Monday, December 31, 2018

CHRISTMAS!!! (All the pictures!)

We packed the house to the gills for Christmas this year and it was loud and crazy and so much fun! My brother, sister-in-law, sister, and nieces all stayed with us Christmas week, and then my cousins came up the day after and rented an airbnb down the street. It was basically a week of cooking and running amok, just as it should be.

My awesome friend invited us for cookie decorating and ornament making. Don't they look delicious?!

Festive AF for his Scout party

I met Santa! Outside TJ Maxx. And that's his convertible :) 

I volunteered in Averson's class party. This is the only picture without someone else's kid in it. Also, I was at the cup stacking station and I was NOT PREPARED. Who knew Kindergartner's needed a bouncer? 

I couldn't get them in their jammies but I DID get Atticus in antlers, which is a close second. 

Christmas Eve jammies, play dough, and Googly Eyes. So much shrieking. 

Living her best life. I'm going to have to detox all of them in 2019

Scout was also living her best life

Christmas Eve Ugly Sweater Cookie Competition. I think this is going to be a new tradition. 

I *heart* this mantle so very very much

I also *heart* this guy, even in beard ornaments (the fact that he put them on symmetrically says so much about him)

Who else got a Scruff a Luv? Averson loves it :/

My neighborhood puts up luminarias on Christmas Eve and it's magical AF

Santa brought her the helmet she wanted! 

My step-mother sent them all Build-A-Bear gift certificates so we braved the mall the day after Christmas. I love how different their choices were

The three of them spent most of Christmas here and it was about the coziest thing ever

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! This one was a tough one, since we always spent it with my dad, but I think having the chaos here really helped. We have friends coming in for New Years, but I think the next few weeks are going to feel very quiet. 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Ballet. With no words

A few weeks ago a friend of mine texted me "I have three orchestra level tickets to The Nutcracker that I can't use. Do you want them?" I normally get all money angsty around this time and wouldn't have bought them, but Averson is SO into dance right now, and we just saw the movie (which is AMAZING by the way and totally worth seeing in a theater, but also not much like the ballet, much to Sydney's dismay.) So today we left Eli's wrestling tournament (where he got gold! but that's for another post), went home to change into our finest, and then headed to the theater.

Averson was literally on the edge of her seat the entire show. She kept raising her arms along with the dancers and when I whispered for her to stop blocking the people behind us, she earnestly said, "I'm trying but my body just wants to move!" Sydney had been dubious given the fact that I was asking her to wear a dress AND there was no talking or singing, but she loved it too. It was a local company but it was a phenomenal production with a full orchestra and incredibly gifted dancers. I asked Averson if she might like to try this dance school (hers doesn't do ballet anymore) and she said, "I want to go to these dance classes every day forever."
Thank you kind seat neighbor for taking our picture on the sly during intermission! 

Afterwards the girls wanted to see the dancers. Both were pretty shy while we were waiting, but soon I was chasing them around, Syd asking for autographs and Averson asking for pictures with her favorite dancers. Syd didn't want to be in the pictures, which made for a couple slightly awkward moments but whatevs.

It was a really great day and I've already promised A that we'll see more shows (I had to to get her to leave.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

You guys! My house is still an epic mess and we have boxes and piles everywhere, 
but oh I love it so much

Monday, December 10, 2018

While we were in Colorado my mom brought me my wedding dress. Once we got home, I busted it out of it's hermetically (yeah, notsomuch) sealed box and let the kids play with it. Okay, if we're honest I tried it on to see if it still fit (spoiler alert, not even a little bit), and THEN I let the kids play with it.

So now I have my dress in it's giant box, and I have no idea what to do with it. What do people do with their dresses? Is it wrong to shove it in the back of a closet somewhere?

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Thanksgiving in Colorado

Seeing as how Christmas is SIXTEEN days away, I should probably get caught up on Thanksgiving! At the last minute, we decided to make the sixteen hour drive home to spend Thanksgiving with our families in Colorado. The timing wasn't great, and we had to scramble to get a sitter for the Hellbeasts, but I'm so glad we did it.  We broke each drive into two days (despite my inclination to muscle through, I've learned how we're all a lot happier when we stop if we want to, and we wanted to.) We were able to stay at my in-laws, which saved us a ton of money and let us hang out with everyone a lot more. It was perfect. The kids were hoping for snow and I was... not. My California kids are not well outfitted for snow and I wasn't interested in investing in snow gear for a week. I also wasn't looking forward to trying to drive in storms. Lucky for all of us, it snowed on Thanksgiving day, just enough for a snowball fight (if you're from California and have a low bar for accumulation)

Averson helped make the salad. She said she needed the knife practice for when she studied animals...

Matching owies after an over-enthusiastic hug. Down the stairs.

My brothers! In the same room!

Accidentally getting drunk with my mother-in-law. Oops.

The girls reenacting my experience on the inaugural alpine slide ride almost thirty years ago, when the sleds had questionable brakes and steering and I nearly took out a deer. 

And it just so happened that while we were there, they installed my dad's memorial bench. I'm so glad we got a chance to see it while we were in town. I am eternally grateful to everyone who helped make it happen. He doesn't have a headstone anywhere, so this is as close as we're going to get (and better, if you ask me.) 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Forensically speaking

Ten years in, I've managed to edit down my answer to "What do you do?" to one of about three short answers. Answer #1 is my first response and the one I use in small talk, with people I don't know very well, or people who may automatically assume that because I'm a shrink I need to hear about all their crazy relatives. For them, I say, "I work for the state." If I'm pushed I'll say I work in Mental Health. This is the only time I appreciate the patriarchy, because they often assume that I'm an assistant to a nice boy doctor and move on. Answer #2 is my more truthful, but still not super involved answer, which is that I'm a psychologist for the prison department. Answer #3 is reserved for people who will likely hear work stories on a more regular basis and so it involves explaining court orders, audits, and how even though I'm a psychologist, I don't do therapy.

Most people just say, "I'm a forensic psychologist." It's ridiculous, but I have such a strong reaction to hearing that. I was trained as a forensic psychologist. I work now as a correctional psychologist. The two sound like they're the same thing, and the two distinctions are often used interchangeably. However, they are two very different fields with different intents and different training. Forensic psychologists work with the courts, pre-adjudication. They do evaluations and assessments and assist the court in it's decision making. They may work as expert witnesses, in forensic hospitals determining sanity, or as evaluators. Correctional psychologists, on the other hand, work post-adjudication. Correctional psychologists provide clinical services to a correctional population. This requires knowledge of diagnosis and treatment interventions, as well as an understanding of criminology and prison culture. 

I was talking with my boss the other day about a suicide case I was reviewing, and I was totally geeking out on some of the details. Why did he choose that particular method? Given his history, why is this one person the only one he was ever nice to? What was it about that day that made it different? There were so many fascinating questions that I really wanted to answer, and she sort of laughed and said, "I never realized how forensic you were!" And that gave me pause, because I AM forensic. I LOVE that shit. I'm fascinated by what drives people to do what they do. I love interesting people, curious situations, and things that seem completely bizarre but really aren't. It's the reason that I forced C to listen to cannibalism podcasts for 10 hours (so romantic! Also, apparently we taste like pork. Now you know.) 

I haven't been loving my job lately. I think it's part mid-life crisis, part grief/trauma response from my dad dying, and part this maybe not being my ideal job. I've been feeling really apathetic about the whole thing, and maybe a little petulant and annoyed with myself, since it's a good gig that just allowed me to replace my hoopty and buy a house with a (still not working but...) pool. But when she described me as "forensic" it was like a light went on. I can find ways to structure my work so that it taps into that part of me, that part that gets to be curious and do those investigations. And what a blessing is that?! 

As part of my new motivation, I'm trying to make more space for curiosity in my personal life too. If I can spend god knows how many hours on facebook, I can also read about interesting people and concepts. I listened to a podcast with the author of Thanks a Thousand today, and now I'm totally into the history of coffee and food safety guidelines. Did you know they used to cut coffee with dirt and baked horse liver?! How weird is that? Also, apparently Phil Spector once surprised his wife with a set of twins for Christmas. I have SO many questions about that. I don't think that coffee and Phil Spector's twins are connected though. Or are they? Like my dad once said to me, "Sometimes your mind gets away from you, doesn't it?" 

So all of that to say, I'd love to hear what you guys get geeked out about.  There are so many esoteric but fascinating things out there in the world. Share the geekiness! 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A MONTH (plus some), floods, Frankestein, and huaraches

Do you ever get sidetracked (by say, buying a house, moving, holidays, life) and think, "Gee. I should really write a blog post!" but then you think, "Damn. It's been a while. Where do I start?" so you don't, and then before you know it a month has passed and some big stuff has happened and... Yeah. Me neither :)

So in no particular order:

We bought a house and moved in. We pushed up the move date to avoid paying a rent-back, which meant that it was the most cluster-fucky of cluster fucks and most of my stuff got moved in garbage bags and laundry baskets. The house is AMAZING but OMG. So many projects. Basically everytime we turn around some plumbing thing is broken or my damn dryer is still not drying. But the house is amazing and we love it so so much. It's basically like living in Disney Land.
I walk the Hellbeasts now. Because we're fancy AF

My pool! (which leaks, but whatevs)

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We had Halloween (and I turned an anticlimactic 38). Eli dressed up as his dad in a ploy to steal his dad's letterman's jacket, Sydney was an ultra-convincing Wednesday Addams, and Averson was Frankenstein's Son. She was adamant that she was "Frankenstein's Son" and that she wear a tie. I'm going to miss these guys when they stop dressing up. Also, a lot of people, like more than reasonable, asked if Syd was a nun. Is that a thing, where people dress up their elementary school kids as nuns?

The supply line to our dishwasher EXPLODED and flooded our kitchen with hot water. C fixed it because he's literally the best.

Also the best? These shoes my friend gave me for my birthday. They make me stupid happy. 
We roadtripped to Colorado for Thanksgiving, but that seems like it deserves it's own post. I also need a better house post and a post to talk about how Orangetheory called to ask me if I was ever coming back (jury's still out. I may just stay fat.) I have missed this place and now that I'm only a couple week's behind, hopefully I can stay on it again! 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Banner week!


I bought a big ass fancy house!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I totally didn't want to jinx anything until I had the keys in my greedy little hand, and now I do! This house is ALL THE THINGS. The neighborhood legit looks like Disney designed it. The whole neighborhood is made up of cul-de-sacs. They have block parties and put out luminarias on Christmas Eve (but call them luminaries which will never, ever sound like a real word.) It needs a TON of work, both fun carpet and paint work and not-so-fun replacing side doors and pool pump work. Oh yeah. Because it has a POOOOOL and now my husband and kids can wear themselves out during the summer. It's almost twice the size of our current house, with a two car garage and the most amazing loft area, and a master bathroom, and a breakfast bar, and all the wonderful wonderful things. It's also covered in blue carpet I can't afford to replace yet, but I don't even care because I love it so much.
This is the new view from my front step. There's a fish pond under that tree.

Terrible picture, but we're sitting at my new (to me, actually it's really old and kind of gross) breakfast bar! 
I bought myself a housewarming gift. His name is Morty and I can't wait until it's a reasonable time for Christmas decorations. 

You guys. I just love it so very very much.

In other news, C got a job at the school supervising lunch and recess. He originally was volunteering, but a "full time" position opened up and they offered it to him. He really loves it and the kids and teachers love him. And not to gender security, but twice now he's confronted adults who were on school grounds and both times they quickly left when he asked them to. It makes me feel a lot safer knowing he's out there. Though he did get the feedback, "Maybe you should reconsider asking fourth graders about the supernatural" so he's not all rules and boundaries :) 

And in addition to our big awesome stuff, we also did some less big awesome stuff:
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I bought these wooden houses from the Target dollar spot and we worked on them ALL DAY. It was a legit family fun activity and they turned out so cute!
And no picture because I'm lame, but Eli got his first football injury :( He sprained his elbow and was prescribed rest and no sports until he's pain free. So he's managed to finagle not having to take notes in class because "it's so hard to move my arm." That kid...

I'm out of town for work this week (perfect timing since we have to be out of our house next week) and my hotel is NOT fucking around with the decorations. Each one of these creepy things also moves and talks. Because of course. And there's bloody handprints on the elevator. 
I have no good way to end this except to say "I bought a big fancy house!" and now I'm staying in the Murder Hotel...