The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: January 2014

Goofy? This is just our normal

Natalie needed new glasses, so when I took her to get them, there was a LOT of trying on of glasses.


And not just by Natalie.


I might just have to get myself a pair, because I think I look cute in glasses.


Natalie just kept laughing at me and said I looked like mushroom hat girl from the MERLIN show I did in the fall.


Come ON. I don’t look THAT silly. I was TRYING to look goofy in those glasses.


Anther day, the kids were looking for jerseys for our ward’s youth conference. The theme was “Same team, different Jersey”. Megan decided to put ALL of her sports jerseys on. At the same time.

She then took each of those shirts off. Talk about goofy.

Then there’s the time Megan said “I need something RANDOM to use in an art project.” After suggesting a few random things around the house, I pulled out these copper pans I have been saving forever. I bought a few random copper bakeware things that I thought I would use in decorating. But didn’t.

But they could make great DEVO hats.


Or princess buns?


Or a Madonna bra.


They didn’t know what I was even talking about on that one. I tried to explain it.

Or there was the time I ripped off a shirt Natalie was wearing. It was falling apart. I just helped it along.

We might sometimes do goofy things, like when I made everyone at the family party draw on paper plates on their heads.

And then there’s the crazy boys. But they are always goofy.

Am I right?

We even have goofy pets. Since it’s been cold, the chickens seem to think it’s cool to hang out on the porch. Maybe they like the sun, or maybe they just like to watch the humans, I don’t know.

So, yeah. We’re goofy. We like to take silly pictures, and love to have fun.

Missionary Week

It’s missionary week for the seminary students at Timberline Middle School. What a great experience for these kids.

They have try to live by missionary standards, which include
-no radio
-no gossip
-positive attitude
-arms length away from boys (for the girls)
-no texting boys
-a curfew
-up by 6:30
-personal prayer every day
-scripture study every day
-write to a missionary
-walk or bike to school or church one day
-fix your own food two meals a day
-family scripture study and family prayer
-wear a missionary haircut (no scruffy or long hair for the boys)
-post something positive, or something from online every day

There are a bunch more requirements that I can’t remember off the top of my head, but she’s doing pretty well keeping them so far. I was hoping they were doing the same thing at the High school so that Megan would also have to be nice, no fighting or contention, etc. But no such luck.

The radio thing is hard for me, because I am ALWAYS listening to the radio. There is always a contest coming up, you know. But, for her, I’ve turned off the radio when she’s around. (I did turn on the radio right when she left for school, to tell the truth).

The kids didn’t watch any silly tv on Sunday, either. I told them if they wanted to watch something, they could watch our old living scriptures videos, which they scoffed at (although later they were discussing which of those living scripture videos were their favorite), but they chose Prince of Egypt.

Which is technically not a living scriptures video, but it IS a scripture story, and it has a couple of wonderful songs in it, so I don’t mind so much. It’s good for the kids to watch something other than silly disney shows on netflix.

Today she had to dress like a missionary, which meant wearing a skirt and dressing nice to go to school. She looked for a name tag she could wear, and tried to find one of my old ones, but she didn’t find one before school. It wouldn’t be sister Erickson, either, it would be Sister Coleman, but I guess she didn’t care.

What a good thing for our young people to have to live by a higher standard and experience a little bit of what it is to be a missionary, even if it’s just for one week.

Studio C

Have you heard of Studio C? It’s a BYU sketch comedy group that does great sketches, which, unlike SNL, are clean and ok for kids to watch.

Although probably not so great for them to watch them NON stop like they tend to watch things.

Anyway, I saw on facebook that they were taking email requests to be part of their live studio audience, so I sent in an email request.

A couple days later I got an email telling me that my email had been selected, and that I could bring my two guests (Ryan and Jenna) to the taping on Friday night at 6:30.

I arranged to take John to my sister’s house so he wouldn’t be alone (Megan and Natalie would be gone to Youth Conference Friday night), and asked Ryan to come home early so we could get over there by 5:00 and stand in line.

We got there about 5:20, actually. A little later than we had planned, but the line wasn’t that long. We got in line with the other 30 or so people in line and were just prepared to be cold for a while. Then the person behind us asked if this was the stand by line or the ticketed line. Oh no, are there more than one line? Turns out it was the stand by line, so we went inside to the ticketed line, and they gave us a number and told us that if there were seats available, we would get in. WHAT? We missed it? Because we stood in the wrong line? Ugh. We group number 3 in this “stand by even though you have tickets” line. It was 5:30.

Dang. But we’ve been in these kind of stand by lines before, and many times have gotten in. We all had books and stuff to read, and the college students in front of us were playing a fun charades game with their phone, so we weren’t bored.

The two groups in front of us got in. We were number 3. We did not get in. The guy told us that there were over 19 thousand requests for tickets for this taping, and that some general authorities were actually in the audience that night. Great. We were bumped by general authorities.

But we still got to watch all the sketches of the night in a different room, where they piped in the live action. It’s kind of like going to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the conference center and being sent to watch it broadcast in the assembly hall. You still get to see the show, but it’s not quite the same.

The cast did come up to our little room and give high fives, answer a few questions, and generally say thanks for watching. It was a fun night.

You oughta be in pictures

My neighbor works as a casting director for a company that does informercials. John did a little bit for a product similar to Dream Lights, and John and I were part of a focus group for Flippeez (one of my cub scouts is in the flippeez commercial there. He’s the one in the blue hat.)

Anyway, a lot of people in our ward and neighborhood are often recruited to participate in these experiences. Monday we had a film crew at our house filming for a new type of shovel.

They needed a walk or driveway that wasn’t shoveled. It turned out to be too cold and everything was frozen, but they ended up using our sidewalk anyway. They just shoveled some snow from the grass onto the sidewalk.

The cat wanted to know what was going on, and why would people be putting snow back ON the walk?



They didn’t need me in the shot. They had filmed enough women and needed more men, so my former home teacher was the “actor” for this one.
(I didn’t want to be in the way at all, so I took these pictures from inside the house)
I won’t show the product because it might not be released yet. But it was fun to watch them film him, then have him talk about the product.

I told Ryan about it, and he’s such a skeptic about everything, he said, “Don’t let them pay you in shovels!” I actually wouldn’t mind trying out that shovel. It can’t be worse than the shovels we have.

Then on Wednesday, I went to their studio and was a test subject for a face lift type product.
(It’s similar to this product, but not the same.) I was supposed to not wear much makeup and don’t do my hair fancy. That sounds about like every day for me. I also had to bring a few different bright colored tops and a dress. Oh, and makeup so I could do myself up for the after shots. When I got there, they took me to a dressing room and looked at my clothing choices, and picked out a pink top with a royal blue sweater. I actually would not have put the two together, but I guess on camera the combination looked good.


I had a few minutes before they needed me, so I did manage to get a couple shots of me. This is the BEFORE.

Then it was my turn. They took me into the studio, where I got to sit on a stool and look into a whole bunch of lights. Seriously, I was practically blinded. I smiled and felt awkward but it wasn’t hard.

Then I got to glam it up for the AFTER shots. I put on quite a bit of makeup, and this little device that tightens the skin. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say more about it. When I went back to the studio to film the after, the camera man said, “Oh, you look SO beautiful, and they let me see myself on camera before they filmed my “testimonials”, and I did look pretty good. The hardest part was talking about the product. Don’t move your head too much or you are out of the shot. Don’t look away. Don’t let your eyes wander. Say the name of the product correctly. Look happy. Anyway, I tried. Don’t know how much, if any of that footage they will use, but it was kind of fun.

They they decided they were going to film me actually putting the thing on. That meant they had to bring the camera and lighting into that dressing room where I took the pictures. I wish I had gotten my camera out to show all the lights, the camera, me and three guys in that room. It was pretty tight, and kind of crazy. I had to look in the mirror, NOT look at the camera, hold up my hair, snap in this little thing, all while smiling. Then I had to ADMIRE myself in all my beauty in the mirror. Really? That was difficult for me, but I have done some ACTING, so it was time to ACT. This took FOREVER as he kept having me do this over and over, getting closer and closer for zoom shots. I was there over almost 2 1/2 hours, when originally I had been scheduled for 1 1/2 hours, but he just kept filming. AWKWARD. The funniest was me looking at myself in the mirror, smiling, and admiring my face and how wonderful it was. NOT NATURAL, I tell you. No one does that, but yet, that’s what they show on commercials.

It was fun, and I do get paid a small amount. So, who knows, maybe someday you’ll see me in a commercial.

Let’s not find out

Daughter, when asked to take the ceramic nativity down to the storage room: “What would you do if I dropped this box?”
Me, aghast: “You mean that nativity that is very precious to me because it was made by my Grandmother?”
Daughter: “She made that? She didn’t make that!”
Me: “She did make that, and she is dead now and I can’t replace it!”
Daughter: “So, would you kill me?”
Me: I would cry.
Daughter: For how long?
Me: Let’s just NOT drop it and NOT find out, ok?

What’s the word?

I have read many people who are posting instead of resolutions and goals to work on, a word for the year. I have loved that idea, and love that one word can be a reminder and a focus for my goals. My friend Jenny even posts a monthly blog post about how she’s been doing with that word and that goal. As I’ve tried to think of this one word, I’ve been stuck a bit.

De-clutter? Clean up? Organize myself? Reduce?

I want to have less baggage, less stuff, less fat. At the start of the new year, we are pretty good about putting away the Christmas things, maybe do a little closet cleaning, etc. Well, I need to do that all year, to get rid of the excess, clear out the clutter, and have less stuff. I want to be able to see the floor of my mudroom and pantry not just once or twice a year, but on a regular basis. I want to be able to hang everything in my closet and not have to have piles on the floor or on the bed. I want to eat healthier, get in better shape, and have less of me to love. Ryan and I are working on a budget so we know where our money goes, and to try to control the impulse buys and overspending. To spend less and save more of our money. I also want to manage my time better, so I can remember to do the important things, like reading the scriptures, having family home evening, and going to the temple. To do that, I need to waste less time goofing off or doing mindless activities like watching tv, and focus on using my days wisely and productively.

That’s a tall order, I know. I’m not setting out to be perfect, just to make progress, even if it’s just a little bit.

So my word of the year is LESS. Less Clutter, Less Fat, Less Drama, Less waste.

And I’ll check in periodically and let you know how I’m doing. Happy New Year, everyone!

Christmas break–how we will miss you

008Two weeks without school! Christmas and New Year’s and My birthday all wrapped up in two weeks.

We were quite lazy around here. After the big parties and things, the kids had nowhere specific to go. We also didn’t have anyone come and stay with us this year. Where are my Arizona peeps and why aren’t they here to entertain us? No worries.

Besides watching a LOT of Netflix, playing a lot of video games, and reading a lot, the kids DID play with friends, we went to Boondocks, went to a movie, and even went out to eat. We went downtown to see some of the Christmas decorations, too. I especially wanted the kids to see the window displays at the Grand America Hotel.

We had fun looking at all the windows and checking off our cards to get our treat at the end.



I wrenched my shoulder, so I did a whole lot of hanging around the house, too.

We played games, cooked, ate lots of goodies, had MORE parties, made more goodies, and capped it all off with flu shots.

At one point I MADE the kids go outside and build snowmen. I really did. I’m like the meanest mom EVER (at least that’s what the kids tell me).

We did manage to do some cleaning and organizing, especially Ryan. He fixed the dishwasher right before the break, fixed the back of my Suburban, and fixed his chair that he broke. Handy guy. Since he had about a week off of work, he was determined to clean up his office. Wow! I wish I had gotten that far on my office. I did a lot of filing, got my music ready for next semester, and nearly cleaned off the desk in my office. We cleaned the mudroom floor (What? There is a floor in there?) and filled 3 HUGE garbage bags full of stuff to donate. The kids also went through and got rid of many of their clothes that don’t fit, and they each got their rooms cleaned and vacuumed at least once.

Megan did work some, and she’s been working on a few art projects, so at least the time is not completely wasted for her. But talk about college or get online to accept the scholarships she has been offered? No WAY! Still got a ways to go with getting that one ready for the next stage of her life.

And I did some knitting. Me. Seriously! I learned how to do this ruffle scarf from a friend in bells, and I worked on it backstage during the Christmas concerts. Then I made two more like that for my girls. I had one more skein of fancy yarn and thought I could try another scarf, although this one isn’t like the others and I hope it’s long enough. We’ll see.

So, yes, I knit now. Who would have guessed it.

While I’m sad to see the end of the vacation, I’m ready for everyone to get back to their routines. Ryan left this morning for a quick trip to VEGAS for the CES trade show. The kids leave tomorrow and I’ll have the house to myself for a few hours. I need to get myself on the treadmill and finish cleaning up my office. And probably go grocery shopping if I can get my coupons organized. I have goals for the month and need to get out of this lazy fog that I’ve been in. I’m sure it will be a great shock to the kids when they have to go to school for the whole day, and they will miss their beloved nexflix, but that’s how it goes.

On Birthdays

Birthdays are a funny thing. On the one hand, no one over 40 wants to get any older. On the other hand, it’s my special day, and I want people to notice, let me know I’m special, and give me presents–who doesn’t want that on their birthday?
When you have a birthday that is four days after Christmas, this presents a challenge. The good things about my birthday are..
-I NEVER had to go to school on my birthday. I ALWAYS had the day off, so school wasn’t a problem, although I have worked a few years on my birthday, and that was a drag. But, then I never got to bring treats on my birthday, or have the birthday crown and all that stuff, either.
-End of the year clearance sales. I remember one year my mom took me shopping at a certain store on my birthday and they were barely open. “Doing Inventory” they said. But I did manage to find this certain doll that I wanted, even though they were hardly helpful.
-It’s at least better than having your birthday ON CHRISTMAS DAY, which is when my brother’s birthday is. (My Dad’s birthday is on December 20, too. My poor mom! I also have an uncle and a cousin with a December 26th birthday, so I am in good company)
-Because so many people forget on my actual birthday, presents trickle in for days afterward. Even up to a month after. One year my hubby decreed that we would celebrate my birthday on JANUARY 29th, and we did. It was GREAT! Because really, who cares if you celebrate on the actual day of your birth, as long as you are celebrated, right?

That’s about it for the perks of this birthday date.

Both my brother and I were kind of hosed in the birthday department. My mom would try to have parties for us, but who has a birthday party on Christmas? No one, that’s who. And on the 29th? Not many. People are either out of town, or they just don’t remember in the after Christmas lull. Often we would each get to invite a friend and we’d all go to a movie or skating or something. When I got old enough to do my own parties, I would often have a slumber party, which worked well, since there wasn’t school to clutter up our young lives.

Now that I’m a grown up, I usually buy some things I want, and give them to hubby and tell him to have people wrap them. Yes, I am buying my own presents, but do you blame me? My husband is wonderful and amazing, but bless his heart, he doesn’t always do great in the birthday department. There was one year he went above and beyond and got me a fridge. And he didn’t just get the fridge, he bought it, hid it at the neighbors, cleaned out the old fridge and installed the new fridge ALL in SECRET after I had gone to bed. Can you believe that?

One year I had the birthday blues and really just felt sorry for myself. It seemed that everyone but my mom had forgotten my birthday that year, and I think the kids and Ryan had gotten me a spatula and a slotted spoon or something like that for presents (this was before I started buying my own presents). The kicker was when I went to church a day or two after my birthday and listened to a “year in review” in Relief Society when the president gave a wrap up of what the relief society had accomplished that year. She said something like, “And we personally visited each sister on her birthday.” I started to cry and left the room, because they hadn’t visited me. Because usually when an organization decides what they are doing for the birthdays that year, they are burned out by December and just forget the after Christmas stuff. I KNEW I was just being stupid, but I really felt picked on.

After that experience in church, I decided I had to grow up (literally) and get over it. If I wanted to have a good birthday, I needed to make it happen myself. I needed to change my attitude.

When I turned 40, I threw myself a party. I arranged a place to hold it, invited people, made the food, etc. I had a friend who insisted that I shouldn’t be planning my own party, but I didn’t mind. She did insist on buying the cake so that I didn’t have to get my own cake. But I have seen what she does for birthdays at her house, and she’s pretty amazing, so I can see where she’s coming from.

My birthday was on a Sunday this year, which usually means it’s going to be pretty low key. However, I had planned a get together with friends for the day before my birthday. It was actually our Christmas party, but that was the day that worked. To me, it felt like a birthday party. There were presents and food and ice cream, so I’m counting it! On Sunday morning we got up early to go to a friend’s mission homecoming. Afterward there was food and mingling at the house. More people, food and laughter, it was like ANOTHER PARTY! WE came home from that and skipped out on our own church and I took a nap. A BIRTHDAY NAP! After the nap, I got a surprise visit from my sweet visiting teacher. She had a gift for me. She said, “I told myself I was NOT going to forget your birthday this time! I always miss it and end up giving you your gift in January, but NOT this time!” I was touched and impressed. And she gave me a cute necklace that I really love. I did make dinner, but my family made a cake. A CAKE! Usually we are sugared out by this time and we skip the cake, but Natalie and Ryan made a cake and even frosted it! Color me impressed.

I got several cards, emails, and texts to wish me a happy birthday, but FACEBOOK really is the biggest perk for birthdays. Every one of your friends sees that it’s your birthday, and I got over 100 birthday greetings on facebook that day. LOVE IT!!! Say what you want about facebook, but I think it’s especially great when I get greetings from long lost, or even close by friends, who normally would not remember or even know that it’s my birthday.

After dinner, we were watching Amazing Race (reruns) and my parents called and said they wanted to come over and play some games. Instant party!!! Hooray!

Why does the cake have a 5 on it? Because I didn’t want ALL the candles for my actual age (I don’t think we even have that many candles) so they just put a 5 on there. I like it.

So we played games, ate some cheese ball, and had cake. It was a fun night!

While we were playing, there was another ring of the doorbell, and there was Ron (my friend Robin’s husband), with a birthday gift for me. He said he just came from Arizona where Robin was lamenting that it was too late to mail me a gift, and yet again she would miss my birthday. So, he BROUGHT me some lemons and tangelos from Arizona, packaged up in the cutest happy birthday bag. ( He was coming back to Utah anyway, it’s not like he came JUST to deliver something for me, but how sweet that he came over). What a wonderful surprise!

Monday was declared VACUUM DAY. It’s a new holiday in which everyone cleans and vacuums their rooms. The kids weren’t too hip on Vacuum day, but we declared it, and everyone did it. Ryan and I even cleaned up our mess of a room. And the best part of vacuum day was going to lunch at Los Hermanos.

Megan had decided she wanted to take the family out to eat (on her dime!) so we chose to go to Los Hermanos for our favorite Mexican food. We even told them I was celebrating my birthday so they brought out a free fried ice cream and sang happy Birthday to me (I told them my name was Susan, so they actually sang to SUSAN, but it still counts).

So, no bummer birthday for me this year! It took an attitude change on my part, and some thoughtful friends who are determined to remember my special day. I still don’t like getting older, but I can deal with the celebration part.

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