Feb 27, 2011

Gavin's Nemesis

2/27/2011 — cori
Even though it's only February, the trees have started blooming, the weather is mild and balmy, spring is in the air. With this added heat come wasps...at least here in Texas. The wasp is Gavin's nemesis. Winter is Gavin's favorite season because it is the only one in which the wasp doesn't plague his very existence.

We were driving around town with the windows down the other afternoon enjoying the fresh, warm air that brings on Spring Fever. We had not a care in the world. We also had the dog with us. Gavin and the dog were sitting gleefully in the very back of the car, reading a book and looking out the window, respectively.

We had just pulled into a parking lot when out of nowhere Gavin let out a blood curdling scream. Gavin is a very proficient, loud, panicky screamer. It has a very 'girl-like' quality to it. It stopped me in my tracks. I glance in my rear-view mirror thinking maybe the dog bit off his head (that's the only thing I could imagine would warrant that excessive of a scream). But no....Gavin was screaming something incoherently about a wasp.

I rolled my eyes. I am well aware of his propensity to over exaggerate when it comes to wasps. He could be within 25 yards of a wasp and scream and run with arms flailing wildly. So, I thought maybe he just saw one outside his window. I tried to speak calmly to him to help calm him down, but the panic in his voice only went up a notch and he was crying real tears. I decided then that something was definitely wrong. It was also then that I saw a wasp circling around the back window, dangerously close to Gavin and Ninja.

He's still screaming, "A HORNET, A HORNET!!!" Those were the only words I actually could make out. I screeched into a parking spot, jumped out of the car, ran around back and opened the trunk/hatchback lid so that he could jump out the back faster than making a dive over the other row of seats in front of him. In his non-reasoning state of mind, he totally didn't see my efforts as trying to help him. Instead, he nose-dives headfirst over the next middle row of seats. Meanwhile, the dog has jumped out of the car and started running thru the busy parking lot. I ensue in chase. Now Chloe is crying and Bennett is freaking out. This is the perfect state of affairs to be in when your husband is out of town and you are 'in charge'. All my children in hysterics, gathered in and around my car with all the doors open as well as the trunk and trying to chase the dog. Lovely.

I go over to the side door that Gavin is trying in vain to reach. Apparently, he got all tangled up in the seat belt and is literally hanging upside down, his feet up at the roof, his head on the floorboard. I thought I heard him say something about him stubbing his finger. Go figure, if you trying to get out of the car like that, you're bound to stub something. I impatiently ask him if he can get himself out of the car yet. He's desperately trying, but still bawling uncontrollably. I was just about undone by his over exaggeration of just seeing a wasp.

How can a mother be so wrong? Come to find out, after he awkwardly removed all his limbs from the car, the first time he screamed was when he was actually stung. The whole finger stubbing thing was him saying/mumbling, "My finger got stung." All this time I thought he was just freaking out about the possibility of getting stung when in actuality, it had already happened and he was trapped in the car with his nemesis taunting him again and again in the backseat. I think I would have tried to take a diving leap out of the backseat as well if I were him. How could our mis-communication have gone so wrong?!

So there was our little party, still looking very awkward in the parking lot. I am now rummaging thru my purse looking for a benadryl to stop any allergic reaction. Then I have to do a bomb-squad level search of the car looking for the offender. I checked it thrice before I deemed it safe to get back into. The children just stared at me, too scared and forlorn to re-enter the scene of the crime. Thus, making me go back and scan for the dreaded monster yet a fourth time. Needless to say, everyone was on edge the whole ride home. We did end up finding some ice to rest on his finger that got stung to keep the swelling down. By the time we were half-way home, we were all in stitches reliving this crazy drama.

Bring on the Spring Fever - we're ready!

Prescription

2/27/2011 — cori
I overheard Bennett giving Chloe this prescription that will cure all ailments earlier this evening:

"Chloe, if you see that Mommy is in a bad mood, it's cuz she misses Daddy. Here's what you need to do to make her feel better: give her a hug or pray for her or both."

I couldn't believe my ears. What compassion. How much like his Daddy he is, always showing love. But just for the record, I wasn't in a bad mood, just tired - those two often get confused around here. :) But the prescription works great for both conditions.

Feb 22, 2011

Nice Shirt

2/22/2011 — cori
Imagine the ugliest, oldest, grungiest, tattered shirt you can muster up in your imagination. Okay - that's what I was wearing this morning when Bennett complimented me. This is the shirt I got from my old college while I was still in college. At the time, they were renaming the Home Economics Department to the Department of Human Sciences to make it sound somewhat more 'modern' instead of 1950ish. Whatever. It didn't change the fact that I was still a HomeEc major. But we were given these shirts to help promote the new name change...in 1994. Yes, that's right. If you are a quick mental math whiz, you have probably already calculated that I'm wearing a shirt that is 17 years old. Now you probably have a better picture in your head of my morning attire.

Bennett says, "Mom, that shirt is so you."

Thinking to myself that he means, I love to wear old, tattered clothing. But instead I replied, "Thanks buddy, that's sweet of you. How is it me?"

"Well, it says on the back 'Inspiring Innovative Solutions to Meet the Challenges of a Dynamic World'."

"Okay...so, how is that so me?"

"Well. You like to find solutions."

"Really? What kind of solutions do I find?"

"Well...you know, you're always teaching us to compromise."

There you have it. My old alma mater would be proud. I am living out their motto in real life. I am indeed finding solutions to meet the challenges in the dynamic world of motherhood. Those thousands of dollars in tuition are now worth it.

Feb 18, 2011

Hug the Prince

2/18/2011 — cori
Bennett has spent the better part of this day reading, "The Prince and the Pauper". We were reading together in my room when he decided to inform me of an interesting point in his book.

"Mom, did you know that the King in this book has a brother who's name is Hug?"

"Really?! That's an odd name."

"Ya. That's what I thought. Hug the Prince. Ha! Look, they spell it H-U-G-H."

Smiling and shaking my head...then moving on to a case of the giggles, "Honey, you pronounce that 'hew'."

"Oh. I thought that would be a strange name for a parent to give a kid. So then I started calling him 'hug-huh' through-out the rest of the book."

O, the perils of combining the English language and a 9 year old boy.

You Mustn't Quit

2/18/2011 — cori
Another wonderful poem the kids and I read in school today. It is inspiring to remember such words of encouragement when the going gets rough:

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, you must - but don't you quit

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow -
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt -
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.

(anonymous)

Feb 16, 2011

Unit of Measurement

2/16/2011 — cori
As we're happily driving along in the car today, Gavin asks his unsuspecting mother, "Mom, what is the greatest unit of distance measurement you know...besides a light year?"

HUH?!

My first thought was I hope I can make my answer sound half-way as intelligent as the question. But I'd already ruined that with the gigantic question mark of puzzlement etched into my face and the ever intelligent "huh?" response. In order to save face, I fall back on my tried and true method of asking him a question in return, "Do you know the answer to this already?"

"Yes."

"Then why on earth are you asking me?!"

"Because I just wanted to see if you knew it?"

"I think it's obvious to all of us that I have zero clue about where this is going. Could you be so kind to tell your mother what unit of measurement is farther than a light year?"

"It's a parsec."

"How did you know that? Are you just making this up?"

"No. I learned it last year in science class. And then in Episode II of Star Wars, Padme and Anakin are in a Hyperjet about to go to another galaxy and they're talking about how long it will take them to get there and they say 'it should only take a few parsecs'. So that's how I know."

Well there you have it. If it's in Star Wars it's got to be true.

Valentine's Fun

2/16/2011 — cori
I so don't buy into the hype of consumerism on this special day. But I am so glad to have this wonderful day to enjoy. We like to enjoy it by doing sweet things for each other. We always make our own cards. And we started the tradition of going out to eat at home for our valentine's "date".

However, we were to receive a new treat on this fun day. Our sweet neighbor invited us over for a fun, girl's-only, Valentine's Tea. How can you not have fun when you have a spread like this before you:

It's all in the details...isn't it?! I am so not a detailed person, but I sure do appreciate those who do details well. The effort and time she put into this sure made it an extra, special time for all of us.

Later that evening, we commenced Operation Valentine, just like we have every year since 2006. No other restaurant can compete. This one wins hands down. And yes, we eat the exact same meal every year - it's called "The Special". Here are the pictorial highlights of the evening of wonder:

The Restaurant Name


The Chef and Sous Chef


The Waitstaff and Chef


Where all the magic happens

Feb 14, 2011

Meat Day

2/14/2011 — cori
This morning Bennett was informing us of THE BEST DREAM EVER.

I will not keep you in suspense any longer, here it is: He was at a meat shop and the guy behind the counter said it was "Free Meat Day" and you could take as much as you wanted.

This, my friends, is what Bennett considers to be the epitome of the best thing in the world that could ever happen. I was not aware, until today, that we were raising such a carnivorous person.

Feb 13, 2011

Wine Stop

2/13/2011 — cori
Chuck and I have been cleaning out the fridge in the garage in order to give it away. Apparently, we've been given multiple bottles of wine. That appears to be the fridge we were storing them all in. We were trying to consolidate all the wine from that fridge into the fridge in the kitchen but we ran out of room. We had to put several bottles up in a cupboard.

This leads one to think of multiple questions regarding our wine consumption. First, why do we have more bottles than places to put them? Second, do we just like to collect the bottles or do we ever actually drink it? Third, why don't we offer a glass of wine more often to visitors if we are apparently overflowing with the stuff? Maybe we don't get many visitors. And lastly, what are we supposed to do with it all? We can't possibly drink this much wine.

Of course we were discussing this dilema at the dinner table. Everything happens there. And what do you know, Chloe had a solution for us. She says, "I KNOW!! We can have a Wine Stop in front of our house and offer cups of wine for .50 cents each." She explained her vision of a lemonade-like stand that she saw in her head except with the "Lemonade" part crossed out and "Wine" in it's stead.

Brilliant. Wouldn't we be the talk of the neighborhood. Wouldn't our neighbors just love us. What kind of parents let their kids sit out in the front of their house in a little make-shift stand doling out dixie-cups of wine to anyone with 50 cents? We would so not look good. But besides that...this is just wrong on so many levels.

I know we often do things opposite of what the rest of the culture thinks is "normal". But I'm afraid this would be a stretch even for us. Thanks for the suggestion though Chloe, but we're going to have to nix that one. But I'm just loving the entrepreneurial ideas forming in your brain.

Feb 9, 2011

Playmobil

2/09/2011 — cori
These are genius toys. My kids cannot get enough of them. And they can play together with them for hours on end. I love how they each choose to set up little stories with the pieces they have. And of course those stories are so in line with each of their unique personalities. It's something I never want to forget. They trade pieces all the time. None of them have a complete set anymore, yet they're all thrilled with what they have because it helps tell their "story" even better. Whenever I check in on them while they're playing, I end up with an earful about what's going on. It's funny, they seem to be playing separately, together. And they like this set-up.

Chloe, my little horse lover, made a horse ranch.
There's even an outdoor kitchen and a horse instructor.


Bennett always sets his castle up on Chloe's dresser. His stories are just one big joke. Notice the king sleeping on the hospital bed, the scary knight next to the baby cradle, the queen dusting her clamshell and last but not least, the Bioncle statue. Typical Bennett.



Gavin has set up a little Medieval Marketplace. He has a blacksmith fixing all the broken armor, a livery, a peddler, clothes-maker and two men in stocks.

Feb 8, 2011

Testing

2/08/2011 — cori
This week we are doing Achievement Testing in school. I never give the kids multiple choice tests. They do have assessments in some subjects, but nothing like a scantron/fill in the blank type test. They (Bennett) are baffled by them. The whole time Bennett is taking these tests he keeps making comments such as:

"Mom, I hope the government knows I'm not this dumb."

"Mom, I hope the government knows the answers to these tests."

"Mom, why does the government make us do this? It's too easy."

I know I should correct him that technically the government doesn't give or make the tests...but his train of thought is so funny. I never even told him the government requires these. I just told them that it proves to certain people that we are indeed learning at home and that it measures a little of what you know, but not everything you know.

He's offended at the ease of the questions. Funny for a 3rd grader to notice and not the adults.

Feb 7, 2011

Perseverance

2/07/2011 — cori
During our character lesson today, we read a poem by Robert Service entitled, "Carry On!" Loved it! It is so uplifting and a wonderful thing to keep in mind. These are the two stanzas we've chosen to memorize:

And so in the strife of the battle of life
It's easy to fight when you're winning;
It's easy to slave and starve and be brave,
When the dawn of success is beginning.
But the man who can meet despair and defeat
With a cheer, there's the man of God's choosing;
The man who can fight to Heaven's own height
Is the man who can fight when he's losing.

There are some who drift in the deserts of doubt,
And some who in brutishness wallow;
There are others, I know, who in piety go
Because of a Heaven to follow.
But to labor with zest, and to give of your best,
For the sweetness and joy of the giving.
To help folks along with a hand and a song;
Why there's the real sunshine of living.

Feb 5, 2011

Breath Issues

2/05/2011 — cori
Last night Chloe and I were cuddling on the sofa watching a movie together. When a scary part came, I would roll her towards me and shield her from 'the bad part'. But every time I did, she kept burying her head way down and it looked as though she could hardly breathe. I told her she didn't have to get that extreme. She replied with, "I'm just trying to get out of your breath, Mom. It doesn't smell good."

That was a low blow.

Of all the things you could tell the President of the Fresh Breath Society of America (me - and my own self imposed title), that would be the ultimate put down.

I should have paused the movie right then and there, marched myself up stairs, and commenced brushing and flossing immediately. But I didn't. I was laughing way too hard. Those were the funniest words I had heard all day.

Unfortunately, she was right. I had just finished eating chili and wasn't expecting anyone to cuddle me. So, technically, I was neglecting my fresh breath duties. But don't think I haven't learned my lesson. I will now come equipped with a tasty little mint, secured inadvertently in my pocket and covertly placed upon my palet so I can avoid any further humiliating moments such as these.

My goal is for anyone who is ever "in my breath" again, is to want to stay in it, not get out of it.

Feb 3, 2011

Q & A

2/03/2011 — cori
Here is an example of the types of questions thrown my unsuspecting way on a daily basis. At breakfast, Bennett asks, "When Jesus was in human mode, what was his last name?"

Is this a question any of us mere, mortal parents are ever ready to answer?

Human mode...

How about, "Jesus...son of God". That works for me.

Let the day begin. I'm full of answers today.

Feb 2, 2011

Flypaper Phenomenon

2/02/2011 — cori

I have noticed a trend in my house. It has been persisting for the past 12 years. And yet, I've only just been able to identify and name it.

I am the flypaper.

My children (and Chuck and the dog) are the flies.

It doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing, I will be found and they will all join me in less than 5 minutes (*disclaimer - the tub is the one and only moment of reprieve). It's rather amusing. I've started doing little experiments of my own, just to test my hypothesis. And what do you know...it's like clockwork.

I know I should be honored that they love to be with me so much. I know I should be thankful that they enjoy my company. I also know one day I'll long for it to be this way again. But sometimes, it's a bit overwhelming. Sometimes it feels a bit smothering.

That's when a 'mommy timeout' works wonders. I take 5 minutes alone in my room. I shut the door, pray, refuel, refocus take some deep breaths - alone. And then I'm ready to be 'sticky' again. Sometimes eating a cookie or 3 helps accomplish this too.

Too bad my phone doesn't stick to me as good as the kids do. I loose that thing multiple times a day. I miss the good old days when it used to be attached to the wall. I could always count on it being in the same place all the time. But I digress...

Hmmm, flypaper....I wonder if it ever looses it's stickiness? When the kids are grown, will they want to come back and see me as often or ask me to play games with them or read with them when they have extra time? I am of the opinion that the more of myself I give them now, the more of them I'll get later on. Whatever you put into a relationship, normally you get in return...eventually. I want to give them their freedom, but also let them know how much I value the time I get to spend with them. I must start showing them how much I value our relationship right now - this is when it desperately matters to them.

I guess life is one big experiment. I'd rather err on the side of giving them my all - being super sticky, instead of only being sticky when I feel like it.

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