The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: August 2011

A professional photographer I am not

I tried to take the traditional first day of school pictures of my kids. They were less than successful. They aren’t all horrible.

But I guess that’s just how it goes. So far school has been going well, although I wonder if Cole can really handle 4 AP classes and Megan can really handle 2 art classes as well as their other stuff AND early morning seminary.

Natalie is enjoying choir and drama, not so thrilled about the other classes, although she says her English teacher is hilarious (always a plus). Jenna’s teacher already loves her (no surprise there) and John, while he likes his teacher, is staying home sick today. Some kind of fever last night and this morning.

But the weather is starting to cool off, thankfully, so it’s only supposed to be in the high 80s today instead of the high 90s like it’s been, and I am getting stuff done for my PTA job. Ryan’s back in town and he is fixing up my computer for me.

And this week we’re gearing up for a special birthday and baptism! So exciting stuff.

On the edge

I consider myself a fairly rational and calm person. I do. But really, I’m just one snafu away from an emotional breakdown.

It was a hard week for me. Nothing huge, but a lot of little things adding up to some big stress.
-Megan cut her finger and had to get stitches,
-It was the first week of school and all the back to school stuff with finding classes and meeting teachers and paying fees and more fees,
-I have a very big PTA responsibility this year and I’ve been doing a lot of stuff with that,
-John had his very first pack meeting ever and I couldn’t go because it was the same night as bells rehearsal, and Ryan couldn’t go because he was out of town. I felt terrible that I couldn’t be there for him, but thankfully Megan was available to take him, and I hear she did a good job as stand in parent. She even accepted my Bobcat award mother’s pin for me.
-I’m totally out of shape and sluggish, and need to get back to exercising,
-There’s the primary program coming up, and these things don’t happen spontaneously, unfortunately,
-Ryan was out of town for a week. Not just out of town, but out of the country with something like a 14 hour time difference, so I couldn’t just call if I needed to talk to him,
-My computer crashed, and like I said, my main man was out of town, and my back-up computer guy couldn’t fix it for me. I did have access to the main man’s computer, so I could at least use the internet and access my incoming email, but then when son was doing homework, that computer turned itself off and then we couldn’t get it started up again because it’s all password protected and complicated. So we were forced off the grid.

-Daughter lost her phone at Trafalga in Orem. She didn’t realize she didn’t’ have it until we were back on the freeway heading home. When we got home we called it (maybe she just left it at home, right?), but got no answer. We sent texts that said, “If you find this phone, please call…” and listed our home number. It really irks me when people are not honest. If I found a phone, I would certainly look through the contacts and find “Home” or something like that, or at least call the number that was texted to me. OR, I would turn it into the lost and found. That is not what this person did. The person that picked up her phone immediately called someone in Payson. (I looked it up! Cool that you can do that, huh?) When I tried to call that number, it was forwarding to another number or something, and I couldn’t get ahold of a person. Had to suspend service on that phone. The funniest thing was, in order to call Trafalga to ask if someone had turned in a phone, I had to look up the number, right? I have no computer, Ryan’s computer won’t turn on, I don’t have a phone book. I had to text Cole, who was at a friend’s house, ask him to look up the number, and send it to us. Crippled without technology. Crippled, I tell you.
-I had to go to a 2 hour long orientation at Kelly services to find out more hoops I have to jump through in order to substitute teach. Oh, the joys.
-People, namely my junior high carpool, are flaking on me.

As I was driving and feeling lonely and sorry for myself and started to cry in the car, I wondered WHY in the world I was being such a BABY and letting all of this get to me. Wait. What week is this? Oh. Hormones. Duh. I HATE those hormones and what they do to me approximately one week of every month. I tried to tell myself to buck up and stop getting so emotional, but that wasn’t really helping.

Instead, I made a mental list of the things that were really, really great. A “count your blessings moment”.

+I don’t have to drive my high school kids to school. With early morning seminary and HUGE amounts of road construction, this is TRULY a blessing. I am SO glad that Cole can drive both himself and Megan to school and that we are able to provide him with a vehicle.
+The kids all seem to be happy with their classes and teachers so far. With 5 kids in 3 different schools, that adds up to about 30 teachers, and I am SO thankful that they are treating my children with kindness and respect (so far), and nobody has come home declaring that they hate school and they are never going back again. (It’s early, I know, but so far so good.)
+Cole is nearly done with his Eagle project. He completed his last two merit badges and I can actually feel a tiny glimmer of hope that we may get this thing pulled off before his 18th birthday in 7 months.
+Facebook. Yes, I’m thankful for facebook. Because of facebook, I was in contact with an old friend of mine who is now living in Singapore. I told him that Ryan would be there, got the two of them communicating, and they actually had Ryan over for dinner while he was there. I also have felt less lonely and more connected to friends, even when my computer wasn’t working and I really didn’t have full use of my email. Yes, I know there are a lot of negatives to facebook, but for me, it’s been a positive thing, and this week especially, I’m thankful for it.
+My mother-in-law. I casually mentioned to my MIL that my children wanted a “Grabber” to reach things. Grandma has one (Grandma is pretty short, so it makes sense) and they thought it was so cool. I didn’t ask for one, I just said that Megan, specifically, was wanting one, and on Tuesday, they showed up with some yellow squash and a grabber. How nice is that?
+My house is not being pounded by a hurricane. Or an earthquake. Or any other such natural disasters. Record breaking heat? Yes. Huge thunderstorms & power outages? Yes, but no flooding, and we can put up with that. We have air conditioning and we have water.
+My children are safe and healthy.
+My husband does return to me.
+My car works.
+I live in the most beautiful area. Have you looked around lately at the mountains, the sky, the clouds? It’s gorgeous out there! Flowers are blooming, my sunflowers (even though the horses totally ate the tops off of them) are flowering, my garden is doing well in the heat, I have tons of zucchini, there are peaches and even apples on the trees in the ‘orchard’ in my back yard, and it’s beautiful. I just need to spend a few moments out with the chickens in the backyard to be reminded of the beauty of nature.
+My phone works.
+My family. My parents spent their Saturday with us at the dinosaur museum (actually they were taking my niece and we decided to tag along) and we had such a fun time. I know that if I asked any one of my family to come and help me out they would do whatever they could to help me. I’m very lucky to have that kind of support available to me.
+Visiting teaching. I actually did my visiting teaching this week (yay for me!) and it reminded me of WHY we do visiting teaching. To do some service; to connect with other people; and to remind each other of the importance of the gospel. It’s a good thing.

And the list goes on and on and on. Even as I was in an emotionally fragile state due to some minor inconveniences and some major PMS, I was able to count my blessings and realize how truly blessed I am.

The difference between a bad day and a good day is still 24 hours.

So if life is getting you down, or if you yourself are caught up in some hormonally induced blues, take a few minutes to think about or write down some things that you are thankful for. Even just listing 10 things can really lift you out of that funk.
Or take a few minutes and do some service for someone else.
Or call me and we’ll go to lunch. That always helps.

Summertime and the living is easy?

Summer is almost over. Can you believe it? It’s been SUCH a busy summer, and I can hardly believe it’s over. I believe we crammed just about as much fun as we could into our time off. Not quite, but as much as I, as the chief entertainer and transporter of children, could take.

As the kiddos go back to school this week, it’s an exciting time. I have a SENIOR (A SENIOR?! What the heck!? How can Cole be a senior already? I remember when he was starting kindergarten and it seems like it was just a few years ago.) For the first time, I’ll have two kids in High School. It’s also Natalie’s first day of Junior High Monday. She’s so excited. It’s actually a good thing that Natalie and Megan won’t be in the same school ever again. Distance, you know. Jenna and John are still in elementary school, which is where I spend the bulk of my time volunteering.

Natalie goes to school Monday, and then everyone else goes on Tuesday. Natalie and the other 7th graders get Tuesday off. Weird, I know. So, I won’t have the house to myself until Wednesday, and boy am I going to par-tay. Dang, why did I schedule to go visiting teaching on Wednesday? I might have to change that. I plan to sit around the house all day. Not driving anywhere, not picking anyone up. Maybe I’ll watch some nice chick flick on tv, or maybe I’ll just read all day. Whatever it is that I do, I plan to do it ALONE. 7:45 to 2:30 is carved out as ME TIME.

Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my family. I think they are the best family EVER and I love to spend time with them. But remember that word “Balance”. I need to have a little alone time to balance all the kid time I’ve been having. And since Ryan’s out of the country right now, it’s just me as the responsible parent, anyway.

So, enjoy your back to school. Enjoy the last day of summer fun that you can with your kids, and then enjoy it when they go back. I’d like to know what you are looking forward to doing when you, too, might catch some alone time.

Actually I think I’ll be getting my pen and signing fingers ready so when they all come home with 25 disclosure documents, I can get them all signed.

I guess it’s back to school time

I did something today that I haven’t done in roughly 15 years. And no, it wasn’t exercise and it wasn’t diet (how rude of you to even think that!), and it wasn’t even clean the basement. We haven’t even lived in this house for more than 10 years, so it can’t have been THAT long since it was cleaned. Although I do admit that there are boxes that haven’t really been gone through at all since we moved into the house. But that’s a project for another day (or month).

With school starting next week, and my youngest going into 2nd grade (GASP! Can that be true? Where did the time go? How did my baby get to be that old? I may just start to cry right here! And don’t even get me started about his BAPTISM coming up next month!), I figured it might be time to start thinking about earning some kind of income. Not like a “what do I want to be when I grow up?” kind of thing, but what can I do for a few hours a week just to earn a little extra money and maybe contribute to the family finances for once. It’s not like people are clamoring for my specific set of skills. “Let’s see….I think we should hire an overweight 40 something stay at home mom who really likes to start projects but isn’t so great on finishing them. Oh yeah, she should also be someone who has WAY too many hobbies and interests and activities going on.” I haven’t been receiving phone calls from any headhunters.

But I thought, where do I spend a lot of my time? At the kids’ schools, specifically the elementary school. Why not combine the two, and do some substitute teaching? I do have a degree in Elementary ed, after all. So I decided to sign up to sub. Turns out it isn’t so easy to ‘just sign up’ to sub anymore. Kelly temp services is now in charge of all the substitute teachers in my area, and it’s a WHOLE lot of hoops to jump through. Forms declaring I’m a citizen, online applications, letters of recommendations (from my past employers, I don’t think so. I had to go with PTA people, since I haven’t had a job since Megan was born), then I had to go to PROVO (and you’ll remember how much I LOVE driving to Provo, right?) for an interview, where there was more paperwork and very few questions. Then we watched a little video on being an effective substitute teacher and gave them two forms of id and signed a form that allowed them to do a background check. Then I have to go get fingerprinted (and have the opportunity to pay $40 to do so) and come back to Provo next week for an orientation.

The more I get into this the more I’m thinking that I want less and less to actually enter the work force. I have PLENTY to do to keep me busy around here. I’m already heavily involved in PTA, and I don’t ever really get my housework done. Why would I want to go and substitute teach and cause myself MORE stress?

Reason #468 why I love my neighbors

My ice maker got all frozen up and stuck, and we haven’t gotten it fixed yet. But life without ice? Unthinkable. I don’t even want to drink any water if I can’t have it cold and with ice. I’ve started keeping a water container or two in the fridge to keep my water cold, but it just isn’t enough. So, I went over to my next door neighbors and asked for….ice. I got a gallon ziplock and filled it with ice. Now I can just get a few cubes out. I just sent my daughter over for ice again. ….ahhhhhh…..

How many borrowings of ice do you think is too many?

It’s always a party

Natalie has wanted to have a summer party with her friends for a while, so this week I told her let’s just do it. She is going to Jr. High this year, and the majority of her friends will not be in the same school with her. She has no trouble making friends, so I am not worried about her at all, but it’s still a difficult transition. So, she called all her friends, and I think we’ve got 13 girls here right now. I guess it’s the end of the summer and everyone has finished vacationing and are just happy to send their loud, obnoxious girls somewhere else for the afternoon.

They played Encore all together, and then they broke up into small groups to play more games. One group played Apples to Apples at the table, one group played Guillotine in the front room, and another group played an outside game in the front yard.

And they ALL brought food. I think we have enough snacks there for all of them.

Me? I’m on damage control. Not entertainment or even food. It’s not a bad gig. Because it’s always a party around here.

We have worn ourselves out

Some of our activities with the Chinese students have been…

We went to the rodeo, ate at Glade’s in Spanish Fork.
They went to youth activities where they sculpted out of ice cream.

Go carts, video games and miniature golfing.

Went to see Music and the Spoken word at the conference center

spent some time at the Church history museum

where the kids enjoyed dressing up and dancing. We couldn’t get our Chinese girls, Phoebe and Coco, to dress up, but they enjoyed laughing at us.

We made bracelets

We ate out

We made our own pizzas.
We played in the backyard with the chickens.

We worked on puzzles.
We went to a family barbeque and swimming party.
We went bowling.

We made them watch the best movie ever–Dispicable me.
We’ve driven through POURING rain, watched fireworks, and went swimming.

We took them to Walmart (they WANTED to go there.)

They have also hiked Timp caves, gone to the Dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving point, visited a farm, gone to Temple Square and this is the place state park, done a ropes course day, gone to the Utah Olympic Park, 7 peaks, and other adventures.

Yes, it has been a LOT of driving. I won’t even try to sugar coat it there. From our house to the school where they are going in Provo, google maps tells me it’s 17 miles. ONLY 17 FREAKING miles? Are you kidding me? Well, with construction (ARGGGH!!!!) and traffic, it’s about a 35 minute drive. A 35 minute drive that I’ve made once, sometimes twice a day for almost 3 weeks. I don’t even want to calculate it. The thing that’s saved me was that my two girls, who are acting as “buddies” have only had to go twice a week. Last year, they went every day, only they are supposed to arrive two hours after the students arrive in the am. That’s THREE trips to Provo on some days. And carpools have been scarce this time around, due to an A and B schedule, and most everyone else who is in North Utah County is on a different schedule. If I’d had to get them there every single day, I would have truly gone insane.

We still have a baseball game to go to tonight, and they have a closing social tomorrow. Then it’s a weekend full of activities for our Highland Fling. We have the 5K, breakfast, parade, activities in the park, art show, dance contest, and fireworks to attend. Then Sunday morning we will say goodbye. (and have a nap) It’s been a good experience. A fun experience, but a tiring experience.

E.R. (and not the hunky George Clooney type)

“Paige, I need you to get up and drive me to the hospital.”
Not exactly what one wants to hear in the middle of the night.

Ryan was having an allergic reaction (to what, we don’t really know) and couldn’t breathe. His chest was constricted, and he needed to go to the hospital. I got up, threw on some clothes, and grabbed my purse. I forgot my Kindle, but did grab a book on the way out the door. No waking up the kids, or even leaving a note. I must admit, I drove a bit over the speed limit. Who’s on the road at 1 something in the morning, anyway?

This was actually my first trip to the Emergency Room. Seriously. I mean, when I was in labor, I went THROUGH the ER to get to labor and delivery, and that was more often that not in the middle of the night, but I hadn’t been to the EMERGENCY room. I was a little shocked that there is only one intake person (and no doctors or nurses) there to greet you. She asked him to take a seat and give him some information before she even went and got a doctor. It’s nothing like you see on TV.

But a nurse did soon come and get us, and we later learned that they had something like 7 cases come through the doors in about 10 minutes, so I guess that’s why we weren’t greeted promptly at the door. Ryan, wheezing the whole time, promptly got a shot of epinephrine, then an iv with benydryl and a steroid. He was soon breathing much easier, which was a great relief to both of us. Then she gave us the bad news that we would have to stay for at least 3 hours for observation. They got him all hooked up to monitors and I settled in to read my book. But reading is not so fun at 2 something in the morning.

All that antihistamine was doing it’s job to make Ryan REALLY sleepy, so he dozed off. I did get a few levels cleared in Angry birds (thank goodness for that new phone!), but the fun wore off pretty quickly. At about 3:30 am, the nurse said there was a spare bed she could roll in if I wanted to lay down. Ok, I thought. An hour of sleep would do me good. But sleeping wasn’t going to happen. Ryan’s pulse oxygen monitor would beep every time his oxygen level went below something like 85. It dipped down about every two minutes. I think the boy has sleep apnea. Then I was obsessed with watching the monitor, and watching him breathing. Does he stop breathing? Does he just take long rests between breaths? Oh, could we turn that monitor down? So, no, there was no sleeping, at least on my part.

A little before 5, the doc came in and said he thought we could go. They gave us Rx for epi pens, allergy meds and steroids, and sent us on our way. (And they didn’t even give us a baby. Every other time I’ve gone to the hospital in the middle of the night, at least we got to bring a BABY home with us.) Driving by McDonald’s, I thought, “I really could go for a bacon,egg and cheese biscuit right about now.” But it was a little early for that. We came home and got into bed. I set my alarm for 6:20, hoping to get a good hour of sleep.

Megan needed a ride to a friend’s house at 6:30. She’s going to a horse competition or something. After I dropped her off, I drove the mile to McDonald’s, and got us some breakfast sandwiches. I couldn’t think of what to feed the Chinese students, since one of them doesn’t like eggs. Sausage Mcmuffins for everyone!

So, here it is 7:39 am. I’m not sure I can go back to sleep right now if I try. Megan is off, the Chinese girls are off, Jenna and John are both up, and Ryan is asleep. I guess I’ll go back to bed and try to sleep for a little bit.


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