Oct 31, 2011

A Decade

10/31/2011 — cori

Turning ten is special, I know
I'm always amazed as I watch you grow
In character, stature and grace
All while keeping that handsome smile on your face.
I love who you are and who you're growing to be,
A young man with a tender heart towards God and his family.

You care about others, their feelings and fears
And are a loyal friend by choosing to stay near
To the underdog and downcast, hurt and sad,
Never judging but loving, even those who are 'bad'.
You let your light shine, for that I am proud.
Maybe that's why wherever you are there's always a crowd.

I love watching you learn and teaching yourself
About mythology and birds and anything else
Animal related because you're obsessed
With everything a young zoologist loves best.
You read and you learn and you share your joy,
That's what makes me proud of my 10 year old boy.

One of your gifts is being good with a ball.
It doesn't matter which one, you're good with them all.
There's so much to learn and practice with sports,
Like teamwork and discipline and playing on the court
With a good attitude and a teachable heart
Because that is the place where character starts.

On your journey to becoming a man, 
There will be many you'll learn from who'll give you a hand.
Watch and listen and soon you will learn
About how to make decisions and to whom you should turn.
Stay humble and honest and teachable too.
These three will carry you all the way through.
Remember to be thankful everyday.
These are my reminders to you today.
Put God first in all you do.
This is my heart's prayer for you.

Love, Mom

Oct 27, 2011

Weirdo

10/27/2011 — cori
We have a saying in this house.  It's called: "I think you're acting weird today."  Anyone is allowed to bestow this saying on any other house-hold inhabitant at any time as long as that person is bona-fide weird that day.  I'm fond of using it on Chuck on numerous occasions.  Anything qualifies as weird.  Here are a few actions that would cause one to initiate 'the saying': staring off into space, being too quiet, being too loud, not wanting tea, giving weird answers in response to simple questions, you know... pretty much anything 'not normal'.

Well...as of late, Gavin would qualify as 'not normal'.  Seeing as though I've never been through the adolescence stage with any of my children before, I'm not exactly sure what to expect when.  I never know if how he is acting is normal or not.  I'm still a 'first time mom'.

My quiet, laid-back, unassuming, thoughtful, articulate, considerate, loves-to-sleep-in child I've known for over 12 years now has apparently morphed into another creature all together.  I even asked him today if they were feeding him bags of undiluted sugar while at school.  He said "no".  So I have to believe that another force is at work.  I'm blaming on-coming teen-age-hood.

The son who could sit still and read for hours now can't stand still to save his life.  The one who used to value silence and solitude now needs to constantly bang his hands on any and everything like a drum beating out some rhythm known only to his brain.  The child who was so mild mannered has become the adolescent who is climbing the walls and seriously has me contemplating the question of "What does ADHD look like"?

It is as if we've flipped some imaginary switch.  He has also become a 'stands-too-close-loud-talker'.  He has no volume control, not even when 6 inches from my face.  I love that he still loves to talk with me about his day, life, dreams, etc...but not at full volume.  I have noise issues.  I also have sensitivity to too much motion issues.  I know that is not a technical term. I don't know if there even is a name for my condition...yet.  But it involves going literally crazy when someone is moving way too much around me.  I can't handle too much motion.  It makes me confused.  As does loud music.  Or too many people in a room talking at the same time ( I hear every conversation and can't really pay attention to just one ).   It's not necessarily motion-sensitivity... that's more like getting car sick.   It's much deeper than that.  It's called: I need people to sit still and speak softly while around me.  Okay, it's sounding more and more like I'm the weird one.  Hmmm...maybe we need to explore this a little more.

Anyways, all of this to say that the beginning of our journey into adolescence is fun so far.  You never know what to expect from day to day.  One day he will sleep in till 10am so he can grow another 2 inches right in front of my eyes.  The next day, he's up at dawn and talking as fast as a chipmunk with as much energy to boot.  This just proves the age old adage, when you think you know what you're doing-everything changes.

Oct 24, 2011

Rubber Bands, Whining & Salvation

10/24/2011 — cori
What in the world can those three things ever have in common?  Well, I'm about to tell you a little story that will tie them all together perfectly.

It seems like we've been 'teaching' Chloe that whining and complaining is not an optimal behavior for a long, long time.  This lesson doesn't want to seem to sink in.  Sometimes I despair of her ever learning it.  It's that bad.  We've tried everything to stop it.  Some things appear to work for a bit, but then the whining returns.

Whining and complaining and pouting are just a form of manipulation and control.   It's an understandable  and common trait found amongst the babies of the family.  Even so, in our opinion, it doesn't justify the behavior.  We need to teach her a better way to communicate her frustration.    It would be an injustice to her to allow her to continue on in life thinking this was an okay way to deal with people and situations.

Then it hit me...by constantly focusing on the 'bad' behavior, we're not reaching her heart.  The problem lies in her heart condition.  It is a choice she makes that comes from an ungrateful heart.  But how can we teach her to have a thankful heart?  The answer is easy...by example.

We constantly focus on what we are thankful for in our house - especially when things aren't going our way.  It's super important that Chuck and I model this attitude of thankfulness so that the kids grow up seeing this as 'normal' and hopefully it will be their default attitude without much thought or effort.

The latest scheme we came up with to try to get the whining to stop was to place a rubber band on Chloe's wrist every time we heard her whine or complain or pout when she didn't like our response to a situation or didn't get her way.  She would have to wear them all day, every day, everywhere.  It would be a constant visual reminder.  The hope was that she wouldn't want to always see it and would stop and think before speaking.  The first few weeks it worked great.  She would start each week anew and see how little she complained by how few rubber bands were on her wrist.  But then she stopped caring.  Uh-oh...now what?

As we were cuddling in bed the other morning, God showed me exactly what to do.  I asked her if she could please put all her rubber bands on my wrist.  "Why?" she asked.  "Because I want to teach you about grace and about what Jesus did for you."

She placed them all on my wrist hesitantly (she had accumulated about 8 or 9 already).  I told her, "Honey, these represent your sin.  This is what Jesus did for you.  He took your sin and made it his own.  Then he took your punishment you deserved for that sin.  He did this for you because he loves you so much. By taking your rubber bands, I'm taking your sin.  When you see your sin on me, I want it to make you thankful that someone loves you so much they are willing to take your punishment.  I want it to make you think really hard before you speak.  Because if you sin again, I have to bear the punishment.  I know you love me and I know it would make you super sad to see me have to hurt because of your sin.  Think of mommy before you act.  Just like, when we accept Jesus' gift, we think of Him before we act and our actions constantly show him how thankful we are for gift he gave us that we didn't deserve."

She was sad.  She didn't want me to wear her rubber bands.  But I wanted to.  I wanted her to see Jesus and his grace every time she saw those on my arm.  I wanted her to have a visual of how he takes our sin away, even and especially, when we don't deserve it.  She reached over and gave me a huge hug and thanked me over and over.  She told me how much she loved me.

Jesus knew exactly what she needed.  He reached down and touched her heart.  He put a picture in her mind that she will never forget.  He's showing her who He is and how He can change her life.  I just love how He works.  So gentle, so kind, so perfect for each individual need.  It is my prayer that one day Chloe will open her heart up to Him completely.  Not to make me happy, not because she's been cajoled, not because everyone around her is, but because she couldn't imagine living her life without Him and she can trust Him completely for everything.

I bet on that day, there will be no more whining or pouting.  And we can finally throw those rubber bands away.

Oct 21, 2011

Type A

10/21/2011 — cori
I just need to clear up a little something here...I AM NOT a Type A personality.  Whew... that feels better.  If I were, I would enjoy these following activities:

1. making lists
2. keeping an immaculately clean desk
3. being a rule follower to a T
4. being highly detail oriented
5. being very opinionated & a wee bit stubborn

I might also look like one of these two people:


These are my favortite Type A personalities.  Neither one of them can start their day without a list.  On any given Saturday, Chuck has his list of what we're going to do that day so that he can check things off as they get done.  Chloe likes to write a list of all the different fun activities we can do on her days off or things to do with friends.  I find lists all around the house.  And when and if I ever make a list - like for the grocery store, I forget it on the counter and inevitably leave it at home and not with me where I need it.

Chuck hates my desk at home.  I see him twitch just having to sit down and check emails.  There are loose papers everywhere.  Random notes, pens, sticky notes, business cards, receipts.  I like to call it an organized mess - I know where everything is and what it means, I just don't have a place for it all. If I put it out of sight, I'll forget where I put it and why it was important. If I leave it on my desk in plain sight, I won't have to worry about that now, will I?

Chloe HAS to follow the rules.  We have to start anything over again if we didn't start it out the 'right way' the first time.  She is a stickler for this.  This makes her feel safe.  I, on the other hand, like to do things my own way, which I always think is better.  I never follow a recipe, I make up my own.  I don't like following step-by-step instructions, I like using my brain and doing what makes sense.  I do however, like to follow the speed-limit rule.  Okay, so maybe I go 5 over, but that's it.

People seem to confuse detail oriented with efficient.  At least that has been my experience.  I am HIGHLY efficient and that often means being thorough with the details.  But that's a very selective process for me.  I don't mind the detail of some things, but most things I would rather not worry about the details.  I prefer the big picture and can easily see all the steps it takes to get to the big picture.  Chuck, however, likes to break down those 'steps' into smaller, minute steps and make a list about the steps.  I don't have time for a list.  The list is in my head and what I can't remember, isn't important or we didn't need it.

Okay, so maybe I'm a little opinionated but only with those who know me really, really well.  The same holds true for Chuck.  Chloe wins the award for stubborn.  NO ONE will dissuade her from the path she is on.  Good or bad.  I pray God uses this wonderful quality for good in her life.

Truth be told, I think we all have a little of both Types in us.  Chuck is far from your Typical Type A, but he exhibits alot of it's strengths combined with his easy-going, laid back personality, I'd say he has a win/win situation.  Chloe definitely doesn't have the 'neat & tidy' part of a Type A - she's the messiest kid I have.  But I love how they both show tendencies towards the list making - that's what started this whole thing.  And certainly wasn't me who taught her how to make a list - that's for sure!

Oct 17, 2011

Anger Management

10/17/2011 — cori
As we were eating lunch the other day, Bennett looks admiringly at Chuck and me and says, "It's hard to get mad at you guys cuz you're both so nice."

Really?!  So many thoughts are running through my head.  I find this topic of conversation fascinating.  But I'm horrible when it comes to giving an astute, timely and/or funny comeback.  The only thing I could think to say in response was, "Does that mean you're mad at us right now or were mad at us earlier?"

Gavin, ever the logical one, heads Bennett off at the pass and explains, "Bennett, what I think you mean to say is, it's hard to stay mad at mom and dad cuz they're both so nice.  It's easy to get mad at them.  But it's hard to stay mad at them."  To which Bennett was nodding enthusiastically as if to say that's right brother you speak the truth. 


Of course Chuck pipes in with, "It's because of all my awesome jokes that you can't help but laugh and then you can't stay mad at me cuz I'm so funny.  But don't worry, I don't have a problem staying mad at you."  Tongue in cheek here - obviously.

You just really never know what's going to come out of these kids' mouths next.  One thing I do know is that I will be showing them this post each and every time they are mad at me and remind them that they just can't stay mad at me because I'm too nice and then I'll bat my eyelashes and smile real pretty.  The perfect anger management tool.

Oct 11, 2011

Hello Fall

10/11/2011 — cori
Now that we live in a state that has 4 seasons, we are enjoying the newness of watching trees change color, the leaves fall like rain gently from the trees, the sound of loud, crunchy leaves under our feet and the invigorating smell associated with fall. The best part is, Minnesota decided to initiate us into fall so thoughtfully. Instead of the weather being in the typical 50's for the past two and a half weeks, we have had Texas weather since fall began. They refer to it here as Summer Part II around here. But to me, this is what I'm used to for fall. It has been in the 80's and sunny. I couldn't be happier. Now I get the best of both worlds....my love of the heat and sun from Texas and my love of the beauty and smells of fall color.



My Obsession

10/11/2011 — cori
I just can't help it. I'm in awe of sunsets. If I am anywhere within view of these majestic settings, I have to stop whatever I'm doing and stand in awe. I've even pulled the car over on the side of the road to catch a few of these photos. I'm amazed that God would deliver a new piece of art each and every morning and evening that makes my heart full to overflowing with thankfulness.

This was one where I pulled over in order to admire the beauty.


This was taken at Chloe's horse lessons.


This was taken at a local lake where we went to play frisbee.
Frisbee was fun, but this was better.


The perfect way to end a day.
Focused on God and not myself.

Oct 10, 2011

A Sign of the Times

10/10/2011 — cori
I eat instant oatmeal for breakfast EVERY morning. Yes. I know. It's boring and predictable. But that's me. Apparently I like routine. Anyways....the other day, I get up and get my breakfast like always. I go to the cupboard, pull out the instant oatmeal packet and walk over to the sink where I prepare it. I empty the oatmeal packet into what I thought was the exact same bowl I always use. I turn on the hot water to pour into my bowl. I didn't notice until I went to pour the hot water in that I had a PLATE of oatmeal in my hand, not a bowl. Why didn't I notice this sooner? This question has plagued me for days now. Granted the small plates and small bowls sit right next to one another on the same shelf. But seriously, why didn't I notice once I emptied the contents of my breakfast onto a PLATE that something was awry? Apparently I'm having some synapse connectivity issues. I'll keep you updated.

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