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.

Happy 12th Birthday to Jamie!

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 17-10-2012

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12-years-ago today, this sweet little baby boy came into our lives and changed things forever.

Now he’s still changing things. BUT he still smells funky too ;)

And a little bit of a funny…

Last night, Jamie asked me what time he was born, so I bought up his photos to see . He asked about Cassie (who was HUGE compared to him) and then asked me if it hurt.

I looked at him and said, “You do know how babies come out right?”

“Yeah”….

“Well, what do YOU think”

… he just nodded and kind of walked away giggling nervously. I decided not to torture him with the whole 13 hour induced labor thought-I-was-going-to-die tale. I’ll save that for the first time he goes on a date or something.

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”

Happy 11th Birthday, Jamie

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Holidays | Posted on 17-10-2011

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Today, my baby boy turns 11. I guess I need to stop calling him baby boy, but what he fails to realize is that he will always be my baby. I look
at him now and can hardly believe that this photo is the same human being. He’s grown up to be such an amazing kid with a heart of gold and a ready hug. He’s sensitive, gentle, loving and caring of others. He’s smart. He’s funny. He’s sarcastic. He loves to laugh and make others laugh with him.IMAG0259.jpg

Jamie seems to innately know when someone is feeling down and will clown around to cheer them up – or give one of his amazing hugs to make them feel better. His smile radiates through his face and his laugh is infectious. He loves computer games, yes, but he also loves playing board games and playing outside with friends.

This year, he had a couple of friends over for a sleepover this weekend and tonight we will take him to the Melting Pot for his birthday celebration dinner. I cannot wait to hear his antics over dinner. He’s always got something funny to tell us about and make us laugh.

A big big big Happy Birthday to my “little” guy. We love you, Jamie!

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?

Updates – the good, the bad and the super sweet

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc, School | Posted on 19-04-2011

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IMG_8376Late photo of Cassie and her cake on her birthday…

I’ve been basically hibernating since my last post. Tax season was a bit brutal to me this year. Crazy, but should hopefully slack off once I catch up – if I ever do catch up!

The kids are doing fabulous. Jamie has really come out of his shell this year, he’s managed to drop probably 20 pounds and his grades are AMAZING. I’m so proud of him. If I could get him to get up in the morning without threatening him with bodily harm, then life would be REALLY fabulous. Cassie is puttering right now along… she loves school and loves learning and always has a smile and a hug ready for nearly everyone.

Tom got notice that due to the budget cuts, his position will be cut after this year. So yeah, he’ll have worked five months. Very sad, but we have hope that he will be rehired. He honestly loves teaching and has loved the past four months. Funny, he finally finds what he’s supposed to be doing in life and now this, but we have always believed that things happen how they are supposed to so I have faith that this is just a bump in the road. (Yes, I think he’s crazy… there’s so many of them – no way – not happening – I’d rather have bamboo shoved under my nails). But I must say that he’s been so genuinely happy that I really do hope he’s able to continue next year. The good news is that he was hired, so he’s in the rehire pool. Like I told him, if he wasn’t, he’d be in a bad position. So, see? Not all bad.

I’m doing well, getting ready for a few upcoming trips and various things going on. Excited, but already exhausted. At least I have a couple of weeks to recover before we go… it’s going to be fun! First stop is Portland, then to Dallas this Summer and then Vegas this Fall. Never been to Portland or Vegas so I’m super excited.

Not much else going on, honestly… just going day by day… we did get the kids new bikes. I know it’s sad, but our kids don’t know how to ride. They had bikes with training wheels, but Jamie took a nasty fall when he was 5 or 6 and refused to get back on it. We’re kind of making him get one because I know he’ll like it. Cassie, of course, is all over it and trying her hardest to learn. She can go if I give her a good shove, she just can’t start or turn around yet very well. It’s coming along though!

And now a sweet story (and to show you that either Tom is the sweetest husband ever or he has everyone snowed)… I texted him a few weeks ago while he was at the grocery store and asked him to bring me some jelly beans. I was going to be up most of the night and I needed something to chew on. He came home with them. No problem right? He told later that he had to go back in because he was packing the car. Awww… sweet right? Well, he went back through the line and the lady said something and he said “Oh, my wife wanted jelly beans so I came back in”. She asked when I was due (umm. no.) and he said, “Oh, she’s not pregnant, she just asked and I came back in”. She was surprised and asked something to which he replied, “Yeah, I just can’t resist a pretty face.”

Snowed or sweet? Hmmm… it’s been 18 years and I’m still not sure…

Random February Update

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Holidays, Misc, School | Posted on 08-02-2011

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Thanksgiving 2010 Outdoor (7)I know I’ve not done a real good job the past few months about updating, it’s been a pretty crazy time in our lives. Jamie’s now 10 and Cassie turns 8 very soon. I swear, I must have blinked. I feel so lucky to have two wonderful kids that get along with each other and us. It’s honestly a little weird sometimes how well they do together. I keep waiting for major wars to break out, but so far… so good (knocking on wood furiously).

So, let’s see… Jamie turned 10 (when did this happen?!?!) October 17th. He’s such a wonderful young man that I’m proud to be his mother. He’s very empathetic towards everyone he meets, just an amazing boy. A few months ago, we took him to be evaluated and, while I wasn’t completely on board, he has Inattentive ADHD (the difference is that he really doesn’t have the hyper part, just the inability to focus). He’s been on medication for two months now and (again) I wasn’t completely on board until his teacher grabbed me during a school event last month and told me that she has seen such an amazing real change in him and how he’s able to finish his work on time, get his math worksheets done and she’s not constantly having to keep in on task. We’ve noticed some changes here at home too. He doesn’t take it on the weekends or days off from school. It’s really to help focus during class. He brought it up yesterday, actually, and said that he likes that he’s not in trouble so much for not doing his work and he doesn’t feel like his brain is “crazy” (whatever that means). I know it’s the right decision, but it still bugs me a little. I still think ADHD is over-diagnosed. So, I suppose I’m still leery overall, but it’s made a BIG difference for him. Contradiction, much?

We spent Christmas in South Carolina again. I love spending the holidays with my mom and sisters. I think next year we might stay home though. It’s a trek and really wore us all out. We drive (yes, 1250 miles one way) and we take the dogs (Leo cannot really handle being boarded) so it’s kind of crazy.

Cassie. Oh, Cassie. Cassie turns 8 this week. Cassie is a bright and lovely young lady. She’s very responsible and likes to keep people on point. She likes to snuggle up as much as she likes her independence. She made it into Robotics (see my previous post – LOL) and is having a great time. She’s also doing REALLY well with violin lessons. Something clicked for her a couple of months ago and she’s finally getting the rhythm parts and a few pieces are actually really pretty sounding. She’s an amazing student, but works hard to achieve her goals in school. She’s so serious sometimes that I feel like I have to remind her to have some fun too. Perhaps responsible was an understatement. Militant might be more accurate. *laughing*

Our biggest news lately is that Tom got a job! He’s teaching 5th grade and loving it! It’s hard work, but he has great students and is enjoying following his dream. It’s been nice to have group insurance and a FSA again too, I won’t lie. It’s been a big adjustment for us both. I’ve had to do all the daily running around while trying to keep my neck above water in my business, but we’re making it through pretty well.

Me? I’m doing okay. I’m finally getting the allergy testing (and hopefully shots) I’ve been wanting to do for many years. Living in Austin is rough, I have allergy issues 10 months or so out of the year and I’m hoping this will help a little. I just need something to help me get it under control and livable. This year was really bad during cedar season. Otherwise, it’s been pretty much the same old same old.

I promise to make more of an effort here. I tend to update on Facebook more often, but I know this is more permanent so I’ll try harder :)

School Pride award!

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Posted by Candy | Posted in School | Posted on 25-11-2010

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Cassie gets at least 1 or 2 pride awards per year at school. She’s one of those really good kids in school so is always getting an award. It doesn’t make it any less special, but when Jamie gets something, it’s a cause for celebration as well. Jamie is definitely a more middle-of-the-road kid so they don’t seem to get recognized as often. Jamie struggles with that because Cassie comes home with a “gold star” every day and we are happy if he’s only lost a color two. He likes to talk, I totally get it. I have a similar problem. At any rate, I couldn’t be more proud of him. He really has been working SO hard this year, not only with his grades, but also to take more personal responsibility for himself and his behavior.

I, of course, took photos :)

Rider Pride Nov 2010 (3)

Rider Pride Nov 2010 (2)

Rider Pride Nov 2010 (1)