May 23, 2005

My Brother, My Teacher

5/23/2005 — cori
Evidently, Gavin feels he has much wisdom to impart to his younger brother and the sooner he gets started, the better. He holds strong and fast to my philosophy of not wasting any time.
Therefore, what better time than the 1/2 hour car ride home from church yesterday to start teaching his 3 year old brother how to draw his letters - properly, mind you. They each have a mini Magnadoodle in the back seat and were using those for this particular activity (for those of you not familiar with all the new gadgets children have these days, this is comparable to the old write-n-wipes we used to have back in the day).

Chuck & I were enjoying a nice little conversation, when suddenly we realized we hadn't been interupted in the past 3 minutes and quickly turned around to make sure everyone was still breathing. We hardly ever have the luxury of voicing one complete thought out loud to each other before we hear "Mommy....." or some sort of yelling/crying/screaming....take your pick. Anyways, when we turned around to check on them you can imagine our surprise when we didn't see anyone in a head lock with the other's hand around their mouth. They were actually participating in a normal activity. "What has gotten into these children?" we questioned under our breath.

As we sat quietly listening to their precious conversation, we decided we didn't need to talk. The moment was more enjoyable by listening to them talk. Gavin was explaining in great detail how to draw each and every letter and making sure Bennett did it the exact way he instructed. He would even say "No, Bennett, I said, two straight lines". Here's an example of what we witnessed:

Gavin: Okay Bennett, now I'm going to teach you to draw a F. First draw one line down.
Bennett: Like dis? Vuh-vuh (brother)?
Gavin: No. From the top all the way to the bottom.
Bennett: Oh
Gavin: Next, draw a small line at the top that goes all the way to the side.
Bennett: Oh
Gavin: Then, draw another small line right under that. Good job Bennett. Now we'll do G

Then Bennett would beam with pride at the encouragement just lavished upon him.

It was a beautiful sight to behold (and listen to). I keep telling Gavin that he's going to end up being the one to teach Bennett to read because Bennett looks up to him so much and just copies him to no end and desparately desires his brother's approval and praise (much like Gavin does to us). I love moments like these! It shows me what a difference we can make in someone's life if we choose kindness over selfishness. They end up teaching me something everday.

May 21, 2005

My Husband

5/21/2005 — cori
None of these "comical or adventurous episodes" could be possible if it wasn't for my wonderful, sweet, supportive husband. I live my dream because of him. Ever since I was little, all I ever wanted to be was a wife and mommy. I have my dream job and couldn't imagine life any other way. Thank you, Baby!

Sure, financially we could have so much more if I worked outside of our home. But I don't really want more things. I'm afraid I would be spending all my time looking at my things and not enjoying what matters most to me. My Husband. My Children. I might not get paid with money for my job. What I get is worth more than money...the trust of my children, the peace in my home, the joy in my heart and the knowing that my family's needs are met and I was able to be there to meet them.

Not a day goes by that my husband doesn't affirm me. He doesn't place any expectations on me. All he wants is for me and the kids to have fun each day. That is not too lofty an expectation for me to acheive. He never complains if the house is dirty or dinner isn't ready (or not even thought of) when he gets home or if he has no clean undershirts. And he's already accepted the fact that he has superior ironing skills and that he is the 'all-time ironer' in this house. He is the most wonderful Daddy, too. He cherishes his children! He's never too busy for them or never puts his own wants (a new computer) over their needs (karate classes). I love watching him 'daddy'. We are such a team when it comes to this whole parenting thing.

Since he is a designer, he often gives me the most AWESOME screen-savers, web-pages or Power Points as little thank you's or love notes. I find that terribly romantic and thoughtful. That he would take all that time to design something so special just for me. I get flowers when least expected and little post-it notes around the house. Could I be more loved? I think not!

I don't know what he really sees when he looks at me...but I still feel like the same little 16 year old who fell 'in-like' and then in-love with him. I feel like I'm still 16, just playing 'grow-up' and 'house'. I don't feel like I thought grown-ups were supposed to feel. I still feel like a kid and I KNOW my husband does too. Maybe that's why life is so, so fun.

He's taught me so much! How to make the most of every moment (Carpe Diem), how not to take life and myself so seriously, how to accept and give love. He's taught me that life is simple and that it's fun to play and okay not to be efficient all the time. He's taught me humility and what it means to remain teachable. He's shown me what the definition of self-sacrificing means. Just so that he can spend more time with his family, he will go in to work at 4 in the morning to put in his over-time. He's shown me that giving forgiveness is better than having to be right all the time.

My heart is bursting at the seams right now with thankfulness for him and this is my way of 'shouting it from the roof-tops'. Thank you Baby! I love you perfect!!

May 16, 2005

Our Batcave

5/16/2005 — cori
You may not be aware of this fact, but we have a Batcave in our house. Don't all normal, suburban families who have little superheroes living with them?

It sits hidden behind the sofa. Our sofa sits about 3 feet away from the wall, leaving a small little walkway to and from the patio. Also, along that wall are situated two bookcases. Those bookcases, I have been informed (from the upperlevels of superhero management in our house - meaning "SuperGavin") house all the pertinent information necessary to catching criminals. Personally, I remember putting all my old, collectible, harbacked books on those shelves.

The back of the sofa morphs into the computer mainframe where they work tirelessly on all their superhero computer stuff (so I've been told). If you continue on a little farther down the corridor behind the sofa that leads to the patio door, you will soon stumble upon their "workout room". Don't superheroes need to be strong? Therefore, there is a designated place for doing sit-ups and push-ups.

If you were thinking of attempting to sit on the chair in the corner of the living room, caddiy-cornered to the sofa, you would be mistaken in your assumption that it is just an ordinary chair. For when it is being used under the guise of a Batcave, the chair becomes the all important laboratory. I saw my young superheroes over in that vicinty a time or two and asked what they were up to -but you know, it's super secret crime fighting stuff and can't be trusted in the hands of mere mortal parents. Do you think we take this superhero stuff to an extreme or what?

Lastly, before entering the Batcave, you are greeted with 3 little orange sticky notes written in "SuperGavin's" handwriting (therefore, it's only phonetically correct and takes a PhD to decifer). One note warns: "No Grls Alloud". The next note cautions: "Onle Super Heros Alloud". And finally, because of the sensitive nature of the Batcave we are told: "No Gronups Alloud".

Did you know my little superheroes' alter egos? When Gavin is not busy fighting crime is the nonchalant "Gavin Eddie" (Very original being that his given name is "Gavin Edward Mallott"). Even funnier yet is "SuperBennett". He's alias is "Bennett Eddie". He refuses to go by his given middle name and would rather copy brother any day of the week.

I'm so thankful for my little superheroes!!! I just love their imagination!!

May 15, 2005

Mother/Daughter Issues

5/15/2005 — cori
I expected to have these with my little, precious daughter in about 12 more years...I didn't expect our first 'encounter' to be at 13 months old instead. Here is the scenario:

We go up to her room to dress for the day's lively events. Since its quite warm already, I chose a stylish (in my humble opinion) little onesie. It's sweet, mostly white, with a large water-color looking pinkish flower off to one side. It has a little 60's flair to it. If we are to be seen today, we would definately elicit several favorable nods.

However, my adorable, already quite opinionated 1 year old, emphatically shakes her head no at me and the precious little frock I am holding. So, I try coaxing. "Look Chloe, doesn't this look cute?" I say with all the charm I can muster. Again, another emphatic head shaking ensues. I decide to test her. To see if she really knows what she's saying "no" to. Maybe she just likes how it feels to shake her head back and forth and is not really saying "no" to my wonderful outfit selection.

I then proceed to select another onesie from her drawer. This one is a small calico, mostly in pink, on a white backround with spaghetti straps and a fitted bodice. I proceed to hold one in each hand and ask her, "Honey, which one would you like to wear? This one (my choice, hence the right choice) or this one (the other, secondary choice)?" She crawls toward me, grabs the 'secondary choice' out of my hand and begins to smile enthusiastically and hold the item up to her as if to say "Doesn't this look cute?"

I am flabbergasted that we are already clashing wills in regards to clothes. I have already planned my new 'modus operendi'. I will simply show her my choice as the second choice from now on and she will think she is choosing the one I don't really want, but, ahh, she would be wrong. :) Two can play at this game.

May 10, 2005

Insane, Efficient or a Freak of Nature?

5/10/2005 — cori
It's 2am. I can't sleep. I went to bed nursing a horrible migraine. Therefore, I took 3 Excedrin migraine pills right before bed. Does anyone know just how much caffiene they put in those things? I think I fell asleep just long enough to knock out my headache, but it was a very fitfull sleep. My eyes pop open at 1:59, like this is when I always wake up. I toss and turn and try to squeeze my eyes shut to no avail. Being the ever efficient person that I am, I begin to think of all the things I'd like to get done in the morning before the kids wake up. Then I think to myself, "technically, it is morning right now - what's wrong with getting up and doing a few things?". Most people will get up and read or channel surf on the boob tube at 2 o'clock in the morning. Not me. Do you know what insane activity I chose to do? Mop. Who in their right mind gets up at 2:30 in the morning and starts to mop? To be fair, I must blame the caffiene coursing thru my veins. It makes me do strange things. Hey, but at least I don't have a migraine anymore and now I've got clean floors to boot. One less thing I have to do in the morning.

UPDATE: It is now 4:37am and I am still awake. I tried in vain, yet again, to go back to bed, but my body would have none of that. What is normal for most at this wee time of the morning is imposible for me. I know I will be paying dearly for this at about 3pm today when my children are begging me to play and I can no longer hold my eyelids open. So, what, you might ask, could I possibly be doing now since I've already mopped. Well, I am sitting with pen and paper in hand, busily writing down my thoughts - the old fashioned way.

May 2, 2005

Teachable Moments

5/02/2005 — cori
What type of teacher would I be if I didn't continue to be teachable. I bequethed this lesson on my young subjects this very past week. You see, we went for a little outing to a retired battleship. It was amazing, huge, big, massive, old, and full of any and all types of cannons and guns you could imagine...did I mention how big it was? Anyways, we were practically the only people touring the ship this particular day. I was extremely grateful for this due to my large mouth that had my foot inserted into it most of the day.

I kept asking the boys if they could imagine how big the bullets must be in order to fit into such a huge cannon. Little did I know until the unveiling of the video of our field trip to the grandparents that the correct terminology would be 'shell casing' - not bullet. That would be my first teachable moment. I ever so humbly explained that I was just trying to use terminology my children might understand. I don't think anyone bought it.

I then saw it fitting to announce, rather loudly, "Isn't this ship great for protection?" Here, I thought, was another great teachable moment for my children. That guns are best used to protect us not harm others. I was aghast to see and hear Chuck laughing at me as I was teaching such a profound thought. What in the world could have been so funny about this lesson I was trying to instill into my vulnerable children's heads? Apparently, Chuck feels battleships are for attacking, not protecting. I guess its a 'guy thing'.

As we were transcending the depths of this massive ship we came upon a long row of what appeared to be more large 'bullets'. I told the boys that these were even bigger than the last ones we saw, so in all my wisdom, I deduced for everyone that they must fit into even bigger cannons. The boys seemed to be spell bound by my infinite wisdom. That was until, Chuck, who was our videographer for the day's event, ever so subtly (while the film was rolling, mind you) tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to a very small sign right above these alleged 'big bullets'. The sign, to my shigrin, informed us that what we were looking at was in fact oxygen and acetylene tanks, not 'bullets' (I couldn't even pronounce the second one properly, I had to resort to my phonetic training).

Well, well, how do I wiggle out of this one? I'm beginning to question why in the world I chose to homeschool. My children are going to grow up thinking that all oxygen tanks are really 'large bullets' you put in cannons on really old battleships. Great, I'm ruining them for life and they're only 6 and 3 - thankfully, Chloe wasn't paying attention so I don't think I ruined her concept of bullets vs. shells vs. oxygen tanks.

But that's not all, it gets worse. Now, I decide to explain to my eager audience how these "chemicals" work. Where in the world I got the word "chemicals" from is beyond me. I explained that they attach these tanks to this really big welder thingy and it fixes the metal on the boat if the boat gets hit from an enemy attack. This spawned a new thought in Gavin's ever deductive reasoning mind. He then asked me, "What if the ship got hit underwater?" Well, I'm already in too deep and don't see any harm in just going all the way, so I draw on all my experience in fixing broken boats from all the wartime material I've read over the course of my life and inform him that they just put on diving gear and do it under water. That answer seemed to suffice for the time being.

I know all this WILL come back to haunt me in the future being that we have it on tape for all posterity to witness. Next time, I'll let Chuck be our 'tour guide' and I'll volunteer to hold the camera and keep my mouth shut. Ahhh, teachable moments, you've gotta love 'em.

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