The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: May 2007 (Page 1 of 3)

I guess I’d be grouchy, too.

I got a call from Cole this morning from the middle school at about 8:30. Now you know how I feel about calling before 9:00, right? So, of course I knew that nothing good could come from this phone call. On the other end of the line is Cole, and I can barely hear him. “Mom, they won’t let me have my yearbook because I have a fine.” Great. I try to ask him how much of a fine, and did wasn’t there some kind of note he should have given me, and what is the fine for, etc. He’s just getting more and more upset, and he sounds like he’s about in tears. He doesn’t know any of those things, so I ask him to go over and ask how much of a fine it is, and then to call me back.

Maybe I can just take care of this myself, I thought to myself, as I called the school office.
“Hi, my son says he has a fine, and I’d like to find out how much that is so we can get that take care of.”

“I can’t transfer you to the financial secretary because she’s got a line of about 40 kids all trying to figure out the same thing,” the secretary said to me in a very snippy voice. She was obviously not going to be any help at all.

“Well, is there any way…” I started asking.

“If you’d like to come here and stand in line with these kids, I’m sure she can tell you how much the fine is,” she said. Yeah, that’s REALLY what I want to do. That’s why I was calling. To avoid standing in line with about 40 kids. 40 kids just like Cole, who didn’t bother to let their parents know that they had a fine, and are now all upset because they can’t get their yearbooks. Please, can I stand in line with them? Please?

I thanked the rude secretary and hung up. I was feeling really irritated that she was so rude to me and was obviously NOT going to help me.

But as I got ready for my day (hair, makeup, find John’s shoes, etc.), I realized that that poor secretary is probably just barely hanging on to her sanity. It’s the last full day of school, for heaven’s sake. She’s made it through the other 178 days and she’s probably really REALLY tired of all those kids. Kids just like my kid. Instead of being irritated with her because she couldn’t help me, I should have taken her a diet coke when I went over to pay the silly fine. (Cole called back about 20 minutes later and said it was $13, so I asked him to meet me at the front of the school in 15 more minutes so he could pay his fine and pick up his yearbook. We’ll discuss what in the world this fine was for and who will be paying for it later.) But, not knowing the secretaries at that school at all, I didn’t do that. But I hope they survive their last few days of school, and, like all the teachers out there and people who work at the schools, I hope they enjoy their summer break.

It’s always fun at Grandma’s house

I was going to write all about the picnic at my Grandma Coleman’s house on Monday, and the great memories of visiting there, but my sister did all that for me.

We have such a great family, and it was really nice to see them again.  Some of my cousins I only see about once or twice a year, and I wish we could get together more often.  But we had a fun time exploring the grounds, and playing with our kids like we use to play.  This willow tree has had it’s fair share of swingers.  But there used to be an old car there that we would climb on–now that was fun.

And they used to actually use this outdoor fireplace, but mostly I remember climbing on it, like John was doing this week.

Megan ran around the house taking pictures of the inside and outside, so if you are interested in seeing more pictures (taken by an 11 year old, remember), you can click here.

Why I deserve a cookie

I’m eating a cookie right now.  And it’s good.  And I deserve it.

Why?  Well, the kids came inside and said, “We have something to show you.  Come outside.”  Hmmmm.  That can’t be good, can it?  I go outside to find a dead bird in the backyard.  It looked like a cat had gotten it.  It was all bloody and mangled and there were a lot of feathers around it.  Why didn’t the cat just eat it, I wonder.  I’m glad that there are cats out there, as I want them to eat all the mice in and around our yard.  It just makes me sad to see them attacking the birds.  Oh well, I guess it’s the circle of life and all that.  But then something had to be done with that bird.  Someone had to get it out of the yard, and unfortunately, that someone was me.  There were no males, and certainly no male adults around to do it for me.  So, I got a garden trowel, scooped the poor dead bird into a weeding bucket, and disposed of it.  Where?  Well, I tossed it over the fence like I do with lots of other yard waste.  What?  It’s an empty lot!  Maybe a different hungry cat will come by and want a snack.

When I came inside and washed my hands thoroughly,  I was greeted by a smell.  An all too familiar smell wafting towards me from a certain 3 year old who just barely had used the potty (much to his displeasure).  I don’t know what we are going to do with this kid.  Even though he knows how to pee on command, if I didn’t force him onto the potty, he would just do everything in his pull-up.  ARRGh!  Anyway, I just changed him for about the millionth time.  Ick.
And that’s why I deserve this cookie.

Memorial Day

Back when we lived in our house in Lehi,
(and I can’t find any digital pictures of the house or the backyard right now, so I just threw in one of the kids in the living room), we lived right by the cemetery. When we looked out our back yard, we could see right into the cemetery grounds. We had to try to be quiet and not play outside when there was a funeral going on, just out of courtesy to the families. We never thought it was creepy or weird, since it was a beautiful, well kept place; not creepy and old. We used to walk or ride our bikes back there, and the neighbors were quiet.(Thanks, Ryan, for finding pictures of the old house. It must have been winter, because our grass sure looks dead, doesn’t it?)
I learned to love Memorial Day. Before we lived there I didn’t really think much of the holiday except that it was a day off of school and work. We weren’t really big cemetery visitors and it wasn’t a family tradition to go and visit graves and place flowers. Maybe because we didn’t really have many people close to us who had died. Oh, I do remember going to my Grandma’s grave, or my Grandpa’s grave a few times, but it wasn’t every year.

But living right by a cemetery, you get to see all the people come and do some big time decorating. One family made a balloon arch every year. That was cool. Others, who had lost a child, would decorate with balloons, flowers and stuffed animals. Those graves were often decorated for every holiday, not just Christmas. And when I would read the headstones, I would feel so sad for those families. The decorating frenzy would begin on Saturday, with the views from the back window growing increasingly colorful as the weekend progressed. Families would gather, some with food and games, and have a fun time of it. It was always nice to observe. Then we would go for walks and look at all the pretty flowers and decorations.

On the Monday after Memorial day was the day to go mum hunting. You see, if families don’t come and pick up their flowers, the city workers would come by on the next Monday and throw it all away. So, Sunday night or Monday morning I would go through and pick out some that were still living, bring them home and plant them. I got several mums that way. That is not stealing. They were going to throw them away anyway!

This Memorial Day it’s all about fun with friends and family. Saturday evening we had some good friends over for dinner. The kids played with the water bottle launcher, jumped on the tramp and climbed on the playground. The adults talked and laughed. We had good food and it was very nice! There was that small incident of a child throwing up in the bathroom, but I think my bathroom came through it cleaner than it started, thanks to my lovely friend Melinda. I hope the car ride home was uneventful and there was no further throwing up.

Sunday we had a nice time at church, and enjoyed the much smaller numbers. Usually we have about 500 in Sacrament meeting, and this week Ryan tells me there were about 270. Room for everyone on the nice soft benches, and only 10 in John’s sunbeam class (instead of the usual 17).

Monday we are going to go to my Grandma’s house. Grandma has moved in with my aunt, as she can no longer take care of herself. He house will be sold, demolished and made into a cul-de-sac, I think. I believe someone bought two houses and will take them both out to put in a few more. So, we’re meeting there with my cousins and family for one last picnic at the old family home. It will be kind of sad to see it go, as we have so many memories of that little old house, and my grandparents who lived there (good ideas for a later post). Later we have a pool party and barbeque planned with Ryan’s family. So, it’s a full day of fun family goodness.

I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day, too, and that we don’t forget those who served and died for our freedoms.

Road trip

Today we have a “road trip” for our bell choir. If you could call it that. It’s more of a long drive on the bus, do a concert, then drive a long drive on the bus home. We’re going to Garland. It’s close to Tremonton. I’ve actually been to Garland once. My good friend Sharmyn was in a play up there a few years back. No, she didn’t live there. She lived in Salt Lake, worked in Salt Lake, and would drive up there for rehearsals and performances. Talk about crazy. But she’s a theater person, and all theater people are just a little bit crazy, aren’t they? Ryan and I went up to see her in that play. It was something about a Vicar’s wife. Silly me, I didn’t even know what a vicar was. But Sharmyn was brilliant in that play, and we enjoyed our drive up there. That must have been before we had kids, because I can’t really imagine us going up there with little people in tow. But I digress. We’re doing a bell concert up there tonight. So, if you know anyone who lives close by and wants to attend a free concert, be sure to let them know.

I feel a little bit like I did in high school, when our Brighton high school bell choir went up to Thatcher Penrose (a little town also close to Tremonton) for a bell concert. We were a bit bummed because the madrigals got to go on a fabulous trip to Hawaii or something like that, and we got to go to Thatcher Penrose. We stayed with people in the community overnight, went horseback riding, and did a concert. Then we came home. Melinda and I stayed with the cutest little old lady in a sweet old house. It was fun. Really, we had a great time. But let’s face it, it’s no Hawaii.

When asked why we’re going there for our first “away from Salt Lake” concert, I have to answer that it’s our director’s home town (same director as we had back in high school, by the way). I’m hoping it’s a test run and that maybe some day we can go a bit farther away and do more concerts, but we’ll have to see about that. We’re pretty new as a group, and we aren’t generating any of our own money from CD sales or anything like that, so things like that will take a while. But for today, I’m hoping that the large amounts of time we will spend on a bus will be fun. Fun as in chatting with friends, listening to music fun, and not that carsick kind of fun that I sometimes get on buses or other moving vehicles.

Please put me on your “Do not Call (before 9 am) list”

Why must people call me in the mornings? Why? Do they not know that I have 3-5 children IN MY FACE at that time, and no matter how many times I ask them, tell them, whisper loudly to please be quiet while I’m on the phone, they just HAVE to talk to me while I’m on the phone.

“Mom, can I have scrambled eggs? Can I? Mom? Scrambled eggs?” “MOM, I NEED LUNCH MONEY!” “She’s poking me!” “La-La-lala-La-la,” “But I can’t FIND my socks!” is all going on while I try to talk to whoever it in that has called me before 9 am. I go into the other room to try to have a bit of quiet and THEY JUST FOLLOW ME!

And really, what good can come from phone calls in the morning, anyway? It’s people calling who want something from me. People who are just calling to say hi or to give me a bit of good news don’t call before the kids leave in the morning. They call at a better time, like 10. Or in the afternoon when I’m bored. But no–morning callers want something.

The first call was from a sweet little lady in my ward. She was out of town last weekend and I did the music in RS for her. No big deal. This time she was calling to thank me (sweet, but really not necessary) and then ask if I’d talk about my experience in the Bells on Temple Square for the 5 minutes for music time.  No problem.  But then she somehow dragged the conversation out so that we were on the phone for at least 5 minutes, maybe longer.  5 long minutes of me walking around the house trying to avoid the little people who were very intent in their need for mom.

Next we had a call from a lady in a nearby neighborhood.  She used to be in our ward before it split, and I love her to death.  I would LOVE to sit and chat with her for 1/2 hour or more.  But not before the kids leave for school.  Her kids are in high school and jr high, so obviously they’ve already left for school by this time, or she wouldn’t be able to call me, now, would she?  Chat, chat, avoid childen, say, “I’m on the phone!” about 3 times, and then she asks if Ryan could possibly help them out with a computer issue.  I should have known.  So, Ryan, if you’re reading this, Ruth wants you to call.

8:40.  5 minute to get the girls’ hair combed and poorly styled, shoes on and backpacks on.  The phone rings again.  I saw who it was and wasn’t going to answer it.  I already knew that this person was going to ask me if I could watch her preschooler.  Wasn’t going to answer it.  But one of the helpful children answered it for me and brought me the phone.  And I found myself saying that yes, I would watch her preschooler.  No problem.  You see, she didn’t realize that Tuesday was the last day of school.  I really don’t mind.  John loves playing with Tyler, and I usually pick him up from preschool on Thursdays and bring him home with me for an hour or two because his mom plays tennis on Thursdays.  So John will be happy to have a friend to play with, and it’s not like I’ve got anything important scheduled for this morning anyway.  Unless you call cleaning the bathrooms important.  Which it is.  Important and necessary (if you don’t think it’s important, just stop doing it for a few weeks and see how important and necessary it becomes).  Just not urgent.  It’s not like I had a lunch date with a friend (why DON”T I have any lunch dates with friends, anyway?  I think I need to work on that!) But I don’t have any programs at school, no important shopping to do, just a nice day at home to do some housework.  So, no, I really don’t have a problem watching her little munchkin, but must she call before 9?

I need to put a block on my phone.  If someone called, it would automatically go to the voice mail that said in a nice female voice, “The number you have reached, 7.5………… , does not accept calls before 9 am.  Please leave a short message, or try your call again later.  Thank you.”  But don’t think I don’t want your calls later in the day, because I do.  In fact, I’m just here, cleaning the bathrooms.  There’s nothing I’d love more than a distracting call from a friend to get me away from the drudgery that is toilet cleaning.

Deal of the Day

Pepsi is on sale at Target right now.  4 -12 packs for $11.  Now, I’m really more of a diet coke drinker myself, but Ryan really likes the Cherry Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper.  But the stock guy at the grocery store told me they are not making that anymore–can you believe it?  And there are some really cool new pepsi flavors.  Strawberries and Cream, Carmel Cream (it’s in the fridge cooling so I can enjoy it for lunch), and wild cherry.  Not a big cherry fan, but maybe Ryan would like that one.  Anyway, if that’s not a good enough deal for you, go to the  Target coupon generator  and print out as many $1 off coupons as you’d like.  I just went to Target, and they let me use 5 coupons in one transaction.  I wish I had printed more!  That makes a 12 pack only $1.75, which makes each can about 15 cents each.  And with summer coming and barbeques and parties and all, you can never have too many soft drinks around, right?
Thanks to Mir at for pointing out this great deal.  And check her website for new deals every day.

I think it’s cold enough, if I add ice.  I’m going to go and try the caramel flavor right now.

Dinner this week

Well, I’m trying to plan ahead and stick to a menu plan, so this week, I’m actually planning.

Tonight, we’re having Easy Chicken Cordon Blue, which is a nummy recipe, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday we have softball and scouts, so dinner has to be something we can eat at different times, so I think I’ll make Taco soup.  Then I can just leave it in the crock pot and when people are home, they can eat.

Wednesday will be spaghetti.  Not very exciting, but deal with it.

Thursday…..I’m still thinking……hamburgers sound good, don’t you think?

And Friday I will be gone, so the family can and will heat up their own dinner.  Corndogs or chicken nuggets with a healthy side of leftovers.

What’s on your dinner menu?

Haircuts, etc.

Ok, Mom, this is for you. Pictures of the kids with their new haircuts.

And the mint brownie recipe comes to you from the Holly Cleg Trim and Terrific Cookbook. Although these brownies are terrific, I don’t know how trim they are, especially since they are so fabulous you have to eat 5 of them. But here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Mint Brownies

1 box reduced fat or regular brownie mix

3/4 tsp peppermint extract, divided

3 TBS reduced fat cream cheese

3 TBS margarine, melted, divided

2 cups powdered sugar

few drops green food coloring

1 TBS cocoa

1 TBS water

Preheat the oven to 350. Coat 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.

Prepare the brownie mix according to the package directions, adding 1/4 tsp peppermint extract. Cool completely.

Mix together the cream cheese, 1 TBS margarine, the powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp peppermint extract. Beat until smooth. Add a few drops of green food coloring. Spread on the baked brownie layer.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 TBS margarine, cocoa and water. Spread or drizzle over the cream cheese layer.

Makes 48 squares. Yummy

I’m glad it’s Sunday

Wow, it’s Sunday and we survived a very very busy week. Hooray for us! Some thoughts on the week:
–My concerts went well, and it we were pleased to see the Salt Lake Tabernacle mostly full both Friday and Saturday nights. We did well as a group. We made mistakes, and strangely enough, different mistakes each night (to keep it interesting, I guess), but overall I think it was an enjoyable concert for the audience. But being up there four nights in a week means other things don’t get done (like laundry). But the family survived.

–Since I had won a “7-11 prize pack” a while back, and the only 7-11 I even know exists anymore is downtown on 3rd west, I encouraged my carpool to stop after practice on Tuesday and use up some coupons. So, we all went in and got free slurpies. On Wednesday night, we all went in and got taquitos. We were going to stop and get hot dogs last night, but I forgot the coupons. I’m glad we could use them, as I can’t really go in and use all the coupons at once. They do say “one coupon per person” on them. I don’t think I’d had a slurpie in 20 years. Honestly.

–Cole’s band concert went well, too. Since they didn’t turn the house lights all the way down, I sat and read my book. It was the most enjoyable band concert I’ve been to yet!

–John is still sick. He’s got a cold, fever, and isn’t eating well. On Friday he was really complaining and said his neck hurt, so I took him to the doctor. Negative strep test, negative on the ear infections. Thanks a lot. I hate it when I waste my time and money on a dr visit and they just tell me it must be a virus. Meanwhile my little boy is still suffering, and I can’t do much for him. I’m hoping he feels better today, if not, maybe I’ll get to stay home from church.

–I took John and Cole to get haircuts on Thursday. They were both looking pretty scroungy and I had a coupon for Great clips. While we were there, Jenna decided she wanted her hair cut, too! She looks so darling in her new little bob, I can’t believe it. The funny thing is, I’ve suggested a hair cut before (many times) and she always says she wants long hair, but I guess she decided to give it a go now.

–Ryan’s company had a “park day” similar to the Office’s “beach day” last week. I don’t know if someone was looking for a replacement or what the deal was, but any day playing kickball beats a day at work, I guess. Anyway, Ryan’s been sore and complaining ever since. I guess typing all day doesn’t use the same muscles as kickball.

–I made two pans of the most awesome mint brownies on Friday. We gave a plate to Natalie’s soccer coach, and one to Megan’s soccer coach, and we now have two more pans to give out to music teachers, dance teachers, etc. But I don’t know if we can leave them alone long enough to deliver. Those are some good brownies!

–IKEA. That’s one huge place. Thanks to my friend Michelle, who smuggled a bunch of us in for the friends and family preview day. The employees all clapped and cheered when we walked in–like we had one something. That was kind of weird. Lisa, Sandra and I quickly rushed to the as-is department to see if we could find some goodies, and yes, we did. I got a cute mesh rolling cart with 3 drawers. I haven’t decided where it’s going and what it’s purpose in my home is yet, but I love it anyway. We purchased those things because Lisa didn’t want to be pushing a large floor lamp all over the store, and we were some of the cashiers’ first customers EVER. Then we went back in and bought some more things. I got some way cute little spatula sets with a 3 small utensils that are the perfect size for scooping brownies out of the pan (like those mini pampered chef spatulas, you know the ones?) but the set of 3 cost me 59 cents! I bought 10 sets of them, and I’m going to give them as teacher gifts with a brownie mix. How great is that? I am also enjoying my new pink dustpan and brush set that I got for 99 cents. No way you’ll get me there on grand opening day, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy shopping there again.

–If you’ll excuse me, the kids are fighting over the cute little stuffed animal hangers I bought at Ikea yesterday (I bought 5 of them, for heaven’s sake). So, I must end this long long epistle and go do my job as a mother and settle this.

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