Sunday, April 29, 2012


Screen time, especially TV, is a constant battle in our house. I'm not sure if it's because we've always limited it and so it's forbidden fruit, or if it's just a typical kid thing, but I swear, Eli asks to watch TV 47 thousand times a day. He would watch all day if we let him. When he's not watching TV, he's either asking when he can or pouting because I've yelled about how all he talks about is TV. Seriously, this kid is addicted. And if he's not allowed? He will watch whatever anyone has on any screen. It's crazy-making. And no matter what we've tried, canceling cable, limiting, giving free reign, nothing has staunched it.

I'm not apt to get all hippy about this stuff. Actually, nevermind, that's totally me. But still. It drives me crazy that the more the kid watches, the less he seems to have the imagination or motivation to just. go. play. It probably takes him 30 minutes after the TV goes off to find something to do. And his attitude stinks. It's a little better now that he's reading, but I'm tired of fighting about it. On the other hand, we're not exactly modeling ideal behavior. C loves to watch Hulu'd shows and the dude is near-professional on Call of Duty. I'm on my laptop with blogs and FaceBook like it's my job. Both of us have phones surgically attached to our hands. We are a plugged in family.

So about a week ago I heard about "Screen Free Week." Essentially it started as "TV-Turnoff Week" and has morphed into a movement that encourages families to rediscover all the other ways of entertaining ourselves by vowing to turn off the screens for a whole week. There's a lot more to it, some interesting facts about obesity and exposure to advertising, and if I'd learned about it sooner I think I would've gotten much more grassroots about it. But as it is, I took it as a sign that it came up right as I was yelling, again, for the kids to go play outside.

I knew that C was not going to be into it, and I didn't want to force Eli, so I decided that I'd do it and whoever wanted to join me could. Eli went back and forth, but decided that he'd rather not. Fine. Whatever. I'll be a good role model. But then! He started haggling for how to make $5. And he offered to pick up the yard AND do the screen free week with me. So I negotiated back. For every day he doesn't have screen time, I'm giving him a dollar. So worth it, and he is super jazzed now. He's thinking he'll never watch TV again and be a millionaire.

I'm actually pretty nervous about whether I'll be able to do this. I'm fine losing TV, but the internet sometimes feels like my lifeline. Especially now that we're in a new city and I don't have a lot of social outlets, most of my friends these days are virtual. But I also have books I'd like to read and projects to finish and family to hang out with. Eli and I have an after-work hike planned for tomorrow to kick off the week in style. I also have some "exceptions" that I think will help. I'll be checking my texts. I'll check my personal e-mail once a day. I'll probably read the news at work. But no social networking. No blogs. No *gasp* Pinterest.

Expect lots of pictures next week of our SUPER FAMILY FUN! Wish me luck! And patience! Also, I'd love to hear how your kids, and you, handle screen time? Do you have addicts or a magic solution?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

OMG part 2

I just can't get over this. Y'all? She's not even two yet.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peek into my mailbox

I love when the mail comes and it's more awesome than crappy. I usually hate Wednesdays, because that's when the Penny Saver type mailers come. If I'm lucky, it's that and a bunch of bills. Today we got the stupid flyers, but we also got a disk with all the pictures from our trip to visit my dad (and my brother and sister!) AND the "pupcake" dress that I'd been agonizing over for Syd's birthday. I found a sale and coupons and ... and got it for less than $10. I'm SO happy I did because it's adorable and totally ridiculous.

He made this face in almost every picture.
 I'm thinking he accidentally put his chonies on backwards.
 There's really no other explanation. 

Monday, April 23, 2012


After weeks and weeks of rain, the weather has turned A-MAZING here over the last week and we've been soaking it up (hence the sparse blogging) Our house, it turns out, is within walking distance to a ton of cool stuff. So we've been spending  a lot of quality stroller time. I love that our after-dinner walk is becoming more of a ritual than a routine. Tonight the kids and I went to check on some tadpoles that we found this weekend. No luck, maybe tomorrow. 
Eli's been wearing his Power Ranger costume to the park every time we go. It's really brought him out of his shell. He's usually a bit (painfully) awkward trying to play with other kids. He wants them to play with him but he always seems to pick kids who are a lot older, a lot younger, or already in some involved game. But the costume has totally freed him. Both times he's done it so far, he's immediately been able to orchestrate these big games with lots of kids. He shares the gear and is careful to make sure everybody gets a fair turn (little kids get more turns *swoon*) 
We hit a bunch of garage sales and C scored his dream aquarium for $30. Now he's trying to get the water right so that he can get fish. I foresee a very involved hobby...
LOTS of dinners outside. The kids absolutely love it! I love brushing crumbs into the grass :)
 This place is awesome. These people are awesome. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Right after this, she plummeted through, screamed for 4.2 seconds, and then scurried right back up. This girl is going to age me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I love this place!

Tonight we turned right instead of left on our after-dinner walk and stumbled on a duck pond! This place really is Pleasantville

Monday, April 16, 2012

Just another Manic Monday

I started taking B12. It's basically crack sold by the health food store. A long time ago, I had a bit of a problem with pseudo-ephedrine (or a big problem, depending on when you ask me). Luckily for me they took it off the shelves, I gained a bunch of weight, and didn't have a heart attack. But the B12 is awesome, because it's all the good stuff and none of the heart palpitations. Win win! So this morning I got to work, ate my breakfast, and couldn't figure out why I couldn't keep my eyes open. Goodbye coffee, hello vitamins! Moving on...

I got to work today and there was the weirdest vibe. If it'd been a movie, there would have been ominous music playing in the background. My radar must be working because a couple hours later there was a big "incident" and the whole place got shut down. The lockdown didn't change much in my day, but the whole prison was very, very quiet. So weird.

One of my co-workers, my fellow Sunday psych, is leaving the prison to work for the UN in a warzone (on purpose). 1) How fucking cool would it be to work for the UN? and 2) pretty sure I don't have the cajones to do it. Today is his almost last day so we all bought food. If you ever want to see a work group implode, make them choose a cuisine, decide on an order, and then split the check. OMG. They/we finally decided on Thai, which I'd never had but was tired of talking about. It was DELICIOUS. I'm making it a personal goal to convince C to try it so that we can work it into the rotation. Driving home I was hit with a craving for a nice, cold beer so I stopped and grabbed a six pack (that's probably happened three times ever).

I came home to find C on the couch with a killer headache and 70 degree weather, so I quickly put pants on the baby and headed to the park. Where Syd climbed the rope ladder and Eli did the monkey bars. !

It turns out I'm no longer able to cook without Pinterest. But when I do, look out! Tonight I made a chicken mushroom pasta with cream sauce. So easy and so good! After dinner, the babies played on the back porch and blew bubbles while I enjoyed my beer. Doesn't get much lovlier.

There are Joe Joes waiting for me (and a big pile of laundry that I'm ignoring). I'm also simultaneously talking myself into and out of buying a dress for Syd's birthday. It's totally ridiculous, but yesterday it was $10 and today it's $15 so I'm totally obsessed.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gobble gobble

What? You don't have a wild turkey in your neighborhood?

I so badly want it to wander in the back door someday so I can have a "How we got the turkey out" story.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sometimes inmates are assholes

I've always said that one of the biggest differences between male and female inmates is that the men are much more respectful. In my previous prisons, the men were very "Yes, M'aam" and "No, M'aam." The women pretty much said, "Who the hell do you think you are?" With the women, you had to earn the respect whereas with the men it was implied.

Turns out that's not true in California. In California, or maybe just my unique unit, these guys can be downright assholes.

I received my second death threat today. This one was much less entertaining and a lot more unnerving. Seemingly out of nowhere this guy started to explain how he was going to "tear me apart." Most likely he was upset because I "suggested" that he may not have been entirely truthful in his portrayal of his mental health symptoms. Luckily he was in a cell and I wasn't. I walked away. He then went on to scream, at length, what he thought of me. He doesn't think very highly of me. He talked about me, my intentions, and what sorts of activities he thinks I like to engage in with my co-workers. It was awful and incredibly uncomfortable. The worst part though was that, in order to hold him accountable, I had to write him up. In order to write him up, I had to quote him and then hand that to my sergeant, a man who I like and respect and has done a lot to help me secure my good standing on the unit. I also had to forward it to my supervisor who I also like and respect.

I sat there, for over an hour, while this man spewed vitriol about me. Pretty much everyone I work with was there to share the experience with me (and helpfully asked, "Who's he talking about?") As uncomfortable as that was, by far the worst part was writing that report. It was humiliating and uncomfortable. There was something about writing it down that made me feel like I needed to defend my reputation. It also made me question my competency because in the real world, "good psychologists" don't get multiple death threats.

Today sucked. On the upside, I don't have to go back tomorrow. C made an awesome dinner and I'm on the couch with Glee and a warm brownie. But yeah, sometimes inmates are assholes.

Model notsomuch

These were the easiest school pictures to return, ever. The "art investment" is already paying for itself.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Word of the day
Today I got to say, in a meeting with people from lots of different disciplines, "You can't eat bird poop. Even as a joke. It's not funny and makes you look crazy." Then my boss piped in and said, "And that goes for hemorroid cream too!"

Seriously, I never thought this was a conversation I'd ever have.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Models in the making

Before we left on vacation I was able to meet with our photographer and see the pictures we took a couple weeks back. I couldn't be happier with how they turned out! This was a Groupon deal and super cheap, so I'd figured that it wouldn't be tragic if it didn't turn out. Some of these are so awesome that they make my cheeks hurt. Unfortunately their print prices weren't as cheap as their Groupon deal so I couldn't get all the prints that I wanted, but I still managed to blow the budget on a few especially cute ones. We're calling it an "art investment." OMG. Could she be any cuter?

Sweet boy. Also, can't you picture him as an 18 year old?

While we were on vacation, we also got pictures taken (coming soon!). It was one of the rare times that we were all together and we totally capitalized. Those pictures come with printing rights, so that took a bit of the sting out of not getting all of these that I wanted. See? Doors and windows...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

She'll hate me for this

but it's got to be documented. I was getting the kids settled in for a movie and I noticed that Syd had a finger in her mouth and a mischievous look in her eye. I asked, "Sydney, are you eating boogers?" She giggled and said "Yes, Mama!" "Well don't! That's disgusting!" Then she giggled again, stuck her finger back in her mouth and gave me the friggin' booger. I seriously couldn't decide whether to laugh or gag.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I've been delightfully unplugged and having a wonderful time. C and I went to see The Hunger Games (yay babysitters!) and today we're headed to the beach.