The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: August 2010 (Page 1 of 2)

What I’m doing with all my “free time”

School started last week around these parts. So far the kids have attended 3 days of school. All day school, I might add, none of this 1/2 day or three hour stuff for my first grader through high school junior.

I will admit that even though I’m sad to see them go, sad to have to say goodbye to the fun and spontaneity of summer, and sad to jump into the planning, the scheduling and the homework, I have been looking forward to having some time without them to get things done. Think about it. It’s been 16 years since I’ve had a little one at home with me for all or part of the day.

I have plans. Yes, I do. I’m going to work out, clean the house, get myself organized, take care of all my PTA responsibilities, manage the Primary stuff, paint, etc. But it’s amazing how quickly the time goes from the time the last one goes until the first one gets home.

Lest you think I’m a slacker, let me tell you what I got done on the first day of school.
*I took my kids to the back to school breakfast at the busstop
* I went to the Gym. Yes. The Gym. Ahem. I DO know what a gym is. You over there..Stop snickering. I kicked out 30 minutes on the bike, 10 minutes on the eliptical thingy, walked 10 minutes and did about 5 minutes of arm weights. Exhausting.
*I came home and took a shower and got dressed.
*I organized about 6 weeks of coupons that had been waiting for me to organize them.
*Then I took all those newly clipped and organized coupons to our local Smith’s store, where they are currently running their big coupon event, where any coupon that is valued and $1 or less is equal to $1. I saved $50 with my coupons. Yeah, I love that!
*I had time to bring my groceries home and put them away, and then BOOM, the kids were home.

The other days were even less productive, unless you could presidency meeting and visiting teaching as productive. But I am enjoying the time without the kiddos. I get some cleaning done, get myself organized, and then hopefully I can be on my game when they come home and the chaos begins.

Can I just vent here for a minute?


We have about 20 junior high kids in our neighborhood, and no bus to take them the 1.6 miles to school. Somehow I got put in charge of organizing carpool groups. Why did I get that job? I don’t know, but I’m NOT doing it again. So I checked in with people to see if they wanted to join up with a big carpool, or maybe they don’t have enough seats and want to stick with a small carpool, or no carpool all at. We had 6 kids/5 drivers, which was perfect, and when I went to talk to one of the moms, she said, “I’m not doing carpools this year. My son/daughter can just ride his/her bike. I’m not going to be driving any carpools this year.”

Uh, what? Well, that screws up my carpool schedule, and…really? I know what’s going to happen. Your poor kid is going to be out there in the rain/snow/wind/cold, and we are going to feel sorry for him/her and pick him/her up and squish him/her into our carpool, so you’ll get rides for him/her without ever offering to drive. I just KNOW it.

Anyway, this carpool has been difficult. Certain people can only drive in the mornings, We have to rotate through Fridays but some people just CAN’T do that, so some people will be driving more than others, etc. And we’ve changed our assignments so much I can hardly keep it straight. I had to call a friend and say, “Am I picking up the kids today or was it you?”

Then–(and here’s the venting part)–Mrs I don’t want to carpool called me this morning and asked who was driving and if her son/daughter could join in and could she take a day, etc, etc? I know I should jump at the chance to have another driver, but I honestly don’t know if one of our drivers can fit 7 kids in her car, and can we really add one more kid, etc, etc.

I know there are bigger problems in the world than my carpool issues, but I’m just kind of tired of it. The mean snarky side of me wants to say, “Oh, sorry. You didn’t want to join our carpool, and we’re all full.” But did I say that? No, of course not. Because I’m a wimp. And I want people to all just get along. Even if it’s irritating.

So, I’ll spend an hour on the phone with everyone, trying to work this out. Yes, I will.


How to befuddle and frustrate the cashier at Wal-mart. (Or, I’m an idiot and my husband is directionally challenged)

I went to Wal-Mart for a QUICK trip. We needed composition notebooks, a flashdrive and peppercorns. And by “WE”, I mean mostly the kids. You know, those back to school items that you don’t think you need until you get the note from the teacher. But since those items are spread throughout the store, I ended up with a few other items, too. Funny how many people had the same idea. The school supplies isle was bustling with activity.

25 minutes later I was checking out. I looked in my purse for my wallet and found none. Where the heck is my wallet? No problem, I can still write a check, since my checkbook floats around in my purse independent of my little wallet. No, wait, I had my checkbook out writing checks for school lunch, and it’s not in here, either. CRAP. I have honestly never been in this situation before. But I’m sure other people at Wal-Mart have. They must have a procedure for this, right?

“I’m so sorry, I don’t have my wallet,” I said to the sweet little cashier. She continued ringing me up while I SEARCHED my purse in earnest. Nope. Can’t find it. She called the customer service representative over, and he says, “No problem, we’ll just ‘suspend’ the transaction.” He does something that saves it in the computer and gives me a little tiny receipt. Meanwhile, I’m digging out my phone.

“Ryan, I’m at Wal-Mart and I don’t have my wallet. Can you run down here and rescue me?” I asked.
Grumbling just a little bit, he says he will. He asks which entrance which door I’ll be at, and I told him I was inside by the checkers. I called him back a minute later after I had parked my cart to pay later and told him I was outside waiting for him. “I just barely got out on the highway. I’ll be there in 10 minutes,” he said.
“Ten minutes?” I said, “You won’t be NEARLY 10 minutes.” The Wal-Mart is just down the street, right by the high school. It’s seriously less than 2 miles from our house.

I sat down outside and watched the shoppers coming and going. There’s the dad saying to his daughter, “Now it’s just the 1 inch 3 ring binder, right?”, and the mom with three little kids in tow saying, “Keep up with me…don’t you hit your sister.” It’s a pleasant night, now that the sun has gone down and it’s not 98 degrees anymore.

But where the heck IS HE? It’s been almost 10 minutes since I called him. I called him back. “Where ARE you?” I asked. “I just got through the roundabout. Which door are you at?” he said. “Roudabout?” I was trying to figure out why he’d be at the roundabout. “You do realize that there’s a Wal-Mart just down the street from our house, don’t you?” How long has it been open? Over a year, now.
“Oh, Crap,” he said. He has gone to the Wal-Mart in American Fork, which really IS 10 to 15 minutes away from our house. No, I didn’t specify which store I had gone to, but why in heaven’s name would I travel to the world’s most crowded Wal-Mart when we have our own smaller, less crowded, more friendly store 5 minutes away? WhY? “I’m having a really hard time finding things lately,” he said.
“I’ll just go home and find my wallet or checkbook and come back. You can just go home.” I said.
But he was already out and driving around, he said he would just come and that I should wait for him.

So I waited. Fifteen minutes is a long time when you are sitting outside the store feeling like a stalker. Feeling stupid. I tried to do some more people watching and not feel quite as much like the idiot that I am, leaving my wallet….where IS my wallet? I got out my phone and made a few calls, just to chat and kill the time, but no one answered. At 9:00, he finally pulled up. I grabbed his wallet and went in the store, hoping that I could use HIS credit card and get away with it.

I went back in, went to the same checker. Since she didn’t have huge line and she knew the situation, I was there to make her life MORE difficult. She couldn’t figure out what to do, so she called the same guy who had helped her before. He couldn’t make it work. The little receipt they had given me wasn’t scanning, and they couldn’t make it bring back the earlier transaction. I thought about just grabbing my cart and making a dash for it, but that wouldn’t be right. And I had already waited half an hour, so what’s a few more minutes, right? Now I’ve got 2 Wal-Mart employees befuddled and confused. Why isn’t this working. People come to the line and the checker waves them away to other lines, since she’s got a “problem customer” here (my words, not hers. She was actually quite nice, despite the frustration of the situation).

Finally, the guy figured out what to do. I swiped Ryan’s card, signed his name, paid, and left. My quick trip to WalMart ended up over an hour and 15 minutes. The good thing, though, was that the kids were all in bed by the time I got home. *Sigh* I returned Ryan’s wallet to him after I located mine. It was in my big old coupon purse that I had taken grocery shopping the day before. Duh. I’d driven without a license for a day and a half (oops) and didn’t even notice I didn’t have it.

So that’s it. That’s how you befuddle and frustrate the Wal-Mart cashier, and it proves I’m an idiot and my husband is directionally challenged.

Beware the Doldrums

Pronunciation: \?d?l-dr?mz, ?däl-, ?do?l-\
Function: noun plural
Etymology: probably akin to Old English dol foolish
Date: 1811

1 : a spell of listlessness or despondency
2 often capitalized : a part of the ocean near the equator abounding in calms, squalls, and light shifting winds
3 : a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump

I think that just about covers it. Listlessness, inactivity, slump.

I am not a hot weather creature. I do not thrive in hot weather. I would never want to live in Arizona.

I don’t really want to go anywhere or do anything. I’m happy to sit in my air conditioned house and read a book. How about you? How do you cope with the summer doldrums?

Happy Anniversary!

After all the nagging, cajoling and pestering on my part (and yours, thank you), Ryan shaved it all off.

What a nice anniversary present for me!

Today is our 18th anniversary on the 18th. That’s gotta be some kind of special number, right?

Well, Happy Anniversary to my love. I’m so blessed to have married such a wonderful man.

Zits and facial hair–must we go there?

Am I the only one who puts toothpaste on zits?

Don’t laugh. It works.

When you’ve got a big old zit under the skin and you can tell in 2 or 3 days it’s going come out of the closet and explode onto your face, you put a dab of white toothpaste on it before you go to bed. Yes, it might tingle a little bit, and yes, it might smell minty (what’s the downside of that?) and you might get a little on your pillowcase, and your kids or husband might mock you when you go in to their rooms to say prayers or kiss them goodnight, but pay no attention, because it works.

In the morning, that zit will be significantly less—big. The toothpaste must suck out some of the oil or puss or whatever is in there, and dries it up. I’m not saying it’s going to totally go away, but it will be smaller. And then you could do it again the next night if you want.

I know some of you must have heard of this because otherwise, where else would I learn such a thing? It must have been from a roommate or something.

Speaking of faces (yes, we were kind of speaking of faces, right?) Something’s happened to my husband’s face that is more than a little bit disturbing.

That’s him standing with Cole and Megan.

I know you were thinking, “Who is that strange man standing by Paige’s kids? Isn’t she worried that he’ll abduct them and run off with them?” or “Hey, I think I’ve seen that guy in a movie once before. Yeah, Grizzly Adams, that’s it.”

Here’s the story. Ryan claims that when he went to Korea back in June, he forgot his shaver, and then it was too long to shave. Or something like that. And from then on I think he’s just been growing it to annoy me. He gets comments from GUYS like, “cool beard” or, “looking snazzy” or just admiring his ability to grow facial hair in general. But really, unless you’re in the band ZZTop, I don’t see how that’s a valuable skill. And now it’s getting all “tufty” and icky looking, it’s just about more than I can stand. And hair in your nose when you kiss your husband? Let’s not go there.
Pioneer Day is over, dude.

I’ve encouraged him to even shave it into a nice goatee or just trim it AT ALL, but my pleas fall on deaf ears.

So–let’s put it to a vote, which face do you like better?

Clean shaven man who liked babies? or angry looking scary man?

Why I love living in Highland

Last weekend was our town celebration, the Highland Fling. It’s one of our favorite activities as a family. Last year, however, we missed it because we were taking a family trip to Yellowstone, and several family members complained about missing the fling. Seriously? It was a vacation, guys. You are not allowed to complain about what you missed while on vacation.

On Friday night, we went to a “so you think you can dance” type competition. It was a blast to see so much good and great dancing. After the competition, one of the judges, Gev Manoukian, came up and did his own performance. It was amazing!

And then they had a “Moms and Dads’ dance off”. They invited all the parents to come up and compete. I am not a dancer, nor do I pretend to be one, so I didn’t go up, but our good friend Sherry was not afraid to get up there and shake her stuff. That’s her there in the jeans, white dress and green jacket.

She danced her heart out and even did “the worm” up there. She ended up winning a Cricut from Provo craft. It was a fun activity!

Saturday morning we got the gang up and out of the house for the wonderful pancake breakfast. Our Chinese girls must think that we have a big outdoor pancake breakfast EVERY week, since two out of three Saturdays that they were here, we had our only two big breakfasts of the year. We even sat by and talked to the mayor! (he’s in our ward, so it’s not so rare to see or talk to him.)

After breakfast, the kids went exploring before the parade started. Megan came and told me that they were giving away free Webkinzes for the first 200 people in line. So we got the kids together, and went to stand in line. We had to wait about 40 minutes, and were hoping that they really were giving away Webkins animals, but we had nothing better to do, really, so it wasn’t a bad wait.

They were indeed giving them away, and we were in the right place at the right time. Every one of the kids, even the Chinese girls and the boys, got a free little animal.

Then we settled in to watch our favorite small town parade.

We went back to the park later to check out the shops and booths set up, and also for Cole and Megan to compete in the burrito eating contest. When I signed them both up for the eating contest, the guys at Barbacoa didn’t actually laugh at us, but they kind of smirked in a “really?” kind of way. But when we got to the contest, there were only 5 people total at the table. I thought their odds were looking up.

I mean, they should be able to beat out a little girl and her grandma, right? There were a few last minute recruits, so the eating pool looked more like this when they started.

They gave it their best. Trying to hork down those three pound burritos.

But this guy had them beat from the start.

In about three minutes, this guy finished his. Cole made it about 1/2 way through his burrito, and Megan ate maybe 1/4 of hers. We took their leftovers home and Ryan and I split Megan’s burrito and ate them for lunch the next day. They had fun, and got free food out of it. I’m proud of them for actually entering the contest, and giving it their best shot.

We also introduced our Chinese girls to cotton candy. I didn’t think they would like it, but they did. They each bought a bag of cotton candy.

Later that night we went back to the park for our favorite fireworks program. It’s not a long show, but we sit with friends, it close to our house, and we love it. We could actually watch the fireworks from home if we didn’t feel like going to the park, but we love actually being there.

Warning, Mormon lingo ahead

Sunday morning I got a phone call from Brother N in the bishopric asking if he could meet with me before church. Don’t you just LOVE phone calls like that? He said he could come over to our house, or I could come to the church, whichever was more convenient. What? I was busy trying to get people ready, also putting the final touches on my Relief Society lesson, but I told him I could come about 15 minutes before church started. Hopefully he’s just telling me I’m doing a great job in my calling, and maybe to ask me how things are going. Maybe they were really calling RYAN (who hides out in the nursery playing with little kids each week) to a calling and were asking me if I could support him. They couldn’t be releasing me from my calling yet, though, because I’ve barely been in this presidency a year, and I’m just getting the hang of things.

Well, I was partly right. They didn’t release me. They did CALL me to a new calling. Seems they were reorganizing both the Primary Presidency and the Young Women’s, and they would like for me to serve in the Primary Presidency as the 2nd counselor. What? Of course I said I would. While I’m thinking it will be more work than the Relief Society gig, I’m looking forward to working in Primary. It’ll be fun, right?

I still had to teach my lesson, since it was my month to do the Presidency Message. I had a lesson on faith all planned out, and I was going to show this video clip. It went so well with the message I was giving on having faith in times of trial.

Well, that video combined with this being my last lesson to teach in Relief Society for a while, and my last Sunday working with this amazing presidency who I have grown to love so much in the past year got me crying. I could barely see the words on the page. I tried to hold it together to get through the lesson–I’m really not usually a crier, dangit– and somehow managed to finish. I will miss working with those ladies. I’ve learned a lot from them and I love them, and I will miss them.

But I seem to be getting a little bit of a reputation in our ward. For the past several years, I’ve been bounced around from calling to calling. I was in activity days for a short time, just getting to know and like that calling, when they called me to Young women’s. I was getting used to that and having a grand time, when they called me to the Relief Society Presidency job. Then I do that for a year and get drafted into the primary. Maybe they think they want to work with me, then they realize I am not all that great and they want to get rid of me. Maybe they know I get bored easily. What they all seem to be forgetting, however, is that I already have a pretty major church calling. One that I devote at least four hours a week minimum to. Yes, playing bells IS a calling. A pretty great calling, if you ask me, but still a calling.

The funny thing is, they haven’t released me from the RS job. I expected them to call someone new and release me today, since it’s been a week, but they didn’t call anyone.

As a primary presidency, we are now scrambling to fill a whole lot of holes. Our president and one counselor were teachers, our music leader got called to be YW president, activity day leaders and scout leaders were also called into YW. So, we’ve got some shoes to fill.

Today we managed to pull together a quick sharing time, but that will be fun–coming up with sharing time lessons and all that. Oh, and writing and putting together a program, and quarterly activities. Fun, fun, fun.

Since we’re talking about church and all that, I went to my mission reunion last night. It was the Duesseldorf Germany 20 year mission reunion. Has it really been 20 years? ACK? I served from fall of 1990 to spring of 1992, so I guess it’s *almost* been 20 years since my mission. I guess they were speaking of President Wolfert’s 20 years, since he was called to that mission in 1990. It was fun to see many Elders and Sisters from my mission. Sadly, not one of my companions was there, although I did know many of the sisters that were there, and a few of the Elders. As a sister in the mission field, you have a little bit of a disadvantage because you don’t get to know as many of the Elders. After all, the guys have an extra 6 months. But it was fun hearing the mission stories, hearing what people are doing now, how many kids they have, and just seeing them. I missed out on my informal high school reunion that was also going on this weekend, but I’m really glad I got to go to the mission reunion. It brought back a lot of memories of what a fabulous experience serving a mission was for me, and also my love of the German people. I need to take my family over to Germany! I’ll have to work on that one.

Today I took Cole, Megan, Natalie and our two Chinese girls up to see Music and the Spoken Word. You can’t visit Utah and not at least try to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, can you? Ryan stayed home with John, who wasn’t old enough to go, and Jenna, who complained of a headache last night and an earache this morning. We got there early enough to get great seats, and listened to the run through. After the run through, there were some announcements and introductions and then they explained that we would have to be very quiet while the broadcast was recording, since this is a LIVE broadcast as well as being recorded for rebroadcast. One of my girls said, “you mean they are going to do that AGAIN?” Way to enjoy the beauty of the music, kiddo. One of my girls was complaining that it’s too cold, and the other one kept whining that it was too long. *Sigh*. I’m doing this for my two Chinese girls. This whole time we’ve been trying to give them new experiences, take them new and different places and have fun.

After it was over, I asked the girls what they thought of the whole experience. One of them told me, “We saw this with the school already.” I’m sure she didn’t mean to deflate my bubble, but I seemed to lose all my enthusiasm at that moment. “Yes”, I said, “you’ve already seen the building, but you hadn’t see the choir.” I said. I guess I was fishing for some kind of comment, but I didn’t get it. We drove home in relative silence. When I got home and Ryan asked how it was, I whined something like “why do I even try? You know how much the kids LOVE (I was saying this sarcastically, by the way) going to Music and the Spoken word? Daisy and Vivian seemed to love it just as much.” I was a little down and wondering why I try so hard. I mean, I would have enjoyed sleeping in this morning, too. I could have done without the two hours of driving up to Salt Lake City and back. I could have done without listening to the complaining. But I did it because I want to give them experiences. All of them. I hope that they did enjoy the experience. They just aren’t big talkers, so I guess I shouldn’t expect gushing enthusiasm, right?

So, it’s been a big week. New calling, lots of activities with the exchange students, Mission reunion. This week should be good too. Hopefully we’ll get ourselves organized as a Primary Presidency this week, and we can start to feel more confident in that. Oh, and hopefully soon they’ll release me. Because being in the Primary Presidency AND the Relief Society Presidency? That’s a little much.

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