The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: October 2012

If I was going for scary..

I decorated my front door!

I LOVE how cute it looked! Yes, it took me a while to do, but there’s almost no cost, since it was basically just two rolls of white crepe paper.

But then it snowed, and the humidity did something to that crepe paper.]

It now looks like this.



Ryan has been talking about building a new and improved chicken coop for the fluffy girls before winter. He’s never liked the pink coop we have. While it’s cute, it’s not designed well, and there’s definitely not room for all 9 chickens. Since it’s getting cold, those girls aren’t really laying, and we are only getting about 12 eggs a week. But he’s SO busy, and he’s been gone so much, so I didn’t know if that was going to happen anytime soon.

When the girls and I came home from a horrible movie premier on Saturday (DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT SEEING ‘FUN SIZE’, by the way) and a trip to Costco, Ryan and John were hard at work in the clean garage (remember when we cleaned it out a few weeks ago? SO GLAD we did that, as I LOVE parking my car in a clean garage!)

We’ve been talking about plans, and he had modified plans he found online for his own plan that he thought was even better.
After John’s flag football game, they had gotten started on this project. They grabbed a lot of the leftover wood that we’ve been tripping over in the basement and put it to good use.

Soon, the base of the structure was getting so heavy, we decided we’d better move it out of the garage, or there would be no moving it later.

Five of us each grabbed a corner and hefted. It doesn’t look like it should be that heavy, but it WAS.

Isn’t it nice that we had John to take pictures of us?

Sadly, Ryan got tired and had other things to do, and without a proper staple gun, the hammering was taking him a long time. Little did we know that we wouldn’t have any more nice days to work outside, and since we had already moved it out of the garage…

He’s worked on it this week after work when he could, but it’s been cold, and yesterday it started snowing on us. Ugh.

So now it looks like this. You can see that it will be bigger and sturdier than the silly pink playhouse turned chicken coop, and it will be nicer for our birds. Here’s hoping for a few NICE hours tomorrow so he can get the rest of the walls up.

Walk that plank!

Our fundraiser walk-a-thon a the school this year was PIRATE themed, and we had a lot of fun with that. For our opening assembly, we promised to make our principal “walk the plank” if we raised enough money.

Between the walk and the awards assembly, there were many hours spent counting money, tabulating the child and the classes that walked the most laps, as well as who brought in the most money, etc.
I made certificates, attached gift cards, prizes and the like until my entire kitchen table was covered with school STUFF.

Finally I got everything organized and was nearly ready.

Problems with the dunk tank?

Well, the dunk tank did give me a little bit of stress. You see, I met someone at PTA convention who gave me a price list for inflatables, and since they gave churches and schools a 50% discount, the dunk tank was only $65 to rent. But when I called, I only got an answering machine, and the website I had didn’t work. Finally, when someone called me back, he told me that they would be closed up for the season by October, and that they go to Mexico. I must have sounded sad and desperate on the phone (because I WAS) because he said, “Well, maybe my son can get it for you and you can keep it for the weekend and return it). OKAY! Anything I could do to get that dunk tank and not have to spend a whole lot of money would be good. Because of a copying mistake (not mine, but I’ve got serious fears of delegating, now), I was over budget already and feeling bad about it. So, plans were made to pick up the dunk tank on the night before the assembly. “Let me just tell you,” the guy said, “My son has asbergers and he really likes people to be on time.”

So, little did I know that that night would be my book club, masterclass for piano, volleball for the young women, murder mystery set up for one daughter, and another daughter wanted to go to Pleasant Grove High for a volleyball game so she could get extra credit. Add to that my fear that something would go wrong (Last year I went to go pick up the Sumo Suits the night before the assembly and the person WASN’T there and I couldn’t get a hold of her. I ended up having to make another trip to pick them up at 8 in the morning on the day of.) I wanted Ryan to come with me because I didn’t know how heavy or hard this would be, but he wasn’t going to be home until about 5:45. We loaded up John and Megan in the suburban and took off, trying to get there on time. We found the warehouse in time, and the guy was there, already getting things out of the big garage. Hooray, it fit in the suburban. Then we took Megan over to PG high for the volleyball game. People were streaming into the school, but they were all dressed up, like for a choir concert or something. She didn’t want to go find a volleyball game by herself, and I wasn’t going to go with her, so she decided not to go. Then we headed to our elementary school, calling the principal on the way. We met him there to unload the pieces of the dunk tank so he and the custodian could set it up and start filling it with water on Friday morning.

Too late for bookclub, I just got myself organized for the assembly the next day.

I hauled all my certificates and prizes, flag, and props into the school, and managed to get all the certificates distributed by the time the assembly was to start. Dunk tank was filled and we were ready to go.

We ended up dunking 6 teachers and the principal, and it was a LOT of fun.

(unfortunately, I gave my camera to a wiling helper, and all her pictures are from the same angle, and so the light is bad and the pictures aren’t very good.)

The kids LOVED it.

When we were done, it was time to empty out that dunk tank and load it up into my suburban. I got to drive to the back of the school and that felt like I must be breaking all kinds of rules.

I had told the kids we could use the dunk tank on Saturday, but John and his friends could NOT wait that long. They were bugging us on Friday afternoon to get it set up, so set it up we did. They couldn’t even wait until it was filled to play in it, and that water was NOT warm.

They ended up spraying each other with the hose while it was filling, and getting drenched in cold water.

Saturday was a beautiful day, with temps in the 70’s, (which is beautiful for October in Utah). Sunny and warm, we invited friends and neighbors over to dunk or be dunked. John and his friends used it again, dunking each other and laughing. At the end of the day, we had to bribe the girls to get up there, and they all did. So much fun!

Now that dunk tank is still in the back yard, waiting for us to take it down and take it back to the guy, I guess. Just another fun thing to do with our kids for the weekend!

I am SO relieved that this event is over. I have probably spent about 200 hours organizing and putting on this fundraiser, and I’m glad to be able to pack it up and move on. It was a successful year, as we raised over $19,000 for our school. I won’t be in charge of this next year, and I’m relieved. I would really like to focus on getting my chime choir going and not having so much walk-a-thon work to do. I’m sure I’ll be helping a LOT next year, but it won’t all be on my shoulders–Hooray!



In Kindergarten class, one little boy asked where his teacher was that day.

“I don’t know exactly. She might have a meeting, or maybe she had a dentist appointment,” I said.

“Yeah,” he said, “she has lots of meetings. Or maybe she had to work,” he said.

“Well, this Is her work,” I explained, “She works here with you.”

“No, she’s here because she really likes us.”

Oh. While I’m sure she really DOES like them, I’m also pretty sure she wouldn’t be there if she weren’t being paid. But how nice that he thinks she likes him enough to come teach him even if he weren’t getting paid.

Conference Weekend

General Conference was amazing. That big announcement at the beginning of the Saturday morning session really made us all pay attention and listen more intently. This mission age change doesn’t really change our plans much. Cole is eligible to go NOW, but since it will take us about 2 months to get his papers ready and submitted, and you submit those 16 weeks before his availability date, that would be about April anyway, so we’ll just continue on our course, and plan for him to go in April, when winter semester is over. But it is a big change for all those boys who are currently seniors. They now can leave right after high school, instead of going to college or working for the first year. And young women can go at 19!? Wow. I foresee GREAT influx of sister missionaries! That’s wonderful!!

There were SO many amazing talks that touched my heart. I really do look forward to reading these talks and reviewing all that I learned.

Our family was busy, as well. We have had a desperate need to clean the garage, but in the summer it was much too hot. September has been busy with Ryan traveling and other things that keep us busy on Saturdays. So, even though Ryan just got back from Korea on Friday night, I was determined that Saturday was the day to clean the garage.

I did not take any pictures of the before (we don’t need proof of what slobs we are), but there was straw and grass everywhere, some mice had been in there, and it was just packed with STUFF. Insane amounts of stuff.

Cole was home for the day, and we put him to work as well. We filled up the truck with bikes, a scooter, and other stuff, and took that load to the dump. Then we filled up the truck with trash to go to the dump. A whole load gone, and we still have stuff to pare down. With the use of a borrowed pressure washer, we were able to clean the floor and then put everything back in.

Look at all the space there is on the side of the suburban! With such a huge car, it does cramp the garage, but once the bikes are corralled and the extra junk is gone, it seems so spacious!

There’s even space to get to the outside freezer without tripping on a hose or other such junk.

(not the best picture, but I didn’t want to go out into the garage without shoes on)

Oh the joy. I know some of you are going to look at those pictures and think, “What is she talking about? There’s stuff everywhere!” But the improvement is immense, and I am pleased. Since we are almost done with lawn mowing season, we won’t be getting a ton of grass and stuff in there, and maybe we can keep it clean through the winter. I said MAYBE.

On Sunday, the kids were engaged in all kinds of projects.

Megan is working on a painting for her art class (that she’s been working on for 2 weeks and I seriously hope she gets that done).

John is working on some perler bead creations.

Jenna was working on friendship bracelets and Natalie was making a playdough bust of Magellan for her history assignment.

Cole is exhausted from college life and had a little rest during the Sunday morning session.

Larissa(not pictured here because she didn’t start until after I was done taking pictures) was working on a collage for an assignment.

I made whole wheat bread, and collected all the ripe and semi ripe tomatoes from the garden. We also ate one of our three cantaloupes that we grew in the garden.

It’s so nice to be able to relax and listen to conference from home. I actually had tickets for Sunday afternoon’s session, but I gave them away so that we could avoid the traffic and crowds and stay together here at home.


Hubby is in Korea right now, and he just emailed me that this week is apparently Thanksgiving week in Korea. Who knew? He’s worried that all his favorite places to eat might be closed, but he can probably muddle through.

I’m just thankful that Amazing race started on Sunday. Who’s with me?

Jenny Matlock

A very merry unbirthday!

When Natalie said she wanted to do a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for her birthday, I thought, “That sounds like fun. Not too hard. We can do that.” Hmmm. Well, I wouldn’t say it was easy, but it turned out to be so cute.

It pays to have an art teacher for a dad. He told me a while back that he had make a bunch of Alice in Wonderland decorations for a ward party, and that they were just sitting around. I decided to take advantage of his creativity and borrow all those decorations. Wow! There were so many, I could hardly find enough available wall space.

(GRRRR–I had this whole post almost done and when I went to save it, something went wrong, and now I’m back to this point. Well, I guess you get the shorter version, then.)

When the ladies arrived for the tea party, Natalie escorted them outside to play croquet. It seems the rules of croquet were cramping their style, however, so they just ended up whacking the balls all at the same time, running willy-nilly after balls.

You may notice that John seems to have bunny ears on. He made a night before costume decision that he wanted to be the white rabbit, and Larissa actually made those ears for him from tissue paper and a headband. It’s nice that Natalie didn’t shun her siblings and let them enjoy the party. John’s friend showed up right before it started, and I told him in order to participate, he would have to have a crazy hat, too. So, they went down to the costumes and found a wizard hat for him to wear.

Inside, the preparations were continuing. We had lots of cookies and small sandwiches. We wouldn’t want our guests to leave hungry, would we?

After the girls played croquet for all of 15-20 minutes (I had planned for that activity to last at least 45 minutes. Silly me), the girls came in and opened presents. While they were opening the presents, the Queen and the Mad Hatter arrived to officially welcome them to the party.

Oh, and the white rabbit was there, as well.

Now before you get all impressed thinking that I rented or bought these costumes, let me tell you the back story. On my way home from bells on Wed night, I mentioned to my carpool that I had this Mad Hatter’s tea party to do on Saturday and I needed to put up all these Alice in Wonderland decorations. My friend Janeen said, “You know I have the that Red Queen costume, right? You could borrow that.” WHAT? Why didn’t I THINK of that? She mentioned that she also had access to a Mad Hatter and an Alice costume, if I wanted to borrow them, too. No WAY! When we discussed some bell music that I could use, that clinched the deal, and I made a trip to Spanish Fork the next night to pick up all these things. Sadly, we don’t have a full shot of my in the costume, because with the skirt and the hoop skirt and all it’s pretty amazing. Don’t you agree? So, thank goodness for talented and generous friends!

Anyway, enough about me and how lovely I look in my fabulous costume….

Let’s talk about our birthday girl! Natalie looked pretty dolled up, too.

I thought it was fun how her friends came dressed up, as well. If they didn’t dress up in a skirt or dress, they at least hat on some kind of hat, which is the point of a Mad Hatter’s tea party, right?

After they had eaten their fill, the ladies retired to the family room to play Natalie’s favorite party game, Truth or Dare with the fuzzy Toss it to me game cube. And the party ended with a showing of Mirror, mirror.

I think it was a huge success. Of course, here it is, two days later and I haven’t returned the tea cups or put away the many tea pots.
Maybe I’ll have the servants do that, since I am the Queen after all.

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