The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: February 2016


I feel so blah.
The sun in shining and that is wonderful.
I still feel blah.
I’d better not be getting sick.

It’s all hormone related, I’m sure.
Stupid hormones or lack thereof.

Yesterday I went to visit a wonderful lady in the hospital. She’s amazing. I think I got more out of the visit than I gave to her.

Today when I came home from chime choir, I went upstairs and took a nap.
I need to go to the grocery store, but I don’t want to. Do I really have to leave the house?
I’m happy that I have no obligations tonight. One of my teens just left to go babysit, another one is at work. I guess it will be a small group for dinner tonight. Maybe college boy will be home for dinner. Maybe not. I never know if I’ll be feeding him. But there’s a tortellini soup in the crockpot that I’ve been wanting to try, so whoever is here for dinner will have something.

In the good news section–College girl got accepted to do a spring break job at Tuacahn center for the arts in St. George. She’ll stay for a week and work on set construction and whatever else they need. And get paid in addition to room and food for a week. Sounds like fun.

As the weather is warming up, it makes me want new chickens. We stopped by the feed store but did not buy any chicks, because my mommy chicken is not currently broody. She needs to be ready to sit on the chicks and take care of them, raising them as their mommy. She’s done it twice for us before and it makes raising and integrating the chicks so much easier! I saw her out there sitting in the nest box looking all comfy, but alas, I think she was just in there laying an egg, not getting ready to hatch anything for me.

Some days are just like that. Some days you are sad, or feel yucky, or just blah. Thankfully,they are just days for me. Not weeks or months of feeling blah or sad, or depressed.

To help us get over our blahs, I’ll leave you with this.scottish-fold-kittens

And if you’d like to see more amazing cuteness, check out this page.
That will definitely make you say “oooh.”

What can you do with that container?


The Styrofoam leftover container.

It presents so many possibilities.

If only you had one of those containers, you could fill it with your leftovers. You could take that single serving to someone who lives alone and they wouldn’t have to cook dinner. Better yet, you could take it and eat with them. Talk to them. Think of all the people you could serve if you just had the right container. I’ll bet there is someone near you that would really appreciate a dinner, a treat, a surprise. More than that, though, they would know that you were thinking of them.

So get a container–any container. It could be a special leftovers container, it could be your old gladwear or rubbermaid containers, or it could be a simple paper plate. It’s not the container that matters. Fill that plate with food. The dinner that you made too much of, the cookies that you want out of the house, or the bread you made this morning.

Now think for a minute who around you could use some love.
There’s someone who just had a baby
Someone had surgery.
Someone who’s mother is dying and they haven’t had time to think about dinner.
There’s someone in your neighborhood who feels isolated and alone,
Someone who lives in the neighbor’s basement apartment and doesn’t think anyone knows they are even there,
Someone who is sick,
Someone who is caring for their aged spouse and can’t leave the house much,
Someone who’s pregnant,
Someone who is worried about their teenager.
How about the neighbor whose missionary just came home?
One of your neighbors is having trouble at work. Maybe their business is going badly, or maybe their small start up company is booming so fast, they don’t have time to think.
Someone just lost their job.
What about that neighbor who doesn’t come to church,
Or the family who just moved in? They have boxes all over, and haven’t even thought of how they are going to feed the family tonight.
Someone’s oven is broken. Again.
Someone’s in the middle of a painting or remodeling project.
Someone is alone, thinking of the spouse that they loved who has died.
Someone is surrounded by three kids under 5, just wishing they were alone.
There’s the neighbor whose car is in the shop, so she couldn’t go out and get groceries this week. She’s looking at the cupboard wondering what she’s going to make with tomato juice, macaroni, and canned peaches.
Someone’s husband is out of town on business, and she is feeling overwhelmed.
Someone is trying to figure out the taxes.
Did you know that your neighbor has had three kids get sick in the past week? I’ll bet she wouldn’t so no if dinner showed up at the door.
Someone is battling depression and doesn’t feel like she can even step outside.
Someone just found out they have cancer.
Someone has given up hope.

Wouldn’t they love to know that you were thinking of them?

If you are saying to yourself, “I’m a terrible cook. No one wants to eat something that I made. I was just going to go pick up a pizza for my family tonight.” Then pick up extra. Drop one off at that neighbor’s house. Ring the bell and say that the delivery is here. Give them a hug, and leave. Or pick up cookies from the grocery store. No judgement on your cooking skills.

It doesn’t have to be wrapped fancy. It doesn’t even have to be food. Do you have a book you loved and you think a friend might enjoy it? Drop it off with a note letting them know you were thinking of them.

Don’t want them to know it’s from you? Do the doorbell ditch. Leave the package on the front step, ring the bell, and run around the corner. It’s exhilarating. It’s fun to not get caught. (Just make sure someone is actually home or the stray dog might find your goodies.)

Afraid to go to the neighbor’s house? Write a note. Mail it.

If you read that list above and think…That’s me! I’m experiencing one or two of those difficult situations! Someone should bring me something!
Don’t think you are exempt from service. You need to do service now, even though it’s hard. Nothing will make you feel better about your situation than serving someone else.

Too many people are alone, or FEEL like they are alone in their situation. All of us feel that way sometimes. Why not share? Share your food, share your leftovers, share your cookies, share your time, share your LOVE.

You can make your world a better place just by filling up that container, and showing someone else how much you care.

Rock Star!

cupcakesA friend of mine was telling us at book club about how she gets to guest lecture at BYU once a semester. She’s an author of several books, and one of her books is on their reading schedule for middle grade fiction. She talks about possible lessons and extensions that could be done with the book, and generally talks about writing. The students have all read the book and they are so excited to meet her, have her sign their book, and talk to her. I remember when Rosemary Wells came to my children’s literature class and I got to have her sign one of her books for me. So cool! She says she feels like a Rock Star.

Everyone needs to feel like a rock star every once in a while.

I remember the first time I took students to Lone Peak High school to play the National Anthem on chimes, and the after they had played the last part of the song, “And the home of the brave”, the student section broke out in a loud chant of “USA! USA! USA!” It was full gym, everyone was standing, and they were all clapping and cheering. It was great, and the kids felt like Rock Stars. I take my students every year to do 2 basketball games, and it’s the highlight of the semester for these kids.

In thinking about my life, I’ve had a few times that I have had that Rock Star feeling. I loved playing Fruma Sarah in Fiddler on the Roof. Even though I was only in one scene on those nights, it was awesome. Fruma Sarah steals the show. When I walked out after the show to meet and greet, little kids were frightened and grown ups told me how they much they loved my scene. It was awesome.


When I was in Pinkalicious, I got to play a few different parts. My main role was Dr. Wink, but when I went out afterwards to meet and greet the audience (mostly little girls wearing pink), they weren’t very interested in having their picture taken with me. But when I went out in the cupcake or the butterfly costume, they all wanted to give me a hug or have a picture taken.

Because who wants to take a picture of a doctor? They’d much rather take a picture with a GIANT butterfly.

Playing bells is amazing, but I don’t often get recognized as a member of the Bells on Temple Square. Except for a few years ago, when there was a bell convention in Salt Lake City. A few of us from our choir attended the convention and rang bells all day with a guest clinician, went to classes, and had a blast. Part of the convention was that all the attendees were to come to the tabernacle to see our spring concert.
w-June22.2012.BoTSConcert.DRG 095

To play for so many bell ringers, who understood how technical and difficult the music was, was amazing. When we went back to the convention the next day, so many people came up to us to tell us how amazing the concert was, and many expressed interest. One lady asked how she could join our group. Well, first of all, you need to be a member of the LDS church. We certainly felt like rock stars that day.

When a child comes up to me in the hall and says “Hi, Mrs. E!” or gives me a hug, I feel like a rock star.

Even when I make a dinner that everyone likes and eats and they maybe say how delicious it is, I feel like a rock star a little bit.

Everyone needs to feel like a rock star at some point in their lives. When are you a rock star?

New Look

I’ve wanted to paint the entry way of our home for a few years now. But because of the large staircase and tall walls up there, I didn’t really want to tackle that job myself. So, instead, we would talk about it, then let the idea fall by the wayside. Finally, when we were making our budget (there’s that WORD again), I asked if we could PLEASE use some of the extra to paint. More specifically, to PAY someone ELSE to paint. Hubby agreed.

I got a couple of bids and picked a painter. Then I picked up paint samples.

Here we have the before walls. Stripped of all pictures and art.


Ryan had a business trip scheduled for this week, and I thought it would be great to do some painting while he was gone. We scheduled it for Tuesday. I proceeded to take pictures off of walls, clean baseboards, and even asked Ryan to take off a few wall sconces before he left. For as long as we’ve lived in this house, I’ve had a saying on the wall above the kids’ pictures on the wall that says, “All because two people fell in love”.


I took down the pictures of the kids and peeled off that vinyl saying. The wall looked SO barren.

Tuesday turned into Thursday before the painter could actually come. That gave me another day to take the face plates off the plugs and tidy up a bit more. Thursday afternoon a guy came. He patched up walls and got to work painting.


So nice to see a color on the wall. Even a neutral color (I think this one is called agreeable grey, or something like that) is nice. It’s not a huge change, but it will look so clean and fresh.


In just 4 hours, he’s got all the main floor areas painted. Yes, it’s a little awkward to have him painting and we are all right here hanging out in the kitchen and family room, but we can deal with awkward. We have valentines to make and stuff to do, so let him paint. Not sure if he’ll get this finished this weekend, or have to com next week as well, but it’s fun to have this project going.

Not really a writer, just pretending sometimes

I’ve been in the Bells on Temple Square for 10 years- almost 11, now. After our first concert, someone I didn’t know came up to me and asked me a few questions about the concert. She said she was from the choir’s newsletter, and could she email me? The choir has a newsletter? OK, Sure. That led to them asking me if I would write an article for the “Keeping Tab”, which is the Choir’s biannual newsletter.
me and liz
Here’s me and my dear friend Liz.
I didn’t realize at that time that it was a permanent thing. But every 6 months, I would write one or sometimes two articles about what the Bells on Temple Square were up to. After a couple of years of doing this, they invited me to be set apart for the magazine staff. I got to go meet President Mac Christensen in his office in the Tabernacle. I invited my family, and they thought it was pretty cool to go backstage with us and President Christensen (Mr. Mac to those of you not familiar with him) and he set me apart as a member of the writing staff.

The Choir has lengthy articles about their latest tour and concerts, and I’m all like, well, we did a spring concert, and a fall concert, and several music and the spoken word broadcasts in between. And we rehearse every week. Hmm. So, I would try to come up with other things to talk about. I wrote about our summer parties, about how many people in Bots were related, about what it’s like to play bells, backstage at the Christmas concerts, etc. Some articles were better than others, of course. My favorite part of the magazine is always the “mint slippers” or the funny things that the directors say in rehearsal. Thankfully, I have a helper, Theresa, who has always written those down for me. I write a few down, but she has a more comprehensive list. Larry, our associate director, is now always saying, “Oh, don’t write that down!” because he says such funny things in rehearsal.
Me with some dancers backstage at a Christmas concert

It’s been fun to write the articles, but as the deadline rolled around and I had been newly called as Relief Society President, I wondered if it were appropriate to be asked to be released from the writing job. It’s not like it takes a ton of time, but even a couple of extra hours when you have a lot to do is a bit much. And shouldn’t someone else get the opportunity and blessings, as well? I spoke to my director and she agreed that it was fine to be released, and suggested someone to take my place.

A few weeks after that, I got this presentation at rehearsal one night. A thank you for my service of writing for the newsletter for 10 years.

keeping tab

In case you can’t read the small print, it says “Keeping Tab Pulitzer Prize, Best Literary Articles, Paige Erickson, For making the star studded directors look almost human, and making the ringers look more important than the directors.”

We don’t take ourselves too seriously, obviously.

It’s been an honor and really a lot of fun to be on the writing staff. When my days in the choir are over, I will look back at all those keeping tabs and smile as I read about our concerts and adventures.

Snow and More snow

I try to not be a complainer, but I am So. Tired. Of. Snow. And cold.

Trudging out to take the garbage can and shuffling through 4 more inches of new snow.
Shoveling the path to the chickens. Again.

It seems a lot of people are escaping the snow and going to warm place because I keep seeing their pictures in Hawaii or on a cruise or in California.
Ryan gets to go to a warm place next week and I’m jealous.

I know it’s winter and we need the snow for our water supply this summer. Yes, I KNOW that. But these gray cold days make me depressed. I don’t see the joy in the snow. I’m not a skier. There is no snowman in my yard. My kids don’t even want to go out in the snow. Only grouchy that I ask them to shovel again and again and again. When I ask them to shovel, they say, “But I DID shovel last week.” Um, right. And there’s more snow. Our snowblower is broken, and we have a big driveway, so it’s not getting shoveled all the way anymore. We have a wonderful neighbor who will often come over and clear our sidewalk and front walkway, just to be nice. He’s pretty awesome like that. Once he even cleared the whole driveway for us.
The chickens have no where to go. They end up huddled underneath their house. The cat looks at with her sad little eyes silently begging to be let in.

Tonight John has the Klondike campout. Where they go camping. In the snow. It’s 25 degrees outside, and our boys are going to go camping? How awful does that sound? If I were a scout, I would definitely be skipping this one.

Update- He actually had a great time at his winter camp! What?

You take the the good, you take the bad, you take them both…

Kind of a wild weekend here. Full of ups and downs. But in each “bad” we can also see a “good”.

Natalie and her friend Maggie slid off the road in Heriman on Saturday morning on their way to a debate tournament and had to be helped out of the snow.

They took first place in duo at that tournament.
natalie trophy

I twisted my ankle in the parking lot of the stake center for our Women’s conference. I grabbed onto the side view mirrors of two cars. Thankfully, I did not break those mirrors.

It was a wonderful conference full of great speakers and fellowship and I’m so glad I was there.

Jenna’s parakeet flew out of the house at the end of her party when two of her friends went out to get into the car and flew away from us when we tried to find it. We tried to catch her, but she kept flying away and landing in higher and higher trees, until she flew over the house and we lost sight of her.

jenna friends

Jenna’s friends all came outside to help us look. When we couldn’t find the bird and Jenna was in tears, all of her friends gathered together to say a prayer. Even though it was freezing outside, those girls were out there, some without coats, searching the neighborhood for that bird. It was dark and getting late, and I had to take them home, but they didn’t want to go. They all wanted to keep searching for that bird because they knew how sad Jenna was to lose it. Those are some good friends.

Megan drove home from our house back to her apartment on Sunday night. Roads were very slick and she had to go quite slowly. I was worried when I hadn’t heard from her, even though it had been over two hours since she had left.

Megan’s roommate had also been traveling back to school, when she slid off the road and hit the barrier. She was able to drive her car to Nephi after the accident, where Megan picked her up and took her home with her. Later, the roommates insisted she go to the hospital to have her injuries checked out. Minor concussion and bruised rib, but she’ll be ok.

jenna presents

Things happen. Good things. Great things. Horrible things. Annoying things. But even in the bad, I think we can still find some good.

Life is all about perspective. The sinking of the Titanic was a miracle to the lobsters in the ship’s kitchen.

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