Jan 30, 2009

What Food Are You?

1/30/2009 — cori

So...this morning at breakfast Bennett comes out with, "Mom, if I were a food, I think I'd be ice cream cuz I don't want any teeth chomping down on me."

Okay. This is an interesting line of conversation. I guess I can roll with it.

Chloe quickly pipes up to take "choclick" before anyone else since that's her favorite food in the world. I asked Gavin what he would be. He takes ample time to think and rethink the pros and cons of all food (you will never find him making a rash decision about anything - especially something as important about transferring your personality to a food source). Bennett decides to try to hurry the process and suggests, "You could be milk. Then you'd be friends with all the cereals."

Chloe, "ooo, ooo, ooo...I want that one instead." Sorry, Gavin, milk is now taken. Can you commit to a food choice?

Gavin smugly presents his decision, "I would be chocolate cake cuz I look so special and people can't get enough of me." I knew he was putting some deep thought into this commitment.

That's great. My children are now adding human qualities to food.

Well...I may as well join in the game. I pipe up with, "I'd be cheese so I could smother myself all over everything." Chloe gives me a disgusted look, "ooooo no, Mommy....then all the rats would eat you."

I think I'm done with this line of thought now. Maybe we should try using our thinking process for the greater good and start learning something of value today.


Retraction -

After careful consideration of Chloe's vile reaction to my food choice, I would like to officially change it to an apple.  My reasons are, they are healthy, sweet and juicy.  I have no clue how those translate into personality traits.  But there you have it.  I am no longer cheese.

Jan 28, 2009

Today's Lesson

1/28/2009 — cori

Let's just say that today was not one of our better days.

In fact, it was a recipe for disaster:

1. Chuck out of town (meaning: the voice of reason for the entire family has disappeared)
2. All children are in a funk, yet I insist on 'following the list' and getting school done come hell or high water - dog gone it, we WILL check every item off our lists today!
3. Patience is not one of my virtues and I lost any and all I might have had in reserves yesterday morning after the puking episode.
4. We had an ice storm the night before and that seemed to be infinitely more intriguing than school.
5. We have all been cooped up in the same house with out a break from each other since Monday morning.

But hey, wait a minute...aren't I the one in charge of this school? If we're having an off day, don't I hold all the veto power? How cool a mom would I have been to say, "Hey kids, free day today! Let's scrap school since we're all in a funk and go outside in the frigid below freezing temperatures and enjoy 3 minutes of sliding on the ice on our perfectly flat driveway!"

Do you think that even crossed my mind once? Nope. I was nazi school mom today. Instead of ease up a bit...I pushed. Instead of show mercy for poor attitudes...I told them to try harder. Instead of talk in a kind, loving voice...I talked as loud as I could inbetween coughing spells with a frog in my throat. Who the heck took over here?

That would be the real me. The side that feels justified for whatever manner of ills seem to be plaguing her. That's me living in the flesh and not by the Spirit. The kids knew it, felt it, and even tried to avoid it. But no...that wasn't enough...I would hunt them down and find something else that was bothering me and let them know about it. Enough already!

Had Chuck been here, I'm sure he would have gently pointed out the error of my ways. But he wasn't. And I have a thick skull. So things take a while longer to hit me than if they were pointed out to me. I pretty much gave the kids the silent treatment for several hours this afternoon. They readily agreed and listened to anything I said for fear of retribution.

Why am I confessing all this? Because this is me. I mess up all the time. I unintentionally hurt my children. I didn't choose grace. I didn't choose patience. I didn't choose love. But don't worry...the day was not a failure...love won out.

Right before bedtime, Gavin came and apologized to me for his attitude during school today (something I felt completely justified in, but handled utterly wrong - just one of those daily battles of being teacher vs. mom). But I noticed he was still distraught, so I asked him if he would share his feelings with me. He doesn't normally do that. He's very even keeled and it takes a lot to upset him. He broke down telling me how sad he gets when I'm sad. He said he doesn't know what to do or how to act; he feels like anything he does will upset me. He asked me, "Mom, next time you're upset at me, can you please get the punishment over with fast. Not like today where the punishment lasted all day." Today, the punishment (to him) was my silence.

Then suddenly my eyes opened. I saw the day through his eyes and not my own 'justified' ones. I saw him hurting for me and sad that he had disappointed me. He saw my silence as anger at him. I saw my silence as confusion on how to handle the situation, so I chose to do nothing and mull it over and over and over in my head (leading only to a headache). I know exactly how he felt. I felt that way often as a child but don't think I had the clarity of mind to put it in those words. My heart melted, and along with it, so did all the frustration, anger, fear and anxiety that seemed to be my constant companions today.

Today's lesson wasn't about what we checked off our list, it was about changing our hearts. It was in my child seeing, feeling and hearing my heart felt apologies and thanking God that "His mercies are new every morning". I can't wait to see what we're going to learn tomorrow, I just pray my heart is more teachable than it was today.

Jan 27, 2009

The Puke Story of 2009

1/27/2009 — cori

First and foremost, I'd like for all to know that yes, I have in fact learned my lesson. That said, I NOW realize that milk and all dairy is bad for sick kids. But if you don't know your child is sick, does that still quantify you as an imbecile?

It all began only a few short hours ago. We all woke up, had our breakfast and prepared for our day. Chloe missed her bath last night, so I was giving her one this morning as I was simultaneously doing math with the boys. I do enjoy a good multi-tasking challenge - but this one was going to turn into more than even I could manage.

Chloe was already showing signs of being overtired and I had already warned her after only an hour of being awake that she would indeed be taking a nap today. I had zero clue that this behavior was related to her feeling sick.

So...there she is in the bath, I'd already washed her hair and was giving her some play time. Before I knew it, she was out and had dried herself off and gone to pick out some clothes. THANK GOD she decided to come back into the bathroom (which I can see into from where I was sitting helping the boys) to put her clothes on. She was sitting on the floor. When I looked at her, she didn't look quite right, so I asked her, "Honey, are you going to throw up?" She vehemently shook her head 'no'. How was I to know that she was aggressively trying to swallow the puke rising up in throat at that very moment. She is so stubborn, she even refuses to believe she is sick. She will not acquiesce until it all comes forcibly out of her mouth, projectile style.

I was oh so close, I could have just picked her up and carried her to the potty two steps away 'just in case' I thought she might throw up. Why didn't I?! That question will be plaguing me the rest of the day. So, there is my sweet, (evidently) sick, puke laded girl who was clean less than 3 seconds ago.

Puke does strange things to my mind (and my stomach). Plain and simple - I just can't handle it. Now on autopilot (I love how adrenaline takes over because if I had a choice I would never choose to enter the puke zone), I run into the bathroom, pick Chloe up - being careful to hold her out at arms distance and plop her into the tub of water that was still sitting there. I instruct her to clean the puke off herself as I am bent precariously over the toilet gagging with dry heaves.

Remember...she had milk products for breakfast. When they come back up - they wreak!!! The tiny bathroom as well as my tiny child was covered in curdled, sour milk. And I, as her sole caretaker (since Chuck is conveniently out of town) am dangerously close to throwing up on my own daughter because of the foul smell. What a predicament we are in.

Never fear - superheroes live here! Here come my boys to the rescue (anything to stop doing math!). They peak their heads into the bathroom and are greeted with Chloe, still ladened in puke, standing in the tub trying to clean herself off and me, still grabbing the edge of the toilet bowl, straddling the line of puke from one end of the bathroom to the other, trying desperately not add to the mess while alternately convulsing and gagging. I knew I had to pull it together - if only I could get a breath of fresh air.

It only took one, small moment of clarity for my brain to begin functioning like a mother's should again and I inhaled a deep breath through my mouth and asked the boys if they could bring up some paper towels as I got Chloe out of the tub and gathered all chemically hazardous waste materials in our bathroom into a huge massive pile and ran downstairs to dump them in the washing machine. That was all it took. Getting out of the stale, pungent air of the bathroom, revitalized my brain cells and I was once again able to multi-task. I assessed the situation and came up with a plan of action.

After getting Chloe out of the tub and drying her off, I precariously bring her to her room, still afraid that random puking might commence at any moment. She picks out some clothes and I head back to the danger zone. Gavin has 2 paper towels in hand and is (in vain) trying to clean up the puddle of curdled mass strewn through-out the bathroom. I asked Bennett to please get a solvent. Why am I using such high-end vocabulary like 'solvent' on my 7 seven year old? He's yelling up from downstairs "you want the salt mom?" NO....THE SOLVENT!!! YOU KNOW...WINDEX!! I think he understood that. He runs back up stairs with his new vocabulary word at the same time Gavin is running downstairs to get one more paper towel. Meanwhile, I'm wishing for a gas mask and wondering why we don't keep one stashed in the bathroom for emergencies such as this. I'm on the floor (doing what my husband always does), wiping up the mess. This is new territory for me. I am typically able to escape and evade missions such as these. My typical role is to care for the young one in my charge and nurture them back to health in the safety of my arms while cuddling and singing to them. NEVER am I forced to deal with such harsh conditions as these.

I send Gavin back down the stairs for the entire roll of paper towels and Bennett for a Target bag so we have somewhere to dispense of the entire mess. Gavin is my hero. He ends up down on hands and knees windexing everything in sight in the bathroom. Bennett runs the plastic bag out back to the dumpster. But he runs into a slight problem. The dumpster lid is apparently iced shut. He happens to be in the kitchen the same time as me and is opening the utensil drawer into order to retrieve a knife so he can open my DUMPSTER. Ever glad of being in the right place at the right time - I hand him a screw driver and run back upstairs to attend to Chloe. Gavin has the bathroom under control. I have Chloe all comfy in her bed, surrounded by towels and a massive bowl for puke in case the urge arises and she can't swallow it in time.

Ahhh....now back to math. Any questions anyone?

Jan 20, 2009

Fun With Hair

1/20/2009 — cori
We got to spend the weekend with Uncle John and Aunt Karen...just thought you might like to see what we do for fun...who knew wigs held the key to hours of endless fun and laughter?

Seeing Double

1/20/2009 — cori

It would probably come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I have a few O.C.D tendencies - but just a rare few, mind you. However, I was shocked to discover one all by myself yesterday. When one of your character traits comes right out and smacks you in the face, it's a little humbling - okay, it's a lot humbling. I have been seeing this particular trend building subtly over the past few weeks...but yesterday, it just seemed to blow in with all its fury and unleash it's odd head. I bet I have you on the edge of your seats by now, "what in the world could this be?" you are probably wondering as you bite your nails.

Well, its really not all that interesting. Maybe you even already knew this about me and just overlooked it and loved me anyways. Maybe you're more surprised that I'm just now recognizing this about myself instead of the fact that I'm confessing it for all to hear. Either way, here's the big unveiling: I buy two of everything I have.

This only happens at the grocery store. Evidently, it would seem, I'm always afraid of running out of 'stuff' at home. After emptying each bag and putting each item in its allotted spot, I noticed that I already had one of said item. "Hmmmm....how odd" I thought to myself, "I thought I was out of that." Once I had uttered that same statement over ten times, I realized that this is now an epidemic, not just a coincidence. Here is a list of what and how many identical items I have in my pantry:

2 jars of Jif peanut butter
3 jars of paprika spice
2 boxes of wheat spaghetti
2 cans of olive oil spray
2 bags of sugar
2 containers of bread crumbs
2 cans of Crisco
2 boxes of mac'n'cheese
2 bags of 'baby sweet lettuce'
2 cartons of eggs

WHAT IS MY PROBLEM???? How can one person think they're that close to being out of so many things each week. This problem seems to be growing in momentum and size. I so need a shopping mentor who could help guide me and hold me accountable for my 'problem', maybe even ask me such questions as: are you sure you're out of that? Why am I not asking myself these questions? I believe I have three answers to that question: 1. obviously my mind is filled to capacity and can hold no more information and talks back to itself when asked a simple question (that one is dangerously close to reality) or 2. someone is twisting my arm as I walk through the confines of the grocery store under duress making me buy all sorts of duplicate items or 3. maybe I actually am a slight bit OCD and having twos of everything puts me at ease and calms some inner fear I may have....who knows. You be the judge.

Let's not even get into how many loaves of bread I buy each week just in case we run out. I don't even buy in bulk people! How pathetic am I?

Jan 15, 2009

Too Much TV???

1/15/2009 — cori

As we're pulling up into the driveway this afternoon, with great anticipation and excitement, Chloe asks Bennett, "So, Bennett, do you want to play House Hunters when we get home?"

Oooooops.....looks like Mommy has maybe watched one too many of her favorite shows. Actually, the kids love to watch it with me. What kind of crazy, demented house is this where children love watching HGTV and playing "House Hunters"?!

Jan 5, 2009

Growing Up

1/05/2009 — cori
My little man. How I love this kid! He's so big now. I never thought he'd be 10 - that seemed a millennium away when he was an infant. In his high-pitched, squeaky, loud, little two year old talk, he would ask things like, "When I do the duuut-duuut (weed-eater) Mommeee?" or "When I big boy I use the black knives, right Mommeee." The black knives being our steak knives. I would always tell him that 10 was the magic age. He would then be allowed to weed-eat by himself (unfortunately, he's out grown his love of weedeaters and his allergies don't even allow him to be outside when when any yard work is being done). At 10, he would finally have the maturity necessary to hold onto those sharp, black knives (even though he's been mature enough since 5 and actually holding them since six - I know, I caved). He's now a double-digit. He'll never be in the single digits again. He exudes confidence, peace, consideration and thoughtfullness (as well as a little aloofness - thanks to his non-stop immagination). He has a great sense of humor and doesn't take himself too seriously. He laughs at anything and everything his Dad or I say (when we're trying to be funny, that is), making us think we're hilarious - which means bonus points in my book. His face lights up when he smiles. And when he laughs, we call him our howler monkey. An endearing nickname from toddler-hood when he would open his mouth and laugh as loud and long as he could.

But the one thing I wanted to remember the most about him during this time of his life is his utter, sincere, unprompted compassion and consideration. Towards me. I seem to be the only recipient of this unfailing love and tenderness. He is tuned in to my every need. He's sensitive to the look in my eyes, my tone of voice or whatever mood I might be in (which could keep anyone on their toes!). He seems to know exactly what I need at the right time. Why he shows such attentiveness to me, I'll never understand. But I appreciate this gift more than words can say. He desires to please me in everything he does. Not to earn my love...he knows that's unconditional. But it seems that 'stamp of approval' validates all his hard work, effort and energy he put into whatever task he was doing.

He asks me daily, right around dinner time, "So Mom, how's your day been?" As thoughtful as that is, the timing isn't really the best. I'm normally in the heat of dinner preparations and multitasking as many things as I possibly can. I'd love to have a sweet heart to heart with him about my day, but I mostly end up telling him how awesome my day has been because I've had the chance to spend it with him again.

One day recently, I had yet another of my crazy headaches. This seemed to really bother him. I was laying on the bed. He came and brought me a blanket, covered me up and asked if there was anything he could do for me. He made sure the kids were quiet. Then he came back into the room again and asked me an odd question. He says, "Mom, if you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for?" I thought for a minute and answered, "Hmmmm, well, my first wish would be more a million more wishes, then I would want to help all the old people in the world, then I'd want to adopt as many orphans as I could and then....". He interrupted me and said, "I thought you'd wish to never have another headache ever again." At least now I know what his wish for me is. How sweet.

But lately, on top of getting my daily progress report, he also asks me, multiple times, "So Mom, what can I do to help lift your shoulders today?" Meaning, how can I help you carry any burdens you might be having? Or he'll word it another way, "What can I do to make your day easier, Mom?" It is then that I always ask myself, "How did I get such a considerate child?" His compassion overwhelms me. It is much appreciated especially when Chuck is out of town. He senses there is a need and finds a way to fill it. But he can only do this for one person. Other people obviously don't have needs. Only me. :) One day, this tenderness will transfer to his wife. Until then, I will enjoy the way he shows me how much he cares and wants to care for me.

Jan 4, 2009

Relational Skills

1/04/2009 — cori
This little girl cracks me up! She has this adorable little habit that I'm going to try to explain, but it is going to be very hard. I don't ever want to forget it since it is just the sweetest little thing. You know how kittens purr real deep inside when they're snuggling up next to you? Well, that's kinda the sound Chloe makes any time you read to her or when she's watching a movie. She sits really close and says "mmmhmmm" or "oooooohhh" or "uhhhuhhh" really quiet and dainty like. She has no clue she's doing this. It's like she's trying to show you she's relating to what you're saying, like when some people shake their heads when they talk to you or make little sounds in their throat that mean "yes, I understand" (I'm assuming here, that 'normal' people do this, since I know I do...let's just assume that it's normal for the sake of this conversation). There's no way we could video this or catch it on tape since it's so quiet, nobody else but the person she's leaning against knows she's doing it. To me, it is the epitome of her femininity - the need to relate and connect. It's a beautiful thing and brings a huge smile to my face everytime.

Lego Bliss

1/04/2009 — cori
Can you say "obsessed"? I love this picture. It portrays their love affair with any and all things Lego. Lego marketing works my friends...at least on these suckers. They live for the day the new Lego catalog comes in the mail. The other day they were out front playing when I called outside to tell them they got their catalog in the mail. They instantly stopped what they were doing and layed in the grass together for over an hour perusing each and every page of the catalog. I failed to get a picture then, however. But the next day, while we were driving around town, I remembered. They study this thing like there's going to be a test on it at any minute. They know the cost of every single item in the catalog. They know how many pieces each item comes with. They know if it is a Lego catalog exclusive only or if you could also find it at Toys R Us and Target. They know what figures and how many come with each set. They 'name it and claim it' on each page. Each kid gets exclusive rights to which ever item they 'call' on that page first. I am absolutely amazed with the energy, effort, time, seriousness and adoration that goes into this activity. My only wish is that one of my children might one day become a Lego employee - that would be bliss my friends, pure bliss!

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