The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: December 2010

Now I have to wait 364 days until my birthday

Birthdays are Great. Really! Even if you have a often forgotten right after Christmas birthday, it’s still a wonderful “make you feel special” day.

Ryan showed me this comic a few days before my birthday, and I had to laugh because it’s so true.

So often the birthday just gets forgotten in the Christmas hype, or people give one present that is for both Christmas and Birthday.

So I’ve learned to lower my expectations. I threw myself a big bash for my 40th birthday, and now that we’ve done that, I’m ok if I don’t have parties. But I woke to breakfast made by the family! Even Ryan, who hates waking up early, set an alarm and got up at the crack of 7:30 to make me breakfast. He even bought bacon and pancake mix the night before, so that we would have some! That’s going above and beyond the call of duty, if you ask me. Megan made me an omelet, and it was a beautiful breakfast!

The kids painted or made presents or coupons for me, which is cute. I love coupons, really. Megan brought me a handful of candy and a coupon for a free smoothie that her friend had given her for Christmas. Blatant regifting? Really? Fine. At least she thought enough to share stuff that she knew she was probably not going to use.

Then I got on the computer to find over 40 emails of birthday greetings! Say what you want about the evils of Facebook, but there’s nothing better for birthday reminders! It meant so much that so many people would take even a small minute to write a birthday greeting on my wall. And it really isn’t hard or doesn’t take much time at all, but it was wonderful. All throughout the day, there were more and more greetings. I felt VERY much loved!

Even though it was snowy and yucky weather, I took the kids out to lunch at Iceberg. We used gift cards they had gotten for Christmas and I got a free shake for my birthday! Woot! We also stopped and picked up two movies from Redbox using my codes I got when Groupon was doing a three movies for $1 deal. Score! So, after our lunch, we came home and watched the Sorcerers Apprentice. The kids were a little ticked that we had to keep stopping it so mom could answer the phone for her birthday greetings, but since it was my birthday, they couldn’t complain.

The best surprise was the package that came to the door. The box was from Hollywood Mega Store, addressed to me. Inside was a note that said “Happy Birthday Paige”, and there was sucha fun surprise!

megaphone clapboard

My own “director” megaphone and clapboard! Such a great thing, since I’m now knee deep in Road Show preparations (I’ll tell you all about that in a future post). Who could have sent this, I wondered? I called Ryan, but he claimed to know nothing about it. Who else would be so thoughtful and cute? There on the box, it was addressed to Paige Erickson and Scott Coleman right under it. My brother? My brother isn’t cute and original like that (no offense, Scott), is he? When I emailed to ask him if that was really from him, he said, “Yep that was from us. I had a flash of creativity.” Well, I’m impressed!

And I LOVE it!! I’m going to take that to rehearsals and yell at the kids! So Excited!

When Ryan came home from work, he was bearing gifts. An Ice Cream cake from ColdStone Creamery, for one. Yummers! He was also a little put out because he went all the way to a certain store only to find out they were closed until Jan 3. Sorry about that, dear. But there were presents, and not just the ladle I bought for myself the day before from Ikea. New breadpans, a cooking thermometer even (I have been wanting one of those!) And he planned to take me out to dinner, since it was my birthday. I made Ramen noodles for the kids, and even though I said I was fine to stay home (HUGE BLIZZARD going on!), he insisted, so we drove the one mile to Blue Lemon for dinner. I had a coupon, too, so that was even better. And Hooray for Blue Lemon. They took my buy one get one free coupon, so my dinner was free, AND, when I asked what they would do for birthdays, he said I could pick any treat from the counter. I chose the carrot cake! Most places would let you chose to use either the coupon or get the free birthday dessert, but they let me do both!! Hooray! Because even if it’s my birthday, I’m still cheap, you know.

When we came home, we were too full to even eat the special cake he brought home, so we’ll save it for later. The kids were all watching Lord of the Rings, but I slipped upstairs with my other free redbox movie and watched Eat, Pray Love in my room, in my bed.

So, it was a great birthday! People remembered me, I got cards from a friend and my mom (thanks, Mom! Mom always remembers, even before there was facebook to remind her), and I got many, many birthday greetings. I felt loved and special on my special day! And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Today I ordered a couple cute things from Coldwater Creek. Right now everything on their entire site is 50% off, even clearance. So, I picked out some things from the clearance, then it’s half off of that, and I used my groupon deal from a few weeks back where I paid $25 for a $50 gift certificate, and, since I have a Coldwater creek Visa, they always send me a $15 gift card for my birthday. So, after using all those, I ended up paying $14 (plus the $25 for the groupon deal) for a skirt, a jacket, a dress and a scarf. Not bad for $39 out of pocket, I would say. So that will just extend the presents into the dreary January!

Yes, there was too much snow, and there’s STILL too much snow, but we’ll try to make the best of it. And bundle up ’cause it’s COLD out there.

Now, if we could just get out of our neighborhood, one of our children REALLY wants to go ice skating.

It’s time for giving

This year for Christmas I wanted to GIVE more. I organized Ryan’s family party and hosted so that I could have the whole family participate in the Sub for Santa program. Instead of giving gifts to the cousins, we would give our gifts to families in need. I asked for 6 children, so that each family could give to one child. The united way asked us to provide two clothing items, a toy and a book for each child. We were assigned two families, one with four kids, and one with two kids. We chose the 3 year old from the Brazilian family, since Ryan could call and talk to them on the phone better than us English speakers. When we had the family party, everyone brought their presents for their assigned child. Originally the mom of the four kids had asked that the presents not be wrapped, but then after everyone had already dropped off the presents, changed her mind. So Natalie and I had a little wrapping fest.

Yesterday was delivery day. We packed all the presents into big black garbage bags and hauled them to the car. Both families were in Provo, so we set out to deliver. We went to the first family. Not wanting to overwhelm them with all of us going in, Ryan and Cole took the gifts. Without giving away too much information, it was a family of 6, with two tween kids and two teenagers, one of whom is autistic. The dad is disabled. They live in a small dingy condo in Provo. This was maybe the only Christmas they were going to get. I am sure they are going to enjoy the skateboards, clothes, and microscope sets, among other things.

When they delivered the gifts, the family was oh so appreciative, and gave us a wonderful thank you card and a plate of yummy sugar cookies. It made us feel so great. Really, I wished the whole family could experience the joy with us, but when I asked if any of them wanted to deliver the gifts, no one wanted to. I wished we could have done more, actually. We didn’t get anything for the parents–that was not required, but we kind of felt like they should get something, too. Before we went to the second family, Ryan suggested we go and pick up a ham. So the whole family traipsed through Maceys grocery store and picked out a ham for the next family. It was quite weird shopping with the whole family, let me tell you. We also got an extra coloring book and crayons, for our little 3 year old. Then we went to Wymount to find this family. As the kids came up the steps, they invited us all in. “‘Come, sit down,” they asked us, and so we did. We ended up talking to this family for about 1/2 an hour. They had sent their little girl with a friend, and their baby was sleeping, so we didn’t get to meet the kids. They are a little family from Brazil who are here while Dad completes the MBA program at BYU. He is here on scholarship and a generous grant, which as long as he serves in the LDS church and goes back to Brazil when he is finished with his degree, he won’t have to pay back the loan. He speaks English very well, but his wife only understands a little bit of English. Ryan did quite well keeping up. His Portugese is still quite good (much better than my German skills). They were so gracious and thankful, and it was a wonderful experience. They also gave us some treats and a picture that the girls had colored.

As we were leaving, the kids were talking about how fun that was, and that we FOR SURE had to do this again next year! I’m sure we will do this again. If the extended family does not want to do it, maybe we’ll sponsor a family with only one or two kids by ourselves next year.

It’s such a great reminder that Christmas isn’t about receiving. It’s about the giving. It’s about remembering and celebrating the birth of our Savior, in Bethlehem in a stable so many years ago.

“Business Trip”

It’s concert weekend here. Last night was a great first night here.

We have tonight’s performance, tomorrow a taping session all day, then the concert tomorrow night and then the Music and the Spoken Word and mini concert on Sunday morning.

For the past two years I’ve stayed up in Salt Lake at a friend’s house on Saturday night, since it doesn’t make a lot of sense to drive all the way home then drive back in the morning. But this year, some friends and I are staying in a hotel both Friday night and Saturday nights. I’m so excited to sleep late in the morning and then have a wonderful breakfast. Oh, and avoiding the hour plus driving time through traffic is also a plus.

I’m telling the kids that Mommy will be out of town on a “business trip.”

Sisters in the middle

I didn’t have a sister close in age growing up. My next sister is 7 years younger than me, so when I was going through my awkward teenage years, my sisters were about 7 and 5. So there wasn’t much teasing or tormenting going on. What we did have was a lot of babysitting.

I do remember one way I used to tease my sisters. My mom used to have a little thing she would always say to my sisters when she was tucking them in. Just a sweet little love you thing, she would say, “Good Night, I love you, sweet dreams, and sleep well.” (At least I think that was how it went). When I was babysitting, though, sometimes I would say, “Good morning, I don’t love you, nightmares and stay awake.” Not in a mean way, but just the opposite of what mommy would say. They would FREAK out and get all mad. NO, Say it RIGHT! They would beg, until I said it right. (Sorry, Mom! I guess I was a bad babysitter.)

I do have a brother who’s two years older than me. He was perfect. Good kid who got good grades, played sports and played in the band. Responsible band geek. He was, in fact, a lot like my oldest son, Cole, except for the sports part. He’s not a basketball player. But my brother was just a good kid. That made things difficult for me, the rule stretcher, think out of the box 2nd child. ‘Nuf said. But my brother and I pretty much got along. I did tease him and I do remember some fighting, but we didn’t have the constant teasing, whining, and making life miserable that you sometimes have with sisters.

Contrast that to MY house, where I have THREE girls, aged 14, 12, and 9. Do we have drama? Yes we do. We could do a little cheer…

We’ve got drama, yes we do.
We’ve got drama, how ’bout you?

My oldest daughter thinks it’s her job to make the next sister miserable, and the middle sister, not wanting to be left out, attempts to make HER younger sister miserable (as well as dishing it BACK to the older sister). The youngest hasn’t yet mastered the teasing thing. She’s a sensitive soul who frequently bursts into tears at the teasing and taunting of the older girls.

My two oldest girls share a room, and the youngest shares a room with her younger brother. I’m trying to teach them to get along. Trying to show them that in life, you have to share. That and we don’t have enough bedrooms for everyone to have their own room. It’s not working, though. At least once a week one or the other of them asks if we can change rooms, if so-and-so can move out, or if they can have their own room. I’m tired of it.

The other day I told them that if they kept up the whining, I’d just move them ALL into one room. Kind of like on Little house on the prairie. Just a whole bunch of beds in one room. It would be like we were in a hotel on vacation! It’ll be FUN!!! Then with the extra rooms we can have one room for the toys and one room for homework! I’m BRILLIANT! My oldest son promptly said, “I’ll just sleep in the homework room, mom.” And another one said, “I claim the toy room.”


I KNOW that these girls are going to be best friends some day. I occasionally catch the glimpses of true friendship, and that gives me hope. But for now, we’re just stuck in the middle.


There’s a great article about the Bells on Temple Square on today. They did a great job explaining what we do, and why we do it. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to be in this great choir, and have the experiences I’ve been able to have. Yes, it takes a lot of time, and yes, I’ll be gone most every night next week, but it’s really such a wonderful opportunity, and I love it.

Want to know more?

Check out the article here. There’s even a short video clip taken at a recent rehearsal.

coupon craze
I was at Smith’s early this morning around 8 am. I’m not normally one of those zealots who feels the need to get there early, but I had to drive the Junior High crowd to school, and had plans for later in the day, so I decided to just go as soon as I dropped the kids off, since I would be out anyway. I knew that Smith’s was having the “coupon sale” where any coupon $1 or less is treated like a $1 coupon. I had clipped my coupons while watching Amazing Race last night, but they weren’t all that well organized. I didn’t have time to get them all into my coupon binder, but just had them in a manilla file folder.

I was surprised at what I saw. I guess if you really want to be a serious coupon shopper, you get there early. I even heard one lady say to her friend, “I know, I’m late. I had to get the kids ready.” Late? At 8:00 in the morning? I’m lucky I’m dressed and have combed my hair, lady? What in the world are you talking about. But then I realized, as she and her friend nabbed almost all of the Kleenex that when using a coupon would be free. Really? Do you HAVE that many coupons? Maybe she did, I don’t know. I was especially surprised when I saw MEN there with their big ol’ coupon books, scouring the prices and comparing. Men? With coupons? I think I may have just experienced a shift in the time-space continuum.

I was proud of my fellow couponers, and I must say I felt a little bit out of my league. I wasn’t all that organized, and I looked like such a beginner only buying two boxes of the Krusteaz cookie mix.

Not everyone, however, was impressed. One lady was openly rude about the whole couponing experience. She was looking for something (I don’t really know what, but it was in the baking isle), and she was frustrated because the store was out of whatever it was. She was openly derogatory toward the bargain hunters, and said, “Those crazies with their coupons have to buy up half the store. Then when I come and need ONE thing, it’s out.” Wow. Why don’t you tell us how you really feel, lady? I don’t think the guy stocking the shelf right by her appreciated her rudeness, either, but he didn’t say anything.

I was also shocked by the number of people wearing pajama pants. Or what looked like pajama pants. Do people really go to the grocery store in their pajamas? I admit, I drive my kids to school, and I’ve even driven the carpool in my pj’s, but to all out grocery shop in them? Hmmm. That’s a new level of casualness I hadn’t even considered. I think I’ll have to mull that one over for a bit.

So, what’s your take on grocery shopping? Do you use coupons? Are you irritated by those who do use coupons? And have you ever shopped in your pj’s?


You know what would make my Christmas time decorating easier? If I put everything in the RIGHT boxes and LABELED THEM. I know, it’s such a novel idea! I spend half of my time saying to myself, “I wonder where (fill in the blank) is.” And then I find it later in a totally unrelated box or space. Who wants to volunteer to come and do that for me come January when I take all this stuff down?

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