The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: December 2009 (Page 1 of 3)

I’m officially old

Yesterday was my birthday. Yeah, me.
I’ve mentioned this before, but really, the week of Christmas is just a crappy time to have a birthday. People don’t remember, and if they DO remember, they are just recovering from Christmas and don’t have any money to spend on a gift. Or they don’t want to go shopping, or….and the list goes on. I have learned through years of having this birthday not to expect too much. When I had my fortieth birthday extravaganza, I planned it myself, which some people thought was odd, but I kind of knew that if I left it for my husband to plan, it might not happen. Not to dis on my husband, he’s a wonderful guy and supportive and great in many aspects, but he’s not much of a party planner.

This year, I made no plans, and I really didn’t expect anything. I had thought about going to get a pedicure, since I have a free coupon for one, but I didn’t make fast plans. I reminded everyone the day before that my birthday was coming, just so they wouldn’t be totally shocked. I told Ryan that I wanted to go to yoga in the morning on my birthday, and he was kind enough to ask if I wanted my “breakfast in bed” (a tradition I wonder WHY we ever started) after yoga, when I came home. So, I went to yoga, and while there I saw a friend who suggested we go out to lunch, since it was my birthday! How nice of her to even remember!

When I came home, there was my family, and my brother’s family who are staying with us this week, having breakfast and playing, and my sweet hubby was making me an omelette. Yum. I got out the blender so I could have a smoothie with it. Only silly me, I put the blender together wrong, so my milk ended up spilling out the bottom where the rubber ring should be. Thankfully hubby fixed that, too. Smoothies and omelettes all around!

I took a leisurely shower, then got dressed. Even though it was my birthday and I had decided I wasn’t going to do anything I didn’t want to do, I did throw in a load of laundry. I just couldn’t help it. I helped John get bundled up to go sledding with his cousins, and then I went to lunch with some neighborhood friends. It was the perfect casual lunch at Blue Lemon with four friends. One of my friends gave me some yummy smelling lotion, another gave me some home made bonbons. Yum! I felt lucky to have such friends.

When I came home, Ryan had taken Cole out driving (and shopping), and only Jenna and Megan were home. They finished watching something and I decided we were going to watch A Christmas story. After that, I had a 20 minute nap and read my book while Cole ran the snowblower on the driveway and Ryan took Megan to her footsall game. Doesn’t that sound like a perfect relaxing afternoon?

When Ryan made it home from Megan’s game, I had made a simple dinner for the kids, and Ryan and I were going out to a movie. First, though, they insisted I open my presents. They had bought me presents! How thrilling. They gave me a new yoga mat (mine has been in the garage for a while and smelled like gasoline), a new bowl for the Bosch mixer, some earrings, and scissors. Yes, I have been needing plain old kitchen scissors since the gift wrapping started and they disappeared. And a cute little teddy bear that Natalie bought me when we were perusing the 75% off Christmas items at Smith’s marketplace the day before. And there was even a surprise present, the movie Hairspray! How fun. I was thrilled that they had bought presents for me!

Ryan and I braved the snow and went to see the Blind Side. Excellent movie! We hurried to make the 6:30 showing, and then when it was over, he was hungry (we’d skipped dinner) and wanted to go get real food. I didn’t think I was hungry, but when we got to Rumbi’s, it sounded good. Only it looked like they were closed! It was only 9, but because of the snowstorm, they hadn’t had many customers and were considering closing up early. They were nice enough to let us come in and order a chicken bowl and a piece of key lime pie for me.

Another fun thing was getting all the birthday greetings from the facebook friends. I LOVE that! It made me feel so special that people would notice that it was my birthday and think enough of me to just jot down a greeting or a few nice words. It made my whole day! It’s like getting a whole bunch of cards in the mail, only cheaper.

I think it was a VERY nice birthday. Other than the part about being a year older. I haven’t figured out how to get out of that one, but I’ll let you know.

the 12 days of Christmas

One fun Christmas “service” act we like to do is to surprise a neighbor with the “12 days of Christmas”.

(can you spot me?)

This year, we chose a family that has kids the same ages as our kids, and they are friends. I knew it might be hard for the kids to keep it a secret, plus they don’t have many hiding places in their front yard, so it might be difficult to avoid getting caught. We did some of the usual things,
day one, a carton of eggs (a partridge laid these eggs)
2- “two sided crackers” and we gave them flips.
3-“three french fries” and we gave them a bag of frozen french fries. Of course, this day they may or may not have known what was going on, because Natalie lost the note on the way over. Seeing a bag of frozen french fries on the porch, they may not have made the connection to day 3. Oh well.
4-four pairs of socks
5-five gold fish. This was the day I decided to get really clever. Never a good idea when dealing with sneaky things, but I did it anyway. I gave them 5 packages of goldfish crackers, and instead of just delivering them all at once, I put two in the mailbox, then took 3 to the school. I went into the office, and after bribing the office staff with diet cokes, I asked if they could deliver these fish to each of the three kids that go to that school. They had little notes on them so the kids would know that the fish were part of the 12 days of Christmas. I made sure to say that these were NOT from me, and you had NO IDEA where these snacks came from, that we were being sneaky. They agreed and said they knew all about the sneaky. As I was coming out of the 5th grade classroom an hour later, who should I run into coming out of the office but (care to take a guess?) my friend–the one who we were doing the surprise for. She was right there, coming out of the office, holding ALL THREE of the bags of goldfish. What? That was not the plan! Did I not make myself clear that these were to go to the KIDS? She was checking in her daughter, who had had a doctor’s appointment that morning. She wanted to talk to me, so we walked out together. I tried NOT to look at the goldfish in her hands, and she didn’t mention it, so it wasn’t mentioned. Ugh. This always happens when I involve other people in our sneakyness. One year, we asked one of Megan’s friends to deliver a gift, and she took it to them and said, “This is from the Ericksons.” NO!!!! That is not the plan. Oh, well.
6-On the 6th day, we gave a big bag of potatoes. What? Potatoes? The note said, “These must be SOME special geese to lay these for you. I know, they are dumb. But sometimes I just don’t want to go to the store and I’m all out of ideas.
7- Seven swans a swimming. I had Cole, our resident origami expert, make up 7 origami swans, and then each swan was holding a coupon for a free junior frosty.
8-Eight ways a milky, and we gave them 8 little milky ways. Or we would have if we had 8 milky ways. We could only find 7 among the halloween candy, so we crossed out the 8 and put 7. Like I said before, we’re not professionals at this, it’s just whatever stuff we can dig up.
9-Nine was some foot creme, specially picked out by the nine ladies dancing, because all that dancing can make your feet tired, right?
10-Ok, I’ll admit it, I got really lazy on day 10, and I was not in the best mood, so they got a package of little Debbie’s snack cakes. Sigh.
11-We can’t remember. How sad is that?
12-For the twelfth day, we had a 12 pack of fanta, wishing them a “fantastic” Christmas. This friend actually called and told me they were going out of town, but she was going to bring something by before they left. Great, we thought. They’ll come to us. Then we can sing to them and give them their “12” gift, and we’ll be done. They never came by. Must have run out of time, since they were going out of town. So, we never did deliver day 12 to them, and hopefully they still don’t know. Well, unless they read this post, then they would know. Oops?


I love giving gifts. Seriously, I love it. I love shopping for something special, and I love it when I find something that I think the person will really enjoy. Especially if I can find it at a great price. Such was the case with a jacket I bought for my mother-in-law. I found a really cute jacket at Kohl’s, and after the major discount, they practically paid me to take it away (ok, not REALLY, but it was a sweet deal, especially if you looked at what they were originally charging for that jacket!). I would post a picture if I could find one, but since I’ve already given it away, I don’t know what it’s called. Anyway, it was in a pretty kind of a grapefruit color. Not really red, and not really orange or pink. Salmon? I guess you would call it salmon. And it had cute styling and brass buttons, and I just loved it. I actually tried it on, but I thought it would be nice for Ryan’s mom. However–it’s always risky buying clothes for someone else. Especially clothes on clearance that if they wanted to take it back, they would be aware of how little I spent on that gift. In this case, I don’t think the amount spent equals the gift. So, I was a little bit worried. What if she didn’t like it? What if it’s not her style? Not her color? Not her choice? Ugh. I almost didn’t give her that jacket. I decided just to risk it and give her the jacket, and if she didn’t like it I’d offer to return it (since I don’t really know where that receipt is) and get her something else.

I even gave her another small gift to kind of “lessen the blow” just in case she didn’t like the jacket.

Yesterday was our family party, with 40 people crammed into our house. It was crowded, but fun. When it was gift giving time, the grandparents handed out their gifts, and then we gave them ours. I wasn’t watching when my MIL opened the jacket. But soon enough, she was trying it on, and wore it over to where I was sitting, to thank me. It looked FABULOUS on her. Seriously, Fabulous. The color was amazing on her, and it looked great. She loved it and even said she would be wearing it to church tomorrow (which would be today). I don’t think she was just saying that to be nice. I think she really liked it. In fact, one of Ryan’s sisters said that if it didn’t fit her, they’d be happy to take it off her hands.

That made me happy. I LOVE to see someone really happy with a gift. It warms my heart. Maybe that’s why I love Christmas so much. Giving good gifts makes me happy.


Merry Christmas!

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas eve. I hope you have fun and laugh with your family or friends. I hope you take a minute to think about the greatest gift of all, our Savior Jesus Christ. I hope you keep that peace in your heart and share that love with all around you. I hope that you find joy this Christmas.

Politically correct Santa

Politically Correct Santa
‘Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck…
How to live in a world that’s politically correct?

His workers no longer would answer to “Elves”,
“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the north pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.

So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!?

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.

And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called “Unenlightened.”

And to show you the strangeness of life’s ebbs and flows:
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose
And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.

So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she’d enough of this life,
Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.

And as for the gifts, why, he’d ne’er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that’s warlike or non-pacific.
No candy or sweets…they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.

And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football…someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you’ve got to be careful with that word today.

His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere…even you.

So here is that gift, it’s price beyond worth…

“May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth.”

This document is copyright (c) Harvey Ehrlich 1992.

Let’s get down to the serious business of celebrating

I’ll admit I’ve been a little preoccupied lately. What with the concerts and rehearsals and the broadcast this morning, I haven’t done everything I’ve been wanting to do to celebrate. You know, the fun stuff of Christmas! But even with our busy schedule, we’ve managed to do quite a few fun things, like…..

going to lunch with some dear friends,

decorating cookies with the kids,

take goofy pictures,

attend John’s Kindergarten Christmas program,

have lunch with some more dear friends,

attend a family party where Ryan went a little crazy over the cute babies,

played some games,

saw Santa,

Ryan bothered the kids,

visited with Santa some more,

and don’t forget, we’ve spent lots of time arranging and playing with baby Jesus.

Christmas is four days away, and we still have lots of celebrating to do, so let’s get on with the fun.

Sometimes they just don’t get it.

A few years ago I put numbers on the gift tags for the kids instead of their names. To keep them guessing and not comparing and counting all their presents. The numbers were random, too, not just the standard “birth order” numbers. Then, on Christmas morning, we would reveal their number, and they were able to find their own gifts. I thought it was a brilliant idea, myself, and it seemed to work pretty well.

For some reason, I haven’t been consistent about the secret number thing, and last year I think I just used their names. Well, today I finally got serious about the wrapping and wrapped a few of the LARGE gifts. The gifts that all the kids are going to look at and say, “I hope that’s MY present”. Not that bigger means better or more expensive, but to a kid, that’s how it seems. When John came home from school, my dad was here AND the phone was ringing. So I didn’t have time to explain to John who the BIG presents on the table were for. I just read the tag that said “to Skippy from Mom and Dad.” It was obvious that he did NOT like this idea as he scrunched up his face and in his angry voice said, “No, it has to be a REAL person!” He then proceeded to stomp up to his room and then stomp around and make as much noise as possible.

As soon as I was off the phone and could give John my attention, I called him down from upstairs so I could talk to him. His face was red and splotchy and he had been crying. I tried to explain to him that even though these weren’t OUR names on the presents, they were going to be for US. I then gave him a little hint that one of the presents that had two names on it, (I think it was Bufford and Skeeter) was for him and one other person. That seemed to placate him just a little bit. He then helped me put the presents under the tree with only a little bit of sniffling.

And I was once again reminded that sometimes the ideas that are going to be “great” are, in the eyes of the little people, “not so great.” Like the time I told Cole that he couldn’t wear that ripped, faded and almost falling apart shirt anymore and then grabbed the hole under the arm and ripped it right off of him. I was just laughing at how hilarious I am, and he was upset and hurt. Maybe I’m just too clever for my own good.

oooh, donuts

I made Indian Fry Bread last night. The Navajo tacos were pretty good, but the smell, it lingers! I went to Cole’s band concert at the high school, and was very aware of the smell I carried. I’m sure that everyone around me was aware that someone somewhere had been frying something. I can just imagine the people close to me thinking, “oooh, did someone bring donuts?” Ugh.

Quite a week

It’s been quite a week! It’s always a wonderful experience to get to be a part of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert, and this year’s concert with Natalie Cole was no exception.
We didn’t have a very hard part, so it was no stress and lots of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed being there, watching from backstage, talking to the dancers and the stage crew, and just took it all in. It was fabulous. As I was standing backstage waiting to come on, I had to take a minute to remind myself to remember the moment, because all too soon it would be over; just a memory.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a hard week, with little time with the family, but they all survived without me. I think it’s good for them. Hopefully they’ll appreciate mom a little more when I’m here. Oh, who am I kidding?

Saturday night I stayed over at a friend’s house close to down town, so I wouldn’t have to drive all the way home (fighting the traffic the whole way) only to get back up early and drive all the way back on Sunday morning. It was very nice to be able to leave the house at 7:15 and arrive at Temple Square by 7:30. it’s nice to have such generous friends.

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