Superpaige's Pad

The Trials of a Busy Mom

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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?
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Birthday Surprise!

My birthday doesn’t have the greatest history of being celebrated. It’s right after Christmas, but before New Year. People are partied out, broke, and just want to relax. No one wants to come together for an epic party just 4 days after Christmas. So, I usually remind my kids a couple of times, and then I go out and buy myself something I want. Or, since I bought too many presents for Christmas, I tell Ryan that he can have the kids wrap one of them and give to me for my birthday before I return things.

I try not to be selfish and petty about my birthday and the lack of “special” that it is, but it’s hard. I see other people with huge birthday dates or trips or fantastic present and I tend to get a little jealous. (I’m not proud of it!)

Anyway, let’s move on to this year.

I told Ryan that I just wanted to be surprised for my birthday. That’s it. A surprise. In my mind, I’m thinking maybe a party, or dinner out with friends, or maybe even a new dishwasher (because he’s heard me complain enough about my 15 year old dishwasher that he keeps fixing). He complained a bit and said, “But that’s so hard.” Sorry. You shouldn’t have married someone with an inconvenient birthday, or someone who likes surprises and parties, then.

Mid December Ryan found out that he is definitely going to Amsterdam in Feb, and I decided I am definitely going with him. We booked the tickets. The company pays for his, mine is with miles. “Darn,” I thought, “that would have totally counted as a great surprise!” But that wasn’t the surprise.

The day before my birthday, I was just about to ask if I needed to plan anything or leave time open, and Ryan said, “I have to tell you a little bit of the surprise.” He had booked 2 nights of hotel, but my friend Robin was coming into town to stay with us, and he wanted to make sure and cancel if I wanted to stay home and party with Robin. No, that’s still good. They are only here until Friday morning, and they have a family party on Thursday night, so I’m sure they won’t mind if we leave them.
Cool! He booked 2 nights of Hotel!!! He CAN do surprises!

Of course, now that I knew we would be leaving, I had to plan. Is there food for the kids, can Megan drive Jenna to a party on Friday, etc. But I’m the mom and that’s my job.

Robin came into town on Wednesday and we spent the night talking and laughing. Thursday dawned and the two of us went to get pedicures for my birthday. Then there were presents at home. The kids had actually shopped or planned something and got me some nice things. Then Ryan handed me a present. What? I thought the trip was the surprise? Nope. New camera. In Red. Because he knows me so well. Our last point and shoot camera started flaking while we were on our cruise, and I can’t trust just a phone to take all my pictures.

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Then we packed our stuff for our 3 day adventure in St. George (where it is 20 -30 degrees warmer), and took off.

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We had such a great time. We went and did a session in the St. George Temple, ate dinner with some friends of ours that we haven’t seen in years (another surprise Ryan cooked up), went thrift store shopping, saw some petroglyphs, went to a movie, ate out, did more shopping, and really enjoyed our time together.

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It was wonderful to be somewhere warmer (almost 50 degrees, it felt like spring), and to just relax.
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We left on Saturday around noon, and stopped at a “ghost town” a little bit from Leeds.
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The Wells Fargo building in this old silver mining town is still standing, and they have made it into a little museum.

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There are many old structures partly standing, but we also enjoyed looking at the other houses in the town. The ones people live in. Such a eclectic mix of architecture!

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We call this one the “Haunted Mansion House”. Right?

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This family of deer jumped out onto the road just as we were rounding the corner. Good thing we weren’t going fast.

We got home New Year’s Eve night, in time to “celebrate” the new year, or in my case, to go to bed. It was such a wonderful surprise birthday trip. I can’t imagine him topping this one!

Cruise–Cozumel

On a previous cruise, we went to Cozumel, Mexico. Let’s just say that nothing about that day was a good experience. From being sick, kids having diarrhea, exhausted from throwing up all day the day before, it was just doomed from the start. The kicker, though, was that we hadn’t brought enough cash, and ended up stiffing the braid lady because we thought it was cheaper than it was. A LOT cheaper. Anyway, it’s left a bad impression of Cozumel.

But, this is many years later, and we weren’t planning on being sick or having hair braided, and we planned ahead and brought cash. Our friends really wanted to do a jeep tour of the island. Sounded fun. Four of us in a jeep, and we get to drive it ourselves? We signed ourselves up.

When we got off the boat and found our group, it was a 10 minute walk through town to the jeep rental place. Imagine our surprise when they loaded us into a NEW loaded jeep. It was like a test drive!

We took off in a caravan, with a guide in front of us and in the back. We drove about 20 minutes through town, then turned off onto less traveled road through the jungle. Ryan was driving, and he was so excited!

The road got more rutted and rocky as we went deeper into the jungle. Some of it was sandy,some of it was rocky, and we even drove through a “puddle” that was at least a foot deep.

Ryan was so sad when we stopped to see the Mayan ruin.

As far as ruins go, it was not one of the major ones. We had kind of expected it to be like Chichanitza or Talum. Smaller. But still interesting.

We learned some of the history of what kind of building would have been here, and that it was like a hurricane warning station with doors and windows that would make whistle when the wind blew through it to alert the people that a hurricane was coming.

But they had no problem with us climbing on the ruin and taking pictures.

After visiting the ruins, we drove a bit more, then stopped on a beach, where there were umbrellas all set up and people were making lunch. It was unreal! So beautiful!

Sitting on the beach, playing in the sand, listening to the waves. It was truly wonderful. AND they fed us tacos! So amazing!

When we had to leave that place, we at least got to drive the jeep again. This time Gardner drove back, and I think he took it a little slower than Ryan, but it was still bumpy. After we returned the jeep we were back near the ship, but decided to do a little shopping. It was then that I discovered that I had no driver’s license. Somewhere between entering the jeeps and exiting the jeeps, I had lost my license. Whoops. Probably bounced out.

I tried not to worry about the consequence of not having my ID while we shopped. It was raining by then.

The worst case scenario would be that Ryan would have to go and get my passport to let me get back on the ship.

But no one even asked for my ID besides my ship card when we got back on. There were two Royal Caribbean ships parked there when we came back. Ours is the one on the right.

So, all in all, I would say this Cozumel trip was MUCH better than our first experience. Who knows, maybe we’ll go again someday.

And if you’re a fan of shaky Jeep videos:

Cozumel Jeep Tour 1

Cozumel Jeep Tour 2

Cozumel Jeep Tour 3

Cozumel Jeep Tour 4

Cozumel Jeep Tour 5

Cruise 2016- Roatan

There is SO much I want to tell you about our cruise. I can’t put down every detail, but I must share some of my favorite things!

In Roatan, which is an island of Honduras, we went on a zip line excursion. dscn3068

It was 12 different platforms. You hook on, and go. Fun! I was a little nervous, but really, there’s nothing to it, and you are safe. We laughed a lot, and enjoyed joking with the others in our group.

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When we made it through the jungle and down to sea level, we were at the Gumbalimba park. Our guide took us through, taught us a bit of the history of the island (pirates!) and then we crossed the bridge.

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It was like being in an Indiana Jones movie!

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There were many birds, but the most impressive were the macaws! They even had one bird we could hold.

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He bit off a button on Ryan’s shirt!
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Then we went on to see the monkeys. Monkeys are not native to the island, but they have them in this park. They told us not to yell or jump if a monkey jumped onto us, and if the monkey took something, just let him have it. Eventually they would get bored with it and put it down. We weren’t allowed to bring bags or purses into the park for this reason.
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It was SO AMAZING! This monkey reached into Ryan’s pocket a couple of times, just to see if there was anything in there. So fluffy and soft, and curious.

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We absolutely loved the monkeys! I’m so glad a friend recommended that excursion to us. It was amazing!

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Cruise People

One of the fun things about a cruise is the people you meet. Of course you can’t meet EVERYONE on the cruise ship (since there are about a small city’s worth of people on the ship), but you do see certain people again and again. Of course, we mostly hung out with our dear friends Tammy and Gardner. They are the reason we went on the cruise. Tammy was one of my mission companions. Gardner was also in that mission. Later they got married. Tammy LOVES cruising, and suggested we do a mission reunion cruise. Do we mind that it was only the four or us? Not at all!

For example, we met a cute couple at breakfast one day, named Kellen and Arian. Beautiful young couple that had been married about 2 weeks. He is a farmer in Oklahoma. She is a nurse. It was fun to talk to them, and then when we saw them later on the ship, we tried hard to remember their names and say hi.

There were many people that we didn’t know their names, but their faces became familiar, since we saw them again and again. There was Viagra guy and his wife that we saw while waiting for our turn at boogie boarding, the cute couple that was sitting near us that the husband did a magic trick and pulled a 50 cent piece “out of” Tammy’s ear, the other cute couple who were concerned about me when I left dinner the night the seas were so rough, the people we tubed down the river with, Saundra and Megan who we zip lined with, the table full of cute gay guys I stopped to talk to one night and then had to ask them every day how their day was.

One group of people we met was the “Royal Caribbean Pop Choir”. On Monday on the schedule there was this pop choir listed at 2:30. I decided I was going to see what that was about. Gardner also wanted to go. So, we found the bar on the 12th deck (the Olive or Twist–what a strange name) and met Lanie and Calvin Hudson. They were both in the cast of Saturday night Fever on the ship, and in charge of this little pop choir. They teach us a song and simple dance moves, then we perform it later in the week. Sadly, we only had two rehearsals scheduled, and one of them was bumped because another group had scheduled the space. It probably wouldn’t have mattered, though, because the night we were to perform it (up on a bridge), the seas were protesting. Things were rocking and rolling so much we couldn’t really dance, just hold on. We all laughed a lot about the train wreck that was our singing of Footloose. But no matter. We had fun, and we met these fun people.

I even met my dear friends George and Brad in the Casino.

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