The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: June 2010 (Page 1 of 2)

It’s not a tumor (say it in your best Schwarteneger voice)

A few weeks ago, I walked into my bedroom and smelled a smell. Kind of a dusty-electrical kind of smell. Like when the curling iron heats up or you turn on the heat for the first time in the fall. That’s the best way I can describe it. I sniffed around the room a bit and couldn’t figure out what it was, but decided that the telivision area was the culprit. It’s not just the tv, but a DVD player and some other random “equipment” that I don’t really know what it is or what it does. Not wanting to come home from my errands to find the house in flames, I turned off the power strip. It probably messed up some kind of settings, but I thought it was best.

I smelled a similar ‘burning electrical’ smell in the bathroom a day or so later. After sniffing around and finding no clear culprit, I unplugged the hair dryer and curling irons. I asked my husband Ryan if he could smell it, but he couldn’t smell anything. But that’s not unusual. I seem to have SUPER smelling powers, and can smell a rotten potato from 30 feet. Ryan, on the other hand, tends to suffer from allergies, and can never smell the offending smell, UNLESS, of course, it is lotion worn by me.
If I happen to put on lotion and then (gasp) use his computer or walk by his office, his ‘stuffed up’ nose immediately perks up and stages a revolt. He claims my lotion smells
a-make him sneeze
b-give him a headache
c-just about cause him to break out in hives
While he can’t prove anything, I think he would blame ‘smelly lotion’ for wrinkling his shirts, causing weeds to grow in the yard, and leaving streaks on the windows as well.
But I digress.

As the days went by, I was smelling the burning smell with increasing frequency, and in more and more places. In the family room, in the kitchen, and in the laundry room. Yes, all of these areas have lights, electrical appliances and other things plugged in, and the heat could have come on. When I smelled it in the car, I knew something strange was up. I smelled it at rehearsal one night, and asked my friend Diana, “Can you smell that burning smell? Like a hot curling iron or something electrical?” She did NOT smell anything.

So I resigned myself to the fact that I was either
a-crazy or
b-had a brain tumor

While it’s not burning feathers, it is a burning smell, and I seemed to be smelling it with more and more frequency. I stopped asking other people if they could smell it, since I was pretty sure they could not, and I didn’t want to SOUND like I was going crazy, even if I felt like I was.

Curious, I consulted “dr Google” to see if there were other people out there having strange smell issues. Well that was less than reassuring. I read: This symptom, which is known to doctors as an “olfactory hallucination,” is potentially very worrisome. Olfactory hallucinations are occasionally a symptom of a brain tumor, so you need to bring this problem to the attention of a neurologist immediately. Olfactory hallucinations may also be a symptom of epilepsy; once again, you would be best served by consulting with a neurologist. While I was reassured that I was not the only person in the world who was smelling things when other people were not, all the “answers” or advice I read suggested brain tumors or worse. And how could I go to my doctor and say, “I just keep smelling this burning smell that nobody else seems to smell”? I’m pretty sure he would laugh at me. Seriously. So, I kept my little neurosis to myself and just silently thought, “I hope I don’t have a brain tumor. Or worse.” whenever I smelled that smell.

Well, it’s been over a month of the on again off again smelling of the smell. Today I was walking to the bathroom and I smelled that smell. Walked a few feet and it was gone. Back up–smell it. Walk forward–don’t smell it. I looked down, and saw an innocent looking pair of sandals on the floor. Could that smell be connected with….? I picked them up, and smelled the smell.

Seriously? This smell is coming from a pair of sandals? It makes sense. I could smell the smell in the car, at rehearsal, at a friend’s house, even outside because I had been wearing the sandals! The sandals were causing the smell!

I don’t have a brain tumor!! I’m not going to die! Well, at least not from that silly phantom smell. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to find the source of that smell! Big old sigh of relief here, folks!

And what have I learned from this situation? A couple of things.
First–Never consult google with your own symptoms. Unless you want to spend days deliberating about all the reasons you are going to be dieing very soon. Especially if you tend to have a touch of the hypochondria. I’m not going to mention names here, but I have told one friend this more than once, so I don’t know why I couldn’t follow that advice.

Second–Smell your shoes before you buy them. This whole mess could have been avoided, had I taken a whiff of these cheap sandals from Target and noticed that they had a smell before I bought them and brought them home into my house.

Third–Enjoy life. Enjoy every day. Because you never know when something bad really IS going to happen, and you really don’t want to waste time worrying.

Leaving on a jet plane?

My husband left this morning for Korea. He’ll be gone about 10 days. Considering that he went to Japan about a month ago, that’s two trips out of the country in less than a year. He’s now entered the ranks of world traveler. At least in my book. (I seriously need to find out how many frequent flier miles that equals and how all this traveling can benefit me.) I do not envy him at all, however. It will take nearly a whole day to get there, and then he’ll probably be working so much he won’t get to see much in the way of touristy stuff. Jet lag and weird food, plus working long hours doesn’t sound like much fun. But hopefully he will have a productive and enjoyable trip.

Me, I’m stuck here at home with 5 kids, three softball teams, rehearsal almost every night, and I’m the only driver. I’ve already had to call in some reinforcements. Tonight my sweet niece is coming over to take a daughter to her game. Cole will hold down the fort while I go to rehearsal. Tomorrow I’m hoping to send one daughter to her softball game with my friend, who has a daughter on the same team, and I’ve also had to ask my sister-in-law to take another daughter to her game. I’ll be–you guessed it–at rehearsal. The Wizard of Oz opens up in less than a month, and we’re getting to the point that rehearsals are getting serious. Fun, but a huge time commitment.

We’ll be eating a lot of kid friendly dinners, like mac and cheese and corn dogs, so at least the cooking delicious meals is off the list of things I need to do. Do you do that when dad’s out of town, too?

So I might need a little encouragement. If you could send me a “you go girl” every once in a while or just send happy thoughts my way, I’d appreciate it. Or if you wanted to come over, entertain my children and clean my house while I take a nap, I’d be ok with that, too.

One happy thought that I’d like to tell you about is this…remember that contest I asked you to help me with? Well, if you go HERE you would see that our little number 24 is smack dab in the middle of the list of winners. WE WON! I’m so thankful to all of you who took the time to vote for us, even if you thought it was pointless or even if you thought your vote wouldn’t matter all that much. Each vote does matter, and while I do not know how many votes we collected, I’m super thankful to all of you who support me in my crazy quest to win a vacation! It’s two nights hotel and 3 day park passes for four. Now if only we just had two kids, that would be perfect! Just kidding. We’ll take them all.

Again, I thank you for your support! I love the encouraging comments I receive. And if Ryan’s checking in here, we miss you already.

Adventures at Camp

Cole, my 16 year old, had the wonderful opportunity to go to our stake’s “Camp Helaman” last week. It’s a camp just for those boys 16 and older, and it’s like a mini missionary training center camp. They had devotionals and talks from the Stake Presidency, and other incredible men. They had a wonderful time, with both fun and spiritual experiences. I’m so glad he was able to go on this camp, and very thankful for all the time and preparation that went into making it a success.

When Cole came home on Saturday, I didn’t see him immediately. After his shower, I asked him how the camp was. “Great,” he said casually, “I got some stitches.”
“Stitches?” I asked, trying to not sound too alarmed, “What happened?”

He proceeded to tell me how he was doing this ropes course type activity, and one of the challenges was to get across a certain distance only stepping on wooden blocks. Since there were only a certain number of blocks, they would have to be passed back through the line so that everyone could make it across. One of the boys was in the act of tossing a block while Cole was in the act of standing up. That’s when the block and Cole’s head collided.
(gasp from mom at this point)
Stitches in his HEAD? Where? He didn’t look like he’d been injured at all!
Cole calmly told me how he realized he was bleeding and that someone helped him over to President Cosgrave, who is not only a member of the Stake Presidency, but also a family practice physician. “I didn’t like the needle,” Cole said. “He said to take out the top stitches in about 10 days, but the deeper ones will just dissolve.”
(deeper ones?)
Cole missed out on the rest of the ropes course activities that afternoon, but he still enjoyed the rest of the camp.

I guess I should be thankful that I have a very mellow son with no flare for the dramatic. He told me what had happened very matter of factly, so that it didn’t sound like any big deal at all. He lifted up his great mass of bushy teenage hair and I could barely see the stitches.

The next day at church, however, more of the story came out.

After the meeting, one of the leaders came up to me and told me that Cole was quite the talk of the camp over the weekend. “When he came walking up, I couldn’t even tell it was Cole! His whole face was covered with blood!” Oh, joy. I’m glad I wasn’t there. I would most definitely have freaked out. Then, our neighbor came up and told me more of the story. He said that Cole kind of freaked out when he saw the needle that was going to be used to numb the area. Kind neighbor held on to Cole and talked to him, asking about his plans for the rest of the summer. He kept asking him questions and talking to him calmly. He told me that Cole lamented, “Why is it always me that gets hurt or gets sick at these camps?” Yes, he’s gotten sick at camp before, but he’s not the only one. The one time he came home early from a scout camp, he was one of about 1/2 of the scouts who ended up throwing up for days and came home from camp. One other time he got dehydrated, but that’s because he didn’t drink enough. I think he was just feeling sorry for himself in the moment.

Then the Young Men’s president came up to me and said, “I’m sure glad you signed that medical release form!” I asked if any of these men had taken pictures, because once I got over my motherly panic, I think ahead to how I could SO blog about this. I haven’t tracked down any pictures yet, but if I get some, I’ll be sure to post them.

As I thought about this experience, I realized how lucky Cole was. Lucky that the block hit him in the head, and not in the face. His eyes, ears, nose and face are unharmed. He was lucky that there were competent medical professionals there to take care of him. He was lucky that there were caring friends and neighbors to help calm him down and keep him from freaking out. I am lucky that I won’t be seeing a bill from the emergency services provided (at least I hope I won’t). And he’s lucky that he was feeling well enough to stay for the testimony meeting and that night and the rest of the camp. And now he has a great story to tell!

I love you, Man!

Oh, how I love my man.

Whenever he goes on a trip, especially trade shows–those are the best–he knows to bring home as much “swag” as possible.

He enjoys going out. If I win tickets to some free show, he’s usually willing to come along. I say USUALLY, because musicals aren’t his favorite, and sometimes I do have to coerce him into going to a musical.

He’ll play silly games for Family Home Evening!

He really loves me! Which I find seriously nice.

He knows his way around a hammer. When he has time, he’s going to finish that basement. And I like how he involves the kids in the construction projects.

He’s not too cool to pose with stuffed animals.

He loves babies.

He works at a job he loves, and brings home some cool gadgets.

When I decided I wanted to audition for a play, he was supportive.

Or when I’m gone for many hours preparing for a concert or at Christmastime with the Bells on Temple Square, he’s supportive. In fact, he’s come to every single one of my concerts (except this last one, because I told him he should go to Father’s and Sons instead).

He is a worthy priesthood holder.

When necessary, he will dress up in costume.

He’s secure enough to accept my tiny little crush on Donny.

So, this Father’s day, I send a big shout out to my man. He’s awesome, he’s great, and I feel very lucky to call him mine.

Love you, Ryan!


Like most of you, I have a long list of things I DON’T do very well…learn choreography, dance in character shoes, keep my house clean and clutter free, run, cake decorating, play basketball, find new and interesting ways to serve my families vegetables, lose 10 pounds, win myself a car …and the list goes on. But with all those things (and more. So many, many more. Sigh) that I am not good at, it’s nice every once in a while to enjoy something is easy for me. Something that may be hard for other people, but for me, it’s a piece of cake.

My neighbor called me this week and asked if I could possibly do her a HUGE favor. She had been assigned, because she has access to a silk screening machine, to do a flag for girl’s camp. She had gotten the tiger all done on the flag, but she needed someone to finish the edges and figure out a way to hang it. She brought over a flag pole and a walking stick, unsure of which one to use, or even how to attach the flag, since her flag pole was kind of broken in the attaching department.

“No problem,” I said. Because, honestly, that didn’t sound like a hard thing at all. And, it wasn’t. I cut it straight (even though for the life of me, I can’t find my rotary cutter. Urg.), serged the edges, hemmed it, sewed in a pocket and a little thing to hang it by, “fixed” the little attacher thingy on the pole with a few rubber bands (don’t look at me like that–it works, I promise!) and put the flag on the pole. Done. Silly me, I didn’t take a picture before I took it over, because I thought it really looked good.

I took it over to her last night and she was SO GRATEFUL! Like her gratitude was too much for the amount of work I had done. I told her it was no big deal. But, to her, it WAS a big deal. Because she doesn’t sew, she had NO idea how to get it to stay on the pole, and it was one more thing she had to do to get ready for camp. I’m very happy that I can be of some help. It reminds me that we all have talents and things that come easily to us, and it’s ok to be proud of those things. It’s good to share your gifts with friends. It’s nice to be able to do that thing that for her is a huge problem, but for you, it’s no big deal. Now if I could just find someone who can lose 10 pounds for me, that would be a nice favor, don’t you think?

Unlived in, unwanted, unloved

There’s quite a lot of road construction going on in our little city, and most of it involves expansion. There’s eventually going to be a 5 lane highway from the freeway to basically my house. The roads are all filled up with orange barrels and cones– Oh, that reminds me of a joke I heard recently — “There are only two seasons in Utah…Winter and construction.” Get it? Anyway, I was saying something about construction. I knew they were going to take out some houses along the main road to make room for the new road, but I was shocked and surprised when one day they were there and the next day there was a pile of rubble where the day before a house had stood. Then there’s another street where they are also widening the road. Several houses along that street are also slated for demolition. I drive that road about eleventy times per day taking my kids school, soccer, friends’ houses, and to go to WalMart. I’ve watched two houses get moved off of their foundations and hauled off somewhere else. Well, I didn’t actually WATCH, but I observed the progress daily and then one day they were gone. There are three or four more houses that are looking like they might be next to go. The lawn has been left to die, uncut and weedy, the people who lived there have moved out and moved on.

I just wonder how those people feel. They lived in those houses, making them comfortable and lovely places for their families. They worked in and worked on those houses, inside and out. They were their havens from the storms of life, and now they are going to be hauled off or torn down. It’s one thing to sell your house to another family, who you hope will love and take care of your house as well as you would, but to sell your house to the city knowing that it’s going to be demolished is another thing.

It’s hard enough watching other people living in and changing a house. When we sold our house in Lehi to move to this house in Highland, we were pleased to sell our house to a young family. Mostly, we didn’t care who bought the house, as long as we sold it. But now, when we drive by the old house, we notice the changes they have made. They took out the ONE TREE I had in the front yard, the golden chain tree that I LOVED

and put up a flagpole. A flagpole! And I’ve never once seen a flag on that flagpole. But the house is still there. The back yard is still there, and still a great place for kids to play. The maple tress that we planted from spindly little bareroot trees are now big and lush. If I were to drive by and see the the house had been razed or taken out for a road, I think I would cry.

So I wonder what kind of grief those people are going through. Is it like losing a family member, or is it just a place they used to live? Unlived in. Unloved. Unwanted. I wonder.

Whatchu been up to, there?

My posts have been a little bit sparse here lately. That doesn’t mean there’s been nothing going on, it means we’ve had so much going on I haven’t had the energy to compose a string of words into a coherent sentence.

But it’s summer, Paige, the time to relax. What have you been doing?

Cough, cough. Well, for one thing, last week was concert week. So that meant four trips and about 15 hours in Salt Lake for costume fittings and rehearsal and a concert. Our concert was Friday night.

I’m pleased with how we did, although we tend to make brand new and different mistakes during a concert. Nerves, I guess. I don’t know if we are trying so hard to watch the director and smile that we lose track of which measure we are on, or what, but I heard from several people that they made mistakes in places where they have NEVER made a mistake before. That’s frustrating, because we really want the songs to sound the very best that they can, and we only have one chance to get it right.

But I am generally pleased with our efforts.

Ryan and the family did not come. Yes, he was out of town this week, but he was so kind to arrange his travel into one REALLY LONG day instead of being gone for two days, so he was back by Friday. But it was the Father’s and Son’s campout! John was so excited he wanted to pack his bags on Tuesday or Wednesday. But Friday loomed cloudy and threatened of rain. By the time I went to pick up Natalie from her week at Clearcreek camp at 3:00, it was POURING RAIN. I was seriously wet and my curly hair was no longer curly. When I got home and it was still raining, I was worried about how wet my sons and their father would be on this campout. But I didn’t have to worry about that anymore, because we got a phone call telling us that they had canceled the campout. John was very disappointed, but Ryan was relieved. I mentioned that they could now come to my concert, but since it was so late and we hadn’t planned on that or made arrangements for a babysitter, he decided to just take all the kids somewhere and miss the concert. He has been to every single other concert we’ve done in 5 years, so it’s not like he’s unsupportive.

And when I wasn’t at rehearsal for the concert this week, I was at rehearsal for the Wizard of Oz.
I know, I know. I said that there was NO WAY I could fit a play into my schedule and that I was way too busy this year to do Community Theater. But I’m going to make it work anyway. No, I didn’t get the part I was going for, but I do get to play an Apple Tree, which makes me excited. I’m also an Oz beautician. My lovely daughter Natalie is playing a munchkin. It’s fun. Fun, that is, except for these darn dance rehearsals that go on FOREVER. Oh, I’m so not a dancer, but I’m trying. This week we rehearsed Thursday night and Saturday morning for one large dance scene. Thursday night I went home and my feet ached SO BAD from four hours of learning this dance. Seriously. Four hours. Thankfully, there was yoga on Friday morning so I could stretch and hopefully help those muscles to not freak out on me. Saturday we rehearsed that same dance number again. And again. And again. Not four hours worth, but enough to hopefully learn it.

Besides these wonderful experiences in the arts, I’ve been trying to keep the kids happy. We went to summer movies, softball games (when they weren’t rained out), made cookies, and played with friends. This week we’ve got a Scout camp, more softball games, a trip to the library, summer movies, and maybe some miniature golf at Boondocks.

How’s your summer shaping up? Busy? Relaxing? Vacation? Well, whatever you are doing, I hope you are enjoying spending time with your kids and family!

It’s voting time!

If you know me, you know it’s my goal to WIN our family vacation, because otherwise there will probably not BE a family vacation. So that means entering contests, and sometimes it means begging for help from friends. That’s where you come in–YOU, my FRIENDS!!!

I need as many people as I can find to VOTE for the picture I submitted.

The top 5 with the MOST votes win the Summer Nightastic getaway for 4 including Park Hopper Tickets and 2 nights at a Disneyland Resort Hotel!

So–go on over HERE and vote for #24, which is our lovely colorful Natalie at the M&M store. And, because I will probably hound you until you DO vote, would you just do me a favor and let me know you voted? Then I’ll know I can stop hounding and nagging you incessantly. Voting is limited to one vote per verified email address, which means you have to vote, put in your email address, then I think they’ll send you a verification email which you have to click on to make sure your vote counts (or you may just have to sign up and register, I’m not sure). but I know it will be relatively painless. I have to beat out 221 other people, so I need all of you! So go and vote. Vote from work, Vote from home. Ask your friends, your boss, your children, your dog–anyone who has an email account–to vote. Please? Please, please, please, please? Won’t you vote for me?

Remember–Go HERE, and vote for NUMBER 24.

Thank you!!!!!

Mark this date in history

I just looked at the calendar, and saw…….nothing.

Seriously! No baseball games, no softball games, no play practice for the kids or me, no softball practice, no YM or YW activity!

Oh, wait. I have rehearsal for bells, but I didn’t write it on the calendar. But still–nothing for anyone else!

They can all just stay home and lay around and be lazy.

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