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? Okay...so 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, afterall, 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. I'm anxious to see the path God leads him down. 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 same...no, 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!

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