The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: August 2008 (Page 2 of 2)

Back in the USA

Ryan’s back from China

and we are happy to have him back! He got in last night after a grueling 24 hours of traveling. He said this trip was like a double episode of the Amazing Race, since he went to Seattle, Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, and China, then back through Hong Kong, Korea, Seattle and home). I’m sure he’s exhausted. In fact, he’s still in bed and it’s 9:30 in the morning. I’ll just let him sleep.

I’d love for him to do a guest post and tell us all about his experiences, but we might have to wait on that. Even though he was in meetings, meetings, meetings, (and gave up his free Saturday to do some quality control and testing timing) and didn’t have time to go and see anything, he still had an amazing experience.

He was pretty adventurous in his eating, and said he doesn’t want to go out for Chinese food anytime soon.

Even though he didn’t see any Olympic events, he did see the mascots

He brought us some Olympic memorabilia, too. Each of us got a keychain with the little Olympic mascots participating in a sport. Mine is shooting. Cute!

Sorry about my sad photography skills. He brought cute little silk purses for the girls, candy for everyone, a tie for Cole and a little cow light for John (it even moos!).

For me, he brought chocolate and two watches (my baby knows me well, doesn’t he?) So even though he said he didn’t have time to shop and sightsee, he scored with the kids!

In our nearly 16 years of marriage, I think this is the first time he’s traveled out of the country without me. So, I’m glad to have him back on this continent and safe at home.

Saturday Silliness

Saturday was our last parade of the summer. It was Alpine Days, and Cole was marching (of course), and I was also walking the parade with my Alpine Community Theater buddies. It was so fun to see them, since we haven’t been together since the play ended.

Although we had to wait for a LONG time at the staging area (over an hour), at least we weren’t the last entry in the parade, like Cole’s marching band. When we finally got moving, it was fun. Some people rode in the truck and trailer, but I chose to walk along behind or on the side. That way I could give out more candy. We threw t-shirts, sang and walked along and had fun. It was hot and muggy, yes, but the parade wasn’t very long, only about a mile and a half, so it wasn’t exhausting.

But with Ryan gone, and Cole and I in the parade, we had to have adult back-up to sit with the kids. Thanks to my parents for coming and watching the parade with them. They haven’t seen Cole march, yet, so hopefully they enjoyed it.

The afternoon was spent like a nice lazy Saturday. The kids played, but were also bickering. Jenna went to a birthday party. But by the time 6:00 rolled around, things had deteriorated.

Ryan called while we were in the middle of utter chaos.

John had fallen asleep on the couch, which he tends to do since the stubborn cuss won’t take a nap, and then he often doesn’t control his bladder when he’s asleep. I tried to wake him up for about 10 minutes, but he was groggy.
“John!” I said, “You need to wake up and use the potty!”

“I’m already using the potty,” he said groggily.

“NOOOOOO!” I pulled him off the couch, and sure enough, it was wet. He was wet, his clothes were wet, and the couch was wet.

That’s when the kids handed me the phone. Oh, it’s Dad calling from Hong Kong. Great!

I had to hand him off to talk to a child while I dragged my half asleep little boy into the bathroom and had him change his clothes. Then I went to work on the couch. Microfiber can only take so much, I’m thinking.

I was also irritated with Cole because I’d asked him all day to mow the lawn, and he complained and whined about how it was taking so long–it’s so long (well, that’s because no one’s mowed it all week!). I asked him to please finish, and he told me he would. Then I realized that for the past two hours he had been goofing off with his sisters and hadn’t finished mowing. And now it was raining.

It just wasn’t a calm moment in my life, and I was showing signs of stress. I’d had the kids alone for a week, and they were all cranky and getting on each others’ (and MY nerves). When I talked to him, I tried to keep it together, but it was obvious, I’m sure, that I was not being calm about things. “You probably don’t even want to come home to this mess, but I hope you do,” I told him. “I miss you.”

Let’s hope he wasn’t scared off, and he’ll really make it home tonight. I don’t mind it so much when he’s gone, but it’s getting old, and I’d like him to come back now.

Thankfully, we had someplace to go last night. We had a neighborhood pot luck scheduled at our friend’s house. I gathered up the YaHoos, got my berry cream pastry cut up and ready to take, and we got ready to go. Some of the kids wanted to walk, but I had too much stuff to take, so I took the car.

By the time we got there, the wind was really picking up, and there were a couple of people discussing what to do. We can’t have a barbeque in the rain, can we? Hoping it was just going to blow over, we set up a table in the garage. Then we walked around the yard to look at my friend’s lovely garden. By the time we were done with the garden tour, the rain was coming down, and even though we had about four families by then, we were still undecided as to what to do. “Let’s just eat inside,” my gracious friend said, “then we can watch the Olympics.” It ended up to be a great party. With just a few of my favorite neighbors and their kids, we ate and chatted and watched the Olympics. Then when the rain let up and it was clear outside, the men and the big kids went outside to play football. My friend looked out the window and said, “This is just how I like it. The boys can play outside and we can sit inside and talk.” I agree. It was nice to connect with my friends again, and have adult conversation without the kids hanging on me. Thank goodness for friends.

More on China

Since today (Friday) is the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Olympics, I thought I’d let Ryan do another guest post on his impressions of the Olympics in China (since he’s already seen them). Here’s what he says:

We’ve had a little change of plans, and instead of going from China back
to Hong Kong tonight, we took the ferry from Zhuhai to Shenzhen, where our
contract manufacturer is. We’re staying in Shenzhen tonight, and we’re
going to visit them tomorrow morning, then return to Hong Kong for
tomorrow night’s hotel.

3 different hotels (and 4 different rooms!) in 4 nights — Hong Kong,
Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong… It’s been quite a trip.

The drivers we’ve had (which have all been employees of partner companies,
except for a single taxi in Macao) all drive like NYC taxi cab drivers,
but with many more pedestrians and bicyclists and motorcyclists to
possibly hit.

So after the ferry, Kordon and I met with the employee of our contract
manufacturer who had been sent to the ferry port to pick us up and take us
to the hotel, and the ‘company car’ wouldn’t start. He checked fuses,
tried putting it in gear, pushing it, etc. for a good 20 minutes.

If I’d been on the Amazing Race, at that point, I would’ve gotten a
replacement car, since due to no fault of my own, that one was going
nowhere! Our driver then got a screwdriver, put the floor mats on the
ground, scooted under the car, and 10-15 minutes later, it started up
(while he was still under it! — I’m not sure what he did to fix it, but
cool! He fixed it!).

Our driver tonight spoke *NO* english, so it was somewhat of an awkward
ride. He drove us for about an hour to get to the hotel, which is right
by their factory.

After checking into the hotel, Kordon and I went downstairs to the
restaurant to get some food. Note for the future: Service isn’t the best
when you’re in a country that’s hosting the Olympics, 20 minutes before
the said Olympics are about to start, in a restaurant with a big TV. The
wait staff were all out watching the ceremonies, and Kordon and I didn’t
get our food until well into the ceremonies.

The Olympic Opening Ceremonies in China are:

1. Mandatory… This note was in my room here: “Dear Guest: We maybe
fail to get all the international TV signal during the date 6th
August-10th August for the TV program limit by the government. We regret
to bring inconvenience into your stay and thank you very much for your
understanding and cooperation”. You can’t get any other programs on the
TV, but there’s about 10 stations broadcasting the Olympic opening
ceremonies, none in English…

2. Awesome! I’ve been watching them, and the opening presentation
(before the countries present) is incredible! I’m taping it at home, so I
can see it on the big-screen TV, but even with the Chinese announcers,
it’s pretty dang cool.

3. Psychedelic. I’m sure if I were the drug-enhancing type, that these
opening ceremonies would be among the best to watch ‘a bit enhanced’.

4. Expensive. You can tell from the opening ceremonies that they’ve
spent a lot on the games, I read somewhere that it was in the 10’s of
*BILLIONS* of dollars, both on infrastructure (roads, etc.) as well as on
the stadium, opening ceremonies, venues, etc.

Very cool that I get to see it 14 hours before the US…

Thanks, Ryan! We’ll watch it tonight, but we appreciate your preview. We love you and miss you and hope you get to see more interesting things before you come home.

No worries–it’s all in vein.

When you think of a blood clot, what comes to mind? Stroke, paralysis, and death, right? Yeah, me too. So when I woke up on Monday with a painful lump in my leg, I’m trying not to think the worst. It was red, swollen and painful to the touch. When I looked that up, it said that’s most likely a blood clot and to go to the doctor.

Humph. I’ve had vericose veins for a long time, and I remember a similar instance of a blood clot when I was pregnant with John. I panicked, went to the doctor, who sent me to the hospital for an ultrasound of my leg. There they told me that yes, indeed I did have a blood clot in my leg, and to take an aspirin a day and try to keep off of my feet for a while. What? That was it? Isn’t it dangerous? Probably not.

So, this time, I didn’t really want to waste a lot of time and money going to the doctor, so I just dealt with the pain myself. I kept off my feet as much as I could that day, and the next day the pain was a little better. Also less swollen and not so hard. The next day, I felt ok, although, yes, it still hurts to touch it and it’s still swollen. At an activity for the young women and young men last night (did I mention that I’ve got a new calling? Oh, by the way, I’m a young women leader now. Surprise!) I asked our friend, the doctor, if this was something serious and I was going to die from a blood clot. He took one look at my ugly purple swirlies on my leg and said, “yes, it’s a blood clot, but you’re not going to die,” Comforting, isn’t it? “It’s a superficial vein, so that’s not the kind of clot that travels up and kills you.” How nice to know.

So, YES, I’ve got a blood clot. Yes, it’s a pain, and Yes, I hate my vericose veins (Thank you, Dad!). My sister also suffers from extreme vericose veins, but she’s always pregnant, so she can’t do anything about it right now. She’s told me to find out if lasering does the job, then let her know so she can do it once she’s not pregnant. I’m going to do some research on lasering those suckers really soon. But No, I’m not in any mortal danger of dieing from the blood clot, so that’s a reassurance. If you have any experience with those vein centers, please let me know, as I think I’m going to be shopping around.

This post brought to you by Ryan

My sweet hubby is in CHINA this week. China! I can hardly believe it. To prepare for his trip, we watched Mulan on Sunday. Aren’t we the multi-cultural family? Of course, whenever he’s out of town, I tend to worry. Especially when he’s gone so far away. Yesterday while the kids and I were at Classic Skating, he tried to call me. When I checked my phone it said I had three missed calls! Oh No! And no messages. When I tried to call back, it wouldn’t allow me to. I figured it had been him, calling from some far away land. When I got home, there was a message on the machine. It was Ryan, and he was calling from Korea. Thank goodness, I could relax a little bit. He did arrive safely in Hong Kong last night, and called me quickly to say he was fine. It took 24 hours of traveling to get there. This morning I had a couple of emails from him telling me about the trip.

We did pick the *perfect* time to fly into Hong Kong… There’s a ‘class
8’ typhoon over Hong Kong today (Tropical Storm Kammurri). We were still
able to land, although it was a somewhat bumpy landing.

Unfortunately, ferries are not running, and it would be a 4-5 hour bus
ride to go to where we’re going in China, so we’re staying tonight in Hong
Kong, and going early tomorrow morning to the factory in China.

There are a couple of airlines (Cathay Pacific and someone else I can’t
remember) are going to stop flying into the airport for the next few
hours. When we got to the airport, about an hour after we landed, it was
pouring rain, but it’s let up a bit now.

The typhoon is heading towards where we’re going tomorrow, but it should
be cleared up by tomorrow morning, so we should be able to get the ferry.

It’s 3:30PM here. We’ve checked into the hotel, the Gateway Hong Kong
(Marco Polo Hotels) and had some dinner at a local restaurant with Alan,
who is our contact from the contract manufacturer Control4 uses to build
many of it’s products. He met us at the airport, and took us on the train
to Kowloon (Hong Kong), and checked us into the hotel and took us out for

We also walked around the mall here that’s attached to the hotel, other
than the large # of chinese people and the chinese writing, it looks just
like a high-end mall in the States.

For some reason, some young chinese girls faces remind me of Natalie. I
think it’s because her face is rounder than Megan and Jenna’s.

Now isn’t that sweet? He also said this:

Alan (our ‘guide’) also told us that 8 is a lucky number, and the olympics
are starting on 08/08/08 at 8pm.

The number 8 is pronounced the same as a word that means you’ll be rich or

Interesting tidbit.

And then he sent me this link.

So, thanks, Ryan, for the interesting blog fact. And take care of yourself!

And speaking of stink….

This morning my son grabbed a pair of socks from the floor of the family room.

Me–Those aren’t clean.

Son–Yes, they are. I got them from my clean laundry basket yesterday.

Me (beginning to shrink in fear from those socks) Yesterday? Was that before or after you marched around in the 100 degree heat for 10 hours at band camp?


Me–And you still think those are clean? (My voice just might have gotten a little bit louder and maybe creeped into the high and squeaky range about then. Just maybe.)

Son–Um…But I don’t have time to go and get a new pair.

Me–Yes. You do. There’s always time for clean socks.

Some days just stink

This morning I awoke to a stinky house. Yuck. There was something in the kitchen or mudroom that was rank, and I couldn’t find it.

I started with the obvious–the dishtowels. I figured one of them must be midewy, and tossed them into the wash.

Maybe it’s the trash. We emptied that to no avail.

I then explored the possibilities that someone had left a wet sock or other article of clothing in with the shoes and that had started the funky smell. I found lots of abandoned socks and things, but none of them seemed to be the originator of the smell. Off to the laundry room they went, too.

Hmmm, a bag of potatoes? Those have ommitted some yucky smells in the past. Out into the garage they went.

I enlisted the kids to use their smellers and help me find the yucky smell. My nine year old daughter, who was laying on the couch, said, “I don’t smell anything!”
“Get up and help me anyway,” I grouched at her, “If I don’t get rid of this smell, my head is going to explode, and you will NOT like cleaning that up, I tell you.”

My four year old was certain that a half full squirt gun was the epicenter of the smell. I took a whiff and couldn’t really smell anything there, but threw it in the trash just to be sure.

I called my sister to discuss some vericose vein issues that are plaguing me (they also plague her) and I mentioned to her that I was trying to root out the stink, and she said, “If I were there, I’m sure I could uncover your stink in a second. I have my bionic pregnancy nose, you know.” Yes, I know. But she does not live close. And I can’t think of anyone in my neighborhood or friends of mine who were pregnant, either. Besides, that’s not really the kind of thing you call up a pregnant friend and say, “hey, I’ve got a really rank smell in my kitchen. Can you help me figure out what it is?” That’s not a really nice thing to ask of them, is it?

Eventually, after cleaning and throwing out and washing, the stench seemed to be gone. Almost. I still don’t know the cause of the smell, or if it’s going to be back tomorrow, but I don’t feel like I need to move out of my home because of the noxious smell. Not yet, at least.

Later I realized that, I could plug in a nice smelly thing! I have a husband, who, although he’s no help in rooting out the undesirable smell, if I happen to use a flowery lotion or stick in a plug in air freshener, he’ll notice that right away. And he’ll be sure to comment about how his nose is stuffing up after about 3 seconds, and he’ll bellyache and complain about it for quite some time. I’ve had to give away several lovely smelling lotions and soaps because they were ‘offensive’ to his sensitive nose. But he had left me this week. I’m a single mom while he goes galivanting around the world, so I deserve a nice smelling house, doggone-it.

I found an unused plug in from Bath and Body works, and plugged it in in the family room. Hooray! I’ll have something nice and pretty to smell after this whole day of nasal offenses. After about 1/2 an hour, it was too strong. That nice citrus/flower smell was just too overpowering. I need an on/off toggle for my air freshener. Oh, well. I unplugged it and now it’s sitting on the counter. I’ll plug it back in tomorrow. When HOPEFULLY I won’t be covering up the rank smell again, just adding a fresh nice smell to the air. Because some days just stink.

Friday Randomness

Here’s some random stuff that’s been rattling around in my brain. Perfect for a Friday, right?

**The other night while driving to the freeway, I saw a car with some vinyl lettering that said “Bite Bella”. It took me a minute to register what that meant. I laughed. There was something on the other side of the car, but I couldn’t see it. But I’m wondering what it could be. Doesn’t that next book come out today? I’ll have to borrow it from a neighbor when they are done reading.

**It’s getting harder and harder to win at our local art shows. This week is our city celebration, so there’s a local art show. Tuesday we framed everything and got our 11 entries ready to take in. Last night was the awards night. We didn’t attend the whole awards thing, but just stopped by the city building afterwards to see if we had won anything. Natalie won a 3rd place ribbon in drawing, Cole won an honorable mention in ceramics and Megan won an honorable mention in ceramics. That was it. At the American Fork art show about a week ago, John was the only one of my kids to win anything, and he won a third place in drawing. Either my kids are getting less talented as they grow up, or there are more kids entering art shows these days.

**Kids’ meals are $1.99 at Wingers right now, instead of the usual $3.99 or $4.99. When you have a lot of kids like we do, this is a bargain. Last night we actually took 6 kids, as we are watching a friend of Megan’s while her parents are out of town. Sadly, Cole does not pass for 12 or under anymore, so he got a regular meal, but to be able to feed 5 kids for 10 bucks is GREAT. Maybe we’ll do that again and I just won’t order anything! That would be even cheaper!

**Cole is in the throws of marching band practice. This week he’s been over at the school every day from 8-4. The first day I SENT him with sunscreen instead of applying it myself. When I picked him up that day he was redder than red and burned all over. “WHY DIDN’T YOU PUT SUNSCREEN ON?” I asked him. “I didn’t have time,” he whined. “And your hat? You didn’t have time to put your hat on, either?” We were NOT pleased with his behavior, but I guess he got his own punishment with the old sunburn. The next day I did the sunscreening myself, and gave him a hat with a brim instead of a baseball cap.

Yesterday I went over the school to help out at lunchtime. We set up the food (pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, grape salad, watermellon, green salad, cake and lemonaid, garorade or water. There was no shortage of food, so at least I can know that they are feeding those kids well. I was on drink detail, and ended up sticky all over. My shoes were sticky, my hands were sticky, even my face was sticky (I’m not sure how that happened, but oh well).

They had a trip to Snow college planned for next week, but because they decided to cancel that and just do the band camp next week at the school. So next week he’ll be there every day from 8 in the morning till 9 at night. Not as much fun for the kids, but much cheaper and I’ll not worry quite so much. But of course that means that the parents get to prepare food for lunches and dinners. So far I’m signed up for Monday lunch, but I’m sure I’ll throw in another shift sometime later in the week.

**Tomorrow, for our city celebration, we’ve signed up for WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. Megan and I are doing the 5K run/walk. Somehow I’ve hurt my knee, so that should be fun. I will be in the walking group for sure. Ryan and Cole are signed up to sell pizza at the Marching band booth as a fundraiser activity. Unfortunately, the shift we signed up for is right during the parade. Where will Cole be during the parade? Marching. I signed up to provide a juicy treat like fruit or popsicles at the end of the parade. There’s also a breakfast, games in the park, concerts all day long, then fireworks at night. It’s a full day of fun.

**And did I mention that Ryan is going to China next week? Really. China. Wow! Unfortunately, he’ll only actually be in China for about 4 1/2 days, and those are going to be full of meetings. 18 hours of travel each way. I don’t envy him this trip.

**Monday we had our 4th annual neighborhood bike parade. It was, if I say so myself (since I’m the one who planned it) a great success.

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