The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: October 2013

Costume Party!

Saturday evening we hosted a costume party for the Scarlet Pimpernel crowd–or whoever wanted to come. It wasn’t my idea, but a couple of the girls from the play were discussing how fun it would be to have a sing-a-long party, and asked if anyone had a place big enough for a crowd, and who had a piano, etc. I did not volunteer because I hosted the last party we had with this group, but one of the girls asked if I would be willing to have it at my house again. They would “plan” it, and could I just provide the house. Less pressure and work for me, right?

Well, we still had to clean the house. I didn’t make a ton of food, because I wasn’t in charge, and I thought she had made it clear to people that they were supposed to bring food. Ahem. These are mostly college students we are talking about, so there was very little food that was brought.But no one seemed to mind that there wasn’t a ton of food, or if the food that was there wasn’t very great or fancy.

Here’s Ryan. He’s thrilled about a-dressing up (can you guess his costume) and b- having a bunch of loud theater people taking over the house.

After the mingling and hugs and “YOU LOOK SO CUTE!”s, we settled in to play some games. We had apples to apples going, and then some people started singing show tunes in the other room with the piano.





We had some fun costumes! My friend Justin picked up my camera, as he tends to do, and took a bunch of lovely random pictures.





This was us playing “match that face” or something like that. You would look at the picture taken before yours and try to match the expression. Yeah, I know they are sideways. Whatever.

This is my favorite picture of everyone in their costumes.

We ended with a couple of rousing games of ENCORE, and if you’ve never played that with a bunch of musical theater people, you really should. We do know a lot of songs, but the pressure! When put on the spot, the brain just seems to sputter and fart, not coming up with the requisite song, like a song with the word “KISS” in it. We went back and forth on that one for a long time, until our team finally couldn’t think of another one. Of course, LATER, every song in the world seemed to have the word Kiss in it.

It was a fun night with friends, and I’m glad we could host it at our house.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Garage cleaning

This week was a killer, with 7 Merlin shows, two bells rehearsals for me, four chime classes, cub scouts, two junior high concerts, Thriller with the girls, a quick trip to California for Ryan…. and the list goes on.

ANYWAY, we’ve all gotten a bit behind on keeping the house clean.

And the garage was so full of stuff to go to DI, leaves, trash, bikes, grass clippings, etc, it was kind of a joke.

I came home from a rehearsal on Saturday and found the contents of our garage out on the grass. I was SUCH a beautiful day for it, but I was conflicted. Hooray! Ryan’s cleaning out the garage/Boo! He’s going to want me to help. But actually I didn’t help much at all. Natalie and Ryan did most of it, with a little help from Jenna and John.

I did NOT take a before picture. Really, you don’t want to know. But after they were done, it looked like this.


NICE! So thankful that Ryan took the initiative and that Natalie worked alongside him for the whole morning to get that clean.

The Grocery Game

We are trying to get back on a budget at our house. Ryan’s got me reading Dave Ramsey and all that, and we are going to focus on getting out of debt.

I don’t always do coupons and pay attention to the sales, but TODAY I DID.

I went to our local grocery store because they had a GREAT sale on General Mills items, with a “buy 8, get $6 back” deal. I don’t LOVE these little games they make you play to make sure you have all the right items and in the right quantity, and then to match those items with coupons makes it extra complicated, but I took the coupons I knew I would use, and not ALL the coupons I had so that I could pay attention and JUST get the things that were on sale.


I actually loved watching the guy ring in my purchases, adding my coupons, the sales, and then the $6 back from buying the featured items. Want to know how much I paid for all this food?


I don’t know if you can read that amount, so I’ll make that picture bigger…
but I paid $88.84. And that includes 6 bags of candy there in the middle. I used $12 something in coupons, and my receipt says I saved $88.11. Boo-Ya. Granted, I bought a lot of packed food and no meat, but since we just bought a fourth of a cow and our freezer is FULL, I didn’t need to buy any meat. Plus, we are still enjoying produce from our tomatoes and apples right now.

I am not claiming to be the best bargain shopper there is, but it gives me a little thrill to bring home that much food, especially the snacky things like gogurt and granola bars and fruit snacks, and to save money on it.

Yes, I feel kind of smart. Now I need to see if I can rustle up any more coupons so I can get more of this stuff while it’s still on sale. And to reach around and pat myself on the back just a little bit, thank you very much.

What a week!

We have made it through our first week of performances for the Merlin show!


When I signed up for this gig, I was a little wary of the performing every day thing. I even asked the director if we couldn’t double cast it so that we could have some days off. He kind of laughed and said he could barely get enough people to fill one cast, let alone two, which has been true. People have had to drop out because of work or injuries, and we called some people who didn’t even audition but were maybe available to be in the show, so there are no back=ups. To do a show at 10:00 am, means we are supposed to be at the theater at 9:00 to do our make-up and hair, get our microphones on and checked, and have a cast meeting. In order to be there by 9, I need to leave my house at 8:35 at the latest. Two days a week I teach my chime choir from 8 until 8:50, which makes it impossible to get there by 9:00. I have let the kids out 5 minutes early so that I can LEAVE the school by 8:50, and then I get there as quickly as I can (usually by 9:10-9:15).

The show is only one hour, which is nice. But after the daytime show the cast comes out and we have a little question and answer session with the kids.


These were taken after a dress rehearsal, which my kids attended, since they didn’t have school that day. When we come out for the question and answer, we bring chairs, not just sitting on the edge of the stage. The kids ask questions, mostly about “How do you do that trick?”, but sometimes they ask fun questions like “Do you guys practice magic in your other jobs?”, or “What’s your favorite movie?”

By the time we are done with that and out of costume, it’s nearly noon, and I can get home to eat lunch by 12:30. So, it takes out the bulk of my day, especially days that I am teaching, when I really just eat lunch, clean up, and get back to the school. Not that I’m complaining, because it’s quite fun.

We get to dress up, do our makeup and glitterify, and have fun.
(This is me with Tana, who plays Guinevere)

(Here’s me with Tiffany, who plays Morgana. She’s the evil sister and I’m the nice one)

Then on Mondays and Fridays we come back at 6:00 and get ready again for a 7:00 show. The 7:00 show is more families than just kids. Last night I think we did our best show yet, and it was fun to see several wonderful friends from the Scarlet Pimpernel who came to see the show and support us. John came again last night with a friend (he’s now seen it three times, the most of anyone in the family. I guess if we were keeping score, it would be John 3, Jenna 2, Natalie and Megan 1, and Ryan 0)

Even though it’s a fun experience, it is extremely draining. This week was especially hard as we were dealing with the death of a friend, and then had his funeral and luncheon on Wednesday. But there’s always something, so no week is going to be smooth and easy. We just need to enjoy our theater time together as much as we can, because before we know it, our 21 shows will be gone with a poof.


Josh Groban

I won some tickets to the Josh Groban concert, then immediately chastised myself for using my once a month WIN on concert tickets when I should have been trying to win a Disneyland trip (like Ryan’s brother won the next day). But, since I had the tickets, I wanted to go. I started asking around to see who wanted to go.

Ryan–“Eh. Rather not.”
WHAT? SERIOUSLY? Ok, whatever. I’ll find a friend.

My next door neighbor Serena, who LOVES Josh Groban and went to his concert last year–“WHAT? Are you inviting me? I wish I could, but I think I have Thriller tickets for that same night! ARGH!”

My friend Tess–“Really? I never have plans for Friday night, but we are going to a weekend conference, so I can’t go. Darn!”

My friend Michelle–“Not really the biggest Josh Groban fan. Ask Lisa.”

Lisa–(I asked her if she would rather go see Josh Groban or Michael Buble, since I had already invited her to come to see Michael Buble with me in November) “I would rather see Michael Buble, but if you can’t find anyone, I would love to see Josh Groban, too.”

I thought about who would really have fun at a concert, and decided to offer the ticket to my Bell Choir Friends, and see who wanted to go. Teresa replied right away, then also texted me to make sure I got the message that she wanted to go.

The night of the concert, I met Teresa at her house, in Draper, then she drove up to Salt Lake. We got some dinner at Crown Burger so we could park there for free (and because Crown Burger is awesome!). Then it was a short walk to the ‘Energy Solutions Arena’, which we still call the ‘Delta Center’. Once we got inside, the ticket guy said, “Go over there and exchange your tickets for better seats.” What? Ok. Sure. Our tickets were for section MM or something, so I assumed they would be way up at the top. They were FREE, after all.

The guy gave us new tickets and directed us over to door V or something, and we walked all the way down, and then they directed us down more stairs to go down to the floor.

There we were, 13 rows back from the stage! Because this was a concert in the round, they needed to fill in the floor seats, and really, there wasn’t a bad seat! Josh would go around the round stage, performing for each of the sections, and if you couldn’t see him in person, there were those big screens to see him.

The concert was amazing!

He played the piano, drums…he was funny and charming. He did it all.

Fun for Fall Break

Busy week. Our missionary was transferred. He mentioned it here. I was glad to hear from him, because for some reason (technical difficulties?) we didn’t get a letter from him last week. When I sent him an email on Wednesday, telling him that we didn’t get his email from Monday, he replied, “I sent it,” and that was the total of our communication for the week. I hope he likes his new area, in Virginia. I’m sure it’s gorgeous there right now, with all those trees and all those leaves changing colors.


Speaking of colors, our own mountains are going through their annual fall transformation right now, and they are looking oh so pretty. We had such nice weather last weekend, we were able to get quite a bit done. The kids even got to ride on the mini gote a bit.



Ryan let them drive around for a bit. They, of course, wanted to ride on the street, but we kept them confined to the back yard. Jenna asked me, “When you die, can I have the mini gote.” This old dirt bike thing was Ryan’s parents’, and he rode it around when HE was a kid. That thing is OLD. But they still like it. It could use some service and repair, however.

This week was a short week at school, for FALL BREAK. Last year we took a little trip down to Southern Utah for Fall Break. With National Parks closed and rain forecast for the weekend, I’m glad we are staying home this time.

This morning I dragged the kids along to our dress rehearsal for Merlin. They liked sitting up in the balcony of the theater all by themselves, and they took a bunch of goofy pictures.




They had to wait a while before the show starts, since we had to get our mic’s on, get costumes adjusted, and practice the sword fighting.
That’s me in the mushroom hat.

And in my “Lady of the Lake” outfit. I’m trying to do more fairy like makeup, but this was the first day with costumes and hair and such.

We rehearsed Friday, and Saturday, as well. Monday we open with a show at 10 am, and a 7 pm show. 7 shows a week. We will just have to see how this goes.

Friday night I went to see Josh Groban (sigh!) and

Saturday was a beautiful day for Natalie’s pumpkin party!

Hopefully there will be more about these activities later!

Picture Project

I have this wonderful painting that my sister did of my kids. I’ve had it in this frame and on the wall for about a year and a half.

I never loved the frame or the way I matted it. I took a frame, added a mat that didn’t quite fit, and just made it work. It cut off a little too much of the picture, and I wasn’t too jazzed about the colors, but I didn’t want to pay to have it professionally matted and framed, and I was honestly a little intimidated to take it to a place and have them do that. Scared for no reason? Probably.

Today, for some reason, I got it in my head that I was going to repaint that frame and change it. And when I decide to do a project, it’s best to just go ahead and do it.

And I’m glad I did. Although taking the glass out of a frame and getting it back in right? About impossible. NEVER take the glass out. I’m just sayin’.


I LOVE how it turned out. That awkward maroon mat is gone forever, and I think this shows off the painting better. It was just a bit too small for the mat I had, so I just cut craft paper an inch wide, secured it to the picture with tape, and then arranged it in the mat.



Here it is back on the wall. (Not a great picture with the lights reflecting and all, but you get the idea.)

Happy with the results.


I had such an amazing experience with the Scarlet Pimpernel, that when director Jerry told us about the next project he was directing, I was interested. A show in during the day that doesn’t conflict with EVERYTHING my family has going on in the evenings? That sounds like something I could get behind.

The write up on the Scera website said:

In this magical coming-of-age musical from the composers of past favorites How I Became A Pirate and Rapunzel, we meet the teenage wizard, Merlin, his boyhood friend King Arthur, and the bewitching Morgana in mythical ancient England. Merlin must choose between Morgana and her offer of ultimate magical power or friendship with Arthur and Guinevere. Performed by a cast of adult actors, this Theatre for Young Audiences production is perfect for families with children. Featuring magic tricks, slight-of-hand, illusions and more! Directed by Jerry Elison.

I went and auditioned, and was cast as Nimue, the Lady of the Lake. It’s not a huge part, but enough to be fun. We rehearse in the day, and we’ll perform every weekday for school children at ten am, with public performances on Monday and Friday nights.

So, yes, I will have to be gone for three Monday nights and three Friday nights, but that’s not TOO much of a disruption for the family.

It’s been fun working with this small cast. Rehearsals haven’t been too bad, but Monday we start rehearsing with our set, then add in costumes and other tech things, so they may be longer than just the two hours. We open a week from Monday, which worries me a little.

I think it will be a really fun show for kids, with magic and some fun special effects.


Ryan invited me to attend this year’s CEDIA trade show with him in Denver. It’s actually been on on the radar for a year, since last year, he said, “next year’s show is in Denver. You should come to that.” Since I can stay in the company paid hotel room for free, it’s not expensive for me to join him, so I booked a flight.

It took a bit of arranging to be able to leave for 3 days, but thanks to some awesome relatives, the kids were chaperoned and carpooled and fed the whole weekend.

I flew in on Thursday, and thankfully, Ryan picked me up at the airport. I am not a fan of flying by myself, especially when I have no idea where I need to go after I arrive. But he was able to borrow the company’s rental car and pick me up. We dropped my stuff off at the hotel and walked back to the convention center. He worked in the booth while I walked around the show floor, trying to find fun free stuff to take back to the kids.

I ended up getting myself lost in the convention center. My attempt to walk it in grid style defeated because I would get sidetracked by cool things (Ooooh, something shiny) and veer off course. At one point, I stopped and looked around, and some nice gentleman said, “are you lost?” Yes, in fact, I am. No worries, I’ll find it eventually. “What are you looking for?” he said. When I said Control4, he pointed, and it was seriously just two booths away. Like I said, I would have found it eventually.

By 5:00, I was ready to leave. Sadly, the booth doesn’t close until 6:00, so I hung around, talked to the few people I knew, met some more people that Ryan introduced me to, and then we left just before 6:00.

Ryan didn’t have any scheduled group dinners that night, so we went to Chili’s. It was a beautiful night, and we ate outdoors.

Downtown Denver is very walkable, with a free bus that goes along the 16th street mall. 005 So Friday, I was set to explore. The weather, however, was wet and not welcoming. I may have taken a bit longer getting ready for the day than I usually do, lounging on the comfy hotel bed and watching MONK. But I did venture out, and went to the Opera House (gives tours on Saturday, not Friday), the Money Museum (a little sign outside saying they were sorry for the inconvenience, but closed today), a Big old book store, and some shops in the mall. Then I went to the convention center to see how Ryan was doing.

That night we went to the Control 4 party in a museum on a former Air Force base (Wings over the Rockies). There were planes everywhere!

The food was all fancy and airplane themed. They had camo cupcakes, even.

We even could climb into an old fighter plane. The party was huge and VERY well done.


Control 4 invites their dealers and partners and employees and people they want to schmooze to this party. It was fun to meet the people from around the country that Ryan works with. One guy came up to us at a table and said, “Someone just told me who you are. I just have to come and say thanks, man.” I kid you not. I thought it was a plant. I asked if Ryan had any idea who that was, and he said he didn’t.

We talked a bunch to some friends of his that he works with from England and New York. Funny guys. And since many of the people there are taking advantage of the free bar, they get funnier as the night goes on.

Eventually we were getting tired, and took the bus back to the convention center, then walked the 6ish blocks back to the hotel.

Saturday was nice and sunny again, so I set out on more adventures while Ryan went to work. I didn’t even GO to the convention center on Saturday, instead took the bus the other direction. I saw the Capitol Building,
097 as well as many other beautiful houses and buildings. My destination, however, was the Molly Brown Museum. It was more of a walk than I thought it would be, but I found it.
It was an interesting tour (an hour long, too), but they wouldn’t let us take any pictures inside the house “for insurance reasons”. What the heck? I was kind of disappointed at that, but I took plenty of outside pictures.

In my walking around, I saw a bunch of teams of people running some kind of race. Their tags said the Great Urban Race. I guess it’s some kind of amazing race type event, where teams must find and decipher clues. When I saw team Eeyore, I just had to get a picture.

That night we went to dinner with a bunch of the Control4 guys (and two other gals) at Mellow Mushroom, a pizza place. They all had to carb load before taking down the booth. After dinner, I walked back to the hotel and they went back to work. Yes, I had the good end of the deal there.

I really enjoyed Denver. It’s a beautiful city with so much rich architecture and art. I had never been there before (can you believe it?), but I hope to go there again!

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