The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: April 2008 (Page 2 of 3)

And don’t talk back!

I told you how excited I was about my new Roomba vacuum, right? Now I can go back to cleaning my floors more than once a week (just kidding, I really do clean more than once a week). But this new roomba has some “new and improved” features that I’m not so sure about.
I push the little start button, for example, and the roomba says to me (yes, it talks!) “Please remove and clean roomba’s brushes.”

Um, excuse me? You are a vacuum. A tool. I don’t want you telling me what to do, here, just get busy and clean the floor!

But what do I do? I remove and clean the brushes. I don’t want to make it mad at me and not do any work, now do I?

So I don’t know if I like the “talking back” feature. I get enough of that from my kids, for heaven’s sake. Next thing you know, I’ll push start to get it to vacuum, and it’ll start giving me wardrobe advice, “Are you really going to wear that shirt with those pants? Did you not have time to do your hair this morning?”

All right, already! Shut up and vacuum!


I set up a puzzle on Saturday afternoon. Just something to do with our hands while we were listening to general conference. I imagined us working on it together as a family and rejoicing when we finished it together. puzzle
In reality, it was too hard for most of the kids, and Megan soon lost interest. So, it was me doing a puzzle on Saturday. And I soon became a little obsessed. When Ryan and Cole went to the preisthood session, I fed the kids dinner, but I stayed at the counter working on the puzzle. After they ate, the kids wanted to play Wii. Fine. I’m working on a puzzle.

Sunday we didn’t have any time to work on the puzzle, since we had to get everyone ready, listen to the am session, and then we went up and attended the pm session in the conference center. It was a wonderful experience, even with three kids.

But Monday, after I exercised, that puzzle was still there. On the counter. I worked on it for a while, and then Monday night even Ryan caught the puzzle bug and spent a couple of hours on the puzzle after I went to bed.

On Tuesday, I go the kids off to school, exercised, and then sat down at the counter to work on the puzzle for a minute or two. John wanted to start a movie, and he chose ‘Over the Hedge’. About halfway through the movie, he wanted to sit on my lap and “help” do the puzzle. So, I let him help. I would search and search and find where a piece would go, then he would put it in. It was actually fun. A friend called me at around 11:15, and I realized I had been working on that puzzle for almost two hours. Oh, let me just take a shower, and then we can get the boys together to play. How embarrassing! 11:00 and I’m still in my work-out clothes working on a puzzle! But I was almost done! Tuesday afternoon when Cole came home, he and I finished the last few pieces of the puzzle. Except for one piece, which is missing somewhere. Hooray! The puzzle is done!

Off Cole went to piano lessons, and I went upstairs for something or other. When I came back into the kitchen, the puzzle was again in pieces. It hadn’t even been completed long enough for me to take a picture. I couldn’t believe it! The little culprit was sitting right there in the kitchen. “John,” I asked, “what happened to this puzzle?” “I don’t know,” he said.


Since the puzzle wasn’t completely destroyed, and since it’s always easier to do a puzzle the second time, some of the kids started working on putting it back together. I didn’t join them. I already did that puzzle, once, I’m thinking, I don’t really have the time to devote to completing it again. Today, sick of the puzzle and wanting my counter back, I put the whole thing back in the box. Back into the closet it will go, not to be looked at for at least another six months.

Parenting tip for the day

Just because your child is playing quietly, does NOT mean he or she is not getting into trouble.

For example: John had been happily playing upstairs and I was kind of relieved that he wasn’t here making a mess while I was cleaning the kitchen. Soon, however, he came downstairs with his sad little face and showed me that his finger was bleeding. When I put his band-aid on, I noticed that his hands were covered in glitter. “What have you been doing, John?” He did not want to tell me, but said that he would whisper it in my ear. Hmmm. This could be bad. “I broke a snowglobe,” he said. I decided I’d better go and investigate.

The problem was, I couldn’t tell which of the disasterous bedrooms he had ravaged. They all looked like a tasmanian devil had been there. I called to him and asked him to come and show me where the snow globe was. Reluctantly he came upstairs and showed me the broken snowglobe. It was indeed broken, and there was water, glitter and glass shards covering pretty much everything. I sent him back downstairs so I could clean this one up on my own. Yes, I cut myself in the process, too.

So, my friends, just because your child is quiet (or even singing, in the case of my friend’s little girl), never assume for one minute that they aren’t getting into trouble.

“There is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood.” ~ M. Russell Ballard

His was one of my favorite talks on Sunday.

I get by with a little help from my friends

A friend called me today in a panic and asked, “Are you going anywhere in the next hour?” She sounded a little panicked, and I was able to tell her that, no, I didn’t have anywhere pressing to go in the next hour. She was really embarrassed, but explained how she had lost her keys and was supposed to be at the school right now, and…
“Do you need a car?” I asked her.
“Do you mind?” she asked.
“Go ahead,” I told her. Lending her my car would be no problem, really. She sounded relieved and said she’d be right over. When I looked at the state of my kitchen, I thought, ‘I should really clean up a bit–she’s coming right over!’ and started to clean off the breakfast mess from my counter, but then I thought, ‘she’s the one who can’t find her keys, do you think she’s going to judge you because you haven’t cleaned your kitchen yet?’ Good point.

A minute later, she called back. Keys found. Relief. But I would have loaned her my car, and I really would have been happy to do it. Because she’s my friend and she would do the same thing for me anytime, I’m sure.

When you think about it, doesn’t doing something nice for someone else make you happy? It could be a little thing, like holding open the door for someone who has their arms full, or a big thing like donating a kidney (OK, I admit, I’ve never actually donated a kidney, so that’s probably a little bit extreme, but you know what I mean), but hearing someone say “Thank you”, and then saying “You’re welcome” really is a joy. You’re Welcome. It literally means You Are Welcome. You are welcome to share what I have, and I welcome you. What a beautiful phrase. I think we should all use it more often.

Works for me–Calendar!

works for me
I’m one of those people who relies heavily on a calendar. A write everything down, double check it to make sure we don’t have a conflict calendar. Because then I don’t feel like I have to remember every little detail of our lives, because I have the calendar! It frees up space in my brain for….other things. I actually have a cool Busy Body Book Calendar with 5 columns to categorize everyone’s stuff, and it’s been quite helpful to manage our busy schedules.

And here’s my tip: When scheduling a play date or appointment for your child, write the phone number down when you write down the appointment. For example, just this morning, Jenna’s little friend Hayley called and asked if she could play today after school. Today doesn’t work, but we settled on tomorrow, and Jenna will go home with her and play. As soon as I hung up the phone, I checked the caller ID and got Haley’s phone number and wrote it on the calendar with the info. So, tomorrow when it’s time to pick her up, I already have the phone number right there, and I don’t have to go searching through phone lists or caller id to find it. Pretty smart, right? Thank you, Thank you. I’ll be here all week!

For more ideas and tips, visit Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in my Dryer

On Boxes and Chairs

I may have mentioned that I wanted to get new chairs for my family room. The recliners we had in there were only 10+ years old, falling apart, and I hated them. So, I undertook the perilous job of shopping for new chairs. I liked something like this
or this
and I looked through a catalog at chairs like this , but then you have to pick out fabric and a chair site unseen, and I didn’t know if I could visualize that.

Finding those fancy furniture stores just too expensive, I decided to go to IKEA and check their selection of chairs. I liked the Ektorp chair, and thought it was great that I could just get slipcovers that come off and can be washed, or even changed up when I got bored with the color, but I kept in mind that Ryan was really set on having recliners. Even though I tried to convince him that we could get grown up people chairs and still be happy, he insisted that these would be tv watching chairs for the family room, and therefore they should recline.

I immediately fell in love with the most expensive leather recliner that IKEA carries, the Vreta. OK, maybe it’s not the MOST expensive, but it was quite a bit more than the old Ektorp over there. Isn’t that a beautiful chair? And it reclines, swivels and rocks! But maybe I was just drawn to the chair because of the great color. And I already have a dark red leather sofa in my family room, so I wasn’t sure how that would work out. Overwhelmed with the task of picking out the chairs by myself, I even called Ryan at work, and he made the long long trip to IKEA (in 10 minutes or less) during his lunch break. He tested my favorites and soon found that my favorite was also his favorite.

But what color? Could I pull off that much red in my family room, and would it match? Or could I possibly do white chairs? Yes, it’s lovely, but it’s white, and I have kids. Oh, the decisions!

In order to compare the reds, I took a picture of my red purse with the red recliner and then at home I compared the red purse to the red couch I have. No, they didn’t match.

I let all this circulate in my mind for a few days, and then when I thought I had it figured out I went back to the Swedish store, this time with my kids. They think we just go to IKEA for the fun of it. They all three (I only took three) got into the playland, and had a grand time there while I was deciding on chairs. I decided to go traditional, and picked out two of the brown Vreland chairs. Brown being my least favorite of the colors (I would have loved to buy the red, or the white), but seeing as the kids will be sitting in the chairs, and the close proximity of the family room to the kitchen, I decided that brown was the best choice. Conservative and practical, yes, but still really cool chairs. After ordering the chairs, I had to arrange for delivery, since they are not a chair that they keep in stock. As I was waiting for the delivery person, my pager went off and I had to go and pick up the kids. They were red faced and happy. Jumping into that ball pit wears you out. But they were also hot and thirsty! Next stop, snack bar! So, being the good mom that I am, and happily relieved to have finally made the big decisions, I sprung for hot dogs, ice cream and a soda! Woo-Hoo! That’s how you know it’s an outing, and not just a shopping trip, folks. If there’s ice cream involved. After the kids cooled off and finished the snacks, I went back to the delivery desk. The sweet lady working there was very relieved to see me. “Oh, THERE you are!” she said. “When I was done with the other customer I looked for you, and I thought that was you over there on the chair. I’m afraid I woke her up to ask her if she was ready to arrange delivery, and she looked up at me and said, ‘I’m just so tired, can I rest for a minute more?’ And then I felt so bad!” Oh, this sweet lady had been looking for me. How sweet. Not so sweet that so woke up that poor lady asleep in the chair in the corner with her tiny baby in the carseat. Her husband is probably shopping, and she took a moment to rest. I felt bad for her. Anyway, we arranged for delivery, and my kids and I were off on our merry way.

About a week and a half later, I got a call from the delivery company telling me they had my chairs and could they come the next day? OF Course! I cleaned up the family room, we moved the old recliners out of the way, and waited for the delivery truck to bring my new chairs. About 2:00, the truck came! It’s so exciting waiting for a delivery, isn’t it? I managed to get this out of the box, and then Cole came home from school, and I had him help me do the assembly. As you can see from the instructions, it’s pretty complicated. Since he did the “assembly”, he got to be the first to recline in the new chair
and then for an added bonus, he got to have one of the boxes. Think of it as a birthday present, son.

I can’t tell you how much fun the kids have had with these two boxes! The girls took theirs and decorated the sides, cutting out windows and doors, and even used the foam sheets that came in the boxes as ‘carpet’. Cole wants to save his box intact so that he can use it for a future magic show. As it turned out, the boxes came at a convenient time, because the next day I was to host a playgroup for john plus seven of his little compadres. Because we have 8 in our group, we’re all thrilled that our turn to host only comes along every 8 weeks, but when it does, we wrack our brains on what to do with 8 rambunctious little boys for almost two hours. Especially when the weather is cold. Well, among other things (like making cookies, decorating cole’s failed birthday cake, playing with play-doh and puzzles and trains), I let them play in the boxes. and at one point had seven of them inside the box. Maybe I should have just taped it closed then, and seen how long it would take them to get out–ha, ha. Just kidding! Don’t go and report me for child neglect or anything, I’m kidding! So, aren’t they cute, the boys in a box?

I can’t believe she’s 12

Happy Birthday, Megan!

Megan has always been an independent spirit. When she was little, she would only smile at us. Whenever we went to family functions and her aunts would fawn over her, she would just scowl at them. My sister tells me that the reason she went into labor with her son was from watching Megan scowl at her on her blessing day. She laughed so hard at her little grumpy face she went into labor that night.

Oh, but good heavens she was cute.
cole and megan
I was so excited to have a little girl I could put in little girly dresses with bows in her hair. If I had only known. She ripped all bows out of her hair when she was little, and can’t stand frilly stuff now.

Why do they have to grow up? They were so dang cute, then!

I remember when Megan was about two, maybe three, and she was playing with our bird, Sundance. She had him up in her room, probably in a stroller or something fun, and she pulled out all his tail feathers. Oh, she’s an animal lover, that one.

She didn’t like bows, but she would wear hats. She still wears hats. Lots of hats.

Eventually she did learn to smile, and along with that she learned to tease. I can’t say she’s always the best older sister, but I do believe that deep down she loves her sisters (and her brothers).
You can tell by that smile right there that she’s got a mischievous side to her, can’t you?

Megan is a great girl, and not afraid of hard work. She is the one who will do extra jobs around the house to earn money, and usually if you ask her to help you do something, she will do it. She plays soccer like a maniac, and doesn’t mind the hours of practice. She LOVES sports and is very active. If only I could get her to have the same enthusiasm for playing the piano.

Megan’s a good student, and really enjoys school. Although when I mentioned that she’d have to take math in 7th grade next year, she said, “Again with the math?” Well, yes. Get used to it. There will always be math. It seems like just yesterday she was in Kindergarten, and now she’ll be moving out of elementary school and into junior high this year.
Here she is with her Kindergarten teacher, who she loved.

Wow. My little girl is growing up. She’ll be leaving the ranks of primary behind her and entering the young women’s program. I guess I can’t stop them from growing up. I’ll just have to be proud of them as they do it.

Happy Birthday, Megan-Moo. I love you.

Because yes, we are that lazy

It’s been kind of sad and lonely at our house lately. You see, our fun little pet, Roomba, has been ailing for a while. He would start vacuuming a room, and then two minutes later he would stop and say he was done. Kind of like a child. So, I would have to kindly tell him that no, he was not done, yet, and he’d have to keep on cleaning until he actually picked up some of the crumbs on the floor. Not unlike my 4 year old, his work has been pretty sloppy lately. Oh, Roomba–don’t dis me like this! We’ve tried everything to perk little Roomba up. We did a thorough cleaning, sensor adjusting, battery charging, and everything we could possibly think of, but he still wasn’t pulling his weight around here.
green roomba

So we had to resort to vacuuming with the central vac. Now there’s nothing wrong with the central vac, I actually love it! It does a great job at getting ALL the crumbs off the floor and getting in all those nooks and crannies of each room. But you have to get out the whole long hose thing, and the vacuum thing, and hook them together and all that. I’m also a fan of having someone else do the work for me. I mean, with Roomba, you just set it down in a room and tell it to go to work. When I mentioned to my mom that my roomba wasn’t working right anymore, she seemed amazed and said, “You mean you use it all the time?” like it’s only a vacuum for special occasions or something. Hmm. Maybe that wasn’t the coolest gift to give her if she’s not going to actually use it. But, yes, we use it ALL THE TIME. Everyday. That is, when it’s working.

So, Ryan has been watching the Woot sales, and the other day he ordered me a new Roomba. Hooray! Happy, happy, Joy, joy! It came yesterday and we charged it overnight. new roomba Isn’t that sleek looking? So, this morning was time for the inaugural vacuum. I couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. I had to actually look in the instruction manual to see how to do it (but I don’t feel too stupid, Ryan couldn’t figure it out without reading, either). So, off it went. Oh, the smoothness, oh the quietness! Really, it’s quieter than the old one. It picked up all the bird seeds and spilled popcorn and crumbs in my kitchen, and I think we’re going to be quite happy with it.

As it was making it’s way around the kitchen, Jenna said, “Maybe this new roomba will make the other roomba feel better, and then it will start working again, too.”
“That would be nice” I said. I know that Ryan’s been itching to take apart the old one and see if he can fix it, and now he can do that without feeling like he destroyed something that was still actually “working”, even if it was only working a little bit.
“I think this Roomba is a girl,” Jenna continued, “because it’s so pretty. And the other one is a boy, because it’s so handsome. And maybe they’ll get together and have little baby Roombas, and then we could each have one in our rooms.”
I like how you think, kid! Let’s get those two together and see what happens.

Speaking of lazy (it’s in the title of this post, you know), I’m training for a 5K again. How sad is it that I actually have to train for a 5K. Any normal person in decent shape should just be able to get up on any given day and walk or jog for 3 miles, right? Well, I’m not a normal person in decent shape, and I have to work up to that. My friend DaNae has started a little running group, and she’s even got a blog. I’ve guest posted, myself (like I have anything to say in a running forum! What a joke!). You can check it out at here. Anyway, I’ve been trying to follow an interval training schedule, where you walk for 90 seconds and then jog for a minute–lather, rinse, repeat. I’m doing two miles, but I don’t run 1/2 of it by any means–yet.

I’d like to someday be someone who ‘jogs’. Wouldn’t that be cool? To just go out for a ‘jog’? Or to even be able to say “I think I’ll go for a jog” without having everyone in the room laughing in hysterics at the mere suggestion that Paige would actually jog. If only I had Bob or Jillian here to kick my butt in gear. But anyway, we’re going to do a 5K in May, and then maybe another one in the summer if that one doesn’t kill me. I did survive that one in the fall, so maybe I won’t actually die from the experience–I hope.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go and hit the treadmill. Get my jogging in, you know. Because, like Bob, “I jog!” (10 blogger points if you get that reference)

There’s always time for soccer

Soccer season has started, or didn’t you notice? When the wind is blowing and there’s snow on the ground, but the tulips try to poke out of the ground (so the deer can eat them), that’s when it’s time for spring soccer to start.

But didn’t you just barely finish winter indoor soccer? you might ask.

Yes, we did. In March. And now it’s April and we’re into soccer full swing. Megan now has two practices and about two games every week. Which means that we she straps on the shin guards on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. She’s never happier. I went to a game last night in Lehi, and didn’t quite freeze my tail off, but it was close. I was wearing a jacket and a wool coat and scarf, with a blanket over me. I would have had gloves on if I could have found two in the car. Megan at least dressed warmly, this time, in a sweatshirt under her jersey and long pants under her shorts. I suggested leggins, but she scoffed loudly at that idea, telling me in no uncertain terms how stupid leggins are. Well, excuse me. Last Saturday, Ryan got up and went to her 8:30 am game, and even though I had told her the night before that it was indeed going to be cold and she’d better wear at the very least a long sleeved shirt under her jersey and long pants, she was out the door in her plain old uniform of shorts and a short sleeved shirt. By the end of the game, she was crying–she was so cold. Hopefully after that experience she will listen to me a little bit more when I give advice on how to stay warm.

We’re hoping that eventually spring will come, and we’re also hoping it happens before the entire season is over.

So, if you’re wondering where we are, we’re at soccer.

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