Heard from the classroom: Bookkeepers

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Heard From The BackSeat | Posted on 27-09-2013

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Those of you on Facebook or that know me in real life know that two weeks ago, we took Cassie out of her brick and mortar public school and put her into an online public charter school. Luckily, it’s mostly self-guided so she just needs me to help when she has questions or if she needs me to check her answers. It’s been pretty easy, especially when I realized this week that if I go through the night before and take out everything she needs the next day, she spends less time looking for random stuff on the shelves.

working awayWe plan to put her back into brick & mortar next year when she starts middle school. This opportunity came up for her and we took it for several reasons, but mostly because she wanted it. This is the end of week 2 and she’s been doing great, progressing quickly. We’re developing a routine, I’m making sure she gets plenty of social interaction with other kids. We have a schedule, rules, consequences, etc. Ask me again in 3 months, but right now, I think this will work out fine for this year.

One of the BIG rules we have is that if one of us is working on something we “raise our hand” by sending a message through Skype. That way, I know she needs my attention when I’m done and don’t get sucked into something when I’m working on a project until I’m to a good stopping point – the same with her if she’s working on a project or concentrating on something. It actually works out well.

This also means that I have a ride along every day when I make my post office run. She comes in sometimes and other times she sits in the car. Today, we came home and I had a couple of checks that I decided to just remote deposit instead of going out to the bank again. The best light is on my stove to take photos of checks for the software with my phone. So, I take them over there and lay them on the bag on the stove and snap photos and upload them. Cassie asks me what I’m doing and I tell her. She’s not used to me being anywhere near the stove. Tom cooks (and with good reason!).

I walk away and come back to this on my Skype chat with her:

Why does the bookkeeper not cook well?
Because she cooks checks!

This is funny, right? I haven’t completely gone off the deep end at this point… laugh, dammit.

Of Backseats, shots and cameras

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Heard From The BackSeat | Posted on 24-07-2013

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20130724_103552We took Cassie for her first allergy shot this morning. She’s spent the past week kind of angry with me because she does NOT like shots. Oh well, I will somehow survive. But she was a total champ. A few tears, but no meltdowns. Win!

She and I are taking a cake ball making class with friends tonight. Tom and I kept saying “balls” and giggling, because, ya know, we’re 12. When we hear her pipe up from the backseat, “If I knew raising parents would be this much trouble, I wouldn’t have bothered.”

LOL. Smart alleck.

Oh, and she hates taking photos right now, so this is what you got.

Merry Christmas and year-in-review

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Holidays | Posted on 24-12-2012

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Wow, 2012 is quickly ending and today is Christmas Eve already! Above is our holiday card this year (yes, we really are dorks). I was sitting here thinking about this year and all the amazing changes and adventures we have had.

The whole family had an amazing time in Disney over the Summer. I think that will, likely, be the highlight of 2012, for sure. It was also interesting to watch the family change over the past year, we’ve completely changed our eating habits and what we choose to do. We’re all healthier and happier, for sure.

Cassie is now in 4th grade and doing amazing, of course. She carries all As and still has never had to move her clip (I’m seriously going to find out next year if they have a perfect behavior award and if they don’t, I’m making the principal make one up for her LOL). She’s a Daddy’s girl for sure. She can get Tom to do almost anything for her if she asks sweet enough. She has been doing an amazing job with her violin lessons and she loves her computer games and plays Minecraft a lot with her friends. She’s turning into such an amazing young lady right before our eyes. We are so proud of her and know she’s going to do amazing things in 2013.

Jamie is in 6th grade. Yeah. Middle School. He’s actually doing really well, all As and Bs. He is in the band and is loving playing his clarinet. He’s taught himself to play several extra songs on his own and we’re so proud of him. He’s a Momma’s boy and is always ready with a hug and kiss for just about anyone. He’s every bit of a pre-teen, though. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how he evolves over the next few years. Jamie is one of the most empathic people I know, he feels your pain and wants to do whatever he can to make you feel better. I’m constantly amazed by him and how much he cares for his friends and family.

Tom turned the big 4-0 this year. So, he’s an old dude now. He’s still working as a teacher (math interventionist) and loving it. It took him a little longer to figure out what he wanted to do when he grew up, but he’s definitely found the right path. He’s happier than he’s ever been and I’m proud to call him my hubby. (But seriously, you could not pay me enough to work with a room full of elementary – or any – children, I would go insane). He still loves to cook and is the comic relief for Cassie and I (who are known to take things too serious sometimes).

For me, this year has been kind of a whirlwind. The emergency neck fusion surgery really messed up my life for a few months, recovery kind of sucked. I, of course, reached my goal weight – losing 200 pounds – and decided to lose a little more. I figure I’ll know when I’m done. I’m still running OffAssist and still trucking along very well. I started playing violin, myself, and am having a great time learning – and spending time with Cassie (who is helping to teach me along with our instructor).

So, 2012 is nearly gone and onward we go…

Happy Holidays!

Heard From The Morning Routine: Bones and Christmas

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Heard From The BackSeat | Posted on 12-12-2012

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Tom and I are smart asses. It’s really no surprise we’re raising two smart asses, eh?

I have a morning routine. I get up, get dressed and go into Jamie’s room to put my socks on (his room is always snuggly warm and I can coax him to actually get up). Cassie sometimes comes in and gives me a hug and we talk about the day, etc.

So, this morning, I’m sitting on Jamie’s bed, putting on my socks and in walks Cassie. She lays down across my lap (cuz I have a lap now) and snuggles up against my neck and hugs me. She was being all sweet until she sits up, looks at me, and says, “Mom, you’re not as comfortable to snuggle because your bones stick me”. I asked where and she said “on your neck.” LOL. Stinker. I pointed out they are called collar bones and she had them too.

A few minutes later, Jamie, decides that we should open Christmas presents early this year… because the world is ending on 12/21 anyway. Too bad I told him I already had a plan for that situation. We’re just going to return all the gifts and go to Vegas on the 20th. We’ll leave them home alone. Cops will be too busy with all that Mayan stuff anyway.

Photos: Cassie getting her award for participating in the robotics competition and Jamie after his very first holiday band concert. The kids, they are growing up.

Major (!) weight loss update and a sleep update

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 22-08-2012

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First, a really quick update on Cassie’s sleep… she slept ALL night last night. My friend gave me samples of some essential oils. I honestly have never seen another human being look SO tired in my entire life. Whether it was just down right completely exhaustion or the oils, I don’t know, but she says the oils helped so I’m going to buy a truckload of them if it continues to help. It felt SO good to check on her at 10:30 and see her sleeping like the little angel (coughcough) that she is.

I did it! The scale finally has a number 1 in front of it. This means that since my VSG surgery journey and having surgery 14 months and 1 day ago, I’ve lost over 175 pounds (Disclaimer: 20 of those were lost on the crazy pre-op diet you have to do, but I count it ALL darn it!). That’s just amazing to me. Even still! I STILL was getting on the scale amazed that it started with a number 2, a number 1 is just beyond my ability to comprehend. Getting under 200 has been one of those “yeah right” goals of mine. When I started this process at 375, my surgeon gave me the goal of 250. I will admit that somewhere deep down I never thought I’d actually hit that number. He asked me for my own personal goal and I threw out 175. That would mean a loss of 200 pounds and I liked the sound of that number. It almost feels like I can reach that number though. My next mini goal is 186.5. That will mean I’ve lost half my body weight and will also put me into the “overweight” category. According to the BMI charts (which I think are antiquated) my upper normal range is 155. I’m not making ANY goal decisions until I hit 175 though because I want to see what that looks and feels like.

So, that’s where I am. No tears today, I thought for sure I’d totally break down, but I’ve just been happy and smiling because I worked hard for this. Like I’ve said on this blog before, don’t EVER think this is the “easy way out” for anyone that has weight loss surgery. I’ve been lucky, no one has ever said that to me, but I am here to tell you that there is NOTHING easy about this. It really is just a tool to help you along. I did all the work. I took the time to really learn about food and nutrition. I worked my butt off at the gym. I choose to say no to sugar and carbs unless I’ve planned for them in my day. I went through all the mental issues that this whole thing brings about. *I* did that. Like I said, no one has said a single negative thing to me, but if you ever see someone that has done this, know that they are working harder than they have ever worked in their lives. Congratulate them, their achievement is no less important than someone that did it without surgery. Trust me. Obesity is a lifelong disease, I can still gain weight back. The real fight comes after I reach goal. Keeping it off. Part of me thinks that’s why I went more public with my surgery. It makes me be accountable.

I also shared a photo 75 pounds ago of me behind the steering wheel of the van. My stomach used to still graze it when it was all the way back. Today, I sit in the same space as my husband and there’s a LOT of room when I move the seat all the way back. Cassie can slide across my lap when we sit in restaurant booths (which I always avoided because I didn’t fit at all before). So, I’ll share another steering wheel photo because driving is the one thing that really does remind me of all the work I’ve put in. It’s kind of amazing even now (and look how freaking skinny my legs look! LOL!)

I am also taking time out to attend a conference that is NOT business related (stop gasping). I’m attending the Obesity Action Coalition’s (OAC) conference in late October in Dallas. There looks like there will be some really good speakers, and it really is a chance for me to celebrate myself. I do so few things that really are just for me that I’m excited to do this with a couple of friends.

Cassie’s Insomnia and Heard From the Kid’s Room: Needs vs Wants

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Heard From The BackSeat, Illnesses | Posted on 21-08-2012

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Disney 2012 Mobile PhotosOne of the things that they teach the kids in school is about needs vs wants. For instance, food is a need and a video game is a want. This is a big unit that they work on in 1st or 2nd grade. Cassie has been having MAJOR sleeping issues for the past month. We broke down yesterday and took her to the doctor who gave me about 30 ideas, 28 of which I had already tried. But we decided to go back to basics. One bottle of water with her, white noise machine is on, darkened room, chapstick on once. Usually none of this is an issue, but for some reason last night it was. I think she was anxious because the doctor ordered a blood draw (more on that in a minute).

Anyway, so the screaming started. “I’m not tired. I can’t sleep. It’s not fair. No one likes me. You’re mean. I need more water. I’m just thirsty. I just want more water….”

“The school says that water is a need and not a want!!! You’re mean and it’s not fair!!!!!”

Yeah. We cracked up. I ended up going in there and telling her to knock it off, it wasn’t fair to the rest of the house and I didn’t want to hear another word or she was grounded. She could read or whatever she wanted, just no screens. So, this morning all 3 of us had elaborately drawn apology letters. Sigh. No idea how long she was awake, but she apparently had time for that – and she said she woke up at 4 and drank more water.

So, we got up early this morning and headed to the place for the blood draw. She actually was a real trooper, I thought it was going to be a HUGE problem, but she held up really well. I was proud of her. Usually if someone gives her a shot or anything else, I have to dig her out of the dark corner of the examining table or it takes 3 or 4 of us to hold her down. She managed to sit on my lap, sob quietly, and it was over in like 45 seconds. Who knows if the blood draw will actually show anything. I don’t know if this is a rut we can’t get out of or what is going on, but I’m completely and utterly exhausted.

I’m sure everyone will respond again with 900 different ideas. Trust me, we have tried just about everything under the sun (my friend is getting samples of essential oils to me today so we can try that – LOL). We don’t think she’s worried about anything in particular. We can’t pin anything down. So, onward we go until we figure it out or I go insane from lack of sleep myself.

This is the letter she wrote me at who knows what time last night. It says

“To: Mommy, From: Cassie”
“Sorry for last night! I made these in my time cuz you said no screen so I wrote alpgies. I am veyr sorry about last night. I am very so please accept my alploze. PS I am using my best handwriting”

Sigh.

I’m obviously near the end of my rope here.

The Epic Beauchamp Family Disney Vacation

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Posted by Candy | Posted in summer fun | Posted on 05-08-2012

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Disney 2012Finally getting around to sorting through all the photos from our Disney vacation. In June, we loaded up the van, hit the road and spent 8 days in Florida and then drove up for a very quick visit with my family in Charleston, SC. I set up everyone’s phone to automatically upload photos to a dropbox and bought the somewhat overpriced Disney Photopass and took a lot of photos. There’s nearly 600 of them and you can see them on my Flickr page. Enjoy. I’ll share a few of my faves below…

It was QUITE the vacation. I’m SO glad we went through a Disney travel agent. She was free and she was available to me via text or phone. She went through things with me, answered my 900 questions and helped with the general planning. Even better, she watched out for discounts and ended up saving us around $500 by rebooking our vacation when the prices came down. It was pretty awesome. So I will give a huge shout out to Amanda. Email her if you’re planning a trip. I wouldn’t have been able to do this and not worry hardly at all without her. Her email is amandag@mei-travel.com. Trust me.

Disney 2012 Mobile PhotosOne of our favorite things was the Ohana character breakfast. Both of my kids are huge Stitch fans (especially Cassie). Getting to meet Stitch was truly a highlight. The food was wonderful and the kids were made to feel like royalty. Tom and I were able to relax, enjoy. I do wish they had more time with the characters. There was just enough time for them to walk by, pose for a photo and autograph for us. Not bad, but it did feel rushed at times. We did the photo package there as well and Cassie, of course, brought her stuffed Stitch (which she also carried all over the parks). They were so cute and made sure her stuffy got a lei along with the rest of us. That huge smile says it all!

Our favorite ride was the Peter Pan ride as a family. They did an amazing job with it. Really, all of the rides are total events. We also really enjoyed Soarin’ (which we did twice). I’m glad we did 8 days. We were able to do Magic Kingdom and Epcot for two days each and took a day off for a Water Park.

The really bad part was the quick service food. It left a lot to be desired. Very fast-food type and really not all that good, with a few exceptions. We had table service for dinners and that was much better and the food was really good quality. I had an amazing soup at Marrakesh, a Moroccan place in Epcot, but the rest of my party said that it was pretty bland, otherwise. We absolutely loved T-Rex in Downtown Disney, the food was really great and the atmosphere was amazing. We ate in the ice cave and it was really awesome. I have several food allergies and each time, one of the chefs came out to talk to me about them and made sure that what I ate was safe for me.

Disney 2012One of the things that Disney excels at is their set up for kids with ADHD and anxiety disorders. Jamie has a really tough time in crowds and we knew this vacation was going to be a challenge. I knew they would make accommodations, but I was floored by how far out of their way they will go to make sure the kids have a great time. We did several things right (and a few things wrong), but overall, it was amazing. I was expecting them to just save our place in the massive lines and put us somewhere quieter but… We brought a doctor’s note and they gave us a pass that allowed us to basically walk to the fast pass lines. It meant we didn’t have to get a fast pass and then try to get him back through the crowd again just so he could go on a ride. It really didn’t save us much time over anyone else being there because we also found we had to get him out of the park at least once per day and back to the hotel. The buses take a while so it was a good chance for him to decompress. We found the lunch food at the hotel to be tolerable, so we would eat there, go cool off in the room and then head back to the park in the late afternoon. We only had a few major freak outs with him (one was towards the end of the big fireworks in Magic Kingdom. I really wish I had asked about a quieter place for him because I think that ruined that experience for him a bit).

Disney 2012 Mobile PhotosMy biggest piece of advice for people heading to Disney is to come with a plan, but be prepared to toss it completely out of the window if needed. We tried to stick to our Touring Plan, but ended up ditching it except for the list of rides we wanted to try to hit. We just weren’t able to stick to a timetable with the other challenges we had. Also, bring blister bandages. My sister ended up with huge blisters¬† and I wish we had them in hand instead of having to go out searching for some the second evening.

There are also a lot of hotels. If we go back, and I hit the lottery, I would probably want to stay somewhere on the tram line. We opted to stay in a family suite at a value resort which was phenomenal though. We had a bedroom, a living area, a small kitchen and TWO BATHROOMS. With five people, it made it so much easier to get everyone showered and in bed at night.

Tom really wants to go back… like now. While I had a truly amazing time, it’s really expensive. We did the Disney meal plan and while I was reluctant about it at first, I’m glad we did. We didn’t think about food or cost or anything like that, we just did whatever we wanted. We ended up with plenty of leftover snack credits at the end of the trip and bought a bunch of Mickey ear rice crispy treats. The whole trip was just crazy expensive. Plus, I’ll be honest… eight days of the mouse and the happy happy joy joy will make just about anyone insane. Add that to the kids being afraid of certain rides and everyone getting hot and crabby and well… he’s been outvoted in favor of a relaxing beach vacation next year! *laughing*

Disney 2012Seriously… it’s the vacation everyone has to take. My kids were 9 and 11 and it really was the perfect age. Oh! That reminds me, careful if you do do the meal plan. Cassie was 9 so she would have had to eat from the children’s menu if we hadn’t have made sure to tell our planner to tell them she was 10. She doesn’t eat “kid menu” food so it was nice for her to also just eat anything she wanted. The portions are HUGE though, so we shared most of the time. We also found that you might want to order one vegetarian meal so that you got some good veggies for the table as well.

The crowds were light in some parks and heavy in others when we were there, although half of the US wasn’t even out of school yet. That whole “just go with it” is super important here. Taking that day off for a beach park day was also perfect. We did the park hopper and while we could have done without it, it was nice to be able to run into another park to check out a show or something if we wanted. We caught almost all of the nighttime light/firework shows and I’m really glad that we did. They were really awesome.

That’s it… we did end up riding most of the rides, we didn’t miss much and we’ll probably go back in a few years… but next year… lazy beach vacation :)

Heard from the Sleepover: The Politician

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Heard From The BackSeat | Posted on 16-03-2012

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It’s Spring Break around here. Which means the teacher husband, the work at home mom and the two Elementary kids are ALL home ALL the time. Add in a technological melt down at the mom’s office and it’s pretty crazy. The kids are basically given free reign as long as they stay out of the way and the parents are surviving on humor and coffee.

There’s a friend over, which means they all want to sleep in the same room. There’s been a LOT of giggling this week as the kids float around with sleepovers and playdates and whatever else there is going on. It’s midnight and I hear an argument between Jamie and Cassie erupt. One of those that is probably minor but loud. The friend (J) is not involved, but is cowering on the bed like “seriously, people, I’m an only child, WHAT is the deal?” I walk in, where they both try to tell me the various transgressions…

Me: “Wait, I don’t care. Jamie, apologize to Cassie.”
Jamie: “Sorry, Cassie.”
Me: “Cassie, apologize to Jamie.”
Cassie: “I didn’t do anything!”
Me: “….” (the look)
Cassie: “Sorry, Jamie” (only a little grudgingly)
Me: “Now, Cassie apologize to J”
Cassie: “I didn’t do anything to her.”
Me: “I said…”
Cassie: “Fine, whatever. Sorry, J”
Me: “Jamie… apologize to J”
Jamie: “I’m sorry, J, for fighting with Cassie over nothing while you were here.”
Me: “Oh, that was a good one.”
Jamie: “Yeah, I know” (fist bump)
Me: “Cassie, apologize to me, please.”
Casssie: “But I…”….. “okay, sorry!!!”
Me: *sigh* “Jamie…”
Jamie: “Yeah, mom, I’m really sorry that we were arguing and interrupted your work and you had to come in here to do this.”
Me: “Oh crap… you are getting good at this.”
Tom: *laughing nearly hysterically*
Me: “Yeah, we have a politician on our hands here”

Best. Answer. EVER.

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Heard From The BackSeat, School | Posted on 25-10-2011

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So those that know my girl, Cassie, know that she’s one of the sweetest and most¬†conscientious kids out there (oh and she can totally suck up as needed too).

She came home last week with this (notice her answer to #25):

Best Answer Ever

I’m not sure if I’m more amused by the answer she gave or the fact that her teacher gave her full credit. That rocks.

Then, I must wonder… did she do this because she didn’t know the answer and wanted to suck up enough so maybe the teacher WOULD give her full credit? Not that I think she’d do that (no, not that sweet innocent little angel of a girl)…

Anyway… enjoy! I laughed and made her cry. I wasn’t laughing at her answer (well, I kinda was… that mom of the year award continues to elude me!)

Heard from the kitchen…

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Heard From The BackSeat | Posted on 28-09-2011

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IMAG0259.jpgThe kids come stalking into the kitchen just now, both with super determined looks on their faces.

Oh boy. This will be fun.

Cassie: “Jamie bonked me on the head for no reason.”

Jamie: “I bonked you on the head for a reason, you weren’t listening!”

I couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing…

At least he didn’t deny it, right?