The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: August 2009 (Page 1 of 2)

I refuse to feel guilty for my lack of canning ability

My dear, sweet mother-in-law called me last week. She wanted to know if I would like some pears. Of course, we would like pears. The kids (especially Cole) just LOVE pears. She asked how many I would want, because they already had a bushel picked, and if I wanted that one, they would bring it to me (can you believe this? Free fruit, and it’s delivered?!) She told me that Ryan’s sister was planning on bottling hers, and she was taking about a bushel and a half. Me, being not so smart in the ways of canning and all those fancy terms asked how big a bushel was. She told me that a bushel was enough to do so many dozen quart jars. Silly me, now I can’t even remember what it was she told me. Feeling ambitious, I told her that I would LOVE some pears.

She then proceeded to tell me how they go about canning the pears, how they boil them, (I guess the proper term is “blanch”) then take the skins off, cut the middle out, put them in a vinegar bath, etc, etc, etc. I listened carefully thinking, “I could do that, couldn’t I?”

When they brought me the lovely box of pears, my kids were excited and immediately started eating them. Good. Less work for me. I think Cole may have eaten 3 or 4 that first day himself. Saturday would have been the ideal day for putting up those pretty little beauties. Ryan would be there to help me, and the kids could play outside. Except that we had a garage sale already scheduled for Saturday, and add to that the overall crappy feeling I was experiencing due to this stupid cold (that I’ve had for 6 days now, even though I’ve taken the cold-ease, I really have!), and there was not going to be ANY canning going on on Saturday. So, we kept eating a few a day, and we gave some away to our friends at our garage sale, while I daydreamed out how pretty those pears would all look bottled and how MONDAY was surely the day I was going to haul myself up by my bootstraps, tap in to my pioneer ancestry, and bottle those pears!

Today dawned bright and beautiful, and my daughter told me that she had thrown up in the night. All bets are off. All plans of productivity are canceled. Besides that, it’s EARLY day, which means that once John gets on the bus at 8:56, I only have until 11:50 or so to myself, and then kids start the return process. (speaking of schedules, have I mentioned our crazy morning schedule yet? Cole leaves for early morning seminary at about 6:27, and thank goodness he has a friend in the neighborhood who drives who is taking him, then Jenna and Natalie’s bus comes at about 7:35, Megan’s carpool, which I drive on Wednesdays, leaves for the junior high at 7:45, and then John has to wait until 8:45 to leave.)

I realized that my dream of beautifully bottled peaches was just a dream, and not one I was going to see fulfilled this year. So as not to waste the precious fruit, I put 12-15 pears in 5 different bags, and we are delivering them to the neighbors. I think this is what I did last year when they gave me pears, too. I do, at least, share.

So, here I am, with no beautiful pears in jars, only nice ripe pears in my fridge. And I refuse to feel guilty for my lack of canning ability. Maybe I’ll do better with the peaches.

Birthday overload

John has GRAND expectations for his upcoming birthday party. He JUST came to me and said, “Mom, at my party, can we have my friends take a picture of them standing by me wearing a storm trooper costume?”
Me–“Well, we don’t HAVE a storm trooper costume, so that will be difficult”
John–“Oh, mom, we can just MAKE one, and cut all the pieces and tape it together. Ok?”

Oh. My. Heck. This kid had these GRAND ideas for his birthday party, and he keeps coming to me and demanding more and more and MORE things. I’m afraid that whatever I do, my best won’t be good enough. Usually the kids are fine with whatever we do, but this kid has been telling me his grand plans for weeks, no Months! I just want his birthday to be over, because the pressure is getting to me! For example, back in July, John came to me and said that we needed to have a YODA pinata for his Star Wars birthday party. Not a Darth Vader pinata, because his friends already did that. So, I told him that I’m sure we could work something out, there must be a yoda pinata I could find online somewhere. Zurchers has ever kind of pinata you could want, right? I guess not. No Yoda. While I was searching, John decided he was going to make his own. Not real good about waiting, that one. He got a box, and decided to draw Yoda on the box.

See the little Yoda there?
Then he had to “cut a whole in the bottom and the top” of the box for the candy. Unfortunately, he picked one of the sturdiest boxes he could have found, and the cutting part wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be, but he was not deterred.

I put something on facebook about how he wanted to make a Yoda pinata, and my brother-in-law told me he had a friend who made pinatas, and that he would take care of that. So, hopefully we will have an actual Yoda pinata on Monday. If not, I guess we’ll be using the custom “box” one that John wants to use.

And he’s ultra demanding about the games, too. And the lightsabers. And the cake. It’s a party for a 6 year old, not a flipping Hollywood movie premier!!! Aaaagh!

Added on Tuesday–We went over to Julene’s house to pick up this Yoda pinata last night. I must say, it far exceeds my expectations. This thing is HUGE! And Cute! I don’t know how we’re going to possibly hit it with a stick to get the candy out. Maybe I can just stand nearby and throw candy at them when they “almost” hit him with a stick.

Garage sale

I’m all for dickering over the price at a garage sale, sure. But when the seller gets down to their lowest price of almost giving it away (let’s say $1.00) and then you insult them by asking them to go even lower, that’s not cool.

Or when you gather up a bunch of baby clothes that looks like about 7-8 outfits and then ask if you can take this armful for $5, it’s NOT ok to be also hiding four pairs of little baby shoes that were clearly marked $1 each INSIDE the bundle of baby clothes.

But other that that, we had a pretty decent yard sale. I sold all the “big” items I wanted to get rid of, such as the little tykes car, a couple of bikes, a double jogging stroller and a ride on pedal car. I also sold a fair amount of games, toys, and clothes, and the cinnamon rolls went over very well, too.

Of course my kids had to also BUY from the garage sale, and they ended up with a bike for Cole (he paid for his himself, so who am I to complain) and a couch for Cole (yes, seriously! He wanted this little couch up in his room! I had to haul it up the stairs with him, of course, because Ryan gets kind of whiny when we bring things home from garage sales and then ask him to do our heavy lifting), OObies slippers for Natalie, some clothes for the girls, a yoyo and a bear for John, and four gallon bags filled with legos.

But, that’s an entire truckload of stuff that is gone from the house, gone from the garage, and we made a little bit of cash from it. Is it worth it? To give up a Saturday sweating and getting sunburned, and the many hours sorting and purging? Hardly. But it has to be done. And as long as you have your garage sale with a couple of friends, it hardly seems as miserable as it is.

I’m still here, really!

There’s so much to blog about! If only my INTERNET weren’t down! My husband and resident technical support left town on Tuesday morning. Isn’t it a coincidence that as soon as he left our internet connections seemed to mysteriously vanish? In what should be an unrelated occurrence, our “smart home” seemed to have suffered memory loss, and doesn’t remember what it’s supposed to be doing. None of our remotes work, our auto lights don’t work, we can’t access our tivo or pick movies to watch. Heck, we can barely turn on the tv, for heaven’s sake. And I’ve been radioless for three days, since I don’t have any radios around the house anymore. Why would I need radios? I have speakers all over! Needless to say, it’s been a bit frustrating. I mean, no email, no blogging, no facebook! I have people I needed to get a hold of, but don’t have their phone numbers, since I’ve only communicated through email. My sister called me Thursday and left me a message like, “Are you OK? Because your email bounces, and so does Ryan’s, and you haven’t blogged or anything.”


But, anyway, just because we haven’t had technology, doesn’t mean things aren’t HAPPENING around here. We’ve had injuries, stitches, moles, horses, skits and kindergarten busses, pushy salesmen and police, birthday party plans and dodgeball. Now, I’m hoping to soon get the time to write about it.

I had such plans for the day

Today was the dedication of the new temple in South Jordan. The Oquirrh Mountain Temple.

Since we can’t all attend IN the temple, they broadcast the dedication to Stake Centers so that many more of us can watch the dedication. It’s really like being there. There were two sessions today, and we were scheduled for the afternoon session. In the morning, we watched one of John’s friends, since he isn’t old enough to attend.

We enjoyed a leisure morning, the kids played a game, we read, and then the kids showered and bathed. As I was getting John out of the tub, I wrapped him up in a towel, and then was helping him out of the room, and I whacked my foot on the door frame, tripped and fell on John. Luckily, my cat like reflexes kicked in and I rolled OVER him without smashing him like a bug, but we both lay on the floor crying in pain. He had bonked his leg, and me with the injured toes.

Now toes may not be all that important. Balancing and painting the toenails are the big things. But when you hurt one, you KNOW about it. My two littlest toes on my left foot are not happy right now. It hurts to walk, and it hurts to sit there. Basically, it hurts. So, at a little before 3, I decided I wasn’t going to go to the temple dedication. I didn’t know how I could sit through the long meeting with my foot throbbing like it was. But Ryan and the kids got ready, had a snack, and left. They dropped John off at his friends, and went to the stake center. It was right around 3.

A few minutes later, they were back. What? I didn’t read the tickets, I just thought I remembered that it started at 4:00. It started at 3:00. You had to be in your seats at 2:30, not 3:30, as we had thought. Because I didn’t look at the tickets, I misinformed my family, and made them all miss the dedication.

So, here I am, with a hurt and swollen toe, and none of us attended the temple dedication.

Some days just do not turn out like you planned them.

Back to school!

The first day of school came and went, whether we were ready for it or not.

On the Monday before school started, I let the kids camp out in the backyard. We’d tried to do it on the weekend, but it ended up being windy and rainy. The kids set up the tent by themselves, and took it down, too. They hauled out their sleeping bags, pillows, stuffed animals, and even took in two little tables to play games.

After we said prayers and told them goodnight out there in the tent, they each came into the house multiple times. But they did sleep in the tent all night, and had a grand time. The next day they promptly decided they hadn’t had enough games, and they started in with Monopoly.

On Thursday, it was the first day of school.
We got Cole off to early morning seminary by 6:45, and then the other kids enjoyed the traditional breakfast at the bus stop.

Off they went on the bus and their carpools. It’s a little bit overwhelming with kids in four different schools. I’ve got kids leaving at all different times and then John is on his own Kindergarten schedule starting this Thursday. It’s something to get used to, that’s for sure.

The next day, I decided to take John to Seven Peaks Waterpark. I got two free passes from the Music store when we rented Natalie’s saxophone, and since John was the only one home, I thought it would be a fun thing to do with just the two of us. So we packed a lunch, got our swimsuits and sunscreen, and headed off to Provo. We paid the $5 to park (what a rip-off!) but got in free with the passes ($21 each? Gasp!). I was going to go and rent a tube for us so we could go down the lazy river and do some of the other mild rides, but John saw the kiddie pool first. So, into the kiddie pool we went.

He was happy to slide down this little tiny slide.

In fact, he went down that slide over

and over and over.

I tried multiple times to get him to leave the kiddie pool so that we could explore other areas of the waterpark. Look, there’s a wave pool. It’s just like being at the beach. Look, there’s the lazy river, let’s go do that. Each time I suggested we leave and do something else, he got all fussy and said, “I don’t wanna go to another slide!” I decided it wasn’t worth the battle. Weren’t we here to do something fun, just the two of us? So I let him play in that little pool for hours, and go down that same slide over and over again. There were, in fact, three or four OTHER slides in the kiddie pool, but he would NOT even consider it.
Eventually I got my book and sat at the side of the pool reading.

I didn’t feel comfortable just leaving him to go do some slides myself, and he wasn’t having any of it. If the other kids had been there, we could have taken turns watching/playing in the kiddie pool with John and I probably could have convinced him to go on the lazy river, at least. But with just me, I was a captive audience at the kiddie pool and that one slide.

At about 2:00, I suggested to the little slider that we take a break and have some lunch. So, we went to the eating area and had our lovely lunch. Then John said, “Mom, let’s go home.” What? We have ALL DAY passes, and we don’t have to be home until 4:00, and you want to go home? And I didn’t even go on a single slide? Well, I take that back. I went on the same slide that John went on. Once or twice. I couldn’t believe he wanted to go home. Oh, whatever. Sure. We can go home. So, we packed up our stuff, got in the car and went home. I am SO glad I didn’t pay for those day passes. And next time I go to a waterpark with just one kid, it’s not going to be John. He could have had just as much fun with the slip-n-slide and the blow up pool at home. But it was a memory making experience, right?

Not ready

School starts this Thursday. Why on a Thursday? I don’t know. I don’t make the rules. While I’m now ready for the kids to go back to school, I’m not ready myself for them to be back in school. You know what I mean, don’t you? The carpools, the schedules, the soccer season, the piano lessons, the after school activities, the lunches, the permission slips, the homework checks, the lost papers, the daily checking of powerschool, the forgotten band instruments, the PTA jobs, the lunch money checks, and all that.

I am feeling particularly overwhelmed having kids in three different schools. How does one mom keep a handle on ALL that? Tomorrow night is back to school night for three schools! How? How is this possible? I’m only one person!!!

I’m sure once we get into the routine, it will somehow be manageable, but today–Right now–I’m scared.


Just a few pictures

One of my favorite pictures from our Yellowstone trip.

Cole couldn’t be bothered to turn around for the picture. At least he had the excuse that he was filming the eruption with the video camera.

And this dog. Doesn’t he look like Bolt?

Here’s one of the whole crew together.

How about a joke?

There were these two cows, chatting over the fence between their fields. The first cow said, “I tell you, this mad-cow-disease is really pretty scary. They say it is spreading fast; I heard it hit some cows down on the Johnson Farm.” The other cow replies, “I ain’t worried, it don’t affect us ducks.”

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