The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: September 2008 (Page 2 of 2)

Our mini vay-cay!

This weekend Ryan and I ran away from home. Just for the weekend, mind you, and we had everything all planned out for the little people who remained home. Many, many thanks to Ryan’s parents who watched the kids for the weekend. They drove Cole to his band practices, let the kids play with legos for hours and hours, and even made their number one requested dinner–pinwheels. We realize how lucky we are to have parents who are willing and able to watch our kids, and we try not to take advantage of them too often. But take advantage we did, for a little away from the kids time, a little couple time, and some togetherness time.

We left Friday around noon and drove down to sunny St. George. Even the driving wasn’t bad, as there was no fighting in the back seat, no EMERGENCY potty breaks, and no passing back snacks every hour. We could even listen to whatever CD we wanted (although we didn’t really plan ahead in the CD department and had to just make do with whatever was in the car at the time). But mostly we talked. Really. We TALKED. Things have been so hectic lately and he’s been out of town for two out of the last five weeks, and our conversations have been less of the conversation variety, and more of the list making variety. Or we just trade parenting jobs and talk about who’s driving whom to what. So it was nice to converse.

When we go to our hotel in St. George, we checked in and then looked at each other and said, “So, what should we do now?” I had remembered some ice cream store/fudge shop that I had seen was somewhere around the tabernacle the last time we did the church history sites in St. George. That was about 3 years ago, and either that ice cream/fudge shop is gone, or there never was one and I’m remembering it wrong. We did, however, in our driving around looking for fudge see someone dressed up as Horton the elephant.
horton I don’t know who they get to dress up in an elephant suit in 90 degree weather, but he was nice enough to wave at me as I took his picture, so “Go, Horton!”

We ended up going to dinner at Bajio (our favorite place, really), and then went to the very expensive “dollar theater”, which in reality was a $2 theater, to see Get Smart. And they must have a little thing for Horton, too, because there was a very large paper mache Elephant there in the lobby. It was laugh out loud funny! Steve Carell does the usual great job, and I liked Anne Hathaway more in this movie than in the last 3 or 4 movies I’ve seen her in. Yes, it was slap stick humor, and yes, the plot was sometimes predictable, but it was REALLY Freakin Funny. And Ryan is the perfect guy to see a laugh out loud movie with, because he really does laugh OUT LOUD. We loved it!

After the movie we went for a dip in the pool, and did some soaking in the hot tub to try to work out the soreness from our sore muscles from our jumping the night before. Now before you get the wrong idea, we went with our kids to Jump on it a non company party party. Our friends Tess and David threw a party for David’s employees, and I guess they consider us valuable employees, too, because they invited us. Jump on it is a huge trampoline fest, with trampolines connected, so that you can jump from one to the next, and even bounce off the walls. Although I originally intended to just let the kids jump their little hearts out while I chatted with my friend, but after our snowcones, I felt the need to jump along with the kids.
Ryan did some heavy duty jumping, too, so our muscles were all pretty sore. Who knew you used your back, shoulders, abs and neck to jump on a trampoline? So the late night soak in the hot-tub felt quite nice.

The next morning I went garage sale shopping. Really. On vacation. The night before I asked Ryan, “Do you care if I go garage saleing?”
“Do you care if I don’t?” was his reply.
Aren’t we great together? So, he slept in, and I enjoyed the red rocks of St. George while looking for that perfect bargain. I did find lots of pants with no holes in them for my little boy, a bookshelf, some clothes and a few other thing. And I enjoyed myself. Ryan enjoyed himself sleeping in and the having the wonderful breakfast of Belgian waffles and eggs and bacon.

We had no plans for the weekend except for our reservations at Tuacahn, so we had the day free. Since there’s no shortage of car dealers in St. George, we decided to do some test driving. Oh, what fun! We are actually in the market for a smaller car, since we’d like to ditch the 1998 Dodge Caravan and have a smaller, more fuel economic car to do the around town driving. We’d still have the Suburban for the times when we need to take the whole family. We told Frank, the salesman, that we wanted a small car with four doors and good gas mileage. It should be able to fit 3 kids in the back seat. Not really the most stringent of requirements if you ask me. Oh, and it can’t be too much money. I guess that’s the big one. So, we looked at Camrys, Hondas, Mazdas and even a Chevy something. Ryan has opinions on everything. This one’s too old looking, this one doesn’t have enough room in the back seat, this one has a spoiler, this one is too “race car” looking, this one is too red. You get the picture. I, on the other hand, love them all. It doesn’t really take much to impress me. Oh, look, it’s clean and there’s no crap on the floor! I love it! Oh, wow, it only has 30,000 miles! I love it! Oh, this one is so much fun to drive! I love it. I didn’t really say that about every single car, but I guess I have much lower standards than Ryan does. I did end up falling in love with a zippy little Mazda 6. It takes me back to the time when I owned a little Mazda GLC in college and when we first got married. It was such a great little car and I have wonderful memories of the fun we had with that car. I’m not saying I have to have a Mazda this time around, (because like I said, I have pretty low standards, and as long as it’s not a pinto and doesn’t have 90K on it, I’ll probably be fine with it) but it sure would be fun to have a car like that. We had a good time testing them out, and since we obviously weren’t buying a car in St. George only to have to drive two cars back home, Frank wasn’t giving us the “What do I have to do to get you into this car today” crap, and we enjoyed pretending like we were new car buyers.

After we finished with that dealership, I think we were going to go and look at different kinds of cars, but Ryan realized he was hungry, and he immediately got grumpy and couldn’t make a decision. We ended up at Sonic. After lunch we did some swimming, reading, laying out in the sun and watching chick flicks on tv. Ryan got sucked into “What women want” on tv (how could he not have seen that one?).

We got cleaned up, went to dinner at Cracker Barrel and then headed out to Tuacahn for the main event– Les Miserables

We got out there by about 7:15, and were just kind of killing time, when someone came up to us and said, “I just knew I would know someone here!” I thought it was just someone Ryan knew, and didn’t really look that closely at his face, until I realized it was a friend that I knew in high school, who had known Ryan from his mission. He had married a girl I knew from my freshman year at BYU.
So, here we have Jim and Michelle. (Bonus points if you know their last name. Anyone?) They also ran away for the weekend and were having a wonderful time with no kids. But they have, get this, a freshman at BYU and a one year old. And four more kids in between, too. But that’s quite a spread, wouldn’t you say? We had so much fun talking to them, and just thought it was so amazing that both Ryan and I knew him, and that I also knew his wife. And how did they recognize us? There’s about 2,000 seats in that theater, and it was almost full. How cool is that? Finally we said goodbye to go and find our seats, and settled in to enjoy the show.

Here we are just before the show started. Yes, I know I have “crazy eyes”. I guess that’s how I look, right?

And enjoy the show we did. It was amazing. The music is incredible, the story is so sad and tragic, and can you believe I’ve never seen it before? I mean I knew it wasn’t a happy light fluffy musical like Seussical, but I didn’t think I’d be crying. And must they all die? Oh, that’s terrible! But amazing. It was a wonderful production there in the red rock setting, with the soldiers coming down from the mountains, and there were horses and fireworks and everything. I give it a rave review. I especially loved Marius, Eponine and Gavroche. Jean Valjean was amazing, as well.

When the show was over, I asked Ryan, “What did you think?” He thought about it for a minute, and said, “It was too long, there was too much singing, and it was too depressing. I think I liked Get Smart more than this.” Yes, I am married to an uncultured swine, but I love him anyway. Whatever. I’ll try to remember that the next time I drag him 300 miles to see a show. Less singing, more happy. Got it. Actually, I don’t really care if he liked it or not, I’m just glad he came with me. Because I liked it.

We went down to Tuacahn a few years ago to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Ryan actually got sick that day. When he said he didn’t think he could make it to the show, I tried to act sympathetic, but ended up saying, “Well, do you mind if I go anyway?” and I did just that. I went by myself. I mean, how much could I do for him in that hotel room if he weren’t feeling good? Better to just get out of the way.

Sunday we didn’t get to sleep in, because we wanted to go to church at the Pine Valley Chapel, which was about 45 minutes away. So we got up, had breakfast, and checked out all before 9 am.
As we were waiting for sacrament meeting to start, we were looking around the tiny chapel and playing “who does this person look like that we both know”. We picked out people from our current ward, from past wards, and it was a fun little game to pass the time. When he said something about the guy with a viola case, I said, “That’s Karl Allred.”
Ryan was shocked. “That IS Karl Allred! What would he be doing here?”
“Um, I don’t know. It just says on the program that a Karl Allred is going to be playing a cello solo. That doesn’t really look like a cello, does it?”
“Karl Allred was my junior high and middle school orchestra teacher! And he played in the bluegrass band with my mom!” Wow. It really is a small world, after all.
After the meeting Ryan went up and talked with him, and I don’t know if he remembered him, but it was nice of him to say hi.

We drove back through Enterprise, stopped at the Mountain meadows memorial, ate lunch in Cedar City, and then picked up the kids in Spanish Fork. Mom and Dad Erickson even fed us dinner. The kids were excited to see us, and they reported that they had had a GREAT time, but they were actually beginning to miss us. Perfect!

If you asked Ryan what his favorite part of the trip was, he’d probably say the “together time”, and the car shopping. I would say the relaxed no schedule and Les Mis. But we’d both tell you it was a great little Vacation, and we would love to do it again!

oops, I forgot to give this post a title

Lisa asked a good question. She said, “Fun! Now, how come you didn’t get to go with him??” referring to Ryan’s trip to Denver last week.

Well, let’s think about that….I did think about going with him, but with the scheduling nightmare that our lives are right now, it would never have worked. I don’t have self sufficient kids who would watch the other kids, nor do I have parents who live around the corner and LOVe to watch my kids. I really don’t know how Lisa manages to get away so often, except that she’s got a good system there, and lots of help in place. She hardly acts like the mother of two three year olds I would be. She’s out there running marathons, for heaven’s sake! (And I am so proud of her! Who decides to run a marathon when they are 40? Not me, that’s for sure!) I could barely manage the week’s events by myself, what with the 3 soccer games, three soccer practices, three nights of marching band and four piano lessons. Add to that a birthday party, pre-school starting up, and Young Women. I DO have a 14 year old and a 12 year old, but for some reason, they forget about all that being responsible and helpful crap when I leave them in charge. I came home from bells rehearsal last Wed night, and the MILK WAS STILL ON THE COUNTER and the pan of macaroni and cheese (yes, I do fix nutritious meals for them–all the time! just not that night) was still on the stove. I guess they think it’s ok to watch tv and play wii all night as long as they get the kids in bed. I think I actually need to TRADE kids with my neighbor, as they would all be more responsible and helpful at someone else’s house–but that’s another subject right there.

We are, however, sneaking down to St. George this weekend to see Les Mis. I’ve always wanted to see that show and have not had the chance until now.

Ryan’s parents are coming on Friday, and then after the kids’ activities on Saturday, they will take them all down to their house in Spanish Fork and stay there until Sunday (so they can do their own jobs in their ward on Sunday). And even that is a big shedule thing. I have to arrange carpools, make lists, and pack for them all, plus clean my house so that it doesn’t look like I’m a huge slob when my in laws come to my house. And they brought me a bunch of beans on Tuesday that I’m supposed to bottle. Do I know how to bottle beans? Um, not really. My MIL assures me that it’s very simple, but I think to her, everything is very simple.

Speaking of domestic activities, yesterday I picked all the remaining peaches off our tiny trees, and picked up the salvagable ones from the ground, although I left plenty for the bees and hornets and birds who were obviously happy eating them. Since I don’t know how to bottle peaches either (yes, I know I’ve done it once before, but for some reason those ones went bad because I guess they didn’t get sealed properly), I cut them up and laid them out on trays to freeze. Then I put them into gallon bags and we can have peaches for smoothies in the winter. Hooray. But I’ve still got a lot more peaches to cut up, even though I was covered in peach juice from my efforts yesterday. And, this week I even made bread! And zuccini cake. Two of them. So, really, I have actually been quite domestic this week. I should give myself a little credit.

Speaking of questions from friends, I got a call from Melinda yesterday. She sometimes calls with lyrical challenges for me, and this one was a doozy. “Paige,” she said, “I need to know the words to that Ode to Joy song we sang in American Problems.”
Immediately I’m taken back to senior year in high school, wearing the arm bands, and saluting my chairman.

Thou sparks from flame immortal
Chairman brought of noble birth
Born with fire a mighty
(salute here) leader
guide thy peoples of the earth

Let they magic bring together
all whom earth born laws divide

With courage, strength and unity
arise now and forever reign.


Oh, that was such a fun class. Really. You had to be there.

If you think I have a lot of unnecessary lyrics and other such nonsense filling up my brain, you would be absolutely right. Just don’t ask me where I put my keys.

(and here’s an update for you. While I slept off a headache, Ryan snapped and canned all those beans!!! What a guy!)

I’ve never been anybody’s tatoo before

My husband spent a fun filled week in Denver last week, and returned to us Sunday night. Actually, it was work, and he worked very hard at a trade show, and even taught a 3 hour class. (sing it with me…. A Three hour Class)

Their company puts on a shin-dig for their partners and special guests, and this year’s theme was “Party like a rock star”. When people pulled up to this private club, they had press and paparazzi and groupies yelling and cheering for them, just like they were stars on the red carpet. I wonder how much they paid to hire “groupies”. I so would have done that job. Anyway, inside there was an open bar, which isn’t all that exciting to us Mormon folks, but he said it was a good party. They also had tattoo artists there, who were doing temporary tattoos for all the guests. Fun, huh? No needles, no pain, and it’s not permanent.

When Ryan came home, he had to show me his “tats” (is that the right street language there? I’m such a square!), and I was impressed.


I mean, there’s my name right there on my hubby’s arm! Wow! That’s true love for you! It’s going to be there forever and ever and EVER! Well, until he washes it off, that is. And that’s not all. He even had one done on the other arm!

There you have it, folks. My husband loves me AND my alter ego. How cool is that?!

I swear I did nothing to encourage this

My kids have all learned how to use Rhapsody. It’s a music subscription thing where you can basically hear anything you want to listen to. You can search by genre or by artist or even by song (if you know what you are doing). Today they decided it was Osmond day, and when I walked into the kitchen I heard “One bad apple”, “Down by the lazy river”, and this song:

I really have done nothing to encourage this, except take them all to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert with the Osmonds as the special guests. Well, and they do know of my deep and abiding love for Donny.

At least they weren’t doing the dance moves, but I wouldn’t put that past them.

The age old question

It’s Saturday morning. Hubby’s out of town so it’s just me. The house is a mess and the kids really should be doing jobs or cleaning their rooms and mowing the lawn. But miraculously, all the kids are happily playing legos–together. There’s not a whine or a complain in earshot. So—should I call them all together and assign out the jobs and have them get to work so they can play with friends this afternoon, or do I just leave them alone and let them play and then I can sew?

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

Call me the party planner extraordinaire. Call me crazy. Actually, just don’t call me.

Tuesday was John’s 5th birthday! Happy Birthday to my baby! He was so excited about his party, we’ve been planning and talking about it for the past week. We were planning a “water party” in the back yard, but then with the weather turning cold, we worried about if we could actually do that. Then we went to the party store on Monday to pick out a pinata, but they were closed.

So, on Tuesday, we had to clean up the house, go to the party store, buy a pinata, hats, treat bags and candy for the pinata. Thankfully, it was warm enough to play outside and even get wet, although a couple of the kids shivered wrapped up in towels after getting soaking wet jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler on. We also launched our favorite water bottle rockets and had out little splash pool set up. Each of the boys also got their own squirt gun that they had fun filling and then shooting each other. It was pretty unstructured, with me just acting as the timer for how long they could jump on the tramp when others were waiting.

Of course, the birthday boy ended up in tears no less than three times.
1- He and his friend bonked heads
2- He didn’t think he should have to take turns on the tramp, with it being his birthday and all
3- He somehow got his hand injured

But I got him calmed down each time and we continued on with having fun. We had some snacks, opened presents, and then I let them come inside and play with the new birthday presents. Because it’s not really a good birthday party unless one of the brand new toys gets broken, right? They played with legos and the crash-em-up cars that we had given John, and he wanted to me to build the new lego car. So, he “helped” and I built his cool new little lego car. Hopefully no one will take that apart, because I don’t know how long we’ll have those instructions. After a little while of playing, we took the party back outside to whack the pinata! I hung it from the swingset, and it was a success. Sometimes the pinata actually breaks off it’s hanger thing and then we have to whack it while it’s on the ground, and really, how much fun is that? But this one hung on through all the whacking and eventually properly distributed the candy on the ground. And the boys were happy. Because nothing says “party” like candy!

After the candy mayhem we came back inside for our low key cupcakes. Sing the song, blow out the candles, and eat the cupcakes. Easiest party ever.

After that was over, I had only a few hours to get ready for our young women and young men combined activity, which as Mia Maids advisors, we were in charge of. It was a hugely hectic afternoon, with piano lessons, band, and a soccer game. There was no way I could be at every event, so it’s good I have some back up carpoolers! Cole had a nasty cold and decided to skip marching band practice, which also helped me.

At 6:30, I was over at the neighbor’s house getting set up for our “Fear Factor activity like the one found here. We did the bubble trouble, yummy gummy, slimy swap, and in your face. Also fun were the chill out, and one we called fling thing. The youth seemed to be having a fun time, although I was kind of stressed. I had to yell all the instructions, and should have thought to borrow the megaphone from one of my ultra prepared friends. Maybe next time. Natalie, who isn’t old enough to come, but came anyway, LOVED it, and wants to do fear factor for her next birthday party. Megan said it was an “awesome activity, mom,” and my friend Serena, who was in charge with me, thought it went GREAT. I guess I just couldn’t be objective, so I’m glad that they all thought we looked like we were organized and knew what we were doing. We didn’t think about a few things, and if we were to do it over again, we would put a great big garbage can in the middle for trash. People were throwing their egg shells and wrappers on the ground, and then our sweet Laurels advisor seemed to be the one picking everything up. Sorry about that.

After all our fear factor activities, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. We held the activity at our neighbor’s house, specifically because they had a cool firepit to use (and he’s the Teacher’s quorum advisor). So, it was so cool to just be able to roast our marshmallows right there, and make our yummy treats. Unfortunately, one of the kids put a hot roaster stick right on the jacuzzi cover, melting it in two parallel lines. Oh, no! Now we have guilt! I just hate to use someone’s yard for an activity and then leave things damaged or ruined.

After the day and night of activities, I was wiped out, but satisfied. Things had gone well. People had had a good time. And I was done. So, yeah, you could call me the Party planner extraordinaire. You could call me crazy. But, really, I’d rather you just not call me at all. Let a poor girl rest, for heaven’s sake! (No, really, feel free to call me. I really do value your friendship and would LOVE to hear from you. Just don’t ask me to plan something for you.)

Where’ve you been, girl?

I haven’t been posting much this weekend because I
a- haven’t had anything clever to say, and
b- I might get paint on my keyboard.

Yes, we are in the midst of a large painting project here, and it’s lasted over a week, and I’m getting sick of it.

It started with a simple gallon of pretty green paint. A friend actually gave me this gallon of paint, when it was left over from her painting project. It’s been sitting in my laundry room for quite a while. I decided to use it to paint the girls’ room. I did a lot of taping, and initially had quite a bit of help with the painting.

I left these areas blank, and then I’m going to paint in “frames” to house their ever changing artwork.

The problem with the room, however, is that it looks like this.

I had to kick Natalie and Jenna out of their room, and I just piled all their stuff on their bed, which I moved to the center of the room. So anywhere you go to paint, there’s stuff all stuck in the middle of the room. They weren’t too excited to move out of their room, and NEITHER was Megan, their host. So, now I’ve got all three girls sharing one queen bed, which really is big enough, but they tend to have a problem going to sleep.

But it was cute when I walked in there and found them all three reading.

It was like a sleepover reading party!

So, today, after another trip to Home Depot, I’m working on the big pink flowers. I’ve got the base color in and now I’m too tired to do the secondary color. It will have to wait. Because I need a shower. I also need to figure out what we’ll do for John’s birthday party, which is tomorrow. I planned an outdoor splash and play in the water party, but with the forecast calling for a 67 degree high, I think we’ll have to rethink that one.

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