Friday, June 11, 2021

Family Movie Night

 I think, like most families in our demographic, Friday night has always been "Pizza and a Movie Night." We've been doing it for years off and on, with all of us democratically choosing a movie and then either ordering or making pizza. It was fun, it worked, and it was predictable. Oh. So. Predictable. A few months ago I started to notice though that we were drifting. The kids had seen every movie on Netflix (or so they claimed) and with fewer movies during the pandemic it became a chore finding something everyone wanted to watch. People started drifting to their own devices, with Eli retreating to his room and Averson and Syd binge-watching the show of the week. Pizza, despite all the evidence to the contrary, can get mundane if you eat the same thing every week. I loved the idea of a family night but the execution was falling apart. 


Around that same time I stumbled onto Jennifer Borget on Instagram. The post that caught my eye was about her deciding what movie she was going to pick for their movie night that week. She seemed so excited about it! After a little digging, I found a post that explained how their family of five approaches movie night.  Each person takes a turn choosing both the movie AND the dinner for that week. I'm a little embarrassed by how mind-blowing this was. I presented it to the family and everyone was into it. It has been SO FUN. Our rotation goes youngest to oldest, and we've each had at least two turns so far. People are putting so much thought into their choices and its really fun to talk about it during the week. We have a rule that everyone has to participate and that the movie can't be too scary or grossly age-inappropriate (that bar is really high though). So far we've only had to veto one movie after Syd picked 47 Meters Down Unchained and Averson was crawling in my lap after the first five minutes. For dinners we've had pizza, Chinese food, burgers, pigs in a blanket, and pasta. It's been fun to watch the decision making process for movies too. I always try for something we've never seen (Cruella and Thunder Force). Averson likes to pick an animated movie about animals. Syd agonized over her choice, but aside from the sharks, she's picked winners from her own library of favorites (Maleficient was particularly well-received). Eli I think tries to push the boundaries just a little but has picked the funniest movies of all of us (Grownups was HILARIOUS and maybe a little inappropriate). C and my mom both try to find classics that they want to introduce the kids too. C showed Grumpy Old Men and my mom picked City Slickers. Both had us all laughing out loud. 


If your movie nights have become a little less fun, I highly recommend trying the rotation approach. It takes so much pressure off and everyone got a lot more excited about it, which is important when you're trying to find activities that you can do together when the age and interest ranges vary so widely. 


My turn is coming up. What movies have you loved lately? 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

These are going to be so cute at her medical school graduation


 C hooked Averson up with leftover frogs from a middle-school biology class. Her favorite part to dissect was the tongue, but the lungs came in a close second. I found a section of skin that she saved in her dissection kit. She now has opinions on the quality of formaldehyde. C pondered, out loud, whether he could potentially hook it up to a battery to make it's heart beat or it's legs twitch and I was successful in dissuading him from trying. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

A CrossFitter, a Vegan, and a Runner walk into a bar...

How do you know? Because they won't stop talking about it

Guys? I really love CrossFit. It's pretty ridiculous, but it makes me so happy. And I've gotten both C and Eli to join me, so it's this fun thing we do together even. Eli and I started early in the quarantine because without sports and with our restrictions on socializing (because teenagers aren't known for their good decision making and adherence to rules), he really needed a physical outlet. It became such a fun bonding experience for us and I'll forever be grateful for it. If you're trying to connect with your teenager, I highly recommend taking up a sport neither of you has any experience in and that let's your narcissistic boy flex his muscles a lot. 

Averson likes to play with my phone while she hangs out in the kid area, and sometimes she takes pictures and videos of us working out. It's not pretty, but they make me smile :)




I was thinking this weekend about having to switch doctors since we got new insurance, and having to update my medical history. I've kind of been dreading it, since there are a lot of new and exciting family histories that I'm not feeling super great about formalizing. But I was also reflecting on the fact that I feel like I've kind of got my own stuff dialed in right now, especially as far as my mental health. And so much of it has to do with finding this funny little hobby. For example, the picture above would have sent me spinning six months ago. My knees! My hair! Why does my belly look like that? But now I have a very refreshing sense of remove from it all. What I see now is that I nailed a snatch that day. The next day I set a personal record and deadlifted more than my bodyweight. And then I bragged about it. And last night I dropped my first bar (and it was on purpose!) It feels SO GOOD to be proud of myself for something physical that doesn't have it's root somewhere in self-dissatisfaction. 



Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Long weekend recap



I think I'm maybe having a bit of a rebound reaction to the new job. Probably more to reflect on that later. But in the meantime, the long weekend was delightful. Saturday turned into a grown-up "Yes Day" after C and I decided that it was time to trade in the lemon of an SUV (I could NOT handle another summer of unreliable air conditioning). It was C's first CarMax experience and as we drove away four hours later in our new pick-up, he was totally flummoxed but 100% converted. That was so much fun, and we had such visions of our new truck adventures, that we went to REI and spent a small fortune on boots and backpacking gear. Thank goodness we haven't signed up for any summer activities since we're committed now to all the hiking and camping. 

On Sunday we packed everyone up to go on a hike that C found in a FB group. It's a series of old train tunnels that are full of graffiti. Given the several extreme heat warnings we received, an essentially indoor hike seemed like an excellent plan. If you're ever in the Truckee area, I HIGHLY recommend doing the Donner Tunnels. They were so cool. The kids loved it, it was downright chilly inside the tunnels, and at five miles total, it wasn't a bad trek. 


Gorgeous views outside too!

These two. I need to get Syd into CrossFit ASAP. 

While I would NEVER encourage our kids to vandalize, theoretically if one were to bring spray paint, it would definitely be a hit


The girls and I ate lunch on the tailgate of the truck, which is my absolute, all-time favorite place to sit (second only to a good stoop.) You can also peek my new, super legit hiking boots. 

On Monday the plan was to lay low and not melt, given the projected temperature of 108 (which really should just read "too fucking hot"). However, I stumbled on to a FB post of a woman selling a big Monstera for cheap and since I've been wanting one forever, but didn't want to pay a lot since I'll probably kill it, I couldn't pass it up. Turns out she was moving and needed to get rid of plants, so I accidentally came home with a jungle. 

Such pretty babies! I hope I don't murder them

And then, because I like to live dangerously, I let Eli go swim at a friend's house. And nearly died in the process. I limped into the gas station on literal fumes. The temp reading here was in the shade. 

All in all, a delightful long weekend. I'm back at the new job today but doing a lot of thumb twiddling because we hit some snags and I can't actually see patients yet. BUT, I'm wearing a new outfit from the Nordstrom Trunk Club and I'm reading a super creepy book and my office is air-conditioned so I suppose I'll make it through. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Our marriage is legal now

Pro-tip: If you have a kid on your anniversary, you get to celebrate whenever you get around to it. 




If our marriage was a person, they'd be legally allowed to vote and buy lottery tickets now. That made us feel old, so we celebrated by going out drinking and throwing axes with our vaccinated friends. We didn't intentionally buy the White Claws, BTW. Some guy gave them to us out his passenger window. On a school night. The world is weird now. 

 Turns out C is really good at axe throwing. Less good at drinking anymore, but alas...



Apparently we were having so much fun that we didn't get a picture together. So here's one from the crazy hike I forced him to take with me. He's a good sport



 

Monday, May 17, 2021

Syd is Eleven!

 This girl. She’s quirky and thoughtful and intuitive and she has the greatest giggle I’ve ever heard. This past year she’s become an expert on all things TikTok, started stealing my clothes, and found a love of cooking. Her birthday itself was a perfect mix of being the center of attention, but not too much.






Saturday, May 15, 2021

Morning!

My new job has normal hours and a shorter commute, meaning I leave right after the boys and right before the girls. How lovely to get to spend my mornings with my favorites (without the stress of having to drop a single one off #intergenerationalhousesFTW!)


 

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.