The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: September 2011

Really big check?

On Wed I was searching for safety pins at Wal-mart. I ended up buying ALL that they had, and I had to go to another store to get more. You’d think that they would carry more than 600 safety pins, wouldn’t you? Anyway…. as I was looking at the Halloween stuff, I got a text from my friend and fellow primary presidency member that said, “Call 97.9 if you haven’t already.”

I thought of the current contests and ongoing things I have signed up for, and remembered that 97.9 is awarding $500 a day to a listener when they call back if they hear their name. I hurriedly texted back, “Did they call my name?” and then looked through my phone for their phone number. It’s not one of the regulars that is the call sign in their phone number, it’s like 877-551…etc… Thankfully I had the number in my phone, and I called them. It rang a bit, and then the DJ answered. I said, “This is Paige Erickson. I’m supposed to call you?”
“Only if you want to collect $500,” he said. “Did you hear your name?”

I didn’t want to lie, so I told him that I was actually inside Walmart right then, but a friend heard my name and sent me a text. He said that was good enough.

Woo Hoo! $500 bucks!

The best part was that I got to hold a VERY BIG check!

Haven’t you always wanted to win a very big check! I know I have! Even Michael Scott from the office had dreams of presenting their fun run money to the hospital in the form of a really big check. The kids all wanted to hold it, too. My apologies to the secretary up there at the radio station, but we all had to hold the check.

My Hawk Walk Extravaganza

Our big walk-a-thon was Friday. The weather was PERFECT. Sunny and warm and beautiful. I had spent hours and hours planning and organizing, calling and emailing, and it was to the point that all I could do was hope that everyone actually did what they said they would do. I got there early, lugging three coolers, two bags a box and a backpack. I should have done like our PTA president did and piled everything into a wagon. Only I wasn’t bringing smaller children, and I don’t have a wagon. I gave the cd of carefully selected songs that I had had Cole help me with (Ok, I chose and bought the songs and he downloaded them and burned me a CD) to the principal, and his computer promptly froze up, trapping my one copy in his laptop. Seriously, I thought, this is how the day is going to go? No worries, though. He went and got another CD from inside, and he had a bunch of music from the previous Hawk walks on there, so that wasn’t a catastrophe, merely a glitch. Another glitch in my carefully crafted plan was when Ryan (who was working from home so that he could help me out a bit) went to pick up Megan from the high school and there was an assembly starting, and they could not find her to check her out. Luckily, she looked at her phone and saw that he had sent her a text, and she came to the office. Why did I need Megan, you ask? She was only playing the most important part…that of the MASCOT!

She dressed up as the Hawk (who has no name, as far as I know. Maybe we should name him) and waved, gave high fives, danced, and even hugged the kids. She did GREAT!

I had also arranged to have some other mascots come as well. We had visits from the Chick-fil-A cow,

and even Andy the Armadillo from Texas Roadhouse.

One of my friends came up and said, “This is like DISNEYLAND with all these characters walking around!” Although it was nothing like Disneyland, I think having the mascots added a bunch of fun to our hawk walk.
I had the Cow and the Hawk race each other in the center of one of the tracks, and even though the Cow has longer legs, the Hawk won, which is fitting, don’t you think?

There were a few other little problems, like teachers who don’t read their instructions and take their classes to the wrong tracks, other teachers who complained because one track “was longer” than the other track and those kids are going to get more laps.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Come on, teachers.

I won’t go into that one too much, but let’s just say that that class won’t be winning any awards for good sportsmanship, will they?

Tons of parents showed up to help and to walk with their kids, the Armadillo passed out free kids meals tokens, and Chick-fil-a donated a whole bunch of free kids meals certificates, the kids seemed happy to be walking, and no one was injured.

A very sweaty Megan even survived as the Hawk, and I am so glad that she was willing to help out.

After the two hour long walking sessions were over, there was still lots to do to take everything down and then count all those lap cards and record things. Some of my helpers didn’t come, but I had many who did come and helped. We were able to wrap everything up by the time my kids got out of school, which was good. Yes, I still have tons of work to do in calculating the winners and organizing the prize assembly, but the EVENT is over. Now we just have to wait and see how much money the event brings in.

It turned out well. It was a good event. I am still exhausted, but pleased.

Practically Perfect in Every way

Ryan and I had the opportunity a little while ago to go to see Mary Poppins when it was on a stop in SLC.

Well, more true would be that while Ryan was traveling extensively, I happened upon a discount code for tickets and decided that I was going to see Mary Poppins, whether or not he wanted to come with me. While I was on the computer looking up ticket prices and seat location, Ryan was on the other side of the world in Singapore, and had just had dinner with my old friend. We had this little exchange on facebook.

Ken: We have your husband. If you want to see him alive again, send $14.32 in unmarked bills and coins to my Swiss bank account. You will actually have to open the account first, then make the deposit. Please also send my new account number. Thanks.

Paige Coleman Erickson That’s a pretty tough demand. Can I just send you some free papa murphy’s pizza coupons instead?

Ken Clayton Hmm…on second thought maybe we’ll just let him go. We don’t need another mouth to feed and you need your computer fixed.

Paige Coleman Erickson Hey, tell him I’m buying Mary Poppins tickets for next Saturday night. If he’s not interested, I’ll find a date.

Ken Clayton He says it depends on who is staging Mary Poppins.

Paige Coleman Erickson What? at the capitol theater. Broadway touring group.

Ken Clayton Believe it or not, he is fine with that. He didn’t want to end up at some ward play (apparently he never saw the fine production values in our 8th ward road show).

Paige Coleman Erickson Hello. Li’l Abner! Tell him how awesome THAT show was.

Ken Clayton I remember Abner…anyway, it sounds like you and Ryan have a big plans for next Saturday night. Now put away your little black book.

Paige Coleman Erickson What time is it there, anyway?

Ken Clayton Just returned your husband to hotel. It’s 10:45pm now, he has taxi picking him up at 4:00am. Going to be a short night for him.

Paige Coleman Erickson Oh, he can sleep on the plane (s).

(then another old friend from my home ward, Bonnie, chimed in)

Bonnie Clark Despain This is so fun. Think it would have happened without FB? New connections so easily made.

(then one of my bell friends, Brittany added her comment)

Brittany Brower Bennett Sorry to intrude, but this was hilarious!!!!

Ken Clayton ?@Brittany – if you think this was hilarious, you should see our live show!

Anyway, it was a funny exchange through Ken, through facebook. But I bought tickets, and told him that if he didn’t want to go, I would find a date. But he was ok to go. So, we had John’s baptism, then a BYU game, and then we went to Mary Poppins.

First we had to play in the “art” next door.

The show was FABULOUS! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, to be more precise. The dancing, the music, the special effects–it was all super! In fact, I need a magical nanny to help my kids when they are naughty.

In fact, I would have loved to take all the kids, because I’m sure they would love it, too! Maybe if I won the tickets. Seven of them. Right.

Mrs. E?

Today I entered the rank of the “employed”.

Yes, I jumped through all the hoops required by Alpine School District and Kelly Services, and signed up to sub. I actually would prefer to work just at my kids’ elementary school, but I may have to branch out from that if I want to work more.

Today I did first grade.

It was exhausting. I didn’t even do the whole day, either. Just half day. Still exhausting. But kind of fun, as well. Reading, writer’s workshop, recess duty, spelling. And those kids go to the bathroom about a MILLION times a day. Seriously! Not sure if they were taking advantage of the sub, or if they really ALL need to go to the bathroom two times in a 3 hour period. I did remind them that recess is a really good time to go and use the bathroom, but who am I kidding? What kid wants to waste his 10 minutes of recess in the bathroom? I feel like I was talking constantly, repeating the same thing over and over and over. Some of these kids couldn’t even copy a sentence off the board, and others were fine writing the required three sentences about “I would walk my neighbor’s dog every day because…”

I remember why I wanted to go into teaching when the kids came up and gave me a hug at the end of the day. One cute little boy asked if he could call me Mrs. M. Mrs M? My name is Erickson. Oh, can I call you Mrs. E, then? I don’t have a problem with that. Mrs. E it is.

I already know a lot of the kids at the school, or I know their parents. They recognize me from PTA, and that helps. I also see a lot of kids from primary, and they say, “I know you from CHURCH!” It helps.

Tomorrow I signed up to teach at the Junior High. When the job came up, it was listed as “German”. Cool! I can teach German. But when I told my kids I was subbing for Mrs. Mapin, they said, “Doesn’t she teach History?” and “Yeah, I liked her. I had her for Geography.” History? Geography? Not what I was signing up for!!! But I’m committed now, so I’ll have to go and make the best of it.

No, I don’t want to make this a full time gig. I really am already WAY too busy to handle very much more on my plate. I have the big school walk-a-thon next Friday, and I’m writing the Primary Program, etc, etc. But I do think I would enjoy one or two days a week.

***Well, day two was ALSO exhausting, but good. I was pleased to be teaching German 3 classes of German and only one dreaded Geography class. The kids would walk in and say, “A SUB! Hey, do you speak German?” When I would answer “Ja,” they said conspiratorially, “the last sub didn’t speak German at ALL.” I was also pleasantly surprised that substitutes get free lunch from the cafeteria at this junior high, and teachers can jump the line. All in all, pretty good day.***

When efficiency turns around to bite you in the butt

Husband, the day after returning from another business trip, called to let me know he thought he left his passport in the pocket of his tan shorts.

“You mean the tan shorts that I JUST put into the dryer?” I asked.
(long pause)
“Yep, those tan shorts.”

Sure enough, there it was in his lower pocket. I think you can still read all the numbers. Maybe if I just flatten it out to dry…. That’s what you get for having an incredibly efficient wife who starts the laundry right away on a Monday morning. Oops.

Well, we flattened and we dried, but it doesn’t look too official. He looked it up and if there is water damage, that’s pretty much a “get a new passport” sign.

I keep apologizing for washing his passport, and he just said, “That picture made me look like a terrorist, anyway.”

Hopefully work can pay for the next one, since all the travel he’s doing is for work, not pleasure.

Ain’t that a peach?

The peaches are ripe. Wow. I should have thinned out my peaches early in the season, but I’m such a novice at this, that I really don’t even know when to do that. I’ll find out for next year. These are the peaches that we picked up off the ground. We haven’t even started picking off the trees yet.

So, on Saturday, after Cole had taking the ACT (go, Cole!) and John had played a soccer game (go, John!) and we had all had lunch (hooray for lunch!) I decided we had to get serious and do something with these peaches. I have canned peaches before, but never on my own. I had my mom help me one year. Last year, I didn’t can peaches at all, I just froze a bunch for smoothies and we ate a bunch. I also gave a LOT away. But I don’t have the excuse to be out of town this year (last year I went to Georgia with Ryan right when the peaches ripened).

So, I started the blanching and the cutting and realized that the kids HAD to help, or I would be buried in peaches for EVER! And Jenna’s hands are just the right size to stick them into the bottles and arrange the peaches. Who knew?

Megan was the blancher, Natalie the peeler, cutter, and Jenna put them into the bottles. I did the syrup, the lidding, the washing, and got everything ready for processing.

Oh, was it HOT.

What with the boiling water for the blanching, the boiling water for the syrup, boiling the water for the lids, and the canner, I didn’t have enough burners on my stove!

And I’m sure you can’t tell from the pictures how STICKY everyone is, but suffice it to say we were completely covered in sticky. I felt wasteful throwing away all the bruised and yucky parts of the peaches. I could have made Jam from them! But we gave a LOT of peach peels to the chickens and threw a lot of peach guts away because we just had to focus on the bottling.

By the end of the day we had 20 quarts of peaches canned.

Aren’t they beautiful?

I was also so tired that I took the kids out to dinner rather than fix something for dinner. So, 20 quarts are done, and I have many many more peaches on the tree. I’ve got to get more aggressive in my advertising of free peaches, and I’ve got to get busy and can some more.

Bring on the sticky…

John’s Baptism Day

John was baptized on Saturday. It was a wonderful day!

Earlier we had asked John if he would like Cole to baptize him. He liked that idea and chose to have his big brother baptize him. We thought it was a wonderful idea, and Ryan didn’t mind handing over the job so that Cole could have the experience of baptizing someone before his mission.

The morning of the baptism, I was busy prepping the kitchen for the lunch afterward. Darn it if I don’t get so caught up in cleaning the house and getting the food ready that I sometimes forget to enjoy the actual event. But I said a prayer and asked that I be blessed to enjoy each moment and not to worry about the “after party”. No one coming over would be judging me as to how clean my house was, or how good the lunch spread was.

I am glad we got over to the church early, so there was no rushing around at the last minute. Cole and John picked up their white jumpsuits and got changed. I had to go to Walmart and buy white underwear for everyone involved the night before (glad I remembered that one).

We took some pictures and I got a little choked up seeing both of my boys in white. I am so proud of them both!

My mom gave a wonderful talk on baptism. It’s actually her “famous gate talk”. When we were discussing who should talk, the kids all wanted grandma to give her ‘gate talk’ about how baptism is the gate that you go through to get back to live with Heavenly Father. And my mom was great to give yet another talk at a baptism. John was lucky to share his baptism day with his good friend Carl, and Carl’s mom gave a wonderful talk on the Holy Ghost. She gave each boy a cute box and filled it with things that symbolize the Holy Ghost, and it was so sweet.

It was a wonderful day!

Afterward we came back to our house for lunch with the family, and a couple of John’s friends came over, as well.

We had a TON of food, with a lot of food leftover. I had bought a big old birthday cake from Costco, and when people started to leave (to go to a place that still has ESPN to watch the BYU football game, no doubt), I realized that we hadn’t served the cake. I could NOT be stuck with that WHOLE cake, so I hurried and plated some up to give away to the guests. I make Ryan’s nephew take a plate, and when Ryan went to a friend’s house to watch the game, I made him take a plate then, too. Luckily we only ended up with about a 9×13 pan worth, which I stuck in the freezer.

I am so proud of John, and love him to death!

The Kenny Flop

Last week when hubby was in Singapore for work, I managed to hook him up with an old friend of mine, who is also living in Singapore with his family right now. I’m sure it was the tiniest bit awkward, since I haven’t seen this friend in at least 10 years, and Ryan’s only met him once or twice. But, being in a foreign country maybe makes Americans want to stick together, and I was glad that Ken and Angie invited Ryan over for dinner.

However, what do two people talk about who only really have one person in common? They talked about me.

A little background on Ken. Ken was in my ward growing up, and once he skipped a grade, he was in my class about every year. And since it seems we always had to sit alphabetically, it went “Coleman (me), Clayton (Ken), then Chaffin (my friend Stacie).” I don’t know how many years Ken had to sit in between me and Stacie, but it was pretty often. So, he got to be the note passer, the talk around-er, AND, we would also play with him. He entertained my husband with stories of how we would drag him into our recess games, our little plays, and other such nonsense. I do vaguely remember that he would sometimes play “Charlie’s Angel’s with us”. No, he didn’t get to do the exciting action that we got to do. He played Bosley and got to tell us our assignments (of course he had to be Bosley–he was a boy). Apparently (and I really don’t remember this, but it does sound like something we would do), he was attempting to do a trick on the monkey bars called the ‘penny drop’. You hang upside down, flip over and land on your feet. It didn’t go so well for Ken, and we renamed the trick “the Kenny flop”.

I stick to my story that I have NO MEMORY of teasing him that way.

But it’s funny, right?

If he can still retell the story some 30 years later, I worry that I destroyed the poor boy’s self esteem. Did he have confidence issues and nightmares about the “Kenny flop”?

I’m a bad person.

No, not a bad person, just a tease. But as my favorite children book tells me, “teasing isn’t nice.”

It probably made him a stronger person, ready to face junior high and high school. And we played with him, didn’t we? It’s not like we were bullying the kid.


In other news, Ryan did a “sleep study” last night. Maybe they should call it a “toss and turn study”. He says it’s the WORST night’s sleep he’s EVER had. And to top it off, he had to go to the dentist this morning. My guess is he’ll spend the rest of the day sleeping. Poor guy.


And to my friends in Arizona, you just have to read THIS POST. Or even if you don’t live in Arizona, it’s still funny.


Another friend posted all about our Bells on Temple Square summer party. I’ll just link you to BRITTANY’S post instead of writing about it myself. Hey, she included pictures of us and everything!


I’m off now to make cookies, supervise the playground bark delivery, clean the kitchen, and take care of stapling about 400 more PTA papers together. John’s birthday is tomorrow, and his baptism is on Saturday! Exciting times around here!

Have a GREAT day!

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