a cookie, I will suffer. By tomorrow, I will have an exema like rash on my eyelids and face, itchy crap on the elbows, painful water blisters on my butt or knees.

The worst is when people bring treats. On Sunday, our neighbor brought over a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies. That’s so sweet. But it’s not so sweet for me. Because I have no willpower, so when everyone else is eating a cookie (or 5), I ate half a cookie. And there are consequences. Ugh. Excema like rash on my eyelids, painful water blisters on my butt, itchy scabby rash on my elbows. All of it.

I even had a gluten free cookie left in the fridge, but it wasn’t that great, so I ate the homemade cookie. Silly Paige.

New Year’s!

As the year was coming to a close, I couldn’t help but think about how happy I am. And not just because I spent my birthday (which is 2 days before the end of the year) in Disneyland, but that doesn’t hurt.
Seriously. Happy. And then I was thinking about this past year and I realized it’s been a big one.
In no particular order..

*This year I lost 9 pounds. I NEARLY lost 10 pounds, but not quite. And that was before Christmas. Ryan challenged me to eat low carb and give up sugar from Halloween until the end of the year, with a few exceptions for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my birthday, and a couple select parties. Wow. It really works. After the first couple of weeks, I stopped whining and complaining about how much I wanted sugar, and just dealt with it. I have learned to cook and bake a few low carb things, and actually didn’t feel like I was going to die. My goal was to lose 10 pounds before Christmas, and a couple days before Christmas, I was SO close! Like .6 pounds away. But alas, Christmas happened, and then a family vacation. So, now, I admit that I’m only down 6 pounds, but at least I’m not UP 5-10 pounds, right? I plan to stick to the low carb plan (which is also gluten free) for quite some time, but with a few more scheduled treats.

*I’m no longer the Relief Society President. I seriously LOVED that calling, and I feel like I grew so much. I loved the interaction with the sisters, meeting everyone new in the ward, helping people through trials, the camaraderie with the bishop and the ward council. I didn’t love the stress of visiting teaching and organizing that. When I was released, I felt at a loss. And even now, I realize I don’t know the new people, and I actually don’t know what everyone’s calling in the ward is, and I hadn’t heard about the new baby being born. I feel a little bit out of the loop, and a little bit ‘less important’, but I’m ok with that. I’m figuring out my new calling as primary chorister (which I love), and supporting the new Relief Society Presidency as much as I can. I think my stress level is lower, as I’m not quite so worried about so many people.

*The Bells on Temple Square went on their first real TOUR. Well, I don’t even know if you could call it a tour, since we performed at one location, but we call it a tour because we actually flew to California on a plane, stayed over 2 nights, and got to perform at the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar. What an honor and a privilege is was to perform there for so many musicians and composers. Many of the composers of our songs that we were playing were there in the audience. It wasn’t the biggest crowd we have played for (think large hotel ballroom), but it was also broadcast live on the Handbell Musicians of America website, so handbell players from around the world could watch, listen, and even comment on our songs and our performance. Reading those comments was so much fun for us. We have done away concerts before, one at BYU Idaho and one in the Garland Tabernacle, but these were just a trip up on the bus and back, no staying over night. Our hotel, our flight, even our food was paid for! It was such an amazing experience. I’m SO glad that I got to participate in this trip. My days with the Bells on Temple Square are limited, and I’m sad and a little nervous about what will come next, but I’m trying to savor and enjoy every minute I have left, instead of worrying about how much I will miss it when I “retire”. This year, at the Christmas concert, one of the other members was asking me what I was going to do when I didn’t have bells in my life, and I didn’t really know what to say. I’m hoping to be able to start my own handbell choir, but I don’t really know how that is going to happen. I know there are a couple of community choirs around, but I don’t know if that’s the thing for me. Stay tuned on that one, I guess.

*I got to do a play this summer. The last play I was in was in February of 2017. Pinkalicious.
During that play I was called as Relief Society President and I just couldn’t justify the time it would take to do a play. But this summer, after our bell trip and summer concert, I felt I could work it into my schedule. I actually tried out for 3 musicals, but I chose Seussical. It worked the best with my timeline, didn’t have rehearsals on most Wednesdays, and turned out to be a smaller cast. It was such a fun experience. I had a tiny part of Yertle the Turtle, but it was enough that I had a few lines. Since it was a small cast, the jungle animals were also circus animals and in many scenes. I loved the Director and his awesome attitude, and I met so many talented people. It was a real blessing in my life, and I hope to be able to be in a show with some of those people again.

*For Spring Break, we took the family to South Dakota. We stayed with our dear friends Lisa and Paul, who had recently moved to Rapid City for work. It was a great road trip! We took Jenna, John, Natalie, and Kate. We had never seen Mt. Rushmore before, and it was amazing. There was so much to see and do, even though much of it was not yet open for the tourist season of summer. Lisa, Jared and Kamryn came with us to most things, and it was a truly fun vacation. We wanted to do something fun with Kate, our Russian daughter, that would be something she had never done. She made it extra fun for us all. Kate was one of the best things about the 2016-17 year. She made everything fun and was always enthused.

*Ryan and I got to go to Europe in February last year. BEST trip EVER! I’m sad that he wasn’t chosen to go to the Amsterdam trade show again this year, but I’ll treasure those memories and hope we can go again.

*Not really something I did this year, but John got to go on a fabulous trip to the National Scouting Jamboree. It was great to see him work toward a goal, prepare for the trip, and then experience such a wonderful event. Truly a once in a lifetime trip, and we are so glad he enjoyed it.

*This year I also became a Shine representative. Some friends of mine started a makeup company based on positive values and the words used in makeup. They realized they wanted to change the way women felt about themselves. They wanted to inspire women and help them to look their best at all times.

They wanted to remove the stigma that is often attached to beauty products, resulting in a woman’s character being questioned. They wanted to ensure women felt con?dent and beautiful without any inappropriate messages being attached to the beauty products they used. This became clearer to them on the night they were putting make-up on their daughters for a dance competition. They realized they were supporting a degrading message to women by supporting aggressively sexual and inappropriate messages.

The team spent two years developing the Shine brand before launching. Their mission: to be at the forefront of innovation and to ensure they help women define beauty with a positive voice.

I joined them in this business because I believe in that message. I love the product, as well. Focus, peace, joy, acceptance, awaken, lively, timeless..aren’t those better names for makeup than better than sex, naked, or lipgasm? I’m not the best at sales, but I do believe that if I keep at it, my business will grow and take off. I’ve enjoyed meeting people at home parties and events, too. If you want to check it out for yourself, go here. You can even get 10% off your order if you use my code, Paige10

I’m excited about the new year, but wondering what this year will hold. I’m hoping for more plays and more travel. I’ll work on that.

Chickens

When checking on the chickens, I noticed Beyoncegg hanging out in the nesting box. She’s not one to usually go broody, but I figured she was busy with egg laying. When I came back later and checked for eggs, she was still there. I opened the coop door and she was struggling to get out of the box. When she did get out and walk away, I noticed goopy runny egg around her vent. I remembered reading somewhere about eggs that could be broken inside the chicken, and I picked her up and brought her inside.

I put her in the sink and held on to her so she wouldn’t go wildly flapping around and asked Ryan to look up on his phone what we should do with her. “It says take her to the vet.” Are you kidding? I don’t want a huge vet bill so I decided to wash her vent with warm water and see if I could remove any shell with tweezers or fingers. I was able to grab a piece of a rubbery egg shell (the shell doesn’t get hard until right before the egg is laid) and pull it out.

Sometimes things go wrong in the egg laying cycle, and it could be dangerous to the bird if not taken care of. I read up about it here.

Gross, yes. But cheaper than a vet visit.

The Dove is a Symbol

I did a dove release for another funeral today. Another unexpected death, possibly a suicide, but I don’t know.

After I let the doves go, the funeral director said a few words. He mentioned that there are two times in the Bible. According to the biblical story (Genesis 8:11), a dove was released by Noah after the flood in order to find land; it came back carrying a freshly plucked olive leaf , a sign of life after the Flood and of God’s bringing Noah, his family and the animals to land.

Also, when John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ in the Jordan River, he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.

The dove is a symbol for peace, and for coming home. When we release the doves at the gravesite, they circle around a few times, and then they fly home. Hopefully all of them arrive back at their home for their food and shelter before I even get back home.

Just as the dove flies home, so do our spirits go home. Home to our heavenly home.

I appreciated those words that he spoke, and told him so.

I enjoy doing the dove releases. It’s peaceful and beautiful when they fly out of the box and circle around.

What’s not peaceful and beautiful, however, is finding the cemetery and making sure you get there on time. Today’s service was in Eagle Mountain. That’s pretty far out there. I was there a bit early, and it’s a pretty small place, so it was easy to find the grave.
However, a lady was supposed to give me cash or a check for the doves, and no one came up to me to offer me money (sad, right? But usually they pre pay or give me a check there). I texted Pam, the owner of Wings of Love, and asked if she knew who was supposed to pay me. I figured if I just stayed there after the dove release, the person who requested the doves would step forward. Nope. She was stuck at work, and could I meet her at the Maverick gas station. Hmmm. I texted her directly and said, yes, I would meet her at the Maverick gas station. I put Maverick Eagle Mountain into my phone and off I went. But then she called and asked where I was. Seems there are two Mavericks, and I was going to the wrong one. Oh, heavens. She asked where I was, and when I told her, she said, “Pull over. I’ll come find you. I’m in a big grey truck.” I told her what I was driving and said I would wait. I was worried for a little bit, thinking, that it sounded a bit like a set up for murder, but I figured, I would just stay in my car. When the big grey truck pulled up behind me, I had a flash of panic, but it was actually a lady carrying a check. Crisis averted. Pam will get paid, I will get paid, and the doves will fly safely home.

Too many ‘me, too’s

Seeing everyone’s “Me, Too” posts is making me sad and shocked. If you don’t know what that is, it started when Alyssa Milano tweeted “if all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” You can read more here.

I thought through my life and I can’t really say that I have been sexually harassed or assaulted, but then my mind went back to middle school. Oh, the dreaded middle school. Where girls are just starting to experience menstruation and the boys are crude, rude, and crass. When it was “that time of the month”, I lived in fear that my pad would leak and I’d have blood on my pants. After sitting at a desk for 45 minutes or longer, when you stand up, it pretty much feels like a gush of liquid and I was always terrified there would be an accident. Feminine protection has come a long way in 30 years, so I hope that girls don’t have that same terror. If you saw girls with sweatshirts or sweaters tied around their waist, that wasn’t always just a fashion statement. Boys were stupid, and if a girl said something that they perceived as snarky, comments like, “Oh, she’s on the rag,” or similar crass remarks abounded.

The worst experiences were in shop class. Yes, I took metal shop with two of my friends. I think there were 5 girls in that class. Some of my friends loved it. I did not. The boys in that class were jocks and jerks, and none of them friends of mine. It was hard for me to speak up and get a turn using the welder or other tools because the boys just scared me. There was constant talk of sex and lude remarks. I don’t know where the shop teacher was. I tried to laugh it off, but inside I felt like curling up into a ball. Someone started singing, “Come on baby, light my fire,” when they needed a light for a torch or a welder (which seemed to be all the time). I still hate that song. And heaven forbid if I WERE on my period and had to go to shop class. Every comment made me cringe and shirk and feel dirty and helpless.

Was I overreacting? Harmless talk? Maybe. But it wasn’t a locker room, it was a class room, and it was not a safe place for me. I passed that class, but with a C. Because I could never get time on the welder (because I was afraid and intimidated) I ended up making a bunch of twisted wire trees, similar to these.

I don’t know where any of those trees are, now. Probably in my parents’ attic or given away as “gifts”. I’m kind of glad I don’t know where they are, because looking at them would make me feel small.

Women and girls should not have to feel shame because their bodies are performing their functions. Yes, we have ovaries. And Fallopian tubes. Wake up.

Contrast this to right after my mission. I was SO much in missionary mode, but I needed a job, so I signed up with a temp agency. I was sent to work at a cabinet manufacturing facility. I would write labels for the cabinet orders. I don’t know why they didn’t have a computer to do that, but there I was, with a bunch of cabinet makers. I didn’t know anyone, and when in the break room for lunch, there was a lot of foul language. One guy threw around f bombs and other such gems a LOT. I did my best to ignore, but didn’t say anything. I probably cringed, though. I don’t know. After a couple of days, something nasty came out of his mouth, but then he looked at me, and said, “Sorry, I’m trying to quit.” I hadn’t mentioned that his language was offensive to me, but he noticed, and tried to do better when I was around.

I don’t want to minimize other’s experiences with my own, just notice that sexual harassment is prevalent everywhere.

It’s hard to have faith that the Me Too campaign, or something like the #WomenBoycottTwitter movement will make a difference. But maybe they are two very small steps towards a more just future for victims.

If you are a victim of sexual assault, you can visit RAINN or call its hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to receive confidential support from a trained staff member.

Step Aside

It’s been an emotional day for me. After 2 1/2 years of serving the wonderful sisters of my ward, I was released today from the calling of Relief Society President.
Never before have I had a calling where I learned so much, stretched out of my comfort zone so much, and relied on the Lord so much.
I have loved serving these sisters. I have loved the relationships I’ve built and the joy of service. We had a successful Relief Society Retreat 2 weeks ago, and it was a great “last activity” for our presidency.

Yes, It’s had it’s down side (visiting teaching changes, early morning meetings on Sundays when the rest of the family gets to sleep in, and the like), but I can honestly say I’ve loved this calling. I have the absolute best counselors and people working with me, and I feel so very blessed. I’m thankful for the blessings I have received. I feel like I’ve become a more caring, less judgmental person, and I hope that I can keep those qualities as a part of me forever.

I’m not a person who embraces change, especially endings. Once I have people I love in my life I don’t want to let them go.
So, this is a little bit difficult for me to take a step back and trust in the Lord that whatever comes next will also be wonderful. I can still see and visit these sisters that I love.

I am so grateful for the support and love I have received during this time in my life, and for 2 amazing Bishops who have supported and taught me.

Someone asked me what I was going to do with my free time, now that I’ve been released. Free time? I’m sure I’ll fill it with something. But until then, perhaps I should get my office cleaned up. I’ll work on that for my goal for this week.

Pop Pop and MiMi?

We recently got the exciting news that we are going to be grandparents! It’s the job we’ve trained all our lives for. Not sure if I should start buying pink things or blue things, but don’t worry, I’ll find the cute tiny things for my future grand baby. The big question is, what do we want to be called? Ryan thinks the standard “Grandpa” is good, but I’m thinking about it.

What? You’re still here?

Dear Blog,
I’m sorry I’ve neglected you for months. I’ve been….

Busy.

So we’ll just nutshell it, shall we?

School year over.
Natalie graduated!
Spring Concert for Bells was AMAZING. Seriously, the best concert we have ever done, which is a good thing, since we will be performing those songs again in California in a month for the National Handbell Convention. Cool, right? They even did a live web broadcast of our concert, which was super cool.

So far this summer Ryan went to Korea for a week, we took the whole clan (minus Megan, who had to work) to St. George, and then we all went to Lagoon for Ryan’s work Lagoon Day.
Whew!

This week has also been busy, but it’s been emotionally draining.
–Ryan left Sunday morning for Serbia. I got to drive him to the airport instead of going to Sacrament meeting and say goodbye.

–John left for scout camp Monday morning. I had to help him find and pack all his stuff and get him over there by 7:30 Monday morning.

Then it was just us girls for the week.

–Thursday was the big goodbye for Kate. It was hard. We cried. I won’t go into that this post, but let’s just say I don’t know if I’m strong enough to say goodbye to any more people in my life.

Sigh. Emotional week. I’m drained.

Amsterdam…..Adventures in bathroooms

Today was interesting. Exploring a new city by myself is a bit out of my comfort zone. At least everyone (or nearly everyone) speaks English as I muddle through this adventure. Today was even colder than yesterday, so I had a hard time getting myself motivated to get out of the hotel. It’s not like I have work to go to. And no one would care if I stayed inside and read a book all day, really. But I would know I missed opportunities to see the sights in a new city because I chickened out. So, I walked down to the museum square and by the time I got there I was pretty darn cold. Wishing I had a better scarf, thicker gloves, etc. I was even wearing an ugly black beanie! I passed the museums and found the kiosk for the canal and bus trips, and paid for my 24 hour pass. I enjoyed the canal tour (it was actually warm, which was a big surprise). When we got to the train station, I figured I should get off the boat to see some sights and find a bathroom. Not urgently, just trying to be prepared. First I walked over to the St Nicholas Church to see inside. I was very beautiful, but no picture taking, and no one was speaking, so I didn’t feel comfortable asking for a bathroom. Back to the Train station, where I knew there had to be a bathroom.

But first I was distracted by this guy playing the piano. thumb_IMG_0594_1024 He’s good! When he was done, he just got up and left.

YouTube Link: *HERE*

I asked at the information desk where the bathroom was, and she told me to go through, and then up the stairs. Ok. So, I went through. I didn’t have a ticket card to tap, but I didn’t think it would matter. Eventually I found the WC upstairs. You have to pay 70 cents before you even go in. Good thing I had some change. After doing my business, I came back down, and people were streaming though the “turnstyles”, all tapping their cards to exit. I had no card. Surely there was a way out for people with no tickets. Hmm. I had to ask someone. “How do I get out?”
“You use your card,” she said.
“I don’t have a card”, I said, “I just came in to use the bathroom.”
“You are not supposed to do that. But I’ll let you you with my card.”
“Thank you.”
I didn’t know!

Anyway. Later tonight, we went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. I decided to use the bathroom there, since it’s a 20 minute walk back to our hotel. No charge for this one, but there’s a tiny little anti-room with a sink, and then a door to the toilet. But the light in the toilet room doesn’t work, and if I leave the door open, someone could walk in on me. Ack! What is it with me and bathrooms today! So, I got some tp in my hand, backed up to the toilet, and shut and locked the door. Pitch black, but I still managed. Unlocked the door and came out. Whew! By the way, it’s absolutely FREEZING in there. I guess they don’t heat the bathrooms.

So, here’s to another day. Learning new things about Amsterdam, exploring and taking in the beauty of the city, and hoping to always be able to find a bathroom when I need it.

More Surprises

As we were driving on our Birthday surprise trip, Ryan said to me, “I have another surprise for you. Look in the glove box.”
I looked, and found a very cute card with chickens on it, and inside, was a statement from our mortgage company that our balance was zero. In other words, our house was paid off!

We had been working hard to get our house paid off, and I anticipated that we would hit that milestone within the next year, but sneaky Ryan sold off some stock and did all the jumping through hoops to pay off the rest without me knowing it. He even changed the address that the paperwork would go to, so that it would not come to the house and I would open it. He CAN pull off surprises!

That also means that I can start shopping for a couple new appliances. My oven has many problems, and my dishwasher has been fixed (by Ryan) at least 4 times. We haven’t done any upgrading or replacing of appliances, so that dishwasher is 16 years old. The microwave we got for a wedding gift, so that thing is 24 years old. Whenever I would talk about things we “need” for the house, Ryan’s standard answer has been “not until the house is paid off.” Well, now it IS paid off, and we will be putting the bulk of that mortgage money into our retirement fund, but we can also splurge a little.

So, I will be shopping for a new dishwasher in the next month or so. Any recommendations?
dishwasher

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