Monday, March 27, 2017

this one time i learned to recognize a miracle when it was given to me

oh, march! why dost thou try me so? why is my memory so fuzzy?

at the beginning of the month, the entire 5th grade at reagan's school went bowling and apparently reagan had the highest score and won a trophy. i feel like further investigation should have been required while they were tallying because according to one eye witness(thomas), reagan insisted on using the lane bumpers and that resulted in an inflated score. perhaps the trophy is to recognize student who could best work the system? the student who best seized opportunity?

the majority of the rest of this month has been consumed with reagan talking about his birthday and his party and scheduling and his very long guest list and his food choices. 

birthday morning gift opening in the dark. we wrapped up a bulk package of macaroni and cheese from the girls because that never seems to get old for him.

and a green bow tie from grandma sandy because bow ties are just that important to our family. grandpa doug loved bow ties and he shares a birthday with reagan. i'm grateful i get to reflect on my dad's life on my son's birthday. the ciiiiiiircle of liiiiiiiiiife!

also, i can never go wrong on adding to reagan's three stripe adidas sweatpants collection from costco. he has not worn jeans once to school this year. he's only worn jeans once in recent memory and that was to his christmas piano recital. that was his level of dressing up that day. 

the insisted upon birthday dinner menu, frozen hash browns, kraft macaroni and cheese and gnocchi with alfredo sauce. it's the reverse atkins diet.

reagan's party was planned for saturday, march 18th. we woke to rain despite my earnest prayers and pleadings. rain on my other kids birthdays is no big deal to me. we will deal with it. but throw me a bone on reagan's birthday! we need the social interaction! we had a TON of kids invited and i needed some good circumstances to facilitate this backyard bounce house party. we had mostly kids from church coming, but i had a special surprise too. i secretly invited reagan's best friend, jeremy, from his class last year, to his party. they hadn't seen each other since last may but they've kept in touch via letters through reagan's tutor, who also works at jeremy's school. it's an old fashioned pencil and paper bromance. 

so that rainy saturday, i ate my weight in veggie straws, trying to keep my nerves intact. i knew things would work out despite the rain. i pray for parties. God cares about reagan's party. things would work out. the party was from 2-4 and around 11, the rain stopped. it was still a muddy mess but we were able to get most of the water off the bounce house and the yard dried up a little. but EVERYONE CAME and EVERYONE had a great time. 

here's the miracle breakdown analysis:
for weeks i prayed that it would not rain on reagan's party day. i felt more than a little let down when i woke up to rain. we had almost all guests RSVP in the affirmative, but many guests had caveats, "we'll be late because of this prior outside activity" or "our evening sport starts right then so we'll have to leave early." because of the rain, almost every outdoor activity was cancelled and nearly everyone was able to come and stay the whole time. the miracle could have been no rain, but then lots of kids wouldn't have been able to come. because of the miracle rain, all the kids were able to come and stay the whole time. the Lord delivers. always. He usually has a much better plan than i've thought up.

here's the score: the Lord 9818181
heidi- 0
but i'm totally fine with that.
more excellent photography. 

we did the usual costco cake. reagan was begging for a my little pony fluttershy cake. i compromised by allowing fluttershy to make and appearance on the cake along with a queen lyric. 




reagan and his surprise guest jeremy. jeremy's 3 brothers came and it was the more the merrier.

this is someone else's plate that hersch confiscated.

the party ended on a high note, thomas, and my dear friend heidi, debating the importance of the usage of the oxford comma. they both pored over a thick grammar text and they both think they won the debate. there was something for everyone at this party. i'm pro oxford comma, for the record. thomas is against.
also, with 20+ kids there, i was even able to show off a little and use my well honed toilet plunging skills. thank you to whoever left me that present. happy birthday indeed.

reagan in his birthsuit! punny! never gets old!

and then saturday i took the girls to see beauty and the beast. i threatened another mother in the theater and i feel okay about it. 


Sunday, February 26, 2017

8 days a week

 saturday! 
one of my goals for the year is it try a new restaurant every month. thomas and i went to ponce city market to see what all the cool kids were eating. ponce city market is like a giant hipster food court housed in a former turn of the century sears distribution building near downtown atlanta. the drive was long and the lines for the individual restaurants were even longer so we got in the shortest line because we are old and tired. we ended up getting fried chicken from hop's and it was great, except over priced. i'm cheap! i like lots of food! surrounding the food court is several shops that had ridiculously overpriced handmade atlanta centric things that we didn't need but it was sure fun to laugh at. probably my favorite part of the experience were all the historical artifacts that were used as informational decor for the building. lots of original beams and they had the motor for the original elevator. sears used to ship all sorts of animals, including monkeys. the spirit of doug beck lives on as i attempted to read every historical plaque. 

monday was no school and i had to do my workout at home. my neighbor decided to trim his shrubs that adjoin my driveway and watch/chat with me. it was as great as it sounds, especially when he would ask me how hard my workout was as i was running sprints up and down the hill that we live on. 

tuesday and wednesday were half days for parent teacher conference. i think half days are a special kind of terrible. no one learns anything because everything is so short and i spend a good amount of the day driving around to make it through the extra long car lines during a condensed day. the great news was that we had good reports from reagan and scarlett's teachers. in case you're wondering, a special needs student parent teacher conference is normally around 1 hour. there is always so much to discuss and new things to try and implement. it can be equal parts invigorating and discouraging. i feel very blessed that we haven't had the problems with the schools that we had in simpsonville. our district wants to help and reagan's teacher is creative and dauntless.

that day was also momentous as i left reagan at home by himself for the first time ever. ever. he just doesn't want to be home alone. i am the opposite. emphasis on the alone part. it was successful and i trust him ish but i was so nervous about the rest of the universe falling apart while he was home. 

i bought this wooden car hauler for herschel on wednesday. i am usually not weak when it comes to caving to toys, but this is a highly caveable toy. 

athena blythe came home from school with this special belated valentine. this is why we keep her. 

practicing her puppy dogs eyes while she gets used to the feel of bars in her hands. 


friday i finished a project i've had on my art to do list for years. this canvas hung over my fireplace for years in kansas city and simponville. i got tired of it's look a while ago, but i didn't want to get rid of a canvas this large without re purposing it. 

thanks to hobby lobby and a couple of sunny friday afternoons, this is finished product. abstract art is kind of my jam. 

saturday i ran 9 miles, when i had only planned 7, so i was sore and tired and then i made 6 dozen cookies for the priesthood preview. saturday evening thomas surprised me with a date AGAIN! two weeks in a row! plus, he drove us down to buckhead, which he doesn't love doing because he works down there, but he wanted to take me some place fawncy. and it was fawncy! american cut steakhouse and bar! we did not imbibe at the bar, but they had the BEST butter ever. it was a mixture of vegetable cream cheese and real buttah and i was putting a pat on eat bite. calories for the win. i ordered the filet mignon because it's my favorite and and thomas had a gigantic new york strip. our sides were big fat onion rings and THE BEST pimento macaroni and cheese with bread crumb topping. i never want to forget that macaroni. i had the leftovers today after church and it was just as decadent and satisfying. our dessert was a s'mores cheesecake. it was almost as good as the macaroni. 

dates with thomas are often few and far between, but he's my favorite. 
we stopped by kroger on the way home, because all dates end with errand running, and then i fell asleep as thomas blasted guns n' roses as we drove away from the city. i still am the grand champion of sleeping through anything. 

 sunday afternoon was the priesthood preview at our house for the boys turning 12 in the next year. naturally, after all the spirituality and uplifting and inspiring message, all the boys went and jumped on the trampoline. i love these nice boys. 

this is the cleanest this room has ever been. i keep walking by and smiling. clean makes me feel so peaceful.
(marriage still intact but television/cable wires still visible. opposition in all things.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

culminating projects


recent project round up! we still haven't gotten to the task of painting the bookshelves black, but i did spent some time last week discarding and purchasing new frames and mattes for our family history gallery walls. i love gallery walls. love them. i read once in an interior design class in college that it was a major design faux pas to hang family pictures in main areas of your home. that has always sat poorly with me. then where do we hang them? the laundry room? the bathroom? "hey grandma bonnie's portrait from 1940! i had taco soup last night and i'm not feeling so great today. can i spend the day in here with you?" 
that don't make no sense. so, design maxims be darned, i love a family gallery wall. i love looking at YOUR family gallery walls. you should love looking at my family gallery wall. my family is pretty great. and you can't smell their terrible breath through photos. 


the design unfurls:

the almost finished product, short of a few tweaks here and there.


we also painted the inside of the living room built-ins white. for some reason the interior had been painted dark brown and it always looked terrible and dingy and like the previous owner thought, "this room has a lot of natural light, what can we do to wreck that? let's paint the inside of the built-ins brown!" 
before:

after:
SO MUCH BETTER!


the never ending master bathroom horrific leak repair/remodel is finally done as of yesterday. we won't be flipping any houses any time soon. 

before:

everyone's favorite toilet in the tub!

midway through the tile. lovelovelove. 

terrible lighting on the finished product. the shower door was put up after i took this picture.

and the most stressful project, reagan's valentine's box. i thought it was brilliant for minimal effort and limited time. 

valentine's outfits. freddie mercury t shirt on reagan because he "loves freddie mercury".

herschel antics:




biggest highlight of february was the quick visit from my mom. she flew into town to see andrea boccelli perform. we all sit up taller when she is here, because she makes us want to be better. 

she is the picture of love and goodness. 

childhood forever!


big coat on a little boy!

the end

Sunday, February 05, 2017

green sneakers and perfection



as we were getting out of the car today and rushing into church, i noticed that reagan, instead of putting on his church shoes and socks, had put on his everyday green sneakers untied and he wore no socks. to say i was frustrated was an understatement. why am i so fond of unnecessary pressure and expectations? reagan's brain is an interesting machine. it can be sharp as a tack and remember explicit details and in the next moment not recall very simple and basic things, depending on current distractions or environmental conditions. how reagan looks is extremely important to me. i've noticed with myself and with reagan, people treat you better if you look more presentable. i like to get dressed and wear makeup when i need service in public because i get better response and attention than when i'm in sweaty gym clothes or grubby around the house clothes. it goes a step further with reagan. when you look at reagan, you don't initially grasp that he has special needs. after a few minutes or even seconds of interaction with him, most people quickly figure out that he functions with a different operating system. however, i find that people are more patient with him and tend to not talk to him in exaggerated syllables or juvenile tones if he looks more aesthetically presentable. sadly, that's just how it works. it's a lot of pressure on an innocent boy who lives with zero guile. however, when i saw reagan's sartorial misstep, i snapped at him. i immediately thought of other people's reactions to him or their reaction towards me as his mother. i'm weak. i want him to be universally accepted and respected. 
during sacrament meeting, there was a baby blessing of a baby born with down syndrome. i was trying to listen to the words of the blessing but also reconciling myself to how something so infinitesimally small as the wrong shoes at church was bothering me so much when the father of the baby said that she would be blessed with the opportunity to be married in the temple for time and all eternity. i'm embarrassed to say that me of little faith scoffed at that notion. me, who lives a special needs life, who wants that same blessing for my own child, would scoff at that blessing for someone else with special needs. my faith in what my own son can do and become can be so weak sometimes that i have little faith in the power and magnitude of our Heavenly Father's plan for each of his children. i get well intended comments all the time from people who have little to no experience with living with people with special needs. these comments are meant to be uplifting and encouraging, however, most of the time they fall flat to my ears. "of course reagan will live on his own someday!" "of course he will have a job!" "of course everything in his life will be just like that one inspirational movie i watched one time!" i appreciate the sentiment but people see such a small slice of reagan's life. plus, reagan can be absolutely charming. he's darling! but i wish i could be allowed to struggle. sometimes i just want to hear, "wow. that's tough. tell me how you feel." and that's it!

after the blessing, we partook of the sacrament and then the father of the new baby bore his testimony of how he wrestled with the surprising news of his baby's birth and impending struggles. how he thought he was ready to be in a different stage of his life at this point. that he should be preparing to be having an older family, not preparing for a special needs baby. he spoke tenderly of how people said that baby charlotte was going to a family that she needed. but how in reality he found that they really needed her. that she brought peace and a special spirit into their home. i was immediately humbled because i know that has been the case for our family as well. wonky, green sneakers at church be darned. 

i have a recurring thought when it comes to the resurrection. perhaps i've mentioned it before. we talk all the time about how exciting it will be to see all those with infirmities be made perfect in the resurrection. i've had dreams where i am talking to reagan and he doesn't have autism. they are fleeting and rare dreams but they always leave an impact. the more i ponder the resurrection though, the greater difference will be with me. i will be made more perfect, because i am so much more inherently flawed. when i see resurrected reagan, he will already be recognizable to me. i know his spirit. reagan is already way beyond me. he has no guile. i've been made better by being his mother. he hasn't been made better by being my son. sure, i'm guiding him with the complexities of life, but he has no desire to do evil. 

like noah and nephi, we have been asked to build a ship and we also have to build the tools. we have parts we don't know what to do with. sometimes those parts are people. sometimes those parts are our fasle expectations. sometimes those parts are us and our weaknesses. those parts may just be the most important parts because we have to pray to know how to use them. and like noah and nephi, it will be very difficult, we may question our role and our abilities, but if we have faith in our heavenly father's plan, we will be prospered. 

Saturday, February 04, 2017

a series of unfortunate events

that's misleading. but a really good post title.actually, scarlett has been watching the new "a series of unfortunate events" series on netflix with neil patrick harris and i do not like it. in the same way that i don't like looney tunes cartoons. things aren't going to work out unless you're bugs bunny and that drives me crazy. 

this week has only been about 50% unfortunate events. but they were bam bam bam right in a row. 

nothing unfortunate about this. we played "name that tune" in primary and athena blythe was so excited for her turn. she just kept hitting that bell but couldn't name a single song. but had plenty of opinions. she's off the family feud panel for a few years.

unfortunate event #1- when i was singing to reagan at bedtime i leaned forward quickly to give him a kiss and i hit my nose on his bunk bed and totally busted nose. i heard the crunch and then the pain set in. the bridge of my nose was swollen and bruised for a few days. 
luckily, unfortunate event #2 and #3 kept me from seeing any people for 3 days as i was stuck at home nursing vomiting children. hersch threw up all over himself in the car on the way to the gym on monday. i still had to hit up the grocery store so i buttoned up his jacket all the way to his neck and stared down everyone who dared give me the stink eye because of my stink baby. 
the next day athena blythe was living the same life except for the fact that she was insisting that she was not sick and perfectly happy. she hates missing school. 
unfortunate event #4 was when i was touching up some paint and i bumped the paint that was balancing on the ladder and i decided to break it's fall with my face. luckily, it was just my face and i was able to avoid and major damage to the hardwoods.




before:

midpoint:
walls finished, next week is painting the bookshelves black to match the dining room. 

a really great event of the week was the daddy daughter dance at scarlett's school. scarlett talked about this for weeks on end. she has developed a really great group of friends at school and they have named themselves "the silly squad" or the SS. she has no idea of the other meaning of SS, thankfully. they few things in common with the other SS, except for the fact that their motto is, "let
find trouble". maybe a little in common.
the SS all met up at the dance and took lots of pictures and laughed and didn't dance at all. my 9 year old self is very jealous. i always had friends, but my innate shyness preventing me from enjoying them and getting together with them very often. i'd rather be at home and read. some things never change.


I LOVE THAT MAN THERE! next to the shiny 9 year old.

scarlett is always funny and always "on". i have to tell her to dial it back at least once a day. ME, i have to tell HER to dial it back. the irony is not lost. i apologize to all of you who have wanted to say the same to me. lesson learned. but i'll probably ignore it. 



our other really big event of the week was hersch's 2nd birthday TODAY! we had some small festivities planned with friends but we had to cancel after scarlett woke up at 4 am and announced "i just threw up and i feel so much better!" i'm glad she felt better but she had thrown up on everything. her bedspread, extra blanket and sheets, her stuffed animals, her pillows, the wall, her alarm clock. scarlett is a talker so she was chipper as can be giving me the play by play the vomit events. at 4 am. 
after i spent all morning doing laundry,
i spent almost ALL DAY I KID YOU NOT cooking and baking. we all like pancakes but athena blythe is really into pancakes lately and brings them up all the time and so i made our traditional big pancake and eggs and bacon breakfast. plus we had pizza night on friday so i spent a fair amount of time prepping specialty pizza ingredients. i must really love this family. 

we also did our traditional breakfast present opening.

his new set of "vrooms". he likes to have at least 1 in his hands at all times. 




i spent HOURS on this cake. i don't mind making cakes for the kids, but i just don't enjoy eating cake much anymore. especially store bought cake. no thanks. i think it's because my poor stomach can't handle much beyond eggs and broth and boringness anymore. i get really excited about apples though. and the heartburn from nachos is totally worth it.

final note, since christmas, reagan likes to take a saturday nap. i get it and i appreciate it. i wish he'd just sleep in past six, but he has some serious hopping around in his room to do at the crack of dawn. he needs new sheets. these old red ones look terrible with the his lovely curtains and rug and new bedspread. so many projects. such a cute boy.