The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: May 2010 (Page 1 of 2)

Nothing, honey. I’m just sitting here at the computer.

I hate it when my kids ask me what I do all day.

Isn’t it obvious?

I keep this place running!
I do the laundry,
I clean the toilets,
I grind the wheat,
I bake the bread,
I buy the birthday presents,
I clip the coupons,
I shop the sales,
I buy the groceries,
I buy the socks,
I wash the socks,
I look for the socks,
I mend the socks (ok, I don’t really mend the socks, but I do occasionally mend OTHER things),
I take kids places,
I pick kids up from places,
I organize the fun,
I carry out the fun,
I go to meetings of all sorts (PTA meetings, Relief Society Presidency Meetings, planning meetings),
I volunteer at the school (did you not SEE me in your classroom grading spelling workbooks?)
I volunteer more at the school, (skirts? Remember the skirts?)
I volunteer with the PTA,
I vacuum,
I dust,
I wash walls,
I unload the dishwasher when certain children forget to do it before they go to school,
I go visiting teaching,
I weed the flower beds,
I plant the flower beds,
I plant the garden,
I plant the garden AGAIN when my garden dies from a late spring snow,
I unclog toilets (OK, I may not be the best toilet unglogger in the house, but I do unclog my fair share)
I paint bedrooms,
I organize and reorganize,
I switch our phone plan to try to save us money,
I call the repairman,
I wait for the repairman,
I host playdates,
I get books from the library,
I try to find the books that go back to the library,
I pay the library fines,
I plan the vacations,
I try to win the vacations,
I make breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinner,
I clean up from those breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners,
I sew curtains for your bedrooms,
I sew curtains for other people’s bedrooms,
I help with homework,
I read with kids,
I help with the piano practicing,
I gently remind the kids to do the piano practicing,
I drive the kids to the piano lessons,
I drive the kids to sports and sports practices,
I schedule the dentist and doctor appointments, then drive kids to those, too.
Sometimes I even exercise.

I’m not perfect. Sometimes, I admit, I sit and watch tv. Usually I stand and watch tv while I do some of that other stuff.
And yes, sometimes I blog about all of this.

So when you come home from school and say, “What do you DO all day, Mom?” and I look at you in befuddlement, do NOT say, “I know, I know, you were Blogging.”

How do you say “Thanks for putting up with my kid for the last 9 months”? (updated)

It’s the end of the school year, and that means teacher gifts. Do you give teacher gifts? I asked my 5th grader which teachers she wanted to give a gift to, and she named 5 of them. Five? Really? For just one kid? My kindergartner wants to give a gift to his teacher AND the main helper. The third grader has two teachers to give gifts to.

I love the teachers, and I’m so thankful that they have chosen to devote their days to teaching and loving my kids. But I could use some ideas.

So, my question to you, my peeps, is WHAT do you give for teacher gifts, if you do teacher gifts at all?

(updated to say)
I decided to go with Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD’s. As a member of the choir organization, I can get CDs for a discount, and I had 10 of the new ones and a few others still around. The kids gobbled them up, even my Jr High and High School students wanted to give gifts to some teachers, which surprised me. I’ll have to pick up a few more, because I guess 15 wasn’t enough. I also had some movie passes to the Karate Kid and baked bread yesterday, so I’m giving bread and a CD to the Kindergarten teacher today at preschool graduation. I want the teachers to know I appreciate them without breaking the bank. And Thanks for the ideas, friends.

Hang in there little plants

I think it must still be March around these parts. I knew it was supposed to be “colder and rainy” today, but snow? Really?

Here are the girls as they were leaving for school. It’s the last week of school, which is supposed to be full of field days, parties, and sun. *Sigh*

Here’s my “snowball bush”.

By the time John left about an hour later, there was even more snow.

And all my flowers and little garden veggies that I planted? Are they going to be ok? I hope so. It’s not freezing out there, it’s just snowing. Hopefully the plants don’t really know the difference between snow and rain, they’re just getting wet, right?

Hang in there, little plants. It will be warmer soon.

I hope.

But they were sad and lonely

Last week I got a call from the piano teacher. She assured me that her call had nothing to do with the attitude of my piano students (thank goodness!). She knew that we had birds, and proceeded to tell me all about her sad little cockatiel. It was her daughter’s, but she went off to college and no one has played with him, and now he’s just a sad and lonely little bird. She wondered if we perhaps wanted another bird; if we would love and play with him more than her family did.

Of course I said we would take him. Never mind that we have 4 birds at home who rule the roost (literally). Because I just can’t live with the idea that the poor little bird is sad and lonely. SAD and LONELY, people. He’s with a family who doesn’t LOVE him, doesn’t play with him. He doesn’t have any friends. Well, as a certified foster home for birds, it is my duty and privilege to take him in. Ok, I’m not really a certified foster home for birds–you caught me.

(this is not a picture of my house, by the way, just one I found showing many birds)

So, yes, call me the crazy bird lady if you must, and when you come to visit, would you mind bringing some millet or bird seed?

We should hang a sign by the birds that says “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. …” But all little birds should have friends, right? If not a bird friend, then at least a human friend.

Anyway, we picked up this little bird on Saturday, cage and all. The kids were VERY excited.

But the first order of business was to give him a new name. He had been called “Katie”, but then when they discovered that he was a boy, they just kept on calling him Katie. Well, I can’t in good consciousness call a male bird Katie, so we started taking suggestions for a new name. “How about something sort of close to Katie,” I suggested, “like Petey”. Nobody liked that one. Clayton? Clyde?

When Ryan’s flight to Japan was canceled for the day and he ended up coming back home (surprise!), he first got on my case for taking in YET ANOTHER homeless bird, (he tells me that they AREN’T sad and lonely and that I’m just giving them human qualities, but I know they do get sad and lonely. So there.) and then gave his suggested name, “Guido”. We liked that one, so Guido it is.

So now we have evened things out…5 kids and 5 birds (not counting those silly little parakeets upstairs, but coincidentally, there are 5 of them, too). The problem, though, is that everyone keeps giving us normal greys, so we have 4 of these birds who look VERY similar, and it’s not until you get closer that you can tell them apart. Why can’t people give us their whitefaced, or their lutino cockatiels? I guess they are more expensive and less common. Oh, well. (I actually have one sitting on my shoulder and one on my leg as I’m typing this. Too bad you can’t see how cute they are).

Some pictures of my mess

I don’t have a true BEFORE picture, because I didn’t think, “Hey, I’m going to blog about this cleaning of the office, so I should take a picture,” but just know it was pretty crowded.

See this desk?

Well, before it created a major traffic jam in the family room, it used to be in my office, with my computer and a whole bunch of other crap on it. And those rubbermade boxes? They are now full of stuff to garage sale or go to Deseret Industries.

See that table?

That’s how my “new desk” looked halfway into the cleaning project. I had cleaned it off initially, to move the computer over there, but then as I was sorting and purging and organizing, a lot of stuff ended up on the table again. Which is usually what happens to clean surfaces in my home. They quickly get swallowed up by the ick and the clutter.

And why do I have so many pens?

I don’t really know. But I never seem to be able to find one that works when I need it.

Can you spot poor Raggedy Ann? She’s wasn’t feeling too happy about the whole situation, I tell you.

Now my desk looks like this.

With the computer on one side of the table, and the sewing machine on the other. There is a printer in the middle of the table, but I guess if I needed to use that space for fabric cutting or whatever, I could unhook it and move it. You can see that there is still a lot of “stuff” on the window sill, but that’s mostly sewing stuff, which I may get around to moving, and I may not. We’ll see.

And the other side of the room looks like this:

The big boxes hold fabric, the little colored drawers hold paper, craft items, sewing items, and other randomness. The kids’ scrapbooks and baby albums now all fit in my little dinky bookshelf, since I purged a lot of books that I had read and/or didn’t think I was ever going to get around to reading. And yes, there’s a yoga mat in that bag there by the bookcase. Just in case I decide to break into downward dog or do some pigeon pose. Now I have a clean floor–it could happen.

Oh, yeah, there’s a roll of fabric and a rug right outside my office door that I haven’t really decided what to do with. It’s a work IN PROGRESS, y’all. I’m not perfect, nor do I claim to be the best organizer or cleaner. Far from it. I still have WAY too much junk and clutter, but I find it hard to let go of ALL my crap all at once.

I’m not Melinda, you know.

I did get Raggedy Ann and Andy up out of the mess and sitting safely on a shelf over there, but I couldn’t find a hammer to hang that rooster clock. When I DO find a hammer, that will be on that bare space of a wall to the right of the window.

When I finally finished and pronounced it good –on Friday, after a week of working on it, the kids were amazed. “You have so much SPACE in here!” they exclaimed. “Look at the carpet!” Then they proceeded to pull the chair over from the sewing area to the computer area so that two of them could play a game together.

So there you have it. The view from the other side of the office, and much cleaner. Now I don’t feel so claustrophobic in here.

Let’s hope I can keep it this way, what with summer just around the corner and kids wanting ot bug me and use my computer ALL the time.

Wish me luck.

I’m too tired to think of a title for this post. Feel free to add your own title.

My fingers. They ache.

Today was Jenna’s third grade carnival at school. All year they earn market money for good behavior, and this carnival is one of the ways they get to spend their reward money. I signed up to man a booth. You know, supervise a game and then give out a prize. But then the mom in charge called me back and said, “Is it true that you do balloon animals?” Hmmm, I knew I should have kept my light under a bushel and never let anyone know I could do that. I was feeling generous, so I said that yes, I do, and yes, I would do balloon animals for the school carnival. I draw the line at dressing up in the clown costume, though. I’ve already got a gig scheduled and I don’t really want to dress up for the 3rd graders. So, today I got to the school by 9:15 to help set up and get ready. It was raining, but we were optimistic.

The day turned out to be nice, and I made something like a bazillion balloon animals for those little third grade rug rats.

(remind me not to hand the camera to my short daughter, who takes a picture from the worst angle, while I’m looking down at a balloon. Double chin shot time.)

My fingers are shot. My nails are damaged and ripped, and my hands were SCREAMING for lotion. But I survived. It was fun, it was for the kids, and they all had fun.

By the end of the two hours, the kids were supposed to go back inside to class, and I STILL had a line of 5-6 kids waiting to get their balloons.

As I walked out to the car, when I was finally freed from my job, my hands felt like they might fall off. I’m not conditioned for this kind of work! Now I remember why I’m not a clown.

Except on Monday, when I will be doing an appearance at the birthday party for my friend’s twins, who are turning 5. Oh, yeah. Because I’m so cool that way.

Hello from the other side (of the room, that is)

I’ve been in kind of an organizational/clean out the junk phase lately, and I decided it was time to tackle my office. My office/sewing room/place where kids play computer games/storage area for garage sale finds that I don’t know what to do with/craft area/mending area/place where broken things go to die/junk pile/big room full of clutter. Whew!

I’ve had a desk for my computer, AND a table for my sewing machine. It’s a little tight and crowded in here, but hey, at least I have a room of my own, right? I’m not complaining. But in a quest to streamline and make it a little nicer, I decided to eliminate the desk and put both the computer and the sewing machine on the table. One on one end and the other on the other end.

So far, I’ve got the computer moved, and I thank my lovely husband for hooking everything up for me. I deftly UNhooked it, but as far as hooking things up (especially when I just moved it across the room where there is no jack) I’m pretty clueless.

Does the blog look different? Because instead of facing North, as I have been for the last 8 or so years, I am now facing East. Instead of a view of a lovely wall, I now can look out the East window and see the little swallows who have made a nest in the porch eaves. I can also more effectively “Mrs Kravitz” and spy on my neighbors, watching to see who’s coming and going. Oh the fun.

Unfortunately, I can also get a nice view of the disarray of the office. Shelves need to be moved, the carpet under the desk spot is disgusting and dusty, and the sewing machine is now on the floor. So, yes, I still have a lot of work to do. And a lot of sneezing, from the vast amounts of dust that I’m stirring up.

Yes, I’ll post some pictures when I get it done (or at least when I give up and decide it’s good enough). But I just wanted to know if YOU like the new look. Because, honestly, the blog is now coming from a totally new area of the room. An area that’s never been blogged before! How does it look?

Sometimes it rains inside

If you read the last post about Mother’s Day, you might have seen my mom’s comment about their unfortunate end to a lovely day. She wrote,
“Just before we went to bed, we checked on a leak we had under the kitchen sink. Our collector thing for the leaking water had filled up and spilled over and gone through the floor and leaked onto one of the beds downstairs. We had to shut off all the water last night and get a plumber in today to fix things. Not exactly the greatest ending to Mother’s Day.”


So, they had a plumber come and take care of some things, and hopefully it’s all fixed up.

Well, today, we had our own bit of plumbing emergency. My daughter called me on my cell phone while I was waiting for my other daughter to finish up her softball practice, and said, “Mom, you know that light in the kitchen? Well, it’s filled up with water and dripping on the floor.” What? I indeed freaked out a bit. I asked her to run up and see what’s leaking upstairs. The laundry room? The bathroom? Turns out the kids’ bathroom toilet, which was clogged, was overflowing and leaking through the floor, filling up this light, and then dripping onto the floor in the kitchen. “What should we do?” she asked. Since I was at least 15 minutes away, I told her to call Dad and ask him what to do, and I would hurry home as quick as I could. I grabbed the girls and sped home. I called back to tell them to turn off the toilet–there’s a little handle in the back, and Cole told me he had already done that.


John told me when he had clogged the toilet, I tried to plunge it, but couldn’t, and I just left it. I forgot that this is also the toilet that needs a new valve or something and it continues to run even when it’s not being flushed. That filled up the toilet, spilling out onto the floor, thus flooding through the ceiling and into this light fixture. I purposely did NOT take a picture to show you all, because–ick.

When I got home, I ran in, and the kids had things pretty much under control by then. I had told them on the phone to throw towels down in both the kitchen and the bathroom, and they did that. After that, there wasn’t a whole lot they could do. I ran upstairs to try to plunge that STUPID toilet (you may recall that I recently called the plumber to unclog that toilet, and after about 2 minutes of work, they charged me a very unholy amount. I had a ’30 day guarantee’, but that was on March 22, and that’s been more than 30 days. BLERG!), but it was unplungeable. I couldn’t budge it. And what good will it do to mop the floor if the toilet situation isn’t taken care of?

Ryan soon came home, and he tried the plunger, too. He even went to Ace hardware and bought a new and improved plunger (he’s long complained that none of our plungers do the job, and I guess I have to agree with him), but even he can’t get that blankety-blank toilet clog cleared. He unhooked the light and dumped out all toilet water that had collected in it, cleaned it, and put it back up. I hope that it was a direct shot from the potty to that light and there isn’t a bunch of water waiting to turn our ceiling to mold.

So–what do we do, internets? Do I pay another plumber to come and snake that stupid toilet? Will my capable friend Janice, who claims she has superior snaking skills, come and rescue me? Perhaps we’ll replace that old crapper with a better toilet, I don’t know.

But yes, folks, sometimes it rains inside. And to my sister, who was also with us at my mom’s house on Sunday night, I say–watch out for your flood, because perhaps it’s going to hit us all.

Happy Mother’s Day!

I have a wonderful mom and a super mother-in-law. Who could ask for more? I’ve had great examples to help me with my own mothering career. I also have a fantastic husband and great kids! This morning, in fact, my sweet daughter snuck in to my room oh so quietly to leave me a Mother’s Day card on my nightstand, then she showered and got dressed, AND wrote her own talk for primary this morning! I KNOW!

I asked my dear husband if for my Mother’s Day present he and the kids would plant my hanging baskets with flowers. DONE! I feel very blessed and honored to be the mother of such wonderful kids.

But, lest I gush and ramble on, let me share with you some definitions from the

Mother’s Dictionary of Meanings

Dumbwaiter: One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.

Full Name: What you call your child when you’re mad at him.

Grandparents: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they’re sure you’re not raising them right.

Hearsay: What toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word.

Independent: How we want our children to be for as long as they do everything we say.

Puddle: A small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes into it.

Show Off: A child who is more talented than yours.

Sterilize: What you do to your first baby’s pacifier by boiling it, and to your last baby’s pacifier by blowing on it and wiping it with saliva.

Top Bunk: Where you should never put a child wearing Superman jammies.

Two-Minute Warning: When the baby’s face turns red and she begins to make those familiar-grunting noises.

Whodunit: None of the kids that live in your house.

I hope you all have a wonderful mother’s day!

Friday Fotos

Happy Friday to you! I’ve got some random pictures to show you. Stuff I thought about doing individual posts about, but let’s face it, who has the brain power to figure all that out? Not me. We had a ward primary talent show last month. Each primary child was invited to share a talent, or to make a display. Once I picked up a ukulele from a garage sale, John decided he wanted to play the ukulele for his talent. Ok. So I tuned it up (it stays in tune for about 4 minutes), and he brought it. But then at the talent show, he decided there was no way he was going to play, so I had to “reward” him with skittles if he did.

Natalie wanted to display something for her talent, so she made this wonderful lemony concoction. It was actually very convenient that we could use this for Megan’s birthday party the next day. Thanks, Natalie!


Jenna played a song on the piano for her talent. I’m proud of her, since that’s a pretty scary thing to play in front of all those people!


Here’s Ryan at that same activity with a friend’s baby. He stole her. And if you think I’m going to let my husband go and see that new baby movie, you are sorely mistaken. Sorry, honey. If you want more babies, you’re going to have to get them yourself.


Changing gears a bit, I held a shoe intervention the other day. I dumped all the shoes out of the baskets in the mudroom. Most of them were on the floor anyway, but this is what it looked like.

shoes before

Sheesh. I know. It gave me hives just looking at the mess. Then I sorted them out, matching up shoe pairs and figuring out which ones needed to be put away for the winter, and which ones needed to be thrown away, which could be donated, etc. The kids came home to this:

shoes after

Then I made them claim all their own shoes and put them IN THEIR ROOMS!!! Now the mudroom looks considerably less shoe-ey.

Here are the boys on our new teeter totter. Robin and I went garage sale-ing last Saturday (yes, it was cold, and yes, it was rainy) and we found this teeter totter. Funny thing. It had a price of $30. I liked it, so Robin said, “Will you take $20 for this teeter totter?” I was going to offer, $25, but her request was better. Instantly I realized that I didn’t have that much cash, so I chimed in, “And a check?” Pretty gutsy to dicker down AND ask if they would take a check, but the guy was friendly and nice, and just wanted to get rid of his stuff. He agreed, as long as I shopped around and bought MORE of their stuff. I ended up spending $22 there, but hey, if they’ll take a check, I’m ok.
The kids were thrilled with the teeter totter, and even the big kids were out there riding it in the rain. These are “my boys”. The one in the middle is our part time boy, Robin’s son Jacob.

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