Wednesday, June 24, 2015

more stories about vomit (and poop!)

dear sister heather texted me a few weeks ago on a sunday morning and said, you should drive down to tampa while uncle dan is taking the young men to scout camp next week. and i said, YES! normally, i say no. because i am no fun. i say no because i have too many kids. i say no because we are very busy with mundane tasks here. i say no because thomas has work. i say no because i am terrible at staying awake while riding in the car. those things are all still true, and yet i said yes! i took my balls out of my purse and walked up to the plate and decided i was going to hit a home run! i kissed thomas goodbye and loaded up the kids, snacks and DVD players.
we left on saturday and the kids were remarkably well behaved in the car trip down. i said several prayers concerning gas, tires and bathroom breaks and everything went swimmingly. we stopped at a chik-fil-a in tifton, georgia for lunch and bathrooms and that was our only potty stop, which is great considering how many bladders i was dealing with. 
i was especially proud of myself for driving more than 7 hours solo. that is not my thing. i had a 6 pack of diet dr pepper and a jumbo bag of jumbo sour patch kids and i sang "jesus, take the wheel" a few times in my head. and then i listened to journey's greatest hits on repeat. 

the first night in all our natural beauty:
we laughed until the wee hours and looked at houses we can't afford in cities we didn't live in on

 our sunday evening walk:

since reagan loves to be the keeper of the schedule, he had aunt heather put one together for him. needless to say, by about 2, the schedule was shot.

 monday, we hit the beach. did you know that there are no waves on the western shores of florida?

it was so beautiful and fun. someday i want to go back and just people watch. there was even a mom there wearing thong bikini and playing with her kids. it wasn't me.

blythe wasn't that keen on the ocean at first. but she soon made a BIG splash by wandering off and getting lost more than a few times. at one point she was gone for around 10 minutes and we had to employ help from people around us to find her. a lady found her all the way down the beach trying to climb some rocks. it was a long, frantic 10 minutes. after that, we left the beach because my nerves were shot.

on the way home, we solved all our problems with ice cream.

an unexpected morning visitor:

the next day we went to adventure island water park. we got a baby sitter for the babies and loaded up the big kids. i was REALLLLLY looking forward to this day with no babies under foot. what i learned is that blythe is still a baby. within the first 5 minutes of arriving at the water park, blythe got lost and was NOT wearing her puddle jumper. she was so lost that i had to have security called in to help locate her. i kept thinking over and over, this is how blythe dies, this is how blythe dies. she had been gone about 10 minutes when security located her at the complete opposite side of the water park trying to get in line for the big water slides. having blythe get lost twice in two days meant there were a lot of tersely worded demand prayers being offered. when i finally saw her with secuirty i almost fell down the stairs with relief. i wanted to strangle/hug her for the rest of her life. 
after the blythe's breach of security, heather and i kept our eyes on her like a hawk. we took all the kids to the wave pool and showed them the joys of artificial waves. blythe loved it so much that she drank half the pool and then vomited it back up on my hair and down her suit and inside my suit. i had to rush her to the bathroom to assess the damage where i discovered the world's worst case of swim diaper diarrhea. both our suits were beyond repair and i was in a fighting mood from all the rude comments from passersby in the bathroom. for the LOVE, i'm cleaning up with two worst bodily fluids off my baby and my own person and you think a very loud and distasteful "EWWW" is helping? i'll show you, "EW"! so, after one glorious hour at adventure island, i killed the party and we left. and then blythe threw up some more in the car. back at heather's i took a loooong shower and removed more vomit chunks from inside my suit. i couldn't cry at that point. i was beyond. now all i can do is laugh about it. 
this is the one picture i took from our day at adventure island:

in true beck sister style, the next few days consisted of making fun of ourselves. we took ridiculous pictures of ourselves dancing making fun of each other's terrible dancing and thought up "recipes" that people would never want to recreate. 
behold, day old pancakes with chocolate chips.

it also rained quite a bit one day...

and we were trapped inside so we laughed about that too.

but now i know that the $25 jumbo platter of chik-fil-a nuggest will feed two adults and 6 children and the playplace is just engaging enough, if not sanitary enough.

this is where we're staying next time. there will be a lot less luggage.

i'm so glad that i took the kids on this trip. it was so fun and i feel like i proved to myself that i can do ANYTHING! and by anything, i mean clean up barf in one more state. it wasn't a picture perfect, blogworthy or instagram-worthy trip with posed pictures and perfect outfits. i actually wore the same outfit all 6 days if i wasn't wearing my swimsuit and i only wore makeup once! herschel was the perfect baby, scarlett and reagan were great helpers and loved playing with june(or junior) and baby gwen. blythe wasn't a complete pill, though a pill may have helped her in a few situations. we took the kids to all sorts of places including church, which was no small thing and a specialty boutique called target, so that the kids could pick florida souvenirs. scarlett picked out a couple of strings of lights to decorate her room. we cooked and made desserts and homemade cafe rio and played uno until late at night and swam and got TWO different lectures from perfect strangers who were questioning our parenting abilities. it was the perfect vacation for sisters who just wanted to see each other. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

the end of (school) days

 we're done with 2nd and 3rd grade. school let out on thursday after several absolutely grueling days of movie watching and the cleaning out of desks. why they even went to school the last week is because i needed to get as much done as possible before i have to start taking 4 kids with me to the grocery store. otherwise they could have stayed home that week and cleaned their rooms and done chores for as much as they were doing at school.

scarlett had a great year. she absolutely loved school and she had cried several times over missing her teacher, all while still seeing her every day. according to scarlett, one of her biggest accomplishments is crossing the monkey bars. i think her biggest accomplishment was learning to go out of her way to be a friend. she struggled for the first few months with her shyness and only spent time with reagan on the playground. when reagan transferred to another school, i had to coach her every day on what to do to approach people to make friends. it was really hard for her to be in a completely new environment with nothing familiar, but we practiced multiple conversation scenarios and she kept at it and became completely comfortable with talking to new children. being a friend is such an important skill. few things aggravate me more than a person who has a terrible social experience because they depend on others to talk to them. 
scarlett also learned to make her own breakfast, completely unaided. except for the cleaning up part. but i think kids who clean up after themselves is an urban legend. 

reagan also had a great year and after he transferred to his new school program, he really did well in school. we are still working to decipher his alternative learning methods, but we're making a lot of progress. homework was often a marathon of pain, but after the wailing and gnashing of teeth, he could accomplish the task in about 20 minutes. sounds like some adults i know.  when i asked him about his favorite thing from this year, his answer is always, i hope there are girls in my class next year. ladies man, indeed. 

 things i won't miss: driving an hour each morning and each afternoon in order to do the car line at two schools in two different towns. 

i also won't miss being stuck in car line and driving home behind this dipstick:
all us carline moms are WAY impressed at him revving his engine when he was behind us and then driving at breakneck speed to each stop sign on the way home. so cool. so. cool. i feel bad for his kid.

both my kids are going to miss seeing this bicycle memorial on the side of the road somewhere in between reagan and scarlett's schools. a bicyclist was killed on that stretch of road and my kids were morbidly fascinated by it. a close 2nd place of interesting was seeing a house with goats and miniature ponies in the yard and thirdly was when i caught the green light at the top of a hill and i was get enough speed to gas my engine and catch air, leaving behind our stomachs and all safety precautions. simple pleasures. next year's drop off with take less than 10 minutes so i'm not sure what i will do to entertain them. 

school school. what will we do without you? probably a whole lot of nothing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

the target demographic has left the building

milestone update:

easter 2015

something i like about reagan. 
i've told him on more than one occasion that mom and dad are santa claus and the easter bunny and the tooth fairy and he has rejected that information. we've discussed the ins and outs of why we do it, he digests the information and then decides he just wants to believe. and i think that is great. let's all believe!

our church put on a special needs carnival for all local special needs children in the area and their families and it was great. (except for the kid operating the plinko game who had never heard of plinko or the price is right before and i had to school him on how it works. kids these days!) i love the efforts by our church to make special needs children feel more included. everyone needs a friend. and everyone needs to ride a pony!

my darling blythe turned 3. it was also a low key year for her but she totally "got" present opening this year. 

to say she is a little mermaid fan is an understatement. 

i also reached a big milestone this year. 35. marketing companies and television and movies will now no longer cater to my opinion for the rest of my life. i guess i'm relieved. it was a lot of pressure liking one of the few well-crafted shows here and there only to have it canceled due to low ratings. stop dragging my heart around!
and hurricane athena blythe at my leftover birthday cake. all part of the job description, i guess.

and this is where i got my new phone and the clarity difference in all my pictures is absolutely incredible. it's like when i got new glasses and realized that those blobs were trees and those little things on them were leaves. JUST LIKE IN BOOKS!

scarlett had a monumental field day. i always dreaded field day because of my genetic history, lackius of athleticus abilitium, but she and her class knocked it out of the park. i think pitting kids against each other in a competitive setting is brilliant, as long as my kids win.

my requisite mother's day picture, first time as a mother of four. i really love being a mom. i couldn't say that 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago and i never EVER say that during the hours of 5-7pm each night, but i love being a mom, poop, vomit, screaming and everything. and that's just me.

hersch is thriving. he sleeps from 8pm to nearly 8am when i have to put him in his carseat for school drop off. it's like i discovered the golden ticket to willy wonka's chocolate factory. it's makes quite the difference on my outlook on life in general.
people keep asking me how much he weighs and in all honesty, i have no idea. i always say around 12-13 pounds, but if i can't get myself on a scale, i'm certainly not going to put my baby on a scale. i don't even think we own a scale anymore. ain't nobody got time for that. hersch wears 0-3 month outfits and a few newborn things here and there. he'll be 4 months on june 4th. 

we've had a few 90 degree days and the kids have discovered the joys of trampolines and hoses. saturday has been transformed.

probably the biggest news is that these 2 ding dongs finally learned to TIE SHOELACES. reagan's hands don't like anything that requires fine motor attention scarlett just skated by this long.

again, low expectations and you'll be richly rewarded.

reagan- "now that i can tie shoes, will a girl want to marry me?"

final note. simpsonville house is thisclose to being put on the market. all the renovations that we've wanted to do for so long are finally done. it's a shame not to have been able to enjoy it, but this is the first chance we've had to do any upgrades. it looks amazing. we're just waiting on new countertops and a few light fixtures to be switched out.
 a sneak peak from last week when they finished the floors and paint:
the end.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

this is our song

in our family, we all have a song. it started when thomas and i were on our honeymoon in florida and every time we got in the car we heard kenny chesney's song, the good stuff. it was annoying. it was hokey. it was too country. we kept changing the station. and then we stopped changing the station when we actually started hearing the words and it became our song. 
a few years later when reagan was born a month premature, i was driving up to the hospital multiple times a day to visit him and when i would get in the car i was constantly hearing two songs by kelly clarkson, breakaway, and behind these hazel eyes, over and over and over. then when he finally came home i would be up all night with him and i would watch music videos on MTV and VH1 and the rob thomas single, lonely no more, would be on heavy rotation. any time i hear any of those songs i am quickly reminded of the first few weeks of reagan's life. i chose, behind these hazel eyes, as reagan's song because those other two songs just annoy me a little too much. 
a tradition was born. everyone has a song. it's the song that was most popular on the radio a lot when they were born or in thomas and my case, when our marriage was born. the song chooses us and whenever we hear them when we are out and about, we turn them up and sing at the top of our lungs. even though i am notorious for not liking a song simply because it was overplayed on the radio, in this case it's fun because you know that in 20 years these songs will still be played on the dentist office style popular and country radio stations and we can think about each other. tradition? tradition!

reagan's song. if reagan could choose his own song today it would be, come and get it(nah nah nah nah) by selena gomez. it's an instant classic over here in these parts. 

scarlett's song. instantly reminds me of the world's most scorching summer in montgomery, alabama and giving birth to scarlett in the middle of it. 

athena blythe's song. this song is the most fun to sing in the car. blythe is the most fun in the car too, unbuckling her carseat at high rates of speed.

herschel's song, by a native georgian, naturally. i love this style of country twang. authentic americana.

mom and dad's song. thank goodness tank tops on men are popular again. i can't get enough of men's hairy armpits. who doesn't want to see that? this song can change the night to day for us. we can be grumbling in the car about whatever daily task, or disagreement we are experiencing(and i'm not afraid to admit we don't always get along) and this comes on and it is the balm of gilead to our marital soul. it can almost drown out the discordant shrieks our undomesticated passengers. (undomesticated passengers! band name! called it!)

Monday, May 11, 2015

party of 6

writing for a wife and mother, "is like rowing against wind and tide"- harriet beecher stowe

when i started writing this blog post, herschel had been home from the hospital 3 weeks after nearly 5 weeks in the NICU. as of this edit, herschel has been home 9 weeks. time flies and every minute counts toward staying afloat as opposed to making progress.

 i was a mixed bag about herschel coming home. i missed having him with us but it was nice to be able to heal and rest and have him completely cared for while he worked so hard get big and strong. it was like the most expensive baby sitter of all time. but he lives here full time and pays taxes and all that so i guess we're making it.  

we had tons of wonderful people bring us dinner but next time i'm a millionaire i'm going to totally order a meal from instead of flowers. thomas' office sent us meals from instead of flowers on two different days and it was great. it was TONS of great food, plus reusable insulated totes!

this is all ONE MEAL!

and since i've got to get caught up a million thoughts and posts, here is a gratuitous amount of photos with one line captions:

chicken leg baby

feeding tube up the nose because like his brother before him he was good at figuring out how to pull it out.

two sisters pushing the new stroller around the living room and getting its first dents in it.

the bed herschel has yet to spend the night in. 

darling big sissy in the NICU

the triumphant arrival on sunday march 22nd!

love at first sight

2 kids in diapers is so expensive
a huge chunk of our budget goes toward velcro bags that hold poop that we throw away. 

Thursday, April 02, 2015

reagan's first decade

muppets+maps+the color green+a pinata=success

you can't go wrong with this combination and reagan. 
our family is doing small, at home birthdays this year, which is a far cry from some of our extravaganzas in the past and i'm ttttffffpppphrilled(said with spitting) about it. 
reagan requested a kermit the frog cake and i wanted to explore new chocolate frosting options. i found a GREAT one that only required one small change from the other version i normally use. instead of add the cocoa powder last, i mixed it in FIRST with the butter, before adding anything else. then i added powdered sugar, whole milk and vanilla as per usual. it was fantastical. 
the rest of the kermit process was pretty easy and i even splurged on a food safe marker for the eyes. 

we had the small festivities on a sunday evening with two families that reagan particularly enjoys. he surprised all of us by reading a story to his guests. i was especially surprised since the boy hates reading, but he loves to perform. he simply cannot ignore the call of the stage.

for his actual birthday we ate a few leftover cupcakes that i bought for his class from the special kneads bakery in town that was specifically opened to cater to the employment needs of special needs individuals. i can't even type that without tearing up at the wonderful thing they are doing. only about 11% of autistic adults are employed and often not full time or to their capability so three cheers for them for head up the special needs employment revolution.

this past week was the DREADED pinewood derby. lucky for me, our current troop spent an entire evening cutting out the body style so all that was left for reagan(ME) to do was sand and paint and reagan(I) can do those things. 

the night of the derby, after i had done all that i could do to create an acceptable car, one of our dear scout leaders took it upon himself to do some last minute adjustments and created a pinewood super car. reagan didn't lose a single race and he gets to compete in the district competition in the next few weeks. go reagan!(ME!)

from the pictures, he was obviously thrilled. 

it was after 8pm and that is when reagan shuts down for the evening. 

more blurry pictures! i ordered a new camera download cord and the first time i tried to use it, my camera stopper working! hurray! i think it's in cahoots with the computer printer and the garage door opener because none of them like to work for me either.