Tuesday, December 05, 2017

thanks for the macaroni

when i was a youth of the 80s, thanksgiving break was wednesday, thursday and friday and the weekend. of course, the weekend didn't count because it was a given. now in 2017, when family time is cherished above education, the school district has the audacity include monday and tuesday of thanksgiving week in the holiday break too. plus, the weekend previous the holiday suddenly counts when you have so many days off in a row. in total, our thanksgiving holiday break was 4905823435 days long. for which i am equal parts grateful and overwhelmed. 

athena blythe broke in the holiday by doing some painting on the deck. she loves painting "cupcake flyers" a la curious george.  that dratted monkey is still infiltrating her mind with nefarious designs. the natural next step is for her to paint the soles of her feet and make footprints on any surface. from there her artistic streak progressed from paper to her feet to herschel's head to his shirt to the side of the house. i have no photographic evidence as i truly lost sense of humor, which is the thing i hold most dear in my motherhood. 


being home all together means we are allhometogether and everyone wants to bewithmeatalltimes. 
i was trying to snuggle herschel down for a nap. everyone joined us. and someone did fall asleep! me. i can still sleep anywhere. the streak continues. 


we did the bulk of the holiday decorating. i pulled out a bunch of junk to get rid of but scarlett convinced me to let her have a go at it and we went to the dollar tree to get MORE tacky stuff and we channeled our best annelles from steel magnolias. we had the best time glue gunning cheap stuff on wreaths. 


our semi-finished products:

i'm headed back to dollar tree to get some more superflous bric-a-brac. this wreath clearly needs more miniature disco balls and pygmy-sized cellophane wrapped presents.


this one actually turned out kinda 60s mod fantastic. scarlett begged to have it put on her bedroom door and i gladly complied since i'll easily be able to fixate on it's beauty on a regular basis from that hallway vantage point.



there is always a glue gun casualty and that day it was herschel. poor baby grabbed the glue gun and squeezed a stream of hot glue all over his little chubby, grubby baby hand. he kept screaming, "a bumble bee got me! a bumble bee got me!" tear out my mother heart!
it's going to leave a scar for sure.

these are my thanksgiving desserts, an OGBC, or ooey gooey butter cake and a peanut butter pie. i made both early and they were still both were better the day after thanksgiving. second day desserts are always better and these were not letting me cheat nature!


we ordered a bunch of barbeque from kansas city and i made several sides. the highlight of sides was this pimento cheese, sausage and bacon macaroni and cheese. it was amazing.

that evening we all donned sweatpants and saw coco. i laughed and cried and i need do one of those DNA tests to figure out my ancestry because the traces of mexican blood in my veins are crying out to be heard. i have an ofrenda in my front room, i love sugar skulls and bright colors, and singing at the top of my lungs. i'm pretty sure my staid nordic and welsh ancestry didn't produce that in me.

after the movie, we all went home and lounged and had seconds and just as i was eating more macaroni and cheese, reagan, full of thanksgiving and then movie popcorn, threw up everywhere. i had to throw away two decorative pillows and i pushed away my seconds. it was officially thanksgiving!

saturday at the gym, i met my hard earned squat goal, 135x10, good form, NO SCIATICA PAIN. then i cried. goal from TWO years ago finally accomplished.

Friday, November 24, 2017

herschel runner(a pun for those in the know)

blame it on my advanced maternal age or his placement in our child lineup, but i have met my match in herschel. which is really saying something since i am also the mother of reagan and blythe. scarlett was a handful in her own way but as she grew older i realized it was her gift of wit that took me aback and she tended to out analyze her peer group. she was observant and had opinions. still true today. reagan had his own set of toddler tantrums and blythe is a piece of work but i still felt young enough to have some parental resilience. the coffers are empty for herschel. his anarchist-i-don't-care-about-anything-you're-trying-to-implement-attitude has done me in. i've even perfected a carry on the shoulder with his arm pinned against my head to reduce punching my face child removal maneuver.

places i don't like taking herschel:

target. we visit this paw patrol sea patroller each time we wander too close to toys. i got a great pre-black friday price on it so that is his big gift this year.
costco:

because herschel doesn't believe that he has to ride in a cart anymore and there is a certain level of force you cannot use on toddlers in public. we visit this race car. someone had left it on the floor of the store and hersch climbed right in. as soon as i coaxed him out(physically removed) a costco employee lifted the car back onto the display. herschel is not getting this car for christmas.

sleeping struggles:

hersch won't take naps in his bed anymore. he' still in his crib until a worthy replacement can be procured. if i'm lucky, he will fall asleep in the car and i can move him to the couch in the living room. the couch is an acceptable nap spot for him. 


 if i'm really lucky, i can make his picnic lunch and turn on cars and he will be asleep within 30 minutes. but i'm not headed to vegas any time soon. 

herschel highlights:
he loves school buses.
he loves dirt.


he was really good during his last haircut.

he likes our dentist office. not necessarily the dental work portion, but he can happily wait for everyone else's appointments to be accomplished.

he likes reading books. he really hates the public library story time. we show up each with with medium high hopes and always leave within 10 minutes. we once stayed the entire time but he was glued to my lap and i think he was sick. but he really enjoys reading at home.

his behavior is pretty ridiculous during sacrament meeting. thomas always wears a pre-stained white shirt on sundays so that he's not ruining his nice work shirts. herschel does pretty great in nursery, but likes to following a tight "downloading" schedule, as the ward clerk likes to say, and i am summonsed from sunday school for a gnarly diaper change. no potty training on the horizon for hersch, 

this is from the day i caved and convinced him to take a tiny tub of ice cream as his store good behavior prize instead of a giant box of donuts. after a few bites, he proceeded to dump water in the tub and then dump the watery ice cream in the water cup. pouring is his favorite fine motor skill. it's very frustrating and messy. 

that's all. plenty of people offer advice. my advice? keep it to yourself unless asked for. 



Thursday, November 23, 2017

why 830 church is my favorite

one of the absolute highlights of this year has been having church at 830am. i truly love it. i'll be sad when we switch to 1030 church in january. even though it takes 30 minutes to drive across town to our chapel, we are still home by 12 and have the entire afternoon ahead of us! i feel our family time is very scarce during the week and i love that we get to optimize sunday afternoons together. we read scriptures with lunch and then we all do dinner preparations as a family. as much as i loathe cooking and messy kitchens, working as a family makes it less interminable and shambolic. 
true, i'm exhausted without having a single sleep in day. but what is sleeping in with children anyway? 7am? 715? what's an extra 45 minutes of sleep anywhoo? that's what sunday school is for!
we have family home evening and play lots of uno and definitely watch plenty of movies. occasionally i can sneak a cat nap in during some of the more insipid and child friendly cinematic selections. also, my calling often requires me to go to various other wards(congreations) in our stake(region). i can still attend our services and other meetings and still have family time. however, i struggle with my desire to attend choir. i love to sing but i do not love ward choir. based on dismal attendance, i'm not the only person who struggles with choir. i feel like every choir i've ever been in has sung "our savior's love", truly a wonderful, inspired and sacred song, into a funeral dirge. oftentimes i'll hear the gaither vocal band on the gospel radio station and i know i've missed my true vocal styling genre.

this was last sunday:

we set up a bunch of our holiday decorations and started the harry potter movies over again. then i folded laundry, because despite all my best planning, laundry is always calling.  it's my neediest child. i may even include a laundry basket update in our christmas letter this year because it is such a intrinsic portion of my life. in case the baskets don't make the cut, here's what i would say, "i switched out a few of the old baskets for some tall, rubbermaid baskets with large handles and it's made all the difference in enabling the kids to more easily deliver and retrieve their baskets and put their laundry away. i'll probably switch out the remaining baskets in the new year when all the organizational products go on sale. onward and upward on the children self-sufficiency front." 

after the kids are in bed, sunday evening is like a stay-cation date for thomas and i. we watch bob's burgers and the walking dead and then we have in depth conversations about how much i do not enjoy jeffery dean morgan and how much thomas enjoys jeffery dean morgan. we are a match based on many similar interests and commonalities. 
happy sabbath on a thursday. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

baby, i was born this way

when i was about 4 years old, i recall visiting a neighbor whose daughter had a sparkly dance costume in their dress up tub. it was orange and white with a sequin trimmed tutu and puffy sequin sleeves. i immediately stripped down and put it on and wore it for the duration of the visit and somehow finagled wearing it home, too. i felt like i had found my true self that day. around the same time i attended a dance class and i was very excited because i was going to finally get a sparkly, sequined costume of my own. it was a yellow and white duck costume, complete with duck bill headband.  days before the big recital, my dance teacher's husband decided to start a polygamous cult and my parents pulled me out of that situation quicker than you can say, "bob's your uncle". rightly so. and bob is my uncle. what a blow that caused to my young psyche. to be so close to costumed glory and to have it ripped out of my pudgy handed grasp. i've never recovered. consequently, i feel the need, the need for costumes. i have gleefully imposed this inescapable desire on my own offspring with smashing results.

"beware; for i am fearless and therefore powerful." frankenstein
or
"i'm herschel and i run this family with an iron fist." herschel simpson


we had a halloween costume dry run at the high school the night before the main event. the national honor society students put on a trunk or treat and advertised at the local elementary schools. 


one particular set of students did a snow white and the seven dwarfs trunk. lucky for them, we were able to provide an evil queen, one who relished in her role. 
plus, i'm pretty sure i donated that mirror to goodwill a few weeks ago. full circle. 



they had face painting and everyone chose their own adventure.
reagan has an unrequited love for cats. cats don't love anyone and we're certainly not getting one any time soon. 


our resident evil queen wanted a christmas tree and a witch. lucky for us, that super smart national honor society student used a temporary tattoo on her face. that witch tattoo lasted for 3 days before i could rub it off with alcohol. athena blythe loved every minute of it. 


a butterfly for the butterfly


herschenstein sat still long enough for a witch to be stenciled to his face.


on the big day, i carved the pumpkins while everyone told me i wasn't doing it right and then we had a big dinner. 


along the way, athena blythe had to be put in time out for some infraction that i cannot recall. she was so mad that she decided she was going to stay in time out an extra 5 minutes just to show me. she sure did. i certainly was shown. 

our spooky menu included garlicky goblin teeth, eyeball gnocchi and pesto slime sauce and the requisite, mummy dogs. 


i also bought some fanta red soda to stand in as poison and everyone except athena blythe acted like they were actually being poisoned. 3/4 of my kids don't like soda. 97 cents down the drain. 




one of the most representative pictures of reagan in recent history. 


also. a rather accurate portrayal by athena blythe.


this is the most fun halloween age. and they don't notice when all the good stuff disappears from their bucket. he was still enamored with dum dums.


we stepped up the butterfly game with a face mask i had picked up that day and some silver hair spray. 


i have failed on the holiday card photo for this year, so this one may just be it! merry christmas from the simpsons.


i really wanted to be Prince this year but,


thomas was going as gaston,


so i went with elvis so that people would not confuse us as two kissing musketeers. you don't realize how much prince resembled a musketeer until you stand him up next to gaston.

some of my best pumpkin work to date.



the moon rising over our house!
not a for sale sign. 


already planning for next year. the day after i went to target and cleaned them out of their over sized skulls.

Monday, November 06, 2017

not so fun run

i am a blogger again! watch out posterity!

last week, i ran my first half marathon in a really long time. like 4 years long time. a half marathon is my yearly goal, so i've attempted training for one each year, but due to moving, having a baby and a traumatic delivery, buying a new house, having a family and life and finding a race that i could run on a saturday, it took 4 years to be ready. the race i finally settled on is the run town usa half marathon in greenville, south carolina. say what? haven't i run that one before? yes! but i don't live in greenville anymore! correct! but, it was the most feasible saturday race. i found another one in october in atlanta, but it was on the other side of the city, and it would have taken an hour and a half to get there. greenville is an hour and a half away from this side of the atlanta, so it made some sense to make a family trip of it and get a hotel in downtown greenville the night before. we love greenville and the excitement and novelty of having the entire family "sleeping" in a hotel room never loses it's luster. 
the night was unusually uneventful. herch fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep during the car to hotel room transfer. to successfully transfer a sleeping toddler is to see the face of God. 
then, about 10 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off, scarlett woke me up with a, "mom, herschel opened the door and ran down the hall!" though my day included quite a a bit of high intensity cardio, at no point was my heart beating as hard and as fast as that moment then. luckily, he hadn't made it too far. just all the way on the other side of the hallway.
"dad, i know why mom is taking so long in the bathroom this morning. she's looking in the mirror and giving herself a pre-race pep talk."

that i was, among other pre-race rituals. some involving boudreaux's butt paste. 

the beautiful greenville drive stadium at sunrise. i once read a quote about running and i can't remember the exact words, but the message was along the lines of running as the sun rises allows you to be able to experience dreams that sleep won't allow. 



one of my favorite simpsonvillains, holly, also ran. she ran amazing and PRed. i felt like i had ERed at the end of my race. as in, take me to the ER, my head needs to be examined.

in short, it was beautiful run(i ran past my dream house and i almost completed stopped to stare at it. black on black with shingles and black shutters and a huge porch and lots and lots of huge palmettos and evergreens and regular trees changing purple, red and orange. it was my design aesthetic heaven). the weather was perfect. mid 50s. one of my feet  and my sciatic nerve had been hurting a bit in the weeks leading up to the race but i wasn't too worried. for 3 weeks before the race, i didn't squat anything too heavy and babied my feet with comfortable, unattractive shoes. one of the comfortable shoes gave me a blister a few days before the race. i started off the race okay and had a great time at 3 miles and a really great 6 mile time. i was feeling positive. then about mile 7, i could feel a blister right on the ball of my foot starting to rub. i tried changing my gait, but short of only hopping on one leg, there was no way to avoid that blister.  one dumb blister and i let my brain believe i couldn't do it. i kept going, but i was doubting myself the whole time. everything "they" say about running being a mental exercise is true. i believed i was struggling and so i did. the course wasn't nearly as hard as some of my practice runs, just unfamiliar, so i wasn't running confidently. i was about 15 minutes slower than i anticipated being and it was my slowest time ever. it's fine. i finished. i didn't cry about it. i wore my medal and i ate mexican food with the family on the way home and we all enjoyed each other's company. we arrived back home just in time to watch georgia stomp their way to victory all over florida. i ate so many sour patch watermelons. i really love sour, sugary candy. 

i'm not hanging up my sneaks yet. i'm going to train harder and smarter. i'm going to feel great about my next race's finish. 
 believe it or not, i thought my muscles would be more impressive in this photo. years of lifting and i'm still wowing just my mom.