Dec 30, 2005

Seems to Me....

12/30/2005 — cori

Our winter has been unseasonably warm in these here parts as of late. So, we decided to take advantage of it and bring the kids to a park to play their little hearts out. Chuck & I brought a frisbee in the hopes of also getting the chance to play.

The whole family ended up playing frisbee and we had a fabulous I thought. Not that every knew how to throw or catch the frisbee, but the general idea was there.

On the drive home the kids were rather quiet. We thought we wore them out. When out of the blue Bennett pipes up with, "Mom, wu seem to fink dat everyone yoves me. But it seems to me that dey don't. It seems to me that everyone makes fun of me."

Wow. Deep thoughts. I thought he was bringing up some deep-seeded hurt that we have yet to 'talk out'. I responded to my poor child's cry for help as such, "Well, honey, thank you for telling me how you feel." (Bennett is VERY in touch with his emotions and ALWAYS informs us of how what we did or said makes him feel.) "Who has been making fun of you, Honey?"

"Wu guys."

"How have we made fun of you, Sweetie."

"Wu didn't let me catch da frisbee everytime."

Ahhh, now I see. He was feeling slighted because he has yet to acquire the skill set needed to play a good game of frisbee. I had to explain to him that the frisbee could not be thrown to him each time because there were several members in our family and each wanted a turn to throw and catch it. And we don't throw the frisbee only to people we love. It is a game. Just because the frisbee might have been thrown past him and he had to run several yards to get it no way infers that we are 'making fun of him' or 'don't love him anymore.'

He replies, "Oh."

End of conversation. Seems to me....'we' fink da world revolves around 'us'. :)

Dec 21, 2005

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

12/21/2005 — cori

Gavin came to tell me the other day that his throat was sore. I did the typical Mom thing and looked inside it. Don't know why, though. Don't know what I was looking for. Maybe a sign that said, "Strep throat, back here" accompanied by a blinking arrow. That might have been helpful. But besides being a little red, it looked normal to me.

That is when my little researcher formulated his plan. He announces to me, "Mom, how 'bout I go to Google and look up 'sore throat'." I'm still not sure if that was his kindhearted way of telling me that I don't know too much in this area or that whatever information or lack thereof I had given him, was not going to cut it. He needed facts and he needed them now.

Daddy taught him all about Google. They could both spend half the day thinking of new words to type in to see what happens. All he needed from me at this point was the accurate spelling of his ailment. Since I'm a good speller, I was able to aid him in his cause. I set the sheet of paper before him and he was off.

He actually prefers to search under Google Images, so he can see a picture of whatever it is he typed in. His past searches have included such things as: Batman, Robin, Superman, The Justice League, and Kangaroos. I have to admit, I found his search quite informative and the pictures very interesting. He might be on to something here...

He clicked on a picture of a sore throat that linked him to the Children's Medical Center. In detail, it listed what a sore throat felt like and home remedies that can be tried. He poured over the information and even read the interesting parts aloud to me. His curiosity seemed to be satisfied once he knew what was happening with his throat and what he could do to help speed up the healing process.

In my almost 7 years of motherhood, I have found several things elusive to me. One of them is the lack of medical knowledge needed when rearing children. I will always regret not majoring in Nursing while in college. I'm in the total dark when it comes to illnesses, symptoms and remedies. If only I had a stethascope and one of those little things they use to look in the ears at home, I would never again have to make another copay at the pediatrician's office.

I'm thinking that maybe next time I should be first to suggest that we go look on Google. Maybe he'll think I'm smart too.

Dec 20, 2005

My Pit Hurts

12/20/2005 — cori

In this household, we have pits. In many other more cultured households you might hear them referred to as 'under arms' or 'arm pits'. Not us. We cut right to the chase and call them our 'pits'. All that to say, Bennett informed me one day last week that his pit hurt.

What is one supposed to do when another's pit is hurting? If you rub it, it will only tickle. There is no medicine you can administer to the pit region. And really, what in the world would cause your pit to hurt anyway? Did you sleep on it wrong? Did your brother tickle you too much? Did something you ate for dinner not agree with your pit? As you can see, I was baffled by this.

For two days he told me about how bad his pit hurt. For two days I told him how sorry I was. I tried to probe deeper in order to discover the root of the problem, really I did. After poking and pushing and rubbing and looking I finally deduced that there really wasn't a problem. I figured he must be making up a new ailment as an attention getting plea (that wouldn't be so far fetched).

However, one thing kept nagging at me. For the same two days that he was plagued with the pit hurt, he was also complaining of chest pains. And as if that wasn't enough, Bennett would also tell me each night before bed that he couldn't breathe and point to the same part of his chest. If he was indeed making this up, he wouldn't remember to point to the same part of the chest. And if he wasn't making it up, you would never hear these words come forth from his mouth whilst wrestling, "Daddy, you have to be careful with me, I can't breathe."

At that precise moment an alarm rang in my head that sprang me into action. There was no way I could put my child to bed that night with the words "I can't breathe" ringing in my ears. Of course it was 8:30 at night. My husband wasn't home yet and the other two children were sound asleep in their beds. I decided to call a neighbor and have her come sit with the kiddos while I rushed my youngest boy to Urgent Care with a hurt pit. Somewhere, somehow, there must be a cure.

Bennett doesn't appear the slightest bit sick upon entering the Urgent Care facility. Actually, he has this goofy grin on his face like he's getting away with something. He keeps telling me how this is like a little 'mini-date' for me and him. I nod my head in agreement as I am filling out the 10 forms front and back given to me before any care can be administered. On the blank titled: Reason for Visit I have to write 'hurt pit'. To make it sound more legitimate and like something the insurance companies might cover, I decide to also add, 'chest pains and difficulty breathing'. Somehow, I know they are all connected. I just need the doctor's help in connecting the dots.

Thankfully, the kind doctor understood Bennett's pit illness and explained to me that he had indeed pulled a pectoral muscle which connects the chest and the shoulder and would hurt him in the vicinity of his pit if he overused it. Thus, the mystery of the hurt pit has been solved. Thankfully, it was nothing a little ibuprofen and rest wouldn't cure.

Dec 19, 2005

Mother Goose...Revised

12/19/2005 — cori

Mother Goose never expected there would be a Bennett, I'm quite sure. Her prose and poetry have a wonderful sing-songy, rhyme-like quality. These lovely snippets have been passed down for generations now. That is, until they reached Bennett. They have now come to a screeching halt.

You see, every week Bennett learns a new Nursery Rhyme or small poem to accompany the letter he is learning. His brain, I have come to learn, is wired totally different than that of your average Joe. He has a fabulous memory, but he also has a major filter in that memory. The filter seems to grasp the general idea about the poem and then rewords the poem in a more acceptable manner to it's owner (Bennett).

Take for instance The King of France (studied on 'K' week). It goes like this: The King of France went up a hill, with 20,000 men. The King of France went down the hill, and never went up again.
Bennett's version of that poem is: The King of Fance went up duh hill wid all his men den he came back down again and was never sawn again. I just can't seem to find it in me to correct him for this. For one, its just so cute. And two, how can I stifle his creativity. Afterall, he is interpreting and then rephrasing into his own words. It's kinda like teaching him how to summarize. Yeah...that's what I meant to do all along.

A simple little activity like, Ring Around the Rosey, becomes a hilarious adventure when sung to Bennett's lyrics. They are: Ving avound a vosy, pock-a-pock-a-pock-a-pocka posey, ashes, ashes, we all fall down. At which point he gently pushes Chloe down (I know that sounds like an oxymoron) and then kisses her hand. I can only handle a few rounds of this before the dizzy spells become more than I can bear.

Dec 18, 2005

A Baker…I Am Not

12/18/2005 — cori

I have been scampering around the kitchen all day now, trying to get all the delicious, tasty treats made to pass out to my neighbors. So much love and thought and effort have been poured into this project. I even recruited the kids.

The first little delicacy we were preparing was called: peanut clusters. Mmmmm, good! Who doesn’t like peanut clusters (besides the poor people who receive anaphylactic shock from ingesting anything made of peanuts)? I thought I would try to begin a new family tradition where we joyously worked together, all contributing a small part and – Voile, create a gift made entirely out of love and family teamwork that our neighbors could enjoy. What world was I in?

Bennett volunteered to be the peanut cluster ‘helper’. After he put his chair in just the right spot to reach the counter, I allowed him to empty the ingredients into the bowl. And of course, in his 4 short years, he has already come to be an expert in almost every area. So, he had no need of my help or encouragement – even when items were falling on the floor. However, most of the ingredients made their way (miraculously) into the bowl. I even let him hit the buttons on the microwave. I wanted him to feel every bit the cook.

Once the ingredients had melted, we enjoyed the aroma that wafted about us and we (Bennett) sighed and complained and merrily worked along side one another (interpret that to mean, me holding tightly to his hand as he stirred, in order to ensure all melted ingredients remained in the bowl). I even brought him to tears at one point because I must have been ‘helping’ him a little too much while holding his hand and directing him.

Then it came time to ‘plop’ the gooey mixture onto the tin foil. Oh boy – if he didn’t need any help earlier, he certainly didn’t want me anywhere near him now. I have come to learn the word ‘plop’ can be interpreted differently to each individual. His ears must have heard, “Bennett, please shake the spoon with all the gooey, chocolatey, peanuty, stuff as hard and as high as you can so that only a little makes it onto the tin foil and the rest flies about in a beautiful array all around the kitchen. I would especially like it if you and I could be covered from head to toe with little chocolate droppings. Oh yeah, and if all the plops could be almost on top of each other instead of neat little rows – that would be a nice touch.”

It killed me to see these ‘plops’ being placed anywhere but in neat little orderly rows across the tin foil. But hey, I bit my tongue for the sake of ‘family bonding time’. I had to keep telling myself that this wasn’t about perfection and orderliness and cleanliness….it was about our time spent together and doing something for someone else.

I thought I’d learned my lesson, that is, until Gavin helped me with the next item on our list of treats to make.

I saw this cute little recipe for ‘white chocolate snowballs’ that looked easy and fun to make. I no longer hold that opinion about these candies. If I had known ahead of time that you were going to have to dump a whole can of peanut butter and a whole bag of powdered sugar in the same bowl and then stir for forever, I might have opted out of the project. But Gavin and I were already knee deep in a sticky, sweet mess with powdered sugar floating around the kitchen like dry ice. Then it got even better.

Next we were supposed to take this mixture and make little balls out of them. Gavin was like,”You mean I have to put my hands in there? I have to get dirty?” What boy doesn’t want to get dirty? The extra special part about rolling the little peanuty, sugary balls was when your hands started to stick together because the peanut butter created a sort of glue which made it nearly impossible for you to roll multiple little ‘snowballs’ without washing your hands between every 2 ‘snowballs’, thereby, making the process last an increasingly long time. Which is great since we want to spend quality time together working on something out of the love of our hearts for our neighbors. Good idea gone bad.

Gavin ditched me after the 4th washing of his hands – he just couldn’t take it anymore. So much for our fun new tradition. But, it only got better. I thought the final touch would take no time at all. All I had to do was melt the white chocolate chips and dip the ‘balls’ into them using a little toothpick. Whatever! A few problems presented themselves at this stage of the game.

The first being that I chose to microwave the white chocolate chips instead of heat them in a pan on the stove. Efficiency is my ‘thing’. However, wasting all my ingredients is not. I ended up burning the white chocolate chips (evidently I didn’t stir at the right intervals). Now what was I supposed to do. How do you make ‘snowballs’ without anything white to dip the balls in?

I decided to be ingenuitive and use the chocolate chips I still had sitting in the cupboard. They weren’t white – but what the heck, we’ll call them ‘chocolate snowballs’ instead. Now came the tricky part that involved a toothpick and the balls. Do not try this at home – even if the recipe says to. Trust me, it doesn’t work! The toothpick, once inserted into the little peanuty ball, only helps in ruining the ball. Then, once I tried dipping the ball into the chocolate, still holding fast to my tiny toothpick, the disaster came upon me. I lost my ball. My toothpick slid right out and now I had to do a search a rescue for my ball lost in the melted chocolate.

I ditched the instructions and used a good ol’ fashioned spoon. Time is of the essence here now. I was the only one left in the kitchen and I wanted to go find my family and take part in whatever joy and pleasure they were sharing in together without me. Forget the neighbors, I should just go buy something from someone who really knows how to bake. But then, practicality stepped in and reminded me that we (I) was doing this out of the love of our (my) hearts and we(I) wouldn’t want to have wasted all that time already spent.

The balls have all finally been dipped. I am now sitting here waiting for them to harden in the fridge. I even already wrote little cards to put inside the gift bags telling everyone what kinds of goodies they were receiving – white chocolate snowballs is on that list. I guess I’ll have to tell them that we dropped all the snowballs in the mud. That would fit in perfectly with our family’s tendency towards clumsiness and accidents. Aren’t you glad you’re not my neighbor?

Dec 13, 2005

Deductive Reasoning

12/13/2005 — cori

We have just been studying the digestive system. Gavin sits spell bound with rapt attention. He doesn't want to miss a single part of what happens during digestion. It's his 'thing'. He can't get enough about science. As soon as he learns something, he can repeat it word for word. I think he has a tape recorder for a brain. Anyways....

After school he was coming out of some time spent in the bathroom and announced to me that, "Mom, our stomach is like the toilet. All the bad stuff goes in there. Then the water in the toilet is like the stomach juices and mixes all the bad stuff up. Then when you flush it it's like it's going into the small intestine."

Wow. I sat there speechless. To think I spent all this time trying to figure out the best way to teach and illustrate digestion when all along all I had to do was take a field trip to the bathroom and flush the toilet.

I responded as any mother would, "Amazing, Gavin. I like how you were able to correlate what you're learning with an interesting visual. I love how your mind works, Honey!"

Dec 12, 2005

Don't Read Into This

12/12/2005 — cori

I was very nervous leading up to this appointment. I didn't want the Speech Therapist to read into anything Bennett was doing or the way he said something or the way he might have looked at her when he answered a question - or ignored it. I was VERY nervous. Bennett is my loose cannon - anything can happen. And it did.

The appointment begins with the nice lady showing Bennett a basket full of plastic food that he was to 'feed' to the stuffed monkey. He was to name all the food items as he 'fed' them to the monkey. He loved this game. He said all the words properly and with a grin on his face the entire time. The only doubtful part came when he fed the monkey a 'fanich' (sandwhich) which was actually a plastic piece of pizza. I read that to mean: either the faniches I make him look like pizza or the lady could be thinking we never let our children have pizza and I will in turn look like a bad parent. (Remember my 'worst case scenario' outlook on life here).

I was REALLY afraid of her reading into anything he said or did. She then asks Bennett what his favorite food is. My son answers, "shicken (chicken) - burnt shicken". Although I was only in the room to sit and watch and not speak, I simply could not let a comment like that come out of the mouth of my dear child and not clarify for the nice lady. I piped up, "Let the record show that Mommy is not the one who feeds him burnt chicken. It is the chicken Daddy cooks on the grill. And it is not charred. It just has a few burnt spots on it." Whew, close call. I wouldn't want her thinking we only feed our child burnt food.

Next, the nice lady pulls out a little plastic family. There is a Dad with a cap that can't seem to stay on that Bennett seems to fixate on the entire time. A Mom, a son, a daughter, a baby, a dog and a cat. The lady takes them out of the bag and stands them all on the table. Bennett immediately goes for the Dad and begins putting its hat on properly (which continuously slides off). In between fixing the hat, he proceeds to take the dad doll and knock down all the other family members - repeatedly. My face is starting to blush. I'm getting nervous. I wanted to explain how they wrestle ALL the time. This means NOTHING. I'm praying she's not reading into this one. Bennett also has this facetious grin on his face the whole time. I've already interrupted once, I can't do it again. I let it ride and see where she takes this.

She then decides to show Bennett the son doll and asks him, "What do you think his name should be? Jack or Mary?" Bennett, not even looking up from his whacking activity with the Dad doll responds, "Mary." She questions his response, "Are you sure?" He is taken back by her doubt and looks at her and emphatically says, "Yes." Great. Not only do I have a son who likes to whack all the other family members down with the dad doll - he has issues with gender recognition now too. If she finds out I homeschool - I'm finished!

Finally, she puts the daughter doll on top of the cat doll and Bennett proceeds to knock her off the cat. The lady responds to his action by saying, "That's right. It's not right to sit on the cat. Is it?" She asks him, "Bennett, would you mind putting the cat under the desk?" He looks at her as he continues repositioning the hat on the Dad doll and says, "No thank you, I wouldn't." I'm thinking to myself, Bennett, she wasn't asking you if you wanted to - Do it, NOW. Put that stupid doll down and listen to the lady! Thankfully, she rephrased her question into a command and Bennett promptly obeyed before I could interrupt.

I left there on a wing and a prayer and Bennett telling me, "Mommy, I wuv to spend time wiv wu."

Dec 7, 2005

Conversation Starters

12/07/2005 — cori

A few conversations I've had with Bennett today:

This morning he informed me that, "I would like sex (Chex) for vekfast." Alrighty then.

In case you're wondering about his speech skills, I just took him to be evaluated by a lisenced speech therapist yesterday and they say his speech is perfectly normal. It is normal for 'ch' to sound like an 's'. That would be helpful to know when your children are beginning the whole speech thing. Maybe someone can make some sort of 'parent maual' and pass it out when you have a baby. That would save us a lot of headaches in the translation department.

Later in the day I'm told, "Mom, I finched (pinched) my bottom. Can you fease (please) kiss my butt?" I'm curious as to how he pinched it, so I ask, "Honey, how did it happen?"

"I just finched it, dat all." Hmmm. I guess that will remain a mystery forever. By the way, I ended up kissing my fingers and placing them on the 'sore area'.

Earlier in the day, while we were doing school, he looked at me with stars in his eyes and said, "Mommy, wu are vutiful!" It's nice to know that even when I'm wearing my sweats, a 12 year old sweat shirt, no make-up on and my hair pulled back in a clip that I'm still 'vutiful' to someone. It was accompanied by a sweet hug and kiss. I've got the best job in the world!

Dec 4, 2005

It Could Only Happen to Us

12/04/2005 — cori

We recently had the opportunity to go to "Holiday in the Park" at our local theme park with some of Chuck's co-workers. We have not yet exposed our children to the joys and thrills of the theme park before, so we had a little educating to do in order to get them up to speed. For weeks, we built up the suspense and excitement. We described such rides as Bumper Cars, Ferris Wheels and tried to explain that a Roller Coaster was like a really big slide but you had to ride on something with wheels to go down it. Their minds have been on over-drive for the past week just picturing the untold happiness they were about to encounter. They called their Grandparents several times the day of the 'Big Event' to tell them, for the 10th time, that they were just about to leave to this magical place.

The anticipation was more than they could bear. They were speechless for the whole hour and a half drive there. Actually, Bennett was so excited, he fell asleep. Not only were the kids excited, so were we. It had been over 10 years since the last time Chuck and I stepped foot in the place. So, we were about to be reliving many memories of adolescent fun. And, as an added bonus, I would finally get a chance to meet and mingle with his co-workers and their family members. We were all hyped.

We made it through the grueling lines at the gate. But that was bearable because our adrenaline was running high with the thought of all the fun that lay waiting for us behind that gate. It was about 4:30pm, by time we made it into the park and blindly found our way to 'the spot' where we were supposed to his friends. We waited and waited and waited.

We were very surprised by how many people kept coming into the park. I have come to believe that the entire population of the city attempted to turn out at this park all on the same day. As we waited, we heard a rumor floating around that the power had gone out. A lady next to us confirmed that in fact, her husband and child were stuck in the middle of the tallest roller coaster ride.

Ahhh, lovely. Over half the park has now lost power. The sun is beginning to set and tummies are rumbling. We have now been at the park for at least 45 minutes and have done nothing but stand in one spot. I am terrified, of course, of loosing my they too have only been allowed to stand in one spot and have not veered more than one step away from me.

Chuck then decides that we need to let the kids try to get one at least one ride in before we try to find food. So, we push and shove our way....oops...I meant we meander our way through the mob of people in order to find the 'Kiddie Section'. Luckily, we were not ever 50 yards away. But that is where our luck ran out. It seemed that this section of the park was also without power. Now what?

Well, everyone is starving...and I don't just mean us...I mean everyone in the entire park (which remember, is the entire population of our 1mil+ city). We hear another rumor that there is power in one small section, so we voluntarily throw ourselves into the moving wave of people and pray we don't get separated. Everyone else evidently heard the same rumor and are all headed to the one 'restaurant' (I use the term very loosely. In this case, it is a place that owns a microwave and can pop in any t.v. dinner you might choose to pay your life savings for) in the park with power and food.

Luckily, we have made contact with one of Chuck's work friends and were able to secure two tables together. The men go in search of food (otherwise known as 'the hunt') and the women and children are left to 'prepare the nest' (otherwise known as keep the children happy and sitting without food while also fending off other hungry humans looking for a place to sit). Both the men and the ladies were successful in their pursuits and for a brief moment in time we actually enjoyed a cordial conversation with other polite people in this rambunctious, crazy atmosphere. But our joy soon ended. We were done eating. Now what do we do?

I forgot to mention, while guarding our coveted table, I received what I like to call 'The Leg Injury of 2005'. I procured the largest bruise and knot on the top of my upper thigh as I tried to get up from my seat. I had to pretend it didn't hurt as bad as it did. I wanted to just kick the chair and cry. But then I would have had an audience since we were all practically sitting on top of each other. I'm trying very hard not be too melodramatic, but man, did it hurt. The only positive thing about this was that it momentarily took my mind off the atom bomb currently going off inside my head and helped displace the pain to my leg. To quote a lesson I've learned from the Berenstein Bears: Every problem has a positive side to it. You just have to look for it.

There are way too many other parts of this story that I don't have time to bore you with, like how I had to literally crawl over the table and chairs in order to get out of the 'eating area', or the line for the ladies bathroom that was as long as a parade, or the nice thin layer of slimy green substance on the floor once you walked into the bathroom, or how we were so paranoid of loosing the kids that we coached them on what to say if we got separated and how we put Chuck's business cards in their pockets and would randomly ask them to 'produce the card' just to make sure they knew where it was at all times. Talk about fun.

When we just couldn't take it anymore, we decided to throw in the towel and leave. There were only a very few rides open and even if you were brave enough to wait in line and risk the power outage, you would easily have to wait at least another hour before even stepping foot on the ride. Chloe would have none of that.

What parent brings their children to a theme park, spends two hours there and doesn't let their children ride even one measly little ride?! Us. We were the ones who built up their anticipation and now we were the ones dashing their hopes. We felt horrible. We HAD to make it up to them, so we asked them what they wanted to do. Their first choice was to go swimming. That wasn't going to happen - we felt bad, but not that bad.

Their second choice was to go home, pull out the sofa bed and watch a Superhero movie and sleep on the sofa bed all night. How could we say no to such a simple, fun request? We tried to up the ante by offering to stop at Half-Price Books and let them pick out a new Spiderman movie. You would have thought we just gave them a million dollars.

Of course it didn't work out that easy. Chloe had to contribute to the chaos of the evening. Her contribution came in the form of a diaper blow-out that leaked all over her new velour jogging suit (not that she knows how to jog, it's about the fashion statement). This blow-out occurred somewhere in the parking lot, which meant we were too far away to turn around and find a changing station in a restroom. This diaper required strategic planning and implementation on the part of our entire family. Each one had a job to do. I was to hold her. Chuck was to remove any and all areas affected by 'the leak' and figure out how to dispose of it. Gavin was 'Wipe Man' and was in charge of handing me the wipes (this was a 6-wiper, just in case you were curious). Bennett was to hold her hand and make her feel as comfortable as possible in a minivan with the door wide open and all family members looking on as her most basic bodily functions are being taken care of. This was one of our finest hours of team work.

We were excited about our plan, but before before we could stop at Half-Price, priority number one was to find food for me. So, we ended up stopping at my favorite restaurant first. My tummy was finally happy (but it still didn't help the migraine). After another hour and a half of waiting and eating, we finally made it to Half-Price books around 9pm. My kids are normally fast asleep by then - but this was no ordinary night, was it?!

We made it home around 10pm, got all cozy in our jammies and watched an hour of Spiderman cartoons from the 80's. Does it get any better than that?! I think we successfully have prevented our children from ever asking to go to any amusement parks for the next several years. On our way out of the park Gavin said, "We drove 1 1/2 just to eat? Let's get out of here. I don't like this place." Brainwashing complete - mission accomplished. Then later, on the way home he said, "Tonight was great, we got to go to our favorite restaurant (Chuys), our favorite bookstore (Half-Price) and do our favorite thing (watch movies on the sofa bed and stay up late). This is a great day." It seems he forgot all about the theme park.

Lessons learned: 1. You can be cheap and still have fun. 2. Spending a lot of money at amusement parks does not guarantee a good time. 3. Fun is relative. 4. Whatever you do as a family can be fun just for the fact that you get to do it together and make memories.

True Love

12/04/2005 — cori

Bennett and I were just bonding together as we were slaving over the hot oven making our 'cut-n-bake' sugar cookies. He on a chair, me hovering next to him in order to insure we were only cutting and baking cookies - not fingers. He's a stickler for 'doing it himself''. Most times he doesn't even need any instruction while learning a new task. Amazing, isn't it?!

As we struggle back and forth with the proper placement of the knife upon the cookie dough stick, he sweetly says, "Mom, I wuv wu."

"Why, thank you Bennett, I love you too." I respond.

Evidently, he felt the need to expound on his love, "But I weelly wuv wu - even dough wu don't wook pretty today."

We are still feverishly cutting cookies here. So, I try to remain composed and not fall into a heap on the floor since my self esteem has just been thrown a huge blow. I muster up my sweetest voice and ask, "So, you don't think Mommy looks pretty today, huh?"

Bennett, ever the sensitive little one, responds "No. But I yike wu jeans. Dey are nice. And wu are nice. And I still wuv wu."

"So, what you're saying is, you're not a big fan of the shirt I have on. Is that right?" I say in a calm, even voice.

"Ya. Can I go play now?" He is done. Bonding time is over. More important matters demand his immediate attention. I'm glad he was able to get that off his chest.

Excuse me...I've got to go change my shirt now.

Dec 2, 2005

Sticky Question

12/02/2005 — cori

As we were sitting down to breakfast this morning, Gavin's mind was running at full speed as usual. He was eating pancakes with syrup. Then, like a revelation from above, something hit him. Of course, I am the only adult in the room, so his mind boggling question was aimed directly at me.

"Mom, why doesn't syrup stick to our tongue?" He asks. Wow. Good question. "Honey, I have absolutely no clue." The only thing I could think of to say in order to sound half as smart as him was, "Hmmm, that is odd, isn't it? You know, gum is sticky too and it doesn't stick to our tongues either." There, I just showed him that I too, can think 'smart'.

He totally disregarded my most feeble attempt to stall the conversation and proceeded to inform me of the only thing that can indeed stick to our tongues. "Mom, the only thing that sticks to our tongues are octopus testicles, cuz they have suction thingys on them." Thankfully, I have now been set straight in the more important inquiries of this future generation of scientific thinkers.

Nov 21, 2005

Pet Peeves

11/21/2005 — cori
There are four things in this world that drive me, quite literally, insane. Surprisingly enough, Bennett already is quite adept at two of the four items. Coincidence? I think not. Here is the on-the-edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting list that you cannot possibly wait a moment longer to hear.

1. The Quiet Talker. Don't even think about talking quiet around me or while we're talking on the phone. If you can't speak up, I don't want to hear you. Pretend I'm an elderly lady with a faulty hearing aid. Bennett accomplishes this effect by sitting in the farthest seat away from me that he possibly can in the back of the van. Then, while the music is playing and all my efforts are focused on trying to get from point A to point B as safely as possible, he decides to start giving me a brief history of Batman. He asks me a gazillion questions and will end up in tears if I don't answer him. I'm doomed. Not that Bennett is a naturally quiet child, oh contraire. But in the car his mission is to personally sabotage his mom's peace of mind while trying to concentrate.

2. Not Calling Me Back. Oh boy - instant rejection here. Remember, I'm 'worse case scenario' girl. If someone I love hasn't called me back - well, let's just suffice it to say that my fatalist mentality gets the best of me.

3. Parking Your Cart in the Middle of the Isle. Also called: inconsiderate. If everyone would just be the tiniest bit more considerate, like scoot your cart over to the side of the isle, the world would be a happier place. That's my soapbox.

4. Picking. Last - but definitely not least! This is actually the all time worst pet peeve for me. Chuck loves to pick. He does it without even knowing - his nails, his hang-nails, his toes, his feet, any excess or random skin flaking off his or anyone else's body (especially delightful while a sunburn is peeling). For whatever reason, I can't stand picking. It makes all the nerves in my body instantly cringe at the same time. Well, guess who else has a pension for picking - yup, Bennett. Not only does he pick - he LOVES to pick. And I personally think he loves it because he knows how much I hate it. I often overhear him saying "I love to pick". I know he's trying to break me down, play with my mind, some kind of torture tactic I suppose. Then, his icing on the cake routine is when he comes and announces to me, "Mom, I've got some pickin' to do", like he's falling behind his quota or something. I can't stop him from picking, but thankfully, I don't have to be in the same room to observe this ritual he and his father find as fun and productive as say...blogging. :)

Nov 15, 2005

Why Not Exercise?

11/15/2005 — cori

My husband and I have asked ourselves this age old question many, many times. And to our delight, we always come up with doozy answers that inevitably keeps our butts securely in place on the sofa. Truth be told, we're actually anything but couch potatoes. We're always on the go (that reason was on the top of our 'Why Not Exercise' list, by the way). We feel justified in the fact that we keep our bodies so busy that we don't have time to exercise.

Despite our justified reasons, we decided to give it a try....don't knock something till you've tried it, right? Well, I'm knockin' now. I've 'exercised' for two whole days now, so I feel I have a leg to stand on here, that is, if it wasn't so wobbly from all that exercise. Here are my top five reasons NOT to exercise....

1. After doing multiple sit-ups, I find that I'm perpetually stuck in the 'crunch' position. This does not bode well for carrying around little ones, making lunch or dinner or pretty much doing anything in a vertical position.

2. My legs are too wobbly to make it up the 16 steps I already climb 15 million times a day. I have instead resorted to an upstairs and downstairs time schedule so as not to needlessly waste valuable leg energy. In the mean time, until I regain secure footing, I climb up the steps on my hands and knees like Chloe and come down on my bottom. My daughter has had to reteach me the tricks of the trade - but I'm a quick learner.

3. It wastes valuable time that I could otherwise be playing. And in this house 'We Must Play' is our daily battle cry. Who knows, one day some scientific study might be released that informs us that playing 8 hours a day with your kids is the best exercise. Then, I will suddenly turn into some health guru because I have prescribed to that idea for years.

4. Exercising sends too much blood to my brain and I end up getting woozy. The last thing the kids need is a woozy mother. That wouldn't be a very good role model of me to walk around holding onto the walls and every piece of furniture just to keep my balance. My children would surely mimic my every move. Then CPS might get a hold of our story and blame me for being under the influence while mothering. That's the last thing I need. Of course, this is a prime example of how I always imagine situations out till the absolute worst case scenario.

5. If I never exercise, I never feel guilty. However, if I say I'm going to exercise and then miss out on a few days of it, well then, the guilt feelings are more than I can bear. I walk around in utter depression heaping loads on condemnation upon myself for ignoring the one activity that is supposed to 'keep me going'.

Which brings me back to the premise of my story. My children keep me going. Trust me - they are ALL the exercise I need. Which reminds me, if you'd like training in my new workout regime, I'll be starting my new class entitled: Mothering...Exercise For Life . Unfortunately, I don't think anyone could make it because it is 16 hours a day with an occasional 6-8 hour break at dark (and that's not even guaranteed).

Nov 14, 2005

Happy Thanksgiv

11/14/2005 — cori

Does that title bother you? It should. It did me. Let me explain how it came to be....

Some very dear friends of ours are moving before Thanksgiving. So we agreed to celebrate together with an early Thanksgiving instead. The plans were made, the date was set, we each knew what we were to make and bring. Then the actual day rolled around...

Can you say 'catastrophe'? It didn't help that I woke up in a horrible mood. So bad, in fact, that I had a meltdown around 9am. I locked myself in my room and had a good cry. Everything in the world was wrong - at least that's the way it looks when you're in the middle of a pity party. It also didn't help that I had two very rambunctious boys running everywhere and a very clingy and whiney little baby girl following me everywhere while making sure I didn't forget what her voice sounded like.

I'm feeling a little pressure about the whole turkey thing - you know, so as not to be perceived as a bad cook. I need advice and who better to turn to than my Mom. So, I call Mom for the turkey prep advice and ask when I should put my turkey in if I'm planning on a 6pm dinner. Mom informed me that noon would work well, but be sure to keep the oven temp at 325 so it doesn't cook too fast. Check. Item one marked off my mental check-list.

Oh yah, before the meltdown, I was trying to prepare a new pumpkin tart dessert for which I found out too late that I did not have all the ingredients. I call my Mom again, " Mom, how important is pumpkin spice, really?" I did not like the bluntness of her reply, "Very important, honey." Oh great! Now I'm in the middle of making a pumpkin recipe that's not going to taste like anything pumpkin because I forgot to buy a tiny $3 bottle of the magic ingredient. I may as well just serve tofu with Cool-Whip on top. I call my friend who's coming for dinner and ask her if she by chance has this insignificant little ingredient.

Meanwhile, I decided I would also bake a Thanksgiving cake. That was actually rather selfish of me. You see, I'm probably the pickiest eater on the planet and since I'm not a fan of pumpkin anything or many berry pies, I thought I'd make the cake so I too could enjoy a dessert. I decided to write with frosting on the top. We couldn't just have some random cake for dessert, this is afterall, a pre-thanksgiving celebration. There has to be some momento touting the event. So, ever so carefully, in my neatest cursive handwriting, I begin to write Happy on the top line and Thanksgiv on the bottom line. Apparently, I'm too dense to know how to space my letters out properly while writing on a cake. So, in my stubbornness I decided to leave it just that way. We would no longer be celebrating Thanksgiving...we would celebrate Thanksgiv. There, problem two solved.

Thankfully, my friend stopped by to drop off the coveted pumpkin spice and noticed that I appeared to be, shall we say, a tad bit upset, weepy, red-nosed, with a slight twitch in my head. I confessed about my break down and we commiserated together. What a difference that made - to have a friend who was genuine enough to sit and listen as I spewed my frustrations and in turn, listened to hers. I could sense the day was about to change. My biggest frustration was that this was supposed to be a happy day, why then, could I not be happy?

I decided to put the turkey in 15 minutes early, just in case. I didn't want to cut it too close. Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about that because our Thanksgiv turkey was done precisely at 2:30 - a full 3 1/2 hours early. I am so not Martha Stewart! I call Chuck and my friends and ask them if they could possibly make it to dinner an hour earlier. Everyone was sweet to comply. I was expecting my 14 lb. turkey to shrink down to the size of a Cornish game hen. Luckily, we had slightly more than that to consume.

This day was the test to the old saying 'your feelings aren't dependent on your circumstances'. I obviously failed the beginning of the day. But by the afternoon, I just had to concede and laugh it off. It's typical of me. What can go wrong, most often will go wrong. And since I'd already had a good cry, I chose to laugh the rest of day. Laughter truly is good medicine.

We had a great dinner, dry turkey and all. Gravy does wonders! Luckily, I'm not the gravy maker in this family. So, Chuck saved the day for all of us. My hero. :)

Nov 8, 2005

Strange Bed Fellows

11/08/2005 — cori

Although its been nine glorious years since we were first married, I have to admit that my husband and I still make very strange bed fellows. Like most husbands and wives, we are opposite in every way. He's hot at night, I'm freezing. I'm sweltering in the morning, he's an iceburg. Many a night has commenced with Chuck strategically posing the question, "Should we sleep with the fan on or off tonight?" No one ever really knows the answer to that question until the moment is upon us. And surprisingly, I alone, hold the key to that mystery. Because it's all about me, right? :)

Another matter is the whole alarm clock issue. For some reason, my husband continuously buys the same faulty alarm clock year after year. Every morning he swears he set it the previous night, yet surprisingly, no noise or music escapes from it at the pre-determined time each morning. I should have told him to save his money. My body clock is as reliable as Walmart being open 24 hours a day. I ALWAYS wake up before my alarm and turn it off so as not to wake my sleeping husband. And then I remember - "wait, he's supposed to be at work right now". So, I ever so gently give him that little nudge, with my knee, then my foot, then harder, then the nudge becomes a shove. I can't stand to be late. I can't stand if I know other's are going to be late. Poor guy is hardly ever late to work - thanks to me.

And finally, the story behind this entry. My husband has serious sleeping issues. If at any point in the night I happen to wake him and ask him for something or tell him I think I heard a noise...he never really leaves the zen state of sleep he was in. Now, he still communicates (if that's what you want to call it) - he can talk and walk, but his actions and/or answers to my questions or comments don't always make sense. Between my talking in my sleep and his doing whatever anybody says to do while in his partly awake state, we are a sitcom waiting to happen.

Take last night for example...Chuck has been plagued by a tickle cough and your basic cold for about a week now. Conveniently, the little fake cough is more severe at night. So, after both of us laying there for 45 minutes last night trying to sleep and pretending to not be at all annoyed by the fake cough every 3.5 seconds, I just can't take any more. I blurt out, "Why don't you go take a teaspoon full of honey. That should help coat your throat." Where I got that one from, I'll never know. It must have been either Mary Poppins or my Grandfather, I don't know which. Evidently, I'm still handing out advice in my sleep - poor Chuck. But being that he is Chuck, he feels the need to respond to every and anything I say or do at night. I could tell him to go make a sandwich in the middle of the night and he would do it - no questions asked. He's so sweet, he feels that he's being rude if he turns his back to me at night. Anyways, back to the story at hand.

So, I'm assuming after he got out of bed he went and ate some honey. I fell to sleep the instant he got out of bed and we never really talked about the incident all day until tonight. When he was like, "What was that whole honey thing about last night?". And I was like, "Did you actually go do that?". To which he responds, "You could have told me to go drain the oil out of the car and drink it and I probably would have because I just don't think at night." Then I'm like, "why are we so crazy at night?". And it just now dawned on me that I'm writing this like I'm some kind of teenager - or do teenagers even talk that way anymore?  Okay, maybe I'm reverting back to my 80's teenager days. :)

Just so posterity gets this story straight, this is a nightly occurrence. There are just too many stories to tell, that I could not possibly relate them all. If any of our off-spring find themselves in this same predicament -you know who to thank. It's in the genes.

Oct 11, 2005

Little Mr. Tender Heart

10/11/2005 — cori

When God was giving out love, I think Bennett got in line twice. His little heart is so tender, especially towards little girls (and me :) ). He treats his little 'Zoe' like a queen, even though she can be pretty 'catty' to him at times. She can do no wrong in his little world - so he keeps showering her with affection and help and kind words. She has yet to realize the depth of this gift he is bestowing on her. Bennett is especially concerned with the plight of all little girls that are his height or below. He feels it is his job to make them happy if they are sad. Take today for instance...

We were at our local library. As we were coming out, the kids asked if they could throw pennies in the water fountains that decorate the entrance to the building. The boys each got two pennies and Chloe got one. They take this 'making a wish' business very seriously. You don't just fling a penny aimlessly into any old fountain. It requires much contemplation and soul searching before giving up that precious money. They fully expect these wishes to come true.

As we were watching the kids go through their solemn ritual of 'making a wish', another Mom and her little girl approached the fountain Bennett was at. The little girl asked her Mommy for some money. The Mom was digging frantically through her purse. Bennett walked up to them and said, "Here, wu can have my money." He saw a little girl in need and felt the urge to come to her rescue. I watched in awe. It was one of those moments that you always hope you might see from your children - when they are looking out for someone other than themselves. I never urged him to do it, I just sat back and watched my son show someone else love and it was a beautiful sight.

The Mom looked at us in amazement and made some comment about our parenting. I told her it wasn't was all Bennett. I explained the soft spot he holds in his heart for little girls. By then, the other Mom had found her pennies and was offering Bennett some more in return. He reluctantly took them. He didn't do it to get anything back, but out of the joy of making someone else happy.

After they had left, I pulled Bennett to me to give him a hug and let him know how proud I was of him. I told him that through that action, he just showed the love of Jesus to someone else. He was beaming. I asked him what made him want to do that. He replied, "Duh wittle dirl didn't have any money and I wanted to make hur happy."

He always seems so concerned about my happiness as well. Whenever I have to discipline him he always lets me know that, "Mom, I still wuv you even dough I made a bad choice." He doesn't want anyone to be mad at him. And if I ever appear sad or down in any way, you can guarantee he will find some type of flower or leaf or stick to bring me with the tag line, "I just wanted to make wu happy, Mom." He sure knows how to brighten up my day.

They other day, I found him standing on top of the chair trying to reach a flower in a vase that was sitting on our breakfast bar. When I caught him red-handed, he was stammering as fast as he could trying to explain about how he found this flower for me and that he wanted to give it to me to make me happy. Same thing happened at a restaurant. I think I'm going to have to ask Chuck to explain the etiquette about how and where you may get flowers. Stealing them from other people's vases and yards do not make mommy happy, even though they are a flower.

Oct 9, 2005

The Lullaby

10/09/2005 — cori

Last night I was getting Chloe ready for bed. As most parents and children do, we have a little routine we follow to a tee. We change into our jammies. We sit on our bed just so - and we have to be in the exact same spots or everything is thrown-off. We read the exact same flip book. Then we cuddle (my favorite part) as I sing her a few songs. Thankfully, I don't have to pick the exact same song every night. If she disapproves of the evening's pick, she just shakes her head no and I move on to a more acceptable piece of music.

As I was in the middle of singing "You Are My Sunshine", Bennett comes in and asks if he could sing a song for his sister "cuz I wuv her". I instructed him to come stand next to me and rub her back, as I was doing, while he sings to her. He laid his head on her arm as he was rubbing her back ever so gently and then in the highest, softest pitch he began..."Wu are a sweet dirl, Zoe. I wuv wu very much. Wu need to yearn to have more patience sometimes. Wu need to go to bed now cuz its wu bedtime. I wuv wu very much, Zoe." Then he quietly slipped out the door after smothering her with kisses.

He loves without abandon. Thank you, Bennett, for teaching me to do the same.

Oct 6, 2005

Up Chuck

10/06/2005 — cori

This is a rather odd title, I know. It could represent two different things. One being puke. The other being a phrase such as, "Get UP CHUCK....because a child of ours has thrown up." In both cases, the phrase involves a bodily function. Unfortunately, most of my stories revolve around bodily functions and my children in some form or fashion. It has come to be expected, hasn't it?

We seem to have been home to a tummy virus lately. It started with Chloe a week ago. One morning I went to get her up and found her sleeping in and around her own throw-up. Actually, she tucked her self into the farthest corner of the crib she could to escape the horrible stench and wetness that permeated the oppostie side it.

Whenever I walk in and find that one of my children has slept in throw up, I feel that I have somehow failed as a mother. I should instinctively know when my child has thrown up and should rush to their aide anytime of the night or day. However, my children never have felt the need to tell me that their insides transferred to their outsides during the course of their sleep. Evidently, they place a higher priority on sleep and their sense of smell must not be too keen.

This brings me to Bennett. It's always Bennett, isn't it? The other night, I went to give him one final kiss before going to bed. He had mentioned earlier that his 'tummy hurt' but I gave it no heed (my first mistake). Gavin had gone to bed earlier with a tummy ache and Bennett always tends to copy whatever brother does. So, I just figured he was copying brother to get extra attention. Boy, was I wrong!

As I opened the door, the smell of rancid gastric juices almost knocked me over. "What in the world?", I thought. I plugged my nose and continued walking over to the bunk bed in the dark, praying I wouldn't step on anything wet and gooey. As I bent over to kiss Bennett, I discovered where the scent originated from. There was my boy, all squished up at the bottom of his bed. There were at least 3 small piles of throw up in and around the upper portion of his bed, including, but not limited to: his pillow, his blanky, and his quilt. Another pile had miraculously ended up under his bunk bed (maybe it slipped through the slats; I still haven't figured that one out). It was everywhere. He didn't feel the need to inform us of this inconvenience. He just wanted to go back to sleep. The contents of my stomach were deciding that they didn't want to remain on the inside anymore either. I rushed out of there and ran to get Chuck who was already dozing off.

"Uh,'re not going to be very happy with me right now, but, uh...I need you upstairs for a minute", then I bolted. He would figure it out once he reached the top of the steps. As Chuck was cleaning and rinsing and re-outfitting Bennett with a new place to sleep that didn't reek of sour milk, I was putting a load of laundry in and Lysoling everything in sight. Poor kid, he was serious after all. Live and learn, right?

At precisely 2:16am, I was awakened by Gavin tapping me on the shoulder. Once I realized who he was, who I was and where I was, I asked, "Are you okay, Honey?" He replied, "Now I am." I didn't catch on. So he proceeded to explain, "Uh, I was trying to get to the bathroom and I uh, kinda didn't make it there all the way." Before he was finished with his sentence, Chuck was out of bed and already marching up the stairs with carpet cleaner and paper towels in hand.

This was a bad one. Instead of isolating the accumulated stomach contents in one neat place such as the bed, Gavin spewed them throughout a diameter of at least three feet right outside his bedroom door and into the loft right at the top of the stairway. In typical Gavin fashion, he was trying to convince us that it could have been worse. He said, "Well, at least I wasn't trying to run down stairs to get you and I could have thrown-up all over the stairs. That's a good thing, huh?!". We assured him that he wasn't in trouble and that accidents happen. It's hard to anticipate what and when and where and how your tummy will empty its contents - at least in this family.

We made it back to bed around 2:46am. Thankfully, getting up that second time around gave me time to take the first puke ladened items out of the washer and put them into the dryer. As I lay there pondering the unforeseen drama of this night, I harkened back to my childhood days of not making it to the bathroom in time. This seems to be a genetical problem in our family.

I was once sleeping with my Grandma while visiting with them and threw up all over her. She never showed one hint of frustration or anger over that. Another time, I did exactly as Gavin did to us, but I left a trail from my bedroom to the bathroom. My Mom was the first to reach me and gave me a towel to wipe my mouth. As she sat and consoled me, my Dad did the honors of cleaning up the mess. So that he could stomach it a little easier, he grabbed a nearby towel and held it up to his face to cover his mouth and nose. As the chore wore on, he came up for breath and mentioned to Mom that this time was especially odorous for some reason. Then she happened to notice the towel he was using to shield his face. It was the same one she had previously wiped my mouth with. He was breathing the fumes up close. I never remember laughing so hard while being so sick.

I guess the moral to the story is: what goes around comes around. It's just payback time, that's all.

Oct 2, 2005

I am Pathetic

10/02/2005 — cori

This Mommy Story is actually about the Mommy - the pathetic Mommy, to be exact. Let me explain...

I love cookies. I have a serious obsession with cookies - not unlike the famed Cookie Monster. However, my body has decided that in order to help keep me from looking exactly like the Cookie Monster, it would install a trigger alarm somewhere within me to keep me from devouring too much of my favorite food. This trigger happens to be in the form of a migraine.

I hate my headaches. It seems that my body prefers that I consume a diet rich in bland, boring food such as grass and water. Those have yet to induce the headache trigger. But I NEED my cookies. This is my one vice (okay, my second vice - my other one is buying lots and lots of beautiful furniture). What's a Mommy to do?

But alas, I have found the answer! I stumbled upon the most scrumptious of cookies made my by beloved grocery store's bakery. I was in heaven. I have found the ONE cookie that does not alert the 'trigger'. Life is good. Well, at least it was...until 'corporate' decided that this particular cookie was too unhealthy to keep selling and instructed all the bakeries to no longer make this item.

Trust me, it's not a good idea to mess with me and my cookies. It took years of labored searching until my body deemed that this would be the ONE cookie that I may eat and derive pleasure from. I was not going to just sit idly by and watch as my favorite cookie was being maliciously taken away from me. Like the bakery makes anything that is good/healthy for you?! It was time I took action.

I wrote a nice little letter to 'corporate'. I got no response. I'm sure I'm deemed as 'The Cookie Lady' now. Things were looking bleak. But I'm not worried, I'm desperate and desperate people do desperate things. I decided that 'if I can't beat them, I'd join them'. No, I didn't go to work for the bakery department - at least not yet. I got in real friendly with all the employees in the bakery, though.

Then a thought struck me, why not just special order my favorite cookie. My new found bakery friends were more than happy to oblige. No need to panic any longer about if and when I'll get my favorite cookie. I am the only person I know who has a standing order at the bakery department for cookies. Not only do they know me by name, they bake 12 little cookies each week and have them ready for me every Saturday by noon. Does life get any better than this?

Today I went to pick up my cookies among other items at the store. As I made my way through the checkout line, the cashier noticed my cookies and said, "Oh, you're the one who orders those cookies every week". After turning multiple shades of red, I admitted it was me. I then asked this lady if everybody in the store knew about my little standing order and she gave me a wry little smile as she shook her head up and down. Oh great! How pathetic am I? My bakery friends sold me out. The whole store knows about me and my little headache and favorite cookie problem. They probably have my picture posted in the break room somewhere with a warning - 'Do not, under any circumstances, tell this woman she cannot have her cookies. Do what ever it takes. Customer satisfaction is our greatest goal'.

Not only am I pathetic, I am obsessive compulsive about my cookies and keep them in a high, safe place in case of a flood (or maybe hungry little people). I then retreat into the pantry or wait until all is quiet and then eat my one cookie. It is in that moment that I don't care what all those people think. All that work for one pathetic little cookie. What have I become?

Sep 28, 2005

Love Analogies

9/28/2005 — cori

We love traditions in this household. Actually, I'm not sure if it's the tradition or the routine we love, either way...we like doing things the same over and over and over again. I'm not sure what this says about us. Maybe that we're boring or route or can't think outside the box. I prefer to think of it as stability for the kids. A sense of comfort comes from knowing what to expect. So, everyday, along with our list of other endless 'traditions', you will find us giving each other love analogies.

This is how it typically starts off:

Mommy - "Have I told you guys I loved you yet today?"
Boys- "Nooooo."
Mommy - "Well, I love you guys as many fish that are in the sea."
Gavin - "Well, I love you as many roads that are in all the world."
Bennett - "Well, I wuv wuu as much dirt dare is in duh land."

The purpose here would be to try to 'out-love' the other person. Of course there has to be a winner. Someone has to love all the rest more than everyone else. I tell them that the Mommy always loves the kids more. But they don't buy into that. They have informed me that the kids always love the Mommy more. Whatever!

Here are some other analogies we've given recently. These go on and on. They are endless. So, I'll spare you the time and just write down a few so that I don't forget by time my kids are 13 and 16. Hopefully, this tradition will still be going strong...but just in case it's not, these should help jog my memory of one more crazy family tradition that I wouldn't trade for the world.

Mommy - "I love you guys as many stars that are in space."
Bennett - "I wuv wuu as many zass (grass) dat is in all duh fields."
Gavin - "I love you as hot as the sun. No, wait, as hot as the lightening. It's 4 times hotter than sun."

Mommy - "I love you as many wires as are in the whole world."
Bennett - "I love you as many vicks (sticks) dat are in duh whole city and on duh road."
Gavin - "I love you as many houses as are in all the world."

It's amazing to me, that no matter how hard we try, we can't seem to capture in words how much we love each other. It just doesn't get any better than this!

Sep 20, 2005

"Mommy, I have a tummy ache"

9/20/2005 — cori

If you ever hear those words fall off the lips of my beloved middle child, Bennett, you might consider two options at your disposal. One, run and hide. Or two, reach for the the nearest HAZMAT suit. You might even want to have an extra one on hand.

These words were spoken to us the other night as we were on our way to a small gathering at church. Bennett never acts sick until he is. The malodorous odor permeating the minivan should have clued us into the fact that this was more than just a 'tummy ache'. We were about to be dealing with harmful, chemical odors here.

Chuck & I both figured that the lunch we ate (6 hours ago) did not sit well on poor Bennett's tummy. Before we left him in the hands of the unsuspecting and innocent child care worker, Chuck decided to take him to the potty. Come to find out, the odor that enveloped us in the car was not only in the gaseous state - there was matter attached to it. Actually, more accurately put, the matter was attached to Bennett's Batman underwear. We no longer own that particular pair anymore. Chuck had no idea how to clean diarrhea out of big boy pants - so he opted to let his son go 'commando' instead. Great. Now I have a somewhat smelly child running commando in the church. We are looking like the great Christian parental influence they desire to become apart of their congregation, I'm sure.

We enjoyed visiting with the other adults for nearly an hour. At that point, I thought I should run and check on the kids. The babysitter said that Bennett was rather quiet, choosing to just sit in the corner. I remember thinking how odd it was that the room still smelled of Bennett's previous episode.

I went over to my sweet child and asked him how he was feeling. He said he was fine, except that his tummy still hurt. I asked if he would like me to take him to the potty (there was a bathroom attached to the room). The rest of the events are still rather blurry to me. After you see a large, wet, tan colored mass fall out of your son's shorts as he rises from the corner, one tends to fall into a trance like state (I should know, it has happened to me often enough). Thanks to Daddy, we were commando, so there was nothing there to catch the mass as it landed on the carpet. The malodorous smell magnified. I almost fainted. My knees grew weak. I don't deal with smelly situations well - especially in front of other people.

With all the dignity I could muster, I continued to walk across the room with my poor child. The bathroom seemed like it was a mile away. It was the only safe place I could think of going. More remnants fall as we pass the onlookers and maneuver our way through toys. No one who witnessed that event will ever be the same. You may as well throw away the toys.

Once we made it to the bathroom, I had not a clue what to do. I asked Bennett what happened and he said he didn't know. The poor child never had diarrhea before and was unaware of the particular urges associated with that awful phenomenon. My mind was blank. I could think of nothing. I felt myself falling away to a far off place. Then a whiff of reality brought me back to the here and now. Suddenly the solution was clear - run and get Chuck. I did not have to handle this crisis alone! Thank God!!!

As I make my way back to the small gathering, it was obvious that I was interrupting. It didn't take much for one to figure out that we were having issues with a child and an 'accident'. I guess I gesture with my hands way to much when I talk (or even whisper, for that matter). The kind pastor offered to let Bennett sit in his office for the remainder of the meeting. We declined rather heartily for fear of being banished from the church - we still had our pride.

Feeling confident that Chuck was in control of the situation, I calmly sat back and enjoyed the rest of the gathering - far, far away from any smells that didn't resemble coffee. However, once Chuck made it back to the 'war zone' he was overcome with that same sense of gagging that rendered me useless. He said that he stood there for a good 5 minutes just talking to Bennett stalling for time and ideas.

Being that Bennett is almost 4, we don't carry an extra set of clothes or big boy pants with us everywhere we go. After this experience, however, you will see a duffel bag in my trunk that is packed with an extra change of clothes for my entire family. Experience dictates that you NEVER know when you will need an extra change of clothes. Chuck decided to sit Bennett in the sink and rinse him off. This was a pedestal sink. It took him 20 minutes to accomplish this task. We couldn't take him home in the condition he was in. And, we couldn't parade him through the church naked on our way to the car. We had a dilemma. Thank God for size 6 diapers. I think Bennett was more mortified by the fact that he was wearing a diaper than by the entire event that just played itself out before him.

Why couldn't this have happened at home before we got to church? Why did it have to happen that day? Why did it have to happen at all? Haven't I had my share of poopy stories to last me 10 lifetimes? Haven't I learned anything from my years of potty training Bennett? Hasn't Bennett learned anything from those same years? If you think these things seem to happen to me quite frequently, you are right. We need to form some type of committee to look into this phenomenon.

Sep 16, 2005

Unsolved Mystery

9/16/2005 — cori

I knew something was going to be awry today when I woke up, glanced at the clock and it read: 18:88. You can not have a 'normal' day when you wake up at 18:88. I thought I was in some dream world, you know, like in the movie "Groundhog Day".

My suspicions were confirmed when I went to find my jean shorts in my drawer and they were not there. "Hmm, that's odd", I think to myself. I'm the only one in this house who does the laundry and I know that I just cleaned them. So where could they be? I then spent the next 30 minutes searching the house high and low for my jean shorts.

I had a dogged determination. I refused to give in to this craziness and just wear any old pair of shorts. Shorts just don't get up and walk away - they had to be here somewhere. My senses aren't too keen early in the morning...actually, I really had no clue what time of the day or night it was since it was 18:88. I'm assuming it was morning. Now that I think about it, it is a little strange that every time I glanced at the clock during my shorts investigation it consistently read: 18:88. You'd think I'd catch on or something...

I know the suspense is probably killing you - it was me. I was flabbergasted as to how such a thing could happen to me. I'm normally a neat and organized person. I started thinking back to the last time I wore my jean shorts. That's not a good activity to do at 18:88. I have the WORST short term memory. I can't even remember what I wore yesterday. How in the world would I remember some vague event in the not too distant past? Things are going from bad to worse.

I decide that this is too big a job for one person. So I enlist the troops. I call Deputy Gavin and Bennett to look upstairs. There is no way in the world they would be upstairs, but I was getting desperate. This mystery was more than I could handle. I even checked in the boys' drawers thinking that maybe in my absent-mindedness while I was folding clothes, maybe I thought my shorts were theirs. No outlandish idea is beyond the scope of reason now. I am accepting any and all leads.

Bennett finds me walking in circles down stairs with a dazed and confused look on my face, still in my pajamas. He runs up to me holding gold - my jean shorts. I pick him up and hug him and swing him in a full circle. I am overjoyed that he has confirmed that I have not actually lost my mind. I ask him where in the world did he find them. He tells me they were in his hamper. Who would have thought?

I reward my deputies appropriately, with a dime and a quarter and send them on their merry way as I slip into my precious jean shorts. Job well done. There's something to be said for persistence! Had I chosen to put on another pair of shorts this mystery would remain unsolved for who knows how long. Now I'm on to my next task, trying to understand the digital clock by my bed that is possessed with a mind of its own.

All this and I am only an hour and a half into my day. I can only imagine what the rest of the day holds for us. :)

Sep 14, 2005

Date Night

9/14/2005 — cori

It doesn't get much better than this...going on a date with your three year old. The boys get soooo excited when they know they get some alone time with just Mommy. Of course, we are big fans of routine around here, so each child knows exactly what is about to transpire for his date. But the anticipation and build up through out the day is almost more than they can handle.

Bennett & I left the rest of the crew after dinner and headed straight to DQ for a yummy blizzard. I decided that we would split a medium sized one since he never seems to quite finish his own ice cream. He made me promise that if we were going to split, that I would only have two bites. I conceded, knowing that there was no way he would finish that huge thing alone and I would be allowed to eat the ice cream at the bottom. Boy, was I wrong! :)

We opted to eat it in the comfort of our parked car, both sitting in the front seat together. Before he even took a bite he told me, "Mom, you can have your two bites now." Then he proceed to count to ensure that I kept my word. This was serious business. He then commandeered the ice cream and remained mostly quiet as he let the sweet, cold flavors linger on his palate. You could tell he was in heaven.

Since I was pretty much sitting there with nothing to eat, I suggested we drive over to the baseball fields and watch some games while 'we' ate ice cream. He loved this idea. Once at the fields we had fun talking and eating 'our' huge ice cream. I think it took him at least 30 minutes to finish the whole thing.

I asked him what he'd like to be when he grows up and he answered, "I want to be a foleece (police) man. Foleece kinda like superheroes cuz they get bad guys." I loved the priviledge of seeing how his brain thought things out. He also added that he was "very bwave" - this is key to being a 'foleese man' and a superhero. I told him he would make an awesome police man because he is an awesome superhero. You could see his chest swell with pride.

He started thinking a little deeper about this subject and found a glich that he felt needed to be discussed. My little superhero has mosquito bites (bumps, he calls them), up and down his legs from playing out in a field the other day. He deduced that he probably wouldn't be able to be a 'foleese man' because of his 'bumps'. "Foleece mans don't get bumps, do dey, mom?" I told him in no uncertain terms that sometimes they do and went on to give an example of a foleese man chasing a bad guy thru a field and getting bitten. Thankfully, he feels that he can still qualify for 'foleese man' school.

He then began to wonder why Daddy wasn't out here playing baseball. Good question. Daddys need to have fun too. We both agreed to bring the rest of the family back here next week. He probably thanked me for taking him on a date at least 10 times while we were out. He also told me that he "loves me too much". What mom's heart wouldn't melt at the sound of such sweet words?

Once 'our' ice cream was finished we were able to have all sorts of endless fun on the playground. Once it started getting dark, I piggy-backed him back to the car to go in search of 'the belt'. However, the night wouldn't be complete without a life question thrown in there somewhere. You know, one of those questions that I have no idea how to answer. Tonight's question was, "Mom, why is our pee yellow?" What a great question! We knew Daddy would know, which increased our desire to get home more quickly.

Bennett's been longing for a Batman belt. I told him I would look for one while at Target earlier in the day, but I didn't find one. His response was, "well, dank wuu for wooking anyways, mom." Affection and thankfulness was on the top of his agenda. He was tickled pink to end up getting to pick his own (brown) belt out at the store.

As we were driving home, he got the giggles because it was way past bed time. He also got a stomach ache, surprise, surprise. :) He ended our night with, "Mommy, I wish I were woo." God put the most sensitive and loving heart in this child and he gave him to me as my special gift. What an amazing life I have!!

Sep 5, 2005

The 'Popping' Sound

9/05/2005 — cori

The other day I was upstairs playing with the kids. As I bent down to get on the floor there was a loud popping noise reverberating from my shoulder area reiterating the fact that I'm not as young and agile as previously thought. I asked Gavin, "Did you hear that noise?" I didn't want him to think that his Mommy had tooted. I felt compelled to explain the unknown noise emanating from my body.

I told him that was my shoulder popping. He quickly sat down on the floor and gave me a demonstration of how he can make that exact same noise only from his leg and hip. Since it seemed to be show and tell time, I showed how I could make the same noise with my hip too. I was not planning to be outdone by a 6 year old.

At which time, Bennett pipes up, "I can make that noise with my bottom." I told him that wasn't the same kind of noise Gavin & I were making. I told him that the noise that comes from his bottom is called a toot. Whereas, our special noise is the result of double jointedness. I don't think he bought it. Thankfully, he didn't feel the need to show us exactly how his bottom makes that particular noise.

Sep 3, 2005

Super Strong Man

9/03/2005 — cori

I was privy to a private conversation the boys were having during a recent 'draw time' they were engrossed in one afternoon. Bennett was intent on drawing his latest alter ego - "Super Strong Man" he is now called. This action figure has a head the size of a watermelon with two stick figure legs poking out of the bottom of the head and two stick figure arms protruding from the side of the head (where one might typically see the ears).

Gavin, ever ready to give advice when he sees the need, explains to Bennett that if he really wants him to look like a super strong man then he should draw 'bumps' on his arms to show how strong he is. Then he lifts up his arms and flexes them for Bennett to admire. Gavin says, "See my bumps". Bennett replies with a "yeah" as he is looking at his wrists. Gavin then culminates Bennett's learning time with the following admonition, "The bigger the bumps, the stronger you are. If you really want him to be 'Super Strong Man' than he has to have bumps."

Bennett gives this advice some thought and determines that this is sound advice and proceeds to draw 'bumps' on his super strong man stick figure. His 'bumps' look more like a vertical line pertched atop a horizontal line (the arm). He is now satisfied with his creation. It looks life like and real now. Brother really does know what he's talking about.

Moral to the story: every super hero must have 'bumps' if he is to appear 'real'.

Aug 30, 2005

My Penance

8/30/2005 — cori

Oh boy, was I having a bad day. It was just 'one of those days', you know? Every blue moon they seem to happen, where nothing goes according to plan. On this particular day, instead of seeing it as a testing tool for my attitude, I let my attitude get the best of me and was on a tear. No one could say or do anything right. I snapped at anything that moved. Of course, none of my outbursts were justified, I was totally letting my emotions control me and everyone was bearing the brunt of it.

By 5 o'clock the kids were overjoyed to see their father come home. They all agreed that it would be in everyone's best interest to lock mommy in her room and give her a good hour of uninterrupted time to decompress and be alone. I had to agree. That was the best idea I'd heard of in a long time. It's always humbling to 'tell on yourself', but it is very necessary. Confession is good for the soul, right? Well, it definitely was for mine.

Chuck graciously occupied the children and cooked while I lounged on the bed and read for a good hour and a half. When I was summoned to the dinner table, to my surprise, I found many beautiful drawings. The boys colored and drew numerous pictures of spiderman and wonderwoman and rainbows for me. How could that simple act of love not change a person's heart. Thankfully, it softened my heart and my attitude. They showered love on me instead of complained and whined about what a 'bad mommy' I had been that day. True love is gracious.

As I was tucking the boys into bed, I apologized for the 100th time for my yucky attitude and asked what I could do to reassure them of my love for them. I really wanted them to know that I still loved them even though I was in a bad mood and had made them sad. Bennett didn't hesitate, he immediately told me that I could draw him 4 pictures and place them on his placemat at the table before breakfast the next morning. Gavin took a little longer to contemplate the ramifications before answering, "You can get me up really early in the morning and spend some alone time with just me and we could color." Those two requests did not ask alot of me, but they did require me to give from my heart. I was overjoyed to do these as my penance.

As it turned out, I woke Gavin up at 6:30am the next morning and we had a wonderful time coloring and talking, just the two of us, for a whole hour. When I went to get Bennett, I told him that he had some special pictures waiting for him downstairs on his placemat. You would have thought it was Christmas morning the way he ran down to look. Actually, everyone ended up getting a picture from Mommy. I figured if it worked to make me feel loved and special and wanted, it would work for the rest of my family too.

Aug 24, 2005

Bennett the Brown-Noser

8/24/2005 — cori

The other evening, Chuck was lecturing Gavin on the virtues of listening to his Mother & Father since it was evident thru his actions that he temporarily forgot its importance. Bennett also happend to be sitting with Chuck & Gavin during this little speech. Gavin had just received a punishment for disobeying and Bennett wanted to pull out all the stops to make sure he wasn't going to be next. He didn't know if he had done anything or not that might be worthy of a punishment, so he thought he would cover all his bases.

He kept interrupting Chuck and saying, "Daddy, I wuv wu. Daddy, I wuv to wisten to wu. Daddy, I makin dood (good) choices." With every point Chuck was making to Gavin, Bennett would pipe in with his own two cents about how was nothing like his brother. Chuck said it was almost impossible to not crack a smile. Bennett however was dead serious. We're still not sure what his motivation was...if it was just to sell himself , to get a 'one-up' on Gavin, or out of genuine affection for his Daddy.

At some times, I honestly question his little sincerity. But lately, I have been of the opinion that he is being totally genuine. Take today for example. At breakfast his thankful was, "...dat I have a Daddy and dat he drive safely to work and home." At lunch his thankful was a laundry list, "...I dankful dat I have a sisser, a Mommy, a vuh-vuh (brother), a fayground (playground), a house and dat I don't have to go to the desert to get my food, dat I have dood (good) food and dat I have a house." Deep. He's always thankful about something, you just never know what.

This last act is definately not considered 'brown-nosing'. I consider it a good lesson in how to pray from your heart. Yesterday morning at breakfast, he voluntarily began it by praying (without my prompting). Here goes: "Dear Shesus (Jesus), Fay (pray) bout my food and my fam-i-ly and yelp (help) me yearn (learn) and watch out for me. Amen." I couldn't have said it better my self.

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