The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: December 2007 (Page 1 of 3)

Is it pretentious to plan your own birthday party?

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me! birthday
Happy Birthday to me-eeee,
Happy Birthday to me.

Is it a bad thing to plan your own birthday party? I’ve had several people question why I’m planning my own birthday party, and really the reason is… because I want it to get done, and I can’t really just ask someone to plan it for me, now can I? My husband is a dear soul, and I love him very much, but when it comes to birthdays (mine, in particular), he’s hit and miss. Some years he really surprises me (like a couple of years ago when he got me a new fridge), but some years he completely drops the ball. Yes, I realize it’s hard to remember to buy a birthday present AND a Christmas present, and I do understand that having a birthday just four days after Christmas is quite inconvenient, so that’s why I didn’t want to burden him (or anyone else) and ask them to plan my party. And really, there wasn’t all that much planning involved. Since the nice couple in our neighborhood who has a wonderful cabin agreed to let me have my party there (provided there were no kids), I didn’t even have to clean my house! I just made up some invitations, sent them out with the Christmas cards and gifts, ordered some balloons and way too much food, and that was about it.

And it turned out wonderfully! It was the most perfect birthday I remember in quite some time. party
In the morning, John came into our room like he usually does. He even told me happy birthday, with a little coaching from Dad. “Where are the presents?” John asked. I told him there were probably some presents down under the tree, and if he wanted to, he could go and get them. “No,” he said, “I want to give you a present from me!” I told him to talk to Dad about that, since I didn’t buy myself my own presents this year. Dad didn’t have any for him, and he was disappointed. Since I had recently stopped by the clearance sale at Bath and Body Works, I told him to pick any item out of the bag on the floor, and he could wrap it up for a present to mommy. He picked something, and was happy to wrap it up. Someone must have helped with with the wrapping, because it wasn’t bad!

balloonsFriends call on your birthday! I got phone calls, emails, and cards from friends! It was so much fun! We then had a family Christmas party with Ryan’s family. Robin and family came, too, and we had a fun time, although we ate way too much food. Cinnamon rolls the size of my face, people. And I ate the whole thing. Crazy.

After that party, Robin took the kids sledding again! Bless you, my friend! They had such a fun time sledding, and I didn’t have to go out in the cold and take them (I’m such a whimp, I know!). While they were gone, I got things ready, cooked up some meatballs, wrapped a few presents for door prizes, and got changed and made up. Since it was my party, I had to at least looked like I tried, right?

At about 6:00 we started to take things over to the cabin. Of course we forgot some things, but Ryan and Robin got those while I set things up for the party. It’s a beautiful place, with lots of room for guests to eat and mingle. But while I was setting things up, I got a phone call from a distressed child, telling me that her bird was acting sick, and she didn’t know what to do. I told her to hold the poor little parakeet and just pet it and comfort it and that was about all she could do. I got another call in a few more minutes asking if they could call Cole’s friend’s mom, who used to be a vet. Well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to call her, but I didn’t know what she would be able to do. This sweet friend came over, put the bird under the heat lamp, even gave him a shot of something (but she admits that she thinks he might have been dead by the time she gave him the shot), but he didn’t pull through. Another death of a pet, and mom and dad weren’t even there to comfort them. Kind of a sad thing to happen on a birthday, don’t you think?

But we had a party to attend to, so attend we did. It was a wonderful time with friends and family! I had people sign my little birthday book, and they also entered their names for the door prizes when they came in. I had friends from high school, friends from college, friends from my old ward in Lehi, even my old boss from when I worked at BYU stopped by. My parents and my sister came, along with a few aunts and uncles. Ryan’s parents and sisters came, and it was really so much fun! Some people brought food, some brought gifts, my good friend Melinda even gave me a beautiful plant! It was such a wonderful birthday! It’s worth it to turn 40 if you can have so much fun doing it!

Like I said before, there was way too much food. My friend Serena brought a huge Costco cake, and we barely even cut into it! I had to bring it all home. The kids happily ate some cake today, but it will take a while before that cake is gone. And crackers, and cheese ball, and meatballs, and mozzerella sticks, and…. let’s just say no one was very hungry for more sweet food, after the Christmas holiday. But even with NO Food, it would have been a fun party–for me, at least. I got to talk to friend after friend after friend. It was a lovely day, and I will not soon forget it. Well, who knows, I am 40 now, I may forget really soon, I guess. But when I do, I guess you can all just direct me bag to this blog post and I’ll be reminded of what a wonderful and fun birthday it really was.

Brrrr, it’s cold out there, baby

We’re busy enjoying our Christmas break around here. Robin and her kids made the trek up from Arizona, and arrived on the 26th. Luckily, there have been no more instances of sickness around here, so that’s a happy thing. The kids (all 7 of them) were perfectly happy to play outside in the snow for hours, as long as there was hot chocolate waiting. And thanks to my lovely new Mocha Latte machine, we can keep the hot chocolate flowing. hot chocolate
That Wii has also kept them entertained! I finally got a turn to bowl last night, and that is really fun. I’m glad we splurged on it for Christmas.

Last night we went out to dinner at the Spaghetti factory, and I think my jeans have reached the maximum amount of stretch that they can accommodate. If I gain one more ounce I’ll have to live out the rest of my days in sweats and yoga pants.

Today Robin (brave soul that she is) is taking the older kids sledding. I scrounged around and found 5 sleds, and they hopefully all have gloves (there’s been a small glove crisis, but I think we worked through it) and snow pants. They just left in a puff of snow. I’m hoping that they can actually have some fun on the hill and they won’t all start complaining that they are cold 5 minutes after they get started. That’s why I’m not going. I would be the one whining and complaining, for sure. Because I really don’t like to be cold, and I don’t even have snow gear. So, I’m going to restock some food with a run to the store while they are gone.

And, don’t forget…it’s my birthday party tomorrow. Yes, I’ll officially be old, and I’m throwing myself a b-day party. You are all invited! I hope you can come! A couple of my friends have questioned my logic at throwing my own party, but really, it’s better this way. I hinted and hinted to my dear husband that when I turned, well, OLD, he should throw me a big surprise party. But then, I realized that, wonderful as he is, parties are not really his speciality, and therefore I should just organize it myself. That way I get the party I want, and I won’t be mad at him. Win-win, if you ask me. So, I’ve invited all my friends, and if I missed you, then come anyway. I’m buying food, bringing some games, and I’m hoping that my guests will be entertaining enough! I’m quite excited–not about being old, but about having a party. There may even be door prizes, we’ll see.

So, that’s what we’re up to around here. And from the great lack in comments lately, I’m assuming that all of you are also busy enjoying your post Christmas slumber.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Merry Christmas! My wish is that you and yours had a wonderful time together, and there was peace and love and joy, even if only for one day.

On the 24th, Christmas eve day, we had an offensive smell alert. You know those plug ins that you get from Bath and Body Works? Well, I like them, but Ryan doesn’t. So, if I plug one in while he’s gone, I have to unplug it before he comes home, or he’ll be coughing and acting like he just might experience “death by smell”. But those little things are filled with scented oil, and if by chance they tip over while they are sitting there not plugged in, they spill out and soak anything nearby with their overly potent scent. I realized this was going to be a problem, and tried to clean it up. I removed the plug-in and put it in my office. I threw away the cards that had soaked up some scented oil. I threw away the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser that had also absorbed the smell. I took the calendar out to the garage (I’m not quite done with that, but I can remove it for a day). I cleaned the counter. It still smelled. Sure enough, Ryan smells it and is coughing and gets an immediate headache. It doesn’t help that he says he felt sick all night (not from this smell, but he’s sick just the same). I clean the counter again. So it smells like bleach and flowery smell together. Yuck. After opening the windows, spraying Nutra-air and cleaning the counter again, I put out a bowl of white vinegar.

For Christmas Eve, we invite Ryan’s parents and my parents over for dinner and games. I had the house mostly ready and was working on dinner. Eventually, the scent was gone. I was making fruit stuffed pork roast, sweet potatos, wild rice. We also had yummy salad and rolls. Except for the fact that the roast was not done when everything else was done and I had to cut it and then cook it a little longer, the dinner was very good. Except for Ryan, who didn’t eat anything (still feeling sick and having some intestinal issues, if you know what I mean), the other grown ups liked it. The kids–they just eat rolls, mostly, not trying anything “fancy” that I attempt to make.

We played games, had hot chocolate, read the nativity story and the kids did the puppet show with the Nativity puppets. Ryan had gone up to bed, but we still managed to have fun. By the time the grandparents all left, it was bed time for the kids. As I was trying to wrangle the kids into bed, Cole decided it was a good time to wrap Megan’s Christmas present. Arg. Then Jenna came to me and asked me if I could help her wrap some presents.
“How many presents?” I tried to keep from getting totally irritated, even though I was dead dog tired and knew that my night was far from over.
“Ones for Megan, Cole and Natalie,” she said innocently.
I’m holding back the words I want to say, since it’s Christmas eve and I’ve spent the evening trying to make magical memories with my family. Be calm. “Ok, if you get the presents ready and meet me downstairs, I’ll help you wrap them after I read John a story,” I say.
“Ok,” she says, “What are they?”
“What?” I ask.
“I don’t have the presents yet.”
I lose it just a tiny bit there, asking her why in the world she would wait until bedtime on Christmas eve to let me know she needed presents, but bit my tongue, and asked her again to wait for me, and we’d find something.

A few minutes later, I scrounged around in the gift closet and found an acceptable present for her sister. I told her to go wrap that, while I looked for more things she could give to the others. Amazingly, we found presents for all three. Not spectacular presents by any means (socks, a book, and a pair of pants), but she wrapped them and got them under the tree. Cole also finished with his wrapping, and we eventually got everyone “nestled all snug in their beds.”

-Sigh- I realized that Ryan wasn’t going to be much help with the rest of the Christmas preparations, and I went downstairs to try to organize things. Good thing I didn’t get everything out, yet, since John was down in a few minutes to ask me something, and I got to escort him back to his bed.

In opening boxes, I realized I only had 4 nerf guns, instead of the 7 that I had ordered. Since there are 5 kids, there’s really no way to split 4 guns without conflict, so the nerf guns stayed in the box. I’ll deal with that later, I grumbled to myself.
“The stockings were hung by the mirror with care” we don’t have a chimney. When they were filled to overflowing, I reminded myself that those stocking really don’t hold as much as I think they do, and made a mental note to buy less next year. I got all the gifts out, even remembering the things I had hidden all over the house. I collapsed into a chair to see the whole town of Bedford Falls pitch in to rescue George Bailey, and hear Zuzu’s famous, “Look, Daddy! Teacher says ‘every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!”

It was only 10:00, which really isn’t that late according to some people’s standards, but I was Just. So. Tired.

I heard someone go into the bathroom upstairs, which is no cause for alarm, but as I walked by the girls’ room, I smelled that unmistakable smell. The smell that reminds me that a holiday isn’t truly complete until someone throws up. It seems that Natalie had been sick, and instead of making it to the bathroom or even containing the mess nicely in her own bed, she leaned over the top bunk and pelted her sister, too. Oh, the Joy!

Do you think I left my sick husband in bed and quietly cleaned it all up by myself? Not a chance. Sick or no sick, I’m exhausted and can’t do this by myself. I roused him from his sleepy sickness and told him I needed help. He, the great guy that he is, got up and helped. I went into the bathroom and helped Natalie get into the shower, while he stripped beds and cleaned up carpet. I found new bedding and helped dry poor Natalie, making sure she had an available bucket should she get sick again. When we finally got her settled, I’m not sure it was “visions of sugar plums” dancing in her head.

In the morning, she seemed good as new, and was ready with the rest of the crew to open presents at promptly 7:00 (the earliest I will let them get up on Christmas). It took Ryan and I a little bit longer to drag our sorry selves out of bed. We opened all the presents in a whirlwind of wrapping paper, and it was fun, as usual. Even though Ryan and I had decided that our gift of tires were what we were giving each other, he gave me a new camera! I had suggested one, and thought it would be a birthday present, but he gave it to me for Christmas anyway. And I only gave him ties. I feel bad. Oh well. My biggest surprise present came from a friend in my ward. I’m actually HER visiting teacher, and on Sunday, she said, “Oh, Paige, I couldn’t resist buying you a present.” And I can see why. I opened the present from her today and was just thrilled! It’s an ornament from Hallmark, called “Ringing in Christmas”. Isn’t it cute?

It’s like a little music box, where you wind a key to hear “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and to see movement of the choir members and director. It’s so cute! I can’t wait to call her and tell her thank you. Or better yet, I’ll write her a nice thank you note. It was a lovely surprise, and such a nice gift.

The kids were thrilled with their big gift, the Wii. They spent all day playing it. We made a bunch of little Mii’s, and played Wii sports all day. We’re going to need to get some more games and some more controllers, that’s for sure. I got them another game, High School Musical Sing a-long, but I unfortunately didn’t get the microphone that goes with it, so we couldn’t play that one today.

The bad thing about today, was that we had to cancel our plans to go see my family. We were going to go to my parents’ house for a family Christmas dinner, but since people were sick, and there had been actual vomiting, there’s no way we could go and expose everyone to our germiness. The kids were sad when we told them we wouldn’t be going, but that gave them all day to play.

So it was a very casual day. Most of us didn’t even get out of our pajamas. I didn’t comb their hair, didn’t do my hair, and I’ve gone the whole day without make-up (eek!). There was much playing, naps, and reading for everyone. We had chicken noodle soup for lunch. We snacked on treats from the neighbors. For dinner (after my nap), I managed to make smoothies, quesedillas and little quiches. Nothing much, compared to the feast we would have had with the family. My lovely son, Cole, said, “You know, mom, if you think about it, this Christmas dinner really sucks.” I had to agree with him, but at least I was feeding them something, right?

So there you have it, folks. Christmas 2007. Not the way I planned it, but it was still a nice day. (And if you made it through this whole post, you really must be a good friend! Thanks for reading! ) We spent it together, and we are happy. Thankfully we were not too sick to enjoy the day. We are blessed beyond measure, and are thankful for all the blessings. What a wonderful season of giving it has been. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

A poem for a cook

“I didn’t have potatoes, so I substituted rice.
I didn’t have paprika, so I used another spice.
I didn’t have tomato sauce, I used tomato paste; A whole can, not a half can – I don’t believe in waste.
A friend gave me the recipe; she said you couldn’t beat it.
There must be something wrong with her, I couldn’t even eat it!”

Snow Day

It’s snowing outside and looks pretty miserable. Lucky for me I don’t have to go out much today. The kids are home from school and it’s and “inside day”. My shopping is done, so we can stay home, wrap presents, clean the kitchen, and maybe bake some treats. The kids can deliver neighbor gifts if they feel like going outside, and then we’ll head out for a soccer game (indoor) later this afternoon. And tonight I get to meet my oldest and dearest friends in the world for our annual Christmas get together. So, I’m feeling pretty Christmas-sy and happy about the day.

I thought I would share some of our Christmas decorations with you, since I’ve been meaning to do that, but just haven’t gotten around to it (not the decorating, but the sharing. I did my decorating a long time ago, of course).

We make these little graham cracker houses every year,
then as soon as they are finished, some little people start picking all the candy off of them. candy
One of the easiest Christmas decorations is to use things you already have. I just fancied up my kids’ pictures on the wall with bows, so they look like the gifts. And they liked coming home and seeing the bows on their pictures.

The stockings are hung.
The tree is trimmed.
Of course, the kids did most of the decorating of the tree, so we get some clumping, and some interesting ornaments.
angels birdhouse
I guess the angels LIKE to be all together so they can sing, right? And I really don’t know what’s up with the upside down birdhouse. But someone painted it and so it must go on the tree, right?
I bought this little guy new this year. He’s supposed to watch and make sure the kids are being good and report their behavior to Santa.
Our Christmas countdown calendar is almost empty by now, and it’s been fun for the kids to discover a treat or note every day.
We’ve got a few nutcrackers up, and this shelf is decorated, although I sometimes ask myself why. The birds like to travel along the curtain rod and play on this shelf. So far they’ve knocked over the angel and the big Santa and tossed the blocks off the shelf, too. I guess it’s fun for them, and nothing there is really breakable. shelf

The teapots are put away and the Christmas things are now on our display shelf.

My Grandma’s ceramic nativity sits on the piano, and the other Nativity is in the kitchen where the kids can play with it.
nativity small nativity
Oh, and I don’t believe I’ve mentioned my new curtains, have I? I finished these curtains in November, and I think they really add to the family room.

So, there you have it. Not all of the decorations, but I can’t just go on forever, now can I? Enjoy your snow day!

Rude Awakening

The other night I was in a nice sleep, when my husband JUMPED out of bed, GRABBED the covers and YANKED them off of me.

What the heck?

So I looked up at him standing there holding all the covers and said, “Excuse me?!”

He looked back at me, mumbled something like, “Sorry,” and got back in bed, pulling the now seriously askew covers back over him.

I pulled up some covers and went back to sleep.

The next morning, when I remembered what had happened in the middle of the night, I said, “Hey, what’s the deal with ripping the covers off of me?”
“Oh,” he said, “sorry. In my dream, it made sense.”


Wacky Wednesday

It’s been kind of a rough morning here. My little guy, John, greeted me this morning with, “I threw up last night, but I feel better and can I have some breakfast?” What? Not really the good morning I’d like. He didn’t look sick or anything, so I had to ask Ryan. Yes, indeed, he had thrown up and Ryan stripped his bed (Thank you, honey!). Now those bedclothes are sitting in the laundry room waiting for me to wash them. Hooray! (Oh, and don’t tell my sister, or we may be banned from all the upcoming family activities.)

My little Jenna, who complained that her tummy hurt last night, STILL has a tummy ache and doesn’t want to eat anything. She’s staying home.

My Cole missed his carpool, so I got to drive him to school in the major snowstorm.

My usually responsible Megan said, “I’ve got to get my stuff ready,” as she handed me the note. The note that says, please have these things here by Tuesday (yesterday)…A tinfoil covered piece of cardboard 12 X18, a can of white frosting, a king sized candy bar, and a bag of smarties. Well, now, how am I supposed to supply smarties when I don’t have any? We had the rest of the stuff, and I sent a bag of lifesavers instead. That will have to do.

My excited Natalie was thrilled about the read-a-thon today and needed my help to find a pillow, books and snacks.

But what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an email in my inbox that made me extremely happy. I won a High School Musical MP3 player from NWI Parent. How fun is that?

Which reminded me that I forgot to pick a winner for my pay it forward book exchange. Silly me! So, I had my sick daughter pick a number, which was 2. That means that Amy is my book winner! I’ll send her out an email and then she will receive this fun book in the mail soon.

Now I’ve got to figure out if John is going to his preschool party, figure out what I’m wearing to my fancy dinner party at the Grand America Hotel tonight, order pizzas for the class that had the most reflections entries and take those to their class at 1:30 (yes, that ordeal keeps on going on, doesn’t it?), and finish my neighbor gifts. I’m hoping the rest of the day goes a little more smoothly.

That was one amazing week!

Wow! I survived the past week, and it was incredibly busy and amazing. As a member of the Bell Choir, we got to perform with the Tabernacle Choir in their Christmas concert. The guest artists were the King’s Singers! Here’s an article from the Deseret News about the concert. It was truly a wonderful experience. I loved hearing those songs every night, watching all the dancers in the twelve days of Christmas number from our very high vantage point up by the organ pipes was really fun.tebernacle choir
Can you spot me there in the picture? Maybe in this one?
paige at concert

I loved the King’s Singer’s “Oh Holy Night” that they sang with the choir. It was simply beautiful! I’m so glad they did that song on the broadcast so that I can listen to that song every day! Mac Wilberg’s arrangement was heavenly! We would listen every night from our perch on the steps going up to the choir loft and I felt like I had been transported to heaven. I hope they put that on a CD so I can really listen to it all the time.

And the King’s Singers weren’t just amazing singers, they were nice, as well. When they weren’t on stage, they would often chat with people backstage. I got two autographs, and they were happy to do it. They were complimentary and told US how great we sounded, when we were telling THEM how amazing and awesome they sounded. It’s nice when you meet “stars” and they really are nice and gracious. On Sunday morning they all took a minute to thank us all for an amazing week, and Stephen Connolly even said that this experience was the highlight of his 20 years with the King’s Singers.

If you didn’t get to go and see the concert, never fear, you can buy the DVD sometime in late October of next year, or watch it on PBS next December. You can see the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast again next Sunday on KBYU if you didn’t see it yesterday.

Of course the 40+ hours I spent with the choir last week did take it’s toll. I’ve been sick all week with an annoying cold and cough, and it was hard to leave my family every night. Ryan did a great job as the sole caretaker, and I’m so grateful that he can step it up when he needs to. He took the kids out to dinner on Saturday, let they sleep under the tree in sleeping bags, and even got everyone ready for Church on Sunday. There was no fancy hair or anything, but they looked ok.

So this week, I’m happy to have a little bit more down time. Time to clean the house, do laundry, wrap some presents, and attend a few Christmas parties. Time to be with the family and actually make dinner! It was a Fabulous Experience, and I feel so very lucky to have been a part of the concert, but honestly, I’m glad it’s over.

Mere words cannot adequately describe my excitement

I am so excited, I can hardly describe it, but I’ll try.

Last night’s concert was Great! It was especially nice to just do the concert without two hours of rehearsal first. Although it’s wonderful to perform in such a beautiful amazing setting, it’s quite tiring. Our bells are stored way down behind the stage, and for every song we get to go down two flights of stairs, change bells, get ready for the next song, traipse back up the stairs and do the next number.

Anyway, we had a great concert! The King’s Singers were amazing, and the cute one who kind of looks like Dr. McDreamy even said hi to me backstage. After the last song, we stood there smiling up in our spots by the organ pipes and then were dismissed. We went down to the back, put our bells away and started walking through the conference center to go and change, trying to beat the choir, who were still in their seats.

Just past the drinking fountains I saw what must have been a vision. I must be hallucinating or it’s the cold medicine or something, but that looks just like….Donny Osmond! It IS Donny Osmond! The same Donny Osmond that I’ve been wanting to meet for like…my whole entire life! Standing there with his lovely wife and someone who was probably his son. They looked like they were waiting for someone. Waiting for me! I couldn’t just walk right on by, so I went up to him and shook his hand. I can’t recall exactly what was said, but our interaction went something like this:

Crazed fan in a black dress: Oh my gosh, it’s Donny Osmond! I’m a huge fan! Blubber Blubber stupidly.
Donny:(as crazed fan is shaking his hand) Thank you.
Crazed fan in a black dress: Did you enjoy the concert?
Donny: It was wonderful.
Crazed fan who couldn’t think of anything intelligible to say but so would have loved to sit and chat with Donny for a very long time: Thank you!

Then I left and walked away. Walked away from Donny. My friend Darrell was right there walking by and I caught up with him, and said in a high squeaky voice, “That was Donny Osmond! I shook Donny’s hand!”
And Darrell, oh so kindly, said to me, “Don’t freak out!”
“I’m not freaking out,” I said in a voice that was so high and squeaky that only dogs could understand, “but you saw, right? You saw me shake Donny Osmond’s hand, right? You are my witness.”
Darrell responded, “And I have my camera right here. Too bad you didn’t think of that.”
“Oh, I wish I could have gotten a picture, or an autograph or something! I have no proof! But you are my witness, right?”
“I’ll deny it.” Thank you, Darrell, for your support. So I made him promise me that the next time I meet Donny and shake his hand, he will have his camera ready and take a picture for me.

In the dressing room I told my fellow bell choir members, “I shook Donny Osmond’s hand!” And when I told my carpool, they were excited for me, since they do know of my long standing wish to just meet Donny Osmond. So, even though traffic was horrible getting out of the parking garage and it was a long drive home and I was extremely tired, I was on cloud nine.

Mere words cannot adequately describe my excitement.

Merry Christmas, Paige.

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