The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: November 2009 (Page 1 of 2)

Vacation Reviews

The joys of vacation! I’m sitting here in our hotel room with the BYU game on the tv, one child “driving” his cars around the room, and two kids playing spinner at the table.

I wanted to record some of the highlights of our vacation before I get back into real life, and forget. We spent a week in San Diego. We went to Lego Land for two days and Sea World for two days, and spent one day at the beach. The rest of the time has been mostly travel.

Hotels–First off, let me just mention how highly I recommend the La Jolla Shores Hotel It was beautiful! When we finally got there, (after a VERY LONG drive from Las Vegas through hours and hours of horrible traffic), we were tired and grumpy, and hoped we were in the right place. They took care of us, got my parents in their room, and us in our room quickly. When we came back a few minutes later to request two queens instead of a king (darn), they were nice and accommodating. It was a gorgeous hotel, right on the beach. They set up chairs and umbrellas for us on the beach when they asked us. They had a beautiful pool, and even ping pong. I felt like one of the beautiful people while we were staying there. Our room was free, from the package I won, but I wish I could stay there EVERY vacation. Usually we try to stay in the crummy hotels first, and end in the nice hotel last, but this time it didn’t work out that way. We walked to dinner one night, and enjoyed Jeff’s Burgers and frozen yogurt.

The other hotels were….fine.

Legoland was fun. We haven’t ever been there before, and while it is geared for the younger kids, even our teenagers had a good time. The first day we went it was just us and Grandma and Grandpa

Picture 145

Since the park closes at 5 (winter hours), we didn’t get to do everything, but highlights were the pirate land where we could ride in the boats and squirt each other. The kids also really liked the little boats where they can drive themselves around the pond.
My boat, however, was not going anywhere. I was with Jenna in our little yellow boat, and everyone was passing us, or bonking into us. She was telling me, “push on the GAS, mom!!!” like I don’t know how to drive a little boat. I had to call over a Legoland worker, who told me to push on the gas pedal. There is NO power to the boat, I tried to tell her. One of the girls there got to put on waders, get into the pond, and PUSH us the whole way around the pond. Then they let us go again in a different boat, one that worked.
Picture 164

The mini land is amazing, with all those lego buildings. And the HUGE animals out of legos just got me thinking, “If I were to build one of those, I wonder how much it would COST me,” I guess I just think like a mom.

We returned for our second day on Thursday, Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law, when she heard us talking about going to San Diego over Thanksgiving, wanted to come, and really wanted to do something very UN-Thanksgiving-like. She lost her mom this year, and it’s very hard to celebrate the holidays without her mom. So, we were happy to go to Lego Land on the holiday. We were hoping that it would be totally UNcrowded on Thanksgiving. That was not the case. It wasn’t completely crowded, but there were still plenty of people there, and plenty of waiting in line.

Oh, I’m not done expounding on our trip, but it looks like the game is getting exciting, so I should really watch the end, and I’ll blog more about the trip later.

–Oh, and you’ll have to excuse the many typos and the weird picture placement. I’m using the laptop with some dodgy internet connections, and things are pretty darn slow. I’ll do better next post, I promise!

Thank goodness it stays in Vegas

Saturday night we spent in Las Vegas. It was quite the experience. I’ve been there with Ryan before and with friends, and last time we drove through with the kids, but we haven’t taken the kids on the strip before.
Picture 115
So there we were, with my kids and my parents. We started down by Treasure Island and made it all the way down to the Bellagio to see the water show.
Picture 134
We passed Caesar’s Palace. There’s so much to see, but most of it is not appropriate for kids. Every bus or taxi that goes by has scantily clad women, and there are still guys handing out flyers. Thankfully they avoid you when you are walking with kids. The highlight of the night, however, was seeing Donny.
Picture 137
We may even do a show together one day; The Donny and Paige show. Maybe the Paige and Donny show. We’ll have to see how it all plays out. First he’s got to win his Dancing show, and then we’ll talk.

Anyway…Then we came back, crossed over to the Venitian, and went inside to see the “outdoor” look of the shops there. By then, the kids were tired of walking, and we were all pretty much spent. We barely made it back to the parking garage without one or more of the kids collapsing into a tired heap.

In quite a contrast, Sunday morning we went to church in Las Vegas. Inside, it was pretty much like every other Mormon church, with the organ, the singing, and the people. We were welcomed, and asked if we were visiting, and we felt very much at home. I was glad to be there. I was grateful that we were able to take the sacrament and hear the speakers. It was nice to know that even in Las Vegas, only a few miles from the over the top consumerism and selfishness and glitz of the strip there were normal LDS people in church on Sunday, keeping the Sabbath day holy and trying to do what is right.

And you know, what happens in Vegas…

Don’t tell anyone, but…

Can I just say that my husband is a freaking genius? Seriously. He can fix any computer, I think. The other night when I came home from rehearsal, he informed me that he had fixed our neighbor’s computer, (again) and that it was a blown capacitor, the same thing that was wrong with our fridge. And he didn’t even have to go to Radio Shack to buy one, he just took it from an old dead computer that he had laying around.

Not that he needs advertising, but he’s a genius when it comes to fixing computers. People bring him their old, run down, slow, virus infected computers, and he fixes, upgrades, cleans and repairs them. Often for free. He’s like the statue of liberty of old computers…”Give me your tired, your poor computers, your corrupted files yearning to be free…”

Yesterday he also fixed our little DVD/TV combo for the car. I’m pretty excited about that one, because who wants to drive 11-12 hours in the car with five kids with NO movies? Not me, I tell you. That man can fix about anything, I think. Which is wrong. He can’t fix everything, and he gets kind of ticked when I bring him something wonderful I found at a garage sale, or rather something that would be wonderful, if it just worked, and I expect him to be able to fix it. Then he reminds me that he can’t fix everything, and I should “stop buying crap at garage sales”.

Yes, he is amazing, but he also runs on his own time schedule. He doesn’t appreciate me trying to TELL him what he should be working on, and he doesn’t me trying to MAKE him work on a project he’s not ready to work on. Darn. But still, I DO think he’s pretty amazing. (Hi, honey! I’m giving you a little wave!)

Service with a smile

I made dinner for a friend tonight. She’s exhausted and run down and emotionally spent after a difficult ordeal, so when I heard about it, I volunteered to bring in dinner. Usually when I take in dinner for someone in the ward, we do it in pairs, as a visiting teaching companionship. But my companion has been sick and is pregnant herself, so I didn’t try too hard to get ahold of her, I just figured I would do it myself.

Last night, while I was preparing dinner, I was watching Food Network (big mistake, I know) and we watched this recipe for Bacon wrapped Turkey Breast stuffed with pear hash. My children all sat with wide eyes glued to the television. “Bacon” they sighed. I had to admit it DID look good, so when I got the phone call later that night from this friend and told her I would bring her dinner, I thought of this recipe. After all, is there anybody out there who doesn’t love bacon?

This morning I went to the grocery store to buy turkey breasts so I could make that recipe. Did you know you can buy a WHOLE turkey for less money than you can buy two turkey breasts? Oh no I’m NOT going to pay $15 for two organic turkey breasts. I bought chicken instead. I came home, put away my groceries, and started on some rolls.

While I was mulling over what to do for dinner, the afternoon kind of got away from me. I was driving carpool pick up from both the high school and the junior high, as well as taking three kids to two different piano lesson locations, and each trip in the car seemed to take longer than it was supposed to. Megan also had her first footsall game, and I had to make sure she could get to that.

But I managed to pull off a pretty amazing dinner, even with all the LIFE that happens.

Bacon wrapped chicken breasts
Brown rice with veggies
Fresh hot homemade rolls
Apple bacon Green beans
Fruit salad

Luckily, I had made a big pan of mint brownies on Sunday, and had a little more than half of them already packaged up, so I took those to them for dessert.

mint brownies

(In all honesty, that’s not MY picture of mint brownies, I just found it on the internet, but really, they were that good.)

As I was trying to get everything done at the same time and package it all into disposable containers (or containers that I don’t really care if I get back), the kids started whining about how nobody ever brings US dinner, and why are we giving them ALL the rest of the mint brownies? I had to remind them that when we give service, we should always give the BEST to the person that we are serving. And I had to remind them that TWO of my friends brought in dinner just over a month ago when I had surgery, and that they were both very good meals, and included dessert. One of my daughters went so far as to suggest that her sister should break her leg again just so that people would bring us meals. Can you believe these kids?

I was quite proud of myself for a)making such a delicious dinner, and b) getting it all done and delivered while it was still hot. I made TONS of food, since they have a big family, and I had to have enough for us to eat, too. We sat down and ate dinner, and I must say it was delicious. Sure, I would have liked a nice mint brownie after the meal, but I can live without it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think that I may have used every single pan in the house, and I have to go and start doing the dishes. But I’ll do it with a warm heart, knowing that I made someone else’s day a little easier, and hopefully taught my family a tiny bit about service.

We are in unchartered territory

We are getting ready for a trip to San Diego. Remember way back when all of you nice people took the time to vote for my cute kid picture?
Well, we’re going to take that trip. All told, that “free trip” will cost us quite a chunk of change. Because they give you a trip, but no tranportation, and only 3 nights hotel, and only passes for 4 and we’re a family of 7…. anyway, it should be really fun! We plan to go to Lego land and Sea World and the beach, and spend some fun time with family. Speaking of family, my parents are going, as well as my brother and his family are meeting us there for half of the week. So it’s turning into QUITE the production, and should be a blast.

But as I was thinking about it, I realized that we have a big time question. When you have a 6 year old, do you still take a stroller? I have never gone to an amusement park without a small child, so the stroller’s just been automatic. Even when we went to Disneyland two years ago we had a stroller. John can walk just fine, and did fine hiking all over Yellowstone without a stroller, but this is an amusement park. We’ll be at the park ALL day, and he may get tired and want to rest. But more importantly, where would I stash all of our stuff? Without a stroller, where do you put the water bottles, snacks, jackets, extra socks, more snacks, hats, sunscreen, drinks and all that stuff? A backpack? And who would have to carry that backpack? The mom. I don’t think so!

So, people with children who aren’t little any more, what do you do? Do you take a stroller anyway, just to haul all the stuff and the occasional tired child? Do you divvy up all the snacks and make everyone carry their own fanny pack or back pack? Do you leave stuff in the car and then go back to the car at lunchtime? Push a shopping cart? Please share your solutions.

the BEST lunch date EVER

In John’s opinion, it was the best lunch date EVER. Let me tell you about it. Today was early out day for the kids, which means John is home before noon. He’s needed a haircut for a couple of weeks, so I took him over to Great Clips and he got a great little boy haircut. No line, no wait (and I had a coupon!). Since he was so good, and we were so fast, we had time to go to Wendy’s for lunch. At his begging, we actually went inside instead of just driving through and picking up a 5 piece chicken nuggets and value fries. He got a kids meal, and I got a hamburger. Inside his kid’s meal was a WATCH! A really cheap watch that will probably be broken or lost very soon, but still, it was a WATCH. He’s been asking me (bugging me, actually) for a watch for about a week now, and I actually bought him one to give him for Christmas, but this, this watch was a promo inside his kid’s meal. How great is that? He was thrilled to get a watch, and he’s been telling me what time it is all afternoon.

While I waited for him to finish his meal, dipping all those fries into the jr frosty, I decided to call the number on the receipt for a survey. I sometimes do the survey things, but usually I forget. Since we’re going on vacation soon and I know we’ll be eating at Wendy’s at least once, we can use the free single that you get with the completed survey. It took me about 5 minutes, and by then John was about done, new watch and all. As I was throwing away our trash, I noticed a receipt on the ground. Hey, I thought, why not? So, I picked up that receipt, used the home phone to call in and do the survey again guessed it, another free hamburger. Funny thing is, it’s the same code. I could have just written the same code on the found receipt without doing the survey. Now I know.

So, John’s happy because he got to go out to lunch AND get a watch of his very own. I’m happy because I didn’t have to pay extra to get John a watch of his very own. Not a bad lunch if you ask me.

It’s finally here

Tonight is concert night! Can I have a “Hollah”? Thanks. We only have one night this year, as last year we had two nights and a dress rehearsal that was open to the public. They tell us it’s too expensive to do two night of concerts. Okay. I hope that means that our concert tonight will be packed. They give out way more tickets than the Tabernacle can seat, so it’s always a good idea to arrive early. I am thankful that I have not contracted any major sickness. I’ve had some days of not feeling well, and my throat hurt last night, but I’ve tried to get extra sleep whenever I can, drink lots, take lots of vitamins, and be liberal with the lysol and germ-x. We’ve spent a lot of time working on this concert, and it’s going to be really fun. Since it’s so early in the season, it’s not really an all out Christmas concert. In fact, it’s called “A little Christmas, a little fun”. We’re excited about the “fun” part. We’ve got a saxophone, harp, and strings joining us, as well as the woodwinds and piano and organ. And some fun songs. As long as we don’t mess anything up, right?


Today I’m hoping that my daughter stands up to a girl who’s kind of bullying her. On Wednesday, when I picked her up from school, she was very thirsty and chugged a capri-sun drink like it was nothing. Aren’t you drinking anything in the day? I asked her. “Oh, this girl stole my milk. Again,” she told me. What? Who’s stealing your milk? It turns out “some girl” who she says she doesn’t know her name but she’s in two of her classes, just comes up to her on B days and takes the milk right off her lunch tray. It’s happened for three days now. The rest of the carpool was getting in the car and hearing this, and they were outraged. “Who’s this girl? I’ll come and beat her up,” said her friend Lauren. “Oh, wait, I’m in class at that time on B days.” They all rallied and told her to be loud and tell this girl off, but Megan is really quiet and shy at school, it seems, and just lets this girl take her milk. She doesn’t have any friends to sit with on these days, and usually just sits alone. All of her friend have the other lunch. How sad is this? And aggravating, because I would like to go there and stand up for my child, tell this other kid that she has NO RIGHT to just take her milk. On the other hand, it’s just a milk, and maybe this bully kid is really starving and doesn’t have money to buy her own milk and thought my daughter was nice and is therefore taking the milk. Probably not. One of her carpool friends said SHE had this lunch on B days and would sit by her and protect her from this girl, but when I reminded daughter to sit by her, she kind of shrugged. Oh, what to do, what to do?

Our solution was to bring home lunch today. Then she won’t be in the line buying lunch, she can just go right to a table (hopefully), avoiding this girl outright. And if mean girl comes by, she wouldn’t dare take her lunch that she brought from home, would she? I want to just be there, and watch what goes down. If only I had one of those invisibility cloaks from Harry Potter. I could just sneak in there and watch and nobody would know I was there. Or send a spy. A spy who would identify and tell off this mean girl.

Any suggestions? Or should I just forget about it because this girl won’t be there picking on her forever, right?

A glimmer of hope

I feel a glimmer of hope today. After yesterdays doom and gloom post, there should be some hope, right? All the kids went to school today. All of them. And I have no doctor’s appointments scheduled for today after school or anything like that. They are are just at school. And I feel hopeful that I may actually get through this without getting sick. But I’m not going to count on that. Just hoping.


I feel like I’m doomed. Yes, doomed. Doomed to get sick. I feel like no matter what I do to protect myself and my family, there’s no hope and I’m going to get sick. At the very worst possible time, I’m sure. I’m remembering our cruise aboard the Disney Magic when so many people were getting sick from the Norwalk Virus. There were crew members cleaning the ship CONSTANTLY, and we still managed to all get sick. And here I am, armed with my Lysol wipes and my hand washing and my clorox and my vitamins just trying to keep healthy. But I feel like it’s kind of a losing battle, and I should just give up.

When I call the doctor’s office about my kids, they tell me, “Yes, it’s probably H1N1. Good luck.” When I ask about getting tamiflu, or about the possibility of getting vaccinated, they tell me that they are only vaccinating the very youngest kids, and after that only the high risk kids (those with asthma and other immune disorders), and that they are only giving tamiflu to a select demographic as well, and that unless you get it within the first 24 hours of getting sick, it doesn’t help much. Cole, my sickest family member, who was sick for a week, is now fever free and back at school. He’s survived! Megan is also doing well, and will probably go back to school today.

John, who seems absolutely fine in the day, has been crying at night. He just cries and says “OW!”. He’s not awake enough to tell me what’s wrong, and in the morning, when I ask him what hurts, he says nothing hurts and that he’s fine. I’ve kept him home from school and church for three days. When I called the doctor about him, they first said I should test him for strep, but then when they heard that two other members of the family had the swine flu, they said not to bother. He probably had swine flu, too. Well, after three days of this nighttime drama, I’m going to take him in to the doctor today.

Jenna, one of my “healthy kids” has developed a rash on her face, arms and hands. Yes, a rash. At first I thought it was that she had gotten something on her face (she said she ate spaghetti), but by Saturday it was a full blown rash, and so I took her to the doctor. They tested her for strep, just to see if that could be the cause, and I was hoping for strep. Please let it be strep, so that at least I can TREAT it. No strep. Viral. What do I do about it? Not much. No magic cream, no pill, nothing. While she’s most likely not contagious (rashes are usually contagious right BEFORE you break out, by the way), she looks so strange that I’m going to keep her home from school today. And by the way, if you are counting, we’re now into our second week of having someone stay home from school–Cole’s missed four days, Megan’s missed two, John’s missed two, and now Jenna. Natalie is my one hold out.

Oh, and Ryan’s still coughing up gunk.

Yesterday Natalie and I went to church. Where there are usually 7 of us, we had 2. Our neighbor asked me if I had killed off my family yet. Ha.

So, yes, I’m feeling trapped. I feel like no matter how hard I try, how well I clean, how many times I wash my hands or gargle with salt water, I’m doomed to get sick. And I’ll never send all of my kids to school again. Ever. When I was talking to the nurse, she said, “Well, the good thing is you can get all this over with and then everyone will be done with this flu, right?” Oh, right. There’s still a few of us who haven’t been sick and we might go through this whole thing again later. I asked her if, when I make it through this bout with sickness and don’t get it, if I am then immune, since I was exposed to the virus. “Oh, no,” she said, “unless you actually GET the virus, you don’t develop antibodies, so you aren’t immune.” What the what?

But I can’t get sick. I will keep myself healthy by the sheer strength of my will. I do NOT have time to be sick. This week is concert week, and I’ve put in many many hours of rehearsal (months of rehearsal) for this concert this week. I will NOT get sick. No matter what happens to this family of mine. And I will NOT get sick the next week, either. And I won’t get sick when we go on vacation. I will somehow get my hands on that vaccine and I will GET the shot. I will stay healthy. I will make a dress out of curtains if I have to, and I will never go hungry again! Sorry. I just went a little bit Scarlett O’Hara on you. How’s that for resolve?

And speaking of Gone with the Wind, here’s a classic just to make you smile today.

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