May 29, 2011

Bowling - Mallott Style

5/29/2011 — cori
What could be more fun than dollar night at the bowling alley? Exactly - not much else. So we packed up the crew after dinner and headed to the local hot spot. I thought everyone would be there on a Tuesday night with a deal such as this. Apparently, I thought wrong. We were like only the 3rd group there and that was to last for only the first 10 minutes. After that, we had the joint to ourselves. Probably better that way so no-one was there to witness our group failure at the sport. Here's how we did it in picture form:

First...start by finding the coolest ball, whether or not it's the right weight...cool is all that matters, really.


When things don't seem to be going your way, we allow 'frustrated faces and noises'. Gavin had many, many of these.

So many in fact, that he decided to shoot his ball. That's just one of the many benefits to being the only patrons in the entire establishment.

Try hard to look as though you're enjoying yourself. Remember this is supposed to be fun!

Chloe knows all about fun. Thankfully for us, the music was blaring, so we had our own in house dancer. She was probably celebrating the fact that she was beating all of us until about the 5th frame.

This is why. She got the ramp that helps your ball go straight. The boys both tried to use it, but once they saw me break out the camera and point it at them, they immediately pretended they were helping Chloe. Nice try, but we'll always know the truth, even if I didn't get it documented.

Lastly, throw yourself on the floor and have a good, old-fashioned temper tantrum at the end of the game so the kids know how to be good sports. Again, thankful for no other audience members. Actually, Chuck thought I won, that's why he found himself on the floor, but once he picked him self up from his exaggerated pose, and viewed the scoreboard, he happily deduced that he had actually beat me 9 whole points. We were both just happy that we beat Chloe.

May 19, 2011

Worst Case Scenario

5/19/2011 — cori
I have inadvertently discovered to whom this odd gene I carry has been passed down to...my beloved firstborn. One day we were taking Ninja on a walk together and he was telling me about his day at school. He told me he was so worried all day because he had forgotten his phone. I said, "Well, it shouldn't matter anyway since you can't make or receive calls/texts while at school. So why worry?"

Ahhh...but there is ample reason to worry. You see, he carries it 'just in case' the school might be bombed, or blow up or catch on fire or if there is a tornado or if the bus flips over on his way too or from school. This is what he explained to me. I cannot tell you how infinitely better I feel knowing he has a plan in place for 'just in case' any of the catastrophes occur. I can rest easy everyday sending my sweet boy to school knowing that if they are bombed, he is ready and waiting with his phone.

And just for the record, I never put any of these thoughts in his head. They found their way there all on their own. My guess is reading one too many Calvin and Hobbes books. All I know is I am so going to freak out if I ever get a phone call from him during school hours. Then my 'worst case scenario' mind is going to go into overdrive.

May 16, 2011

The Big Jump of 2011

5/16/2011 — cori
Yesterday was a day filled with lots of outdoor work around the house. It was a wonderful day all working together as a family. But there was one thing we couldn't all do together and that was get up on the roof. Chuck had to paint something up there as well as clean the gutters. I can't even type that without a silly, little, childish giggle escaping. Thanks to Bennett, gutters have a totally different meaning in this house. Thankfully he didn't find any jelly beans up there (those are what Bennett has in his gutters).

So, he spent alot of time with the gutters (he-he), scraping out years worth of leaves and scummy build-up. Of course, I was his helper. I got to hold the ladder on his ascent up, hand him trash bags, position the dumpster just so so that he could throw down bags of trash directly into it = all the important stuff.

Then it came time to get off the roof. I dutifully go to my position as ladder holder and am instructed to guide his foot so that it touches the top of the 8 foot ladder. As soon as I commence my job, he starts yelling at me to stop pulling him. I guess we both have two different assumptions as to what "guide" means. He rarely yells at anything, so I could tell he was scared (he would say 'just nervous').

We had some pretty lengthy conversations at this point about how he was going to descend from the roof. He said there was nothing for him to grab onto but the gutters and he didn't want to rip them off. Again, we can't even talk about this without laughing our heads off. Apparently, the ladder is about 2-3 feet too short to comfortably slide off the roof and have me "guide" his foot onto. What to do?

He finally decides he's going to jump. We guesstimate it to be about a 12 foot leap from the lowest part of our roof to our nicely padded grass lawn. I offer to go drag a mattress out. He refuses. I figure he doesn't need me to "guide" anything any more and since I'm so scared of heights (even for other people), I go hide in the garage where I can't see him break anything upon his descent.

Bennett is the only other witness to this event. Once I see Chuck walking around the corner with no blood and all his limbs intact into the garage, I deem it ok to come out of hiding. Bennett comes around the corner exclaiming Dad's greatness. Chuck plays it cool like there was nothing to it, "All you got to do once you hit the ground is tuck and roll, Buddy. Remember that, tuck and roll." Bennett is beaming at his super hero jumping Dad.

All that for clean gutters.

May 11, 2011

Perseverance

5/11/2011 — cori
Lately we've seen a few of our fellow, smaller, family members succumb to the pitfalls of laziness. To protect the anonymity of the innocent, I won't mention any names...but I was having a lively discussion with Chloe on this very topic one day in the not too distant past. Come to think of it, Bennett and Gavin and I also had some heart to heart communication regarding this same ugly word. We saw this "little" problem rising it's head quite frequently and weren't sure what to do about it.

After reading the Bible and asking God how we can help our children through this slippery slope, he showed me a few passages that were encouraging and my mind started to formulate a plan. First, here were the two passages that stood out to me:

Romans 5:3-4 ... but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Psalm 143:4-6...Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled. I remember the days of old, I think about all your deeds, I meditate on the works of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you;

This got me thinking. What if, along with our 'Thankfuls' at dinner, we also each go around the table and talk about something we persevered through that day? That way we can encourage one another in the 'hard' thing. Also, they (meaning the children) can see that they're not the only ones who have challenges in their days. Mommy and Daddy have daily challenges and they need to hear how (if they can't be there to witness them) we meet them and handle them. Sometimes we confess that we could have handled something better. Other times we explain how hard it was to make the right choice but we did it anyways and feel better for it - even if we didn't feel that way at the time. They know that they'll have a table full of people to cheer for them when they get home that they persevered.

And the hope is, that they'll see that persevering is a much better choice than laziness. Laziness is the opposite of perseverance. It's feeding your own selfish desires and not character growing. Or hope giving. It's been fun watching the kids get excited about our latest tradition. As soon as they get home from school they'll tell me, "Mom, guess what the thing I persevered through today was...." and I'm like, "WAIT - don't tell me till dinner, everyone will want to hear it!" I'd say it's working.

The second verse about meditating on God's works also struck me profoundly. When David (who wrote that Psalm) was distressed, frustrated, in a bad place, he cried out to God over his problem and then remembered all the works of God, whether it be in his own life or his nation. He remembered that the hard time doesn't last forever, that God is faithful, that his suffering is growing his character.

That's exactly what I want the kids to gain from voicing their experiences in 'suffering' and then persevering. I want them to bring to mind all the other times they went through a hard time and see where and how God brought them through it. Sometimes he rescues us from the hard time. Most often He's right there with us in the midst of it. Either way, remembering Him and what He's done in their lives and the lives of those they love, should bring comfort when deciding to continue making the hard but right choice.

Are we cured of laziness? Nope. But we're discipling them in the way they should go and trusting God to work on their little hearts and convict them when they have a choice to make from now on. Whenever they chose the opposite of laziness, they know they have a table full of cheerleaders. Right now, that seems to be a good incentive.

May 1, 2011

Fillin Up The Love Tank

5/01/2011 — cori
It dawned on us yesterday that we have been going non-stop for over two months now with all this move stuff. It is all consuming it seems. There's always something to do. The work is never ending. But it comes with a price. The price for us is time. Time together is one of our family's biggest love languages. It doesn't matter if we're at Legoland or sitting on the floor playing Uno, as long as we are giving each other undivided attention, we feel our love tanks filling up. Needless to say, we've been guilty of giving a lot of divided attention as of late. I try to squeeze a minute in here or there with one of them, but no one has been given my devoted attention. Until today.

We thought we would surprise the kids with an hour of 100% Mommy and Daddy time today. Each kid would get 1 hour of our undivided attention to do whatever they wanted to do with us. It was pure bliss. Our agenda did not rule. Our only joy was to see their joy. I've done this once before...I don't know why I waited so long to do it again. It is a wonderful way to keep those heart connections strong.

The first hour I spent with Gavin and Daddy spent with Chloe. I was welcomed into the world of Bionicles with open arms. I got to play Bionicles with Gavin for 30 minutes...I even won two of the battles we fought - I have no idea how, he just said I did. We also got to play a game together, play Legos and read a book about volcanoes. Chuck ended up being Chloe's horse for 30 minutes. She couldn't have been happier. They also played several games involving blocks and shape pieces.

The next hour I was indulged in "Spa Day" with Chloe while Chuck and Bennett did some bonding over wrestling and football. I have to say, I really lucked out. I was treated to a hair and makeup session. She even let us take a break and have a yogurt snack. Bonus! Then we were on to her Playmobil Horse Farm. Man, time flies when you're having fun.

The last hour Chuck and Gavin played Yu-Gi-O cards (I have no clue what that means) the whole time. Bennett spent part of the time explaining his Yu-Gi-O cards to me (which went right over my head). We also played a game and kicked the soccer ball. We still had time left so I asked him what he wanted to do. He said, "Let's Cuddle." It couldn't have been a more wonderful time. It was a cold, gray day out and cuddling under the quilt telling silly stories to each other was just perfect.

It's amazing to see what your kids choose to do with you when they're given total freedom to choose and know they have your undivided attention completely focused on them. Their thankfuls at dinner were all the same, "I'm thankful for my time with Mom and Dad". That was also Chuck's and my thankful. I'd say our Love Tanks are back on "full".

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