The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: May 2012


Yesterday was Lone Peak’s class of 2012 graduation.

How is it that we could go from this little boy to that high school graduate?

I don’t even want to go there. I mean, really, it seems like it was only a few years ago that we were celebrating MY high school graduation.

Cole’s graduation was at UVU, the first one of the day, 9:00 am, so our goal was to get there by 8 am to get a seat. Cole was supposed to be there at 8 am to practice and line up, too. We let him drive his own car so we wouldn’t slow him down.

I got this banner for him, and it even came in time. Hooray! Not sure what we’re going to do with it NOW, but we’ll let Cole decide, I guess.

Since Lone Peak lets all the graduates sit with their friends, it was pretty hard to find Cole in the SEA of graduates,

(Think you can pick him out?)
but I snuck a peak and a photo when they took their caps off for the National Anthem.

The talks were good, (and short) and I’m sure they hurried to get through all 600 plus graduates. I didn’t get great pictures, just a blur of him walking across the stage, but I might get better shots from my dad. And by 10:30, it was over. They moved their tassels from one side to the other, and they were done!

Then we had to meet up in the sea of graduates and family outside.

Thanks to cell phones, we eventually did find him so that we could congratulate him and take some pictures!

Since Ryan and I feel like WE earned this graduation, we decided to put on the hat, too. Plus, Ryan said he had NO pictures from when he graduated. I doubt that, but now we have this one.

We are SO proud of all of our kids. It’s a joy to see how different they all are, and we rejoice in their accomplishments. We are proud to say that Cole will be going to BYU in the fall, and we hope it’s a wonderful experience for him.

Books and more books

I always have one or two books I am working on. Usually one for book club, one or two from the library, one or two that were recommended to me, and the list goes on.

Last week I read THE QUEEN OF WATER for book club.

Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta—stupid Indian—by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds.
In this poignant novel based on a true story, acclaimed author Laura Resau has collaborated with María Virginia Farinango to recount one girl’s unforgettable journey to self-discovery. Virginia’s story will speak to anyone who has ever struggled to find his or her place in the world. It will make you laugh and cry, and ultimately, it will fill you with hope.

It was such an inspiring book. I think I need to have my daughters read it.

I also just finished John Grisham’s THE LITIGATORS.

I am not a huge Grisham fan, although I have read a couple of his book. I checked this one out from the library for my Kindle, and it was a good read. A lot of legal language, but enough plot and intrigue for non lawyerly types like myself.

Also in my pile of books are a bunch of half read ones that I have started some time ago, and haven’t gotten around to finishing.

Also on my pile is a big old book for our next book club, The ONCE AND FUTURE KING

I’ve read two pages of it so far. If I’m going to get through this one, I would do well to see if I can get a digital copy on my Kindle, because then it will be with me, and I’ll be more likely to read it.

I’m also almost through the Hunger Games Trilogy.

I don’t generally reread books, and especially not a whole set of books, but after seeing the movie, I kind of wanted to read the book again, and since I have the whole set together on my Kindle, I got sucked into reading the whole set again. Nearly done with that, though, and even if I didn’t finish, it wouldn’t matter, since I already know what happens.

At bells rehearsal this week, we received two books from Deseret Book. The gifts were actually to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, to say thank you for such a great job recording CD’s, but since we are distant relatives in the Choir family, we got books, too.

Then, while garage saleing on Saturday, I cam across TONS of books. I don’t buy a lot of books from bookstores, but when see books that look like good reads for 25 cents or 50 cents each, I am tempted to buy.

The Help I just love, and didn’t own a copy, so I splurged and bought it for $1.00. I’ve given it to my 13 year old to read.
I looked up these other books on goodreads, and a lot of my friends have read them and given them high reviews. I’m halfway through THE LAST LECTURE and it’s a great book so far.

So, I think I’ve got enough to last me through the first month of summer reading, don’t you?

What’s on your nightstand waiting to be read, or what’s your favorite summer read?

Almost all grown up

It seems like the chickens are happy with their new arrangement. The big chickens’ house is attached to the 14′ by 14′ enclosure that we made from the two dog runs. The smaller chickens’ house is inside the enclosure. During the day, we open their doors so that all the chickens can move freely from house to house, and they have plenty of room to explore. I didn’t expect them to spend so much time on top of the red house, but that’s one of their favorite roosting places.

I don’t know if they just like to be up high, or if they feel safe from the big chickens up there.
(That weird looking yellow fabric draping there is my sad attempt at providing them some shade. I tied the fabric on, but then the crazy wind whipped it around so that it was just sad and hanging there. Oh, well. It’s a work in progress, right?)

While I can’t say that they are best of friends and all the chickens get along famously, I don’t worry about the big bossy chicken pecking at them anymore. She makes a move toward them, and they run away.

And since we covered the whole thing with chicken wire (oh, that was hilarious, by the way) and attached the wire at the sides, I don’t worry about them flying out or other creatures getting in. Yes, there is the occasional magpie that gets in there and eats their food, but I don’t think a cat or a hawk could get in.

Now there’s just the question of the one black chicken who looks strangely rooster-like.

The black one standing in the back is a little bit bigger than the others, and she already has her comb. I’m worried about our little Oreo (that’s her name), and I hope she doesn’t start crowing, as then we would have to find a new home for her (or him). But we’re still hoping she’s just an early bloomer and that the others will catch up with her soon.

And yes, we did dress them up in little shirts the other day. I brought home some little free shirts from a t-shirt company at the PTA convention. I thought the kids would have fun putting them on their stuffed animals. Well, even MORE fun, I guess, is putting it on a chicken. Not all the chickens appreciated being dressed up, I can tell you.

And what’s that? Who is holding that chicken and petting her like he likes her? Yep, it’s the chicken skeptic of last year. The man who said no to chickens over and over and over again. Now he likes them, and even said to me, “do you think we have enough chickens?” Shocked! I’m shocked, I say.

And just one more picture, because I think it’s so cute. When given the chance, the big girls LOVE to go digging in the bishop’s weed close to the back of the house. Now the plants are so tall you can hardly see the chickens in there. I’m not sure if they like the hiding in there, or if they are just busy looking for bugs.

Our little chicks are almost all grown up!

Jenny Matlock

Linking to Jenny Matlock’s for letter A

Chime in

Last week I attended the Utah PTA convention held at BYU. It’s been years since I have attended, and I actually had a nice time and got a lot of valuable information for the one day that I was there. One of my classes was “Arts in the Schools”. It wasn’t really my area, since I am in charge of fundraising again this year, but I was interested, and found the class amazing. There were 2 presenters who spoke of how arts programs can change lives, giving their own stories as illustration.

While I was in that class, I experienced a very strong prompting that I needed to help in this area. I have been given many opportunities and blessings and it is time for me to share that with others. I was moved almost to tears as the Spirit spoke to my soul and I realized that, like the lyrics of one of my favorite hymns, “Because I have been given much, I too must give.” I left that class SO excited to start some kind of a handbell program.

The next day, I wrote a quick email to the principal of the elementary school where I am heavily involved. I told him my idea and asked if he thought it was a possibility, if I could somehow raise the money to buy the instruments. He responded positively, and I met with him on Monday with a Grant proposal for him to sign. He was very supportive, and while he can’t offer me money to get started, said that we could find space and time in our before or after school music programs. I took the form down to the district office to get it signed. I am applying for a set of loaner handchimes, which the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers will loan to a school just beginning the chime program. I also asked three of my friends from Bells on Temple square how they began their choirs at school, and got some ideas. I need Grants.

So, this week I am searching for Grants. I have applied for one so far, and am looking for another that I qualify for. I never knew this, but there are TONS of grants out there, but very few of them apply specifically to what I’m trying to do. If I get that loaner set of handchimes, then I can start right away. If not, I will have to scrounge up the money. I figure I need about $4,000 just to get started. Anyone have an extra $4,000 that they would like to give me? I didn’t think so.

So, I don’t know if things will fall into place for me to start this in the fall, but I do know that I can make it work eventually. I am so excited about this idea, even though I have no experience teaching chimes or even leading a choir. But if I am meant to make this happen, then I will be lead to the people who can help me, and I will muddle through just like everyone else does when they start a new endeavor.

Wish me luck.

instant gratification

Instant gratification.

It’s what we all want, right?
There are not many things in my life that really offer instant gratification. Except for chocolate, of course.

Gardening takes a long time, and even if I plant the seeds at the right time, there is no guarantee that things aren’t going to freeze and I’ll have to plant again.

I have ZERO will power and can’t stick to a diet plan for more than 5 minutes, so trying and failing over and over at losing weight is a pitiful, depressing experience all around. And there’s chocolate.

While I love my chickens, we won’t be getting eggs from these new girls until they are 5-6 months old. That’s a long time to wait for an omelet, if you ask me.

But you know what does provide almost instant results? Paint!

Yes, paint. You pick a color, and once your surface it prepped, you can start immediately, and see the color that it’s going to be.

I bought this vanity at a garage sale a few weeks ago. I loved it immediately. I had one like this when I was a kid. It had a HUGE heavy mirror attached to it, and I think it came from some great aunt or something. I wonder where it is now. (Mom? What happened to that vanity, by the way?) Anyway, since it was made of real wood and I already loved the shape of it, I bought it and brought it home.

Then, when Ryan and I were walking through Lowe’s looking for other stuff for his new GARDEN SySTEM –that we will go into more about later, and I thought, “Oh, I should get some paint.” They had some little Valspar sample colors right on the desk for under $3. I pretty much said, “Ohh, this is so pretty!” and grabbed a little pot of paint. Yes, I spend THAT much time picking out my paint color. I decided that just to be safe, I would get two little pots, so I wouldn’t have to come back.

And then, when I had a couple of hours that were unscheduled, I started. I did do some light sanding and cleaned the dirt off, and then got started. That old piece of furniture seemed to be just SUCKING in the paint. I went over each surface a couple of times, and wasn’t really pleasde with how it was looking. Kind of streaky, if you ask me. Well, I soon ran out of time, and had pretty much used up the whole sample pot of paint, so I left my project and jumped in the shower. One of the kids saw my project and said, “Mom! I love that blue dresser! Is if for me?” I don’t actually know who it is for, but I’m sure we’ll find a use and a place for it once the basement is finished.

After our Mother’s day celebration, I took my friend Robin and my sister-in-law Julene downstairs to show off my project. I said that I wasn’t done yet, that I really needed to do another coat and fix some places, and they both said they wouldn’t do another coat. “You don’t want it to be too perfect,” one of them said. Too Perfect? Do you know me? Nothing I do is even remotely close to perfect, in fact, my motto is “good enough”, so I was happy to hear the encouragement to keep it a little rough. After all, I was just going to sand it and distress it a little bit.

So, I went over the spots I thought needed some work, then sanded it a bit, then did a little wash with payne’s gray to give it that “old” look. And then I put on a coat of poly to protect it and keep it shiny. John helped me with the poly coat.

Here it is now. It just took a couple of hours, a tiny amount of paint, and there we have it. Nearly instant gratification!

Don’t you love how nice it looks up next to the unfinished walls of our unfinished basement? That would NOT be an example of instant gratification right there, but we won’t go into that. Maybe some other post…when it’s finished.

Happy Mother’s Day!

My son has to speak in Sacrament Meeting tomorrow. They usually ask the graduating seniors to speak on Mother’s day. That way none of the men embarras themselves, and none of the women need to talk on Mother’s day. I won’t BE there to listen to his talk, but I know he will do a great job. I get to ring bells with the Tabernacle Choir in the Sunday morning Music and the Spoken Word Mother’s day special.

As he was working on his talk, I said, “You could probably mention our chicken experiment. There’s probably a funny story in all of that.”
“I wouldn’t dream of leaving it out,” he said casually.
Now I’m a little worried.

Oh, well. At least I won’t be there to be embarrassed or to cry or anything.

In the afternoon, we are having a big to-do with Ryan’s parents and siblings. Since we had my whole family over recently to celebrate my mom’s birthday, it’s only fair to have his family over for Mother’s day. Hopefully I can keep the really pretty potted flower I bought for her alive long enough to give it to her.

I hope that whatever you do on this Mother’s day, you will CALL your mom, and tell her how wonderful she is. We wouldn’t be who we are without our Mothers.

Thank you, MOM!!!

Just a little gift so they’ll know I care

One of our friends was heading to St. George for the Iron man competition. Talk about INSANE!

His wife was trying to be supportive, but she wasn’t thrilled about sitting around forever WAITING to see him run by, or bike by, or swim by. So I made them a little “Triathlon Survival Kit”. It’s mostly for her, since he has all his snacks and nutrition specifically planned out, but hopefully it will make her weekend a little more fun.

It’s nothing fancy, but there’s some sunglasses, a squirt bottle, some bubbles, candy, bandaids, trail mix, and even a clown nose and a ‘snickers marathon’ protein bar.

She was excited when I gave her the basket, and I was glad I could bring her some joy. Since I was making one for her, I made one for another one of my friends (I actually visit teach both of these ladies), but made it just a bit different, so it’s a ‘Summer survival kit’. Hers had most of the same stuff, but she had some hydrocortizone cream and nail polish in there and no power bar. When she opened hers, she called me immediately to thank me.

Now we’re working on teacher appreciation gifts for some of the kids’ teachers. It doesn’t take a lot, but it sure is fun to give or receive fun and unexpected gifts, right?

Fun, fun!


At the beginning of the school year, I informed my son that it was his duty as a man to ask two at least two girls out this year, and one of those dates had to be prom. Whether he wanted to or not.

Unreasonable of me? No. Boys need to practice their social skills and need to know that it’s ok to ask a girl out, not just ‘hang out’ with friends. And if boys aren’t asking out girls, the girls are sitting at home, dreaming of going to prom, but NOT going. I also informed him that I would be financing the operation, so it’s not like he would be spending his own money (I’m laughing to myself as I type this, by the way. ‘his own money’–what is that?)

Once the new year rolled around, I found out when Prom would be, and started to talk it up. We got more serious by the end of March. He would have to ask someone before spring break. I even took away the pressure to be creative, as I said, “Just choose who you want to ask, and I’ll come up with the rest”. I love this creative stuff, anyway. So, once he told me who he was going to ask, I was at the grocery store and saw the giant tub of cheese balls. This could work, I thought.

And if he didn’t like my idea, I knew they wouldn’t be wasted. I told Cole the idea, and he came up with this little poem.

Hidden inside the container was a capsule with Cole’s name on it, so she would have to search or dump out the cheese balls to find out who it was from. Not TOO complicated and not over the top, but still kind of cute. Then, under cover of darkness, the stealthy little brother (who had an encounter with some asphalt that day, darnit. And notice how he’s in his pajamas?)got to leave the package on the doorstep and ring the doorbell and run.

A few days later, this little mouse appeared on the doorstep.


So the date was on.

I then spent the next month encouraging him to find a friend who was also going to prom to double date with, since these things are much more fun with a group. After he was done with his big trip to Nationals for Academic Decathlon, we had to get serious.
Time to:
rent a tux –where the guy was totally grumpy and voiced his displeasure that 3 schools in the area were all having prom the same weekend, and where there were only 3 styles of 38 long to chose from

pick a coursage–where I went to the flower shop TOO LATE and they practically laughed me out of the store and told me they would not, could not, make me a corsage for the dance the next night. So shoot me! We have been busy around here and I put it off! I ended up ordering from the Flower Patch in Orem, and called in a favor from my dear friend Robin, who picked up the corsage and brought it to us on Friday afternoon.

Photos--They didn’t want just the plain old dance photos, so I arranged for a photographer to meet them at a park in Draper, after they had picked all the girls up. I was working on Friday, but when I checked my phone at the end of the day, I saw a text from the photographer letting me know that she could NOT make it because her husband was having a kidney stone attack, and she had to take him to the hospital. Always thinking I have to solve every problem myself, I spent the next hour trying to rearrange my life so that I could meet them at the park and take pictures. I finally had it all worked out, including many texts to hubby and friends to see who could help out with baseball and snacks and the other kids, when my son said, “Oh, Ethan’s dad said he could do pictures.” Nice to know, kid.

Cole’s group had planned a fun date for the night before prom, where they went to a dance class and learned the tango. Unfortunately, Cole’s PE teacher had also planned long jumping or pole vaulting or something for PE on Thursday, wherein Cole sprained his ankle. Great. He went dancing anyway, and could barely walk when he came home. Ice and ace bandage time.

The group changed from 6 to 4 when one of the guys was very sick on Thursday, but I guess he got well enough to go by Friday, so they were back to 6. Good thing we had both a car and a suburban at the ready. ( He ended up driving the suburban, which unfortunately had my snacks for the baseball game and John’s mitt in the back. Oops.)

In the end, everything turned out fine. While I don’t have any pictures of his date or the group (yet), I do have pictures of Cole looking so spiffy in his tux.

When he got home, he was happy and excited and said the date had been GREAT. I didn’t get too many details because it was one in the morning and I was asleep. This morning, I woke him up at 7:30 to go take a practice AP test. Even though it’s Prom weekend, the boy still has to study, right?

So, I am glad I stuck to my guns and ‘made’ him go to Prom. It’s the only one he will get to go to, and I hope he always has fond memories of high school and his senior Prom.

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