The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: May 2014 (Page 1 of 2)

My husband is such a geek

Ryan is such a geek. He doesn’t even try to hide it. He embraces his geekness. I don’t mind. It’s good to have a little geekiness in the family. Like when my computer isn’t working, or when the neighbor’s computer isn’t working and he calls to see if Ryan can fix it (he had two such calls this weekend).

He’s always got some project going, and since he got the lawn mower fixed (Hooray!) with minimal cost, he’s got to move on to his next project. He’s building a 3-d printer. Since we have this budget thing going on, he has been patient and bought the parts out of his discretionary money a little bit at a time, until he had this whole thing made out of wood and parts that he bought.

He also bought this plastic filament that feeds through the printer, melts, and lays down a thin layer of plastic in the form you have specified, then it goes over it layer by layer, adding height to make the THING that you are printing.


At first, he would bring me his failed or almost succeeded parts.

Finally he got most of the bugs worked out and then he started printing parts. Parts for a 3-d printer. It seems the wooden one he made was just a first draft, and he’ll be using these parts and some aluminum pieces to make the “real” version of the printer.


Kind of like making your own legos. But not really. When asked what he will use this printer for, he doesn’t really know. It could be used to make parts for things that break, to make art, to make clamps, clips, blocks, I don’t know. But it’s cool, whatever it is.


Saturday, as I was painting the kitchen green (turns out I don’t love the green and I’ll be painting it again) and it was wet outside so he couldn’t mow the lawn, Ryan was working on this printer. When these parts take four hours each to print, it’s a long process. Usually he can start it, make sure it’s going correctly, then check it every half hour or so, but he had one that the computer went to sleep halfway through the print and it ended up just goobering out plastic waiting for the instructions to come through. Darn.

But he’s had success, too, and he’s almost ready to build the NEW 3-d printer.

It’s good to have hobbies, right?


Anyone who has ever been to our house knows that we have birds.

And one special bird is Sundance.

When Ryan and I were first married, Sundance was given to us by a friend of a friend. I have always loved birds but hadn’t had a cockatiel before. We were happy to take such a friendly and cute bird. Of course, we weren’t supposed to have pets in our apartment, but I think the manager looked the other way.

He loved to sit on our shoulders and nibble on crackers and would whistle the theme from the Andy Griffith Show.

Sundance had been a member of the family since before our first child was born. He moved with us to Illinois and back (which was quite a production, including a vet visit in order to take him on the plane, and staying in the hotel with us for a week before we could move into our house).

Later on, we added other cockatiels to the family, including Zuzu (the only one I ever bought), and Linus and Popcorn. People started giving us their birds when they couldn’t keep them any more.
We’ve taken in Churt, Simon and Guido, and most recently Jack. Some bird have gone on to other homes or died. But we still had Sundance.

Sundance has been so gentle and sweet. When Megan was about two, I found her in her room with Sundance. She had pulled out all of his tail feathers. I couldn’t believe he didn’t even bite her.

Because he’s so old (at least 21 years old), I’ve often worried about him when I come home and can’t find him. Afraid he had died, I would call for him and go looking. I always found him.

Lately he’s been getting old, and we can tell. He doesn’t fly much, and walks slowly. Not grouchy, but an old bird.

Today, after church, he sat on the bottom of the cage, and we knew his time was near. We picked him up and petted him, and tried to make him comfortable. All the kids got to hold him, and they were all standing around him crying. I encouraged them to take Sundance outside, that maybe he would like to be outside one last time. I told the kids (and Sundance) that it was ok for him to go. He has been a very good friend to us, and we knew he was not comfortable, so I just wanted him to stop trying to hold on. All four kids were sitting outside on the grass holding him, tears streaming down their faces. They weren’t out there more than ten or fifteen minutes before they brought him in. He was gone. We all cried. We made a little coffin for him out of a kleenex box, but had to wait to bury him until after dinner, as we had invited over the new family who just moved in behind us. We had to put our sadness on hold for a bit. John wrote a letter to Cole to tell him the sad news.

After our guests had left, we were in better spirits, but still sad to bury our friend. We had a little funeral and burial in the back yard.

We are really going to miss that bird. Not many families get to keep a pet for over 20 years, and I know we were lucky to have such a sweet and gentle bird be a part of our family. When I think of all the conversations he has heard, all the family time he was a part of, it really is like losing a member of the family. For 20 years, he was a fixture in my kitchen. He would sing to me, share my lunch, and snuggle with you when you were sick. He really has been a friend.

Thank you, Sundance. We will never forget you.

Seminary Grad

Sunday was Megan’s Seminary Graduation.

It was a nice evening with talks from young people. And it was much shorter now that they’ve split our stake (12 wards? Way too many!).

Afterwards, we got a nice picture of our senior girls who are graduating.

I know I have said it already and will say it again, but I’m really proud of these girls. They are each GREAT girls and have been such a good influence and friends to Megan.

Later I wanted to get a picture of Megan with me and Ryan. You know, a picture with the parents, right?


It was a little windy.





But we finally got a semi acceptable shot.

Then we tried the selfie thing with all three of us.


Good enough.

Megan was excited to graduate from seminary because now she can skip and have a long lunch on seminary days.

Hey, she graduated, right?

I belong in Anatevka

After 6 auditions (that’s 3 auditions and 3 callbacks) in 3 weeks, I finally am DONE auditioning! It was a long week with call backs on Tuesday and Thursday night, but we are finally done.

Natalie and I both got parts in Fiddler on the Roof at Alpine Community Theater. She’s a villager/laundry girl, and I’m a villager/Fruma Sarah (the butcher’s dear darling departed wife). While I’m a tinge disappointed that I don’t get to play Golde, I am excited to play Fruma Sarah. It’s not a big part, only one scene, but it’s the best scene, so it will be fun.

PLUS, since there were SO many women who tried out, they double cast the women. That may seem like a bad thing, since we only get to perform half the nights, but for me, that’s good. That means I can hopefully not have to be in the show on the two Wednesdays, so I won’t have to miss more bells rehearsals. Bells is, after all, my all year long commitment, and I don’t want to jeopardize that by missing too many rehearsals for a play.

So, we know what we’ll be doing for the next couple of months.

Senioritis? Not so much.

I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with the senior stuff this year. It seems like there’s so much left to do, and time keeps speeding up. I hate that it’s the last two weeks of school, and everything for Megan is the LAST. She hasn’t been excited for college, either, so things have been up in the air a bit.

She did decide that she’s going to Snow College. With a full tuition academic scholarship and an art scholarship on top of that, that really helps keep the costs down (Hooray!). I hope the smaller class sizes, and smaller campus will be good for her so she won’t feel like a freshman lost in the crowd.

Today we finally figured out the registration thing (why do they make it SO complicated?) and got her registered for classes. She found out who her roommate is, and was pleasantly surprised that it’s a girl named Sarah who is LDS and a music major. That’s about all we know, but at least it’s something.

Tonight was the senior dinner dance. I wanted her to go and was SO glad she agreed to go. I even offered to pay for it. It’s at Thanksgiving Point and she went with her friends. I had to stop them before they left and get just a few pictures.

They are such beautiful girls, and they have been great friends to Megan.

Tomorrow is Seminary Graduation, then there’s a whole bunch more “lasts” for them to enjoy.


I got her graduation announcement ordered, finally. Oh, the things mom must do.

She picked up her honor cords to wear with her cap and gown, she paid for the Lagoon day, paid her $2.00 fee so she can actually graduate, and has taken her AP tests. Now it’s time to turn everything in, and get ready to face the future.

It may be easier for her to do that than for me. I’m not quite ready to let her go.
Luckily for me, she’ll be here the whole summer to annoy me so that when it’s time to move her down to Ephraim, maybe I’ll be ready.

Joke for a Thursday

A religious women upon waking up each morning would open her front door stand on the porch and scream, “Praise the lord.” This infuriated her atheist neighbor who would always make sure to counter back, “there is no Lord.” One morning the atheist neighbor overheard his neighbor praying for food, thinking it would be funny, he went and bought her all sorts of groceries and left them on her porch. The next morning the lady screamed, “praise the Lord, who gave me this food.” The neighbor laughing so hard he could barely get the words out screamed “it wasn’t the Lord, it was me.” The lady without missing a beat screamed “praise the Lord for not only giving me food but making the atheist pay for it!!”

Trying to avoid a pity party

I’ve had quite enough rejection, thank you very much. Today I found out I didn’t get cast in a play. Again. That’s three plays I haven’t made it into, in case you are counting. At least I got called back for this one, but getting a call back and not a part is kind of just leading you along, giving you hope, so that when it doesn’t happen, it hurts that much more.

I don’t want to be bitter or feel sorry for myself, but when my theater friends post how excited they are about getting into THAT play that you just tried out for, it’s hard to be happy for them right now. I know the disappointment and sadness are not permanent. It’s not like I lost a loved one, so I need to suck it up and move on. It’s not like I was on the Amazing Race and got eliminated right before the next to last round because someone U-TURNED me, right? I mean, let’s put things into perspective here.

I’m tired of auditioning. I’m tired of putting myself out there only to be tossed aside like someone’s leftovers. I’m tired of being compared to others who are better dancers, better singers, better looking, and more talented. I know I’m not young, skinny or coordinated, but I do have some talent. Or at least I did.

Is this God’s subtle way of telling me I’m too old and too fat to be in any plays? Is this an answer to my mother’s prayer that I would just go to the family camping trip for once?

Or is there some other opportunity waiting for me?

I have a call back tonight for one last show at Alpine’s community theater. I haven’t done a show there for two years. My last experience with them was less than wonderful, but maybe this time they’ll want me for more than just a babysitter of a million little kids.
I went to that callback and it was so much fun. There were tons of people I know from different shows. We all got to sing and read for several different parts, and it didn’t feel like a competition (even though it really is). I had a great time reading Yenta to my friend Michelle’s Golde. I don’t know if they will choose me, or if I’ll be a generic “Woman” in the chorus whose main job it is to herds kids, but I hope it will be a good experience.

Trying to keep up a good attitude.

“Life will knock you down more times than you can possibly imagine. Don’t knock yourself down.”

Junior High Writing

I was substituting for a junior high English teacher on Friday. One of the assignments was for the kids to write a paragraph about what was one of the BEST memories of this year, and what was one of the worst memories. As the kids were writing, I decided to write my own memories of Butler Middle School.

I really enjoyed Drama in Jr High. I remember how much fun it was to do the play “Scrooge”. I loved being on stage. And that stupid talent show skit we did with the HUGE aspirin. That was SO MUCH fun.

Choir with Miss Ludwig was also fun. She would let students accompany the songs, and I practiced so much so I could accompany the choir on “To the Morning.” I could probably still play that song. I also learned “Do you hear what I hear?”, and that was a hard song. It was great that she let ANYONE try out to play these songs, not just one or two of the really good piano players (like Kimberly Brewster. I think she played for quite a few of the songs). I don’t remember if I played that in a concert or not. Why is it I remember the songs we sang in Junior High but I can’t remember my grocery store rewards card log in and password?

By 9th grade I felt like my friends and I were pretty important. We weren’t.

My worst memory of Middle School….
Oh, so many. Actually hubby and I were recently talking about this. He mentioned how awful it was to be a boy whose personal and private parts got “excited” for no apparent reason and then you had to walk to the next class. I don’t think I ever really noticed that problem, because as a girl, I was pretty preoccupied with my own personal hygiene issues. Periods usually start in Junior high, and after sitting in class, I would be pretty sure that something had bled through and I was absolutely certain everyone in the world KNEW about my problem. That’s when you tie a sweater or sweatshirt around your waist. Yep. That’s what THAT fashion statement is all about. And those stupid boys in metal shop (yes, I took metal shop) didn’t help. It seemed like all they EVER thought about was girls and their reproductive problems, and they were ALWAYS saying rude things that I won’t go into.

But somehow we survive the Junior high years, and hopefully the good memories outweigh the BAD memories.

What’s going on Weekend?


Megan finally used her stash of old hotel key cards, gift cards, etc. to make an art project. Lucky us, we all got to do some cutting out this week. Ow. But it turned out pretty cool, I think.


She and Ryan were also working on some crazy hand thing. I came home from rehearsal to find them playing with insulation foam, hot glue, tape hands, etc. If you ask me, it’s kind of creepy.


The first attempt didn’t work so well, so she was going at it again this weekend. We’ll post pics when done.

Saturday we purchased a utility trailer for hauling grass, junk, couches, etc. since our truck died. We got lots of work done. The girls had to help with the YW fundraiser. They were making and delivering ready to bake (or freeze) meals. Saturday night Ryan and I went to see the Drowsy Chaperone at the SCERA Theater. It was fun to see people I know both in the show and in the lobby.


I decided to list our two naughty birds on KSL. Just tired of them hiding under things and then running out to bite my toes when I walk by. I have been telling the kids they would have to go if they couldn’t be nice. Six birds is too many, and these ones have been terrorizing us in our own home, so it’s time to go. I priced them quite low, at $75 for two birds and a cage, and I had several inquiries. The one guy came and bought them on Sunday night. We did not tell him about their recent behavior, but are hoping they behave themselves in new surroundings. We did show him how tame and friendly they are, tell him they need lots of attention, and did explain that they do sometimes bite, but that we haven’t been bleeding from their bites. Here’s hoping they like their new family. Our kids will really miss them, but I did say we could decide as a family how to spend that $75.

The highlight of the weekend was going with Megan to the Stake Patriarch’s so she could get her blessing. It was a really special experience and I’m so glad she let us come with us.

May is upon us, full speed ahead. We have concerts, end of the year parties, graduation stuff, musicals to audition for, and subbing jobs. I’m trying to be organized and get everything on the calendar so we don’t double (or triple book) if we can help it. I love May. It’s the most beautiful month here in Utah. And the activities are usually fun. It’s just getting to all of them without losing our sanity.

How was your weekend?

Not the day I had hoped for

Just as I was about to drive to Provo for women’s conference, I realized I didn’t have my tag and the booklet of classes and info. I came back in the house and looked in my office. I found the booklet, but where was that envelope with my name badge? After 15 minutes of looking, my frustration level was raising higher and higher. Why can I not be organized? Why are there so many piles of paper and crap around here? Why can’t I remember where I put that dang envelope?

I was already irked that I had paid for the full two days of the conference and wasn’t able to go to the first day. So it was going to be my one day conference, spiritual boost, make me a better person day.

Ryan came in and asked what I was doing and then proceeded to help me look, which only annoyed me more. I had already looked in all the places he was looking, and I should be able to find the dang thing myself, thank you very much. But he could tell I was disheartened and he was trying to help. He even called BYU conferences and found out that I could, for $5, get a replacement name badges at certain registration locations at the Marriott Center. But I didn’t want to pay ANOTHER $5 when I had already paid MORE than I should have for the conference in the first place. I continued to look. As soon as he left, I couldn’t stop the tears. First I got rejected by the theater, then I couldn’t find this ticket. I felt like I wasted that registration money.

As I searched, I started to throw things away. Since I was already late, and would be even later if I went to do the registration, I decided to just skip it and make the best of it.

I was going to do some service. Service to myself and my family. If someone came to me and asked if they could help me do one dirty job around the house, I might say the laundry room. It’s a total mess and we neglect it all to often. So, I decided that to pretend like I was in someone else’s house, doing service for them. If I were helping someone else, I wouldn’t stop before we were done, and I wouldn’t complain about it. I would try to make the experience as pleasant as I could. While it was too noisy to watch a movie or a show (what with the washer and the dryer running), but I did turn up the radio, grab a diet coke from the fridge, and got to work.


So many clothes on the floor! We could probably outfit a whole family in just the clothes on the floor! While it wasn’t a HUGE purge, I did have a big garbage bags for too small items, and a lot of garbage.

When I had everything sorted, I had to address the mess on top of the washer and dryer.

I should be embarrassed to even show you these pictures, but it’s all service, right?

Eventually I got the washer and dryer so clean, they almost look like new appliances.

When all the clothes were sorted and put in everyone’s basket, I hauled the garbage out (3 bags of trash), and hauled the bags to go to DI (4 bags, just from the laundry room, plus another 2 bags I had already collected)

I was tired and hungry, so I loaded up the donations and took them all to Deseret Industries, then stopped and got myself some lunch on the way home.

I lost steam in my day of service after lunch, but I did manage to fold all the kitchen towels and tablecloths and fold one basket of my own clothes.

When Megan came home from school she said, ‘Hey, did you put my clothes in the dryer for me?’

Oh, I did more than that. Go see.

She took a look and said, ‘Wow, Mom! If I had money I’d pay you! Good job!’

That thank you and a little recognition of my hard work is all the payment I need.

After all, it was SERVICE.

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