The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: January 2013

Still a mess, yes, but getting closer

I have been trying to get some decent pictures of the basement to show what we have been doing. But honestly, my pictures haven’t turned out great. Plus, sometimes the progress is so slow, it doesn’t seem like there’s much change. In the past couple of weeks we have done a lot of painting, and are happy to say we’ve finished that part, except some touch ups, of course.

Can you tell what’s happening here?

Well, we had some of these can light rings to paint, and realized that the ones in the upstairs were looking dingy, as well. So, Ryan took down all the can lights (bulbs and rings), and cleaned them all

And then he painted them all white, so they would stay white.

Megan and Larissa were very helpful, put almost all of the lights back in, and attached the rings.


It’s hard to get a good shot of a paint color when we are talking about a basement. Depending on how much light there is and if I use a flash, the color doesn’t look right in the picture. Lets just say that the outside wall of the family room/kitchen combo is this lovely yellow.

Progress is messy.

But this pictures shows the other walls are a light tan. But depending on the time of day, the opposite walls look more or less yellow. Those cute pendant lights were my idea. There will eventually by an island there, with those lights right over the bar. Right now it just looks like random lights hanging down, but I LOVE them.

I loved that yellow so much, I put it into the bathroom, too.

There’s a picture with the tile I picked out.

Saturday was a busy day for all of us. It was Jenna’s birthday party, and we were busy making and decorating the perfect cake!

She invited a bunch of friends over and we took them all to see Wreck it, Ralph. We needed Megan to drive so that we could get all those girls to the movie. We took up one whole row. Fun party.

She loved her cake and had a fun time with her friends.

While we were busy partying, Ryan was busy in the basement.

Woo-Hoo! I wish we had three or four Saturdays in a row, because there’s still a lot of tile to do. I offered to help, but Ryan has declined my help. Perhaps he knows I don’t know how to tile and I would just be in the way. But he DID let me help him wire up a light fixture and a plug.
Yeah, I’m helpful that way.

In Megan’s room, my sweet neighbor was over and said, “I think I have bedding that would match that blue,” and sure enough, she had a perfect bedspread that they weren’t using anymore that she just gave us. She also gave us sheets and shams–the whole bundle. WAY COOL! Of course there’s no bed in there, but when the tile is finished, then the carpet can go in, and THEN we can move her down there.

Can you believe it? It’s like we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Stupid Hormones

I am going to blame it on hormones.

Not that I know if it’s “that time of the month” or anything, because in the past couple of years things have gotten quite unpredictable in that department. But I’ll spare you the details, because no one wants to hear about my lack of energy or my forgetfulness or night sweats. Not even me.

Anyway, I don’t seem to be able to cope with minor disappointments very well. It’s like Tome Cruise and Goose should be singing to me. Along with that loving feeling, I’ve also lost my fighting spirit. Ok, maybe not lost it, but it’s hard to find. The other day, I got two grant rejection letters. No big deal, right? It’s just a rejection letter. There are more grants to apply for, right? Well, it didn’t feel like it at the time. It felt like THE WHOLE WORLD was telling me no. STOMPING on my dreams of continuing this chime choir and LAUGHING in my face. Overreact much? Right? When I found another way that I could possibly get funding through a program called Kickstarter, things began to look a little brighter, until Ryan pointed out that Kickstarter is for a one time “PROJECT”, not an ongoing “PROGRAM”. He was just pointing tht out, probably to save me the aggravation of getting my hopes up and putting a lot of work into something, only to be disqualified or turned down because my idea didn’t really fit. In my warped emotional state, it was like HE had turned on me and was attacking my goal as well, instead of standing by me as an ally. Things were said in snappiness and feelings were hurt. Again, I KNOW that my emotional response doesn’t really fit, but I don’t have a way to control it and turn it off.

I feel like saying, “Ok. I tried. I gave it everything I have, and got no support. I’m done.”

This week, I went to join a gym. WHAT? I KNOW. It’s been too long since we’ve had a treadmill, it’s too cold to walk outside, and I can’t go to the yoga class that I like, so I have done NOTHING for months. Months, I tell you. My exercise consists of walking up the stairs to change the laundry. So, I had been told that our insurance plan offers a reimbursement for health clubs if you go 12 times per month. Hooray! I found a nearby gym that was on the approved list, and I went and checked it out. Now, you may not understand the HUGE deal it is for a fat out of shape emotional fragile woman like myself to set foot into a strange gym by herself, but it took all my courage for the week to do just that. I talked to the guy and said I was interested in joining, I just had to make sure that the kickback program would work. He told me to come the next day and meet with the trainer at a certain time.
But I did it. I went back the next day, even though I still didn’t have a definitive answer about the reimbursement program. It says it is a valid program on the website, I just can’t figure out if it applies to OUR plan. When I went to find the trainer, the guy hadn’t scheduled my appointment with her, so we were both a little embarrassed, but we scheduled another time, and I spent some time on the treadmill and the elliptical.
I survived that. Yes, I was tired and a bit sore, but I survived.
That night I spent about 45 minutes trying to navigate the website and figure things out. It was too late to call, and I really couldn’t make it work. So, this morning, after I got the kids off to school, I called the insurance company. After explaining where I was on the website and that it SAYS the our insurance DOES offer this program, she explained that OUR company plan does NOT offer that. So, even though Ryan had been told they do, and even gotten ads in the mailers about our wonderful insurance company and this SUPER benefit, we are not eligible for the $20 per month credit.


Not that big of a deal, right? I spend that much eating out for lunch.

But for some reason, it seems like JUST another obstacle in my way.
In my stupid hormonally imbalance state, I say, “Ok. I tried. I’m done.

It’s like I’ve got Marlin from finding Nemo in my head, and he keeps saying, “You try to do these things, but you just CAN’T Nemo!” (Only it’s MY voice saying you CAN’T) (And my voice isn’t calling me Nemo, either).

Never mind. I don’t need to join a gym. I don’t have time anyway. Right now I have to go and make an owl birthday cake.

Science Fair! We’re egg-cited!

Oh, we’re doing fun stuff with the science fair project for Jenna.

She is testing shell strength on different colored eggs, using the green and brown eggs from our chickens, and white eggs from the store. I won’t give it away, but some of those eggs can hold a LOT OF books.

Work in progress

We spent all of Christmas break working on the basement, and my mom for one has asked how it’s going. So, for my mom and the other two people who might read here, I’ll include a little bit of an update.

Pictures! Where are the pictures? My camera has stopped communicating with the computer, or maybe it’s the other way around, but I can no longer upload pics from my camera to my computer, which makes it difficult to put them in a blog post.

But thanks to Ryan uploading them to the family website, we DO finally have some pictures and stories from our current home improvement projects. We started painting Megan’s room on a Saturday. We got the girls to help us tape and do some of the edges.

I had let Megan pick her own color, and she went with this bright blue.

When the edges were done, we loaded up our paint stick and I started to roll. It’s my favorite part, when the paint starts to come through the roller and you can finally put some color on the wall.

As soon as I started rolling, there was fuzz from the roller in the paint. What? I picked a bit out, and rolled some more, but more and more and more fuzz was ended up on the wall.

The roller, which I had bought about a year ago (but had NEVER been used) was disintegrating all over my wall! Drat.
Well, that was the end of that roller, and it ended up in a heap on the floor, while we went to find another roller as quickly as possible.

We already knew they didn’t carry Black and Decker Paint rollers at Ace Hardware, but hoped Walmart might have a replacement roller. No. So, a trip to the Home Depot was next. Ugh. They didn’t have replacement rollers that fit, so we just bought a whole new paint stick system. While there, I picked out a color for Cole’s room, and Ryan picked up a battery powered paint edger “handy” gadget thing.


But since we have a lot of painting to do, maybe that really will be helpful. Ha.

Once we got home, we loaded up paint in the NEW paintstick thingy, and started rolling away. Ryan loaded up paint in his new edger thingy and started painting the edge of the wall right next to the ceiling. Once he got it started, it wasn’t really all that helpful. When he pulled back on the lever to load up more paint into the syringe thing, it snapped off, and somehow sliced into his finger. Bleeding all over the place, we tried to get him a bandaid and put away that contraption without getting blood everywhere (he actually did drip a drop of blood into the paint, but we got it out quickly with a paper towel).

Not a super successful painting day, if you ask me.

And not just in painting, either. Our friends Sarah and Jacob had spent the night Friday, and were ready to leave on Saturday. They were going to meet their mom in Orem, then they would all drive home to Arizona. They got to the end of our street, and when they slid on the ice a bit, their van just died. Ryan got a phone call asking him to tow them back here, and then their mom later called a tow truck to take the van away, where it was later confirmed that the transmission had finally given up the ghost, and it would be about $2K to get that fixed. Still needing a car to get them home to Arizona, Robin scoured the ads and found an old car on Craig’s list for not too much money. When she went to check it out, she took it for a pre-purchase test drive. While testing, she gunned it, stopped suddenly, took it on the freeway, and tried everything she could to discover any hidden defects. Not finding anything major, she bought the car, only to have it stop and refuse to start about a mile away from where she had bought it. Two truck number two took that one away. Her kids, still at my house, were getting restless, until Robin and Ron finally came and got them later that afternoon. I, however, wasn’t there at the time as I was taking my daughter who had missed the first two day of school in January to the after cares clinic to diagnose and treat a nasty UTI. I tell you, it really was a stellar day.

But that’s just an aside to our story about paint. Ryan and I continued to paint that room until it was blue, blue, blue.

And the girl was happy with the results!

One wall was left unpainted. She wants that wall white and says she’s going to paint a mural on it. We’ll see.

On Monday I did the touch ups for that blue room, and then started on Cole’s room.

Here’s the before shot.

As I started painting the Behr “Garden Wall”, I realized it was far more BROWN and much less GRAY than I wanted. Ugh. Not exactly what I had been going for, and the more I painted, the less I liked the color.

By dinner time, I was getting downright discouraged, and quite tired of painting.

(Sorry that pic is kind of blurry, but it’s the only one that shows a mostly finished wall)

I even tried painting one of the walls green, so see if I liked that combo better. John said, this wall is like a toad (pointing to the brown) and this wall is like a frog (pointing to the green). Thanks, John, but that doesn’t really help.

The next day I went and ran some errands (one of which included returning that stupid power edger to Home Depot), returned some Christmas things, and went to Ross to look for inspiration in the form of a pillow or maybe a bedspread. I found a really cute couple of pillow that are going to help me with my future family room, and a bedspread that I thought would go really well with the BROWN in Cole’s room.

I got that room mostly finished, and just need to do a couple of touch ups.

There’s more going on, but I will leave that for another post. Someday we’ll have some actual “after” pictures, but for now, I’m just thrilled that we are making progress.

Christmas in pictures

I didn’t really tell much about our Christmas. We’ve been so busy I have hardly had time to go through all the pictures.

Christmas eve we changed things up a bit. We decided to go out to dinner at our favorite Mexican place, Los Hermanos.

We had hosted back to back parties, and I didn’t want to do another party for Christmas eve, so it was just our family. It was snowy and icy all day, too, so I didn’t want to make the grandparents travel.

On Christmas morning, the kids were all up by 7, waiting for us. Don’t you love how some of them can’t even wait a FEW minutes without a book?

Santa had come, and been kind.

And so had Mom and Dad.

Chaos? Yep, pretty much.

The kids all got pretty much spoiled, what with gifts from Santa, Mom and Dad and all their brothers and sisters. I don’t know if Larissa had experienced such a big chaotic Christmas with so many people ever before. As part of the family, she exchanged gifts, too.

Later, the grandparents came over for dinner and game playing.

Ryan had made my dad and his dad a cribbage board. Made it himself!

As for my gift, Ryan got me about $500 of paint.


Right after Christmas, he and Cole went to work.

They got the walls primed, the ceiling painted, and the trim painted. Unfortunately, my computer is not recognizing my camera anymore, so it’s difficult to get more pictures up, but soon I’ll tell you about our painting COLOR and the disasters that ensued there.

It was a wonderful Christmas season.

Goodbye favorite skirt–you will be missed

To assure that I wouldn’t just pull this skirt out of the donate bag and wear it in a pinch, I cut it up and made some wheat bags.

Because I seriously have loved this skirt. It’s been my go-to skirt for about 8 years. I wear it to church, I wear it to rehearsal, I wear it to school. It doesn’t roll up on the ends, it doesn’t need ironing, and it goes with everything. But sadly, it ripped up the back (not on a seam) and I guess it’s time to move on.

The year of the chimes

As I look over the past year, I realize that 2012 could be called the year of handbells for me. I know, every year is the year that I play handbells, but this year I REALLY played handbells. It began early in the year when I started thinking about attending the Area 11 handbell festival that was going to be held in Salt Lake City. How fun would that be? Stay at the Little America and go to classes and practice sessions for 3 days? I had to decide and register early, and if I went to that convention, it would mean I couldn’t be in a play in the summer like I usually do. I decided to go for it, and I joined the Handbell Musicians of America Guild in March, and signed up for the convention.

Then, in May, I attended the PTA convention, and while at a class on the arts, I had a very strong impression that I should be doing something with Handbells. Because of one amazing teacher and one year of playing bells in high school, that led to an opportunity to audition for a bell choir as an adult. I have had 8 amazing years with the Bells on Temple Square, but I can actually be more than just a bell ringer. I can be a teacher, and share my love of music in other ways.

The convention ended up being SO MUCH FUN, ( really got me excited about how I could share my love of handbells with others.

The four hour class I attended on starting and directing a handbell choir wasn’t all that much help, but it did get me thinking about what I would do if I could actually start a choir. My enthusiasm was great, and while things didn’t exactly fall into place, I did secure a one year chime loan grant and was able to start a chime choir at the elementary school in September.

With no money, no budget, no music, and no experience, I set out to get kids to sign up and come play in my new chime choir! Since our school already has an established band and orchestra program, I thought we could just add to that and everyone would be excited. I quickly discovered that I would have to do some convincing, and enthusiasm alone are not enough to get a program going. The band teacher was downright rude and discouraging when I approached her about a new chime choir. “We already use the stage every single morning, so I don’t see how that would work.” But I persevered, send home a note asking for kids to sign up, and figured out with the principal an alternate location for our rehearsals.

I read the beginning books, and decided upon a lesson plan for our first couple rehearsals, and dragged the two heavy boxes of chimes to school for our first 7 am rehearsal. I had brought Jenna and John, and they were it. Not one other student. The three of us set up a table and put out the chimes and I showed them how to ring, and what the notes meant while we waited for the others to come. There were no others. At 8:00, my kids went to class, and one other student came. One. I had known that he has signed up, but he was the only one. One real student. I could do even less with him than with Jenna and John, but again, I showed him how the notes go in order, how to ring, how to dampen, and we played a few chords.

The next day, it was the same story. Jenna and John and I made some little posters advertising our choir, and stuck them up around the school. And in my 8:00 class, I had two students come. I was SO excited that I had two actual students! Still not much I can do when I’ve got two kids in each group, but at least I had four, if you counted my own kids. I went and talked to the principal and asked what he thought I should do. Since the school schedules are staggered, I had to offer the class to both groups. He suggested I try an after school time for the early kids. While at first I wasn’t thrilled about coming in to the school before school AND after school, I decided to give it a try.

Our numbers SLOWLY grew as more kids signed up. By the end of November, I finally had 12 kids signed up, which is enough to play all the notes. Of course, half of the kids came in the morning before school and half came after school, so they never really could hear how the song was supposed to be played until the last week when we all had to come early in the morning for rehearsal.

Our Christmas concert really was great. I wrote all about it here

I applied for a big grant from Clorox, just imagining what I could buy with $25,000. Sadly, I couldn’t rally up enough support, and we ended in 130th place. I have applied for many grants. Some for $500, and some for $5000. Many of them have turned me down. It’s discouraging, especially when two of my handbell friends received grants to buy thier handchime sets from a certain company, and that company turned me down. But I have many more applications out there, and several more to apply for this year.

Now I am picking out music and hoping more kids sign up for our second semester. Who would have thought at the beginning of 2012 how much would change for me. I had NO intentions of starting a chime choir, and now look at us–we’ve already performed (and done well) in our first concert! I brought the chimes home for Christmas and used them at two family Christmas parties

So, I will look back on 2012 as the year of the chime choir.

Who knows what 2013 will bring. I may not get funding for next year, and this might be it. I might get burned out from my volunteer job and decide it’s not really worth my time. But I just might get one of these grants, buy our own set of chimes, buy music and table covers, and maybe even buy a baton! We’ll have to see!

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