Superpaige's Pad

The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: April 2008 (page 1 of 3)

Where’s Alice when I need her?

It’s a stressful week around here at Casa Erickson. This week is my concert (and I’ll try not to be pushy, but I would LOVE it if you came, and you can get tickets here. Or I’m sure it won’t be full, and they’d probably let you in without a ticket if you decide to come at the last minute). Which is great. I’m excited and quite a bit nervous. I mean, as of our last rehearsal, I know I wasn’t ready for a concert. But we’re going to think positively here. So, that means I’ll be gone tonight, tomorrow night, Friday night and Saturday night.

And did I mention that it’s soccer season tournament week? Oh, yeah. That means that Megan has games last night (which they won 4-0!), Friday night and Saturday morning, with a practice on Thursday night.

And did I mention that it’s women’s conference this week? And I, foolishly thinking that I can do it all, signed up to go on Thursday. I knew I couldn’t go on Friday, but I somehow thought I could squeeze in Thursday. I’m sure we can do it. I’ll be picking up my friend Robin from the airport at approximately 8:35 am, then whisking her down to Provo with me in the rain or snow.

The kids also have a primary talent show this Friday, and the girls are getting ready for their dance recital and band concerts next week. So, no, we’re not busy. Just figuring out how everyone is going to get where they need to go, and who’s going to stay home, and who’s babysitting is a full time job right now.

I’ve stocked the fridge, so hopefully no one will need to go shopping this week, but someone does indeed have to fix the meals. In fact, this morning, I cooked up two dozen scrambled eggs so the kids could have something besides cereal (those complainers–just eat the cereal, why don’t you?). I’m trying to get a jump on the laundry, but that’s nearly impossible on a good week. And the house? I’m afraid it probably won’t be ‘company ready’. And I obviously have a problem with my priorities, since instead of going out and spraying those icky dandelions or cleaning off my kitchen counter, I’m in here blogging about it.

I just need an Alice. Where do you think she’s working today? Those Bradys had it good, didn’t they? 6 kids? Ha! That’s not so many. I’ve got 5, and I don’t have a housekeeper. But I sure would like one, wouldn’t you? Someone to cook the dinner, vacuum, dust, and keep the house tidy. I believe she also helped the kids with their homework, bathed Tiger the dog, and generally kept the house running. So what did Carol do? Did she have a job of some kind? Did she have to help Mike at the architecture firm? Did she volunteer for the PTA? Was she a primary president or relief society president? I mean, really–what did she do? I can’t remember. But I’m thinking she had it pretty easy there at the Brady house. Especially since all their problems could be tidily wrapped up in a 1/2 hour (well, an hour, if you count getting lost in the grand canyon). Wouldn’t we all be a little happier with a little more ‘Alice’ in our lives? Too bad we don’t live in tv land.

Birthdays

Happy Birthday to my Mom! It’s her birthday today. We had a little birthday bash for her last night at our house. When I say “little”, I mean about 27 people–10 adults and 17 kids for dinner. We cooked up this London Broil, and it turned out so yummy! Of course I didn’t add MSG like the recipe says (who ADDS MSG? I thought we were supposed to avoid that stuff?) and I didn’t have Tarragon vinegar so I used red wine vinegar. I also made these simple oven roasted red potatoes, and some yummy baked beans. I set up extra tables and chairs inside, even though it was finally nice enough to eat outside, but our trees haven’t leafed out yet and we have no shade. So, we told people they could eat outside if they wanted, but most everyone stayed in. After we ate, the kids all scattered and played outside, some downstairs in the extremely messy unfinished basement, and some upstairs. It was so fun to look out and see a dozen kids all playing happily together on the playground. I’m amazed taht the cousins get along so well, and are always so excited to see one another. Maybe it’s a good thing we don’t get them together very often. It was a fun family get together, and I’m glad it went so well.

Speaking of birthdays, I never posted any pictures from Megan’s party back at the beginning of the month. So, here’s her cake.
cake
Made by Julene, the awesome cake decorator. That soccer ball is actually made out of rice crispies. But when Julene asked her husband to “press” the rice crispies into a bowl so they could be soccer ball shaped, he took that job a bit to seriously and smashed them together using a jar to really pack them tight. When we cut into the soccer ball, it was SOLID rice crispy–not even crispy anymore, since there was no air.
It was enough to break a tooth on, but the kids still ate it.

The girls had a great time, , and it turned out to be a fun, and relatively easy for me, party. A funny thing happened with her present, though. I was going to give her an MP3 player for her birthday. But when her friend’s mom brought over a present for her, I just peeked inside to see what it was, and it was an MP3 player! I couldn’t give her one if a friend was giving her one, too. So, I got a few other things together, and remembered I had a guitar stashed in the closet that I had bought at a garage sale a while back. I gave that to her. She was so excited! And all her friends thought she was SO cool that she got her own guitar, and it was so COOL! Turns out that guitar has a bit of separation at the neck, and we’re going to somehow stabalize it, and I don’t know if it even will stay in tune (so if anyone knows anything about guitar repair, let me know), but I already won cool mom points because all the girls were so IMPRESSED with Megan’s birthday guitar. Even if it doesn’t work out for her, she was cool at the moment, and therefore I was cool, right? I was just glad she was so excited about it.

On Dogs and Cats

Dog Diary

8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing!

9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!

9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!

10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

12:00 pm – Lunch! My favorite thing!

1:00 pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!

3:00 pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

5:00 pm – Milk bones! My favorite thing!

7:00 pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!

8:00 pm – Wow! Watched TV with my people! My favorite thing!

11:00 pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Cat Diary

Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today, I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a ‘good little hunter’ I am.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of ‘allergies’. I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today, I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow — but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches.

The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released – and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

(thanks to my friend Kristi, who sent this to me. It made me laugh)

Bite Back

BiteBack

Today, April 25, is World Malaria Day. And through the Bite Back campaign, people can give a one-time donation of $10 and provide a mosquito net for a child – or a family, if they’re all sleeping in the same place – who otherwise would have no protection from this completely preventable disease. That $10 will also provide education and treatment for people who are already sick with malaria.

Boomama has challenged her readers to donate 50 nets in 50 hours. I don’t have that kind of readership here, but I think it’s a great cause and I’d like to do my little part to spread the word. Remember, this is a one-time donation, not a long-term commitment.

So here’s how you can help.

Click here to donate $10 that will provide a mosquito net for a child (you can donate more than that if you feel led). Each net lasts three years, so for $3.33 a year – less than a penny a day – you can save a child’s life.

This gives you a good excuse to watch Oprah

Ryan told me last week that some people from his office were going to Chicago to film a segment for the Oprah show. I of course tried to weasel my way into a trip, because it’s been my long-standing goal to see the Oprah show in person. I almost made it when we lived in Illinois, but that was when that whole mad cow thing was going on, and unfortunatly, Oprah was in Texas. So, no, I haven’t been to the Oprah show, but one day I will! And neither has Ryan. He wasn’t one of the people who went to Chicago, but his company, Control 4 will be featured on the Oprah show today.

Control4 was highlighted by The Oprah Winfrey Show as an affordable, whole home automation system. The segment was filmed earlier this week and we were just notified that the segment will be aired on Friday, April 25, 2008, check your local listing for time and channel information.

Nate Berkus, Oprah’s Home Editor and Designer, talks about Control4 on the show and Oprah mentions Control4 and talks about some of the features of the product. Nate pitches Control4 as a great product because you can start small and add to your home automation system over time.

The following features were highlighted:

* IP Camera showing the ability to see your home or another room when you are not there
* All off button. Demonstrating the ability to push one button that will shut off virtually anything you want before you go to bed or leave your home.
* Multi-room Music. Control4 demonstrated how you can simply listen to your music throughout your home.

And if Oprah likes something, you know what kind of an endorsement that is? Wow! So, you know what I’ll be doing today at 4:00. If I remember. But my tv will remember, even if I don’t.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery

I have a problem. I’ll admit it. You know those happy little yellow “flowers” that seem to be popping up in everyone’s yard right about now? Well, I hate them.

Oh, the dreaded dandelion! Or, as I just learned from Wikipedia, it’s a “members of the genus Taraxacum, a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae.” Thank you, Wikipedia. I don’t really care what they are called, I just don’t want them in my yard.

I didn’t really care so much about the dandelions until we moved here to this neighborhood. It’s a neighborhood full of landscapers, retired men who have too much time on their hands, and lawn obsessed people. Seriously. Our former next door neighbor used to mow his lawn at least twice a week, just because he liked to. I just found out that my friend and neighbor has a veritable greenhouse in her family room, where she’s growing hundreds of flowers and plants from seeds and from single leaves of different plants. Everyone has large lots that look like parks. Some of these people have easily put 30K into their yards. How can we possibly compete with that?

So, when I see a dandelion in my yard, instead of thinking, “oh, look at the cute little dandelions”, I think, “flip, there’s another of those scourge of the earth dandelions, which will soon be ALL over my yard, and then everyone will think we are the white trash neighbors and they will hate us.” I’m not even exaggerating here. Last year when it was time for Women’s conference, I mentioned to my friend that I was looking for a class titled “Just because you have a few dandelions, that does not make you white trash“. She laughed and said how funny I was, but I wasn’t joking. Somehow my self-esteem is tied up with the state of my yard. When really, it shouldn’t bother my self-esteem if we have a few weeds. The lawn is technically not even my jurisdiction around here. Ryan does the lawn care, ferilization, and the whole sprinking system, and I am in charge of all the flower beds, pots and hanging baskets. Together we are supposed to tend the garden, but we both tend to drop the ball on that one–but that’s another subject for some other day. So if we have a few little dandelions, it should reflect poorly upon my husband, and not me, right? Tell my over-imaginative brain.

So yesterday, when the kids came home from school, I offered them a penny per dandelion head. Not the whole disgusting plant, mind you, just the cheery yellow flowery parts. I know this isn’t getting the whole weed, but they don’t want to be out there with diggers, and I don’t have time to spray every one of them at this moment. Besides, if you get the flowery parts, they won’t send out all their horribly invasive seeds, creating more and more and more and more noxious weeds. So, always interested in an easy and fun way to make money, my girls set off to find and pick as many dandelion flowers as they could. After about a half an hour, one of them came in and asked if they could pick from the neighbor’s yard, too. Hmmm. On the one hand, I don’t really care if my neighbor has dandelions. In fact, if they have some, and I don’t, then that should kind of make my yard look better, right? And why should I pay my children to destroy the dandelions from their yard? On the other hand, if their dandelions ripen and spew forth their hideous seeds, then they will most likely land in my yard and cause us to have more dandelions. “Ok,” I said, “you can pick from the neighbor’s yard, too.” Aren’t I generous?

At the end of the picking time, when they couldn’t find any more dandelions to pick, like any good bounty hunter, they counted up their crop. With chalk circles and tally marks, they each figured out how many they had harvested. Jenna had 262, Natalie had 289, and Megan had 305. At one cent each, that will run me about $8.56. Well worth it. The kids had a little math experience, plus an easy way to make a couple of bucks fast, and I can assuage my fragile self-esteem.

I know, I know. I told you I had a problem, and admitting it is the first step to recovery, right? That, and I might just call Chem-lawn.

Things I might have said during the past 24 hours

–You made poops in the potty?! That’s amazing!

–You need lotion on those hands, or your hands will get so dry they might just fall off. And then how would you write with no hands, only little stumps?

–Put that down! You don’t have to read EVERY single thing you see.

–What caller am I?

–I do not have your shin guards.

–Does anyone know where the vacuum stopped?

–If I let you quit piano lessons, then you would come to me when you are 25 and say, “Mom, why did you let me quit piano lessons? I hate you for letting me quit!”

–Those are brand new pants! Did you have to slide in them and get grass stains on the knees?

–I’m going to race you to the potty.

–Why are there grapes on the floor?

–Out came the tooth, the wibbley, wobbley tooth…

–I have to take Megan to soccer. I’ll be back in 20 minutes.

–I’m sorry that your shoes are frozen. Maybe you shouldn’t leave them out by the trampoline .

–I don’t care if you’re wet. You can’t just take any towel you feel like taking.

–How many times do we wear our underwear? That’s right, ONCE. We’re not going to save the planet any by wearing our underwear for days at a time.

–I’m so sorry. Where does it hurt? Let me give you kisses.

–Food. We’re having FOOD.

–I love you, too.

–If you eat the last of something, what do you do with the box? Leave it in the pantry? I don’t think so.

–Please move on to another song.

–Just use someone else’s socks.

–Do you need some help with that?

–I think that shirt might be on backwards.

–Awesome job!

–Did you do your homework?

–Why do you say one thing and powerschool says another?

–Because I’m trying to train you to be a good babysitter, that’s why.

Let the season of clutter collection begin

Saturday marked the beginning of THE GARAGE SALE SEASON. To celebrate, and since there was no soccer this week, I set out early in search of the elusive and timid early season garage sale. Not one to really look in the paper, I tend to favor the old “drive around and look for signs” approach. Sometimes it works better than others. It was 7:50 and I saw a sign! It said Yard sale 8-1, but it was almost 8, so I turned in and found the sale. What? Lawnmowers and horse tack? That’s not the sale for me. I didn’t even get out of the car.

I ventured south, and lo and behold, I saw a GREAT sign, but where are the arrows, people? I can’t read your tiny address when I’m going by at 40 mph! Arrows!! So, after taking the roundabout way to get there, I found the garage sale. I immediately picked up a cute little “carved” bear, that’s not really carved and not really made of wood. But he’s cute, and he’s $1, and he’s going to enjoy being at my house. Nothing else there except a really cool hot pink chair from the 1940’s, but she only wanted to sell it WITH the couch as a set, and I’m not buying a hot pink couch with one foot missing. My husband would KILL me if I hauled that thing home.

After much more driving around, being fooled by signs that looked like they could possibly be garage sale signs, but were really “aeration” signs or those red flags that people can use when crossing the street, I found about 4 more garage sales. I ended up buying bunch of clothes for John at 25 cents each, some shoes for Cole, and a baseball glove that will fit John or Jenna. I also found a dress that Natalie wanted, but it fit Jenna (and has a small rip I need to repair), a small four wheeler and rider for John to use as a potty prize, and a cars book.

Not the greatest haul for two hours on a Saturday, but I spent less than $8, and I got away from the little people for a couple of hours. But it’s the start of the fun garage sale season that will last for about the next 6 months, and I’m sure I’ll score some great finds–eventually.

Ryan to the rescue

Some days there’s just not that much to blog about, you know? That is, unless you want to hear about the yucky smelling dish towel that I discovered in my sink, or my opinion on Dancing with the Stars this week, or the fact that I discovered a nice green dot of “facial mask” that I put on my face last night to dry up a huge zit. I discovered that I still had green on my face AFTER I went and worked out at Curves this morning. But I’m sure you all have done something like that before, right? Or I could go on about how my kids aren’t used to all this free time and they end up picking fights with each other. But none of that stuff is blogworthy today.

So I wanted to just give a little shout out for my awesome hubby. He’ll be totally shocked reading this, by the way, since it’s not his birthday or our anniversary or father’s day or anything, so why would I write about him? Because I want to, that’s why.

Last week he had a frustrating week at work. I guess it was bug finding week, and he worked for four days trying to find a certain bug and fix it. Four days! And when he finally found it, I guess fixing it consisted of putting in two more back slashes into a certain line of code. When he told me about it, he said, “So, my total amount of work for the past four days consists of two characters. That’s half a character per day.” I told him I was so sorry that work was frustrating, but he should blog about it! That’s what I do with all the crappy stuff that happens to me–it gives me something to blog about, right? Too bad he doesn’t have a blog.

Jenna wrote him a note the other day and left it for him…where? On his computer. Since it’s not Too personal, I think I’ll share it. She wrote:

Dear Dad,
Will we do the mini goat some day?
How was work? Was it bad or good?
I love you up to the moon and back down 900000 times.
Your a fun day to have.
Did you play card games with your parents when you were little? How long are you growing your beard? I like your beard, dont shave it!
Pleas right back.
Love, Jenna
xxoooxxxooooxxxooo

How sweet is that?

He’s also amazingly creative when it comes to fixing things. A friend from the ward brought over her laptop that had given up the ghost. It wouldn’t even boot up, it was that far gone. She was just sick that she hadn’t backed up her pictures, and they were all on that laptop. Well, Ryan tried everything he could to get it to boot up, and nothing worked. The hard drive was just dead. But then in doing some research, he read somewhere that if you freeze a hard drive, it might just make it work enough to get some information off of it. Freeze a hard drive? Who thinks up these things?

So, he stuck the thing in a baggie, then froze it for a couple of hours. Then, to keep it frozen, he stuck that baggie into a bowl of ice, and hooked it up. Crazy, right? Well, here’s a picture or two to show you I’m not making this up.

And by working his magic, he was able to recover all of her photos from her dead laptop. Amazing, isn’t he? So, file that away in your “useless knowledge” file, and be glad that there are people somewhere in the world who care enough to try weird and crazy things to recover their files. And one of them is my husband.

How long is spring break?

This week is spring break for my kids, and we’re trying to keep everybody happy and not fighting. I know, I should give up now, because with five kids that is simply not possible. But I’m trying.

Megan went camping with some friends, lucky girl, so she’s been gone since Saturday. She’ll come home tomorrow. While it’s kind of nice to have one less kid for a few days, we miss her, and hope she’s having a great time at Kodacrome Basin.

Monday I let the kids play with friends, play outside and enjoy the nice weather, and generally just play. For FHE we met some family at the BYU Museum of Art to see the “Dismantling Geneva Steel” Exibit. I have to say, it was amazing. The pictures are so interesting, and even beautiful. Really. You should check it out if you have a chance. Well, no trip to BYU is complete without ice cream, so we took the kids to the Creamery on 9th (used to be Carson’s Market, remember) and had WAY too much ice cream. Yum.

Today, after a wonderful yoga class, I told the kids that we could go to Boondocks if they would get their jobs done. Well, about 2 1/2 hours later they were finally ready to go. Even though the weather wasn’t great, I wanted to go today because it’s $12 Tuesday, and cheaper for mom. Plus, one less kid to pay for. I’d say it was worth it. For $40 bucks, we had a great time all afternoon. Cole played three games of laser tag, Natalie played two games. It was too cold to go out and play miniature golf, but Jenna and John had fun in Kiddie Cove and with their tokens. Since we brought some report cards, the kids each had 18 free tokens, and then I payed for some more (so I could play, too). When we were all out of tokens, we played several fun games of air hockey, and had a very fun time. Of course, looking out the window and seeing a blizzard is always exciting.

We ate dinner at Subway, picked up some root beer and milk from the grocery store, and now we’re home to play Wii. (And I’m going to read my book and watch The Biggest Loser finally–Go Kelly!) As we drove up to our house, I said, “Who’s garbage can is that in the middle of the road? Is that ours?” Sure enough, as we got into our driveway, we could see that there was no garbage can there. Ours must have had a wild ride on the wind all the way down our long driveway and out into the middle of the circle. Sorry about that, neighbors! At least it didn’t tip over and blow our recycleables all over the neighborhood.

And what’s in store for the rest of the week, you might ask? I have no idea. I used up all the fun in me today. I’d like to go to the tulip festival some time this week, if the weather improves. And I guess we’ll do a lot of playing with friends. Any suggestions?

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