The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: February 2012 (Page 1 of 2)

I have a family here on earth

In December I may have mentioned that we had some family pictures taken. Yes, we did.

Don’t I have a cute family? I love how my two oldest are in short sleeves. In December. Outside. Oh, well, they were instructed to wear dark colors, aka ‘jewel tones’. and we did that part.

The harder thing was getting the WHOLE group together. But, with a lot of planning and a great photographer (link), we managed to get a few good shots.

I love this one of Ryan’s parents together. Aren’t they cute?

You can see more shots of individual families here.

So, even though it was kind of difficult to get everyone together and get ready, I’m glad we did the photo shoot. I used to be of the opinion that paying for a photographer wasn’t worth it, but I’m quickly changing that opinion. I mean, I take a lot of pictures, but without a good photographer, we could never get good group shots like this. And when I’m old and frail, I want to have a LOT of pictures to look back on.

Not sugar?

Oh, sugar.
How I love thee.
How I miss thee.

But I won’t go into the details of my Lenten sugar fast. It’s the same every year. My friend Robin, (whose birthday is today, by the way) described it like this,
Sugar is of the devil…at least for me it is. Every year I try to give up sugar for Lent which is for about 40 or so days starting with Ash Wednesday and ending sometime around Easter depending on my willpower and my ability to rationalize when Lent actually ends that year. It is getting harder every year and I have done some serious rationalizing in the past few years.

Another friend, Jenny, has blogged several times about trying to get the monkey (that is sugar and our addiction to it) off her back.

So, since Wednesday I’ve been wandering the house wondering what I can snack on, since my usual snacking fare consists of….stuff with sugar. I’m trying to get my sugar from fruit, and eat more healthy stuff. The goal really is to kick the sugar addiction, be healthier, and lose weight. So you can imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scale after the first day of grumpiness and hunger, only to see that I had gained 2 pounds. NOT COOL, scale!

But, when we were taking dinner in to a friend who’s going through hard times, my other friend brought over a plate of some kind of delicious cake FOR MY FAMILY, I was pretty proud of myself when I just passed it by. See, I CAN have willpower. Sometimes.

So, let me just share a little ditty that made me laugh today. It’s all about MILK, not sweets. I don’t know if it’s his awesome German accent, or that he’s a grown man who is not afraid to dress up like a cow, but I’m feeling the Flula love.

Now maybe I’ll go have some Milch, Kase, or Joghurt for a snack.

Why I am not looking forward to this day

Back in elementary school, one thing we liked to do was play on the teeter-totter. Today kids probably don’t even know what that thing is, since some time ago, they were removed from playgrounds. Too dangerous or something. That and merry-go-rounds. Both of those things would make me seriously ill NOW. Up and down and round and round…gettin’ queasy just typing those words. But as kids, we used to think nothing of flinging ourselves and our friends around in circles, or bobbing up and down with a friend on the other side. I remember it well, that fateful day in 4th grade. I was balancing on one end of the teeter-totter. I can’t remember who exactly was sitting across from me, but it could have been any one of my friends. She must have jerked downward, or gotten off, causing me to jerk forward. SMASH. Graceful me, I hit my face on the metal bars of that teeter-totter. I ended up fat lipped and bloody, in the office for some ice. Oh, that fateful day. I actually hit that front tooth so hard, that it’s been injured ever since. That tooth slowly became discolored, just a little bit darker than the other front tooth.

Later in life (much later), when we started to go to our current dentist, he said, “That front tooth is dead. You’ll need a root canal on that someday.” RIGHT. Like I’m going to let that happen. I went on my merry way, an avid brusher and a sometimes flosser. I have pretty decent teeth, and haven’t needed much work done on them in years (aside from that one cavity last year). Until one day a couple of weeks ago when I started feeling quite a bit of discomfort. We had been out for pizza, and the hot of the pizza and the cold of my drink sent a shooting pain through my mouth. Uh-oh. Red flag there. That tooth hurt a little bit the whole next day. Sadly, I had to teach first grade that day, but the kids didn’t really notice how I was shielding that front tooth from cold with my tongue. I called the dentist on my lunch break to schedule appointments. But of course, by the time my appointment came around the next week, that tooth wasn’t hurting any more. But when they asked if any teeth had been bothering me, I had to be truthful and mention that front tooth. We took x-rays and the dentist came in to consult. He explained to me that we should get this done as soon as we can, because otherwise I’ll be calling him in the middle of the night desperate for pain meds or help.

When I expressed to him my reluctance to allow him to do a flippin root canal on my, he explained what they would do, and how it’s really not any worse than getting a filling, blah, blah, blah. “And if you are really nervous, we can give you some Valium before we numb you up just to take the edge off,” he explained. “In fact, I can write you a scrip for that right now, and you can take it before you come. You’ll have to have someone drive you, though.” Sign me up.

Well, today is the day. Ugh. I wish the appointment were in the morning, but it’s not until afternoon, so I have to WORRY about it all day. Ryan will come home and take me there, and then come back for me later. And then I will go to bed.

And worry I do. What if I say something really embarrassing when I’m doped up? What if it hurts really really bad? What if they mess up and I end up with no front tooth? What if the drugs make me nauseated and I have to throw up? What if???

So, I guess I will muddle through this and chalk it up to experience (or blog fodder). Wish me luck!

They’re so FLUFFY!

It started with a typical Saturday; cleaning the house and running errands. Jenna has asked if I would take her to Hobby Lobby for some new knitting needles. Natalie heard Hobby Lobby and wanted to come, too. So we first went to monster craft store, and after a bit of wandering, we found what we needed. Natalie even found a chef’s hat and was able to use her 40% off coupon to get it for cheap!

Next was a stop at IFA for chicken feed. While I was paying for my 50 pound bag, Jenna said, “Mom, I hear chicks, can I go see them?”
“Chicks? Ok.” I looked at the sales girl and asked, “You have chicks already?”
After I escorted the nice teenager who was carrying my feed to the car, I came back and found the girls by the chicks.


We pet those little chirping balls of fluff and looked at the chart, but we did not succumb to the cuteness. I did, however, send a text to Ryan that said, “Girls are looking at the chicks at IFA. The cuteness is almost more than we can bear.”

WE went off and finished our errands for the day, and when we came home, Ryan said, “I’m kind of surprised that you didn’t pick up some chicks while you were out.”
What? You mean you are on board with that? If you remember, Ryan was ANTI-CHICKEN for a long long time, until I pushed him into chicken ownership. But he’s come on board.
“How many chickens do you ultimately want to have?” he asked.

I said that I thought 6 was a good number.
“Well, then we should probably get 4 or 5 chicks, right?”

Shock. Still can’t believe he’s encouraging me to get chicks.

So, Monday, after dinner, we scooted on over to IFA to pick out some chicks. The fluffiness and cutitude is quite overpowering. We bought 5.
We ended up with two Black Australorps and 3 Ameraucanas. When they are grown up they should look something like these:

When we brought them home they looked like this. We put them in a box with food, water, and a light.

And Ryan, the reluctant chicken owner, seems to be just as enamored with them as the rest of us are.

After a week, we can tell that they are getting bigger. Still fluffy and cute, though.

One thing I didn’t know about chicks was how STINKY they are. I thought I would keep them in my office just to keep an eye on them, but after one day of that, they were moved to the basement. I had originally filled their box with shavings, but now I realize we’re going to have to clean out their box every day, and a friend told me that newspaper is easier. We have one little black chick (the kids are calling her ‘Penguin’) who likes to jump, and she can be frequently seen on the top of the water dish. We’ve already switched them to a bigger box, but we need to take other measures to keep that one from jumping out.

Ryan called me down today to see that chick was standing on the edge of the box, contemplating her escape. It was then that Ryan fashioned a ‘cone of shame’ to put on top of the water feeder so that if she gets up there again, she’ll just slide off.

So, keep on tuning in to see their progress!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s the day of pink hearts and frosted cookies!

To get ready for valentine’s day, we made some boxes, we decorated, we made cookies!

(This is Jenna’s owl box. I didn’t get a picture of it all finished, but it has cute wings now.)

(This is John’s cow that he painted, but then was sad when his teacher said they didn’t have to make valentine boxes, so he didn’t even get to take it to school.)

(This is how my kitchen table looks when the kids work on projects like this.)

For some of the teachers and friends, we made these love potions. Can you tell what the drink is?

I then made some that were caffeine free.

I even decided to decorate a little bit for the day of hearts.

I loved when I saw ornaments hanging from a chandelier for Christmas, so I thought, why not do that for another holiday? It looks better then it shows in the picture.

I put a little heart garland on the banister.
And put a few heart and love things on the table in the hall.

That is also where I decided to hang the painting that my sister did for me. I don’t love the framing job (since I kind of did it with stuff that was around the house), but I hope I can do a better job with it soon. I still love the painting, though, even if I’m not thrilled with how I framed it.

For the school party, I plan on playing Valentine Bingo, and Heart Lava. I’ll have to post pictures later.

Oh, and how about this sweet valentine card for my honey?

And tonight–Lady Antebellum Concert! Oh, yeah!

I hope you have a fun holiday with YOUR loved ones!

17 Miracles

Today was a hard day.

We found out that a dear friend has cancer, and it really shook us hard. They don’t know what kind of cancer it is, or what the treatment plan is yet, but they know from the MRI that it’s in a lot of his body. This man is one of the happiest, friendliest, most helpful, most energetic, generous people I know. Not only is he our neighbor and friend, but he’s our doctor. He’s EVERYONE’s doctor. He makes house calls, answers our medical questions in or out of the office, and he’s a GREAT man. He’s also young and strong (he ran a marathon last year for heaven’s sake!), but he’s been having unexplained back pain for the last 5-6 weeks. His wife, sick of his grumbling, finally said, “Go and get an MRI, for heaven’s sake!” and thank goodness she did. Hopefully now they can figure out what this cancer is and how to treat it.

At church, nobody knew. I don’t know if they just weren’t going to tell people until they knew what they were dealing with, but his wife was there in primary just as happy as ever, conducting junior primary. The Stake Primary was there to do sharing time, as it was ward conference today. Once the Stake Primary presidency started doing their thing, I stepped out into the hall for some reason, and there she was in the hall, with the Relief Society president and another friend, crying. What’s going on? I stepped closer, and one of our friends whispered, “It’s JB. He’s got cancer.” Oh. MY. Goodness. WHAT?

When Senior Primary started, the bishop came in and asked all the kids to please pray for him, and that we would have a special fast in his behalf. By that time, she was in no shape to conduct the meeting, and I stepped in. It’s just so unbelievable.

I feel so helpless to help my friend. I offered, no TOLD her that I would be bringing over dinner one night this week, and we asked what she needed. I think she doesn’t know what she needs, but they are scared. Scared of the unknown, of the worst, of the coming months.

After church we had to get the place straightened up and dinner ready, as we had invited another family over for dinner. We had a delicious dinner of glazed pork chops.

Which, by the way, is a really yummy and easy way to cook pork, and you can find the recipe here.

Later, I decided I wanted to watch the movie 17 miracles.

Bad idea. I knew it was going to be sad. Why did I think that watching a sad movie was a “good idea”?

Cried through the whole thing.


A good cry is some times a good thing, but some days it’s just too much. Right now I need optimism, not melancholy. We all need hope and happiness and helpfulness to support this family. They could use one of those miracles.

stop growing up

I hate it that my kids are all growing up. Hate it! Why can’t they just stay little and adorable? Maybe I should not ever again look at old pictures of them when they were little. It makes me sad to think that I don’t get to experience that fun babylicious time again. I would pick up stranger’s babies and offer to take care of them, but for some reason people frown on that kind of behavior. Ryan actually gets to get his baby fix in the nursery. Not only does he get to play, sing, and have snacks with the 18 month to 3 year old set, he gets to hold the younger babies that people bring in to drop off for just a little while. The other day, he held one little guy for about an hour while he was sleeping.

How do parents come to terms with the fact that they will not get to snuggle any cute little newborns anymore? I love my kids, and I love the stage they are in right now, but I miss when they were little.

We have a keypad that works as a digital frame, and it picks a random bunch of pictures and displays them for the day. When it’s showing especially cute pictures of the kids, it makes my ovaries hurt.

I saw one super cute picture from when they were little, and I said to Ryan, “I know why we have so many kids–cause they were SO DARN CUTE when they were little. They tricked us into having 5 of them!”

Can I help it if I prefer FREE?

We are planning a trip for spring break. A trip to Nauvoo to see some LDS church history sights and play and have fun with the family. Thankfully, we were able to book the flights using miles from Ryan’s extensive traveling (Thanks, Ryan’s job!), and we’re getting some pretty decent deals on hotels.

As we were talking about the trip, hubby said to me, “Now don’t take this the wrong way or anything, but…..(long awkward pause) maybe you could relax a little bit on the trip, and….maybe let the kids order drinks once in a while.”

What? Are you calling me cheap?!

Well, yes, I AM cheap, or as we in the cheap community like to call it…”Frugal”. I do admit that I like to win my vacations instead of pay for them; if it’s possible to use a coupon at a restaurant, I will try it; and I have a frequent diners card for just about every place we go to eat. Is there anything wrong with that? We try to stay at hotels with free breakfast, and if not, then we end up keeping cereal and milk and granola bars and oatmeal at the hotel to avoid the cost of eating out for breakfast. And drinks! Don’t even get me started about the mark-up on drinks! If everyone in my family orders a soda at $1.99 to go with their meal, that’s an extra $14 added to the meal. I can’t change my personality just because I’m on vacation!

Once when in San Diego, we went to a yummy yogurt place, and with the 7 of us and my parents, we filled up an entire punch card. So, we let Cole get the free $5 worth of yogurt right then, since we were leaving in the morning and most likely never coming back to that place to use our rewards card. He piled on the toppings and enjoyed a yogurt overload. Hey, there are perks to being the only teenager on vacation, you get to be the designated glutton!

We all laugh about the time that we were at Disneyland, and I used the free birthday tortillas from the Mission tortilla factory to make pb & j roll ups, but the jelly all smooshed out of the rolled up tortillas and ended up in a huge sticky mess in the bag. Fun memories!

Of course, nothing can compare to the cheapness in college. Some friends and I went to Disneyland, and instead of buy ANY food in the park, we had brought Captain Crunch cereal, bread, and peanut butter. Halfway through the day, we trooped out to the car, and ate our cruchilicious-peanutbuttery feast. My aunt, who was Disneylanding with us that day, just laughed and laughed at our cheapness.

And sporting events? I can’t say we NEVER go unless they are free, but that’s pretty close of an assessment. Go, Jazz! Same thing with concerts. I’m ok sitting in the nosebleed section to see a concert (Lady A next week–so excited!), although I must admit that those 2nd row seats to see Michael Buble were pretty sweet. I do pay full ticket price for Broadway (or touring) musicals, if I have to. I guess I do have that weakness. I mean, I TRY to win tickets, but it doesn’t always work out for me.

But I did listen to him and agreed that I would try to not stress out about money while on vacation. If that means paying for some things in advance and setting aside a certain amount of cash to use for entertainment and eating out, then I can get on board. Or maybe I just let him pay for everything and not look at receipts (or menus) so that I’m blissfully unaware of how much we are spending. Nope, can’t do that.

I can’t be the only one who tries to save money even while on vacation. How do you do it? Do you just get into that “I’m on vacation” mentality and spend with reckless abandon? Or, like me, do you still try to keep it simple and not go all extravagant even though you are on vacation?

Paige Paints (part two)

After we got the three walls painted in green,
(and there’s the new tv mounted on the wall)
I wanted to do the fourth wall a different color. Why? Because I can. I was thinking of a darker green or a brown. So, I took in my trusty pillow sham and compared colors again. I ended up with a chocolate-y brown.

Because of work (I ended up subbing three days in a row-ugh) and a funeral and other such LIFE, I didn’t get any time to paint until Friday. So, Friday morning, I was READY. I put on my paint clothes (which my kids curiously think are my pajamas. While I do sometimes paint in my pajamas, I have dedicated a certain pair of yoga pants and t-shirt as my paint clothes, so that I don’t ruin any more items), and started moving things out of the way, and cleaning the walls and baseboards. Where is that darned screwdriver I used to take off the plug covers? Text to Ryan, who says it should be on the dresser. Not on the dresser. Go searching the house for a screwdriver. Finally find one, and commence taking the plug covers off. My sweet hubby had taken apart the paint stick and cleaned it (what a sweetie, right?), but then I had to put it back together. Just a word about my beloved paint stick. I have mentioned before that it’s the only way to paint, and how much I love the paint stick.
Well, this Wagner paint and roll wasn’t working properly when I started painting the green. No problem, I’ve used this paint stick for several rooms already, so I’ll just open up the box of this other paint stick and use it. Well, having not taken this new paint stick apart, I wasn’t familiar with the assembly of it. And those instructions? Not the clearest. Another call to Ryan, who explained how to do it. I tried, but I just couldn’t get it quite right. Dang. And I’ve got the paint can opened and everything.

At this point in my frustration, I realized that perhaps painting wasn’t the thing for me to do that day. I had cramps and was extremely grumpy from a certain monthly occurrence that was indeed at that time occurring. I didn’t want to end up totally frustrated and throwing things, after all. I decided to just wait on the rolling of the paint until hubby could come home and rescue me. But since the paint can was already opened, I had to see how it looked on the wall, right? I just did a little bit of edging and called it good for the moment.

So, Friday night, we got busy with some paint. It’s SO MUCH FUN, that the kids all want a turn painting.

But they tire quickly.

The next morning we got back on the painting wagon, and finished that wall.

Now it’s done. Hooray!

I took some pictures just to show the finished room.

Although in the spirit of full disclosure, my bedroom NEVER looks like that. NEVER. I’m notoriously messy. There is usually a pile of laundry somewhere, a pile of clothes on the chair (I haven’t brought the chair back in, I’m just realizing), and I do intend to hang those things up on the wall. When I figure out where they should go.

But I am thrilled to FINALLY have some color in my room.
It only took 10 years in this house, and the threat of mounting a tv on the wall to get me to decide. And you know what? Now that there is some color on the wall, the non centered windows don’t bug me so much. I will probably still do some curtains in there. Eventually. Maybe in another 10 years.

Tuesday, you kill me

The schedule today goes something like this:

Cole and Megan both stay late after school for various things.

3:45 take Jenna to the school for storytelling.
4:00 take John to cub scouts (pick up a friend along the way)
4:20 is about the time Megan usually texts me to pick her up from the school when driver’s ed is finished.
4:30 take Natalie to piano
5:00 pick up John from cub scouts, pick up Natalie from piano, pick up Jenna from the school, and take Megan to American Fork high for range driving. (yeah, right!) I’m hoping Cole will be home by then to help me at that busy time.

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