The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: July 2011

Chairs are not just for sitting on

Tuesday I decided I was going to recover my kitchen chairs. I had attempted to do this a few months ago, but when I got the chosen fabric on the chairs, I discovered that I didn’t like the look. It was just too much yellow, and the light wood of the chairs kind of blended in with the floor. For a minute or two, I contemplated the fact that the chairs would look awesome with that fabric if only they were painted black. Then I came to my senses and decided it would just be easier to pick out a different fabric. So, on Monday, I bought this toille at Walmart and Tuesday felt like tackling a project.

The only problem was with my less than efficient staple gun. It’s just too whimpy to staple all the way into the wood, and I was almost out of staples. So, I put out a call to my crafty neighbors to see who had a staple gun I could use. Surprisingly, two of the five that I asked said their kids either currently had their guns, or had left it outside and ruined it. Kids! One neighbor brought one over, but it was out of staples. I sent my two errand runner kids to ACE hardware to find staples for both my gun and my neighbor’s gun. When they returned, they had only found staples for my gun. Couldn’t find any to fit the other gun. Oh, well. Must muddle through.

It was quite a process to take the seats off, clean out all the crud that has collected between the chair and the seat (makes me just want to bag the whole project and go buy new chairs. Ick), take off the plastic that was protecting the chair, put on the new fabric and the new plastic, then screw the chair back together. It didn’t help that only half of the staples even made any dent in the wood, and then I would have to hammer them in. Half of THOSE staples just collapsed flat. There was much grumbling and complaining going on, I tell you.

I had to stop with 4 out of 5 chairs done to go to Provo to pick up our students, but after dinner, I grabbed every inch of willpower I could find to finish the last one. And I’m so pleased with how they turned out.

Here is the old covering.

And here is the new covering.

Even though they are not perfect and I can see where I did a less than stellar job, I like how they turned out. We thought about it and the plastic covering we put on when we originally bought the set has lasted over 10 years. I guess if I only have to do this every 10 years, that would be good. Maybe by then I will buy a new staple gun.

Ni How

It’s Chinese time here at the house, and we’ve all learned to say “Good job” in Chinese (it’s something like Gun de ha, in case you were wondering). Our girls, “Phoebe” and “Coco” are super cute girls, and we are happy to have them in our households for the next few weeks.

We picked up our girls on Tuesday night, and it’s been fun fun fun ever since. Wednesday they had to turn around and go right to school in the morning, and their buddies went with them. Megan and Natalie are doing the buddy program this year, and thankfully for me, it’s a bit less rigorous than last year’s program. Instead of going every day, I only have to get them there twice a week. Wednesday night they were pretty tired by the time they got home from school, so we just ate dinner and went outside to enjoy the evening a little bit.

Thursday the Chinese students’ activity was a hike to Timpanogos cave. I arranged with the coordinator to pick them up at the visitor’s center, rather than drive all the way to Provo to pick them up and drive all the way back. So they were home early, which was good because they were SO tired. Can you imagine flying to a foreign country, and on day two you do a rigorous hike in 100 degree weather? They are not used to this kind of heat, either. After they rested a bit, it was time for our Cinderella cast party, and the girls came with us. It was a big potluck type of dinner at the park, with some awards and songs from the play. One of the girls asked Megan, “Do you have parties every week?” She said probably. My response? Yep. Pretty much two times a week. Sometimes there is a party of some kind every day. I think that is pretty odd to these girls. They are used to going to school at 6 am and staying there until 10 pm. I am not making this up.

Friday I took them all (girls and buddies) out to the CLAS ropes course facility in west Provo. It looked like it was going to be another fun, yet tiring day. Ryan picked them up from that event and took them straight to his brother Kyle’s house, where we were spending our evening. His whole family was getting together to eat, swim, and help cousin Josh with his Eagle project. So, we ate, then sanded little cars, then the kids swam and played in the pool. Another fun evening.

Saturday, everyone slept in. Or at least tried to. Nobody had to be anywhere early, and everyone is adjusting to these early mornings, and Ryan is getting readjusted to Utah time (trip to Korea last week). So I made breakfast about 9:30 am, and it was nice to let everyone rest. Even though the girls were still tired, we decided to take everyone bowling. Both girls said they had NEVER been bowling before. Can you belive it? I thought Bowling was a universal sport. They did very well for never having bowled before. We came home, had lunch, and let them veg out and watch one of my favorite movies, Despicable Me. And then we geared up to go to the Spanish Fork Rodeo.

Now, the Spanish Fork Rodeo is like a whole different county. Half of my own kids hadn’t been to a rodeo, it had been that long since we had been. They especially liked the mutton busting. Imagine how foreign that all must seem to two young girls from China. We asked them if they liked it, and they said yes, but that it seemed kind of cruel. By the time we left, I seemed to have my y’all down, and wished I had worn a cowboy hat with my jeans. But it was a perfect night for a rodeo, and once the sun went down it was nice weather and not too not. Hopefully it was an experience they will remember.

Sunday was our day of rest. With it being Pioneer day, I made whole wheat bread, and even let them help me with the kneading. We went to church, which was SO long and boring for them, but they survived, and then we played some games and started a puzzle at home.

And now we’re onto week 2! And I am excited because I finally negotiated a carpool. I most days will only have to drive to Provo once a day, in the afternoon. I am VERY happy about that!

What did you do this summer? Oh, I drove to Provo 8,000 times

I picked up our Chinese girls on Tuesday night. Since then it’s been twice daily trips to Provo. It’s 35-45 minutes each way. I’ve failed in all attempts to get a carpool. There is only one other family in Highland with exchange students, and they have already teamed up with another family in Lehi. I had made a few phone calls with a lady in American Fork to carpool, and things looked promising, until she sent me an email late last night stating that she was going to carpool with another family, who only has 4 seats available, so they could not add us to that mix. (What, is it my personality? Do I have B.O.? And if I did, how could you tell that from over the phone?)

Frustrated, I got in the gas hog and drove my two girls to Provo this morning. Trying to look on the bright side of things, I thought, “I wanted to check out Ross or TJMaxx for a bedspread. I’ll just stop in there before I head home and do a little kid-free browsing.” Nope. Those stores are not open at 8:15 am. Fail again.

I had made arrangements to pick the girls up directly from Timpanogos caves this afternoon, which is about an 8-10 minute drive from my house, instead of the trip to Provo. I think the girls were relieved as well to not have to climb on the bus for an hour, only to be hauled right back to the same area. I have tried calling and/or emailing every other family that lives remotely close to me (Cedar Hills, American fork), and even called a family that has buddies, thinking I might be able to dredge up a carpool with them on the buddy days. Not much luck.

I’m trying to not get totally frustrated here. I guess if I have to drive to Provo twice a day, I will do it, but I would so RATHER NOT spend all those hours in the car and all that money on gas.

One of the kids wistfully said how nice it would be to have a ski-lift that would take us all the way there. We could just get on the lift, ride over the cars and the traffic and the construction, and arrive at our destination. Great idea. Now if I could just get someone to build that for me.


This week I had the opportunity to go to day camp up at camp Jeremiah Johnson with our ward’s activity day girls. I made the reservation, got the forms, and all that jazz.
Aside from the worrying that we would either have too many girls or not enough girls going, and the fact that I really didn’t want to spend my one free night of the week with a bunch of girls at camp, it was not a bad experience. Mostly not a bad experience. It was well run and fun for the kids. Which is amazing since I don’t think I saw an adult the whole time after we checked in. I’m not kidding! The whole place is run by 13-15 year old kids. And run well. These kids have enthusiasm, patience, and were responsible. Amazing, right?

By the time we were done, the girls were all crowding around the trading post to spend every last dollar they had brought. Jenna and two other girls had gotten slushies, and were sipping them. Yum. After a few last minutes of “shopping”, I started to round the girls up. “It’s time to go, girls. Wrap it up,” I said. Most of them came over and we made sure we had everyone. One little girl, who I will call ‘Jane’, came over, and then said, “But I wanted a slushie! We can’t go yet! I want a slushie!” Now, we had been milling around the trading post for at least 10 minutes allowing them to buy whatever they wanted, and she was just realizing that she wanted to buy a slushie? I don’t think so. I said calmly that she could not buy a slushie now, because we were going to the car, and there were no slushies allowed in the car. The other girls were already half finished with their slushies, and therefor they would be mostly gone by the time we got to the car.

Nothing doing. This little ‘Jane’ proceeded to throw a fit. “But that’s not FAIR! I wanted to buy a slushie, and I still have a dollar left! Why can’t I get a slushie?” By this time, I wasn’t going to let her get a slushie for the sole reason that she was being a royal pain. I remained calm (because this wasn’t my kid, after all) and told her that no, she wasn’t going to get a slushie. If she had wanted to buy one, she should have done that 10 minutes ago, and now we were leaving. Reluctantly, she followed up to the car, complaining the whole way. This girl can REALLY ramble on.

Not knowing if I could really survive the whole drive home without my head exploding if I had to hear about the injustice of her slushie and that fact that she didn’t get one. I said, “Sarah I mean ‘Jane’, you have twenty seconds to complain about your slushie. Go!” I was looking at my watch to count the seconds. ‘Jane’ did not say anything for a few seconds until I said, “Only 16 seconds left, you’d better get started.”
“I WANT MY SLUSHIE!” she began, “You didn’t let me get a slushie, even though I wanted one, and that’s not fair that I didn’t get to get a slushie and those girls got to get slushies…… (slushie, slushie, slushie….)”
“Three, two, one, done.” I said. “Now, there will be not one more word of complaining or mentioning slushies. Understood?”
She nodded. And we actually had a pleasant, slushie-free drive home.
And did I mention that I was very glad to bring MY daughter home with me, and let all those girls go home to their own parents?

There’s drama in the theater

Sometimes I write a post just for me. Not because I want to tell you something or document our lives or anything, but because I have thoughts in my head that I need to get out, and it helps to write them here. So, this post is really just for me. But if you’d like to read, you may.

We’ve started Cinderella. Opening night was Friday and then on Saturday, Natalie did her first show (they double cast a lot of the kids so that twice as many kids can be in the show). It’s fun. The shows have gone GREAT, with very few messups and problems. Which is good, since we have been working on these for two months. I’ve been helping a lot with costumes, and last night I got to be the “parent helper” in the dressing room to help the little girls get their bows tied, help with costume changes, etc. I have also cut ballgowns.

I spent two hours one Saturday cutting out the pieces for these dresses. Can I tell you how much my knees hurt the next day from crawling around on the floor, cutting, getting up, getting down, crawling and cutting some more? I didn’t sew any gowns, but I have also spent a lot of time cutting them to the proper length. You can see me there on the floor with a girl on a chair, trimming her dress to the proper length. I did so many gown I could barely move my scissor hands. But I’m happy to help. The costume lady has put in SO. MANY. HOURS! I wouldn’t want her job. I’ve also hemmed a lot of the boys and mens pants. All the men need knickers or shorter pants, so we are trimming and hemming and elasticizing them. I did that job at home, thank goodness, on my own machine. The funniest was when they gave me a pair of pants that had been cut off, and they wanted me to sew the legs back on and then cut them off about 4 inches lower. I sewed the legs back on, but I didn’t line it up right and one leg looked pretty skewampus. Whatever. I looked at him on stage and you can’t tell. I did apologize to him for my less than professional sewing job.

Community theater is all volunteer. The directors, costume and set people have spent many more hours than I have in helping to make this a good production. And in general, it’s fun. It’s fun to get to know new people, and talk to them during the down times when we are not on stage. And being on stage is the really fun part. That is why we do all this work–to put on a great show.

But I have a severe lack of being on stage this year. In the four years that I have been a participant with this theater, this is the smallest part I’ve ever had. I don’t have any lines, no solo songs and no dancing. I’m on stage for the beginning village scene, which is probably about 5 or 6 minutes, and then I’m on for the wedding scene at the very end. Maybe 10 minute on stage for a two hour show. And it’s ok. I had resigned myself to just being in the chorus. When I felt myself lamenting the fact that I had such a small part, I would hear the immortal words of my High School Drama teacher, Mr John Whiting, saying, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” I realized that I might have sabotaged my chances of getting a part (really wanted to play the Fairy Godmother) when I listed the dates I would have to miss rehearsal for my bells rehearsals and concert. I was honest up-front and said I would have to miss most Wednesdays and a couple of other dates that I knew I had extra rehearsals for our bells concert in June. You are only ‘allowed’ to miss 4 rehearsals, and I put down more than 4 dates that I would have to miss. As it turned out, with me only being a village woman, I only missed two of my required rehearsals. Ha. I do admit that I have felt very left out and ignored though the rehearsal process. Several times I have been tempted to just drop out, since I don’t think anyone would notice if I weren’t there. (Well, that’s not true. A select few people would notice. My “fake kids” would wonder where their “fake mom” was, and who was going to give them candy and treats every time they did a scene well and stuck with the old mom instead of running around the village like they would rather do. The other village people would probably notice, too. I’m just saying that the audience would not notice.) But what kind of a message would that send to my daughter? She doesn’t have a big part, either, and I want her to have fun with the whole experience, regardless of the size of her part. So if I whine and carry on about how I should have had a bigger part, that sends the WRONG message.

So, anyway, I just accepted that this was not my year to have a big role. Or any role at all, really. But it seems that other well meaning people are not so happy that I have no part. I invited a friend to come see the show and she said she didn’t know if she could, since she was so mad that I wasn’t going to be playing the Fairy Godmother or the stepmother. Um…Thanks? Then I have friends in the play who have said, “I can’t believe you don’t have at least a small singing part! Your voice is beautiful!” I have one friend in particular who has mentioned over and over again the injustice of me not getting a part. Well, even though I appreciate the nice comments, I wish they would just stop. Even Saturday night, I saw another friend who had been in Annie Get your Gun. She said she loved the show, but she thought I should have been on stage more. Even my dear husband said that I was underused in this show. OK, I get it. Thank you to my fans, but let’s just let it go.

I thought I was ok with my tiny contribution. I want to be ok with what I’ve done, not upset over what I wanted to do. But if we all keep bringing up how I was ‘robbed’ or how I should have done more, I am just going to feel bad. Saturday night, as we were doing the curtain call, instead of feeling happy that we had done a great show, I was feeling embarrassed that I hadn’t really had a part in making it a great show. I felt insecure and bad about myself, when I should have been enjoying the experience.

There are only 6 shows left, and I want to ENJOY the experience. If it’s not fun, then why are we doing it?

So, there you have it. My ranting and raving and whining and complaining is done. I will do my best, smile my face off, and enjoy the friendships I have made. I will help others as much as I can, and HAVE FUN.
In the words of David O. McKay, “What E’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part.”

Call me?

My husband got a new fancy phone. He’s very happy. My 12 year old daughter will also be very happy when he gives his old phone to her. Me? I’m wondering what his number is and why he didn’t give it to me. Hmmmm.

4th of July Weekend

It’s really summer here! With rehearsals in full swing for Cinderella (opening night is TOMORROW!), the holiday kind of snuck up on us. A few days before, I realized we didn’t have any plans. NO plans for the holiday weekend. So, I started looking around at what was going on and made some plans. On Saturday, we took the family to Provo for the Colonial Days going on at the Crandall Printing Museum.

We love this event and try to go every year.

Here we are with Ben Franklin after seeing an actual copy of the Declaration of Independence.

It’s a fun event where we actually learn something about those early American colonists and what life was like for them.

And of course we are big fans of the whole printing press, and never tire of learning about it.

Our favorite is obviously the Linotype.

Afterwards, we had lunch at Los Hermanos. Yeah, we’re chips and salsa junkies for sure.
Then we went to Spanish Fork and picked up a car. Yes, a car. Ryan’s parents have decided they don’t need two Camrys anymore, and have given us the 1989 version. We brought it home and let the kids commence cleaning it out.

Ryan and I escaped that night for a little “date”. Ha! Not really a date, as we had to shop. Shop for a new mattress. Our 10 year old mattress had gotten saggy and I was waking up with an aching back every day. I’m WAY to young to be waking up with an aching back, so we’ll try a firmer mattress. We picked out an average mattress–nothing fancy or too expensive in California King. When it was delivered on Wednesday, however, it didn’t fit the frame like the last one had. Why would this mattress be narrower? After looking up sizes on Kings vs California Kings, we learned that we had bought a California King, but we had been sleeping on a King all these years. We were both SURE we had bought a CALIFORNIA KING way back when. Doh. Mattress experts we are NOT.

On the 4th, we went to a breakfast and flag raising at Julene and Italo’s.

It was a great way to start the day, and we had some citizenship questions along with our breakfast.

That night we went over to my friend Michelle’s house for a fireworks party/barbecue. It was great to be able to join in on their party! We ate, then made our way over to Sugarhouse park to see Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband. And the fireworks! Oh, there were fireworks.

It was a fun holiday weekend!

With a Name like Love- Review

When Ollie’s daddy, the Reverend Everlasting Love, pulls their travel trailer into Binder to lead a three-day revival, Ollie knows that this town will be like all the others they visit— it is exactly the kind of nothing Ollie has come to expect.

From the first page of this book, I really felt like I was in Binder, Arkansas. “Fields of soft green barley laid themselves out across the earth in perfect rows–as if God had reached down and combed them just so.” Hilmo’s descriptive language is beautiful and helps the reader picture the scene. Although Binder is not a town that takes too kindly to visitors. They are not all friendly, especially the shopkeeper Mrs. Carter, who did everything she could to make them feel unwelcome in town. “Folks ’round here don’t take kindly to strangers with too many questions.”

Ollie meets Jimmy Koppel, a boy who could really use some love, and some help. His mother is in jail for murdering his no good father. Jimmy insists that his mother is innocent, and Ollie believes him. Still, even if she can convince her daddy to stay in town, how can two kids free a grown woman who has signed a confession? Ollie’s longing for a friend and her daddy’s penchant for searching out lost souls prove to be a formidable force in this tiny town where everyone seems bent on judging and jailing without a trial.

This story is a wonderful page turner. While I really wanted to find out what was going to happen, I was pulled in even more by the characters. There’s the preacher, who was pretty much destined to go into the ministry with the name of Everlasting Love. And his lovely and caring wife Susannah, who somehow manages to support and assist her husband in his calling, even though it means constantly traveling and living on the road, without the wonderful “modern” conveniences of 1957 available to the townsfolk. In fact, when the family visits a new friend in town, the five year old sister exclaims, “She’s got a flusher! And honest-to-goodness flusher!”

The five sisters have a wonderful sisterly relationship. Thirteen year old Ollie and her twelve year old sister Martha seemed to have an especially hard time getting along with each other. Just like my own three daughters do. But even among the bickering, these sisters try to take care of each other, and to help others as well.

Without giving away too much of the story, I have to say that Mrs. Mahoney was my favorite character. She becomes like a grandmother to the girls, one who is willing to share her life and her home with strangers she has just met. I would love to be more like Mrs. Mahoney in my own life.

Written for the middle grade audience, this story is sweet and simple, yet beautifully written. The imagery and language style are well crafted and wonderful. It’s easy enough for a young person to understand, but interesting and compelling enough for adults to find it a wonderful book, too. Not an easy thing to do, especially on a debut novel. In a time when so many books geared for young people are all about the fantastic, the violent, or the vampires, this book is like a breath of fresh air. It’s a well written and charming story that is clean and unoffensive. I could recommend it to both my daughters and my mother.

I received an advanced copy of this book for review. Look for this book available for purchase September 27.

© 2024 Superpaige's Pad

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑