The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: November 2011


Back in August we rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night because Ryan couldn’t breathe. While we never did figure out what caused that allergic reaction, from that visit we learned that Ryan probably had sleep apnea. Since then he’s experience the joys of the sleep study, where they strap you to all kind of wires and monitors and then tell you to sleep.

Kind of like in this picture, only the cartoon person seems to actually be sleeping. I love how in picture #9 he’s just walking away happy. Waving. The way Ryan tells it, he had the WORST night’s sleep in his life when he went to the sleep study. Hmmm. Couldn’t be worse than being in LABOR all night, but whatever. After the first sleep study, there was a long wait, while we waited for the docs at the sleep center to get the information to our doctor. This took weeks. Seriously? How hard is it to read a couple of print-outs to see that the man had something like 82 non breathing episodes and hour, call the doc and say, “Nope, that guy’s not sleeping”? Fortunately, our doctor is also a good friend, so he didn’t get too bent out of shape when he was asked several times if he had the results.

Eventually, they did get the message to Ryan that it looks like sleep apnea, and he was able to schedule another sleep study test. Efficiency in medicine, folks. He scheduled another night at the sleep study, this time when they actually test the sleeping with the CPAP mask. He was smart and asked for an ambien sample before this test, so that he could maybe actually fall asleep.

More happy sleeping people.

After THAT test (Oh, these tests run a couple thousand bucks, by the way. Most expensive hotel EVER!), we just wanted to info so we could get all equipment needed ordered during THIS calendar year. Since those sleep studies helped up exceed our LARGE deductible, let’s make sure all the expenses are This year, so they are covered. They eventually called, and he went in to the medical equipment place to be fitted for his lovely mask. When I asked if I could take a picture, he protested, but said I could post a picture of ME modeling the mask, so that is what we have here.

Looks comfy, right?
This is what he gets to wear each night, and it’s hooked up to a tube and connected to a little machine thingy. Anyway, it helps him breathe. It also helps him not to snore and make all those loud gaspy noises during the night. It’s supposed to help ME sleep better. After the first couple of nights, I started to get used to the Darth Vader sounds as opposed to the snoring. At one point it sounded like someone was taking a shower. I kept thinking, “Why is someone showering? It’s 2 in the morning?” Then I realized it was the mask. Or I will think it’s raining outside, when, in reality, it’s the humidity control on his mask. So, yeah, it takes some getting used to.

Ryan now looks at his stats in the morning and says, “Oh, I only had x number of sleep episodes last night.” He’s not dragging around so much as he has been, and it’s a good thing. Supposedly, you’re also supposed to lose weight once you start getting good sleep. I asked him about that one, but there wasn’t much of a positive response.

So in a way, we’re thankful for that ER visit, that helped us realize there was a serious problem with the sleeping here.

And now that we know that’s what’s going on, we discover sleep apnea all over the place. Ryan’s friends, my friends, relatives, almost everyone we know has had some kind of contact with sleep apnea. Even on tv, on the sitcom, Mike and Molly, which I don’t watch, they had an episode featuring sleep apena issues.

“You know you can get different color head straps. I went with basic black.” — Mike, on his sleep apnea machine
—“Nice, very slimming.” — Molly

Or have you heard this joke about 2 cows diagnosed with sleep apnea?

This one cow with sleep apnea is talking to another cow and says, “I don’t care what they say the one size mask does not fit all.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a wonderful Thanksgiving we had around here!

I really appreciate the fact that since I live so close to both families, I NEVER have to cook a whole Thanksgiving meal. This year I made three pies and made the yummy green beans. Not the green bean casserole with those icky crunchy onions on it. No, I make a green bean dish with apples and bacon and it’s quite yummy. So yummy, in fact, that my children accused me of NEVER making it. Excuse me? I’ve made it at least twice this year, thank you very much. And if you like it so much, why haven’t you asked for it? With a little bit of notice, I can surely whip up some bacon green beans on a weeknight, if I had known they would like it so much.

The night before, we decided to make some oreo turkeys.

I discovered them and we made some last year, but this year went much better. You’ve got to make really really strong frosting to hold everything together.
We had so much fun, we made a LOT.

And watched Elf. One of my favorite Christmas movies. When we returned the movie to our neighbor, we took over some turkeys. Just for fun.

Thanksgiving day was nice. We met with Ryan’s family at his sister Julene’s house. It ended up being kind of a small group; just our family, Julene and Italo, Ryan’s Mom and Dad, and his sister Vicki, her husband Chuck, and their daughter Camille. They have two boys, who we thought were coming, until their oldest son ended up in the hospital for an emergency gall bladder surgery the day before Thanksgiving. The other son stayed in the hospital with him. Everything was set up so nicely and the table was so pretty.

And the food was all so wonderful!

After dinner, we made our way over to my sister Amy’s house. She lives about 3 miles from Julene’s house. My parents were there for Thanksgiving, and it was so convenient that everyone decided to have their dinners so close, so we could visit some of my family, even if it was an Erickson year (we usually alternate between the Colemans and the Ericksons. It’s GREAT to have so much family around!) WE enjoyed visiting with them, but couldn’t stay and eat pie, as we had made pies and left them at Julene’s house. So, we made our way back, to find everyone lounging around “digesting” their food. We stuffed in some pie.

We were so full and SO tired, we could barely keep our eyes open to make it home. What a lovely day!

Black Friday I resisted the urge to get up early and go out shopping. I did some online bargain hunting and found many of the things I was looking for at nearly the same price, so why fight the crowds? I decided to take John to the aquarium, just the two of us. I had a parent and child membership I had to redeem. Hopefully the two of us will enjoy a few visits to the little aquarium this year. We decided to stop at IKEA and have lunch. John of course wanted to be checked into the playland there, so while he played, I did some FAST shopping. Then the two of us had lunch (his was free). Yes, it was crowded, but we survived the wait. When we got home, we found the kids deeply engaged in rockband, just as they had been when we left.

Julene had invited us over for a game night/scrapbook night, so we went over there AGAIN. We enjoyed a lovely night of games, the kids had some much needed cousin time, and it was another fun night!

Saturday we sorted out some lights. I had to take all the lights off my very big wreath, as only about 1/4 of them were lighting. So, I bought new lights and strung those up, tied a bow, and had Ryan hang that up. We have SO many lights in boxes, it’s hard to tell which ones work and which ones don’t. Ryan wants new fancy lights for the house, but I’m not ready to pay all that money for LED lights. We have a large porch (times 2), so I’ll settle for the lighted wreath and maybe lights on a couple of trees. Maybe next year I’ll feel ready to make the light purchase. Or maybe I’ll buy them in January when they go on sale! I did go to Costco and splurge on new large outdoor ornaments to hang on my porch, but only because Ryan told me my old ones were not looking good and I should go and buy some new ones.

I know a lot of people have been feverishly putting up all their Christmas decorations, but I haven’t felt the need to get everything up. Maybe after we get all these lights put away and sorted out, we can bring up the tree and work on that. Some of the decorations I like to do by myself, without the kids helping, so I’ll wait until they are back in school to do it.

It’s been such a nice relaxing weekend. No fighting crowds, not a TON of food to bake and frantic house cleaning. I do have a turkey that I will cook on Sunday, but I’m not making all the fancy trimmings to go with it. I’m just enjoying the down time with my family. A wise girl once said, “family is what God gave us time for.” I love spending time with my family (although I admit I did send a few of my children off to play with friends today while I went to Costco.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and one more day to enjoy the family. I hope we can get the tree set up, although Megan has to give a talk in sacrament meeting and that might cause a lot of drama.

We have so much to be thankful for! It’s been a wonderful year full of blessings and a wonderful week to remind us of those blessings. I hope your holiday was wonderful as well.

Well, it was going to die anyway

I stepped outside and found a poor praying mantis right outside the door.

The poor thing was not moving, probably barely alive. I like praying mantises, myself. They are a good bug to have around, as they eat other, smaller, more annoying bugs. But this one was obviously on it’s last legs and going to die in the cold anyway.

So I scooped it up and took it out to my chickens. Wow! They went after it like chocolate in a class full of teenagers. I just wished I had THREE praying mantises (or praying manti?) to give to them so they could ALL have a nice big bug to eat. One grabbed it and then dropped it and another charged. Hopefully they all got some nice crispy bite. Grasshoppers are also a nice delicacy for them.

A rare late autumn treat!

A tale of survival

I did a week long substituting job this week. I survived it. But working every day? Not my thing.

But if you are subbing, the second day is SO much easier than the first day. The first day you are pretty much flying by the seat of your pants, but the second day and each day after that, you are starting to get a sense of the routine and the kids’ names. And since this job was at my kids’ school, and I knew the teacher, that made it that much easier. But the physical and mental energy that it takes to be on top of those 30 kids all day every day is enormous.

Some things I’m learning from subbing, though, include:
–Always be nice. You never know when you are going to be some kid’s teacher. I walked in on Monday morning, and one observant child said, “Do you play bells? Were you on TV yesterday?” Well, yes I was, in fact, on Music and the Spoken Word the day before. But I was surprised that he or anyone in that class would recognize me. I went in for a few minutes on Friday afternoon to get the lay of the class from the teacher, and he must have recognized me. Another time, after an especially challenging day in a Jr. High class where the teacher had already been gone for 3 days and didn’t leave nearly enough work to keep them busy, I ended up yelling at a class for their extremely rude behavior. We went out to dinner as a family that week and there was a kid in the restaurant who looked VERY familiar. I kept looking over there and thinking, “I hope he wasn’t in that class where I lost my temper.”
–Games are good. We played a spelling game called “sparkle” and the kids LOVED it. They wanted to play that every day. We also played “I have, who has”, a fun game that the teacher had. On Friday, after they had finished their reading and work, they all started to get out games from the cupboard. What are you doing? I asked. “It’s Fun Friday,” they said, as if that should explain everything. The plan I had said nothing about a fun Friday or games, but it sounded good to me, so I went with it.

–Young girls love to draw pictures for the teacher. I love how this one says I’m the best sub. She gave me that on the first day, so I don’t know how she could think I was the best sub, but maybe their last sub was really bad.
–Everyone needs recess.
–And the library. We all love to go to the library.
–Not everyone knows how to skip. I had the kids skip back to class after having taken them to the portable for specialty. Some of them just took off charging ahead in a run. Some of them skipped REALLY fast, like it was a competition. And some kids said they couldn’t skip.

So, after the whole week, I earned a whopping 325 dollars. Really. And I was SO exhausted and my house was a wreck. I came home Friday ready to crash on the couch, and Ryan showed me a bonus check he had received that day. It was WAY more than $325. I looked at it and said, ‘What’s this check for?’ Ryan said it was his bonus. I looked at it and said, “This is probably more than I’ll make the rest of the school year. Why am I even bothering working?” Then I got a little crazy (keep in mind I was really tired from working all week) and I jumped up and down with the check and said, “I don’t have to work anymore!!!” The kids (especially the 15 year old) rolled their eyes at their crazy mom. Oh, well.

So, really, if you are going to substitute teach, hopefully you aren’t in it for the money. Because there isn’t any.

This week I have no plans on subbing. In fact, I plan to NOT sub. Because this week is CONCERT week for the Bells on Temple Square! Fun.

There is a wonderful article about the bell choir and our new director in the Deseret News. You can read it HERE if you’d like.

Since it’s concert week, that means we’ve been having Saturday rehearsals for the past few weeks, and that this week we’ll rehearse on Tuesday and Wednesday and have a concert on Friday. So I don’t really need another job, I’ve got that one, thank you very much. I’m excited about our concert. Although there’s one song that is seriously giving me wrist and elbow problems, I am pretty confident that we will do well and put on a really great concert. You should come!

A little too sweet for you?

The other day John said he didn’t like his cereal. No problem, I said (thinking that he might not be feeling well or something), let’s just make you a piece of toast instead. After they left for school, I was putting away the breakfast dishes, and I wondered why in the world the eggnog was out on the table. Click (Lightbulb). He didn’t like his breakfast because he had poured eggnog on it instead of milk. Talk about ick. I guess I need to stop buying eggnog and pouring it in with the milk to dilute it. Or maybe just not buy eggnog at all.

And speaking of sweet, I just had to laugh at this little Halloween prank and the kids’ reactions.

You’ve probably already seen it, but it just makes me LAUGH!

Sayonara Kodai

What a week! I had made plans for all the things we were going to do with Kodai, our Japanese student.

Going to see the witches and have dinner at Archibald’s restaurant at Gardner village was so much fun last year, we HAD to do that again. And for Saturday, wouldn’t it be great to go out to the Kennecott Copper mines? We’ve been wanting to do that for years!

But, our family is busy, and we couldn’t just drop everything that we had going on for the week.

Monday night, only Ryan and a few kids went to Provo to pick Kodai up, since the girls had volleyball practice and Cole had mucho homework.
Tuesday night was John’s first basketball game, so we were pretty much obligated to go to that one. We did go together and get frozen yogurt that night.

Wednesday I had bells rehearsal, and John had a pack meeting. Rather than having Kodai go to pack meeting with him, I dropped the kids off at the dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving point. They had a fun time there for a couple of hours, and then Ryan picked them up and brought them home. They especially enjoyed the sand and water table.

Thursday night we didn’t have ANYTHING scheduled (or so I thought), so that was going to be our outing to Gardiner Village. But no…Natalie and Megan just HAD to go to the ward volleyball game at 6. Cole had major stuff to get done before the last day of the term the next day. And then, (here’s the kicker) Ryan had to stay late at work to take not one, but two conference calls. Ok, plans, we’ll see you later! Instead, I decided to let the boys chill at home and play some Wii. They didn’t seem to mind. We also went to dinner at the great and wonderful eating establishment of Wendy’s.

Friday, we had a fun ward party planned, and we didn’t want to miss it. We decorated the trunk, made cornbread, and got everyone (even Kodai) outfitted in costumes, and went to our ward party at the church. There was a chili cook-off with dinner of salads, chili and cornbread, then games by the youth in the ward, and finally a trunk or treat. It was so much fun! I kept losing track of our student, but he seemed to be having fun with these crazy American Halloween festivities.

Saturday was the day to get all that fun in that we hadn’t had time to do during the week. But we still had 2 volleyball games and a basketball game to attend to, so we had to get creative. First, I sent Cole and Megan and Kodai to Trafalga to go do some laser tag. They did have a great time with laser tag and go carts while I went to a basketball game and then a volleyball game. Then we were all going to meet up at Los Hermanos for lunch. Everything was going according to plan–except that I wasn’t feeling well. I had a headache and was feeling kind of queasy, and even my beloved Los Hermanos didn’t make me feel like eating. I decided to opt out of the lunch and the afternoon activities. Luckily, Ryan was there, and he was ok to take them all bowling after lunch. I took his car and drove home, where I laid around a lot feeling bad that I wasn’t there with the family. Not to worry, though, Ryan had things under control, and he took them bowling, then to BYU where they did some down the hill rolling and art museum visiting. THEN they went to Timpview High for the exchange student dinner and closing social (I told you we crammed all the fun in!).

Sunday Morning we went up to the Salt Lake Tabernacle to attend the Music and the Spoken Word with a bunch of kids from his group. Afterward we went over to the church history museum and had a lot of fun up in the children’s exhibits. After that we went to Liberty Park and had a picnic. When we got home we pretty much all crashed, then had dinner, played games, and watched Amazing Race.

Monday morning we had to get him back to BYU by 7:15, so it was an early morning of goodbyes (and costumes, since it was Halloween). Fun, but busy week.

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