The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: July 2013

For Diana

027My heart is filled with sadness and confusion today. I found out yesterday through facebook that a friend of mine had passed away. I thought it was a joke when a mutual friend posted something about how much she will be missed. What? Is this a joke? I read on to see post after post about her sudden and unexpected death. How could this be true? She was healthy girl, in her 20’s. How could she be gone? I started asking questions, and while there are no answers yet, we know that she died in her sleep. Just didn’t wake up on Sunday morning.

So full of life and fun. I met her when I did Seussical at Alpine Community Theater, and she was there with me in every play since.

She was so happy and helpful, and we got to be friends through the show.

(Annie get your gun)

When our two months of rehearsal and the play was over, I would see her through the rest of the year at the grocery store, or we would occasionally go out for a movie with the girls.

In Wizard of Oz, we got to be Apple Trees together, and we had SO MUCH FUN, both on and off stage. I laughed SO hard with Diana and Felicia. They are both wonderful girls.

One of the things I love about a play is that you get to know so many different people. Yes, it’s long hours at rehearsal, and for many of those hours, it’s just sitting around waiting while other people are on stage. While it’s long and boring, that’s when you get to know people.

Here she is in her Cinderella ball gown. She’s really not that tall, she’s just standing on a chair right before I cut off the bottom of her dress for her.

Diana and I have shared make-up, hairspray, bobby pins, done each other’s hair, helped each other into costumes, all the while laughing and having fun.

As I read what friends are posting about her, it makes me smile and cry at the same time. Bill said,
A wonderful young woman in our neighborhood, who we have known and loved for nearly fifteen years, died unexpectedly in her sleep last night.

Diana was as vibrant, funny, and kind-hearted a person as I have ever met. We attended church with her, worked and performed with her in community theater for a decade, and saw her several times a week at the grocery store where she worked, and she always had a smile on her face and something kind to say.

Our children huddled around us yesterday when we leaned about this and wept. She was one of those rarest of people – a radiant personality and someone truly without guile – and she left us too soon.

I wasn’t in the play last year or this year, but Natalie loved being in the show with “Mom’s friend Diana”. Even though Natalie’s only 14, she was kind to her, and they laughed together as well.

Here she is with Susi (another friend from a few shows). Full of enthusiasm and life.

I wait to hear when the funeral will be, and to read her Obituary.

I guess this is a reminder to not squander our time here on earth. To tell those who you love HOW much you love them. To make time to see your old friends, and not to take your family for granted. To treasure those relationships and be nice to everyone. My heart grieves for her family, but takes joy in the fact that they will see her again some day.

Thank you, Diana, for all the joy you shared with me, for making me feel comfortable in some uncomfortable situations, for your love of Mama Mia and all things theatrical. Thank you for your friendship. I can’t imagine our little community theater without you. Much love until I see you again.

Slow down, summer!

Summer is kicking my trash.

Seriously. The two Chinese girls have been here for a week now. What cute girls they are!

Their names are Xiou and Yio, and they are really fun. They have “school” every day where they learn about things in America, and then go off on an activity. Yesterday they went shopping at Park City outlets. They had fun, although said it was TOO much shopping. They came home with quite a few shopping bags, so they must have made the most of their time. This week they also had fun at the Clas ropes course. Today they go to BYU. Some of the days, my three girls also go with them as American buddies. Megan had fun at the ropes course, but she was WAY sore the next day.

They are pretty good about getting up in the morning on most days, but I’ve had to wake them a couple of times. They need to be ready to leave by 7:30. This week I haven’t been driving..yet. But next week I’ll be on mornings, and will have to pick up four other Chinese kids and take them to Orem by 8:15 am.


We have been bowling, shopping at City Creek, went to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert in the conference center, hiked around bridal veil falls,
and out to dinner.


We took them to see Natalie’s play, Peter Pan, which ended on Monday, too.

One of them really wanted to cook, and when they saw John making an omelet one day, they were amazed. So, on Saturday, I taught them how to make an omelet.

We took them to church, and a little family party at my sisters. For Pioneer day we did sparklers and pop its out in the front yard and watched the nearby fireworks.

This morning my girls left for girls camp for three days. All three of them!!

Meanwhile, I am gone every night at rehearsal.
We moved over to the outdoor theater this week, and it’s fun to perform on the hill, but so different. I’ve never done outdoor theater before.

When we aren’t on stage, we sit on the grass on our blankets.


The show opens in just over a week!! What?

I had my costume fitting this week, and I LOVE my dresses. Except my peasant outfit, which has this corset thing. Not sure how I am going to get IN and OUT of that thing, but I’ll keep you posted.

Tarazan 11x17 Poster

I get home from rehearsal between 10 and 11, and then I have to decompress a bit, so I fall asleep around midnight. Then I have to get the girls up around 7 and get them breakfast. Next week I’ll have to drive them to Orem every morning, after later and later rehearsals. By about 1:00 in the afternoon I’m SO tired, I tend to crash and need a nap. Not every day is nap conducive, I tell you.

And have I mentioned our yard work?

It’s mostly Ryan doing it, but the rest of us have helped, too.
Once we got our fences up, it was time to landscape that back fence line.
All 280 (Is that right Ryan?) feet of it.

Ryan tilled it, trenched it, put in sprinkler lines and power outlets, and is digging out the rest of the weeds so we can lay down a layer of newspaper and then mulch. I’ve kind of lost track of the number of truckloads of mulch we have gotten, but I think it’s around 10. Not like dump truck loads, just our small truck filled with compost from the recycle center.
And there’s our tomato plants in the buckets. There are more in the garden area, too. Soon. Very soon, we will have tomatoes.

Silly chickens think I planted these flowers JUST for them to eat. Argh.

And remember this kitty? She’s been with us for a whole year, now! Happy Birthday?


So, yeah, things are crazy busy for me right now. And I’m tired. So tired. But I know it will just get worse next week. If I can make it through rehearsals, then actually DOING the show will be fun. And our visitors will be gone, and I’ll have a couple nights a week off. Just in time for school to start. Slow down, summer! You’re going to fast, and dragging me along behind you!

Peter Pan

I should let Natalie guest post this.


Took the kids plus one cousin to see Natalie in Peter Pan.

Great show!




Two of my friends as pirates. I could have been a pirate. Darn. It would have been SO much fun.





Natalie had a great time in the show. It’s been kind of a pain to get her to rehearsals, and she’s missed out on a few fun things, but that’s what happens when you do a play (don’t I know it). She did a great job and we are Proud of her.


Family Reunion

This weekend marked our family’s 10th year of family reunions at Payson Lakes.
070 The group camp site is reserved from Thursday to Saturday, but for most of the group, Friday is the day to come up and play. We hang out at the lakes, fishing, swimming, and canoeing. But some years, the elements do not cooperate. One year there were fires in a nearby canyon, and we spent the day (and night) wondering if they would evacuate us. Last year we took Marie, our French exchange student with us, and she was excited to go camping and catch a fish. Huge rains drenched our tent and we sacked the idea of camping overnight, but she did catch a fish. This year we weren’t even planning on staying overnight. Ryan won’t sleep where he can’t plug in his sleep mask, and Natalie and I both had to get back for our respective plays. Unfortunately, this campout usually coincides with the opening weekend of Alpine Community Theater’s summer play, so that’s been a conflict for the past several years.

Friday dawned RAINY. REALLY rainy. Ugh. Because of the rain, we weren’t quite so quick to pack up our stuff and go, but we did get to the camp site by about 11:00.

With three different canopies set up, it kept us pretty dry so we could play some card games.

The kids were happy to spend some time with cousins, even if it was cold and rainy.


Eventually the sun came out! Ryan and Megan had stayed at home to get some work done, but they brought 12 junior frosties from Wendy’s with them in a cooler when they came.


It’s just fun to get together with family.

Shortly after the sun came out, Natalie and I had to leave. We had to get Natalie ready for her play..Opening night! and her call time was 5:00.
We did some makeup for her and braided her hair (luckily it doesn’t have to be curled or anything difficult like that) and got her some food and took her over to the school. I cleaned up a little bit and then went to my own rehearsal. Thankfully, I didn’t have to stay at rehearsal super long, so I was just getting home by ten so I could pick Natalie up from the play.

Ryan and the kids didn’t get home until nearly midnight, and they brought an extra! Jenna was thrilled to have her cousin Kaylee come and stay with us for the rest of the weekend.

Short, but sweet. No time in the lake, no canoeing, but we still had fun. And since I brought my camera home with me, no pictures of the festivities for the rest of the afternoon and evening, but they came home just as dirty as if they had been there MORE than just a day. (Not sure how that happens)

Just Hang on


July is typically the month when things slow down and we languish in the heat of the summer.
Not this year.
Where do I start. Well, Natalie is in Alpine Community Theater’s production of Peter Pan. Tonight is Opening Night! I wish I was in that play with her, but we will go see it tomorrow.

So, for the past two weeks, she’s had a rehearsal every night, with the last three going past 10:00. It’s actually a relief when the show opens because then you just do the show, and you go home. That show runs until June 22.

This week, we pick up two Chinese exchange students. We’ve had fun with this program in the past, and the family was excited to host again, even though I am seriously so busy in July, I don’t know when we’ll do anything fun with them. They will be here from the 18th of July until Aug 5. They have to be to their program in Orem every weekday. We drop them off at 8 and pick them up around 5. Thankfully, I got a call yesterday from another lady in Alpine who wanted to carpool, and we’ve worked it out so that we can take 6 kids from 3 families. Of course, that interferes just a little bit with my three girls who are doing a buddy program with them. They are buddies, and they go 5 different days with the Chinese students. (These aren’t this year’s students, but Vivian and Coco from two years ago)
They get to go to a ropes course, 7 peaks, and also help with a talent show. There’s also a family barbeque closing social that we all can go to. Luckily, Megan could drive the three of them to Orem on buddy days if we can’t squeeze them into the carpool. The last time we did this, I just about went crazy. The girls were nice and sweet, but the DRIVING back and forth to Provo, through the construction EVERY SINGLE day, (sometimes twice a day) was killing me. I didn’t have a good carpool, and that makes SUCH a big difference.
Hopefully we can squeeze in some fun with them.

Meanwhile, I am in full swing rehearsal mode for the Scarlett Pimpernel. That show opens August 2, which is just a couple of weeks away, and I have NO idea how we will be ready in time. But guess where I’ll be every night? Yep, at rehearsal.

To add to that, I have a lesson to teach this Sunday for a class I’m subbing, and then a RS lesson NEXT Sunday. I think if people know you are in cub scouts (my new calling), that means “please call this person to sub for you because they don’t have a Sunday job”. Oh, and cub scout day camp is this week. hooray (said in a dead pan, very small voice).

Oh, and yes, I’m still playing bells. Every Wednesday, although I have to miss one for a dress rehearsal. Thankfully, at the Scera, they don’t do shows on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, so that means I can stil go to bells through the month of August, even though I’m doing a play. Except, did I mention that after we do the show at the Shell, we are also performing it at BYU every night for education week? Yes, we’ll get to do the show in the deJong Theater, so if you are attending education week, COME see the show! I’ll have to miss bells for that week, too.

I heard that we’re performing some song for a Music and the Spoken Word broadcast sometime in August, but since I can’t be there on the Thursday night rehearsal, I think I’ll let someone else take my spot and step aside for one broadcast.

My mother was kind of chastising me for being so busy, and she doesn’t understand WHY in the world I would want to fill up my whole summer with a play. I guess if you don’t do theater, you don’t understand the draw. It is a ton of work, and many times I ask myself WHY I do this, but it really is fun. Talk to me when it’s over and we’ll see if I think it was worth it or not.

So, we are going to hang on for the next month and just hope I can schedule everything just right so that we fit it all in, with no screaming panic attacks and no stress eating. Wish me luck.

Why are you …so…old?

Being in a play with a bunch of young people. Hmm.

My first impression of this cast was, WOW, what talent. Seriously, the first time we sang Madame Guillotine together, I was blown away by how we sounded. And there was so much LESS time wasted, without a bunch of little kids. Those choral rehearsals were really great. But as I looked around, I thought that only a couple of these people looked old enough to be married, let alone have children. Let’s face it, having little kids is not really conducive to spending almost every night at rehearsal. Why do you think it took me until I was nearly 40 to try out for community theater? Family. I’m not sayin I don’t love my family, I DEFINITELY love my family more than anything in the world, and if they would do theater with me, I would LOVE that. And isn’t it great that I can still do theater even after spending all those years as a stay at home mom?

Anyway, I digress. A lot of people in the cast are high school or college kids. While waiting out a scene or learning blocking, they CANNOT a-sit still or b-shut up. Honestly. For a ball scene, they put me with this one guy, I’ll call him E. He and this other guy, who we shall call B, talk, talk, talk, through the whole scene. And not just talking, it’s Lord of the Rings impersonations, acting out light saber battles, quoting lines from OTHER movies that I couldn’t place, and all manner of other things. They are entertaining, but if I’m trying to listen or learn dance steps, it’s annoying. The director came by and said, “Does he EVER stop talking?” I shook my head no. He’s probably bummed that he has to have ME as a partner, when there are so many cute girls that he COULD be flirting with, had he only been paired up with them instead. Oh, well. He did talk TO ME long enough to mention that he had met a really neat girl at the singles ward the other day. I asked if he had asked her out and he said he did. Then he said she came over to his house and they talked. I was quick to remind him that hanging out at your house (or your parent’s house) is NOT a date, and he needed to take her somewhere to do something. Not that he asked for my advice or anything, but as a mother, I figure it’s my job to point that out to him.

Speaking of dancing, I was actually pleased that the choreographer at least PUT me in that scene. As she was assigning everyone places for the ball scene, she came by and said, “Are you ok to dance?” to me. Really? I know that I’m old and fat and out of shape and I didn’t do great on my dance audition, but I CAN learn the simple steps to a ball dance, thank you very much. I was afraid that she would purposely NEVER put me in a scene with any dancing. The other big group number, Madame Guillotine, they have me as a prisoner heading to the guillotine, while almost everyone else does this amazing dance and sings the song. We prisoners don’t even get to sing the song, and it’s the best song in the show. Darn. But, I shouldn’t complain, it’s time on stage, right? I was afraid that she totally hated me and wasn’t going to put me in ANY dances at all, but thankfully it’s not that bad.

There’s one other guy who is older than me. Did I mention that I knew him from BYU? I got a chance to chat with him a bit last night, and he did remember that we went out a couple of times back then. He even brought it up, so that’s good to know he does remember me. When we were learning the ballroom scene, he actually spoke up and said that she was going too fast for him to remember all these steps, and could she make sure to say the counts. I was glad he said something, because I was feeling the same way, but was far too insecure to pipe up and say anything like that.

Last night we were blocking a scene where Percy and his men help some prisoners escape. It’s all set to music, no singing, and the director and choreographer had to figure out what was going on when, place everyone, rehearse, etc. I am not a prisoner in this scene, rather in the “mob” that is there to watch the execution. We mob members don’t really do much in the scene except give Percy’s men a place to hide, so it was really boring for us. And I got to stand near some OTHER young people and listen to their conversations. It’s so weird to be transported back to the drama world. Theater people are a unique brand of people. They want to be funny, likeable, and the center of attention. I don’t really fit in with them, as again, I’m old, but I do join in their conversations sometimes. I’m trying to learn people’s names each time I go to rehearsal. Most of the girls seem nice, and the boys are the ones that are always goofing off and never stop goofing off. Last night seemed like a huge waste of time to everyone who was in ‘the mob’, but at the end, the director had us all sit and said, “THANK you so much for your cooperation. This was a difficult scene, and we were so worried about getting it right, but you’ve all done a marvelous job, doing what you were told, and not complaining. I think you are a marvelous and talented cast, and I really enjoy working with you.” Wow. He must not have heard all the complaining that was going on in back in the mob.

So, while it is fun to be a part of this show, I am not really feeling like a part of the show, yet. I still feel quite like an outsider. An OLD outsider. But hopefully that feeling will go away as I meet more people. Maybe I’ll make them some cookies.


week Megan and Natalie went on Trek. After a whole month of prep, they left on Monday morning. I had t get them to their respective churches by 5:45 am.


It was a relief to have them drop off their stuff on Saturday, because it just felt like we were NEVER done getting the stuff! We had bonnets, but I sewed two skirts, two aprons, altered some shirts, sewed elastic in some pajama pants for bloomers, and we borrowed or found the rest. After buying the tick spray, the hiking socks, the dishes, small Book of Mormons, moleskin, bug spray, sunscreen, vasaline, etc, etc (times two), I probably spent over $200 outfitting these two girls for their roughing it experience.


I woke them up around 5 so we could leave at 5:30. I took Natalie to her drop off church first, and she was the first one from her “family” there.


Both girls had great “families” and had had a few activities with their Ma and Pa and family to get to know them and feel comfortable with them. I am SO THANKFUL for all the wonderful people who worked so hard as Mas and Pas to make this experience a good one for our kids.

Then I took Megan to her drop off point, which was our church, and I asked if they had gotten their ancestor cards. NO! said Megan. WHAT? Each person walking on trek was supposed to find an ancestor who actually crossed the plains, make up an ancestor card and have it laminated. They would wear that ancestor card while they walked. And they had forgotten them. Ugh. Time to race back home. We got home, Megan ran in and grabbed those two cards, looked for her sunglasses that she had forgotten, and then I took her to her drop off point. Because of our detour, it was a little past 5:45, but she wasn’t the last to arrive.
(There’s her cute Ma, waving to us)

Then I had to race over to the church where Natalie was, and bring her that ancestor card. Mission accomplished, and all by 6:00 am.

Then I came home and fell asleep on the couch, I’m not going to lie.

I thought about them all day, worried over how they would do with 13 miles of walking that day, if they would get sunburned, if they would get along with their families, praying for them to have good attitudes and not get blisters. It seemed quite without them, and quiet in the neighborhood. All the teens aged 14 and up were gone, as well as several sets of parents..all on trek. I texted my neighbor and mentioned that I wondered how the kids were doing. She texted me back and forwarded me a picture her husband, the bishop, who was there on trek, had sent her of her girls. The message read, “Girls say hi. L–hello we love you. E–We’re in hell.” That made me laugh, and was a little bit reassuring to know that they were alive. The next day he sent a message for me. “Ericksons–Blisters, but everyone has blisters, great and brave on women’s pull, great attitudes.” I don’t know if he was sending updates on every family, but I appreciated that little bit of info to know that they were working hard and hopefully keeping a good attitude.

Thursday, it was lonely without three of my kids. I couldn’t help thinking about Cole, and wondering what he was doing for the holiday, and hoping the girls were ok, too. The four of us went to the This is the Place Pioneer park to have a little fun.



Even though it wasn’t the hottest day of the week, it was still WAY too hot to be wandering around dirt roads acting like a pioneer. Hmmm. And the girls were doing that for four days.


To face the heat, we had root beer floats. Very American, right?

WE came home in the afternoon, and the girls got back around 3:00. I thought they would be SO tired, but they were full of energy, talking and laughing about how dirty they were.

Megan said, ‘Look at my tan!’ and showed me her brown legs. They were indeed brown, until she wiped them off with a wet wipe, leaving a streak of white leg where the dirt had been.

I kept telling them over and over…’Go TAKE a SHOWER!’, but they were telling me about trek and laughing (getting dirt all over). Finally I got them to both take showers. Long showers.


Happy 50th Anniversary to my Mom and Dad!

Whew! 50 years! Can you believe it? That’s a long time together..a big milestone.

When I asked my parents what we should do for their party, they said, “Oh, we don’t need a party. We just took a trip instead.” What? I just couldn’t accept that. What happens with the other aunts and uncles have THEIR 50th, and they they are thinking, “Hey, we should have done a party or something.” So, we discussed this with the siblings. Feelings were mixed, because, after all, they did say they didn’t want a party or anything, right? But it’s FIFTY years. We had to do something.

So, I planned a party at my house, invited all the relatives, but didn’t really tell my mom and dad, I just invited them over.

Things we had to have
-a photo book or a slide show type thing to share pictures of them throughout the years
-a collection of letters to them congratulating them on this accomplishment

And the unwritten requirement that really is the most important thing would be SHADE. Since they cut down the big old junk trees and put in a lovely fence, we have virtually no shade in our backyard, and that ends up being a problem when we want to have parties. We only have three umbrellas (strike that…two umbrellas since one of them got broken in a wind storm) and we have lots of wind.

Ryan’s sister Julene was such a dear to lend us some shade canopies. They actually have a lot of things like that. They have a LOT of parties, and he is the president of the Chilean association, so the association also has some canopies, too. Saturday night we started setting things up, because we would be at church on Sunday, and couldn’t set things up in the morning. It was about a million degrees as we were setting them up, and tempers were short. Oh, and did I mention we had been getting things ready for trek all day and had to turn in the girls buckets and sleeping bags that night by 6:00 and it caused quite a bit of stress? Well, we did.
Thankfully, I did NOT take any pictures of us setting this thing up, but we did finally get it set up, attached a couple of the hanging curtains, and VIOLA! SHADE! Amazing! We set up one 30×10 shade thing, and one 10×10, and with the hanging curtains, that was enough shade at 7:00 or later in the evening. We had TWO of the big white ones, but I convinced Ryan that we didn’t need to set up both of them.

It was quite dark by the time we were done, and, proud of ourselves and happy with how the backyard looked with the tables and chairs and canopies, we went to bed. I don’t know if it was an especially windy night, or if I was just AWARE of it being a windy night, but I heard every howl of the wind. Seriously. Crappy night’s sleep it was for me. In the morning, a sense of dread settled over me, but I had to look. That big white canopy was twisted and definitely not in same place where we had set it up. And we had staked it and everything. Why, oh why, did we leave it up overnight? This is Highland. There is ALWAYS wind. What were we thinking? We went out to discover a few bent poles, but nothing too serious. We put everything back, staked it again, found more tie downs that we should have used in the first place, staked those down, and went inside (because even though it was about 9 in the morning, it was already so hot.)

When we got home from church, we realized that canopy was blowing in the wind AGAIN. What a pain. SO HOT, and SO much trouble with the canopy. Should have done this thing inside.

Cake– I had asked my friend Janeen to make a cake for me. I told her my budget and said she could do whatever she wanted to do. Really.
Well, she came through for us, and even delivered this cake to me on Sunday afternoon.

Isn't this a pretty cake?

That 50 on the top is out of modeling chocolate, and she used her new airbrush to stencil on those swirly designs. So pretty.
And when we cut into it and tasted it, it was SO YUMMY!

When my parents arrived, they thought we were just having my sisters and families over, they didn’t know we had invited the WHOLE family, and they were surprised that this was an actual party.

We had flowers,

lots of food, music (Ryan had installed outdoor speakers for this and future parties, isn’t he awesome?) and even had them cut the cake a feed it to each other.

It turned out to be a lovely party, even though it was too hot. By 8:30, it was perfect out!

I”m so thankful for these wonderful parents of mine. I’m glad that we could throw them a party. I hope it was a great anniversary for them, and i hope when WE reach 50 years together (we’re at 21 this year, so only 29 to go…) our kids will throw us a great party, too.

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