Jun 16, 2018

In Honor of 19 Years of Fatherhood

6/16/2018 — cori

When you first get married, you have so many stars in your eyes and dreams in your heart, you imagine everything will be wonderful from that day forward. It doesn't even cross your mind about what type of parent your spouse is going to be because everything is going to be just wonderful because you're still living in a love vacuum. You don't yet realize that its the struggles, hardships, and uncertainties of life that you navigate through together that are gifts that have the capacity to grow your marriage, character, and heart. Life happens. It's how we handle those happenings that bring us joy, sorrow, heartache, hardships, adventures and direct the course of our marriage. Parenting definitely is a recipe that combines all those ingredients. Adding children to the marriage brings a reality you can't plan for, expect, or understand until you walk through it together. It has been my greatest joy to share all the ups and downs that come with parenting with my best friend and favorite person in the world, Chuck.

The tenderness and gentleness you see in these pictures is genuine. He is gentle to the core of his being. He adores his children and it oozes out of him. From Day 1 when he met Gavin at birth, he's been the most proactive, purposeful, patient Dad I know. 

He's respectful of the kids. He's supremely patient. He's steady and always kind. 

He's uber-playful, can build amazing Lego creations and even do pop-a-wheelies on his bike. Which really impressed the kids when they were younger. (FYI - that doesn't have the same impressive effect now that they're all teenagers.)

He'a always ready for an adventure - especially ones that veer off the beaten path.

And playing is his specialty. He is THE BEST at playing in water - the pool, beach, sprinklers. The kids tire out before he does. He seemingly has endless energy reserves.

The kids genuinely want to be around him. They all get - and love - his sense of humor. Which was hilarious when they were little. Now, not so much. But I'm sure it will circle back around again. During teenagehood, parents loose any and all "cool" credentials for a while. The teenager alone is worthy of all things "cool."

I love how he takes time to be with them. You have to do that when they're young if you want them to take the time to be with you when they're older. It's the only thing kids understand. They desperately desire time with their favorite people (their parents) when they're little and bask in the light of their presence. It's the single best gift we ever gave our kids - the gift of ourselves. And Chuck led the way in that effort. He didn't only say it was important. He went out of his way to do things with them - take them on dates individually, do an activity of the kids' choosing, play with them even when he was tired. I've always admired how he would rather sacrifice his sleep than his time with his kids. 

All those hours of playing Legos, having tea parties, chasing make-believe bad guys, running around the park, throwing the ball, riding bikes, playing games and reading to them when they were younger has yielded this goofy group of amazing adolescents who actually want to hang out with their Dad. What a beautiful gift to watch up close. It is a constant thankful in my life, to have married a man who is an amazing, humble, and fun-loving Dad.

Jun 10, 2018

To Fish or Not To Fish

6/10/2018 — cori
Last weekend Chuck got the fishing bug. He's had it for a while now, but this weekend we were finally able to do something about it. At first he wanted to fly fish. Then he went out pricing all the gear. We don't have that much money. But alas, that did not deter him. He would find a way to fish. So we did it Mallott-style (remember the "Frisbee Golf" adventure?). We headed to the local Walmart to procure cheap fishing poles, lure, bait and tackle and whatever else comes in those little boxes. We asked about a fishing license and learned that Colorado has one free fishing weekend a year and this was that weekend. Can you believe it?! Of all the weekends to pick to attempt our first fishing, this was the one. It must be a good sign. We packed out picnic lunch (but forgot the chairs - but remembered bug spray and suntan lotion - so it was a wash) and headed for The Great Outdoors. Actually, we drove 30 minutes to the Poudre Canyon.

This is the ultimate vision Chuck had in his head - everyone enjoying fishing in the river on a nice hot sunny day. And we did achieve that by the end of our 3 hours there. But notice, even in this picture Chuck is not holding his fishing rod. There's more to the story than meets the eye.

This is what the first few hours looked like. Chuck assembling all the fishing poles.

Chuck teaching the kids how to hold the rod, add the bait and lure or whatever.

And how to cast so as not to hook another human or tree. Notice our lovely pile of stuff placed so precariously close to the water's edge.

Meanwhile, since I didn't have a lovely camping chair to sit in, I decided to put these little babies up. Thank God Chuck remembered our hiking backpacks. There's always a place to hang a hammock and I feel as though I found the perfect place.

From my picturesque perch, I was able to document this whole fiasco event. It did require that I step in the ice cold snow-melt runoff that is the Cache la Poudre River, but I was ok with that. I've walked the Narrows in the Virgin River before, I'm ok with numb feet. It's a small price to pay for fun and beauty. 

While Chuck and the kids were busy I found all sorts of beauty around me.

Flowers pop up in the most unexpected places.

The butterflies were abundant and unafraid of the camera.

One of the hammocks was supposed to be for Chloe, but she found a better perch.

Bennett only had to cut his line one time and only lost his hook once. Chloe, however, expertly got her line stuck in a tree. That one took some time to rescue.

Alas, Chuck doing what he envisioned - fishing in the river. He finally got a chance to cast his line and he was happy. We didn't see one solitary fish this entire time, nor did we catch any. But that's ok. We came for the experience and we got that in spades.

Second Time's The Charm

6/10/2018 — cori

Bennett has now joined the ranks of: Fellow Driver. Let's welcome him to the club everybody!

Yes, I'm aware that he's holding his license upside down. I take what I can get.

Unfortunately, he did not procure this precious luxury on the first go around. As we're learning (and my 'we' I mean 'Bennett'), he needs two tries at most things in real life before the concept or idea or lesson finally sticks in his head. Examples include but are not limited to: Learner's Permit (two attempts), Algebra 1 (2 years in a row), Driver's Exam (failed first time, passed on the second). He's more of a "Learn-as-you-go" type personality not a "study-before-hand-and-learn-it" type of guy. Either way, we're still proud of him. We knew he'd achieve his goal eventually. He's a very good driver: cautious, law-abiding, and attentive. He might not have a clue about where's he's going, but that's why we have the lady in Googlemaps who is able to tell us exactly how to get where we're going. Even though he has his license now, he is still the same Bennett who lives by the same motto he did as a small child: "Tell me exactly what to do and how to do it." Emmett from The Lego Movie is his Spirit Animal.

May 31, 2018

Missouri Memories

5/31/2018 — cori

Chuck and John were both born in Missouri and lived there on and off through-out their childhood. All of their Dad's side of the family still lives there. We've had the opportunity to visit several times over the years. But this time was extra special. Their youngest cousin, Jon, was getting married and John's son, Logan, was to be the Ring Bearer at the wedding. Also, it just happened to coincide with their Dad's 70th birthday. We thought that heading to Missouri a few days before the wedding to spend some time with their Dad would help make it a meaningful and special time for him. He's asked us to visit him at his lake house at The Lake of The Ozarks for years, but our schedules never seemed to allow it. But this trip was extra fun because the brothers and their families got to go together - which if given the choice, is how they would always prefer to do things.

This was our little slice of lake-life for 2 days.

8 of us shared this little cabin. It's bigger than it looks.

 As usual, the boys had a ton of fun playing together

And jumping of the dock

More jumping


More jumping


Pushing each other off. 

Floating like otters.

Being vessels for transporting children.

Our cabin was only 10 minutes away from Danny's. Our floating vessel is the one in front, not the nice one.

This is Danny's pontoon, The African Queen, that he carted us all around in. Yes, all 9 of us fit in it and we didn't sink.

We even had a captain.

We had a monster storm come through our first morning there. Thankfully, the sky cleared up and we were able enjoy all the lake had to offer. Here is Danny enjoying floating with the little ones.

Lots of games were going on in the water. This one involved tying all the life vests together, all hanging on, and then all letting go to try and sink to the bottom. To my knowledge, no one was able to actually touch the bottom of the lake because it's like 30 feet deep.

We had loads of fun jumping off the boat (getting back on was a little bit of a challenge though). Bennett looks to be headed for a belly flop here. That little bit of water entertained us for hours. The water temp was perfectly refreshing.

Mason was all smiles on this day.

To top off the fun day at the lake, we also got to ride a pair of jet skis. This was our first time ever and boy was it exhilarating and fun!

After 2 days at the lake, we headed north to Kansas City. They were experiencing an unseasonably hot Spring. It was approaching 100 on this particular May day.

The day of the wedding we had some extra time on our hands to explore the city. We learned that KC was home to the largest ever WW1 museum. We knew we'd have to experience that. It was built in 1926 during the Neo-Classical architectural period. There was a lot of Egyptian influence in the design as it also coincided with the discovery of King Tut's tomb. I highly recommend this wonderful museum. 

We visited the famed Union Station

And last but definitely not least, we attended the beautiful wedding of Jon and Hannah.

These two! So grown up (and sun burned). My favorite people to hang with!

The only picture we have as a family from our entire trip! And it's still not a complete family picture because its missing Gavin. Unfortunately, it's our (sad) new reality to experience events without him now that he's away at college.

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