Dec 27, 2006

Awkward Moment

12/27/2006 — cori
Today, I decided would be a great day to go down to the DMV to check on my lost license. I felt this would be fun to do with the kids. I actually had the option to leave them at home with Chuck and thought, no, they'll be fine, it's just a quick little trip.

However, that's not what I was thinking an hour later as we were still standing in line. Standing might not be the appropriate term. I was the only one left standing. The kids found many other ways to pass the time. They thought trying to squeeze Chloe between the two of them as they leaned up against the wall was an acceptable activity - until they got 'the glare' from me. Then they decided it would be better to come lavish all their love upon me. So I had 3 children hanging from every available limb smothering me with kisses and hugs and words of affection. Not that I don't love to be loved on by my children, but we were in a small enclosed room with alot of other people standing all around us (I felt as if we were on a stage with a microphone) and we seemed to be the only ones talking.

Then Chloe saw that a Mommy and a baby had entered into the picture. She asks me, "Who dat baby, Mommy? Me go see dat baby?" To say no would be to incite the wrath of Chloe and I already had all eyes on me and my clan, I didn't need to show the world one of Chloe's temper tantrums; so I opted for, "Why don't you and Bennett go say hi to the baby."

The only way to describe the next moment is: awkward. Bennett and Chloe amble hand in hand towards the back of the line examining each person as they go. They make it to the young, unsuspecting mother holding the object of Chloe's affection and just stand there and look at her. The mother stares back at them. They look at the baby. The mother looks at the baby. I'm not exactly sure what the mother is thinking, but she did walk out about 5 minutes after this exchange. I guess Chloe did exactly what she wanted to do - she saw the baby.

Note to self: Need to teach the kids to speak to people and not just look at them. Let's work on conversation starters.

Dec 24, 2006

Fire Hazard

12/24/2006 — cori
A Christmas Eve candle light service scares me. It scares me alot. Two reasons come to mind - Bennett and his slippery fingers and my innate fear of fire. Add to that Bennett and I sitting right next to each other and you have a recipe for disaster.

As we entered the sancturary this morning, we passed a basket of small candles. We paid no mind to it thinking they were for other people. They really wouldn't want anyone in our family to hold a fire stick in their nice sanctuary if they really knew us.

We made it to the end of the service without creating too much of a scenario and then the Pastor says, "Now, we're going to light the candles...". Uh-oh. Chuck quickly makes a mad dash for the back to go bring enough candles to make it look like we're a bonfire waiting to explode. He gets back in time for the 'master candle' holder to light his torch. But let me digress a bit and set the scene a little more in focus for you...

Chuck is on the isle seat with Chloe perched upon his lap. Next is Gavin with a goofy grin on his face - a little too excited about holding a candle in a public space, if you ask me. I am next with Bennett lounging beside me. He thinks these chairs are recliners, I think.

Another important piece of information that is imperative for the reader to know is that Bennett drops everything. Just yesterday he spilled his drink at the table. If you give him something to hold, it will invariably end up on the floor. He has just seemed to be plauged by the 'butterfingers curse' since infanthood. Now add to Bennett's 'issue' my fear of fire. I think I'm just as scared of fire as I am of heights. We have never made a fire in our fireplace because of said fear. Oh yeah, and remember, I'm 'worst case scenario girl' - so you can imagine how the fear immediately gripped my mind and starting cranking out 'worst case scenario' movies.

So, when I hear that we are fixin to light a million candles in a sanctuary filled to the brim with little kids, people packed in like sardines next to each other and many flamable materials in too close of proximity to Bennett, my heart starts to race. I am in panic mode now - yet on the outside I try hard to keep my composure together by giving tight lipped smiles to those around me. The whole time visions of the church up in flames is running through my head. I'm imagining the person's coat in front of me on fire. I'm seeing Bennett drop his candle and a fire starting on the carpet and spreading like wildfire. I don't think this is what is supposed to come to mind while the choir is singing 'Silent Night'.

Amazingly, we made it through the everybody-light-your-candle-from-the-person's-next-to-you phase. I am begging the boys to hold on to their candle with their entire fist. Dropping the candle is not an option. And I have declared myself fire marshall in this all important mission. I can no longer concentrate on the beautiful melodies coming from the stage, my mind is on one thing and one thing only - keep the candles upright, far enough away from the person in front of us, but not too close to our noses to catch our hair, ties, or shirts on fire.

I'm starting to sweat. I need to sit down. As I sit down, I ask Bennett (trying to keep my voice from shaking), "Honey, would you like Mommy to hold your candle for you for a bit?" He hands it off without so much as a good-bye. He actually couldn't wait to get the object out of his hands and doesn't give me adequate time to position my hand exactly where I would like it. It seems that I caught it more in mid-air. After the transfer of the fire object is made, I am able to start breathing a bit easier. But by sitting down, it seems I have unintentionally invitied Chloe to come stand too near the flames. She insists on 'helping' me.
After inspecting Gavin's holding position and deeming that he is safe, I no longer worry about him and devote my attention to my little helper. My next mission is to not let Chloe's pig tails, which she is constantly flicking around, get in too close of proximity to the candle tip. I allow her to hold the candle under my fingers which are precariously close to the flame. The part that freaks me out. I then find myself staring wild eyed into the flame and forget where I am. I quickly remember as I feel hot wax running down my fingers.

Thank God someone on the stage had the wisdom to tell all these pyromaniacs to blow out the candles. Chloe and Bennett cover the two I'm holding with enough spit for me to also cool down my burnt hands. I quickly pass off the evil objects to Chuck with a look of utter disdain. I proceed to peel the wax off my fingers. Merry Christmas everyone!

Dec 20, 2006

Eating Crow

12/20/2006 — cori
Whenever the kids whine about something they don't have or didn't get they can always count on Mommy saying, "Guys, let's just chose to be happy and thankful for what we do have and not worry about what we don't have." Thus, the background is now set for our most recent adventure.

It was a lovely, mild, fall day and I decided a picnic was in order. The kids and I worked fast to pack a picnic lunch. Gavin put the fruit in, Chloe pitched in the napkins, Bennett put in all the puddings and I donated the sandwhiches.

We get the park and are having a glorious time. We sit down at the picnic bench, spread out our red and white checked table cloth and begin to distribute our lunch foods. It didn't take long for me to notice a vast disparity among the food. I was missing my pudding.

I mount a deep investigation into this oversight. I go right to the source. Bennett. I ask him, "Honey, where is Mommy's pudding?"

He does a great impersonation of someone trying to act surprised. He wrinkles his little nose, contorts his face and feighns a thoughtful pose. Then he responds with, "Hmmm, maybe I forgot it. But that's okay Mom. Let's not look at what we don't have, let's chose to be thankful for what we do have. See, you have a nice little tangelo to eat there. Be thankful for that."

Who can argue with such logic. I'm the one forcing it on them. I may as well suck it up and take my own advice. It sure was a good tangelo.

Permission Granted

12/20/2006 — cori
We had to institute a new rule in this house. Not your typical rule. But we're not your typical family. See, Bennett gets a particular urge to use the bathroom - for a LONG time - every time we sit down to eat, that is. Therefore, the new rule is: If one feels so compelled to use the bathroom during a meal, one must limit that bathroom habit to pee only. In other words, Bennett must get permission to poopie. I never thought we'd come to this...but here we are. He takes this rule very seriously too.

The reason the rule is so strictly enforced is because Bennett seems to spend lengthy amounts of time in the bathroom when this urge stikes, thereby, coming back to a cold dinner/lunch/breakfast, be that what it may. Add to that his very slow eating habits and you end up having a little boy who spends an hour at the table for each meal. We like to all enjoy our meals together - but we don't all like to sit there for an hour watching Bennett eat. Thus, Daddy decided drastic measures needed to be taken.

Granted, he still gets his urge, but he is faithful to follow the rule. He is so conscientious that even when he's not sitting down to eat and feels the need to go to the bathroom, he comes and asks permission to poopie. I can't believe I'm even talking about this. This entire blog, since it's inception, seems to have been devoted to Bennett's Bathroom Habits. Welcome to my world.

So, we're traveling for the Holidays. We spent two entire days in airports within the past week. All the boys decide that it's time to check out the bathroom at the current airport we've been waiting at for two hours. Daddy graciously offers to take them to the bathroom. Once they get inside, Bennett asks Chuck, "Daddy, can I go poopie?" very loudly. Of course, they're not the only ones in the bathroom. Chuck is getting some odd stares, but he's the kind to let things roll off his back. Bennett wants to make sure that it really is okay to poopie, so he asks yet again, even louder, "Daddy, can I please go poopie?" Chuck responds, "YES. Permission to poopie is granted." Feeling relieved, Bennett choses a stall. Gavin decides that since Bennett has permission, he must also, and choses a stall next to Bennett.

Of course, this is all hear say, being that I was not in the men's restroom at the time of this conversation. As Chuck is waiting patiently for our beloved boys, he hears Bennett say, "Hey Gavin. Do ya wanna play 'I Spy'?" Chuck can't believe his ears and quickly nips this little diversion in the bud. He does NOT want to loiter in the bathroom any longer than necessary and encourages the boys to do prompt business.

How do you play 'I Spy' when you're not even in the same place as somebody? What is there to see in a stall? Everything is gray. It's not like there's many things to 'spy'. It's not like you need an activity to help the time go by. You gotta hand it to Bennett, there's never a dull moment in his life - or ours either.

Dec 11, 2006

Here's a Good Idea

12/11/2006 — cori
Daddy's birthday was quickly approaching, so I decided to ask the kids what they might like to get him. I never cease to be amazed at what kids think grown-ups like. Gavin wanted to get him a pumice rock for his feet. We happended to just be studying a little geology at the time and he was curious to see what pumice looked like...so it kind of all worked out perfectly for him. Thankfully, Chuck loves pumice rocks.

Chloe still has no clue. If he doesn't want a baby or a stroller, then she's out of ideas. When Gavin was two, I asked him the same question, only for Grandpa's birthday. I actually got exactly what he said, "a glass cup and a blue plate". That has come to be one of Grandpa's favorite gifts to date. So, sometimes it works out well, other times, not so much.

Then there's Bennett...there's always Bennett. His brain works slightly different from the rest of us. I think he heard, "Bennett what would you like me to buy Daddy that you can play with, have, use or watch?" Knowing that this is how his brain filtered my earlier question, you can have a better understanding of why he replied the way he did. "I have a good idea. How bout we get him 'The Emperor's New Groove' [Bennett's latest greatest favorite movie]." I have to admit, that was a good idea. Daddy loves the humor in it. I even tried to find it, but was unsuccessful. On the second go around he said, "Mom, do they make monster costumes for Daddy's? Cuz if they do, I think we should buy him one. That way when we play monster (i.e.- Daddy chasing the kids around on the playground) he can be a REAL monster."

Again, another perfect suggestion - IF YOU WERE BENNETT who loves to wear a costume everyday, for any occasion. But just think about that for a moment...what if you were another child/parent at the playground and saw this Daddy in a monster costume chasing kids around, wouldn't that freak you out a bit? But to Bennett, that would have been the ultimate gift. I told him that they do indeed sell monster costumes for adults, but they're all sold out and we'll have to remember that for next Halloween.

He ended up settling on making his own coupon, that he wrote out himself, giving Daddy one free massage any time he wants it. I kind of ended up throwing a few ideas out there and he decided that one would be the easiest. He likes massages himself, so I figured he wouldn't mind giving one. But as soon as he gives a 2 minute massage, he sits down in front of you and says, "Now you do me." I knew he'd figure a way to get something out of it for himself.


Dec 9, 2006

Words to Remember

12/09/2006 — cori
There are few things as precious as the way a toddler misprounces new words in her vocabulary. Here are a sampling of some of my favorites from Chloe. The high pitched, whiney sound will fade in time and so will the 'wrong' way of saying things. That's why, for today, I am choosing to live in the moment and enjoy life the way my two year old does.

Bbblllaaahhh = drink
Pooppaste = toothpaste
Flone = phone
Foo me = excuse me
Etmeal = oatmeal
Food me peez = feed me please
Pumbody giga me nink = somebody get me a drink
Pum on boys, it's pime eat = come on boys, its time to eat
Probly me do dis
How me do dis?
I hep you?
I am be doctor
Mommeeee...peez wipe my botton
Me no yike your hair up Mommeee

Nov 23, 2006

Big Hugs

11/23/2006 — cori
The other morning Bennett was missing Grandma and asked me if he could call her (at 8am). But when it comes to the grandkids, it doesn't matter what the time, Grandma loves to talk to them. They were carrying on quite the conversation. After maybe 10 minutes, Bennett hands the phone to me and Mom is on the other end laughing hysterically. She said, "Did you hear our conversation?" I hadn't, so she was more than happy to tell me exactly what my sweet son told her. Here goes:

Grandma: Bennett, I love you so much that next time I see you I'm going to hug you so hard that your head is going to pop off.

Bennett: Grandma, I love you so much that when I see you I'm going to hug you so tight all your fat will turn to skinny.

Nov 6, 2006

Notice of Intent

11/06/2006 — cori
I have noticed an odd phenomenon in this house. It is odd because each one of my children have done this and have never been told to. It is also odd because it is not normal. Again, we're talking about bathroom habits here...so read with caution.

Ever since Gavin was potty trained, he has always felt the need to come find me, wherever that may be, and let me know that he has to go potty. It is spoken with the utmost of urgency too, like he will explode right there unless I grant my permission. That habit continues unto this day and he's 2 months shy of 8 years old. It's like this unspoken rule, You must tell your mother of your intent to use the bathroom and you may not commence with bathroom procedures until aforementioned communication is acknowledged.

Take today for instance...I'm spending some time working with Bennett in his room and Gavin comes and knocks on the door and says, "I have to go potty." What am I supposed to say to that? "You may proceed." Or maybe next time I should try, "Can't you hold it a just a little longer?" But instead, I give my typical nod of affirmation and say, "Alrighty then."

Of course, Bennett follows suit nicely. But he always adds a twist to his. Whenever he comes to find me and warn me that he has to go, he usually follows it up with, "Where's Chloe?" That is our second unwritten bathroom rule in this house. If your name is Chloe and your brother has to go to the bathroom, you must accompany him. It's like he's offended if she doesn't want to sit in there an keep him company. Not that she turns him down very often. He tries to make his offer of 'special time in the bathroom together' as appealing as possible. He would rather be constipated than be forced to stay in that tiny room alone.

And then there's Chloe. My newest recruit in the 'Elite Potty Trained Forces'. Now that she is free of her cumbersome diaper, she too follows tradition and announces to all her intent. For example, say we're sitting around playing legos. Upon the realization that she needs to go, she stands up, immediately pulls all her lower garments down to her feet and says, "Me go potty now. By my felf!" and waddles toward the appropriate destination. Notice the message of intent though.

Is there a moral to this story? None that I can think of. Unless its: becareful of the unspoken expectations you have of your kids or you might just know each time they need to go to the bathroom for the next 18 years.

Oct 30, 2006

The Visitor

10/30/2006 — cori
We had a very special visitor the other night. It was actually quite a surprise. We weren't expecting anyone. He probably came because we live quite close to one another. He caused quite a rucus, though. We weren't expecting to have to pick up after him so much. Evidently, he just prefers to eat privately. At night. Outside. Have you guessed who our visitor was yet?

A Bear!

The only downside to our little visit is that we never actually got to see one another. We only realized he came the next morning when we found the trash from our dumpster strewn across the back yard. Actually, the trash can having fallen over didn't surprise us in the least. It had been an extraordinarily windy night. And it would have been quite feasible that our can tipped over. What wasn't feasible, however, was the trash bags ripped apart like they were made of tissue paper. Or the large teeth marks found on a frosting can. Or the Crisco container torn to shreds. Last time I checked, the wind didn't have those capabilities.

So...who do we send out to do damage control? Good ol' fearless Daddy! The kids, Nana and I were all perched on the balcony, a safe distance away in case our visitor was really playing hide-n-seek. I even had the foresight to grab the video camera to document our latest adventure...or the bear. I quickly scanned the trees with my telephoto lens and gave Chuck the 'all clear' signal. He could now safely enter the brush and overgrown trees in our backyard inorder to safely retrieve the trash that was rightfully ours.

Actually, we all worked quite well as a team. Daddy sent Bennett in to grab a large, black trash bag. Bennett passed it onto Gavin, who cautiously meandered into the depths of our back yard to make the hand off to Daddy. He then stood transfixed in one spot surveying the damage. Nana held onto Chloe for dear life. And I recorded it for all posterity. If you're going to have such an outrageous story, it helps to have documentation.

We contemplated other possible intruders. It could have been a racoon, but we ruled that out for a number of reasons. One, racoons perfer to stay near the trash cans. Two, we've never seen or been told of racoon sitings on the mountain. Three, racoons don't have as big of teeth marks that were found on what is now being held as Exhibit A, nor do they have as large of droppings that our visitor left as a calling card. It could have been a large dog. But dogs don't go and sit on a pile of old tree, shrub and forrest brush and flatten it out with the shear magnitude of their weight while they're rummaging through garbage cans. That idea was out.

That is why we were convinced that our friend was a bear. A neighbor even told us that she spotted one in her back yard recently. That, along with all the evidence we accumulated led us to our final conclusion. How awesome for city slickers like us to have such a wonderful outdoorsy type of experience as this. You gotta love nature!

Oct 26, 2006

Me and Bruce Lee

10/26/2006 — cori
What do Bruce Lee and I share in common? Actually, almost nothing, except admiration. I was driving Gavin back from his Tae-Kwon-Do class last night and he mentioned that there are ALOT of posters of Bruce Lee on the walls of the training room. I nodded my agreement then added, "Your instructor must really admire Bruce Lee for his style and abilities." Gavin heartily agreed. I then went on to add, "Everyone admires someone. Who do you admire, Buddy?" His answer caught me off gaurd and brought tears to my eyes, "I admire you, Mom. I admire you because I love you and I admire you because you teach me." Awww. I didn't see that coming. My heart swells with emotion and gratitude.

A Spider, A Pillow and A Baby Doll

10/26/2006 — cori
I don't like spiders...especially anywhere near my beloved bed. The other day I saw a spider ambling its way up the wall behind my headboard. I was able to secure a flip flop in record time without ever taking my eye of the spider and brought it to a swift and timely death. That was a little gross, but nothing like what I'm about to share.

I had just awoken yesterday. Bennett and Chloe had been cuddling me and had now made their way to the kitchen. I was still lagging behind in my bedroom getting ready for the day. When what should I see before me but a spider ON MY PILLOW! To say that I freaked out is an understatement!

Many thoughts begin a tumultuous roll through my head. The first being, Where did this come from? How long has it been on my bed? Are there more? Am I not safe from insects even in my own bed? Will I forever feel as if a spider can just drop onto my pillow at any given second?

So I did what any normal person would have done, I grabbed the closest object to me and beat it to death. However, the object within immediate reach happened to be Chloe's baby doll who was just cuddling with me. All I needed was a semi hard surface in order to make full impact with the spider. I saw that surface in the head of the baby doll. I think I whacked that poor spider at least 10 times. I grabbed the baby doll by the leg and just let her rip. Thankfully Chloe was not around to witness such an action of self defense.

I was able to clean the doll's head off enough so as no one would be the wiser. My secret was safe with her, I could tell. My pillow was scarred with the effects of the spider's blow-out. That was an easy fix. I decided that if I switched pillows with Chuck and flipped it over to the 'clean' side, he would never know. He doesn't make it a habit of inspecting both sides of his pillow before laying his head upon it . But I just couldn't go thru with that part of my plan. Call it spousal devotion or a guilty conscience...I ended up just flipping the pillow and keeping it myself.

Then comes the inevitable...bedtime. I had the worst case of the hee-bee jee-bees ever! I had this strange feeling that something was on my head. I found myself scooting farther and farther down the bed. I kept trying to brush some imaginary object off my head. I even asked Chuck to "please check under the bed for a spider's nest or lair or whatever" before we went to bed. Of course he appeased me with a quick glance under his side of the bed. That's probably why he was able to rest so easy and I got up twice and turned the light on just to make sure I had no unwanted bed companions.

Then it occured to me today, Why don't you just strip the bed and start anew? Great idea! So tonight I plan on either, sleeping on Chuck's side of the bed or sleeping on the sofa! But this time - I'm definitely switching pillows with Chuck!

Oct 15, 2006

Love In Action

10/15/2006 — cori
Tonight Chuck, Bennett and Chloe were playing hide and seek while Gavin & I were preparing dinner. Next thing you know there's alot of crying and screaming going on. Chuck rushes Chloe to the kitchen to put some ice on her newly acquired boo-boo. Come to find out, Chloe had found the perfect hiding spot under her bed, but upon exiting, she bumbed her head and was now the proud owner of a brand new shinny bruiser on her forehead.

This broke Bennett's heart. As Chuck & I were busily trying to calm her down, we can hear Bennett in the background saying, "I wish I could have gotten hurt so Chloe didn't have to. I wish I could take her boo-boo from her. I wish it could be me instead. Even though I got a bad boo-boo yesterday and nobody helped me, I would still want this boo-boo too. My boo-boo still hurts pretty bad, but that's okay, I could still take this one." Little Mr. Tender-Heart in action. Seeing his sister in pain brings him to his knees. He just can't handle it.

He decides that since he can't take the boo-boo, he will do whatever it takes to make his sister happy. Thus begins Operation Make Chloe Smile. He stops what he was doing and pours every ounce of energy into seeing that his sister recovers from her trauma. Plan A comes in the form of a cucumber. He rushes over with a generous portion in hand. She's a little apprehensive about allowing him to put this unknown object into her mouth, but he's smiling so sweetly and gently trying to cram it down in there, how can she resist? Either she acquiesses or he is finally able to pry her lips apart, but somehow, the cucumber ended up in there. It didn't seem to have the effect Bennett was looking for, thus begins Plan B.

Plan B is to try turning on the tv to see if her favorite show is on PBS while she sits on my lap with ice on her head. Unfortunately, no luck there.

Plan C begins to take shape. He asks Daddy to accompany him downstairs so he can get the markers. Up he comes with 3 markers in hand (of the washable and non toxic variety). He walks over to Chloe with a huge grin, "Who wants a logo?" How could a logo not make anyone happy? So he proceeds to draw various shapes, lines and dots on her chest. When I ask him what it is, he replies, "We'll see...". When I press the issue, he concludes, "Well....it's a......a......a.....butterfly, yah, a butterfly, except for its a different kind of one. It's a kind from old times back in Egypt." Chloe is thrilled. She loves the logo.

However, that is only the beginning of Operation Make Chloe Smile. He feels she needs more. She was hurt badly. Then it comes to him....he goes and gets her beloved Barbie library book and her little toy radio. There, that should do it. He then decides to abandon all else and sits with Chloe and continues to put ice on her head in 5 second increments. He finally deems that she's had enough ice and decides its now time to begin dancing to her nifty little radio tunes.

I hear him make a bargain with her, "Chloe, if you promise not to whine, I'll let you have my doggie for 3 days...but if you do whine, oh well, then you'll never get it." This seems like an offer she can't refuse. Without giving it any thought what-so-ever, she quickly responds, "Oh tay, Netnet." The love of a brother!

Life is good again.

Thank you Bennett, for showing me what love in action looks like.

Gavin's Anomoly

10/15/2006 — cori
Gavin has been pondering something very serious for a while now. He solemnly shares with me that he has (and I swear, I'm using his exact phraseology), "One extra boob." Sensing that the conversation will proceed no farther if I begin rolling on the floor with laughter, I stifle my outburst inorder to hear why he has this conviction.

He then tells me that this 'third boob' is on his face. I gaze into his cute, little, seven year old face to try to see this anomoly that apparently concerns him to the extent of needing to share it with me. I see nothing resembling a 'third boob'. So I ask, "Honey, can you point it out to me?"

He then zeros in on a large (and I think, adorable) mole placed perfectly on the side of his chin. I can't help but probe further, "Honey, how do you think this is like a third boob? It looks like a mole to me." He was just waiting for me to ask this question, "Well...it's big." is his instant reply. But I also have a comeback, "Yes, honey, some moles are big. This one is not flush with your skin, it sticks up a little bit." That only seems to add fuel to his fire. He's evidently already thought all this through, so he proceeds with, "yah, and see if I pull on it like this...I can make it pokey." At this, I'm out of replies, so I decided to end our conversation with, "Honey, I still think you're handsome, even with your 'third boob.'"

Oct 9, 2006

Pool Ball

10/09/2006 — cori
We are the lucky (temporary) owners of a pool table. As of late, it has only been for the grown ups. But times are changing and Chuck found it in his heart to open up the joy of pool to our younger generation. What was once taboo for their age and stature has now become the most desired object of their affection.

The reason for Chuck's sudden change of heart regarding the pool table is actually a bit selfish if truth be told. Yesterday was a very long day. We played everything. Yet we still had an hour left before bedtime and 3 pairs of eyes starring up at us waiting longingly for a game idea. Legos were out, superheroes were out, bionicles were out, kitchen was out, hide and seek was out and its too dark to play outside. And then it happens. I saw the lightbulb go off in Chuck's head and the words were out of his mouth before I could stop him, "How bout we play pool ball?"

The kids have affectionately referred to this game by this name since it does indeed use a ball and is in fact a pool table - not to be confused with a regular pool which is simply a place to jump, splash and get wet in. Thus the nick-name, pool ball.

I lovingly ask, "So, what are we supposed to do with Chloe?" Chuck says, "She can watch." I'm sure this will go over well with Chloe. The kids are doing their typical non-stop jumping and dancing around. To actually be asked to play a grown up game made them so giddy they couldn't sit or stand still.

Chuck decides we should play teams. Gavin & I were team 1 and Chuck and Bennett were team 2. Team 2 always plays with the short stick. Team 1 shares the long stick. And Chloe sits perched atop a stool that puts her exactly eye level with the pool table. And since her eyes can see, that also means her hands must touch. Whatever balls ended up in front of Chloe were nicely rearranged into a pattern that she felt suited her better. Actually, she turned out to be more like a referee or that guy who sits there on the tennis courts overseeing the game. She insisted on constantly telling us who was on who's team. She constantly told us in no uncertain terms to "GO!" And when it got too quiet she would quiz us to see if we remembered which team we were on, "Mommy, what peem you on?" Other phrases I remember being uttered at strageic parts of the game (i.e - like when I'm consentrating) were, "Me no play pool ball yet, me only 2." and "Mommy, me see led (red) ball!" and "Mommy, me see lellow ball!" this continues until she positively identified every ball color on the table and wheather or not it had a stripe and a number on it. Maybe this is why this has only been an adult game up until now.

The boys picked up on it remarkably well. Gavin has a great hit. He can always hit the white ball and hit it hard. It might not always hit the ball he's aiming for, but hey, mine doesn't either.
Bennett had to carry his stool around with him where ever he went so that he could actually reach the table. His form was interesting. He balanced the stick between two fingers making a
'v' on the table and then he held the stick like it was a torpedo and if he dropped it, it might explode. I have no idea how he was able to ever hit the ball - but he managed to a few times. At one point, he ended up trying to hit the ball like 10 times but kept missing and getting a severe case of the giggles. We spent more time laughing at Bennett and his cackling and form than getting the balls in the pockets.

This was turning out to be an awesome activity - that is, when we could find the balls that Chloe had kindly moved for us. Turns out we all had a huge case of the giggles and the laughter brought us closer together. Who knew? An event I thought could turn out disasterous, had actually turned into a beautiful memory. One of those times I wish I could freeze frame. Thank you Baby, for suggesting an impractical activity and thank you kids for being who you are and making me laugh all the time. I hope I have alot of laugh lines when I get old!

Sep 21, 2006

Homonym...Shmomonym

9/21/2006 — cori
Every other 'normal' mother I know would be thrilled to death that their precious 7 and 4 year olds were not only familiar with the term homonym but could actually be able to produce one if asked.

That's where I'm not normal. You see, I'm SICK of homonyms and homophones. However, my children (and even Chloe to a point) are OBSESSED with them. I'm not joking, every 2.5 minutes a new one is thrown at me. You'd think they were on this secret mission to uncover all homonyms/homophones in the English language in less than a year.

Their level of excitement about these anomolies of the English language are causing me to wonder if I'm being secretly taped for some pitiful reality show that is trying to unearth the idiosyncrises of the English language.

If only that were true, then there would be some reason for our madness, but no, I have since come to discover that it is purly out of joy that my children lambast me with these parts of speech day and night.

Gavin truly has a strong grasp of this concept. Give him 5 minutes to come up with as many as he can and he could shoot out 10 of them - all grammatically correct and used in a sentence.

Then there's Bennett. Some days I think he really knows what he's talking about, then most days remind me that he just got lucky on the word he chose and he really has no clue. Here's how I know: (snipets of actual conversation to follow are from the best of my memory, however, my memory is on overload right now and could not possibly remember everyone of the infinite examples he has casually thrown out).

Bennett: "Rock Mom, like I see a rock and like, the rock is on the floor."
Bennett: "For Mom, like I am four and I look for that."
Bennett: "Beyell (how he pronounces bell) Mom, like I see a beyell and like, I have a beyell around my waist." (This was said as we were entering a certain food establishment with this word in it's title.) Gavin is quick to jump upon this as a simple enunciation error and swiftly corrects Mr. Homonym Man by informing him that he is indeed wrong under no uncertain terms. I might have chosen a more gentle approach - but that's what brother's are for, I guess.
Bennett: "Look Mom, like look at that woodpecker and like, I you look pretty." (that one earned points for ingenuity).
Bennett: " Hey mom, like 'hey' like hey I want that or like, hey give that to me." This is being said as we are walking through the grocery store.

FINALLY I intervene and save us all from utter homonym exhaustion.

Mommy: "Very close, Buddy, but it's actually 'hay' as in the stuff horses eat and 'hey' come back here." Why am I doing this...am I actually trying to encourage more homophones? I'm walking a very fine line here. I definitely don't want to damage his developing physcy by constantly saying 'No, you're wrong!' - but I also don't want him to give up just cuz he didn't get it right. So I guess ultimately I am the responsible party keeping this endless cycle of homonyms going...this realization has just now occured to me as I sit here typing away...Hey! Here and Hear - I thought of one! See, it's catchy isn't it?!

What I've learned from Bennett: NEVER stop trying. You will eventually get it right. You never know until you ask. It's all worth it in the end if you made them laugh!

What I've learned from Gavin: Don't stop learning until you get it right and then say it over and over and over again so that the repetitive process burns the information into your internal hard drive forever.

What I've learned from Chloe: Copying those around you who are older and wiser is an awesome way to learn.

And the most important lesson learned: THERE ARE WAY TOO MANY HOMONYMS/HOMOPHONES IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE! WHO WILL PUT AN END TO THIS MADNESS?!? Is there some national English language hotline I can call?

Sep 20, 2006

A Day in the Life

9/20/2006 — cori
I am so lucky. I get to learn something new every day and most days its because my kids have taught it to me. Here's what I've learned today:

1. Woodpeckers should be called 'Housepeckers' because they prefer to peck holes in our house instead of trees - or maybe they think our house is a huge tree. Thank you, Bennett, for this lesson.

2. Knights are probably the coolest thing to play. Today we made our own shields from cardboard and designed our own coat of arms. Gavin was the double tailed scorpion, Bennett was the red dragon and Chloe was the little, pink pony. In their minds they are real knights and take all this very seriously. They spent an eternity sanding down their swords of wood to make them super smooth so as not to get slivers (which both boys ended up getting prior to the sandpapering episode). They learned that knights spoke Latin and that boys their ages were called pages and also practiced and played with wooden swords. Their excitement is contagious and showed me how fantasy play grows your imagination in ways you can't even measure.

3. I've learned from my children how vitally important it is that we accept, love and show patience to everyone different than we are. Isolation is cruel, lonely and sad and should never be experienced by anyone if we can ever help it. If we are ever the ones to be left out or shuned we would want someone else to treat us the way we would hope to be treated. This is a beautiful lesson that runs deep on many levels.

4. Homeschooling is really just life. It's children who love to learn so much, they never want to stop. The moment I turn something into a 'school project or lesson' the joy is gone - but when we experience it as play and fun the natural curiosity returns. I no longer put myself above the children but learn along side them. They can tell the difference. I think its so important for our children to see us actively learning. They copy everything they see you know.

Sep 12, 2006

I've Been Wonderin....

9/12/2006 — cori
Bennett and I have been experiencing some pretty deep conversations lately. Take yesterday at snack time for instance. Him and I are sitting on the kitchen floor, busily filling our tummies when he lets his true feelings be known:

"Mom, there's sumfin I've been wonderin ever since I was a baby being born...do bugs have blood in dem or air? Cuz it seems every time you smoosh a bug, only air comes out?"

No question is too hard for me when you have your trusty, dusty Science Encylopedia by your side. I whip it open to the bug section and find a neat little diagram of a bug and thankfully, it did indeed show the bug's blood vessels. You can set your heart at ease now, dear Bennett, Mommy has scientifically proven to you that bugs are not filled with air only. Next question please.

Thinking that he has some deep seeded issues of holding questions in too long, I pry into his brain and try to figure out what's going on in there. Fortunately, I succeed in opening the floodgates.

The next question I get asked is, "Mom, I've also been wonderin, ever since I was born, what 10 plus 8 is."

Oh have you now??? This line of questioning intrigues me. Yet, I stick with it, knowing that all he really wants is my undivided attention and time with me. He just thought of that question 2 seconds ago. It was the first thing that popped into his mind. Oddly enough, him and I were just doing a little bit of math right before snack time. I give him the answer he has seemingly waited years to hear. "Oh" is the depth of response I get. He's already mulling over his next pseudo question.

But I am pleasently surprised. Instead of a question this time, I get to witness his brain in action. He's kind of thinking out loud about this next issue. This is exactly what he said:

"Mom, when I become a Jedi, if I can't make my own light saber, I'll just get a sword instead. I guess I could build it - maybe take a stick and melt it to make the handle. Then I could get Daddy's screwdriver fork type thingy and I could rub it on that to make my sword killable."

"Hmmmm." was the extent of my reply. What does one say in response to something like that? I'm thinking to myself, So, this is what's running through your mind when I'm asking you to eat your food and you're sitting there staring at me with a blank expression? Or am I somehow overstimulating your already over active brain with too many books? Do you really think becoming a Jedi is a suitable career option for you? Why would you want to make something killable? Do all boys think like this, or should we look into some counseling?

However, in the end I end up giving him a giant hug and thank him for sharing the things he's been wonderin about. Without times like this, I wouldn't have that special window into my son's thoughts and wouldn't be priviledged to see the things that make him tick.

But now that he brought it up, there's something I've been wonderin about ever since I was born too.....why has God blessed me with such an awesome life??

Sep 11, 2006

The New Barnyard

9/11/2006 — cori
As Chloe and I sat doing puzzles together today, I realized something profound. It's time that we bring some excitement into the otherwise boring and predictable sounds of your typical barnyard - at least Chloe holds such convictions.

Try as I may, she continues to give the animals HER sounds, not the ones I'm attempting to brainwash her with - you know the same ones that have been passed down from generation to generation. Did you know that dolphins now live in the 'barnyard'? That seems to be the reality that my daughter is living in and she refuses to believe anyone who attempts to tell her other wise.

Below is a re-creation of an actual conversation that occured between Chloe and myself earlier today:

Mommy handing Chloe a puzzle piece of a pig. What does this say, Honey?

Chloe: gose, gose (gross, gross).

Mommy, laughing her head off, gives her a horse piece to see what in the world this creature says in her world.

Chloe: hee-hee

Mommy decides to hand her a sheep. What is this one, Sweetie?

Chloe: a feep. honk, honk

Next I give her a rooster.

Chloe: dat a rooser. ka-kooo. She then sees a dolphin from another puzzle and says, "Dat, too." So I ask her what it says and she responds, "ruff, ruff"

So, there you have it. If I ever appear to not understand what you're telling me or seem to be confused by adult conversation, it would be because of such conversations as the one you just witnessed. You cannot spend your days talking about things that don't exist or aren't real and not begin to question your sanity. The line between make believe and reality is a VERY thin one in this house. I often find myself spending alot of time looking for that line and never finding it.

When one spends much of their day and time listening to tales of superhero feats attained by 4 and 7 year olds or listening to the new sounds that the animals make now-a-days through the eyes of a 2 year old, one tends to have a far-away look in their eyes. This same person tends to also question whether or not you are being 'for real'. Don't take it personally, just nod and shake your head and let this person believe that she is 'normal'. Thank you!

Sep 2, 2006

Going Commando

9/02/2006 — cori
This would be our family's code word for anyone (inside our family unit) who might have 'forgotten' to wear appropriate undergarments. This normally only happens to one of our family members...can you guess who? Of course you can. One word says it all...Bennett. I love that little guy! If it weren't for him, I wouldn't have much to blog about.

This would actually be my second post regarding Bennett's underwear habits. Should this be? Never-the-less, this is where I find myself in life and feel the need to share it with anyone who will listen.

So, the other day I notice (I won't divulge how I came about this pertinent piece of information, just that I did) that Bennett is not wearing any big boy pants under his shorts. Curious as to his train of thought and excuse for this 'oversight', I ask, "Bennett, are you not wearing any big boy pants today?" He abruptly stops what he's doing, looks at me and tries to asses my mood. I can see the thoughts scrolling across his forhead: Am I in trouble? Should I pull the 'I have no clue how this could have happened' look? Do I pretend I didn't hear her? Do I go up and give her a kiss and lavish her with compliments? Is she happy about this discovery? Should I pull the 'oh, I forgot' tactic? Hmmmm...choices, choices.

Finally, an answer spews forth from his lips,"Well...I seen Gavin do it and it kinda made me want to." Goodness, I wouldn't have seen the Blame the Brother strategy being applied to this situation. Yet, he seemed to pull it off pretty good. It did divert the question at hand away from him momentarily. But I wasn't about to be caught up in his mind games. Instead of calling Gavin over to find out if this was true, I chose to follow up on my first line of questioning.

Being that this isn't the first time I have caught him Going Commando I wanted to see if there was indeed a reason behind this whole charade or if it was simply what I feared: laziness. Actually, I guess there could be a third reason, no clean underwear was readily available from his usual stash. But since I am well acquainted with the laundry schedule and how many pairs of underwear each child has, it was highly unlikely that he had none left. Normally, he opts for turning the dirty pair inside out and wearing those before Going Commando.

Back to the conversation at hand..."Why do you like to do this, Bennett?"

"Well...it's kinda fun and silly too." Then he pauses as if he's thinking of something and shyly looks back up at me and finishes his train of thought, "The only bad part is that when you have to pee, you can't pee in your pants." This one caught me by surprise. What does that mean exactly? Why would that be the 'bad part'? Is he making it a habit of peeing in his big boy underwear? Do we need a refresher course in potty training? Have I utterly failed at explaining the purpose behind wearing underwear to my son? I chose to ignore the assault of 'pee questions' flooding my mind and put on my best, "oh" expression and tried very hard to move on. Where to, I don't know. All I know is that he was succesful in diverting my attention away from the the fact that he was going commando.

Aug 22, 2006

Socially Inept

8/22/2006 — cori
That would be me...the socially inept one. I will be the first to admit that I suck at social situations. I prefer to busy myself when in the midst of a large group of people. I hope to God that nobody asks me a question. And if, God forbid, I am caught sitting next to someone I've never met...well...can you say 'awkward'? That's me. If and when I open my mouth - it's not long before I find my foot in it.

I have found three common things happen to me whenever I do choose to try to look normal and join a conversation in progress. I either:
1. try to say something serious and everybody thinks I was trying to say something funny...so they laugh at me. Then that takes me back to deep rooted issues of...well, never mind, that's another blog.
2. try to say something funny and people just stare at me and we all sit there awkwardly as I begin counting ceiling tiles. Or...
3. try to make small talk - which I'm HORRIBLE at! I so don't do small talk. I can talk about major life issues, but I CANNOT talk about small, non-important things.

So, as you can tell...I'm a ball of joy to talk to when you first meet me.

Tonight, one such situation presented itself and I pulled a 'typical Cori'. We were at a party and were surrounded by many people we did not know. The one person I did know introduced me to her friend. She also gave me a morsel of information that I could possibly use in my attempt to 'small talk' with this new person. She told me that 'new person' used to live in Texas. Well, what do you know? What a small world, I did too! Well...we must obviously have a connection of some sort, right?

So, 'new person' told me that her husband actually used to be Texan. I found that an odd thing to say 'used to be'...like he has since changed allegiences. We have a saying in Texas, "Once a Texan, always a Texan" (as if there wasn't already enough Texas pride). Since her statement was odd, I chose to pursue it. This is where my social ineptitude comes out in full force.

I say, "What do you mean your husband 'was Texan'? He doesn't want to associate with Texas anymore now that he lives here? Her answer was short, "No, he died."

Sometimes I'm such an idiot. What kind of come back does one have when they have just tried to make a joke about someone's dead husband? What was I to say? I search the room looking for anyone to help me here. Everyone has conveniently looked away. I have to respond. The clock is ticking and everyone can hear it. How can I save face here?

I ended up finishing off by asking how he died. I then sat there for the next 15 minutes talking about death while at a birthday party.

I'm happy to report that I was successfully able to evade any further conversations the rest of the evening.

How glad I am that I don't have to stand up in a crowd and 'blog aloud'. I'm thankful for this medium for those of us who are so socially inept we end up making fools of ourselves.

Aug 19, 2006

Little Miss Monk

8/19/2006 — cori
Should 2 year olds already be exhibiting signs of OCD? That is just one of the many questions looming in my head as I head off to find a new pediatrician.

Chloe has become quite the little 'Monk'. Of course, as her parents, we find it hilarious since we often exhibit many of the same symptoms. In children, it's cute. In us adults, we have to give it some type of disorder name. Thus...OCD. I prefer to refer to it as...intense love of cleanliness and efficiency; or maybe even...one who takes great delight in spatial orderliness and symmetry. Either way, it is so funny to see these blatant signs of OCD manifesting itself in a two year old's body.

Here's how we know the mantle has been passed down to her:

1. Chuck made waffles for the kids' lunch the other day. After Chuck had poured the syrup onto each plate, he mistakenly left it sitting in the middle of the table with the lid wide open. How in the world is any rational, clean, obsessive person supposed to just sit there and eat comfortably while something is out of spatial order??? Chloe was acting extremely irritable and uncomfortable until she could no longer stand it. In her still slightly unintelligable grasp of the English language she tries to convey her dislike of the syrup lid being left ajar. Yet how is one who does not yet know the word 'lid' and 'ajar' supposed to convey such an important message? Easy - you whine. You whine loud and hard and you point and make as many gestures that annoy the heck out of everyone around you until they finally figure out what you mean. Once Chuck was able to replace the lid to its rightful spot, Chloe let out a huge sigh of relief and merrily continued with her lunch.

2. I took my flip-flops off in Chloe's room as I was putting her to bed tonight so as to make it easier to cuddle. We said our prayers, sang our song, and gave our kisses. Some time later, say 30 minutes or so, I hear her consistently calling my name. It sounds more like a chant, "Mommmmeeeee, Mommmmeeeee, Mommmmeeee." It never lets up. She is persistent, relentless, in for the long haul. I try, in vain, to ignore her for the entire time I hear the chant. I think to myself, "She has to learn to go to bed." However, she finally wins. I figure, "If I just go check on her, maybe I can quickly solve whatever problem seems to be bugging her." As I poke my head in her room, she sits up and points over to my shoes and says, "Mommmmeee, fip fop, me room, nooooo." In other words, "Mom, how could you be so careless as to leave your flip-flops in here? We all know I could never fall asleep with those things lying askew in my room. Please take care of the matter instantly." And so I did. I never heard another peep from her.

Thus, one can now understand our new term of endearment for our sweet daughter, our 'Little Miss Monk'. It is said with utmost affection...as well as much understanding on our part. As the saying goes, "You gotta be one to know one." I hope that's how the saying goes. I'm not very good at reciting sayings properly. Just smile and nod pretend you know what I'm talking about...the kids always do. Humor me - that's the best way to appease those of us exhibiting extreme signs of OCD.

Aug 15, 2006

The Hike

8/15/2006 — cori
How can you turn a peaceful, serene, undisturbed plot of nature into chaos? Simple…input the my family right into the middle of it. That is what happened to our poor mountain this past Saturday. It experienced us in full.

Since the day was perfect, Chuck had the ingenious idea of going for a little hike after dinner. We were all thrilled with the prospect. We rushed through dinner, got our dirty, grubby clothes on (not because we wanted to look like poor people, but because we didn’t feel like getting our normal clothes dirty), and bounded out of the house in search of a nature adventure. This was going to be good – we could feel it.

However, before any fun hiking could be had, I insisted we fumigate ourselves with an entire can of ‘Bug Be Gone’ – or some such variety. I sprayed hard and long. Anything that had a nose was going to be sure to stay a safe distance away from us! A mother has to do all she can to protect her brood from such evils as ticks, mosquitoes and whatever else that may lurk in the woods and feed upon the blood of unsuspecting hikers. Our fumigation session culminated with me dispensing such wisdom as, “Okay kids, DO NOT lick your face. It has poison on it.” That didn’t sound right, but they believed me and off we set.

Next, we drove down to the ‘starting place’ (if there is such a thing as that) for where we would commence our hike. Oooo this was going to be fun! We were all giddy. Excitement filled the air. There was a small field we had to cross before we got to the foot of the mountain. To my utter joy, this field had recently been mowed. The reason this caused such happiness to befall me was because it brought back such fond memories of childhood that I had to stop and immediately share them with the family. The hike could wait – its memory lane right now.

Okay troops, listen to this story…they all stopped and stared at me, squinting as if the sun were in their eyes. When Mommy was a little girl, my favorite thing to do was to take all these grass clippings and make houses out them (in a blueprint looking form). I thought they would think I was ingenious, brilliant, had come up with the world’s coolest activity. As I’m talking, I’m gathering handfuls of grass clippings and neatly arranging them into the latest housing design that just popped into my head. I’m lost in my own little world reminiscent of decades gone by. When all of the sudden I hear laughter. What, I wonder, could be funny about my design? Then I saw it, they were making a mockery of my grass clippings by gathering handfuls and throwing them at each other….boys. To each his own, I guess. My trip down memory lane was cut short, when we ran out of grass clippings.

So now, here we are at the start of the woods. We walk gingerly along the narrow path. Gavin, the self appointed leader, Bennett, insisting on being second, Chuck behind them and Chloe and I walking hand in hand. Since she is so close to the ground, she notices every single little thing on it and stops every few feet to pick ‘it’ up and show me. I was hoping this would be a discovery adventure for the kids, just not every few feet. When suddenly, we come to a fork in the path and have to make a choice. Do we go up (at an unimaginable – and in my opinion – very unsafe incline) or to we continue on our level course?

The boys outnumber the girls in this family. In other words – risk and excitement normally beat out caution and sensibility. Being that this was a family event and that I wanted to be with my family, I relented and climbed 75 degree angle of a slope set before me. Have I ever mentioned before that I’m deathly afraid of heights? Well, I am!!!

Another plus for us, is that our bug spray is definitely working. All wildlife within a mile radius of us has instantly scattered – that includes other human beings. There was not a one in sight. This concerned me a bit being that I might just be falling down a mountain soon and was hoping someone would be within earshot to hear my piercing screams. Man, why did I put so much bug spray on? At least I didn’t have any gnats blocking my vision as I’m clawing my way up the side of the cliff.

So here we are – on our fun, family outing. Bennett is the leader this time. This is only because he is the one who is most likely to slip and we would rather have him up in front of all of us so that when he does we all tumble down like bowling pins…er, I mean, so if he does, we’re there to catch him and brace his fall. So, guess who Chuck puts behind Bennett – ME! Oh great! Don’t look down, don’t look down, is all I can keep repeating in my head. Then there’s Gavin behind me – louder than all get out. That kid is so LOUD. Between him and the bug spray, I think we’ve scared away even the ants. At the end is Chuck who has my sweet, precious little daughter wrapped like a tortilla around his back. She spends much of the time screaming about the hair that is in her eyes. But Daddy is holding onto her hands for dear life so as to keep her positioned on his back at just the right angle, so my poor dear is unable to brush the stray, tickly strands of hair out of her line of vision.

Whilst attempting to scale the beginning portions of Mt. Everest, Gavin decides that it would be a good time to tell us about the powers of his latest imaginary super hero he just created – at the top of his lungs. When he gets excited, he talks even louder. I’m thinkin now is not the best time to show me all his creative abilities. Survival is of utmost importance to me right now. I yell at him to “PLEASE be quiet and save your story for later!” yet being ever so careful not to damage or scar him emotionally. I go on to explain that my outburst comes out of self-preservation, not any dislike of his latest superhero.

Bennett turns out to be a phenomenal leader. He takes his Spiderman abilities seriously. He was grabbing every root and rock available and scaling the hill at an amazing speed. He didn’t once slip. And because I was following my fearless leader – neither did I. Once we reached the top and looked down, a wave of nausea hit, my legs turned to jello and I had an overwhelming feeling of free falling. Thankfully, Chuck was hanging on tight to me and reminding me to breathe.

I was SHOCKED! My entire family made it to the top of a mountain. I conquered my fear. We had fun!

On the way back down, I was once again explaining to Gavin why it’s important to not talk so loud in the woods (or anywhere in public for that matter). I told him he needed to be aware of his surroundings, ever on the lookout for ‘things’. That, of course, prompted an obvious question, “What kind of things, Mom?” Oh, just like, BEAR and stuff. I of course am freaking out about the possibility of running into anything living (I am so not the outdoorsy type). I’m looking up in the trees, thru the dense underbrush, and every few seconds I stop and do a 360 scan of my immdiate surroundings. You would think I had Special Ops training under my belt. If there was a bear, I would be the first to know. Nothing was going to surprise me on a fun family outing.

Meanwhile, at the same time of having to deal with ‘the loud talker’, Chuck was having to deal with ‘the whacker’. Bennett constantly was picking up sticks, many 3 times his size, and whacking the first tree that was in sight. We obviously have a lot to turn about hiking etiquette. Chloe on the other hand, is ‘miss naturalist’ and not afraid to touch anything. We found her wandering over to a hollowed out tree decaying in the woods and poking her head into it. Great! Chloe, don’t you know the dangers of what could be lurking in a hollow tree? Well, I don’t either, but it can’t be good.

On we trek, the end of our little hike is drawing near. When all of the sudden, my watchful eye spots something. I feel like I have the powers of Gavin’s latest superhero “Eagle Boy”. He has laser vision you know. Well, my vision was ever so keen on this hike. Thankfully, everyone halted in mid-step when I froze like a statue and whisper-yelled, “STOP – LOOK OVER THERE!!” To our joy, we were within only a few feet of a doe. She looked right at us and kept on eating. We watched each other in awe for several minutes and each continued on our way.

Not only did the kids learn not to be loud or whack things or fearlessly put your head in miscellaneous hollow logs on our hike, but we had the joy of teaching them numerous things. We got to touch and see moss growing on the north side of the tree, we learned how to tell which way was North, South, East and West, we learned about conifer trees having needles instead of leaves. Bennett can now spot a Robin and we learned what it’s song sounds like. We listened to the quiet of the woods and felt it’s cool breeze. We learned how to work as a team and do something very hard but very rewarding. That’s my favorite thing about my family…we learn together, we have fun together, we cry together, we laugh together.

Thankfully, we didn’t all see a bear together – then this story might not have ever been written!

Aug 8, 2006

Boom Baby!

8/08/2006 — cori
Once upon a time there was a little boy who never ceased to surprise his parents with his endless array of silly expressions, faces, phrases and noises. This little boy's name is Bennett. He is 4 and on the fast track to a career in stand up comedy. He has a captive audience every day. Even when he's trying to be serious, he's funny.

For the past several months, his latest phrase of choice has been, "Boom, Baby!" You can hear this in response to any number of situations...let me expound...

At any given time on any typical day, one may hear this expression escape the mouth of the aformentioned child in response to any of these possible scenarios:

Mom: Bennett, that is a very cool lego creation you just made.
Bennett: Boom, Baby!

Mom: Bennett, are you ready to go to the store/park/pool/library?
Bennett: Boom, Baby!

Gavin: Hey, Bennett, let's play superheroes.
Bennett: Boom, Baby!

Mom: Good game Buddy. You beat me in checkers again.
Bennett: Boom, Baby!

I have also heard him use this phrase to pump himself up when trying to build up the courage to walk over and say 'hi' to a cute girl he may see across the room.

And wouldn't you know, now he's got Chuck and I saying it everytime we turn around. We are finding out that there are many perfect uses for that saying throughout the course of our normal day. That shouldn't be. We are the parents, we should be rubbing off on him. Isn't that the 'normal way'. I guess that's just one more reason as to why we're not 'normal'. Boom, Baby!

Jul 14, 2006

Yes Ham

7/14/2006 — cori
You know how only a Mom can interpret her child's 'language' when they are beginning to attempt to speak in what they think is our language? Well...that's kinda the premise to this little story.

I've been working on Chloe to try to get her to respond to my requests in a more polite manner. Her current method of "NO!!!" is getting a little old. So, my latest quest in the teaching of my very strong willed two year old has fallen short of nothing less than an all about battle of the wills. Often, hers is stronger than mine - depending on the time of day.

My latest tactic on this front is to try to stop the "No's" dead in their tracks. In place of "No" I am hoping to hear something more along the lines of "Yes, Mommy", or maybe, "Yes, Mam". I'd even settle for just a simple "yes", even if it was just a whisper. Anything that is not accompanied by a shrill, whiney, "NOOOOOOOO" and violent head shaking will do.

If one of the 'acceptable phrases' is not uttered, the all powerful timeout will be employed for the eternity of two whole minutes. Enough time should then elapse for my young love to see the error of her ways and thus,with mournful repentance and a new appreciation for her mother's discipline. induce her to say, "Yes, Mam." Do ya think that would actually work in this house?! How about...No.

Now, instead of the blantant "no", I get a passive-aggressive "unh-unh" muttered quietly under her breath. I'm not about to let my two year old play mind games on me - I'm onto her ways. So, I ask her, "Did you just say no to mommy?". Well, now I've just put her between a rock and a hard place cuz she knows she can't say 'no' to me without the perilous timeout, so she just looks at me with those innocent eyes. So, being the bigger person here, I decide to re-phrase my question, "Honey, what are you supposed to say to Mommy?". Well...she knows the answer to that one...you can see her face light up and a huge smile cross her face as she says excitedly, "YES HAM!!".

Thankfully, I'm her mother, so I know she's not subtly trying to call me a pig. I know this is not a passive-aggressive form of rebellion. Rather, this is my sweet daughter showing me some respect. What more could I ask for?

For some reason though, I have a feeling that Chloe will continue with this 'title of respect' throughout her more formative years.

Jul 13, 2006

How Not To Go House Hunting

7/13/2006 — cori
Okay...you so don't want to be our new realtor! My family should come with a warning sign. It should read something like this: We are crazy, we are weird, we often talk to ourselves or all talk at the same time. Several of the younger members often stink quite badly. They also tend to embarrass us with a particular bodily function that we have no control over. If you are to interact with our family in any way - be prepared to laugh, cry, read alot of Dr. Suess, hear many strange, new noises, hold your nose and eat alot. That should be an adequate disclaimer, but I'm quite certain there will be multiple addendums.

So, why all this legal positioning with a family disclaimer? Well...being that we have just moved half way across the country, we've decided we should probably find a house and who better to help us than a realtor? The poor guy never knew what hit him from the moment we were introduced. First of all, he was subjected to riding along in our minivan while perusing through the city in search of new housing. Second of all, we brought the kids along for a full day of house hunting. I would highly advise against this for those of you thinking that it would be a fun, family activity. It's not. And lastly, we have Bennett with us. We are all well aware of his propensity to have poopie problems. He is still in rare form.

At the VERY FIRST house we stopped to look at, Bennett declares, "Mom, I need to go potty." Knowing what lie ahead, I chose to wash my hands of the future mess before it even began and advised him to go talk to his Daddy about it. Of course he had to go poopie and of course he couldn't hold it. So Chuck asks our unsuspecting realtor if Bennett could possibly use the bathroom in this yet unfinished house we were touring. Since it had plumbing and a toilet, it seemed like a good idea. Not.

First, we had the problem of no electricity. So, do you think Bennett would actually close himself into a tiny little powder bath all by himself with the lights off - NO! Even though the entire family is used to witnessing his bathroom habits, we didn't wish to initiate our realtor that quickly. We prefer a slower and more subtle approach when meeting people for the first time and trying to leave a 'good impression'. Well, we can say goodbye to whatever good impression we were hoping to leave. Second, we had the tiny problem of no toilet paper. Thankfully, Chuck was quick on his feet with this one. He remembered a wad of Sonic napkins we had on the dashboard and sent Gavin out to fetch them. Of course, Gavin came back with the entire wad and of course, Bennett used the entire wad.

After we all waited for what seemed an eternity, Bennett was finally done. Shirt was tucked in and pants pulled up far above what most consider 'normal'. Out of habit I asked, "Honey, did you flush?". He gets that fake, confused look on his face signaling that I caught him red handed. He goes back and tries to flush but instead yells, "It won't flush, Mom." This in turn, yields 'the look' from me to Chuck, meaning "you handle it". He braves his way into the bathroom only to find that the plumbing looks to be hooked up, but, ha! what do you know - it's not!

How in the world are we supposed to explain this to our realtor?!? I have no clue what Chuck said, because I was busy changing Chloe and her poopie diaper out in the van. I figured if I left the premises, I could pretend all this wasn't actually happening. I changed her and left the diaper in the car with the doors shut - not the best choice I could have made.

So, I head back into this potential new house only to see Chuck heading back out looking rather agitated. I could only comprehend bits and pieces of what he was telling me but I gathered it wasn't good. It went something like this, "...toilet...no water...can't flush...no water...ARGHHH, BENNETT!!" Come to find out,the plumbing was indeed there, but water was not turned on yet. Chuck went to our realtor, tail between his legs, to inform him of what was going on...like he didn't already have it figured out?!

The guy is very cool under pressure. He gave us his best, "No problem" smile and called the guy who owned the property and gave him a head's up suggesting he might want to get some water turned on before their next showing. Can you believe our realtor actually got back in the car with us? You'd think he encountered problems like this everyday. Well, problem number two was about to be discovered.

We all pile back into our beloved minivan only to be accosted with the diaper aroma left over from Chloe. I forgot to bring it in and look for a trash can. A trash can was the least of my worries when I'm more concerned with how to get my son's 'deposit' out of a brand new house. So, we chunk the diaper to the back of the van so we can 'spread the wealth' and so it's not sitting directly under our realtor's nose.

The one bright spot about our second poopie problem is that it helped us to push aside and somewhat forget our first poopie problem. No family should have this many poopie problems!! The kids were up in arms about how bad it smelt in the car. Thank God for your random trash cans in random parking lots. We drove through several parking lots before finding one where we could unload our 'package' and finally breathe clear again.

Okay, so we're the first to admit we're not ones to leave the best first impression. Despite ourselves, our realtor has continued helping us and for that we are extremely grateful!

Jun 29, 2006

Thinking Too Fast

6/29/2006 — cori
Yesterday, the kids needed to be reminded one too many times to not do something that they already knew was off limits. Thus, I had to initiate 'the discipline'. That's always the hardest part. We don't believe in the 'one discipline fits all situations' method. The consequence has to fit the offense and it has to be uncomfortable enough that it reminds the kids that it's a better idea to listen to and obey their parents.

After much deliberation, I decided that sending them to bed an hour early would adequately get the message across. As I was tucking Bennett in, we were discussing why he needed to go to bed this early. He told me, "Mom, I think the problem is that I was thinking too fast. I didn't mean to that." I wasn't the least bit upset with him. But I was astounded with his deduction.

I then went to tuck in Gavin. He told me, "Mom, Bennett was right." He went on to explain that he had been listening outside the door as I was talking with Bennett. He said, "Mom, I think we were thinking too fast - cuz if I had been thinking slower, I would have taken the time to think about the consequences of my actions on others."

The discipline was already working - or, rather, God was already working on their little, sensitive hearts and teaching them the lesson in a way they could understand. Not only did he teach them, he taught me through them.

Next time I want to react to a situation or a person, I need to remember to 'not think too fast' and slow down and consider the consequences of my actions. Thank you boys, for teaching me, yet again, how to listen and learn in every situation.

Jun 24, 2006

Simple Questions

6/24/2006 — cori
I never cease to be amazed by the shear amount of questions my children can generate. And that's just during lunchtime. I see either one of two things happening in the near future: 1) I need to eat lunch with a dictionary in one hand and a complete, unabridged encyclopedia in the other, or 2) I need to not eat lunch at the same time as my children.

Since I'm typically the only adult in the room with them, they naturally think I have all the answers to the millions of questions that seize their tiny brains at any given moment. I tend to be either overwhelmed by the magnitude of the question, stunned by the depth of the question, or trying to supress a grin because of the innosense of the question. And to think my sweet proteges are adding to their brain cells based solely on the information I provide while eating our peanut butter sandwhiches...it's enough to make me want to go back for my master's degree...okay, not that bad - but it does bring me to my knees and remind me that I MUST rely on God for all my answers. I'm shaping the way they see their world. What an awesome responsiblity!

All that to say...here are the latest, greatest questions I have received (or at least the ones I can remember)...

Bennett asks very non-chalantly, "Mom, do all kids grow up to be Mommy's and Daddy's?" Whew - easy answer. "Most of them do, Honey." But that didn't seem to satisfy his curiosity, so he tried to rephrase his quesion, "No, Mom, I mean, do some kids die before they can grow up to be a Mommy or Daddy?" Okay, that's a whole other ballgame. Does he really need to know the harsh reality of this world? Sensing that he wants to dig deep and know the honest truth, I tell him, "Well, unfortuneately, some kids go to heaven before they get the chance to grow up....But you won't be sad cuz you'd be in heaven with Jesus; only the people left would be sad cuz we wouldn't get to see you till it was our turn to get to heaven. But you don't have to worry about that right now Honey, okay?" He seemed satisfied with my answer and assured me that nobody would have to worry about him. He said, "...okay, good, cuz when I get to heaven, I going to go ask God, 'God, can you make me a superhero now so I can go back and help people and they won't be sad?' and then nobody will be sad, Mom." Hmmm...I'm still shocked that I never saw the whole 'superhero angle' coming.

Next it's Gavin's turn to stump me. Out of nowhere he asks, "Mom, when all the people are gone off the earth, will it be extinct?" What???? I don't know that I can wrap my brain around that question. So like any good philosopher, I ask him a question in return. "Honey, where will all the people go?" As if I hadn't seen the obvious, he patiently replied, "Mom, they'll all be in heaven." Ohhh - I see. Is now the time for me to dive into the book of Revelations or should I save that till he's a little older? Do I even understand the book of Revelations? Do we believe in pre-trib, post-trib or mid-trib. All these thoughts are reeling thru my brain at warp speed and all I can manage to say upon opening my mouth is, "Honey, did you read that in Narnia?" "Ya, it said......" Thank God!!! He saved me yet again. This line of questioning had indeed stemed from reading the Narnia series. Thankfully, I could use my ignorance to my advantage here since I have no recollection of the story.

And lastly, after watching a movie that featured a two-headed dragon, Bennett wanted to know, "Mom, if dragons have fire in them, why don't they burn up?" Thankfully, that just involved a little bit of chemistry and I was able to adeptly explain that the fire wasn't actually fire until it came out of their mouth's, it was just a gas inside them.

My job is done for the day. I have fielded every question that has come my way (even the one about how to make lemonade that I thought should have been a simple answer) and have lived to tell about it....simple questions - in our house, that is an oxymoron.

Jun 9, 2006

Daddy Stories

6/09/2006 — cori
You guessed it - this is not the "Mommy" who usually runs this blog. The "Daddy" has been asked to write a brief synopsis of two recent conversations with our sons superheros.

The other day Superhero #2 asked me why I had to go to work. I advised him that all daddies have to go to work to get money so they can buy things for the family like a house and food and stuff. I also told him that one day, when he grew up, he too would have a job and would have go to work and be away from his family.

He was quick to correct me. He said, "No, Dad. When I grow up, I'm going to be a Superhero. I'm not sure what type of costume God is going to give me yet, but I hope its cool." Apparently he thinks God anoints superheroes.

This next story pertains to Superhero #1. A couple of months ago, I went to a neighborhood Homeowner's Association meeting and had my little helper with me. One part of the meeting was a talk given by a police officer regarding starting a local neighborhood crime watch program. About half way through the officer's talk, Gavin whispered to me: "Daddy, if they wanted to talk about crime prevention, why didn't they ask me? I could have talked about fighting crime." I said, "Well, that's because you don't know anything about crime prevention, right?" He looked at me in shock. With disgust in his voice and wee bit too much volume, he said "Uh, Dad. Yes I DO! I'm a superhero!"

I'm not looking forward to the day when they realize that they will not actually become superheroes when they grow up. But for now, I love their hearts.

Jun 4, 2006

Romeo

6/04/2006 — cori
Romeo, O Romeo, wherefore art thou?

I found him...he is Bennett. And he is only four years old.

That sweet boy has stars in his eyes everytime he sees a girl. She could be older or younger, it doesn't matter. What matters is that she is a girl. He gets the most adorable grin on his face. He just can't wipe it off. He will just sit and stare at a girl he thinks is cute.

Now, he has already given his heart to one girl. He fully intends on marrying her in the near future. But...that hasn't kept his eye from wandering.

The other day we were at the pool. When all of the sudden such good fortune fell upon him. Five little girls come giggling in his direction. What luck! Then all of the sudden the all jump into the pool screaming and laughing.

One little girl catches his eye. She is the youngest of the group, probably 4 or 5, and is wearing a purple bathing suit. I think it was love at first sight. Afterall, purple is his favorite color. He just got some new, purple swim goggles that he instantly fastends on and darts over a little closer to his new love. He then proceeds to stand there and stare at the group of girls for probably 10 minutes. I guess he was formulating his plan of action...how best to infiltrate the group.

He has decided that the best course to take would be the 'look like a fool and make them laugh' strategy. So my sweet little flirt begins his routine. He stands in the middle of the group and hits his head with his hand while simultaneously contorting his face into what he believes to be the most hysterical look he can find. The last bit of his act entails him slithering down under the water all the while, hoping the girls are laughing at the entertainment he has just provided.

At least I was laughing...so hard, I had tears running down my cheeks. He was trying so hard to impress these little girls. I thought it was so funny.

Meanwhile, Gavin has no clue that anyone else other than himself and his imagination are in the pool with him. He is spinning webs, flying through the air and snorkling the depths of the ocean. His imagination is vast, enjoys solitude and sees no need for girls.

But Bennett...he LOVES girls. When I was tucking him in that night, we were talking about our day and I mentioned to him, "You like girls alot, don't you Sweetie." To which he gets stars in his eyes and a look of pure joy came across his face. He smiled real big and said, "Yes! I like girls." But then a moment of contemplation came over him and he continued, "I REALLY like girls, but I don't always like their Mommy's and Daddy's. Especially the one's with crinkily hair. But I like Grandma."

May 23, 2006

High Aspirations

5/23/2006 — cori
Today at lunch we were having a nice enjoyable time eating when out of nowhere, Gavin decides to inform us of his future career goals. I have NO IDEA how this frame of thought originated or even why he was thinking this far down the road. Evidently, having a plan is very important to him. So as not to delay the inevitable, here's where my son sees himself, say...in the next 15 years.

And I quote...."Mom, when I grow up, I want to be one of those guys that drives the garbage trucks with the green down the sides of it. You know, he's the one who picks up the recyclables. I'd like to do that."

I know he said this alloud for 2 reasons. One, so that all would know that he indeed has a plan. And two, to receive his mother's affirmation and to gauge my response. This is where I have to put aside all my plans for his life and assure him that he will do an awesome job at whatever he chooses to do when he grows up. Then I need to let him dream and enjoy the road that God is leading him down. It's way more fun to experience life together than to force my way and desires on him. However, I personally think all this has come about by reading too much Berenstein Bears Don't Pollute.

And you can be assured that Bennett didn't let the moment pass without also informing us of his adult profession. He is going to be a superhero. Period. There will be no redirecting this quest. He is already too far down the training path to turn back now.

Apr 30, 2006

Peculiarities

4/30/2006 — cori
Every family is blessed with unique characteristics (or characters). Sometimes these things endear us to others, often they incite others to steer clear of us for fear of what might happen. I find these peculiarities fascinating and wonderful. At the very least its something for us to talk about and at the very best they're the ties that bind. What outsiders would scoff at, we laugh about. It's kinda like 'the inside joke'.

Anyways, all that to say, that it just occurred to me today that we have peculiarities too. I think I'm having a blonde moment. Duh! I guess it didn't really occur to me as much as Gavin pointing that fact out to me.

Can you believe that today he told me that I am just like Chloe?!? This came as a rather large shock to me. So I responded appropriately, "You mean that I'm whiney and demanding my way all the time and that I insist on wearing flip flops even when it's 40 degrees out?" He laughed and said "No, not that. I mean you and Chloe are both very particular." That kind of stopped me in my tracks.

He was right. I had no come back. I just sat and mulled that one over for a bit. Once I processed that thought I later asked him to expound on the word 'particular'. He told me that Chloe & I both freak out if anything goes wrong, we are extremely particular about what we eat and how we want things to look (a nice way of saying opinionated, I guess). All VERY true statements. I was shocked by his insightfulness and thankful that he found it something that bonded us together instead of a vice that was a menace to the rest of the family. He just showed me that he appreciates who we are and how we are. I sure hope I send the same message back to him.

Then oddly enough, another peculiarity reared it's little head at dinner time tonight. Gavin blurted out, "You know, I'm not happy about something. I don't like being an odd number." I had to laugh, that is so him - and Chuck. I asked him, "What kind of odd number are you?" (not knowing he was referring to his age) and he looked at me and said, "Mom, I don't want to be seven any more, I want to be eight, then I'll be even." He is so his father's son.

Just last night Chuck was controlling the volume on the t.v and asked me if I ever noticed how he has to always have the volume on an even number. Honestly, that's not one of the things that's on my radar screen to catch. I could care less about even and odd numbers. But how funny is that, that both my sweet husband and son have the same ocd manifestation about the whole odd and even thing. It was such a MONK moment (a hilarious tv show about an ocd guy).

Now that it's in the open, I see how true this trait is in both of them. And that makes me love them all the more. It's the quirks that make us special and unique and teach us how to love each other better.

I need not go into Bennett's peculiarities - they are adequately spelled out in detail amongst the many pages of Mommy Stories.

Apr 25, 2006

Back to Normal

4/25/2006 — cori
My boys and I just had the most wonderful vacation. We had the opportunity to go out of state to visit their great-grandparents. What wonderful memories we were able to build. What beautiful views of history we learned of as they told us story after story. What peace and tranquility we lived in for the past week.

Notice, I said the boys and I. Chuck and Chloe had the chance to have more bonding time together at home. We all grew closer together while we were far apart. But obviously, that is not what this story is about. That sounds too 'Leave It To Beaverish' doesn't it? Not all the loving and missing each other stuff, that was extremely genuine, but the part where it all sounds so perfect with no mishaps, that's the part I'm talking about. What could possibly go wrong on our vacation?

Nothing actually. The craziness began the minute we saw Chuck and Chloe waiting for us through the windows at the baggage claim area in the airport. You know how all the new security rules mean that we can no longer drop loved ones off and pick them up at their gate anymore; we have to wait outside the 'secure area' now. It is because of this inconvenient little rule that we once again caused mass pandemonium on all that had the privilege of being in our presence.

Thankfully, the gate where we landed wasn't too far from the baggage claim area. The boys and I were loaded down with bags. Seriously, we were pack-mules. Each of us had two heavy items we were carrying on our persons. (And don't think I wasn't reminded of this fact infinite amounts of times throughout the trip). We had made it through three airports with all this baggage all by ourselves. All we had left now was to make it another 50 yards and we would finally be back with Daddy and Chloe. We were joyous!

Unfortunately, there was the rotating doors that kept the 'unsecure people' away from the 'secure people' that we still had to get through before hugs and kisses could be given. Not a problem, right? Oh no. This would be the biggest problem of our entire trip. Let's see how I can describe this with words inorder to give you the best visual description possible...hmmm...

Well, you know how these rotating doors just keep going, they never stop? And you know how they are divided into 3 equal parts? An you know how you're supposed to exit out onto the other side (the 'non-secure side') and meet your waiting family members? Well, that seems to be the confusing part for my children.

Gavin made it into the revolving door area with no problems. Bennett, on the other hand, wasn't sure if he should join his brother or wait for the next go around. One is not given an adequate amount of time to really think through this type of dilemma. It appeared as if he wanted to go it alone, but then remembered that he doesn't like to be alone, so at the last possible moment, he squeezes in with Gavin forgetting the fact that he is dragging his little suitcase on wheels behind him.

Remember, these doors just keep going. There is NO off button. Yet Bennett has successfully jammed the door with his little suitcase and they are stuck in the little revolving door area. Keep in mind, the entire flight is still behind me, also waiting to exit. So now, I have the security lady running over to help me cram Bennett's little suitcase through an opening too small. She now has to pull back on the door to keep it from moving. I'm still holding onto two huge suitcases of my own and shoving Bennett's suitcase with my foot. It's not helping that I'm also seeing a huge red light flashing above my head over the little turnstyle door. I'm positive that the FBI, TSA, and Homeland Security will be running through the halls in my direction at any moment.

But finally, disaster was averted with enough pushing, shoving and pulling. Bennett finally made it to the other side and it was my turn to go through. However, just as Gavin and Bennett reached Daddy who was in arms reach of the door, Chloe starts running into the turnstyle door and is now stuck inside it going the WRONG WAY. Remember, those people on the 'non-secure side' are forbidden to enter the 'secure side' and here is my daughter trying to reach me and is fully unaware of the security breech she is creating.

Thankfully before any alarms could go off, with lightning speed, Chuck jumped into the revovling door area and yanked Chloe out before she was totally trapped. I was finally able to cram myself and my two suitcases through this cursed revolving door without too much fanfare. My very first thought once I got to hug my husband and hold my little girl was, "Ahh, now we're back to normal!"

Apr 18, 2006

Over-Exaggerating?

4/18/2006 — cori
Today at lunch Gavin informed me, "Mom, my stomach hurts. It feels like it's giving birth to a whale inside there."

That's a new one. What desperate attempts my child is going through to earn my pity so he isn't made to eat one more bite.

Then it began to dawn on me, where in the world would he come up with such a metaphor? He's never heard me or his father cry out that we are in as much pain as a whale giving birth. To be honest, that mental image, nor thought, has ever crossed my mind.

I chalk it up to his extensive reading. Or his abundant imagination. Or both. Either way, the excuse didn't work. But he did win an award for the most creative reason not to eat his food anymore!

Apr 17, 2006

Church Lock-Down

4/17/2006 — cori
Leave it to my family to almost cause a church lock-down this past Sunday. Easter, of all days. We went to church having no clue the pandemonium our presence was about to induce. What would cause such a hooplah that the church would consider going into lock-down mode? - Bennett! Yep, leave it to Bennett. He's the only one who this could have happened to.

I would say the church we attend sporadically has maybe 1000 - 1500 attendees. Quite large. They just installed this new, state-of-the art computer check-in service that allows parents to check all their children into their appropriate Sunday Schools in no time flat. This was the first time we ever experienced such technology - especially at a church service. So, we go about the routine of checking in 3 children. A little printer pops out a name tag with all their appropriate information. Each child is now donning a smart little sticker on their backs.

We dropped Chloe off first and Gavin second, being that their classes were in close proximity. However, we had to go upstairs to drop off Bennett. But upon drawing nearer to his class he had a change of heart and decided he would rather sit with us in 'big church'. We had no qualms with that, so we all headed back down stairs, never thinking twice about the fact that he was already 'checked-in'. We warned nobody that our child was with us - why should we? Ahhh, but that was our fatal downfall.

Bennett was the perfect little gentleman in big church. He sat quietly, listened intently and never once complained. We were so proud of him. About 10 minutes before the service was a to let out, we saw our number pop up on a screen in the sanctuary. Chuck jumped up and responded to it immediately, fearing it was Chloe.

However, once he reached the lobby, he saw a Policeman and a church employee waiting for him. He immediately thought maybe something happened to Gavin. They then informed him that they had lost Bennett. Chuck explained that Bennett was in the sanctuary with us. After their initial relief, obvious frustration set in - on both parties.

Come to find out later, the church's director of security had his whole team, plus the cop searching the premises for Bennett. They even pulled Gavin out of his Sunday School and questioned him about his brother's whereabouts. Since the church is so huge and impersonal, nobody knew what we or Bennett looked like and so, nobody came to find us in service.

Once church let out, the director of security made a bee-line towards us and informed us of the graveness of the situation we just caused by signing our son in, but not bringing him to his class. He told us that if we had not answered the page in the service, that the next step would have been a total church lock-down. They would have had to interrupt service and inform everybody that we were morons...uh, I mean, that a child was lost and everyone was needed in pursuit of his search.

Thank God we answered our page!!!! We had already caused enough pandemonium. I'm still rather speechless about the whole event and left to ponder 'why did this happen to us?'

Apr 14, 2006

What Was I Thinking???

4/14/2006 — cori
I decided that tonight would be a perfect night for the boys and I to live it up and play a few games together before bedtime. We were about to have some major fun. I let each boy pick a game. That is where my plan started to unravel. I should have picked the games and thereby averted a whole evening filled with misery. Let me expound....

Gavin knows me too well. He knows my pressure points and he uses them to his advantage at various times throughout the day. He KNOWS I hate the game "Trouble", yet he 'innocently' made that his game of choice for tonight. My perils with Trouble began the day we got the game and have yet to cease. I've even tried to put the game in the Goodwill pile before and it somehow miraculously found it's way back to our game closet.

For those of you who have yet to experience the joy this game can add to your life, let me give you the simple version of the rules. There is a little dome covered popper thing in the center of the board. Residing under this dome is the lone die (I don't even know if that's the proper terminology/spelling for a singular dice). When one pushes hard enough on this transparent dome-like enclosure, you render enough force to pop the die and make it land on another number. It is the definition of the word random. In order to get your four little pieces out of the starting block, one must get the number 6 to miraculously appear under the dome. Then one may proceed the nausiating, circular journey around the board until you reach 'home'. However, in the process, if someone else lands on your space, they can send you back to start and you must once again produce a 6. It is utterly maddening! It took us a good 15 minutes tonight before anyone obtained this magic number.

What might my problems with the game be? I don't know that there is enough space here to properly address each issue. I think a list of bullet points might aide the reader in understanding why this game vexes me so. Whoever invented this game and decided to name it 'Trouble' might have also had these thoughts parrading through his/her head:

1. "You're going to be in big trouble if you ever pick this game again."
2. "If you don't quit popping/pulling each other's toes and move your guy this instant, you are going to be in trouble."
3. "Whoever sends me back to start one more time will have some trouble coming his way!"
4. "Trouble will come upon the player who doesn't know how to count out his spaces properly and/or go when it is his turn without somebody (me) having to prod him (Bennett) for the 100th time."
5. Beware future players, you will be in trouble if you attempt to play this with a child still
learning the key elements of counting who also might be unaware of the term 'strategy'.

Those were but a few of my misgivings during our lovely game night, and that was only the first game. Bennett chose Dominoes as the second game. I previously had no qualms with this game. That is, until the boys 'taught' me how to play. Once Trouble mercifully came to an end (thank God - I won, finally), Bennett immediately starts building something with his allotment of dominoes that were next to him. I asked him, "So, Bennett, how do we play Dominoes?" After receiving the look of 'what does it look like I'm doing, Mom' from him, he placates me with, "Just build whatever you want, Mom." To which I'm like, "Uh, no. These are not blocks. This is a game. Plus, I can't build anything with 7 dominioes."

Gavin, ever ready to lay down some rules, chimes in with, "The rules to this game are...." I abrubtly cut him off. After proving that I had indeed played a legitimate game of dominoes at least once in my life, I had gained a little clout and was thus 'allowed' to inform all other players of such rules involved. I'm sure they thought I was making up the rules, the way they looked at me - but they placated me none-the-less. Bennett really didn't understand the basic concept of matching like numbers together. He just picked up any ol' piece and placed it any ol' place.

Gavin thought there must be a deeper meaning to the game and there must be other rules I had not informed him about. He kept trying to come up with new ones. When none of the 'new rules' were given a thumbs up by the expert (myself) the other players then digressed into seeing what type of picture our pieces were making.

Come to find out, our game was really just a knight and each piece played only added to our knight's armor. Then out of the blue, our knight was riding a horse. Then they had a whole story-line going about our domino knight and had long ago disregarded the strategy to the game I tried to teach them.

Lesson's learned: when suggesting a game night, either get the games out myself or hide all unwanted games and let the kids pick from what's left. Who knew we were going to be making a domino knight and pulling each other's toes tonight? I just thought we were playing games...it's always so much deeper with kids.

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