The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: October 2008 (Page 1 of 3)

Love: A timeline

My dear husband sent me this in the morning:

Love: A Timeline

So you meet someone. You date for a while, then you get engaged. You invite all your friends and family to the wedding. You rent an apartment together. Later, you buy a house. You have a kid.

Early on, your conversations are about your feelings. Over time, and out of necessity, they become more practical, though you still make time for heart-to-hearts.

Then there comes a moment — about ten years into the marriage — when you’re forced to say the following: “I’m sure I heard the cat throw up this morning, I just don’t know where.”

(from Minor Tweaks:

Yep, that’s about the truth. Thanks, honey!

I’ll update on the Halloween festivities later, Happy Halloween, y’all!

Putting the garden to bed

For the past couple of hours, I’ve been outside working on the the flower beds, getting ready to “put them to bed”. It’s an exhausting process that involves cutting back the dead foliage, pulling out the weeds and overgrown plants, chopping, cutting, pulling, repeat. With the cold weather coming back soon, I don’t know how many nice days we’ll have to get these things done, so I was trying to take advantage of the nice afternoon.

Once I get started, I actually don’t mind working in the flower beds. It’s a pleasant temperature, I can hear one daughter practicing the piano in the house, and can keep an eye on two of the kids playing outside. There’s none of the whining or fighting that’s going on in the house, either, so it’s kind of quiet. Occasionally a neighbor drives by and waves.

While I was out there breaking my back with manual labor, I discovered a few things hidden in the plants.
-3 water bottles
-one bubble container
-sidewalk chalk
-one pair of gardening gloves
-three single gardening gloves
-one capri sun package
-ants. lots of ants that weren’t too happy with me when I moved the pot they were infesting
-my sweet potato vines actually grew potatoes!
-my husband threw away the canna lilies I had painstakingly dug up, cut off all the foliage and was going to save so that I could grow them again next year. Threw them away.
-if you put up a trelis for the baby clematis, the morning glory will think it’s for them and take it over
-just because you are wearing gloves, that doesn’t mean your fingernails won’t get all gross and broken.
-just because you’re wearing long sleeves, that doesn’t mean you won’t get scratches on your arms. Or dirt.
-iris is extremely hardy, and so gosh darn hard to dig up that it’s easier to just let it take over the flower bed
-when killing the wisteria, if you don’t kill and/or dig out EVERY. SINGLE. piece of it, it will start up again and attempt to take over the entire area again and again
-it’s much more fun to plant flowers in the spring than it is to dig them up and trim them all back in the fall.

Rejoice and be Merry

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE a contest. I just love to win things, don’t you? Well, I also love to give things away, and so do a lot of other bloggers out there. Hence, the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival was born. You can click on over there to enter lots and lots of contests this week, if you’d like.

As for me, I’m in the celebratin’ mood. And it’s NOT too early to start listening to Christmas music, contrary to what my husband thinks.

I would like to offer you, lovely reader, a copy of the newly released CD Rejoice and be Merry! Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle featuring the King’s Singers.


This concert last year was absolutely fabulous, and I enjoyed being a tiny part of it. My hands down, listen to it over and over again song from this concert would have to be “O Holy Night.” You can listen to it here, if you’d like a little preview. As I listened to the King’s Singers performing this song, I thought, “this is what heaven sounds like”. Is that not the most beautiful arrangement of ‘Oh Holy Night’ you’ve ever heard? And I think it would be worth it to buy this CD JUST for that song. But no, that’s not the only song on the CD! My other favorites include “Sussex Carol”, “Rejoice and be Merry”, and “Angels from the Realms of Glory”. Why yes, those are all songs with featuring the handbell choir, how did you know?

And on a personal note, when you click on that link, see if you can find me. If you do, and tell me where you found me, I’ll give you an extra entry for this contest. What do I look like?

smiling paige

(Ok, I have to clarify here. I’m not IN the video, but I am SOMEWHERE ON THE PAGE that the video is on. Kind of like a where’s Waldo. You should be able to see me before you actually play the Oh holy night video. Does that make sense?)

And how do you enter? Just leave a comment. Tell me your favorite Christmas song. That’s all. See how easy it is to win things here. Of course, if you win, you will be required to be forever my friend and loyal reader and commenter here on the blog. But that’s not asking much at all! So go ahead, enter the contest, and enjoy entering all those fun contests this week. I’ll be drawing a winner on Saturday, November 1st. Good luck!

Boo at the Zoo

We spent the day at the zoo today. It was us and about a eleventy-million other people.

Seriously. I think it was more crowded than Disneyland on UEA weekend. But even with all those people, it was still fun.

It started out as many outings in the Erickson household start–I won some passes. Yes, FM 100 was giving out Boo at the Zoo passes and they picked my “at work check in email” and awarded me 4 passes to the zoo. Not just any day at the zoo, but “Boo at the Zoo”, when people dress up in their Halloween costumes and they even give out candy. How fun is that? Well, of course we had some scheduling conflicts. I had a rehearsal downtown from 9am to 11am, and if the family waited for me to come before we left, we wouldn’t get there until way too late. So, Ryan agreed to bring the kids to the zoo, and I would meet them there when I got done with rehearsal. But Natalie had a volleyball game (which we ended up ditching), and Megan wanted to go and meet the author of her favorite book, who was going to be at the grand opening of our little small town library today. Well, as it turns out, my friend Tess was going to the library, and we decided to swap kids so that we would take her daughter to the zoo with us, and she would take my two oldest kids (who really weren’t all that excited about going to the zoo) to the library thing, and then they would hang out and play with Tess’ daughter Meagan.

So, after my rehearsal, I was all set to zip up to the zoo and meet Ryan and the gang by 11:30. It took me a little longer to navigate the streets of SLC than I thought it would, so it was already 11:32 when I turned onto Sunnyside Ave, or whatever street the zoo is on. There were already cars lining both sides of the road. What the heck? These people can’t all be going to the zoo, can they? I thought foolishly. Traffic was horrible, and as I crept closer to my destination, things just slowed down even more. I saw a sign for “$5 zoo parking” at This is the Place Heritage Park, but I couldn’t really turn left into that parking lot at such late notice. I just kept on creeping toward the zoo. As I looked down the side streets, cars lined both sides of every street. Children in costumes were walking in droves toward the zoo. DROVES, people! What were we thinking?! If my husband had a phone, I would have been calling him and asking him if it was even worth it to try to fight the crowds and find a parking place, but alas, alak, he has no phone, and I’m sure you are tired of hearing me complain about it.

I drove past the zoo and the zoo’s pitiful, tiny parking lot. I drove past the extra parking lot they’ve got on the east of the regular parking lot and I wondered how long that line of cars went. By some strange miracle, a spot opened up on the street as someone who’d had enough of the boo at the zoo was leaving. I signaled, zipped over, and took that spot in a flash, allowing them to exit the madness and me to enter! I walked as quickly as I could through the parking lots, avoiding the little ones in costume, and got to the designated meeting spot only 15 minutes late.

In looking around, I saw lots and lots of other people, but not Ryan and the kids. After a few minutes, they came. They had gotten tired of waiting for me and had opted for a train ride.

Ryan said that it wasn’t worth it, though, since the conductor drove the train really, really fast! There’s the goats, there’s the eagle, there’s the…oh never mind. Not much to see when the trains going that fast, but he was trying to keep up with the lines, I guess.

Our first stop together? Feeding the ducks!

Next we spent some quality time at the playground, where there were superheros sliding,

twins in turtle shells,

and we even met Captain America!

He said it was his day off, and he was always happy to take pictures with a cool power ranger!

As for the trick-or-treat part of this zoo party, we decided that most of the lines weren’t really worth standing in. I mean, really. Stand in a line of 30-40 people for one sucker? I don’t think that’s really necessary, do you? Ryan stood in a small line to get his kettle corn, and we had tons of snacks, besides, so we were ok without the candy. Besides, the kids weren’t really good on the whole “save your candy” idea, and were just eating it almost as fast as they were collecting it. Of course, when we see the Chic-fil-a people handing out chicken nugget coupons, we’re up for that!

Here are the girls with the large elephant.


Can you tell what Jenna’s costume is?

Even though it was INSANELY crowded (did I mention that it was crowded?), it was still a beautiful day. We probably won’t get another 70 degree Saturday this year, and it was just perfect weather.

Yes, it was crowded, but the animals were active and playful. The cougar, who in the summer is just sitting listless in the shade, was pacing around showing off his cougarlike prowess. The bears were playing together! I’ve been going to this zoo for the past 35 years, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen bears being this active before!

And it really was fun to see everyone in costume. There were dragons, witches, the whole cast of the wizard of oz, and even this trio of penguins that we saw by the–can you guess? by the penguins.

KSL was there covering the event, as well. I haven’t seen the full news report, but here’s their blurb about it, complete with pictures.

Eventually even the strongest of superheros gets tired, and we trudged out of the zoo.

Since I had somehow parked closer than Ryan had (much, much closer), we all walked to where I had parked, then drove down the road to where Ryan had parked. No wonder they were tired, they really had done a LOT of walking!

After lunch at the world’s slowest Wendy’s, we went our separate ways. Ryan took the van by himself, so he could listen to the BYU game on the way home. I got to listen to High School Musical 2 (the movie, not the soundtrack) as I made my way home with the four tired kids. I dropped off Clair and traded her for Cole and Megan, who had also had a fun and exciting day. Cole was thrilled that he had gotten Brandon Mull’s email, and he’ll probably be an email stalker soon.

So there you have it. Our Boo at the Zoo day. Exhausting, but fun.


How is it that my printer KNOWS when I’m in a hurry, and just need to print out this ONE paper so I can run off and do my errands? Why? Why? Why does it then pick that moment to jam, leaving me to have to take the back out and rip out that paper and then HOPE I can get the back on right so that it will print? It’s like Santa Clause, only in a mean and nasty way. It knows when I need printing. It sees when I’m in a rush. It knows that it can drive me to the point of tearing my hair out and then I’ll bet it’s over there on the desk laughing. (It’s not facing the monitor so I’m pretty sure it can’t see what I’m writing about it right now, but just in case, don’t read this out loud, ok?)

What? Use the other printer? The new printer I bought because I can’t stand the 10 year old printer on my desk? Well, I would use the new printer, if it weren’t out of black ink already. Again. And when I DO remember the model number to look for ink when I happen to be at office depot (which is pretty close to never), they seem to always be out of that ink. (Ok, twice. But still–twice!) And since I had just bought a large two pack of black ink from Costco for the old printer, I’m not giving it up until I USE ALL THAT INK. You know what I’m sayin? Grumble grumble, snap, snap, snap.

Well, I feel better now. I think I just needed to get that off my chest.


You know that feeling when you have to sneeze, but you also have to go to the bathroom, and it’s a race to see if you can do one before the other, or else they will both be happening at the same time?

Oh. You don’t.

Well. This is awkward. Never mind. Forget I said anything.

But that’s where I am today. I just took a Dayquil and I’m hoping to snuggle back into bed as soon as the kids are gone and have just a little tiny nap.

What’s for dinner?

It’s nearing dinner time, and I’ve got all these leftovers in the fridge, but I don’t want to HEAR the WHINING if I slap leftovers on the table one more time. I could…

a-tape their mouths shut so there will be no complaining. But then there would be no eating of the leftovers, either, so that’s probably not a good option.

b-just listen to the whining and picky eaters’ rambling ons, but that might just drive me over the edge of insanity, and I’m already teetering on the edge, so that doesn’t sound like a good idea, either.

c-use the leftovers to come up with a completely different dinner. Well, that would be great if I had any creativity. Hey, wait! I do have creativity! I’ll choose C!

Thus the sloppy joe pizza was born.

–I made pizza dough and spread it in the pan.
–Instead of sauce, I spread the leftover sloppy joe meat on the crust. It’s kind of saucy, itself, so I thought that would cover well. I needed to add one small can of tomato sauce and spread it over the sauce, because it looked too dry alone.
–A generous sprinkling of mozzarella cheese goes on the top.

That’s it. Sloppy joe pizza was born.

The kids really liked it. Of course that may have been that we ate on lunch trays and ate outside (probably our last dinner outside of the season) and pretended we were at school. But whatever it was, I think the dinner was a success.

Our weekend in pictures

This weekend we took a little vacation.

After checking into our hotel, we had a little fun at the pool.

After our swim, we went out for dinner.

In the morning, we had a fabulous breakfast and it was off to the amusement park. You know how when you go to Disneyland you have to get there an hour before the gates open so you can park and get your tickets and all that? Well, at Lagoon, you don’t have to get there so early. The park was scheduled to open at 11:00, and we drove into the parking lot at about 10:25. There were about 6 other cars in the parking lot. No joke. I should have taken a better picture of our parking spot, since we were the FIRST car in the row after the handicapped spots. We bought our tickets (thankfully, we only had to buy two, since I had won one season pass and four regular one day passes) and waited in line for them to open the gates.

The it was off to ride the rides! I stayed with the little kids in the kiddie section, while Ryan took the bigger kids on the icky rides (you know, like the roller coaster, wicked, and other things that make people sick). I really do enjoy hanging out in the kiddie section, anyway. The rides are so colorful, and it’s so much fun to watch the kids–both my kids and other people’s kids.

Of course, mine are the cutest.

We even had time to “try on” some Halloween costumes. Some of us are more enthusiastic than others, you know?

While the big kids endlessly rode the Rattlesnake rapids (I rode it once, but decided I was wet and squishy enough from that one ride), We let Jenna and John try their hand at the shooting water game.
It only took two games (at $6 each for the three of us) for the two of them to win stuffed animals.

We enjoyed how the park was all decked out for Halloween.

John and I rode the train.

While Ryan took the bigger kids on more icky rides.

We enjoyed the dancing of the Hackenslash chainsaw gang,

and the musical musings of Elvira and her crowd.

Soon it was dark, and we were getting tired.

We decided to call it a night, and head home.
The kids said it was “the best day ever”, and the greatest vacation they’ve had all year. The only vacation they’ve had this year, but who’s keeping track?

On Saturday, we went and saw Wal-E, and today, Monday, they STILL have off of school, and I’ve let them play and play and play. Right now there’s about 8 little boys and two extra girls over here watching Cole play Wii. Now that’s the sign of a good day off.


My 12 year old daughter has an assignment in her 7th grade science class to make an insect collection. To help her out, for the last two weeks we have all bee in the bug catching mode. While gardening this week, I kept a lookout for any bugs that she could add to the collection, and would call her to help me harvest them. In one day, I think we found and caught about 15. Of course, this means that my freezer is full of little plastic cups with bugs in them. Really, it’s time to take those bugs TO SCHOOL! Since it’s fall and a lot of the bugs are dieing, we’ve found some of these bugs already dead, which is nice, especially for mean and nasty bugs, like bees and hornets.

This bug thing has infested my dreams, even. Last night I dreamed that there was a spider on the wall. Not just any spider, but a GIGANTIC spider! It was the size of a frying pan! But it wasn’t one of those hairy, halloween type spiders, but a huge daddy long legs type spider. Instead of my usual reaction, which would be to grab a shoe or vacuum (I’m hoping they actually die when I suck up the bugs with the vacuum. I’d hate to think they are all just in the vacuum canister having a big buggy party–ick), I got the largest bottle I could find, and somehow trapped the spider in the bottle. It freaked me out so badly that I was shaking! But I caught that huge spider and even somehow got a lid on it.

I’m so glad I’m such a supportive mom in my dreams. But really, honey, take those things to school. They’re freakin me out.

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