Dec 9, 2018

My Baby Drives

12/09/2018 — cori

I know this has happened twice before, so it shouldn't come as a surprise when yet, one more kid in our house wants to learn to drive. But it still seems to early. She's only 5. So, technically, she shouldn't be allowed to drive - ever. But alas, time has not stood still and she is no longer my baby. She's a very adept, smart, mature 14.8 year old who is beyond ready for her chance at the wheel. Afterall, she's been in the car as both her brothers were learning. She's heard the schpeel 2 times already. She's ready to put what she already knows into action.

And it probably comes as no surprise...but she is very good at driving. She still has all the first-timer struggles, to be sure, but she doesn't lack for confidence. I think this comes in part because a car is similar to a horse. She's been learning how to navigate a horse and get it to do what you want for years now. In a way, a car is much easier than an animal with a mind of its own.

There is a new phase of our neighborhood opening up which already has all the streets and stop signs already in place and not a house or soul in sight. The perfect place to learn how to navigate these scary streets. 

But just because she's confident, doesn't mean she's not nervous. She's scared to death of other she should be at this stage. This whole driving thing is a huge lesson in trust for both father and daughter. Chuck had already been driving around with Chloe for a while when he thought she was doing good enough to come pick Bennett and me up and drive back to the empty neighborhood. 

Thankfully, she still has well over a year to practice. But then like the boys...she'll be off. And life will be full of excitement and freedom that having your license brings. If she's at all like her mother, she'll spend all that newfound freedom driving up to the library and the grocery store. 

Dec 6, 2018

Love Notes

12/06/2018 — cori

The other day I walked into my bathroom and saw these post-it-notes above my sink. Bennett decided I needed to know this. My heart melted. To get these little love notes at 5 or 10 years old is sweet. But for your 17 year old son to still encourage you and show you love using this medium humbles me and makes me so grateful for such an amazing son. Another way he is just like his father.

Here's Chuck's version of the same thing. All the sticky notes lined up on the right side, Chuck left with the kids to put on my mirror once a day while he was away on a trip. Next, he upgraded to writing notes in dry erase marker.  Why does he love me so much?! I'm forever in awe of him. I can only hope I return his love in ways equally special to him that make him feel just as loved as do.

Dec 5, 2018

Like Father, Like Son

12/05/2018 — cori

This is a candid shot I took of Chuck and Bennett the other night at the dinner table. This happens All. The. Time. They both usually have either one or both hands on or dangling over their heads every time they sit down. Be it at the table, a chair, the sofa. It's incredulous. Genes are amazing!

Nov 26, 2018

The Return of Thanksgiv

11/26/2018 — cori

Our very dear friends for the past 13 years joined us this year in celebrating Thanksgiv. This is the first time since 2005 that we've gotten the chance to celebrate together again. It was everything good, wonderful, happy, and fun! Laughter filled the house for days on end.

Gavin came home from North Dakota and John and Karen drove up from Parker to complete the largest Thanksgiving dinner we've ever hosted...15 people in all! The best part was, there was no stress, no worries, no running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Everything just sort of flowed, fell into place and turned out beautifully - not perfect, but wonderful none-the-less. We weren't aiming for perfection so there was nothing to be nervous about. Everyone had a job to do and everyone contributed something beautiful to benefit the whole. It was such a lovely snapshot of the larger picture of life.

We had the kids' table

And the big people table. Gavin even ended up laughing so hard at something Bennett said that he shot up out of his chair in the middle of the feast to puke in the sink right behind him because he was laughing so hard. See...not even close to perfect. Also, notice how the tablecloth is 2 inches too short. 

We took crazy family photos,

which happen to be more real-life than the posed ones.

We played the annual football game (in which we lost and had a concussed person as a quarterback).

This team was literally stacked against us. Everyone was tall, healthy and fast. 

The girls carried on the tradition by making the Thanksgiv cake for all to enjoy.

Wes and Logan became the best of friends for the day.

The arrival of the bird by two of the best bird watchers.

As the week progressed, we enjoyed ice skating outdoors at night.

Lucy even asked Chuck, "Is this the best day of your life? I've never seen you so happy before." 

Gavin and boys bonded over Minecraft.

Chuck and Wes playing cards. We played soooo many games together this weekend. 
It's awesome to have friends who love to play as much as we do.

We had a cheese ball eating contest.

We all tried to see how many we could fit in our mouths without gagging.

I only fit 5. The same as Wes. Chuck and John tied with 15!

Penny and Ninja got LOTS of playtime in. It was adorable to watch this puppy with this old lady.

And it wouldn't be a proper visit if we didn't have a night of nertz. Apparently the guys were so stressed by loosing that they both needed massages from their daughters to ease the tension.

Katie introduced us to Around The World Ping Pong. So. Much. Fun. We kept playing and playing and playing. It didn't get old. 

So the moral to the story is...when you find best friends who are willing to celebrate Thanksgiv with you, you hold on for life. You call and invite yourself over as many times and as often as possible over the years. Even when they move to different states and different houses. You don't just tell them they're important and special, you show them. 

Nov 15, 2018


11/15/2018 — cori
Growing up, I always wished for a sister. Chloe did too. It has been such a joy watching her friendship blossom and grow with Brooke...her new sister. A neighbor had asked us if Chloe met the new girl in the neighborhood yet; of which, she hadn't. She had just been lamenting how there was no one her age in our neighborhood like there had been in Minnesota. And then Providence bestowed Brooke upon us. The timing was perfect.

These two spend every waking moment together on the weekends. They go to the same school. Are in the same grade. Have 2 classes together. And ride the bus home together. 

Brooke just moved here from Tennessee. She speaks with the cutest little southern drawl. She has the funniest sayings such as, "Sweet Baby Jesus!" when she's nervous, scared, or worried. She is a cartoon. She makes us laugh hysterically. She immediately started calling herself "Bennett's sister." We're still not sure why.

She is always like this - bubbly, smiley, happy.

And Chloe is thankful she can be herself around her. They bring out the best in each other.

They actually go out like this and don't even care.

They both LOVE makeup and adorning themselves.

Having a friend to still go trick-or-treating with is the best.

They spend ooodles of time riding around the neighborhood, exploring, while riding their bikes....

...dressed as a lion and penguin who also wear ski goggles for some reason. Sometimes the mode of transportation changes to scooters.

Having a sister to do all the goofy, fun, unimportant, mundane, exciting, scary, new things with is THE BEST! Brooke has made herself completely at home; from not taking any scruff from Chloe and telling her like it is, to plopping down on our bed at 10pm to say goodnight, to calling Chloe - Chlo, (the name of endearment from only her family), to playing games with us and not being scared by our loudness and competitiveness. She eats with us, plays with us, cooks with us, sits and talks with us....she's one of us. And I couldn't be happier with our new addition.  

Nov 12, 2018

The Greek Freak and Bennett

11/12/2018 — cori
After watching this interview on Giannis Antetokounmpo, we knew we had to see him live, in action.

What better way than give the Greek Freak to Bennett for his birthday?! So last night the three of us braved a snowstorm to go watch the evenly matched Denver Nuggets play the Milwaukee Bucks.

We could only afford nose-bleed seats, but the view was still great.

Our party of three. 

Giannis in action! The bested the Nuggets 121 to 114.

Can I just say how awesome this kid is?! I absolutely love spending time with him! He has the kindest heart, a crazy hard work-out ethic, he's driven, he's sensitive, he has gone through some pretty hard times and come out the other side a better person and as if that wasn't enough - he is HILARIOUS! He does the best impersonation of me. He knows every Michael Scott quote there is and uses them at the perfect moment. He starts every morning out with a hug for me and never lets the day end without a good-night hug. I'm so proud to be his mom!

Oct 28, 2018

Kindness of Strangers

10/28/2018 — cori

So last week I decided to try a new hair stylist. I also decided to go back closer to my original color. It's been 10 years since I've been this dark. I was finally ready for a change. Unfortunately, new hair stylist made it darker than I had hoped. Especially around my face. I'm very particular about having it light around my face cuz I like to feel sunny. When it's dark around my face, I don't feel sunny, I feel sad. 

I know it's hard to tell from this picture because it's flooded with light, but there was a whole lotta brown hair around my face. I just didn't feel like me. It is never a good idea to make a decision, especially involving your hair, when you don't feel like yourself. So I decided that I could fix this problem all by myself.

However, it didn't really turn out the way I had hoped. In person, this looks orange. I just applied some (alot of) bleach to the hair around my forehead. No biggie. It will just lighten up to the color of my highlights. At least, that was the goal. I didn't succeed. I failed. Big time. 

I texted new hair stylist and confessed my crime and asked if there was any way she could fit me in this weekend or Monday to fix it before I have to stand before my class again this week. She said, "no." She said she'd have some time in 2 weeks though. She didn't even try to care or help me. I got the vibe, you made this mess, it's not my problem, so I'm not bending over backwards to help you. Good luck though. 

I decided to call the first salon I found after googling 'Salon's Near Me'. I explained my idiocy and asked if they happened to have anyone around who could fix a moron's mistake. They told me to come in so they could take a look at it. If it was a quick fix, they would fit me in that day, if not, they said they would work with me to get it fixed as soon as possible. This was no quick fix.

The stylist I talked to looked like she was disappointed in me. She should be. I was an idiot to think I could mess with chemicals I know nothing about and apply them to my hair and hope for a positive result. I'm actually lucky my hair didn't fall out. She asked if I was free on Sunday. I told her I was. She said, "I don't usually work on Sundays, but since you're a teacher and work on Monday, I can come in and do this for you."

I was blown away by her kindness. She let my problem become her problem. I didn't deserve her sacrifice. She gave it to me anyways. She wanted to help me with my problem instead of remind of what a stupid mistake I made. What a beautiful life lesson. It made think of the bigger often do I let someone else's problem become my own? Being on the receiving end of undeserved grace makes me realize I need to be much more conscious to others' problems and see where and how I can show love and kindness more often.

This is her finished product and I'm beyond happy with her skill. Finally, after 3 failed attempts at finding a stylist in Colorado, I finally found one - and she's an awesome person. This was the best mistake I ever made. It's hard to tell from the lighting in this picture, but I have light around my face again, but not too much. Just right.


10/28/2018 — cori

A lot has changed since the days of the "Daddy Daughter Dance." This was 2009. 

Fast forward to 2018 and now Chloe goes to homecoming dances in HIGH SCHOOL with friends.

 These adorable girls were so giddy to be dressing up and doing a legit 'big people' activity.

Chloe and Brooke (the girl on the right) even let me do their hair. But my make-up skills are now sub-par to their standards. I think their skills speak for themselves. These are adorable girls, inside and out.

The backs of dresses are just as important as the front.

Bennett usually drives these girls to lunch most days, so they are very familiar with him. Poor guy has 3 sisters now. They begged him to be in the picture with him. He conceded as long as his beloved basketball could be in the picture with him.

In her heels, Chloe was taller than Bennett and wanted to be sure to document it. Bennett was not happy about this fact.

They started getting ready at our house at 5pm. We were hoping the lighting would be better for pictures, apparently we timed that wrong because as you can see, it was already dark outside. I filled them up with some tortilla soup and then another parent drove them to the venue. (They skipped out on the actually homecoming football game, cuz who likes to stand during a whole football game?) The dance started at 8. The girls arrived fashionably late at 8:20 and managed to stay until 9:30pm.

Growing up is the best. Watching them grow up is a little harder, but equally joyful. I share their excitement and giddiness because I remember how I felt. Plus, it's hard to believe I'm not that age anymore...and that my makeup skills suck.

Oct 19, 2018


10/19/2018 — cori

This sweet 14 year old is ALL ABOUT MAKE-UP. She knows way more than I do. She also does an amazing job on her make-up. We've never had one argument about her wearing too much or doing it distastefully. I even learn stuff from her.

For instance, last night Chloe and I were out together. She looks at me and does the universal sign for you've got something on your face you need to brush off.  She's swiping her finger under her eyes like I should do the same. She whispers, "Mom. You have fallout under your eyes. You might want to take care of that." 

I immediately take off my glasses and start wiping my eyes. It was as embarrassing as if I had just been told I had broccoli stuck between my teeth. And then I realized, I don't even know what fallout is? So I ask, "Is that like sleep from my eye? Or a mascara smudge?"

"Mawwmmmm! (eye roll) No! (huffy breath) It's the excess powder you didn't shake off your eyeshadow brush and it caused all types of eyeshadow fallout under your eyes. You definitely don't want that!"


No. I definitely don't want fallout.

And I thought I was doing a good thing by using a brush for my eye shadow.  I know I'm still a newbie since I just joined the, "Use-Brushes-For-Eye-Shadow-Like-All-The-Cool-Kids-Instead-Of-Applicators" club. Who knew I was causing fallout? Certainly not me. Applicators are so late 90s/early 2000s. I need to get with the program.

This is why us middle-aged women always benefit from having a much more knowledgable teenage girl around. 

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