Oct 14, 2013

Autumn Adventures

10/14/2013 — cori
Yesterday we woke up to a gorgeous, crisp fall day.  We had been wanting to go hiking to enjoy the fall colors, but every weekend has either already been packed full or the weather wasn't cooperating with our plans.  The name of the game in Minnesota is 'opportunity'.  You must make the most of good weather and be outside whenever possible.  Not even an hour after waking up and studying the forecast and seeing the perfectly sunny day out the window we decided to 'just do it'.  Off for another grand adventure - Mallott style!

After consulting the state parks map for which parks were showing optimal fall color, we decided on a park two hours north.  The reds and oranges had already reached their peak and littered the ground, but the yellows were brilliant, almost flourescent at times.

It was still a mite bit chilly when we got there.  We were only in sweat shirts.  Thankfully, there was none of the typical fall wind so it made the low 50's bearable.  We decided to picnic first.  We found table and commenced eating.  Even Ninja enjoyed her food from an over-turned frisbee. Unfortunately, we have a dog who is so used to a life of comfort, ease and warmth that as she sat watching us eat her hind legs where quivering with cold.  What dog shivers in 50 degree weather?  This is how the craziness begins.

Picnic conversations are always filled with the anticipation of what the hike or area will be like, what we might encounter along the way and of course the typical question from Gavin of, "So, what's the plan?  How long are we going to be here?"  Bennett was trying to tell us a story of some sort, but was making zero sense.  Seriously, nothing he said even sounded like English.  He does this alot, just talk for the sake of talking and not really thinking about what he says.  After he concluded his 'sentence' we all just sat there, not sure how to respond.  After an awkward 2 minutes Gavin says, "If anything you said made any sense, we would comment on it." Genius.  We could not stop laughing, even Bennett.  It is a line that will forever go down in the Mallott Family Chronicles of 'All Time Great Comebacks'.  

This park boasted a 100 foot tower that you could climb above the tree line to get a panoramic view of the area.  So of course we climbed it.  We were just in Colorado - this was nothing.

Once we got to the top, this is the view we were greeted with.  It was breath-taking - not only because we just finished climbing up over 100 steps but because of the beauty.  The pictures don't do it justice.  The lake that you see there is Mille Lacs.  It is the second largest in Minnesota.  You can't see to the other side of the lake - it's that big.  

Since I've discovered that I'm not afraid of heights, just falling, it was much easier to look straight down and take pictures.  That and it was well secured with all that strong wire mesh fencing everywhere.

Chuck seems to like to make a contest out of everything.  For this enjoyable day it was to see who could collect the most beautiful leaf.  These were the final entries that made the cut.  It was too hard to just choose one.

Who knew a downed tree in the middle of the path could cause so much fun?  We stayed at this tree way longer than most 'normal' people would.  We had to have a contest to see who could jump it the best.  Then we had to walk up it's slippery bark.  Then we had to pose for pictures.  Thank God we pretty much had this trail all to ourselves.

I improvised a little hiking cheer.  We all were carrying around sticks with us.  Mine was rather short since I wasn't using it to walk with.  I had more of a decorative arrangement in mind to make with this lovely white stick.  When Gavin has the camera, you never know what kind of pictures you're going to end up with.  This wasn't even supposed to be a picture, this was just us being goofy and Gavin with a trigger happy finger.

Old People and Clocks

10/14/2013 — cori

The other evening as Chloe was getting ready for bed she had an epiphany and couldn't wait to share it with me.  "Mom, can you come sit on my bed and talk?  I have something I need to tell you."


"So, you know how I had to put my old clock in a bag to give away because it stopped working and hardly did anything anymore?"


"Well, I think we (society) treat old me people like my clock.  We just put them someplace else and get rid of them since they don't work like they used to."

"How does that make you feel?" (doing my best psychiatrist impersonation....I wanted to ride out her train of thought here, not spoil it with my own opinions).

"It makes me sad.  I like old people.  They are funny and have lots of stories to tell."

"Isn't that the truth!  Remember when we used to bring Meals on Wheels to all the elderly people at those apartments in McKinney?"

"Ya.  I loved getting to see Mrs. Koeffler.  She gave us a cookie every time.  Do you think she's still alive?"

"No.  I don't think she is, sweetie.  Do you know she looked forward to us bringing her those meals just to see you kids because she was so lonely? Kids make old people happy and vice versa because you remind them of when they or their kids were young.  All the old people we delivered food to were like that; they couldn't wait to see a stranger so they would have someone to talk to about their day.  That makes me sad too."

"Mom, do you remember Mr. Green?  How he would always take my face in his hands and give me a kiss on the face."

Smiling, remembering good times.  Mr. Green was an elderly Polish man with dementia.  He used to be a photographer and every time we came he would invite us in to show us the same photos he took years ago...many of them for newspapers.  He would point to them and say, "There was that and then that one and I like this one....".  He couldn't remember anything about the photos, only that he took them.  Then I would ask him how he was in Polish (the one phrase I could remember), "Jak siÄ™ masz?" and his face would lighten up with recognition and he would happily respond, "Dobrze".  I never ceased to be amazed at how he could remember that and not other things.  His smile was contagious. 

Most of the people we used to deliver food to for 5 years have all passed away.  But by visiting them, it helped us more in the long run.  My kids aren't afraid of old people.  They see how we need each other and we shouldn't just push them out of sight because they 'don't work like they used to'.

Chloe then went on to say that she didn't want to see that happen to her Grandparents and I assured her it wouldn't.  We would take excellent care of them all of their days.  I then told her that the way she was feeling was called 'compassion' and to remember how it feels.  She's always afraid she doesn't know God and I encouraged her that feeling what she just felt and having the thoughts she just had was all from God - that he put both in her heart.  That elicited a smile and a look of contentment.

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