Wednesday, January 14, 2015

florida christmas spectacular


before we left on our trip to florida for christmas, i made sure to put my nice camera download cord in a "safe place" so that i would know exactly where to find it upon our return. i'm not sure why i didn't put it in my regular spot, as that would make the most sense, but i decided to make things hard and try and lose my cord for fun. all together now, "pregnancy brain"!!!

we had so many trip highlights, but the ones i have pictorial evidence of are busch gardens and honeymoon island. unfortunately, the theatrical extravaganza that was reagan's fire safety puppet show reloaded, complete with 8 songs, including the addition of selena gomez's, "if you're ready, come and get it" is not included. let's all hold a fast for the camera cord location. 

anywhoo, since i obviously never going to find it and i can never download pictures from my camera ever, never, ever again, i may as well record what i can with my camera phone pictures. it will be a weak substitute. i don't even have a picture of my dear sister or mother. probably because we didn't get frosties together this time and pictures and frosties go hand in hand like long, flat william's family bottoms and empty calorie choices.

we went to busch gardens on christmas eve. it was so fun to be there as a family. 
that's ATHENA BLYTHE up on the suspended bridge with thomas. no big deal, mom. 

blythe's example gave scarlett the courage to accomplish the same feat.

the dads took the big kids one some fun roller coasters and aunt heather and i took the babies to see the elmo show. heather and i sang the loudest. because we are so obnoxious.

blythe had more than a few moments of tantrum. waiting in line was a pain, buckling up was a pain and going in through the entrance is for mere mortals. i had to chase blythe many times when she decided she was done waiting and was going to take any chance she could to get on a ride. 

  final busch gardens thoughts
*a bird pooped on my shoulder. at least it wasn't my hair
*they had HUGE, lazy 12 foot alligators about 10 feet from your face
*we got free tickets from heather's neighbor and that saved us about $250. boom.
*pregnant women are the best spot in line savers. what else are we going to do?

aunt heather and uncle daniel have a real live alligator lake in their backyard. uncle daniel took the kids fishing and all that outdoorsy stuff while i nursed yet another sinus infection and thomas took conference calls from the hotel room. (poor thomas spends every christmas putting out legal fires. everyone should go to dental school. the law is a jealous mistress.)


uncle daniel is the best. hands down. fishing. treasure hunting. specialty drink preparation. specialty cheese plate taste test preparer. full body beach burials. he's the party starter. he'll get things going.


aunt heather and uncle daniel have started the tradition of elaborate treasure hunts for my kids. this was was complete with maps, clues and real live buried treasure under and X in the sand. 


floridaaahhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

because i know it's downhill from here, i took a swim suit pregnancy picture. i am woman. in spandex.



 on our return trip, we stopped for lunch in waycross with thomas' mother. scarlett was ready for her 90s engagement portrait sitting on a hay bale in the barn. 

final note, if i was to go looking for crystal meth, a drive through certain parts of north florida might send me in the right direction. sketchy. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

face/off


so, my face has been a little crazy since athena blythe was born. after each pregnancy i've had some discoloration but it has eventually faded after about 6 months to a year. lucky for me, after this last go around, my melasma has persisted into permanence. i'm sure it didn't help that i was spending copious amounts of time outside between running and outdoor classes and taking the kids to the pool. i tried to use sunblock and wear hats and sunglasses as much as possible, but i was becoming increasingly self-conscious about my face. i could tell when people were looking at my skin and not my eyes. it's a bit unsettling.
can you find- 
the gorbachev-like mark on my forehead?
my i-wish-it-was-kool-aid mustache?
the dead almost kardashian sister look in my eyes?
check! check! check!

granted, i feel a bit selfish and shallow complaining about my melasma when it could be so much worse. flesh eating bacteria for starters. but, my lofty pipe dream is to NOT wear makeup in the summers. it's call hotlanta for a reason. 

i normally avoid buying thing from people like the plague. i am cheap. i do not enjoy spending money. but, my dear friend, holly, sells rodan and fields products and her results were great and people were always coming up to her to order more and rave about their transformations that after one particularly gruesome workout and day at the pool where i looked like someone had driven a truck over my face, i decided to take the plunge. the rodan and fields reverse system is not cheap. it's way more expensive than i even thought i would spend on my face. my walmart makeup might feel left out sitting at the same lunch table as my rodan and fields products. would they be friends? it's pretty in pink and breakfast club and every other molly ringwald movie ever made all over again! social hierarchy distortion! 
i kid. i kid. 
here's my before:

could not even muster a half smile

and here's after 60 days:
after about 30 days, someone at church asked me about my gorgeous, smooth skin! i turned to look for the person behind me because i couldn't believe they were talking to me. 
i still have some discoloration, but it's very slight! i'm a normal person again! i'm pleased as punch. worth every penny. it's recommended to reorder every 60 days, but i always still have ample product left over at that point. i use my reverse both morning and evening, and have only ordered twice. 

things to note- 
in this picture, my skin is still enjoying the residual effects of my birth control by being extra clear and zit free. my glorious birth control pill, which also enhances my mood and makes me less stabby, but apparently doesn't actually prevent pregnancy. God works in mysterious ways. 


and here's my face with full makeup:
the power of makeup contouring! amazing!

but really:
i simply couldn't make a normal face. blame it on pregnancy but we all know i actually prefer weird faces! my face is exhausted, but my skin glows!!! i'm starting to get some preg puff and redness, but i'm happy as can be with my face. hallelujah. 

*this was not a paid endorsement. because blogs full of paid endorsements are super annoying and disingenuous and i'd only like to be accused of being annoying, not disingenuous.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

simpsons 2014 year in review


since this is the 2nd year in a row that i haven't done a christmas card and letter, i at least wanted to record some sort of year in review letter on ye olde blogge. 

2014 was HARD with many not fun happenings as we would like. we moved states on short notice, we said goodbye to meatball(he's living with a new family upstate with a big farm and lots of places to play, wink wink), the kids did several school switcheroos, thomas worked many, many more hours than should be humanly possible and traveled more miles than the oscar meyer wienermobile, and the rest of us missed him terribly but and ate lots of scrambled eggs and frosted flakes while he was away. the one plus for me was much less cooking. the kids have very undeveloped culinary palettes. 

thomas, the pillar of our home, continued his work as executive vice president  and chief legal officer of certus bank. he is still waiting for his dream job of university of georgia year round football commentator-at-large to open up. in january, thomas will be starting a new position back in private practice here in the atlanta metro and we are all looking forward to less travel and more thomas.

heidi, as the triumphant motherhood martyr, i spent the year busily nurturing and rearing the children. i tried to ignore them, but they were relentless! sometimes it's hard to say at the end of a year what you spent the majority of the time doing when it mainly consists of putting out fires and ensuring that everyone has adequate food and water, but it's important work. for the first half of the year i had really great looking deltoid and quad muscles and for the second half of the year i consumed a lot of frosted flakes to ward off pregnancy nausea and decongestant pills to keep from suffocating during my sleep due to pregnancy congestion. glamorous. 

reagan, our familial adhesive whom everyone loves, was surprisingly resilient with the move and the subsequent school changes. he's a champion of his circumstances. things are often difficult at first, but he is the picture of perseverance. at school in south carolina, he enjoyed running club, buying lunch on pizza friday and cleaning the church building. here in georgia, i signed him up for the school choir because of his love for music and his adorable little voice, but he absolutely hated it. he did enjoy going to lego club, even though i don't think he played much with the legos. he also likes going to cub scouts, but mostly for the social aspect, not the scouting aspect. go figure. 

scarlett, our delight of weird delights, is a fount of curiosity. i think it was the most difficult for her to make the move as she missed so many of her friends in south carolina, but she's really started to find her georgia niche. she's doing very well in school and had a key role in the school choir musical. scarlett is definitely avant garde with her personal style and loves to arrange her room and create outfits and is certainly not afraid to mix patterns. she has recently taken a liking to creating home designs and creating interior decorating plans on the internet and that thrills me to no end as i am a terrible barbie doll and baby doll play counterpart. 

athena blythe, the sweetest, crankiest monster child you'll ever meet, loves her one on one time with mom when the big kids are at school but looks forward every day to the time when we go pick up "buddy" and "sissy". she has an affinity for mickey mouse clubhouse, much to my everlasting chagrin, super why, strawberries, clementines, nutella sammiches and cannot get to nursery fast enough on sunday. she actually runs away from me and down the hall all by herself in her great haste to play with the other kids. she may or may not be a good big sister. the jury is out. 

baby herschel, our fourth horseman of the apocalypse, has an ETA of march 20, 2015. though he is still on the inside, we all have felt his presence in our family. he was a complete and utter surprise, but we are all very excited about him joining our family, especially big brother, reagan. i'm dreading the actual childbirth process because it's terrible, painful and rather messy and it's the sort of task that's difficult to farm out, but i guess it must be done as i do not foresee a future as a feature on a TLC program as the woman who was pregnant for 46 years. 

2014 is one for the books. we're grateful for so much. we spent a wonderful christmas holiday together in florida and we look forward to the new year, new opportunities and a new baby. 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

fun reagan is the best.

december 1, reagan started a new, self-contained autism classroom at a new school. mid-november, we had a meeting with his school team to update his IEP and figure out what the next step for reagan's education plan should be. reagan's kindergarten teacher used to always call reagan a "puzzle" and she was absolutely right. he's bright but holds all the information inside of him. his current teacher had 30 kids in her class and didn't feel like she could spend the time she needed to working with him. so, he was reevaluated, again, and it was determined that transferring to a new school environment would be a more beneficial placement for him. except for the fact that all the administrators forgot he is AUTISTIC and change is very difficult for him. thomas and i were both hesitant at first at putting reagan in a self-contained classroom. your neuro-typical children and my neuro-atypical child need to be together. they both have things to learn from each other. social awareness goes both ways. however, we were in agreement with the district that changing his school placement could be the best thing for him educationally, but reagan would be the ultimate decision maker on whether it would work. you can't force an autistic kid to do anything without it affecting every other aspect of his life. the vice-principal at our IEP was absolutely incredulous that we would allow reagan to have a say in the school transfer. for a man who spends a lot of time around kids, he certainly didn't act like a man who spent a lot of time around kids. forcing is an absolutely effective way to parent. you should watch me give athena blythe a bath. force has it's place. however, force and autism are oil and water. we were going to encourage reagan in any way possible to try to the new school, but we also have been his parents long enough to know that you have to let your kid think it is their idea in order for things to go more smoothly(also works in marriage!)
we spent about 2 weeks coaxing reagan into the idea. the first suggestion went over like a lead balloon. he spent all afternoon crying about the prospect and a solid hour sitting on my lap, clinging to my neck. i sort of reveled in it as this level of emotional connection is VERY unusual for reagan. he normally only clings to me for comfort out of abject fear of something(often a dog outside while he's playing. he's especially wary of a chihuahua on our street who roams around while wearing a sequin sweater. dogs in sequin sweaters are unnatural and freak me out too). otherwise, i am the macaroni and cheese maker and the car driver. (randomly, last night, he did say "i love you" to me at bedtime. he does that about as often as halley's comet rolls by.) we did multiple new school drive-by viewings. we met with his new teacher. we spent an afternoon playing at the new school playground and riding bikes at the parking lot. we counted 18 planes that flew overhead and i took that as a VERY positive sign as reagan loves a nice airplane sighting. we talked about the various car line changes that he would experience and the school start and end time changes. scarlett would remain at the previously assigned school, which was sort of a kick in the teeth, but pulling her for reagan's needs again is just one less thing i want her to talk to her therapist about someday. she'll transfer to his school next year. it's hard for her too because their recess times overlapped and she would always seek him out on the playground so they could play together. ironically, the new school is geographically the closest to our house(less than 2 miles) yet still not our officially zoned school, so i'm on the lookout to buy or rent a house in that school zone for ease of scarlett's registration in a very crowded district. bonus, thomas loves when i am in house hunting mode. imagine pregnant house hunting mode! with reagan attending the new school, drop off/pick up and car line at two schools takes about an hour. TWICE A DAY! being an adult is just what i thought it would be like. fun, fun, fun! all the time! enough of that pity party.

reagan finally conceded to the change and he had a little going away party with his former class. then he went immediately to a little welcoming thanksgiving party at his new school. what our schools need are more parties and more sugar is what i always say!

reagan with his former autism liaison, miss burger, whom i liked to call miss booger, because it annoyed reagan. 

and reagan's former teacher, mrs. fletcher. she was a gem, but 30 students, including 6 autistic kids is a bit much for anyone. i would not blame her if she had a secret chocolate chip stash in her desk(like ME!) to help her cope. 

the change has been a little bumpy but reagan keeps working at it. reagan has been there for 2 1/2 weeks and he had a lot of new anxiety to work through and the return of some old anxiety friends too. new bathrooms in public places can be very daunting. common core math that his own mother can't figure out is very annoying to him too. the new boys in his class have been very welcoming and i think having only 7 boys total in the class has been a nice, quiet reprieve for him. extra noise bugs me too. he (mostly)readily completes his work and he gets all sorts of help with things he struggles with. it's hard to say after only a short time, but i think we may finally get the academic success that i know he is capable of. we have even started weaning off his medication. fun reagan is able to get his work done and robot reagan can hopefully go away forever. fun reagan is the best. i'm ashamed to say that "fun reagan" is the best nickname i could come up for him, as i pride myself on being an expert nicknamer, but "fun reagan" is the really the most apropos. 

last night he did ask me, "mom, when will have have girls in my class again?"
(autism in girls has a much, much lower incidence rate.)
"i don't know, reagan. maybe there will be a girl in your class next year?"
"i hope so. i just love girls."

it's nice to know i'm included in that. 

Monday, December 08, 2014

a duct tape kind of christmas

i don't know why i let this happen every year. i always intend to immediately toss the pumpkins after halloween and then i procrastinate it because i normally don't even walk through the front door and then we have days of torrential downpour and they end up looking like this:

which is how i felt for most of the thanksgiving break(pregnancy+sinus infection+not the flu because i had the flu shot and you can't possibly get the flu with the flu shot according rude doctor who also said i was gaining too much weight and now i totally hate him and if he shows up in my delivery room i will have thomas body slam him and i will shimmy that big mirror over to my delivery bed and deliver this baby myself). plus, the rest of the family was lucky enough to get sick too and so i only have one picture from our trip to waycross. this one:

blythe taking us for a little country drive on mimi's farm land as we all drove to our extended family picture location. happy thanksgiving. then we early the next day and we were all sick until sunday. somehow thomas and i mustered up the strength to prepare talks on gratitude during trials and counting blessings for sacrament meeting, but i'll tell you what, it was a bit of a stretch and i'm surprised there weren't lightning strikes around that pulpit. 

this past saturday was our church breakfast with santa and it was pretty fantastic because i just love events with the whole family and that comment isn't even dripping with sarcasm. i feel like we often get so caught up in the daily scamble and thomas is out of town a lot that entire family events that are mostly relaxing and few and far between. i loved eating with these people and then singing christmas carols in anticipation for santa's visit. 

can you see the singing intensity on this face? she believes. he voice alone drew santa into our festivities.

this crazy haired monster was also with us and she growled at everyone for the majoring of the activity. 





 blythe was not interested in santa at all, but look at these two cute kids! they should get whatever they want from santa! but they're not because apparently this santa was a realist and after scarlett told him her christmas wishes, he replied that she "better not get her hopes too high". killjoy. 

 and living in a rental house has made me not want to make any effort at christmas decorating and thomas surely didn't need convincing to just go buy a fake pre-lit tree. 
he we are trans versing the wintery parking lot:

oohing and aahing at all the festive holiday delights:

the intense selection process(i really wanted the white flocked tree too!):

hauling our multicolored light selection to the register because they were sold out of all white:

 grooming non-perfectionists:

tacky gold tinsel attached to railing with visible duct tape because i just don't care. it was fun and easy. 

not bad for a multicolored light tree.


Monday, November 24, 2014

more monthly recap


october. someday i'll get really good at this family record keeping business again. 
general conference
we tried some new techniques(churchy word bingo) to try and encourage more general conference listening among the children. obviously, we hit it out of the park:


i did get a lot of practice on my loose dutch braid skillz on scarlett's head while she was listening for her bingo card. she sort of really hates it when i want to practice my braiding but look how good this looks! i love a loose braid!

gender reveal un-party
i did a really low key gender reveal for the kids. 

they took one look at the outfit and they still weren't really sure whether is was a boy or girl outfit. in their defense, it took me a really long time wandering around walmart trying to find a boy outfit that i did not find completely hideous. everything was kitsch, camo, or had a kitschy slogan on it like, "does this diaper make my butt look big?". so ambiguous stripes it is. 

grandma sandy
grandma sandy visited and we were spoiled with love and affection. and we went out to lunch 3 DAYS IN A ROW! 

and then we had FROSTIES!



in other cute news:
this boy requires a personalized napkin in his lunch everyday. i've gotten pretty good at taking requests but one day i fell short of my normal standards and he remedied the situation with his own rendition of wonder red of super why fame. blythe's interest in the show, super why, has caused a resurgence of interest with reagan because he loves watching any show with blythe. so, wonder red is a bit of a celebrity around here.

i still get comments from retail workers everywhere about this type of situation. and i just let them roll off me because that's the type of gangta mother that i am. 

honor roll and CITIZENSHIP awards!


and thomas and i will never make friends at church because we both spent the majority of the trunk or treat party checking our phones for georgia and alabama football scores. and we both won. but, not on the friendship front. 


TWINS!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

jebediah heidi


 recent goals have included trying really, really hard to be fun because i have been so incredibly lame over the last few months. thomas has started to refer to me as "jebediah atkinson" of saturday night live weekend update fame because of our similarities in disposition and personality. google his SNL commentary on the tony awards. right now. i'll wait. we're twins. and he's right about cats. 
the day i brought home a few meager gourds and miniature pumpkins with which to decorate our entry table, thomas even commented on the upswing in my mood. "look at you, not biting off the heads of harmless bunnies AND decorating!" it was a good day, indeed. 
today's adventure in fun included the local grocery store halloween party. our publix halloween party in simpsonville last year was lights out awesome so i was hoping that our local kroger would be more of the same. unfortunately, we got off to a rocky start. i got posed pictures with the two tolerable kids. reagan was a bit angsty because he was so worried about being late and missing all the candy. i assured him that the party was supposed to last from 4-7 and that we would have plenty of opportunity to get candy if we arrived at 5. 


scarlett is a dream who recognizes that chaos often reigns and she needs to stay my rock of composure. poor thing also thought the layered skirts that i made for her costume were the bee's knees even though i failed to do a bit of finishing stitching on the waistband and said to heck with everything on the hem and just cut all skiwampous to finish it. 

blythe required manhandling to have her stinky diaper changed, further manhandling to put on her costume and the always effective knee-to-the-shoulder technique to force on her shoes. 


it was so crazy bad that i didn't dare take the time to change my own clothes and i committed the egregious sin of wearing my maternity leggings as pants in public. for shame. (however, i was not the only one at kroger guilty of this offense, but i was the only one who knew it!)

at this point as i was driving down the street and AC/DC's "for those about to rock, we salute you!" was blaring through my speakers and i could not think of a more apropos song to describe what we were about to do to kroger. 

kroger halloween party disappointments
1. i had to search out the party upon entrance to the store. it was not readily apparent where all the fun was being had and therefore it indicated that not much fun was being had. 
2. there was no employee costume dress code. you would hope that the adults in charge of a children's party would be able to make the distinction of appropriate and inappropriate but the employee wearing the slutty bumble bee costume with NO PANTS and fishnet tights and a saggy elasticized strapless top had never had the thought of appropriate costume occur to her(and yes i did try to get a picture but gollum was climbing all over me and making that crucial snap impossible.) bumble bee's boyfriend was assisting her and his costume was that of sweaty lawn mower operator. i'm glad he was in charge of passing out the cookies, which he was also stingy about.
3. only about 3 pieces of candy person child. the mom in me didn't mind but it did make reagan a bit of a prophet with amount of candy concerns.


and then the scariest part of the halloween party arrived home, stripped off her shirt and ran around the house as happy as could be.  


and then she ate a corndog.