Sep 18, 2008

Living Our Love Song

9/18/2008 — cori
Jason Michael Carroll has a song out by that very title (not that I'm a fan of the video, but I do enjoy the music and lyrics). It's a wonderful little number. I just love how he words it. Every time I hear it, it reminds me of how thankful I am to be living our love song too. Each year for our anniversary we usually pick out a cd that has had alot of meaning in our lives/marriage over the past year. This is the song we chose for this past anniversary (12 marvelous years). Although, truth be told, this is the first year we forgot to buy the cd because we were on vacation.

I wanted to take a minute to thank the one who lives this beautiful love song with me everyday. He's the one who's so much better with words than I am. Seldom a week will go by when I don't get some sort of love note, card or webpage from him (he's a web designer - thus, the web-page gift makes a little more sense now).

We couldn't even imagine loving one another deeper than we did that very day 12 years ago and yet now...all this time later, we are so much closer - words don't even do it justice. I get overjoyed imagining what 20, 30 and 40 years later might look like. Our faults and imperfections cause much more laughter between us than arguments anymore. And I do believe his glasses have an even more rose colored tint in them than they did so long ago. He always seems to see me at my best and never faults me at my worst. He's given me the freedom to fail and not flog myself. His words are always encouraging and filled with a gentleness and love that's palpable.

It's not always a bed of roses. There are times when we don't necessarily 'feel' in love - but it's there. It's the tie that binds. That makes us best friends. I don't think love is cyclical, but I think life is. And it's in those inevitable down-times when that fire of love in our hearts is strengthened and we come out on the other side stronger for having gone through a difficult or challenging time together. Love songs aren't about perfect lives. They're about imperfect people loving deeply, living life fully and letting love wash over all the daily imperfections (of each other) that are blatantly obvious to the rest of the world.

We have a saying that we sign every card with: I love you perfect. It's not grammatically correct - that's the beautiful thing about it. My 'perfect' is only human and will mess up...but it's my best and it's all of me...that's all I have to give. I can't love perfectly...but I can love him perfect for him.

Sep 17, 2008

What Were We Thinking?

9/17/2008 — cori
Here was another one of our genius ideas: Let's have another dress up for dinner night and movie night combined! Yay! We had just rented Monsters, Inc. from the that was our default movie of choice. It only seemed natural that our dress up theme would be monsters. No one cared what dinner was...all that mattered was that there was popcorn and a movie afterwards. (No, I didn't make any special monster themed dinner - I was too busy scrambling to find an adequate costume). And yes, this time we were sure to lock all doors and shut all blinds before the festivities began. But that didn't stop the neighbor kids from ringing the doorbell for like 5 minutes straight. That always seems to happen on dress up for dinner night. Here was the crew, excited as ever:
The 'Scare Factor' is enormous, I know. How can it not be when you have so many monsters in one room. Daddy is the "One-eyed Tan Monster" (yes, that is a toilet lid cover he's sporting as a head decoration). Mommy is "Loopy the Confused Blue Monster". I only had like 10 minutes to come up with something and this was the best I could do. Gavin is "Ike" - referencing the scary hurricane monster looming in the Gulf of Mexico that very night. Bennett is "The Death Zombie". I have no clue how he came up with such a descriptive name - it is far out of the realm of toys/books he comes in contact with. But he has quite a far reaching imagination, as you can tell by his scary monster that is par for the course. And Chloe, is your neighborhood variety "Dark Green and Pink" monster, as she likes to refer to herself.

As the festivities die down for the evening and everyone is getting ready for bed, Chuck and I recollect over another fun, family evening. Only then does the irony of it all hit us. What were we thinking? Dressing up all scary, letting the kids watch a movie about monsters jumping out of closets at night and then sending them all up to bed like everything is perfectly normal? Hello! They are all probably scared out of their minds right now. Way to go! A minor oversight on our part. We did go up stairs to do last minute damage know, reminding the kids that that was all pretend, that monsters aren't real and that just supposing if they were - they would be scared of kids. We armed them with empowerment. We told them that if they felt scared at all at night to just growl at their closet door and that would keep them away - the non-real monsters, that is.

Not only were we idiots for not seeing this "Mommy, I'm scared" routine as the logical end to the evening...but we made matters worse by talking in circles at bedtime. I think we've totally confused them - that little speech should have made them tired enough to not even be able to think about monsters, pretend, movie, or otherwise.

Sep 11, 2008

Love Transfer

9/11/2008 — cori
Believe it or not, sometimes my precious, little, dancy, princess throws royal temper tantrums. Yes. It's true. We don't pretend to live in a fairytale world all the time. And many, many times the princess's mommy wants to throw fits equal to the ones that the princess often demonstrates. Yet, my 'Mommy Handbook' does not allow this (unfortunately).

These fits of frustration usually occur when she's exhausted, out of her typical routine or just trying to get the attention that is due to the baby of the household. They also tend to worsen while on vacation. We recently took two vacations back to back. Although we had wonderful times, the lack of normalcy instigated many a princess blowout, anywhere - anytime. Nothing I did could keep the tantrum at bay and nothing I said would stop it. We just braced for the worst and hoped it would pass soon and then apologize for anyone unlucky enough to have witnessed it.

During the second vacation, I was at my whit's end. I tried to escape to be alone for more than 2 minutes. The public restroom was a great diversion. I entered alone. Sighed a HUGE sigh. Almost broke down out of frustration. Composed myself and prayed fervently - HELP, GOD, HELP! What should I do for my sweet child who's not so sweet at the moment?! Anger, frustration, threats, talking in a quiet, deep tone with your teeth clenched shut while inches from her face didn't seem to be working. What would?

Then God dropped the idea in my mind: give her a love transfer. I started thinking about what I wanted when I felt frustrated, out of control, worried, tired or just plain upset - I wanted to still be secure in the love of those around me. Then I thought of my poor, dear child who was feeling the same sad I suddenly was to be thinking all her tantrums were for the soul purpose of upsetting my time and inconveniencing my fun. I was being just as self centered as she was.

So, I went and retrieved my sweet Chloe and brought her into my new found haven - the public restroom. I squooched down to her level and told her that I imagine she is probably pretty tired from all the walking we've been doing and that even though she's having fun, sometimes she just wants to sit and play and not do all this fun stuff so that might be making her a little frustrated. Tears were pooling up in her eyes as she was nodding. So then I told her my (God's) idea:

Honey, when you feel like you can't go on anymore and want to whine and complain and throw a fit please come to me first and ask for a love transfer. Then I wrapped her in the tightest bear hug I could muster for a few seconds. That way, I can transfer all my love into you and you will be able to go on some more knowing how loved you are. It will help you forget all the other stuff that's bothering you temporarily. Deal?

It worked. It was like a miracle. She didn't whine. She didn't complain about every little thing. She just walked up to me at sporadic times of the day and said, "Mommy, I need a transfer now." The confidence it gave her was amazing. The love she felt was evident. She knew my love for her was not based on her actions and was enough to get her through her tough times.

Now if only I could remember to do that myself. Run to the one who will give me His love when all I want to do is complain and whine. Life truly does get better and things just don't seem to look so bad anymore. Simply because I'm loved.

Sep 2, 2008

Christmas Nymphs

9/02/2008 — cori
This is how I was greeted by my children this morning. What does one say when one's children insist on dressing in such a manner, consider it fun, and even take themselves seriously in such a get-up? I was told that this was "The Elf Team" a new genre of Christmas superheroes. I don't know what else they do or what they're powers are - I was too busy rolling on the floor in laughter to hear all the details. Chloe and Bennett are both wearing homemade, crocheted Christmas outfits my Grandmother made for me over 30 years ago (and no, I do not plan on including a picture of myself in these beautiful handmade clothes. But it would make a fitting memoir, wouldn't it?). I don't think I really have anymore to say here...the picture speaks loud enough.

So....this is what my children do for fun...wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall in this house?

Sep 1, 2008

Breakfast Surprise

9/01/2008 — cori

We were eating the most delicious and un-nutritious breakfast the other day of donuts and pastries (we were out of town - what other 'cheap' choice did we have?). Everyone was thrilled with the idea and empowerment of selecting their very own sugar laden item of choice. Every ounce of thought, diligence and examination they could muster went into this process - hands all over the glass, taking forever since they don't want to mess up this once in a year selection process, people behind us tapping their feet and giving us huffy breaths - you know the drill. This is such a rare occurrence for us that the children take their decision VERY seriously - the item must be the biggest, chocolatyest, and/or have the best colored sprinkles.

After the 15 minute selection process was finally over, we all sit down at our very small, dingy table and commence the eating of the sugar high that we are calling 'breakfast' today. Fearing that they might have somehow, just maybe, made the wrong donut choice, they each ask for a bite of the others' donut. This seems to be ritual, whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just in case they didn't make the 'right' choice, they can quickly swap with the other with no one having to drudge their way through the eating process of an item they regretted picking under duress.

So, we are now at the sampling others' fares time of our little breakfast adventure. Bennett is admiring Chloe's chocolate swirl donut. He asks her for a bite. They each hold out their own donut to the other, quickly withdrawing if they feel the other is about to clamp down too large a bite. Bennett withdrawls his donut from Chloe's mouth twice before she's actually able to get a nibble out of his Boston creme filled eclair (we refer to his donut choice as a'horse leg' because of his propensity to always choose the largest thing whether he likes it or not). Chloe is a little more generous...she actually hands over her chocolate covered confection directly into mister stingy's hands.

Before I trudge on through this story, let me explain to the reader that Bennett had a VERY loose tooth prior to sitting down for this little delicacy. As he's chewing his rather large bite, we all hear a crunchy noise coming from his mouth. I remember thinking to myself, Chloe's donut must have had peanuts in it, although, I don't remember seeing any. Maybe they were under the chocolate covering...that's probably all it is. Other than that, none of us really paid too much mind to Bennett's noisy donut chewing. The kid always has something weird going on with him, so this wasn't so much out of the ordinary for us.

Right after that bite has made it's way down the digestive tract Bennett opens his mouth to show me something. He says, "Mom, look how loose my tooth is." In turn I reply, "Uh, Bennett, it's not loose, it's gone!" Then suddenly we all knew what that mysterious crunchy sound was. Bennett eating and swallowing his own tooth!!! Ewwww - gross!!! After we all had a good gag, laugh and moment of reflection, I tell Bennett, "Good luck explaining this one to the tooth fairy!" He's adamant about composing some sort of note explaining his bad luck. He is the victim in this whole scenario, after all. He's sure she'll side with him.

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