Monday, June 20, 2016

carefree afternoons at the pool


 many years ago i read a blog post in which the author was discussing her husband's conundrum about what mothers "do" at the pool.  the implication was that women who "just take their kids to the pool" don't have it as hard as their husbands who spend all day at work. i forget most stuff i read pretty quickly, but this blog post has always stuck with me. it's a sad thing that in my daily parenting and household duties, i feel like i need to measure up to some unknown man's opinion of whether i'm doing "enough". my husband, thomas, like james brown, is the hardest working man in the legal world. i can't compare what he does to what i do. it's just different hard work. but, taking the kids to the pool, though can be a treat for all of us, is certainly no walk in the park either. 


first case in point:
our new neighborhood has two different pools for resident use. last week we tried the pool with the water slide for the first time. scarlett and reagan were the kids who i thought would be prime water slide candidates. i don't know why i thought athena blythe would be scared. she still wears a puddle jumper when she swims, mostly because i was holding a baby all last summer and i've never been able to finish teaching her how to swim. she is completely undaunted by water. she marched right up to the top of the water slide while i was still unpacking our covered wagon of pool supplies(because families can't just grab towels and go to the pool, am i right?) and claimed her first ride without a second thought. i was under the impression that athena blythe wasn't supposed to go on the slide while wearing a puddle jumper so i was trying to convince her to not get in line again. of course, tantrum ensued. i finally get athena blythe in the water with me and then i realize there is a commotion on the water slide. reagan and scarlett went to ride it and when i look, i see reagan, too scared to sit down so he decides he's going to WALK down the water slide. there is no slow anxiety build up when it comes to reagan. it's 0-60 in ten seconds flat. the lifeguard is trying to stop him before he falls and i'm in the pool holding hersch, shouting what i'm hoping sound like calming, positive threats in my screechy mom voice, to try to alleviate the situation. then i'm trying to climb out of the deep end while holding hersch who is clinging to my neck for dear life because i'm sure he thinks in my distress i'm trying to drown him. for the record, i cannot climb out of the deep end with the metal side ladder while holding a toddler. physically impossible. and scarlett cannot hold hersch while trying to stay afloat with her broken arm. we are a sight to behold. what would have been great would be several of the women sitting on chairs next to the pool offering to grab hersch from me so that i can take care of the reagan situation. note to self- be more aware of people around you struggling. then athena blythe is upset again about not being able to go down the slide. i finally get across the pool to the stairs about the time the life guard has convinced reagan to turn around and walk back up to the landing at the top of the slide. great. clearly,  i am poetry in motion in a small crisis. i try and calmly discuss appropriate water slide etiquette with reagan while my pounding heart stops beating in my throat. it remains beating that hard and my arms feel weak for the next 20 minutes. soon, that one tween girl who lives at everyone's neighborhood pool and always wears an adult bikini on her preteen body walks up to us and is just stink-face gaping at reagan and my interaction from about 12 inches away. i break from talking to reagan and look at her with what i think is my nicest mom face (but i'm not that good at hiding my annoyance) and ask her if we are in her way. she looks startled because she realizes that she's invading a private conversation and she walks away. people on the autism spectrum are not the only ones who lack self awareness.  

when we go to the pool, i always give a little pep talk to the lifeguards about reagan. sometimes reagan needs more than regular reminders and sometimes he is the best rule follower ever born. talking to the life guards is merely a precaution. i don't know what else to do short of making an announcement, "loose cannon on the water slide!" hopefully, the poor life guards have seen enough in their time that we don't faze them too much. we left about an hour later. i felt the overwhelming desire to lay face down on my bed. 


2nd case in point:
we went to the pool again. we brought our wonderful friends who just moved into our same neighborhood! i baked banana muffins using Splenda instead of real sugar because i am so conscientious and healthy! i also brought about a 1lb of strawberries. tra la la! life is good! all the kids ate the snacks but athena blythe absolutely stuffed herself with both. then she went to go on the water slide, which after further research turns out puddle jumper wearing kids can also use. birds are singing, hersch and i are snuggling and then i hear a blood curdling scream. it sounds like a teen modeling career ending injury to the face! alas, i discover athena blythe in the water slide line, wailing and bawling her face off because she is pooping down her legs! apparently the combination of Splenda and strawberries hits some people hard and super fast! (note-google the haribo sugar free bear reviews on amazon. HILARIOUS. and disgusting.) of course, i have hersch in my arms again but i run to her and wrap her body in a beach towel and scoop her up. i shout to all the kids that "we are loading up NOW!" the kids hear, "hey, sweet babycakes, slow down a minute there, one more time down the slide, shuffle your feet all the way to the car, fight about who is carrying what inconsequential pool item, we're in no hurry!" we get home and i'm filling the bath for athena blythe. hersch is having his own tired, teething baby meltdown because i'm paying so much attention to athena blythe. i'm furiously wiping off of her little poop encrusted body. he crawls right over to where we are and launches himself right at her bum and comes away with his head plastered in second hand poop. both go in the tub and i have earned a second bomb pop after the kids go to bed. 


so, what do moms "DO" at the pool? 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

last week/first weeks

LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL
i never recorded our last week of school activities. this is the last day. i went with my old standby teacher gift, a target gift card. my anxiety doesn't allow me to try fun gift giving ideas. my illegible handwriting and wonky scissor usage doesn't allow me to make anything. some day i'll take the time to do something like that. when i'm dead. funny thing about being dead, it's one of reagan's most consistent conversation topics. he does not like the idea of being dead so he wants to be resurrected after 3 days just like Jesus Christ. he also doesn't like the idea of not being able to talk when you're dead, "like joseph smith and alma". i don't really know how to answer that one. i guess dead people can communicate with each other? how do you talk about that without freaking yourself out. as i type that, i'm trying to not think of the spooky version of "a christmas carol" when jacob marley is clomping up the stairs in his shackles. it simply cannot be born, even when it's 85 degrees outside!
i digress, my best buddies. their relationship has definitely evolved over the years as siblings are wont to do, but they still love each other dearly. they are close in that telepathic twin way, but scarlett has become more like a mother hen as her mental acuity has sharpened in ways that reagan's has not. his development is also keenly improved, but they are apples and oranges. and i love fruit.

at reagan's end of year awards ceremony, athena blythe was able to ingratiate herself into passing out the awards. she saves those special smiles for just the right times.

farewell to our neighborhood park:

farewell to this house:

FIRST WEEKS OF SUMMER
hello to the new house:

hello to falling asleep in chairs exhausted children because the sun doesn't go down until 9pm:


hello to fighting about some of the dumbest things possible. par example: scarlett, athena blythe, and HERSCHEL freaking out about wearing this witches hat. i had to put it on the fridge and it hasn't made it way down yet. 

thomas and i had a date and we went and saw "me before you". as you can guess from this picture, it didn't affect me emotionally whatsoever. a real dud. i ate a huge fudge-filled oreo blizzard afterward to try and soothe my tormented soul as i penned some post-mortem goth poetry.

NERD on top of NERD
the end

Saturday, June 04, 2016

coming to america


we've been in the new house since for a week and a day now. we've made about 7 major moves, not counting intracity moves, and i can tell you one thing, you never sleep better than the night you collapse into bed after you've moved. there is no workout harder than moving. moving should be marketed it to the crossfitters. we could bring it up in every conversation. "i squatted 50 boxes in a row today. totally PRed it." we had 4 professional movers who were worked from 1030 am to 930pm and my quads and biceps were still on fire the next day. 
our house was pretty gross after we moved, as most houses are. one thing that didn't help was the fact that we had white tile throughout the main area of the house. white tile never looks clean when you walk on it all day. white tile can look dirty even if you only breathe heavy on it. we spent a good portion of memorial day vacuuming and cleaning the rental house. i was quietly crying the whole time because i was so EXCITED that i didn't have to live there anymore! 


my sister asked me how i liked the new house. i said, "it's like i just moved to AMERICA!" it's fantastic! the water works all the time! our rental house definitely met our needs, but it fell pretty short on a lot of things. like water pressure. only one person could use water at a time, otherwise it would just be a tiny little old man pee trickle. i would often get up from the dinner table and turn the bathtub on to ensure that it would be filled by time we had finished our meal. in the new house, i turned the bathtub on and went back downstairs and was SHOCKED that it was filled with piping hot water within minutes. GOD BLESS THE USA! when i turned on the washing machine, the water just shot out at full force! like it's supposed to! i've done several loads of laundry this week and each time i jumped back from the machine in surprise at the force of the water filling the basin. this is what i've been missing! time to retire the old washboard(not talking about my stomach).  
the other glaring issue with our rental house was the ridiculously small toilet height and circumference. you know when you are at the roller rink and you are wearing roller skates and you go to the bathroom and it's the deepest squat you've even done down to the toilet? imagine that, except the bowl was made for toddlers. and then your legs fall asleep. it was a precarious position for the adults in the house. i'm sure the kids are wondering why the toilets in our new house are so big. 


thomas and i had many a long discussions about purchasing our new house. it was a favorite of his for a long time but i immediately wrote it off after the first showing. i had to have a subsequent showing by myself because i just didn't like it. i had a lot of internal conflict about the house. it has a fantastic backyard and a super fun basement and is everything a mom could want for her family. yet, i felt like i had arrived at a freshly painted and updated applebee's. everything was super nice, but not my style. i do realize that i can eventually change the interior style to something i like more now that we own it, but it's a little daunting to do that when 90% of the inside was just replaced. if anyone wants a BUNCH of pottery barn style, oil rubbed bronze fixtures and chandeliers in the next few years, i've got some practically brand new ones waiting for you. you will have to fight thomas for them. add it to the list of things thomas and i do not agree on. i realize that nearly everyone else loves pottery barn and i am in the minority. i'm okay with that. my heart belongs to the sputnik chandelier. 

while i'm not a fan of tumbled stone tile or vomit colored granite, it does camouflage in plain sight the chocolate chip cookies i'm sneaking while i'm cooking dinner. the kids have NO IDEA i'm ruining my dinner!

our first sunday in our new ward went pretty well. we got there practically on time and we sat on a row where someone has deposited FIVE basketballs. because our kids need a few more reverence temptations. 



first sunday dinner on the new deck. thomas and scarlett are having a deep discussion about jimmy carter, inflation, and the reagan revolution. 


sunset on the front porch. 
since we're still listening to the annie 2014 soundtrack on repeat, athena blythe and i have been singing, "i think i'm gonna like it here" everyday. and i do think i'm gonna like it here. it's fun having our own space again. i even unpacked a bunch of my china and serving dishes and i put them in my china cabinet. like an adult! i haven't seen my "nice" stuff for nearly two years. i may even start hosting dinner guests again. 

-unrelated-i've committed to not buying anything until next october. i don't go anywhere in the summer but sweaty places so there's really no need for cute outfits, but if someone miraculously happens across this dress at goodwill, i'm a size medium. i just love black and white.
     

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

saturday night's all right


saturday night was our stake conference adult session. i felt really strongly that thomas and i needed to go. we don't always make it to the saturday night adult session of conference, even thought it's always the best session. it's often the session that gets ignored because it's on saturday night and it's hard to get a babysitter, and there are lots of other things scheduled for saturday night. we had a babysitter secured and then she canceled and we procured another one. oh the drama. but we persevered. 
our stake was lucky enough to elder edward dube of the seventy and his wife join us and it was great. there were no secrets revealed and no earth shattering personal moments, but the Spirit was very strong and i knew we were in the right place. i was able to make a list of new goals for myself and for the family. i'm glad that thomas and i always have the gospel to discuss with each other. we don't see eye to eye on many things(sports, interior design, exterior design, thermostat temperature, fast food restaurants, how to sit down on a seat with items already on it, tooth brush cup placement, best tom cruise movie, cup holders on sofas) but we always enjoy discussing the gospel with one another. i have felt an increase of the Spirit in our home in recent days. 
after the session, we got ice cream at a little ice cream parlor downtown. i certainly never turn down ice cream though i probably should. we both agree that cookies and cream is one of the best flavors. 

then we came home to this dream:
we close on our new house on wednesday!


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

this is fine

we close on our new house on may 25th. school ends on the 25th. our house i partially packed. i have to help do crafts for the end of the year party for scarlett's class on the 24th and that kind of what is killing me the most. it's unnecessary and i'm terrible at crafts. 
two weeks ago, scarlett fell of the rock climbing wall during field day and sprained her ankle pretty bad. my first thought was, rock climbing wall at field day? what happened to the fill the bucket with water relay and bean bag toss and other low cost field day activities from my childhood? and then i felt extra bad because they had to wheel her around in a wheelchair for the rest of the day. everything they say about me not being a very sympathetic parent is true. 


last thursday, athena blythe, had her preschool program. for the first time in her life, she requested to wear a hair ribbon. i don't know what this all means. she often proclaims her love for her "crazy hair" so someone she likes more than her crazy hair must wear ribbons. i do not know who this person is. maybe minnie mouse.


all who watch preschool programs know that they can be hilarious or tediously long. athena blythe's school does it right. funny songs, short songs, and snacks. that's how i'd like my funeral to go. 

that open cavity in my chest where my heart should be absolutely ached when i saw what athena blythe proclaimed to desire to be as a future occupation:

this is athena blythe's kindness hand. she must always keep it at school because we normally only enjoy the presence of athena blythe's stankyface behavior hand. 

athena blythe was thrilled to play tour guide to her artwork. self confidence comes naturally with this one. 


the fun continues! last friday night, we went to relay for life at the gwinnett county fairgrounds. reagan's tutor, mrs. griffin, who was also his teacher from last year is one of the organizers for gwinnett county's relay for life, the largest relay for life gathering in the world. it took mrs. griffin and me a couple of week of conversation, online pictures and calendar planning to convince reagan that he should change his normal friday fun plans from pizza and a movie to pizza and relay for life. someday all these autism tactics will make me a great hostage negotiator. autism! great for scheduling if you NEVER plan on changing anything ever again. terrible if you're trying to be flexible and have fun occasionally. 
relay for life was typical reagan- "i don't want to goooooooo!" and then two hours later- "i don't want to leeeeeeave!" thomas and i had to tell him that it was closing. he hates the thought of being somewhere after it has closed. we use it to our advantage though. shady parenting 101. 




last saturday morning, scarlett ran in her first 3k. she had been practicing all semester with running club and with me and then she spent the last two weeks trying to rehab her sprained ankle enough that she could run for most of race without too much pain. 

after her 3k, scarlett wanted to have a cookies and brownies stand. entrepreneurship is in her blood. you know how i love buying and selling things. i can't resist any type of MLM party. they call me "mary kay lularoe jamberry heidi" in some circles. not really. this entire paragraph is fantastical sarcasm. i don't buy anything. anywhoo, cookies and brownies stand was a success. made 5 whole dollars. i need to up my prices. scarlett needs to up her prices.

reagan also wanted to sell something. he still thinks that the max and ruby "ants and acorn pancakes" episode is the best. max and ruby aren't the worst, but they're no longer welcome to our house. he didn't have any takers.

athena blythe really wants a real dog but i'm anti anything else to take care of so she's stuck dragging this robot dog up and down the street. 

another ribbon request.

hersch has had a rough time last couple of weeks. last month he had an eardrum burst. then he had another ear infection. then a fever when he was supposed to get immunized last week and then today we went back in to get his shots, he was sick again with a bulging ear infection. 

he's the hulk hogan of snotty noses.





so, not much going on in the low key time of the year. more sarcasm.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

dia de los madres

i just had the best mother's day. i'm normally the queen of low expectations. i just want a little bit of quietude and phil collins on repeat. since that's impossible, i want pictures of the kids and me, thomas and me, and a clean(ish) house. plus, minimal talks about perfect, never complaining mothers and more talks about the divine role of motherhood, whether you have kids or not and getting stuff done, no matter how you get it done. if the Lord is with you, you're doing it right. 





athena blythe with her preferred mother, mrs. heidi.

and then athena blythe with her real mother. 



i received a few gifts from my admirers.
a special dessert from scarlett: honey, grape jelly, and a 100 calorie pack of cookies. a delicacy.

reagan made me a sweet card. i'll probably keep it forever. his use of scissors has come a looooooooong way. 

thomas is a champion gift giver. he got me my favorite flowers in a pot so i can replant them at the new house and somehow, before Prince died, he got him to buy me a gift card to the container store. that man knows the way to my heart, Prince and organization. the piece de resistance was the tub of queso dip, because i really love queso dip. happy mother's day to me and my thighs. my favorite part of this mother's day was how low stress it was. thomas didn't have to work, i had recorded the remake of the parent trap and the girls watched it while i slept on the couch, pretending to watch it with them. then i ate more and more queso dip and some cake. what more could a girl want on a sunday afternoon?


real life mom moments

right before church, includes her arms and her legs. 


right after church, en masse photography.

hersch really likes peanut butter sammiches. we were completely out of food and once i tossed the loaf in the cart, he was on it like white on rice on a paper plate in a snowstorm. he also bites through banana peels.

athena blythe routinely unmakes my bed at inopportune times. 

may the fourth be with you
the end