Superpaige's Pad

The Trials of a Busy Mom

Category: Church (page 2 of 5)

Do not spray on things you like

It was a warmish day today (55 degrees, I think) and I already had the chickens caged up because Ryan had put fertilizer on the lawn and I would like to give it a day or two to settle before the chickens come out and disturb (hopefully not eat) it, so I mixed up a batch of round-up in the 3 gallon sprayer. As I was looking at the instructions to see how much of the concentrate to mix with that much water, I read, “Do not spray Round up on plants, trees or flowers that you like.”

Now that sounds really obvious, doesn’t it? Don’t spray weed killer on the plants you like. But as I am spraying those grasses and weeds, I ALWAYS end up spraying something I didn’t want to spray, especially in the early spring when the tulips and daffodils are just green.
Some of them are hiding in there with the grasses that I am trying to get rid of. Sometimes they get a squirt on them.

As I read that warning, I was trying to think of a great analogy with life and parenting. After all, conference is coming up in two weeks, and I have been listening to last session’s talks to get myself ready for conference. I’m sure Dieter Uchtdorf could come up with a wonderful analogy about that. Oh, wait, it’s not an airplane or related to travel. Ok, President Monson would have a great story about taking flowers to the widows and could have tied that in. Me? I didn’t come up with much. Except be careful where you spray, cause you will kill your flowers as well as the weeds.

Perhaps that warning should pop up in our heads before we say something rude or sarcastic, especially to our kids. “Do not spray on things you like”. Even if you are mad, even if they deserve it. Even if they come home from school and their bad mood immediately kills the happy mood in the house. They do not need us to spray bad or angry words at them. We do, after all, like our kids. Hold your tongue. Share kindness and love with them, maybe that will help their bad mood.

Last night, it seems we were all doing ok, until it was time to get ready for bed. The girls all went upstairs. Some to get ready for bed, one to pick up her laundry. Some kind of shouting and shoving ensued, and before I knew it, doors were being slammed, and there was some stomping away. Big Sigh from Mom. Didn’t we just have family home evening and go on a bikeride and then watch brother bear together? Didn’t we just learn that you need to forgive your brother because you never know when he might be turned into a bear? Come on, people. Good night and good riddance, I thought to myself. But I couldn’t let it go. Someone was hurting, and I needed to see what I could do to help. I went to the door slammer’s room with a peace offering of a cookie. (I had hid the cookies we made the day before because, frankly, if I don’t hide them, they are GONE in about 10 minutes and then we have no cookies for lunches.)
“Hey,” I said, “What’s wrong?”
Hmm, that’s not much to go on, but I tried to comfort and reassure that we loved her, even if it didn’t seem like we did, and even if we weren’t pleased with the door slamming and the stomping.

Do not spray on things you like.

What do you know, I DID make an analogy. Not like you’ll hear in conference or anything, but it’ll work for the blog.

Family Home Evening

I’m not sure why we were asked to speak about Family Home Evening for a Relief Society thing. Probably because I visit teach Addy and she knows I would do anything for her. Whatever. But we did speak a bit about family home evening with teenagers and kids of varying ages. We weren’t at all profound in what we said, but hopefully it helped SOMEONE. This is kind of a wrap up of what we talked about.

With teenagers, it sometimes hard to get everyone to stay home for FHE. Sometimes we have to adjust that. If someone is in a play or a concert that performs on Monday night, that becomes our FHE. We go to that activity to support that family member. Same with sports. I don’t like it when there’s a softball or baseball game on Monday night, but when there is, we go as a family.

We had a non member foreign exchange student live with us last year. While not a member, she was a part of our family for that year. We didn’t want to preach to her about everything gospely at home, but still wanted to hold family home evening, since that’s what we normally do. After she had been here a couple of weeks, I told her about Family Home Evening, and we gathered together for FHE. We did our traditional opening, with a song and prayer. We probably sang “Popcorn popping” or something super serious like that. For our lesson, I talked about Writing in Journals, and how that’s a record that we keep for ourselves, and for our kids and grandkids. I asked the kids if they all had journals, and she didn’t have one. She had never thought about keeping a journal before, and wanted to start one. She kept that journal and wrote in it the whole time she was here, and hopefully that will be a treasure to her to have a record of her thought and feelings while here in America. Of course, our girls tend to write in their journals during church, and she quickly picked up that habit as well.

Family Cheer-
Years ago we took a cruise that turned out to be a bit less than the perfect vacation. The Norwalk virus had us all quite sick for about two days each. One day we disembarked on an island (I can’t even remember what it was, something like Cabo?) we were dragging, tired, and just barely not sick. We also didn’t have enough cash to even pay for the girls’ braids, but that’s another story.

At that time, I remember starting our family cheer. Now we tend to do the family cheer on vacations and family home evenings.

Group Family Home Evenings- Ryan’s family had a tradition of meeting once a month as an entire family for FHE. We would rotate the who was in charge of lessons and snacks. Most of the time we met at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, but sometimes we would rotate. Some times we had a family pool party or a barbeque, or an activity. The kids got to see and interact with their cousins and hear testimonies of the gospel from family members…not just their parents.


–The kids would be happy if we joined a bowling league and went bowling every week. That’s always the activity they want to do together, even though we don’t go very often.

-Let the kids teach the lessons. Sometimes they are working on something for Faith in God, scouts, or personal progress that requires them to teach something. This is a great opportunity for them to teach the lesson or part of the lesson in FHE.

–Use church magazines. Sometimes we end up just reading and discussing an article from the Friend or the New Era, or watching a video clip from

–Sometimes around birthdays we have a lesson honoring the birthday person and why we value them.

–Some of our FHE nights in the summer are family weed nights, yard work nights, or we go for a walk or a bikeride to a nearby park.

–Don’t be afraid to be silly. We want our kids to ENJOY the time spent with the family, and have fond memories of FHE, even if they never remember a single lesson that you teach, they’ll remember that time you played hide and seek in the dark, or played the silly game where one person is the arms for another person.

–Just do SOMETHING together as a family, and be consistent about it. Call it family time, call it Time out for Family, or call it FHE. Just as long as the kids know that family is important enough to get together. And when you do, no matter what contentions there are before or during the lesson, y9ou will have added peace as a family AFTERWARDS.

Missionary Week

It’s missionary week for the seminary students at Timberline Middle School. What a great experience for these kids.

They have try to live by missionary standards, which include
-no radio
-no gossip
-positive attitude
-arms length away from boys (for the girls)
-no texting boys
-a curfew
-up by 6:30
-personal prayer every day
-scripture study every day
-write to a missionary
-walk or bike to school or church one day
-fix your own food two meals a day
-family scripture study and family prayer
-wear a missionary haircut (no scruffy or long hair for the boys)
-post something positive, or something from online every day

There are a bunch more requirements that I can’t remember off the top of my head, but she’s doing pretty well keeping them so far. I was hoping they were doing the same thing at the High school so that Megan would also have to be nice, no fighting or contention, etc. But no such luck.

The radio thing is hard for me, because I am ALWAYS listening to the radio. There is always a contest coming up, you know. But, for her, I’ve turned off the radio when she’s around. (I did turn on the radio right when she left for school, to tell the truth).

The kids didn’t watch any silly tv on Sunday, either. I told them if they wanted to watch something, they could watch our old living scriptures videos, which they scoffed at (although later they were discussing which of those living scripture videos were their favorite), but they chose Prince of Egypt.

Which is technically not a living scriptures video, but it IS a scripture story, and it has a couple of wonderful songs in it, so I don’t mind so much. It’s good for the kids to watch something other than silly disney shows on netflix.

Today she had to dress like a missionary, which meant wearing a skirt and dressing nice to go to school. She looked for a name tag she could wear, and tried to find one of my old ones, but she didn’t find one before school. It wouldn’t be sister Erickson, either, it would be Sister Coleman, but I guess she didn’t care.

What a good thing for our young people to have to live by a higher standard and experience a little bit of what it is to be a missionary, even if it’s just for one week.

Enough goodbyes already

Thursday night we welcomed another visitor from Germany. Larissa’s mom, Simone, was joining her here in Utah. We were excited, but also a little nervous. What if she got here and met us and said, “THIS is where my daughter has been all year?!” Of course, there’s not much she can do about that NOW, except take her away back to Germany, which is what she’s doing anyway. We were all able to go to the airport, and we were sitting around waiting. Someone came down the hall that looked kind of like Simone, and I said, “Larissa, is that your mom?” She jumped out of her chair and said “YES!” and started walking toward her, then after two steps, said, “NO!” and walked back. It was SO funny, we couldn’t help laughing at her. We waited about 40 minutes before she finally got here, and when she did, there was much hugging.

We picked up her heavy suitcase, and went to help her get her rental car. She and Larissa were just both rambling on in their VERY fast German. I could understand some of it, but I’m a chicken and was speaking English to them. Once they got their car, I went with them, and Ryan took the rest of the kids in the car. I told them they were welcome to just speak German to each other, that I love to listen to it. I also contributed to the conversation, but things were still a bit awkward, but that was to be expected.

When we made it home, it was already after ten, and she had been up for about 22 hours, so we showed her to her room. But before she could get ready for bed, she had some gifts for us (well, mostly just for me, but I do share). A cuckoo clock! I had mentioned that I would love a new cuckoo clock, if that weren’t too much trouble, but I wasn’t expecting that. She also brought us a little mini beer stein, a cute magnet, and plenty of Rittersport chocolate…Yum!

Larissa’s friend, Ashlyn came over quickly to meet her mom, and they made plans to go hiking the next day. I couldn’t get any of my kids to go, and I didn’t want to go either, so it was just three of them hiking somewhere in Alpine. I spent the day cleaning up and then curling my hair and applying a lot of makeup. I had to leave the house about 4:45 to meet my carpool to go up to the Tabernacle for my concert. Ryan brought Simone, Larissa, and the kids (minus Jenna, because she was going to a party) up to Temple Square.346

The concert went so well. Seriously, it was the most fun I’ve ever had playing in a concert. Flight of the Bumblebee at 90 miles an hour? So Cool! Now we get a few weeks off from Bells rehearsal since the choir is going on tour, and taking some of the bells with them.

Saturday those Germans went on another hike, and we cleaned up, mowed the lawn, made some pies, and got ready for a party. We invited Larissa’s friends and ward members over to meet her mother and to say goodbye and good luck to her. We made WAY too much food, as there were only about 30 people there, and I had been planning on more. Oh, well. She and her friends stayed out on the trampoline way past the time that we cleaned up and carried everything inside. I think it was about 11 when they went home. We didn’t kick them out or anything, since it was the last time (probably) she would get to hang out with them.

Sunday was fast Sunday, and we didn’t get there very early, so we were in the back on the hard chairs. It was a very good meeting, but my friend DeEtte got up and was sharing how thankful she was that Heavenly
Father answered their prayers and sent a friend for their daughter at a very difficult time. Sent a friend all the way from Germany. Isn’t that wonderful? We didn’t know when we were signing up to host that there was a special girl who really needed to come here to our neighborhood, and we would be facilitators in answering that prayer. That got me crying. Larissa even went up there to bear her testimony. She said she knew there was a God and that he cared for us. She knew that Jesus had died for us. She also thanked everyone for influencing her life, and teaching her so much. In Young Women that day, they gave her a really cute scrapbook that all the girls signed and wrote their testimonies. They also gave her her own set of scriptures in German. We have the best ward. I hope she never forgets those young women. 363

Sunday she and Simone went over to Ashlyn’s house for dinner, and we went to see my sister and her beautiful brand new baby boy!

Monday they packed up, taking a cooler and some ziploc containers, also some dishes and ice so they could buy some food for their trip and they were off. I had to take the kids to piano, and was going to go to the gym while they had their lesson, so I gave them both hugs and told them safe travels. I don’t like big goodbyes. It’s good for us to have two weeks before we have to say goodbye for real. It’s kind of like the MTC, only we can still text.

Speaking of the MTC, Cole has finished his time there. Tuesday morning the phone rang before 7 am, and I thought, “it’s Cole!”. I had heard that his flight was early on Tuesday, and I HOPED he would call, but I didn’t know if he would. He said the MTC was FANTASTIC and he learned so much. He sounded kind of nervous to be going to West Virginia, and I can’t wait until Monday when we should get his first email from the field. I can’t wait to hear where he is and who his companion is, and hopefully he can actually attach a few pictures. Hooray!

So, yeah, we’ve had enough goodbyes around here for a while. I need more hellos.

It’s official

On Wednesday, we were waiting for a mission call.
Of course, we were also driving to California.

We left at about 6 am with four of the kids, and started our drive. Megan and Cole stayed home to get in a couple more days of classes, as it’s not easy to miss class when you are in High School or College. When Megan got home from school at around 2:30, she had strict instructions to go check the mail, and then text me if there was a nice big envelope for Cole. We were eating lunch at the train McDonald’s in Barstow at the time. She sent a text, and said there was nothing in the mail for Cole. WHAT? Then I texted another missionary mom in the ward who had also been told that he was “assigned” and should get his call on Wed. They didn’t get THE letter, either. In fact, her son said that he only knew one Elder who had been expecting his call who had actually gotten THE envelope that day. Ugh. Well, nothing we can do about it.

The next morning, before we headed off to Disneyland, Megan called from home and said that the mail delivery lady (who is in our stake) called from the post office to let us know the call was there. Hooray! They delivered it to the house, and Megan picked it up that afternoon. Cole and Megan headed to the airport that night, and flew to California to join us. Now, after a full day at Disneyland, Ryan headed to the airport at about 9:30 to pick them up. They all got back at around 11:30 California time (which felt like 12:30 to us Utahns) and woke us up so he could open his call.

We took some pictures, but they are not uploaded yet, so you’ll just have to imagine us all sleepy eyed and in our pajamas and Cole opening his call.

Elder Cole Spencer Erickson, you have been called to labor in the West Virginia, Charlotte mission.

West Virginia?


Honestly, we were expecting something a bit more exotic, foreign, or far away. Although I hear that West Virginia will be pretty foreign to a white boy from Utah. Cole didn’t express much surprise or excitement or anything, but that’s Cole. We all told him Congratulations, gave him big hugs, and then went back to bed.

The next day, while hurrying off to Disney’s California Adventure for our early morning entry (which came WAY too early, I tell you), I asked him what he thought of the call. “It feels right,” he said, “If I had a choice, I was secretly hoping for Japan, but this will be good.” Oh, how I love that boy! He understands, even better than his mother does, that WHERE you serve isn’t the important thing, it’s HOW you serve.


He reports to the MTC on May 22, which is pretty close to his availability date of May 1st. It’s just a short 13 weeks from today!

So follow us on our adventure as we prepare our son to serve!

Only in my mind

There is a great ferver of missionary excitement going on. We’ve got a nephew and a niece out in the field in England and the Dominican Republic, with another niece and a cousin leaving next month, going to Puerto Rico and Virginia. Elders and Sisters are getting their calls right and left, some of them to the strangest places. Our neighbor got his call last week to Australia, speaking Mandarin Chinese. What? Another boy in our ward is in Boston, Portuguese speaking (but he’s currently in a Spanish speaking area). One of Cole’s good friends is leaving this month for Texas, speaking Spanish. We had their family over for dinner last night. We spoke of missions and the MTC and missionaries. It was a great evening.
(We tried this recipe for ribs, by the way, and even though I didn’t splurge for baby back ribs, they turned out very yummy!)

However, when I go to bed, the dreams take over. For the past week or so, I’ve been dreaming about Cole’s mission call. His papers are in, you see, and his call is expected to come this week. I’m anxious. Yes, I am. This is my little boy we’re talking about, and I’m excited and thrilled and worried and nervous. Ok, let’s just admit it, I’m kind of wreck inside. I’m sure I’m not the first mother of a missionary to stress just a bit. When I ask Cole where he thinks he might go, or where he wants to (or doesn’t want to) go, he just says calmly that he will be going wherever the Lord wants him to be. So, I’m dreaming about it. I’ve dreamed that he was called to some island in the Philippines, but he was going to be a select District that would be speaking all four languages. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s a DREAM. Last night I dreamed that we were together and he opened his call to Phoenix, Arizona. No offense, Arizonians, but that’s kind of a downer mission call when you are from Utah and have been to Arizona to visit family and friends in Arizona multiple times. As he read down in his call, it said that after a time, he would be transferred to some super secret assignment. DREAMS, people–they don’t make sense. I remember when I got my mission call, I just didn’t want to go to California.

I love this video of kids opening their mission calls, but of course it makes me cry.

You don’t see any of them saying, What? I HATE that place! Even the girl who was called to Los Angeles was really excited. So, even if it’s not a really ‘cool’ place to go, it’s where the Lord wants him. But what if the Lord wants him to go somewhere scary and icky that will just make the missionary mother even more nervous?

Stop thinking, Paige.

Maybe I’m just stressed because my firstborn is preparing to leave us, and go who knows where in the world, and it’s scary.
Maybe I’m not quite ready to know where in the world that may be.
Maybe it’s the fact that we won’t really be home this week when the call is supposed to come. You see, we scheduled a trip to Disneyland, and we are leaving on Wednesday morning. Well, MOST of us are leaving Wed morning, while a few of them stay to go to school a few more days and then are flying down to meet us there. Kind of complicates the whole opening of the mission call.

Big deep breath.

So, I need to just calm down, enjoy this experience, and it will all work out. Right? Easier said than done.

Waiting for the call

With the new lower missionary age, there has been a fever of missionary excitement around these parts (and everywhere there are LDS teenagers, I am sure). Since Cole was already into his freshman year at BYU when the announcement came to lower the age when young men and women could serve missions, we decided to just stick with the plan, and he would do two semesters at school, then leave shortly after his 19th birthday. When school was out for the semester, we used that time to get everything ready to submit his papers. My goal was to have everything in by mid January. With scheduling being what it is, and the Stake President is surely busy with all kinds of kids submitting their mission papers, Cole didn’t have his interview until almost the end of January.

Tuesday he had an interview with the Stake President. Because of some last minute changes and a reschedule, Ryan and I also had our temple recommend interview with the Stake on Tuesday night. So, Cole braved the huge amounts of snow (that we had been shoveling ALL day, by the way) and drove to Highland. We had dinner together, and then the three of us dropped the girls off at the church for YW, and went over to the Stake Center. It was cool to all go together. I went with our old bishop, Ryan went with the other counselor, and Cole spoke with the Stake President. When we were all done, the Stake President shook our hands, and said he would submit the papers and we would hear something within a few weeks.

Yes, I am FREAKING OUT, just a little bit.

We’re in kind of a state of limbo right now. I know there will be SO MUCH to do once he gets the call, but we can’t really do any of that yet. So, we’ll just wait.

So many of Cole’s friends are getting their calls right now, every week more and more calls go out. He told me that in one BYU ward a couple of weeks ago, there were 40 something mission calls that week. I love to read the letters and experiences from other missionaries and their testimonies and love for the gospel. Wow! Talk about flooding the earth with the gospel, these are the young people who are going to do that. It’s such an exciting time!

I love this Called to Serve video, and yes, it’s a bit dated (back when families could still go to the airport with their missionaries), but it shares the feeling of excitement that these missionaries have.

Conference Weekend

General Conference was amazing. That big announcement at the beginning of the Saturday morning session really made us all pay attention and listen more intently. This mission age change doesn’t really change our plans much. Cole is eligible to go NOW, but since it will take us about 2 months to get his papers ready and submitted, and you submit those 16 weeks before his availability date, that would be about April anyway, so we’ll just continue on our course, and plan for him to go in April, when winter semester is over. But it is a big change for all those boys who are currently seniors. They now can leave right after high school, instead of going to college or working for the first year. And young women can go at 19!? Wow. I foresee GREAT influx of sister missionaries! That’s wonderful!!

There were SO many amazing talks that touched my heart. I really do look forward to reading these talks and reviewing all that I learned.

Our family was busy, as well. We have had a desperate need to clean the garage, but in the summer it was much too hot. September has been busy with Ryan traveling and other things that keep us busy on Saturdays. So, even though Ryan just got back from Korea on Friday night, I was determined that Saturday was the day to clean the garage.

I did not take any pictures of the before (we don’t need proof of what slobs we are), but there was straw and grass everywhere, some mice had been in there, and it was just packed with STUFF. Insane amounts of stuff.

Cole was home for the day, and we put him to work as well. We filled up the truck with bikes, a scooter, and other stuff, and took that load to the dump. Then we filled up the truck with trash to go to the dump. A whole load gone, and we still have stuff to pare down. With the use of a borrowed pressure washer, we were able to clean the floor and then put everything back in.

Look at all the space there is on the side of the suburban! With such a huge car, it does cramp the garage, but once the bikes are corralled and the extra junk is gone, it seems so spacious!

There’s even space to get to the outside freezer without tripping on a hose or other such junk.

(not the best picture, but I didn’t want to go out into the garage without shoes on)

Oh the joy. I know some of you are going to look at those pictures and think, “What is she talking about? There’s stuff everywhere!” But the improvement is immense, and I am pleased. Since we are almost done with lawn mowing season, we won’t be getting a ton of grass and stuff in there, and maybe we can keep it clean through the winter. I said MAYBE.

On Sunday, the kids were engaged in all kinds of projects.

Megan is working on a painting for her art class (that she’s been working on for 2 weeks and I seriously hope she gets that done).

John is working on some perler bead creations.

Jenna was working on friendship bracelets and Natalie was making a playdough bust of Magellan for her history assignment.

Cole is exhausted from college life and had a little rest during the Sunday morning session.

Larissa(not pictured here because she didn’t start until after I was done taking pictures) was working on a collage for an assignment.

I made whole wheat bread, and collected all the ripe and semi ripe tomatoes from the garden. We also ate one of our three cantaloupes that we grew in the garden.

It’s so nice to be able to relax and listen to conference from home. I actually had tickets for Sunday afternoon’s session, but I gave them away so that we could avoid the traffic and crowds and stay together here at home.

Not primary?

On Easter I was released from my church calling in the primary presidency. We had been in there together for almost 2 years, and it was time for a change. Our president is dealing with a lot of stuff in her family right now, and she needs to focus on them right now. Since they let her go, they had to cut us all loose. I am sad to leave that job, as I really do love working with the kids. What I won’t miss is trying to keep our primary staffed. It was a constant struggle, with people moving in and out and being called to different jobs, to keep teachers for every job. And now I don’t have to worry about it. I’ve been two weeks without a ward calling, and I like it. Most people don’t remember or even think about that my Bells on Temple Square job is a church calling. And it’s supposed to be my MAIN, if not my only calling. I do spend an average of 6 hours a week on that calling, between travel and rehearsal time. So I’m ok if they don’t reassign me to something right away.

Sunday was my first time being at church and not going to primary. Did I enjoy the lessons in Relief Society and Sunday School? No, actually, I did not. Since Ryan was out of town, I had told one of the other nursery leaders that I would go in there and help. Well, she called and told me she would be out of town, but we could handle it with just the two of us. Little did I know, they would call the main nursery lady to a job in primary. And didn’t call anyone else. So, one was released, and two were out of town. Hmmm. I grabbed Andrea, our former primary president, and asked if she would hang out in the nursery with me. What fun! Two subs muddling through.

One poor sweetie broke out in tears when someone left and shut the door. I held her until her sobbing turned to shudders, and she fell asleep. I eventually handed her off to one of the slacker elder’s quorum members who come into nursery to … NO. to avoid going to class is more like it. He held her for a while, while I fed them all snacks. We had no singing time (someone swiped their cd player), no lesson, and no structure. Go with the flow of nursery, that’s what Ryan always does. I made the rookie mistake of getting a band-aid for one of the little girls who claimed she had an OWIE. Wouldn’t you just know it? Now EVERYONE has owies, and they ALL need band-aids. Sorry, kids. I’ll just kiss yours all better.

It was fun. I can see why Ryan and his nursery buddies love it so much.

The Nauvoo Temple

We had the opportunity to attend the temple while in Nauvoo. The temple, so long a symbol of pioneer sacrifice and heartache, is now rebuilt and beautiful. I don’t know how the placement of the rooms compares with the original temple, but it is breathtaking.

Because three of my kids were over twelve, they were able to go inside. The adults went upstairs to do a session. We rented our temple clothing there. It was a busy day, with a stake from Peoria there that day. But they did manage to get everyone in to the scheduled session (you have to call ahead and make an appointment. No walk ins here.) There was a little bit of a mix-up with my temple packet I had to ask for help..twice! But that’s enough about that. It really is best to bring your own temple clothes, I guess.

I’m glad that we were able to work temple service into our vacation. It was a really special experience to be there with my parents and my kids, all going to the temple together. The kids finished first, so they walked the four blocks back to our motel.

Special memories that I hope they will treasure.

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