Wednesday, October 11, 2017

All the Family Fun Memories

We really run hot or cold on family outings. Sometimes we're all for it, and then other times we can go weeks before we're all in the same car again. Last week we went big on the family fun activities. 

Through work we were practically gifted tickets to the Kings game. Now that all of my children 1) have opinions and 2) require the purchase of a ticket, these big adventures are much fewer and far between. Gone are the days of one of us sneaking out with the Bigs during nap, or convincing one kid that "It's for babies, you wouldn't have fun." Nope. Five tickets please. So being able to go to this game was a BFD. AND it was on a school night, which was even more amazing. AND we took friends. So basically Christmas is over. 
The kids had an awesome time. The game was great and everyone sat like civilized people. Syd got pissed when she had to share an $8 ice cream cone, but whatevs. And in the finest moment of karma ever, Averson (who had happily shared her overpriced dessert) asked for a toy and I said "no." And then a stranger bought it for her. A little weird but also kind of awesome. 

Facing a soccer free weekend (OMG. I am SO over soccer games) we fanatically insisted that we not sit in the house and hate each other. We batted around the idea of garage-saleing, but then I looked around my house and had a mild panic attack. So we decided to find a good hike and take all the heathens and hellbeasts into the wilderness. SUCH A GOOD IDEA. No one died, and it was just long enough to wear everyone out. 

Two dogs NOT being a-holes. Prong collars are magical so long as you avoid the judgy-mcjudgy looks from strangers. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

It was actually a pretty productive weekend

I know it's not technically the weekend, but we're staring on Thursday because I feel like that's when we really got going. Thursday night Syd had her annual class performance and it was so sweet that I couldn't even whole-heartedly snark about it. All the kids in her class have been memorizing poetry and they capped it off with a "Poetry Cafe" complete with donated coffee that I sold my next child for. Sydney has been so excited about this night. All the kids were under strict instructions not to perform for their parents before the big night, so we had no idea what we were looking at. Syd's poem was WAY longer than I'd expected, and she did a great job! It was totally worth sitting through 20 other kids and their poems. My favorite part was when the kids all knew the punchline was coming and they started giggling ahead of time. Also, they all wore black, the teacher supplied berets, and everyone snapped instead of clapped. Totes adorbs. C and I both had multiple cups of coffee though (for as hard as I worked for it, it wasn't going to waste!), which meant that Thursday was a VERY long night.

Averson had to miss preschool on Friday because she nor C could find any shoes that complied with the closed-toe dress code. Seriously. Coincidentally, I had gotten a coupon for Payless that same morning, so after work on Friday Stinky and I went shopping. She couldn't believe I was letting her pick any shoes she wanted, including the light-up Paw Patrol ones. Sometimes there are perks to being the third kid. Mom is solidly out of fucks to give about the small shit like light-up shoes and licensed apparel. She actually didn't choose the most horrendous options and she skipped out of the store with two new pairs of school-appropriate shoes. I skipped out with an adorable pair of $10 pumps and a four-year-old who learned the meaning of "bad influence." Then I found her old shoes in the washing machine.

Saturday started with my WW meeting (where I lost NO weight at all. Like not even an ounce. WTF?) and then all the soccers. C was double booked so I had to pinch-hit at Averson's and it was a shit show. I slammed her fingers in the car door when we got to the field, and that was probably the highlight. I am WAY too competitive for a U6 team, especially when the team is made up of very uninterested kids who run faster for the water breaks than any other time. Plus the other coach offered to have "all the girls play on this field so that your kids have a chance to get some touches in" and I had to use a lot of energy and patience to not go off. So I think I should be forgiven for physically removing a screaming Averson off the field and hissing through my teeth "Pull it together!" She was mad because I insinuated that she was short and that I told another kid they were fast. MY. BAD. Then we went to a community garage sale. I scored a new (to me) Girl Scout bag for all my patches because I'm edgy AF. I also got a terrible case of the envies in all these neighborhoods where neighbors weren't getting raided and people were getting rid of stuff instead of collecting it, so I came home in a snit about my house with all of it's giant, dirty dogs and kids and crap. I looked for houses in cute neighborhoods, put a few things up for sale on FB, threw some crap away, and then ran out of steam. I hate garage sales and I also hate having so much stuff, so I think at some point I'm going to have to grit my teeth and donate this crap. Actually, as I was typing this I just realized that I should schedule a donation pick-up, so I don't have to move it a bunch of times.

Soccer pictures are still adorable though. Can you tell Syd did her own hair?

This is a picture of Eli and C on the neighbor's roof. She mentioned to C earlier this week that it was leaking and so today he wrangled the boy and they spent the morning up there doing roof things. I'm not sure what exactly, but there was tar and a gully involved. Eli was paid in soda and pizza and he hasn't stopped talking about how great it was. <3 and="" are="" end="" fixing.="" hence="" lovely.="" nbsp="" neighbors="" of="" on="" other="" p="" quite="" raidtheneigbors="" roof="" spectrum="" the="" these="">

The girls and I meal prepped (make these, they're amazing!) and then volunteered for a couple hours for a friend who is putting on a charity gala in a couple weeks. Then I came home and folded Mount Laundry while I watched the season premier of This Is Us and tried not to cry. I finished My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry and it was so, so good. I've got 13 Reasons Why cued up and then a huge pile of library holds that I have to plow through in the next three weeks. I'm really hoping it rains soon. You know you're on a reading roll when you're hoping for crappy weather or a head cold so you can sit on the couch all day. 

Next week is much of the same. I put off meal planning so I've got to come up with what I'm going to feed the heathens. I'm trying to make food I can eat and stay within my points without being super obvious about it, which is making meal planning a bit more difficult. Though I had tacos in a red pepper "shell" last week and it was a game changer. Oh! And a friend sold me tickets to a Kings game SUPER cheap, so we're doing that tomorrow. Nothing says POTY like taking your elementary school kids out to a late game on a school night. I predict there will be no whining, I will spend a reasonable amount of money, and Tuesday morning will be full of laughter and gratitude. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

How do you cure writer's block?

I'd love to know. Apparently going weeks without writing is NOT the answer. As is my style, I intend to break my block by writing a completely tangential post that sums up the last half of a month.

I'm reading My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman and OMG. Someone has to make this into a movie. I loved A Man Called Ove, but this one is magical in the same way that Big Fish was. It's really amazing. Next on my list is 13 Reasons Why and I'm hoping this one will buoy me through that one.

Eli is selling ridiculously overpriced popcorn for the scouts and I'm conflicted. I'm generally a shark when it comes to fundraisers, and I love what scouts has done for him. On the other hand, I have a very hard time letting anyone spend this kind of money on a tin of popcorn. Plus I am drowning in fundraisers. We just got done with jog-a-thon and now it's scouts. Syd has hers starting next week and then we're into PTO season. I feel like an Oliver Twist character. On the other hand, Eli's scouts are really expensive so I really need him to hustle out there. So if anyone's in the market for luxe popcorn, hit me up

Our fridge went out and we had to live out of the beer fridge. I feel like maybe I already wrote about this but I'm too lazy to check. 

And speaking of that awesomely authentic picture above, my house is driving me absolutely batty. We rode out the beginning of the school year wave and we're solidly in the "Where is your homework folder?!" "Did anyone make lunch?" "Why don't your shoes match?" phase. I HATE it. My soul craves organization and there are so many piles of crap in my house. The kids are allergic to cleaning, which means they can never find anything and that I have an aneurysm any time I go into their rooms. I'm really tempted to hold an impromptu garage sale just to get a bunch of this shit out of my house. But I also kind of hate sitting in my front yard haggling with strangers so I may just throw it all in the back of the car and take it to Goodwill. Also my neighbor's house got raided this week (WTF?!) so maybe I don't want to hang out in the front yard anyway. 

I also joined Weight Watchers a couple weeks ago, in my on-going efforts to not be enormous (and if you ask my dad maybe because I'm having a mid-life crisis and can't afford a BMW or a sancho). I really do well with rigid structure and rules so I figured this would be a good fit. It's working, but it's also a weird experience. Its this whole sub-culture that is so fascinating. On one hand they're super supportive and positive and excited and everything you'd expect an Oprah-endorsed organization to be. On the other hand, there's something very eating disorder-y about it. I have a very dysfunctional relationship with food/weight (insight's half the battle, right?) so I fit right in. I'm becoming that obnoxious points person which is super fun, BTW. Just so you know, Coors Lite is 3 points and if you eat salad for breakfast and lunch you can eat the whole container of Halo Top. I'm full of good information. 
I'm trying to take the Hellbeasts for a walk at least every other day or so. Prong collars and a this leash have made this SO much less heinous. Seriously. They're like different animals. I can walk both of them, at the same time, and no one wants to murder anyone else. A few more weeks and it might even be pleasant! 

And of course, we're doing all the soccer all the time. Eli isn't doing it this year (thank GOD!) but the girls have this awesome, always conflicting schedule. It's a logistical nightmare since C coaches Syd but then also sometimes sort of coaches Averson, and Syd's assistant coach sometimes but not always shows up so sometimes I have to help and it's all a cluster. BUT, Syd's a beast and Averson literally picks dandelions. Also, I'm finally getting good at this and can lug all of our gear in one trip so I'm basically winning at adulthood.
Her favorite part is snacks, followed by the water breaks. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Never a dull moment

I've taken almost no pictures this week, but we've been pretty busy. It's been a million degrees all week (seriously) so we've been trying to keep everyone from killing each other without sending them outside. It's going...

Thursday night I came home giddy with the prospect of finally doing some laundry and actually making dinner. So of course my four year old throws out her freaking neck shaking out a garbage bag so she could join in the garbage sack races. So instead of laundry and food, I spent three hours holding a hot, sleeping, whimpering kid and praying she didn't have any permanent damage. When she woke up still crying and unable to move even after a generous dose of Motrin, we loaded the whole fam-damily up and headed to the ER. Two hours and $50 later, we had a dose of Tylenol, dinner from a vending machine, and a diagnoses of "tweaked neck." Because of course.

Feeling much better and probably getting the plague from the hospital toys

Saturday a girlfriend invited me to "Bring a buddy day" at her gym. It was a circuit style workout and it kicked. my. ass. Dear Lord, they did a lot of squats. But I think I've come to terms with the fact that I really need other people around to shame me out of slacking. There is no way I would have done that on my own. I signed up for an OrangeTheory that is opening next month. If this gym was any indication, I am going to love it (assuming I can walk afterwards.) Also, most of my most recent "Girls day" activities have required waivers, which I think is kind of ridiculous and awesome.

We took the kids to see Cars 3 and I absolutely did not tear up at the emotional struggle of an anthropomorphized racecar. And definitely not twice. It was super cute and not nearly as crowded as we expected. On a roll, we decided to watch The Dark Crystal with the kids. Dude. That movie is fucking weird. Most of the time when I try to introduce my old favorites to them, I find that the plot moves too slowly. This one held their attention, but I think because they were trying to figure out what the fuck was going on. Syd declared this morning "It may not be a repeat."

We're planning on taking the kids out into the world tomorrow, since the temperature is supposed to be below 110. Plan B is to go back to my friend's gym because I'm a masochist. I forgot how good it felt to be exhausted though, and they called me an athlete so I'll pretty much do anything they want me to. If only it wasn't a 30 minute drive away...

Does anyone have experience with OrangeTheory? Help me reassure myself that it's totally worth the price and will have me looking less like a suburban mom when C and I take our vacation next year.

It's too hot to cook real food

Today was super lazy after a strong start cleaning the house to my not-tempted-to-just-burn-it-down standard. I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to plan my next tattoo, interspersed with throwing snacks at the kids and cleaning my patio furniture. However, I know that we're going to be busy tomorrow so I wanted to get the food situation squared away. I wrote out my grocery list/meal plan and we're trying out AmazonFresh so I put my order in. For roughly the same price as my cheap bag-your-own store, they're going to deliver it to my doorstep. (On Tuesday though, so pizza for all!) I'm trying this new thing where I get super organized and plan out not only dinners but also lunch and breakfast for anyone leaving the house. It's working relatively well, and our fridge is fairly empty at the end of the week. I always feel better if we get to the end of the week and nothing is rotting in the fridge.

So here's the plan:
Breakfasts: Cereal, bagels, egg sandwiches for the adults using biscuits we had in the fridge and sliced ham
Lunch: Finger foods (rolled ham, pepperoni, veggies, crackers, string cheese) Quinoa taco salad for me
Grilled Chicken with cucumber and tomato salad (I use this recipe and add tomato)
Meatball subs (need a side to go with this)
Tortellini pasta salad
Lasagna (was supposed to make this last week but it was too hot). I'm going to put this together this
           weekend so C can put it in the oven on the night I teach.
Sausage and veggies with corn on the cob I picked up this weekend.

I was trying really hard to find good recipes for when we're a) busy and b) it's ridiculously hot out. One would think I'd be a pro at that by now, but it's harder than it sounds and too often we revert to a drive-thru or pizza. I'm trying to be more cognizant of our eating out in an effort to both save money and not be fat forever. Does anyone have any good, healthy hot weather recipes? I'd love to hear them if you do, since it seems like it may never be Fall again...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Stream of Consciousness

I have a whole slew of disjointed blog ideas in my brain, so I thought I'd go back to an oldie but a goodie

1) My new favorite thing to say at work is "Who did he eat?" We currently have THREE cannibals in our unit. I don't know what the base rate of cannibals is, but I'm guessing it's an overrepresented population in my particular area. Coincidentally, my second favorite thing to say is "Which cannibal is that one?" Also, poor C had to help me research what humans taste like (welcome, gross Googlers and fellow cannibal afficiandos!) because sometimes my mind gets away from me.

2) Averson started preschool this week! Facebook memories reminded me that we waitlisted her last year too, so apparently sliding in at the last second is how we roll. She is so happy to be back at school. She was giddy all day yesterday. Like, so happy it was kind of annoying.

3) After a long hiatus I got another Stitch Fix box (my 17th?!) It was good timing because a) It's one million degrees still and I hate all of my clothes and b) apparently I've gained back all the weight I lost on Whole30 plus some. I didn't take pictures of everything, but I fell in love love love with this dress. Enough so that I almost wore it to work. And then I chickened out which was good because my strictly office day turned into a housing unit day and the stairs and walkways are made out of perforated metal which means I would have been showing my chonies to everyone. So I love the dress but I'm too chicken to wear it to work until I can wear tights without dying of heat stroke.


4) There is an Orangetheory opening near my house, and I got a deal on a monthly membership by signing up months in advance (at least I think it's a deal, I'm not really sure.) Back in May October seemed very far away, but now it's not. Please tell me you love OTF and that you got stronger and thinner just walking in the door.

5) It's been a million degrees out and my dogs are going stir crazy in the house. And they're really big and obnoxious. It's too hot to walk them (and I'm too lazy), and they only last about ten minutes in the yard. So they come in and bash about like over-testosteroned teenage boys. It's driving me batty. On top of that, I'm trying really hard not to let the kids stare at the TV all afternoon after school, so they're flitting about bored too. Thank God for cheap beer.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

First day of school (a week late)

I'll make them do this until college.
Side note: they both think I'm super mean because I don't replace their backpacks every year.  They each get a "good" bag for kindergarten and I secretly hope they have these Jansports when they head off to college. 

They're so big! Eli's finishing out elementary school in the mainstream 6th grade and Syd started in the Rapid Learner Program 2nd grade. Eli is thrilled to be in a regular class and to make new friends. A week in and it seems like we made the right choice by letting him stay at this school another year. He loves his teacher and he does his homework without issue. It's pretty amazing. And Syd was super nervous because she didn't know anyone in this class (it's a standalone program program that has kids from all different districts in it.) She's making friends and also gets to see her other friends at recess, so she's happy too. We're off to a good start! 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

All the updates

OMG. I totally had a case of writer's block, and then so much time passed that it seemed like I had to catch y'all up before I wrote about any of the new stuff, and before I knew it we missed all the things. Brace yourself. I'm going to get us caught up, and then I'll tell you all about the crazy woman who let her snotty toddler crawl all over me during my first EVER sports practice that I could actually sit in a chair and not parent for. Or maybe I'll lead with that. This speschul sneaxflaxe mother first started commenting when I tried to read my book (The Secret History of Wonder Woman. SO GOOD and I wanted to read it SO BADLY). She even gave me the "Oh man. I haven't read a book since I was nursing! That's the last time I could sit down long enough. But I've decided now that my kids need to know that mommy get's her time too!" Yes. I totally agree. That's why I brought a book to my kid's soccer practice. SO I COULD READ IT. But oh no, then she has to narrate. "Oh Wonder Woman! Look *daughter*! We watch that at home. Not the new one, the old Linda Carter one." But not in a conversational way. More in an observational way that meant I didn't know if I was being rude by responding or being rude by ignoring her. So I tried both and neither worked. And all the while the girl is asking me questions. "Who's that?" "Wonder Woman" "Who's that?" "That's Wonder Woman too." "Who's that?!" "They're all Wonder Woman." "Who's that?!" "Elizabeth Warren. Or maybe Wonder Woman"  So obviously reading wasn't happening. I started texting a friend, which we all know is the universal sign for "I'd like to not have a face to face conversation with you or your children." And this lady's kid CRAWLS IN MY LAP, with her mother watching, and starts asking if I have games. No? How about shows? No?! What about emojis? WTF kid? Also, dear mom. Don't smile lovingly while your daughter crawls in a strange woman's lap. I work in a prison. I'm trying to be nice but I'm also saying, loudly, "Oh no Sweetie! I'm talking to a friend. Please don't touch that. Nope, no games. Just boring stuff."  Seriously, WTF? FORTY FIVE MINUTES later, I had to physically move this kid so I could pack up when the practice was over. Next week, I'm bringing the hellbeasts. And they're wearing the crazy chain collars that make them look like monsters.

Okay, now I feel better. In other news(and no particular order):
Snapchat has a Picachu filter and Averson's dreams are complete

We took the girls to see an awesome (and mildly inappropriate) art exhibit and it was amazing

Eli went backpacking. Again. And got hazed. When I asked him about it he said, "That's why I love Scouts Mom! Someday I'll get to do it to a young kid too." Um. 

Scout graduated pitbull class and neither of us died. 
Averson's face-gina is gone! And more Snapchat. 

I played footy and got a sports injury. This is the only picture because the other ones looked like a pudgy middle-aged suburban mom playing a tackle sport and trying not to die. BUT, I scored a goal and tackled people and I kind of love it a lot

AND I finally finished and ordered Avery's baby book, which means that all three of my kids one now. I'm especially proud of this one. It only took four years but now I can maybe work on printing pictures or putting all my backups in the same place. Or reading a damn book. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

When your daughter's face is falling off and you're a jerk *Update! We're all jerks!

Fair warning: There are gross pictures in this post. I left out the really gross ones though because I'm klassy.

Last weekend during our craptastic family hike with the dogs, Averson tripped off a curb, on a super-high bridge, into traffic, and hit her face. Because of course she did. That wasn't even the highlight of that particular outing, but alas. I picked her up, dusted her off and carried her across the bridge while trying to telepathically beg Syd and C not to say anything about the blood. Which they didn't, thank the sweet baby Jesus. We wiped her up and no one was the worse for wear.

Flash forward to Monday when I come home to Averson sleeping (she's hasn't taken naps in over a year). The lip scrape that was NBD now looks a little bit rougher, but because she's our third baby and we're really busy, we chalked it up to healing. And I pretended not to notice that she was super warm and bundled up in fleece blankets despite it being, literally, 106 degrees.

Yesterday C sent me this at work

OMG. Could she look anymore miserable? I sent the picture to her pediatrician with a "Is this normal? WTF?" message. I love our doctor because she knew to call C and then e-mail me with a recap (#workingmomsunite!) with the final diagnosis of justavirus. Also, I don't find "We've been seeing this lately" all that reassuring. She didn't give anything further than "virus" which I didn't find very helpful since you know what's a virus? Herpes. 

So, no judgment, but I have always been stupidly (and silently) proud that none of us get cold sores. I fully acknowledge that my pride lays in some fucked up places, but I had a friend growing up who got heinous breakouts and they just seem so miserable and gross. I keep consulting with Dr. Google and I can't find ANYTHING else this could be. Also, googling "cold sores on my preschooler" will get you some nasty shit suggesting that this could be so much worse. Though that doesn't explain the fever and the way her damn face is swelling up. So I'm kind of hoping it's something else like HFM and not cold sores because I don't want my daughter to have the Herp. That's some serious MOTY material right there, I tell you what. Also, I won't let her touch anyone or anything with her face because of course I won't. A paragon of compassion. But I have been letting her eat her weight in yogurt tubes because she says her throat hurts on top of her mouth. At least I think that's what she's saying. You can't really tell because she sounds like the dentist numbed her mouth. 
I just went to the playroom and found her sleeping like this. That's her dress. #thirdbaby

I totally meant this to be funny but I'm going to feel like such a jerk if she's really sick and not just slowly becoming a zombie. Which I think I would still prefer over cold sores. But I think we all know that's exactly what this is going to be, so lay it on me. What are your go-to cold sore remedies? I know nothing and at this rate that thing is going to take over her face. 

Update: We finally took her to the doctor today. She's been living off yogurt tubes and then last night said her mouth hurt too bad even for those. So, the final verdict is.....

Herpangina Virus! And now to the jerk part that's actually pretty funny. So C heard "Herpangina" and immediately thought "STD," which they must get all the time because they immediately clarified that it is NOT Herpes and NOT an STD, just a really unfortunately named totally common virus. What they didn't know is that in our family "vagina" has been shortened just to " 'gina." The Bigs couldn't stop laughing when they called to give me the status update because "Avery's got 'gina! IN HER MOUTH!" And then dissolved into ridiculous giggles. And poor Avery can't talk, let alone whine or yell, so they just keep saying it. This poor girl and her jerk family. If she ever turns, it will be totally understandable if she eats us first. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

The HellBeasts

I pretend that I don't like the hounds because, well because a girl only has so much patience to go around and after the inmates and the kids and the adulting I don't want to spend much of it on someone who shits out underwear. But the fact is that I do sort of kind of like them. Even if they're heathens (much like the rest of the family.) The two of them together though is A. FUCKING. LOT. They run for about 15 hours a day. We try to walk them and it's all fine and Andy Griffith until they see another dog and turn into snarling lunging assholes, which in turn makes us look like assholes. Scout keeps digging epic holes in my yard and Atticus acts like we don't know he sleeps on the couch.
Best Guard Dogs Ever

When we got Scout, one of the deals that came with the "free dog to good home" package was a discounted obedience class run by a local pitbull advocacy group. It took me months to get into one, but finally we got in. I've never done dog training so I was really interested to see what it was about. I had high hopes for the Stepford dog of my dreams.

The first class was "humans only" and we spent TWO HOURS sitting under an overpass getting schooled on all things pitbull. TWO HOURS.  I bet we spent twenty full minutes on red nose vs blue nose (*spoiler* there is no difference!) These people have great intentions but they are a lot. Also, everyone went around the circle talking about their sweet giant "lovebug" who "just needs some manners" or "gets a little worried around other dogs" or "can't be let out of the crate because he keeps trying to kill our other pets." That last one was met with understanding smiles and murmers of "Oh yeah. I have one of those too."  Uh uh. Nope. Not me. All of the sudden Scout was sounding like a purse dog in comparison to these crazy animals.

The next week I pulled up bright eyed and bushy tailed with my required bag of meat treats (that I lovingly cooked from scratch because "dogs don't respond to regular treats"), two collars (one prong, one regular), a harness, and a special European training leash. And the Hellbeast, who doesn't get to go out much because she's a jerk (but not the eating pets kind of jerk.) Before we unloaded I said I silent prayer that neither of us would die that day.

So picture this. An overpass, covered in philosophical graffitti like "Let's fuck" and "Get bent" and homeless camp leftovers (shit you not.) A circle of big crazy pitbulls all trying to "say hello" (or as I like to call it, "rip out each others throats.") There's one very sweet teenager with the daintiest little dog I've ever seen, and next to her is this enormous man with a matching enormous pit who apparently doesn't even respond to meat and just slurps out of a water bottle the whole time. There's a sweet older lady with a CRAZY dog that snarls  and lunges at Scout every time we come near her or her stuff (because she's got a full set up including a throw rug). And of course right next to me is the lady who has her shit all figured out, with her giant well behaved dog that she just got three weeks ago. There's the couple across the way that move in tandem and keep dropping their leash even though rule #1 of pit class is "Don't ever, ever, ever drop the leash." I'm surveying the situation when I realize that I've got a freezer bag full of delicious taco meat strapped to my waist and all of these dogs missed breakfast ("so they'll be super focused.")

Really it's not terrible, as long as you don't mind being referred to by your dog's name and you don't mind the din. We're learning all sorts of useful tricks like how to focus, sit, come, and how to walk without yanking my arm out the socket. And other less useful things like staying when I take a step back, walking a figure eight, and how to keep lunging at the dickhead dog who keeps barking at you even when there is delicious oily meat in your face. Also, she still can't take a decent selfie and it's starting to be a problem.

So, good news is that we didn't die. And I get to spend the next several weekend mornings under an overpass, trying to both teach my dog "Focus," not get stabbed with a hypodermic, and not get mauled.  But you bet your ass I'm not dropping the leash.  

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Grown-up Words

I was sitting in committee today with the warden, captains et. al (aka muckity mucks), right after we saw a man with an exceptionally colorful vocabulary. Imagine a 12 year old using every swear word he's ever heard. "Son of a bitch mother fucker dirty c*&#..." and on and on and on. I don't really mind when inmates swear, but this was pretty excessive, even for prison. Afterwards we were recovering when my captain stated that he appreciates when people cuss and doesn't trust people who don't or who use the fake swears. I agreed emphatically. "Except kids, obviously." Gulp.

Now, back when Eli was a young lad and started speaking when he was ridiculously little (think Baby Stewie),  I tried really hard to be mindful of my language. I really, really did. That's not precious any way you spin it. And I failed spectacularly. I swear like a sailor. I drop F-bombs like they're rainbow sprinkles. I was once told, "The thing about you is you seem so sweet, but then you start talking." There was no fucking way I was going to be able to restrain myself.

After trying to convince his daycare teacher that he was saying, "Bucket" and getting an incident report (really) because Eli "Stated loudly 'Son of a *&!@# [their edits, not mine]' at a friend when their tower fell over" (which I absolutely blamed on C despite knowing full well where he learned that) we decided to take a different approach. We would let him swear with permission. That way he learned how to swear appropriately, which I believe is an underappreciated skill, and we didn't have to keep unsuccessfully censoring ourselves.

Now all three kids know that they have to ask before they can let it rip, and if the situation is appropriate we let them. Stub your toe? Let it fly. So mad you could shake? I get it. Go for it. At dinner with your grandparents? Nice try, kid. Shut your trap. And it's worked for the most part. No more sheepish apologies or looks of shock in public. No sneaky attempts to get one past us. Eli occasionally tries to use a stand-in like "Frickin" or "hella", and Averson likes to assert that "I'm old enough to say 'Shit'" but in general I am confident I can trust them around decent society.

It's also fun to see what words appeal to them. "Stupid" is a big one. None of them have ever tried to say "Shut up." "Guts" had a good run during the summer of Ramona and Beezus. Eli likes "Hell." Averson really likes "Shit." Syd banged her head the other day, asked if she could swear, and though I expected "stupid drawer!" she let fly a "FUCK!" that matched my own for tone and affect. It was a thing of beauty and I couldn't have been prouder. After I made sure that the kitchen window wasn't open, of course.

So that's my child-rearing advice, inspired by an inmate who wanted to use every word he knew. Teach your kids to swear. It's good for you. It's good for the world.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dream Big, Little Pig

Have you heard of this book? I bought it for the girls during one of my "intentional book purchase" kicks because it's about a pig who figure skates, so it fulfilled the body pos niche. Like most of my misguided "intentional purchases" I, of course, hated reading the damn book (no offense, Ms. Yamaguchi). Over the past 100 readings though it's really grown on me. Plus there are sparkles. Sparkles make everything awesomer. The whole premise is that Little Pig has big dreams and doesn't let anyone tell her that she can't be successful, even when she's not the best or the most perfectly suited. It's quite sweet. And like various other ear worms, "Dream big, little pig!" has been ricocheting around in my brain lately.

*Insert existential angst here, because I'm boring myself at this point* One of the weird but in retrospect obvious aspects of pursuing an advanced degree is that there are a multitude of hurdles that you must overcome. First you have to get into undergrad. Then you have to score well on the GRE. Next is the graduate school search and admission process (pro tip, do not base your search on admission rates or how pretty the campus is. Dream big, Little Pig!). Once you're in graduate school, you have to pass practicum, write a thesis, and pass comps. If you're super masochistic, you choose the one faculty adviser with a previous career as an editor, so you actually get to write about seventy million thesises (thesi?) That gets you a Masters and allows you to promote to the Doctoral Program. Once there, you've got to write and defend your dissertation (with the same editor/advisor/mentor), score an internship, possibly move across the country, and try to get published somewhere along the way. Complete your internship without dying and now you're a doctor (but not that kind of doctor)! But wait! There's more!

Now you need a grown-up job. Get the job. Move across the country again. Try to act like a professional adult when less than two weeks ago you were "just the intern." Get your 1500 hours of supervised, post-doctoral experience. Neurotically tally those hours in 15 minute increments. Once you've done that, now you apply to take the first licensing exam. Study for that for anywhere between 2 weeks and 6 months (depending on how new your newborn is.)  Hopefully pass that test, despite it having words you've literally never seen before on it. Now you get to study for and sit for the state specific laws and ethics exam. Study for that for anywhere between 1 week and 3 months (again, depending on how old your baby is and how desperately you need the raise.)  Pass that test. Then...

That's it. You're done. There are no more prescribed hurtles. You are a legit, grown-up, signing doctor. There is nothing left for you to do on your academic journey.

I personally found that moment overwhelming, so I try to prepare people for it. You go from YEARS of always having something you should be working on/studying for/stressing about to... not. For neurotic student type people, it's a huge shift. I always recommend that people take up a hobby or set another goal for themselves. Personally, I moved, had babies, got dogs, bought houses, took up running, and made a lot of stuff. Each of these things has given me a goal, a task, something to obsess about and to accomplish.

Lately I've been feeling the twitch that often precedes a baby, a move, or a  new obsessive hobby but I'm also somewhat at a loss for what I want to do. Learn Spanish? Train the HellBeasts? Volunteer with a local agency? Take up decoupage? Become the most overextended Scout mom in history? All of the options floating around are simultaneously exhilirating and overwhelming.

At the other end of the spectrum from Dream Big, Little Pig is a book that I was gifted called The Circle Maker. The section I've been reading (and re-reading, and re-re-reading) is about setting goals and making them big. With those two books in mind, I've been thinking a lot about what it is that I want to accomplish and where I want to focus my energy. It's a work in progress, but what I've come up with so far is:

  •  I want to write more. I feel like I used to be a much better writer and I know that my writing has suffered from neglect. (Gah! I just went through my archives. Faithful readers, thank you! I used to be so much funnier! I promise, I'll up my game.) I want to grow this blog, or develop a second blog, that encompasses both my personal and professional ramblings. I also want to look for opportunities to publish elsewhere. 
  • I want to plan a real, legit vacation. Next year all three of our kids are going to Grandkid's Camp, which means that C and I can take an honest-to-goodness vacation together. Maybe even on an airplane! There's a whole other post there, seeing as the only trips we've ever been on alone (including our honeymoon) have involved tents or sleeping in dorm rooms. 
  • I want to start exercising again, but not for the sole purpose of getting skinnier (because I've come to accept that that's not happening.) I want to be stronger though, because one of the best descriptors of the women in my family is "They can lift heavy shit." And I'd like to lift heavier shit. I'd also like to look good walking away, if you catch my drift. 
  • Be outside more. I've accepted that I can't/shouldn't garden and it's really, really hot here, but there are so many opportunities to be outside and I waste a lot of them. I'm starting with walking the dogs more, which will also serve the goal of training the HellBeasts. 
  • I want to stop being so fucking angsty. There is a lot of good in my life. I have a great family, a decent house, a good paying job with great people and the potential to (insert flutes here) "Make a difference in the world." I really need to get off my pity pot. 
I'm posting these for two reasons. The first is that we all know that if you put it on the internet, it becomes real. I need the accountability of having strangers know that I've set goals (it makes sense in my head, don't ruin the dream.) The second is that I want to keep these in the foreground. I want to make intentional choices and to allow myself to "Dream Big, Little Pig." Maybe writing more will turn into a goal of writing a book. Maybe exercising more will turn into competing in Crossfit.  Maybe I'll learn Spanish and plan a vacation to Puerto Vallarta. I honestly don't know yet. But I'm kind of excited to find out! 
OMG! I was looking for a rando picture because a post this long deserves a picture and look what I found! Kismet!
Please enjoy this picture of my favorite Animal Researcher dreaming with her pig :) 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


I miss the Bigs when they're at their grandparents, but there is something about being the only kid that makes this one's light shine. She has been loving having our undivided attention, and I love getting to hear all the things she has to say. Lately she's been obsessed with being an "Animal Researcher" (thank you Wild Kratts.) 
The librarian showed her the animal non-fiction section (Section 584, she'll proudly tell you) and she was thoughtfully chose her three books; Elephants, Dolphins, and Wolves if you're interested.She couldn't believe there was a whole aisle for animal research. It has to be "animal research," by the way, and she'll correct you if you just say "animals."

She asked for a research journal, which made me happy in the most humblebraggy way. I keep mentioning in my public mommy voice, "Oh! You'll have to put that in your journal! You can draw your observations!" 

 This is her lab. She spent nearly an hour dictating this to C so he could draw it. Now she's bugging us to start building it. Oops. 

When we were in San Francisco, Averson told anyone who would listen that she was an animal researcher. Every time, I humbly looked on with a look that I'm sure said, "I know! She's a firecracker, that one. I have no idea where she gets it! Oh no, couldn't possibly be my stellar parenting!" One sweet lady started a conversation and asked if Avery had any pets. Avery told her that "Yes, I have two dogs. And my mom's friend is going to get me an animal to cut open!" I was laughing too hard to explain that my friend is a science teacher who'd offered to help Avery do a dissection. Partly because what kind of psychopath four year old wants to do a dissection? I haven't actually watched Wild Kratts, but I'm pretty sure that's not a regular segment. Last night she suggested to my sister that, while she's on vacation, maybe she could kill some animals and send them back to us? It would be so great if she could do that. 

#blessed #psychokids #servesmeright

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A new tradition

My sister's in town! We've done a lot of sitting and day drinking and napping with babies, but we did rally to go to San Francisco and go shopping on The Haight one day. We went last year too (and bought pants off a stranger in the street.) This year was less hippy and more drunken, psychotic homeless people who wanted to show us their spiders in the handle of Bacardi (to which I helpfully said, "I wouldn't drink that") and later try to lock us in a macabre shop, sing songs made up completely of the different words for vagina, or warn us about the windows . Still fun, but in a very different way. Averson, in her animal loving glory, stopped to pet everyone's dog. Everyone being all of the "colorful characters" on Haight and Ashbury. I think part of the reason it was still fun is maybe because pot is legal now, so stopping in one place for too long anywhere on Haight is bound to get you a little teensy bit of a contact high. MOTY. But we did discover that Averson can hold her own in a dance off with indie house music played from a scratchy tablet.


The most hipster vandalism ever