Tuesday, May 19, 2015

the target demographic has left the building

milestone update:

easter 2015

something i like about reagan. 
i've told him on more than one occasion that mom and dad are santa claus and the easter bunny and the tooth fairy and he has rejected that information. we've discussed the ins and outs of why we do it, he digests the information and then decides he just wants to believe. and i think that is great. let's all believe!

our church put on a special needs carnival for all local special needs children in the area and their families and it was great. (except for the kid operating the plinko game who had never heard of plinko or the price is right before and i had to school him on how it works. kids these days!) i love the efforts by our church to make special needs children feel more included. everyone needs a friend. and everyone needs to ride a pony!

my darling blythe turned 3. it was also a low key year for her but she totally "got" present opening this year. 

to say she is a little mermaid fan is an understatement. 

i also reached a big milestone this year. 35. marketing companies and television and movies will now no longer cater to my opinion for the rest of my life. i guess i'm relieved. it was a lot of pressure liking one of the few well-crafted shows here and there only to have it canceled due to low ratings. stop dragging my heart around!
and hurricane athena blythe at my leftover birthday cake. all part of the job description, i guess.

and this is where i got my new phone and the clarity difference in all my pictures is absolutely incredible. it's like when i got new glasses and realized that those blobs were trees and those little things on them were leaves. JUST LIKE IN BOOKS!

scarlett had a monumental field day. i always dreaded field day because of my genetic history, lackius of athleticus abilitium, but she and her class knocked it out of the park. i think pitting kids against each other in a competitive setting is brilliant, as long as my kids win.

my requisite mother's day picture, first time as a mother of four. i really love being a mom. i couldn't say that 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago and i never EVER say that during the hours of 5-7pm each night, but i love being a mom, poop, vomit, screaming and everything. and that's just me.

hersch is thriving. he sleeps from 8pm to nearly 8am when i have to put him in his carseat for school drop off. it's like i discovered the golden ticket to willy wonka's chocolate factory. it's makes quite the difference on my outlook on life in general.
people keep asking me how much he weighs and in all honesty, i have no idea. i always say around 12-13 pounds, but if i can't get myself on a scale, i'm certainly not going to put my baby on a scale. i don't even think we own a scale anymore. ain't nobody got time for that. hersch wears 0-3 month outfits and a few newborn things here and there. he'll be 4 months on june 4th. 

we've had a few 90 degree days and the kids have discovered the joys of trampolines and hoses. saturday has been transformed.

probably the biggest news is that these 2 ding dongs finally learned to TIE SHOELACES. reagan's hands don't like anything that requires fine motor attention scarlett just skated by this long.

again, low expectations and you'll be richly rewarded.

reagan- "now that i can tie shoes, will a girl want to marry me?"

final note. simpsonville house is thisclose to being put on the market. all the renovations that we've wanted to do for so long are finally done. it's a shame not to have been able to enjoy it, but this is the first chance we've had to do any upgrades. it looks amazing. we're just waiting on new countertops and a few light fixtures to be switched out.
 a sneak peak from last week when they finished the floors and paint:
the end.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

this is our song

in our family, we all have a song. it started when thomas and i were on our honeymoon in florida and every time we got in the car we heard kenny chesney's song, the good stuff. it was annoying. it was hokey. it was too country. we kept changing the station. and then we stopped changing the station when we actually started hearing the words and it became our song. 
a few years later when reagan was born a month premature, i was driving up to the hospital multiple times a day to visit him and when i would get in the car i was constantly hearing two songs by kelly clarkson, breakaway, and behind these hazel eyes, over and over and over. then when he finally came home i would be up all night with him and i would watch music videos on MTV and VH1 and the rob thomas single, lonely no more, would be on heavy rotation. any time i hear any of those songs i am quickly reminded of the first few weeks of reagan's life. i chose, behind these hazel eyes, as reagan's song because those other two songs just annoy me a little too much. 
a tradition was born. everyone has a song. it's the song that was most popular on the radio a lot when they were born or in thomas and my case, when our marriage was born. the song chooses us and whenever we hear them when we are out and about, we turn them up and sing at the top of our lungs. even though i am notorious for not liking a song simply because it was overplayed on the radio, in this case it's fun because you know that in 20 years these songs will still be played on the dentist office style popular and country radio stations and we can think about each other. tradition? tradition!

reagan's song. if reagan could choose his own song today it would be, come and get it(nah nah nah nah) by selena gomez. it's an instant classic over here in these parts. 

scarlett's song. instantly reminds me of the world's most scorching summer in montgomery, alabama and giving birth to scarlett in the middle of it. 

athena blythe's song. this song is the most fun to sing in the car. blythe is the most fun in the car too, unbuckling her carseat at high rates of speed.

herschel's song, by a native georgian, naturally. i love this style of country twang. authentic americana.

mom and dad's song. thank goodness tank tops on men are popular again. i can't get enough of men's hairy armpits. who doesn't want to see that? this song can change the night to day for us. we can be grumbling in the car about whatever daily task, or disagreement we are experiencing(and i'm not afraid to admit we don't always get along) and this comes on and it is the balm of gilead to our marital soul. it can almost drown out the discordant shrieks our undomesticated passengers. (undomesticated passengers! band name! called it!)

Monday, May 11, 2015

party of 6

writing for a wife and mother, "is like rowing against wind and tide"- harriet beecher stowe

when i started writing this blog post, herschel had been home from the hospital 3 weeks after nearly 5 weeks in the NICU. as of this edit, herschel has been home 9 weeks. time flies and every minute counts toward staying afloat as opposed to making progress.

 i was a mixed bag about herschel coming home. i missed having him with us but it was nice to be able to heal and rest and have him completely cared for while he worked so hard get big and strong. it was like the most expensive baby sitter of all time. but he lives here full time and pays taxes and all that so i guess we're making it.  

we had tons of wonderful people bring us dinner but next time i'm a millionaire i'm going to totally order a meal from instead of flowers. thomas' office sent us meals from instead of flowers on two different days and it was great. it was TONS of great food, plus reusable insulated totes!

this is all ONE MEAL!

and since i've got to get caught up a million thoughts and posts, here is a gratuitous amount of photos with one line captions:

chicken leg baby

feeding tube up the nose because like his brother before him he was good at figuring out how to pull it out.

two sisters pushing the new stroller around the living room and getting its first dents in it.

the bed herschel has yet to spend the night in. 

darling big sissy in the NICU

the triumphant arrival on sunday march 22nd!

love at first sight

2 kids in diapers is so expensive
a huge chunk of our budget goes toward velcro bags that hold poop that we throw away. 

Thursday, April 02, 2015

reagan's first decade

muppets+maps+the color green+a pinata=success

you can't go wrong with this combination and reagan. 
our family is doing small, at home birthdays this year, which is a far cry from some of our extravaganzas in the past and i'm ttttffffpppphrilled(said with spitting) about it. 
reagan requested a kermit the frog cake and i wanted to explore new chocolate frosting options. i found a GREAT one that only required one small change from the other version i normally use. instead of add the cocoa powder last, i mixed it in FIRST with the butter, before adding anything else. then i added powdered sugar, whole milk and vanilla as per usual. it was fantastical. 
the rest of the kermit process was pretty easy and i even splurged on a food safe marker for the eyes. 

we had the small festivities on a sunday evening with two families that reagan particularly enjoys. he surprised all of us by reading a story to his guests. i was especially surprised since the boy hates reading, but he loves to perform. he simply cannot ignore the call of the stage.

for his actual birthday we ate a few leftover cupcakes that i bought for his class from the special kneads bakery in town that was specifically opened to cater to the employment needs of special needs individuals. i can't even type that without tearing up at the wonderful thing they are doing. only about 11% of autistic adults are employed and often not full time or to their capability so three cheers for them for head up the special needs employment revolution.

this past week was the DREADED pinewood derby. lucky for me, our current troop spent an entire evening cutting out the body style so all that was left for reagan(ME) to do was sand and paint and reagan(I) can do those things. 

the night of the derby, after i had done all that i could do to create an acceptable car, one of our dear scout leaders took it upon himself to do some last minute adjustments and created a pinewood super car. reagan didn't lose a single race and he gets to compete in the district competition in the next few weeks. go reagan!(ME!)

from the pictures, he was obviously thrilled. 

it was after 8pm and that is when reagan shuts down for the evening. 

more blurry pictures! i ordered a new camera download cord and the first time i tried to use it, my camera stopper working! hurray! i think it's in cahoots with the computer printer and the garage door opener because none of them like to work for me either.


Friday, March 06, 2015

the week i almost can't remember

this is a loooong post. spoiler alert- everything works out in the end.

a long time ago in a land far, far away i had preeclampsia and reagan had to be born 4 weeks early. so, on the night of monday, february 2nd, when i woke up at midnight feeling like death warmed over, i felt like i had an inkling of what was happening as history repeated itself.
i thought i was just hungry or had terrible heartburn or that i was simply suffering from pregnancy insomnia, but it was worse than all that. way worse. a little voice in my head told me to google preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. when i had preeclampsia the first time, a few months earlier a good friend of mine also had a premature birth when her preeclampsia had progressed to hellp syndrome and i could hear her voice in my head, "i just didn't feel well and i knew something was wrong" and i couldn't ignore the same feeling. so, i googled and webMDed and matched up with every symptom until about 230am and i was so exhausted i could finally fall asleep. i talked myself out of waking thomas up and having him take me to the hospital because i didn't want it to be a hassle. i know, i already wasn't making sense but i knew i had an appointment at 9am the next morning so i tried to hold out for then. when i woke up, i actually felt a ton better, but my feet were so swollen i could barely squeeze into flip flips and i hardly pull my pants up over my gigantically swollen legs. i waddled to the doctor and i took my urine test and told them all i was feeling and my preeclampsia premonition. i had significant amounts of protein in my urine but my blood pressure was still normal so they sent me home with a home monitoring kit which is basically a giant jug to collect all your urine in for 24 hours. then you're supposed to keep it in the refrigerator, next to the meat you are thawing for dinner! yum! i went home, put on my jammies and laid on the couch for the next few hours. which is i guess what i did but i have very little recollection of. i was mostly unconscious, and not in a restful way. blythe sensed something was up because she just sat next to me on the couch. she didn't pull a single stunt. i didn't even feed her lunch. i also didn't go to the bathroom a single time, which was an indicator of how quickly my kidneys had gotten overwhelmed. i went from numerous pregnancy potty breaks my entire pregnancy to nothing more than a bottle cap full in the weeks leading up to the big event. i'll spare you the really gruesome details, but everyone needs to go potty all the time and it should be yellow. yellow is the only acceptable color. 
i was still thinking i would get over it when i started violently and uncontrollably vomiting. and then i realized the time and remembered to pick up the kids from school. which is one of the worst decisions i've ever made. my brain was absolute mush at this point, i couldn't stay awake, let alone sit up and i decided to drive my gigantic mom-mobile yukon(named Cornelius) an hour round trips to two different schools to get the big kids. i got an inkling of how terrible decision to drive was when i told scarlett to "keep talking to mama while she's driving so that she can stay awake". after i picked up reagan, i finally called the doctor's office. they told me to head up to the hospital. i called my good friend, heidi(it's not confusing at all) and asked her to watch my kids while i went to the hospital. then i laid down again and passed out until she had to let herself into my house. i was still determined to drive at this point but she convinced me to let her take me to the ER herself. we all loaded up in her van and then the violent vomiting started again. reagan thought it was fantastic and exciting. since i hadn't eaten since midnight the night before, i thought it was kind of horrible and painful. thankfully, since she's a mom, heidi had several grocery bags in the van for my use. and use them i did. heidi dropped off my kids at her house and we headed to the hospital i think it was comical at this point because i'm barfing and heidi has her head out the window of her van trying not to barf at my barfing. 2 heidis in a van barfing but trying not to and not barfing but almost barfing. did you follow? it was very meta. 
so, after the usual hullabaloo about actually getting admitted and continued vomiting, (but in official hospital barf bags with a ringed opening for your comfort) i was taken upstairs with a blood pressure that varied from 165/87 to 195/87 in a 30 minute time period. so, pretty bad without being dead but almost wanting to be. 

i looked like this:
i was annoyed at thomas for taking such a terrible picture of me with it being sooooo blurrrrry, but then i realized, that's actually how bad i look right now. 
i was kept overnight because they were trying to get me to last until friday, when i would be 34 weeks pregnant and hersch would be just that much healthier. i was injected with the GIGANTIC baby lung development steroid in my hips and hoped and prayed for good news. on wednesday morning, i had a visit from a high risk ob/gyn and his high risk ultrasound tech. our prognosis was a bit grim; i was probably in hellp syndrome which is bad, my blood pressure was not improving, my platelet count was going down, my kidneys and liver were not functioning well and the toxins in my body had nowhere to go. hersch was actually doing pretty well considering his environment, but he had stopped growing sometime in the previous few weeks and was undersized for his age. he had to get out quick. we tried to weight a few more hours, but then my no-nonsense nurse burst into my room with the news that i was on the chopping block within the hour. and oddly enough, this was the first time i was really unsure and upset. because of the c-section! i'd never had one before so i was scared! i'm i'm a good baby pusher outer! that's one of my few talents! these wide hips have a purpose and not just for hitting doorknobs! but, i had no choice, neither hersch nor myself would endure a lengthy delivery. so, i called a couple of friends and arranged childcare, school pickup(one elementary secretary gave me grief about not coming in a signing appropriate change of child pickup paperwork. for real) and told thomas to get here stat. he made it, and old lady shaved me and practically everyone at the hospital saw me naked. if ever i wish i had been able to do a few extra squats and lunges, it was then. while the actual c-sectioning, thomas held my totally numb hand and we chatted about the upcoming walking dead episode with the anesthesiologist. and then herschel was there. and it was amazing. because he was there and even in that much chaos and fright(because we weren't out of the woods yet) the Spirit was there and so was herschel. he was pretty mad about things, but i was able to kiss his little face before they whisked him away.

after i was done in recovery, they wheeled me into the nicu to see him. and then i almost threw up again when i saw him. i'll tell him about that someday. gurneys are a wild ride.

after a few days, my crazy swelling went away. it was such a change, that when i went to see herschel a few days later, they asked me who i was and how i knew the simpson family. and when i said, mother, everyone did a double take. 

i had to stay in the hospital for about week until all my kidney and liver function returned to normal, which was a process. i couldn't eat for 3 days and that doesn't help with the brain crazies. i was hopped up on a magnesium drip which is why i still can't remember much of anything. i was taking about 20 pills a day and i was known by the color of my urine, sweet tea brown, and the size of my giant purple bruise on my c-section incision. you may all call me, sweet tea heidi, from now on. i've always wanted a nickname. it was all quite painful and i bow down to women who have had multiple c sections. 
i had to rest a lot because preeclampsia doesn't just go away with delivery. i was on bedrest for about 3 weeks after delivery. i found a great article on preeclampsia that explains the process really well and mentions downton abbey. bonus for you. click here. i'm the lady sybil character in case you were wondering.
 the biggest plus about recovering from preeclampsia, besides not dying and not being pregnant anymore is that food finally tastes good again. i hadn't eaten more than cereal for the last month. i was even getting really excited for the baked sweet potatoes and activia at the hospital.

biggest biggest plus is my sweet little loves is here. 
he's still in the hospital but he's grown to 5lbs 1 ounce and he's doing great. he's still having a few issues due to prematurity, but he's the toughest little cuss i've ever seen. but what do you expect from a baby named after herschel walker?

this is his occupational therapist. she helps him get strong by doing exercises with him that will help him mimic pushing against the walls of the womb. modern medicine is a miracle.

this is just part of the circus that i enjoyed when i got home. my mom and sister both took turns visiting and helping. what would i have done without them? heather even brought her whole family. this is all the girls waiting for reagan while he's at his piano lesson. i ate so many frosties too.

i'm sure i'll remember more later. but the most important part is that everything worked out. 

Sunday, February 08, 2015

date night in baby jail

As far as ideal date circumstances go, I'm sure friday night in the nicu with a heavily drugged, heavily swollen, high risk post natal mom with a makeshift ice pack constructed out of ice and a preemie size diaper strapped to her stomach ranks pretty low on most people's must do lists. But lucky for Thomas,  I was able to help him check off that dream. I don't need much when I'm with Thomas. I didn't even have to wear a bra.

I wore my nicest, baby poop colored hospital gown for the occasion.   

we capped off the night with big cups of pebbled ice. It was heaven. Thomas spent about 20 minutes googling heavy duty, at home, hospital quality pebbled ice maker for our next ananniversary. He always promised we'd have it all!
the best part of being married to someone is doing nothing with that someone and it's one of the best times you've had in a long time.
hersch update- adorable. likes to pull out his canulla and his feeding tube. Kicks and flings his arms when he hears dad's voice. Recoils in horror at mom's cackle.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

all that is good in the world

I had a baby 12 hours ago!  A premature baby even.
I have not properly bathed, shaved, brushed my teeth, removed my contacts or even washed my face in what feels like daaaays and I'm still sitting on top of the world.
Almost everything has been an ordeal of epic proportions, which I will painstakingly and minutely record on another day, and not at 1:30am.
but I do want to record how happy and wonderful I feel. Nothing went smoothly. My health status fluctuated from minute to minute, from scary to worse. I wasn't allowed to walk. I had no overnight bag. Baby Hersch was the easiest member of the party.  
But no big deal. I ultimately had one of the best days ever.
I saw so many people reach out in service and love to my family.
I had several silly text conversations with my reliably fun, sarcastic and ready to entertain and inform convotextionalists friends. My sweet husband made all school and homefront things happen, even taking a conference call with Blythe on hand(or lap). Just thomas walking in the room made everything feel better.
The Spirit was attending to me through so many mediums and great things happened. 

Herschel Ezra Simpson
February 4th at 1:47pm
3lbs 9 ounces
born at 33 weeks gestation,  7 weeks premature