The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: February 2011 (Page 1 of 2)

Happy 50th Anniversary Larry and Nadine

Last week we celebrated Ryan’s Parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary.

Fifty years. That’s a long time! But then when I think that we’ve already experienced 18 1/2 years together, I realize that 50 years will pass before we know it.

For their Anniversary Celebration, they didn’t want a big party or open house like we had originally thought. They chose instead to gather the family in the temple for a session and sealings, then have everyone get together for a nice dinner.

It was really special to be there in the temple with all of Ryan’s brothers and sisters and spouses, and even some of the grandkids. I hope we can do that again.

We also all wrote letters to the happy couple about our favorite memory. This one is John’s letter.

I wrote this letter:

February 19, 2011
50th Anniversary Celebration

Dear Mom and Dad,

I want to thank you for raising a wonderful family. Specifically, a wonderful son who is now a fabulous husband. He is a patient, caring man, and I know he learned that from the both of you. In fact, I used to be a little bit paranoid because I thought that the both of you had NEVER raised your voices or yelled at your kids. I’ve never heard either of you yell or even use cross words. Ryan does tell me tales of mischief during his younger years, (a lot of mischief, in fact, but he always blames it all on Kyle) and assures me that, yes, his mom did yell at him, and might even have whacked him with a spoon. That’s a relief. I thought you might have been perfect!

I’m also happy to hear about the occasional flop in the kitchen. Every time I eat anything you have made, it’s pretty much perfect, so I wondered if you had just been born a naturally great cook. It’s nice to know that some of your dinners weren’t so well received and that your cakes were sometimes flat. It makes me feel better.

The first time I was given some of Dad’s famous truffles, they were in a cool whip container labeled “turkey gravy”. He didn’t say what they were, just passed them around. I looked in the tub and said, “You’re giving me turkey gravy cubes?” I felt a little foolish to discover that they were NOT turkey gravy, but yummy truffles. We all had a good laugh and we still occasionally call them turkey gravy cubes.

I appreciate your efforts in getting the family together. The monthly family home evenings are a fun way for the cousins to interact, and to learn about the gospel. You are teaching them by example that the family really is the most important thing. And there’s no family drama, either. No one says, “well, if she’s going to be there, then I won’t come”. I attribute that to you and your loving ways. As a daughter-in-law, I realize how lucky I am to have married into such an accepting family.

The kids also love the one on one time spent on their birthday date. I’m thankful that they get to have time with you by themselves to connect with their grandparents. And they love the freedom to chose ANY place they want to eat. I’m sure you’ve gone everywhere from McDonald’s to Olive Garden, and every place in between.

Have I embarrassed you enough? Well, that was not my intent. I just wanted to let you know that I am so thankful to be part of your family. Thank you for accepting and loving me like a daughter, and for loving, teaching, and taking care of my kids. We have all been blessed by you. Happy 50th Anniversary, and may you have MANY more!

All my love, Paige

Ryan also wrote a letter about some of his favorite memories growing up. Maybe I can get that inserted into this post as well.

I don’t know if you can read Jenna’s letter, but she wrote about staying at their house once, and how the honeybear had red eyes. She even drew a picture. Oh, these kids are cute, aren’t they?

After the temple, we went home and picked up the kids and went to the Chef’s Table, where we had reserved a special room for the celebratory dinner.

The food was fancy, but still delicious, and it was fun to be with the whole family.

It was a special day. I still remember my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary, and what a big deal it was that everyone be there. My parents are creeping up on their 50th anniversary, as well, so I guess it’s time to start thinking about that. To my in-laws, I wish you a Happy Anniversary, and thanks for raising such a great husband for me! Here’s wishing you many more happy anniversaries.

Book Review–the Pirate Queen

I just finished reading the Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman.

Saphora makes plans to leave her plastic surgeon cheating husband. Her children are grown and she just wants to be alone. But even as she was packing her bags to escape to the family’s little used home in the Outer Banks, her husband comes home unexpectedly and informs her he has cancer.

Against her desires, Saphora agrees to take care of Bender as he fights his illness. They relocate, at his insistance, to their coastal home in Oriental—the same house she had chosen for her private getaway. When her idyllic retreat is overrun by her grown children, grandchildren, townspeople, relatives, and a precocious neighbor child, Saphora’s escape to paradise is anything but the life she had imagined.

I really enjoyed this book! The characters were well developed and I could relate with them. Saphora was such a compassionate woman who took in everyone that needed love, and helped even those who didn’t deserve her help.

And clean. It’s so nice to find a book that doesn’t have a bunch of sex, swearing or other smut to clutter up the plot. This is a book I could recommend to a friend without any disclaimers or warnings. I could loan it to my mother or even my daughter, if she wanted to read it. The main characters go through a lot of personal discovery in addition to many trials, and while there is talk of faith and God, this book was not at all preachy.

At the beginning of each chapter were beautiful and inspirational quotes from different books, Even when I finished the book, I wanted to go back and reread those quotes. My favorite one of these quotes is,
“There is no such thing as a simple act of compassion or an inconsequential act of service. Everything we do for another person has infinite consequences.” –Caroline Myss

This is a beautiful, heartwarming book. I want to immediately find Patricia Hickman’s other books, Painted Dresses and Katrina’s Wings. And if you would like to read a GREAT book that will warm your heart, I would be happy to lend you this one.

**I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review**


Sometimes I feel overwhelmed.


There, I’ve said it.

Right now is one of those times.

I’ve got this roadshow going on, and it’s kind of a big deal. Most of the kids are GREAT, and have really stepped out of their comfort zones, or taken on leadership roles in choreographing and teaching. I think it’s been a fantastic experience for them. There are other kids who would rather die than be in a road show. I understand. I don’t relate, but I do understand. We’ve tried to give them other opportunities to help in with our tech crew, or editing, or even making a power point presentation. Or, if they hate it so badly and they are NOT going to be in it no matter how hard we try to make it sound fun, they are allowed to not be in it. Fine. don’t be in the show. But if you have NO job and No reason to be there, then don’t come. Don’t come to YM/YW on those night. Stay home. Because I would rather have you home playing your video games or doing your homework or arguing with your mom than coming and trying to make the rest of us miserable. And to you two girls who give me attitude? I mean you, too. Not to mention any names, but there are these two lovely girls who think that they are too good for this dumb roadshow, and they can’t stoop to our level to, oh, I don’t know, learn the stupid dances. So they come to some of the rehearsals, and they talk and giggle and generally ignore all directions. I tell them something directly to their faces, and they give me ‘that look’. You know, that look that says, ‘who do you think you are to tell me what to do?’ And then they walk off and do whatever the hell they wanted to do anyway. (Look at me. Just writing about it gets me so upset I’m spewing forth swear words!) I want to just tell them that they can’t be in our roadshow. I want to tell them to go home and not bother coming, since they aren’t even trying. But can I do that? No. This is a church activity and everyone needs to feel included and all that. So, instead, I take it personally. Every time they flip their hair and walk off ignoring my directions, I come home practically in tears.
It really hurts my feelings.
I know it shouldn’t.
I know I shouldn’t care if teenagers disrespect me.
But I just don’t have thick enough skin.

Then there’s all the organization required to run this roadshow. Phone calls, emails, meetings, rehearsals, more emails, texts, buy food to bribe the kids to come, edit that song, is it long enough? Is it too long? We’re down to our final 3 rehearsals, and there’s a little bit of stress.

In my heart, I know it will be great. The kids have worked hard, and it’s a roadshow, after all. This isn’t broadway. But I do care, and I don’t want to be embarrassed by our finished product.

There’s other stuff weighing on my mind, too. Did you know that a 10 minute ultrasound to make sure I don’t have a blood clot costs over $400? Yep.

And don’t you love it when the high school mails you a letter letting you know that your kid has one or more F’s? Love that.

Oh, and my daughters hate each other. That gets to me day after day.

There’s this big set of curtains that is sitting in my office. I’ve had this fabric for months, supposed to make curtains for a friend, but I just can’t seem to find four to six hours to get it done. Oh, the guilt. I’ve set a deadline for myself, though. Her birthday’s in April.

Then there’s the strange fact that I can’t stick to a healthy eating plan for one. single. day. Not one day. Every day I start out great, and I usually blow it by 1 or 2 o’clock. And I hate exercise.

But then when I get this way and I am feeling overwhelmed, I remember all the blessings I have. Working with these roadshow kids is an opportunity, not a punishment. Working with the children in primary is also a blessing. My calling with the Tab Choir is a wonderful opportunity and a blessing. Being able to stay home and take care of my family is a blessing. I am blessed every day.

I take a deep breath in, take a deep breath out, and try to put things into perspective. It’s ok if my house is extra messy because I didn’t have time to clean it. It’s ok to get frustrated with stubborn kids, as long as I remember that they are just kids, and they are trying.

Oh, and I realize that everyone feels overwhelmed at times. One of my friends just broke her arm. One of my blogger friends had to admit her husband into the hospital with chest pains on her birthday! And my sister had ‘one of THOSE mornings’ just yesterday.

So, it’s time to quit feeling sorry for myself because I happen to be busy right now, and to do my very best with whatever the day holds for me.


Later–I feel a little silly that I complained so very much. After a day NOT working on anything roadshow related, I feel much better about things. Thank you for your sweet comments!

Count those chicks

Thank you to all of you who entered Ryan’s Chicken contest. It was fun to have so many visitors, and so many comments! Thanks!

But honestly, you are all OVER. Seriously? 57? Have you been to my house? It would have to be totally overrun with chickens. Not that I would mind, really, but you guys think I am totally chicken crazy or something. We’re not counting this kind of “chicken” in our count, by the way.

Mostly I just have a few accent chickens around, like on the entertainment center in this silly picture below.

The bulk of the chicken count is actually from my curtain hangers. (Sorry, no picture). But there are 8 chicken shaped hooks that my curtains hang from. And the grand total?

21. I guess if you added parakeets and cockatiels you could get the total up to 30, but we were going with chickens (as per Ryan’s rules).

Yes. Only 21. Joni was actually the closest guess with 23. So, congratulations, Joni! Come on over for dinner. But in the spirit of fun and frivolity, we’d like to invite ALL of you over for dinner! (I feel very much like Oprah as I typed that last part. “You’re all getting cars! Cars for Everyone!” Right?)

The kids are constantly bugging us and asking when we’ll be inviting people over for dinner, so NOW we will. We’ll be contacting you in the next few weeks to see if we can get a date arranged to get together for dinner! How fun is that? And if you chose to bring me a new chicken for my collection, I wouldn’t complain. We may not get to everyone until barbeque season, but we would love to invite you all!

Thanks again for playing along. Come back anytime and see what we’re up to! And don’t forget to leave a comment, because I LOVE comments.


I overheard my son and his friend “working on homework” in the living room. The friend said, “I would love to play the piano but it’s not worth all the time it takes to practice and all that.” Then Cole said, “the piano is so worth it.”

(What?) That’s me gasping in the next room.

And then Cole proceeded to show off with his most complicated Jon Schmidt piano song that he’s been working on for about a year.

So, all those years of lessons really ARE worth it. At least for this child.

We all just want to be winners

I’m trying to win a car. Again.

I had to make a video of me singing about my love for a Mazda 3 (which is REALLY the car I would want. That or a Mazda 6). So I wrote the lyrics, then recorded the song. Cole helped film it and I thought it turned out cute.

I can’t figure out how to embed the video so it shows up right here on my blog, but here’s the link.

Now I have to get my friends and families to vote for my video so I can have a chance to win the car. Easier said than done. I guess people have an aversion to registering at Fox13 with their name, email and birthdate. Is that too much personal information to have to give, or do they just not want to take the minute it takes to register, or do they not want me to win a car? I don’t know. But I don’t have nearly the votes I thought I would. And I hate nagging at people to vote, and then nagging at them again every single day. I currently have 38 votes. Cheerleader girl video is in first place with 130 votes. But I’m surprised that there are several of those entries that don’t have a single vote. Why not? Do they not know that they can vote for themselves? If they went to the trouble to make and upload a video, you’d think they would at least vote for themselves, right? I feel bad for them and would like to go and vote for them, but I won’t. Because that would be one vote that I couldn’t vote for myself.

It’s a little discouraging to NOT WIN. People think that ‘Paige wins EVERYTHING’. That’s because they only hear about the things that I win. They don’t realize that MOST of the time, I lose. Really. I try for contests multiple times every day. And I don’t win. That means that every day, I lose. Over and over and over again, I lose. I’ve tried at least 10 times to win a car. I’ve qualified, then gone to the place on the appointed day, and I get my hopes up and get myself all excited. The ‘what if’ I actually win excitement and butterflies. That hopeful feeling. Only to have my hopes dashed when I don’t win. Again.

Nobody wants to lose. Megan’s basketball team is playing in their tournament right now. They’ve done GREAT with wins on Saturday and then again on Monday. Tuesday was their next to last game, and unfortunately, it did not end well for her team. They lost. By a lot. It was not fun. It’s not fun to sit through a game where your team is down by 20 points and you know they can’t win. By the fourth quarter, there’s no chance of a comeback, but you still cheer for them. And they still try. They did not give up, but played hard the whole game. I’m proud of them. But Megan is NOT happy. And to add insult to injury, her team is supposed to all wear dresses to school today. But she will survive. And even if her team does not win their game today, they will still be winners. But they may not feel like it for a while. Everyone just wants to win

I must have something wrong with me internally to have that NEED to win. I love winning! Even if it’s something dumb like silly movie passes to a movie that I’m not going to ever go to, or tickets to see Yani, there’s a thrill in winning. I guess life would be simpler and I’d have less disappointments if I weren’t always trying to win, but then I wouldn’t have the thrill of winning. Or the free things when I do actually win. And we have to lose some to appreciate the wins. Opposition in all things, right?

So, I will continue to try to win a car. And trips. And tickets. And I will invite friends to go to silly things with me when I do win. And some of those contests might involve asking my friends and family to vote for me. And I hope they will. But I’ll try not to let it hurt my feelings when they don’t.

And one day, I will win that car.

CCC — Count the Chickens Contest!

Howdy, Ryan Here (Paige’s worse half!). I don’t post here too often, probably for good reason, but since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d guest-post. Hi, Paige! XOXOXO!

Paige loves contests, so all of you should also love contests, too, right? I hope so, because I’m offering a contest to all of Paige’s many blog visitors.

Here are the rules: If you didn’t know, Paige is somewhat of a chicken collector. She’s been bugging me to get some real chickens for at least a couple of years. We haven’t done that, but Paige *has* brought together a modest collection of chicken-themed items. These are all currently hanging or sitting in our Kitchen and/or Living Room.

Do not count this Chicken.  :)

The person who guesses closest to the correct number of chickens and chicken-themed items will win the prize.

Included: Any chickens or chicken-themed items, hanging, sitting, framed, etc. on the first floor (main floor) of our home.

Excluded: Any chickens on any DVDs or VHS tapes or movies in the family room. I seriously don’t want to have to check all the VHS covers… “Chicken Run”, no thanks! Food items in the pantry also do not count.

The Prize is a Sunday dinner invite with all the trimmings for your whole (immediate) family. If you live out of state, I’m sure Paige can come up with something suitably impressive. 😉

Post your guesses in the comments, and I’ll post the correct answer later in the week, probably on Friday. Needless to say, you can only guess ONCE, and the first person to guess a particular number ‘gets’ that number.

Anyone visiting the house this week (book club, etc.) is disqualified unless they enter their guess *before* said event.

Good Luck and Happy Valentine’s Day!

(Paige here. Let’s all work on Ryan to allow me to get some REAL chickens, shall we?)

Or we could get one of these for the yard, right?

A Date?

I don’t want to make TOO big of a deal about this, but it seems that my oldest son is actually out on a DATE right now.

I feel old. I feel glad that he’s finally asked a girl out, and glad that he has a group of friends that he can go out and do something with.

I hope he has a great time!

I had my chance

Yesterday I got a text from my daughter, asking me to bring her a skirt to school. She needed it before her last period started. Since I didn’t look at my phone until almost noon, I had to scramble to her room and find a skirt. But wait! This was my chance! This is the daughter who, no matter how many cute clothes I buy her, she continues to wear the same ratty shirts, jeans and jacket. I’ve bought her cute skirts and dresses, as well, but we seem to always see her on Sunday in the SAME skirt.

Gone are the days when I can dress my girls like this.

or this


But she had no choice here! I could pick out the frilliest pink thing I could find and she would HAVE to wear it, right?

Wouldn’t she look cute in this?

or this?

Sadly, We dont’ own those cute dresses, because if we did, they would just sit there in the closet. I only had a few minutes, so I had to just grab what I could find in her closet. I picked out two things, to give her options. One was a really cute wrap dress that she has actually worn in the past, but not for quite a while. The other, a skirt that she has also worn, but it’s not her favorite. I also included some shoes, because she can’t just wear her ratty old gym shoes with a skirt, right? I guess I played it nice.

Not that it did me any good. Not long after I took that bag of clothes to school, I got a frantic phone call from the same ungrateful child asking me to find and bring her basketball shoes for the game that was starting in 30 minutes. FIND and bring? You have got to be kidding. I grabbed husband away from his work (working from home has it’s perks) and enlisted him to help me search for the shoes. And a frantic texting conversation went something like this:

Me: Where are your shoes?
Daughter: Look around my desk and chair.
Me: Not there.
Daughter: By my basketball clothes?
Me: (after pawing through the pile of dirty basketball clothes..ick) Nope
Daughter: Maybe in my cubby
Me: (running out of time, so running down to the mudroom to search for the shoes there) Not in cubby
Me: (looking in a basket under a pile of coats in the mudroom and finding the shoes) Found!

Then I sent Ryan to the school a few minutes early to get her those shoes before her game. It was nice that he was there, because even though I was going to go to her game, I still had to wait for all the kids to get home and take two girls to piano lessons. Then there was a junior high carpool mix-up and I ended up driving some kids home, so I didn’t get to the game until 15 minutes after it started. Which they won, by the way.

Oh, the things we do for our kids, right?

Christmas music–it’s not just for December (and a giveaway)

Yes, I am listening to Christmas music in my car. Why not? There’s tons of fluffy snow out there and it’s below freezing. And I’m driving, so I have the right to chose any CD I want. Right? Not if you ask my kids. They think Christmas music should only be played from Thanksgiving until Christmas. Sure, if you are talking about the overplayed radio Christmas songs that every radio station plays the same exact version of over and over. On that, I agree. But when it’s a beautiful CD full of original arrangements, music from other lands, and the majestic sounds of an amazing orchestra and choir as well as the world renowned King’s Singers, that’s just not your everyday Christmas music. It deserves to be listened to all through the year. The King’s Singers voices singing beautiful Christmas music with the Choir is lovely and calming. Oh, and there are bells. Lots of bells.

Of all the concerts I have been blessed to perform in with the choir, the King’s Singers concert was my favorite so far. Every concert is amazing, and I can hardly believe I get to participate in these amazing concerts! But it is ok to have a favorite.

If you have never heard the King’s Singers singing “O Holy Night”, you have missed out, my friend. The heavenly sound of the mens’ voices blend perfectly with the orchestra and choir. It’s what I imagine Heaven sounds like. Seriously.

And since I’m in a giving mood today, if you do not have a copy of this Rejoice and be Merry CD, leave a comment here and I’ll randomly pick one comment to win this CD. Really. Because you should hear it for yourself. And because I’m nice that way. And if you don’t win, you can purchase this CD at Deseret Book.

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