Saturday, August 13, 2016

be kind, try hard, repeat

a recurring theme in my life is that a love/hate running, or shuffling and crying as i appear to be doing lately. i've discussed this all before. recently, i left for a run one ridiculously hot and humid saturday morning while i was mentally preparing my sharing time lesson for primary on sunday. i had no specific assignment and i was trying to use my run as meditation time to pull some things together. my new neighborhood is full of the toughest runs i have ever had. my 7 mile run here is the elevation equivalent of my 12 mile run in south carolina. so, in short, absolutely killer. i rethink my running capabilities every time i'm out. on this particular day i was only a mile or 2 in and i was hating myself and everything around me and gauging my personal worth on my speed or lack thereof. i had already been passed by the entire local high school reigning state champion cross country team and that was pretty much the point i decided i was going to quit and walk home. i make this threat to myself often, but it 's dangerous because i always think i may actually do it. at the crest of the next hill as i was going up, a group of neighborhood runners was coming down. one guy who i had never seen before in my life looked me right in the eye and smiled and said, "good job." and that was it. that was the difference in me quitting and me continuing for another 6 miles. someone who i didn't know, taking the time to say nice things to me made me feel like i could try harder. so, there was my lesson for primary. what difference can we make in the lives of others when me make an effort to try hard and be kind, even if we don't know them? it's a circle. oftentimes, we are petrified to try hard or be kind but they go together, hand in hand. that small gesture of kindness changed the course of my morning. the kids in my primary would be starting the new school year the next week and i felt that we needed to encourage kids to look out for those who need friends and to be kind. 

a running aside, i am the queen of chub rub. it's a royal title that is also a burden. finding shorts that allow me to run fluidly in heat is a long struggle that is short on results. punny. i found these mid-thigh compression shorts on marked down to $13 so i bought a couple pairs. they are fantastic and they hold EVERYTHING in so that the only things keeping cadence are my feet and not my stomach rolls. the full, MOMification is complete. hip to the square stylish mom shorts and boudreax's butt paste on my arm pits and i absolutely glide like a gazelle. a very slow, wobbly gazelle. now, i am the queen of mom shorts. it's a lateral title change that i'll accept.

the end

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

same old autism song and dance

my monthly dose of drama. 

since we moved, i knew getting reagan back to his school from last year, where he absolutely thrived, was going to be difficult. though he was placed at that school by the district, it's still never a done deal and there are about a million hoops to jump through to even talk to a real live person from the district. long story short, i was given bad information by the receptionist nemesis at reagan's school, information i KNEW was wrong because the nemesis had never been helpful or a fount of knowledge, but i accepted it and hoped for the best. what do you do? challenge the person who is supposed to be helping you and gave you the answer you wanted to hear??? she said that i had nothing to worry about and reagan could easily go to the school we wanted him to. so i sat on it and hoped for the best. i blame myself, but in my experience, most school districts, even really excellent school districts like we live in, try and keep parents at arms length and a little in the dark. so, a few days before school started, i got a phone call that reagan wasn't placed, or even registered after all. i made a zillion phone calls and cried and prayed. on the last possible day, i finally was able to speak with the director of special education for the district and she heard my pleas and my plight and actually agreed with me that reagan should be placed at his old school. great. it's great to actually talk to an administrator and even better when they say, "sure, if he's doing well, let's make this work!" all we needed was approval from the principal. no big deal, i was feeling really confident. everyone loves reagan. as soon as i got off the phone, i fell to my knees because i felt like staying at his old school was now clearly the wrong decision. what the what? my track record shows that i'm better at choosing the wrong and then choosing the right. i have to make a decision and then i can see clearly what really needs to happen. i prayed and i almost called the district director back to ask for him to be placed at a new school. it don't make no sense. why would i feel like that? i texted thomas with my crazy surprising thoughts and i waited for the return call from the school. about 20 minutes later, i got that call. the district adminstrative assistant called with the news that the principal denied the permissive transfer and that reagan would go to a new school. i was shocked and calm and angry at the same time. i was mad at the principal not approving. why not? there's no good reason to say no, when the district director said yes!!! i know it makes no sense for me to be upset when i felt the Spirit push me another way. but, it's very frustrating as a parent to feel like your opinion is not as important as an administrator's whim. my faith is pretty weak. i don't want to put reagan in more new experiences that i don't have to. it's hard on all of us and torturous on him. but i'm not afraid to make him stronger through experiences. and i guess me stronger too. i'm a conundrum wrapped in a panic attack. 
i didn't fight the decision though. we jumped in the car to head to the new school and meet his new teacher, on the last possible day to do so before school started. this change was supposed to be the best thing and i can't deny spiritual promptings, though apparently i try to, so we pushed forward. 
my dear friend, paula, took the rest of the kids so that i could give my full attention to getting reagan settled. she even provided m&ms for reagan(his favorite) and peanut butter m&ms for me, which turned out to be breakfast and lunch for me that day. full points for protein. 

we spent the weekend talking about new schools and driving by the new schools and once again, poor scarlett got the shaft as the entire weekend was mostly spent pumping up reagan. she's also starting a new school and i know she was nervous too. i'm proud of her for taking the bull by the horns and moving forward and trying really hard to chat up new friends. her outfit was on point. she is fashionably outspoken and fearless. exactly what i want for her.

sunday night we had priesthood blessings from thomas and the Spirit was so strong. each blessing was so detailed for each child that i knew it was from our Father in Heaven. i always get a blessing too, and it was like a conduit from heaven to my brain. my fears were calmed, my personal goals for myself were affirmed and strengthened. this is going to be a great year for everyone. 

5th, 4th, diapers

the face of reagan anxiety. he was trying, bless his heart.

another fake smile because he was not excited about sitting on a ball instead of a chair. 
he was wearing black socks, "because i was already wearing them from church yesterday." truth. fair enough logic. 

car line pick up. car line is a necessary evil. i'm going to start listening to audiobooks to drown out hersch's crying.

i did buy myself some new CDs for the car. i love lionel richie and prince so i picked up some greatest hits. lionel is so soothing!

scarlett took this ultra flattering picture of me reading our nightly story. clearly, i was in a great mood and using all my best story time voices. "goldilocks and the totally overworked, really annoyed and tired mom".  the school year is as busy as summer, but a different, "needs to be more physically presentable" kind of different. my swimsuit is not a bra, and i acknowledge that.

the end.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

this is 40

a few months ago i read an article in the wall street journal about an annoying trend of people who have month long, multi event birthday celebration extravaganzas with multiple outfit changes and different activities for different tiers of friends. what the what? first of all, tiers of friends? like friends with all their teeth and friends who are dentally challenged? what do that mean? how do you have tiers of friends? how do you even decide that? if you're sitting around making lists of tiers of friends, perhaps you have enough time to do genealogy or emergency preparedness. for the record, i prefer genealogy over the term family history any day. my blog, my choice!
i digress.

thomas turned 40 last saturday. it was the most low-key, chill birthday of all time. no tiers of friends whatsoever and only one outfit change because he had to go to the DMV. and both outfits included his sporty arm sling because he had a pretty bad bike accident last week when his handlebars slipped off his bike and he took a pretty bad fall. add insult to injury, he was just up the street from the house going down a rather steep hill and the bike tire was so damaged that he had to drag that bike home behind him. in the dark. it turns out all his whining and crying is a sprained shoulder and a broken collarbone. this is 40! it was pretty horrific and i gagged a lot when i saw the injury and he didn't like it very much either.

our typical birthday breakfast with gift opening. thomas likes surprises but he also likes looking at the bank account multiple times a day so that makes surprises difficult. my gem of a friend, paula, was willing to purchase all gifts and hid them at her house and i wrote her a check. thomas was ACTUALLY SURPRISED! especially since he had already bought a couple gifts for himself that i didn't know about. 

new lawyerly wingtips for work. this is 40.

 classic reagan line, "oh look, dad, there're two in the box!"

 thomas is nice enough to let his kids help him open his presents. i am never that nice, or that injured. it helps that he's practically an invalid these days. hope i don't have to shoot him.

my piece de resistance birthday gift, a replica of the original herschel walker UGA jersey. i was hoping he would wear it to the DMV for his picture, but he was afraid that he would get mobbed by people thinking he was the actual herschel walker. 

another surprise was jack stack barbecue, shipped from kansas city. divine.
"put this food in my mouth!!!!!!"- thomas simpson, 40 years old

his other birthday gifts included buying a used weight bench from our neighbor. i also bought him chocolate milk and doritos, because i normally make a point of not buying those things. 

i took this investigative journalistic secret photograph of thomas lovingly putting his birthday grill cover on his grill. this is 40.

 later, he took his top tier kids to the movie theater to see "finding dory". this is 40. it was a gift to me too as i was alone with hersch for the afternoon and he took a nap. i made pie and explored new musical groups on youtube. this is 36.

the party continued. 

athena blythe's popcorn bowls

strawberry pie and singing after church on sunday.

and gross store bought cupcakes for the less discerning palate. 
the end

Thursday, July 21, 2016

son of a beach

it already seems like it was too long ago! my extended family had reunion in destin, florida over the last week of june. this is YUGE for a few reasons:

1. the beck family i grew up in did not take beach trips. we did educational trips(civil war sites and washington DC), spiritual trips (LDS church history sites from independence to kirtland to nauvoo to upstate new york) or educational/spiritual/family reunion trips(yellowstone, bear lake) on the way to utah to solidify our desire to go to BYU. all great trips, i do feel like there was also a desire for a family trip to the beach. once we stopped at the beach at lake erie and thought we had died and gone to heaven. same for the afternoon we spent at virginia beach during our washington dc trip. 

2. the beck family i grew up in did not stay in "fancy" places. one thing i admire about my parents is their desire to never overspend but that also meant a lot of interesting vacation accommodations. if you feel so inclined, google camp meade in middlesex, vermont. that place is legendary in my family. the beck kids are by no means snobs. 

when my mom said she wanted to rent a house on the beach in destin, florida, i knew that the end of days must be nigh! it was such a wonderful trip. destin is a jewel of a beach. very few activities were actually planned and instead we were simply able to reacquaint ourselves as a family, all while wearing swimsuits and shaking sand out of personal crevasses. it's no small feat for us to get together as so many of us live in far flung locales, 3 families in utah, 1 in in north dakota, 1 in florida and our family here in georgia. 

day 1. thomas had some last minute work assignments pop up, so i drove the bulk of the family and luggage down to the beach house. 

this is how reagan spent the majority of the drive down. under a blanket watching his favorite movies, including home alone, in his "movie theater". kind of makes me want to barf, be he was 100% fine with it.

we stopped for lunch at a quaint local place featuring local fare in opelika, alabama.

my windshield has been cracked for years. at this point i had been telling the kids we were about to stop for a bathroom for about an hour. it only took another hour for that to be true.

after arrival, the ladies in the group headed over to walmart, with EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON in destin and grabbed groceries for the week. i think we ended up with 7 heads of romaine lettuce. 

thomas arrived around midnight that night and got up early the next morning for a conference call. have i talked you out of law school yet? 

the next several days was mostly various stages of undress at the beach. 

probably the undisputed highlight for my sister heather and myself was the fact that all our kids got up at 6am on the dot. EACH DAY! once it was 5am! we all stayed in bottom floor of the beach house(the happening autism floor, as all three families downstairs has a child with autism! cue the fire alarms!) then we had to appease everyone until the upstairs floor of the beach house unlocked their door so that we could bother them. even 6am at the beach looks amazing!

in the evening, we had different adult activities. heather and i put together a game reminiscing our childhood in blue springs, missouri, called memory memory. we tried to include as many wacky, crazy, funny things that we experienced growing up. we truly grew up in a neighborhood and church ward with some of the most extraordinarily strange and incredibly wonderful people. we laughed and cried and told ridiculous stories and probably alienated our in laws with our delightfully imaginatively weird childhood.

we celebrated scarlett's birthday again with a subpar ice cream cake. she still has young, underdeveloped taste buds so she was okay with it.

one of the best parts of my childhood, sandy shakes, or milkshakes made by mom. she does it just right. no mixer, just a spoon, some milk and a splash of vanilla. i had 2 and i'm closeted lactose intolerant.

babe of the whole beach.

our view each day.

a few of us went parasailing. this poor guy must be in a thousand family photo albums doing this same lame joke.

thomas and i had our turn. turns out parasailing is kind of like marriage, one big push off the boat and then smooth sailing for the rest of the ride. hahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahhahahahaha.


family pictures went off without a hitch! naturally!

reagan did another performance of his fire safety puppet show. we limited it to 10 minutes and 8 songs. 

some of the audience had seen it a few times and a few newbies got to experience it for the first time. i bet they can't get the ditty, "don't play with ma-ah-tches" out of their heads.

grandma sandy passed out family awards. i don't appreciate my award because can only be so pleasant in the morning on so little sleep. nobody else knows the troubles i've seen. 

more exquisite views.

 thomas had $12 that he felt like burning or throwing in the garbage but instead he used this money to buy this hat and he wore it all day every day. 

on our last night FUNcle dan took us all our ghost crabbing. it was so fun to chase these scary little skittering creepy crabs around. 

the next morning heather and i ran around like crazy people trying to pack up our stuff while everyone else was cool as a cucumber. why is this? i was wiping sweat off my face every 5 minutes. i'm a professional mom and have been for 11 years now and i've still not mastered the art of the chill. scarlett and cousin whitney were doing a pathetic job on deflating an inflatable so i had to get down and dirty and show them how to use leverage and body weight to force the air out. i guess those little girls don't have enough "leverage" like i do. 

my dear sweet mother was chasing down each car that was leaving to make sure we had enough leftovers from the fridge for the drive home. those 3 heads of lettuce went to good use.

the only shot of our reunion t shirt that i got. "are we out of the driveway yet?" and a station wagon. just like old times.

we ate at longhorn steakhouse on the way out of town. for most of this summer, i've eschewed wearing makeup and i love it. that is until the end of day and i look in the mirror and wonder who this tired and sweaty lady is.

gas station in florida, full selection of jorts, or jean shorts, for the whole family. 

this darling boy was a dream on the drive home.

thomas was a champ and was a great bathroom supervisor. 

finally, this is how my dad would wear his sunglasses or regular glasses at the end of a long day. and now i do it too. hail to the dad. 

thanks to my wonderful mother for making this happen. it was incredible to be with family. when you don't live by family, get togethers are extra special. 

the end.