Superpaige's Pad

The Trials of a Busy Mom

Category: Kids (page 2 of 19)

Do not spray on things you like

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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?”
“Stuff.”
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.

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
-tv,
-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 LDS.org 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.

Thank you 2013

What a year it’s been for us!

2013 was the year we finished our basement. It’s so lovely to have that space finished, now.
. I love how it turned out, and look forward to when we can do the tile in the bathroom. No, it’s not totally done, but it’s mostly there, and we love it.

2013 was the year we took Larissa to Disneyland, and she got to go to California for the first time ever. What a fun family vacation that was, and how blessed we were that ALL the kids got to go.
In February we found out where Cole would be serving his mission, in West Virginia.
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In March, my little chime choir got to play at the spring ring, and it was a big boost to my program. After that performance, the parents really got behind my effort to purchase my own set of chimes, and the kickstarter fundraiser was a success. We got enough pledges to buy a 3 octave set of chimes. We also took family pictures and proceeded to get Cole ready for his mission.

Spring was a time of many birthdays. Cole turned 19, Larissa turned 16, and Megan turned 17. We hosted our share of parties. We didn’t go anywhere exciting for Spring break, but we still had some fun around here.
Natalie sang in a special choir for the YW broadcast and we all went to the conference center to hear her sing.

May was a BIG month for us. Cole went through the temple, and got ready for his mission. He entered the MTC on May 22, and it was heartwrenching, yet happy and exciting to take him to the MTC.

They also started work on the development that is going in behind our house, took out the trees, and started cleaning things up back there.

It was busy with the end of the school year and all the parties, awards, concerts, etc.

In June, Larissa prepared to leave us. Her Mom came over from Germany, and the two of them got to do some traveling through the west before they flew back to Germany.

It was hard for her to pack up all her stuff from the whole year, and it was harder to say goodbye. We all had such a wonderful experience with her here, it was difficult to see her go.
New chickens joined the family, and Cole left the MTC for his mission.
Since it was summer, that meant rehearsals started, as Natalie did one play and I did another one.

July was a blur of rehearsals, trek, exchange students from China, parties and barbeques, and family reunions. Natalie was in Peter Pan! We worked on our garden, the weather was hot, and the chickens grew up. It ended with saying goodbye to a dear friend who passed away, and the Scarlet Pimpernel opened.

August was wonderful. A whole month of Pimpernel.

Somewhere in there we finished summer and school started. Megan did a HUGE project with floppy disks
, and we ate a LOT of peaches. Oh, the peach harvest was so wonderful! We put up 50 quarts of our own peaches, and could have done many more, had we the time and energy. It’s ok to share some of the harvest, too.
Ryan was so supportive and helpful, I don’t know if I could have done that show without him. It was really a special experience for me. I met so many new and wonderful people, and it changed my attitude about a lot of things.

September my chimes choir started up again, and it was wonderful to not have to be trying to get a grant. I could just concentrate on teaching. The art projects started to take over much of the table and counter space. I just love this fish.

We had a small party for John’s birthday, followed immediately by a BIG cast party for the Scarlet Pimpernel. Even though the weather did not cooperate, things worked out, as they always do.

Ryan’s niece got married–the first of the kids’ cousins to get married, and we are so proud of her.
I also got to spend a weekend with Ryan in Denver. He was working, me not so much. Loved it!

In October, we enjoyed the beautiful fall. Not too hot, and not too cold. The Adventures of Merlin opened, and I learned that doing a show that performs EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKDAY. is really quite hard.
But what a great experience it was.
Halloween was great, the kids had fun with their costumes and candy, and we hosted a big costume party.

November really kicks off the Christmas concert season around here, and so it was good that all plays were over by November 1st. The Bells on Temple Square concert was SO much fun. Thanksgiving was a smallish affair, with only 16 of us at Ryan’s sister Julene’s house. We missed Cole, but were glad that he had plenty of warm Kentucky hospitality.

December was a whirlwind of snow, concerts, presents, and family.

Meeting John Rhys-Davis was a highlight of the concert week, and it was a wonderful experience.
I love all the Christmas decorating, wrapping, gift giving, baking…I love everything about Christmas! It’s sad to let it go and say goodbye to December, but I must say it was really a GREAT year.

I am SO thankful for the HUGE blessings and MANY opportunities I had to expand my vision and friendships this year. I can only imagine what wonders 2014 has in store for us.

Things are a bit Fishy (and how I’m excited to reclaim my kitchen counter)

Another of Megan’s projects is done (Whew!) and that means I can reclaim my kitchen counter again, at least for a day or two.

She’s been working on this FISH thing. I don’t know if Ryan suggested this one to her, too, or if it was her idea at first. It’s another project for her AP 3d art class. First she had to paper mache’, then it was cutting up a dozen soda cans, and then the endless gluing, gluing, gluing.
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Can you see the little notes she left that say, “Work in progress”. Warning me to not clean her project away. Um, whose kitchen do you think this is, girl?

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Last night she and I worked on that thing for a couple of hours. She LET me help her. I did a lot of cutting and even helped with the gluing of the scales. When you hot glue on aluminum, the whole thing heats up very quickly, and we had some burned fingers.

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I think she’s been working on this one for two weeks. I lose track of time, but I do know the fish and cans and pieces of cans have been on my counter since Monday.
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Now that it’s done I think it looks REALLY cool. Like she should win some kind of award cool.
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I don’t know if it’s because she’s using the cans of my favorite beverage as an art medium, or what, but it turned out great. Ryan even built that little stand for it to sit on so it won’t get tipped over or whatever. This girl’s got some talent! She has named this one Frankie De Piranha. (It’s a reference to a Monk episode. Do you get it?)

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And now I’m going to go clean off the rest of my counter. It will probably stay that way for all of about five minutes before I haul up the pears and decide what I’m going to do with pears today.

Rain, Slip and Slide

Saturday.

John’s Birthday party.

Decided to rent a bounce house or inflate a slide because that would be an easy activity for the boys, and I found a deal on KSL for a slide rental.

When the guy came to set it up, it was sunny and hot, and the kids were excited to give it a try.

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We started the party with just a few kids, since some of them had said they would be late or had to leave early because of football games and such. Since John wanted to have a “Mustache” party, we did the mustache things first.
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When we went outside to slide, it wasn’t quite as bright and sunny, and there were dark clouds off to the west. No worries, though.

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For we had boys and we had a slide and we had water. What could be more fun?
There was lots of jumping and climbing and twisting and turning and splashing. Such fun.

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Soon the skies began to darken even more and we saw lightning a short distance away.
Not wanting to have to explain to any of the mothers why we let her child be hit by lightning instead of bringing him back inside, we reluctantly made them get off the slide and come in.

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The wind was getting quite strong, and one boy was just shivering. I wasn’t cold, but then again, I wasn’t wet.

We ended the party inside, turning on the Three Amigos, and the kids dried off and were all happy. Party deemed a success, even though only half of the invited guests came and we only got about an hour of slide time in. I was a bit ticked off, because even with the deal, that slide had not been cheap, and I wanted to be using it ALL afternoon with the other kids and their friends.

Even worse, DARK clouds soon covered the area, and I read online about areas in Alpine being evacuated due to flooding. Ugh. We had another party scheduled to start soon. I had invited the cast of Scarlet Pimpernel over for a backyard barbeque. Not much dry backyard after the rain started pouring.

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But I went online and reassured everyone in the group that the party could still happen, we would just have to move it inside. I had told them earlier about the large water slide, and to bring their suits, and one of the guys replied that he thought it would be fun to go down the slide, even in the rain. Ha.

Well, even through the rain and wind, they came, and we ended up having a houseful of loud, funny, theater people. My family, not used to being around such a group, kind of cowered in the corner, but they warmed up eventually.

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Once the rain subsided a bit, we were able to get the meat on the grill, and eventually we had a prayer and ‘started’ dinner (even though everyone had already been eating all the chips and food that was on the counter already).

Soon, the rain was just a drizzle and I decided to plug that slide back in. Three of the guys ripped off their clothes to their swim suits underneath and jumped at the chance to go down that slide, even though it was kind of dark and kind of cold.

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I should have played around with my camera settings because it was hard to capture any good images with them moving so fast and it getting dark. But let me just say that there were some spectacular jumps.
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Even people who did NOT bring swim suits or a change of clothes had to try it out, and soon we had 10-15 people going down that slide. One of them was John, who got to do round two of his slide party, I guess.

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Eventually the wind kicked up again and it was just plain cold. And dark, so we deflated the slide and went inside to finish the party.

It was really fun. Even after all the food was gone, people still stayed to play games, watch a movie, or just talk.
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We had a game of Settlers of Catan downstairs, Fooseball matches going on, and a big game of BANG upstairs.

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It really was fun. The day, even though it was not what I had planned and not the best weather conditions, was great. We managed to have LOTS of fun, rain or shine. I’m glad my Pimpernel friends braved the rain to come all the way out to Highland. When the show ended, I knew I would miss those friendships, and I told one of them that I just needed people to come to my house and entertain me, and that’s what they did.

Some call it retro. Some call it art. Some call it junk. Not sure what we call it, but it’s done.

Megan has been working on several art projects this summer. It seems she has to do a dozen projects BEFORE school even starts for this AP 3-d art class (just a tip, don’t ever let your kids take AP art. It will take ALL their time and kill a few grades in other classes.) Well, summer is winding down and the projects are not all finished, but she is making progress.

Somehow, when Ryan was cleaning out his office, he may have suggested a project idea using old 3 1/2 inch floppies. The idea took off, and took OVER.

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First, this required a trip to Spanish Fork to acquire a whole bunch of old floppies from Grandpa Erickson. Lucky for us he’s a pack rat who never throws anything away (even worse than Ryan) so he HAD several boxes of the disks to give her.

She mapped out her design and started to paint.
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My counter was her place of choice to paint, and things looked like this for a couple of days. Patient, aren’t I? Not really. I couldn’t STAND having those disks all over the counter for too long, and made her move the whole operation to the basement, where there is a whole table she can use.

I came home from my show one night to find Ryan and Megan working in the basement. Wonder what’s going on, I thought. It’s time for these people to be in bed.
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I found that they had gotten this thing started. Ryan has been a great help to her on this project. He said he felt like he owed her that much since he kind of put the idea in her head. They had gone to Home Depot to get baling wire, a shower curtain rod and hangers, and he had made 360 s hooks for her to hang this thing.
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On the floor, she had the rest of the design all laid out. I have to admit, it’s pretty cool.
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If you don’t know what that is, it’s a dragon character from the old game “Bubble Bobble.” Kind of obscure, but if you like old video games, you might recognize him.

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The next night there was more progress, until Monday night she finally got this huge thing finished.

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And on the back..

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As you can tell, it’s VERY big. Right now it’s a “screen” between our family room and the rest of the basement. I have no idea how she’s getting that thing to school to pass off, or what happens to it then. It’s currently attached to two of our light boxes. I am impressed that she finished it, and that it turned out so well. Not that I want it hanging in my family room for the long term, but it is interesting.

Maybe she could find a buyer.

So, if you are possibly in the market for a very unique piece of “recycled retro video game art”, give her a call.

Chinese girls

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After all the changes that we’ve been through in the spring, losing both Cole and Larissa, I wasn’t hip for hosting any exchange students this summer. Let’s just have a nice quiet summer with the four kids, right?

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Somehow the family thought it would be fun to host again, even though I told them over and over again that I would NOT be around, since the hosting was at the same time as our final rehearsals and opening of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Ryan assured me that he would be fine, even if I wasn’t around. Ha.

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A few things were actually in my favor this time.
#1-Carpool. I actually had a lady from Alpine call me and say that she and another lady each had vans and were willing to carpool, they just needed a third person. Hooray! With each of us housing two students,that’s 6 kids to haul back and forth, so you really need a van or big car to be able to carpool. Last time we did this, I was kind of late in finding a carpool, and could only find someone with a small car, and the driving was unbearable. This time, I had to drive only 9 times. Hooray! I told them that I needed to drive in the mornings, since afternoons get crazy, especially when I have to turn around and go back to Orem for rehearsal, so mornings were best. But it was dang hard getting myself and the girls up to leave by 7:30 each day.
#2-Distance. The home base school, where all the classes and activities started, and our place to pick up and drop off, was at about 800 North in Orem. While that’s still a ways away, it’s better than driving all the way to Provo, or BYU. On a good day, I could make it there in 20 minutes.
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#3-Megan could drive herself and her sisters to the buddy program. They always do a buddy program with American kids, and this year three of my kids were old enough to do the buddies. There were 5 days of activities that they did together, although my kids flaked on the Seven Peaks day. They just didn’t want to go, and said it wasn’t as fun as in past years. But whatever. I didn’t have to drive them!!! Hooray!!! Megan couldn’t drive the Chinese girls anywhere, but she can drive her sisters.
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I feel bad that I wasn’t around to take them to do fun things. In fact, the last week, I would only see them in the morning, as I would be leaving by the time they got back. But Ryan was GREAT. He took them and John to see Despicable Me 2, took them bowling a second time, brought everyone to the theater to see a dress rehearsal of my show, and took them to yogurt. He took everyone to the parade and Fireworks for the Highland Fling. He even took them to fix a broken ipod case. What an amazing guy!

Hopefully they won’t look back at their time here and think, that was boring.
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On their last night here, we invited over another host family and our new carpool buddies, and had a barbeque. The girls came alive with friends to talk to, and everyone had a nice time. That night we even all played “Mafia” in the basement.
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Although we were a little unclear on the rules, it was fun.
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Monday morning I took them to school for the last time. I gave them both hugs and Yao said sweetly, “We will miss you!”. I hope we can keep in contact with them. It’s always fun to send Christmas cards to our foreign friends.

Of course, it’s NOT fun to mail them stuff that they forgot. We found a camera in the back yard after they had gone, and now don’t know how exactly to get it back to her.

Peter Pan

I should let Natalie guest post this.

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Took the kids plus one cousin to see Natalie in Peter Pan.

Great show!

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Two of my friends as pirates. I could have been a pirate. Darn. It would have been SO much fun.

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Natalie had a great time in the show. It’s been kind of a pain to get her to rehearsals, and she’s missed out on a few fun things, but that’s what happens when you do a play (don’t I know it). She did a great job and we are Proud of her.

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TREK

week Megan and Natalie went on Trek. After a whole month of prep, they left on Monday morning. I had t get them to their respective churches by 5:45 am.
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It was a relief to have them drop off their stuff on Saturday, because it just felt like we were NEVER done getting the stuff! We had bonnets, but I sewed two skirts, two aprons, altered some shirts, sewed elastic in some pajama pants for bloomers, and we borrowed or found the rest. After buying the tick spray, the hiking socks, the dishes, small Book of Mormons, moleskin, bug spray, sunscreen, vasaline, etc, etc (times two), I probably spent over $200 outfitting these two girls for their roughing it experience.
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I woke them up around 5 so we could leave at 5:30. I took Natalie to her drop off church first, and she was the first one from her “family” there.
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Both girls had great “families” and had had a few activities with their Ma and Pa and family to get to know them and feel comfortable with them. I am SO THANKFUL for all the wonderful people who worked so hard as Mas and Pas to make this experience a good one for our kids.

Then I took Megan to her drop off point, which was our church, and I asked if they had gotten their ancestor cards. NO! said Megan. WHAT? Each person walking on trek was supposed to find an ancestor who actually crossed the plains, make up an ancestor card and have it laminated. They would wear that ancestor card while they walked. And they had forgotten them. Ugh. Time to race back home. We got home, Megan ran in and grabbed those two cards, looked for her sunglasses that she had forgotten, and then I took her to her drop off point. Because of our detour, it was a little past 5:45, but she wasn’t the last to arrive.
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(There’s her cute Ma, waving to us)
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Then I had to race over to the church where Natalie was, and bring her that ancestor card. Mission accomplished, and all by 6:00 am.

Then I came home and fell asleep on the couch, I’m not going to lie.

I thought about them all day, worried over how they would do with 13 miles of walking that day, if they would get sunburned, if they would get along with their families, praying for them to have good attitudes and not get blisters. It seemed quite without them, and quiet in the neighborhood. All the teens aged 14 and up were gone, as well as several sets of parents..all on trek. I texted my neighbor and mentioned that I wondered how the kids were doing. She texted me back and forwarded me a picture her husband, the bishop, who was there on trek, had sent her of her girls. The message read, “Girls say hi. L–hello we love you. E–We’re in hell.” That made me laugh, and was a little bit reassuring to know that they were alive. The next day he sent a message for me. “Ericksons–Blisters, but everyone has blisters, great and brave on women’s pull, great attitudes.” I don’t know if he was sending updates on every family, but I appreciated that little bit of info to know that they were working hard and hopefully keeping a good attitude.

Thursday, it was lonely without three of my kids. I couldn’t help thinking about Cole, and wondering what he was doing for the holiday, and hoping the girls were ok, too. The four of us went to the This is the Place Pioneer park to have a little fun.

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Even though it wasn’t the hottest day of the week, it was still WAY too hot to be wandering around dirt roads acting like a pioneer. Hmmm. And the girls were doing that for four days.

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To face the heat, we had root beer floats. Very American, right?

WE came home in the afternoon, and the girls got back around 3:00. I thought they would be SO tired, but they were full of energy, talking and laughing about how dirty they were.
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Megan said, ‘Look at my tan!’ and showed me her brown legs. They were indeed brown, until she wiped them off with a wet wipe, leaving a streak of white leg where the dirt had been.
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I kept telling them over and over…’Go TAKE a SHOWER!’, but they were telling me about trek and laughing (getting dirt all over). Finally I got them to both take showers. Long showers.
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Chime choir wrap up

I was contacted today by the people who loaned me the set of chimes I have been using. They say it’s time to give them to the next recipient, and want a wrap up report. I have already written much about my chime choir experience, but I wrote it all together for this letter, before I realized that it said a “one page” letter. Whoops. Time to edit. But I’ll put it all up here first, just in case I want to find it again.

With no money, no budget, no music, and no experience, I set out to start a hand chime choir. Thankfully, the principal was on board, and willing to let me try. When I found out I had gotten the Area 11 chime loan, I knew I could get going for at least one year.
I was all excited to go to back to school night, set out some chimes, and get kids to sign up and come play in my new chime choir! Since our school already has an established band and orchestra program, I thought we could just add to that and everyone would be excited. I quickly discovered that I would have to do some convincing, and enthusiasm alone are not enough to get a program going. The band teacher was downright rude and discouraging when I approached her about a new chime choir. “We already use the stage every single morning, so I don’t see how that would work.” But I persevered, send home a note asking for kids to sign up, and figured out with the principal an alternate location for our rehearsals.
I read the beginning books (provided with the loan of the chimes), and decided upon a lesson plan for our first couple rehearsals, and dragged the two heavy boxes of chimes to school for our first 7 am rehearsal. I had brought my two kids that attend that school, my 6th grader Jenna and 3rd grader John, and they were it. Not one other student. The three of us set up a table and put out the chimes and I showed them how to ring, and what the notes meant while we waited for the others to come. There were no others. At 8:00, my kids went to class, and I waited to see if anyone from the 2nd track would come. Only one other student came. One. I had known that he had signed up, but he was the only one. One real student. I could do even less with him than with Jenna and John, but again, I showed him how the notes go in order, how to ring, how to dampen, and we played a few chords. He seemed happy to ring, even if he was the only one. Maybe he felt special that he was receiving a “private lesson.”
The next day, it was the same story. Jenna and John and I made some little posters advertising our choir, and stuck them up around the school. And in my 8:00 class, I had two students come. I was SO excited that I had two actual students! Still not much I can do when I’ve got two kids in each group, but at least I had four, if you counted my own kids. I went and talked to the principal and asked what he thought I should do. Since the school schedules are staggered, I had to offer the class to both groups. He suggested I try an after school time for the early kids. While at first I wasn’t thrilled about coming in to the school before school AND after school two days a week, I decided to give it a try.
Our numbers SLOWLY grew as more kids signed up. By the end of November, I finally had 12 kids signed up, which is enough to play all the notes. Of course, half of the kids came in the morning before school and half came after school, so they never really could hear how the song was supposed to be played until the last week when we all had to come early in the morning for rehearsal.
Before we knew it, it was time for the Christmas concert.

There was a bit of confusion with the band teacher, and I won’t go into the whole thing, but I really had to assert myself and go to bat for my little choir so that we wouldn’t be totally hidden on the floor during the concert.
There were two performances during the school day, and one at night for the parents. Even though one of my students couldn’t be there for the evening performance, we covered things pretty well. I think they did SO great! I think people were impressed that they could recognize the songs we played, and that it even sounded good. We played Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star, Jingle Bells, and Jolly Old St. Nicholas. Little did I know that the band and orchestra would be playing those Christmas songs as well. But since we went first, people weren’t tired of the songs YET. My husband said he was surprised at how well they sounded. (Amazed is more like it.)
I got this message from one of the moms today,
Paige – Thank you so much for teaching M— chimes. I was so impressed tonight at the concert. Talk about a proud Mom moment. I didn’t realize how amazing chimes were, how beautiful they sound, how fun they are to watch and how much they have all learned in such a short time. I was beaming.
Thanks for all your hard work!
Love – M’s Mom
That brought tears to my eyes! This is why I am doing this! To bring the love of music and handbells to kids and parents.
The whole concert went quite well. The band teacher talked about how important music programs are, and plugged her band and orchestra program, telling the parents all about when to sign up and what they would be doing next semester, and she didn’t mention a word about the chime program. But maybe next time I will take the mic and do my own announcing, I thought. I was hopeful that enough kids would have thought it was cool to sign up in January, to have enough kids to ring all the notes in BOTH the am and the pm groups.
Besides finding music and teaching this little group, I worked really hard trying to get a grant. In fact, applied for many grants. Some for $500, and some for $5000. All of them have turned me down. It’s discouraging, especially when two of my handbell friends received grants to buy thier handchime sets from a certain company, and that company turned me down.

When Mary Moffet called to see if my little choir would like to play something for the Spring Ring, I was pretty sure that was out of the question. I didn’t know how many kids I would have winter semester, and had no idea if we could get something performance ready by March. Plus, I would be there with my own choir, and therefore couldn’t drive the kids all the way up to Kaysville. But when I asked the parents of my little group (I had 15 students by then), they were ALL excited about the opportunity, and only one said they couldn’t commit to bringing their child on a Saturday, so I told Mary we would do it, and we started to prepare.

It’s one thing to play in the band and orchestra concert where the only people who come are the parents who think whatever their kid does is great, and another thing entirely to play in front of a whole crowd of BELL PEOPLE. Not only bell people, but my peers. I told LeAnna Wilmore, the Bells on Temple Square director, what would be happening, just to make sure that was ok with her that I would leave our group for a bit to go and direct my little choir, and to ask her if I could borrow some chimes if we needed extras. She was nothing but supportive, telling me I could use whatever I needed, and that it would be no problem at all.
Then she announced it to the group that I would be bringing my little chime choir to this event. My bell choir peeps were SO supportive. I don’t know why I was surprised. We have been together for 8 years, some of us, and we really are like a family. One friend said, “What song are you playing? If you want, we can stand behind and ring just in case they mess up. I was really blown away by their kind comments. It made me feel encouraged. A little bit
We rehearsed the Star Spangled Banner in earnest, and even had some early morning rehearsals so that all of the kids could ring together. Normally half come before school and half come after school, which makes it a little difficult to hear the whole song together. All but one of my kids committed to come, so we didn’t even have to do any switching around.
But I was still nervous. This being our first “on the road” performance of any kind, I had a big mental checklist of things I had to remember. Two boxes of chimes, all the music folders, get covers for the tables, bring the old quilts we use as table pads, bring chocolate for the kids (I had promised them chocolate), as well as the stuff I usually have to schlep with me to an all day ringing event (water bottles, diet coke, slip, shoes and nylons to go with my uniform, snacks, advil, etc. I seriously had a TON of stuff. And since my husband was going to be bringing three of the chime kids up there, I didn’t want to drive another car, so I transferred the whole load into my carpool buddy’s car to take up to Davis High on Saturday.

I was so nervous about the chime thing that I really couldn’t concentrate on the music. So many things could go wrong, and I have trouble getting my brain to not focus on the worst case scenario. What if the kids don’t get there in time? What if some of them don’t come? What if they get nervous and fall apart? It wasn’t helping things when one of the parents texted me at about the time they should be leaving asking for the address of the school, and what time is it that they need to be there.
At around 4:15, the director dismissed us to go and get changed and get ready for the concert at 5:00. I knew that one of my kids was there, and I started to set things up, with a churning of stress and worry in my gut. I soon saw my husband arrive with three of the kids, and then another parent with three more of the kids, and I was so happy to have them there. The kids, however, were more interested in seeing the really big bells and chimes than in rehearsing. I had to get them to focus so we could play the song at least once, and I told them we could all see the big bells AFTER the concert. By 4:40, all of the kids were there.
We quickly ran through our song, then I got them seated in order, and went to go change.
I joined my choir and played two pieces with them, then slunk away when another group did their solo. When it was our turn, I stood up, got my kids up, and got them ready to play. Mary got up to introduce us and explained about the chime loan program, and that we were an elementary choir in our first year of rehearsing, etc. And then it was our turn. I whispered to them, “Don’t play on count TWO” and we started.
Because we were playing the Star Spangled Banner, people stood up. I kind of wish they hadn’t stood up, and my director mentioned that she hoped they would announce that the audience didn’t need to stand up, but they stood up anyway. Oh, well.
The kids did great. They played it just like we had in practice! I forgot to have them bow or anything (I’m new at this), but they got a lot of applause. Because they’re so cute, right?

After the concert, I took the kids to see the really big bells and chimes, and the parents all came up to me while we were putting things away. ‘How much money do we need to buy our OWN set so we can keep this going for next year?’ one parent asked. One of the other parents said maybe we need to do our own fundraiser, because we just HAD to continue this program. I felt SO much love and support, which I realize I may not have received, had we not gone to the Spring Ring so they could see what other bell choirs look and sound like. I was on cloud 9 on the drive home.

Still frustrated by the lack of approval I was getting on my Grants, and with the number of rejection letters climbing into double digits, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I ran a fundraiser through Kickstarter, where people can donate to the cause, and they receive certain rewards. I figured I would just beg my friends and family and the parents to donate, and hopefully we could reach our $2,000 goal to buy our own 3 octave set of chimes. Amazingly, we met our goal, and I purchased the 3 octaves. The principal agreed to buy the 4th octave for us, so we’ll be set for next year!

I have plans for next year. I want to play the National Anthem for a sporting event. I want to have both a morning and an afternoon choir, and I am so excited that I get to work on these things. Thank you for giving me this chance to start a chime choir.

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