Jul 31, 2010

Spike

7/31/2010 — cori
I cut Bennett's hair last night and gave him the look he's always dreamed of: a mohawk! He took one look in the mirror, let out a whoop and declared, "I shall now be called Spike!" And so it is.

What Really Matters

7/31/2010 — cori
I was the first one up on this beautiful, Saturday morning. I thought I'd take this free, quiet time to read. I come downstairs to my 'reading spot' and no more than 30 seconds later I hear a quiet pitter patter on the stairs. I have company. It's Bennett. He LOVES to cuddle. He NEEDS to cuddle. It's his love language. So, I put down my book and we snuggle in the chair just basking in the quiet, peace and the love. As he gets up to go he looks back and me and says, "Mom, my thankful today is that I'm alive one more day." Me too, honey, me too. What a beautiful way to start another day...another day I won't take for granted, I will have no expectations of, I will live to its fullest.

Jul 30, 2010

The Tooth Fairy

7/30/2010 — cori
Gavin seems to be going thru a 'tooth spurt'. He's lost several teeth all in a row over the past week or two. The tooth fairy seldom remembers to visit him the first night. This little over sight seems to provoke him.

After two different teeth falling out and giving the tooth fairy lots of repeat business, Gavin wakes up and tells me one morning, "Mom, the tooth fairy didn't come again last night."

"What did she need to come again for? You've already broke the bank with all your teeth recently."

To which he non-chalantly replied, "I had another tooth under my pillow last night."

"WHAT?! You didn't tell me you lost another tooth!"

"Exactly. I was trying to see if the tooth fairy would still come if I didn't tell you guys about my lost tooth."

So he's playing a little experiment on us is he? I'm thinking maybe he's on to something.

So, that night he goes to put his 3rd lost tooth under his pillow, but can't find it. So, he decides to write a note to the fairy. As you can tell, he went all out.


For reasons unbeknownst to us, the tooth fairy did not show up that night. Come to find out, we had two very disappointed children. Apparently, Chloe jumped on the note writing bandwagon and left her own note for the fairy.


We told both the kids that under no circumstances will the fairy come unless there is a bona fide tooth under the pillow. She does not answer questions or write notes. Do you think you can leave a note for Santa under your pillow any day of the week and expect him to respond? Come on now.

I'm thinking its time we had a little heart to heart with Gavin. I'm actually thinking he's been playing us for quite some time now. What people do for money.

Dandelions

7/30/2010 — cori
This morning Bennett, Chloe and I were walking through a field filled with dandelions and clover on our way back from a park. Instinctively, Bennett reached down and picked up the dandelion. And just as instinctively and quickly I said, "Bennett DO NOT eat that dandelion." Do normal people tell their children this? Should that have been the first words out of my mouth? Why did I know my son wanted to eat the dandelion? Call it intuition. Call it past experience. Just call it Bennett. This is how he rolls.

"Awww Mom. Why not? They're good."

See. I just knew that's what he was going to do. "Honey. I don't take issue with you wanting to eat a dandelion [parental note: you've got to pick your battles]. What I take issue with is that this particular one is in a random field. Do you know how many dogs might have peed on it? Or how many soles of shoes have tramped across it?" See...quick thinking on my feet (something I'm not typically known for). Afterall, this is a health and safety issue. I continue with, "Honey, you can eat all the dandelions in our backyard if you want...just not out in public."

I think he appreciated my line of reasoning.

Jul 28, 2010

HDS

7/28/2010 — cori
That would be the all-famous acronym, Hornet Defense Squad. Doesn't every family have one of those? Chuck was getting rid of some wasp nests in the back yard this past weekend. That resulted in a lot of wasps flying around looking for their home that was no more. So my people decided to arm themselves and rid us of all unwanted wasps. However, saying they were killing hornets must have sounded more dangerous, thus the name. Please be aware that my children thought of this all on their own. I did not suggest one thing. I just found them like this. Enough said.

Jul 25, 2010

The Mallotts Descend Upon San Diego

7/25/2010 — cori
I had alot of cool titles picked out for this post...the options are endless actually: The Adventures in Parking, Adventures in Finding Food, Taking a Vacation From Our Problems, The 2000 Mile Trek, The Food Channel or National Geographic Channel Every Night in the Hotel, The Vacation of Perfect Weather and Perfect Sunsets....the list goes on and on.

We repeatedly told the kids we are taking a vacation from our problems, so whenever they complained they heard, "Sorry...we're on vacation, you can't be having a problem right now." And we'd go on as if everything was normal. Why don't I use this same train of thought during the other 51 weeks of the year?

Some moments that really stand out are: Gavin texting me the entire trip from the seat behind me, becoming scared of wild boars taking over the continent (thanks National Geographic), the endless array of food at the continental breakfast (none of which I can eat), the tornado that was only a mile behind us on the highway and coming our way, the many heights we were at where I lost all feeling in my legs and shook like a leaf while looking out over cliffs and mountains (but it was so worth it), looking for restaurants with only an 'A' in the window (they grade restaurants in San Diego and we were all over that!), shopping at my favorite store (I love you H&M!), the vast beauty of this world and it's many different landscapes, my infinite smallness when compared with the ocean, being overwhelmed with how huge God is and his awesomeness, the joy and laughter that comes with spending uninterrupted time with the ones I love.

Here's a glimpse of our vacation in snapshot form:

The sunrise in Las Cruces, NM

Watching the kids take pictures

Mimicking a famous statue in San Diego

The great zoo

The amazing LaJolla Cove

La Jolla's natural beauty

The perfect weather and beauty of Laguna Beach

The beautiful blue of the water at Laguna Beach

My favorite time of day (sunset)

and getting to experience it at the Pacific Ocean


The awesomeness and genius of Legoland

The 117 degree heat in the Arizona desert


The cliff of death (my terminology, not theirs) in Tonto National Forest of Arizona

The incredible Palo Duro Canyon of Texas

Jul 24, 2010

Flashy

7/24/2010 — cori
Guess what this crazy kid announced during dinner time tonight? You wouldn't even be able to guess so I'm just going to have to tell you. He busts out with, "You know, I would be a whole lot more flashy and attractive to girls if I didn't have these two, big, front teeth...you know, like when I was younger."

Flashy, eh?

Of course my first response to him is, "So you felt you were quite the flashy fellow back when you were 3...cuz that's the last time you had front teeth." Remember, he knocked out his front two top teeth playing kill the carrier and his bottom two front teeth wrestling, both around the age of 3 or 4. So...he hasn't been sporting the flashy look since then evidently.


He back pedals in order to correct his theory, "No, I was flashy when I was three with all those small teeth, but I liked it when I didn't have any front teeth, just a hole." This is what flashy looks like people:


Yes...girls definitely think a hole in the front of your mouth where your teeth should be is much flashier and attractive. And while we're on the subject, what does he even care what girls are thinking anyway??? And where did he ever hear the word 'flashy'? He has never heard Chuck or me tell one another, "My, you're looking flashy today!"

We wouldn't be parents if we didn't launch into the whole 'people like you for who you are on the inside not what you look like on the outside' routine. We also explained that every kid his age has two, big, front teeth and that he's completely normal. Eight year olds have small faces and big teeth that they will eventually grow in to. We even talked about our 'non-flashy' days when Daddy and I had big front teeth with the space in the middle. We were diving into ancient history there - but the kids seemed to appreciate it. And no, there will be no posting of those pictures for posterity - they'll just have to take our word for it.

It's nothing that alot of unconditional love and a little orthodontic work can't fix. But God help me if Bennett insists on looking 'flashy' as a teenager. This could lead to lots of interesting stories.

Jul 23, 2010

Brotherly (& Sisterly) Love

7/23/2010 — cori

I believe this type of love must be nurtured and taught. Living with someone 24/7 brings about it's share of frustration...but also equal amounts of joy. Children are naturally very egocentric. We need to look for ways to teach them how to show love to their sibling on purpose and what that love looks like. It's much easier for them to look out for their own needs. But it takes work and looking outside of yourself to see the needs of your sibling (spouse/friend/parent). All that being said, loving one another, genuinely, with actions not just words, is a huge priority in our house.

Each of my sweet people show love differently to us and to each other. It's a beautiful thing to see the individuality in it. Chloe has zero problem with PDA's and is always walking arm in arm or hand in hand with Bennett, hugging and kissing him - she adores him. She also adores Gavin, but recognizes he doesn't like PDA's quite as much. This actually recently bothered her and she told me, "Mom, you know, I just realized I don't kiss Gavin that much." So I asked, "What are you going to do about that?" To which she responds, "Start kissing him more!" I love that innocent love.

That's why today's incident at the pool disturbed her so much. I was on the phone when this happened. Chloe was sitting by me waiting for me to get off. As soon as I did she laments, "Mommy, you see that little boy over there, well he said, 'brothers and sisters are supposed to hate each other." ...and instantly commenced bawling. The thought of that devastated her. She then choked out the words, "Is that true?"

As I held her tight while she cried I assured her that it is not true and that it is sad that this little boy believes it to be true. He must never have seen brothers and sisters love each other like you guys. She seemed relieved to know that her brothers didn't really hate her and that her immense love for them could go on.

I pray they always continue to like and love each other as time goes on. The older they get, the more of their own choice it is...I can only hope we've taught them well enough.

Jul 9, 2010

Personalities

7/09/2010 — cori
My goal this summer was to paint all rooms that were left unfinished (in our house, not the whole world - that would have been a little too lofty a goal). Thankfully, I got it done within the first 3 weeks of summer break. Gameroom - finished. Check. Bennett's room - finished. Check. Chloe's room - finished. Check.

I felt like I was competing in HGTV's Design Star show (my absolute favortie!). I was knee-deep in the challenge of completing this in the allotted timeframe (self imposed, obviously) - but that helped up the ante and keep me thinking I was actually competing for some imaginary title. My brain works in mysterious ways. Whatever works to get the job done, I say.

I finished Gavin's room last summer. Poor Bennett and Chloe have had to live amongst 4, bland, white, walls for a whole other year. Horrible. It is actually a disgrace to one who calls herself a 'designer'. Their rooms were void of personality and inspiration. That is...until I sat down and had a good little talk with my new clients.

I love how their rooms reflect each of their personalities. Bennett can't wipe the grin off his face whenever he's in his sports room. He thinks he's the MVP 24/7.


When I asked Chloe if this looked like her, she replied, "Oh yes Mommy! It looks like a little girl who loves dolls, flowers, horses and symphonies." Perfect! A happy client makes a happy mommy!
I 'borrowed' the idea for the names above the closets from this fantastic website! Love it. Since we're so into fonts in this house, each kid was super excited to pick their name in the font that best matches their quirks. It makes personalizing a room quick, easy and fun.

Gavin's room was inspired last year by his own ingenious idea: World Traveling Gavin. Of course, we had to have a green stripe as a compromise since that is his favorite color and I refused to paint the entire room green. Green is only his favorite color because it also starts with the first letter of his name - that is the only reason he likes it. He has a huge map in his room over his desk and we printed out photos of places he'd like to travel to one day (in his green RV - if only dreams do come true!).


There...to quote myself, "I think that pulls everything together nicely, yet sets it apart." You cannot even imagine how much flack I take for that saying - but it's oh-so-true.

Jul 8, 2010

Stop Time Please

7/08/2010 — cori
As we're getting out of the car today Chloe says softly, "Mommy, can I talk to you alone please."

"Sure, Honey. Go wait for me up in my room."

As we get all snuggly on the chair I ask her what she wants to talk about. She responds with much trepidation in her voice, "When I'm 9, you'll be like, 42. And I don't want you to get old."

Why did I ever teach her math? And since when was 42 old?

Then I realized her numbers were a little skewed and I would only be 40, not 42 in 3 years...much to both of our relief.

But this was a serious concern to her. She was really sad. She doesn't want me to get old. I asked her why, of course. She replied, "Well, I don't want you to loose your soft skin. And I want your eyes to stay the same." So sweet. I assured her that those things would most likely not change in 3 years...I'll still be the same me (hopefully nicer and a little less selfish).

We cuddled for a while longer basking in the moment. I was astounded that this was a real fear in her life and that she was even thinking in this direction and that math was involved. I told her that God is in charge, so we have nothing to fear and that we should enjoy each moment together to its fullest so we can make the most of the time we have with each other on this earth.

I'm so thankful God reminded me of that today....despite my age. Life is a gift. Am I loving and being thankful for every minute of it? Thanks to Chloe, today I am.

Jul 2, 2010

Coordinates

7/02/2010 — cori
On Father's Day, the only thing Chuck really wanted to do was have some Wrestle Mania time. He even had it all planned out in his head. Who am I to deny this little pleasure? Especially if I don't have to plan, participate in or organize anything?

Come to find out Wrestle Mania 2010 consisted of dragging Chloe's queen-size mattress into the gameroom, outlining the perimeter of it with as many pillows as you can find in the house (for safety reasons, of course) and then knocking each other over time and time again. I really have a hard time translating any of that into 'fun' - but every other member of my family saw it as such and were giddy with excitement.

I avoided the area like the plague. I knew someone (Bennett) was going to get hurt and I didn't want to be around to witness it. I would know the instant I heard the piggy squeal. But the laughter persisted...and I was drawn like a moth to a flame. I picked up the video camera and entered with caution.

It seems that there was some sort of tag team action going on. Daddy and Chloe being one team and Bennett and Gavin being the other. All one had to do was tag the other person if they found themselves in the midst of 'trouble' and then a new team member would resume the fight for their life with Daddy and/or Chloe. In order to win, one had to peg their opponent's shoulders down for 3 seconds.

Daddy is having a hay-day, he's in his element. At one point, he and Bennett were in the throes of a good match when Bennett yells out, "Daddy, don't hurt my coordinates!"

WHAT???

Bennett is known for renaming lots of his body parts with more creative, descriptive sounding names, but I'd never heard this one before. He eventually takes a break from his all important mission of trying to pin Daddy down (do you think any of the kids were able to accomplish this feat?) and explains, "That is where my legs attach. I don't want Daddy to stretch them out."

Unfortunately, that makes perfect sense...which I'd have thought of it.

Jul 1, 2010

Are You Getting Enough Protein?

7/01/2010 — cori
The kids and I popped into our local health food store to pick up some vitamins. I just happened to have a free smoothie coupon to redeem over at the smoothie counter. After 5 agonizingly long minutes of staring blankly while looking up at the menu, the kids finally came to a consensus on what type and flavor. We sit down to enjoy our tasty, free treat and watch and eavesdrop on those around us.


Luckily, there was only one person to watch. Imagine Miss Body-Builder USA. Yep. In all her pink, leopard-print, spandex glory and muscle showing-off-ness she could muster. She was just a few feet from our table sampling some expensive protein bars and powders. I just couldn't keep my mouth shut. The wise cracks started coming before I could even reign them in. The first being, "Looks like she loves to work out."


The kids were all nodding their collective heads in confirmation of my studious observation as they were busily shoving boat loads of smoothie into their mouths. Then we saw Miss Body-Builder pounce on some unexpecting new prey who just happened to walk in the store and pass her little display area. She calls out, "I'm sampling some protein bars, would you like some?Every body needs protein."


So of course under my breath I retort, "Ya, like we have to pay $50 bucks to get it in powder form cuz there is no real food that contains protein out in the real world." The kids realize it's just best to agree, listen and let me have the floor cuz now my mockery abilities are in full swing and there's no stopping me.


"I wonder what she would think of my little 'protein snack'?" The kids are all laughing, "Ya, Mom, she would love your happy snack. Maybe she could take it, mix it all up, poor some sticky stuff all over it and then chop it into little pieces."


Then Bennett notices that there is a real sword sitting on the display table. He asks me, "Mom why does she have that sword?" So commences an interesting conversation in low tones at our table. Some think she uses it to bully some into taking her samples, another believes she uses it to cut the protein bars, still another thinks it's to show that you too will be able to lift and use heavy swords after using her amazing products. The theories were endless. Then Gavin asks, "Why didn't she ask us if we wanted a sample?" I told him, "I guess we look like we get plenty of protein in our diets. C'mon kids, let's go home so Mommy can have her happy snack now."

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