Feb 22, 2010

Drivinnnng

2/22/2010 — cori
Gavin decided he wanted to try using math in the real world. Novel idea. He decided his first project would be finding out how many times we got in the car and drove somewhere. The idea is there, but the details definitely need to be refined (and maybe defined). I did not come up with the title...this was the title he bestowed upon this all important project - spelling peculiarities and all. I love how he tries to use 'scientific (or maybe mathematical) lingo'. I know my first data chart wasn't this good - nor was it a spreadsheet since I had never even heard of that terminology until college.

New Mexico

2/22/2010 — cori
Chloe and I were having a blast working on learning all the 50 states today. We get to New Mexico and we discuss the capitol, the pretty flag and the fact that we'll be driving through that state on our way to California for vacation this summer. She looks at me very weird and says, "Is it different now than in the Old Testament?"

Now it's my turn to look confused. "Ummmm, could you please rephrase that question. I'm not sure I understood it."

"Mom! Is it still like it was in the Old Testament times? You know, in the back thens?"

"Honey, New Mexico wasn't in the Old Testament."

"Mom!!" Starting to get exasperated with me for not being able to read her mind, "All I want to know is if they have hotels or not. Cuz in the Old Testament, they didn't have hotels."

My mind is reeling with appropriate responses. My immediate reaction is to berate myself for not adequately giving my 5 year old a solid historical footing on which to place all her new found understanding. For crying out loud, history is my favorite subject and here is my little learned one combining the Old Testament with New Mexico. Where did I go wrong? Is her view of the Bible that skewed? Does she think if we cross the border into New Mexico we've gone back in time? (That would be cool if it was that easy though.)

I'm able to escape the fog of useless thoughts clouding my brain and am able to reassure my post modern age daughter that we will definitely be sleeping in a hotel while in New Mexico because we are not going back to the Old Testament times, we're just going to California. Rest assured my dear.

This is one geography lesson she's sure not to forget!

Feb 19, 2010

What Drives Your Day?

2/19/2010 — cori
Last night at dinner we had the most wonderful conversation. I asked everyone, "When you wake up in the morning, what is it you hope most to accomplish each day?" I had no expectation for what type of answer I'd hear. I was genuinely curious. I was thinking that maybe the kids thought a good day is one in which they had fun all day, or got what they wanted, or were able to watch at least one tv show a day or had time to play outside each day. I was expected childish, self-centered answers, truth be told. But the honesty and truth behind their answers astounded even me.

Bennett was first to say, "It's a good day if I've made people smile; made them happy. That's all I want to do, make people smile."

Gavin responded next with, "I hope to learn something new each day."

Chloe's was, "My goal is to make good choices every day."

Then came my moment of truth. I don't know that I consciously go about thinking what I hope to get out of each day. Am I others centered or self centered? When I really thought long and hard, this is what I said, "I desire to make sure the people I come in contact with each day know that they are loved and special to me." It's easy to say that about your friends and family, but am I making the girl at the check out stand at the grocery store feel special, loved, appreciated? Am I in too much of a hurry to acknowledge another's day and just expect them to wait on me? Can I and do I show love to strangers? That is my heart...but how often do my actions follow suit?

Chuck told us all, "At the end of the day, I'm happy knowing that I did all I could to serve my family, sacrifice for them in ways that mattered to them and know that they are happy and loved because of those actions." I'm sure he said it much more eloquently, that's just my paraphrase because we all know what a horrible short term memory problem I have and that unless I write something down immediately, I'll never remember anything word for word.

I just love dinner time.

Feb 17, 2010

Too Much Time To Think

2/17/2010 — cori
This post comes solely as the result of not being able to sleep. It will probably make no sense come morning. But, what the heck, I'm awake anyways...I may as well blog. After hours of squeezing my eyes shut, tossing and turning to no avail, and not being able to find the off switch for my brain, I decided to get up and write about the oddities that pass thru my brain at the wee hours of the morning. Such are the trials of living with migraines.

Normally I lay there and pray when I can't fall asleep. But after 6 hours, one runs out of things to pray about. Then my mind starts wandering. I try to solve the world's problems. I start to get hungry...really hungry. Sleep is good for us...it keeps us from eating all night long. Anyways, as I was saying...I get to thinking. As if I don't already think enough. This is the absurdity that was going thru my mind tonite:

I have compiled a list of jobs I could never do. Why? I don't know.

1. Mailman/UPS guy - I'm sure there is a more politically correct title given to those jobs, but I don't know it. It would drive me crazy day in and day out to deliver packages and large envelopes to people without knowing what's inside them. I'm way too curious. I'd spend precious amounts of time speculating and making up stories about all these mysterious items. I'd eventually go insane.

2. An 18-wheeler truck driver - Just shoot me now. The thought of driving across super long distances over and over again nauseates me. Boring! You can't multi-task while you're driving (except for maybe listen to a book on tape). I can't sit that long. When asked during an interview once what job I would never take, I gave this answer. Seriously. How pathetic. I'd much rather be a janitor or maid.

3. A Scuba diver - Scary! First of all I hate ponds, lakes and oceans. There are lots of live creatures in there that want to eat me. I'm not cool with that. Plus, I can't take water pressure very well...I black out too easily.

4. A Fireman and/or any emergency personnel - The sound of those sirens sends my blood pressure thru the roof. I start panicking. My heart races faster than after I've taken two excedrin migraine (which is what I have coursing thru my veins right now). I'm almost in tears over the prospect of someone getting hurt in some horrific car accident/house fire. I am not calm under pressure. Plus, the fire hose is way too heavy, I like taking elevators and not the stairs and there is just so much mess to clean up after a fire. Where do you start? Plus, I possess an intense fear of fire. I don't even allow a fire in my fireplace because I'm so scared. I'm realizing through this little activity of mine that I have alot more phobias than previously thought.

5. A Herpetologist - my kids are enthralled with people like Jeff Corwin and Donald Schultz and make me sit and watch shows with all kinds of scary snakes and spiders on them. I get the hebee-jebees SO BAD. Then, once outside, say in a camping or hiking situation, I become hypersensitive to EVERYTHING around me and don't have fun because there might be a snake hanging out of a tree above me and I have to see him before he sees me. It's hard being me.

6. A Chef - Again, too much pressure. Have I mentioned I don't take pressure very well. All these people expecting me to make lots of good food. Ughh! First of all, I can barely think of 7 different meal options to feed my family each week. Imagine the pressure of cooking for so many random people and it having to taste good AND look good. Plus, I don't cook food I don't like, so the menu options would be extremely limited.

7. A Pilot or Mountain Climber - Cuz I'm scared of heights - deathly afraid of heights! I would have zero use over all my limbs because they all turn to jello and I can't feel or control my legs because they are shaking so much. Seriously. Just being up really high in a stadium is super hard for me. I feel like if I lean over the seat or railing too much, I'll just spontaneously throw myself over. The mental battles I deal with are immense.

8. A Surgeon - Because I can't take the pressure of messing up on someone's life. Plus, I have a rather queezy stomach and the sight of anything gross along with gross smells, makes me feel like I might throw up at any moment. Not a good state of mind for a surgeon to be in.

9. A Model - I hate following fashion trends. I can't walk in stilettos. My legs are about 6 inches too short. And I hate the way they do their hair and make-up.

10. A Competitive Athlete or Olympian - I can't stand the competition. It would take all the fun out of whatever it is I'd be doing. Again, it's the whole pressure thing. That and I hate to exercise or train for anything. I don't stick with schedules very well. I'm not a good team player. I get the whole fast heart rate thing again and I can't look when the score gets too close.

11. Web Designer or Programmer - I'm not big into details. Actually, I could care less. I like the big picture. I watch Chuck do his job and thank God I'm not him and then I also thank God that he made people like him who are so good at what they do and actually find joy in the details and staring at screens all day.

So...there you have it. I'm glad I've narrowed down the field for my future self. In case I decide on a new career in my middle age. It could have been worse, I could have gotten up and mopped. Now that I've gotten all that off my brain, maybe I can go take a quick nap before the kids get up...

Feb 16, 2010

Science of the Imagination

2/16/2010 — cori
Is it any surprise that Gavin's favorite show is on the Science Channel and is called, "Science of the Impossible"? He also has a link under his 'favorites' on the computer to the Science channel's "Deconstructed" page - you know, where they take every and any thing and take it apart to it's smallest molecular structure so all the rest of us know how it works. Is there anything cooler? I think not.

So, then does it come as any surprise that aforementioned son, let's call him The Absent-Minded Professor so as not to reveal his true identity, was so taken with one of these shows that immediately following the end of the show he just HAD TO MAKE HIS OWN CREATION!

I've never seen him move with such speed. In a matter of minutes he had located paper, pencil and scissors. Then he sat down at his desk and worked as if his life depended on it. When he finally emerged he asked me if I knew where the tape was. Once he'd procured the tape, he was back to the mission at hand. He was making an intricate alarm/password/entry detector system for his room and all doors leading to and around it.

This was his greatest moment. Notice the amount of 'effort' and 'detail' put into these intricate drawings. Details have never been one of Gavin's strong suits. They get in the way of the bigger picture. And it is the bigger picture we have here:

This is the entry to Gavin's room. Notice the palm, retina and
fingerprint scanner along with a keypad. He seriously does each of these
4 things each and every time before entering his beloved space.

Next we have his closet. I especially love the intricate 'sticky hand' security device.


This would be the entry to the bathroom from his bedroom.


Lastly, this is on the other side of the bathroom door. This is the lovely view from the commode.

You have now witnessed the greater workings of Gavin World. A place few of us get the privilege to enter. If I could tap into a 10th of the imagination his mind possesses, it would be a good day.

Feb 15, 2010

Feel the Love

2/15/2010 — cori
I love how the kids take our Valentine tradition so seriously. We have to do everything just like we did the year before. And of course, they remember the details so vividly. I'm glad Chuck still does the cooking...I'm not ready to taste their cuisine just yet. But I'm sure the day will come, but until then, I enjoy eating the exact same meal every year because really...who wants to mess with a good thing?
The waitstaff - the one in the middle with the pilgrim hat on is Bob.

The guests - seated at the customary kiddie table in the middle of the living room.
This year we were lucky to have ponytail holders keeping our napkins tight around
our utensils. It's all in the details.

Feb 12, 2010

Snowiest Day Ever (in Texas)

2/12/2010 — cori
The creek behind our house


The view from our bedroom window that welcomed us to a new day


The field behind our house



Our transformer snowman (this is what happens when you
send Chuck in to go get a 'hat' for our snowman)

Feb 11, 2010

The Happy Snack

2/11/2010 — cori
We all know I have 'food issues'. There is no blog long enough to describe my food woes. But one thing I've deduced over the years of being me is that there is a direct correlation between the happiness of my head and the happiness of my stomach. Seriously. When my head hurts (i.e. - migraine), it's typically because of something I've eaten. When my stomach hurts, so does my head. Coincidence - I think not.

There are very few food pleasures I have left in this world. I used to be a cookie monster. No longer. Too much sugar. I used to love cake. No more cake. Unless I want a migraine. Sugar doesn't like me. But I like it. I need it, even in the teeniest amounts. It completes my food palate. So, gone are the cookies, ice cream, cake, sweets of all varieties.

But...all is not lost. I have one trick up my sleeve. I have managed to pull a fast one on my stomach and head. And it is called The Happy Snack. You see, the reason I can get away with eating peanuts combined with m&m's is all about the ratio. I must eat two peanuts to every one m&m. I know it's pathetic, but it's all I've got. If I have to sit and count out my snack - so be it. I've found that if I eat enough protein, my head can handle sugar a little better without giving me an instant migraine.

So....I've perfected this snack to a fine art. Normally I eat it with 2 huge glasses of water. But every so often, I pull out the big guns and have it with a glass of Chardonnay. Bliss. Happiness. Contentment. Thus the name...

Feb 9, 2010

Potty Problems Prevail

2/09/2010 — cori
No family should have to deal with so many "potty issues" in one life time. My blog is replete with enough "potty talk" to prove our ordeal. We call it The Curse of the Potty. Sometimes it's the actual potty causing us problems...most often it is the interaction of a child and the potty. But either way, I've written the word potty waaaaay too many times.

Bennett is well into the throes of middle childhood. I just coined that phrase. To me, that is the time frame of 6-10 years old. Poopie stories should be behind us (no pun intended). Potty problems should be a thing of the past. Everyone in this family now wears underwear (most days). I mention Bennett solely because he was the one who incited most of my illustrious writing abilities on the topic of poopie/potties and all things bottom related. What more could there be to write about where the potty is concerned?

Evidently...a lot more! Our house seems to be cursed with 3 potties each with a mind of their own. The one that Chloe and Bennett share is called 'The Overflower'. It overflowed the first night we bought the house and continues to do so at least once or twice a week - sometimes more if we're lucky.

Rightfully so, Chloe is paranoid of flushing. She refuses to be in there alone when flushing commences. This causes issues. I won't go there right now. I can't tell you how many times I thought a monster was reaching out of the commode trying to attack Chloe by the insane sounding scream that accompanies each flush that results in 'potty overflow'.

Bennett almost has a plumber's license by now, so accomplished is he at thwarting and fixing an overflowing toilet. He knows how to shut the water off at the valve, how to plunge and how to scream for help.

Each of these poor children are going to grow up feeling so self conscious each time they feel the need to potty - all because of 'The Curse'.

Gavin also has a bathroom attached to his bedroom downstairs. It is our guest bathroom. It likes to overflow as well. It also has a special sound. We call his potty 'The Hisser'. At any random time, the potty often makes a sound similar to a snake hissing. Talk about freaky. How do you warn a guest in your house about the sound the toilet they are about to use may or may not 'hiss' at them and will most likely overflow when they flush? Should you warn them, after all, it's random. We've noticed a lot of people don't use the bathroom when they visit.

The toilet in the master bath most closely resembles a 'normal' toilet. It has it's random bouts of flooding, but for the most part it just likes to make noises. Unlike the hissing of the downstairs bathroom, this toilet sounds like a firehose about to be turned on. And again, to keep things fun, the sound is very random, loud and mostly happens when I'm visiting the bathroom because I guess it likes a good prank and enjoys seeing me jump out of my socks each and every time. I'm a little skittish if you can't tell.

Since there's always something to be thankful for, I guess my thankful is that...it could always be worse. We could have a privy out back and then our stories would involve critters we find in it. At least we don't have to deal with the elements in our bathroom usage. At least all overflows have been confined to the tile area of the bathroom and have not yet spoiled any carpet or wood (knock on wood). Overall, life is good. People like to refer to this as my 'Pollyanna Syndrome'.

Feb 3, 2010

Fame

2/03/2010 — cori
Before Bennett rushes off to school this morning, he confides in me that, "Mom, I think I'm famous at school."

"Oh really. How so?"

"Well...you see, this kid from this other class that I didn't even know knew my name, called my name at recess the other day and asked me to play with him. And I was like...ok."

"Cool. What do you plan to do with all your fame?"

"I don't know. I think I'll lock it up."

I guess none of us really know how we're going to handle fame until we're forced to deal with it.

Feb 1, 2010

Thoughts on Life by Chloe

2/01/2010 — cori

Chloe neatly folded her special piece of paper and handed it to me like we were in school and she was trying to keep it from the teacher seeing it. It was too cute. Then she whispered to me, "Mom, open it up. Read it."

"Okay" I reply quietly in return.

And then I'm awed. This is what life taught her today and this is how she responded to it. I like days like that.

We had several issues that were the result of not listening or obeying or were of just messing up. But we tackled each one and went on with our day. No condemnation...just learning from our mistakes. But by the third one she couldn't handle it any more and yelled out with exasperation in her voice, "Mom, that's thrice I've messed up today!"

"Honey, did you learn something from each mess up?" She shakes her head yes.

"Then don't beat yourself up. You're a kid. You're supposed to mess up. That's how you learn. Remember what we read in our book today (Mountain Born, by Elizabeth Yates)? Remember when Benj tells Peter, 'never the harm done that can't be undone. Easy take it; easy right it.' That applies to your situation as well, Sweetie. Let's learn from this and move on.

Then she stopped beating herself up and moved on to poetry instead.

Locks of Love

2/01/2010 — cori
For a while now, I have been reading a horribly sad blog about a family who discovered their sweet 5 year old girl had a brain tumor. One day Chloe found me at the computer reading the blog and wanted to know about the little girl in the picture. I told her a simplified version. Since that day we've spent a lot of time praying for her, checking in on her and asking lots of questions about cancer. She had been growing her hair out for a long time with the intent of giving it to Locks of Love. But after seeing a real little girl, her age, with her same hair color, and in need, she wanted to do it sooner and give it directly to her.

We all desire to help where ever we see a need. I'm so proud of Chloe for 'helping' in the only way she knew how...and from her heart.

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