Aug 26, 2004

When it rains, it pours

8/26/2004 — cori

The day wasn't off to a bad start. I actually got up on time and had time to myself to get ready, make the kids' lunches, make my bed and do the budget. Then the wonderful time arrives when my clan comes running into my room, dressed in who knows what - but definately not their pajamas, with a Rescue Hero in one hand and a stuffed animal in the other ready to cuddle on Mommy's bed. I wouldn't trade our morning routine for the world! I go in and get Chloe and we all hang out on my bed for a while - it's great!

Then stomachs start growling and we all head to the kitchen. Of course, no one wants the same breakfast food, so I play 'short order cook' for the next few minutes. All the while, Chloe is crying for her bottle. What kind of mother am I? My infant has gone a whole night without drinking a bottle; I'm sure she feels neglected when I don't give her a bottle the instant she wakes up in the morning. This was the case this morning.

Bennett's cereal is sitting on the table (with milk already in it), Gavin's waffle is in the toaster, Chloe is in my arms and crying for her bottle that I'm in the middle of preparing while I'm talking to Chuck on the phone. Can we say 'multitasking'? I'm encouraging Bennett to get to the table to eat his cereal before it gets soggy while Gavin is telling him not to go in the kitchen. I ask Gavin what the problem is and he informs me that there are "like 39 thousand, hundred ants in the kitchen". I was just in there earlier and didn't notice, so I go over to that side of the kitchen and sure enough, there's a nice little trail leading from the garbage can in the utility room (which is overflowing) down the wall and then under the table (directly under Gavin's seat) to all the crumbs. That is when I officially 'loose it'.

I call Chuck back and ask him what I'm supposed to do. I have way too many things to do and don't have time to clean it all up. He gives me a few suggestions and I blame the whole thing on him (it's easier that way - then I didn't have to take responsibility). My emotions continue to go further and further out of control. I feed Chloe, get the beginnings of a migraine and sit down to fume. Meanwhile, I hear the boys in the other room talking about who's fault it is and why Mommy is mad. That brought me back to reality. I was horribly wrong and handling my frustrations very negatively. I apologized to them, called Chuck back and apologized to him, prayed for strength - and received it. It's always so humbling when your children remind you that you handled your frustration wrong. I better practice what I preach because my audience is most definately paying attention!

Thankfully, everyone ate, we got the ants under control and even started school on time. The headache didn't go away until the afternoon - but at least it went away.

Aug 25, 2004

Starting School

8/25/2004 — cori

What a wonderful time of the year! As a kid I always loved school and starting it was such an exciting time. Now, I get to start it all over again with my children. But this time it's a little different. This time I'm the teacher. As parents we are our children's greatest teachers. We know them inside and out and know how to get through to them.

This year I have the honor of teaching my children at home! Gavin is doing 1st grade and Bennett is learning his early preschool skills. We are having soooooo much fun!!! I never imagined homeschooling would be this fun. I was soooooo scared to start. Afraid of messing up, not having enough time in my day, not knowing what to do. But in my children's eyes, I know everything and they trust me. How sweet is that?! My fears were all for naught.

In just 3 short days, Bennett has learned to recognize the letter A, the number 1 and the color red. When you ask Gavin what his favorite thing in school is, it's different every time. Monday, his favorite thing was Science, yesterday it was Math, today it's History. I'm so lucky to be experiencing the joy of their learning with them.

Bennett has been so excited about starting school. He keeps saying to us: "Mommy be te-er (teacher), I be Bemmet (Bennett) and bruh-er (brother) be Bavin (Gavin)." I guess he likes to make sure we are know our places!

Aug 11, 2004

The defiling of my tub

8/11/2004 — cori

My tub has once again been defiled. I felt as though I was being a generous soul, letting my children bathe in my private, special place. The place I retreat to each evening and with joy and excitement pronounce "Calgon, take me away!". How can such a place be defiled you may ask? By my son, Bennett - the infamous pooper and non-potty trainer.

This would be the second time such an incident has happened to my tub, by the same person. You would think I would have learned after the first time - but I have proven time and again that I don't learn after the first time. It obviously takes me several attempts to learn the same lesson.

We were just finishing a wonderful bath time this morning. Gavin had the bright idea to include Chloe in the bath with them today since she is getting so big. The only problem is, the only tub in the house that has the capacity to hold her baby tub plus two boys would be mine. I entered into this arrangement unaware of the horrors that were to follow.

The boys were so sweet to help me wash Chloe - of which I'm sure she was doubly grateful. We had some nice bonding time. Then Gavin, ever the idea maker, has another swell suggestion. He says "Bennett, would you like me to wash your hair and you can wash mine?". I'm thinking to myself that this idea will never fly, Bennett is very particular about how his hair is washed. But then, I would be wrong. He joyfully accepted his brother's offer. I should have suspected something would soon go arry with such joyful, positive attitudes so abundant at 8:30 in the morning.

I remove Chloe from the scene and am in the adjoining room dressing her. I can hear Gavin perfectly dictating the explicit instructions on exactly how one washes hair to his brother. Bennett then obediently follows the instructions just stated. Each boy now has perfectly clean hair (so I'm assuming). And no one cried or yelled for help. I could get used to this.

Then comes the 'act' so horrible. I've asked the boys to get out of the tub, wrap up in the towel and stand on the bath mat. I was in the other room putting Chloe down as I was giving these instructions. I then make my way into my bathroom and am welcomed with an odd oder and Gavin pronouncing "Mom, look what Bennett did!". I calmly ask everyone to vacate the premises. I go thru mourning and then proceed to pick up the defiled object out of my tub. Thankfully, Bennett was of sound enough mind to wait until most of the water had already left the tub before he committed 'the act'.

It is now 9:39am. I'm excited to see what lies ahead for the rest of our day.

Aug 10, 2004

My pedicure

8/10/2004 — cori

I have been in the mood to paint my toe nails for quite some time now. I just never seem to get around to it. You know, I do happen to remember to paint them every night around 8 pm. That's just a little too late though if I'd like to keep the paint on my toe nails and not on my bed linens.

So, yesterday afternoon, I got the bright idea to go do it right after the boys woke up from nap time. Now I have two big helpers. I figured I'd just let them do the first coat and I'd do the second. Little did I know that my worldly wise children knew everything about pedicures at such young ages. They insisted on NO help from Mommy. Bennett even showed me that if you hold the bottle almost upside down, the nail polish only drips out slowly - not as fast as I thought it would. Of course we were using red.

Gavin, ever the perfectionist, was wiping the sides of the brush off so much (so as to be extra careful not to drip any polish), that there was nothing left for my toe nails. Of course, Bennett was in charge of holding the bottle for him. The intent there was that the bottle would be held still and in one location. Note to self - NEVER EVER let a very independent two year old EVER hold an open bottle of red nail polish. The boys then started fighting about exactly where the polish bottle should be held and practically forgot that I was there. Thankfully, I still had my wits about me this time of day and was able to mediate the dispute without any raised voice what-so-ever. I would now be the official 'nail polish bottle holder' for each boy. There, that's settled.

After the first toe is completed and I spend much of my time trying to wipe the polish off of my skin, I decided to just let the nail polish fall where it may - I'll just deal with it later. The boys were just so giddy to be 'helping' me - I didn't want them to see me 'fix' their mistakes. I did end up with a tad bit of polish on each nail on my right foot and a little more polish around the toe nail - but hey, it was his first time. There is quite a large learning curve in the pedicure business.

Then comes Bennett's turn. Oh boy! How dare I try to instruct him in the basics of putting the brush in the bottle and taking it out. What was I thinking? He just watched his older and wiser brother finish my right foot, he knows everything he needs to know. Sometimes I just don't think. After he screamed "NOOOOOOOOOOO yap (help) me, mom" while holding onto the brush in one hand and open bottle of red nail polish in the other, I decided it would be advisable to not help him.

He got that tongue action going while he was working ever so seriously on my left foot. His tongue was poking in and out of his mouth without him even knowing. All of my toes were now red. Bennett didn't feel the need to be cautious with the paint. Therefore, all my toes had plenty of red on them.

To give you a visual picture of my beautiful feet at this point, envision a basin of blood and then envision me sticking the entire front part of my foot into it and then repeating. I think I can honestly say that I will probably never have another pedicure like this again - that is unless the boys ask to give me one and then I would be honored - but I'd ask for clear nail polish this time.

Aug 6, 2004

On the way to the urgent care facility

8/06/2004 — cori

We have been very blessed. None of our children thus far, have broken any limbs. But, ironically, we've been to the emergency room too many times to count in the five years of our parenting journey. Of course, once you get there, the child is running around, laughing, jumping, asking a gazillion questions - not acting the least bit sick. That has been our experience. We prefer our children to at least act sick if we've taken up the time of all these nice people in the ER.

Well, what do ya know...Bennett and Gavin were pulling each other around this evening, by their arms. That was an accident waiting to happen. Unfortunately, I wasn't in the room supervising - Chuck was, and to him, that looked like a perfectly normal thing for two little boys to be doing. Enough said. I come running out when I hear Bennett crying and sitting on Daddy's lap.

Chuck said "He's really hurt; I can tell by his cry". Normally Bennett is a very resilient little boy. He falls down and gets right back up. Not tonite. Tonite we couldn't do a thing to get him to feel better. He wouldn't move his arm or wrist and wouldn't let us near it. We weren't sure if he was just enjoying all the extra attention, if he was being stubborn, or if he was truly hurt. After about an hour of "not snapping out of it", we decided the injury was genuine and thought it was time to 'make the trip'.

We decided it would be best to 'tag team'. I was to take the boys to an urgent care facility (since it was 30 minutes after the Doctor's office already closed for the weekend - perfect timing) while Chuck got baby duty. He was to stay home with Chloe and put her bed. Gavin wanted to come with me. I'm not entirely sure it was out of concern for his brother. It might of had something to do with the chance of getting to stay up way past bed time.

On the 30 minute drive to the urgent care facility, while Bennett sat whimpering in the seat behind me, Gavin sat in yet another seat behind him asking me 1001 questions. "Mom, why is the sun so hot? Why can't we go to the sun? How does an oven work? Why? But what makes that part work? Why is our blood blue and red? Why does our blood have oxygen in it? Why doesn't all my blood squirt out of my ant bite? I'm going to be a scientist when I grow up cuz I like to ask alot of questions." Indeed you are my son, indeed you are. That was only a small sampling of the ones I remember. I actually attempted to answer all of them. I'm not sure if Gavin was trying to keep Bennett's mind off his injury or my mind off of Bennett's injury. But either way, he successfully confused me.

Thankfully, it was only Nursemaid's elbow (dislocated) and the Doctor was able to pop it back into place. That is what typically happens when one attempts to yank one's arm out of it's original socket.

Aug 3, 2004

Ranch or Sunshine

8/03/2004 — cori

Tonight we were sitting down to a lovely dinner of quesadillas. We are ranch maniacs in this family. So all of us had a healthy supply of ranch on our plates to dip our quesadillas into. Evidently, Bennett has a different idea of what 'enough' means. He kept saying he needed more ranch, even though you couldn't see the color of his plate because there was already so much on there. Daddy asked him "what's all that on your plate there, buddy?" to which Bennett replied, very seriously, "sunshine". He won. We all busted out laughing. If you want to get your way, the quickest route is to make everyone laugh. Bennett has figured that one out at a very young age!

A slight change in plans

8/03/2004 — cori

Let me just share a little of what my day has been like today...let's see, it started at 5am when Chuck left for work. However, he came back in a minute later to rummage through our bedroom where my dear beloved son, Bennett, was once again sleeping, looking for his 'lost' cell phone. Of course that woke Bennett up (at the time I was unaware that it would be for the rest of the day). HA! What do ya know, it was in his car the whole time! Now Bennett & I are bright eyed and bushy tailed and its only 5:14am. I then spend the next 66 minutes trying to fall asleep to no avail. Bennett too.
"What dat noise in me room?" (that's one of Bennett's funny expressions we love to use whenever applicable). Ah yes, that would be Chloe waking up at 6:18am for no apparent reason. Lovely. This day is already not going how I would have planned. I'm already starting to wonder what kind of lesson God is wanting me to learn here.
So, I successfully run through the still dark house without tripping or falling over any Legos or Rescue Heroes all the way to Chloe's room. I put her paci back in thinking maybe that would do the trick. But before I have a chance to tip-toe out of her room, she vehemently let me know that was not what she wanted. What the heck, I'm already up, I'll just feed her now. So, we go out to the kitchen to make her a bottle when I hear Bennett coming in asking "hey mom, what you doin?", then upon seeing me with his sister he is overjoyed and gives a resounding morning welcome to Chloe "Hey zozie! Hi. Hi. Hi." He then proceeds to tell me that he loves Uncle John and is hungry. I inform him about how happy I am and tell him to get back to Mommy's bed; that he may not get up while its still dark out. That went over like a lead balloon. Now, he's 'too scared' to walk back to my room alone. At this point I'm thinking he's probably not going to fall back asleep - I've just lost all optimism.
I think I finally conjolled him to stay put in my bed with the aid of his Rescue Hero. Now I'm back in Chloe's room feeding my famished child when all of the sudden I hear "Mommy....". I think to myself "now what?". This time it is Gavin. He's calling me to come see him. That means only one thing - he's wet the bed again. I whisper yell back (I don't know why - everyone was awake by now) that I'm feeding Chloe and he'll have to wait or come see me. He doesn't come so I figure it's not too much of an emergency. That is until I finally finish feeding Chloe, put her back to bed, go to see Gavin only to confirm my suspicion. It is now 6:40am.
None of this should have even happened yet. We aren't all supposed to be up until 7am. I've already got 2 hours head start on this day. Inside I'm starting to fume at Chuck. I want to blame somebody for this great start to my day. But then I realize, he had nothing to do with Chloe waking up or Gavin having an accident. Darn. Now I have to take responsibility for my bad attitude. Then it dawns on me: maybe God is trying to teach me that I can still have a good day even if everything goes completely haywire. My happiness isn't dependent on my circumstances....sounds better as a theory, sucks when you have to actually put it into practice.
Gavin then comes and joins me in my bed and our little book club comes to order. Each boy has gone and retrieved a stack of books for me to read. Why not, it's only 7am. However, in my head I can picture the rest of the day and what I had planned and don't see them matching each other. I had planned to take the boys swimming at my parents house. We normally do that while Chloe is taking her afternoon nap, which means Bennett would miss his nap. There was no way in the world I was letting that child miss his nap today - he's been up since 5am! Plan B starts to formulate. If I can leave the house at 8:30am, then maybe we can still swim and get back home in time for naps. A new optimism arises in my heart. I have a plan - let's see if we can follow it.
Chloe wakes up again and eats again and we dash out the door. On the way to the pool we have to make a quick stop at SuperWalmart (that's an oxymoron). I think I set a new record of getting in and out of the store with 3 kids and everything on my list in 15 minutes flat! Plus, we got another chance to work on our 'public manners' and passed with flying colors. Pride swells in my chest. This day is going to be just fine. Everything went according to plan at the pool and we all had a blast. Especially the boys when I let them push me in (that never happens). However, we encounter a little tweak upon trying to leave.
Remember how I explained in my last post about my gentlemen who love to hold doors open for me? Well, Grandma & Grandpa have a very heavy storm door as well as their normal front door. Bennett was graciously holding open the door with all his might leaving me (who was carrying Chloe in the car seat and a large diaper bag) approximately 10 inches to maneuver through to get past him and the storm door. I was ever so careful not to knock him over (accidently, of course). The problem arose after I had locked the front door and was waiting for the storm door to close. Bennet got stuck between the two. Why he didn't move, I have no idea.
After retrieving my son from between two doors we head back home in relative peace and quiet. A little too quiet if you ask me. Bennet is in the back seat dozing off. I cheerfully yell back there to get his attention. There is no way I'm letting him fall asleep in the car on the drive home. He's been up since 5am - a little 20 minute nap is not going to cut it. I ask Gavin to keep his brother engaged, even if that means kindly yelling at him. He agreed a little too enthusiastically. Thankfully Bennett stayed awake long enough for me to bust his lip. Not on purpose of course, we were just horsing around and he ended up bumping his lip on a chair. Poor guy.
All that under my belt and it's only 11am. I wonder what the rest of the day will hold?

Aug 2, 2004

The Post Office

8/02/2004 — cori

What, might you ask, could go wrong at the Post Office? Plenty if you've got me and my three followers along. This was supposed to be a quick trip - in and out in one quick motion. Not. Before we even get out of the car I have to remind Bennett not to stand on the package that we've wrapped ever so delicatley. Then of course, I can't just walk in like any other normal person, nooo, I have to grab the stroller, make sure each child is holding on to opposite sides and proceed with caution. I then become a walking wall that nobody can penetrate. Even when I ask the boys to walk behind me, they still dare not let go of the cart. I can't even count how many times I've run over Bennett's toes with the stroller. I'm sure he thinks that is what happens to everybody when they walk.

And of course, I have two wonderful gentlemen who absolutely love to open the door for mommy, even when those doors are too heavy for them, or there are 17 people all waiting around to get in and out, or even when they push on a door that they are supposed to pull. Then comes the fun part - trying to get thru the door that my gentlemen have opened. They like to open it about 13 inches and then stand there - right in my way. They are so proud to be helping me that I try to squeeze through (stroller and all) no matter how small the opening. In the process I have knocked down my own children several times - then end up blocking the doorway even longer trying to pick them up, comfort them, apologize all while propping the door open with my pinky toe. Granted, I love these teachable moments and I don't see them as inconveniences at all - but I'm not quite sure the 9 people behind me are as interested in my children's teachable moments as I am.

Yes, all those instances mentioned above did happen on the way into the Post Office. Lucky for us there were two separate doors we needed to enter before waiting in line. So each gentleman got his own turn. We make it into the line and wait without much fanfare. Then comes our turn to make our way to the open postal clerk. My barricade and I all maneuver thru a very narrow walkway and make our way to the very last clerk. Each boy then drops off the package that I had him carry and proceeds to do something behind my back.

Unknowingly, I park the stroller right in the middle of the only opening that lets all the other customers out of this narrow walk way. My oversight. All the while my children are still holding on to the cart, but this time they are on the same side - not good. Confusion is starting to set in and everything becomes a blurr for me momentarily. Out of one eye I see my sons holding and hugging each other like they hadn't seen one another in 20 years. Since when does that happen? While the other eye sees the postal clerk who is asking me to fill out a form. Oh boy, I hope I sent my packages to the right place.

Not that the boys were bad or misbehaved, but they were distracting me and not standing as still as a statue without saying a word. I don't know, maybe I have too high of expectations. But I am trying to teach them how to act in public and talking loud and hugging alot is not what I have been teaching. Then Gavin decides to morph into a Rescue Hero and uses the blank wall we are next to as his 'command post' and starts pressing all sorts of imaginary buttons. Of course Bennett follows suit - little Mr. "Me Too". After receiving 'the glare' from me, they both resume their positions on opposite sides of the cart.

Next comes trying to get out of our narrow expanse, go around a corner, thru another set of doors (I can't remember which of my helpers opened this one) and into another area to drop our mail off in the mail slot. We had like 10 envelopes to put in the slot and of course they had to be divided up evenly between both boys. This took about 3 minutes. Not long in the scheme of things but too long to just drop letters thru a slot. Another line starts forming behind us. Thankfully, it has come time to go and we are headed towards the exit.

Bennett insists on opening the door for me but I can see other people trying to enter and are already opening the door. This frustrates Bennett who decides to fall on the ground. Nice. Gavin is still holding his side of the cart, so no one can squeeze past me on his side. Now I have two people holding open two doors. It is wide enough for all of us to fit thru in our usual format. One of the people holding open the door is some kind of Agent. He's got a gun on his belt and dark Raybans on. He looks like he's on 'official business'. That makes me panic and I start grabbing Bennett by the arm to pull him up. Then I run over his foot with the cart again. I'm afraid the FBI agent is going to 'take me in' for slowing down the federal mail or something. As we finally make our way through the doors I thank the men for holding the door open for my circus and hear laughter. I don't know if they were laughing at me or with me (hmmm, but I wasn't laughing, so it must have been at me). At least we're out and headed toward the safety of the van. Another adventure behind us.

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