The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: March 2008 (Page 1 of 3)

We’re in the in party zone

Friday night Cole had his birthday party, and I’ve never hosted an easier party. I asked him what he wanted to do for his party, and he said they wanted to play Wii and Guitar Hero and some other stuff. Ok. So, when asked what he wanted me to do, it was pretty much get food and stay out of the way. So, I got the house cleaned, I bought snacks and drinks, and ordered pizza. Julene the fantastic did a cake for him, and we were all set.

And that was really about all I did. The kids played games, mostly on the TV, and ate pizza and snacks. Although I felt a bit bad for the three girls who he invited, I heard from their moms that they had a good time. It just seemed like they weren’t really getting to have turns playing the Wii games, but when I did see them, they seemed to be laughing or smiling. I would have liked them to play some more “group games” like apples to apples or cranium, but as I was reminded, it wasn’t my party, and so I let Cole be in charge.


But the important thing is that Cole had fun. He had the kind of party he wanted, and had fun with his friends. I actually had fun with my friends, too. Michelle brought her boys to the party, and we convinced her to watch Enchanted upstairs with the girls. We had a fun little girl party painting nails and toenails, and even John got his toes painted. I would pop down every once in while to see how things were going, but tried to stay out of the way as much as possible. Ryan was also close by in his office, and he would walk through the party zone every so often (lest you think it was an unchaperoned party!).

And speaking of guitar hero (weren’t we?), here’s a funny one for you.

And today Megan handed out the invitations for her birthday party, which will be this Friday. More of the same. She’s planning her own party, too, and I believe they want to play outside (provided it’s not snowing–ugh), play Wii and have pizza, too. Her party’s just girls, so I’m sure there will be much more giggling involved. I’ll have to let you know how that one goes, too.

Crazy Hair Day

It was crazy hair or hat day at the elementary school the other day, and my kids were willing participants. Let me just share a few pictures.


Here’s Megan wearing as many of her hats as she could fit on her head. Yes, those are all HERS. Crazy kid.

Here’s Natalie in her braids, pony tails and whatever I could think of.

nat 1 nat 2

And for Jenna, we used lots of bows and scrunchies.

jenna jenna 2

And while I wasn’t going for crazy hair specifically for crazy hair day, a certain little friend of mine decided to help me out.

Double Date and a review

Last night we had a wonderful date night planned. We had procured some tickets to the Salt Lake premier of 21, and I invited our friends Tess and David to come with us. We were actually all meeting at Jordon Commons at around 6 to pick up our tickets, get some food and watch a movie. Well, shortly after I left the house, I got a call from Ryan telling me that he was there trying to pick up our tickets, and they had just “sold out”. Ugh. I’m getting tired of these movie premiers where you have to get there more than an hour and a half early just to get a ticket. So, there we were, out for a movie with nothing to see. We couldn’t find one other movie now playing that we wanted to see, so Tess suggested we go to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Anything involving cheesecake sounds good to me, so off we went.

So, here’s my review of the Cheesecake Factory (having never been before, I figured I was about as impartial as I could be, although I’ve heard wonderful things about it, so I was excited to try it out).

**The Wait. We waited over an hour. On a Thursday night. Now when we went to check in they told us it would be 35-40 minutes, which didn’t sound THAT long, but we should have gotten a clue from the fact that they didn’t even have any pagers to give out. The nice hostess told us to come back in about 10 minutes just to get a pager, which we would hold on to for the next 3/4 of an hour waiting for it to light up. I don’t think the wait was totally unreasonable, but if it’s going to be an hour, why don’t you just tell me it’s going to be an hour. Then I can jump over to the mall over there and go shop for some new sunglasses or something fun. Don’t lie to me with a smile on your face and say it’s going to be 35 minutes when you know darn well it’s NOT. But, since we were waiting, it gave us time to chat with our friends, play “let’s pick what David’s going to order for dinner”, and run into old friends that we haven’t seen in at least two years. And we didn’t have any kids with us. That’s the kicker. Because I can wait in line, but trying to entertain my hungry, annoyed (or annoying) children for an hour is NOT fun. Although I didn’t know if Tess was going to make it. She needed a diet coke and she needed it soon.

**The Menu. Wow! It’s like a small novel. With advertising. Can you really order that diamond ring that you see on the page opposite the appetizers? It’s a bit overwhelming to have a menu that huge, but I guess then everyone can find something they will like. But advertising? I find that a bit tacky. And for people who have a hard time making decisions, that’s just too many options.

**The waitress. I think our waitress was attentive. She was there right after we were seated and she brought those diet cokes with good speed (and she kept them coming). She quickly brought bread and took our order, and I don’t think we really had to wait that long for our food. We were laughing and talking, so I guess I wasn’t really paying much attention to the clock and how long it took.

**The Food. I ordered a small meal of a 1/2 sandwich, salad and soup. I couldn’t finish it. Really. I ate the rest of the sandwich and salad for lunch today, it was that big. The soup was delicious and the sandwich and salad were also great. Ryan had a teriaki chicken, which was also yummy. I wondered why they put all the teriaki flavor on the chicken skin -ew-, instead of using a skinless chicken breast, but I think he enjoyed his meal. Even though it was huge, he managed to finish it. Tess got the same as me, and she really liked it. David, after all his studying of the menu, ended up ordering one of the “specials” the waitress told us about, which if I recall was fish with a whole bunch of broccoli. Knowing my fondness for broccoli, I hardly looked at his plate, except to say, “Wow, that’s a lot of broccoli.” Overall, I think the food is good. They serve very large portions, but they charge a lot for it. I mean, when they charge $7 for a grilled cheese sandwich, I think that’s a bit pricey, don’t you?

**The desserts. This is the reason you go there, right? Doesn’t matter how full you are, you ARE ordering dessert if you are at the cheesecake factory. So, I ordered a pecan turtle cheesecake, and I was not disappointed. It was so yummy! But I think that the mud pie was actually better. Dark rich chocolate brownie with ice cream and hot fudge. Yummmm-o! Both Ryan and Tess ordered the carrot cake. It looked beautiful! But I must say, as far as carrot cakes go, we were not impressed. Although it was moist, it wasn’t really flavorful. Not enough spice, and definitely not enough cream cheese frosting. Really. We were quite disappointed in the carrot cake. Especially at $6-$7 a piece, you expect it to be, well, to die for. It wasn’t. But I wouldn’t mind going back to sample each and every one of those desserts to give you my honest opinion of them all. Would someone like to finance that venture for me?

**The price. For a “free movie date”, this ended up being quite expensive. But I’m glad we went. We had a fabulous time, the place was beautiful, the food was great, and the company was wonderful. Would I take my family there? A big fat NO. Not a place to bring your kids, unless maybe it’s their birthday or some special occasion, or you just have too much money and you don’t know what to do with it. I would classify this as pricey, and not someplace I will go very often. Maybe if it’s just me meeting some girl friends for lunch or dinner, it would be a nice splurge, but we’re certainly not going to make a habit of going there.

So, if I were a restaurant critic (which I’m not, darn), I would give this place four out of five stars. Or golden forks, or whatever my little rating system was. It was a nice place, and they took good care of us. And I think I’m going to go and eat the rest of my cheesecake that’s in the fridge. And no, I won’t share it with you.

New shoes cure the blues, right?

Wow, look at these cute shoes I just ordered for the girls!
Well, two of the girls. The ones whose feet will fit in size 3 and size 5 this summer. I’m sure that someone here will fit the bill. Aren’t they darling! And less than 7 bucks from L.L Bean right now. Thanks so much to Mir from Want not for pointing out this great deal. Free shipping, too!

And speaking of shoes, on Monday Natalie needed to take a shoe box to school. I was unavailable, so she asked Dad to help her find a shoebox. He looked in our closet, and sure enough, there’s some shoeboxes up in the closet (they have shoes in them). He took a pair out of a box, gave it to Natalie, and everyone was happy. But then when he saw me, he said, “You have a lot of shoes.” He said it in a way that sounded like he was surprised.
“Yes,” I said.
“There’s a whole lot of shoes in the closet,” he said.
“Yes,” I said. Did he just notice that there’s a whole lot of shoes up there in the closet? We’ve lived together for 15 years and he’s just now noticing that I happen to like shoes? Wow.


First of all, let me assure you that there is NO WAY that we are old enough to have a 14 year old. Honestly. I don’t know how he’s gotten so old! But, he has, and Happy Birthday to Cole.

When Cole was about to be born, we had to drive from Lehi to Payson, which is about a 35 minute drive. Luckily, we didn’t wait until the last second, and so the contractions were not the worst. I really just didn’t want them to tell me to go home, that I wasn’t really in labor. But I was. On the way to Payson, driving our Toyota Camry, we were listening to the radio (it was the middle of the night, what else were we going to do?) and a special song came on. A song, that if ever I hear that song again, I will always be reminded of our Cole, and the day he came into the world. Well, truth be told, there were a couple of songs that we remember, one goes “74, 75” and the other goes “Once there was this kid who got into an accident and couldn’t come to school…” by the Crash Test Dummies. I looked it up and just now found out that song is called “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” No wonder I never knew what that song was called!

So, fast forward 14 years to today, and Cole is now 14! You’ll all be happy to know that he got his grades up so that he WILL be able to have his party this Friday night. There was some doubt about it, but yes, he brought his English grade up to a C, so all grades are at the acceptable stage (not that I’m happy about that C, ’cause you know I’m not) so that he can hold his party. He’s planned the whole thing and they are going to play Wii, Kareoke, eat Pizza and generally have a bunch of fun with very little interruption from mom. I am here to “quietly chaperone”, not to be the party planner–oh yes, he’s told me I should stay out of the way as much as possible. Ok, I think I can do that. I am also to bring out non-stop food, I guess.

For one of his presents, he has asked for his own website/blog. He doesn’t know it yet, but the boy now has a blog. I’m not sure if we’ll password protect it or what, but if you’d like to leave him a birthday greeting on his blog, you can click here. So, Happy Birthday, kid. You’re the one who made me a mom, and now you’re making me feel old.

And totally off the subject, it’s turning out to be a good day! This morning I heard my name on the radio as one of the qualifiers for a trip to New York to see Josh Grobin. They call out four names a day, and the contest runs about a week, so that’s maybe 24 qualifiers, if everyone calls back when they hear their name. Those are better odds than the 1/98 chance I had to win that car last weekend, so cross your fingers for me, and check back next Tuesday to see if I win!

Letter from the deer

Dear Paige,
First of all, we just LOVE your yard. There’s so much space there, and it’s so nice and close to our field where we hang out. We can just jump the pitiful fence and come whenever we feel like it, and have a tasty snack.
We LOVE all the tulips you have planted for us. Am I correct in assuming that there are even more this year than last year? Oh, they are so tasty!

If you want our opinion, however, we would suggest you don’t plant any more of those crocuses. We find them bitter and they tend to stick to our teeth. I heard that the antelope might enjoy them, but we prefer a diet of strictly tulips, with a little bit of those bushes for dessert.

Oh, and my cousin Dorothy has asked me to let you know that we find the daffodils annoying, as well. Although the bulbs may look like the tender tulips, they don’t have the same taste, and we really just don’t enjoy them. We would suggest that you don’t plant any more of those for next year, because frankly, they get in the way of our snacks.

Thank you again for not getting a dog. We don’t enjoy them at all, what with all that annoying barking and all. We avoid places with dogs–those stinky, dirty creatures. We would much rather be the ONLY pets that poop on your grass.

Sometimes when we are eating, the lights come on. What a nice touch! Then we can really see what it is we are snacking on. Don’t worry about disturbing us, we don’t mind one bit.

So, keep up the great work, and we’ll keep on visiting. Remember: No dog, and plant more tulips.

Yours truly,

Easter Memories

Before I tell you all the fun of Easter weekend, I’d just like to let you know that a friend of mine, Tammy, could really use some prayers and love and support today. Her little guy, Parker, is having a very invasive procedure today and they are hoping for some good news. If you could find it in your heart to add her to your prayers or leave a positive comment on her blog, that would be nice. They could use all the love and help they can get on days like today.

Saturday night we got home late and I was just not feeling good. It had been kind of a long day with a freezing cold soccer game, take the kids to the Thanksgiving point Easter egg hunt, then I went off to try to win a car—which I DIDN”T win, by the way. There’s way more to tell about that, but I’m giving the abreviated version right now, so that’s all you get. That time of the month combined with heartburn and stomache aches were working on me, and I was less than enthused to get everything ready for Easter. I sent the kids up to go to bed, and said, “Cole, after you get your pajamas on, come back down here, please,” I asked Cole. He complained that he was tired, but I asked him to please come back downstairs anyway. When he came back down, I handed him a big bowl of plastic eggs, and said, “You get to help out the Easter bunny this year.” And that was it. No fanfare, no explaining anything, just a “here, kid, get to work”. I filled baskets with the little trinkets and movies, while Cole filled Easter eggs. Once he was done, Ryan, Cole and I helped the Easter bunny hide them. Oh, and speaking of jelly beans, you’ve got to read this explanation of where the jelly beans come from!

Then on Sunday, as the kids were helping me decorate the easter bunny sugar cookies, our curious little bird flew on down to the counter and was trying to find out what we were doing. He kept trying to get closer and closer to the cookies, and I kept shooing him away. Eventually he climbed up onto my shoulder and was content to sit there for a while. Then suddenly, he flew off my shoulder, landing on a freshly frosted cookie! He walked through that one, leaving his little birdie footprints in the frosting, then walked all over the tray. When I made a big fuss about it, Ryan came to the rescue. He removed said birdie from the counter, washed his feet in the sink, and locked him in his cage. And don’t worry, we threw that cookie away. Although I wish I had taken a picture of it first, so I could post it here on the blog!

We had a fun family party at my parents’ house in the afternoon. Anytime you get 17 kids together at Grandma’s house, though, it’s pretty much chaos. But they had a nice little egg hunt, and a great dinner, and a fun time with family. My mom had to give her disclaimer that the yucky hard stuff in the eggs had been cotton candy, which seemed like a good idea at the time. But after a few days, it just turned into a nice colored rock looking thing. Ick.

The kids were very excited (as was I) to watch one of their new movies, Enchanted. I think it might be my new favorite movie of all time. Maybe. Have you seen it? Sing a little working song…. and then the mice and pigeons come and clean up the mess. I think I’ll try that and see if our birds will help out today. And I had a dream about Patrick Dempsey last night. Seriously. And it was a good dream.

On Monday, I removed all the Easter baskets, most of the Easter grass, and most of the Easter candy. Get rid of it! Today it will all be gone. Hidden away or thrown away somewhere. So, kids, if you want that Easter candy, you’d better get to it before I do, because I’m in a candy chucking mood! Enough with the candy, I say. And I am seriously not making sugar cookies until……Christmas. If ever.

How was your holiday?


Today at church the little 8 year old sitting in front of us turned around and said to Ryan, “You look like Fred from I love Lucy. Especially this middle part.” Wow, that’s quite a….compliment. Or something.

Spring Holidays

Wow, it’s not very often we have St. Patrick’s Day and Easter in the same week (in fact, I heard that the pope actually changed St. Patrick’s day to Saturday the 15th so as not to interfere with the Easter week). But we’re all about the celebrating here, so we’re doing ok.

For St. Patrick’s day we made large amounts of sugar cookies. Green sugar cookies with green frosting. Oh my heavens, those were delicious. We gave quite a few of them away, but sadly, quite a few of them ended up in my mouth. Just–too–yummy! The kids were all set to dress in green, and Natalie and Jenna both took baggies full of green jelly beans for class on Monday. john This wasn’t exactly the “wearing of the green”, but I thought I would just include some pictures to show how much fun your kids can have with just a simple pad of sticky notes. jenna Why yes, those were my sticky notes, kids, and no, thank you, I would not like them back.

On Sunday, we broke out the food coloring, egg dye kits and all that jazz, and colored up some eggs. jenna Since eggs hadn’t gone on sale yet, I didn’t have tons and tons of eggs boiled up for them to color like I usually do (I only boiled about 18), so we tried our hand at blowing out the eggs and then decorating them. eggs Ryan was not enthused about trying a new way to do our eggs ( I think he was grossed out and a little afraid I’d try to save those eggs and scramble them up for breakfast the next morning. I’ll admit I thought about it, but in the end, we just let all those egg innards go down the garbage disposal.) but we were not deterred. null Although a few of them got squished and broken in the blowing process, I think the kids did a great job. This year I used food coloring instead of the little tablets (since I couldn’t find the tablets until after we had started), but it worked just fine. Who knew I could just use twenty drops of the food coloring and a little vinegar? I guess it’s said that on the box of “assorted food coloring and egg dye” all the time, but I always used the little tablets. egg Since some of the eggs are hollow, we hung them on a little Easter tree and have put them around. Hopefully we can save them until next year without breaking them.

Saturday Ryan is taking the kids to Thanksgiving point for their Easter Eggstravaganza! I get to take Megan to a soccer game at 8:30, where we’ll probably freeze our butts off. Yay for soccer, right?

No matching dresses or outfits for the kids this year. In fact, I don’t have any idea what any of us will be wearing for Easter. I guess just our regular church clothes. While they would love new clothes, they don’t get into the “matching” thing anymore, so I didn’t get them Easter dresses. Oh well.

Then on Sunday we’ll go to my parents’ house for Easter dinner and fun. It should be a fun weekend, and I wish you all a Happy Easter!

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