The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: July 2012

Is this thing on?

Tap, Tap. Testing 1..2…3..

I don’t think there’s anybody out there.

I’m feeling a little lonely thinking that only my mom is reading my blog posts. Is it just July? Is it too hot to read blogs? Is it just too hard to comment? I guess all those things, right?

Or is it me?

I promise I showered this morning, and I brushed my teeth even.


–Well, speaking of teeth, Cole got his wisdom teeth out last week. He’s doing quite well. His pain doesn’t seem that bad, and I haven’t given him but one of the narcotic pills they prescibed for him. I took the camera all set to record his out-of-it ness, but he seriously wasn’t that funny.
–Marie left on Saturday morning. We had a good time with her here, but I always feel so much pressure. Are we having enough fun, is the house clean enough, are the kid well behaved enough, are we nice enough to her, is she bored? The other times we have had people here, they have always had some kind of program or school to go to, and we’ve only had to entertain them during the evenings and weekends. This time she was here ALL the time, and it kind of stressed me out because there wasn’t really a way to hide all our crazy. Hopefully she doesn’t think worse of Americans after her visit here.

But we WERE busy. While she was here, we took her out to The Bingham Canyon Mine, had a big pancake breakfast for Pioneer day, went swimming, went bowling, out to eat, played games and puzzles. We even made jam (she helped). There were also concerts, movies, camping, fishing, 7 peaks, laser tag, 2 plays, parties, (take a breath), she went boating with the youth, horsebackriding (twice) with a friend of Megan’s, another friend made Paella for her, we went to church all three Sundays, saw Temple Square and City Creek, she went to WalMart to get Marshmallows and went to the mall, and we even “adopted” a cat for her.

I won’t speak more of the cat, but let’s just say it’s a sore subject around here.

But when she was leaving, I wanted to get her a cute stuffed cat. I looked in 3 different stores and all I could find was a webkinz that sort of looked like this 3 legged cat that she loved. But to make it authentic, I had to amputate one of it’s legs. Yes, I did. (Like I said, we’re just a little bit crazy)

We also got a little journal and all wrote notes to her, and when she opened the box with the presents, she said, “It’s Fox!” (that’s what they named the cat) and she started to cry just a little bit.

So, now she is gone. We’ve sent her back to France (where she was going to go to Italy with her family), and we hope we will keep in touch.


It’s coming up on August, and there’s less than a month left of our summer before school starts. So, to make the most of it, I am going to finish painting my bathroom.

Did I not mention that I was painting my bathroom?

I painted the whole bathroom “dover grey” which some people think looks blue. Oh well. I was tired of the grapevine pattern we had in there and it was time to move on. I’ve got some more to do in there before I can reveal the before and after pictures, so you will have to be patient. The problem is, there are no air vents in there, and it gets HOT!

So, I hope you are also having a wonderful summer.

And do a girl a favor, would you? Leave a comment so I know SOMEONE out there is reading this.

Not quite the “Holiday” we were planning

We still have Marie, our exchange student from France, with us, so we are really trying to do fun things every day. Some days I don’t want to do fun things, I will admit, and it wore me down when Ryan was gone for a week and everything was all on me. We’ve gone to plays, concerts, swimming, laser tag, shopping, out to eat, and many other things. Saturday night I took all six of them up to Salt Lake to go to the pioneer day concert with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and that experience just might have pushed me over the edge. Kids (not Marie, of course…she never complains) were grumpy and complaining, and even though I was working my hardest to make things exciting and fun for them, and they were not appreciating my hard work.

When we got seated in the conference center, approximately an hour before the concert was to start, the complaints and declarations of boredom from a certain young man were driving me crazy. Then a family came and sat behind us. I overheard as the teenage boy said to his mom, “What? The show does start for an HOUR? Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME? What am I supposed to do for an HOUR, just sit here and die of boredom?!” His mother gave him some motherly answer (I must admit I didn’t hear what she said, but she said it in a nice voice). But this young man was not easily appeased. “Hey, Mom? How about NEXT time there’s one of these things, you just don’t bring me? Can we make that deal? You just come by yourself and don’t make me come to one of these again, ok? Mom?” Mom was not answering. It took every bit of willpower I had left in me not to whip around and slap that young man, or at the very least inform him that his mother was only TRYING to give him a little cultural experience, and if he didn’t shut his trap immediately, he’d have to answer to ALL the mothers sitting near him. Seriously, folks, I should be given a commendation for my patience. Instead, I gave my own bored 8 year old my Kindle so that he could play a game or something to keep him busy, and I read the program.

The concert, once it started, was really, really great, and I was glad that I had dragged them up to Salt Lake SO early to have dinner, goof around at City Creek, and see the concert.

On Tuesday, the actual 24th of July, I was excited for the day. Even though it was expensive, we had decided to take everyone up to Snowbird and get day passes so we could slide and bungie and zipline and all that. It would be a splurge, but hopefully something that the kids will remember! First we had our ward Pioneer Day breakfast, and the kids were actually up before me! They were ready to go by 7:30. We left before 9, to avoid the fire truck and everyone getting wet, came home and packed up some food and got everybody in the car.

The car would NOT start. Seriously? What is going on here? It started just fine yesterday, and today, it won’t even turn over? We all sat in the car as Ryan tried over and over to start it. I guess we’re not going anywhere right now, so let’s get out of the car. After we found a mechanic’s shop not too far and open on the holiday, we had to call AAA to see if they would tow our car from our house to the repair shop. Yes, they will. When the tow truck came, I called the kids outside (they need SOME excitement, right?) and we all watched the poor tow truck guy hook up our Suburban and take it away.

Left with no car that would take all 8 of us, our plans were cancelled. We watched the parade on tv, then the kids played some video games and Cole started mowing the lawn.

In the afternoon, we got a call from the repair shop. I had no idea that a new fuel pump could POSSIBLY cost that much! And it wasn’t just the fuel pump and filter, but the water pump as well. Oh, and some belt. Let’s just say it’s not quite as much as college tuition for a semester for our son, but it’s more than I paid for my red couch.

Shall we talk about the couch? Yeah. Ryan wasn’t going to mention that to me until after we had our fun day in the mountains, but some things you can’t hide. My red leather couch is totally sagging in the back. Probably from too many kids FLOPPING on it. They continued to use it, even though it was getting lower and lower. (Can you see how Marie is being swallowed into the couch?) I pulled the bottom off to look at what we’ve got going on here, and I’m not sure if I know how it’s supposed to look, or if it’s even something we can repair ourselves. Oh, and here’s what I found when I tipped the couch over. Can you say, “NO food in the family room?” Hmmm. I don’t think my kids quite remembered that rule.

While Cole was mowing the lawn, he came in to tell Ryan that the back of the lawnmower was broken, and things were falling off. Oh, seriously? Luckily, Ryan discovered that it was just a problem with some bolts that had been sheered off, and he was able to go to the hardware store and easily fix that one. (Thank goodness!)

We decided that after dinner we would go to a baseball game at UVU. Something to do to get us all out of the house, and if we were lucky, there would be fireworks afterward. We did have to take two cars, and did you know they charge you per car for parking there? But we all made it and found a place on the hill to settle in and watch the game. I think we’d been there about 15 minutes when it began to rain. But the sun was shining, so it couldn’t be MUCH rain, right? Ahem. In keeping with the tradition of the rest of our day, we all got quite wet. We used the blankets we had been sitting on to try to hide us from the rain, but then the blankets all got wet. Whatever! Thankfully, the rain didn’t last too long, and we were able to stick it out and ‘watch’ the rest of the game. Finally the game was over and there were, as promised, fireworks. They were SO close and loud and fast. It was a GREAT fireworks show.

Here’s John doing my hair, waiting for the game to end.

So, even though it was a pretty crappy day, we tried to end it on a positive note.

We went home and had ice cream sundaes. Yes, it was nearly midnight, but I had told the kids they could have ice cream, so ice cream it was.

Today, we still have no suburban. I am waiting to find out the damage and trying to mentally prepare myself for the WAY TOO MUCH money it will cost and how can we possibly afford this freak out that I will have.

Happy Pioneer day to you all!


Thursday-Saturday it was our Coleman family reunion. We had plans on Thursday, so we couldn’t go up until Friday, but Friday is when most of the activities are, and when most of the family shows up. For the past few years, we have gone up on Thursday and come home on Friday because of our summer theater activities, but this year there was no conflict with a play, so we planned on Friday and Saturday fun at Payson Lakes. Ryan couldn’t go up with us until later on Friday because he had a business trip to prepare for, but since we couldn’t fit all 8 of us AND all our stuff and sleeping bags and tents, etc, in the back of the suburban, he was just going to bring some of that stuff in the truck later in the afternoon.

Once we got up there and ate our picnic lunch, we went to the lake, where my brother’s family and my parents and my cousin’s family were already having fun playing.

John went out in the canoe first, with his cousins Bryce and Danny.

Cole and Megan took out the smaller, inflatable canoe.

Natalie and Jenna went out in the canoe with their cousin Kaylee.

Bryce serenaded us with the ukelele.

We even convinced Marie to go out in the canoe. It really was the perfect weather.

Until Cole, Marie, and Megan went out in the canoe, that is.

I don’t know if you can see the raindrop ripples in the water in that picture, but that was about the time it started to rain.
Within minutes, the rain was REALLY coming down, and the whole family was huddled under my parents’ canopy that they had put up to shield us from the sun.

Amy’s son Jacob was the last one out in the lake. I guess since he was already wet, he didn’t really care about the rain. But we called him in, just to be safe.

The wind picked up and even under the canopy we were getting wet, so we had to put that down, haul our stuff back to the cars, and run for cover. Everything in the camp was wet, including our tent, which I had taken out of the car, but not set up yet. We all changed our clothes, or at least put on jackets, so that we wouldn’t be cold. The rain stopped and we started our craft time.

I had brought up all these cans, along with hammers and nails for the kids to make their own lanterns.

John was exploring, wearing his orange jacket perfect for outdoor activities. I love that I can find him easily when he’s wearing that jacket.

Pretty soon Ryan got there, and he could soon be found holding the babies.

Marie had really wanted to go fishing, and pretty soon, off she went with my Uncle Keith to fish in the lake. As we set up for dinner, it began to rain again.

We ate in the rain, happy to be there with our cousins and relatives. Soon Marie came back, and she had caught a fish!

I offered to bring it home and cook it, but she shook her head at that. I guess she doesn’t like trout, which is a good thing, because I didn’t want to have to bring it home and cook it, to tell the truth. My sister said she would take it. They had caught three or four and they do actually like to cook and eat those things.

The rain did NOT stop, but the kids still played in the fire.

As the rain continued to fall, we decided that we would NOT tough it out. The tent was wet, and not yet set up. The sleeping bags were probably wet. We packed everything back up and came home. While I was sad to have missed the ‘camping’ part of the camping experience (not really), we made the right decision. Ryan wasn’t going to stay over anyway (something to do with breathing and his c-pap machine), and my mom told me it rained again that night and again in the morning, so it would have been miserable.

We had all the fun of the camping, and got all our clothes and gear wet and muddy, without the restless night of sleeping in a tent!


We now have a student from France here. Her name is Marie and we picked her up from the airport with her group last Saturday.

She is a sweet, quiet girl who speaks English pretty well, but she doesn’t really talk much unless she is asked a direct question.

Even though she was tired, she got up and was ready to go to church at 9 on Sunday morning.

And since then it’s kind of been a whirlwind of activity around here as we try to keep everyone busy and not bored.

Sunday night we went to a free outdoor concert in Pleasant Grove. It was some guy who sang and played the guitar. The only song I recognized and remember was Blackbird by the Beattles.

But it was still something to do and it got us out of the house.

( I am not sure what happened with these pictures, but the settings must have been off. Apologies.)

Marie got comfortable in a camping chair and fell asleep.

Monday Megan had her art class, then we went to Trafalga where the kids played laser tag. It doesn’t help anyone’s energy that it’s 100 plus degrees outside, so anything we do we fell sluggish and kind of grumpy. But it cooled off enough to enjoy an outdoor show that night at the Scera Theater. We saw ‘All shook up.” Fun show, by the way, and I think everyone enjoyed it (once it started).

Tuesday I took Marie, Jenna and Natalie to the summer movie, which was “Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2”. I had to run a few errands so I let them go in without me, and joined them about half way through the movie. The temperature was perfect! The movie was pretty hokey. Oh, well. That night our friends the Adams came over, and they brought Martin, their exchange student from France. Martin and Marie are friends, so it was fun for them to have someone to talk to in FRENCH. We had a fun night with a barbeque and frisbee and lots of playing with the chickens.
Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of Marie and Martin together, but here’s John and Jared playing battleship.

Wednesday I took the kids to the Dino museum at Thanksgiving point. So sad I forgot my camera, because it was the museum’s birthday party, and they had all kinds of extra fun stuff! My kids always enjoy the dinosaur museum, and any time we have guests, we try to take them there. It’s such a fun place for kids and adults, and a nice way to stay cool on a 100 degree day. Wednesday night I went to bells rehearsal and the four teenagers all went to a youth activity swimming party. I think the bishop encouraged some of the more outgoing girls to go and talk to Marie, and they all wanted to hear her speak in French. “Say Paris!” they would say. “Pari (silent s you know)” she would say. “Oh, that’s so cool!”

On Thursday John had cub scout day camp, so he and I were up early at 6 to get him ready to go by 6:30.

He was very excited. After he left, I do admit that I went back to bed. Yes, I’ll admit it.
Once the rest of the kids got up, I encouraged them to get ready quickly so they could all go to Seven Peaks Water Park. With John gone, Cole could take all of them in the old Camry, and I wouldn’t even have to go. I do not enjoy going to seven peaks (or any place where you have to wear a swim suit, for that matter, really) and so this was my chance to send them off to the waterpark and me not have to go. I had many things to get ready for a campout and a party and general cleaning of the kitchen, but I must say I really enjoyed the few hours I had to myself. John came home around 2 and he had a GREAT time. Thanks to his awesome scout leaders!

Then, at night, Megan and Marie went to a concert in Salt Lake. It’s Demi Lovato, and while Megan was NOT thrilled to go, Marie seemed excited when I showed her the tickets and asked her if she would like to go. Luckily, a friend was taking some of her kids, and she agreed to drive them, too. Hooray! I don’t have to make another trip to Salt Lake and wait around while they go to the concert. Instead I went to Home Depot with Ryan to shop for a bathtub.

Friday is a family campout at Payson lakes, and Saturday night we have a party with the Bell Choir.

So, I would say we’ve crammed quite a bit into this week. And it’s only the FIRST week!

Fire. Works.

Tuesday afternoon and it’s HOT.
So hot, in fact, that when we got home from our summer movie, I had the kids get out the kiddie pool and fill it up with cold water.

It was their idea to put the chickens in the pool, not mine.

They didn’t all enjoy the water, but I think it did cool them down a bit. And it got the kids outside to play in the water, as well.

But when I looked to the East, I saw something that alarmed me.

And by the look of it, that fire was not too far away.

I got onto facebook to see if anyone near me knew where that fire was, and a friend in Alpine told me the fire had just started in the Alpine Cove area, which is about 4 miles Northeast of our house. And I heard the sirens. Lots and lots of sirens going by.

Within minutes, the fire was huge, with the smoke going higher and higher in the sky. Within an hour, it looked like a volcano was erupting.

Most of the kids had seen the smoke earlier, but were inside watching tv in the cool of the air-conditioned house, and didn’t know that the fire was raging out of control mere miles from our house. I brought them outside to look at the smoke, and that freaked them out a bit. By then I was tuned into a live webcast for the news and was keeping on eye on facebook and the KSL news website. They were evacuating people.

(not my picture)

Because the fire had spread QUICKLY up the mountain, and it’s rugged and rocky terrain, they were using helicopters and planes to fight this fire. The constant sound of the helicopters was both comforting and frightening at the same time.

(also not my picture, but one I saw on the news. Amazing!)

Our neighborhood emergency captain saw me outside and said that we were to be on alert. “Get your bags ready,” he said. So, without starting a panic, I got the bags ready. I pulled out the emergency 72 hour bags and told the kids to find their bag and go through it. They each checked the clothes in their bags and realized that those clothes would probably not do them any good. Cole had a pair of size 10/12 pants in there. Really? It can’t have been 5 years since we put those together! I KNOW we checked them about a year ago. Megan couldn’t even find her bag, so I told her to not panic and just go find a duffel bag upstairs (they were still out from girl’s camp the week before) and put some clothes into it. I remained calm, although about then, I sent a text to Ryan and asked him if he was perhaps coming home.

People I know were being evacuated, even people who used to be in our ward. While the winds were moving the fire up the mountain, they were afraid that the winds would shift during the night and bring the fire back down the hill, or help it spread south.

(not my picture)

As night came, we felt mostly safe, but still worried what the change of the winds would bring. When it was dark it was shocking how much of the flames and the fire you could see.

(not my picture)

In the morning, we woke to the smell of smoke, but not overpoweringly strong. It was the fourth of July! We felt safe leaving our home and going off to our planned activities, which included the tiniest neighborhood parade and a big pancake breakfast with my parents. After that, we came home quickly and then went to a family gathering with Ryan’s family. When we drove past the high school, I was shocked to see ALL the firefighters and the camp set up there at the headquarters. Trailers, tents, and many many cars. It was like a huge family reunion of firefighters and National Guard had set up at Lone Peak.

When we came home, the helicopters were still going, fighting that fire.

That night, instead of watching fireworks, we watched the fire. It was eerie. Fireworks have been banned in Highland and Alpine for now, and we didn’t really want to go too far away, so we watched fireworks in other cities from the back yard and watched the fire.

The next day–it rained. What a blessing and an answer to prayers. It rained for most of the day, giving the firefighters a real break in containing that fire. It also cooled everything down and gave our poor lawns a drink. I wish it would rain like that every week, but we will be happy with that one day of rain, at least.

So for our 4th of July celebration, we were celebrating our freedom and counting our many many blessings. We are so thankful for the firefighters who sacrifice so much to keep us safe. We are thankful for neighbors who pull together in times of crisis, and we are thankful for the rain.

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