Vacation! Because We Live Dangerously

Ryan had to go to Salem and since there is a Target within minutes of Salem, I had no choice but to offer my company. Then we decided to take the kids and get a hotel for two nights and make a mini-vacation out of it.  I’m pretty sure we threw around the word “fun” around quite recklessly as we prepared for this trip, as in: “We’ll go to the Oregon Zoo! It will be so fun!” or “It will probably take about 8 hours to get there with all the stops to nurse and stuff. Super fun!!”

The parental concept of “fun” looks quite different from my pre-kid days, when my life was basically a string of sexy trips to Cancun over Spring Break. It’s possible I am misremembering this period of time, but I don’t think so. After surviving this trip, I have concluded that people traveling with three small children with very low levels of self-sufficiency should probably re-think their definition of the word “fun.”

If you’re going on a trip with small children, one thing you have to remember to pack is your proverbial vacation pick axes (you have one of those, right?) because at some point, you will need to mine the crap out of Mt. Vacation in order to find the fun buried deep inside. You will need to sift through pan after pan of sand and dirt to find a little vacay gold. Your trip may not feel fun every single moment, but not to worry! The fun will happen retroactively – when you’ve forgotten how hot it was changing diapers in the back of the minivan or when your eardrums stop vibrating from the screams of overtired children who have come into very brief contact with a fly.

So here are some highlights from our “fun” trip to Salem. Some moments were genuinely fun. Some moments felt fun only after we got home, showered, took a nap, and drank espresso.

Getting There

In a mostly successful effort to prevent travel-related meltdowns, I got the boys Ninja Turtles lunchboxes and filled them with things: dollar store toy airplanes, paper and colored pencils, and this baby bottle thing where the nipple is made of hard candy. So, yes, essentially I gave my children candy nipples to keep them busy in the car. Totally legit parenting.

1 hammers m&ms

 

Our first big stop along the way was Mt. Hood, a small town near the Columbia River Gorge. This was my first time Mt. Hood-ing it.  I enjoyed a delicious dinner looking out at the sun setting behind one of those mountains covered with trees. Tree Mountain! There’s no way that’s its real name, but if I was in charge of naming mountains I would re-name it Tree Mountain While I Ate Baked Pasta – because “Tree Mountain While I Repeatedly Tried to Shush My Children” is less catchy.

 

Dinner in Mt. Hood. Ryan is trying to get Isaac to be interested in Shredder. The guy behind him is trying to get someone to be interested in his very important point.

Dinner in Mt. Hood. Ryan is trying to get Isaac to be interested in Shredder. The guy behind them is trying to get someone to be interested in his very important point.

 

The kids did pretty well waiting for dinner. We only had to tell Brayton he couldn’t wander around and pretend to shoot the Sith (also known as “other people in the restaurant”) about 687 times.

Yes, Hammers, you can wear my sunglasses. Thanks for asking just kidding cause you DIDN'T ASK.

Yes, Hammers, you can wear my sunglasses. Thanks for asking just kidding cause you DIDN’T ASK.

Let me just stop here and say that I am astounded by the modern marvel that is GPS. Ryan and I just got our first smart phones and sweet baby Jesus was I thankful for that tiny little computer during this trip. In the 10 minutes leading up to our approach to Mt. Hood, I was able to search for a kid-friendly restaurant, read its reviews, then navigate to it. WHAT THE HECK, MODERN TECHNOLOGY.

After some more driving and stopping to nurse the baby and more driving and more nursing we finally made it to Salem! By the time we checked into the hotel, it was around 10pm – two hours past the kids’ bedtime. I could no longer locate my proverbial vacation pick axe, so I was unable to discover fun at this point. Liam had to be dragged onto the elevator, then into our hotel room, as he is deeply suspicious of any room he has not previously visited. It was pretty much downhill from there.

Our room was a stubborn 85ish degrees all night and I was rocking some hard-core insomnia. I slept maybe one hour collectively, getting up at 3am to eat a granola bar and one of my children’s Uncrustable sandwiches on the floor in front of the bathroom – definitely in the running for one of my top 10 most glamorous moments of 2014.

Mommmyyyy!!! We've slept for 6 hours and now we want to walk around the zoo all day!!!!

Mommmyyyy!!! We’ve slept for 6 hours and now we have tons of energeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyy!!!!

 

Oregon Zoo

Also, in case you’re wondering, an hour of sleep after a long travel day is more or less the perfect way to start a day of lots of walking, keeping track of your super short children, and casting your bleary gaze at caged animals.

It wasn’t all drudgery, though. The Oregon Zoo is beautiful, they have very good hamburgers, and watching the kids’ reactions was so much fun.

7 brayton and water tank

And beer! You can walk around the zoo with beer! I declined, seeing as how my body is responsible for feeding a human baby, but Ryan jumped on board that booze train faster than you can say “Brayton get over here and stop wandering off this is the last time I’m telling you I will give you a time out right here in this zoo.”

And he's wearing the baby! - cause we keep it classy.

And he’s wearing the baby! – cause we keep it classy.

Brayton loved the giraffes. Who doesn’t love the giraffes? If you don’t enjoy seeing giraffes in man-made captivity, you don’t have a soul.

8 brayton and giraffe

And I don’t have a picture of it, but we all loved seeing some fruit bats doing fruit bat things like…eating fruit. And flying around. It was equally amusing to watch people’s responses to fruit bats. Apparently some people are quite frightened of them and don’t mind expressing this at loud volumes in confined spaces.

Stumptown Coffee

I was looking forward to this with nearly all of my being (especially after the Uncrustables night), but…I wasn’t impressed. Am I crazy? Should I try it again? I got an iced coffee, my go-to drink. I drink it black, so if the coffee isn’t good, there’s no syrup, sugar, or dairy products to disguise its mediocrity.

The adjoining hotel lobby where we enjoyed our coffee snack was not all that family-friendly (couches = spills you can’t wipe up), but we forged ahead and I only got one brief disdainful stare from a hipster while I sat nursing the baby.

6 nursing ace hotel

Deal with it, Portland. There are lady boobs under here.

 

6 ace hotel snack time

The Best Restaurant Ever

Some of you saw this in Instagram, but allow me to repeat the trifecta of awesomeness that is Portland’s Hopworks Bike Bar: delicious food, good beer, and a place for my children to play – right next to our table.

9 brayton playing hopworks

They als0 has this super cool wall o’ beer bottles and light fixtures made of growlers – two ideas I’ll hold onto in case Ryan ever gets his man cave video game palace.

Wall of beer bottles, and light fixtures made of growlers.

Riding the Carousel of Terror

The next day, Ryan went to a local community college to do his stuff. They had an old fire truck in the lobby that the boys loved. They wanted to climb it and pound it and basically ruin it with their enthusiasm. We did not allow this. We took a photo instead.

10 chemeketa fire truck boys

While Ryan was occupied, it was just me, the kids, and Lady GPS. The kids had never ridden a carousel, so I was like – it’s mutha freakin’ carousel time, kids.

My first whiff of trouble was when Brayton nervously claimed that he didn’t want to “ride those big horses” – which is like the entire point of a carousel. Then I had to drag Liam on, since carousels are technically unknown territory and therefore threatening. Everyone was fine for the first two seconds of the ride, then –

IMG_0246

Both Liam and baby Isaac cried the entire time. I don’t know about you guys, but when my kids turn the fun times into the sad times, I take selfies.

11 carousel selfie

After my children recovered from the terror of the carousel (wait, “terrosel” – get it?), we headed back to the college to wait for Ryan. We passed the time reading about Ninja Turtles and Bubble Guppies.

12 reading ninja turtles chemeketa

One Last Thing

And we did indeed make it to a Target – after our day at the zoo. This was retroactive fun at its most glorious – I would have vastly preferred to finally make it to a Target well-rested, alone, and with an iced coffee in my hand, but still…Target. I mean, it can’t be that bad.

This last photo didn’t fit into the post anywhere else, but it’s hands down the most terrifying photo I’ve seen of Liam, so I think you should see it.

terrifying liam

Nothing like a little mishap with the flash and a empty-eyed expression to make a normally adorable child look like the spawn of Hades.

Thanks for sort-of coming on my trip with me. Next time you should come for reals and I’ll let you change some diapers in the back of the minivan.

Epilogue – Where Have I Been?

I can’t believe you’re still reading this post! Good for you!

I know it’s been a super long time since I’ve posted, but blogging doesn’t mix with my life very well right now. Blogging is oil and my life is water. Or I guess the other way around, but it sounds gross to use the word “oily” to describe my life.

Here’s a super quick rundown of what I’ve been up to:

1. Having a baby (Baby Isaac! Born February 28! Paragon of adorableness!)

2. Staying in school full-time during all the having-a-baby business

3. Going back to work part-time while going to school full-time while getting up in the middle of the night and nursing my newborn baby around the clock

When I had sweet baby Isaac I had already pulled back a lot on my responsibilities. I managed to finish out most of my classes, but took an incomplete in Intro to Epidemiology. I could write 600 posts alone on how much I hated this class, but I’ll save us all from having to relive the agony and just tell you that the word “epidemiology” is basically like a swear word to me now. If someone were to get angry with me and say something like, “epidemiology you!” I’d be like, “Aw, HELL naw! Oh, no you DI-int!” and then there would probably be fisticuffs.

Anyway, here I am again – still working, but free and easy in terms of schoolwork for an ENTIRE SUMMER! I started writing for fun-zies just a few weeks ago and it felt so delicious, like my brain was eating pie.

This is really the end now! Go eat some brain pie!

 

 

 

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I Have No Privacy Anymore in Baker City

The other day at church someone came up to me and congratulated me for my grades. Since I don’t know this person very well and don’t generally wear t-shirts emblazoned with my current transcript, I was confused. “You were in the paper!” she said by way of explanation. She was starting to look doubtful, like she knew she was about to be sorry for bringing it up. I asked her to confirm my name and the school I attend, then asked her if she was joking, the answer to which I made her repeat maybe 5 or 6 times. This exchange is probably reading as either really mundane or really awkward to you, and let me assure you: it was absolutely both.

I should probably work for the CIA (or at least tell people I do, like this guy) because after only about 24 hours of hard-hitting detective work, I came upon it:

honor roll baker city herald with arrow

Sort of awesome, right? Or maybe just really unsettling and kind-of violating. There is apparently no law against a newspaper printing my legal name, along with my major, which year I am in, a general idea of my grade point average, and which university I attend without mt consent. Not even a quick phone call or email! You could argue that they don’t have my phone number or email, but come on. These people obviously know everything about me.

This kind-of scares me because – what else can be published about me without my consent? How often use a treadmill? How frequently I clean my bathrooms? The pregnancy-and-nursing-induced fluctuations of my bra size? My name is out there now! I feel like if my grades qualify as printable news, nothing is off limits. Perhaps I should call the paper next time I put a meatloaf in the oven.

On top of that, the Baker City Herald has now created a really high expectation of me and whored it all over town. This is bad because it is an expectation that I will in no way be able to maintain. Baby #3 is coming in March, and everyone knows that newborn babies do not care about your academic success. No matter how many textbooks I read aloud to my baby while he’s in the womb (“And now, baby, we are going to cover the triad of epidemiology!”), I don’t think it’s like if you eat carrots while pregnant your baby will come out liking carrots.  I’m pretty sure this baby is going to come out wanting to eat constantly, poop his pants, and, most importantly, fail to be even the least bit supportive of my academic career. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, BABY?

The same person who put my name in the paper in the first place will probably have to do a follow-up story. The headline will be something like: Forget What We Printed Last December: Corinne Allen Actually Sucks. Or maybe it will be a cautionary article: CLOSE YOUR LEGS AMERICA! New Data Confirms: Having Babies Causes Terrible Grades in School.

Finally, printing my GPA with no other information creates a frighteningly incomplete picture. For example, in order to maintain my grades, I had to cut back my work hours and my paychecks got really sad for a few months. I had trouble paying my water bill! So yay GPA, but I almost had to stop taking showers. I could easily have been Baker City’s eccentric genius who is so busy formulating quantum physics that she doesn’t have time to bathe herself. CLOSE CALL, EVERYONE.

My kids also started getting extra time in front of the TV so mama could squeeze out a bit more time for schoolwork. So yay GPA, but my kids may have suffered an enormous deficit of enriching, Pinterest-worthy activities. Oh, yes, Corinne Allen? She’s smart and motivated, but she smells terrible and her children don’t know any vocabulary except what they picked up off Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Yo-ho-ho!

In all honesty, it was such a tough term for me, my first as a full-time student with kids, that I was shocked that I did so well. And I know that printing my name was a nice thing and not as creepy as my instincts try to tell me.  And another thing is that no one pays nearly as much attention to me as I do. I could probably try to explain myself to, say, a checker at Safeway, but it is 99.9% likely that she’s not going to have any idea what I’m talking about. Then I’ll look like an even bigger wierdo for even mentioning it, and behold! We’ve come full circle.

Delusional Living, by Cor (and a few pregnant belly shots)

When I was about 19, I bought a really, really good CD called Ultimate Dance Party 1997. Tonight I was thinking about the fact that at some point, I actually made a conscious decision to purchase this item. It sort-of scared me because if I can buy Ultimate Dance Party 1997, then spend like a year blasting it while driving around the SCV and eating a Filet O’ Fish, what other questionable decisions am I capable of making in total ignorance?

Speaking of questionable decisions, I am just finished my second week of Operation Go To School Full Time. And since I assume you’re a concerned citizen of this blog who also values education, you deserve to know how it’s going so far. Then after that, if you scroll down a bit, you’ll see a few shots of me and my pregnant-ness from our yearly family photo shoot.

Although I’ve been going to school part time for 4ish years now, I chose to make the switch to full-time because big girl school is really expensive and a lot more scholarships are available to full-time students. So going to school part-time actually turns out to be more expensive than going full-time.  This is one of the great enigmas of higher education, along with the fact that OSU thinks I’m smart enough to get into their college, but I still must be reminded daily to refrain from giving strangers my email password.

So. I am a full-time student. I am also the mother B.T. and Baby Ham, I’m growing a baby, I’m working, and I’m being a supportive wife as my husband works and takes his classes. Tack on a little late night Hulu and a bag of peanut M&Ms and that’s pretty much  my entire life condensed into two sentences.

I’m totally not telling you this so you can be like, “See how amazing I am!!” because it’s a lot more like, “See how delusional I am!!” The last 2 weeks have been like I gained 200 pounds but I’m still trying to squeeze into a size 2 string bikini. The triangle top is barely covering my nipples and my crack is definitely showing.

All that extra airflow is making me reeeeaaaal edgy. My brain is always moving very, very quickly and the majority of my thoughts sound like military barking: “CORINNE! Is baking monster cookies the most productive thing you could be doing right now? Is it? IS IT??!! ANSWER ME, SOLDIER!!!”

monster cookies: always the right choice.

monster cookies: always the correct decision.

I had to take a quick (and in no way comprehensive) stress test for one of my classes this week, and I scored “stress level way above average.” Really! This stranger is asking me for my email password…what should I do??

I basically plan to handle my new life as a crazy person by living a cliche: taking things one damn day at a time. Every day I repeat to myself that I can only do what I can do, and this little mantra actually helps. So if get all my assignments done, and write a paper about early Japanese poetry and my husband gets time to read about emergency medical technician-ing people, I’m going to count that as a successful week – even if I had to skim the last 20 pages of a reading assignment or parts of my paper maybe didn’t make all the sense.

I plan to keep approaching each week with the understanding that I always find a way to get the important things done. And if I don’t, maybe it wasn’t that important, and I’ll figure out something else that works just as well.

I am learning to manage my time in a different way, and the adjustment is tough, but it is not impossible. And when it’s over, I am probably going to petition OSU to add “bad ass human being” to my degree. Because while I don’t expect employers to be clamoring to hire me when they see “Bachelor’s of Human Development and Family Sciences” on my resume, if they see “Bachelors of Being a Bad Ass Human Being,” I’m probably getting to have to up my cell phone minutes just to handle the tsunami of job offers.

Now hows about those pregnant lady pictures?

IMG_6467_pp

It’s just you and I, baby. Waaaay out here with the hay bales.

IMG_6472

My hair started out as a gloriously high and puffy bun. Thirty minutes after my hair appointment, my crazy superman hair defiantly snapped the rubber band that held it together. So I ended rocking a sort-of deflated blob look.

Thanks to Joyclynn, our amazing photographer. The rest of the pics will surface sometime after the holidays!

Do You Ever Love Something But Also Kind-Of Hate It?

Have you heard the song “The A Team” by Ed Sheeren? I was listening to it tonight as I was marinating in the sweet sauce of YouTube. But as I listened, I caught myself thinking: this is such a good song! Why do I also sort-of hate it?

Then I realized that there are several songs like that – songs I love but with one little flaw that makes me cringe with embarrassment when they show up on my YouTube history.

“The A Team” is a song that is both very serious and, with the right amount of red wine or lack of sleep, moving. Ginger-haired English heartthrob Ed Sheeran sings about a young woman caught in the steely grip of drug addiction and prostitution. She applies her makeup in dirty bathrooms, sleeps on benches, and sometimes she cries because, you know, she has a terrible life.

With such a sobering subject matter, I’m not sure why it’s necessary to describe this poor girl’s face as “crumbling like pastries.” I mean, I understand what Ed means. The girl is leading a horrible life and her vulnerabilities are evident by her face. But pastries?  Like –  danishes? The stuff  I used to arrange in a pleasing fashion during my shifts at Starbucks?Baked goods?

The pastry I picture most often when I hear to this song is the croissant, which is really more flaky than crumbly, so I suppose that’s not quite what Ed had in mind. And anyway, having a flaky face seems like more of a dermatological disorder than a consequence of hard living. I guess unless we’re talking about facial wounds in the process of healing, but does anyone really want to get wound specific here?

I’m not exactly a pastry expert, but I can’t think of that many pastries that are meant to be crumbly. The topping of a coffee cake, maybe? Delicious! But I don’t think her crumbly face is meant to be a positive. Perhaps the pastry has been very poorly baked? Too much flour, too long in the oven? I don’t know. What I do know is that the metaphor drives me nuts and I almost don’t want to listen to the song without skipping over it, the way I skip over every word that comes out of Mary Murphy’s loud crazy mouth.

Pastries??? WHOOO-WHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Get on the PASTRY train!!! WHOOO-WHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Okay. So my second example takes place in the House of the Lord. Many Jesus-loving individuals like myself dig the song “How He Loves Us,” written by David Crowder.

For the most part, this is a beautiful song. And I don’t want to make all the Christians angry. But is anyone else embarrassed to sing the words “sloppy wet kiss” in church? Or anywhere for that matter? Because I am. When the line comes up, I think first of really impolite dogs. Then of old men who feel they have aged out of social skills. Or maybe even someone with a condition that causes excessive saliva and you HAVE TO kiss them or else someone (Jesus?) will become angry with you. As you may imagine, these anxiety-inducing images put a bit of a damper on my sweet moment with Jesus.

DO NOT approach me, old creeper.

Back off, old creeper. If you don’t know how not to wear orange mesh in public, where else will your social skills fail you?

This is the same problem I have with the song “I Will Not Forget You.” This song was written by Ben & Robin Pasley, a couple known for their involvement in the band Enter the Worship Circle. I have many times found myself really into this song, singing about all the stuff I’m going to give Jesus. Then I get to the part where I’m supposed to tell him that, in addition to not forgetting him, I will also ring a huge bell.

Now, I am aware that ringing bells has some symbolic meanings, and perhaps that’s what the Pasleys were invoking. Bells are traditionally rung to gather the worshipers into church, so maybe it has something to do with that. Or perhaps I’m ringing the bell to get someone’s attention – like when you want to pay for something at the Dollar Tree but no one’s around.

But every time I sing this, I can’t help picturing myself struggling to swing one of those huge gong mallets with the fuzzy tips into the Liberty Bell. I actually think it might actually be illegal to touch the Liberty Bell. It’s at least not socially acceptable to ring it, even for Jesus. And also, since this is for Jesus anyway, I’m probably supposed to be ringing a much bigger bell. Like, maybe a bell the size of the Statue of Liberty! Or maybe I could just gather a bunch of tiny bells and ringing them would be the spiritual equivalent of ringing one huge one.

Maybe part of the reason I feel so strongly about lyrics like these is because of their ambiguity. I can only speculate why I would tell Jesus I am willing to ring a huge bell for him. And I’m not all that comfortable telling Jesus that I’m doing something when I have no idea whether or not I’m actually doing it, have ever done it, or will ever do it in the future. So to me, that line is pretty much the equivalent of saying, “Jesus, I’m going to put the arms on the unicorn in the manchester world.” *cue lifted hands!*

Maybe these songs should take a cue from the lyrical genius that is Nicki Minaj:

“Sexy, sexy, that’s all I do.” (from “Pound the Alarm,” a song that makes a mockery of the art of English sentences with lyrics like, “I wanna do it like you like.”)

A lyric like this is genius because it’s so straightforward. No confusion!

“Hey, Nicki! What did you do today?”

“Sexy.”

“Okay, what about after lunch?”

“Sexy.”

“Fine. What you are doing later?”

“Sexy.”

See? The answer’s always the same because sexy is all she does. She’s expertly taken any confusion about any of her activities, ever, and just cleared things right on up.

I wonder if she’d be willing to re-write a few David Crowder songs.

My Summer of Cryptomagnificence

Last year around this time, I was blogging about giant cookies, B.T.’s love of escalators, and a catching a neighbor secretly weed-wacking our yard while we were out of the house.

One year later, I still love giant cookies, B.T. still gets pumped at the sight of stairs that won’t stop moving, and our neighbor now regularly chops down our weedy embarrassment of a  yard when he thinks we’re not home. I’ll tell you this: to watch this man wack weeds is to watch Charlie the Unicorn finally reach the real Candy Mountain, a land of sweets and joy and joyness.

This particular summer has been quite a bit less eventful. I am pregnant with baby #3, so instead of spending my days creating giant cookies, visiting Idaho-ian shopping centers, or feeling embarrassed by my weed wack lack (“Weed Wack Lack” is going to be the first single on my rap album), I’ve pretty much just been trying to cope with feeling nauseated every second of every day and fighting the constant urge to take a nap.

On top of that, I’ve been super busy boiling water because our tap water got infected with a diarrhea-inducing parasite. This means that some of my summer has been spent filling gallon jugs with clean water from a truck brought in from a neighboring town whose cows are better behaved than ours. The truck had a vat of clean water and a hose to dispense it. The hose weighed roughly 600 pounds which is important because one afternoon I  accumulated a minor back injury  filling a few jugs for an old lady. Everyone knows old ladies have a super hard time managing their hose, you know?

This all started about a month ago, when a few of Baker City’s water-loving citizens got the poops badly enough go see a doctor. Medical suspicions were aroused, stool samples were collected, and eventually Baker City determined that no one should drink/bathe in/look suggestively at the tap water unless they also wanted a nasty case of diarrhea.

The water supply was apparently overrun with a tasty parasite called Cryptosporidium, or “Crypto,” which is like its villainous nickname. Basically what happened is some of the water supply way out in the middle of nowhere (yes, there are places even further into the middle of nowhere than Baker City) got hit up by some cows who had to poop and didn’t realize that some places aren’t socially acceptable toilets. The cows weren’t supposed to be there, but there was a broken fence and, in typical bureaucratic fashion, no one could figure out whose job it was to fix the fence. Which means, of course, that no one fixed it. So the cows released their crypto-laced feces into our water, we drank our water (some of us drank lots and lots of it), and suddenly we’re all glued to our toilets and the town is overrun with signs like the one taped to the water fountain at the gym that said:

“DO NOT DRINK THE WATER! DO NOT DRINK THE WATER!

DO NOT DRINK THE WATER! DO NOT DRINK THE WATER!

DO NOT DRINK THE WATER! DO NOT DRINK THE WATER!

DO NOT DRINK THE WATER! DO NOT DRINK THE WATER!

DO NOT DRINK THE WATER! DO NOT DRINK THE WATER!”

…just in case you have trouble understanding English sentences the first 100 times you read them.

Anyway, fast forward about a month, a couple of visits from the CDC, tests, more tests, and finally we’re approved to drink tap water again without the threat of the evil Crypto demanding we skip church and spend Sunday morning on the toilet.

This post was supposed to be about my first trimester of pregnancy, but it somehow morphed into a Crypto post. Crypto, you have hijacked my blog just like you hijacked my intestinal tract. HOW DARE YOU, YOU SNEAKY PARASITIC BASTARD.

I guess you’ll have to wait for the pregnancy chat. Here’s a quick preview, in the form of FAQs:

FAQs About Pregnancy #3

1. How far along are you? As of August 26, I am 12 weeks pregnant. Due March 9. Having another c-section. I like giving birth in hospitals cause they have doctors and cable TV. I don’t mind one bit if other ladies do it, but I am personally grossed out by the idea of giving birth at my house. I’m not sure I could find someone legit willing to perform a c-section on me in my bedroom anyway.

2. Did you do this on purpose? Ummmm didn’t the 90s ever tell you to MYOB? But because I kind-of admire your douche-y boldness, I’ll tell you: YES. Totally on purpose. Also, this counts as a FAQ because my mother-in-law asked me that when I got knocked up with Baby Ham, so I’m just figuring she’ll ask again. Which makes it more like a FAQ for one specific person.

3. Since you have two boys, are you hoping for a girl? I already feel like having given birth to two healthy, normal, super hilarious boys is a miracle on par with Jesus walking on water. We plan for this to be our last baby, so I am very aware that if it’s a boy I’ll never get the opportunity to raise a daughter. But I still can’t imagine being disappointed with another boy. I’ll be more likely to stand in awe of another healthy pregnancy (everything’s fine so far), another successful c-section, and another healthy baby who never, ever lets me sleep.

Preview over. Till next time!

Time To Change my Poopy Diaper!

I once heard a sermon that began with the speaker telling the congregation that we should only use the word “awesome” when speaking about God.  It was said as an aside – before he began, he wanted to make sure everyone was aware of how much it bugged him when people say, “That movie was awesome!” – because it was used to describe something pagan like entertainment.

A few Sundays ago, I heard a different but equally irksome sermon that was based on a super gross analogy: God’s efforts to bring us into spiritual maturity, so claimed the speaker, are much the same as a parent’s efforts to get children to stop peeing and pooping their pants. You know, like stop being a child and grow up! The illustration came right on down to: Jesus wants you to stop pooping your spiritual diaper. This was actually said at one point during the sermon and no one was joking.

Full of poopy sin.

This guy is full of your poopy sins.

I don’t think this delicious mental image, which I had the pleasure of acting out only about an hour and a half before, is harmfully un-Biblical. It’s definitely gross and maybe mildly offensive, but I don’t think anyone is going to be burning in the hellfires of damnation for using it.

I actually found it so ridiculous that I ended up cry-laughing for about 20+ minutes imagining God’s holy CNAs coming down from on high to remove my spiritual diaper, wipe my holy backside, then put on a nice clean diaper. Maybe size like 20 or something? I’m not familiar with what size of disposable underpants I should be wearing at this point.

So these twin beauties of a church service rose some questions. You can silently answer any or all of them as you read.

1. What the heck is appropriate from the pulpit? (I mean beyond the obvious, like swearing, racist comments, or vividly describing the details of your sex life.)

2. As church-going Christians, do we have a responsibility when we hear something shady?

3. If we trust our pastors/speakers, do we take whatever they say as truth, even if it’s just their opinion?

4. Is it okay for pastors/speakers to express non-Biblical, personal preferences without some sort of disclaimer?

I personally find the word “awesome” pretty harmless, and using pulpit time to complain about it bothers me on several levels.

Speaking dictionarily (yes, I made up that word, but it sounds so right), the Oxford English Dictionary defines “awesome” as “extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.” Aren’t there are least a few non-God things that are extremely impressive, daunting, or worthy of great admiration? I’m thinking of this gorgeously purple sunset I once saw. Or the fact that humans have grown inside my body. Or maaaaayyybe even eating an incredibly well-executed hamburger. All situations that have inspired some sort of awe, whether towards God, the way He rolls, or the hamburgers that He hath given us.

This is an In-N-Out hamburger. It's so beautiful, it almost hurts me to look at it.

This is an In-N-Out hamburger. It’s so beautiful, it almost hurts me to look at it.

From a more Biblical perspective, Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology says that “awe” or “awesome” is almost never used in the Bible for anything other than to refer to God. Sooo mostly, the word is all about God, but on a few occasions, it’s not. And in the original Hebrew and Greek, “awe” most commonly translates into “fear.” So it’s not exactly the “awesome” of today, is it?

In America in 2013, when my friend informs me that she got a great job and I’m like, “That’s awesome!” I definitely don’t really mean, “Your announcement has inspired great fear while filling me with a combination of wonder and dread!” So did I use the word incorrectly and therefore commit a sin?

I mean, really – Does this honestly bother God?  Must I make sure that any adjective I use in day-to-day conversation matches the original, Biblically-intended meaning? Just thinking about it exhausts me.

And to what standards, if any, should we hold our speakers to? As a student of a secular institution, I am required to provide sources and solid backing on every fact I submit in a paper or as part of a discussion forum. If I make claims that I can’t support with some sort of reputable evidence, my grade suffers. Now I’m not suggesting we start a letter grading system for every sermon we hear, but shouldn’t those who speak from our pulpits have at least the same level of integrity I’m required when I write something for school? Because speaking God’s words from the pulpit seems to be an awful lot more important than my latest psychology paper.

I’m not saying that every single point and scripture should be deeply and thoroughly explained. If that happened, church would last for like 12 hours and then I might miss Mad Men, which means I’d probably have to stop going to church all together. (You guys, I’M KIDDING. I don’t even have cable TV. I can totally watch Mad Men online whenever. Bam.)

But I think that, because of the respect and admiration we have for those with pulpit-level authority, we sometimes hear an opinion and take it for granted that God agrees.

So is that on us or them? As church-goers, we must weigh and consider the words our church leaders speak and take them back to the Bible for ourselves. So maybe the “awesome” guy shouldn’t have masqueraded his opinion as Biblical truth. But it’s just as much my job to think critically as it is his job to be speak the words of God, not the words of Bob. (His name isn’t really Bob, but that’s the closest man-name I could think of that rhymed with God. “Words of God, not words of Ry-Ry-Pumpkin-Pie” didn’t seem to have the same flow.)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue, even if you disagree with me on every point (but if you disagree about the hamburgers parts, our relationship may not survive).

It’s good to get that off my digital chest! How’s your summer been so far? I’ve watched inordinate amounts of lady TV, made lots of “sidewalk rivers” with my kids (basically just a bunch of water on a sidewalk), and rejoiced in the glories of air conditioning.

This entire post, by the way, is my opinion.

 

If You Don’t Read This, You’re Not Serious About Donkeys

Ooooooooo sweet Jesus has it been a long school term. TECHNICAL WRITING, you guys. An important class, but also a soul-sucking exercise in hellaciously (see bottom of post for a word nerd alert) boring writing. If you don’t know what technical writing involves, think of whatever lucky individuals get to write out every single mundane detail about how to operate your coffee machine: “Push the ON button. Empty the brew basket.” Oh, it was painful.

BUT it’s over now, and I enter my Summer of Homework Freedom armed with lofty plans to shelax, watch So You Think You Can Dance, and deep clean my oven. (Not the one in which I baked my children; the one in which I bake my cupcakes.)

Now I’ll try to sum up for you what I’ve been up to this past term – the things I did when I wasn’t loading (or unloading!) the dishwasher or emptying the brew basket.

livin tha c life

I’ve been seeing on the news lately (because THIS QUALIFIES AS NEWS) that the “o” face I’m pulling is not an acceptable selfie. This photo isn’t a selfie, though, so I feel like I can get away with it. Yes?

If you think I’m crossing some sort of social boundary, your other option is a blurry picture of me on a see-saw, so…make your choice wisely.

1. Things Got Weird During Finals

I don’t feel like I have even shades of an obsessive mental disorder, but something strange happened to me before my psychology final. First, I flossed. At like 1pm. Because suddenly I felt like it would be totally unacceptable to take an exam with even the tiniest quantity of food in my teeth.

Then, while getting coffee on the way to the test, I got hungry. So I bought a chocolate chip cookie, and ate it on the way.

I probably would have gotten an A+ on the final if I had eaten kale instead of a cookie.

I got a B on the final, but I probably would have gotten an A+ if the coffee shop sold kale instead of cookies.

Finals are stressful.

2. A Psychology Textbook Spoiled Me

I know textbooks aren’t usually so deliciously indulgent, but my psychology textbook was wildly readable – there were jokes! and pop culture references! – and it ruined me for all other textbooks.

Human Sexuality, a class that isn’t nearly as racy as it sounds (think gross photos of herpes-infected genitalia), really gave me my money’s worth in Chapter 3, “Communication and Sexuality.”

Thanks to this textbook, which cost roughly 3.5 boxes of diapers, I learned that some of the reasons I struggle to listen to Ryan’s sexual needs are background “conversations, music, and even traffic.” Excellent! I paid tuition, plus the cost of keeping Baby Ham’s poop contained for like 2 months, to tell me that if there is too much noise I might not be able to hear something.

traffic

Wait, WHAT? WHY can’t I hear your SEXUAL NEEDS?!

Also, my husband was disappointed that my teacher, FOR SOME REASON, didn’t assign actual sex as homework.

2. Thanks but No Thanks, Weird Old Man in the ER Waiting Room

Speaking of Human Sexuality, I had to make a visit to the ER during the term. It was nothing serious, and I’m all better now, so take your worry pants off (and replace them with spandex!).

In addition to packing a sack lunch, I brought my Human Sexuality textbook with me so the hours in the waiting room wouldn’t be spent on thinking about how crappy I felt while eating bagels and cream cheese. While I sat pondering the spectrum of human sexual behavior, an old-ish man noticed I was reading a textbook. He approached me and offered to “answer any questions I may have!” – in the way old-ish men try to say something clever to young-ish women in shared public spaces.

At this point, I definitely paused, wondering if I should just come out with it and tell him about Corinne Policy #246, which reads:

“Corinne does not have conversations about penises with people she’s known for 30 seconds.”

Instead, I flashed him the book’s cover and said, “I’d actually rather you not.” The man was embarrassed. He thankfully rescinded his offer. His old-ish lady friends laughed at him. And I forgot I about feeling crappy for about 2 minutes.

Look! I found a picture of my textbook for you!

This cover said, “Back off old man you are unintentionally being a pervert” in a way I never could.

3. Changing Diapers Educated Me

One of my techniques for getting through a tough class is to find small ways to amuse myself without wrecking my grade. So when I had to write instructions for something, I chose to write “How to Change a Diaper,” both because I am pretty much an expert and because I can’t pass up an opportunity to make poop references in the name of a college degree.

Here’s a sample line from the paper: “Take the wipe and, gently but firmly, remove the feces from baby’s bottom.”

Yes, everyone. I got an A on this.

4. Nothing Says “Happy Birthday” Like Staring at Caged Animals

One way we can confirm that a) I am old, and b) I live in Baker City is that my burning birthday desire was to take my children on a trip to Boise, Idaho to visit the zoo. AND OBVIOUSLY TO GO TO TARGET. Oh, yeah, I yelled that. I yelled it right in your grandma’s face. That’s my new phrase to replace “boo-yah.” It’s going to be like, “Yeeeah, I got an A in Technical Writing….right in your grandma’s FACE.”

We had a great time. The kids loved seeing real monkeys, Baby Ham fed goats, we ate hamburgers, and B.T. got to slide down a big giraffe neck.

DSCN3243

Baby Ham, you will feed this goat, and if you don’t I WILL FORCE YOUR HAND.

DSCN3231

Unlike last year, the real giraffes weren’t replaced with giraffe bones. All the bones and all the giraffes were in the cage together. The zoo people probably keep the bones there as a veiled threat.

5. “Then You’re Not Serious About Donkeys”

I stayed up waaaaay too late one night watching clips of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon….the #hashtags segments, the “Do Not Play”  segments, and the  “Do Not Read” segments are awesome.

In the video above, when Jimmy Fallon said stuff about not being serious about donkeys, I lost it and laughed for about 10 minutes, alone, to the point of also sort-of crying. I guess I could also blame that on Technical Writing, but in a good way, like, “thank you for making my brain hurt so badly that when something is finally funny, I release the maximum amount of emotions possible.”

Hey! I think you’ve had enough for now. If I ever get a break from scrubbing down my burners, I plan to induce labor on my WordPress drafts folder so it can give birth to a few posts in its…uterus. I might also work on my gross metaphor tendencies.

**WORD NERD ALERT**

I love the word “hellacious” because it means:

a. exceptionally powerful or violent

b. remarkably good

c. extremely difficult

d. extraordinarily large

So it’s like one word with four possibly very different meanings. If someone is “hellacious” are they all of the above? Can you be extraordinarily large without being exceptionally powerful or violent? Not if you want to be hellacious, apparently.

Now I have a picture in my head of a morbidly obese woman operating a backhoe.

Time Can Suck It

Have you ever seen something called shower art? Yes, it’s purpose is to decorate your shower.

It’s essentially pieces of thick plastic with glittery stuff on the inside and suction cups on the back so you can stick them to your shower’s wall.  (You can see a bunch of it here.)

My sister gave me some shower art for Christmas one year: gold glitter, a tiny plastic sand timer, and those little alphabet beads you see on baby bracelets.

shower art

Yep, my shower art is all, “TIME CAN SUCK IT.”

I’m pretty sure this gift was intended to amuse me while I cleanse my lady parts (whatever, I’m not being gross…all my parts are lady parts). However, I believe it has far surpassed its original intent and given me some pretty deep thoughts about my adulthood. SLOW DOWN, SHOWER ART.

As I’ve talked about (in this post), I made a series of choices in my 20s that meant I would come a-knockin’ on the door of my 30s without a degree or a career.  Thus (that’s all the school papers talking), I would end up being a college student with gray hair, stretch marks and absolutely no desire to do Jell-O shots with Todd at the kegger.

Maybe my lack of education doesn’t seem like such a big deal. After all, there are lots of people without a piece of paper that says, “Honey Boo-Boo paid $46,000 to sit through many unpleasant algebra classes and is now a highly qualified individual”, and they’re straight up getting it done. But for me, this has created a life scenario that goes something like this:

a) Get a job. Okay, easy! I am qualified to: make delicious lattes, work cash registers (like a boss), and assess the utility of the 417th video Scott recorded of himself playing Battlefield 3.

b) Receive paycheck. Wonder where the money at.

c) Sit down to pay bills. Notice big scary discrepancy between paycheck amount and using water to shower (as opposed to just sort of rubbing down with hand sanitizer).

d) Get very, very sweaty (grab me that hand sanitizer).

Yeah. So I am definitely not getting it done.

I suppose when I was in my carefree-ish 20s, I thought by the time I got to this advanced point in my life, bill-paying wouldn’t be so stressful. But that’s not how things are going and I can’t shake the feeling that I’m running really late for my own adulthood.

This is where the shower art comes in. I was in the shower one night and it just hit me (but not literally – the suction cups are really strong). TIME CAN SUCK IT.

Wait. Might it be okay that I’m doing life a tiny bit out of order? Is it really fine that I won’t buy my first house until I’m like…45? Am I still an okay person if I’ve never purchased a rug bigger than a bath mat? And is it really so bad that most of my fellow students are so young they don’t even know about the Hot Sundaes?

kapowski

Then guess what I realized next! EVEN JESUS SAYS TIME CAN SUCK IT. Check it:

“The righteous will grow like a palm tree,

they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.”

Yeah, you guys. That’s straight up in the Bible (Psalm 92:12). Can I get a what what?

snuggie raise the roof

(I don’t know who those people are, or what MySnuggieStore.com is, but I’m pretty sure they totally get how I felt when I realized that my shower art loves Jesus, too.)

When I read that “cedar of Lebanon” bit, it got me thinking.  It’s fairly common knowledge that trees aren’t exactly growing at warp speed. Cedars of Lebanon, specifically, grow 11 inches a year.

So I guess, at some point in my life, I figured I’d be a fully grown tree by now – like a Redwood maybe, so people would drive through my big tunnel and take artsy pictures to post on Instagram.

Except here I am, supposed to be an “adult” and all, and I don’t feel anything like a fully grown tree. Instead I feel like a little baby tree that someone has tied to a wooden pole so I won’t grow parallel to the lawn. (This is not a stripper allusion. Strippers don’t use wooden poles. I assume because of the splinters.)

Sometimes I play a game I call “Take a Chunk Out of My Life and Replace it With College.” Besides the obvious fun factor, I play it because it forces me to be reminded that, with the exception of some mistakes and missteps, I spent the 2000s exactly as they should’ve been spent.

I mean, who says, “Man, I really wish I hadn’t gone to Fiji?”  Or, “Dude, it was so dumb when I went to TOKYO instead of enrolling in that awesome algebra class?”  If you pick algebra over Tokyo you either really love algebra or really hate to do awesome things. Or both. Either way, I probably don’t want to hang out with you.

So in a few years, when I walk across the OSU stage to receive my diploma, I’m not going to be worried about how I’m 15 years older than everyone else. And I promise that I’m not going to let the fact that I’ve never been in escrow or shopped for large rugs give me the sad faces.

Because both my shower art and Jesus agree: time, you can straight up suck it.

I’m setting my life-watch to JESUS TIME.

Sorry, what was that again?

snuggie raise the roof

Oh, yeah. Sweet Snuggie affirmation. Sweet snuggiefirmation.

I’ll Probably Go Rob a Bank Now

This post has very little actual purpose. No, that’s not what I mean because if I really think about it, this post has a very strong sense of purpose.

ITS PURPOSE IS TO EXPOSE YOU TO UNADULTERATED AWESOMENESS.

I found this the other day on the Engrish.com blog (actually called a “brog”). In a stroke of genius, someone made a GIF of a bootlegged DVD that had been dubbed, then subtitled back into what may or may not qualify as English.

HarryPotterMovie

 

If I ever give in to my urges to living life of crime I’m going to wield a Glock 19 but instead of actually pulling the trigger I’m just going to point it at people and yell, “Go go the weapon go!” It will be confusingly intimidating.

 

Come to My Woods With Me

School is amazing and I have been devoting most of my writing energy to decent grades and a bachelor’s degree. I have no idea if you wish I blogged much more or, you know, never started a blog at all, but either way, Livin’ tha C-Life is all about writing the stuff that gets me a bachelor’s degree instead of the fun bloggy stuff.

So for now, you’ll have to settle for little snippets of Tha C-Life, ’cause I want you to know what’s happening in my woods. Will you please come to my woods with me?

livin tha c life

I’m so thug, but like in a positive, achieve-your-dreams type of way, as opposed to a negative, commit-lots-of-crimes type of way.

So here’s what’s been going on lately:

1. My Husband Stopped Helping Me With Everything

…but it was more or less legit because he got sick. THEN, even though he was already a little sick, he worked, then went to a fireman training, then worked more, then went to work again. So…he got sicker. Like – so sick he almost lost the will to play XBOX. Don’t panic! That’s why I said he almost lost the will…specifically so you wouldn’t panic.

I got sick shortly after this, partly due to germs and partly due to the fact that I ran myself ragged taking care of everyone, including someone who required many cans of chicken noodle soup with saltine crackers while he answered the call of duty (see what I did there?).

2. I Read an Entire Book on the Toilet

I took a pee break the other day and it suddenly struck me that one of my recreational books (I like to call them that because then it sounds like my potty breaks are like spring break in cancun) had spent the last 3 weeks on next to the potty, and that I had read nearly the entire thing in a whole bunch of 2 minute increments whilst taking pees.  B.T. might grow up thinking  that all the mommies read before they wipe.

3. I Just Crawled Out of a Mad Men Hole

We don’t bother paying for cable TV in this household, as I don’t want Fox News on for 36 hours a day and my husband probably doesn’t want to hear me constantly obsess over people’s curtains on HGTV. We rock both Hulu Plus and Netflix up in here – it’s much cheaper and it discourages  Time Warner from calling my phone every day asking if I’d like to pay $1,000 a month for cable or install 17 land lines (when what they’re really asking is, “Will you give this company money because I’m so obnoxious?”).

I watched the first four seasons of Mad Men on Netflix in like 6 minutes and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. The episode where they have a riding lawn mower in the office and someone’s foot gets run over and nearly cut off scared the crap out of B.T., which is the moment when I stopped watching it in front of him (he was still young enough then that he didn’t repeat everything or loudly notice ladies’ boobs).

When the 4 seasons ended, I quietly wept and spent a year longing for its return to Netflix. THEN I discovered I can buy the episodes on amazon.com, so buy them I did and mmmmmm boy did I watch the crap out of them.

And so that was like the longest I’ve ever taken to be like, “I watched Mad Men.”

4. I Am Obssesively Listening to Ellie Goulding/Skrillex’s “Bittersweet”

because apparently I’m a huge sucka for songs off the Twilight soundtracks, with the exception of Muse, a band that I feel like is the world’s most perfectly awful combination of rock, bad opera music, and whining.

Since we can say that “Bittersweet”  is on my mental “best of” list for this week, here are a few other things that I’m giving awards to in my brain:

#a. This hilarious article in the New Yorker is about how one of the candidates for the pope was disqualified for, among other things, “throwing gang signs at the camera and steadily drinking from two Old Milwaukees mounted on a beer hat.”  (Thanks to my friend Mary for posting this on Facebook.)

#b. Pretty much the most amazing explanation of St. Patrick’s Day I’ve ever heard, told by someone who does a spot-on impression of Kristen Stewart.

#c. David Sedaris’ essay “Naked,” from his book of the same title. It’s a story about spending a week in a trailer at a nudist campground. Aren’t you sick of never reading about nudists? The nudists get like no play in this country.

#d. In addition to music from motion pictures teenage girls love, I am also a sucka for those Bad Lip Reading videos (they’re hilariously ridiculous). This one was  made for the 2013 Independent Spirit awards, so it’s a compilation of bad lip readings of a couple of different movies (my favorite is the clip from Moonrise Kingdom).

Well! Thanks for coming to my woods! I’d love to know some random things you’ve been up to while living your B-Life or M-Life or what have you.