The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: December 2006 (Page 1 of 2)

Wow, that was a long day

Today was a long day. I got up at 5:30 (I had actually been woken up around 5, when John climbed into bed with me, but he thankfully went back to sleep. But since he was sleeping in my bed, I had to get dressed in the dark, and be very very quiet or risk waking him up again, and then not being able to get out of the house.) and left the house at 6:15 so I could meet my carpool at 6:30.
We got up to the conference center by 7, changed and were ready to rehearse at 7:30. We went through our song a few times, rehearsed with the choir, then waited. We did the run through, then the actual broadcast. You probably didn’t see it, but if you did, you would have seen a glimpse of me and heard us ring for one song.

Then we did the whole thing in reverse. Walk over to the tabernacle, change, go back to the parking lot, drive home. I got home around 11:15, and didn’t go to church. Instead I loaded some dishes, got some chicken out of the freezer, got some dinner cooking in the crock pot and watched a little tv. I made lunch for the family and had a 20 minute nap. Then the kids came home and smothered me with luvs and attention for an hour, when I had to leave again at 3:15. Again. Meet the carpool at 3:30, etc. etc. Only this time I was driving. At 4:30 we were dressed and ready. This time we rehearsed a different song for the fireside tonight. We ran though it a couple of times, then waited for the program to start so we could ring our one song. Luckily, someone had brought a new Cranium card game and we had fun playing that while we waited back stage. At 6:00, we were up in the loft, ready for our song. It was the first song of the program, so we were able to play that song, come back down, put away the bells and leave. I got home at around 7:15. So, I was gone for 9 hours today and performed two songs.

Not that I’m complaining or anything, I’m just tired.

Happy New Year.

Tomorrow we will discuss our resolutions and goals and what fun we’re going to have in the year 2007. Tonight, I’m going to try to get some kids to bed and then I’m hitting the hay myself. I will not be staying up until Midnight if I can help it, because I’m tired.

Yup. It’s my birthday. I’m old.

Happy Birthday, old woman.
I wish I could say I’m spending the day relaxing, getting a pedicure and then going shopping. But due to a family party at my house tomorrow, and the general state of this house because of:

a-the primary cleaner being out of town for a week
c-my illness earlier in the week, leaving me weak and tired and not really caring about the state of the house
d-5 kids, one husband and 3 birds.

I’m spending the day cleaning the house. I might as well give up, though, because the little people seem to be messing it up faster than I can clean, and there’s mountains of boxes that don’t fit into the trash, along with tons of little pieces that I’m not sure which toy they go to. And I keep trying to send my kids to friends’ houses, but instead we have more and more kids arriving. Right now Cole’s at a friend’s house, and we still have 7 kids here. hmmm.

Why did we schedule a family party the day after my birthday? Silly me. Oh, I know. It was scheduled for the 23rd, but because of someone’s vacation (mine), we rescheduled it. So, I should stop complaining and get back to cleaning. I will, right after a short rest (I haven’t gotten my energy quite back from the earlier illness, you see) and maybe a diet coke.

I was impressed that Ryan actually remembered the birthday and even got me a gift. Nice cozy slippers. AND he got up before me, changed a stinky diaper, went down and helped the kids make me breakfast in bed. It doesn’t take much to impress me. I guess I have low standards. I just wanted the old family to remember without me giving them any hints or reminders (which I didn’t). Thank goodness for the palm pilot so he can put in a reminder about important dates like birthdays.

A few more photos

I know that Ryan posted a link to the billion and one pictures from our Cancun Trip, but in reality, no one wants to sift through all those, so I’ll just post a couple of highlights and call it good.

(All the links are now clickable to the larger sizes –Ryan)

Here we are BEFORE going para sailing, while Paige still feels good and excited about life.

Here we are up in the air. See the pretty colors. See the pretty ocean. Luckily you can’t see Paige getting ill.

Here we are as they reel us in back to the boat. Don’t we look like we had a great time?

Here’s the lovely view we had for about the next hour as Paige lay in a lounge chair becoming un-sick. It looks like a Corona commercial, doesn’t it?

Here’s Paige playing bartender.

Here we are under the Christmas arch–or whatever it was. And Paige with her new amigos.

On our last day there, we traveled by crowded stinky bus to a really nice ritzy mall where I had seen a dolphin exhibit. Kind of like the buffaloes we’ve seen around here locally, but dolphins. We took tons of pictures, but these are some of my favorites.
dolpin 1 dolphin 2

dolphin 3 dolphin 4

dolphin 5 dolphin 6

Here’s a group shot of all the people in our group.

Montezuma’s Revenge

Hello, and I hope you all had a MERRY CHRISTMAS! We got home Late Saturday night, which could actually be considered early Sunday morning, then went to church at 10:30. The kids all did fine in our absence, but they were all so happy to have us back. Especially John, who talked non stop about the party he went to on Saturday night and the monster truck he got from his great grandma Coleman. He’s been clingy and wants to sit on my lap constantly, but we can handle that.

Our Christmas was nice, low key, and ready. Nothing I could do once we got back, so there wasn’t much stress. We got up around 7 and ripped through the presents quickly and efficiently, making the maximum mess in a short amount of time. The kids seemed pleased with their gifts, and Ryan and I were fine with our lack of gifts. We played and watched movies most of the day, until we went to my parents house in the afternoon for a family dinner. Chaos and loud boisterous laughter were prevalent. We all enjoyed ourselves.

We came home exhausted and fell into bed. I slept well until just after midnight, when I started experiencing major diarrhea. I don’t know if it’s something left-over from Mexico, or just my body’s way to tell me that I shouldn’t eat pure sugar all day, even if it is Christmas. That went on for hours. I was probably in the bathroom 30 times. I don’t want to be too graphic, but I couldn’t believe that much liquid could come out of my body.

Around 7:30, I got up to use the bathroom *again* and couldn’t make it back to the bed. My head was buzzing, I was sweating profusely, and couldn’t even stand up. I called to Ryan and he helped me back to the bed. It was then I realized I was severely dehydrated. Ryan went and got me something to drink while I lay there with my head buzzing. It felt like there were 100 moths flying around in my head. After drinking some water and some Dr. Pepper and taking some anti-diarrheal medicine, I rested for a while. Actually, a long while. Except for trips to the bathroom, I stayed in bed until 4:00.

The kids came in to climb on me or ask questions every once in a while, and Ryan was working from home, so they were pretty much on their own. So much for my extensive list of all the places I wanted to shop the after Christmas sales, including the grocery store, since we had been out of milk, eggs and birdseed since we came back home. Ryan (my hero) went to the grocery store last night and got those three items, along with hot dogs and buns so I can have something to feed the crew today.

This morning, I got up cautiously, not knowing how I would feel. I think I’ll live, although I probably won’t venture out of the house today, either. I’ll be here. In my disastrously messy house, trying to find friends for the kids to play with. At their house.

The only good thing about being sick was that it was a quick way to lose those three pounds I gained on vacation, even though I know it’s all water weight and it will quickly cling it’s way back to me.

The Great Snorkeling Adventure

Hola! On Wednesday we planned to be a little more adventurous and go snorkeling. See some little fishies. That kind of thing. We were supposed to go to a certain store in the “Isle Mall” and meet our guide at noon. Ok, so we went about 10 so we’d have time to browse the shops, etc. I think it listed the time as three hours in the brochure, without all that much information. We met up with the FunJet guy at noon, and got on a bus. We met a couple from Romania currently living in Chicago, and she asked if they were providing lunch. I didn’t know, but thought I’d read that they would provide soda. “I should have brought some food,” she said, and I was thinking the same thing. Oh well, if we miss a lunch it won’t kill us, since we’ve been eating so much at all these buffets. The short bus ride turned into an HOUR bus ride, with the last few minutes through windy, bumpy roads. Do you see where I’m going with this? There’s a little thing called motion sickness that I struggle with, and already I wasn’t feeling too great. At the place, they split us into groups who were doing different activities–4 wheelers, fishing, snorkeling, horseback riding. We got into the snorkeling group and waited for our guide, Fernando or something like that. He led us over to a big catamaran and we all took off our shoes and climbed aboard.

Now, at first, sailing is quite fun. You’ve got the wind in your face, the beautiful blue water, the sun, the sunscreen, and it’s quite an experience. But when we sail in one direction for about 20 minutes and then sail right back to in front of where we started, I get a little tired of it. Then they put down the anchor and explained to us how our snorkel gear works. Don’t breathe through your nose. Only your mouth. I should be able to do that; just think yoga breathing only the opposite. Ryan had a little trouble with his mask–he thought it maybe was his large head, but got it on. We donned our flippers and life jackets, put our masks on and jumped into the ocean. After a bit of panic every time I put my face in the water, I started to breathe. At first I would breathe out under water and then lift my head up to breathe in every time. You don’t see many fish that way, however, so I finally got brave enough to stick my face in and keep it there for a few breaths. And, wow! There are fish RIGHT there! I didn’t see Nemo, but I think I saw Dorie and her cousins. There were a lot of yellow and grey fish, some black ones, some brown ones, long swishy plant things–it really was incredible. Ryan’s mask kept giving him trouble and filling with water, so he got a lot more water up the nose than I did, but we stuck it out. I guess we were swimming around for 45 minutes or so, and I was exhausted. It wasn’t nice calm clear water like they show in the brochures, it was hard work.

When we got back to the boat, I pulled myself up and plopped down on the floor and stayed there for a long time. The motion sickness was back and I felt like I was going to throw up. I took a grateful drink of Pepsi and then a water bottle from the guides, and sipping that helped a little, but that boat was still rocking, rocking, rocking! We went to another place, and about 3/4 of the people jumped off to snorkel some more. I sat in my spot, not moving the tiniest little bit, trying to overcome the motion sickness. “I don’t want to be adventurous,” I told Ryan, “I want to sit on my balcony and read my book.” Ryan didn’t opt to snorkel the second time, either. I’m not sure if it was because he was worried about me or because he didn’t want another dose of salt water. He couldn’t find his nose plugs until later, although they were right there in his pocket. We heard from our Romanian friends that the snorkeling was better at the second stop–I guess it was 10 feet deeper– but I really didn’t care. I just wanted to get back to dry land. What a wimp!

After everyone came back aboard, our guides brought out the “spinnaker”, which is a smaller sail that has a rope seat thing. You jump out to the water, situate yourself on the rope seat, and then the guys let some of the rope out and the wind whips the sail (and the passenger) up in the air. It’s kind of like a mini-parasail. Anyone who wanted to “fly” lined up along the side of the boat and took a turn. If I had been feeling well and a lot more brave, I would have loved to try it. I tried to encourage Ryan to do it, but he didn’t want to go, either. A couple of gutless wimps, we too.

We finally arrived at the beach around 5:15, just in time to use the bathroom and then board the bus. I had the plastic bag from the waterproof disposable camera that we bought for a make shift barf bag that I thought I might have to use on that windy bumpy bus ride, but eventually the road evened out and I survived. I was extremely grateful to get back to our hotel!

We had time to shower and change before we met our friends for dinner. We compared stories of our days and enjoyed dinner, then went to the show together. Ryan opted out of the show, and came back to rest in the room. So, although it wasn’t the perfect excursion, we were adventurous. We canceled our trip for today, which would have taken us back to that same place to ride 4 wheelers and jet skis. We maybe should have scheduled that one first. Today we plan to relax here by the beach, hit the market and NOT be adventurous.

A few full size pictures from the trip are available HERE

UPDATE: All the pictures from the trip are now posted here.

Our ‘Do-Nothing Day’

Since we had planned on doing a lot of walking and climbing at Chichen Itza on Monday, we left Tuesday open as a day to just lounge around the hotel and maybe go to a flea market or something like that.

We woke up quite late, around 10:00am, and showered and went down to the breakfast buffet at the Albatross. It was good as usual, but by the time we were finishing, they were telling us that the buffet was going to be closing soon, at 10:30. We were done, so we left. We decided that we were first going to WalMart, to pick up a phone card (the ones the tour guides at the hotel sell are $10 / 20 minutes, the ones at WalMart are $10 / 43 minutes, more if you call from a ‘local line’ instead of a pay phone).

We thought that pretty much any bus going in front of our hotel would go past WalMart. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and we got on a bus that after it arrived in Downtown Cancun didn’t go past WalMart. I asked another bus rider about it, and he didn’t know or couldn’t communicate with me well enough to tell me. The bus driver then asked while furiously driving where we wanted to go, and after telling him ‘WalMart’, he said that we needed to get off, go to the other side of the street, and wait for the ‘R2’ bus. We got off at the next stop, intending to catch the R2 to WalMart. There goes another 130 cents! (bus fare is 6.5 pesos per person, each time you get on the bus).

So, we get off the bus, and we are immediately requested by several locals to ‘come to my shop… good things in my shop’… ‘flea market is right over here…’. We were dumb enough to follow one of the locals, who showed us a couple of shops, helped us pick some nice souvenirs (the price wasn’t bad, but we could have EASILY found things ourselves at Market 28, which is a huge flea market we had planned on hitting a little later), and then he expected us to ‘tip’ him after making our purchases. I guess our ‘shopping helper’ did get a nice burrito for lunch on us.

After our ‘shopping and bartering experience’, we went back across the street to catch the R2 bus. Another bus (wasn’t an R2, but it had ‘WalMart’ on it’s destination list painted on the front) soon came, and after confirming with the driver, we hopped on. It wound around the downtown area, and we were totally lost. Paige started recognizing things, and realized that we were close to WalMart, because she recognized the car dealerships that were close-by. The driver told us to get off at that corner, and WalMart was kitty-corner across the street.

In WalMart, Paige shopped for a few items (a ‘sarong-like’ cover for her swimsuit, etc.), and grazed around the store a bit. I kept telling her how much things are in dollars (mostly by covering up the last digit in the price), and it didn’t seem to me like things were that great a price. At the register, the total was $320 or so, and Paige jokingly gasped at the price, and the checker hit a button and magically changed the price to Dollars. It was pretty funny.

After check-out, there were people trying to sell us various things, still inside the WalMart. Very strange. One woman was very insistent that we should check out some sort of non-time-share (which usually ends up still being a time-share), needless to say, we were not interested. She did tell us that we needed to go out the WalMart and to catch the bus on the same side of the street that said ‘Hotels’ on the front. Nice of her, that.

While checking out, we asked the checker about phone cards, and she pointed us to the Customer Service desk, but at the Customer Service desk, they insisted that they don’t sell Phone cards. As we were walking out of the store, there was a kiosk just inside the door that sells them. Apparently, the Customer Service guy doesn’t know about the kiosk 5 feet from his desk that sells phone cards. Heh. As we were heading out the door, the time-share woman approached us AGAIN! We told her that she had just talked to us about it, and she informed us that we had really talked to her identical sister, and indeed, there the first one was, waving good-bye sweetly.

After her earlier bartering to get the t-shirts, Paige wasn’t nearly as interested in going to Market 28, which was somewhere fairly nearby in the neighborhood, but we may go back Friday if we’re not too worn out.

The trip back to the hotel was thankfully uneventful. I tried to convince Paige that we should go get some lunch, but she said that it was still too early for lunch, since we had eaten a few hours earlier. We put on our suits, and went out to the beach. We sat in the sun for a while, reading books and Paige listened to her ‘Donny’ Christmas music. It was nice. We then took a short dip in the pool, and ordered some soft drinks from the poolside bar (another first!).

We had our late lunch at Las Gaviotas (the Seagulls, I think), which is the beach side lunch buffet between the pool and the beach. We sat overlooking the beach, and nearly had to scare off the namesake birds from diving down to our food.

Our dinner tonight will be at the Steakhouse, which is in the same location as the lunch was, but it’s a reservation-only dinner restaurant at dinnertime.

A few full size pictures from the trip are available HERE

UPDATE: All the pictures from the trip are now posted here.

Chichen Itza and Ek Balam

On Monday we got up early to meet our tour guide by 7:30. He was a man named Lemuel who we had met at church the day before who is a tour guide. He arranged everything for the 3 couples who wanted an LDS guide for Chichen Itza. When he got here to pick us up, we climbed into the mini van, and set out on our two hour drive. It wasn’t so bad, although the roads are a bit bumpy and I was fighting car sickness by the end of the drive. On the way, Lemuel told us a bit about his family and his history (he has brothers named Moroni, Helaman and Nephi, and sisters named Alma and Zarahemla). He then brought out a notebook with pictures and maps and talked to us about the history of the Mayan people as it relates to the Book of Mormon. When we got there, we were instantly hot and sweating. He got our tickets and we went in. We were amazed by the ruins. The sheer size of the temples is astounding enough, not to mention how well they have been preserved and restored. They no longer let you climb all the steps to the top of the pyramid, but that was ok. There is a place where you stand right in front of the temple and clap, and the echo sounds like a bird. We did lots of clapping. Of course there are many many people with little carvings, replicas and trinkets to sell. They line the paths like a mobile gift shop. We managed to get out of there buying only a t-shirt and two little stone animals for the kids. After seeing everything there, we were hot and tired and guzzling our water.

(Sorry these aren’t in the text or anything special, I only have 15 minutes of Internet time for 30 pesos ($3)… Ryan)

Lemuel took us to a little place for lunch that had once been a Spanish palace, and there was a buffet there, too. The thing that set it apart from our buffet here at the hotel, though, was the entertainment. Three girls and three guys, all in their Spanish outfits, came out onto the stage and danced for us. Not terribly impressive, but entertaining. After the stomping dance, they put bottles on their heads and danced, then whole trays with a few cups and bottles on their heads. They then did a may pole dance, and we decided it was time to go. Lemuel had been doing a good job of keeping us ahead of the crowds, and we wanted to keep it that way. We were the first group to arrive at the restaurant, and as soon as we sat down, one large group after another came in and sat down.

We went next to a sink hole called ? I don’t remember what it was called, but it was a large sunken well, with vines and tree roots hanging down. The others in our group had said that they didn’t really care to swim, so we just went and looked at it, but I was wishing we were going swimming. The water was cool and clear and beautiful. It was about 200 ft below the surface and incredible.

On a recommendation from someone we met at church (who coincidentally happens to be the brother of one of the members of the bell choir–what are the odds of that?) we had asked our guide if he could take us to Ek Balam, which we had been told was another great ruins and we should see it if we could. So, off we went. We drove through little towns and when we got there were again hit by the heat of the day. No crowds at this one, though, and only one little roadside souvenir vendor. There were a couple of sad hungry looking dogs, though. We started walking and came to an entrance, climbed up and were impressed with the size of the city. there were many ruins, but the most amazing one was the temple. I can’t believe the carvings that are still intact! They still do let you climb this one, so we climbed all the way to the top (well, almost all of us went to the top. Phillip, the pilot who is afraid of heights, only went up half-way, then went back down). Ek Balam, although it may not be as high as Chichen Itza, was more impressive to us because of the carvings and statues that have survived. We were red faced with sweat running down our backs, but glad we had made the trek.

By then it was about 4 in the afternoon, and we had to get going. The drive seemed to take forever, especially when we finally reached Cancun, and then had to fight the traffic. We all had to use the bathroom and Sharon was feeling very car sick. We were very grateful to Lemuel for our tour and for giving up his whole day. We all paid him, and from what I can figure out with the admission prices and lunch and everything, he still probably made around $200 dollars profit from his day of work.

We made it back here just in time to use the bathroom and then meet some of the other winners for dinner at the Mexican restaurant. They are a funny group and seem to be getting along well. Two sisters, Vicki and Kathy are the “life of the party” and we sat by them. They would probably be loud and obnoxious even if they weren’t drinking, but when they are–wow are they loud! We laughed a lot and had a fun dinner. After the sisters left and we were leaving, one of the ladies thanked us for sitting by them. “We think they are entertaining,” I said. She said she could handle them in small doses, but can’t be around them for too long, as they are just so obnoxious. I second that. Dickie, the KODJ DJ, gave us our “welcome gift” of $50, and we were excited about that one, for sure.

The food here is good, mostly buffet, and I keep seeing deserts that look like they would be chocolate but aren’t. There are also a lot of disappointing cheesecake imitations, but we keep trying them. So, the entrees are good, but the desserts are not so great.

A few full size pictures from the trip are available HERE

UPDATE: All the pictures from the trip are now posted here.

HOLA from Beautiful Cancun!

I didn’t think we would have Internet here, but for a small fee (30 pesos for 15 minutes), we can actually connect to the world.

So, let me give you the run down of our activities here. We had a pretty uneventful flight, other than driving through the snow and ice to get to the airport by 5 am (I must interject for just a second to let you know that in his channel flipping, Ryan has stopped on Robin Hood in Spanish. Most all the TV is in Spanish here –go figure– although there is one channel in German, and a couple in English with Spanish subtitles. Oh, great. Now he’s watching Lazy Towne in Spanish. That show annoys me in English, can you imagine it in Spanish?). We met some of the other winners at the airport, and then had a nice boring flight. I decided to pay the $8 for an in flight movie, and we watched Pirates of the Caribbean 2. I’m sure it would have been much better on a large screen (as opposed to the 6 inch screen on the back of the seat in front of me), but it was a diversion, and when I fly, I need a diversion to pass the time. Our hosts from KODJ, Dickie and Angel, had a little trouble at the airport, however. It seems Angel had received a new drivers license recently, and the birth date was wrong. By one day. They told her at the airport that they would let her fly, but she probably wouldn’t be able to come back without the correct dates on the legal documents. So when Dickie got on the plane, he had no idea when his wife would make it, if she does at all. But since he was the “host” and leading all of us, he had to come, anyway. We’ve heard that she won’t be able to come until Tuesday.

When we arrived, we waited a long time for the luggage to come, and while waiting, met up with the members of our group, and one of the winners was from Chicago! Seems they were visiting their kids here, their sister-in-law told them about this contest she was trying for, and he got through and won! Now that’s what I call lucky. After gathering our luggage and going through customs, we met “Pepe”, our fun jet vacations representative, who brought us to the bus, which would bring us here to our hotel, the Riu Caribe’. It’s an all inclusive hotel, with three restaurants, a couple of bars, several pools, right on the beach. It’s kind of like being on a cruise, but we’re not moving (which is good for me, since I don’t enjoy the whole motion sickness thing). Even alcohol is included, which is surprising. Even our mini bar in the room is stocked with bottled water, sprite and Pepsi and Coronas. We told them at the front desk they can take the beers and just give us more waters and Pepsi light, but they left the beer anyway. So, as you can guess, there are a lot of “happy” people here.

It was too late to do anything yesterday, so we just ate dinner and came back to the room and went to bed early. I think I was asleep before 9, I was very tired.

One of the other couples here asked if we wanted to go to Church with them in the morning, and we said we would. So, this morning we met up with them and another couple at 9:30 to catch a bus and get to the LDS church by 10:00. While on the bus, the guy sitting across from us pointed and said, “Mormon?” like, “there’s the Mormon Church, you dolts, get off the bus.” We said, “Right here?” and got up, telling us that “that guy” said to get off now for the Mormon Church. So, all six of us get off, look to the left where he was pointing, and see no Mormon Church. What we do see if a WalMart. “What kind of Mormons does he think we are, shopping on a Sunday?” said our new friend, Sharon. We laughed, realizing that we don’t know where we are, but we didn’t get off at the right stop. We asked someone, and found out that we were about “8 BIG blocks” from where we needed to be. I’m guessing it was about a mile’s walk, in my non walking shoes. By the time we finally found the place we were sweaty and my feet were very much hurting! We went in the church and there was no one in the chapel. That darn website lists the sacrament meeting times wrong. So, we killed a bit over an hour chatting with the others in our group and the other Americans who also came early, and the missionaries. We met a guy named Lemuel, who is a tour guide. We arranged for him to take us on a tour of Chichen Itza tomorrow, and give us the whole Mormon scoop.

By the time the meeting started at noon, there were almost as many Americans in the chapel as natives. Needless to say, I didn’t catch much of the meeting, although it was cool to be there. Three people, who had been baptized the day before, were confirmed, and we got to sing Christmas hymns in Spanish. Ryan did a little bit of translating for me until his brain went into overload and he said he couldn’t think anymore. Our trip home was much less eventful. We caught a bus and came right back. After lunch, we came back to the room and Ryan had a nap and I went out and relaxed on the beach. Since it was late afternoon, there wasn’t much sun, and I could only stand to be out there “sunning” for about an hour until it got to cold. Yes, there were some obvious Europeans who wanted to enjoy the sun topless, but we can look past that.

At 9pm we have our dinner reservations for the Shangri-la. Thanks for reading, sorry this is so long, and we’ll post more in a few days!

A few full size pictures from the trip are available HERE

UPDATE: All the pictures from the trip are now posted here.

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