Suzi Beech and Family

This blog is about my family and my trials and tribulations as a work-from-home mom of twins.

Back to school…finally! September 14, 2009

back-to-school

I have to say that, although I love my children dearly, I could not wait for school to start again!  We had a wonderful summer full of parties, swimming, camps and vacations.  While all that togetherness was great, it was a LOT of togetherness!

I am lucky that I own my own business and can set my own schedule.  At the beginning of summer I tried to schedule work in the early mornings, late nights and when the kids weren’t home.  Just a few days into it and I was tired and crabby and realizing that they sure were home an awful lot!  After stressing myself out about what I wasn’t getting done, I rethought things.  I realized that this could be one of the last years they consider me cool enough to be seen with and fun to hang out with.  I decided, for better or worse,  to take most of the summer off and spend it with them while they’d still have me.  It went well, for the most part.  We had our battles of wills and our sibling clashes, but I don’t regret a minute of it!

Now that they’re back in school (big-time 3rd graders this year), I can get back into the swing of working again.  It’s really quiet a relief!  My mom used to tell me that going to work was easy, it was staying home that was hard.  I finally understand what she was talking about!

In the back-to-school spirit, I have also taken some classes on time management and productivity.   My first order of business is to set-up a daily schedule and block my time in 60 minute increments.  From there, I’m going to build it out into a weekly schedule.  I like order and predictability.  That’s just how I am.  I know there are people who prefer to fly by the seat of their pants, but not me.  So, I’m off to begin building my schedule for the hours between 8 and 2:30, Monday through Friday.  I’ll be sure to set aside blocks of time to keep my blog up to date, as well.  I know I have a lot of summer pictures and videos that you’re just dying to see, so I’ll get them all posted very soon!

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I made it through Camp! August 3, 2009

Cub Scouts at campfire

Cub Scouts at campfire

Let me start by saying it has been one hectic month!  We went from the fun and games of the kids’ 8th birthday, straight into some new experiences for us.  The first was Gus’ first time at overnight camp.  He and his Cub Scout den went to a two-night, three-day camp called Cub World.  They had a blast.  He came home exhausted and missing a few shirts, but happy as a little lark.

Happy Cub Scout

Happy Cub Scout

My hat is really off to the adults who chaperoned.  I can only imagine what it was like to be in charge of those 11 young men.  The chaperones had to pitch and sleep in tents (on the ground, in the heat!!).  This alone, I fear, would’ve made me so grumpy that I would’ve been a not-so-patient Mommy helper. Good thing I didn’t go along!  I’m not really much of a camper.

Philip, Ruby and I drove out to the camp on the last day so Gus could give us a tour of the place and show us all the cool activities.  They boys got to sleep in a giant wooden teepee with built-in bunks where they could put their sleeping bags.  It was a cool structure, but in full sun and very hot.  They also happened to be near the end of the giant slip-and-slide the camp had set up.  This, apparently, led to some flooding issues.  The boys thought this was hysterical, the parents found it not so funny (especially when their own tents began flooding and had to be picked up and moved…).

There was a little “trading post” where the boys could buy inexpensive junk…I mean little treasures…which were scout with bow and arrowpromptly lost, eaten (candy!!), or broken.  We did have fun shooting bb’s, winging garbanzo beans with slingshots and trying to shoot with a bow and arrow.  The boys also did some leather working, whittling (earned their whittling chips and now can handle and own knives…or, at least, so say the Scouts, this mom’s not going for it!) and branding on wooden pieces.

We had only one night to go from Cub World onto our next first – Girl Scout day camp.  I was a week-long, full-time volunteer, which got me a discounted rate and meant Gus got to come along and be in the boys unit.  This was Ruby’s first year attending camp and we had been looking forward to it for a very long time.  Unfortunately, it

Camp - this-a-way

Camp - this-a-way

coincided with a record-breaking heatwave here in Oregon.  Even though it was hot, it was still lots of fun.

I am both happy and sad that our camps are over for the summer.  They were both fun experiences and definitely the stuff childhood memories are made of, but I’m happy to have my kids and “normal” life back!

I have pictures of both activities and will get them posted very soon.  I’m going to save telling all about Girl Scout camp for another post.

 

My twins were born 8 years ago today… July 8, 2009

My family on the kids' 8th birthday, 2009

My family on the kids' 8th birthday, 2009

If you read my post about our struggle with infertility, you know that getting pregnant took many years of tests, procedures, heartache, perseverance, tears and money.  We finally conceived on our final attempt at in vitro fertilization or IVF.  I have many stories that I will share about our roller coaster ride with infertility treatments. Today, as we celebrate the birthday of our babies, I want to reflect on the 5 weeks I spent on hospital bed-rest before they were born.

While twin pregnancies are becoming more common, they still are not without risk. I didn’t have a care-free pregnancy. I first had what’s called a subchorionic hemorrhage during my 9th week of pregnancy. That is like a blood clot that forms between the placenta and uterine wall. I started bleeding at midnight on New Years Eve, 2001. I called my doctor in a panic (that’s right at midnight on New Years Eve…and he wasn’t even mad!).   He was very reassuring and told me to lie down with my feet raised. Looking back, I’m sure this didn’t actually do anything other than give me the feeling that I was doing something! Anyway, that’s what I did. I barely moved for two days until we could get in for an ultrasound. We found both babies doing well with strong heartbeats. The blood clot dissolved on it’s own over the next couple of weeks, just as the doctor predicted and I was allowed to  resume normal activity.

From my 11th week to my 28th week, things really went along very smoothly.  A couple days into my 28th week I began having contractions.  I called the doctor who told me to meet him at the hospital.  I was given a shot of a drug called terbuteline and monitored for several hours.  I was then sent home with a prescription for “terb” in pill form to take if I felt any more contractions.  I  was also put on bed-rest, where I was allowed to spend one hour a day sitting in

Gus' Lego Explosion

Gus' Lego Explosion

an upright position, make brief trips to the bathroom, and walk as far as from the bedroom to the couch.  Basically, I was told to keep pressure off my cervix as much as possible.  Between my 29th and 30th week, I had contractions that didn’t stop after I took the terbutaline.  I spoke with my doctor and was told to go to the hospital for monitoring again.  I was given another shot of terb and had the babies monitored, along with my contractions, which slowed, then stopped.  I was sent home for more bed-rest.

Contractions started again at 31 weeks.  I took my terbutaline and called the doctor.  I was told to take another dose of terb but it did nothing to stop the contractions, which were now coming along at a steady pace.  Again, off to the hospital I went.  This time though, I was put on an intravenous drug called magnesium sulfate.  It made me feel as if I’d been hit by a truck.  I was so out of it, slow, tired and nauseous, and felt as if I were burning up from the inside.  On the upside, my contractions began to slow.  I thought they would monitor me for awhile, like the last time, then send me home.  This was definitely not the case and I didn’t step foot in my house again for another 6 weeks.  I was moved into a room where the doctor on-call told me I’d probably deliver that night.  I was given a steroid shot to help the babies lungs mature and Philip and I talked about the possibility of having tiny preemies.

Ruby, Star and Chelsea

Ruby, Star and Chelsea

Morning came and I was still holding my own.  I was being heavily monitored both for contractions and for the side-effects of the “mag” as we called it.  It is a horrible drug to take.  It makes you feel very hot and very thirsty but, ironically, makes you retain fluid so everything you ingest has to be measured as well as everything you…er…eliminate to make sure extra fluid containing magnesium isn’t being stored in your tissues.  It’s a real catch-22.  So thirsty, so little to drink!  I think mag could be used as a form of torture for prisoners of war.  I wasn’t a prisoner of war though, I was just another bedrest mommy-in-waiting at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center.

It was a sort of “best of times, worst of times” scenario.  The best parts were that I could listen to my babies heartbeats all day long and knew I was in the right place should they or I need care.  I was also off the hook from doing any sort of housework, chore or cooking of any sort and had people around me 24/7 willing to bring me things and help me if I needed it.  There was also the glorious air conditioning.  Our house was a small, California-style bungalow without a/c.  This was summer in Los Angeles and I was hugely pregnant.  I shudder to think how miserable and puffy I would have been if I hadn’t been in a cool room!

One of the saddest things for me was that I didn’t get to finish decorating my baby nursery.  I had spent so many years listening to every else’s plans and looking at everyone else’s fnished products and here I was, missing my one and only chance to decorate a baby room of my own.  Philip and my mom had to get everything finished during the 5 weeks I was in the hospital.  They would both spend hours a day with me at the hospital.  I’m sure they were bored stiff, but they did it.  We would talk about all the progress made in the nursery – the valances were hung, the tiny clothes were washed and put away, the crib mobiles has been ordered…On day, after Philip went on a Babies ‘R Us shopping spree he went home, put up a few finishing touches and filmed a video of the babies’ room to bring to me.  Oh, how I cried when I watched it…every time.  So much so, that he threatened to take it away from me, but I cherished that video.  I still get teary-eyed when I see it.  I loved their nursery.  It was so peaceful, with the pastel polka-dots and the mobiles playing “Imagine” by John Lennon.  It was a dream realized, that’s for sure.  My own babies, living in my own house.

During the first week of July, my 35th week of pregnancy, my “Baby A” (they refer to multiples in utero by the A,B,C’s to

Ruby and Gus at their Birthday Dinner

Ruby and Gus at their Birthday Dinner

keep track of who is who) had virtually stopped growing.  “Baby B” was good sized and head down, prepared for birth, but Baby A (who we call Ruby now 🙂 ) was sitting on my cervix, blocking the door out, as it were.  My doctor decided it was time for them to come out and our C-section was scheduled for July the 8, which also happens to be my brother’s birthday.

They were born at 36 weeks gestation.  Ruby was first and weighed in at 4lbs15oz.  Gus came out a minute later and weighed in at 6lb4oz.  They were finally here, our long awaited babies, healthy, pink and screaming.  Gus spent his first

night in the regular nursery because he swallowed fluid during birth and needed monitoring.  Ruby was able to room in with us.  The Beech Family was born!

That was 8 years ago today.  Time sure has flown by!  For their birthday today they opened cards and presents then we went shopping at the mall.  Gus bought a new Star Wars Lego set and Ruby got two new Build-A-Bears.  We watched a movie and went out for our traditional birthday sushi dinner.  We took a little stroll around downtown, then headed home.  Although their actual birthday has now come and gone, the celebration will continue with their big “Survivor” themed birthday party this weekend.  It’s going to be a blast.  I am one lucky lady!

 

I’m no seamstress! July 2, 2009

I am getting ready for our Girl Scout troop to march in our neighborhood’s 4th of July Parade.  It’s going to be great fun, but there is one thing I am just dreading.  It’s probably not a big deal to most other people, but I’m just so not

The patch that took an hour to sew on

The patch that took an hour to sew on

looking forward to this one little thing…sewing badges on my daughter’s Brownie vest.  I am horrible at sewing!  The last time I sewed on a badge it took me over an hour…seriously.  One badge per hour is not a good ratio! My thread broke twice, my knots came undone and the badge ended up crooked, even though I tried to make it perfect!

Once upon a time, back when I was around 10, I took a sewing class.  I sat myself down on the rug at this class with my fabric pieces and my needle and thread. I worked so hard, concentrated, tried to get my stitches just right.  Then, when it was time to put our work into our bins for next time, I stood up and realized I had sewn my entire project to the carpet.  It was very discouraging.  I never went back to that class and my sewing is still pretty much at that level.

My pile of badges

My pile of badges

I usually save all our Girl Scout and Cub Scout badges and patches for when my mom or cousin come to visit.  They’re both expert sewers and don’t seem to mind sewing all of them onto the proper uniform.  They even do all the rest of my sewing, too, like putting buttons back on things or repairing split seams.  It certainly doesn’t take them an hour per badge, I can tell you that!

Front of Brownie Vest

Front of Brownie Vest

Our Girl Scout troop is very active.

Back of vest

Back of vest

During the year, when we’re working on all our try-its and badge-earning projects, I think it’s just great.  Now, though, looking at my pile of 19 badges that need sewing and the vest with limited space left, I’m rethinking our plans for next year!  Of course, Ruby wants the badges all on her vest for this weekend’s parade.  I don’t blame her, but I don’t know if I have 19 hours to spare getting them on there!

 

Fishing Trip with the Cub Scouts June 12, 2009

Welcome to Horning's Hideout

Welcome to Horning's Hideout

I tagged along on my son’s Cub Scout troop’s fishing trip yesterday.  We went to a beautiful place in North Plains (Oregon, where I live) called Horning’s Hideout.  There were the two troop leaders, myself and 11 Cub Scouts.

Horning’s Hideout is a beautiful place about 25 minutes or so from Portland.  They specialize is outdoor weddings and have a couple of ponds for fishing, camping areas, paddle boats, Frisbee golf…all kinds of fun outdoor things to keep folks busy.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any decent pictures of the many pretty peacocks on the grounds.  Every time one of them would get close enough for a decent shot, my dog would try to get at them, so I had my hands full!  I did get a pretty picture of this butterfly, though.

Butterfly on Rhododendron

Butterfly on Rhododendron

Two of the boys (brothers) had brought their own fishing poles and tackle boxes.  One of them wanted to use his stuff, the other chose to use the gear provided by Horning’s.  All the boys who used the rods and bait provided caught fish within minutes of tossing in their line.  Seriously, half the boys had already caught their quota (one whole trout!…each!…woohoo!) before the other half even got bait on their hooks.  The boys who wanted to use the fake, neon green “worms” out of the personal tackle box had absolutely no luck.  We waited and recasted and recasted…no bites at all.  Finally, even though they didn’t want to hurt the wiggly little wormies, we convinced them to use the live bait.  Minutes later, their fish had been caught, too.  It was a wild 30 minutes of lines flying, hooks being baited, fish flopping on the dock and much, much, squealing, yelling and shouting.  There were only a few hook mishaps and tangled lines – not bad considering the pace the fish were flying out of the water!  Those red hook-puller things did a great job of getting those hooks out of the fish.  I don’t remember

Nico tied up on the dock

Nico tied up on the dock

having those when I was a kid.  Very handy!

I had to tie Nico up on the dock so I could help the boys.  She didn’t like that very much and cried until some of the boys went over and played with her.  She’s such a baby!

Before we knew it, it was time to head back up the hill and clean our fish.  The boys were pretty much horrified, as was the one leader who had never been fishing before.  I like fishing and gutting the fish doesn’t bother me at all, but it’s not my favorite thing to do, especially with the number of fish that needed cleaning.  Luckily, our hostess at Horning’s came to help!  She was terrific and tried to get the boys interested in the fish insides.  She pointed out their “parts” like liver, gullet, lungs…I think our

How to Clean a Fish

How to Clean a Fish

inexperienced leader almost threw-up at that point!  They did have this helpful sign with instructions posted near the cleaning stations.  I thought they were pretty funny.  I was

Gus holding his big catch

Gus holding his big catch

surprised the Scouts were so standoffish when it came to holding onto their fish.  They all thought they were too slimy.  One boy told me he wouldn’t eat “that kind of fish.”  He only ate the kind from the grocery store.  It’s odd how out of touch they are with where their food comes from!  I hope the rest of the families enjoyed eating their son’s catches as much as we did (well, when I say “we” I mean Philip and I…Gus had a couple of bites Ruby might’ve tasted it, but that was it!).

It was a pretty exhausting couple of hours. Those boys are full of energy, let me tell you!  I was really glad I got to join them on the trip.  I spend so much time with the Girl Scouts, I was afraid my son was going to think I didn’t want to hang out with the Boy Scouts.  I am so lucky to be my own boss and have the flexibility to be able to take time to do these things!

 

Nothing Says “Summer’s Here” Like the Ice Cream Truck! June 10, 2009

Filed under: Personal Stuff — Suzi Beech @ 8:49 am
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1st ice cream truck visit of 2009

1st ice cream truck visit of 2009

That’s right…school’s not quite out here in our neighborhood, but already that familiar music came drifting down the street yesterday afternoon.  I find it very  interesting that kids can hear the ice cream truck music trinkling from blocks away, but not hear me when I’m standing right next to them (shouting their name, repeatedly…).  Anyway, I wanted to say hello to you, welcome to summer, welcome to ice cream trucks, days of swimming and watermelon, the beginning of new seasons and new possibilities. Enjoy your day!