The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: November 2013

Count your many blessings

turkey kids

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m missing two of my turkeys this year, but we are pretty sure they are being fed. Larissa will probably have a salad today, and Cole told me he had a lunch appointment, and probably a dinner appointment, so that’s good. My first Thanksgiving on my mission was weird. I had just arrived in Germany, and Thanksgiving isn’t really a holiday there, but a nice sister had invited the missionaries over for lunch. I felt very new, and things felt very strange. Corn and Garbanzo beans and something that tasted like peanut butter on pizza? Weird. But I was still thankful for the, thankful to be doing what I felt was right for me at the time, and thankful to be serving the Lord in Germany.


We are making our traditional Oreo turkeys, and I’ve got the kids peeling potatoes. We will be making the green beans with bacon that my family loves, too. Oh, and I made this
layered pumpkin pie toffee cheesecake.

I’ve spent the month posting things on facebook that I’m thankful for. It’s a good exercise in thinking about all the blessings I have. I am so blessed. I have a wonderful family, I have great kids, I have a wonderful husband.
We have a nice home and even have chickens. The kids get a good education and are not afraid to go to school because of bullies or violence. I made up my own job and get to teach a chime choir to elementary kids. I’ve been blessed to perform with the Bells on Temple Square for almost 9 years–a calling that has completely enriched my life and made me a better person.

We have a wonderful neighborhood and friends, and we love to associate with them.

We have the gospel of Jesus Christ that teaches us that we can repent and be with our Father in Heaven someday.
President Monson, in 2010 general conference, said,
My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.

My beloved friend President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives.” 3

Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

New life for an old nightstand


I bought this little nightstand at Deseret Industries a while back, when I realized that Cole’s room could use a nightstand. My intention was always to paint it, but, like most projects, it sat in the garage for a long time.


Sadly, I forgot to take a before picture, but it was pretty bland.


I decided to paint it blue, and picked a little sample pot that I had bought who knows when for who knows what, and started to paint.


It didn’t take long to make it cute and pretty. With a bit of spray paint, even the hardware looked nice.


Here it is in it’s spot in Cole’s room/guest room.

Just a fun easy project. But that lead me to another project. Wait till you see what I did to my coffee table.

Ok, NOW we can start the season


When Ken Wilmore (assistant to the director) stood up for our pre-concert pep talk, he said, “It’s been a crazy day for me. LeAnna left me a note that said don’t forget your suit. She should have also included ‘don’t forget your dress shoes’ in that note, but here I am,” as he lifted his leg to reveal birkenstocks that he was wearing with his suit. Associate conductor Larry Smith was also rocking the non traditional footwear. Because of his recent troubles with swollen feet, he had bought some black slippers on Friday to wear while conducting. It’s ok, guys, many of us girls don’t wear shoes for the concerts, anyway. We just take them off and leave them under the table while we play.

Then Jon Rowberry, who is the assistant to the President of the Tabernacle Choir, stood and said, “When I hear the pieces now, and think back to what they sounded like in your rehearsals, it’s nothing short of miraculous. The audience doesn’t know that, but we know it.” Thanks, Jon. But he’s right. Bell pieces take a LONG time to perfect. There’s a lot of time spent in not just learning the music, but in figuring out if it’s even possible to play all those notes with two hands. When it’s NOT possible, we have to do some creative arranging, switching, sharing, and praying. For this concert, some of us have to run to a different spot in the middle of the song, play six measures, then run back. Fun, right? And we have been rehearsing for this concert for about 3 1/2 months. It always makes us laugh when people ask, “So, are you getting started rehearsing for your Christmas concert yet?” Um, yeah. But then, I think most people don’t realize that we play harder stuff than just what we do for the MoTab Christmas Concerts (and no, we haven’t started rehearsing for THAT one yet. My guess is we’ll start on that next week.)

“You probably think I’ve been trying to kill you off with these hard song choices for this concert,” LeAnna said, “there have been many bad words said about me, I’m sure, but say you’re sorry and I’ll forgive you.” Maybe not bad words about YOU, LeAnna, but there have been some grumblings about certain songs that will remain nameless (but we all know which song that is…reminds me of ants marching two by two…).

Concert week is definitely hard, but rewarding. We finally get to hear our pieces with the addition of the orchestra members, and we get to sit down while the instrumentalists play their interlude numbers. Sitting down is good. With a broadcast on Sunday, rehearsal Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and concerts on Friday and Saturday nights, it takes a toll.


The concerts were amazing, and it was great to get to do both a Friday and Saturday concert. We hate it when people are turned away, and the house was filled both nights. Hooray! Our hard work paid off, things came together at the last minute, and the sound was magical. It sounded like the fan favorites were Ding, Dong, Merrily on High, Tempest, and Adeste Fideles. Up on the Housetop is also fun, and hopefully that one will end up on the Choir’s YouTube channel someday soon.

We did something new this year and played a song from memory away from the tables, scattered about the tabernacle stage. Some were in the choir seats, some out on the edge of the stage. It was visually much more interesting to see the whole group away from the tables, not looking at our music, and hopefully smiling. I liked that song, but it seemed to get longer and longer every time we played it.

My personal favorites were:
Adeste Fideles, which is a fancy name for O Come All ye Faithful. It’s showy and big, especially with the brass and organ. But, it’s not that hard to play.
-My other favorite was Tempest, which actually IS hard to play. But, I’m in a kind of easy spot for that one, so it’s not that stressful for me (because it’s all about me, right?), and once you get the hang of the crazy rhythms, it’s really fun to play.

Saturday night there were camera guys there to film Up on the Housetop. They say it will go on the Choir’s Youtube channel, but I’m less than hopeful. In the spring we spent a whole rehearsal with those guys filming our Flight of the Bumblebee, and we haven’t seen it online yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know when I find out it’s up there. I would LOVE to see that. It rattles us when there’s a camera guy right in front of our faces, though. Hopefully we didn’t totally lose it.

This week we will be enjoying No extra rehearsals, a little breather before the big Choir concert next month.

Insert your name here

Theater for young audiences is different than the other shows I have done. Each weekday we would do a show at 10 am. Even though it’s a short, one hour show, being there every day was challenging. Every. Single. Day. There were several times when I had to rush from the show to something else. There was a funeral that started at 11:00, and I raced straight there from the show. I’m sure I looked wonderful, removing my twirly eye makeup with a wipe in the car. And even then, I was still a bit glittery.


After the show, the cast would come back out to answer some of the kids’ questions. The manager would have us introduce ourselves, since there was no program for the kids’ shows. After about a week and a half, I got bored with just being Paige Erickson. This should come as no surprise, since many of you know about how I changed my name to Jess the whole time we were in Illinois. First I was Jess Williams, the next day I was Lisa something, then Melissa something. I also lied about my favorite color, favorite candy, and anything else the kids asked of a personal nature. That day someone had asked how old we were, and I said 34. Hey, if I am going to be Melissa, she can be 34.

On Friday night, when I was going through the awkward process of having Kendall stick his hand down my back to attach the mic pack to my bra (after the first time or two you just get used to it, really) for the evening show, he asked, “Did you say your name was Melissa today?”
Just getting bored.
“And you said you were 34?”
Yeah. What of it. I can be 34.
“It’s just that Joel’s 33, and you don’t exactly..”
Here’s where I cut him off with a witty, “Shut up,” because I am so clever and can think on my feet.
“Stop right there,” I said, “I can do 34.”

Can’t I?
Maybe not. The next day I was Christina Rose, and when someone asked us how old we were, I said I was 41. But that’s as old as I’m going.

This is Halloween, This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween……


What a beautiful and fun day we had for Halloween! Even though it had rained earlier in the week, the day was dry and sunny. You couldn’t ask for nicer weather, actually.

Of course, the night before Halloween there was quite a costume scramble. Everyone asking “where’s my yellow shirt? I put it on the stairs?” “Can you fix my costume? It ripped”, “Do we have fairy wings?”, and my personal favorite comment, after I spent a half hour going through all the possible costumes we have and suggesting many ideas, was “We don’t have ANY costumes. All of ours are stupid.” Oh, the joys of children who have opinions. Remember when they were little and MOM just chose the costumes and dressed them up?

Oh, yeah. Those days were fun.

Even back then (this picture is from 2005), the kids loved to go to Ryan’s work to go trick-or-treating through the cubicles. Dad gets to show off his family, the kids get a lot of candy in a short amount of time, and it’s just fun. Plus the costumes at his work are great! This year the marketing department was all wizard of oz, and even had a yellow “brick” road.

Of course, I started my day in costume. Still doing that Merlin show.

What a fun experience. And all the kids in the audience were in costumes, too, so that made it even more fun.

Then off to do John’s class party at school. Although those darn 4th graders didn’t know I was supposed to be Rosie the Riveter. Next year I’ll go with something more recognizable, I guess.


Fun party, though. I was in charge of Halloween Bingo.


After school, when we went to the dad’s work, the kids HAD to make sure we stopped in the game room. I think they think that people just play games at work.


After we got home, it was sandwiches for dinner and then trick or treating. Megan and Natalie felt a bit too old to go out begging for candy, but when I told them they HAD to go with John, that gave them an excuse to go.


It was a lovely Halloween. I’m kind of sad that it’s over. But luckily, we get to get right into Christmas concerts, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, which will be here before we know it. I hope you also had a fun holiday, and I’ll leave you with this funny.

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