Tuesday, December 22, 2015

my descent into christmas madness

the last two weeks have been absolutely ridiculous. i can't handle all the additional "fun" activities on top of our already jam packed weekly schedule. you know how it is! i'm preaching to the choir. i love christmas and all that jazz but i vote that we have recitals and unnecessary activities in february and january when everyone is less consumed. furthermore, we need to stop prefacing EVERY activity with, "i know that you're busy, but THIS activity is particularly important." because all i hear is "blah blah blah, i'm the most important, blah blah blah." 

thomas and i had a date to his work christmas party. i wore my sequin cocktail dress purchased 6 years ago on a whim. it was originally marked $100 and when i saw it again 3 months later it was marked $25. i've never met a clearance rack i didn't love.
(i loathe the paint color in this room. t-minus 4 months until we move out of this place!)

 at the party, there were lots of kilts on hairy old men legs for reasons unknown and too short skirts on older women and off key singing. i didn't sing because i don't have an inside voice and this wasn't my place of work. i didn't want everyone to think that thomas was married to celine dion. i hate being mobbed in public. after the shindig, we went by his office and picked up two big boxes of legal documents and headed home. being a lawyer is fun.

scarlett had her first piano recital. reagan opted out and i was 1000% okay with that. scarlett had a bit of a pre-recital panic and couldn't get through her song. at all. so, i yelled my regular spech on consistent practicing, then she prayed and then she asked me, "will everyone be mad at me if i mess up?" and i fell to the ground in shame and hoped the floor would swallow me up. i assured her that no one would ever care if she messed the whole thing up and we pulled ourselves together and she did great at her recital. 

(blythe at the recital)

a week later, i was able to go with my dear friend, paula, to a special fireside for all the sisters in atlanta given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. it was pretty spectacular. i took 4 pages of notes and came away with a renewed desire to live up to my divine potential. Elder Holland even pounded the pulpit so i feel like that was permission for me to do so during my next talk. "The Priesthood is not male. It is without beginning of days and end of years." it was inspired and brilliant. when i got home, paula's husband, logan, who had watched both my kids and their kids, had cleaned up my kitchen. merry christmas to me.

the next day i was able to go to the temple and witness two wonderful friends be sealed for time and all eternity. it was humbling and inspiring. i'm grateful i could be there. 

the following monday, reagan had a big dentist appointment. he aced it. it was a tender mercy because the dentist can be terrifying to someone with supersonic hearing and incredible sensitivity to touch. i was very proud of him communicating with the hygienist with three taps on the armrest when he needed to take a 3 second break and then counting out with his fingers 3 beats and then he was able to resume the scraping and cleaning. it was so complicated but so beautiful to watch. 
(star wars shirt, green adidas sweatpants, green shoes. the uniform.)

that night was scarlett's 3rd grade chorus concert thing that i totally forgot about until LAAATE the night before and i am completely indebted to my friend, sandy, who made last minute bear ears for scarlett to wear and to youtube for guiding me through bear face makeup. i don't have any pictures from that night. 

at wednesday scouts, the boys played human hungry hungry hippos. reagan spectated and i was great with that. unfortunately, it was this night that i was beginning to fall apart with the business of the season. i can't handle getting home after 9pm on a school night with 4 kids. i have my limits.

the next day was athena blythe's christmas party at school. parents were practically required to sit and watch them eat and pass presents and watch a few kids absolutely lose their minds over the present passing process. herschel pooped his pants and i actually stuck my finger in the mess(not on purpose) and i didn't have any wipes so i had to ask parents for some wipes and now i'm labeled the "unprepared, gross mom", patent pending. i have always wanted  a nickname, so that's a plus.

the next day was reagan's christmas party at school and i was practically required to sit and watch them eat. i even signed on the school register, "here for pointless party". i'm kind of really embarrassed i did that because, reagan's class only has 4 kids in it and they're all really special kids and that experience softened my grinchy heart. 

after reagan's party, i ran into scarlett's teacher in the hallway while i was at the school. i'm the room rep for scarlett's class, only because no one else would sign up. about 3 WEEKS ago, i emailed her trying to hammer out all the details. i'm not a naturally organized person, but i'm desperately trying to be. i thought that we had figured things out and that i would be in charge of contacting parents and organizing food and the cookie decorating portion of the winter party and she would be in charge of the game and craft. the first bomb she dropped was that none of the parents had received my email due to the school server not working properly. the second bomb was that she needed me to take care of the craft too. i'm not crafty and preparing crafts makes me nervous to the point of illness. instead of flipping out and running away like i should have, i mutely nodded my head and somehow agreed to it. i think i was in shock. then i walked out to my car and cried. even if i was crafty, i ain't got time for that. thursday afternoon before a friday party? plus, i still have to get a bunch of food since none of the parents knew to bring anything? i still had scarlett's drama class in the next town over that afternoon with an emergency grocery store pit stop in between and blythe's music program that evening. no discretionary time whatsoever. out of sheer desperation, i called my friend rachel q and i cried some more about it and hyperventilated a bit and i'm sure she made a mental note to not answer my calls anymore. but, she said to come on over tomorrow morning and we could figure something out.

we made it to scarlett's class and i got to a publixs in record time and grabbed any processed food snacks in a bag that i could find. we made it with minutes to spare to athena blythe's christmas concert, avoiding the threatened pants wetting possibility that was being tossed around while we sat in traffic. it was a success. thomas even made it from buckhead during rush hour traffic. a christmas miracle for sure. athena blythe has been practicing singing and reciting scripture for months. it was darling, and every picture i got of her was the side of her head, watching herself on the church jumbtrons. 

the next morning as i was running out the door to take the kids to school and herschel to his doctor's appointment, i slipped on the wet tile in our entry and i fell on my back like the wet bandits from home alone. i laid there for about 5 minutes trying not to cry because i had already done my makeup. i was wallowing because it really hurt and i was feeling super sorry for myself. a thought from the day before from the LDS church via instagram popped in my head. "Seek Christ devoid of wrapping and tinsel. You will find that despite external circumstances, Christmas-like the kingdom of God- is 'within you'". so i stopped my wallowing and got up and put my big girl underwears on said to myself, today has to happen whether i like it or not so i'm just going to do everything i can to make it happy and try not to cry about it." i didn't get up too quickly though and i walked like an old man all day. 

i dropped the kids off. herschel had his appointment. i went to rachel's house and she had everything i needed already ready in about 20 minutes. she just happened to have several staplers and multicolored craft paper precut in just the right dimensions on hand. i completely justified her craft hoarding for the rest of her life. she also a calm influence so i just felt better being around her. note to self, try to be a calming influence, if it doesn't stress me out too much.

i even had a few minutes to spare to go vacuum my house before my friend, paula, came over to watch herschel and athena blythe. she VOLUNTEERED to watch them for me so i wouldn't have to take them to the party. moral of this story is i receive more help and tender mercies than i realize. i am a lucky woman with many wonderful friends. i need to be a better friend.

i made it to the school just in time for the party. a few parents showed up with food since we resent the email the night before on a wing and a prayer. it was hot and not many kids had manners and so many kids had orange fingers from those horrible taki chips but they seemed to have a good time, even if one kid couldn't recognize cheese cubes as a food. 

 hopefully none of these smelly kids is in witness protection. one boy really did smell like he had just run a marathon. his dad had  come to the party to "help" but really just ate and then the dad did the craft for himself and i helped his son. it was weird. 

the next morning was the ward christmas party. subpar pancakes. i'll gladly make them for them next year. it's a task that i can actually handle.

athena blythe was excited to see santa but she didn't want to make eye contact. santa could not tell if she was a girl or a boy, so he kept referring to her as, "little child". it was funny. women are not confused by the pixie cut, but it does not compute with a lot of men.  
after the ward party it was our week to do chapel clean up! we are so lucky! what are the odds! the kids think it's fun. i enjoy trying to convince them to properly help without yelling, in front of people from church. 

after that i had to finish preparations for my lesson in relief society the next day. my lesson was on "strengthening the stakes". in short, go to stake conference, even if it's hard, because it is hard sometimes. the stake is our refuge and protection.  

then BYU made a debacle of a bowl game into an almost hopeful situation. i feel my faith wasn't quite strong enough though. 2016 means, new coach, new year, and we'll get them next time. 

LAAAATE that night thomas and i went and saw "the force awakens". i accidentally bought 3-D tickets, which is not my ideal way to watch a movie but it was still enjoyed by all. it was the crowning  moment on a stressful two weeks. i stayed awake the entire time and i tried not to tear up too much from excitment. 
after i took my babysitter home at 12:30am, i went to a friend's house to visit before her sister went out of town. somehow we still made it to church on time at 9am the next morning. feeling fresh and looking fly, no doubt! taught my lesson and had tithing settlement and then i fell asleep during family home evening that afternoon. 

final thoughts:
this was a really long and detailed entry that posterity is just going to go bananas over. 

everything worked out. people help me all the time, in really big ways. i'll butcher the quote, but there is a really good one that says  something along the lines of, "the Lord shows us that He is aware of us and is answering our prayers through the service of other people." or something like that. it's true. i did have a few thoughts that if i prayed sincerely and more often, then perhaps i wouldn't feel like such a basket case. it tried it and it worked. i wish i had put that into practice at the beginning of the two weeks. 

this adorable baby. he loves this firetruck. the kids moved it and he found it and he was over the moon. he's already posing shirtless for his firefighter calendar. he can crawl now. i can't remember if i've recorded that yet. it became official just after he turned 10 months. he's so happy about being mobile.

i did have one incredible hair day that i needed to record for posterity. 

because every other day i look like this because i'm desperately trying to fit in my workout:
(not a mugshot. not a meth addict.)

i may not have photographic evidence of each and every absolutely important and necessary activity, but here's a picture of a car i saw when i was running a bajillion christmas errands. in 30 years, i want to be this person with the homemade elvis tribute car, complete with elvis presley passenger seat cover. however, mine would most likely be a phil collins tribute car.

the end. 

hi heather. and natalie. and my mom in a few weeks when she gets around to reading this.

Monday, November 30, 2015

the devil went down to georgia for thanksgiving

So, BIG NEWS in the family Simpson. Thomas got free tickets to the Georgia-Georgia Southern game. And I am trying to type using correct capitalization instead of my usual, non-capitalization style of typing. It's painful, to say the least. 

I haven't always been a big college football fan, but i can honestly say that i truly love it. i'm converted. 

Though my heart and my money belong to BYU, and i belong to the cult of Alabama, Georgia is a pretty good team to like too. 
Plus, Thomas likes Georgia almost as much as he likes me.

and for all those wondering, what are thomas's thoughts on the mark richt firing, he's for it. $4 million dollars a year means you need to win national championships. i agree.

The dawgs pulled off a victory in overtime and my eyebrows are on point!

for thanksgiving, we made the 5 hour trip to thomas's mother's new house in brunswick, georgia. i really wanted to run a thanksgiving 5k but i couldn't find one within reasonable driving distance so i made up my own. the topography is flat as a pancake there and i was looking forward to a breeze of a run and it was surprisingly humid and windy. i still pulled off a victory for the home team. i forgot to time myself so i'm sure it was a sub 20 minute run.  
an appearance by my snaggletooth

we feasted and i made two of my best desserts, red velvet brownie cake with fudge frosting and banana pudding. 

thankfully, thomas got a few big assignments THAT DAY  and he worked up until the meal and most of the next day. (don't be a lawyer.)

typical kid shot:

after, we put on comfy clothes and drove to the coast. i wish this picture was a little brighter and the girl's poses were more visible. they are pretty special.

contemplating the eternities.

Reagan's big request for the trip was to go to Petsmart and look at cats. Reagan really wants a cat and Athena Blythe and Scarlett both want a dog and i want neither. i want a cleaning lady. let's put the money there.

and herschel is absolutely adorable. no deep thoughts this month, we just love our kids.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

grandma visits for a halloween spell

quick october thoughts:
 thomas made my whole year by going along with my couples halloween costume this year. he was still a little begrudging, but he did help me adjust my sunglasses placement so that they were a little more axl. 

dress like a book character day. scarlett resurrected the ol' hermione costume and reagan insisted on checking out a non-fiction snake book from the library to accompany his snake costume to school. snake costumes might be the hardest costume in the universe to make. 

 grandma sandy came for halloween! we ate cupcakes at special kneads bakery and wore our royals shirts all around town!

we never had a chance to hit up a real pumpkin patch so i took pictures at the local kroger. this picture is worth a 1,000 words.

i think i really outdid myself this year trying to accommodate personal carving requests. scarlett wanted a vampire, athena blythe wanted a puppy dog, and reagan wanted "mary from wall-e". i didn't know who mary was at the time, so i just winged it and gave the pumpkin long eyelashes.

though i pleased everyone on pumpkins, we had a couple of last minute costume changes. i'm trying to be the kind of mom that i would like to have so i'm trying to say yes to the occasional unreasonable requests. 
her school costume:

her actual halloween costume, some sort of marked down vampire witch, which she was quite pleased about:
she was the most darling trick or treater. she even held my hand which she normally refuses to do.

scarlett also had a last minute costume change. i had spent a million hours creating a homemade black widow costume and she wore it to the church trunk or treat and her drama class halloween party and by actual halloween night, it had given up the ghost. i don't even have a picture of it. so we pulled this together from the steven tyler section of my closet. my steven tyler section is rather large.

reagan added the additional snake to more of a fright factor. wooo. 

other autumnal news, i've been wanting to change up my hairstyle for a while. part of me wants to cut off a majority of the length for more of a lion's mane looks, but i hate being hasty so i'm easing into a new look with chopping off 4 inches and a lot of new color for funsies. this was my inspiration:
it had been so long(9 years) since my last hair lightening that i had to go to two different appointments. this picture was the midpoint between appointments, with a some of the color lifted but brassy and not quite toned down and none of the length cut yet. definitely a lion's mane.  

before, looking like a wannabe angelina jolie, and after, looking amazing. i wish i was good at doing sleek hair myself because it will never look this polished again. 

assorted herschel is darling and 9 months old pictures!

and finally, reagan's latest crush, mary from wall-e. the most obscure disney character to be crushing on. and she had now take over as the napkin picture choice du jour. 

my first attempt:

and the evolution of mary with a slice of pizza.