Saturday, October 30, 2010

My first 5K

I just realized that it's almost been 2 weeks and I haven't posted pictures of my race!! AAHHH! I'm a bad blogger.

So, I'll tell you all about it now (complete with pictures). This was my first 5K ever. I was nervous and excited, I was afraid to eat in case I threw it up, but afraid not to eat because I didn't want to faint. And Brian kept reminding me it's not really more than I usually run...but I knew it was different.

The race was at the fair, but of course it started before the fair opened. So, we parked where we know there's free parking (not like any of the parking lots were open anyway), which happened to be REALLY far away from the gate where we were supposed to enter. I got a nice little warm up walk. And Sadie did really well in her stroller.
Sadie hanging out in her stroller waiting to watch mommy run

When we got there there were people anywhere from limping to heavy-duty like their life depended on this event. I was somewhere in between. I was trying not to make it a big deal. I had two goals, to run the entire way, and to finish in under 45 minutes. I achieved one of them.stretching and getting ready to start!

starting out with a smile on my face!

Anyway, it was fun to run with a big group of people, and it was hot, so I walked for about a quarter of a mile towards the end, but seriously, if I had known we were that close I would have pushed through. But my final time was 34:27, which was WAY under 45 minutes. Brian actually said he wasn't ready to take pictures when he saw me coming because he wasn't expecting me so quickly.
At the finish line (that girl in front of me came from nowhere and sprinting to the finish line)

Finishing felt really good. And since then I've run the full 5K twice without stopping. It really gave me confidence for the half marathon coming up in January. Although, running 35 minutes without stopping is different than running over 2 hours without stopping!!
yay!! Finished!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The perfect banana

I swear I am not a blog addict, and in fact came upon this through the twitter feed of some sports writer I enjoy. There has been no contact with the author and I've never even read another post by this author. However the credit for the inspiration of this post is here. It is well worth the read.

A lot of times we struggle with the idyllic perception of perfection only to come up short. Recently I had a bulbous pimple right on my sit spot that forced me, in humiliating fashion, to ask my wife to examine and perform surgery. My wife, the great sport, sympathetically told me, "No." My struggles in marriage.

Earlier today my wife exclaimed that I should attempt to feed Sadie. All of my previous attempts involved massive baby meltdowns complete with mucus spit ups. When our crying alto soloist gets worked up into a nice sweaty ball of uncontrollable angst - she'll calm down a moment and then wretch, bulge her eyes and then eject viscous clear liquid I can only describe as "sticky" and "ew." My association of feeding Sadie solids has been one of hazard. She actually did not work herself into a tizzy today, but instead tried a new tact. Her mouth became a sealed vault where nothing shall pass. After 10 tries of ramming a banana puree loaded spoon against her sealed mouth, exacerbated, I handed over the tools to my wife. Immediately my daughters mouth became unsealed, wagged, and pleaded for mom to insert her favorite food into her cavernous welcoming gobbling spot. Hands into the air, hmpth's stated, I sat on a couch watching my daughter ravenously devour. My struggles with daughter.

I am the king of poorly executed DIY projects. I am a perfect engineer in that I understand how to do everything, how everything works and why things need to happen in a particular way. I am however, poor in execution. Actually poor is a bit generous. In Arizona we do not have lawns. Actually lawns are frowned upon as they use a lot of water and generally have to be seeded twice per year for each season (hot and less hot). We do have a lot of shade trees and drought tolerant bushes.

Huge industry revolves around people trimming bushes to look like spherical lollipops or cubist paintings. Apparently it is totally taboo to have any sort of plant adhere to its natural shape; instead we must manufacture man's touch upon nature and turn these growing monstrosities into neat geometrical shapes. We have 9 bushes in our front yard of which 4.5 actually require attention more than once a year. When we moved into our house I was approached by a company who trims bushes.
"How much?"
"Is that a yearly fee?"
"Each time - $40."
"I have 4 bushes to trim. Is that ten dollars a bush?"
"Flat fee per house."

I bought an electric hedge trimmer for 40 bucks 3 years ago. I used it yesterday. My shapes aren't very good, but they pass the almighty HOA's pay-a-fine-for-ugly-bushes test. I think my neighbors hate me. Yet I'm contemplating whether or not 40 bucks is worth it.

We have a pool. Standing water, potable water, is a precious resource for insects. Last year hornets laid claim to our pool. I know right where their nest is - approximately. Their lair of hatred and pointy stingers and terror is somewhere in the middle of the biggest bush. The one that requires the most attention. Yesterday I got out the trimmers, unrolled the extension cord, examined the biggest bush, and immediately rolled the extension cord to other bushes with less growth and no hornets. Once the weather cools they go dormant and I can trim the bush and attempt to kill their nest. It is not yet cool enough.

As I was nearly done trimming the last bush in my daily work (the size of my trash can limits me to two bushes a weekend) I got stung. By a hornet. On my thumb. I immediately squealed like a girl, fought off big tears, and stormed inside complete with a slammed door. I promptly held out my throbbing thumb to my wife who shrugged her shoulders and said, "Yes, it hurts" and continued doing whatever thing it was that didn't include sympathy to me. My struggles doing manly things.

I'm not perfect, my family is not perfect and all the people who I come in contact with - certainly not perfect. But I wouldn't change any of it. In fact, I revel in it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hopes and Dreams

So, I know everyone is DYING to hear about my race last Sunday (vain, right?), but I'm going to make you wait a little longer, because this is on my heart right now. I have a friend named Lexi (she likes to go by Lex now, but I refuse to call her this, she will always be Lexi to me) and she has been going through some rough times. But she is strong. What is interesting is how her facebook comments, although mostly ambiguous, perfectly reflect her mood. You could say she wears her heart on her sleeve, er, facebook page.

Anyway, this post is not about Lexi, I just bring her up because she wrote on her facebook page today that she has unrealistic hopes and dreams. I will save you my speculation about what that might mean, and directly apply it to my life.

Reading this made me think about my hopes and dreams for Sadie. Tonight we were in the tub and I was asking Sadie what she wants to be when she grows up. A scientist? A teacher? A musician? Because really, in my heart, I believe she can be ANY of these things. Is this unrealistic to hope for? Maybe.

But maybe not.

I think about this almost everyday all day long. Will she do great things from a wheelchair? Or will she dance with her daddy at her wedding? Will she learn to play the piano? Or will her hands continue to be restricted so that she becomes a singer instead? Will she show the world that a diagnosis doesn't mean a damn thing?

Maybe. Maybe not.

The important part is that I have these hopes and dreams, no matter how unrealistic they may be. Because they keep me alive. They keep me from pulling my hair out. The keep me from admitting myself to the loony bin. They keep me from sinking into a deep, dark depression.

I do know this for sure. Whatever Sadie turns out to be 1. She will be beautiful, and 2. We will love her.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Story of Bouncy...

We said goodbye to a dear friend this weekend, Bouncy Chair. As you can see, he's been good to us.

When Sadie first started screaming (becoming "neurologically irritable") we found that bouncing her vigorously in this contraption was the best way to calm her nerves. What started out as a chair, a place to put the baby while we're eating dinner, quickly became like crack to us. We couldn't live without it. We took it with us to public places, to other people's houses, we even brought it with us to a wedding. It was our fail-safe.

Later, we learned about vestibular stimulation. Your vestibular system involves your inner ear, and some people with sensory seeking behaviors need their vestibular system stimulated to either calm them, or to excite them. For us it's calming, definitely calming. This is why you see people rock back and forth, or you see big swing-like contraptions in special education rooms. It's even why people like to swing or to ride roller coasters.

But Sadie was growing out of the bouncy chair quicker than we'd like. So, we started talking to the OT, Jessica, about something new. We looked at a lot of catalogues and many websites, but we weren't ready to take action yet. After all, we still had the bouncy chair, so we didn't need to. And who cares that Sadie's legs hung off the bottom almost to the floor, or that her head sometimes banged on the wire frame, it still worked. And we were comfortable using it.

Until this weekend.

The bouncy chair finally broke. It snapped right in half...on the metal. (I'll have you know, this isn't the first bouncy chair we've broken. But the last one had a cheap plastic joint obviously not meant for 5-month-old babies. And in our defense, it was kinda old and out of practice due to under-use.)

I'll say it. Brian broke it. I wasn't even home. I got a text full of bad words while I was driving. Even though I laughed, I was definitely feeling Brian's pain. I had to refrain myself from a complete panic attack at this news as I could have become dangerous to others sharing the road.

We kicked it into high gear. As some of you know, Brian had to be with Sadie alone on Monday for 6-8 hours, because I had to go in to work, and without the bouncy chair, he had no way to calming her, helping her sleep, etc. Saturday afternoon, we went out and bought this.

The idea was to hang some kind of hammock contraption in order to swing Sadie back and forth. (Long term the idea is to get her a special needs swing designed for vestibular stimulation, but it was Saturday afternoon, and we needed this to work by Monday morning, so we were desperate.)

But as you can see, the hammock we have didn't quite work the way we imagined.

Sadie didn't like it that much either.

We didn't know what to do. We spent most of the evening talking (more like yelling over the screaming baby) and coming up with ideas on how we could build something, but we were down to one day and if it didn't work, Brian was gonna be SOL.

The next day, we caved in to our addiction and started searching Craigslist.

Luckily, we found what we were looking for (many of you who DON'T have an addiction to a bouncy chair may not know that there are several different types. They all basically do the same thing...if your child is under 10 pounds and 1 month old. We needed a certain one. This one.), and it was cheap too.

(*angels singing in awe of the beauty of the bouncy*)

We quickly learned that this bouncy chair is "inferior" to the one we had. It basically boils down to the fact that it hasn't been used as much as ours was. It just needs to be broken in. And the fabric is slippery.

Brian had a solution to that, and went to fish out the old cover from the trash (don't worry, we washed it and sanitized it, and there wasn't really anything else in the trash can anyway).

And now that it's Tuesday, and we've had a couple of days to break in the new bouncy chair, we've finally found success.

(this is obviously NOT meant for a 9-month-old child, no wonder we broke it!)

I should note that Monday went fine with daddy and child. And that we are still working on a special needs swing...we're thinking this one.

If you want to check out the other swings on this website, you can go here. And there aren't just's a pretty cool website.

So, thank you, those of you who have bounced Sadie, who have let us use your bouncy chairs, even those on Facebook who offered to give us yours when ours broke. Really, it's a bad habit we need to break. Maybe we can find some kind of bouncy chair rehab, heaven knows we need it around here!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More (Banana) Confessions...

1. Even though my neighbor is beautiful and skinny and has a perfectly clean house, I still find some comfort in the fact that she knows what I'm talking about when I tell her that the zit on my face feels like there's a rock growing under my skin.

2. Those diapers are STILL in the's now Sunday. It's almost time to wash diapers again!

3. I still cry everytime I hear "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me. Ever since that one day when I heard it, it gets me everytime. Luckily, I only listen to KLOVE when I'm in the car, and usually only when I'm by myself or just have Sadie with me (Brian doesn't like to listen to it), so it's not that embarrassing.

4. We bought another bouncy chair. There will be a whole blog post (with pictures) coming soon. But for now...the bouncy chair broke, we took it as a sign that it was time to "grow up." Then we realized we're not quite ready for that step yet, so we bought another one. We're addicted to convenience...and I'm strangely excited about it.

5. I laugh at Sadie when she gets scared. I know, this is like horrible mother material, but sometimes Sadie has this motion sensitivity to where when we lift her up high, coming down is REALLY scary. Sometimes I do this just to laugh at her. Then she cries and I feel bad, but then she does the cry where the bottom lip sticks out and I laugh again. I know, I'm mean.

So, to make up for it, here's this week's banana picture. I stole Brian's post for the day.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


1. I don't really mind going to bed at 8:30-9:00. It always baffles me when people on Facebook mention going to bed early at 10:00. I don't remember the last time I CHOSE to stay up until 10:00. The other night, Sadie's mouth hurt and she had a hard time going to sleep, and by 10:00, I could barely keep my eyes open!! And since we're usually up before 6:00am, I'd rather be in bed early.

2. I sorta like when Sadie *has* to sleep with me. Granted, it's uncomfortable if it goes on all night, but sometimes I lay there around 1:00am or 2:00am and kind wish Sadie'd wake up so I can pull her close to me and cuddle with her. I love how she just curls up and melts into my body like she was meant to be there.

3. Cleaning toilets doesn't bother me. There are SSOOOOO many things I hate more than cleaning toilets. Going grocery shopping, mopping, to name a few.

4. My diapers are still in the dryer. I washed them Thursday, and I'm writing this Saturday morning. I'm a little ashamed to say that all day yesterday I went to the dryer to get a clean diaper, but I never got them ALL and actually put them away.

5. I don't miss TV. Sure I watch Glee and Bones online every week, but it's sorta nice because I can get to them when I have time. We don't have cable, and therefore don't watch TV. We haven't had it for over a year now. I think it's really kept us from wasting time, and it probably makes it easier to keep that 8:30 bedtime!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sadie's Famous!

Ever since some other mommy blogs have been sharing about my fundraiser/marathon, I've had some donations come in from people I don't know. So when I got a generous donation from Adrian Larsen and Miridia Technology Inc. I didn't really think much of it. It was Brian who googled them. He was shocked to realize they are the creators of the technology used by the acupuncturist to create those acugraphs I showed you. He suggested that I look them up, find a way to contact them and send a thank you note. I had no idea I'd find this:

It's the facebook page for acugraph, and it introduces Sadie, it gave me chills. I thought it was just a link back to my post about Sadie's acugraphs, so I didn't click on it t first. But it's actually a link to HIS blog post about Sadie's acugraph!

Here, read it for yourself. It made me cry a little.

There's a somewhat new blog out there called Band Back Together. I will admit I haven't visited yet, but I have a good reason. It's a community blog in which people with any experience with any kind of trauma come to share their stories. The idea is to come together and offer support to one another via this amazing tool called the internet. Joslyn of Stark.Raving.Mad.Mommy was the most recent person to suggest I visit this blog and contribute. I told her I haven't gotten up enough courage to go there yet. As I said a couple of days ago, it still hurts. I'm not sure a. I'm ready to read others' stories of trauma, or b. I'm in a place yet where I can offer support for them. Joslyn said to just think, "what would I tell someone who just found out their baby has CP?" I told her I still feel like I just found out, someone should be supporting me still!

But after reading Dr. Larsen's blog tonight, I realized that Sadie's story, all parts, is powerful just the way it is. She is an amazing baby, and I'll brag a little, we're good parents to her and we constantly are seeking out the best things for her (isn't that what all good parents do?). We just have more research to do than most parents! So, why if I am so willing to broadcast our story on the radio, or run 13 miles to raise money for PCH, am I so afraid of this blog?! We're obviously effecting others, why would it scare me to offer our story in such a profound community forum?

I don't know.

Maybe tonight I'll finally muster up the courage to get involved.

therapy update

Sadie hasn't really been to PT since the first day of movement therapy, mostly because of scheduling conflicts, so yesterday was our first time in 3 weeks! I had forgotten how much I love Tami. If nothing else, going to PT is therapy for me! Anyway, she really noticed a difference in Sadie.

First of all, we had been in the car for almost an hour because we were coming from Mesa where we saw the chiropractor, but not the acupuncurist, because he was running late and we had to go. So we get to make a separate trip back to see him (sarcastic yay). We pretty much drove the entire 101 loop yesterday. For those of you who don't know what that means, I have a graphic demonstration for you below:

27.3 miles, but there was an accident in the tunnel, so it took longer. Screams the whole way.

38 miles, but we stopped at Jamba Juice and took a sanity break, so it took almost an hour.

20.1 miles of pure car screaming!

Total of 85.5 miles, and pretty much the ENTIRE 101 loop!!!

That's a LOOOOONG car ride...but that's not the point of my post. The point of telling you how far we drove was to show how amazing it was that Sadie calmed down and actually did really well in PT...after she took a short little power nurse-nap. Even Tami was amazed at her ability to keep it all in check. We started out on her tummy, then rolled over. Soon, it was apparent that Sadie gets bored laying on her back, she wants a new view of the world, a sitting up view. So for the rest of the time they worked on sitting. Sadie did some really great things responding to Tami moving her and "disorganizing" her, forcing her brain to reorganize and stabilize. Then when we left I bonked her head getting into the car and it was all downhill from there.

Then this morning we had OT with Jessica, who I also really like. But the nice thing is that Jessica comes to our house, so we don't have to endure any car screaming at all!! In fact, we haven't gone anywhere today...which means our schedule is slowing down again for a bit, and that's nice because I started this new job and it's a little overwhelming right now!

Anyway, Jessica said a lot of the same things Tami had. It helped that Sadie took a 30 minute snooze right before Jessica got here, but still, she made it the ENTIRE hour with no screaming! And we did a lot of work on her tummy this morning, as well as a lot of sitting. Sadie is really getting much better at sitting. I am really proud of her. I think the biggest thing is that she WANTS to sit, so she tries really hard. But, too, it's hard for her to get her body to do what she wants and I can see her get frustrated. It's sad. I can tell, though, that she's determined, and where there's a will, there's a way. I am confident that someday she'll get it and she'll get it all!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Look on the bright side...

I am surrounded by people having babies. Again. And, while I'm happy for these people, I can't help but still think about how it should have been for me. When will this feeling go away? Maybe never.

I would never wish anything horrible, especially as horrible as I've experienced, on any of my friends. Yet I still wonder why for them everything will go as planned, or at least they'll end up with a happy healthy (non-screamy) baby in the end. Whenever I read that so-and-so had a beautiful baby boy/girl and baby and mama are both healthy, it makes me sick to my stomach all over again.

Maybe it's because recently I've been retelling our story in efforts to reach my fundraising goal for Phoenix Children's Hospital. Remembering what it felt like to have the doctors tell me my child would be "curled up" and nothing more than a vegetable is almost as hurtful as it was the first time I heard it. It actually might hurt more, I think when it happened I was in shock and didn't comprehend exactly what that meant.

It's hard to go out in public. I see children everywhere. Happy, healthy children. I see children whose parents have no idea what it's like to sit in a hospital with your brand new baby all day and then come home to sleep in a house without her. And I shouldn't know what that feels like either.

So, why me? Maybe I'll never know.

I feel this way of thinking eating at me, so what's the other side of it? On KLOVE recently the afternoon DJs have been asking people to share what horrible situations in your life has God turned around as blessings. And as I listened to a couple of these today, I found myself wishing I could be like them instead. These were people who saw the tragedy for what it was (a horrible car accident, getting kicked out of your house as a teenager, etc), but then chose to look at it the way God saw it, as an opportunity to praise Him. Why can't I be more like that?

This blog is called Beck Family Blessings, right? So, here are some of the ways our family has been blessed through this tragedy:

* I have learned SO MUCH about the world of special needs. I know how our brains work (and don't), I understand visual impairments that I never even knew existed, I know what a G-tube is, what an NG-tube is, and that I NEVER want my baby to have either. And I've met a number of really special people that I never would have come in contact with had we not had this happen to us.

* I have learned what I am made of, what my marriage is made of, and what my family is made of. We've all really had to step it up from day 1. My dad still talks of how hard it was for him to go out and meet the ambulance the night Sadie was born. My mom, who didn't have a return ticket home, stayed the ENTIRE time Sadie was in the hospital and cooked and cleaned for us. She couldn't drive at the time because her foot was in a cast, yet she completely on her own figured out how to get to and from the hospital when she wasn't able to ride with us. I went MONTHS without sleeping more than 3 hours at a time (if that), and that was with a baby attached to me. I've suffered days of screaming, and car rides of pure terror. Brian has had to live in a filthy house and do most of the chores himself as well as on his weekends get less sleep because he's helping me out and letting me get out of the house for an hour or two. It hasn't been easy, and I'm sure the hard part isn't over, but I am really sure now of how strong I can be.

* I have been able to see how much other people care about our family. When Sadie was born there were people WORLDWIDE praying for us, for her. Many of these people are still checking in (thank you Facebook) and keeping updated. And they are still praying. But the best part is that many of these people have never met our family. They know someone who knows someone or heard about it at church, and probably many of them never will meet us. That's what makes them so special.

* I am able to see how lucky we really are. Sure, our story is tragic, and there are always going to be different levels of tragedy, but there are so many that are worse than ours. I just read a lady's story very similar to ours, but when they took the breathing tube out of their baby, she died. Or even worse, Sadie could be a vegetable. She could have never learned to breastfeed and have a feeding tube surgically implanted in her belly. She could be blind and/or deaf. But she's doing really well, and by no means is she normal, but she's healthy, and she eats, and she can hear...oh boy can she hear! And she sleeps now (sorta)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mama's got a new job!

Some of you have already heard, I got a new job as an online teacher. There is a school out there called K12 Virtual Academy. It's public school, so it's tuition-free, and it's awesome. It's the perfect homeschool for those parents who don't want to or don't know how to find their own curriculum, because it's certified teachers with test driven lessons and curriculum, all online. I'm sure it's adjusted for littler kids so that they get the reading and writing practice they need (I've also heard that for little kids there are field trips and home visits, but I don't really know), but I'll be teaching High School. English. I'm now a High School English teacher. And after teaching 7th grade in a classroom for almost 5 years, this is going to be WAAAAAYYYYY different.

So I don't really know a lot about this job...yet. I know that I will be working with at-risk kids (so, nothing has changed there). I was asked a lot of questions in the interview about my experiences with at-risk kids, how I feel about that demographic, etc. Luckily that's all I've worked with and I've developed a special place in my heart for these kids. But again, with High Schoolers, it might be a whole different animal.

When I became a teacher I had dreams of becoming the best teacher my students have ever seen. I wanted to do projects and go on traveling school overnight trips, I wanted to help them get jobs and visit their places of employment in my free time. I wanted these kids to love me and submit my name for all sorts of teacher-of-the-year awards. I had visions of being on Oprah and The View and there being made a movie about my career. But then I got my first job and I quickly realized that education these days (at least in Arizona) is all about testing. My job quickly became statistics and data, it was about testing, evaluating the test data, and then reteaching and retesting. Sayings like "data driven" and "laser focused" became everyday language and things like traveling school and projects and fun learning were pushed aside...unless I could fit them into my ELL objectives and find a way to test them using multiple choice.

So now I have this new job at an online school. And I know it's at-risk kids and that I won't have a face to face in the classroom relationship with these kids, but some of my dreams are returning. I still want to be the best teacher these kids have ever had, I still want them to love me and nominate me for awards, but most of all (and I think this is what I've always wanted) I want these kids to know that I love them and that my job isn't just to make money, I'm there to make a difference in their lives.

PS. And having a stay-at-home job allows me to continue to have moments like this

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Political Banana

Recently I registered in a contest to have dinner with President Obama. I did not win. Though that registration my email address was given to the democratic congressional campaign committee. Once a day (sometimes twice) I get an email from them always with the same message - donate money. Some of the emails come from Nancy Pelosi, or Bill Clinton or some other high profile democratic politician. They all ask me to donate money and that has caused me quite a bit of annoyance. So I have begun replying to their emails (all individual replies) asking them in return to donate to my wife's cause.

My wife is raising money to help support Phoenix Childrens Hospital. That hospital does amazing things for children which has a direct impact upon our community. Sadie, in our lives, is an example. Below is a transcript of a recent reply I've given to one of their emails. There might be a bit of tension in the email - but considering this is roughly
the 100th email I've written with zero response, or more importantly a donation, the tone has become more and more malicious on my part.


--- On Sat, 10/9/10, Jon Vogel, DCCC Executive Director wrote:

From: Jon Vogel, DCCC Executive Director
Subject: Arizona Democrats are Counting on You
To: "brian beck"
Date: Saturday, October 9, 2010, 10:53 AM

brian --

I know you are getting tons of emails. The truth is November's election is in a little over three weeks and it all comes down to the actions we take right now to get out our message and turn out Democrats to the polls.

The margins of victory have no room for error for any Democrat to sit on the sidelines. If you care about the progress we have made for America, we must act now. Here are the three best ways you can get involved to help retain our Democratic Majority in November:
  • Sign up to Volunteer -- We can put you in touch with a local campaign in your area who needs your help now, on the phones, knocking on doors and passing out literature. We urgently need volunteers on the ground. We know exactly which voters we need to target. We just need folks to make it happen.
  • Ask your friends to Volunteer -- Post a link on Facebook, tweet it out, or simply press forward on this email and send to ten friends. Every committed Democrat needs to get involved and we are counting on you. The Republicans are counting on Obama Democrats to stay home -- let's prove them wrong.
  • Can't volunteer? Donate! -- Outfitting a grassroots campaign organizer with a kit costs $28 dollars - contribute that today and it could mean that one more campaign has one more volunteer who has the resources it will take for victory on Election Day. $100 could cover production of over a 1000 door hangers. We urgently need your support.
It's all come down to these final three weeks.

We cannot wake up on November 3rd regretting we didn't do more. I need you in this game. Stand with Speaker Pelosi and President Obama and let's prove the Republicans wrong. They have underestimated us before but let's show them this is their biggest miscalculation of all.

Onward to Victory,

Jon Vogel
DCCC Executive Director


All you've done is ask me for money. One email, specific to my location just reminded me to vote early. I thought that was tremendous. Of the rest of the emails you and your pals never mention why I should donate money other than to stop to evil empire of Palins - and even then you do nothing to support your need of why. With that nebulous request in tow, I'll simply respond by asking you to donate to my cause:

Helping sick children. I know that isn't in your agenda because sick Children don't vote, and because they are sick they are less likely to make it to voting age therefore making them even less valuable to you, however considering you really are only furthering the interests of your political machine, I'll just ask politely for you to donate and expect you to do nothing for me except take - and never give.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sadie's radio debut

Yesterday Sadie and I had the opportunity to be part of something big. KTAR, a local radio station here hosted a Radiothon to raise money for the children's hospital. It started Monday at 3pm and went until Tuesday at 7pm...and I'm not sure, but I don't think it even went over night. In just those few hours, they raised OVER $1million! The final total was $1,054,965. That is a LOT of money.

But even more amazing was to hear how many lives this hospital has effected, and I don't just mean this year, I'm talking EVER. Local celebrities like Kurt Warner and John McCain have been effected by this hospital. (side note: I was really hoping we'd get to meet Kurt Warner, but apparently he's too busy with Dancing with the Stars to even be in town! How cool would that have been though? A picture of Sadie and Kurt for the baby book?! Awesome.) They even played a story of Glenn Beck talking about how his daughter had fetal strokes and came to the NICU at Phoenix Children's Hospital.

So, Sadie and I were asked to come tell our story on the radio for people to hear. Our story is special because we were part of the Neuro-NICU. There are only 2 NICUs in the country who meet the criteria to be labeled Neuro-NICU, and PCH is one of them. A number of other hospitals do brain cooling, but even that is fairly new technology, not a lot of people know about it. But because of our amazing story, they asked if we'd also be part of future events like this. I told her to call us for the rest of our lives, we will shout our story from the rooftops if it'll help raise money for this hospital!

Anyway, Sadie was a hit, of course. The moment we walked through the door we were surrounded by people doting on her. What a special little girl she is that she is able to light up a room already, at 8 months old. Even the old men couldn't stay away! I mean, I think she's the cutest little thing...but I'm sorta biased, so I love when others confirm that for me! And she was so good. She was so upset in the car on the way there, but as soon as we got there she nursed herself to sleep for a half hour...long enough to recharge her batteries. That made a world of difference!

So without further ado, here's the video of our interview! Sorry I can't imbed it, but if you click the link below you should be able to watch it.

Radio Interview

I also want to remind you that I'm still working on getting ready for that half marathon in January. It's another fundraiser for Phoenix Children's Hospital. I've committed to raise $1500 and I'm a third of the way there. I'm a little disappointed in how many people HAVEN'T donated (yet). So many of you take for granted that your children are healthy. And so many of you love Sadie and know what this hospital has done for us. THEY SAVED MY BABY'S LIFE!!! Please consider giving. It doesn't have to be a lot...nobody will even know how much except you and me. But getting to that $1500 mark is really important; for me, for Sadie, and for the hospital. You can find the fundraising page either on the right side of the blog, or by clicking here. It's easy to give online and it's safe and secure. So please don't delay any longer in donating.

Thank you. And thank you Arizona for being so generous during the Radiothon this week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sadie's Acugraph

2 weeks ago Sadie saw an acupuncturist for the first time (don't worry, he didn't poke her!) to see if we could get the energy flowing through her body in balance. His name is Michael, and he is very nice. The first thing he did was draw up an acugraph on Sadie. To do this he had a special machine that measured her energy through its exit points in her nail beds, both hands and feet. He used this probe with like a cotton q-tip on the end of it. It was completely painless, but of course Sadie screamed the whole time! This was Sadie's first acugraph:

I know it's small, so I'll explain a little. Each energy line has a left and a right, those are the two lines you see for each one. The 12, in order, are lungs, pericardium (the muscles around your heart), heart, small intestine, triple energy (these are your head, chest, and gut), large intestine, spleen, liver, kidney, bladder, gall bladder, and stomach. According to this, she averages out at 164%, ideal is 100%, so her energy was pretty high across the board. The red ones show that the energy line running through her heart are both higher than her high average. The purple ones are split, meaning there is a large discrepancy between her right and left sides. You can see there are quite a few of these. The green are normal, meaning they aren't split and the both fall in her average range...however, they're still high.

We left with instructions on how to 1. lower her heart energy (which has nothing to do with the actual workings of her heart, by the way), 2. balance her right and left sides, and 3. lower her energy overall. And I faithfully rubbed and tapped all the appropriate spots...for 2 weeks. I should also note that this first appointment was the day before our first movement lesson (ABM therapy).

Yesterday, we visited Michael again. He did the same thing with the probe and the computer and stuff, and Sadie screamed through it again. But this time I was noticing the numbers were a lot lower. And a couple of times he re-measured one. Then when we were all through he told me he had to check his computer because those numbers seemed extremely low. But, it was working just fine. Here's what Sadie's second acugraph looked like:

Amazing, right? Michael said this is the most drastic change he's ever seen. You'll notice that everything is balanced right and left. And instead of the 164% she was at before, she's now at 53%! Now, says Michael, she's too low. These aren't lines of energy like we think of energy amping us up or being calm, these are flows indicating health and vitality. We still want Sadie to be closer to 100%. However, there's apparently no treatment for low levels, only high levels. So, Michael did some poking and used the percussor (vibrator) and tried to open up her main lines.

We go back next week for a third acugraph, then I imagine we'll be done with Michael. In the meantime, we have 3 more movement lessons this week (hopefully they'll be BOWEL movement lessons!)

Monday, October 4, 2010

An open letter to Sadie's elusive teeth

Dear Teeth,

We read that drool was the first sign of you, however, we've been enduring drool for 4 months now and we still don't see you! Then there were hours of crying (luckily not at night), and biting (luckily not while nursing), and now we can feel you...sorta.

It's just that we can't wait for you to pop through! We want to see Sadie's toothy grin, instead of this gummy one (although it's pretty cute too). We aren't only excited for the drooling, crying, and pain to stop, we are also excited for chewing!

You see, Sadie is learning to use her hands and we hope that soon she'll be able to put things (like bananas and crackers and spoons) in her mouth. It'll be much better if you're there to help. We understand that your job is important, and because we have such positive experiences with our own teeth , we'd really like Sadie to experience the pleasure of having teeth...sooner rather than later.

So, teeth, please come soon!

Mama and Daddy (and Sadie) Beck

Sunday, October 3, 2010


I think we has humans, in our core nature, cannot stand the nature of randomness. We crave structure and meaning behind events so badly that we'll resort to an unprovable ethos: karma, God's divine plan or any other similar creative process. Askance, I wonder if the great religions of the world are not really to satiate man's longing for an answer to the question of death, but rather to give meaning to a life that is on the entirety random.

Now certainly this isn't to take snide shots at any faith, quite the contrary, so let us not get bogged down in the meta-theory and continue on our quest to harbor true uncertainty.

We live in a world that hinges upon probability and we practice much of our habitual undertakings hoping to garner larger probability in our favor. The large organic movement is partially in order to be "healthier" and avoid carcinogens latent in commercial agricultural. Does that mean the purchaser of the organic apple is less likely to contract cancer? Research is murky, but the obvious answer is that a haphazard foray into organic items will only slightly reduce the odds of cancer such a tiny amount that the actual good cause the apple produces is perhaps meaningless. Yet we, as humans, know that if we continue to eat enough of those apples, and pears, and other healthier items, then the cumulative score will outweigh whatever risk we inherently have for some health malady. We bank on those odds regularly.

The simple fact is: we really have no clue what will happen tomorrow and despite our careful plodding and good intention, we may tomorrow meet a drunken driver with just a bit too much in him and our end will be sealed. Hands in the air, despairing, the loved ones will say, "It was because of that is dead and we'll confide in that and use that as our mechanism to cope with the abominable sadness we feel." And there is agreement...Yet - that is exactly the circumstance that my criticism is leveled against.

We prepared diligently when Sadie was belly fruit. All of our careful doings seems to be done for nothing when she was born. Fast forward to now as that story has been hashed out. How do we cope with the fact that Sadie was born with special needs?

I think that, fundamentally, is a question that is worth asking, but is not the core question we should be asking as parents! We, as humans, as creatures all in an equally suspended state should ask a question: how do we deal with this?!

We don't have special circumstances, we have different circumstances. Our lives have a measure of randomness slightly different from others.

Now I just need my wife to cease the what-if-tormentia she suffers from and embrace the all important -is-. For that is our greatest joy. Embrace that which happens for it is and that is defines us as humanity.

We did not get a banana picture as Sadie had a pretty awful day. She screamed while teething and screamed while pooping. We'll not go into detail but note that at one point I ran in a mighty hurry to wet towels. Being a parent is the best!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Update on ABM Therapy

Sadie has been to ABM (movement) therapy 5 times now, and she is a completely different baby! I want to share how she's changed in just the last week and a half:

1. Her vision has improved. She can see. I mean, she could see before, but now she LOOKS at things. ANd her eyes focus together. And the fluttering eyelids is lessening. She fixes her attention on objects and really looks at them. Last night we visited Grandpa and he hasn't seen her since we started this therapy. He just kept saying, "look at her eyes! They look great! They look normal! You can tell she can see things better!"

2. No car screaming. Let me say that again in case it didn't sink in: NO. CAR. SCREAMING!!! Somehow, magically, Sadie is now perfectly okay with the car. All my dreams are coming true!!

3. Sadie sleeps at her own bed. And when she doesn't sleep, I just don't care anymore, I'm not going to stay up with her. She's learning to put herself to sleep, so I just turn over and ignore her and she goes back to sleep. If she wants to nurse, she'll let me know. This has allowed me to get MORE than 5 hours of sleep a night and boy, do I feel good!! Oh, and this week she also took a 2 hour nap in her crib by herself.

4. She's becoming aware of her body. Sadie has started kicking her legs, pulling her knees to her chest when she's laying on her back. She's started using her hands more by batting at things. She's still pretty uncoordinated, but I see her trying to bring her hands to her mouth. Her hips are loose and range of motion is returning. She can also roll over. But she doesn't. But I've seen her do it more than once, so I know she can. I feel like once she really gets the hang of using those hands she'll have more motivation to roll over. Also, she can sit more independently for longer periods of time.

5. We're seeing more personality. Last night my brother was in Phoenix to do a show and I took Sadie to meet up with him before he had to go on stage. We were just sitting in the car, but she was smiling and happy and showing off for her uncle. Then we also met up with Grandpa and it was the same thing for him. She has turned into a happy, smiley baby instead of a screamy baby who needs to bounce and nurse all day.

All this after only 5 sessions!! We will have 3 or 4 more next week before we take a break and see what Sadie can do. All of the sudden crawling by Christmas doesn't seem too unreasonable of a goal!!

If you are interested in Movement Therapy for your sick or disabled child, yourself, or anybody you know (even those who are perfectly well!) you can visit Michelle's website here, or here. You can also find amazing videos of her work on youtube (you can even see Sadie!). And even if you don't live in Phoenix it's okay, she will FIND a way to help you!! I strongly encourage you to check her out!

Friday, October 1, 2010

How do Mommies do it all?!

I'm experimenting with a new tool to help me get organized. Now that Sadie doesn't scream all day, I thought it'd be nice to get some things done. So, I made myself a "household notebook." This notebook is supposed to help me keep all my crap in one place (ie. bills, random magazines I get in the mail that I didn't subscribe to, papers from Sadie's doctor appointments, to do lists, etc.), but it's also supposed to help me yeah right. You know those moms that always have a clean house and clean kids who are dressed in clothes that match and dinner's on the table and precisely 6:00 every night? That's not me. And apparently I'm not alone. Mommy, blogger (and my favorite blog to read), also struggles with getting everything done. And she has WAAAAAAYYYYY more to deal with than me!! I think she's doing a great job, but don't take my word for it, she's going to tell us all about it in her special guest post!! And if you want more hilarity and frivolity and just plain fun stories about her crazy life that is driving her stark raving mad, visit her blog. I promise you won't be disappointed! __________________________________________________________________

How Much Do I Suck? Let Me Count the Ways

I had an email this week from a reader named Jenny, asking me how I balance it all -- raising four kids, special needs, managing the Peanut Butter Kid's homebound schooling, running the house, and writing the blog. She asked me what I do to manage my stress besides drinking Frodkas.

I told her the truth: The answer is, I don't do it all, all that well.

Seriously. Or maybe I've just stopped giving a crap about a lot of stuff. My house is a disaster. I keep the downstairs relatively clean because the Peanut Butter Kid's homebound school teacher comes twice a week, and nothing motivates me to clean like a visitor. Particularly a visitor who's probably trained to be on the lookout for children who might benefit from the services of Child Protection.

If it wasn't for that teacher, and the fact that I occasionally babysit an 18-month old that eats everything, our downstairs would be really, really bad. Upstairs? Horrendous.

We have lived in this house for seven months, and I still have not unpacked all the boxes. Also, I haven't installed blinds in the playroom. Our neighbor commented that she notices we leave the light on all the time. Even at night. And did we know it was still on. At night. I'm pretty sure that was the nice way of staying please install some blinds because your hall light is keeping us awake at night. She may have also said something along the lines of "bless your heart," and we all know what that means.

I'll get to it. Eventually.

Also, I was supposed to be the co-leader of our Girl Scout troop this year, and I had to 'fess up that I couldn't do it. I feel incredibly guilty about that, but there's a limit to what I can do. Sometimes you have to say no. Even when you've already said yes.

I'm behind on paying the bills, not because we don't have enough money, but because paying the bills requires me to focus on something for more than five minutes, plus do math, all of which is rather unpleasant. Once in a while I get a nastygram from one of our utility companies, and then I freak out and pay all the bills. My laundry isn't done, the lawn isn't mowed, and my husband is working like 70 hours a week right now so I can't even ask him to do more than he already does.

Also, I eat too many cookies.

I don't care.

I just don't have the energy or the mental capacity to worry about this stuff right now. Even the cookie problem. If it takes the edge off my day, that's just how it's going to be. I am done beating myself up about it. I figure it's better than having a Frodka every time I'm stressed.

Also? I am excellent at rationalizations. Cookies are okay because they're better than becoming an alcoholic. I'm okay with my coffee addiction because it's better than heroin. See how that works? Please let me know if I can provide you with any rationalizations as well. It's a fun game for me, like Scrabble.

Actually, whenever there's a night when I think "boy, I could really use a drink," I don't have one. Because alcoholism runs in my family and scares the crap out of me. I used to run as a stress-reliever. That's healthier than cookies, but I just can't get to it right now.

And that's okay.

I've written before about how I have to triage the kids' problems. The rest of it is kind of like that, too. I prioritize. And that means that corralling the dust bunnies buffalo is really, really low on the list. My family is at the top; if this were a Venn diagram, my marriage and my kids would have equal size and overlap. I give my marriage and my kids equal footing in terms of importance, but of course the kids get more attention than my husband. Which doesn't seem at all fair when you consider that he is supporting all six of us, and the kids are basically bleeding us dry.

So, yeah, maybe I need to bump our relationship up on the list a bit. Because some day, God willing, these kids will grow up as functional members of society and move out. And I hope my husband will still be here.

The thing is, I need to be somewhere on that priority list too. I don't need a bar-cruisin' moms' night out or a spa day every weekend (although that would rock). Just getting out of the house with a friend to go to a children's consignment sale is enough for me. I need, need, need to take a break.

Preferably right now. But I'll take the opportunity for a break whenever it shows up. Sometimes I giddily discover at 7:00 p.m. that we need milk. And I'm all, I'll go! I'll get it! Oh, the kids are already in their jammies ... darn. I guess I have to go alone. And then I drive to the store blasting Eminem or something equally inappropriate for children. By myself. It's bliss.

Pathetic, but true. You have to seize the moment.

For me, the best stress reliever is writing my blog. I love writing, and have always wanted to become a published author. I always thought it would be with fiction; it never occurred to me that I would end up being a humor writer. Especially because I was so lonely after we moved to Texas, the blog -- and connecting with people in similar situations -- has been an amazing outlet for me.

The thing I'm struggling with right now is finding the time to write the blog and work on the book. However, being as how it's my lifelong dream, I'm going to make it happen. I'll sleep when I'm dead, right?

I do think it's critically important to have something that's yours, that you don't have to share, something that gives you a break. When I first had my twins, I joined my local mothers of multiples club, and I went to a meeting every month. It was on the calendar, so I went. And hung out with other cool moms who understood.

Jenny, good luck finding something to help with your stress. Know that you are not alone. Sometimes just knowing you're not the only one who feels like she's drowning, is helpful.

Best wishes!