The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: April 2013

The story of our weekend and the little black truck. It’s a comedy/sad story. It’s a dramedy.

Friday I had to take John and Megan to the dentist. Grrr. I told Megan to just drive there from school so that I wouldn’t have to pick her up, as well. She found it and met us there. She was finished before John was, so she was going to just drive herself home. She came back a minute later and said that the truck wouldn’t start. At all. So I went out to see if there was anything I could do. Right. I came out, and she was right. No turning over. We tried a different key, we tried shifting to different gears, and nothing worked. I suggested she try to start it by popping the clutch, which is something I haven’t done in many years, but I was pushing the car in the parking lot, and she was going to try to start it that way. Nothing. Maybe that little trick doesn’t work in reverse, I wondered. So, we tried pushing it forward. Ahem. Pushing it backward had been not so hard, as there was a slight downhill slope. Pushing it back up that slope? Not so easy. I was pushing it so slow, there was nothing we could really do. Time to call dad. He was actually on his way home and said he could be there in a few minutes. We managed to push it back to the parking spot so we weren’t blocking other cars, and Megan grabbed the door handle and it came off in her hand.

FREAK! She said. I lost it. I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe, and I SO wished we had a camera and had filmed this whole fiasco.

I went back inside to wait for John. Soon Ryan was there, and he managed to A-open the door by reaching through the window, and with two of us pushing the truck backward, he popped the clutch and got it started. Maybe he has more experience at this, since he did drive that truck for about 20 years. Um, yes, it’s an OLD truck. 1990, to be exact.

So, once it was started, Megan was ok to drive it home, with a stern warning not to kill it anytime between there and home.

Later, they drove it up on the ramps at home, checked things that could be checked, and we still don’t know what’s wrong and why it won’t start.

Megan said something about keeping that door handle, and I said, “Oh, you can keep it with both visors that have come off, the emergency brake handle that doesn’t do anything, and all the other parts that have broken off that thing.” Really, it’s an adventure to drive it. Now the kids have to make sure to NOT lock the passenger side door. Because if they DO that, one would have to climb into the back of the truck and open the little window, and reach through and UNLOCK the passenger side door (the key doesn’t work on that door, for some reason), then climb back out, open that door, reach through and open the driver’s side door from the inside. No, that’s not a pain at all.

On Saturday, Ryan and Cole loaded up the garbage cans of grass clippings into the truck, somehow got it started, and took a trip to the Green Recycle place. Not sure how they got it started, but they did. While on the road, Ryan realized he needed to be in the right lane, so we was going to back up and go over there. Well, it seems there was a small car behind him, which he couldn’t see because of the garbage cans in the back. Honk, honk, bump. He backed into a car. Crap. My two men had to PUSH the truck over to the side of the road (because it’s not starting, of course) and exchange insurance information and wait for the police to come. No damage to the truck, of course, but he said it looked like the license plate and holder were bent. Couldn’t tell if there was other damage, but the bumper had some dirt on it. How much damage could there be, honestly? It’s not like he was moving at high speeds, smashing into this car. The good news is that the officer didn’t give him a ticket, even though the other guy was asking WHY he wasn’t citing Ryan for the accident. The bad news…Well, we know all about the bad news in rising insurance costs or we must pay for the damage to the other car. Ugh.

The two of them were texting me while this was going on, then Ryan called while waiting for the police man to leave. They didn’t want to have to PUSH the truck again to get it started while he was there, for some reason. Why not? I think the officer may have been happy to help out, right?

So, now we have this 23 year old truck that will not start (along with many, many other problems). It might be time to let it go. But if we do, I don’t want to have to be the one to list it on KSL classified and haggle with the Mexicans. I did it with the last car and I am NOT good at that.

We’ll see. But for now, I hope you get a good laugh out of the story of our weekend and the little black truck.

Why I rock

I’m kind of proud of myself.

Yep. I said it. I’m proud of myself. I’m not trying to be all boastful and tell you I’m all that and a bag of chips, but I am proud of myself and some things I have accomplished. I think as Mormon Women, we are taught not to put ourselves up there, evils of pride and all that (who doesn’t remember that famous talk from President Benson?). But I’m not being prideful here, I’m just being pleased, and I think that’s ok.

This week I was invited to an “Awards of Excellence” luncheon at the school district office. My friend Brittney (also the PTA president this year) had told me she had nominated me for an award, and that’s all I knew. Luckily, she texted me that morning to see if I was going. Good thing she did, because I had put it on my calendar for Thursday, not Tuesday. I had actually planned to go to lunch with some ladies in my ward, and had to flake on them. Pretty rude of me, seeing as I’m the one who organized the lunch outing for that day. Doh!

When I got to the luncheon, I could see on the program that there was a volunteer, a teacher, and a student from each school getting an award of excellence. It was fun to sit with Jenna’s teacher, the principal, the PTA president, and a cute 6th grade boy who used to be in our ward. I saw people I knew from the other schools, too. It was a nice lunch, and then they presented the awards. I won’t put in the whole thing that she wrote about me, but I like the sweet last paragraph, where it says,
“The PTA and Highland Elementary would literally not function the same without Paige Erickson there to lend her support, enthusiasm, and knowledge to our children. WE appreciate her and all that she does for our school.”

I wasn’t lobbying for an award, but it’s very nice to be told you are needed and appreciated.
And now I have a plaque to prove it.

I also saw my kickstarter project reach the goal this week. What a relief! I really have written so many grant applications and proposals that have been REJECTED, I was losing confidence in my abilities and somehow my worthiness. I know that doesn’t make sense, and I shouldn’t let those grant rejections get to me, but it was quite disheartening, especially when I got two big NO letters in the same day. Oh, and did I mention that not one but TWO of my friends who have chime choirs had gotten grants through one of the organizations that turned me down? I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m not a real teacher, or my email address doesn’t have the name of a school in it or what, but None of those things came through. So just when I thought I was never going to get funding, I got that kickstarter campaign going (which was also not an easy thing to do..they rejected me a couple of times and I had to refine the project to be more about the concert and less about purchasing the chimes, even though everyone knows I really just want the money for chimes and materials), and right about that time, the principal came to me and said there might be some school money or some PTA money, and together we would work to get chimes for next year! Hooray for me! I felt so validated!

There was another little matter about a check from Kohl’s. You see, if you fill out a request for Kohl’s to come and help with an event, and if 5 of their employees come and work for 3 hours, you are also awarded $500 as a mini grant. Well, I invited and got Kohl’s to come to our Hawk Walk in SEPTEMBER, and never heard anything about the money. After checking with the school secretary, the PTA president and treasurer, no one had seen a check from Kohl’s. I started to email my contact at Kohl’s in November, trying to politely ask “Where’s my money?” without sounding ungrateful. She told me that money had been sent to the school and that was all she knew about it. So, since then, I have sent many many emails back and forth with her and finally with corporate, even calling corporate to see if we could figure out why we hadn’t received our check. Finally, the corporate people sent me a picture of the back of the check, and told me it had cleared on November 20th. In trying to read the back of the check and see where it was deposited, we realized that was NOT the PTA’s stamp, nor was it our bank. It was the SCHOOL’s stamp. Someone in the office had opened the check and deposited it into the SCHOOL’s account, and never let us in the PTA know about it. They were kind of embarrassed when I went in with a copy of the back of the cleared check, and the lead secretary got us a check from the school to the PTA the next day. That may not be a huge victory, but it took a lot of time and effort to track down that check, and I hope I get to use it for my chime choir, as that was the intended use from the start.

I also did a scary thing this week. I’m not going to go into the details because … well, I’m just not. But I was brave, and even though I thought I might throw up from nerves, I did it. And I’m proud of myself. No matter the outcome, I was brave. In the movie, “We bought a zoo”, the dad says to his son, “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you, something great will come of it.” Well, whether or not something comes of it, I’m proud of myself.

I also sewed up Larissa’s prom dress. She bought a size XL when she’s really like a Small or something. She showed it to me and said, it’s a little bit too big, can you fix that? Because, yes, I did take in a shirt and a skirt for her, but a prom dress? That’s a different thing all together. I was quite nervous taking that in, but it seems to work ok. Now I just need to find some matching fabric for straps or something.

So, there you have it. Why I am proud of myself this week. I may need to bookmark this so I can come back and remind myself that I DO rock.

What have you done this week to make yourself proud?

Slap some jam on that slice

I recently went to a cooking show at Thanksgiving point with my friend, Tess. We enjoyed watching the presenters and got some new recipes to try at home. One duo of presenters showed us some fun things they do with bread, but didn’t put their bread recipe in the booklet. What? Instead, they told us we could go online to their website, and watch the first DVD on bread making for free for three days. So, I went online and used the code provided and watched the video. It really wasn’t all that secret, but I did write down their bread recipe and wanted to give it a try. The only “secret” ingredients were bread flour and liquid lecithin. I had to go to two grocery stores to find the lecithin, but once I had it, I gave it a try.

Even though I kind of messed up and forgot to put in the sugar until it was mixing, it turned out great, rose quickly, and was light and fluffy bread.

I even tried the Italian loaf and was pleased with how that turned out as well.

I made another batch yesterday, and we cut it when it was hot from the oven. It was so yummy, in fact, that I couldn’t wait to take a bite, even for a picture.

Now, I’m not saying I’ll switch from my whole wheat bread to this recipe, but it’s nice to have options. In the past, my attempts at white bread (and rolls) have NOT been that successful, and it wasn’t something I would be proud of sharing. But this recipe seems to be pretty kind and forgiving, and I’ve even got some dough in the fridge to use for pizza crusts later this week. I think it’s a keeper.

White bread
10 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBS salt
3 TBS of SAF instant yeast
(mix these dry ingredients together in the Bosch before adding the wet ingredients)
add about 3 TBS liquid lecithin. (Here’s their tip for this one. Don’t use a measuring spoon because it’s so sticky, it will NOT come clean. Just squirt three quarter sized blobs right onto your flour mixture. You needn’t be totally precise on this one)
4 cups of very hot water

Start mixing, and mix for 5 minutes. The dough should be sticky, not a nice even ball. If it’s not sticky, add some water, about a TBS at a time. (I have had to add about 1/4 cup more water, because it didn’t seem sticky)

Spray the counter with Pam or cooking spray, then dump this sticky glob of dough onto the counter, and knead it a bit by hand. Cut this into four parts, and put this into bread pans. If you want, you can spray the inside of a plastic bag and save some dough for later, but only if you are going to roll that dough. I used my saved dough for cinnamon rolls and pizza crusts a couple days later and it was still good.

Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 25 minutes.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

There you have it. If you want to give it a try, it makes a pretty nice loaf of bread.

Spring Concert

Wow! What a week that was. With two 7 am practices and two 8 am practices, we were all feeling a bit tired by Friday, but we were there early to set up.

There were a few snafu’s, I cannot lie. The janitor was just sweeping when I arrived at 6:45 to set up. He got kind of grumpy with me when I said I would need two 6 foot and one 8 foot table. He thought I had said I wanted two 8 foot tables. Nope, that’s not gonna work for me, especially since I spent HOURS sewing table covers, and had finished them the night before and lugged in table covers for two 6 foot and one 8 foot table (NOTE–sewing a table cover for an 8 foot table is NOT simple. I felt like I was drowning in fabric!). Thankfully, he found me the tables I needed, and the wooden block things to lift them up off the floor a few feet. Oh, and the band lady wasn’t there exactly ready to go at 7 am EITHER, so she couldn’t get irritated with me that we weren’t quite ready.

I got everything set up, extra borrowed chimes and all, and we were ready to go.

The school does two concerts for the kids during the day, one for K-3, and one for 4-6. In the first assembly, the band teacher was announcing, and while we were all set up to play our song from Hercules, she said, “And now we’ll hear from the orchestra, who will be playing STAR WARS.” The kids all cheered because…well, who doesn’t want to hear Star WArs? Then she realized her mistake, and said, “Oh, wait, the CHIME CHOIR will now play “Go The Distance” from Hercules. (Groan from the kids. Seriously.)

What a hard thing for my kids, to play through some groans of disappointment, to kids who many of them didn’t even recognize the song we were playing. BUT, they played it well, and kept their composure.

Before the second concert, several of the kids said, “Can you tell the band lady not to mess up like that again? That was embarrassing.” Right.

The evening concert went well, too. They played the Star Spangled Banner and Go the Distance. I am SO proud of them. Who would have thought that after only 8 months of playing, they could master a song like that. It almost brought tears to my eyes. Several of the parents thanked me and one set of Grandparents came up and thanked me and shook my hand.

AND, I don’t have chime choir rehearsals any more! Well, we are going to have ONE rehearsal before we play at the Highland City Spring Open house in May, but other than that, we are done. I plan to bring those chimes home, get busy ordering a set for us to use next year (thanks to the pta, the school, and all who donated to my kickstarter fundraiser–thank you!!!!), and get my music and things organized.

Oh, yeah. And my missionary! Cole comes home this Friday or Saturday, and we have MUCHO things to do with him. So, it’s not like I’ll be just sitting around. Plus, my sub schedule is filling up–have to stop that from happening too much, because I want to be getting things done here at HOME, not managing squirly little kids.

I’m SO Happy with how things turned out!

We’ve got some thanking to do.

I’m pretty sure you have heard about my fundraiser on kickstarter by now. But, just in case you haven’t heard, I got tired of getting rejection letters from grant applications and decided to run my own fundraiser to insure that we would have a set of chimes so that I can have a chime choir next year. You can read all about it HERE, and even see my silly video.

I don’t love the video, and Cole and I had actually edited a new one without the cheesy choir at the beginning, but for some reason, kickstarter kept rejecting it. Something about formatting or something.

I am truly so grateful for all the pledges that I have received. I got a $50 pledge from a dear friend of mine in bells who has not one missionary out, but two. A friend from my mission pledged $50, and a few friends from High School have pledged $10 or $20 or $30 to help the cause. My sister pledged $10 dollars this week, and that means SO much to me. I know they don’t have any extra money, having just had to buy a new car and they don’t have steady employment. But it means SO much to me that she believes in me enough to pledge. There have even been a couple of pledges from people I don’t even know, who are just wonderful supporters of the arts, or who thought it sounded like a good proposal. Some of my chime choir parents have pledged $100 each, which is fabulous.

At this time, we have reached the $1000 mark. Now I wish I hadn’t set my goal so high, since it’s an all or nothing project. But I have faith that we can get there!

The fundraiser goes a little bit past the date of the actual concert, which is this Friday.

Since I had hope that some money would be coming in, I splurged on fabric (and by splurged, I mean I went to Hancock fabric and perused the clearance isle until I could find something for $3 a yard that I thought I could make work. Sadly, they don’t have anything for $1 per yard anymore.) to make some table covers for our chime tables. It took me all morning, with lots of measuring and trial and error, but I got this one done.

By the end of the day, I had two of them done. I took them to rehearsal this morning to make sure that they fit on the school’s tables, not just the folding 6 foot table I bought at Costco. Hooray! It fit! Of course, someone had taken our 6 foot tables for the spelling bee, and I only had two 8 foot tables to use for practice. But I asked the janitor if I could have three 6 foot tables for our concert and he said we could. I have enough fabric to make one more, but I think it would be a good plan to go back and get enough for another cover or two. I’ve got one more to sew tonight, and then I hope when I go back to the store they still have that fabric so I can make one–maybe two more, just in case. And hey, If I’m hosting some event in the future and need fancy table coverings for my 6 foot tables, I’ve got these. (or if YOU are hosting some event and think…now WHERE could I get some fabric table covers? Hmmmm…. then I’m your girl.) They aren’t the regular “handbell” table coverings like you would see for sell from the handbell supplier. But one of those would run me $215 for cordoroy and $320 for velvet.
Since we have basically no budget, it’s sew it myself or nothing. I paid about $50 for the fabric for all three of these covers. And my time, which we all know is….priceless, right?

I had to start getting some thank you notes ready, so I had these made and had the kids all sign them this morning.

5×7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

If you would like to get in on this project, receive your very own thank you note and mucho gratitude from yours truly, there is still time. You, too, can be a backer. Just click on the project link up there at the top and pledge to make a donation! Our concert is Friday, so I’m hoping we can survive this week of early morning rehearsals! But I’m SO proud of these kids, and you won’t BELIEVE how well they sound! I’ll have to post a video afterwards. Stay tuned!

And wish me luck!

John’s television debut

This week I got a text from a neighbor. She said she was a talent scout for a local informercial company, and they were looking for a boy who looked like John. Would John like to go on a shoot?
Heck, ya!
I told her that sounded like fun, and we worked out the details.
The night before, I casually mentioned to John what was going to happen, that he would get to be checked out of school so we could go to this commercial filming thing, and how fun is that?
“I don’t really want to,” he said.
What? Having already committed to take him, I had to do some quick thinking. “They’ll pay you $12 an hour,” I said.
“What?” exclaimed Megan, “that’s more than I MAKE!”
I didn’t mention that it’s also more than I make as a substitute teacher, but that’s a sore subject, so I wasn’t going to bring it up and get ridiculed.
“Ok,” John said, “I’ll do it.”

We had to get a few clothing options ready, they said “colorful shirts” both long and short sleeved, and two different pajama options. So, I packed a big bag of clothes for John and a couple of snacks, and went back to the school (I had already been there from 8-9 for chime choir) and checked John out of school. We were supposed to be to this place in Springville by 10:30.

We got there in plenty of time, and Kandice at the front desk was super nice, and escorted us to the green room. Wow! It was like a nice, cozy family room. There were couches and a big tv, complete with x-box and cool games. There was also another tv around the corner and movies. John was glad he came. So, we settled in to play x-box for a while. No problem.

I had been told that it was a lot of waiting, so I was prepared with a good book on my Kindle, and I didn’t mind the wait at all. It was a little cold, but there was even a cozy blanket I could use to wrap up in. After a little while, Kandice came in to check out what clothes we had brought, and it seems they wanted a long sleeved blue shirt, which we hadn’t brought, so she went to go buy one quickly. More game playing. After a while, we were beginning to get a little bit bored, and then she came for us again. She had John change into the dark blue shirt and sweat pants, and we went into a big garage like studio in the back.

I forgot my camera, and had to take pictures only with my phone, but I’m having trouble getting those on to the computer, so we may be pictureless for this post–darn.

They brought us in, and told John that they were going to replicate a commercial that they had already done, and that’s why they needed a blonde boy in a blue shirt. You can check out the original infomercial here. This new product, instead of Dream lights by pillow pets, it’s dream WAVES. They had him sit up on a mock bed, with lights all around and green screen. He thought it was cool, except that he had to sit there on that “bed” (which was NOT cushy and comfy like a bed, by the way) for a long time while they worked on getting the lighting right. When they finally said “action”, he just had to push the light, look up, and look around on the ceiling and walls with wonder. No lines, no speaking, just looking. And they only filmed him from the back.

When I asked him if he thought this was fun, he said, “Not really,” but I thought it was kind of fun. Interesting, too.

We were there about 2 1/2 hours, and it’s maybe a 5 second shot. But it was something fun to do with my boy, and he’ll be super excited when they send his check, AND when we can see him in the commercial!

What do we have here?

Hubby left for Hong Kong yesterday, and I must say, my closet’s been wondering when he was going to leave. This is his first trip of 2013, much to his dismay. Last year he earned platinum status and this year, he’s not gone anywhere for the first quarter of the year? What’s up with that? Anyway, I use the time when he’s gone to do some big project that disrupts the bedroom. I know, I know, I could do these things when he’s home, but then I’d have to clean up my mess every night so that he could actually sleep in the bed. This way, if I get interrupted or lose steam during the day, I can just leave it a big mess and finish it later. And talk about a big mess! I took some pictures, but I can’t post anything until it’s done and I have a clean after picture, or you’d all just gasp and wonder how I can be such a slob.

Anyway, I’m cleaning out my closet, which really should happen once a year, but actually happens about once every 3 years. I just tried on EVERY pair of pants I own, to find out which ones to donate, which ones to put into the “too small, but a girl can hope” box, and which ones actually fit and I can wear them. Some observations..
–Why do I have so many pairs of pants? I mean, really…why? And if I do indeed have this many pairs of pants that fit, why do I wear the same two pairs of jeans every single day of my life? I’m going to have to stretch outside my comfort zone and wear more slacks and other pants, even other jeans, instead of my ultra comfy Target jeans that I can’t live without. And when did I buy these velvety black pants and have I ever worn these. I found a pair of leggings and said to myself, “Leggings? When did I buy leggings? The tag is still on them. Then I put them on and realized WHY people wear leggings. Very comfy, if you don’t care what your bottom half looks like. I can’t even bring myself to wear leggings under a skirt, but I’m working on it.

–When I say “fit” with pants, there are various stages of fit.
**There’s the regular–these fit.
**Then we have–these fit, but I wouldn’t want to wear them all day.
**There’s also–these fit, but I’m not sure I would wear them because they make my thighs look like gigantic watermelons (you could also substitute “butt” or “tummy” for the thighs. I’m sure you get the idea.
**Then we have–these kind of fit, on a non bloated day, probably about a week after my period if I’ve been exercising.
**Things go downhill from there, with –these fit, if I don’t plan on sitting down. Ever.
There are also surprises, like when you look at a size that is actually bigger than the size you are currently wearing, and those darn things are too small. Or the opposite side of the spectrum, when I look at the size and say, oh, those won’t fit, look at the size (one size smaller than I am currently wearing) and they actually fit. Whatever.

But I did manage to get rid of a few pairs of pants, including the beloved pair I wore all last summer and they are now so ripped and threadbare it’s no longer decent to wear them in public. I also filled a box to put away of “pants that do not currently fit”. I’ll put the box in the top of the closet, where it can gently remind me that there are cute clothes to be worn, if I will only stick to an exercise program and stop eating cookies, but yet those pants don’t mingle with the clothes that actually do mostly fit, so I won’t get frustrated when I pull out pair after pair of pants that do not fit. I did the same thing with the skirts and dresses. Box it up, baby. I’m not quite ready to toss them all, because I do PLAN to fit into those things eventually, but better in a box than crowding the closet.

Shoes. Oh, how I love shoes. My shoes, however, are all over the place. I’ve had to get rid of quite a few pairs, which I will offer to the girls in the family before I toss them into the DI pile. I’m also putting away all the boots and ‘winter shoes’, so I can make room for sandals and flip flops. Because I tend to buy things at the end of the season when they are on clearance, I’ve got sandals I’m finding in there that I’ve never worn! “Why hello, gold wedges! Where did you come from?” So, yes, I’m excited to try out a couple pairs of new sandals that I bought last winter.

Shoes, while most of them fit (not like that pants, shoes still fit even if I’m having a fat day–or decade), they have different comfort levels. With sandals and dress shoes, the question is always, ‘could I wear these to bells?’. Because besides having to stand and rehearse for 2 hours, there’s the half hour of hauling boxes of bells and tables for set up and take down, as well as the uphill/downhill walk through the tunnels to get from the parking garage to our rehearsal space under the tabernacle (called the horseshoe, if you are familiar with the undergrounds of the tabernacle). A lot of us end of taking our shoes off during our two plus hour rehearsal, since not all shoes fit the comfort level of “bells worthy”. It’s funny to see a bunch of boots under our chairs in the winter, and many girls standing playing in their socks. Some shoes are ok for church, but not for nursery. Or they could be ok to sub in the junior high, but not for younger grade elementary, where there is a lot of walking. For kindergarten, I wear only my most comfortable clothes and shoes, since I won’t see any other adults, and I will be kneeling, walking, crouching, out for recess, and all over the place.

So, I will continue to try to clean out that closet, getting rid of the random things that are stored in there (a whole box of frames? Really? Why is this in my closet?) and getting rid of the things I can let go of. Hopefully I’ll have an AFTER picture for you by the end of the week. Or I may get lost in there, or worse, injured by things falling from the top of the closet. It’s pretty dangerous.

What a weekend–Spring Break edition

Friday–Birthday party for Larissa
Since it was her ONLY birthday in America, we had to throw a party for Larissa. There were about 12 kids there, including the family, and they were a casual, fun bunch, who were willing to play the silly games I had planned. When people first came, they went downstairs and played Fussball until I called them up to eat. Larissa loves salads, so I had a salad bar. I know, right? It was quite a spread, and it made her so happy. There was also pizza for the non-salad lovers.
salad bar

After they ate, I sent everyone outside for a rousing game of flour ball tag, where you throw nylon balls filled with flour at each other. It doesn’t hurt when you are hit, but it leaves a white mark. It’s like a softer gentler version of paint ball, and lots of fun.
flour tag

Then it was time for “Chubby Bunny”. Everyone has to stuff a marshmallow in their mouth and say “Chubby bunny”. The next round, another marshmallow, etc. Until the person gags, throws up, or spits out their marshmallows.
IT was funny and quite disgusting.

After that, we came inside and played a quieter game, called the pictionary telephone game. People write down a phrase, then pass it to the left, and that person has to DRAW that phrase, and cover up the written phrase. The next person has to write whatever it was the person in front of them drew, and then pass. They came up with some pretty weird interpretations.

There were also Charades, lots of talking, a movie, presents,and, of course, cake and ice cream. Nothing fancy in the cake department, I just made Texas Sheet cake.

The kids all seemed to have a great time. I hovered, wandering in and out of the family room while they were watching a movie, cleaning up and putting things away. At 11:00, I thought everyone would go home, but they were still laughing and talking. One of Larissa’s friends even ASKED a boy out to the upcoming spring fling. She was all casual about it, like she asks boys out every day. So proud of her! After the boys left, I encouraged the girls to ALL take her example and ask boys out. You should have heard their reaction to that. Ha. At 11:30, I did make everyone go home. Ryan wasn’t home, or I would have let them stay up later, but I was just SO tired, I had to go to bed.

(A little pat on the back for me, Larissa told me that was the best Birthday party she’d EVER had. Of course, she also told me that she hasn’t had a party since she was about 8, so the bar was set pretty low.)

Saturday–Young Women Broadcast
On Saturday, Natalie had to get ready to go to the conference center to sing in the YW broadcast. Many of the girls in our stake had been asked to sing in the choir for the broadcast, and they have been preparing and rehearsing for over a month now. It’s been a fabulous experience for them, and I’m so glad Natalie was able to participate.

She had to have her hair all curled and meet her carpool by 11:15. I took the other girls up at 3:30, and we had some time to wander through temple square a bit before we took our seats in the conference center. I forgot my camera, but she looked lovely in her yellow.
The meeting was wonderful. I paid so much more attention to the talks, and the music was SO beautiful! I wish we could do that every single year!

Afterwards, when we had met up with Natalie and gotten out of the parking garage, we met our friends over at Crown Burger. It was SO fun to let the girls all sit together and chat, and I had a chance to talk to some of my dear friends. Since it was Larissa’s actual birthday, I got the girls to sing to her, and she was thoroughly embarrassed.

Sunday morning came early for this girl. I had to be up at the Tabernacle by 7:30 am to prepare for the Easter Broadcast.
I can’t seem to get the video embedded, but you can watch it HERE, if you want.

The Bells played one song without the choir, and two songs with the choir. It was such a beautiful program, all about Easter and rebirth. My sister, Amy, even drew the artwork for the Spoken Word, so that was cool that we could both be involved in the broadcast on the same week. Even though I LOVE ringing with the choir and will take any opportunity to do that, it’s SO exhausting. By the time I come home at 11:30, I feel like I’ve put in a full day’s work, and I still have to go to church. I made it for the last part of sacrament meeting and nursery, of course. The kids were a little bit hyper, and one sweet little girl told Ryan, “I am so mad at you!” when he told her to stop grabbing toys from another child. They make me laugh.

At home, I left instructions for the kids to set up another table and finish the devilled eggs.
I HAD to have a little nap. Even after my nap, I was still tired and grumpy, which isn’t the best combination when you are trying to get the house cleaned up and food ready for a large gathering. But we got the tables set up in the basement and the kitchen, made the funeral potatoes, and then people started arriving.

Between the three of us girls in my family, we have about 24 kids. Really. So, with adults and grandparents, we had 35 people there, (give or take a few small ones). Luckily, I had pre-filled a LOT of eggs for our Easter egg hunt, and each of the kids was able to find 5-9 eggs.

The weather was nice, too, which was a relief, because I didn’t think I could find that many hiding places for eggs inside the house.

The kids had fun getting together with their cousins, and we all enjoyed talking and eating together with family.

Monday-Spring Break

Monday morning was the start of our Spring Break, which meant no school and we could all sleep in, thank goodness!
I started the day off with some weed pulling, then took the kids to Tracy Aviary.

We took an abundance of bird pictures.

Even though it wasn’t really warm and it was sprinkling rain, we had a nice time.

After lunch, I took the kids to Sheels, the HUGE new sporting goods store. Good thing my camera battery was dead, or I would post pictures of John and Megan on time out sitting outside the store. Seriously, kids, stop fighting and acting like brats, or I will never take you anywhere every again!

Anyway, once inside, everyone had a good time, and they especially liked testing out the exercise bikes.

That night Ryan and I met some friends at the Hale Center Theater in Orem for a great night at the theater. We saw Civil War, a musical. Kind of a downer of a subject for a musical, but it was very well done, and there were some excellent songs. I was afraid Ryan would totally hate it because of his reaction to Les Mis was “too much singing and too depressing”, but he made it through this one. A big thanks to our friends Tammy and Marin who invited us, it was a great night.

So, that was our big exhausting weekend! Wow, right? Maybe that’s why on Tuesday, after Larissa left to go to Moab with friends, and I took Megan shopping for some much needed clothes for her birthday, I fell asleep on the couch while watching Mission Impossible.

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