Wednesday, December 31, 2014


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. 


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.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

i am kate middleton

i'll spare you the pregnancy test with positive symbol on it (because no one really wants to see a stick that i've peed on) and just come out and say," i'm PREGNANT! and having a baby too!" 

  • bullets dodged- being pregnant during the summer. baby #4 is due march 20th. 

  • direct hits- 1. TIRED. the kind of tired where you sleep and sleep and it's never restorative. it's like having a dead cell phone battery that you still need to use so you plug it into the charger but now cannot move from that corner in your kitchen without losing all energy again. 2. and BLOATED. as bloated as former toronto mayor, rob ford. 

  • and here's my gender reveal party(that you also have zero interest in being invited to) he's a boy. pretty clearly. release the blue balloons! cut into the blue cake! his name will be herschel. i'll call him hersch for short. you don't have to like his name, but you sure should pretend you do. i've certainly pretended to like all your kids names. reagan is over the moon at the prospect of having a brother and plans on calling him, gus. he also wanted to call athena blythe, gus. i can't break that kid's heart one more time so i'm sure we'll quickly adopt that nickname too. 

i actually discovered i was great with child two nights before our moving van was set to depart from simpsonville. you can't make this stuff up people. surprise #1- athena blythe surprise #2- herschel as we are planning to relocate? typical simpson live comedy. we're excited. we're on the cusp of being a "big family". i'll get stares and sympathetic looks whether they are warranted or not. 

  • while i've been pretty vomit free, my sciatic nerve has caused me incredible pain. i've kept up with my running and weightlifting until two weeks ago when i woke up one morning and i couldn't even walk. the worst day was 2 sundays ago and i was reduced to having to call thomas on the phone from the upstairs bathroom because i could not get off the floor. i even started wearing FLATS to church! perish the thought. if i can't wear heels once a week, i might as well just start wearing elastic-waisted everything and get a rascal for when i've got to grocery shop! i've been to the doctor and then a physical therapist and it looks like a possible explanation is that my nerve has somehow slipped between two muscles due to the hormones and weight gain. talking about my weight gain is my favorite so that explanation was most pleasing to me. i was prescribed "no running for a month and a we'll see after that". (i'll show that physical therapist what i think of that and never go back for more therapy ever again!) after that appointment, i went and sat in my car and cried for a while(because WHY NOT?). i texted thomas with my news. you know you married the right person when they immediately call you back and listen to you cry about not being able to run in a 10k you had been planning on for 6 months. we've got a special thing going on. i realize it's not the end of the world, but when i'm feeling like a zombie-elephant, it's the little things like running that i miss the most. i will be back with a vengeance. i will OWN you local 5Ks!
  • in other news, this week i was deep cleaning out of desperation to stay active(if i can't go to the gym i guess the least i could do is clean this place. quel horreur!). i was laying on reagan's bed trying to retrieve all the items which have been lodged against the wall for the past 2 months. this also happened to be the first day i busted out my new maternity pants to accomodate my increasing girth, and i BROKE one of the support boards on the lower bunk bed. i'm going to save the broken board to show other people in case anyone gets the hair-brained idea to comment on my increading size(because some hapless male ALWAYS does) and i will BEAT them with it.  this means only one thing: i am absolutely in competition with kate middleton as most fashionable and lithe pregnant woman due in spring 2015. i'm sure the exact same thing happens to her when she deep cleans. 
we're practically the SAME PERSON!

  • my saving grace has been progresso tomato basil soup and a grilled cheese sammich for lunch. then later, a bowl of frosted flakes at 9pm because i am STARVING about that time every night. hopefully i can soon add to my food repertoire, but so far meat products and i are on the outs. pun intended.

this child should absolutely be an older sibling:


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

what's the frequency, heidi?

i can't let september get away without a bit of an update.
a month or more in review, told in bullet points

  • blythe's outdoors nap while the movers finished unloading the truck which was a brilliant idea in theory. ridiculous in practice.

  • whatever

  • tom petty and REM are constantly on the radio here. till you puke.  REM, i get it. they're local. but their popular music repertoire isn't very extensive, so it's a lot of the same. tom petty has a much bigger selection, but he's on at least once an hour. scarlett has even learned to recognize him and will mimic me, "really, another tom petty song? has it been more than 5 minutes?" 

  • new gym- meh. 

  • it's hot- the-wearing-a-bra-debating-level-of-hot

  • atlanta traffic- it's as bad as you think. then worse. 

  • new ward- already found out about my piano playing "talent". or not-talent, more like willing to help with certain stipulations met. people don't get how important it is to understand the on the spot pianists need to be able to veto songs they cannot play. nothing more annoying than someone asking you to just try when they themselves can't try at all. and you already know it will be a musical disaster. respect the pianist. i'm super bad and i'm not kidding about it and i'm sensitive to it because of an incident waaaay back in 2003 when an arrogant organist in tuscaloosa was so condescending to me. and it doesn't mean i hate the church or i'm unwilling to serve or just plain wicked in my heart if i reserve the right to not play the piano for something.

  • unpacking. i have about 8 large boxes that i refuse to unpack. hi from ruffy! still going strong after almost 30 years of loving. the viagra of wonderful childhood toys.

  • primary program sunday- went off perfectly and reagan did not give his lines in spanish. which is great because he does not speak spanish.

  • we had to stop taking pictures of blythe at this point. she's a good girl, loves her mama. blythe loves Jesus and america too. she's a good girl, crazy about doc mcstuffins,but she doesn't do a dang thing she doesn't want to and that's where the tom petty lyric similarities end. 

  • that's all. we're alive.