Dec 28, 2012

Sandy Hook

12/28/2012 — cori



In Memory

How do you tell someone you don’t even know
That you care more than you know how to show
About the pain they are going through
It feels like your own, like it happened to you
Our hearts are breaking as we cry
For each mom and dad who are wondering why
Twenty children are no longer living today
Because of the evil that took them away
While they were doing what they were told to do
Getting up early and going to school
Wanting to learn how to live in this world
Growing up to be big boys and girls
But the gift of life was suddenly snatched away
On this heartbreaking, dreadful, December day

The adults protecting the children inside
Were acting as heroes as some of them died
Keeping watch of the little ones in their care
As they silently, desperately whispered a prayer
For someone to come and rescue them all
From the horror that was about to befall
Everyone in the school and town that day
For God’s mercy we ask, for mercy we pray

All of us watched the news unfold
As one gunman acting so bold
Chose a school to take out his rage
On these poor children at such a young age
We may never know the answer why
Sometimes all you can do is cry
With the people who are hurting so deep
It’s called compassion and it’s price is steep
Walking with someone through their pain
Helping them to become whole again
Carry one another’s burdens, we are told to do
I will walk this hard, sad road with you

Dec 17, 2012

Together

12/17/2012 — cori
In light of the tragedy in Connecticut this weekend, we all treasured our time together that much more.    It was hard not to put yourself in the shoes of the parents who lost their children.  I'm thankful for the reminder to never take for granted the time we get to share together - but oh, what a cost it came at!

That's why it thrilled my heart that not once, or twice but at least 4 times this weekend the kids suggested, "How about we all go cuddle on your bed and read?"  Who can say no to that?!  So, several times during this cold, gray, melancholy weekend, all 5 of us grabbed our books, hopped onto my bed, found a cozy spot with a pillow and blanket and read in the peace and warmth of our own little world.  Several times I would pause from my reading, look around and take a mental picture of the scene before me.  I want to soak it all up as much as possible.  I love that this is what our family does together.  It is a reflection of all we value: cuddle time, closeness, reading, serenity.  Granted, the only reason the music wasn't also blaring was for the sake of my sanity.  Apparently, I'm the only one in the family who can't read and listen to music at the same time.


This was a similar scene 5 years ago.  I'm reminded of the song "Blink" every time I look at these precious children.

Not only did we accomplish lots of reading, the kids also continued to entertain us with their version of "play".  Not even 5 minutes after Bennett walks in the door from school he entices Chloe with the following line, "Hey Chlo, wanna play The Fat Game?"  Is this really a game?  Is he really 11 or did we just time warp back the 5 years ago that I was just reminiscing about? How can you have a game that is fat?  It didn't take long for me to find out the answers to the questions flooding my brain.

In case you are ever in need of a game, let me explain how The Fat Game works.  First you will need to find your largest shirt, preferably a night shirt that you sleep in.  Then, you are to stuff your bed pillow under the shirt.  Next, tie your bathrobe belt around your waist to keep your fat in.  Then you you run at each other as fast as you can and both fall backwards at the same time giggling like school girls.  That's pretty much the gist of it.  Sometimes there is the variation where you try to punch the other person as hard as you can in "the fat" and see if it hurts...but that can get risky, like if you miss "the fat" part.  Also, running at each other at top speed requires alot of open floor space.

This is just a peek into our world this weekend.  I'm so thankful we had no where to go and nothing to do so we could enjoy the gift of this time together.

Dec 11, 2012

True Story

12/11/2012 — cori

How can you resist this face?  This is the face of one spoiled dog!  Believe it or not, a neighbor asked if Ninja could have a playdate...and he doesn't even have a dog.  Yes.  True story.  This neighbor is an older gentleman who watches Ninja for us anytime we go out of town.  They have grown on each other.  Ninja is super easy going, laid back, doesn't bark (except to go out) and prefers to lay on chairs all day long.  Perfect energy level for a retired guy with health problems.  Turns out, he spoils Ninja rotten, giving her lots of treats everytime they're together.  We came back from a week vacation and I swear she was 10 pounds heavier.  This man's name is synonymous with "treat" now.  Even when I take her on a walk, she looks at his house longingly just hoping for a glimpse of her new favorite person.  When she does see him, she takes off at a gallop in his direction.  This is the ONLY time this dog actually runs.  Whenever we try to go on a run with her, she just trots or maybe she'll give us a fast trot, but never a gallop.  If I ever loose Ninja, the first place I look (after the front porch, she normally always comes home and barks at the front door to let us know she's home), is in the direction of this man's house.

So, it turns out he was having company Saturday night and wanted to introduce Ninja to all his friends.  What about us?  Did he not want to play cards with us, introduce us to his friends?  Are we not as fun as Ninja?  We don't only like him for what he gives us.  Seriously?!  We have a social issues.  Apparently, Ninja does not.

Dec 10, 2012

Forty Looks Good On You

12/10/2012 — cori

I never imagined this day would come
when you look back at where we came from
Two little kids, twelve years old
No one could envision the story our lives have told
Best friends from the beginning, that is true
You liked me and I liked you
Who would have thought we'd become real adults
with mortgages and kids and wider notches on belts
You're still the same you, I'm still the same me
But I think I like you better at forty
Our love is much deeper 
I know your heart better 
Your jokes are much funnier
You've grown so much smarter
Your heart is more tender
Your shoulders much stronger
Your hair, a little shorter
Your waist a little wider
Your smile a little brighter
But your eyes remain the same beautiful blue
The ones I looked at and knew love was true
Back when we were twelve and had no clue
That you'd end up with me and I'd end up with you.

Dec 4, 2012

One Hour Together

12/04/2012 — cori
This past weekend is always the craziest one of the year for me.  I spend months preparing and organizing all the concession food for a large basketball tournament called the Tiger Classic that our home town hosts.  It's a lot of work but also very rewarding and a lot of fun. But with a lot of work comes a lot of time taken away from the kids that I normally spend with them.  The months leading up to the first weekend of December are filled with me saying, "Hey guys, do you mind if mom spends a little while working on the basketball stuff?"  To which they always graciously reply, "no problem".

Each of us treasures time together as one of our love languages.  So I can't help but feel that I haven't shown them how much I love them when I have to keep taking time away to concentrate on all my basketball responsibilities.  It pulls me in two directions and weighs heavily on my heart.

Once the actual weekend rolls around, I work around the clock Thursday through Sunday.  Thankfully, the 'big weekend' came and went.   I had to leave bright and early Monday morning to go pay a bunch of my vendors, even though the kids had the day off school and even though I was sicker than a dog and had no voice.  On my morning travels, I had a big idea.  I called Gavin and asked him to tell the kids to each think of what they want to do with me for an hour.  They have to decide who goes first and have it all planned out by time I get home (which was only in 15 minutes).  These have become some of our most treasured times together.

I know God dropped that little plan in my head because the only thing keeping me going that morning was knowing I could come home and take a nap. I was exhausted and with good reason.  But I had also just read something that explained love in a way I had never heard before and I couldn't stop meditating on it.  This article does a much better job of explaining the concept than I can, but here's the gist...the Hebrew root word for 'love' comes from the two words "I" "Give".  Of course it does.  God is Love.  God gives.  If I say I love someone, it is shown mostly in what I give them...time, energy, myself, words, actions, etc.  Don't we always tell our kids, 'actions speak louder than words' ? It reminds me of one of my favorite songs, Something that you do.

So I got home, found out the plan and dove right in.  God gave me physical and mental strength to give them myself yesterday afternoon rather than me giving myself a nap.  And oh how it was worth it!!!  Gavin got first dibs.  I asked him, "So what do you have planned?"  Being ever the gentleman he answered, "Well, I wanted to see if there was anything you wanted to do first."  I smiled knowing how he loves to make me happy at whatever the cost.  I told him that as long as we were together I would be happy.  I asked him if he could maybe teach me some of the stuff he's learning in his class.  He couldn't have been happier!

He directed me to the study where we have a white board set up.  He wrote out the title "Base Systems" and the date.  Then Mr. Professor began:

"Remember how you taught us that 11 was actually 1 ten 1 and twelve was 1 ten 2?  Well, you were teaching us the base 10 number system."

"Oh really, that's what I was doing?  I was just doing what the curriculum said, but that's cool."

"Ya, well...that's what you did.  Anyways......." yadayadayada.

He went on to teach me a base 5 system, a base 7 system and a base 2 system, otherwise known as the binary system.  He lost me on the last one.  He started saying something about 1 being 'on' and 0 being 'off' in relation to computers.  I tried hard to ask intelligent questions and appear like I was understanding, but how do you make this sound intelligent, "Uh...ya, I don't get that."?  Then he proceeded to write out problems on the board for me to solve as proof of my utter incompetence.  I suggested Math Professor as a possible future career to which he said, "mmmmm".  I think that means he's thinking about it.

Once my math class was officially over we moved on to bigger and better things...such as playing Yu-gi-oh.  This is his life.  He has every card memorized.  It's a highly intricate game.  It's very strategic.  Because of those very reasons I suck at it.  Truth be told, I can't even begin to grasp the concept of the game.  He spent like 10 minutes trying to explain the rules to me when I cut him off and said, "Is this the kind of game that we can just play and you can teach  me as we go?  I learn much better by doing." He gave some serious thought to my supplication.  It wasn't optimal, but he would allow it...this time.  So we laid out our cards and I just winged it.  Lucky for me, I winged well enough to win.  I have no clue how - but that's what he said.  It was awesome.  Then our time was up.  Bummer, no more higher level math or incomprehensible card games.  But I adored my time with Gavin as he shared with me all the things that are important to him during our completely uninterrupted time together.

Chloe was next.  As is her style, she promptly handed me a sticky note containing her list of activity items: 1. draw, write, now  2. make a gourmet lunch  3. read/cuddle  4. school.  Right off I already see a problem.  It's already 12:30.   I'm starving (had yet to discover the virus plaguing my stomach which would never allow me to eat - we'll leave it at that).  Plus, I don't want to make everyone's lunch.  They're here, they can make their own.  Eating is second on the list.  What to do?  I had to, in my very nicest saleslady voice, pitch a better plan.  "Honey, this is an awesome list!  I know I would really enjoy it more once I stop shaking from hunger pains.  Do you think we could eat first and then start our time together?"  She hemmed and hawed, "But I really wanted to make a gourmet lunch for everyone."

"You mean you want us to cook for them?", looking at the boys who are all smiles.

"Ya."

"Um.  No.  You can, but I'm not making a gourmet sandwich right now.  I 'm seriously hungry."

We eventually agreed to just each make our own food on the condition that her and I make a gourmet dinner instead.  Bonus.

Our time started off perfectly, laying on the bed reading! Ahhhhh....I tried so hard to keep my eyes open.  But each time I blinked they stayed shut a little longer.  She was reading "Fancy Nancy" to me.  Unfortunately, it was a very short book.  Two minutes later we were excitedly making our way downstairs to do school.  I asked her why she wanted to do school on her day off.  "Moooommm.  I'm being the teacher today!"  She then proceeded to re-enact our exact school day, except for she was the teacher and I was the student.  It was great to see what school looks like through her eyes.  She was reading a Magic School Bus book on the water cycle to me and on each page she would ask me, "Are there any words on here you don't understand?"  I wonder where she got that from.  We did school for so long we didn't have time to do any Draw, Write, Now.  Thankfully, we were able to fit that in later at night with Daddy.

On to Bennett.  I just knew that he would want to play basketball.  And I was right.  I said an extra prayer for energy as I pulled on my jacket and shoes.  Apparently, I need to pray that prayer everytime I go out to play around the world because I ended up winning twice.  I was 'girl on fire'.  Didn't hardly miss a shot.  Plus the cold and fresh air helped rejuvenate me.  I felt bad for whooping up on him so badly, but not bad enough to stop talking about it and reliving my awesome shots.  Then we were on to phase two of our time together - drawing.  He set up some paper, pencils and a book on Great Cats.  We each did some lovely pencil renderings of tigers and cheetahs.  Lastly he had planned some cuddle time on my bed.  We layed there and talked and reminisced and solved all the world's problems. It was great.

I love my kids.  I loved when they were little, I love the ages they are now and I'll love them when they're grown and gone.  But I will especially be thankful that they always want to spend time with me, sharing their loves, even if it's only for an hour.

Dec 3, 2012

That Moment When You Realize Your Son is Smarter Than You (Brag Alert)

12/03/2012 — cori

I knew this day would come. It has probably been here for some time, but over the weekend this notion has crystalized in my brain.

We spent a lot of time this weekend watching basketball. When we weren't watching one of Bennett's games during the Tiger Classic, we were watching other games in between.

Gavin and I sat together most of the time and although we were looking at the same things happening before us, we were not thinking about the same things, that is for sure. While I am watching the nuances of zone defenses and trying to figure out how to teach Bennett to be a better rebounder, Gavin has one thing on his mind: Numbers. The kid loves math. He loves numbers and sees patterns everywhere.

Here's a smattering of the questions I heard from him as we sit watching basketball, a sport he has zero interest in.

Gavin: Dad, have you noticed that none of the players' jerseys have a number higher than 5?
Me: No, I didn't notice that. That *is* interesting, though.

Gavin: Dad, do you know how you can tell if any number is divisible by 3?
Me: Blank stare. Confused blinking.
Gavin: What?
Me: I have no idea what you're talking about but I love that you know this, Buddy.
Gavin: Yeah.

Gavin: Dad, I think I can predict who is going to win the game.
Me: How's that, Buddy?
Gavin: The team with the most prime numbers on their jerseys usually win. See, the black team has alot of prime numbers: 2, 5, 7, 13, 23, 31 ... the other team only has a couple of prime numbers.

Sure enough, the black team won. Then I spent the rest of the tournament looking for prime numbered jerseys. :)

This was just one instance in a long list of reasons why I think I have the coolest 13 year old on the planet. No, he doesn't excel in organized sports. But he reads books like most people eat food. He knows more about computers than most adults I know. He's in 8th grade, but is taking two 9th grade classes at the high school. Honors classes. Straight A's across the board. He's half way to acquiring his black belt in Tae Kwon Do after only a year of lessons. Oh, and in his free time he's taking an Intro to Cryptography class online from Stanford University. And to top it all off, he'll probably be taller than me within a few months.

And I'm ok with that. :)

(End of Bragfest. Thank you for indulging me.)

Love this kid!

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