Dec 31, 2007

My New Job

12/31/2007 — cori

Yesterday, Bennett had a major revelation and just couldn't wait to share it with me. With the most adorable look of excitement on his face he looks up at me and says, "Mom, I know what you can be when you grow up!", like he's been pondering my future career goals for a while now, "A librarian!" He ended it with one of those looks that seemed to say, "good idea, right?!" Then he added, "I just know you'll love it because you love books and you love to read." It was almost as if he just walked into a wall when the idea came to him - of course - it has to be that - those two things go together like peanut butter and jelly. He was so proud of himself.

But my question is, what's this whole 'when you grow up' part? Is he thinking that I act too immature and couldn't possibly be a real grown up yet? Or maybe he thinks I'm too young to have a 'real' job. Or maybe he meant when they all leave the house at some distant point in time, then I'll be a grown up (although he vows he will live with me forever). What age constitutes a grown up in a 6 year old's mind? Do I need to have white hair before I'm grown up?

I'm so glad he's looking out for me and carefully planning out my retirement from 24/7 mommyhood. I only have one stipulation - I'd definitely have to work in the children's section of the library!

Dec 30, 2007

A Blonde Moment

12/30/2007 — cori
How could I ruin a perfectly good evening? simply opening my mouth and then ever so carefully inserting my foot. I've become very good at that in recent years. Here's how it all began: We were out of town visiting friends this weekend when my friend's sister and brother-in-law stop over. We've met before and it had been several years since we last saw each other, so we enjoyed catching up. It took me a while to get warmed up, but then I let loose.

First it might be helpful if I explain a new term to you. Most of you might know what I mean by the term "fauxhawk", while others may blank out. It is actually a nifty, new, men's hairstyle. You can see it sported here by the ever stylish David Beckam:

This hair style is paramount to my mouth problem. Chuck was actually the one to bring me up to speed on such coolness. I was previously unaware that hair like this had a name. My friend's brother-in-law successfully wears this exact same hairstyle. And since I have zero social skills and don't know how to small talk very well, I decided to compliment him on his "cool hair". Except for I didn't say "cool hair" like I should have. Instead I said, "I really like your mofawk."

WHAT???? Did that just come out of my mouth? Everyone was kind of talking at the same time so I thought maybe my statement got drowned out in the sea of noise. If only I was so lucky. Instead of being drowned out, everything turned strangely quiet and then everyone looked at me. So, of course I had to say something, so I played blonde and said, "Did I just say mofawk? Ha. I meant to say, Fauxmawk, uh I mean, uh....Chuck, what did I mean to say?"

When will I ever learn? Sometimes its okay to just sit there and smile and nod every so often. I can do that. Things just seem to get too garbled up in the short trip from my brain to my mouth.

The poor guy took it all in good humor and did not act as though I had offended him or just called him a bad name. Next time I think I'll just write down what I have to say and pass it around on a sheet of paper - that way I HAVE to think before I talk.

It's funny though, I don't even have blonde hair.

Dec 27, 2007

Christmas Fun

12/27/2007 — cori

Last night we thought we'd institute the "Dress Up for Dinner Night" rule again. The children couldn't have been happier. With all the creativity we could muster, we finally decided on a theme....Christmas. Highly original for this time of year...but actually, it doesn't really matter what theme we give to it, the kids will always come down in some crazy outfit that leaves you wondering whether or not they comprehend the English language. A visual aide might better enlighten the reader regarding our lack of creative flair.

You will see two of our offspring clad in bathrobes. Bennett, or, when in character prefers the name "Ernie", is your run of the mill elf (with underwear on his head) and your typical elf make-up. The one leaning against the wall is not pregnant, nor is he trying to impersonate Mary. He is in fact Santa. He said he couldn't find his bright red underwear, so he opted to don a green Santa hat instead. When asking Chloe what type of Christmasy get-up she was, all she could do was respond, "Pink Princess". I have a sneaking suspicion she might be a pink princess every time we do this.

You will have no trouble locating the snowflake in the bunch. I thought the doily on my head was the perfect touch. Notice the white make-up so deftly applied as to appear to look as if snowflakes have landed on my face? A true artistic flair. And then you have the leader of this motley crew - the ornament. He thought long and hard and came out of the closet with a hanger on his head. I had to encourage him to add a hat and gloves in order to make the ornament a slight bit more festive. And there you have it. Another lovely night in the Mallott household. But that was just the beginning. We ended our night of festivities with a fun game of Twister.

Dec 19, 2007

Chloe's Alter Ego

12/19/2007 — cori

I was a bit unsure as to whether or not the boys ever got around to sharing the "Secret Code of Kid Rules" with Chloe. But I can now rest assured...they have. You know, the handbook all kids are issued (at some undetermined time, unknown to the parent - Santa probably brings it) that prescribe important methods and phraseology that all children need to know and follow in order to survive childhood in their predetermined homes.

I have never actually seen this so-called 'handbook' but I know it exists because all my children have followed it to a tee. Here are a few things they have all done and I know must be listed in the "Survival Guide":

1. When brushing your teeth, after applying a generous amount of toothpaste to the the brush (and sink area if at all possible), stick the brush under a faucet that is running at full blast long enough to get all the toothpaste off the toothbrush. This will create the appearance of brushed teeth, but will leave your breath unaltered from it's previous state. Your teeth will soon be falling out don't waste too much time.

2. When helping your parents dust, always dust a circle in the middle of the furniture. Leave plenty of dust all around your clean circle to highlight the awesome job you did. This will garnish much praise.

3. When cleaning your room, shove as much stuff under your bed or in your closet. And never fold your clothes. Wad them up and try to shove as many as possible into the same drawer for quick and easy access. Try not to wash them too often either. Parents like efficiency, so keep the same underwear on as many days in a row as you can get away with.

My kids have let these few rules slip out over the years. I'm sure they're unaware that I have caught on. But it is this last rule that leaves me in awe of how powerful this handbook really is.

4. You must always have an alter-ego, a secret identity. At any point in the day, you should be ready to tell anyone (grown-ups included) what your super powers are, what your super-hero name is and what your logo looks like. If you can spell it all on your own - that will really impress them.

My oldest two have that one down to a science. There are numerous blog posts to prove it. But I've been wondering about Chloe. Was this only a gender specific rule? The answer is no. She, too, has an alter ego, I'm proud to inform you. It is "Sair-wuh" (Sara). For whatever reason she LOVES this name. This is who she is when she is a "mommy" or princess or impersonating any type of grown-up wearing high heels. She has to say this name in her high-pitched, airy, sing-songy voice. And when speaking with her, you too, must speak in a high-pitched, airy, sing-songy voice.

Sometimes I make the mistake of calling her Chloe when she abruptly chastises me and says, "My name is Sair-wuh". Oops. Even today, while we were working in her "workbook", under the name section she wrote it out as: FENII. As she was writing it she was sounding out Sara. Obviously we have some work to do on putting together proper letters and sounds...but she's trying, very adamantly, I might add.

Way to go Chloe...uh, I mean, Sara! I'm proud of you for sticking by the "Kids Handbook".

Dec 16, 2007

Bennett's Future Employment Options

12/16/2007 — cori

So...we were doing our typical morning cuddle when we got on the conversation of what Bennett wanted to be when he grew up. He answers me with, "Well, I can tell you what I'm NOT going to be...a baker or a cooker. Cuz if I was that I'd eat all the cake I made and never give it to the people." Good point. What else is there? "And I definitely don't want to be a bowling teacher." Alrighty then, anything else? "I think I want to be a football player." I'm sure you'd make a great football player, honey. "But if the coach asked me to eat yogurt on the field, I'd have to say 'no'." You gotta put your foot down on certain issues, Bennett. I'm glad you realize that early on.

Cuddle time conversation never ceases to amaze's filled with humor, creativity and randomness...wait a is my life!

Dec 12, 2007

Unconditional Love

12/12/2007 — cori

In a rare lapse into seriousness today, Bennett gave me a glimpse of the magnitude of love he holds in his heart. He came to cuddle me this morning. I don't know how long he was laying there staring at me. I was able to pry open one eye and give him a knowing nod and half smile to acknowledge his presence. We lay there in silence for a bit until the most profound statement escapes his mouth, "If there ever was a beautiful woman, it was you, Mom".

My heart fluttered. I was able to open both my eyes to a squinting position in order to look at him. I asked him if he was joking. He said no. I asked him if he meant when I'm all dressed up and have my make up on and he said, "No, right now." And I said, "Like this, sick, with bed head, jammies on and my teeth not even brushed?" To which I got a huge grin and a YES.

I told him how much he just made my heart smile and how he already made my day and it hadn't even begun yet. God sure knows the exact moments to reach out and show you his unconditional love.

I'm sure he was just trying out lines for future use on whomever has the joy to become his wife. But that moment will stay in my heart forever. He sounds just like his Daddy. They must both have been issued the same rose colored lenses in which to view life and those around them.

Dec 10, 2007

It's All About The Fun

12/10/2007 — cori

I love to see families having fun and playing together. It makes my heart happy. I love to see people who can laugh at themselves and not take themselves too seriously. Life is fun and funny. And when it stops being that way, it's time to take a step back and re-evaluate where you are.

For favorite NBA player, Michael Jordan once said, "Just play, have fun, enjoy the game." It sure seemed to me, in his hay-day he was having alot of fun on the court and it was contagious. He loved what he did, it showed and it got other people, who wouldn't ordinarily like basketball (such as myself) interested in the game.

Another hero in our family is Tony Romo. Especially after his amazing 'come from behind touchdown with only 18 seconds left in the game' play. His attitude is one of excitement. He's even quoted as saying, "You try and work hard and get better each week. I play the game with passion. I enjoy the game. It's a lot of fun when I'm out there. That's the way I play. For some reason, people like that." You can see it all over his face, his smile makes you happy, whether you're a Cowboy's fan or not.

Even Thomas Edison had this to say about fun, "I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun." And we all know what he accomplished with all his 'fun'. It makes a difference loving what you do, loving life, loving those around you. Look how many people you affect.

I've also noticed this same trend in our homeschooling...when learning stops being fun, we stop learning. When what we love to do becomes a chore, it's clear to me that its time for change. Hard work can be fun, as Romo and Jordan have already attested to.

I believe you stop having fun when you start looking inward at yourself, your needs, your failures and your circumstances only. There's nothing wrong with looking at those things, but they can get rather depressing at times. But remember...there will always be people better off than you and always people worse off than you. So, having fun is a choice. You learn more, affect others for good and make a greater impact just by looking at the fun in life.

Dec 7, 2007

Dress Up For Dinner Night

12/07/2007 — cori

We decided to institute a new family tradition. I read about the idea in a book recently and thought it would be fun. I'm sure the author was referring more to actually dressing up for dinner, meaning put on your Sunday best when you come to the table once a week. But obviously, 'dressing up' means something totally different in our household.

It's no secret that my children are slightly addicted to costumes and that their room contains a plethora of costumes. So, it was easy to pick what our very first "Dress Up For Dinner Night" theme should be. We had no shortage of animal costumes. Here were the ground rules:

1. you have to pick your own costume (mommy is not responsible for picking anyone's costume but her own).
2. you may use my make up to accent a certain feature, say whiskers, noses, cheetah dots - but only the make up I give you.
3. mommy and daddy come up with the theme and will announce the theme the day of "DUFDN".
4. everyone must participate - even guests.

I'm thinking this should supply us with a wonderful host of memories and hopefully a very fun tradition to pass on as well as many embarrassing moments.

We added a unique twist on this, our very first night of fun. We decided that since we were all dressed as animals, we may as well see what its like to eat like an animal. So we told the kids to put their forks down and start eating from their plates with their mouths only, no hands. The kids were overjoyed and showed much enthusiasm for this aspect of dinner. We all gave it a try and I must admit, it WAS nice to throw off the 'rules' for a bit and not worry about everyone's manners. Here's a few lovely pictures as proof that we all enjoyed the moment. In case you can't tell, Gavin is the roaring lion (by the way, he's had this costume since he's been 3 and he still fits into it, go figure), Bennett is the cheetah, Chloe is the ferocious dog, I am the panther and Chuck is the giraffe.

Nov 26, 2007

Chuck's 'Condition'

11/26/2007 — cori
Life is anything but dull in our house. Imagine the hours of fun just trying to get a simple family picture for our Christmas cards. First Chuck has to set the camera on a tripod and then attempt to get each of the 5 people in our family to look at the blinking light at exactly the same time all with genuine smiles on their faces. This must all be accomplished without anyone wiggling, yelling and causing tears and a red nose to show up in the picture or without knocking the camera off the tripod while attempting to leap over furniture and get into the perfect spot in the 10 second time-frame allotment. It is almost a hurdle too impossible for us to climb. It was yet another memorable moment to add to our data bank of "Crazy Memorable Mallott Moments".

Miraculously, we took at least one good picture (this was our 3rd attempt) and had a hearty laugh at the rest of them. But it wasn't the kids that caused laughter this time around. It was Chuck. We have come across a phenomenon almost too unbelieveable - yet it exists. While looking at my dear husband's handsome face in the recent pictures, I couldn't tell what way he was looking. I zoomed in for closer detail. And then it struck husband has "Wall Eye". You know, where one eye appears to be looking slightly askew from the other.

In all our years, I never noticed this. His eyes have always been my favorite feature. They're so kind and gentle. Yet upon further evaluation they're also not looking at the same focal point. What's going on here? As we were rolling on the floor with laughter, Chuck decided to name his 'condition'...."Adult Onset Wall Eye Disorder". He's considering starting a support group for anyone else who may be unwittingly beset with such a baffling condition.

Nov 20, 2007

Creative Naming

11/20/2007 — cori

At dinner tonight, we were telling Daddy about how we (the kids and I) were dancing around the house to our new 80's/90's mix cd this afternoon. We were laughing and having a blast. Bennett was getting a little crazy with swinging his arms around wildly and accidentally hit himself in his private parts. As he was relaying this story to Daddy it came out soooooo funny. This is exactly what he said:

"I was dancing and then hit myself in my privates. But I like to call them my gummy and the ones on the side I like to call my hot muffins."


Trying to appear serious and keeping that smirk from peeking out the corners of our mouths we both calmly ask, "Who did you hear say that?!" We don't like the kids to talk 'potty talk'. This just isn't normal conversation in our house. We knew he had to be copying something he heard. But it was just so funny and out of the blue.

But Mr. Honesty replies, "Nobody. I made it up myself. And I call my hair my oil. And I call my earlobes my....". He then proceeded to tell us the nickname version of all his body parts.

This is Bennett being Bennett. He was cracking himself up. This is on-the-spot humor. Some people call it comedic timing. Whatever it is, Bennett has it.

It was said with such innocence. And you've just got to give him an "A" for creativity.

Nov 14, 2007

Tell Me How You REALLY Feel

11/14/2007 — cori
Bennett is VERY in touch with his emotions. I'm sure any future wife will be thrilled with a guy who can actually verbalize his feelings. There is no guessing here. Take yesterday for example. I had just committed the most despicable act a mother could require of her children...I made them eat a chewable vitamin C after breakfast. In my mind, I'm just trying to divert the onslaught of colds and sniffles that accompany such crazy weather. But in Bennett's mind, it was as if i had just given him a blob of mud and demanded in no uncertain terms that he eat it.

My first mistake was buying the wrong brand of Vitamin C for the kids on my last trip to the store. How I could make such a negligent oversight is beyond me. This brand must have been cheaper. Obviously, cheap doesn't cut it with Bennett. He starts to feel his gag reflex surging, so he rushes over to the kitchen sink. His modus operendi in the past whenever he gags is to throw up the undesirable substance into his plate thereby giving us no other option than to wave the white flag and surrender our position. Thankfully, he had the foresight to run to the sink. Lucky for us, nothing came out and I could stand my ground once more.

I was full of helpful hints on how to swallow something your taste buds or brain doesn't like. There was once a time when I, too, was a child and knew all the tricks. I have yet to pass these on to my underlings, so I thought now was a good time. There's always the 'Hold Your Nose, Squint Your Eyes and Chew Really Fast' option. That got me thru many a grapefruit combined with prune juice breakfast combination. I also taught him the 'Take a Small Bite and a Big Drink at the Same Time' combo. He said he already tried that one and it didn't work. I also used the 'Throw Up Right Where You Are Technique' that he is already so successful at. That one must have gotten passed down through the genes because I know I haven't used that one in years, so he couldn't have seen me do it.

I advised him that it was in his best interest to take his vitamin c. I would wait as long as possible. I wasn't giving him a choice in the matter. Once he realized there would be no negotiating and that no amount of whining would work, he caved. It took him 45 minutes to do it, but he did it. He immediately stomped up stairs on a mission.

He came down again, no less than 5 minutes later saying, "Mom, I need to show you something." He then presented me with a lovely green piece of construction paper. He said, "This is how I feel about that vitamin c." On the left side of the paper was a circle with a smiley face in it, however the smile was crossed over. To the right of it he wrote, "pe you gros". On the right hand side of the paper is a stick figure. This figure has small humps on the arms that stretch out horizontally across it's body. Next to the stick figure he writes, "A man hois haf wa strong". (A man who's half way strong). He tells me, "I don't mind being only half way strong if I don't eat any more vitamin c."
So, there you have it...Bennett and his strong feelings for vitamin c. If you ever cross Bennett, watch out, you might just get a random drawing in the mail telling you how he feels.

Nov 12, 2007

Creativity or Boredom?

11/12/2007 — cori

So...we're in the car on the way to somewhere the other day. Bennett and Chloe are sitting together. They've got nothing to talk about, so Bennett decides it would be a great time to play a game. He asks Chloe, "Hey Chlo, you wanna play that game where you say 'yes' then I say 'no' then you say 'yes' then I say 'no' then you say 'yes' again and I say 'no', then we switch and I say 'yes' then you say 'no' then I say 'yes' then you say 'no' then I say 'yes' then you say 'no'?"

Did I really just hear what I thought I heard? He just confused Chloe so much she doesn't know whether to answer "yes" or "no" and what would happen if she did. Is this really a viable game option? Is this as much creativity as my children have in them? Is there any purpose in this game? Should I be worried?

But Chloe gleefully replies, "Okay, Bennett!!!" And then they're off with their 'yes/no' fun including giggles and all. They really think this is a game. Chloe even says, "Bennett, don't forget to tell me when it's my turn to say 'no'." You bettcha, he's all over that one! This is his game, his invention; he decides the rules and Chloe WILL follow them. It's not often the middle child gets to be the leader of the pack.

I just continue driving on as if everything is normal.

Nov 7, 2007

My Brother, My Friend

11/07/2007 — cori
The other day Bennett busts out with, "When I was 2, Gavin taught me everything." That says it all. It shows how much he looks up to his brother and believes every word he says. It also says a thing or two about how Gavin loves having an unyielding subject who will hang on his every word, someone he can teach everything he knows too and someone to train in all aspects of superheroness. I'm so glad Bennett knew everything at 2...makes my job alot easier now.

Oct 27, 2007

Stinky Lips

10/27/2007 — cori

Every morning when my dear, darling daughter comes to snuggle in bed with me the first thing I'm greeted with is, "Mommy, you have stinky lips."

Thank you, dear, for stating the obvious. And every morning, we have to explain why our "lips" stink, even though we brushed our teeth before bed. I think stinky lips sounds more appealing that bad breath anyways.

Of course, Chloe is immune to the stinky lip syndrome. She can't possibly imagine herself, a 'real mommy' and 'princess' ,ever having something so yucky as stinky lips.

Oct 26, 2007

A Good Day

10/26/2007 — cori
What constitutes a good day around here? How about setting a goal and then accomplishing it? Bennett did just that and I have to say, I am super proud of him! This was his goal:

We made a chart of all the chapters in his phonics reader that he needed to read. My son is highly motivated by outside influences. I'm hoping he's just still too young for intrinsic rewards. Even though this went against what I was hoping to instill in him (learning something new for the sake of personal pride and satisfaction and to know you can do it if you try), the same character outcome was achieved - much to my surprise.

He gained a new love of reading which before seemed to be more of a chore. He gained a sense of self confidence which before was a sense of inferiority since his older brother could read and he couldn't yet. He's gained a love of learning which before was a sense of procrastination. He begs me to sit down and do his workbooks with him. It is an odd day when I don't find him sitting down with Chloe trying to teach her something he just learned. All this was accomplished by a silly little sticker chart with a costume as a 'prize' at the end of it.

This is what you get if you are Bennett and you just accomplished what you previously thought was impossible:
My son: The Ninja. I can't tell you the multitude of thanks that was lavished upon me. He now knows the effort it takes to earn something, the joy in a job well done, and the sense of satisfaction when you complete a task. It is good day indeed.

Oct 21, 2007

Taking Risks

10/21/2007 — cori

I thought it would be fun to do a sudoku puzzle with Gavin the other day. We sat down at the table and I began to show him the 'secrets' and 'skill' involved in being able to successfully complete an easy, mini, sudoku puzzle. I, myself, am still in the early stages of learning how to do these without throwing my pencil down in frustration. It's such an exhilarating feeling to complete a puzzle and actually get it all right. It makes me want to do it again and again. Honestly, they're rather addicting. Thus was my reasoning to introducing my young son to this clever form of entertainment (and math).

I walk and talk him through my puzzle. He totally gets it and is antsy for his turn to start. Finally, his turn arrives. He sits there and just stares at it. I wonder where all the excitement went. He tells me, "Mom, what if I mess up. I don't know exactly where all the numbers go." Duh! "That's the whole point" I tell him. I explain that this is a great way to learn how to problem solve and trouble shoot. I give a fantastic speech, highlighting all the brain benefits that this genius game has to offer my son. Yet, it doesn't seem as if I've convinced him. He replies to my over excitement with, "Ya, Mom, but I'm not much of a risk taker."

WHAT?!? Is this my superhero son talking to me? The one who walks on top of the monkey bars. Who climbs tree limbs too narrow and tall for us normal human beings. Who tries new foods or ways of doing things even if he's not sure he'll like them. Who picks up any bug he sees. Do you even know yourself Gavin? Not a risk taker...whatever.

Instead of voicing my true thoughts and feelings above, I give him the 'mommy' version, "Honey, if you don't feel you're much of a risk taker, then this is the perfect place to start. You can take a 'risk' by writing down the wrong number and then use this new fangled device called the eraser to eliminate any trace of your wrong choice. That's the best risk I've found yet." In other words, it's not that he's not a risk taker, it's that he doesn't like to be wrong. Big difference. But I have another mommy solution up my sleeve for that one too, "Honey, I WANT you to make mistakes and mess up, that's how you learn. How much better to make your mistakes around mommy where I can be there to help you and guide you on how to do it." I think that was the real lesson of sudoku.

Needless to say, he's hooked and taking quite alot of risk with his little eraser close to his side.

Oct 16, 2007

Tony Romo

10/16/2007 — cori
Bennett has been bitten by the football bug. Life will never be the same now. On this, almost his 6th year of life, he has come to the realization that such a game exists. He is attentive through-out an entire 3 hour game. He has even taken to wearing his Dallas Cowboys football jersey on game days - much like his father. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

I found this drawing on the white board one Monday morning:

He tells me, "This is Daddy's and my new superhero - Tony Romo!" Of course he is, Honey...why would I think otherwise.

Oct 12, 2007

19th Century Wisdom

10/12/2007 — cori

I love old books. I have a huge collection of them. I have learned so much by reading things written in the style of times gone by. I especially enjoy old school readers. One of my favorites is a book called "Osgood's Progressive Third Reader" that Gavin will read aloud to me once in a while. From this book,I have learned many a valuable lesson. I came across this beautiful story the other day and thought it was worth sharing. I hope you enjoy reading it:

Improve the Intellect
by Lucius Osgood, 1855

Look at the spreading oak, that pride of the village green! its trunk is massy, its branches are strong. Its roots, like crooked fangs, strike deep into the soil, and support its huge bulk. The birds build among the boughs; the cattle repose beneath its shade; the neighbors form groups beneath the shelter of its green canopy. The old men point it out to their children, but they themselves remember not its growth; generations of men, one after another, have been born and died, and this son of the forest has remained the same, defying the storms of two hundred winters.

Yet this large tree was once a little acorn; small in size insignificant in appearance; such as you are now picking up from the grass beneath it. Such an acorn, whose cup can only contain a drop or two of dew, contained the whole oak. All its massy trunk, all its knotted branches, all its multitude of leaves, were in that acorn; it grew, it spread, it unfolded itself by degrees, it received nourishment from the rain, and the dews, and the well-adapted soil; but it was all there. Rain, and dews, and soil could not raise an oak without the acorn; nor could they make the acorn any thing but an oak.

The mind of a child is like the acorn; its powers are folded up, they do not yet appear, but they are all there. The memory, the judgment, the invention, the feeling of right and wrong, are all in the mind of a child - of a little infant just born; but they are not expanded, you cannot perceive them. Think of the wisest man you ever knew of heart of; think of the greatest man; think of the most learned man who speaks a number of languages, and can find out hidden things; think of a man who stands like that tree, sheltering and protecting a number of his fellow men; and then say to yourself, The mind of that man was once like mine - his thoughts were childish like my thoughts - nay, he was like the babe just born, which knows nothing, remembers nothing, which cannot distinguish good from evil, nor truth from falsehood.

If you had seen an acorn, you could never guess at the form and size of an oak; if you had never conversed with a wise man, you cold form no idea of him from the mute and helpless infant. Instruction is the food of the mind; it is like the dew, and the rain, and the rich soil. As the soil and the rain and the dew cause the tree to swell and put forth its tender shoots, so do books and study and discourse feed the mind, and make it unfold its hidden powers.

Reverence therefore, your own mind; receive the nurture of instruction, that the man within you may grow and flourish. you cannot guess how excellent he may become. It was long before this oak showed its greatness; year after year passed away, and it had only shot a little way above the ground; a child might have plucked it up with his little hands; it was long before any one called it a tree; and it is long before the child becomes a man. The acorn might have perished in the ground, the young tree might have been shorn of its graceful boughs, the twig might have bent, and the tree would have been crooked; but if it grew at all it could have been nothing but an oak: it would not have been grass or flowers, which live their season, and then perish from the face of the earth. The child may be a foolish man, he may be a wicked man, but he must be a man; his nature is not that of any inferior creature, his soul is not akin to the beasts which perish.

Oh, cherish, then this precious mind; feed it with truth, nourish it with knowledge; it comes from God, it is made in his image: the oak will last for centuries of years, but the mind of man is made for immortality. Respect in the infant the future man. Destroy not in the man the rudiments of an angel.

Oct 10, 2007

Bennett's Dots

10/10/2007 — cori

This evening, Chuck and Bennett spent an hour and a half outside playing all things football - catch, tackle, running. It was pure heaven for Bennett.

As I was tucking him into bed he says, "Mom, I've got to show you something." He stands up to make the image more dramatic and shoves his leg in my face. "Look, Mom, I have the red dots of sickness." I tried desperately to not laugh. But I failed. I knew these were not red dots of sickness, just itchies from rolling around in the grass. I asked him to expound on his theory. He told me, "Well, maybe they could be chiggers."

Then Gavin decided to join in and tell me what Bennett was really trying to say, "Mom, I think he means chicken pox." Bennett is relieved that at least someone understands him and is taking his red dots of sickness seriously. "Ya, Mom, I have the chick pox" he emphatically states.

As I look over his little legs, I notice only little scratch marks from the rough grass. I pull him to me in a bear hug and tell him not to worry, that he doesn't have anything a nice little chewable Benadryl can't cure. He's pleased that I'm finally taking his illness seriously.

We can all sleep better now knowing that Bennett is cured of the 'red dots of sickness'.

Oct 8, 2007

Solution for Excess Mayonnaise

10/08/2007 — cori

During lunch today, Bennett educated Chloe in the finer points of etiquette. This is the quick lesson Chloe received, verbatim:

"Chlo, if you ever get mayonnaise on your arm while you're eating, just rub it in. It's just like suntan lotion." Then he proceeded to demonstrate for further clarification.

Moments like these make me appreciate the multitude of wisdom he's accumulated over his short five years with us.

Oct 3, 2007

Adventures with Lipstick

10/03/2007 — cori
This is my sweet baby girl, who, the moment she wakes up can't wait to put on her 'brown yipstick'. She is intent on being a 'real mommy' right from the get go. Not that she has even once witnessed me do this. She even applies the lipstick all on her own. The image is priceless to me. That lipstick is all important. She feels that the only way it will stay on her lips is if she doesn't lick her lips at all. She also doesn't want her lips to touch so that the lipstick, in her words "won't disappear". Thus the reasoning behind why she holds her lips like this:

This is one of her more dramatic poses. I haven't been able to capture a still shot of her walking around the house with her casual 'model lip pose'. You know, the slightly pursed, made to look fuller and bigger than they really are so that your lips are accentuated look. Again, nothing she got from me. As you can see, she was born with a natural pouty lip and has practiced it so much, she has it down to an art form. She's a natural .

But my favorite part of the whole lipstick routine is the sound she is constantly making. I wish there was a way to insert a sound clip so that I could forever remember this. Pretend you are 31/2 year old Chloe for a moment and try this with me:

The lipstick is aptly applied - the more the better. Since you don't really close your mouth or lick your lips in order to preserve the integrity of the lipstick, you hold your lips in a slightly open, pouty fashion. But then you start to notice a problem, excess saliva starts building up in the inside of your cheeks. This spit is typically used to moisten one's lips -but not if you are 'real mommy' Chloe. So, every few seconds you slurp up your excess spit by inhaling air through that tiny little pout hole you've got going on near your lips. This creates a vacuum type sound. But you believe this is perfectly normal and acceptable behavior - afterall, you do have lipstick on.

Let me reiterate here: she has seen me do none of this. This is not imitated behavior, it is totally of her own doing...unless I've just never noticed myself doing it and the boys think it's perfectly normal since they think I'm normal and have never thought to mention it to me....I need to go ponder this...

Chloe you make my heart smile! I adore your pouty lips, the slurpy sound you make all day and how you do it in such a beautiful, innocent way. It is music to my ears and I hope I ncver forget it.

Oct 2, 2007

My Latest Super Hero

10/02/2007 — cori

At dinner last night, the kids ask me, "So, Mom, who's your latest super hero?" I was unaware of the fact that the kids thought I spent all hours of the night and day dreaming up the powers of a new superhero like they do. I didn't know that was in my job description. This is just casual dinner conversation, mind you. I would highly warn anybody who plans to ever have dinner with us to be prepared for this line of questioning.

I successfully evade giving an answer on the grounds that I can't talk with food in my mouth...that buys me some time. I don't even know where to begin, my mind draws a blank. There is zero creativity left in my brain by this time of the day. We're busy eating my creativity. But the kids don't want excuses, they want another superhero...think, think, think.

Then Bennett offers a possibility, "How about '2 Drink Lady' since you always have 2 drinks in the morning?". Hmmmm, I think to myself, not a bad one, but I'm not seeing alot of cool powers that come from just stating the obvious. I do, in fact, always have a cup of hot tea and a glass of orange juice in the morning - but, that one just doesn't do much for me. Daddy ends up shooting down the idea anyways. Bennett tries to defend his lame suggestion with, "But remember Mommy used to be 'Super Carrot Woman' cuz she always ate carrots. I was just copying that." Nice try, but we can do better than that in this house.

Chuck is certainly not helping matters by sporadically saying, "Come on Babe, what'cha got?" This isn't our typical, 'hello, welcome home from work, I haven't seen you all day' type of conversation I'm accustomed to. I'm suprised that he's throwing me to the wolves so easily.

Dinner comes and goes and I still can't come up with one viable option. Why did they ever have to ask me this question? Now it is going to haunt me until I can measure up to the high bar of superhero expectation set for me. We don't take superheroes lightly in this house - as if you haven't already noticed.

Later in the evening, I think I finally came up with one. I announce, "How about 'Decorating Diva!" Now it has to stand up to the 'test' . Not bad, Gavin admits, but he wants to know what noises or sounds I would make. What??? Nobody told me I also had to make superhero sounds! I told him my noise button was broken. Then he informed me that my latest superhero wouldn't qualify as such unless I could do tricky maneuvers on the floor (meaning roll around on my back and end up dizzy or bumping my head on a wall) and at the same time give sound effects (meaning weird noises only boys can do). I told him I was doomed - I can do neither.

I guess I will just have to learn to accept the fact that I will forever be a mere mortal living amongst a house full of superheroes - and I'm okay with that!

Sep 30, 2007

Need To Open Up More

9/30/2007 — cori

Evidently, I haven't shared enough of my past with my children. They don't feel as if they really know me. You can imagine my surprise when Bennett says to me, "So, Mom, we know alot about Daddy's life, but we don't know much about your life." This comes on the heels of his soccer game. Was he really contemplating his mommy's childhood as he was repeatedly running the lengths of the field? Did God whisper in his ear ask your mommy about her life? How long has this curiosity had a hold of him? Am I that much of an enigma in his life that he feels as if he doesn't even know me? Do I typically evade most of his questions regarding my past? Has he never seen one baby picture of me?

This bodes well with my constant second guessing of my parenting abilities. Great, I'm thinking, my poor son doesn't even know his own mother. What else have I failed at? Do I not already talk enough? Do they want my childhood history in chronological order or just as the memories come to me? I decide to stop asking myself questions in my head and ask Bennett one instead, "Well, Honey, what is it you'd like to know?" He felt like starting at the the beginning - a very good place to start. I dove into where I was born and how I moved throughout my childhood. I thought I saw him yawn, so I asked, "Is this helpful? Do you feel you know me better now?"

"Yep" was all I got. I went through all that mental anguish for nothing. I guess my rendition of my life spawned earlier memories of spending time at Grandma and Grandpa's house (my childhood home) and hearing story after story and seeing picture after picture of mommy as a little girl.

Why he asks these types of panic invoking questions is beyond me. Maybe the rest of the family just finds humor in the look of sudden panic evoked on my face. One thing I'm sure of...this won't be the last time.

Sep 28, 2007

Dangerous Games

9/28/2007 — cori

Today at lunch Gavin was pining away about how he wishes we could take a trip to Mexico. I have zero clue where this sudden desire came from, but I thought I'd just go with it. In my mind I'm picturing our family on a little mission trip helping in some way, showing the kids the stark differences in the way our cultures live and teaching them to be thankful for all they have. If you hadn't noticed through any of my previous posts, I'm highly idealistic. Then I'm quickly brought back to Gavin's reality. How could I forget all his talk of growing up to be a world traveler and his flying RV and his green suitcase? this trip is all about him. He tells me, "But we won't be able to eat the fruit, Mom." He's evidently got inside sources I'm unaware of. He tells me they could be poisonous.

Then out of nowhere Bennett pipes in with, "Well, if we go there, we cannot play any games! Because if you play games in Mexico and you loose - you die!" I knew exactly what he was talking about but was unable to help explain his reasoning to the rest of the stunned family members due to the uncontrollable fit of laughter I suddenly found myself in. I always try to be conscientious of not laughing at my kids (or any kids for that matter) when they give a wrong or absurd answer. I'm typically able to control the giggles that want to engulf me. I giggle only because it was such an adorable way of looking at the bits and pieces of information they acquire.

I found Bennett perusing through a colorful, brightly illustrated book we have on the Ancient Incas several weeks ago. With his 5 year old deductive reasoning abilities, he aptly concluded from looking at the picture long and hard, that you die if you loose the game. At least that's the way the picture showed it. I was able to explain that these were ancient peoples and they don't do that any more. Evidently, that tiny fact got lost in his ever expanding brain and he only remembers the picture.

But just in case, I'm sure Bennett will play it safe if and when he ever makes it to Mexico. You will not find him playing any games in this foreign land - he values his life to much.

Sep 27, 2007

New Identities

9/27/2007 — cori

I was just informed that we are no longer who we think we are. I know that sounds confusing, but life in my house normally is. It seems our entire family has recently morphed into a superhero family of bees.

My new identity is that of "Honey Bee". This makes sense considering my affinity towards honey. Chuck will now be known as "Yellowjacket". I believe this handle was chosen for him since he is so fast and speedy. Gavin is "Wasp". I don't know that there's a reason other than that was his latest superhero invention. Plus, he likes the idea of being able to sting and not immediately loose his life. Bennett is now, "Hornet". Makes sense considering how he can get himself riled up so easily. And lastly, Chloe is "Bumblebee". They are usually known for being very loud and noisy and a tad bit bothersome. I have no idea why they chose that name for her.

Just thought you might like to know. If you hear of any great escapades against evil and injustice in the news, know that it was probably the Bee Family out and about just doing their job.

Sep 24, 2007

Chloe Language

9/24/2007 — cori

I just love three year olds. They are so expressive. They try everything because they think they can do everything by themselves. They ask 'why' at least 146 times each day. And they have the most adorable imitation of grown-up talk. Chloe is at the top of her game right now. She's even 'teaching' me how to spell words such as CAT. She tell me, "Mommy, dis how you fpell tat: B-L-U-L-C. Now say it with me taaaat. Good." I'm a willing student, it seems, so I get lots of these little impromptu lessons from her.

Today we were sitting on the floor working on a puzzle together. She was sitting on my lap. In the most polite, kind voice she says, "Mommy, those poky things on you leg are hurting me. Could you please go raze them. You have a razor on your baf-tub." She was just waiting for the right moment she could use the new word I added to her vocabulary this morning as she picked up my razor and asked, "What's dis?" I just love how she even tried to conjugate it.

We always tell ourselves that we'll never forget how our child says this or that in a unique or funny way. We fool ourselves into thinking they'll talk like that forever. However, we forget that time marches on and they have a way of changing without us ever noticing. Then we look back and regret not remembering how they pronounced a silly word. Well, this post is here for that reason alone. When Chloe is 10 and talking very articulately, she'll find this post, read it and laugh her head off. Here's some of my favorite sayings in 3 year old Chloe language:

duhbana (banana)
duhsketti (spaghetti)
foo meet (excuse me)
fums (thumbs)
welpum (welcome)
olibs (olives)
hankerchips (handkerchiefs)
dat-o-tay (that's okay)
led (red)
hud (hug)
feepin booty (sleeping beauty)
fambled edds (scrambled eggs)
peez fop it (please stop it)
fpark-ul-lee earwings (sparkley ear-rings)
I fmell fumpin (i smell somthing)
you wittle finker (you little stinker)
yester night (last night)
thanks you

When I Grow Up...

9/24/2007 — cori

Chloe is forever frustrated by the fact that she is not a 'real' mommy yet. I mean, after all, she wears the high heels, the lipstick, the dresses and a lovely assortment of jewelry, including new dangley earrings. What more must I do to be a 'real' mommy? must be the thought running through her naive little head. She's always asking me, "Mommy, why can't I be a mommy now?" And then I take the easiest course and remind her that she hasn't gotten married yet and all mommies need to get married first. Well then, now we have a host of new problems to tackle. "But I don't know who I'm going to marry or what my dress will look like or what shoes I will wear?" We always end our deep conversation with the same conclusion, that thankfully she doesn't have to know all that now, that God has it all planned out nicely for her and its our job to wait. In the mean time, we get to have fun playing and pretending to be a mommy (even though, technically in her mind, she has all the 'gear' to be a real one right now). My, my...the trials of being three.

Then there's Bennett. My little superhero. And truly he is. He loves to rescue people. He rescues the one who gets left out by including them, he rescues the one who is sad by trying to make them laugh, he rescues the one who is hurt by comforting them. You are not allowed to be sad around Bennett or one of two things will happen....he will end up sad just like you because he feels your pain so deeply or you will end up laughing because he will do his latest stand up comedian routine on you and you will laugh so hard you will forget what was plaguing you. The superhero options are endless, as of late, it's changed from ninja to knight. But it's always someone strong enough to defeat evil. I have no doubt he'll grow up to be my little Mr. Incredible!

I've wondered for many years now what Gavin might want to be or could accomplish as he gets older. I have no preset ideas or expectations for him. However, I've been very puzzled by the array of things he enjoys and couldn't possibly see a connection to all of them...until yesterday when Gavin announced: I think I want to be an actor when I grow up. Ahhh, now it all makes sense. He told me, "I can do everything I love being an actor: I can dress up in costumes, pretend to be something I'm not, be imaginative and read alot." I have to admit, I'm a much bigger fan of this line of work than I was when he declared the trash truck driver occupation. But there's always being a chemist to fall back on if the whole acting thing doesn't work out. He could wear a costume to the lab and no one would know.

It's so fun being young and seeing the whole world filled with opportunity. It inspires me to want to do the, not become an actor or knight but to never stop dreaming. When I grow up (trust me, I'm so not a grown up yet), I want to start an orphanage and teach all the kids life skills and share all the unconditional love I've been blessed to live in. I also want to open a bookstore. I want to travel the world (being on The Amazing Race would be soo cool). I want to be a tour guide. Now I feel like Chloe, so much to do and learn and so little time. My greatest challenge seems to be living in the here and now. I'm living my dream right now, the rest will come in time.

Sep 4, 2007

Reality vs. Vacation

9/04/2007 — cori

Ahhh...just the word vacation conjures up such feelings as restful, joyous, carefree, all the time in the world to do whatever you want (within reason and budget) without worrying too much about all the responsibility that is an ever constant companion back in "the real world".

Our last little foray into that blissful state of mind was only 2 short weeks ago. Amazingly enough, our vacation was 'normal'. No outrageous, crazy happenings that seem to befall our family. We looked and acted like every other 'normal' family. I should have known then that it wouldn't last forever. I knew that once we got home, reality would hit us hard. That seems to be our 'tradition', if you will. We prefer to have unimaginable, unexpected and expensive things happen shortly upon our arrival back from paradise. We wouldn't want to fool ourselves into thinking that the troublesome-free life we just experienced for a few too precious days could really be attainable for people such as ourselves. Take last week for example:

I picked up the dog from the kennel and brought her home after taking out a small loan to pay for her private suite during our 2 weeks away. The only way I can justify spending that kind of money on her is because I know they all love her there and take such good care of her. But that's beside the point. Upon entering our house and being greeted with unequivocal adoration from her siblings (the human ones), she realizes that her bladder is just not strong enough to contain all her excitement. Clean up number one occurs less than 4 minutes upon reestablishing familial connections. I guess that was my error, I probably should have had everyone come outside to formally greet her. What do I know about dog training?

She then takes her place in our room, where Chuck works from home. They are working buddies. She seems to like the quiet clickitty clack of the keyboard (that's an oxymoron) and I like that his eyes are keeping watch on her. I guess Chuck likes having her there too...I never really asked...this set up works too good to worry about that now. So anyways, I run an errand with the boys while Chloe stays home and takes a nap while Chuck is working in our room. He runs upstairs to check on her. He is gone maybe 2 minutes. In that amount of time Elizabeth has seemingly exploded. She decided to let Chuck know what she feels about him leaving her. She proceeded to poopie and then frolic about in it all over our room. We have not even been home for 24 hours yet!! I stayed gone long enough to let Chuck pick up that indescribable mess in peace. I was just trying to be thoughtful.

Once I got home, and assured our puppy that she was still loved (at least by me anyways), I let her back into our room. Bad idea. As a bonus, she proceeded to throw-up from some unknown ailment. The pile was massive. Again, this was in our room. Yuck! We had to sleep with nose-plugs that night.

And lastly, on this, our first day back from vacation, we started noticing a burning smell. What on earth could be burning in our house, I ask myself. Come to find out, this was the day our dishwasher decided it was done with us. We eventually find out that it will cost more to fix it than to replace it. So, we venture out to our local appliance store to buy our second appliance this month. Didn't see that one coming.

These types of events keep us grounded in reality. This was actually a walk in the park compared to our return home greeting 5 years ago. You see, we were still in that time of life when vacations were a rarity for us. All extra money goes to food and things we need in order to live. Thus, when Chuck's work awarded him an all expense paid Mediterranean Cruise, we were speechless. We knew this would be a once in a lifetime experience. We treasured every surreal moment we had. It is my conclusion that the better the vacation, the worse the descent back into reality. Here's what awaited us:

We pick up our children and drive back home. The instant we walk through the front door, my nose tells me "something is seriously wrong here." Either something was dead or rotting, but it wasn't pretty. We quickly discovered it was the 2 bags of chicken we left sitting in the back seat of the car parked in the closed garage. I had bought like 12 packages of chicken the day we left because they were on an unbelievable sale - and I am not one to pass up on such a bargain. You can imagine the blame game we instantly started playing, "I asked if you brought everything in from the car?"..."Well, you should have checked.." yada, yada, yada. Forget all the "I love you's" and strolls hand in hand we had while walking through Portofino, Italy just a day and a half ago. Now, it was about being right! My house smells like 12 dead chickens and I'm about to throw up!!

But as we were arguing, we realize not only are we starting to wreak, but we're also sweating. It seemed to be getting hotter and hotter in the house. We then join forces, even for a short bit, and run over to check the ancient thermostat. Our HVAC unit was about 20 some odd years old at that point and we knew it would be biting the dust soon...but did it have to be today?! The temperature continued to rise in the house - not good in Texas during the end of April.

We decided to go back over to my parents' house on the other side of town. I was to drive the kids over in our other car, which still stunk because everything we owned stunk at this point, but not as bad as Chuck's car, a.k.a The Chicken Car. Chuck was going to attempt to clean out the car and then drive over to my parents' house to meet us and try to ride out the current heat wave at our house.

It seemed to be taking Chuck a very long time to clean out the car. Come to find out, the Chicken Car died on him on the way over. He's not 5 minutes away and he's stuck. This was before we owned cell phones. So, he's now walking to the nearest convenience store to find a phone to call me to tell me the news. I don't even know if he had a quarter on him to make the call. We were both ready to cry at this point. The world can be so cruel. It was piling everything on us at once. It's hard enough to deal with the fact that we would forever be reminded of our collective stupidity by leaving chicken in a car for a week. But add to that that it just died on Chuck and he's having to beg for a phone - what have we become?!

Somehow, someway, we were able to pick up Chuck, get the car towed, buy a part and get it fixed - thanks to my Dad's knowledge of the inner workings of an automobile. In a haze, we somehow made it home again that night, emptied an entire can on Lysol in our house and fell into a very hot, sticky, smelly sleep as we tried to rid this horrid nightmare from our memories.

Ah yes, the best part is...Chuck parked the Chicken Car outside that night with the windows down in order to try to 'air it out'. Little did we know it would rain. The next morning we now had a very wet, moldy smelling Chicken Car. Ah...the good old days...where would we be without memories such as these to look back and laugh at?!

Author's note: None of this is embellished in any way. All of this really did happen, unfortunately. The good news is, we lived to tell about it!

Aug 1, 2007

Ode To The Rocket Washer

8/01/2007 — cori
Your memory, I shall always hold dear
because you left me partially deaf in one ear.
I shall also miss your lovely dent
It reminds me of what you cost me in rent.
To keep you in storage for months on end
Unaware that you were needing a mend.
My new machine will not have a screw driver to keep it in place
How could something so perfect compare with your unique face?
I shall also miss the panic attack you caused
Just because you were doing your job.
What will I hear during my wash days now?
The hum of a new wash basin will calm my nerves, how?
It was nice while it lasted, my noisy friend,
But now you have met the very end.

Jul 30, 2007

A Moment In Time

7/30/2007 — cori

This is the most precious of times to me
the ages of 8 and 5 and 3.

Time will not stop and let me treasure it more
so I will write down my feelings like never before.

I want my children to remember what fun we had,
what an honor it is to be their mom and dad.

Life is so simple and pure and sweet,
like when Chloe decides to rub my weary feet.

Or when Bennett so timely lets me know:
"Have I told you how pretty you look today, Mommy?
I don't think so."

I love it when Gavin comes up behind me and hugs me so tight
to show me he loves me with all of his might.

He always offers to pump my gas,
I never even have to ask.

Bennett loves to write words upon my back
and giggles aloud as he spells the word "rat".

Chloe is awed with pictures of me
back when I was a bride at 23.

They don't know how adorable they look
saving the world from evil crooks,
dressed in only their underwear and a cape.
Their imaginations are soaring as I watch them make
weapons and umbrellas out of tinker toys,
special necessities for girls and boys.

I love how the boys play so well together.
I pray their relationship will last forever.

Bennett's heart is so sensitive, he loves everyone.
He feels bad for people who are not not having fun.

He also loves girls and likes telling them so.
Gavin's desire to learn more and to know
all the answers to life's questions blow my mind.
I love teaching and guiding him and watching him find
his passion for things that he wants to know more,
like science and history and computers galore.

Chloe's attention to detail at three
never ceases to amaze me.

Each day she says this more and more,
"Mommy, what can I help you for?"

Our times at the dinner table each and every night
remind me of laughter and thankfuls and eyes filled with light.

God, thank you for showing your love to me
by giving me each child, one, two and three.

Jul 29, 2007


7/29/2007 — cori
My children have recently taken to posting signs on all sorts of things. Take this one for instance. Bennett painstakingly wrote out this warning all by himself, added a little flair with the sticker and then used an entire roll of tape, adhering it securely to his bunk bed. He didn't ask me how to spell a thing. So, let me translate for you: "No bude (body) git (get) on to mi (my) bed". From an educational standpoint, I'm super proud of this. He wrote it all in a nice, neat line with similar size letters. He used a wonderfully bright, eye-catching color that would indeed get noticed. And I've got to say, as a designer, I love the decorative touch of adding such a cool car sticker. That would definitely make me think twice before illegally "gitting" on his bed.

Evidently, I missed the memo that said we were to all make warning signs and attach them to our beds. Either that, or Chloe was not going to let Bennett do something fun without her. So, she decided she could do just as good a job and let it be known, in no uncertain terms, that Belle lives on her bed and you better not sit on her. I asked her what it said and she was sure to tell me. But it changed each time I asked. At least it looks pretty, matches her room and she wrote in large letters so as to catch the attention of anyone passing by. I'm inclined to think that Bennett taught her how to tape.

And last but not least is Gavin's special secret message. He has gone so far as to write his own secret alphabet known only to the inhabitants of Gavin World. He's the only inhabitant I know of. He carries his 'decoder' around with him in his pocket, just incase he can't remember which letter is which. This is securely fastened to the door of his room. All I know is that others beware, but Mommy is allowed in.

I don't have a sign taped to my bed yet, but when I do, you'll be the first to see it here!

Jul 20, 2007

No Cuddles For You!

7/20/2007 — cori

The other day I had to discipline Gavin while we were at the pool. I made him sit out from the pool for the rest of our time there. As you can imagine, this did not go over very well. After he had plenty of time to brood, I decided to go over and talk to him. To say he was mad would be an understatement. It also told me that the discipline was working.

Gavin is not one to talk about his feelings openly. He's not usually able to explain what he's feeling and why. But he obviously had plenty of time to give his feelings a once over and was ready and willing to tell me how he was feeling. This is what he said, "Mom, I'm so mad right now that I feel like I don't want to cuddle you for the next 3 days!"

I told him that I could understand why he felt that way and told him he was taking his discipline like a man, even though he didn't like it. By the walk home from the pool, he had seemingly forgotten how mad he was at me as we walked hand in hand talking about what we were going to make for dinner. He even asked if he could help.

And yes...I ended up getting my cuddles the next morning.

Jul 13, 2007

It Finally Happened

7/13/2007 — cori

One of my biggest paranoia's is being afraid that I've walked into the wrong public bathroom. For me, that would mean unknowingly finding myself in a stall in the men's room. I guess I don't need to be paranoid anymore. It finally happened and I've lived to tell about it.

It's not like I just saw the sign and ignored it and charged in full steam ahead to confront my fears. Oh no, that would be too simple and easy for me. I prefer the hard way. In college, in the main student center, whenever I would use the public restroom, I would always try to memorize the color on the walls, just in case I 'accidentally' (see the paranoia had already begun it's stronghold on me back then) found myself walking into the wrong one, I would instantly know by the color on the wall. Duh!! That and the fact that I would most likely find myself surrounded by the opposite gender.

But the wall color was a big issue for me, for whatever stupid reason. Actually, I know the reason, but to divulge that would be to give the reader too much insight into the crazy world known as my brain. You see, I forget things very quickly. It is quite possible that I would look directly at a sign, read it and have no clue what I just read within 5 seconds. THAT is called short term memory, my friends. So, in my mind, I had to have a trigger to let me know, after the fact, if I was indeed in the right place or not. So when that panic hits me and I'm already locked in the stall, I must be assured somehow that I'm where I'm supposed to be - thus the reasoning behind memorizing bathroom wall colors. Simple logic, right?

So here I am today in a public building I've only been in a handful of times. I was unaware of proper wall colors. Actually, the doors to each restroom were, in my opinion, way too close together. They were only separated by 4 water fountains. And, another factor that played into my identity confusion...the cleaning ladies were standing in the open doorway of this restroom. Therefore, my brain reasoned, they must be standing in the ladies' restroom. I don't know that I even bothered to look at the sign. I just walked in, with Chloe in tow. It only took half a second to register once I saw a wall of urinals and a man standing there...oops!!!

Even retelling the story, I'm horribly embarrassed. So, instead of sneaking out of there with stealthy precision, I open my big mouth and alert Chloe, "Uh oh, honey, looks like we're in the wrong place!" To which she quickly and loudly answers "WHY??" This caused the poor guy at the urinal to notice us. At least I was in the proper frame of mind to know that I shouldn't make eye contact. I did an about face and darted out of there as fast as I could drag Chloe and didn't stop until I read the sign on the next door marking it as the correct one for my gender. I then appropriately hid behind the door.

Once I was safe within the confines of the female restroom I began to think about how that could have happened. I passed no less that 3 people as I was on my way to that door, and none of them saw it in their hearts to show me the error of my ways or my profound mistake in judgement? Were the cleaning ladies trying to play a practical joke on me? Why was there no written warning that both the men's and women's restrooms were the same generic color with no distinguishing features other than the urinals? In my opinion, that's just bad design. Obviously, I was ready to place the blame elsewhere.

After exiting the proper restroom, I once again meet up with the boys who were patiently waiting right outside. I asked them, "Did you see me go into the wrong bathroom?" And in unison they said, "Yes." Like this is a common occurrence for them. Then Gavin says, "We were out here making jokes about it and wondering why you did it?" Join the club!

Jul 12, 2007

Handy Tip

7/12/2007 — cori

Gavin has been giving this whole marriage business some serious thought ever since the wedding we recently attended. Case in point: today at lunch he comes out with, "Mom, the bad thing about getting married is, you can't just marry what ever girl you pick - she has to want to marry you too." Excellent marriage tip, Gavin. Did he think picking out a girl was like picking out a lollipop?

Jul 11, 2007

Whose Kid Is This?

7/11/2007 — cori
I asked Bennett to get all his cowboy stuff together so I could take a picture of him. I DID NOT ask him to pose as Tim Conway or Don Knots. I laughed for 5 minutes straight. And my camera is super slow at taking pictures, so he had to hold this pose for a good minute before my camera decided to actually capture this memory. He said he was 'being serious'. This is indeed, my son's interpretation of what a cowboy looks like using only items found in his room: a minutemen hat, an unbuttoned plaid shirt, a tinker toy six-shooter and the all important bandanna scarf.

He was equally proud of his horse. Although he has his beloved Bruce (a hobby horse he made and is very protective of), he opted for a more creative version of a horse. That would be the chair. Notice the tae-kwon-do belt so deftly tied to each side as to appear like a harness. Notice who's being harnessed. The other tae-kwon-do belt would be the lasso that is an ever present accessory of all cowboys. His six-shooter is now secure in it's holster tucked into his pants while he is now holding onto his rifle. He needed each hand free to hold all his gear, thus the reasoning behind tucking himself in securely behind the reins.

Since this child of mine has left me speechless yet again, I will end with one of my favorite quotes:

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Knowledge is limited.
Imagination encircles the world. - Albert Einstein

Jul 10, 2007

Narration Play

7/10/2007 — cori

This is new to me. As a girl, I don't believe I ever played by narrating out every single thing I was doing. Yes, my Barbie's carried on civil conversations, my babies maybe needed a bottle now and then and my Holly Hobby oven worked great, but I never explained what I was cooking as I was cooking it. My frame of reference might be a little skewed because I do not belong to this gender.

But this seems like a perfectly normal thing to do to my boys. They have been narrating their play ever since Bennett could talk. I would be open to a hosting a psychological study of this phenomenon. I keep telling myself that I need to sit down within ear shot one day and just write down every single thing they say as they're playing. Too bad I don't know short hand. They talk so fast and the story changes pace so quickly I can barely keep up. But today, I persevered and was able to record a 2 minute exchange of fast paced, random ideas as they bounced back and forth between each boy - neither of them missing a beat. This might not make sense to us, but in their little imagination world, it all flows together perfectly.

Bennett: "Your muscles are breaking and have a beard..."

Gavin: (laughing hysterically) "no, snakes don't have beards..."

Gavin: "....and then you open the door..."

Interspersed between each comment are 'boy sounds' (for lack of a better descriptive word). You know....arghhh....awwwww.....kbush....bam.....pow.....splat....and other random sounds of rolling on the floor, wrestling, jumping, falling, attacking.....just your run of the mill 'boy sounds'.

Bennett: "...then the ceiling broke down...and you got in the rain..."

Gavin: "...I'm an agile snake..."

Bennett: "...then why did you trip?"

Gavin: "....because I wasn't suspecting you...then a hole opened up in the ground, just as my tail go in it shut and no bomb could come in...."

Bennett: " we're in the jungle, my tail wrapped onto a vine..."

Gavin: "...then suddenly, all my friends appeared from the trees..."

Bennett: "...then suddenly, I had a million heads, a million tails, a million bodies..."

......insert loud groan here.....

Bennett: "...then I grab onto all the snakes in the universe..."

Gavin: "...suddenly the trees began to move but they weren't trees at all, just bushes on 13 rattle snakes coiled up..."

Bennett: "...and then right as one almost touched me..."

Gavin: "...then suddenly I sucked up all my snakes and they all appeared, copperhead, rattlesnake, watersnake....Watersnake flooded the place and then it turned into the ocean...."

Bennett: "how you doin friend?"

Then as abruptly as it began, it ends. Suddenly it's quiet and still. I begin to contemplate if I should be worried...that is until I hear Gavin reading, "Pirate Mom" to Bennett. Then it segways into Legos. Then just as abruptly, that activity stops and they are suddenly cowboys needing me to tie on their bandanas and Bennett is affectionately riding Bruce with his tinker toy gun stuck into his pants.

If all this play in some way helps them role play for the men they will become...I am REALLY curious as to the line of work they will be choosing.

Jul 8, 2007

Death & Lightning

7/08/2007 — cori

It's storming again. And with storms come thunder and lightning. This always prompts one of our children to ask a question about lightning. It always makes me wish I majored in nuclear physics, or something more practical like that, so that I would have better answers for all of the questions.

Today's question came from Chloe. She said, "I'm scared when I sleep and it lightnens." I replied, "You can't be scared when you're sleeping honey." But Gavin, ever the vigilante, always on the look out for false information being doled out to unsuspecting little kids, corrects me by saying, "Actually, you can be scared when you're sleeping if you have a bad dream, like about a monster or something." Correction noted.

But this did not thwart Chloe off her path, she came back with question in hand, "Can lightnen make you dead?" I know she is just testing Chuck. I have heard with my own ears, Bennett educating Chloe in all the things that could kill you. Lightning was one of them. I caution Chuck to tread lightly here, she's going to be taking this one to the bank.

Thankfully, Chuck is quick on his feet and comes back with, "Well, I suppose it could kill you if you were outside, running around barefoot with a large metal pole in your hands." To which she replied, "It will kill you dead forever?" He had to be honest, so he said, "Yes." but was able to temper all this death and destruction questioning with, "But as long as you're inside the house it can't hurt you. You're safe."

Then Bennett decides to contribute his two cents, "Well...actually, lightning could strike the house and kill us all dead and make a fire." Thank you, Bennett. Now, I'm sure she'll sleep much more calmly knowing all the facts.

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