Dec 29, 2010

It's What I Like About You

12/29/2010 — cori

I had that old song stuck in my head as I was reminiscing about the fun we got to share as a family last night. I just love these people. I don't want to forget what it was like when my kids were this age - the crazy things we do that we call "fun".

*stepping on to soapbox* - I'm really big into teaching the kids how to entertain themselves...I HATE that children nowadays don't feel like they can have any fun unless they're being entertained, either by way of video games, t.v/movies, expensive toys. All those are fine in moderation, but children need to learn to be creative and innovative with their time and talents. That is one of the best gifts we as parents can give them. They need to learn to not be scared of silence, those are the times of peaceful reflection and times when their minds and bodies are processing everything they are learning and taking in from the world around them. I desire to foster that ability in my children. They will make much more serene, reflective adults with the ability to think through problems at an earlier age if they learn this lesson as children. I recently heard an amazing quote by David Schiller, "Noise creates superficiality- it is the curse of our modern times." *stepping down from soapbox now - thank you for listening*

Every night at dinner the kids ask, "So, what are we going to do tonight guys?" First of all, I love that they want to do stuff with us still. I pray that when they're all teenagers, they'll still be asking that question during dinner. I also love that our schedule isn't so overbooked with activities right now that we get to enjoy each other's time after dinner.

In order to beat the inevitable question, I bust out with, "So...I have an idea about what we can all do after dinner tonight." The kids were thrilled that I took the initiative. Not like I'm not the constant 'event coordinator' in this house. "How about we put our book on c.d. on the computer and all sit around building legos in the gameroom while we listen. What do you think?" The applause for such a genius plan was instantaneous. They couldn't wait to 'get the fun on'. Then it struck me, not alot of people would probably find this fun - I'm so glad my people do!

As Helen Keller's, "The Story of My Life" was being read to us, we were all studiously cowering over the legos trying to find just the right pieces to make our random creations. And it was warm. And it was peaceful. And it was fun.

*side note* - it's ironic that we were listening to the story of a lady who had to live in silence her whole life. Yet after listening to the story of her life in her own words, I'd have to say I don't know that there is a person out there who has experienced life so fully, with such reward and had such excitement and appreciation about life as she did.

Dec 21, 2010


12/21/2010 — cori
This is the only thing going through my head when I behold the beauty of these two times of day: Psalm 65:8 "They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy."




12/21/2010 — cori

I discovered a bright, pink sticky note attached to the bottom of my computer monitor written in Chloe's handwriting. This is where we put all the important things we want to remember. It reads:

To get into Chloe world, she has to know if you
can fight, protect and listen to her.

I think I might start posting notes around the house informing others how to get into my world. I kinda want all those who will fight, protect and listen to me as well in my little inner-circle as well. She's onto something big, I think.

Dec 20, 2010

Chloe's Christmas Carol

12/20/2010 — cori

This is one of the songs that plays over and over (ad nosium) on her snowglobe. Chloe can't seem to get enough of it. She sings this chorus over and over (ad nosium) all day long:

"Deck the boughs of holly with ivy, fa la la la la la la la la"

Just thought I'd share that little Christmas tidbit for the rest of the world to enjoy. I wouldn't want to hog that song playing on endless repeat in my brain alone all day. I like to share.

Gavin & Technology

12/20/2010 — cori

I gave my old phone to Gavin several months ago. I pretty much used it as a phone. I opened it when it rang and I shut it when I was done talking. That's all a phone is for. Actually, I must confess...I did download my very own ringtone. I couldn't stand the ringtone options given. Thanks to Tim McGraw, I got to hear "Just To See You Smile" everytime my phone rang and my heart went pitter patter. It was joyous. But that's about the extent that I meddled with my phone.

Now you take that same phone and put it in the hands of a pre-teen boy who is not technology challenged like his mother and you'd be surprised what a simple phone can do. Of course, he took the time to read the entire manual and to play with all the features. I did not.

So the other day I hear this person talking in the house. It was almost a robotic sounding voice. I heard this 'voice' downstairs, where I was. Everyone else was upstairs. I heard the 'voice', was freaked out, but chose to ignore it since I had no clue what it was. Plus also I thought my ears were playing tricks on me - it wouldn't be the first time I thought I heard something that wasn't really there. In order to save face, I ignored the pounding heart and cold sweat that broke out at the sound of this spooky, random voice and just went about my business as normal.

Less than 2 minutes after the alleged 'voice' Gavin runs downstairs and says, "Mom, was that my phone that just rang?"

"Uh. I didn't hear any phone ringing."

He comes back into the room I was in after retrieving his phone and informs me that he just missed a call. He then proceeds to tell me that he made a new ring tone and asked if I liked it. When I gave the quizzical, 'I-have-no-clue-what-you're-talking-about' look, he demonstrated it for me.

When his phone rings, it now says, "Gavin. You have a call. Answer it NOW!" (it 'says' this at least 5 times.) This 'voice' sounds like a robot but come to find out, its Gavin's own recorded voice, altered just a tad. How creepy.

I asked him, "How'd you do that? I didn't know that was possible."

"It was easy", he replied. I guess I'd know more about all this stuff if I was an 11 year old boy.

Dec 19, 2010

The Offering Plate

12/19/2010 — cori

We do not typically attend church. We love Jesus but do not have a church home. LONG story. If you had told me 10 years ago that we wouldn't be raising our children in church, I would have not believed a word of it. But thus is the position we've found ourselves in whether people like it, agree with it, or not.

That being said, my children have been to church plenty. We've visited many, many churches - all different types. Each church does things a bit different. Take for instance the collection plate.

Today we were at a very formal church. It is time for the offering. Bennett is sitting at the edge of the pew. The man hands Bennett the plate. Bennett takes it and just holds it. He has no clue what on earth to do with it.

I notice his awkwardness, but for the life of me, I can't do a thing about it because I am struck with the worst case of situational giggles. He just sits there looking bewildered. He doesn't understand why someone just handed him a very heavy plate...but oh well, I guess I'll just sit here and hold it until he asks for it back.

I finally compose myself enough to take it from his grasp and pass it down the pew. I reach over to whisper to Chuck what just happened and end up in a fit of giggles again (church is the best place to giggle!). Now both of us have tears in our eyes over our ineptitude of teaching our children what to do when a collection plate is placed before them.

Chuck asked Bennett on the way home what he was thinking when that man gave him that plate. This is a direct quote from Bennett, "I wondered where all the cookies went." Oh really. Why would someone hand you an empty plate with no cookies on it? "I thought that everyone else already took the rest of them."

Of course he would think someone is handing him a plate of cookies in church.

Something I Can't Do

12/19/2010 — cori
I'm sure you'll be surprised that even this late in life (37 years old), I've discovered yet another skill I am deficient in. This may not come as much of a surprise to anyone who's known me for any amount of time, but the one with the problem is normally the last to know about it (or own up to it). I should keep you in suspense no longer...actually, I'm not exactly sure that there is a name for this 'problem'. Let's call it the: 'I-can't-give-word-examples-to-corresponding-letters' challenge. Clear as mud, right?! This might help explain. It is my favorite comedian in the world talking about this little known 'problem'.

This skit better enables me to accept this little known quirk in my life. If Brian Regan has a problem with it and is able to 'own it' among his audience, who am I not to?

Here's a recent example of my pathetic word/letter association attempts in real life:

An elderly person we know called yesterday to ask for our address. I gave it to the person, but they totally got it all wrong. Great. I knew what was next. I was going to have to spell my entire address to a very old person with sub-par hearing. The number part was easy, then came the street name.

I have a confession to make...I hate my street name. In order to be grammatically correct, it should have an apostrophe in it and it should not be one word. This little fact makes it that much harder to communicate it over the phone to an elderly person. So I start with the first letter, that's easy enough, but eventually I get to "N" and I say as in "nap". I was very proud of myself for coming up with that one under duress. I chose to say "W" as in "window", "F" as in "Frank", "O" as in "oh", "H" as in "hat" and "S" as in "silly". At this point, I'm frantically looking around the kitchen for items that start with the letters that I still need examples for.

Brilliantly, I was able to come up with "C" as in "cow" - although I have no cows in my kitchen. But then I started loosing mind went utterly blank and I got a huge case of the giggles. Chuck was in the living room laughing his head off at me and my little "problem" and leaving me hanging with a dear elderly person on the other line waiting for my next pathetic attempt at another letter/word combination.

My voice is cracking from suppressed laughter. My heart is beating so hard from stress that I start sweating. The belly giggles are coming on strong. I can't focus. I just want to scream the letter into the phone and say it over and over again until the person gets it right because I CAN'T THINK OF A WORD TO GO WITH V!

It also doesn't help that I have this Brian Regan clip on repeat in my mind and it's only making matters worse. Chuck doesn't even offer to come rescue his bride. He let's me lie in this pathetic bed I've made for myself.

I finally confess, "I'm not very good at this." To which elderly person, mercifully responds with "V as in victor?" "YES! YES! V as in victor - that's a good one!" 12 minutes later the whole ordeal is behind me and now elderly person wants to small talk with me. That's the next thing down on my list after pathetic letter/word associations that I'm horrible at.

This day just keeps getting better and better.

Dec 7, 2010

This Son of Mine

12/07/2010 — cori
The relationship Gavin and I share is such a dear, sweet, gift in my life. I love seeing the world thru his eyes and the unique perspective he holds. He is full to the brim of questions. They are the fuel that gets him thru each day. I get a smattering of them each day. When he was younger, he used me as one would use an encyclopedia. Now a days, I'm a little slower than Google and seemingly know a lot less than I did back in the days when he was 4. His rate of absorption of information and love of learning are exponential. Much of what he thinks about and knows come at me in the form of questions. Here are the ones from yesterday (and these are only the ones I remember):

1. "Mom, if you had a large magnet and a bunch of nail filings and you were to pick up the magnet, would the nail filings distribute evenly on both sides of the magnet?"

Hmmmm....excellent question my son. What do you think? (I have learned, over the years, to answer his question with a question for 2 reasons, 1. I often don't know the answer, so I'm stalling and 2. he already has an answer formulated in his head and wants to tell me his hypothesis.)

"I think they would distribute evenly."

You think so scientifically, Honey. Do you how a scientist would handle this question? They would do an experiment to find out the answer.

"Well the problem with that is that I don't know where to go buy a bunch of nail filings. Although, I've heard there is some in our food."


2. "Mom, if you could pick one millennium as the most important as far as discoveries, which one would you choose?"

Do I have too? Which one do you think it is?

"Well, I just look at it as, if you were to take away one of the millenia, which one would we miss the most? I think it would be from 1000 - 1999."

I totally agree!

3. "Mom, if Jesus was born at night, why do we celebrate his birthday the day after he was born? We don't do that for my birthday."

Honey, there is so much about the Christmas season that is just traditions of men and customs taken from pagan religions. We would really need to do an in depth study of this to find out the real answers. But at least for now, it reminds us to focus on Him...and that is a good thing.

I took these pictures of him while he was studying at his desk the other day (the photo quality is poor because my flash quit working). I wanted to remember every little detail. From the messy cork board, to the picture of me he chose to use as his computer screen-saver. It brings a smile to my face every time I walk in there. Looking at his desk often reminds me of the "Absent Minded Professor". He thinks its perfectly neat and sees nothing wrong with his work station. I also love the statue of a boy sitting on a stack of books reading with a super-villain sitting on his shoulders poised to attack - that is so Gavin.

Dec 3, 2010

Fresh Breath

12/03/2010 — cori

I would just like to state here and now for all to hear that "I hate gum". I feel better knowing that's out in the open now. I have TMJ and the whole chewing gum thing doesn't work well for me. Plus that whole smacking sound that's made when people chew really grates on my nerves. But I LOVE fresh breath. So, by default, I've had to become a 'mint person'.

Have we discussed my position on fresh breath? I didn't think so. In the words of Tim McGraw, "I like it, I love it, I want some more of it." Let me explain. I am an ocd toothbrusher. The dentist even had to tell me to take down a notch - don't brush so much. I brush at least 6 -10 times a day. I'm an avid fan of fresh breath and clean teeth (but do you think I take the time to actually floss? That would ruin my efficiency. Only right before my dentist appt. - like they can't tell). It's not always possible to break out the toothbrush while, say, at the park. So, I've been forced to fine an alternate method to trick my brain into thinking my teeth and breath are actually clean even though there is not a toothbrush or sink in sight. Enter - the breath mint.

This little pack of fresh breath heaven is my constant companion. I have one of these little fake toothbrushers in my car and two more in my purse (in case I run out). My children have decided that they too, love to have fresh breath. Actually, I think they prefer to suck on one of these rather than brush their teeth - but this wasn't a battle I wanted to fight. I just gave in and assumed they adored fresh breath as much as their mother (f.y.i kiddos- it doesn't get rid of stuff between your teeth).

However, my little fresh breath bubble was burst when after offering one of these little golden gems to my mom she responded with, "You know those have aspartame in them, right?"

Uh. No I do not.

"You know that aspartame is a known carcinogen, don't you?"

Uh. Yes I do.

"Would you like one of these instead?" And then she whips out her little cancer free fresh breath alternative, also in a convenient little carry along tin.

Hmmm....what is this goodness? No aspartame? I can have fresh breath and live a few years longer. Bonus! I am against all known carcinogens, just for the record. If I had even taken a few seconds even to glance at the ingredients in the evil pack of fresh breath, I would never have subjected myself and my loved ones to it's treacherous claws under the guise of 'fresh breath'. But alas, we have been rescued and are no longer ignorant fools only concerned about our mouth odors...we are now informed consumers, willing to pay twice as much for green tea mints so that we can have fresh breath and live.

But what to do with the three tins of 'the other stuff' I have left? I just left them in the car and let the kids finish them off. So the other day Chloe sees that they're still up there and asks, "Mom, can I have a breath mint?" Without thinking, I hand one back.

Gavin gasps! "Mom! So, it's okay for us to have poison mints?"

Uh. Yep. I've got to get rid of them.

Chloe replies, "I'm okay with poison mints. I like them."

Evidently Gavin equates aspartame with poison. I think he knows something that many people prefer to overlook. Even his own mother.

Nov 26, 2010

DUFDN - Mustaches

11/26/2010 — cori
I think the picture speaks for it's self:

The reason we chose mustaches as our DUFDN was because Uncle John told us yesterday that all the guys in his unit were having a mustache growing contest (it's what they do for fun evidently). So we wanted to show him that we could do it too. The mustache contest that spans around the globe.

Gavin's Apex

11/26/2010 — cori
I have been doing a little science experiment of my own. It involves Gavin's hair. Since the style right now is long for guys, and Gavin's hair grows out of control rather fast, I thought we could achieve the 'long look' rather well with him.

Apparently, I am mistaken. I realized that it takes more than just the ability to grow your hair fast inorder to have long hair. There is also the 'cool' factor, the 'you-have-to-actually-brush-it-once-in-a-while' factor, the 'awkward phase of growing out your hair' factor and most importantly, the 'gavin' factor.

It would seem that the only reason he thought this whole hair experiment was a good idea was because 1. he hates to get his hair cut and 2. he could care less what he looks like. If Mom says it will look good, then it will look good. Period. He puts a lot of stock in my opinion. Maybe a little too much stock. But I have become rather tired of doing my hair and his hair every day - especially since he is almost twelve.

So, this morning, after yet another cockatoo hair moment with Gavin, I announced, "I think we're going to go back to the 'clean' (i.e. - short) look for you again buddy."

"WHAT??! I LOVE my hair like this! It hasn't even reached it's apex yet!"

Here are some examples of what he loves about his hair:

I'm a little worried about what might happen if we let it reach it's apex.

Nov 24, 2010


11/24/2010 — cori

As we were taking a walk to the park on this lovely fall afternoon Gavin wanted to reminisce about a science experiment he witnessed earlier in the day that involved liquid nitrogen. "Mom. It was amazing how that balloon went from bulbous to thin so quickly and back to bulbous again."

I nodded in agreement. I also made a mental note to try to use the word 'bulbous' more often.

Thoughts On Christmas

11/24/2010 — cori

Chuck and I had decided that this was the year that all the kids were going to cross that line into "the real world" where Santa is involved. We were going to break the news as gently as possible. So, while we were eating dinner the other night, Chuck asks the kids, "So, tell me your thoughts on Christmas. What is the first thing that pops in your head when you think about Christmastime?" We got a wide array of answers. None of them involved Santa. So we had to keep digging. Subtlety was not working. So Chuck just came right out and asked, "What are your thoughts on Santa?"

Both Bennett and Chloe responded, "He's not real, is he."

Daddy, "You're right."

"We didn't think so. We didn't think so last year either."

Ok then. That was a nice little conversation. I guess Chuck and I were the ones that were let down gently this year. Glad to know our kids are up to speed.

Nov 18, 2010


11/18/2010 — cori

We were driving around town today when Gavin asks me, "Mom, when you get decapitated, are you still alive?"

I have a few questions of my own first, 1. how in the world would i know that? 2. what brought about this line of questioning? 3. is there ever a time when you're not thinking? 4. you realize I'm just a mom, not a nuclear physicist or an accomplished surgeon? 5. really?!?

But instead this is what flowed forth from my humble personage, "!"

I then decided to draw on all my previous medicinal background and knowledge (there is none - except for what I read in books) and threw this little tid-bit back at him, "Well, you see Honey, once the head comes off (did I just say that?), the heart keeps pumping blood for a few seconds, so I'm sure it's squirting out all over the place. But, the heart needs the brain in order to function, so after only a few seconds of pumping, it will eventually stop." How's that for scientific?! It's rather unfortunate I didn't have my trusty little medical dictionary in the car with me for just such a moment as this.

Of course he has a come-back. He obviously asked this loaded question for a reason. "Well, mom, then why when you cut off a cockroach's head, does it live for another 7-10 days?"

"How in the world am I supposed to know the answer to that?! How do you know that?"

"I read it."

"Do you believe everything you read?"

"Well. I read it in two books."

"Ok then. I guess it must be true if two books are telling you the same story. Assuming this is true, cockroaches are an anomaly then. That shouldn't happen."

"Wouldn't blood squirt out everywhere?"

I want this conversation to be over. First I have an image of a decapitated human floating around in my brain, now I have a cockroach running around without a head. When will the madness stop? How do I know the bleeding or dying habits of cockroaches? All I know is that I step on them and they crunch. I don't investigate to see if they crawl away without an appendage or head. My bad I guess. Then I would have more accurate information to pass along to my off-spring.

Thankfully, Bennett comes to the rescue with his vast knowledge all things animal kingdom related, "Gavin. Cockroaches don't have blood." So there.

"So, I think that a person would still stay alive for a few seconds after their head is cut off." explains Gavin trying to tie this whole morbid conversation together. Evidently, we are now entering into the hypothesis stage of this conversation. I agree. Can we be done now?

"So, who wants hot chocolate when we get home?" There's really no easy way to change subjects, but this seemed to do the trick.

Nov 16, 2010

The Surprise

11/16/2010 — cori
What's better than wanting something and waiting a long time to get it?

Getting surprised with that something!

That's what happened to our family last week. I had been missing my parents for months now and had no idea when the next time we'd get to visit them would be (due to the failing health of my Jadziu). But we understood this and didn't want to pressure them. We were okay sacrificing for a little bit. But the time and distance started becoming too much. I had even asked Chuck within the past month if we could take some money from savings so the kids and I could fly up to see them. But nothing really paned out. It was just way too costly.

Then came a week ago Friday. It was movie and pizza night. Bennett and Daddy were at his baseball end-of-season party. Chloe, Gavin and I were watching a movie that was lulling me to sleep. It was 8 o'clock at night. Someone knocked on the door. I thought it was the neighborhood kids since I'd recently heard them outside kicking the ball. I thought it went over the fence and they were coming to ask for it. Not.

I open the door and to my surprise there stood my parents. They drove 2, 11 hour days to get here. To see me. Well...okay, probably more than just me. But for that moment it was me. My first thought was how dirty my house was (of course). But once I jumped that hurdle, I just enjoyed the time. It was an amazing, wonderful week. Funny thing was....the week I wanted to fly up there to see them would have been that exact same week they came here. Now that wouldn't have worked out too well would it? How much better it was to wait. I'm reminded of a Bible verse: "Trust in the Lord and wait patiently for Him." It's always better that way.

A cozy little home I found for them that's a lot closer - on the grounds of the Dallas Arboretum.


11/16/2010 — cori
My boys have become OBSESSED with this series of books. They eat, sleep, drink, talk nothing but this book. They've stopped playing and spend every spare minute reading. This would not be out of the norm for Gavin...but Bennett? The child has morphed into a book worm. He has read 5 of these books in one month. This is the son who would find any reason to not like a book, unless it was Hank the Cowdog. His criteria for a book are very high - it has to have good writing, be funny and enlist great characters. I guess he found the whole package in this series. I had no clue he would stop everything in order to read. He even asked to go to bed early on more than one occasion so he could have extra time to read! Who are you and what have you done with my son oh author of great stories? His goal this week is to finish the next book in two days. This is the child who would only read Calvin and Hobbes, graphic novels or books about cheetahs when there was nothing else to do. I'm loving this! I'm going to ride this wave as long as it lasts. I often find Gavin and Bennett in deep conversation through-out the day over the characters, what happens next, discussing the plot and talking about everything owl. Thank you Kathryn Lasky for writing such awesome books that makes my children want to get lost in the world of reading. Their imaginations will never be the same!

On a recent chat session Bennett & I were having over this little obsession, he explained the process called "Moonblinking". This is when the bad owls, have the good little owls stare at the moon and all recite their names at the same time. They are never supposed to look at the moon for long periods of time, the good owls know this. This effect is supposed to cause confusion for the little owls and change the essence of who they are. They are supposed to become mindless little minions of the 'bad owls' and forget who they are and where they came from. It's like being brain washed. At the end of this little lesson Bennett tells me, "Mom. I kinda like to think of last year at public school was like Gavin and me being "moonblinked". But it didn't work. Thanks for teaching us at home mom." Hmmm....maybe he's on to something.

Nov 2, 2010

Be Careful What You Teach

11/02/2010 — cori
These would be my childrens' favorite chip alternative. You see, we've been studying about nutritious eating, servings per ounce, calories per serving, cost per serving...all that fun stuff. I had no clue how literal my children would take all this. Now they read the labels on every food item in the house. That can have good and bad consequences. Bad for me when they read what I'm eating and come to me and say rather loudly, "MOM!!! DO YOU REALIZE YOU'RE EATING 500 CALORIES RIGHT NOW!" Thanks for that. I was trying to ignore that little fact and just enjoy the taste. Every day at lunch, these same people count out EXACTLY 17 crackers in order to get only 90 calories from their 'chip' consumption for the day. Oh...they know how to read a box. I did NOT teach them to do that. I do not do that. I just teach the concepts, they decide when and where they want to apply them to life. Don't even get me started in their quest for finding "high fructose corn syrup" on every box in the grocery store. Or the search for GMOs in every box not labeled 'organic'. Life is fun around here.

Oct 30, 2010

Being Bennett's Mom

10/30/2010 — cori
It's Birthday Time again, a time of reflection and reminiscing. My sweet, sensitive, relational, little boy is turning 9. His sweet smile has always been contagious. His need to make people smile, laugh and be happy is what drives him. He stands for Truth, Justice and the American Way. He hates to see unfairness in this world and takes it upon himself to try to right all wrongs. He MUST relate to anyone he meets (a trait he gets from Mommy). He MUST be holding, sleeping, or playing with a ball at all times (a trait he gets from Daddy). He has 13 stuffed animals that he calls his 'kids' and each have a name and a power. He can memorize a song, comedic line or saying after seeing/hearing it once (I'm jealous). He has a quick wit. He has a huge appreciation of art. He smiles the whole time he's playing any sport - he's so happy to be playing he just can't help it. He has an extensive knowledge of all things cheetah and would like to be a zoologist when he grows up (after his pro-football career, of course). Speaking of football, he said he'd give his Dad and me free tickets to sit on the sidelines of all his pro games and spending money to eat at the concession stand (sweet!). He's still at the age where he wants to marry me when he grows up. But at the same time he says he will take care of me when I'm old (like 40, he says). I told him the only way I'll live with him when I'm old is if he lets me eat cookies everyday and he said that was okay - so I'm relieved. He still calls me Mommy.

I learn so much from each of my children. From Bennett I have learned to draw what I'm feeling and that drawing pictures and giving them to people makes them feel better and helps get feelings off your chest. I've learned that giving people a smile goes a long way. He makes my heart smile. Every year Chuck makes a little slide show of their lives up to their current year and we put it to their favorite song. When we asked him what his favorite song was this year he replied, "Live Like You Were Dying". That is so Bennett. Every moment I get with him, I enjoy to it's fullest because that's what he does with those he's around. He has such a thankful heart.

Oct 18, 2010

Word Play

10/18/2010 — cori
No less than 3 minutes after waking up, Bennett wants to engage me in the meaning of words. He asks me, "Mom, does 'deca or deci' mean 10? Because decimeter means 10 meters and a decade is 10 years." You're right buddy, that's exactly what it means. "Okay then, I came up with some new words: a decimist is a person who sees 10 good things and 10 bad things. They're more like a realist. And a decanut is a donut with 10 holes." Pretty cool stuff, my friend. Way to use your brain.

He then goes on to expound about his thoughts on pessimists and optimists. He explains that a pessimist is skinny cuz they only see the skinny side of things and optimists aren't fat, but more like medium cuz they have bigger stomachs about things. They always see things full. What a neat mental picture to have to explain a word that is really only a concept. I think I want to be fat today when it comes to my outlook on life. But if truth be told, I think I'm more of a decimist.

Oct 15, 2010

The Door Stop

10/15/2010 — cori
I'm happy to see Bennett finally found a use for his deodorant. Because it sure isn't being used for it's original intent.

Oct 14, 2010

Greater Appreciation Needed

10/14/2010 — cori
Bennett made a pretty bold proclamation yesterday. "Mom, it is my opinion that people do not appreciate illustrators like they should. There are some really good illustrators out there and people only give the authors credit."

I totally agree my astute son. Especially when it comes to children's books. I will normally buy or borrow as many books by the same illustrator once I find one I like. The pictures are art and we have a high appreciation of it in this house. Especially Bennett. He illustrates everything, his math, his language arts, his writing...nothing is safe from "The Illustrator".

From experience, I have coined the saying, "It's all about the presentation." Meaning, if something looks good, it doesn't really matter if it is or not, if it appears to be good, the perception is that it is good. This works in interior design, marketing, advertising, web design, speeches, you name it. I automatically like the story more if the cover is beautiful or catches my attention. I love the story alot more if the illustrations are detailed. It makes me ponder the story more as I go. Obviously, this gene was passed down to Bennett.

Bennett has composed a list of illustrators that make 'the cut' in his book. It's cute because it also tells alot about what he's like and what he appreciates:

Susan Jeffers
Trina Schart Hyman

Bob Marstall

Gerald L. Holmes

Bill Watterson

Jan Brett

Oct 12, 2010

Too Hard

10/12/2010 — cori

When Bennett was 2 and he encountered a situation too difficult for him or was told to do something he didn't want to do, he would arch his back, stick out his bottom lip, summon his most whiney voice and pronounce, "Too hard!" and scowl at us. It was hilarious back then, especially if we knew the task was rather easy and he just didn't want to do it. With all the effort and hoopla he would put into telling us how 'hard' something was, he could have already accomplished the task asked of him.

Right now, I'm feeling very much like little Bennett. At least, that's how I imagine God must see me when I fuss and complain about things I feel are "too hard" for me. I've been agonizing over a particular issue for quite some time now. I often feel that in my mind, I'm complaining loudly that it's just "too hard" to do, therefore, I conclude, it (or I) must be wrong.

How in the world did I ever correlate hard with wrong? Because it's easier for my flesh to see it that way and make sense of it, at least that's my opinion and experience. Sometimes doing the hard thing is a matter of do it even though it's not fun, easy or other's around you aren't doing it, but you know that you know that you are supposed to.

It is in the hard times that growth is happening. Growth is not always fun. It hurts. Ever heard of 'growing pains'? I've often heard the phrase, "God loves you just how you are, but he loves you too much to not let you stay that way". Growth involves dying to myself, my flesh, being less selfish...that would qualify it as "hard".

It's hard to have a baby, but that doesn't make it just makes it hard. There's joy at the end of the hardship. There's growth that you couldn't have had any other way. The Bible tells us to "count it all joy when you encounter various trials for they are building your faith" (my paraphrase). It also says to "give thanks in all things for this is God's will for you".

I choose to be thankful in this hard thing. I can only see the here and now. I have such a limited scope. I choose to trust God since that is called "faith" and that is what pleases Him. All life's struggles (and joys) are opportunities to bring us closer to Him. How can I not be thankful for that?

But that doesn't mean I still don't want to complain at times or stiffen my back in protest. But hopefully that happens less and less and before I know it, I can do "it" and not even realize how hard it is anymore. That's maturity. That's growth. Then it's on to the next lesson that will feel "too hard" for a time.

Oct 5, 2010


10/05/2010 — cori

I have 4 different kinds of questioners in this house. I love it. It has taken a few years of research before coming to this discovery phase, but I think I've finally got them nailed.

Here's Gavin's line of questioning (it usually involves my sitting next to a computer armed with a Google search engine): "Mom...what is one dimension?" Glad you asked honey. Because you know, that's another one of the million things you think you know until you have to explain it. He is expert at asking me those types of questions. However 'unsmart' I may feel by many of Gavin's questions, I love that he asks them because I continue learning new things every day - often things I wouldn't have thought to ask, thanks to the way his brain works. This little question/answer period we share often turns into a beautiful time of discussion and another way of seeing God in our lives. For the record (just because I know now and can explain it), one dimension is a line drawn from one point to another. While we were reading thru Wikipedia, we also learned that time is often considered the fourth dimension, something new I did not know and was excited to learn. Our little talk took us back to God and how He is not limited by any of our earthly dimensions and how grateful we are for that!

And then there's Bennett's line of questioning, "Mom, can I have 1 cookie or 3?" Why would you skip the number 2? Why go straight for 3? Why would 3 even be an option? Most would want 1 or 2...but not Bennett. He also loves to ask me the obvious such as, "Are we going to the store, Mom?" when we've just pulled up in front of it. We have a whole different line of reasoning going on here. Lastly, he loves to relate, especially if something 'bad' recently happened to him, for example: he accidentally breaks something, gets disciplined for it and then asks, "Mom, was there ever a time you broke something and your parents got mad at you and you felt this way?" Every. Single. Time. He has to know he's not alone in this world. I love my little relater.

Chloe only asks questions she knows the answer to. Why? I still don't understand. For example: she sees Chuck pull into the driveway through her window then she'll come downstairs and ask me, "Mom, when is Daddy coming home?" Since I didn't just see him pull into the driveway, I answer, "I'm not sure, should be soon." To which she'll reply, "He's home now, Mom. I just saw him drive up." Then why ask?! She only asks, so she can tell. I guess in some warped sense this helps her feel smarter - but she doesn't need any help in that department since she is as smart as a whip anyways. She hates not knowing the answer to something, it makes her feel dumb - whereas, when Gavin doesn't know the answer to something, he wants to ask to find out. How do I get her from point A to point B? Obviously, this is a one dimensional project I have to work on.

Lastly, there's Chuck. I include him because, like the children, he's always asking me questions. His are similar to Chloe's...not that he already knows the answer, but he's not really looking for an answer. It's called a rhetorical question. And he's mastered them. His line of questioning usually takes place in the car. His rhetorical questioning was developed by his love of reading random billboards or store signs or anything he sees in the outside world (by outside I mean anything on the opposite side of the windshield) that has words on it. He'll read his sign...aloud...for all to hear and enjoy and then he feels the need to comment on it, but the comment comes in the form of a question. Example: we pass a sign that says, "dogs for sale". Well, now we've just opened a whole can of worms. He asks me (I'm assuming it's me, since I'm in the front seat with him, but maybe he's just talking out loud to himself), "Do you think they have Rottweilers? Do you think there's alot of them or just 1 or 2? Do you think they're licensed?" How would I know? I saw the same sign and there were no answers on them. I can only speculate as to answer. Do you really want one from me or are you jus thinking aloud? You would think I'd be used to this after 14 years of marriage, but alas, I am not.

Since I am the author of this blog, I do not have to divulge my type of questioning. :) But I'm sure it's not a secret to anyone who knows me. I live in a constant state of questioning...but I make sure to keep it in my head. I question everything, all day long, all the time. I guess our kids are just hard wired to ask questions, be they legitimate or not.

Sep 29, 2010

Stop the Noise!

9/29/2010 — cori

You know how sometimes things happen and they aren't funny at the time but people say you'll look back one day and laugh about that? Yeah, well, something happened this morning and we still haven't gotten to the 'laughing about it' stage quite yet. It was a little traumatic. It was very dramatic. It was also very loud.

Let's set the scene: It is a peaceful, quiet, still-dark-out, early morning. My alarm went off at 6am and I made it out of bed a little after. We slept with the windows open since the low dipped into the 50's and the fresh night/early morning air always smells so pretty. It is still very dark outside at this time. I am normally the only one up. Actually, I lie. Ninja and I are both awake - she's eating greedily at her bowl and I'm enjoying my quiet time. The only light on in the house is in the kitchen, where I am.

I sit down to read and hear a random beeping noise. I immediately register that noise to be our idiotic alarm system. It has some type of short. Every so many days we have to 'reset' it. By that I mean, hit the # or * button to stop the random quiet beeps and still allow it to work normally. Thankfully, our system is not monitored. This is a key point of the story. Also important to note is that my husband is not an electrician.

The alarm pad in is the utility room across the hall from Gavin's room. I thought I'd go rescue him from the incessant beeping emanating from 10 feet from his head. That sound would have kept me awake all night but he is a sound sleeper. So as not to wake up my child, I did not turn any lights on. I walked into the (pitch black) utility room and just pushed the button like I always do.

Did I mention it was dark? Apparently I didn't hit the right button because out of nowhere a fog horn type siren started blaring throughout the entire house. I panicked and started hitting all the buttons on the key pad. Nothing stopped the noise. Noise is too placid a word, imagine the sound a nuclear bomb raid siren might make or an F-16 jet flying through your house. Imagine a sound that makes your heart want to jump out of your chest and makes you instantly start sweating and loosing all ability to think clearly. That type of "noise".

It seemed like an eternity before Chuck raced to my rescue. I'm still in the dark hitting buttons and he shows up and starts hitting some more. I explain my pathetic mistake to him amidst the screaming siren. He runs upstairs to the main controls for the alarm system and can't open the darn box. It needs a key! What a huge design oversight, I'd just like to add. Like we can find a key under such duress!

The very first thing that popped into my head was, "Oh GREAT! The windows are all open and we're going to wake all our neighbors up." I wanted to go close all the windows. Is this a rational thinking pattern? Then I had visions of a firetruck and 5 squad cars, lights flashing, sirens mimicking the sounds emanating from my house, pull up outside and aim a spot light at our house. I HATE drawing attention to myself but at the moment I felt as though I was pulling a huge stunt to do just that. The only thing I could think of was: stop the noise!!!

Thus, you can now understand what I did next. I left Chuck to fend for himself in the closet with the locked box and I ran, grabbed a chair and a pillow (I was careful as to which color - why I even care, I have no idea), raced to the hallway where the noise was screaming from and pushed the pillow onto the box to try to stifle the nuclear siren sound. The box is located in the upstairs hallway on the ceiling. I am now standing on the chair, holding a brown pillow over a box on the ceiling trying to muffle the 100 firetruck sounding sirens blaring into the still, early-morning air. Something is wrong with this picture.

Chuck finds me in the hallway shushing the alarm and I'm trying to tell him that I think we should either 1. call the fire department (but how do you explain that it's not a fire emergency on the phone with a noise that loud in the background?) or 2. pull that noisy box off the ceiling and disconnect the wires. He votes for the last option and prays we don't need to resort to the first option. My chair comes in handy as he uses it to pry that thing off the ceiling and just start pulling wires. I felt like we were a bomb squad team trying to diffuse a bomb. Actually, he was doing all the work, I was just the idea generator, the one who caused the entire ruckus and the one who felt like a heel at the moment. Things were not looking good for me to have a productive quiet time this morning.

Mercifully, 10-15 minutes later the incessant noise stopped when Chuck yanked the right wire out of something. Finally, we could breathe again. Ahhh....quiet. I am hyper-sensitive to noise this just made me want to go stick my head in the sand somewhere.

All I could do was whimper a pathetic, "I'm so sorry everybody. I think I hit the wrong button." Do ya think?! All I wanted to do was make it quiet so everybody could sleep in nice and soundly. I achieved the exact opposite.

Meanwhile, Chloe is in tears in our room. She thought there was a fire and rightly so since the loudest fire alarm in the history of fire alarms was going off right outside her door. Bennett was dazed and confused. He thought there was a burglar in the house. Gavin didn't even bother to get out of bed...he said later that he thought that if it was important, we'd come get him. The dog was too scared to eat and she was hiding in our room with Chloe. Boy, did I have some explaining and apologizing to do. And all of this because I only wanted to stop an irritating little noise.

Thankfully, none of our neighbors heard a thing (or at least never told us they did) or came knocking on our door to complain. No squad cars or firetruck showed up. Everyone just went back to doing their own thing. Chloe and Bennett got in my bed. Chuck got ready for work. I went back downstairs to resume my 'quiet time' and Gavin remained inconspicuous in his room.

You know you're in for a great day when it starts off like that!

I have had this twitch in my left eye all day. Seriously, I am not making this up, I really do. I wonder if it's related?

Sep 26, 2010

Date Day

9/26/2010 — cori
What a special day it is when I get to spend quality one on one time with one of my children. It is always precious and at very random times. Most often, we have to plan ahead for a very long time for a date. Today happened to be Chloe's and my lucky day.

First order of business is the dressing up. You can't go on a date unless you're 'dressed up', which of course means a dress (skirt will suffice) and heels. This was our going out attire:

Note about Chloe's dress - it was mine as a child, just in case you're having 70's flashbacks. She has been waiting for just the right time to wear this antique. It has been hanging in her closet forever and she deemed today was perfect for it's unveiling. She chose her outfit all by herself and allowed me to choose my own (this time). I love how her hair fits the era perfectly as well. Hello 70's child, welcome to 2010.

To start our date, we began with 'The Hunt For a Cowboys Shirt'. This was top priority. You see, in this house, fall means football and football means 'Go Cowboys!' which obviously means you MUST wear your team colors to support your team and enable them to win each week. Chloe was the lone man out. She has yet to own her very own Cowboys shirt. Poor girl, I know, we're wretched parents, our oversight in this area was pathetic. For crying out loud, I only joined the 'wear your t-shirt on game day' band wagon at the end of the season last year (when all the shirts were on clearance). But no longer is she an outsider in her own house on gamedays. She will now be proudly sporting her long sleeve blue shirt with a Cowboys star plastered obnoxiously on the front so that she too can show her loyalty to football and 'The Team'. The only one we could find, or should I say, the only one I would spend money on that was within my price range, was in the boys section of the store. But she's okay with that...afterall, this is Date Day and everything is peachy keen on this day of days.

After leaving the store with our new acquisition I tell her that I'd like to take her out to lunch and I was thinking of a Chinese place since I know she loves Wonton soup. But she politely declined and asked instead to go to La Madeleine. That is where we have always gone on dates together, and that is where we must go today. We are sticklers for tradition, I found out.

But I'm so glad we went there because the food was delicious, the conversation wonderful, the setting perfect and we felt like to little ladies in France. Couldn't have been more perfect for our girly-girl time together.

The next stop was the cherry on top for this girl. I took her to Charming Charlie's. A little boutique that has all types of fun girly things like costume jewelry, hair clips and stuff, purses, scarves, etc. and best part is, the whole store is organized by color. It wreaks of femininity - therefore, the reason I've only been in there exactly twice with the family. Thus, the reason I thought Chloe and I would enjoy staying there as long as we want just walking in circles looking at all the pretty, sparkly stuff without any boys in tow to 'ruin the mood'. And oh did we have fun. I told her that she could pick out anything she wanted to for $10. After her initial shock and excitement, her fist question was, "Does it have to be one thing for $10 or can it be two things that equal $10?" Because, you know, more is better. Lucky for her, she found 2 things she just couldn't live without for only $10. She is now the proud new owner of an adorable flower headband and a locket (that she has "wanted for ever and ever").

We did end up with one little hic-cup in our day and that involved Chloe's purse. I was holding it for her because she couldn't possibly hold her new purchase and her heavy purse at the same time, so I caved and carried two purses. As her purse was rubbing up against my leg, I felt something wet and saw a wet spot on my skirt. As we opened it up to see what was leaking, to our surprise we saw two, week old pears decomposing in the bottom. I can honestly say I've never left a pear in my purse to rot, so I wasn't exactly prepared to know what to do. We cleaned it out over a trash can as best we could. And by clean it out I mean, dumped everything that was on the inside onto the outside. Nothing was salvageable. Not even the purse. Mold is gross, especially when it's spreading throughout the bottom of your pink, vinyl purse. I felt horrible chunking my daughter's purse into the trash in front of all those passersby. She was in tears. This was not the mood I was going for. She was mourning the loss of her purse. I can understand. I am also a 'purse person' - love them - always have.

I assured her repeatedly that I was not upset and that mistakes happen and how sorry I was for her. We found a place to sit down and cry it out. We brought the camera along, so I thought it would be fun to try to lift her mood by taking silly pictures together. Thankfully it worked.

We had fun laughing together, making silly faces, posing for the camera and not crying. The weather was perfect fall weather, making that much more fun.

After our photo shoot, we couldn't wait to get home to show Daddy all the stuff we got and change into our 'Team Cheering Shirt' so we could watch the game with the boys. What a perfect way to cap off our perfect day together.

Sep 24, 2010

Our Responsibility

9/24/2010 — cori
Once you learn something, you're responsible for it. It changes the choices you make everyday. It changes how you fit into society or with friends. There are few things that have convicted me as much, short of the Bible. Making a choice to follow Jesus is not one done flippantly. It changes your entire life.

We felt the same way after coming across both of these:

This book details the history of how our modern day school system was engineered and what the system's ultimate goal is. I cannot in good conscience, knowing what I know now, voluntarily submit my children to this system. Sometimes I wish I didn't know this information...but that doesn't change the fact that I'm responsible for what I do with it now that I do know. We're so trusting as a society that the government and those over us or in charge have our best interest at heart. It is a sad realization that they do not. That became even more evident after watching this phenomenal documentary:

Again...this is a hard pill to swallow. Both of these sound almost 'conspiracy theorist' in nature. The sad truth is that they are just presenting the facts that we have chosen for years to ignore or not care about. Corporations, governments, and systems rely on our blind trust, complacency and conformity. It is a sad day when someone who wants to just be informed or wants to do things differently than the societal norm is looked down upon as a trouble maker. Thinking outside the box is now a 'no-no'. Asking questions so you can make a informed decision is frowned upon.

After watching this documentary, we immediately had a family discussion about what we were going to do with this information. Now that we know the 'truth' about how our food is processed, manipulated, treated, engineered...what are we going to do about it? The responsibility is now ours. The truth is often inconvenient. It will change our budget, where & how we shop, our tastes, our entertainment. It is true...ignorance is bliss.

I am so thankful to live in a country where I am still allowed to voice my opinion, even when it's different from the norm. I'm thankful to have the ability to make educational choices for my children and am not forced to send them to a government institution that doesn't care about them as much as I do. I'm thankful for friends and family who support us in these decisions and the one's who might not agree but respect our decisions. That's the beauty of our country, despite whatever political upheaval it may be under.

I'm thankful we do not have morality police and are forced to be one religion only. I'm thankful for the ability to choose because that allows me the right to be what I'm convicted of - it does not allow me the right to force everyone to have my same convictions though. It is my responsibility as a neighbor, friend, citizen to respect the differences of those around me and entrust them into God's care to convict them and lead them to Him - not coerce them on my own effort. There is much to learn from those we may disagree with...but disagreements should not hamper love.

"They will know you by your love." (John 13:35) It is because of this love we make the decisions we do, be they popular or not.

I think I'll step off my soap-box now.

Oh, by the way, here's a wonderful list of suggestions related to being more responsible about what type of food we consume. I enjoyed it and just wanted to share it.

Love & Marriage

9/24/2010 — cori
Remember how I just mentioned that "All We Ever Find" was our most favoritist song ever?! Well...Chuck just amassed a ton of points with this anniversary gift:

To say I was surprised was an understatement. I adore this!! It's vinyl art that we transferred to our wall. It's custom, no one has one like it. It means the world to me. And to know my husband spent hours agonizing over which exact font was to be used just makes my heart ooze with love. To say he's a 'font snob' is no exaggeration. I can only imagine how many days he labored over this decision. But it turned out beautifully and means more than even going to see Tim McGraw in concert (fyi - he was in town the weekend of our anniversary).

On a totally separate note, Bennett asked yesterday, out of the blue (as all his questions usually are), "Mom, did you date anyone else before Daddy?" Well...that would be a bit of a tough question. You see, I wasn't allowed to date. I don't know that technically, I even dated Daddy. Even when I got to college I was still feeling the need to ask permission for things (too scared to make a wrong decision). However, I gave him the shortened version of my story and said, "Actually, I went out with a few people, but I didn't date anyone else. These were just friends and we had fun together. And Daddy wasn't there (he wasn't even in the same state as me). Does that answer your question, Honey?"

"Actually, I just wanted to know if you ever thought about marrying anyone else."

Without hesitation I answered, "Of course I did. I wanted to marry Michael Jordan. But that didn't seem to work out now, did it?!"

To which Chuck replied, "And I would have loved it if Mommy married Michael Jordan cuz I'd go over to her house all the time to see them both!".

We apparently idolized Michael Jordan a little too much, I fear. This is just a glimpse into our adolescent/young adult minds (of the time - not to be confused with now).

I don't think Jordan is my type anyways. But he sure is an awesome basketball player!

Sep 11, 2010

Love Like Crazy

9/11/2010 — cori
Best friends, crazy in love - 1990

Best friends, crazy in love on our wedding day - Sept. 7, 1996

Best friends, crazy in love - 2010


You know how each anniversary we normally pick a new song as a celebration of our love? Well, this year this is the song we chose:

Not that we've been married anywhere near 58 years...but the chorus is our favorite part:

Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy

Always treat your woman like a lady
Never get too old to call her baby
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy

This sums up our love story so perfectly. After only 14 years of marriage, we still feel like newly-weds. Our love grows deeper and stronger every day. I never dreamed it would be this much fun growing old with my best friend.

I pray we have 50 more years of living our love song, but in case we don't, we treat each moment like it's the last one we might have. That causes us to not take each other for granted, to appreciate one another, to watch what our last words are to one another before we part in case those might be the last words we ever say to one another this side of heaven. But it's Tim McGraw's song, "All We Ever Find" that is the theme of our marriage:

This is not meant to insinuate that we're 'perfect' and we've got marriage all figured out, that is not my intention at all. In fact, we're far from it. We still hurt each other with our words and actions. We still act selfishly, not putting the other first. We still argue and fail to see the other person's point of view. We don't 'feel' in-love all the time. But these are all just as necessary as the good times, for it's in the 'valley' where we grow. We appreciate the good times (and each other) even more when we see where we've come from. And we thank God that He's the one giving us opportunities to grow, to understand love at new levels, not just when everything is good and going our way.

Thank you Baby, for Loving Like Crazy, while we're Livin' Our Love Song. Thank you God, for giving us "All We Ever Find".

Sep 3, 2010

Like Father Like Son

9/03/2010 — cori

Did you know that I live in the 21st century and am adamant about continuing the 'old fashioned' tradition of using paper? Most in this post modern era have given up paper for the likes of Kindles and Outlook. Not me. I defy progress. I laugh in the face of Outlook. How then, you might ask, do I organize my day or my life for that matter? It's a little thing I like to call a pocket calendar. It fits perfectly in my purse, is with me where ever I go, is always handy and comes equipped with a pencil and eraser so that I can write in it. I know, I know, that is so yesterday, but it's me and I refuse to budge on this issue. I like paper, I like how it smells, I like writing on it and I like looking back over past years that I recorded on it.

Now that you're acquainted with yet another one of my quirky ways, you can better understand this story. For years, Chuck has sneaked into my purse, found my antiquated, yet up-to-date pocket calendar and written me little notes on random days. I love this. Mr. Paperless loves Mrs. Paper and loves to show her in ways that are special to her. Every so often I find a note in my calendar that says, "You are loved". Seeing it in his handwriting and reading those 3 little words when I least expected it always brings a smile to my face.

Now I have Gavin, miniature Mr. Paperless. And Gavin is now, at 11, the lucky owner of my old cell phone. He has mastered the entire digital unit is less time than it took me to figure out how to make a call (after reading the instruction manual, of course). Most of his school assignments are 'written' out on the computer. He was born in a digital age and far exceeds my limited understanding of most technological advancements.

When we do school and he's downstairs working independently while I'm upstairs working with Chloe and Bennett, he often texts me when he has a question. Texts me! Is this normal? We are in the same house and it is just too taxing to climb all 16 stairs to come ask me a question. What is the world coming to?

Even though technology can be used for evil (no, I'm not saying texting me a question is evil, but it has stunted kids' abilities to communicate with real words), I also see good in it. There are two sides to every coin. The good side of my coin is this: every day an alarm goes off on my phone. This is an alarm I did not program into it. I believe some little 11 year old hacked into it. The alarm is set to go off at 10:30 everyday and says: "You are Loved Mom. Love Gavin." Technology at it's finest. He has no clue Daddy does the exact same thing on my calendar. It must be in the genes.

Aug 31, 2010

Mission Possible

8/31/2010 — cori
Ever since his birth, Gavin has fancied himself a super hero of sorts. He believes he has a higher calling than the rest of us mere mortals and vows to fight off the forces of evil using his superhero endowed abilities. He lives as though this is truth (in his world) and the rest of us just haven't realized it yet. Super heroes are real people - even when you're 11 pushing 12.

Thus, you can imagine his utter astonishment when this came in the mail:

His classified documents have finally arrived! A dream come true. All that he awaits now are his orders. He literally gasped when he opened this up and saw the first page:

He is in a state of utter disbelief and shock when he walks over to me and in a voice way too calm and quiet for him says, "Mom. You. Have. Got. To. See. This! Look! They wrote me a letter!!! It says they believe in my courage, imagination and creativity!" It actually says, "Dear Gavin". How did they know??? This is a mystery beyond us. All we know is that 'they' finally found him and 'they' believe he is has what it takes to be the Hero they need.

He read, re-read, and thrice read it over in a 2 minute timeframe. It is now memorized. If it happened to self destruct in 2 seconds, we could ask Gavin to recite it word for word. Whew! Lucky for us. But thankfully, this precious document never self destructed. It is tucked away neatly in a shelf overstuffed with other important hero books.

This just goes to show...when you least expect your dreams to come true...they do. And others around you get to share in your joy.

Aug 22, 2010

First Week of School

8/22/2010 — cori
We made it! One week under our belts. This is going to be a wonderful year if this past week was any indicator.

Excitement was in the air last Monday as I came downstairs to see all my little people already dressed and ready to eat at 7:15am. Gavin was getting my tea ready and Bennett was putting water in the kettle for me. I don't think there is any better way to start a day. Here are the three giddy learners each holding their custom lesson plan books standing next to the note on the white board that Daddy left for them :

At the end of the first day Bennett said, "Is that it? Isn't there more to do? Last year I couldn't wait for the day to be done when I was at school and this year I want to do more." The one with all the answers (Chloe, just in case you didn't know) pipes up, "That's because this is homeschool Bennett and this is where learning is fun!"

But don't worry, I didn't beam with pride too long because by mid week we had a little pot hole in the road and the same excited learner from day one, evidently decided that thinking was too hard and he'd rather not anymore. Some days our lessons are academic, some days they're character building. However, we pushed through and I was so glad to be the one there with Bennett encouraging him and teaching him how to push through when things feel too hard. Last week it was Benentt's turn, another week, someone else will need alot more heart to heart time. That is what I LOVE about my job.

This is the shelf loaded with all the books we get to learn with and use in our pursuit of knowledge this year. But this is only the book learning. I am very big into community service. I want my children to know how to reach out and help meet the needs of those living in the same community as them. I want this to be as normal as 'doing school'. To me, this is love in action. So, we also include Meals on Wheels and the Food Pantry into our "lesson plan" of life, if you will. The friendships we grow, the relationships we make, the joy we get, far outweigh any and all of the time we put into it. And lastly, each child also has their extra-curricular activity of choice. Gavin still loves his piano. Chloe has the opportunity to take violin from an amazing teacher. And Bennett will be playing baseball on the same team with his best friend from school last year.

After one week, this is what the bulletin board already looks like:

Looks like I'm going to need to find room for a few more bulletin boards!

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