Jul 29, 2012

Fun in the Dark

7/29/2012 — cori

An impromptu game of Hide and Seek in the Dark was planned by all the neighbor kids for our house this past Thursday night.   And Chuck & I were implored to play with them.  How could we say no?

The fun began at 9pm.  We needed it relatively dark outside to maximize the thrill of the hunt.  We closed all the blinds, turned out all the lights (I put any valuables that could possibly get 'accidentally' knocked over in the fray in safe-keeping) and sat down in our garage with 8 kids to talk about how this game was going to go down.

First, absolutely no lights were allowed.  Second, once one person was found, the Seeker had to yell, "Everybody Home" (to the garage) so the rest of us did not have to give up our hard sought out hiding places.  Third, no hiding in the washer/dryer or outside.  Lastly, the darker you dress, the better your chances of not being found are...soo...everyone raided our closets and costume box to adorn themselves in black.  We had 4 teenage boys, a 12 year old girl, a 10 year old boy, a 9 year old girl and an 8 year old as our competition.  It was hilarious to see these teenage boys decked out in a black superman cape in order to give themselves an edge.  Gavin even summoned his inner ninja and donned a ninja mask.  He felt dressing in all grey was more appropriate because he would look more realistic as a shadow.

Let the games commence....

The three girls all needed help finding hiding places and since Chuck was the first one to count, the responsibility fell to me.  I had to find 4 hiding spots within 2 minutes.  Talk about having to think fast on my feet!  The poor Chloes....I shoved one under the hamper in our closet and the other behind the lower level of shirts hanging from the rack in the closet.  Those two couldn't stop giggling.  They just HAD to hide together or they would be scared.  I don't blame them.  The house was pitch black.  You couldn't see a thing or walk without groping the walls.

I hid Jenna in a big box we had in the basement and put some more empty boxes on top of her and then crouched down beside her under the ironing board so I could make sure she was still breathing.  It seemed to work.  We weren't found on the first round.

It gave Chuck and I much satisfaction to totally dominate the game.  It took us back 25 years to old church lock-ins.  We were having so much fun, we forgot we were the parents.  We were taking this hiding thing way too seriously.  On the last run, all the kids together couldn't find either of us.  YES!  We may be inching closer to 40, but that just gives us a better edge, we can out-think and out-smart our competition.  And bonus - we still get to act like we're 15 again.

One thing I will do differently next time...dust.  Many people mentioned to me that they were very dusty and then proceeded to show me their clothing once we were in the light of the garage.  Ooops.  Ya, I don't really ever dust in the closest under the shirts or behind the HVAC unit or behind the sofa.  Maybe I should be more purposeful in my dusting.

The game came to an end and hour and half later when parents started calling and texting us: "Send so and so home now please."  Time totally escaped us, we were so swept up in the fun.

The funniest thing about the whole night was that with each successive hiding attempt, the Hiders progressively got more and more daring.  They started setting up booby-traps around the house.  It was hilarious. You should have seen the house once we finally turned on all the lights.  Thankfully, everyone immediately pitched in to put everything back in place.  The very next thing they wanted to know: when is the next time?  I love being the fun house!

Jul 25, 2012

Metaphorically Speaking

7/25/2012 — cori

Gavin:  "How about every time I talk to you, you respond to me metaphorically."

Me:  "What does that even mean, Gavin."

Gavin: "You know, I say something and then you respond using a metaphor."

Me:  "Oh.  Like, if you say 'corndog', then I say, 'you're as skinny as a corn dog'. Right?"

Gavin:  "No mom.  That's a simile.  You need you use a metaphor such as, 'this red is the sun'.

Me:   "Oh.  I don't know what to say.  How about I just don't talk."

The Power Of One

7/25/2012 — cori

We've waited years to show one of our favorite movies to the boys.  We finally deemed they were mature enough to handle the deep, powerful concepts and reality this movie brings to light.  Some messages are best understood through words, as ideas that seep into your brain and take root in your heart from a book.  Other times, an intimate, one-on-one conversation is all that is needed to convey a deep idea or discuss what life does to our hearts. And then there are yet other times, such as this, where a picture is worth a thousand words.  The images played out in this movie said more than any of the words we could have used to explain apartheid, prejudice, hatred, forgiveness, love and sacrifice.

Some of my absolute favorite quotes from this movie are:

"Little defeat big when little is smart.  First with the head, then with the heart."

"A waterfall starts with but one drop and look what comes of that."

"Any ideology that needs to attack the thing that least threatens it is an ideology that will not outlive its own generation."

"Laws define rights."
"I agree sir, but do they always define justice?"
"Justice, young man, is only relative to who is in charge."
"Quite true, sir.  But perhaps how well they stay in charge is only relative to how well they dispense that justice."

"The brain, PK, has two functions:  It is the best reference library ever, which is a good thing to have.  But also from it comes original thought.  In school  you will get all filled up with the facts.  Out here [in nature], your brain will learn where to look, how to look, and how to think.  Any question you ever have you will find the answer in Nature - if you know where to look, and how to ask."

Jul 20, 2012

Articulation Matters

7/20/2012 — cori

Gavin:  "Mom, can I tell you why I like Rascal Flatts?"

Me:  "Sure, Buddy."

Gavin:  "I like them because they pronounce all their words correctly. I can hear the words they're saying. Not like Coldplay like Dad was playing last night where it's just a jumble of words and you can't hear what they're saying."

Me:  "I like your criteria for good music.  Who would want to listen music with jumbly words?"

Jul 17, 2012

Being American

7/17/2012 — cori

This morning Chloe and I were laying in bed cuddling when she decides she wants to write something on my back.  I am so not good at decoding letters on my back.  We were doing good until she starts trying to write an "A".  No matter what or how many times she wrote it, I just didn't get it.  In exasperation she says, "MOM!  IT HAS OBLIQUE LINES!"

"Well...you should have told me that from the beginning Darling.  What are oblique lines again and where in the world did you learn that?"

"I learned it in math and they are slanted lines."

"Ohhhh....so that must be an A."

Proud that I finally recognized the letter, she moves on to the next one, which was "M".  Trying to cut her off at the pass and guess the word before she writes it I blurt out what I think her sentence was:

We laughed so hard!  I couldn't stop giggling.  I'm not known for my great memory.  I couldn't remember the words she wrote on my back before the elusive "A".  Thus, the crazy sentence.

Then of course it was my turn to write on Bennett's back.  I wrote:  YOU READ LIKE AN OWL.  Which makes zero sense actually.  But, being his mother's son, he also tries to cut me off at the pass and declares my sentence on his back to be:  YOU READ LIKE AN AMERICAN.

Nothing could have been funnier at that moment to me.  I was crying I was laughing so hard.

What a wonderful way to start the day!

Jul 14, 2012


7/14/2012 — cori

In the spirit of the olympics, I'd like to take a moment to divulge a conversation Chuck and I were having recently.  Keep in mind, this was a serious conversation.

Chuck:  "What sport do you think you're good enough in to compete at an olympic level?"

Me:  "Seriously?  If I was good enough at anything, don't you think I'd be there this summer?"

Chuck:  "You know what I mean...which one would you want to do?"

Me:  "None.  I don't have enough discipline to train as hard as they do.  I love to watch them and admire the athletes tremendously.  But I so wouldn't want to compete.  I'd be so nervous I'd throw up."

Chuck:  "Well...I think I could compete on an olympic level at go-kart racing.   I'm that good."

Me:  "Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?!   The only people you've ever beat on a go-kart race track are the kids.  How hard is that?  It's a lawn mower engine."

Chuck:  "I'm serious.  It takes skill to round those corners and cut people off and shave off time as you go around the track."

Me:  "I am so done with this conversation. I can't believe we're even having it."

Doesn't this make you just wish you could sit around and have lovely conversations such as these with Chuck and me?

Jul 10, 2012

New Food

7/10/2012 — cori

The kids begging me to make a new food item that is actually healthy just doesn't happen.  So you can imagine my pick-my-jaw-up-off-the-floor excitement when the boys asked, "Mom, do you think you could make us some steamed beets and spinach tortillas?  Seriously, I am not making this up.  Not one, but both of my boys asked for this dish.  I previously didn't even know how to spell beets, two 'ee's or is it 'ea' - forget being able to find what they looked like in the grocery store.  I actually had to read the signs underneath all the vegetables to find my beets.  Did you know they come in bundles of 3?  Now you do.  Anyways, now that I have them, I must learn how to steam them.  I actually had to watch a youtube video on 'how to steam beets'.  If you're ever bored, I highly recomend it.  It was enough for this beginning beet steamer.  Apparently, I cook beets good now because Gavin raved and raved about how delicious they were.

This idea didn't just pop into their collective heads all on it's own.  I'd like to thank Priya Submaranian, the  Mom of one of Gavin's close friends.  She is the premier Indian Food Chef this side of India. I love every and any thing that comes out of her kitchen and I'm not even a vegetarian.  But she could sure convince me to be one.  Apparently, she has already convinced Gavin and Bennett because when they came home telling me tales of foods they ate while at her house I was aghast.  How could she get them to eat some of these vegetables?!  Someone as nice as her can get anyone to eat anything.

Moral of the story...learn how to steam more vegetables and maybe even try a few you don't know how to spell once in a while...you just might like them.


7/10/2012 — cori
My parents came to visit during the most wonderful time of the year - summer!  No apologies were necessary like, "Sorry the snow is up to your elbows." or "Don't forget to pack extra pairs of long underwear." Instead, we were treated to record highs (much to their chagrin) and a little more humidity than we would have liked, but at least rain didn't dampen any of the many outdoor activities we had planned.  Actually, the entire staycation was one big outdoor activity... from sight seeing in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul to walking the rocky coast in Duluth or kayaking on Lake of the Isles.   What fun laughing and sharing life together we had!

The lake was filled with these beauties.

Gavin taking it easy for a spell.  

The kids being overly dramatic about how hot 
they are and how done they are shopping.

The ruins of the old Gold Medal Flour factory looking out
onto an old stone arch bridge crossing the Mississippi River.

The grapes from a winery tour we took in Stillwater.  

A gorgeous view of Gooseberry River leading out to 
Lake Superior from the trails around Gooseberry State Park.

 Mom and Dad at one of the trail heads in Gooseberry State Park. 
They just liked the name Gitchi-Gami (what the Native Americans used
to call Lake Superior) and wanted a picture to remind them of it.

Dad (deathly afraid of heights) perched precariously close
to the edge of the cliff where the falls begin.  Making sure 
he has a firm grip on Mom so he doesn't have to jump over
the edge to rescue her, not because he's afraid or anything.

The falls.  You never tire of looking at them.  

Dad braved the cold water, big waves and slippery rocks 
to make his way out to this lone rock and conquer it!

 The kids examining the waves and what was being washed ashore.
There was lots of debris from the recent flooding Duluth experienced.

Praying he doesn't drop me in the cold water.

 Sunset at the lake.

Date Nite

7/10/2012 — cori

The only thing that comes to mind when I behold such beauty is Psalm 145:5

This was the backdrop for our last date night.  The weather, a cool 75 degrees. Sand between our toes as we walked along the beach adjacent to the lake.  A blanket spread under the shade of a huge cottonwood tree.  Two glasses of White Zinfandel.  Time with my favorite person.  Boy, does he know my love language or what!

I promise, I did not doctor this photo.  Number one, i have no idea how to and number two, it really was this pink out.  I love pink.

Jul 7, 2012

The Big Moon

7/07/2012 — cori

Unfortunately,  I'm not referring to a gorgeous sphere of rock balancing precariously above a beautiful lake on a clear, romantic evening.  Not that moon.  Think more along the lines of a fraternity prank.  That's the type of moon this story speaks of.  And unfortunately, I have the staring role in this story.

We decided to go to the local water park with the kids during Minnesota's record breaking heat wave yesterday.  Thankfully, we arrived when the gates opened securing for ourselves the coveted lawn chairs.   Then we commenced the Suntan Lotion Rub-on Procedure.  This can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on how cooperative all my people are.  You would think I was trying to rub kryptonite all over them with the many looks of disapproval and levels of complaining spewing forth from their mouths.  It is apparently just a waste of time in their eyes....a necessary evil.

After lathering the appropriate amounts all over their backs, I then ask Chuck to rub some on my back.  We were all still standing around our lawn chairs, Chuck behind me, the kids facing me.  I go to take my swim suit cover-up off (just a strapless slip on dress).  I decide to pull it down and step out of it instead of pull it up over my head.  Bad choice.  Thank God it was Chuck standing behind me and that the waterpark had only just opened.  Because right there, for all to see, I pulled my dress down a little too fast and along with it, yanked off my bikini bottoms.  Oops.  You'd think I'd quietly just pull it back up but nooooo.  Instead, like an idiot, I scream.  Yes, like someone just shot me, therefore drawing full attention upon myself.  I seem to operate in slow motion from this point forward.  Chuck said it took way too long for me to pull my dress and bottoms back up.  Apparently, I was in shock.  All I see in front of me are the kids standing with mouths agape wondering why their overly modest mother is taking all her clothes off in a public place.  Their eyes are as wide as saucers.  As are Chuck's.  Thank God I only mooned my husband, but he was sure to tell me it was a full monty.  I'm sure others around us were alerted to my scream and grabbed a nice crescent moon view momentarily.

I was shaking from that point on and kept a firm hold of my bottoms the entire rest of our stay there.

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