Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Mother’s Day 2021

 Mother’s Day this year was perfectly delightful and low-key. C and the kids made breakfast, we ran errands, and then spent the afternoon putzing around the house. I was perfectly spoiled with a subscription to the Book of The Month Club, two new outfits selected by Eli and Syd, and jewelry that Averson picked out. Syd made a quiche for dinner and then the kids and I went for frozen yogurt. I felt very appreciated :)

When the family really understands you and knows you like to make your own coffee

I really love sharing Mother’s Day with my mom and having her here. We were so lazy this year, but I love this picture of her and I from Murder-Con pre-apocalypse 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Lift Heavy S*&$

Around October of last year, I started to get really worried about Eli. He was doing homeschool and wrestling was shut down. He was spending all day, every day, in his bedroom under his LED lights and the impact on his mental health was starting to concern me. I was also feeling the impact on my own mental health. I knew I wanted to get him moving, but wasn't sure how to do it. A good friend of mine is big into CrossFit and she suggested that it might be a good option. Eli and I visited a gym and signed up for the intro class. If you want a cool way to hang out with your teenage son, Olympic weightlifting is a good way to break the ice. Both of us really liked it and though we've switched to a more COVID cautious/training focused gym, we've been going consistently for the last six months. About a month ago C signed up too, so we roll into classes deep. 

I'm not trying to be dramatic when I say that it has been life-changing. I haven't been shy about my issues with body image and weight. The older I get, the more I realize that I move in and out of true body dysmorphia pretty regularly and that so much of my self-worth has been tied to my size for nearly all of my life. Which, from a logical perspective, I understand is ridiculous but from an emotional perspective, has been so difficult to navigate. I won't lie. I joined this gym fully anticipating to drop weight. I was going to get small. Tiny even! When that didn't happen, I went to my doctor and got my thyroid checked with the sole purpose of getting a prescription that would make the pounds melt off. 

It turns out that my thyroid did need a little help, and with the meds on board I started seeing improvement in symptoms I didn't even know that I had. My hair stopped falling out in clumps and I no longer felt the need to either take a nap or rage scream at 3:00 each afternoon. But the weight stubbornly stuck around. I was working my ass off (not literally) at the gym, eating right, and taking thyroid meds and yet I didn't lose a single pound. Literally, not a single ounce. And everyone says, "But your measurements!" I have been religiously taking my measurements for the last eight years and I can say confidently that my measurements haven't changed either. 

But here's the interesting part. I don't care. I truly don't give it a second thought. My goal has changed from an arbitrary weight I temporarily claimed two babies ago to "Lift Heavy Shit." In the olden days, this lack of weight loss would have derailed me entirely and sent me into a downward spiral of self-hatred and some really f-ed up internal dialogue. But it didn't. In fact, I forget to weigh myself on a regular basis. I ordered a bunch of shorts for the summer and without hesitation sized up because I was tired of wearing uncomfortable pants when it's hot out. I think that there are visual changes in how I look, but it hasn't been in the size of any of my body parts. I think I stand taller. My muscles are more defined. There's a fold in my back that disappeared (you're welcome for that uncensored visual). These are all things that I'm happy with, but even more, I went from lifting a PVC pipe to now getting into the #100+ range. I split jerked #85 OVER MY HEAD! I know what a split jerk is! C told me the other day in class, "You look really strong" and I'm not sure I've ever been more smitten with a compliment. 

The impact that this funny hobby has had on my mental health and on my family is so phenomenal. I'm sleeping better and my mood is so much more stable. Eli, it turns out, is a great gym buddy. He's supportive and encouraging and, much like his dad, everyone loves him. When wrestling started, he was way ahead of the rest of the team because he'd been so active in the downtime. C is starting to love it (parts of it, at least) and it's such a cool way to spend time together. And the girls love to go hang out in the kids' area and are really hoping that they'll offer classes for them soon. We are literally happier, healthier, and better adjusted. I'm so grateful for it and in retrospect, it was an excellent use of our interaction budget. 

I joke that it makes my brain stupid though, so occasionally I have to write the WOD on my arm :) 


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Pandemic Pets: An update

You might remember the menagerie post from early quarantine, followed up by the addition of Taco the tortoise. Now that we're a year into quarantine, I figured an update was warranted. 

Taco is doing wonderfully and we're all low-key obsessed. He's gotten a little bit bigger, but not so big that I don't anxiously worry when C and the kids take him outside to play in the grass. He loves sprouts, dandelions, and getting his booty brushed. 

I haven't seen Francisco since I posted. We had to get the tree trimmed and the trimmers alluded to some "creatures" that they "took care of" but I'm really hoping that Francisco was smart enough to make himself scarce. 

Shortly after I posted originally, my mom noticed that Emily and Cauliflower were getting much less active and convinced Averson to release them back to the wild. However, they were only the first in a long line of domesticated snails in the house. Most recently she purchased two milk snails, assuming that snails bred in captivity might tolerate the life of leisure better. We were all hoping for babies, but that hasn't panned out though they do seem to like their upgraded digs. She also has added two more small garden snails that we found outside. So we have a bit of a snail community. Last weekend I was trimming back the ivy (hoping to find a sign that Francisco is still around) and I found a GIANT garden snail on the flower pot. I sort of off-handed told C and my mom and they decided that we might need to add this one to the crew too. Shortly thereafter there was a HUGE commotion on the front porch. IT WAS CAULIFLOWER! We had put a small drop of nail polish on his/her shell to tell them apart. I imagine that poor Cauliflower has been banging on the front door this whole time trying to get back to the land of limitless arugula. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, I saw a post on Facebook by a woman who was looking to rehome her daughter's goldfish who had grossly outgrown their tank. I let her know that C would treat him like his own and that we'd be happy to add him to our pond. Great, wonderful, everyone's happy. C being C though felt bad for the little girl and offered a swap for one of his smaller fish. He and my mom thoughtfully picked a fish from the pond, caught it, and got it ready for delivery. Eli was going along for the ride, and about ten minutes later decided that he felt sad for the poor little fish being plucked from his home. So he and C stopped at PetSmart to buy a decoy fish for this stranger who, I suspect, was not all that excited about swapping out her fish in the first place. C came up with a back story, they hid the saved fish in the backseat, it was a whole thing. So Nemo joined the pond and "Gary" was safely delivered to his new family. 

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago and I get a random message from Nemo's family. Gary has now outgrown the tank and she wants to know if we'd like him back. 1) What are these people feeding their fish? 2) I'm really hoping they don't ask about Nemo since he met an unfortunate, racoon-related demise shortly after joining our crew. We agreed to rehouse Gary but this time I did NOT offer a replacement fish. This was turning into a weird symbiotic relationship that I wasn't totally interested in. Eli and I went to pick Gary up, and again Eli bonded with the fish. As we drove home, he quietly asked "Do we HAVE to put him in the pond?" And this is how my teenager and I ended up impulsively buying an entire fish tank set up for his room. Eli is OBSESSED with Gary and it's basically the greatest, sweetest thing that's happened lately. 

The pandemic really needs to end because I'm running out of room for creatures and Averson's getting some wild ideas in her head...

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

This and that

The kids went back to school. Averson and Eli are thrilled. Syd is... less so. We had her anxiety pretty dialed in but the last half of the quarantine has been tougher. She's doing okay and for her at least, I'm grateful that school is only 2 hours/ 2 days a week. Eli is back to wrestling practice and next week they're back on the mat. I have mixed feelings, but they're all getting tested weekly so I think it's as safe as it can be. And with half of the house vaccinated I feel a bit more risk tolerant. 

Literally the only picture I took of Easter and you'd never know what it was. Our baskets were ON POINT this year. New swimsuits, a new pool toy (from the "pool toys for teens" list on Amazon), a paper airplane kit, a new book, and a bunch of candy. I snuck an anime action figure into Eli's basket and he played with it all afternoon :) 

I had Cesar Chavez day off and the weather was gorgeous, so we ventured to find this bridge and tree that everyone's been posting pictures of. I did not take a picture (SMH). Then we realized that one of my favorite little pubs was across said bridge and decided to stop for lunch. Which Eli had to pay for because C and I had forgotten our wallets in the car. 

Ahh! Here's the tree! But you can't tell that it's cool from this angle. Trust me. It's cool. 

We celebrated my mom's birthday by going out to an actual restaurant! It was so fun and exactly what we all needed. We even got dressed up(ish)

Birthday donuts. She'll be so mad that I posted this picture, but I love it

There are about 700 pictures of braids on my phone because I bribe the girls with tv if they'll play with my hair. Most are kind of a mess but Syd gave me a bubble braid the other night and I really like it! Also, my hair has gotten ridiculous. 

In other, quiet announcement news, I sort of got a new job and will be leaving prison work at the end of the month. It feels SUPER weird and I'll dedicate a better post to it later. In true Corey fashion I 100% tripped into it. It's totally different from what I'm doing now (back to direct patient care!) I'm excited and nervous and also having a very hard time continuing to make my heinous commute. So more on that soon! 


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Back to School

 We got word this week that our school district is eligible to return to in-person learning. The kids are thrilled and I'm freaking out. Now that all of the adults in our house have gotten both of their shots, I feel much less worried about COVID. Teachers have all been able to get vaccinated. We've ironed out many of the issues that were impacting the kids' well-being but Eli especially really needs to get back into traditional school. But also the logistics of the school's plan is so ridiculous that even with three driving adults and one quasi-responsible teenager, I have no idea how we're going to manage. The kids are going back to school, two days a week, for two hours a day. Thank God that at least they're all in the same cohort so it's the same days, but of course all three schools (the girls, C's, and the high school) have slightly different start times and VERY strict guidelines on how long kids can be on campus before and after school. 

We'll get it figured out. I'm aware of the ridiculous privilege that we have in that we DO have three driving adults (one who works in the schools), flexible schedules, and kids who are old enough to contribute. I absolutely cannot imagine how a more conventional family would make this work without have to spend half their paycheck on aftercare or a nanny. 

The kids on the other hand, are thrilled. Even Syd, who got her anxiety from her mama and has a thing about germs, can't wait to get back to class. We're celebrating this weekend with new back-to-school outfits (more for my own reputation preservation but don't tell them that), new masks, and shiny new hand sanitizers. For those of you who's kids have already gone back, any tips? I can only imagine how weird and overwhelming it might be to be back in the classroom after a full year. Your teacher has legs!!! 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Hawaii and home again

After our trip to the Kona coast, where we decided that despite our previous plans we didn't want to do that again, the rain really started to come down. In fact, on Sunday night the whole state of Hawaii was under a state of emergency with flood warnings on several islands. It was only projected to get worse, so we decided to risk it to get one last thing checked off of our vacation bucket list. We hadn't seen Akaka Falls yet, and according to the maps it was a pretty quick drive from Hilo. We went back to Ken's Pancake House for the famous macadamia nut and banana pancakes and then headed up to the falls. 

It rained the whole time, but by the time we reached the parking lot it was literally dumping so hard that our windshield wipers couldn't keep up. We'd packed warm coats, but we had two raincoats for the five of us, and both mysteriously did not make it into the car. After waiting for about 30 minutes for the rain to let up, we decided to try again later and drive in search of both ponchos and cool stuff to see. Monday ended up being one of our favorite days. We drove north on the coast and because of the rain, the forest was especially spectacular. The rivers were raging and we found several waterfalls. We drove slow and took a lot of detours before ultimately deciding to commit to the journey and head to the Waimea coast. When we come back we want to stay in that area next time. It was so beautiful! We ate at the Big Island Brewhaus where we were pleasantly surprised by their southwestern food. It's hard to nail a green chile stew! 

After lunch we tracked down rain ponchos and headed back to the falls, figuring it was now or never. When we got there it was still raining, but we were committed to the cause. We threw our ponchos on and started down the trail (paved the whole way, with handrails), quickly realizing that despite the cars parked on the road that we were the only people there. I did have a moment where I realized that without good cell service no one knew where we were and that if something happened we'd be screwed. We were at a giant waterfall in the middle of flash flood warnings. Next time I'll live tweet our adventures or at least leave a note on the dashboard. 

The hike was SO FUN, and totally worth it when we got to the falls. I don't know what they usually look like but I have to imagine that the rain made them even more spectacular and the pouring rain made it that much more of an adventure. 

There are no pictures of Tuesday because it was boring and rainy. We went back to Hilo hoping to hit the Tsunami Museum and the Discovery Center. Both were designated as open when we checked on-line, but were definitely not when we showed up. We wandered downtown Hilo a bit, bought some last minute souvenirs, and then headed back to the house for laundry, school, and packing. 

I didn't sleep well Tuesday night, both because I was petrified I'd miss our 5:00 alarm and because the rain was coming down so hard that whenever I did sleep I dreamt that I was underwater. We all were up in time and getting loaded was easy. Have I mentioned how wonderful traveling with sentient beings is? Eli gathered trash while the girls corralled day packs and C and I did the final house sweep. Teamwork! In the car, all of our phones started pinging with emergency alerts telling us all to stay home unless we were fleeing :/ 

We made it to the airport and even got to the gate in time to fill water bottles! We were still all getting flash flood warnings (including the pilots) but the rain had slowed down so with a gorgeous sunrise over Mauna Kea, we waved goodbye to the island. 

At one point in the flight Averson put her sweatshirt on backwards and was asleep in about 10 seconds. I think she's reached a new level of traveler status. 

The kids did homework on our layover in Honolulu and we all ate BurgerKing for breakfast. I lamented my absolutely ridiculous outfit/sweatsuit. 

It was SUCH a good trip. We did enough to make it awesome but left enough to make us want to go back. I'm so grateful to know that this is an option for us and just how lovely and pleasant all these people in my family are. I couldn't believe how easy going and flexible the kids were. I really think that made all the difference. We were nervous about traveling during COVID, but we felt very safe and comfortable the whole time. The flights weren't crowded, restaurants all offered good social distancing and take out options, every store required masks and hand sanitizer upon entry, the house gave us plenty of room, and nothing felt too crowded. 


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Hawaii part 2

Hilo has this beautiful Japanese garden and we took advantage of the good weather to wander a bit
Future album cover

Syd does this pose compulsively so we made a point to try to get pictures everywhere

We went to a different beach park hoping to see sea turtles again. We were not disappointed! At this park the turtles and fish swim into a little inlet that is shallow and calm, making it so easy to watch them! One turtle fell in love with our family and absolutely would not leave. It's illegal to pet them (something we didn't know at the time!) but I'm not sure he knew that either. 

Averson found this jaw bone while we were swimming. Anyone have any idea of what it is? 
The jaw part was more cartilage-y feeling and the teeth have small serrations. 

On Saturday we hit up the Hilo Farmers Market where the girls picked out their aloha dresses. Things Syd typically does not love: Dresses. Color. Matching with her sister. Showing her legs. Things Syd loved about this dress: All of the above. 

After the farmers market (where we bought very little actual food after getting a very graphic education on Rat Lung Disease), we drove to Hawaii Volcanos National Park. The park itself was open (and shout out to the extension of the free park passes to include 5th graders!) but the visitor center was closed. A nice ranger stationed in the parking lot gave us tips on how to organize our visit. We hiked to see the steam vents (super weird) and then through the rain forest.  I was expecting it to look a lot like the lava tubes in Oregon so I was doubly surprised when it was so lush! After our hikes we drove to the little town of Volcano for dinner and then back to the park to wait for dark. 

Waiting for it to get dark. The rain was starting and it was pretty cold so we put the seats down and the kids learned to play Blackjack. 

 LAVA! I was worried that this might be underwhelming but dude. That's the glow from LAVA. There's no accessible flows right now but we were able to see into the crater where there was activity. And once again the clouds parted so we were able to nerd out on the stars again too. 

On Sunday, it was raining in earnest in Hilo so we decided to drive to the Kona side of the island for a beach day. It's about a 2 hour drive if you go straight across, and about a 7 million hour drive if you follow the south coast (which we learned the hard way). The kids liked playing in the waves but everyone agreed that they preferred the lava rock pools better. 

On the drive home I'd hoped to hit a coffee farm for a tasting, a couple of sight seeing stops, and the kids had been begging for shave ice. We got shave ice. The coffee farm I was looking for was closed and the one we found was nice but probably not worth the stop. The sight seeing stops had either closed for the day, were closed due to COVID, or we got there after dark. And we back tracked for the treats. That part was worth it though. We found an organic shop with a huge menu and giant portions. This is a small! The day was fun, but we were all so over the drive that no one had any interest in trying to hit what we missed on a different day.