The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: June 2013

Something about why do I even try…


It’s all about FUN family memories, together time, and bonding as a family, right? In my mind, that was what we were going to do.

It was a relatively FREE day. The first day of the week where we didn’t have lessons of some kind or a babysitting job or work to clutter our day, so I could do something fun with the kids. I had big plans. I had to go to SLC anyway to pick up some prizes from radio stations, so why not take the kids and do something fun in the city while we were there?

The day began with one child asking, ne..BEGGING to go to lunch with her friend who had invited her. It was her late birthday present, after all. But child, I cajoled, we are going to do something “Fun”. She chose her friend over us. Sigh. One down, that still left three of them, and we would do something fun. We could go to a museum, go to City Creek and shop, or maybe bowling. When the kids heard bowling, they cheered. Bowling it is, then. But FIRST, we need to do our jobs and clean up the house.

I was busy making 4 quiches. Why was I making quiche at 8:00 in the morning? Because I had to take a dinner in to a neighbor, but we already had plans for the evening, and if I’m going to do any baking on a 100 degree day, it will darn well be in the morning. So, there I am, making a mess in the kitchen at the SAME time I am asking them to clean up. Hypocritical? Yes, actually. But I was WORKING, and wanted them to be working, too.

A certain 9 year old decided he wasn’t going to work and was going to be rude and obstinate with his mommy. It’s kind of a pattern with that boy. Without going into the lovely proud parenting moment details, let’s just say we got into it, and that boy is going to shape up or not have ANY fun this summer. At all. Ever. So, after an attitude adjustment and some work and an apology, we were nearly all ready to go.

Lunch date girl’s friend cancelled, so NOW she wants to go with us, again. Fine.

Get snacks, look up where the bowling place is, get water, use the bathroom, and ….

grabbing my water bottle to get out the door, the lid is not screwed on properly and I drop the WHOLE thing on the floor. Small stubborn boy was actually the one who helped me clean it up.

We got out the door later than I had planned, but I still had high hopes.

It takes a while to go to three different radio stations. They are not centrally located, and with traffic downtown, before I knew it it was 1:00 and the kids were hungry. Drive through McDonald’s solves that problem, but where in the world is this bowling place? Not everyone in the world has a GPS, so I was just trying to find it by the address, in an area of Sandy I don’t often drive. Oops, turn around…AGAIN. Found it! We went inside, and we learned that
a-FREE with your pass does not mean free. It means it will cost you $3.75 per person to rent SHOES.
b-There is a wait of 20-30 minutes before we can bowl.

Looking at the clock, I realize that we don’t have 20-30 minutes to wait because oldest daughter has to work at 3, and here it is already 1:15. And I promised them FUN! Hoping they don’t revolt at the compromise, I suggest we get a redbox and ice cream cones and go home. Luckily, they went for that idea, with only a tiny bit of whining about not being able to bowl when I promised them TWO movies. So, instead of a FUN outing with the kids, I dragged them around in the car for hours, only to get a redbox and ice cream cones that we could have gotten 3 minutes from our house. Together time? Whatever.

All I know is that we are all hot, tired, and cranky. My attempts at fun fell flat, not to mention some unpleasantness over the doing of jobs.

So, now, one kid went to work (oh, let’s not even discuss the drama we had there over shoes and the inability to find them), one kid went to play with friends, and two kids are lounging on the couch watching those movies, and I’m going to trudge out in the 100 degree heat and make sure my chickens have water and are not frying up in the sun.

We call this summer.

Happenings in the House

I haven’t posted pictures of our home improvements lately..WHAT? Well, I had book club here the other day, and I decided to host the book group downstairs, since it’s nice and cool down there (and it stays cleaner than the upstairs family room).

I bought these two chairs at a yard sale. I went out with Robin, and when we found these, neither of us had enough cash on us, and when I went to the bank to get cash, I realized that my ATM card had expired, so it was kind of a process getting money, then I had to call Megan to bring the truck down to Orem to pick up one of these chairs because I couldn’t fit them both in the Suburban, but it was worth it. These are the COMFIEST chairs!

I moved the treadmill over to this corner. I really don’t like having this big old treadmill that you run into RIGHT when you come into the room. I like where they are now, and we’ve been putting it to good use. The girls are going on pioneer trek next week, and I’m trying to get them to walk the miles every day. Today they need to walk 5 (yesterday was 4, tomorrow will be 6). Natalie’s been doing her walking, but I don’t know about Megan. Silly girl always says she’s too tired after working.

The fooseball table is here in the tiled area. Someday that will be a counter, but for now, it’s open area. See that yellow wire? Ryan ran a camera to the back of the house, and I’m not sure how long that yellow wire is going to be running across the floor…

I took these pictures when Larissa was trying to pack.

Poor girl could not fit everything in, and she was upset and didn’t want to be in pictures, but I tried. We ended up with quite a bit of stuff that I need to mail to her. Have I done it yet? No. I’m TERRIBLE about getting to the post office.

I’m really encouraging the kids to do things to MAKE their own money this summer. I’ve got John delivering eggs to sell. He gets $1 for each delivery. It’s not much, but it’s a little bit of cash for him. He can also wash the car and do extra jobs. Jenna has gotten a regular babysitting job where she does goes at least twice a week for one family. She would like to do more babysitting, and so would Natalie, but they have to get their name out there. Natalie is now my chief lawnmower, and she does get paid for that. She’s also done some animal feeding when people are out of town. Megan has started teaching her summer art class again. She taught it last year, and it ended up being a class for only 2-3 kids, but it was almost every week. This year, she made up her flier, and I gave it out to friends, and she had 8 students come over. At $6 per class, that’s quite a bit of money if they all come. Jenna and John come, too, but they do not have to pay.

The first week she gave them all their sketch pads, and they drew some different kinds of doodles. This week I think there were 9 kids (including Jenna and John) and they worked with clay to make sculptures. They will let the clay air dry and then next week they can paint them. It’s nice that we can set up the tables in the basement, and they can do their class there, instead of on my kitchen table like they did last year.

Jenna heard about her cousin who made 1,000 paper cranes and the legend that if you make that many cranes you will get your wish. She’s decided she will do that herself.

If you were looking for ME in the house, you might find me in one of these two places…

or with my chickens.

I’ve been buried in fabric and projects in my office. Trek clothes! I have sewn two skirts and two aprons, and altered three shirts for the two girls. All I have left to sew is the bloomers. I’m getting sick of it, I tell you. And BUYING all the stuff for trek has about broken the bank. Moleskin, bandaids, tin cups, socks, tick spray, sunscreen……

The chickens are always fun. If I open the back door, they hear that noise, they see me, and they come running. Especially if I am carrying the chicken bucket, where I keep all my scraps and food for them.

Now that we have the back yard fenced in, I let them roam through the yard for several hours each day. That way they can find more bugs and weeds to eat, and fertilize more of the yard than just their pen. We also have these mini chickens.
The small chickens stay in the old small coop inside of the run. That way they can be outside with the other chickens, but they are protected from the pecking and bullying that goes on with the bigger chickens.

I’m not sure how long I have to keep them separate, but for a while yet. The chicks are about two and a half months old now. They are getting pretty big, but not big enough to hold their own.

The kids like to take them all out and play with them.

So, yes, we are enjoying our summer break so far. How about you?

It’s Play Time

I began my approach to Ryan with “Now don’t freak out, but…” He quickly chastised me and said he never freaks out, but he WOULD be freaking out if I started a sentence like that again. I began again, “I know it’s crazy and I probably won’t make it, but…I want to try out for ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ at the Scera theater.” There, I had announced my intentions to the one I love, I HAD to do it.

When I went to the Scera to audition, I was scared spitless. Really. Who did I think I was auditioning for the Scera? This isn’t just our friendly neighborhood community theater. But I had said I would do it, so I signed up, went in there and sang my audition song. I was shaking with fear and relief when I came out of there. I had done pretty well, but I was still not sure. When the kids asked me where I had gone, I just said, “nowhere”.

Much to my surprise, I got an email inviting me to audition a few days later. I was to prepare to sing two pages of the song ‘Madame Guillotine’. So, I practiced, learned the words to the song, and tried to prepare myself to go to the call backs. There were singing and dancing call backs, and I was auditioning for a spot in the ensemble. I was again terrified, even MORE so than the regular audition. This time we had to sing that song in front of everyone else who was there auditioning, then we had to learn a dance and perform that in groups of 4 or 5. I really suck at dancing, and I felt SO OLD and FAT. Really. I was there with a bunch of 20 year old skinny girls who can sing up a storm, and who all seem to know each other from other plays they have done together. I felt about as out of place as I had at my first summer theater audition, back a few years ago. Somehow I made it through without tripping or falling flat on my face. One lady came up to me after the dance part (or should I say..pure torture), and said, “You’re doing a good job.” I just about cried. “Thank you so much”, I said, “I just feel really old.” She assured me that they need all ages for a play like this, and I should feel proud of myself. I asked if she was auditioning, and she said, no, she was here for her daughter for morale support, not to mention she was her ride. Thank you, unknown lady.

I went home sweaty and feeling conflicted. On the one hand I was proud of myself for doing such a hard thing, on the other hand, I wondered WHY I had put myself through that. The next Saturday they held the auditions for Peter Pan, which is at Alpine Community Theater. I hadn’t heard if I had made it into the Pimpernell thing, so I auditioned with Natalie for Peter Pan. I rocked that audition, I must say. I sang Madame Guillotine, which I had been practicing, and the dance for that audition was so much easier, and I didn’t have trouble with it. Maybe because I wasn’t nervous, I felt more like I was among friends.

I went home and opened my email and saw..
Dear Paige,

Thank you again for auditioning for The Scarlet Pimpernel at the SCERA.

We would be happy to have you in our cast & would like to offer you a role in the Female Ensemble.

Please respond to this email ASAP to accept the role.

Our first rehearsal will be on Monday June 17th at 7:00pm. We will be working through music and the costume designer will be there to take measurements! Please make every effort to be there! We will have the full rehearsal schedule made at that time.

I look forward to working with you!

Thank you!
What?! Wow! I had made it! But now I wanted to be in Peter Pan! But I had tried for the Scera because of the scheduling (they don’t perform on Wednesday nights, which is my bell rehearsal night, and they didn’t start rehearsal until mid June, so I could get through concert season and the end of the year stress of May), so I really had to go with that one, even though I kind of just wanted to ditch them and stick with Alpine Community Theater, where I have friends.

I had to tell the Alpine people that I couldn’t do their show, but they must not have gotten my message because I was called back and cast as a pirate, even though I didn’t go to the call backs. I hated having to tell them I couldn’t be in their show, especially after they cast Natalie in the show (she’s an Indian rhythm dancer).

So, Natalie will be in one play (PETER PAN!) and I will be in another play (THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL).

I went to my first rehearsal this week. We start with music rehearsals so we can learn all the songs. They actually gave us a lot of the music at a pre-rehearsal meeting a few weeks ago so we could look it over and start learning. Although I didn’t know anyone, it wasn’t totally uncomfortable. I recognized some of the people from auditions, and one sweet girl named Erica introduced herself to me (there are 3 Erica’s in the cast). There’s actually a guy I knew in college in the show. We went out a few times back in my sophomore year, but apparantly I wasn’t very memorable, because when I said, “I think I know you from BYU”, he didn’t remember me, but just said, “I thought you looked familiar. Were you in my voice class?” It was German, but that’s ok. I don’t expect everyone to have my stellar memory. (ahem–hopefully you realize I am joking, I can’t even remember what we had for dinner last night, but I didn’t go out with that many guys in college, so I do remember most of them).

I am only in the ensemble of this play, so I won’t be on stage a bunch, but it can’t be less than my two appearances, no lines in Cinderella a couple of years ago. I am excited to be a part of this show. There’s so much LESS time wasted without all those kids! And the quality of the voices! Wow! I’m already blown away. I can’t wait to hear the soloists sing, and see how it all comes together.

So, that’s what I’ll be doing for the next two months. And if you are in the area between August 2nd and the 17th, I hope you will stop in and see the show!

The story of the chainsaw and the neighbor

The chainsaw.
It’s been in our garage for about a year, since Ryan used it to cut back the Russian Olive junk trees the bordered our back yard. His dad called and asked for it back, as he had some projects of his own to work on. But before he returned it, Ryan felt he should make good on a promise to our neighbor to cut down the dead tree that is on the edge of their yard, right off our driveway. This tree has been dead for some time, and with the wind in Highland, it’s just been leaning more and more to the South. Last year some time, this neighbor asked Ryan if he could borrow the chain saw, or maybe just asked Ryan if he would cut it down next time he was using the thing. I don’t know the details.

But Monday night we were planning to go visit Ryan’s parents, and return the chainsaw. But first, he decided to cut down that tree. He fired up the saw, and went at it, hacking down that tree.

Unfortunately, he did not inform the neighbor’s wife that he would be doing this. There she was, making dinner or whatever, when she hears this LOUD sound, and goes to the window to see what it was. To her HORROR, she sees what looks like an angry neighbor who is fed up with looking at this dead tree every time he pulls out of his driveway and is taking matters into his own hands. She went out and was flustered, until Ryan explained that he had talked to her husband and had agreed to take out this tree.

She said to me later, “I was SOOO embarrassed. I thought you had reached the point of frustration with us and the dead tree. It took every ounce of courage I had to go out to go out and talk to him. Seriously, I was mortified!”

Silly husband. Always go talk to the wife before doing work in other people’s yards.

This week we…..

This week we gave our gifts to Larissa.
These shoes were a secret project for her, with a whole bunch of things we love about Larissa, or things we did together, or fun memories. It’s kind of like a scrapbook in a shoe.
I think she was surprised and really liked them.

We had also made a photo book of many pictures of the family and the activities we did this year. It’s hard to put all that we have done, and all that we feel into a book. But we tried.

They gave us a gift, too. Like our new cuckoo clock?

This week we played with our new chicks. Yes, we have some new chicks. We actually got them on the last or next to last day of school, and they were about 5 weeks old. So in only 4 1/2 months, they should be laying!


The small chickens have to stay separate from the bigger chickens, so we’ve put them in the old small a-frame coop. It’s not great, and it’s really falling apart, but it works for them right now.
They are already pretty big, but most of that is feathers and fluff, and they can pretty much squeeze through the opening in a chain link fence, and they run really fast, so we have to keep an eye on them.
The kids LOVE playing with them, and they need to be handled a lot so they get used to us, too.
Of course, in order to get new chickens, we have to thin the herd a little bit, and we took the two oldest chickens, who we KNOW are not laying any eggs, and delivered them to a guy who said he had just moved into a new place in Lehi and had a pasture and wanted some chickens to eat bugs. He didn’t care that they are a bit on the old side and not laying anymore. We put them each in a box and took them to Lehi to their new owner.

And don’t think we were too lonely with Larissa and Simone gone. Robin texted on Monday and wanted to know if I could go with her to get a pedicure. Of COURSE! I needed to get my feet ready for summer, but it’s really more fun to be pampered with a friend, so we went together. The next day she and Sarah came over, and Sarah stayed to entertain the troops. They started with some Koolaid dieing of the hair. I did not participate this time around, but John even got into the fun.

Don’t forget the baseball. As stated in a previous post, it was tournament week for John, and how wonderful for him that his team made it to the final, and even won that game.

I have been working on sewing and otherwise acquiring trek clothes for my two girls who will be going on trek. This week I bought the special tick spray, some spf 45 lip balm, and sewed up two skirts and one apron. I found this shirt at a garage sale on Friday, and said, “Wouldn’t that make the cutest trek shirt?” and the lady said, that’s why I made it, for my daughter to wear to trek. Natalie saw it and said, “it’s a cow shirt.” I KNOW! Isn’t it GREAT!? I don’t know if she likes it or not, but if she doesn’t go for it, Megan will probably take it as one of hers.

We haven’t heard from Cole except for that quick phone call on Tuesday, but I pretty much expected not to hear anything until his p-day on Monday. Crossing my fingers that we will get an email on Monday.


Saturday was a day of work. Yard work, washing the cars, and here’s Ryan adjusting the lights on the outside of the house. He even put up speakers outside for our summer party season. I went over to the community theater for a work day. All the parents are required to put in at least two work days, where you work on sets, costumes, or whatever. This time we were moving set pieces and wood from two different storage facilities, and taking them over to the junior high. Then we painted a bunch of “walls” with white primer so they can make them into something else. I would really paint sets again, if they need me to.

Saturday night, our friends Tess and David had invited us to see Ragtime at the Hale Center Theater.

Can you believe this was my first time at the Hale Center Theater? Really. It’s amazing what they do with that small stage. It was a POWERFUL performance with AMAZING singers. Usually there are a couple of powerhouse voices and then one or two that aren’t quite as good. Not so with this show. Such a talented cast.
You can read about it here. It was so nice to get out with friends, and we are so grateful they invited us. Who should I see in the lobby buy my Aunt and Uncle! It was nice to chat with them for a few minutes, too.

Sunday John gave a talk in Primary, and while I was in there, the primary president pulled me aside and told me they were thinking of making a change. I won’t say until it’s official, but it looks like I will be leaving my little friends in the nursery. Ryan will stay there (as least as far as I know), but I’m ok to make a change. I have missed going to Relief Society, and seeing other people in the ward, not just the ones that have nursery aged children.

Yep, it’s been a good week.

Chime choir wrap up

I was contacted today by the people who loaned me the set of chimes I have been using. They say it’s time to give them to the next recipient, and want a wrap up report. I have already written much about my chime choir experience, but I wrote it all together for this letter, before I realized that it said a “one page” letter. Whoops. Time to edit. But I’ll put it all up here first, just in case I want to find it again.

With no money, no budget, no music, and no experience, I set out to start a hand chime choir. Thankfully, the principal was on board, and willing to let me try. When I found out I had gotten the Area 11 chime loan, I knew I could get going for at least one year.
I was all excited to go to back to school night, set out some chimes, and 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 (provided with the loan of the chimes), 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 my two kids that attend that school, my 6th grader Jenna and 3rd grader 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 I waited to see if anyone from the 2nd track would come. Only one other student came. One. I had known that he had 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. He seemed happy to ring, even if he was the only one. Maybe he felt special that he was receiving a “private lesson.”
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 two days a week, 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.
Before we knew it, it was time for the Christmas concert.

There was a bit of confusion with the band teacher, and I won’t go into the whole thing, but I really had to assert myself and go to bat for my little choir so that we wouldn’t be totally hidden on the floor during the concert.
There were two performances during the school day, and one at night for the parents. Even though one of my students couldn’t be there for the evening performance, we covered things pretty well. I think they did SO great! I think people were impressed that they could recognize the songs we played, and that it even sounded good. We played Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star, Jingle Bells, and Jolly Old St. Nicholas. Little did I know that the band and orchestra would be playing those Christmas songs as well. But since we went first, people weren’t tired of the songs YET. My husband said he was surprised at how well they sounded. (Amazed is more like it.)
I got this message from one of the moms today,
Paige – Thank you so much for teaching M— chimes. I was so impressed tonight at the concert. Talk about a proud Mom moment. I didn’t realize how amazing chimes were, how beautiful they sound, how fun they are to watch and how much they have all learned in such a short time. I was beaming.
Thanks for all your hard work!
Love – M’s Mom
That brought tears to my eyes! This is why I am doing this! To bring the love of music and handbells to kids and parents.
The whole concert went quite well. The band teacher talked about how important music programs are, and plugged her band and orchestra program, telling the parents all about when to sign up and what they would be doing next semester, and she didn’t mention a word about the chime program. But maybe next time I will take the mic and do my own announcing, I thought. I was hopeful that enough kids would have thought it was cool to sign up in January, to have enough kids to ring all the notes in BOTH the am and the pm groups.
Besides finding music and teaching this little group, I worked really hard trying to get a grant. In fact, applied for many grants. Some for $500, and some for $5000. All 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.

When Mary Moffet called to see if my little choir would like to play something for the Spring Ring, I was pretty sure that was out of the question. I didn’t know how many kids I would have winter semester, and had no idea if we could get something performance ready by March. Plus, I would be there with my own choir, and therefore couldn’t drive the kids all the way up to Kaysville. But when I asked the parents of my little group (I had 15 students by then), they were ALL excited about the opportunity, and only one said they couldn’t commit to bringing their child on a Saturday, so I told Mary we would do it, and we started to prepare.

It’s one thing to play in the band and orchestra concert where the only people who come are the parents who think whatever their kid does is great, and another thing entirely to play in front of a whole crowd of BELL PEOPLE. Not only bell people, but my peers. I told LeAnna Wilmore, the Bells on Temple Square director, what would be happening, just to make sure that was ok with her that I would leave our group for a bit to go and direct my little choir, and to ask her if I could borrow some chimes if we needed extras. She was nothing but supportive, telling me I could use whatever I needed, and that it would be no problem at all.
Then she announced it to the group that I would be bringing my little chime choir to this event. My bell choir peeps were SO supportive. I don’t know why I was surprised. We have been together for 8 years, some of us, and we really are like a family. One friend said, “What song are you playing? If you want, we can stand behind and ring just in case they mess up. I was really blown away by their kind comments. It made me feel encouraged. A little bit
We rehearsed the Star Spangled Banner in earnest, and even had some early morning rehearsals so that all of the kids could ring together. Normally half come before school and half come after school, which makes it a little difficult to hear the whole song together. All but one of my kids committed to come, so we didn’t even have to do any switching around.
But I was still nervous. This being our first “on the road” performance of any kind, I had a big mental checklist of things I had to remember. Two boxes of chimes, all the music folders, get covers for the tables, bring the old quilts we use as table pads, bring chocolate for the kids (I had promised them chocolate), as well as the stuff I usually have to schlep with me to an all day ringing event (water bottles, diet coke, slip, shoes and nylons to go with my uniform, snacks, advil, etc. I seriously had a TON of stuff. And since my husband was going to be bringing three of the chime kids up there, I didn’t want to drive another car, so I transferred the whole load into my carpool buddy’s car to take up to Davis High on Saturday.

I was so nervous about the chime thing that I really couldn’t concentrate on the music. So many things could go wrong, and I have trouble getting my brain to not focus on the worst case scenario. What if the kids don’t get there in time? What if some of them don’t come? What if they get nervous and fall apart? It wasn’t helping things when one of the parents texted me at about the time they should be leaving asking for the address of the school, and what time is it that they need to be there.
At around 4:15, the director dismissed us to go and get changed and get ready for the concert at 5:00. I knew that one of my kids was there, and I started to set things up, with a churning of stress and worry in my gut. I soon saw my husband arrive with three of the kids, and then another parent with three more of the kids, and I was so happy to have them there. The kids, however, were more interested in seeing the really big bells and chimes than in rehearsing. I had to get them to focus so we could play the song at least once, and I told them we could all see the big bells AFTER the concert. By 4:40, all of the kids were there.
We quickly ran through our song, then I got them seated in order, and went to go change.
I joined my choir and played two pieces with them, then slunk away when another group did their solo. When it was our turn, I stood up, got my kids up, and got them ready to play. Mary got up to introduce us and explained about the chime loan program, and that we were an elementary choir in our first year of rehearsing, etc. And then it was our turn. I whispered to them, “Don’t play on count TWO” and we started.
Because we were playing the Star Spangled Banner, people stood up. I kind of wish they hadn’t stood up, and my director mentioned that she hoped they would announce that the audience didn’t need to stand up, but they stood up anyway. Oh, well.
The kids did great. They played it just like we had in practice! I forgot to have them bow or anything (I’m new at this), but they got a lot of applause. Because they’re so cute, right?

After the concert, I took the kids to see the really big bells and chimes, and the parents all came up to me while we were putting things away. ‘How much money do we need to buy our OWN set so we can keep this going for next year?’ one parent asked. One of the other parents said maybe we need to do our own fundraiser, because we just HAD to continue this program. I felt SO much love and support, which I realize I may not have received, had we not gone to the Spring Ring so they could see what other bell choirs look and sound like. I was on cloud 9 on the drive home.

Still frustrated by the lack of approval I was getting on my Grants, and with the number of rejection letters climbing into double digits, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I ran a fundraiser through Kickstarter, where people can donate to the cause, and they receive certain rewards. I figured I would just beg my friends and family and the parents to donate, and hopefully we could reach our $2,000 goal to buy our own 3 octave set of chimes. Amazingly, we met our goal, and I purchased the 3 octaves. The principal agreed to buy the 4th octave for us, so we’ll be set for next year!

I have plans for next year. I want to play the National Anthem for a sporting event. I want to have both a morning and an afternoon choir, and I am so excited that I get to work on these things. Thank you for giving me this chance to start a chime choir.

Let’s go out to the ball game

My new camera came today…Hooray! I went with the Nikon Coolpix S8200, which is pretty much the same camera I got for Cole, only it’s an older model. It had pretty much the same features but I could find it for about $60 less than the 9100 I was looking for.

I took some test shots just playing around.


And I was super glad that I brought my new camera to John’s baseball game.

John’s team has done very well this season, and even though John hasn’t really liked playing on a team where he doesn’t know anyone and it’s not full of his friends like the past couple of years, it’s been a good experience.

There were three games this week, and tonight was the last of them. The championship game, and as it turns out, they were playing against John’s friend Hunter’s team. Tonight John’s team was hitting great, and quickly outscored the other team. And while I was chatting with someone, all of a sudden it was over.

They had both teams line up for congratulations and trophies.

Then it was John’s team’s turn, and each boy got their treasured trophy.

(I love that this camera doesn’t make me wait forever between pictures! It’s quick and pretty small, and I think we are going to be friends. That is, provided I don’t drop it, spill on it, or get sand or dirt in the lens.)



I’m glad he had a good experience with this team. They did win all their games, so even if it wasn’t a hang out with friends experience, hopefully it builds his confidence and he’ll want to play again.

Enough goodbyes already

Thursday night we welcomed another visitor from Germany. Larissa’s mom, Simone, was joining her here in Utah. We were excited, but also a little nervous. What if she got here and met us and said, “THIS is where my daughter has been all year?!” Of course, there’s not much she can do about that NOW, except take her away back to Germany, which is what she’s doing anyway. We were all able to go to the airport, and we were sitting around waiting. Someone came down the hall that looked kind of like Simone, and I said, “Larissa, is that your mom?” She jumped out of her chair and said “YES!” and started walking toward her, then after two steps, said, “NO!” and walked back. It was SO funny, we couldn’t help laughing at her. We waited about 40 minutes before she finally got here, and when she did, there was much hugging.

We picked up her heavy suitcase, and went to help her get her rental car. She and Larissa were just both rambling on in their VERY fast German. I could understand some of it, but I’m a chicken and was speaking English to them. Once they got their car, I went with them, and Ryan took the rest of the kids in the car. I told them they were welcome to just speak German to each other, that I love to listen to it. I also contributed to the conversation, but things were still a bit awkward, but that was to be expected.

When we made it home, it was already after ten, and she had been up for about 22 hours, so we showed her to her room. But before she could get ready for bed, she had some gifts for us (well, mostly just for me, but I do share). A cuckoo clock! I had mentioned that I would love a new cuckoo clock, if that weren’t too much trouble, but I wasn’t expecting that. She also brought us a little mini beer stein, a cute magnet, and plenty of Rittersport chocolate…Yum!

Larissa’s friend, Ashlyn came over quickly to meet her mom, and they made plans to go hiking the next day. I couldn’t get any of my kids to go, and I didn’t want to go either, so it was just three of them hiking somewhere in Alpine. I spent the day cleaning up and then curling my hair and applying a lot of makeup. I had to leave the house about 4:45 to meet my carpool to go up to the Tabernacle for my concert. Ryan brought Simone, Larissa, and the kids (minus Jenna, because she was going to a party) up to Temple Square.346

The concert went so well. Seriously, it was the most fun I’ve ever had playing in a concert. Flight of the Bumblebee at 90 miles an hour? So Cool! Now we get a few weeks off from Bells rehearsal since the choir is going on tour, and taking some of the bells with them.

Saturday those Germans went on another hike, and we cleaned up, mowed the lawn, made some pies, and got ready for a party. We invited Larissa’s friends and ward members over to meet her mother and to say goodbye and good luck to her. We made WAY too much food, as there were only about 30 people there, and I had been planning on more. Oh, well. She and her friends stayed out on the trampoline way past the time that we cleaned up and carried everything inside. I think it was about 11 when they went home. We didn’t kick them out or anything, since it was the last time (probably) she would get to hang out with them.

Sunday was fast Sunday, and we didn’t get there very early, so we were in the back on the hard chairs. It was a very good meeting, but my friend DeEtte got up and was sharing how thankful she was that Heavenly
Father answered their prayers and sent a friend for their daughter at a very difficult time. Sent a friend all the way from Germany. Isn’t that wonderful? We didn’t know when we were signing up to host that there was a special girl who really needed to come here to our neighborhood, and we would be facilitators in answering that prayer. That got me crying. Larissa even went up there to bear her testimony. She said she knew there was a God and that he cared for us. She knew that Jesus had died for us. She also thanked everyone for influencing her life, and teaching her so much. In Young Women that day, they gave her a really cute scrapbook that all the girls signed and wrote their testimonies. They also gave her her own set of scriptures in German. We have the best ward. I hope she never forgets those young women. 363

Sunday she and Simone went over to Ashlyn’s house for dinner, and we went to see my sister and her beautiful brand new baby boy!

Monday they packed up, taking a cooler and some ziploc containers, also some dishes and ice so they could buy some food for their trip and they were off. I had to take the kids to piano, and was going to go to the gym while they had their lesson, so I gave them both hugs and told them safe travels. I don’t like big goodbyes. It’s good for us to have two weeks before we have to say goodbye for real. It’s kind of like the MTC, only we can still text.

Speaking of the MTC, Cole has finished his time there. Tuesday morning the phone rang before 7 am, and I thought, “it’s Cole!”. I had heard that his flight was early on Tuesday, and I HOPED he would call, but I didn’t know if he would. He said the MTC was FANTASTIC and he learned so much. He sounded kind of nervous to be going to West Virginia, and I can’t wait until Monday when we should get his first email from the field. I can’t wait to hear where he is and who his companion is, and hopefully he can actually attach a few pictures. Hooray!

So, yeah, we’ve had enough goodbyes around here for a while. I need more hellos.

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