Feb 17, 2019

College Visits...Take Two

2/17/2019 — cori
Last year, Bennett and I went on his first college visit. It was at the University of Northern Colorado, only a 30 minute drive from where we live. He was like: meh.  Not the reaction I was expecting from a kid who was excited about the major they offered. But that's why you go visit colleges, because the vibe you get is super important. Can you see yourself living there for 4+ years?

Take two. This weekend we went to visit UCCS - University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. It was love at first sight. This is the view from the parking lot as we were walking to the Visitor's Center.

It already met one of his key criteria - a gorgeous view. He said he has to be able to see the mountains from wherever he lives. It makes him feel happy and thankful to be alive. It feeds his soul. Mountains. Check!

It has to have cool colors and a cool logo. Check. They are the black and gold Mountain Lions. They are part of the larger CU school system. The main campus is located in Boulder which is almost double the size of this campus as well as double the cost. He also prefers to be cost efficient, just like his mother.

They have an incredible Recreation Facility and awesome hoops. But more important than that - they have the major he really wants...Strength and Conditioning. And as the cherry on top, Colorado Springs has 3 basketball training facilities in and around the city. Since his ultimate goal is to be a basketball trainer, this is huge! This means there are 3 potential places where he can intern.

It's close to home. Check. He is our homebody. He loves to hang out with us (and vice versa). The school is only a short 2 hours away from home. Far enough away to feel like he's legitimately living on his own, but close enough to come home as often as he likes. 

There is an expression in Colorado called, "Colorado Cool."  This school has it. It has a really laid-back, chill vibe. It's a relatively new school with modern looking buildings that really appeal to Bennett. During the opening presentation they mentioned that all freshman have access to unlimited food at the dining halls. I don't think he heard a thing after that. That phrase alone is one of his favorite things. They reached his heart. I think they have his vote.

Valentine's Shenanigans

2/17/2019 — cori

Chuck was in Seattle over Valentine's Day this year. It really wasn't a big deal to me. We celebrate our love for each other all the time. This was just another day on the calendar to me. But apparently, it wasn't for Chuck. He had preplanned some behind the scenes shenanigans that completely caught me off guard. When I got home from work, I found my bed looking like this. I know I did not do this to it before I left that morning. This has Chuck's signature all over it. He has done this before. I half wondered if he came home early, but I had just been talking to him on my drive home from work and he was definitely still in Seattle. I was baffled.

Then I head into the kitchen and see this lovely bouquet of flowers sitting at my placemat. How did he do it?! Come to find out, he used his little minions to help him pull off his preplanned love-scheme. He had pre-ordered flowers and had Bennett pick them up before he went to school. Then he had Chloe decorate the bed with cut out hearts he gave her ahead of time. I truly am so lucky and so loved and so in love. 

The kids and I headed out for a special valentine's dinner, but before hand we stopped to get Bennett a much needed hair cut. This is his Vogue pose.

And finally, the moment we had been waiting for...Maza Kabob - the BEST Afghani food around!

Feb 4, 2019

The Dairy Farm

2/04/2019 — cori

For some miraculous reason, we now live where you can get milk delivered to you. Yes...as in the milkman brings bottles of milk to your door every week. I think we just won the lottery! We had used another company for the first year we lived here. But were unsure as to the treatment of the cows, whether it was humane or not. But since then, we've been alerted to a more local company. After trying a sample of their milk, Chuck was hooked (sadly, I don't drink milk due to lactose intolerance). They informed us that they love to give tours of their dairy farm. So we took them up on their offer.

We thought the kids would jump at the chance to go on a family field trip to a dairy farm (said tongue-in-cheek). For some reason they preferred sleeping in to being active participants with their fun-loving parents down on the farm. Anyways...we won. Chuck and I had a blast and kept texting the kids telling them as much. I mean, look at the Dairy-Go-Round! How cool is that?! The whole apparatus actually moves around in a circle. The cows step onto it, a worker attaches the milking mechanism and the cows just ride around. Our tour guide said you can tell the cows are happy because they're chewing their cud and not mooing. She said they only moo when they are in pain, hurt, or giving birth. It was indeed very quiet.  

See that piece of fabric/plastic hanging to the left of the cow's head? Whenever their head touches that, the cow knows to back out of the dairy-go-round. The funny thing is, the tour guide said the cows can either walk back out of the barn or get back in line to go around again. There is a scanner hanging down over the cows' heads that is just outside of this picture. That scanner reads the chip in the cow's ear. So it will know that this cow was already milked and they won't attempt to milk it again. She said that the most they will let the cow ride the dairy-go-round is 4 times. Then a worker has to direct it away. But there were hardly any workers visible. These cows seemingly just know what to do. She said they get milked three times a day. Incredible! Who knew?!

At the same dairy farm lies the National Headquarters for Noosa yoghurt. All their yoghurt is made with this top of the line milk. Morning Fresh Farms actually decided to partner with Noosa over 10 years ago and it is a win/win for both the companies. Each cow produces 40 gallons of milk a day. And there are a lot of cows. The milk travels through very high tech equipment to the homogenization and pasteurization processes. It is usually delivered the same day. All the excess milk is diverted directly to the Noosa factory so there is no waste. The farm also grows all their own crops to feed the cows. It has been a family operation since 1894. I know, right?! We were impressed too.

Nearing the end of the walking tour, we got to pet a baby cow. I was surprised by how dirty (caked with mud) their skin was because they look so soft but obviously have had fun rolling in the dirt. I was also surprised by how much this little guy wanted his neck and chin rubbed. He was pushing so hard against me - it was hilarious. 

Here is our same little calf just basking in the neck massage Chuck is giving him. It may look like Chuck is pushing this little guy's head back, but he's not, the calf is directly him to the exact place he wants to be rubbed. Also, their tongues are very coarse like a cats. That was new to me as well. 

All in all it was a fun excursion on a gorgeous 60 degree day in February. Gotta love it!

Jan 25, 2019

Birthday Blessings

1/25/2019 — cori

I turned 46 this past Wednesday. Wow! I feel so big now. I still don't feel like a legitimate adult though. It was such an awesome day. This was the gorgeous sunrise I was treated to on my way into work that morning. So lovely! And yes, it was another, 'I-HAVE-to-pull-over-to-the-side-of-the-road-to-take-a-picture' kind of sunrise. This just made me so happy.

I didn't get home from work until 1:45. Unbeknownst to me, Chuck took the rest of the day off and had some perfectly "cori-like" activities planned. He immediately whisked me off to lunch at the Star of India in Fort Collins. Yum! Once you have Indian friends and they introduce you to their culture and food, you are hooked, my friend...there's no going back.

From there, we drove up into the foothills to go hiking near Horsetooth Mountain. Yes. We walked along this ridge of rocks and it was as fun as you would think.

It was pretty cold too. Not that I minded in the least. It was a perfect day for hiking. And Chuck even remembered to bring my hiking shoes and socks. Isn't he the sweetest?!

Here's a good view of Horsetooth from where we were.

It was such a beautifully sunny day! Just perfect. The color blue of the sky in Colorado never ceases to impress me. I just love it. I'm so thankful that we live so close to these majestic mountains that we can come here to fill up our souls any time we want. That was the real gift Chuck gave me.

Of course, time together is always one of my favorite gifts.

Shockingly, Bennett's basketball practice was cancelled and neither he nor Chloe had to stay late after school. They both came home normal time so we were able to go straight to The Summit for half-price laser tag night. It was awesome! We played 3 games. I lost every single one of them, but had a blast. I'm a terrible shooter. I can't sneak up on people. I have zero stealth. I laugh every time I get shot. But we were together, playing and having fun. Such a perfect ending to a perfect day. I'm so happy to be here and share life with this awesome group of people.

Jan 18, 2019

Words To Live By

1/18/2019 — cori
I think the best birthday present Gavin got this year was a simple little pdf that Chuck created for him. What a beautiful reminder of all that is true and good and right. We have to intentionally practice these character traits to build up those muscles. Just one more reason he is the best Dad and Husband EVER!

Jan 15, 2019

Wrong Number

1/15/2019 — cori

Let me explain....

One of my former students loves to knit. She also loves to send me items such as shawls and scarves that she's knitted. I recently got another of her sweet gifts in the mail. I thought I'd take a picture and show her how nice it looked on me.

So I texted her, as the picture attests to and received an interesting reply.

For an English as a Second Language student, her English sure looks pretty good to me. 

I didn't even read it correctly at first. I honestly thought her thumbs shifted on her keyboard and she accidentally typed a swear word unknowingly. That happens alot with my students. They don't spell very well and it's not uncommon to see swear words written out because they phonetically sound like something else they were meaning to say. But then I really read it. And realized, this wasn't my student (a 60 something Cambodian matriarch) at all. This was a complete stranger and they knew exactly what they were typing. (Side note: asf had to be explained to me...I was completely clueless).

The whole problem began because I had two numbers listed in my phone for this student...so I texted both of them. Apparently, one of them is no longer her number.

Ooops...my bad.

Now some young kid (could be girl, could be boy, could be suburban, could be hood, could be any ethnicity) thinks I walk around wearing shawls. I really felt the need to explain myself to this random person that I accidentally texted. But I don't speak that language. I don't know the "hip" way to respond to Mr. Wrong Number (for lack of a better name). I just want to say, "I thought you were an immigrant. Sorry." But that still doesn't explain why I'm wearing a shawl.

Now a picture of a white, middle-aged woman wearing a knitted shawl is floating around on the internet and with my luck it will probably go viral. And all I meant to do was thank my student for knitting me something.

We're 15 days into this new year and I'm off to a good start.

Dec 31, 2018

Christmas Break

12/31/2018 — cori
We have all been looking forward to this time of relaxation and rest. The kids had 2 weeks off, Chuck got the whole week of Christmas off, I have a month off, and Gavin had 3 weeks off. Excitement and anticipation of Christmas filled the air.

The fun began when we went to the airport to pick up this stranger. I almost didn't recognize him. I can't believe how grown-up and manly he looks. He had spent the previous week visiting his friend Pranav in Dallas/Austin. It's always good to have him home.

On Christmas morning, Chuck took it upon himself to make homemade cinnamon rolls, we didn't protest too much. It's so nice having teenagers because Christmas morning no longer begins at 6am. We had a nice leisurely start to the day since everyone slept in.

This was the first year the kids were all super excited to give us their gifts. They actually insisted that we open our gifts first. It was very special. They each put so much thought into what they bought us - with their own money, nonetheless. We got the kids ski helmets and goggles this year. Chloe spent a large majority of the morning with hers on.

We bought Gavin an SNES (a classic nintendo game system) which he promptly went downstairs to plug and play. 

The day after Christmas, we drove to Snowy Range in Wyoming to ski in the Medicine Bow forest. 

It is so beautiful and serene. There were not a lot of people around and we feel we lucked out with good weather as well (the day after we went the high only got into the single digits and it was super windy).

Chair lift photo op. Every time I took a picture on the ski lift I was terrified of dropping my phone. Luckily, none of us fell while disembarking the lift...we saved our falls for the slopes.

I think each of us fell a minimum of twice. Fortunately, no one broke anything. Unfortunately, I almost went down the wrong run twice. Once I skied into a tree to keep from going down the scary blue slope. The second time I was going too fast because I was going down the wrong slope and Chloe called after me to stop. I did. 50 yards down the mountain. I couldn't get my skis off because of the way I landed. It took like 20 minutes to get them off and walk back up the steep slope carrying my skis to where Chloe was waiting. Then it took an eternity to get them on again. I was a mess. 

The boys had their own adventures in skiing. Chuck skied right into a snow bank one time to avoid hitting a kid. He also accidentally dropped a ski pole twice - while riding the chair lift. They even dared to go down the super steep blue runs. They estimated their speed to be somewhere in the 70-80 mile an hour range. I'm sure that number is not an exaggeration.

We also celebrated Gavin's 20th birthday early while we were still all together. It was so surreal. We still are having a hard time believing he's actually 20. We did the appropriate amount of reminiscing about what we were doing 20 years ago and how it seems like it was maybe only 5 years ago.

To cap off the birthday fun, we went to see Aquaman at the theater that evening. This was definitely the year of the Superhero movies!

We also found this fun game called Puzzling Adventures that we did. It's part scavenger hunt, part sight-seeing, part Amazing Race. That combo definitely piqued our interest. We had so much fun following the clues and walking all around Old Town Fort Collins. 

And finally to celebrate New Year's Eve, we thought there could be no better way than to jump it up at a trampoline park.

I tell ya, this family is the best. Crazy, loud, goofy, smiley. I just love all the fun we have together!

Obviously, that was not a complete list of activities for the entire 2 weeks. Those were just the highlights. We watched a movie every night, I think. Tons of Brawl was played on the Wii. Lots of games were interspersed here and there. We even ate out at Taco Bell one day. Also, Gavin cooked his famous fare for us...kielbasa and mac'n'cheese. We made a couple of trips to the library, shopped alot, and read alot. Overall, it was just the way we like it.  

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 cars...as 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. 

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