Friday, November 17, 2017

Thankful 2017

These posts are my favorite. This blog is almost thirteen years old!! I can hardly believe that!! I love reading back on what I am thankful for from year to year. I usually give it some thought, before I sit down and write my list. This year, of course, is focused so much on March 7, 2017.  The day that almost changed our ending.  There have been so many times over the past seven months that I have taken moments to pause and give thanks for all we've been given. For God's grace and mercy in our lives. Tonight I was telling the story of Jeff's DVT and bilateral pulmonary embolisms to someone who didn't know, and you can just see that people are amazed he is alive.  In fact many medical professionals I tell the story to often say, "I can't believe your husband isn't dead." I do not take this for granted. So, here is a list of all of things we wouldn't be able to do if our ending was different. This Thanksgiving we are giving thanks for God's protection and provision in our life.

10. I am thankful I went back to school and got my MSW. Without it, I would have never worked in the ER, and definitely wouldn't have known so much about blood clots and worst case scenarios.

9. Jeff's intuition. I never doubted by how he acted that night that he needed immediate medical intervention.

8. That the ER doc saw something on his CT scan. They originally didn't check his lungs. He easily could have been d/c home and he would have definitely died.

7. We believe that God orchestrated all of the events of the night, including the tech administering  the EKG, as Jeff code thus making immediate CPR possible.

6. Jeff was never intubated. I can't really explain how much of a miracle this is if you're not a medical person. It is crazy how successful his CPR was.

5. Jeff was in such a weakened state after his four day ICU stay. I was so worried that he'd need some serious rehab. Thankfully, he was mostly back to himself within six weeks.

4. Our children never really knew how close we came to losing their dad. Amen.

3. Jeff being able to skate in this year's Dad's and Lad's skating event for Matthew's hockey team.  I love that our children can continue to make memories with their dad!

2. Jeff and I still fight about finances. My Jeff is still my Jeff. I love that he continues to be steadfast in his goal to keep me on a budget.

1. I will never take for granted that God spared me from being a widow. I am not sure I could have handled it. I am not sure I would have endured it well. It has grown my faith so! It has certainly shown me what truly matters. It has made me a better social worker, mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. To God we give ALL of the GLORY and THANKSGIVING this Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Life right now..

I realized this week that I have been failing at my yearly birthday updates!!! Honestly, that is my favorite part of blogging. I love looking back at how life was!! So many lessons to be learned!!
Matthew is 12.5, in 6th grade at West Middle School. Playing hockey and just being a pretty cool kid.  Matthew is much like his mama when it comes to OVER THINKING pretty much his entire life. I love the relationship that has developed between us. Where Jeff is very unemotional and common sense based, I am all overthinking things right along with Matthew. The great thing is almost 43 years of living has taught me to HIDE this from him:)) No, honestly we have great talks about how to chill and calm down and remember that nothing in life ever needs to be taken too seriously.
Caroline just turned 11! She is becoming a young woman before our eyes! She can be sassy but there is a sweet and sensitive side that we are trying hard to invest into. Caroline has so much to offer. She is so determined when she sets her mind to something!! I love seeing how she is evolving into her own being! It can be difficult to try and connect with her. Caroline is very much like Jeff. She does not wear her heart on her sleeve. I feel like half the time I am trying to dissect every bit of that sleeve to figure out her heart and mind. I am realizing more and more how very different they are. She acts one way and is feeling something very different! She is bright and funny and creative and we love her so!
Ellie is 8 and holding her own. We are trying the Kalamazoo Children's Chorus this year. Ellie loves it but last week the teacher asked if she could come in early for some extra help and our littlest girl was just devastated. All of her insecurities about last year came rushing back in regards to repeating first grade. She was very much focused on the fact that she "Can't ever get anything right the first time." That statement just about broke this mama's heart. I reassured her that repeating first grade was the best thing she has ever done. Receiving extra help in reading has made Ellie a wonderful, independent reader!! At the end of the day I am not sure  but she has been convinced to stick with chorus. Ellie is also doing Bible study fellowship with me and has really loved it!! It has been a sweet time for us and we are enjoying it!
Jeff is doing pretty good health wise. He had a follow up with a different hematologist and it went well. The blood thinner he is taking is working at making his blood not so "clotty"!  Professionally, Jeff is at an interesting crossroads.  Accession Health, the company that owns Borgess, the hospital Jeff has worked at for the past twelve years, is in the midst of major reorganization. We are praying that the opportunity that God has for us is revealed. Honestly with all that has gone on with us this year, his job is the least of our worries. God has a plan. We believe that and will be seeking His guidance as we navigate these waters. I have such a sense of peace through this all. I just know that we will end up in the jobs we are to be in and the location we are called to.
We are busy, busy with soccer, hockey, chorus, BSF and life!! We are just loving being in this season of busyness. For we realize, this too shall pass and oh my, will we miss it!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

What hockey has done for our family.

The other day at work I had a discussion that soon turned into what felt like my defense of my son participating in travel hockey. The person I know wasn't meaning any ill intent, however it felt very much like I had to "defend"why we participate in such a time, and, money intensive sport. First of all, I will totally admit that IT IS time and money intensive! Honestly, until about a year ago, I didn't even know how much we invested in hockey. When I found out, I admit, I was shocked. But, as I contemplated all this sport has taught and done for my son, I thought of all of the reasons it is worth EVERY PENNY!

1. Cultivating a passion: Yes, Jeff introduced Matthew to hockey when he was four. However, our son adores this sport. When he isn't playing, he is watching, researching, practicing and thinking about this game. There were times last year when he literally sobbed that not every boy on his previous team "Was focused." We had to explain that not every 10/11 year old that plays hockey cares as much as he does. Never in the several years that Matthew has played this sport have I ever had to bribe or threaten him to practice. He simply loves being on the ice.

2. Being a part of a team. This has been huge. I think we saw it especially the season we went to the Pee Wee State Tournament. Matthew woke up the morning of the tournament with the stomach flu. He was sick every twenty minutes for twelve hours. I was so worried he wouldn't be able to play. Thankfully he rallied and he was able to travel and play his heart out. He saw that year what happens when you work together, using your individual assets for the collective good. It was such a fun year. When he returned for the next year, he was disheartened and worried that nothing could top the previous year. I assured him that every team has lessons to be learned, and fun to be had, all he had to do was look for it.

3. Commitment. My son has committed to being on and at the ice rink five days a week, six months a year for the past four years. It has taught him how to commit and follow through on a task. It has taught him the value of being a man of integrity and someone that others can count on.

4. Fiscal responsibility : HOCKEY AIN'T CHEAP!!! Matthew knows this. He has participated in can drives, and knows that his equipment, ice time, clothing, tournaments, hotels, gas and eating out is a sacrifice our family has decided is worth investing in. He does not take this for granted.

5. Pride in himself. Matthew was born with some mild cerebral palsy. I continue to be amazed by his ability to work through his mild disability with fierce determination. This year he is playing for the  A team. It was a big decision. Jeff and I had a heart to heart with him before the tryouts informing  him that A is different than B. Playing time is not a guarantee. We told him that he would have to put in 100% effort, 100% of the time. Matthew assured us he was up for the challenge. This mom was worried. I know my son, he so loves to please but sometimes his body just can't deliver. However, I see him give 100% effort, 100% of the time. He is eager to learn, take instruction and grow.

6. He has FUN!! If for one minute I thought he wasn't have fun out there, I would pull this kid in a minute. He loves this sport, the friends he's made and life he's built around the sport he adores!!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Summer time and the living is...STRESSFUL!

Today is August 3rd. A month from now we will be starting school. Part of me is all..WOO HOO the other part of me is NOOOO!! I do enjoy the laid back pace of summer. I like not having to rush from work to home to practice to home. Laundry, dishes, food, lunches...oh the LUNCHES, homework, half days, did I mention homework?? This summer we've been dealing with the aftermath of our kitchen flood. It has been NO FUN AT ALL. I could list all of the reasons(crappy painters, delays, no communication, and NO DISHWASHER for 3 WHOLE months. It has been the summer of #firstworldproblems. But, we've also had our share of real problems. Problems such as a husband that is still trying to recover, stressful jobs situations, babysitting stresses, mom's who break their ankles (poor Barb!). It seems the Simpson's were due for the SUPER SIZED quantity of all the heavy crap in  2017.
Jeff had a follow up with his primary are doctor today and he texted me to say, "I am still here, they are doing a EKG." I nearly died from PTSD. I seriously had a mini panic attack. My mind went right back to March 7, 2017 at 7:07a.m when I received a text from him saying, " I have blood clots in both lungs, they are admitting me." I never talked to him again until I arrived at the hospital. Ugh, even typing it makes me nauseous. I continue to be so grateful for Jeff's health. In most ways he is "back to normal." He is tolerating his blood thinner well. But, he is definitely not the same Jeff he was prior to his "Event" as well call it.
We are trying to get through this last month without losing our minds. We have pieced together our daycare. The big kids go to Camp Wakeshma in a week, Ellie goes to Aunt Jenn's! We are lucky to have an amazing village to draw upon when we need them and somehow, Jeff and I continue to make it to work!
Speaking of work, after a very rough season, I finally have providers who respect me and my profession. It is heaven!!
We've had a laid back but fun summer. The kids went up to Silver Lake with Jeff and his family for vacation, mom had to stay back and work. Matthew, Jeff and his buddy are going to a Cubs game this weekend, camp for the big kids is a much anticipated event!
We are looking forward to fall and all it will bring. New teachers, middle school for Matthew, soccer and hockey for the big kids, Kalamazoo Children's Chorus for Ellie. Busy, but fun!
We are planning on soaking up every last laid back moment of August!! Happy last month of SUMMER!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I've got issues..

Jeff had a follow-up appointment with his hematologist today. I was on PTO and so I went with him. I made the mistake of not going to his second appointment and I had a MILLION questions that Jeff  couldn't really answer.  I wish we could say that it went fabulously but, unfortunately I think we are both feeling very confused and worried.  In interest of full disclosure I must admit that I have major issues trusting this physician. I do not appreciate that he NEVER takes the time to go over my husband's chart before he walks into the room. Today for example we were early, and he had plenty of time to review his chart before he came in. However, he did not do that, instead, like the other two times we've seen him, he walks in, talks all rosy and predicted that Jeff will be able to get off of blood thinners. All the while, I am sitting there thinking, "Good gravy dude, you've forgotten that he has factor five homozygous and prothombine time heterozygous!" As I watch him read the chart I literally can see his face change when he spots it, and he starts to retract his earlier statements, and then he reads Jeff's latest blood test (d-dimer)that measures how effectively his anti-coagulation medicine(ELOQUIS) is working, and tells us that although it isn't super high, it is more elevated than last month. He then says, "No, no, you will most likely be on this forever. And, you might need heparin shots if your numbers go up or if you get another clot." I ask about a million questions(like, what about the follow up CT of his damaged lung you said you wanted six months post event, what about his shortness of breath, what about this number, shouldn't we check it again in a few months?) But we don't really get any answers,and then he tells Jeff that he will see him in a year!!! I can tell Jeff is confused ,but I can also tell he wants to trust that his doctor is telling him what is right for him. As we leave I tell him not to worry, that he knows what a REAL DVT and PE feels like and we would go to the ER if he feels that way again. A normal d-dimer range is below 500, Jeff's was in the 1500's when he was in the ICU. Last month is was 640, today it was 677. So while it doesn't seem  terribly alarming,  I feel like waiting a year to recheck it or follow up with the hematologist is not appropriate. Jeff is looking into a second opinion just to make sure that there is nothing else we need to be doing as far as his blood disorder. He has been and will continued to be followed by his cardiologist and interventional radiology is taking out his filter on July 7th. The hematologist also told us today that only 60% of filters are able to be removed. I hadn't heard that before today. I want that filter out. I know I will be anxious on the day it is removed because they said it could take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours. I am praying that sucker pops right out. I am praying this appointment doesn't increase our anxiety. I hate that I always see the worst case scenarios in my work. It makes me consider all of the worst case scenarios for myself and those I love. But, as I told a friend last week that was waiting on some tests, "Don't borrow trouble." I know worry and anxiety isn't from God. I know that Satan loves it when I tell myself a story of woe and worst case scenarios. I am praying to stand firm in the truth of what God says, to not be anxious about anything but to pray and turn it over to Him. We appreciate all of the prayers we can get! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

14 years

Tomorrow Jeff and I will be married for 14 years. Today we got in a huge fight because he couldn't find work gloves in the garage. He accused me of throwing them away, I accused him of never putting anything away in the RIGHT place. He had an attitude, I had an attitude. Then I called him an ass in front of his mom. Not my proudest moment.  You all know we've had our fair share of drama lately. Almost dying, kitchen floods, insurance hassles, contractors that are booked out for three months, three kids, two full time jobs, bills, life. You know who's the ass...LIFE!! It is sad that a mere six weeks out from nearly losing my husband, I found myself so frustrated at him that I am calling him names, and in front of his mother no less! Thank God there is always grace. Soon after the above incident occurred, and his mom had left, we talked through our incident and ended up hugging and laughing in the driveway. Fourteen years in, I love that we're always able to do that.  We talk things through. For a man of little words, I can eek them out of him pretty good these days. He never wants to admit wrong doing, and I love to point them out.
Years 12 and 13 were very hard for us as a couple. Major growing pains. I was telling someone today that is getting married in a few weeks that really someone should have another shower when you are married 15 years. I feel like these are the years that are really showing us what we are made of. If we don't invest in the important aspects that give a relationship the things they need to flourish, we could easily fall apart. We've learned our weaknesses and where we needed to grow both as individuals, and as a couple over the past two years. Thank God we figured many things out before all this crap happened because it just may have broken us. I knew these truths on our last anniversary.  This past year we've invested in ourselves and in our relationship with Christ. We've developed our faiths and good friendships. We've been blessed by our obedience. We know we have miles to go, and much more work to do to make sure our relationship continues  to be healthy and flourish in good times and in bad. We are committed to the work, and to each other. You know I love making lists. So, here goes my 14 reasons I love being married to Jeff.

14. His laid back attitude. Even when he's freaked out by huge medical bills and insurance deductibles, he still has a pretty good poker face.
13. He puts the kids to bed. Every night, without fail, he's helping them shower, tucking them in. I realized when he was sick how much I LOVE this!!
12. He knows what I need to recharge. See #13, I need lots of sleep and time alone to recharge. Jeff gets that and sacrifices his own needs to see mine our met.
11. He appreciates my feisty side. The other day I was asking him why he loves me, he admitted that he loves that I am feisty. Believe me, he saw plenty of this side when he was hospitalized.
10. He is a great listener. Work venting, people venting, always listening.
9. He has the same opinions as me on things that matter. I know many people marry people that don't have similar views but this is what works for us. We agree on things like religion, and most political issues.
8. We have fun. There is no one I'd rather hang out with than Jeff. I was so sad when I realized he couldn't come to Tennessee. We would have had such a good time together!
7. We usually don't sweat the small stuff. We both realize life is short and we try and live it to the fullest.
6. He holds me accountable. He is my ACCOUNTANT after all. I'd be a huge financial wreak without him!
5. His relationship with God is important to him. Jeff was recently baptized but he's been a believer for many years. I love that he wants to grow in his faith and that it is important that Christ is the foundation of our marriage. I have no doubt if this wasn't the case we would never have made it this far.
4. He is smart. Nothing sexier than a man who can do math! LOL!
3. He is an amazing father. Patient, loving, selfless, kind, committed. Our kids are lucky
2. He is a great friend. As I have stated before, you'd be hard pressed to find a person who doesn't like  him.
1. Life is hard, marriage is hard. After coming so close to losing my husband, I cherish this anniversary and every additional one that we are blessed to have. You never know what the day will bring. Cherish every moment. And, if you lose your temper and call your husband an ass, say your sorry and give him a hug. After all, we can never forget our good friend, Grace!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Matthew is 12

Matthew turns 12 on Friday!! I have seen such a transformation in him this year. He is my buddy, he confides in me and trusts me when he is stressed or wants to talk through what's on his mind. He is thoughtful and kind and really just a pleasure to be around. Now don't get me wrong, he can be whiny and over react and annoy the crap out of his sisters which in turn annoys the crap out of me! But, over all, I am just thrilled that God picked me to be his mom!
Matthew is in the home stretch of grade school and will go to middle school next year. He was dreading it ,but I think he's moved into the acceptance stage:). He has a great group of friends that he has fun with in school, and most are moving with him to West Middle School.  Our grade school splits in middle school into two schools. Matthew tends to let his mind get away from him and can get anxious about things. However, he's learned some awesome tools that help him to "CHILL!" I love that he still wants to talk to me about everything and I always know when something is bothering him. No poker face on that one! I pray he always feels that comfortable coming to me.
He is still a major sports fan. Hockey, baseball, football and basketball rank high on his priority to watch. He had a fun hockey season and will be playing spring hockey instead of baseball this year. He loves the Red Wings, Tigers, Lions and Cubs! I love watching Matthew and Jeff interact when it comes to sports. Matthew is Jeff's mini-me in so many ways.
I thought for fun and to remember what this twelve year old was like I would ask him some questions

What is your favorite food?
Burritos from Mo's
What is your favorite thing to do?
Play hockey
What was the best memory from this year?
Scoring with 30 seconds left in the Cadillac hockey tournament which tied us!
What was the worst memory from this year?
When Daddy was in the hospital.
What are you looking forward this next year?
What are you dreading?
Getting a girlfriend, "I don't want that." 
What do you want for your birthday dinner?
Red Lobster
What are you doing this summer?
Going to the pool, going to sleepover camp and hockey camp. Getting along with my sisters(mom added that!) 
If you had one wish what would it be?
Automatically make it to the NHL! 

Happy Birthday Matthew Jeffrey Simpson! We love you so much!!