Saturday, August 26, 2006

ode to tuscaloosa

this entry will probably sound like a tourism brouchure for the bustling metropolis of tuscaloosa, alabama! we loved living in tuscaloosa so much that we are dedicating this entire entry to everything that we loved in that fabulous all-american town!

first, the tuscaloosa ward dedicated itself to welcoming new members. it is good to know that wherever you go, the Church is the same! we had many friends and always felt loved. particularly enjoyable were the book club and the play group.

second, we loved the restaurants in t-town. our favorites were los tarascos (the best salsa EVER!), mellow mushroom, mugshots (good boogers), dePalma's, the waysider (where i fell in love with grits!) and of course.........dreamland barbeque. ain't nothin' like'm nowhere. they have a new dreamland restaurant in town that boasts a full menu and indoor plumbing, but it can't compete with the original structure. or should i say shack? i recommend it anyday. it is located out in the woods past several abandoned trailers. when you pull up you feel like you might get busted for buying moonshine. the ONLY items served are ribs and bread---but you don't need anything else. bytheway, i used to be a non-meat-eater. and then i found dreamland.

third, the university of alabama campus is B-E-A-U-tiful. i always thought that BYU has a lovely campus, well maintained with lots of flowers and landscaping and, of course, a mountain setting is uncomparable. but the 1970's architecture is quite apparent in most of the main buildings on BYU's campus. the buildings on the U of A campus are spectacular. no matter what decade they were built in, they all maintain a feeling of the Old South. plus, the student weight room is state of the art.

fourth, the local public library is great. i was always pleased with the new book selection, the kids' section activities and i could always find the most recent copy of people magazine. gotta keep up on the news.

fifth, ALABAMA FOOTBALL. football season is unreal in tuscaloosa. the greeks dress up like they are attending a cocktail party. the alumni come from far and wide. motorhomes start arriving on tuesday for a saturday game. the weekend is a non-stop party. the first time i experienced this tailgating madness, i was expecting to see a ferris wheel and a cotton candy machine. it seems like a carnival. there are so many people milling about (a great time to give out DUIs) and barbeque abounds. the best food stand is big bad wolf's barbeque. be sure to catch the million dollar marching band as they march into the stadium. once inside the stadium, my favorite part is before the game starts and the loud speaker is blaring sweet home alabama. Everyone sings along and shouts roll-tide-roll right on cue. i also enjoy when the jumbotron replays great moments in Alabama football (except for when Jay Barker torched Georgia in 1994--thomas never shuts up about how Georgia should have won). i am very proud to be an alabama resident. it brings tears to my eyes to know we've only got one year left.

i could go on and on. we are grateful for our many friends and the many experiences we had in tuscaloosa. we have truly been blessed. i fought tooth and nail against coming to alabama. i didn't want to be so far away from friends and family, and i had seen the stereotypes on tv. but the Lord wanted us here. as a result, thomas received a top-notch eduation and a great job, i grew 10-fold personally and spiritually. plus, our two babies came to us while we lived here. i get a little misty listing all of the blessings! SWEET HOME ALABAMA!!!

thomas was always working hard with his trusty study buddy, meatball.

sometimes you gotta protect the homestead.

meatball, our firstborn, was given to us while we lived in tuscaloosa. one summer he had a nervous breakdown and nearly died. he had to wear baby socks to keep himself from chewing his feet into hamburger. pretty gross. but after nursing him back, i knew that i could handle motherhood if i could take care of that sick puppy.

me, thomas, and my sister heather eating at the waysider.

the summer that we moved here, thomas worked for orkin pest control. he learned to name and kill bugs on demand.

our first alabama football game!

i became a true fan of football. and i have a sure testimony that i HATE auburn, tennessee, florida, and utah.

the night before reagan was born. i don't know which is worse, my roots or my pajama pants.

reagan kimball simpson at one week old.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

our house, is a veryveryvery fine house!

this is just a quick post to show my mom our new house in montgomery. i will do a more elaborate blog on the move and all that good stuff soon. in a nutshell.....we survived!!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

bawl your face off

a dear, sweet friend sent me this link to me and i bawled my face off at the breakfast table.

[From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly] I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots. But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck. Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.
Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right? And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life. This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs. ``He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.'' "Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want to do that.'' Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. ``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore for two weeks.'' That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon. ``No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year. Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?'' How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried. Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together. This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time. ``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father of the Century.'' And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' one doctor told him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.'' So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life. Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every > weekend, including this Father's Day.
That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy. ``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad would sit in the chair and I would push him once.''

Monday, August 07, 2006

appetite for destruction

these are mostly for thomas who is in atlanta for the week. but, of course, everyone can enjoy! this is what is discovered today. reagan keeps me so busy with just cleaning up his messes!!!

i was thinking that reagan was being extra quiet and good today, and then i walked around the corner and noticed what was really happening....

i followed the trail down the hall and i happened upon this:

innocent enough i guess, but then it escalated to this...

daddy, this mess is for you!!!

Friday, August 04, 2006


the simpsons of tuscaloosa took a trip to atlanta this week. thomas spent the week working at nelson mullins(his law firm) and reagan and i played!!! we were able to visit with natalie's familia, check out some outlet shopping and visit a waterpark. And we ate nearly every meal out, so i am now craving something non-fried and out of my own kitchen!!!

everybody seems to always have a drinking picture up on their facebook, myspace, xanga, whatever, so natalie and got some ibc rootbeer and we decided to run with the crowd. don't we look so cool???

reagan always looks like a mad scientist when i put sunblock on his head!

lately, reagan is really into carrying around a blanket. it comes with us everywhere. here he is sharing with everett.

everett and reagan! what cute boys. their favorite activity is slapping each others face! simple pleasures!