The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: January 2012 (Page 1 of 2)

Happy Birthday, Jenna!

Big party here over the weekend. It’s not every day your little girl turns 11, after all. She wanted a “late night” movie party, so we decided to go with a pajamas and popcorn themed party.

Aren’t those cupcakes SO cute? Love them.

All of her friends came in their pajamas (well, I guess only 10 of them came), and they played a game while I got dinner ready. I had suggested that we have pancakes instead of the traditional pizza, and I think it was a big hit (and cheap, by the way).

I just put out a bunch of toppings, syrups, whipped cream, and fruit, and then kept the pancakes coming. Man, can those girls eat. I couldn’t believe how many pancakes they were putting down. And loud! You get a bunch of normally mild mannered, sweet girls together in a room, and they are transformed into a gaggle of giggling girls.

When they were sufficiently stuffed and the table was similarly syrupy, they adjourned to the family room to pick a movie while Megan and I cleaned up.

We had to pop the popcorn, but didn’t want to be all loud with the air popper, so I just brought out a few microwave popcorn bags.

I kid you not, as soon as those girls smelled popcorn, they wanted some. Seriously? How can you even think about eating another morsel? Oh well, there’s always room for popcorn. They were eating it as fast as we got it popped, and we went through quite a bit of popcorn. Of course, a lot of it ended up on the floor, I’m sure.

They had decided to watch Soul Surfer, and after the girl lost her arm to the shark, all of the girls were going around with only one arm. I looked at them and thought, now that’s weird, why would she have her arm in her sleeve? And she’s doing it too.
Even John was one armed!

Jenna even opened her presents with one arm! They were taking this one armed thing pretty far!

What a hoot!

Thankfully, their arms did grow back for the eating of the cupcakes.

I had actually planned on ice cream with the cupcakes, but by then I couldn’t believe they were still eating anything at all, and the dishwasher was already full and I didn’t want to dirty more dishes (lame Mom excuse, I know, but it’s the truth). I don’t think anyone noticed the lack of ice cream.

Then they went back to watching their movie, and then playing with the new presents and anything else that looked like fun.

At about 9:30, I thought, Why, oh WHY did I let her put 6:00-10:00 on the invitations? But the time passed pretty quickly, and soon I was saying goodbye to girls and sweeping up popcorn and marshmallows and telling my kids to go to bed.

Not the most elaborate or fancy party, but quite a FUN party for one sweet little girl.
Happy Birthday, Jenna! I hope every birthday is as much fun as this one was, and I hope you always have this many fun friends.

Coach Erickson (oh, stop laughing)

I had the privilege of subbing for junior high PE today. Even though the though of my own junior high PE experience just about makes me break out in hives (seriously? Climb that rope? Shuttle run? And don’t even get me started on what a JOY it was to traipse over to the Cottonwood spa–excuse me–Rec center–every day for swimming), it was a 1/2 day assignment at my kids’ school, and as a bonus, my daughter would be in that class, so I took it.

My observations:

-Almost everyone loves basketball. Go figure. I never liked basketball, but then again, I have no coordination and trip over my own feet. But even the kids who aren’t that coordinated and aren’t jocks still seemed to have fun.

-Nobody likes that stupid middle court with only one basket. You have to double back to “change sides” and people sometimes forget and shoot when it’s not their basket.

-When subbing for PE, it would be prudent to bring more band-aids. I have band-aids in my substitute bag, but since I wasn’t teaching in a ‘real class’ I didn’t bring that bag, so I only had the band-aids in my purse. I used them all. We also had a girl get clobbered in the chin, and another girl got a wicked bloody nose. With that many girls playing in such close proximity, arms flail and people get hit.

-My girl may not be the most jock like kid there, but she’s not the only one. There are a lot of awkward kids (and if my kids read this, I’m not saying you’re awkward, honey, but you are my daughter, and I didn’t pass on any sporty genes to you because I really don’t have any).

-There are some really young looking 7th graders, and some really old looking 8th graders. Seriously! Some of them were SO short, playing against these giants of girls (taller than me, even). But the short ones are sometimes the best at dribbling and stealing, so it’s not always a disadvantage.

-The best basketball players are not always the tall and thin girls. I observed one girl, who wasn’t fat, but solid. She wasn’t one that I would imagine would be good at basketball. Oh, was I wrong. Swoosh! She carried the whole team! Smooth, and powerful, and a great shot. While some of the skinny tall girls who I thought would be really good, were merely skinny and tall, not necessarily good at basketball.

-And that whistle I bought for myself? Totally came in handy.

So, while I don’t aspire to be a PE teacher, playing one for a day (well, half day, if you want to get technical), wasn’t that bad.

Busy, Busy

It’s been a super packed weekend around here, with a lot of church responsibilities and meetings.
Thursday, after working all day, we had to hustle to get dinner ready by 5:00 to feed the missionaries. When I found out the day before that we had the opportunity to feed the elders, my daughter said, “WHYYYYY? We’re already members of the church! Why should the missionaries come HERE?”
Oh, dear. But we had a nice dinner, and a nice visit. After dinner, Cole went with the missionaries to their appointments for the evening, and I went to book club (which, by the way, we read A town like Alice, and if you haven’t ever read it, I recommend it. Kind of a slow start, but great story. In case you were looking for something to read right now)

Friday, I was pleased to not have to work. Somehow the day before I had wrenched my back and I have had some twinges of pain when I do things like breathe too deeply or make any sudden moves. But instead of a quiet night at home, we had a Relief Society sponsored activity for couples. Not a fun date exactly, but a night about preparedness. We went (with a skeptical attitude for sure), but it was a worthwhile and productive evening.

Saturday, I had a Stake Relief Society women’s conference,

then lunch with dear friends,

and a Jazz game that night!

Sunday, I had to figure out my sharing time idea for our 9:00 church. After church, we caught small naps, then the home teachers came. Two meetings at night–a fireside for all seminary students at 6:00, and Priesthood Preview put on by the primary at 7.

So much for being a recluse and a hermit, right?

I’m a recluse. A paranoid recluse and a hermit.

Even though it’s not been a typical January around here (no snow…what?), I think I’ve gotten the typical January blahs. Really. I don’t really want to go anywhere, I’d rather stay home.
Shopping? Na, I’ve got enough STUFF here already.
Groceries? We don’t really need bread and milk, do we? Can’t we just make dinner from the stuff we have?
Pick up the kids from school? Oh, all right, if I have to.
Exercise? I’ve got a treadmill here in the basement I can use if I feel the urge.
Take the kids to a friend’s house? Couldn’t they just come and play here?
Go to work as a substitute teacher? I do have a job for tomorrow that I’ll have to GEAR UP for, but I don’t really want to work much, especially if hubby’s out of town. And that’s good because people with smart phones must snatch up the available jobs so quickly, that it’s actually not that easy to get subbing jobs unless you are requested.
Go to a Jazz game? I gave away tickets to a Jazz game last week. I had won them and actually gone to pick them up myself, with plans to take one of the kids for a fun night out. But then I kind of changed my mind and didn’t really want to leave the kids alone two nights in a row, and drive up to Salt Lake two nights in a row (I always have bells rehearsal in SLC on Wed nights), so I offered them up to friends and got a taker pretty quick.

And when I do venture out, I try to make sure I can do more than one errand on each trip. Save gas, less pollution, right? If I’m going to Costco, let’s make sure to pick up whatever I need at Walgreens on the same trip. Or better yet, I order things online. My kids mocked me and laughed when a big package arrived from Staples, and when we opened it, it contained 12 rolls of paper towels. What? We needed paper towels, and there was a sale and a coupon and free delivery. Same thing when a shipment of toilet paper and cheez-its arrived from Amazon. Hey! Free shipping, sale, what’s the problem? I see no problem with having the groceries come to me. In Manhattan, everyone does grocery delivery! Of course, they do it because they don’t have cars, not because they don’t feel like going to the store for paper towels. Same diff.

Because I’d really rather stay home. I have a lot of purging, cleaning, and organizing to do. Books to read, kids to clean up after, bills to pay, chickens to feed, dinner to cook, sharing time to plan, laundry to fold, etc. Is there anything wrong with just wanting to stay home? I mentioned to my hubby that I felt like I was turning into a hermit and didn’t want to go out anywhere lately, and he said, “Are you kidding me? Compared to MY mom, you’re still a social butterfly! You go to bells at least once a week, you go to church things, you take the kids to piano lessons and school things, you go to book club.” Oh, that’s right. I guess I do.

And should we get to the paranoid part? My nephew was recently hospitalized for gall stones, but when they were in there to remove his gall bladder, they found out that he had pancreatitis, and it’s changed his life forever. He’s been on a feeding tube for almost two months, can’t eat solid food, and now has to manage his insulin. And all this started with heartburn, then stomach pains. Scary. So, when I had heartburn a couple of nights in a row, then had unexplained stomach and back pain, where do my thoughts go? Oh, my gosh, do I have pancreatic inflammation? I went to bed last night with not one heated wheat bag, but two. One for my back and one for my tummy. Paranoid? Maybe. Hypochondriac? Maybe just a little. Concerned citizen? Yes. The good news is, I don’t feel any of that pain this morning. Maybe that ‘strenuous’ 30 minutes on the treadmill pulled something. Maybe it was something I ate that was giving me gas. Who knows. If it comes back, though, I’m calling the doctor.

So, for today, I will just stay home and enjoy my day at home. I do have about 100 pages of my book club book to read, so I’d better work on that.

Stuff and Junk

Ryan was out of town for a few days. Ok, more than a few days. I guess it was more like 11 days. Time to go to China AND Las Vegas for business. I know! Anyway, while Ryan is gone, I usually try to do some kind of organizational project that makes a big huge mess and then I don’t really have to worry about getting it cleaned up at the end of the day. Not that he would complain, but my projects sometimes involve rearranging our bedroom, cleaning out the closet, etc, and I tend to pile a bunch of stuff on the bed, and it’s just nice to not have to move that pile to the floor so that both of us can sleep at night. I also don’t mind that I don’t have to cook while he’s gone. I mean, I still cook for the kids, but our dinners tend to be more kid friendly. You know, the chicken nugget, macaroni and cheese, cheese on tortilla type dinners that the kids like, but I don’t really serve for family dinners that often. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Julia Childs here, but I do usually make dinner every night, and by dinner, I mean a main dish with some kind of fruit and veg.

I didn’t take pictures, but I did rearrange our bedroom again this week. Moved the big old dresser, cleaned out drawers, sent a whole bunch of stuff to DI, organized the shoes, etc. As I was in the thick of that job, I realized that my makeup drawer was pretty out of control.

I couldn’t throw it all out, of course, but I did get rid of a lot of old makeup. I realized that the blush I use the most is about 3 years old and was from Costco. I still use it! I had some very old mascara and some foundation that I’ve never worn because it has a smell, and I couldn’t stand having a smell on my face all day. I would always wonder what that SMELL was, not realizing it was right on and under my nose. Out it goes. I still have too much makeup, but at least it’s corralled and contanerized, and the eye stuff is no longer fraternizing with the cheek stuff and the lip stuff.

I just tackled one of the “junk drawers” in the kitchen today. Ugh. Disney park hopper passes from our vacation in 2002? Countless pens and pencils, googly eyes? What? I did find a really cute pair of purple sunglasses that I don’t ever remember buying, so score one there. Primary music leader helps, stickers that say “I led the music in Singing time”, and even Cole’s scout card saying he had earned his bobcat badge (not the badge, just the card). Now most of that is in the trash.

If only I could get every area of the house cleaned and purged and cleaned out more often than once every 5 years!

Why my nose is so big

This post is for my friend Susan, who absolutely loves this story.

When the kids were little, I used to take them in to those photography places for their free 8×10. They would send the coupons around their birthdays so you would go in, have their pictures taken, and then see HOW adorable they looked and buy lots and lots. Well, yes, I got suckered into buying the package one or two times. I folded under the pressure. Then one day I got smart.

The sales lady was showing me the proofs and exclaiming about how wonderful they looked and how cute my kids were (true, that!), and asked me which package I would like to purchase today.
“I’ll just take this one in the 8X10, please,” I said, determined to stick to my guns this time.
“Oh, SUUURRELY you must need more than just the one print. These are wonderful for the grandparents.” She went on in her best sales voice.
That’s it. I was tired of being pushed around by these salespeople just because I only wanted to get the “free” print. “We’ve only got one grandmother,” I said, “and she’s blind.”
So ring it up.
I can’t remember what slick Miss Saleslady said to me, then, but there was no pressure.
Genius! Why hadn’t I thought of that before!? I haven’t used that little lie again (although I might have to), but I have gotten a chuckle every time I tell that story, or just think about it. Feel free to drop that one the next time some photo salesperson is pressuring you to buy.

Well, today I had to exaggerate the truth again.
Someone called me from one of those travel places. I swear I do NOT fill out those forms all the time, but I must have entered a contest at the Highland Fling, which is our town’s summer celebration. This is not the first call I’ve gotten about the “FREE” vacation offers, where all you have to do is drag your spouse to some “short” “no-pressure” presentation, and claim your FREE vacation. I have in fact gotten my spouse to attend one or two of these things, and I know enough to not ask him to do that again. So, when I got the call today about the FREE vacation and could my spouse and I come to the presentation, blah, blah, it just slipped out.
“My spouse and I are separated, so I don’t think that is going to work,” I said.
(We are in fact currently ‘separated’. He is in Las Vegas on a business trip. Of course, if he were just at work for the day, I could still say that. We aren’t together in the same room, are we?)
“You are your spouse are separated?” I could hear her voice deflate, “Oh, I’m sorry about that.” And she couldn’t get off the phone fast enough.
Ha! Take that Miss Telemarketer!

So, no, I don’t set out with the intention to lie, but they just make it so darn easy! So, if my nose looks bigger to you today, you’ll know why.

I may be just a mom, but I still have some pride

I may occasionally (cough cough) drive carpool in my pajamas and greasy hair, but I will not, I repeat NOT walk into the school like that. Not any school. Not ever. I may be a slob, but I can’t let everyone at the school know that, can I?
Besides, do you really want that office girl (who now knows your NAME) to see your mom walk in with your homework looking all scroungy in a bathrobe and curlers? I think not. I can only IMAGINE the rumors that would spread. Did you see so-and-so’s mom? Not only was she wearing orange crocs, but she was wearing pajamas!!! Oh, the shame.
So, if you text me that you left your
b-chips for a party
c-photos for digital photography
d-permission slip

I will first have to get everyone else out the door, then I will have to get ready, which might even include a shower.

And that is why it might take me two hours to get your stuff to you at school.

One of my favorite gifts

While I did not inherit much artistic talent from my dad, the artist, I have been blessed to be part of an artistic family. My sister, Amy, has done many portraits of my kids throughout the years. In fact, every three years when it’s her turn to give to me for Christmas, she’s drawn for me. This year (actually last year if you want to get technical) I asked if she could paint something of them all together, instead of single portraits. Originally I thought it would be a portrait of the whole family, but then I didn’t really have a family picture I liked, yadda, yadda. I settled on pictures from our excursion to the church family history museum. The kids had so much fun dressing up in costumes.

I decided to use this picture.

So for Christmas, Amy presented me with this beautiful painting of my kids.

She did a little editing to get the kids closer together, and even changed the colors a bit.

Of course, she added a neutral background so you can’t tell exactly where the picture was taken.

I LOVE that we now have an original painting of my children. I feel so lucky to have such talent in my own family so that I can just ask my sister to paint something for me…and she does! If someone asked me to paint their children for them, I think I would panic, then eventually I’d have to just say no.

Now I need to frame it up and decide where to hang this beauty in my home!
Thanks, Amy! I love it!

The decorations are down

With the kids gone back to school this week, I’ve finally had time to start getting a little bit organized. Because, really, what’s the point when everyone is home hanging around on Christmas break. So most of the inside Christmas decorations have been packed away, which was no small feat, since we have had the basement framed since I put those decorations up. The basement may be bare, but the storage areas are packed! It took quite a bit of maneuvering to get everything back in there. Maybe I’ll post some pictures later.

I did leave up this little snowman display on the table in my front hall, though.

It is still winter, after all. Isn’t it? It certainly doesn’t feel like any winter I remember. I think it’s 52 degrees out there, and sunny and beautiful. It feels like April to me. But, in the spirit of “winter” and since we really do need some more snow, I left my snowmen up.

As I was putting away the decorations, I took a picture of this nativity set.
It’s not all up on the shelf like it was, it’s just on the coffee table waiting for me to put it away.

I love this nativity set. My Grandma Coleman made this set when she worked at the State Hospital. I guess they taught ceramic classes for the patients there, and she made these pieces as well. When I was a student at BYU, I would often visit my Grandma in Springville. Sometimes I even took my roommates with me and we would rake leaves or help out a bit. But I would always come at Christmas and set up her tree and decorations. She had more decorations then she had space to display them (now I’m in the same boat) so I would have to be selective about the decorations I would haul upstairs from the scary basement storage room. But I always set up her ceramic nativity sets. She had this white one and one that was painted. The white one would go in the front window. The windowsill was deep enough to set the whole scene in the front window. You couldn’t see it from the room, but you could see it from outside. As she got older, I would still come every year and decorate. When I had kids I would bring the kids with me. They would laugh at the “old fashioned” ornaments and help me put as many as we could fit on the tree. For some reason, Grandma never had enough ornament hangers, so many of the ornaments were hung on her tree with paper clips. One year I came prepared with a box of ornament hangers so we could use them all on the tree.

Later she got so she couldn’t remember much of anything, and the family made plans to move her out of her house so she could live with her youngest daughter and her family. As I set out her Christmas things, I asked, “Grandma, when you are gone, would you mind if I took this nativity set? I really love it.”
“Of course, dear,” she said, “put your name on it so we’ll know to give it to you.”
I did write my name on the inside of the pieces lightly with pencil. I knew that was her last Christmas in that house,so after Christmas I packed up that nativity set and brought it home to my house. I told the family that I was taking that nativity set, just in case someone wondered where it was.

My Grandma has passed away, now, but every year as I set up my Christmas decorations, I am reminded of her as I put up this Nativity Set. I love how it’s not perfect. The glaze on some of the pieces is not exactly even. It doesn’t matter. It’s perfect to me. It’s a piece of my Grandma that I can keep and enjoy and remember her love for me. I think that’s one reason we love Christmastime so much. Each tradition, each decoration that’s been around forever is a reminder not only of the Savior’s Birth, but of family memories. As we decorate or attend family parties or retell the stories of Jesus, we share a piece of our past. We pass those traditions and memories on to our children; we also make new traditions and memories.

I hate to take it all down and put it away. But I know it will be there for me next year, and the year after that. And every year as long as I take care of it and keep it safe. Just like my family and our memories.

I already miss that 1:00 church

Getting everyone up and ready for church at 9:00 after staying up late celebrating last night was not that much fun. Thankfully, Ryan got up right with his alarm, and the both of us were ready before 8, so we could encourage the kids along in their getting ready process. I even made a smoothie for me and made pancakes for John and a couple of other kids who also decided they would like pancakes.

Primary was interesting. Half of the kids were either out of town or their parents let them sleep in. So we were already pretty sparse. And then those new sunbeams…they didn’t know what in the world was going on. They looked so confused! “Why do I have to sit on this chair? Where are my snacks? Where are the toys? Why are we at church in the morning anyways?” Seemed to be the thoughts of those 5 little three year olds. Luckily, we have the most wonderful nursery leaders and they were absolutely prepared, handing out fruit snacks, then taking a break from sharing time to go for a walk. These same sunbeam leaders can be heard singing and playing the guitar during their class time.

I was in charge of the sharing time (I volunteered, since I basically was gone most of the month of December) and we talked about agency, and choice and consequences. I got a lot of blank looks from the junior primary, but they did think it was cool that they get CTR rings. I wonder how long they will hold on to those? My guess is 2-3 days and then the majority of them will be lost.

Today marked a sad little milestone in my life. My youngest child moved from the junior primary to the senior primary today. He told me this morning, “Mom, I won’t see you until SENIOR primary.” I told him that he should just stay in junior primary because those kids in the senior primary are naughty. Jenna, who is already in senior primary, didn’t take too kindly to that remark.

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