The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: April 2014

So proud of my girls

Can I just brag about my girls for a minute. I just printed off their report cards, and between the three of them, they earned 24 A’s. There were a couple of minuses in there, but no matter about that.

Jenna got a 4.0 for third quarter, so she was especially happy to get the straight A bonus!

Megan got a full tuition scholarship to Snow College, PLUS an art scholarship. She’s still not terribly excited about going to college, but we’ll work on that. She also won several awards at the school art show the other day. One girl walking by saw that her sculpture had won something, and she said, “Oh, this is by my friend Megan. She’s amazing!”


Natalie is also the editor of the Jr High yearbook and has worked hard getting those kids in line. I’m excited to see the yearbook.

They are good kids and I am very proud of them.

(I’m proud of John, too. I don’t want to sound like I’m not bragging about him. I’ll do that in a later post, of course).

Happy Spring


We are all happy that it’s nice weather for spring!


Things are blooming everywhere, the tulips are up and the grass is green.


And what’s this? New additions to the backyard gang? Stay tuned for more.

Happy Easter!

I get to ring bells in an Easter program in Provo tonight, then also ring with the Tab Choir in the morning. Fun!

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is AMAZING. I think it would be stunning in any kind of weather. The days we were there for spring break, we had sun, rain, wind and snow, all in the same day.

I don’t think I would EVER run out of beautiful sights to take pictures of. We found this log with our initials carved in it. How sweet is that?

Jenna was near the edge here, and I freaked out a bit, yelling at her to get back. The kids made fun of me for it for the rest of the trip. Nice, aren’t they? A mother gets worried that her kids are going to fall off cliffs, ok?

Besides the stunning rocks, there are some amazing trees. Loved this one.

Since the day was overcast, we didn’t get many of the brilliant reds, but we did get some gorgeous views of the winter and snow.

When we went out to this point, it was SO windy. We asked someone to take our picture. You probably can’t tell, but we are freezing at this point.

Natalie’s hair was a bit wild.

There weren’t many opportunities to get a blue sky, so when I found one, I had to snap away.

We didn’t do much hiking, but at sunrise or sunset (can’t remember which one) point, we went down the trail a bit. Because the view was stunning.

That’s me, by the way.

AT our last stop of the day, we wanted to get a family picture all together. Tried the timer thing but there was nothing to rest the camera on. Ryan tried putting it in a tree.
Let’s just say that didn’t work. But some hikers came by eventually and were more than willing to take a picture for us (most people were). Should have brought my picstand, right?


While I may have left a not so glowing review on priceline about the Quality Inn in Mesa, the bright spot of my review was the pool. The pool made a splash.


If they put as much effort into cleaning and maintaining the rooms as they did the pool….

Someone swam there every day. There’s John and his cousin Danny having a great time playing in the pool. If our activity got too hot or we had some free time at the hotel, we always knew we could swim.

And it got too hot for us every day.

There were nice deck chairs, some shade, even in the heat of the day, and it was especially nice in the afternoon. I did swim, but I spent most of my time poolside, reading a book or taking pictures of the kids.

And, bonus, Arizonians do not swim until it’s over 100 degrees. Really. So, there was hardly ever anyone else out at the pool. And if they were out there, it was just relaxing in the deck chairs, not swimming.

So it was kind of like we had out own private pool. Hopefully as our memories fade, we can laugh about the crappy things and remember the good times of the vacation, like the pool.

Why I might not be using Priceline in the future

I read a post about how you can save a whole bunch of money using the name your price option on I studied the hotels, the maps, read the tips, and did a bunch of research about what hotels are where, then tried to place my bid. In Bryce Canyon, we got a decent room at Ruby’s Inn for about $25 dollars less than the listed rate. And the room was nice enough and we almost all fit (there was the issue of the blinking light bulb all night that made it so I couldn’t sleep and had nightmares about the room catching on fire and us having to evacuate, but that’s just me and my crazy light sleeper ness).

But when we got to Mesa to the Quality Inn, things weren’t so smooth. I checked in and found that for the low low price that I had PRE-PAID, we were given a single queen studio. Just a queen bed and a bathroom. No couch, no pull out anything. Hmm. 6 of us on one queen bed? I explained politely that this was my first time using priceline, and that since it didn’t let me choose my room size, was there any way we could have a room with at least two queen beds or a bed and a couch? Front desk lady was not very understanding and explained that what I paid for was one queen, and I would have to call priceline and see if I could change my reservation. So I called priceline right there in the lobby, and they called the hotel for me and tried to help negotiate a better room. She would not budge. I ended up paying the hotel an extra $53 dollars to upgrade to a room with two DOUBLE BEDS and a pull out couch. Fine. Done. I wished that there was a manager or just SOMEONE ELSE to negotiate with, but it was just her. The perils of checking in on a Sunday afternoon.

As we hauled our stuff up to our room, we figured it wouldn’t be THAT bad and we could figure something out. Ryan said, “are we only staying 5 nights? I thought we were leaving on Saturday.” Another mistake on my part. I had not reserved enough days. No way am I going back down to the lobby to ask if we can reserve one more night. We’ll figure that out later.

Can I just say that a double bed is not big enough for two overweight large adults? Let’s just put that out there right now.
And not only is it a double bed, but it’s RIGHT up against the wall.

As we went to make up the beds and put the kids to bed, we pulled out the couch to see that it’s broken. There are no springs connecting the bottom of the bed, and part of the support thingys are not there. What to do, what to do? We called to the front to ask for sheets and blankets for the couch bed, and also told them that the springs were missing, the bed was kind of broken. The girl at the front desk just said ok. 45 minutes or so later, and we are so tired. Ryan and I went down to the front desk to at least get the blankets so we can make up the broken bed and go to sleep. At the front desk, the girl said, “Didn’t you call down to request those blankets?” yes. Yes, we did. And now we are here in person to collect them.

“You said the bed is broken? our maintenance man isn’t here after 6, so I don’t know what we can do about that” she said.
I wonder why she didn’t just say that on the phone? At this point, I just wanted to dang extra blankets and we would make do with a broken pull out couch. But she said (kind of grudgingly), “Would you like to switch rooms?” IS THERE another room available? She looked it up and realized that the room next door to ours was empty (From the looks of the parking lot, it didn’t look like the hotel was very full at all, so I wasn’t surprised). We said, that yes, we would change rooms. Ryan texted the kids from the lobby and told them to pack up their stuff, we would be switching rooms.

Maybe they gave us the oldest yuckiest room they had just because we were priceline customers. I don’t know.

This room isn’t any bigger or nicer than the other room, but it does have a newer couch that is not broken. We were able to quickly get all of our stuff out of the room, empty the fridge, bring stuff over to the other room, and get the couch bed made up in pretty quick time.

(I don’t even feel bad that they’ll have to clean two rooms for us. Is that wicked of me or what?)

Exhausted, Ryan and I laid down on the DOUBLE bed. It’s about half the size of our California King bed at home. I love my bed at home. I love my mattress. I love the fact that I am not wedged between a wall and my sweet husband and that I can actually sleep. Every time one of us moved, then it woke the other one of us. Really. I could NOT get comfortable, and was terribly cramped. After several hours of tossing and turning and disturbing Ryan’s sleep as well, I flipped so that my feet were at the head of the bed and my head was at the feet. This put my head away from the wall just a bit, and gave me a little room. Ryan, of course, was a bit shocked when he reached over and felt a foot, but it was the only way I could get any sleep at all. I thought about sleeping on the floor, but–ew–. Plus there weren’t any extra blankets for that, so I stayed in that darn small bed. When it was finally morning, I got up. Let Ryan get an hour or two of sleep without me smashing him.

Night two at this hotel we got organized and fared better. We borrowed two twin air mattresses from Robin, and kicked the kids out of the other double bed. That left Ryan and I a bed each. Greedy? Possibly. Necessary? Absolutely. We slept MUCH better. The kids didn’t mind so much sleeping on the floor all in the same room, although we had to move around all the existing furniture to get it to fit.

The redeeming qualities of this quality inn, however, would have to be the breakfast, and the pool. The kids are loving swimming in the pool every day, and although it is a tad bit cold, it’s a beautiful pool area. Also, free breakfast for 6 of us is certainly nice. And waffles? Yum.

So, that’s our experience so far. Not sure if we are going to book this hotel for one more night, or just go somewhere else. Somewhere that I can choose before committing to paying.

Sorry, priceline, you may have lost my business.

Festival of Color

In India, Holi announces the arrival of spring and the passing of winter. The festival breathes an atmosphere of social merriment. People bury their hatchets with a warm embrace and throw their worries to the wind. Every nook and corner presents a colorful sight. Young and old alike are covered with colors (red, green, yellow, blue, black and silver). People in small groups are seen singing, dancing and throwing colors on each other.

I have seen the pictures, and we have driven by the Krishna temple in Spanish Fork, but we have never been able to go before. This year, I told Ryan that we were going. He uttered something of a groan. Ryan doesn’t always catch the enthusiasm with which I like to live my life. But that’s ok, he has other strengths. And he was willing to go along with it. The kids had seen pictures, but none of us really knew what to expect.

We drove to Spanish Fork and parked our car at the Fairgrounds. I had read that the shuttle bus was the way to go, so we paid for our shuttle tickets and entrance and got on the bus in our white t-shirts.

The bus dropped us off a ways from the site, but it wasn’t a long walk. On the way people were selling water, white bandanas, and face masks, all for $1 each. Everybody’s got to make a buck. WE noticed so many parking lots in farmers fields. At $5 a car, I’m sure they make a nice haul for these two days of the Festival.

We got there right before 11:00 and thought we wouldn’t make it onto the hill in time for the 11:00 throwing, so we stood back a bit to get some pictures.

White, right?
Not for long.
When they throw, it’s like little puffs of color all over.

Of course, my friend, Erin, who is a photographer with a good camera, gets a shot more like this. I’m not sure if hers was later in the afternoon, or what the conditions are, but I love the vibrant colors in that shot!

We made out way up to the temple. As we would pass people, little by little we started getting more and more color on us. People just put some of the chalk in their hand and toss it as you as you walk by, or they even smear it on your face or shirt. Someone threw some color right in Ryan’s face, and it took him a bit to blink it out and get so he could see again. No personal space, really.

And if you play with the color settings on the camera, whether intentionally or as you are stuffing the camera in your pocket, you get some funky pictures.

We didn’t purchase the little bags of colors, because the line was long and we are cheap.
Besides, we thought there would be plenty of people throwing their color.
We were right.

When we got into the crowd on the hill, there was music, dancing, singing. We even held hands and did some jumping. We are all different, but equal, they said. While it may seem a bit weird to some of us, it wasn’t way out there. There was nothing said that was offensive or takes away from my own beliefs.

Finally it was time for the big throw. They counted down and then everyone threw their colors. Cleansing, welcoming of spring.

I didn’t try to take pictures while we were in the cloud. It went dark for a few seconds because of all the chalk in the air. After about 30 seconds, it was a pinkish haze.

Instead of vibrant colors, all the colors got a bit muted from the thrown colors.

As we walked out and back to the bus stop, there was a stream of colored people walking out, and a stream of white people coming in.

I should have remembered the garbage bags to sit on in the car. I also should have remembered the baby wipes.

Oh, well. Maybe I’ll remember those next time.

It’s Tuesday now and one of the kids at school asked me if I had green in my hair. Do I still have green in my hair? Natalie has pink and orange in her hair, close to her scalp. Lasting benefits, I guess.

It was a fun activity for a Saturday. I’m so glad we were able to go.

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