Why Going to School in My 30s Rocks the Party

It’s commonly known that I like to rock the party, but one way you know that for sure is that I waited until the BEST POSSIBLE TIME to go back to school.

And by “best possible time” I mean that magical time of life when I have the most things to keep up with on the least amount of sleep . Mmmmm yeah, girl, these are the sweet, sweet years when “me time” is getting 5 minutes to take a pee without a small child there, demanding to sit on my lap, hug me, or see my penis.

So maybe choosing to finally get a college degree at the same time as procreating makes me seem mentally ill, but guess what? It turns out that going to school in my 30s is actually kind-of incredible….and I’m about to tell you why. (Who likes to rock the party? I like to rock the party.)

1. 30s Corinne is Crazy Focused

I don’t mean to be a bitch to late teens/early 20s Corinne (she has my props for getting over her Pocahontas phase), but her brain was a jumbled mess of bad choices and mocha frappuccino residue. I think the only things that girl knew for sure was that she loved Jesus and wanted to spend the rest of her life talking to Australians.

Hugh! Come over here and talk to me...shirt on or off, it's your choice. (Source: hark.com)

Hugh! Come over here and talk to me…shirt on or off, it’s your choice. (Source: hark.com)

Now that I’ve had the chance to indulge my Australian accents fantasies, things seem much clearer upstairs and I can get to the important stuff, like what I want to be when I grow up.

2. 30s Corinne is Overwhelmingly Grateful for the Chance to Go to School

School happens to be a part of my dream life (along with riding a unicorn and learning to Riverdance), but thanks to being about 10-13 years older than the average college student, plus all the jobs and the kids, finding time for school is quite the challenge.

Which means six out of seven nights a week I put the kids to bed, then hit the laptop . (On the seventh night, my brain takes a bath in Hulu.)

A shooting, a plane crash, the death of a fiance...is it realistic? It doesn't matter cause IT'S NOT HOMEWORK.

A hospital shooting, the death of a fiance-slash-patient, a plane crash…how can it all happen to one hospital? It doesn’t matter cause IT’S NOT HOMEWORK.

But what makes me willing to give up immediately zoning out after the kids go to bed is that college was never part of the future I expected for myself. It’s one of those things in life that you’re not sure about but turns out to be super amazing – like before you have kids and you see parents in the supermarket yelling at their offspring about how they CANNOT HAVE A COOKIE SO STOP ASKING and you think daaaaang I’m glad I don’t have kids. But then you do and you’re like – oh. This is WAY better than it looks in the supermarket.

Yeah. Going to school is kind-of like that. Surprisingly amazing.

3. 30s Corinne Harnesses the Power of School to Work Household Appliances

When I got married, my sister generously bought Ryan and I a totally kick-ass espresso machine. I tried to use it several times, but just couldn’t manage it – and the machine has like TWO BUTTONS. This is exactly what it looks like:

"You are not smart enough to understand me."

I became the owner of this complicated piece of machinery in 2007, and over the next few years I periodically tried to work it, but something always seemed terribly wrong.  Every time I gave it another go, it would make all sorts of spooky noises and I’d get scared. At which point I’d lose my dignity and put it back in the cupboard.

So one night, I was pounding out some seriously terrible algebraic equations while holding a teeny tiny Baby Ham. It was around 9pm and I was tired cause Baby Ham liked to eat a lot during the night.  And even though most of my brain cells had tucked themselves in for the night I was totally making point-slope form my bitch and suddenly I thought –

IF I CAN DO THIS, WHY CAN’T I WORK MY ESPRESSO MACHINE?

Then, the next day, I pulled it out of the cupboard again, gave it a rinse, and BEHOLD.  Two delicious shots of espresso, poured over ice. And I’ve saved like a million dollars since then. BAM.

YEAH, Corinne. DO THIS.

And also, I finally figured out what algebra is good for. Y = mx+b is basically just the algebraic equation for “drink this delicious espresso beverage, Corinne.”

So there you have it. Why going to school at this age is awesome, and also why I cry while watching TV shows in which fictional characters achieve their fictional dreams.

Advertisements

Or TIDKAMUIWWTO, for short.

I just caught myself internally mommy-talking to the onion rings I pulled out of the oven. I left them in a bit too long and, as I peeled them off the pan, I realized that my thoughts were saying things like, “It’s okay, onion rings, mommy’s here, I won’t let you burn…” It’s possible I need to grab an hour of kid-free time tomorrow. Or maybe a month would be more sufficient.

This is actually not a post about my totally out of control onion rings habit.

A couple of weeks ago I complained to Ryan about something meaningless and he responded, “Go cry me a Pocahontas river.” For those of you who haven’t known me since I was 15, this is a VERY UNLOVING reference to the fact that as a teenager, I watched Disney’s Pocahontas and cried at the end. Or it’s possible I wept.

Whatever, Ryan. You have no idea how emotional it is to paint with all the colors of the wind.

Whatever, Ryan. You have no idea how emotional it is to paint with all the colors of the wind.

Not to shock you, but I am actually no longer a fan of Pocahontas. This incident, however, got me thinking about things that I spent my younger days loving but that now seem wildly un-Corinne.

For example, as a teenager, I thought I loved musicals. As an adult, I now know that I enjoy going to see live musicals but that’s about all I can handle because I find breaking into song for the purpose of narration (“I’m putting the dishes! In the dishwasher! Because they need to be cleeeeaaaaaannnneeeeeeedddd!!!!”) supremely obnoxious. I actually watched Glee for awhile, but stopped when I realized that I hated all the parts where people sang. Which is like 85% of the show.

Sing it, girls! Just nowhere near me.

Sing it, girls! Just nowhere near me.

Sometimes I feel embarrassed when I think of things like this because I fee like maybe I should’ve known that feeling so many emotions about John Smith’s departure would embarrass me later. Which is like embarrassment on top of embarrassment, like that story “The Princess and the Pea.” But instead of piles of mattresses there are piles of cinematic shame. And instead of a pea there’s a tiny kernel of what’s left of my dignity. THIS IS DEFINITELY THAT DRAMATIC.

So all the musicals and the Pocahontas started a thought avalanche that ended with thinking about things I used to think were true about myself  that seem totally ridiculous now.  Put together, these things are called “TIDKAMUIWWTO,” which obviously stands for “Things I Didn’t Know About Myself Until I Was Way Too Old.”

1. I AM NOT LAID BACK

Some of you will straight up “lol” at the thought of me being super chill about life, and really, I have no idea why I thought I was laid back. Perhaps it was a complete lack of understanding of what being an adult would be like. I had some vague idea that as soon as I turned 18, or maybe 21, one of my inner gnomes would  flip some sort of switch labeled “adult” and I’d suddenly be as confident and self-assured as the adults I saw on commercials, prancing around in their business suits while their armpits stayed fresh or their maxi pads weren’t leaking.

I definitely expected I would eventually achieve sort of a  “Santa’s coming!!!” type feeling about life – childlike excitement coupled with some type of incredible talent (like building rocking horses out of furniture or eating syrup on my spaghetti noodles) that would ensure I would maintain a blissfully happy, I-can-buy-all-the-My-Little-Ponies-I-want state.

elf

“I’m going to go GROCERY SHOPPING! Then PAY THE ELECTRIC BILL! WHHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!”

At the time I was, in fact, aware that I was not the most relaxed child or adolescent. But I assumed that would all change when I finally made it to the Magic Land of Adulthood – a place where I could stay up super late, drive my very own car, and eat peanut M&Ms whenever I wanted to. Because everyone knows that people with unlimited access to peanut M&Ms cannot possibly have anything to worry about.

When I finally reached this blessed destination, I’m pleased to report that the Magic Land of Adulthood offered me many peanut M&Ms – but then it was like, “Pay these bills! Spend exorbitant sums of money on car repairs! You want to stay up late? Don’t worry – your baby is about to wake up and scream in your face for hours, then poop himself 30 seconds after you last changed his diaper!” Dang, Adulthood. You are kind-of a big a-hole.

Now while I have most certainly taken advantage of the incredible accessibility of  peanut M&Ms, as it happens I am more or less the same anxious, inflexible, must-do-everything-right-so-as-not-to-be-overcome-by-guilt Corinne I always was. Except the adult version has fairly healthy gums, stretch marks, and now gets to actually say things like, “No, sweetie, I don’t think Optimus Prime has a penis” on a pretty regular basis.

Yes, B.T., there's SOMETHING at the crotch, but I am positive it's NOT A PENIS.

Yes, B.T., there’s SOMETHING there, but I am positive it’s NOT A PENIS.

2. I DO NOT HAVE SUPERIOR SOCIAL SKILLS

Maybe it’s because I compared myself to door-to-door Mormon missionaries or kids I knew who were homeschooled, but I thought my social skills were unmatched. I was pretty sure that if there was a conversation to be had, I would grab my sword and slay it,  like how He-Man slayed things with the power of Greyskull.

Let us CONVERSATE!!!!

Let us CONVERSATE!!!!

This terrible fallacy hit home one morning at church. I approached a girl I know-ish, standing in line for coffee. After two minutes or so of some pretty painful small talk, she turned her body ever so slightly toward the coffee line and ever so slightly away from me. Totally failing to notice this common social cue, I plunged ahead, saying something stimulating like, “So…work is good?” When she turned back to look at me, her face was like, “Oh – are we still talking?”

That was when I realized I might not be the He-Man of social skills. I might be more like the Skeletor, who was probably only evil because he was socially awkward and couldn’t figure out when to stop having conversations with people.

"Can we start a conversation? No?!! Well, then how about a taste of my HAVOC STAFF?!"

“Can we start a conversation? No?!! Well, then how about a taste of my HAVOC STAFF?!”

3. I AM NOT MATURE FOR MY AGE

Growing up, people were always telling me how “mature” I was for my age. I am pretty sure I gave people this impression because I wasn’t much of a miscreant. I was real chatty, but besides that I pretty much always got good grades and did what I was told.

A few times, kids at school asked me if I was going to be a nun when I grew up. I don't think they knew about the Catholicism part.

A few times, kids at school asked me if I was going to be a nun when I grew up. I don’t think they knew about the Catholicism part.

Unfortunately, this was more a comment on my personality type rather than any mark of some form of advanced maturity. Doing the “wrong” things made me feel guilty and didn’t give me nearly as much satisfaction as doing the “right” things…so most of the time, I did what felt better, and in the process I guess I made it look like I was miles ahead of my peers.

But mistaking my do-gooder-ness for maturity is what my writing textbooks call a “post hoc fallacy,” which is basically where you make totally crap connections, such as: “At 12:30pm, I watched Golden Girls. At 12:45pm, I began to feel nauseated. Therefore, watching Golden Girls nauseates me,” which might be true, but you also left out loads of relevant facts, like you had Taco Time for lunch or heard Justin Bieber sing.

(Using “post hoc fallacy” in my blog makes me look like the smartest girl EVER. Plus, it increases my chance of actually remembering what that means by a solid 1%.)

A lack of grown-up skillz might strike you as the stupidest problem ever, but thinking I was so mature all those years was stifling. You can’t fix a problem you don’t know you have, right? Like, if Vanilla Ice was all like, “Hey Corinne, if you got a problem, yo, I’ll solve it,” I would’ve been like, “Go get your fades re-shaved, Vanilla Ice, ’cause I don’t need your help.” You see what I’m saying? Vanilla Ice was totally going to help me achieve greater maturity, which by the way I desperately needed, and I would’ve refused Vanilla Ice. It doesn’t get much lower than that.

Is is just me, or does Jesse Pinkman talking sound almost exactly like Vanilla Ice rapping?

If Jesse Pinkman fictionally existed in the early 90s instead of now, he would have been a lot like Vanilla Ice. Except with more meth.

Oh man, I could make this lost much longer, and if you want me to I’d be willing to consider it…but maybe you could tell me something embarrassing about yourself that you figured out after you entered the Magic Land of Adulthood.

You know what was a good surprise about this magical land, though? ESPRESSO.

The Most Demanding Board Book EVER

Baby Ham is turning 1 very soon!  One of his presents is this “sweet” little board book I found on amazon.com. It’s a touch-and-feel book, which is totally Baby Ham’s jam right now.

Because I didn’t see it in a store, I judged it’s fitness for our collection o’ books by the limited preview on the website. It didn’t strike me as particularly aggressive.

(Oh, and if you’re not familiar with the board book scene, touch-and-feel books have little sections on each page with different textures for babies to feel up. They’re much less creepy than they sound. Feeling = learning.)

When the book arrived the other day, I flipped through it and was pleased. It’s cute and it rhymes, which means I can read it in a sing-songy voice to my little Hammers, which will be wildly soothing.

He is, isn’t he? Good for you, pig! You’re going to be some exceptionally delicious bacon someday.

Like paper, right? But most wheels aren’t made of paper. Isn’t learning fun?!

See? It’s cute and simple. And little Baby Ham is totally going to feel this book and learn things about the textures of the world.

The last page, though…that’s where things start to get ugly.

Shhheeeeeeesssssh.

Touch this cow right now, Baby Ham.

Wait, no, stop drinking your milk. Touch this cow instead.

I DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE BUSY BABY HAM TOUCH THIS COW IMMEDIATELY.

I hope it doesn’t hurt his feelings when I read it to him.

Livin’ Tha C-Life

I am hungry like the wolf to blog, but if I do a long post that requires research (even if “research” actually means “watch the same Nicki Minaj video 27 times”) my head might explode. And also, if you were wondering if Nicki Minaj videos are less funny after 27 times the answer is H NO and NOT POSSIBLE.

I’m also trying to get away from the idea that all my posts have to be epic and get hip to write some shorter ones that offer just a little taste of tha C-life. That’s what I call my life sometimes when my domestic chores get me down.  For example:

“Corinne, it is unbelievable that you still have to two more loads of laundry to fold.”

“Yeah, okay, but you know what?  It’s totally fine! You’re not even mad about it ’cause you’re  livin’ tha C-life.”

See? It totally works.

So here’s a quick list of what I’ve been doing/discovering/awkwardly embracing lately. The list is kind-of all over the place, but tha C-Life likes it’s variety.

…cause sometimes tha C-Life is so bright I gotta wear shades.

 

  • Someone un-friended (de-friended?) me on Facebook this week. Person-who-shall-remain-nameless (not her real name) got offended by one of my snarky, how-dumb-is-this-small-town posts and straight up deleted me. Oops. At least I apologized this time. Last time something like this happened, my brain was awash in angry pregnancy hormones and I deleted her. Even though it was my fault first. So my point is, I became about 3% more mature this week. Someone give me a cookie.
  • Family psychological problems: my 3 year old son consistently displays a lack of ability to accept that I do not have male genitalia. Yesterday, for example, he told me I had five penises. Since I actually have zero penises, I can’t tell if having five would be awesome or terrible. Any penis authorities out there can feel free to enlighten me.
  • I heard  Ellie Goulding for the first time, leading me to finally form the question that’s been inside me for decades: why don’t I own more sheer shirts with sparkly hearts on the boobies?

  • And… I finally applied to the University of Oregon at Corvallis, but haven’t heard anything yet. I am trying not to obsessively check my application three times a day, but…it’s tough. Mama wants to get a degree real bad. Maybe I should have attached a picture of me in a sheer shirt with sparkly hearts on the boobies to my application. Nothing says “I’m serious about my education” like sparkly heart boobies. Am I right or am I right?

Anyone else been doing/discovering/awkwardly embracing things lately? Sometimes I feel like awkwardly embracing the teenage girls who make my iced coffees. But I don’t. At least…not physically.

Pumpkin Patchin’

I hate corn mazes. But you know who doesn’t hate corn mazes? Satan. He probably makes all of hell’s incoming residents go through one on their way to their rooms.

I’m not just bringing this up out of nowhere. Ryan and I got very festive today and took our tiny ones to Val’s Veggies to go to the pumpkin patch and corn maze. I have a handful of pleasant pumpkin patch memories from my own childhood. Every year, my parents took us to Lombardi’s ranch, where the pumpkins were laid out for us in neat lines. There was a giant jack-o-lantern for kids to climb on, sweet corn for sale, and I think some type of small animals in cages for us to poke at.

What Lombardi’s Ranch conspicuously lacked, though, was a place where I could come back as an adult, with my small children, and get lost for 45 minutes in a maze of dried up corn stalks. Val’s Veggies to the rescue! It wasn’t so bad, though. At least there was also a super fun quiz.

I assume expanding my knowledge of corn was supposed to distract me from the fact that I was lost, my baby was making my arms tired, and my 2 year old was whining. Or it was supposed motivate me to get to the end faster, which really wasn’t necessary. The picture above shows question #3, which was the second question we found. The first was #9. I hope we weren’t supposed to find them chronologically.

Because of our schedules, Ryan and I don’t have traditional weekends. We have to plan ahead to take a day off together. So I have been looking forward to a family day for awhile and I was really, really trying to have fun.

The sun was in Brayton’s eyes in that picture, but I thought it kind-of expressed our “fed up with the corn maze and very badly want to leave” feelings.

In between choosing which direction to go to get more lost, Baby Ham practiced his standing skills. This ended in his face getting intimate with dirt and dried up corn stalks, which did not improve our situation.

But once we finally made it out of the maze of pure evil, things started looking up. B.T. got to play pumpkin bowling.

He modified the game from pumpkin bowling to “throwing a pumpkin at things.” He was so excited to knock things down with a pumpkin and receive applause instead of a time out. We figure his lack of bowling skills mean that either we should take him to a bowling alley, or we definitely should NOT take him to a bowling alley.

After bowling, we boarded a farm vehicle for a short ride to the pumpkin patch.

And unlike the pumpkin patch of my youth, these pumpkins weren’t neatly laid out for our choosing. Some of them were still connected to the ground. I was like – daaaaamn, nature. Check out you and your pumpkins.

That’s me and the little pumpkin I made. Me and you, nature! We’re keeping this shit REAL. Here are both my little pumpkins.

And here are my little pumpkins with Ry-Ry-Pumpkin-Pie. (He still won’t let me call him that, by the way. Not even at the pumpkin patch, where pumpkins are BORN.)

After we got home, ate lunch, and took naps (or did homework, or played Call of Duty), we got to work on carving. I printed off some sweet stencils (I found a bunch of cool ones here) to try and make up for the fact that I am terrible at pumpkin carving.

Oh man you can tell from the bags under my eyes that the day was starting to wear on me.  But don’t worry – I pressed on. Because after all, do pumpkins carve themselves? No, they do not. And do the people at Val’s Veggies offer to carve your pumpkins for free to repay you for the emotional trauma of the corn maze? No, they do not.

Here are the finished products:

The first image shows Ryan’s grim reaper pumpkin and my traditional jack-o-lantern face. The pumpkin just above is the Hulk’s face.

Happy pumpkin season, America! Has anyone else gotten their pumpkin on? Or got lost in a corn maze? Or perhaps got lost in a maze of your own emotions?

How to Be a Creep (courtesy of children’s books)

Have you ever read that children’s book “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch? We own it and have read it to little B.T. many times.

In case you need a plot refresher,  this is the wistful tale of a mother who has given birth to a child who, through the years, proves to be full of zany antics like making ginormous messes in the bathroom or saying swears in front of his grandmother. Like any good mother, she loves him even though sometimes he’s a huge pain in the ass. How do we know she loves him? Easy! She sneaks into his room every night to make sure he’s asleep so she can pick him up, rock him, and sing him this song:

“I’ll love you forever/I’ll like you for always/As long as I’m living/My baby you’ll be.”

So then (spoiler alert!) the mother really gets old. Her son comes to visit and she  tries to sing their special song, but her vocal chords are old and wrinkly and she can’t wheeze out more than half of it.  So, in a dramatic role reversal, the son takes her into his strong man arms and rocks her, picking up the song where she left off.

Then he goes home and sings the song to his little baby girl – just like his mother did for him!

So sweet, right?

Loads of people love this book. I’ve seen it on at least four of those “best/must have/your children will grow up to be stupid and antisocial if you don’t read them these books” lists. But guess what? This book is creepy. IT IS REALLY DAMN CREEPY.

The idea of rocking a little baby to sleep is, of course, completely appropriate. But you know what’s totally not appropriate?  Waiting till your grown son is asleep (midnight? 1am?) then driving across town. Sneaking into his bedroom window (hopefully he doesn’t have a lady visitor!), lifting his fully grown man body, and rocking him while you sing in his face. He’s, what, 30, maybe 32 years old? I’m sure you could probably pick him up no problem. He won’t even notice! Oh, and of course his room is on the second floor, so you had to make sure to bring your 40 foot ladder.

Is he the slightest bit disturbed that his mother has gone to so much effort to break into his house in the middle of the night so she can rock him like a baby? Apparently not!

I’m pretty convinced that this is not so much the story of the eternal flame of a mother’s love, but of mental illness and a very serious attachment disorder. In fact, if this wasn’t fictional, we would be reading about this woman in the news, right there with those stories of grown men who pretend to be babies.

Mama’s midnight visits probably explain why she was never worried about a  lady visitor sharing her son’s big-boy bed. I don’t know a lot of ladies who would want to get it on with some dude whose mom may or may not show up in the middle of the night so he can curl up in the fetal position and relive his babyhood. Or maybe I just live in the wrong part of Oregon.

In all fairness, I do get parts of this book. My children are still very young  and I understand the idea that, figuratively speaking, they will always be my babies. One of them is literally still my baby. I just don’t plan on dragging that out until they’re in their 30s.

My kids are so far up in my business all the time that the thought of them growing up and leaving is almost ludicrous.  But I know they will leave someday. And when they do, I’m hoping my reaction to their adulthood will be a little more like, “Hi honey please let me come over I will bring you a casserole” and a little less like, “Make sure your lady friend is gone by midnight so I can come over and rock you like a baby.”

Off the Grid

I’ve been jonesing to blog, but my mental landscape is cluttered. I’ve spent the last week adjusting to the new school term, which means I’ve been stuffing my brain with facts about banjos and Appalachian dulcimers instead of watching So You Think You Can Dance. This is a grim trade. A very grim trade indeed.

Damn. Appalachian dulcimers are selfish.

A few days before school started, I got sick. Another case of mastitis. I just can’t seem to get enough of infections of the breasticle. Infesticle of the breasticle, as I sometimes call it when I’m chillin’ with my doctor friends. So during this infesticle of the breasticle, Ryan continued to work per usual while I laid on the couch and tried not to forget to feed my children.

I just want to stop and point out that I’m not the type of lady who lets her kids behave like crap just because she’s sick. As a mother, I’m very, very far from perfect – like how far awesomeness is from Baker City. But my general philosophy is: I’m sick now and I will get better but a child who gets away with behaving like crap now will behave like crap forever. You feel me?

So after a couple of days nursing my breasticle back to health (see what I did there?), sweet Baby Ham decided to have the absolute worst timing possible and gave up nursing altogether. So I was all like, ” BABY HAM WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM WE ARE NOT QUITTERS IN THIS FAMILY.” And he was like, “WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!” Really loudly. So he won.

He looks pretty pleased with himself, doesn’t he? Now I know what you’re about to say, but he didn’t refuse to nurse because of the infesticle.  And I didn’t eat too much broccoli or too many onion rings (as if that’s even possible) or something else babies hate. This baby has just had enough.

The abrupt cessation of  nursing, along with the mastitis and the start of school, meant my hormones were getting allllllll crazy up in here. So I kind-of fell of the grid for a few days. And by “fell off the grid,” I don’t mean like Zooey Deschanel on The New Girl. I definitely did NOT get very drunk, pretend I was a girl named Katie, and get sexy with a someone in the bathroom of a bar. It was more like crying at near-strangers over the phone, having meltdowns because there were more than 5 dirty dishes in the sink, and becoming convinced that happiness will forever elude me.

I’m pretty much back now, though. Aren’t you relieved? I am. Baby Ham is loving his formula and Mama C is loving that her boobs don’t have to show up to work anymore.

Disdain is Genetic

I can’t get the phrase “dolla-dolla-bills-ya’ll” out of my head tonight. It’s putting itself at the ends of all my inner sentences, where the period should be. Like: Getting out the cream cheese (dolla-dolla-bills-ya’ll). No more clean spoons (dolla-dolla-bills-ya’ll). Don’t forget the laundry (dolla-dolla-bills-ya’ll). This has nothing to do with the other content of this post, I just wanted to tell you (dolla-dolla-bills-ya’ll).

Anyway, I saw a photo of B.T. and realized my kid inherited my dirty-look DNA.

I always joke that instead of a mother, I’m more like a clone machine for Ryan’s minis. Neither of my kids look like I spent 9+ months baking them, followed by surgery, followed by never sleeping again.  In fact, only about 1% of those polled think my children bear any resemblance to their mother*.

So maybe it’s because (deep thought alert!) I’m myself, but I tend to agree with the 99% who wonder from whose uterus these children emerged. So this photo came as something of a minor shock to me.

His face is like, “oh, uh-uh, girl. No you di-int,” with the same glottal stop teenage girls use to order iced tea at Starbucks (“swee-end or unswee-end?”).**

When I saw the photo, I says to myself, “Waaaaaaiiiiit a minute. Where have I seen that face before?”

Oh, right! ON MY VERY OWN FACE.

The photo above is from my 2007 wedding. It’s a jokey face. Hopefully any disdain you feel on your wedding day is jokey. I can image actual contempt might not be the best way to begin a marriage. As I always (as in, this one time) say, save the contempt for when the newborn’s a-screamin’ and no one’s a-sleepin.’

I couldn’t find a photo of a real disdainful Corinne face, so you’ll have to take some responsibility here and perform your own mental conversion. Or maybe you have time to Photoshop it.

Before B.T. came into this world, I didn’t spend a lot of time dreaming about what he would or wouldn’t inherit from me. I mean, everyone hopes their kids will be intelligent and not like things that obviously suck. I sometimes wonder which one of my parents is responsible for the Milli Vanilla tape I owned in the early 90s. And I bet some of you have lost sleep wondering which one of you passed the Justin Bieber gene to your little honey-boo-boo.

My point is,  I never thought the first solid resemblance I’d notice in my child is when he gave someone a shady look.

Now let us see the two photos side by side, for maximum comparison value.

Ooohhhh man.

At least my DNA is not being used for something impractical, like a preoccupation with owning chickens or listening to Death Cab for Cutie. Instead, I seem to have passed on my talent for throwing dirty looks at people who probably don’t deserve them.

When was the first time you saw something of yourself in one of your kids? Do you find it as horrifying as I do when your kid mimics your not-so-savory behaviors?

*P.S. No way did I actually poll people. What do you think I’m doing all day over here?

**P.S.#2 My 2 year old son NEVER talks like a teenage girl. That would be creepy and I would probably have to stop watching reality TV in front of him.

Summer Wrap-Up

It’s nearly fall! Or autumn, if your vocabulary is classier than mine. Only a few more precious weeks to watch So You Think You Can Dance after the kids go to bed instead of  hacking away at homework. Yes, I hack away at homework, just like you. We both use our mental machetes.

As I was looking forward to the start of another term of school, I started to reminisce about the beginning of summer, a time not so long ago when I harbored lofty and totally unrealistic plans of the vast amount of fun we would have. Me, Ryan, B.T., our curious 2 year old, and Baby Ham, who is nursed and therefore requires me to whip it out several times a day, intended to conquer Eastern Oregon and Western Idaho with the enthusiasm of people who had been roaming the same four or five streets since last September.

If you missed my post about  our summah plans, here’s a helpful link. If you missed the part where I switch from saying “summer” to “summah,” try to keep up with this vocabulary powerhouse. And if you don’t feel like clicking the link, I’ll summarize the post for you. Oh, wait, get it? SUMMER-ize? Awwwwweeesome word connection. Give me a high five.

Okay, here are the things we intended to do:

1. Ride the Sumpter Train

2. Go to the Boise Zoo

3. Go to the water park (just outside of Boise)

4. Play in the wading pool in our little yard

Here’s how it all went down. I even summoned my back-to-school spirit and assigned us grades for each activity.

1. Ride the Sumpter Train: F. Or F-. We rashly decided to change our plans and went to Boise instead. Our intention was to go to the Discovery Center, a place where kids presumably become better educated.  We never made it. I underestimated the amount of time it would take to do…um…ANYTHING AT ALL with a 2.5 year old and a baby who’s still enjoying nature’s finest sustenance. So we ended up at the mall instead. (I wrote about that trip here.) The mall is less educational than the Discovery Center, but has more Starbucks and soft pretzels.

Being so well-educated is exhausting!

2. Go to the Boise Zoo. A+ and Boo-yah! (I wrote about it here.) We were briefly intoxicated by our accomplishment, but after that our time was just okay. Between all the baby feedings, the 1,000 degree weather, and the creepy giraffe bones, I preferred the air-conditioned 45 minutes we spent in Starbucks afterward. Is it worth it to drive 2 hours each way just to spend 45 minutes in a Starbucks? Sometimes it is, America. Sometimes it is.

Hey, monkey. Why the H is it so hot out here?

3. Go to the water park: I was pretty excited about this trip…until I thought about it for more than 20 seconds. The park contains plenty of water slides, but B.T. is too short to ride them. The only things we’d be able to do with kids of this age are hang out in the kid’s pool or float down the lazy river. Plus, since we’re not regular swimmers, we’d have to buy all sorts of stuff we probably wouldn’t use again: water shoes, one of those round floaties for the baby, rash guards for my white-y whitersons…the whole thing was becoming financially comparable to putting a down payment on a house.

Also, something about nursing in my bathing suit felt exhausting to me. Can I drag a Boppy into a water park? Is that ridiculous? I probably would’ve tried. Or maybe I could’ve used an inner tube after I wiped it off or something. Then if it was hot I could just sort-of peel Baby Ham off the plastic when he was ready to switch sides.

We dealt with the emotional stress by switching to a “staycation” here in Baker City. We went out to breakfast and B.T. ate an enormous pancake. After breakfast, he received an overpriced Transformers toy that took Ryan 30 minutes (with instructions) to learn how to transform. I took the whole day off work, shirked my to-do list and didn’t nurse publicly even once.

4. Play in the wading pool: A+, plus an extra A for effort. This one was easy, unless you consider that it required the strength of twelve Fabios to inflate our cheap-ass pool every time we felt like using it.

In addition to the items on the list, we had loads of other summah fun. We enjoyed being outside as much as possible before the onset of a very long winter.

Inside the house, the boys are starting to learn how to play together. So far, it’s a lot of B.T. trying to get Baby Ham to wrestle with him while I ask him repeatedly to be careful/stop/don’t poke Baby Ham with that chopstick he is too small to play swords.

Brayton had a couple of big-boy classes (I start my big-girl classes Sept. 24). First, Wee Grow at the YMCA, where he joined kids his age for some art projects and social interaction.

First, he painted a big cardboard box. Then, he painted another child’s shoe.

Then, his first swim class without me in the water with him. He loved it with a capital L-O-V-E-D.

There he is with his little certificate (which tells us in writing that he refuses to float on his back) and a celebratory package of animal crackers.

Although we also had some good (and vomit-y) times at this year’s Miner’s Jubilee (this post), saw some tractors (here) and middle-aged men riding in tiny cars (here), I am experiencing some powerful  summah nostalgia so I’d better stop here.

I am actually really looking forward to what is my very last term at community college. My last two classes are a basic Biology course and the History of Folk Music. Both classes sound kind-of like torture –  but the kind of torture that earns you a degree, which is probably a step up from what they do in Guantanamo.

The Dark Day

The hours of 5pm until 8pm are what I call The Dark Hours. I only call them that in my head, though. I would be kind-of a creeper mom if I was like, “We’re not having dinner quite yet, honey. I’ll begin preparing food during… .THE DARK HOURS!!!!” Obviously, I would be dressed as a Sith Lord while saying this. I know that looks like a Star Wars reference, but it’s not. It’s actually a reference from The Office, which is literally the only way I know about Sith Lords.

Every night, from 5-8pm, I am a little, shall we say, moody. Which is almost like saying Hitler was a bit moody. Except instead of trying to kill off an entire race of people, it’s more like my angry faces are trying to exterminate all my happy faces. This is exactly how I would explain the Holocaust to a six year old.

I started thinking about The Dark Hours tonight because today was special. Today was a special all-day edition of The Dark Hours. It was The Dark Day, basically… an entire day in which everything felt all wrong, with no conceivable reason why. On days like this, I usually just enjoy some delicious rocky road, throw old ladies dirty looks for standing too close to me in the supermarket, and chalk it up to hormones. I feel good about blaming hormones because:

a) no one blames anything on the rain anymore, and

b) I’m no doctor, but hormones seem to be the culprit behind probably 94% of my crazy. It certainly wasn’t logic that gave me the green light to panic when Ryan ate down my cream cheese supply by one tablespoon last time I was pregnant.

I always picture my lady hormones like one of those big water wheel things.

No worries. I’ll power this entire complex with my garden hose. (Image sourced here.)

Because of all the churning. You know? I’m not sure about this particular water wheel, though. I don’t feel like my lady hormone water wheel would be powered by some bored old man with a pathetic little garden hose. If someone were to provide my wheel with power, it would definitely be someone more like this:

He-Man would probably do it, right? The power of Grayskull, plus that big tiger thing, would get the job done much better than bored hose man.

I hate days like this not just because of how frustrating it feels to be in a mysterious bad mood, but also because I end up snapping at little B.T. for things I am normally much more zen about.  Like – one thing he’s been doing lately is deciding that instead of asking for help when he’s frustrated he’ll just go, “EEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEHHHHHH!!!!” It’s like Alvin and the Chipmunks covering a Justin Bieber song – multiple layers of obnoxiously high-pitched noises. I am supposed to respond by rushing over and doing something like reattaching the leg of a plastic horse who has suffered a sudden amputation.

On a normal day, I inform B.T., just like I would to the Biebs, that Mommy can’t understand whiny voices and I need to hear his big boy words. On a Dark Day, however, I do something kinda psycho like grab horsey off the table and hiss, “NO. MORE. HORSIES.” Then I put horsey up on a high shelf, where B.T. can still see it but can’t reach it. I leave horsey’s severed leg with B.T., though.

This obviously makes B.T. even more upset and I feel terrible for totally losing it at my son when he’s 2 years old and is no way going to make it through his entire childhood without whining. Then I think to myself, “Why can’t I stir some chicken for FIVE DAMN MINUTES without horsey’s leg snapping off?” Justice! Where it at?

Anyone else out there have days where they just can’t snap out of it? Sometimes I think it might be easier to be a dude, but then I remember that dudes have penises. I think I’d rather deal with lady crazy every day of my life rather than try to walk around with one of those things.

Update: I changed my Dark Hours from 5-7 to 5-8. It pleases me to realize I’m actually pretty cranky for three hours every day instead of just two.