Tuesday, August 26, 2014

last train from simpsonville


last meal at our favorite mexican restaurant, papa's and beer. (no, mom. they don't make you drink beer.)

last run on my favorite treadmill at the ymca where i received my last inappropriate comment from the unofficial ymca inappropriate comment maker. some compliments you don't want.


scarlett running her last lap on the indoor track, right before we went to her last ballet performance.

last time heading the down the "scary" stairs that reagan used to crawl up and down when we first moved here because the opening sides freaked him out so much.

athena blythe's last day as ruler of the ymca childcare. her loyal subjects sent her off with a balloon, a farewell card and TWO presents. there will never be another ymca like this ever again.



last view of my "other" house of worship in greenville. 

last view of the local strip club that i always had to drive by on my way to our doctor's offices. my wish of tinting my car windows really dark and parking and watching who goes into platinum plus during their lunch break will never be realized. (lunch shift strippers? they must have a great buffet.)

last oil change at my favorite lube shop, jesse's on main street. i never had to wait more than 20 minutes. ever. 

last swim at our neighborhood pool with our neighborhood pool friends. 



last hug with reagan's tutor, mrs. steele. i want her to move in with us and my our sisterwife. but just the sister part and in charge of all the tutoring. (this is how autistic kids show affection.)

very natural smile, reagan. 

last get together with friends, which felt more like cleaning my empty house because it was cleaning my empty house. service until the very end. i'm a lucky gal.

holly, the snookie to my jwoww.

lindsay

julie. my dear julie. who just does and serves and loves and humbles me. she should write a book on how to befriend an autistic kid and put up with his mom. she does it right. 

last week of weather:
great for being outside, not that great for loading up.

last look at one of the bathrooms thomas and i painted together. true love paints together, even if they hate it.

last look at my piano going out the door. i had to go hide upstairs so i wouldn't have to listen to it squeal. thomas surprised me though and it made it here in one piece and no one threw out their back lifting it.

last look at my house, with all my little hostas that i planted out front that i'm sure our renters are going to stomp all over or ignore and the grass that thomas worked so hard to grow when he was given a barren patch of dirt to work with. the house we never really liked beside the white and black exterior, but we loved our ward and our town and our neighborhood and our friends so much.

last hugs with sammi jean.

reagan's last look in his room.

my last look at simpsonville includes my love, who i will follow to the ends of the earth, hitching up my pathfinder in the pouring rain.

the end.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

welcome to atlanta where the players play

we're here.
 the most dreadful parts of moving are completed. 
i was stressing BIG TIME about getting the kids ready for school. the house we chose to rent we specifically chose because it was located near the best rated school we could find. i don't love this house, i just wanted school to be an easy homerun. we arrived in georgia friday morning and school started the following tuesday, august 5th, so i had to scramble to get the kids registered ASAP. i showed up at our zoned school with my giant shoe box of school paperwork and IEP info and birth certificates underarm, looking like death warmed over and the kids looked and acted like unloved street urchins and i felt like we were treated accordingly. it was a struggle and we left with scarlett possibly registered at our zoned school and the uncertainty that reagan could not be placed there because they did not accommodate autistic students, but "they would let me know" his potential school. needless to say, i went home and cried a lot and then made about 213,412 phone calls trying to figure out where reagan would be going to school. school districts love crazy phone calls from concerned parents on incoming students right before school starts. by tuesday morning, i still hadn't heard any updates, so i loaded up the kids and thomas and i took them to the local school because we were going to have kids in school THAT DAY, come hell or high water or thomas's imposing lawyer stare. 

the only reason i could find any of our first day of school stuff is because i did all my school supply and back to school clothes shopping before we moved and i packed all first day of school stuff in its own box and i never let it out of my sight. scarlett and reagan put together their outfits themselves. 


at the school, they put scarlett in a classroom and she had to sit at a side table until a desk could be located for her. she was so brave and i could tell it was hard for her to go to this new classroom full of strange faces and not even have her name on the door or have a space set aside for her.
then the rest of us went to the library and waited until reagan was sorted. thomas made prolonged, imposing eye contact with administrators and reagan worked on math problems that i wrote down on scrap paper i had in my purse, which he was surprisingly compliant about. blythe opened reagan's lunch and ate it. i tried to remain positive but i was feeling streeeessssss about reagan. we had been assured that gwinnett county is great for special education, i just hadn't seen it yet. 
after about 90 minutes of waiting and feigned patience, reagan had a school assignment! and it wasn't the one we were at! we headed home to repack reagan another lunch and headed over to reagan's assigned school. once we got there, i was met at the front office by the assistant principal and the autism specialist for the 3rd graders! 
reagan was placed in a mainstream 3rd grade classroom that includes 6 other autistic students! there is always at least 1 paraprofessional in the classroom during instruction time to assist with learning and whatnot. PLUS, they have an autism resource classroom just down the hall for one on one schoolwork help, social therapy, occupational therapy and decompression(2 trampolines!). tender mercies of the Lord. i was so relieved to find that reagan would be in a great school situation. 
the next issue was getting scarlett reassigned to the same school as reagan so that i would only have to worry about one school drop off and pick up and never worry i would not make it in time. atlanta traffic is no joke even out in the ultra suburbs where we live. 
poor lamb, i went back to her school, had her withdrawn and listened to her bawl her face off about having to have 2 first days of school. imagine the anxiety of having to be brave another day at another brand new school when everyone else already had their first day anxieties the day before! she pulled through though. 
and she really liked her 2nd day of school outfit so i think that helped a lot. i know new clothes really help me feel better.


i was worried that blythe would miss buddy and sissy too much while they are gone at school but she doesn't seem bothered at all by their disappearance. in fact, she seems downright pleased to have me all to herself and not have to deal with the big kids constantly bothering her and playing jokes on her.

and no one changes the channel on her when she watches her favorite shows.

each new day is a new chance to defy death.

final notes-
scarlett has a new neighborhood friend with whom she can be weird. 

and blythe had the MOST EPIC tantrum/meltdown at the local kroger. it involved kicking me in the stomach, stripping off her dress multiple times and running away and hiding.

Yo, Yo.. Yo..Yo, Yo,
Welcome to Atlanta where the playas play
And we ride on them things like every day
Big beats, hit streets, see gangsta's roamin'
And parties dont stop til' eight in the mornin'

Sunday, July 27, 2014

a singular sabbath and some dollar summer movie quotes

today was our last sunday at our ward in simpsonville. 
*reagan's snake of the day was a rattlesnake, for those keeping track of his personal snake collection. 
 it was a sad day. i said the opening prayer in in relief society so i would avoid end of church crying and i still bawled and gasped and sputtered and it was em-barr-assing(said in a multi-syllabic sing song voice). but for realz, i'm also ready to roll. let's do this. i will go, i will do. let's not drag it out by wallowing, right?

i'm so glad we lived here. i'd love to come back to live here again someday. it's been a wonderful place for our family. everywhere we have lived has helped us progress and come closer to Christ. i'm not who i was 4 years ago and i'm glad. my testimony has grown and i have felt love and my testimony has grown some more. "we rise to the amount of love we're shown." i heard that quote that while suffering through the smurfs 2 at the summer dollar movie. a dollar well spent! i've learned that sometimes to feel love you have to realize that it's not necessarily how you think you should receive it. we can't dictate what people should do for us or how they should love us. we will never be satisfied that way. that's selfish love. we have to accept love how it is given. i've learned more about having gratitude in all things. that's how i feel happiest. i feel most natural complaining about everything, but happiest when i choose to see the good. without gratitude, "we are filling a cup with no bottom"- kung fu panda 2! pow!

i hope it doesn't take the almost requisite year to discover my next batch of friends who love my kids and tolerate me(because being tolerated is all i care about if my kids make good friends). the people who have truly loved and served my children have done more for me than they probably realize. my cup runneth over. they have been an answer to prayers. not just prayers, but pleadings for love and accpetance. knowing that there are people who see the need to include my children when it is not always easy or convenient has blessed me and inspired me beyond measure. it has also shown me that i can do so much more for others than i currently am. talking about unity is all lip service until you are truly extending yourself to the lonely and friendless.  
(steps off soapbox,
back to regularly scheduled programming)

why is athena blythe so dang difficult during sacrament meeting? at one point i had her propped across my biceps and did some curls just to keep her from running out of the building. probably not the most reverent of activities but neither is the whisper yelling i was doing or rest of the stuff she wanted to do. she wholly rejects all quiet, religious based church activities or toys.

i finally broke down and let her go get her latest favorite obnoxious toy from the car, a naked, male army doll riding a horse. thomas jimmy-rigged the doll to stay on because that had become quite the issue.

unrelated,
scarlett's post church snack plate:
i later made a pan of my mom's famously fantastic blondies. there is no evidence besides my overstuffed stomach. 
the end.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

water log

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
another dang scout project completed and now i'm off the hook until next year- walt whitman and heidi simpson
(poetry doesn't have to rhyme)

raingutter regatta, or regada as some poor soul on our scout committee kept writing on the mass emails, causing my eyes to bleed with every read, is completed! and like pinewood derby, i realized that i had to go to drastic measures to complete our ship. unfortunately, the junk store does not sell completed boats for me to purchase and pass off as my own, so another scout's father took mercy on me and made it for us, the day of the regatta, no less. he even seemed to really enjoy the task. engineers of the world, i salute you! 
reagan even wanted to name our vessel after him.

and like pinewood, reagan "won" every race. you cannot burst that boy's bubble of enjoyment with reality and i will knife anyone who tries. 

blythe figured out that there was water in them thar inflatable raingutters and did what every other kid wished they had thought of:


satisfied. if there is ever a cub scout patch for world's largest tape worm, blythe gets it!

in other water news, we've been trying to hit up the pool as much as possible. an hour here, an hour there.

pole dancing. but only so she can work her way through medical school. that's the only acceptable reason.


absolutely no fear in this child. she is swimming across the neighborhood pool solo, just wearing her puddle jumper. all the lifeguards know her by name. 



 reagan was cracking me up today. he was bored out of his mind because there were no other kids there today(which BLOWS my mind, it's summer! what else do you want to be doing when it's a bazillion degrees?) and in between jumping in and retrieving his diving dart, he took a few attempts to "baptize" himself. 
as in doing this number,
raising his hand to the square, saying a prayer and then dunking himself backward. classic.

this is him coming back out of the water after his self baptism:

he's a character.


finally, there is a class at the gym i've been wanting to try for a year now but i've never done it because it requires swimming and weights and it's the hardest class offered at the ymca. but, i love a challenge at the gym so i finally got the courage to do it. 


and it was horrible, just like i like. and by horrible, horribly embarassing because i can hardly lift myself out of a pool without using my legs so i got to roll out like a beached whale. also, try this next time you're at the pool. swim out to the deep end where you can't touch whatsoever and try going down to the bottom with a weight overhead and then swimming back up. or treading water and taking an XXL shirt on an off several times. i made eye contact with the lifeguard several times and at one point i asked him to keep particular eye on me because i did not know if i was going to make it. he laughed and i laughed but i wasn't really laughing. because funerals are only fun for the live people.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

nothing's gonna stop us now!

12 years! 2 dates in one week!
 all our dates seem to end at target because running errands never ends!
we did our usual olive garden anniversary date and then we also went out again a few days later to what we had been told was the best steakhouse around, the peddler. 
we were not disappointed. i even broke my cardinal rule of "no cell phone at the table taking pictures of food in a restaurant". because this steak was just that big. 

this was what we brought home as leftovers. the portions were HUGE and the salad bar was excellent including GIANT blue cheese chunks. yum. add a side of peas on romaine-delicious! 

more pictures of steak than you ever wanted!
*and my super dirty microwave.

our culminating celebration for our 12 years of absolute bliss was cleaning out the garage together, in anticipation of our next move.
 to atlanta. 
 in 2 WEEKS!
 you guessed it. last week's trip to atlanta was to find a new place to rent and we will rent out our house here in greenville until we can devote more time to selling it. i'm heartbroken. we all are. we love greenville. we love our neighborhood. we love our friends. we love south carolina. i really, really love my gym(more than some of my friends). nevertheless, we're a family that sticks together and we go where will be best for each member of our family long term. 
any yet, 
poooooooooooooooooop. 
poop sandwich. 
at least i'm not in charge of packing everything up. after 12 years and 54223 moves, we source that out. 

garage cleaning was a success.
thomas especially loves how the sweat drips off my nose after mere minutes of exertion. 

thankfully, ever dang neighborhood kid showed up to not help and not organize stuff and not throw junk away. 


cleaning the garage was actually slightly fun. i got to organize everything and stress about item placement which is what i wish i could go back to college and major in. with a minor is public scrutiny.
our garage is a beautiful thing. even with our weird, extra storage room the former owners put it. it's good for locking up ornery kids and growing marijuana. 

then we went swimming...

 at the greatest neighborhood pool that cannot be replicated, because, believe me, we've looked. 
*our version of a synchronized jump
**olympics 2016 for sure!

then to really show our love and devotion to one another, thomas and i painted our master bathroom on saturday night. 




sunday morning we both overslept from exhaustion and still made it to church on time. because we are that in love. nothing's gonna stop us now.
sing with me!
"Let 'em say we're crazy, what do they know 
Put your arms around me baby 
Don't ever let go 
Let the world around us just fall apart 
Baby we can make it if we're heart to heart 
And we can build this dream together 
Standing strong forever 
Nothing's gonna stop us now 
And if this world runs out of lovers 
We'll still have each other 
Nothing's gonna stop us, nothing's gonna stop us now "
-starship

shake out sweaty  80s hair band hair, end post.