Superpaige's Pad

The Trials of a Busy Mom

Category: Kids (page 1 of 19)

Larissa!

It was so great to see our former exchange student, Larissa, in Germany. It was a bit out of the way, but since we were traveling from Amsterdam to Dusseldorf anyway, we just took a train to Osnabruck where she lives first.

She came to the train station and picked us up, and it was wonderful to give her a great big hug! She took us around town to show us some things, and we walked through the square.

It was very cold and we were getting hungry, so Ryan and I ordered a hamburger from this stand. Larissa is eating vegan, so she didn’t want any.

We looked at and went in 2 amazing churches. It seems every block there’s a HUGE magnificent church.

We even asked a stranger to take a picture of the 3 of us, not just do a selfie.

And I wanted a picture with these fine people, as well. They also gave me candy.

Then she took us to the house where she lives with a bunch of other college students.

It’s a group of buildings on a little farm.

All too soon our time was up and she brought us back to the train station to catch a train to Dusseldorf. It was wonderful to see her and bring her some love from her American Family.

Change of plans–My, what a clean freezer you have

20160722_171645I had the day planned, including picking the Chinese girls up quicklyso we could go up to the Conference center for the King’s Singers concert. I have loved them for a while, especially after they were guests at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert. They were so nice, and even talked to us backstage. And their voices….AMAZING. But even before that concert, I fell in love with this song from a PBS commercial.

I didn’t know who was singing this song, but I loved it. My sweet husband found out that it was the King’s Singers, and he bought me a CD with that song on it. The rest of the songs are kind of hokey, but THAT one..that ONE song is worth it.

Don’t believe me?
Listen to one of my all time favorite Christmas song arrangements. Hearing this one just takes me back to waiting in the stairwell keeping our bells quiet for our entrance in the next song. Every night, I just thought it sounded like angels. I’m listening to it right now and it’s such a calming song! I should make it my ring-tone.

Anyway, they are here with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir again for the Pioneer Day concert. Tonight. Right now.

Rewind a bit to about lunch time. One of the kids mentioned that some things in the freezer were mushy. I didn’t do anything right away, except to say to make sure they CLOSE THE DOOR! Jenna had a group coming over to go to space camp, and we were trying to make sure everyone was here, etc. Once we got that mess figured out, I had forgotten about the freezer. Later, when it was time for me to leave to go and pick up the Chinese girls, I remembered to check the freezer in the garage. Ugh. No WHOOSH should when I open or close it, which tells me the seal is not properly sealing, and things are all mushy and there’s a lot of goo on the floor. But I don’t have time to deal with it.

So, from the car, I called my daughters and asked them to
a-go and get some ice from the grocery store
b-start taking the meat out and putting it in the coolers
c-throw away stuff that is dripping
And I texted Ryan to see if he could come home a little early and assess the situation.

As I got onto the freeway, I got a text from the exchange group telling me that the buses from park city were late, and the students should be about 15 minutes late. Since I was driving to Orem, I decided to run into Costco quickly with those 15 extra minutes. I couldn’t get anything that needed to be frozen or even refrigerated right away, since I still had to wait for the girls.

Then I got to the school by 4:45 to pick up the girls. No Chinese kids. Listen to music, text a few people in my ward, trying to be productive. At about 5:20, they arrived. They had been to the outlet mall in park city, and every single student had at least one bag.

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I had already given up hope that we would be going to the concert, which was good. At least I wasn’t super stressed trying to get home in time. I knew it was a lost cause.

By the time I got four girls dropped off and our two girls home, it was almost 6. Ryan was almost finished cleaning out the freezer. Three coolers full of food were on our counter, with lots of food that didn’t fit in the coolers. Time to start cooking. For dinner, we had cream puffs, taquitos, mozzarella sticks, and fried rice (all from the freezer). Everyone seemed to enjoy our hodge podge dinner.

After dinner, I had the pleasure of putting the food BACK into the freezer.20160722_191442

The funny thing is, that LAST night at book club, Susan, Tess and Melinda were commiserating about their respective freezer thaw disasters. Ugh. I had to text them and thank them for jinxing me.

So, here we are…tired, sticky, a little bit grumpy, and NOT at the Kings’ Singers concert. Maybe I can scrounge up ticket for tomorrow night. If not, I’ll survive. I’ll just listen to my favorite song about 10 times.

It’s wedding week!

Wedding week. EEEK!! It’s so strange. My fistborn, my sweet little Cole, My Kolipoki…he’s getting married!

Maybe we should watch “Father of the Bride”.
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Or maybe not. Maybe later.

There were many things I was going to do ‘before the wedding’.
-Lose 20 pounds
-Get a spray tan
-Get the house cleaned and organized
-wax the eyebrows

Now it looks like we are just going to do the necessities. I have lost 5 pounds, but not 20. Oh, well.

Last night I packaged up 100 shortbread cookies for the wedding dinner. Oh, and our air conditioning went out. But, hooray, it’s working again, so that’s a good thing.

It’s all about these two cuties.
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We are so happy for them!

Spring concert…At least there was no barf

Monday was our chime choir Spring Concert.

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The kids get to perform twice for the school, and then once for the parents in the evening. They had some pretty difficult songs, and I scheduled the concert pretty early (so as to be BEFORE the band concert, as per request of the kids), so they weren’t totally performance ready. But they did ok.

We never have quite enough time as we would like to rehearse that morning, but it went ok.

We went in the afternoon to practice with the teens, and there was a karate group in the gym. Oh, well. We’ll just go up to the stage. I was thinking ahead this time, and brought everything I thought I would need for the evening. I brought T-shirts and a sign that said how much the t-shirts cost, and even listed the sizes of the shirts, I brought tablecloths for the t-shirt table, and the cookie table, I printed programs and brought those, the tables were all set up, the props were there.

For the evening concert, there were all three groups performing. I have an AM choir that meets before school at 7 am, a PM choir that meets before school at 8:00 am, and a TEEN chime choir that meets in the afternoon at the City Arts building. The teen choir is new, and I didn’t have anywhere for them to perform, so I just added them to this concert group. They really haven’t had as much time to prepare, since they rehearse on Mondays and there have been so many Monday holidays off of school. But, since they are a bit older, they pick things up faster.

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We were just about to start, and the kids tell me, “Lily is feeling sick! Should we go tell her to stay in the car?” Without saying too much about this particular child, there is a reason that I do not normally include 2nd or 3rd graders in my choir. They are just not ready for it, and usually don’t have the musical knowledge that is needed. But, if there is a sibling in the choir, I’ll often make an exception. Mistake. Anyway, I told her brother that she really should play. Probably just nerves, right? She looked terrified, and I’m not sure if she played her notes or not. I asked her if she was doing ok, and she said she thought she might throw up. So, I put things in fast gear for that group. Not much talking, cut out the banter. Just get through those 4 songs so that sick girl can be off the stage and away from the chimes. I really cannot imagine what I would have done if she threw up on the chimes (and music and tablecloths). I think we would have had to just call it and be done right then.

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The next group comes up, and we are missing one girl. Seriously? She’s been flakey all semester, missed more than half the practices, but she was there for the school concert, and I thought I had sent enough reminders home that she would come. Nope. Not there. And she’s on the high notes, so if they aren’t played, you really hear it. I called up a cute girl from my other choir and asked her if she would fill in. Sight reading. Seriously! She’s pretty awesome!

Even with her help, though, we had some serious problems. There were entire measures where no one played anything. It’s just me leading and GLARING at them, mouthing the measure numbers, hoping that someone…ANYONE…figures out where we are and GETS with the program. I’m glad the audience could only see my back at those moments. And not just one song. Multiple songs falling apart. Kids couldn’t find their folders, looking under the table trying to find them, missing notes that were borrowed for one song and not put back. Not smooth.

Ryan had told me that I was not allowed to complain about the concert, or we couldn’t go to dinner. So, I held my tongue. I was so exhausted! We did have a nice dinner out with my two chime choir kids, John and Jenna, at Rumbi.

As we were driving home from dinner, the kids were in a super giggly mood. “WANG CHUNG” came on the radio, and Ryan and I sang along. One of the kids asked what that meant, anyway, and Ryan said it was just a made up word. “It can probably mean anything, right? Everybody Wang chung tonight….I hope I don’t wang chung my lunch.” That set off a WHOLE slew of hysterical laughter and we were back on the subject of upchucking (or “Wang chunging”). At least we can laugh.

I’m very glad that we are almost done with chimes for the year. We have a performance in church on Sunday (eek! Why do I do this to myself?) and then a spring music festival next week where we all go to another school and perform and listen to other groups perform. And then we’ll be done. I’m burned out. I need to focus on other things (hello, wedding!) and take a break so I can be excited about teaching again come August.

It will probably take me that long to organize the file the music.

Sigh.

She said yes

“They say when you marry in June, you’re a bride all your life…” (Can you name that musical? Are you humming along?)

Well, we’ll be having a wedding in June! Hooray!

Cole and Emily got engaged last week, and we are all very excited about it. We’ve all known it was coming, so it wasn’t a big surprise, except to her.

Conference weekend. Temple Square. Nope.
Then Cole took her for a drive up in the canyon. Nope.
Then back to a park. He said he had a surprise for her. And he gave her a book.
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But inside the book, that was the surprise.
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He even got down on one knee.

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And she said yes.

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We are thrilled to welcome Emily to the family. She’s a beautiful girl with a good heart. And for some reason, she seems to love Cole and think that the rest of the family’s not too bad.

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Early morning music

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Endings and beginnings

It’s the last week of school for folks in these parts. It’s been full of LASTS. Concerts, parties, yearbooks, autographs and school.

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We don’t have anyone graduating this year, but our neighbors do. Can you tell what these balloons spell out?

My sister-in-law, Julene and I went to John’s class at school today to make balloon animals for part of their party.
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His teacher thanked us profusely, but I wonder if the balloon noise just added to the chaos. Oh, well. The kids liked them.

In addition to lasts, we’ve had new beginnings. Cole spend almost all day on Monday playing with (or maybe the better word is configuring) his new phone (my old phone). He’s also been working on his old laptop (the one that Megan’s been using for the past two years). But yesterday, he heard back from his former boss at his BYU job, who asked him to come in today and start working! Woo Hoo! Such a relief to have him have a JOB! Not only does he desperately need money, but he needs something to DO. It sounds like they will allow him to work up to 40 hours a week, which would be wonderful. Crossing my fingers that it will work out that way.

Megan has also been working at Wendy’s since she came back from school. Since she’s available and willing to work, they’ve put her on nights, which means she goes in at 5 and is done at about 1. Last pay period she even picked up someone’s shift so she got overtime. Overtime makes this girl super happy.
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When things get busy and we have more things going on, I hope it’s not too hard for her to trade shifts so that she can have the evening off to do things with us (family pictures coming up, for example).

Natalie has also applied at a couple (and I use that term liberally) places, but today when I nagged her about that it was time to find a job, she complained bitterly. Does she not understand that the nagging with stop when she finds a job? Silly girl. She acts like she’s too good to work fast food. Hmm. I guess she’ll just have to do more jobs around the house for me.

Since we have two more drivers home and no more cars (nobody seems to want to drive the suburban), we’ve been looking for another car. We found one this week and I bought it yesterday.
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If you think that looks somewhat like a police car, you would be correct.
It’s a 2003 Crown Victoria, used by the forest service, not a patrol car, so it’s not quite as beat up as it could have been. It looks ok from the side, but if you look up top you’ll see much more paint damage.
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The kids don’t seem to mind, and the price was in our range, so we bought it. Plus, we know the guy who sold it to us, and I don’t think he would sell us a lemon on purpose. This car has a lot of power and will hopefully run for a long time.

And on a completely unrelated topic, since Natalie was home today, I asked her to use the rhubarb we had picked yesterday to make something. I made rhubarb muffins yesterday, so she decided she wanted to make a pie. Not bad looking for her first pie, right?

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So, happy summer. Enjoy the long days, the kids at home, the messes. I know I will.

Kind of a roller coaster

This week was hard for me. Monday, especially. Monday and Tuesday were auditions for a summer show at the Sera theater. I’ve always loved “Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamboat”,even before Donny made it his own. Even though there aren’t really any parts for women, I wanted to audition. But when I accepted this relief society calling, I told Ryan that I would probably have to give up community theater for a bit. I didn’t say forever. When I looked at the dates for that play (and two others) and looked at my rehearsal schedule for bells (every Wed night, three Saturday mornings and a couple other nights thrown in before our concert in June) and the other things the family has already scheduled, I realized that no one would cast me in a show that opens July 2, even if I did audition. But it made me sad, still.

I couldn’t find my favorite chicken again. She doesn’t like to go into the house at night, and we usually have to pick her up and put her inside. When I went to put them away one night, I couldn’t find her anywhere. Couldn’t find her again the next day. She did this once before, and after disappearing for a day, she magically came back. I figured she was just on another walk-about. But, as I was out in the orchard area of the yard, spraying weeds, I found her. Or bits of her. Only her feet and a wing were there. Something had come into our yard and eaten her. Sadness enveloped me as I cleaned up what was left of my favorite chicken. A thought came to me that if I cared this much about a chicken, imagine the sorrow that a parent, or our Heavenly Father, feels when a child is lost. It put things into perspective a bit, but I was still so very sad.

On Tuesday, I read on the freecycle email that someone had two Americauna Chickens to give away. The same kind as I had lost, they lay green eggs, and are very friendly. Tuesday night I went to go pick them up. Even though I only lost one, I picked up those two and brought them home to our flock. I hope they adjust well soon. So, that was good.

Wed I got to sub in Kindergarten. First time I’ve had a little one throw up in the classroom, and let me tell you, I don’t need to experience that again…ever.

Bells rehearsal was a lot of fun. LeAnna was gone and Larry was a little bit more casual and fun. Since we had just had a BIG long day on Friday, it was nice to take it a little bit easy and have the pressure off.

The deadline to get Natalie registered for the National Debate competition has been looming. While we want her to have a good experience, this trip just doesn’t seem to be working out. Only 3 kids from Lone Peak Qualified, and there were no chaperones, except the one boy’s mom, from what I could tell. We as parents got NO communication from the school or the debate coach, even though I emailed and asked questions. Natalie’s friend is her duo partner, and I kept asking her mom if she knew anything. Last week I realized we would have to do all the arrangements ourselves, and I called to see if we could reserve a room at the hotel where the competition is being held. I thought if I went with them, that would put me at ease. Sold out. Wait list. Looked at flights, not terrible, but still, we would want to book those soon.

I’ve had this unsettled feeling about the competition. How would these girls find anything? Where would they stay? Take a taxi? What 16 year old knows how to do that? I’m not a seasoned traveler, so these things make me nervous, maybe I was projecting that feeling onto this situation.

I heard in a meeting the other day, that if you have a little feeling and you wonder if that’s from the spirit trying to tell you something of if it’s a thought you had in your own mind, 99% of the time, it’s the spirit trying to tell you something. I’m trying to live closer to the spirit since my RS calling, and I just couldn’t get this nagging annoying feeling to go away. I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to please help me figure out what to do. Then I messaged Natalie’s debate partner’s mom and just told her what I thought. She said she would not hold it against us if we decided to pull Natalie from the competition, even if that meant her daughter wouldn’t be able to attend. It would simplify their lives as well (she would be missing half of a family vacation).

When Natalie came home, I braced myself for some drama, but as I explained how I felt and what we were thinking, she was very calm and I think she understands. I told her how much we love her and that we want her to be happy and successful, but we don’t think this is the competition for her. She called her friend, who already knew what we moms were thinking, and they told the coach to put the alternates in, that they wouldn’t be going. (Sure, SHE can reach him, but he won’t answer my email? Whatever)

I feel a bit more peaceful now that the decision has been made.

I had kept today and tomorrow open because my friend Robin had wanted to fly here from AZ and go to women’s conference with me, but she decided at the last minute that she’d better not. Even though she feels pretty good at home, her white count is down, and who knows how the altitude and the flight might affect her (she’s undergoing cancer treatments). So, while I could have gone to Women’s conference, I spent the day doing Relief Society things instead. I made muffins and went to visit two older sisters in our ward. They are both primary care takers for husbands suffering with Alzheimer’s. It was good to visit with them for a few minutes and let them know that we care and we are available to help, if they want that. I also worked on my lesson for Sunday a little bit.

So, you can see, the week is full of ups and downs. That’s how life is. Ups and Downs, highs and lows. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have…….I’ll stop now.

John

Eleven is a big year for this boy here.

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He got to perform at the Hope of America, which is a big program at BYU (part of the Freedom Festival) where 5th graders learn a bunch of great songs and get to go and perform them.

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You can’t tell, but there’s John over there in the yellow shirt on the left side.

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Also not John.

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The coolest is when they do this whole flashlight song and sing about how they are the light.

John doesn’t love to have his picture taken right now, but he is indeed a light to our family. Smart and Spunky (and stubborn). We love him.

The other day there was a HUGE windstorm. I hate windstorms. The sound of the wind shaking the windows and the bushes scraping the trees scares me, and I envision our roof being ripped off as I watch garbage cans and coolers and boxes blow down the street. As I was preparing to hunker down inside, I looked out the window, and I saw John on the trampoline. What in the world?
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He thought he would take advantage of the breeze and see if that affected his jumping. That boy loves to jump on the trampoline.

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The pictures aren’t the greatest quality because I took them from inside the house through a dirty window (because I wasn’t going outside, are you kidding?)but you get the idea.

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I actually had to call him inside when dinner was ready.

I love this boy.
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Splash

While I may have left a not so glowing review on priceline about the Quality Inn in Mesa, the bright spot of my review was the pool. The pool made a splash.

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If they put as much effort into cleaning and maintaining the rooms as they did the pool….

Someone swam there every day. There’s John and his cousin Danny having a great time playing in the pool. If our activity got too hot or we had some free time at the hotel, we always knew we could swim.

And it got too hot for us every day.

There were nice deck chairs, some shade, even in the heat of the day, and it was especially nice in the afternoon. I did swim, but I spent most of my time poolside, reading a book or taking pictures of the kids.

And, bonus, Arizonians do not swim until it’s over 100 degrees. Really. So, there was hardly ever anyone else out at the pool. And if they were out there, it was just relaxing in the deck chairs, not swimming.
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So it was kind of like we had out own private pool. Hopefully as our memories fade, we can laugh about the crappy things and remember the good times of the vacation, like the pool.

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