The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: September 2010 (Page 1 of 2)

Why I hate flying

I do not enjoy flying. Do you? My husband can just fall asleep on the plane, and after the flight he’s just ready to RUN through the airport, grab the bags and find the car. Not so for me. Flying makes me anxious, to say the least. Even though I take dramamine, I must always made sure there’s a barf bag in my seat back pocket, or that I have a big old ziplock bag in my purse. Hopefully both. I have thrown up on a plane, haven’t you? More than once. Not every time, thankfully.

To make the flight more bearable, I come prepared with a few snacks, a water bottle, a book and an MP3 player, yet it still doesn’t make it a pleasant experience. My flight to Atlanta had just started, and then we hit a MAJOR pocket of turbulence. I actually hoped for a moment that I would just die instantly. I did make it through, and the rest of the flight, while less jumpy, was still not very fun.

My little touchpanel on the back of the seat in front of me wouldn’t work. I KNOW how to work a touch panel, yet it won’t DO ANYTHING. People all around me are watching in flight tv or a movie, yet my dumb screen is stuck. When the flight attendant came by with my choice of beverage, I asked her about my faulty touch screen, and she said, “Hmmm, those things are pretty touchy sometimes.” Why thank you so much. And, I’ll take the peanuts and that tiny cup of diet coke, please. My batteries in my MP3 player were waning, I couldn’t really read because it was kind of bumpy, and I really just wanted to distract myself with some mindless tv. Ugh. The sweet lady who was sitting next to me took pity on my. She saw me trying over and over to get my screen to work, and said,
“Would you like to use mine? I’m listening to my book, and have no need for it.” Oh, the sweetie! I plugged my earphones into her plug, and then I got to watch at least one hour of tv. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers, right?

When we arrived, I found my way to the shuttle to take me to baggage claim, and there was Ryan waiting for me. I was so happy to see him! He had driven the company’s rental car in to pick up another guy whose flight arrived before mine, and after he picked him up, Ryan gave him the car and he circled around waiting for us to call and have him pick us up. So great! While driving through the city at night, I was a-starving, and b-nauseated. But I knew that once we got to the hotel, I could eat something and then sleep, so that would probably take care of both problems.

Our return flight was better. I was traveling with Ryan, so even though our seats were not together (I was in the VERY back of the plane), I got to board with the special people because he’s a gold medallion member or something like that. I settled into my MIDDLE seat and waited for the seats around me to fill up. For a moment or two I thought that the window seat might be vacant, but no such luck. I don’t think airlines fly with very many vacant seats these days. On one side I had the old guy wearing shorts who fell asleep immediately, and at one point he had his head just about on my shoulder. He startled and woke up and apologized. I got a chuckle out of it. On the other side I had a bearded guy who was quietly talking to himself from the moment he sat down. I wondered if I had some kind of crazy next to me, but then I looked a little closer at his book and realized it was Romeo and Juliet, and he was probably memorizing. I asked him if he was memorizing, and he told me he was playing Lord Capulet in his local community theater production next month. We chatted a little bit about theater and then he went back to his memorizing and I tried to read my book. Even though I knew he was memorizing, it still felt a little like I was seated next to a crazy person.

When we landed, I was pleased that I had not thrown up, or even felt the extreme urge to throw up. It took me forever to get off of that tin can, however, since I was way in the back. Ryan had time to go use the bathroom and was back in time to meet me. It was with semi shaky legs that I made my way to baggage claim. Unfortunately, I was trying to keep up with hubby, who was off like a bat out of…well, you know. When we finally made it to the safety of the car, I said, “Don’t you feel sick?” I asked. Nope, he feels fine. I, on the other hand felt completely wiped out and slightly sick for the rest of the day. Worth it? I guess. But I still hate flying.

ps–I think I left my whole makeup bag there in the hotel somewhere. I remember trying to stuff it in one of our bags, but they were pretty full by then. I fear it didn’t make it into a bag, because I’ve unpacked and can’t find it anywhere. No, I don’t have expensive cosmetics, but those were my favorites, and now I have to use the “what’s left”. I may have to go out and buy a new mascara and some makeup brushes. grr.

Hello, y’all

Hello from Atlanta, Georgia!

I did actually make it to Georgia, and I’ve been having a nice time. While Ryan works and schmoozes and talks and explains endless at the trade show, I’ve been having a nice time. On Thursday, one of my former BYU roommates met me at my hotel and we went adventuring together. We got our map and set out on foot to find the CNN building. We had an interesting tour. Did you know that the CNN building is home to the world’s largest freestanding elevator? The Building once housed an indoor amusement park built around the theme of the old H.R. Puffenstuff cartoon show. It was called the World of Sid and Marty Croft. When the Amusement park went out of business, Ted Turner soon bought the entire complex and renamed it CNN Center. Who knew?

Unfortunately, they did not allow us to take any pictures while on the tour. One of my favorite parts of the tour was when they let us sit at a mock anchor desk and read “the news”. Their photographer took a picture of the two of us at the news desk which we could purchase for a mere $20. Cough. No, thanks.

We walked through the Atlanta Centennial Olympic Park, and then looked for someplace to have lunch. Honestly, it was SO hot that all this walking was making me so hot and sweaty and tired, I just wanted to sit ANYWHERE that was inside and air conditioned. We chose the Hard Rock Cafe. We had a super fun waiter who was sweet and charming, even though he called me “Mama”. I’m not used to THAT. He said he wanted to be a motivational speaker. Laurie and I had a fun time catching up and discussing our lives, our kids, and all that has been going on.

After lunch, we walked and walked and actually got a little bit lost trying to find my huge hotel. Once I looked up, there it was. We just adjusted our course and found our way back. It was so much fun to visit with her, and I’m so glad she braved the traffic to come and visit with me.

I then called Ryan and asked how his day was going at the show. I told him where I had been, and he said, “The convention center is a block away from the CNN. You should have just taken the shuttle to the show and then walked a block down hill.” Well, then. So, I put on more deoderant, powdered my sweaty face and took the shuttle bus to the show to say hi to Ryan. I finally found the Control 4 booth and found him. He was busy talking to everyone, so I just set out on my own to peruse the show floor and look for cool “stuff” for my kids. I walked around for two hours until I could take no more. My feet were killing me. I found a place to sit down, drank from my water bottle and called the kids.

When Ryan was done, we came back to the hotel, dumped our stuff, and then met some of Ryan’s work buddies to go to dinner. We had a fabulous dinner at Ted’s Montana grill. It was fun to get to know some of the people Ryan works with, and hear their praise for his knowledge and abilities. And the food was GREAT, too.

The next day Ryan went off to the convention center, and I slept in a bit. I had a meeting planned with another of my BYU roommates who also lives near Atlanta. Lisa picked me up at my hotel and took me to the Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum. It was FASCINATING! This HUGE painting depicting the battle of Atlanta has been made into a diorama.
*The circumference of the painting is 358 ft.
*The painting covers 15,030 sq. ft.
*The depth of the display is 30 ft.
*The painting alone weighs more than 10,000 lbs.
While the history of the battle was interesting, I really was drawn in by the history of the painting! It was commissioned in 1885, traveled with the circus, and eventually was donated to the city of Atlanta. You should read about it. Amazing!

I loved looking at the old lovely houses as we drove. I would love to spend a few more days exploring. We decided to go to “the Underground” for lunch.

We laughed as we walked, turned around, asked for directions, and walked some more. We found the underground, and I felt conspicuously white. I was glad I was with Lisa, because she’s used to being a minority, but we were seriously the only white people there. We had fun, though, eating, laughing, and looking around the shops. We both tried on some INSANELY high shoes that I can only classify as “hooker heels”. We didn’t walk in them, we could barely just stand there without falling.

Lisa dropped me off at the convention center, where I met up with Ryan and managed to pull him away from work a little bit early. Even though it was hot and we were sweating, we walked the long few blocks over to the world of Coke museum.

It was fun! We saw all the coke memorabilia, there was a 4-d movie experience that was hokey. Our favorite was tasting all the flavors of soft drinks from around the world. “Beverly” and “Stoney” were both NaSTY!! Who would drink those? And so many of the flavors were SO sweet and fruity.

After all those weird flavors, when we sampled the regular coke flavors that we know, it tasted weird. It was a fun tour, and something I wanted to see (Ryan joked that it was the “mother land” for me), and I’m glad Ryan could get away to see it with me.

That night we went to a private party for Control 4 at some trendy club. It was loud, but the food was good and even though I didn’t know anyone, it was fun. We were both exhausted by 9, so we decided to bow out. We took a taxi back to the hotel and pretty much fell into bed.

Saturday Ryan went to work and I decided to take the day off. I stayed in bed until I felt like getting up. After showering, I decided to explore the hotel, and found there’s a connecting “mall”. It’s really just a glorified food court with a few stores, but they call it a mall. And you can go through the skywalk from this hotel. After lunch I found the hotel pool. I spent the afternoon reading my book by the pool. When I got too hot, I would swim for a bit, then get out and read some more.
There was no work to do, no emails to answer, no PTA stuff to worry about, no kids to take care of, nothing. It was wonderful.

Except that I didn’t bring any sunscreen (who thinks about sunscreen at the end of September?) and my shoulders and chest seem to be quite burned.

When we get home, I’ll post more pictures and tell you about the rest of our adventure! Bye for now.

Leavin on a jet plane

Today I’m going on a trip. Ryan’s in Atlanta for a trade show and for once it worked out that I could join him. My flight was basically free because of all the traveling he’s been doing, the hotel is paid for by work, and I was able to arrange things here at home so that I can be gone for a few days.

I’m excited, yet anxious. In my brain I know that things are going to be just fine, and that I’ve taken care of everything. The kids will be well cared for. Heck, they’ll probably have more fun than if I were here! But in my heart I still worry. I wonder how they’ll behave without me here to watch over them. And, yes, I know I’m going to miss them. I guess that’s part of being a mom.

Hopefully I’ll be able to fill you in on my fun adventure. I have made plans to meet two different friends who live nearby who have graciously agreed to come to the busy city and sightsee with me. And Ryan should be able to spend some time with me in the evenings, after work.

So…wish me luck. I haven’t been on a plane since 2005, and I haven’t traveled by myself since….well, I don’t actually remember, but it’s been more than 10 years. So it’s time to let my kids enjoy the weekend without me, and for me to be adventurous and not worry. Right?

The tale of the wrapper fight

I put the chicken in the crock pot at around 2. Yes, it was still mostly frozen, but it usually cooks up nice in the crock pot. At 5:00-ish, right before I had to go to pick up Megan from fencing, I looked in the crock pot and thought, “What the heck? Why is this chicken not cooked?” Oh, yeah. I forgot to turn it on. I guess we won’t be having chicken tonight. Oh, well. We’re going into week two that Ryan’s been out of town, and I’m getting ready to go on a trip myself, so the standards are rapidly deteriorating. Dinner plans? What dinner plans? So, on the way home from picking up Megan from fencing class, I stopped by Del Taco for 39 cent tacos. Ten bucks for dinner! And the kids are completely happy with it. Score.

So we ate our 39 cent tacos with some leftover rice and beans and corn and had a ‘decent’ dinner. Dad even called from Atlanta and talked to the kids. As we were finishing up dinner, the kids started balling up the taco wrapper papers and throwing them at each other. I tried to put a stop to it, but I was overpowered! Soon there were taco wrapper balls flying everywhere. I had no choice but to fight back. I balled up the sacks and joined in the fight! We were all laughing as we pelted each other with paper balls, running and chasing. Too much fun!

The moral of this story, folks, is that you can have fun, even if things aren’t going exactly the way you planned. And 39 cent tacos really aren’t bad.

Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.

September. It’s a month of changes, isn’t it? Kids go back to school.

We try to adjust to the new schedules and be efficient with the time we have.
The garden rewards us for our hard work during the summer.
The fruit trees also.
The air starts to cool off and the weather is beautiful.

With all the changes, I realized I needed to change it up, too. I went for a haircut–it had been WAY too long since I’d visited my friend, the stylist. I asked that she put some red in my hair. We had tried to do a little bit of red last time, but it didn’t take, so she went bolder this time. Since I’m not really one to do BOLD in any way, the end result was a bit of a shock to me.

I’ll show you some pictures, but please understand that this is just me, taking one handed pictures of my head while sitting here in my office. Nothing portrait worthy or anything, ok?

Here’s the basic cut. It’s a bit shorter than I was expecting, but nothing I can’t live with. I like how it’s stacked in the back, and I LOVE the color variation in the back.

I don’t know if you can see the different colors, but there’s some pretty strong reds in there.

My 14 year old said, “Mom, those are not natural colors. You would not be allowed to wear your hair like that to school.”
“They ARE natural colors, my dear. It’s not just all MY natural color.” Take that, know it all teenaged daughter.

Anyway, I think it looks really cool, and I love the red underneath, although you can’t really see it in my high quality self portrait.

Speaking of portraits, my sister needed models for a music and the spoken word painting she was doing, so I conned two friends to come and POSE with me. She needed some soccer moms for this story:

Three mothers were sitting together at a school ballgame. Two of them were gushing about their children’s talents and latest achievements. One’s son had just won an athletic scholarship, and another’s daughter had just been chosen as valedictorian. The third mother’s son had no such accomplishments, but she seemed unruffled, even happy about the success of the other two. She almost sounded as proud of those children as their own mothers were.

Later, when asked why she hadn’t felt jealous, she simply explained that it was much easier to celebrate than to compete. She certainly wanted success for her child as well, but she knew that victories for others don’t mean failures for us. She felt confident that her son would excel in his own way and in his own time.

The ability to forget oneself and praise another’s achievement is a key to contented living. It’s natural to feel pangs of envy at another’s success—as if their success cancels out our own. But, in reality, life is a roller coaster, and we each have our ups and downs. When we remember and cherish our own values and growth, we realize we wouldn’t trade places with anyone else. When we are confident in the motives of our own hearts, we can then reach out to commend others for a job well done or good fortune that comes their way.

It was fun, although I think I ended up looking kind of like a spaz. I was not chosen to be the serene mother happy for her friends. If you want to see the finished product, that Music and the Spoken Word will be rebroadcast on KBYU this Sunday at 8, I think.

I also went last week and gave my wedding ring a makeover. When we were getting married, everyone got gold wedding rings. I don’t think there were that many other options. Gold. But I don’t really wear gold jewelry. My watch, my earrings, my other rings are all silver. So for about a year, I’ve been looking for a nice ring I could get as a replacement. Then a friend told me I could just go and get my ring “dipped” or rhodium plated. So easy! I took it to the jewelers, waited 3 days, paid them $36 and got my ring back all shiney and sparkly in white gold.

Again, I apologize for the quality of my pictures. You can’t really see the silverness of the ring, or the sparklyness of the diamonds. But trust me, it’s beautiful. I love it because it’s still my wedding ring, but now it’s silver. It feels like a new ring, and I’m happy with it. Now if I could just keep those diamonds shiney ALL the time. Avoid hand lotion? I don’t think so.

Tomorrow we’re hosting the first ever “day of birthday parties” here. I’ve rented a velcro wall

and we’re having John’s party in the morning and Natalie’s party in the afternoon. So, I just need to go and buy large amounts of food and snacks, and hopefully the kids will entertain themselves!

Two words that should NOT go together

If you read any of the thrifty couponing blogs, today’s story is that through coupons and sales, you can get practically free Nyquil. But not just any Nyquil, the NEW flavor of nyquil.

Vanilla swirl? Really? Like it’s not going to still taste like throat burning disgusting just because you put some vanilla flavoring in it?

I just gagged thinking about it.

What’s rattling around in my head

* Did I sign all of the papers for school – times 5? Why do I have to do this for each kid – why can’t they have it all online?
*What time was I supposed to listen for that contest?
* Does everyone have a lunch?
* I need to schedule doctors’ appointments. Three years is probably a bit long to go between “yearly” visits. And one kid needs two more fillings, and is it time to call the orthodontist?
* What is that odd smell in that kid’s room?
* Why is it so hard to work in even 1/2 hour of exercise?
* Sugar–why do I need you so much? Why can’t I give you up?
* Does everyone have PE Clothes?
* I hate calling businesses and begging for free stuff. I’d much rather send an email or a letter, but sometimes they don’t respond unless you actually call them. And I’m a chicken, and I don’t want to call them.
* The toilets need cleaning. So do the showers.
* And the floors.
* Are there really people out there who manage family scripture study together every day? I would like to meet them .
* I need to fold the laundry. Do dishes. Cook. What are we going to have for dinner?
* Things actually do seem better when I do my hair and have makeup on.
* I need more volunteers for the Hawk Walk.
* I need to have a training for my volunteer time in the classroom?
* Insurance quotes. Try insuring a 16 year old boy. He doesn’t even drive. He doesn’t have a car, but he still needs insurance. Need I say more?
* And why am I so excited to go to the grocery store for a stock up run? I must be mental.
* What is wrong with this stupid printer? Must it jam every single time I use it?
* Jillian Michaels. Does she not know that jumping jacks reveal my weakened bladder control?
* I must be losing my mind. Who knew that switching from playing F and G to playing E and F on handbells would be so difficult? It’s a test of my hand/eye coordination, and telling my brain to be flexible.
* I really just want to sit and read MockingJay. Only I should have reread the second book because I don’t remember half of these characters.
* I need a haircut.
* Fundraisers? Classroom volunteer? Me? Yup.
* A stone hit my windshield a few weeks ago. Then I went through the car wash. I’m now the proud parent of a big old crack. AND a chip.
* Homework can be completely and utterly brutal. I don’t know if I can do 39 more weeks of this. All five kids talking to me at once, everyone needed a piece of me and there just wasn’t enough of me to go around. And then there’s the new powerschool. Could they really be missing assignments?
* Today is piano lesson day. Do not forget to send a check. Again.
*I promised them birthday parties. I’d better get on that.
* Peaches. Mom, would you like to come over and bottle my peaches for me?

Get the tongs!

It all started when Ryan got himself a new key fob for locking and unlocking the suburban. His had stopped working. His new one is super sensitive and he’s constantly making the car alarm go off, and locking the car from inside his pocket.

I went out yesterday with the girls to get them to band by 7 am (the JOY OF MY LIFE, let me tell you). The window to the suburban was down, so I threw my purse onto the passenger seat and tossed my keys over to the middle console thing. Then when Natalie tried to open the car door, she can’t, because it’s locked. I reached through the window to open the door, but it wouldn’t open. I tried pushing the button to unlock, but that wouldn’t work, either. You must unlock with the key fob, or it thinks you are trying to break in. But my key fob was way over there where I had tossed it and I COULDN’T reach it! Without completely climbing through the window, I couldn’t see a way to reach it.

(I just have to insert a MONK reference here, for those of you who watch Monk…”if it doesn’t reach? Call Warren Beach.”)

Enter the tongs. I use tongs for all kind of reaching in my kitchen. Seriously. Can’t reach that cookie sheet? Get the tongs. You dropped something behind the dryer? Get the tongs. So, I had Natalie go and get the tongs from the kitchen, and I was able to reach in, grab my keys, push the unlock button, and carry on.

I was feeling all proud of myself in handling this tricky, although annoying situation. I told my husband about it, and he said, “Why didn’t you just manually switch the unlock switch?”

Um…. I forgot?

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