Jan 31, 2014

The Angel in the Ford Focus

1/31/2014 — cori

We got a break from the North Pole like temperatures yesterday only to be plummeted with bucket loads of snow instead.  I like the snow,  so I won't complain.  What I don't like is getting stuck in it.  I've known for months now that my tires have no traction on them.  We kept meaning to get new tires but ...you know how that goes.  It just never quite works into the budget or life gets so busy you forget.  Many excuses but none that seemed good enough when I was stuck in my predicament yesterday.

I took Chloe to school early because I knew I'd have a hard time making it up the hill that led out of her school.  It's not even a true hill if we were using the proper definition of a hill, rather a large incline that leads to a street with another large incline.  I'd been having some difficulty the past few times I drop her off getting out of the school parking lot.  So as not to embarrass myself or cause a multitude of honking horns, I dropped Chloe off 30 minutes early so I would have time to make my slow get-a-way.

Bald tires and snow don't mix.  The combination is more like a sled effect.  It's a lot more fun to slide downhill on a tube or sled than backwards in a car with other cars around you.  Thankfully, my backwards slide did not hurt one car or person because I thought ahead and was early and handled this little episode with little to no eye-witnesses around.  Genius.

Unfortunately, that was where my genius runs out and becomes moron.  I make it to the top of the first "hill" after the first slide down unbeknownst to passersby.  Unfortunately, I had to make a hard stop once I got to the top of the hill because the on-coming cars had no idea of my little bald tire problem and wouldn't have appreciated me sliding on out into their lane of traffic.  Hard stop I did and then....nothing.

My car WOULD NOT GO!  My heart starts pounding.  My head decides to follow suit.  There are no more cars in the cross street yet my car refuses to budge.  I push down on the gas pedal with all my might and whew - I glide a whole 3 inches out into the road.  It just gets worse from there.

Now I'm successfully in the middle of the street AND not going anywhere fast.  My tires are spinning, the snow is falling, my heart is racing and my car is apparently napping.  It refuses to move even one more millimeter.  Did I mention we were experiencing white out conditions during this snow storm?  That means it's almost impossible to see 1 to 2 cars ahead of you.  This is an added stress factor that none of us really want to deal with at the time.

So here I am blocking the only way out of the school and the street in front of the school and the street into the school.  I'm barely hanging onto the road I'm on hoping that I don't start sliding backwards into the car behind me.  Miraculously, no one is honking...yet.  But on the other hand, no is is running to my aid yet either.  It is very apparent that I am under LOTS of duress!  Where are my rescuers??  I just want to stick my head in the snow and disappear.  I am mortified by the backlog of cars I am causing.

I know I need to do something, but what?  What else is there?  My mind was searching wildly through my databank of options and there was absolutely nothing in my training or background to cling to.  Rescue was my only option.

I did come up with only one plan but immediately shot it down when I figured it would make Chuck mad.  I seriously thought about getting out and pushing my car into the ditch and then walking home in the snow and letting Chuck deal with it when he got off work.  That scenario didn't play out well in my mind's eye, so I went back to the drawing board.

I then got out and used my ice scraper to shovel some snow out behind all my tires hoping against hope that it would encourage my sad, bald tires to cling to the little bit of asphalt it could find.  But to no avail.

I barely had a Plan A, how in the world was I supposed to come up with a Plan B?  Not knowing what else to do, I got back out of my car and ran down to the car behind me ready to get an earful.  But when the lady rolled down her window she was smiling at me.  I apologized to her and asked her if she wouldn't mind pushing my car.  I certainly couldn't push it and steer it at the same time.  Thankfully, she said yes.

In my mind, I'm thinking she would get out of her car and push while I sat in the car, with it in neutral while she pushed me up the hill.  I know that sounds horrible but it wasn't even my plan, The picture of it just sort of popped into my head.  But apparently she thought I meant that I wanted her car to push my car up the hill.  The lady was the sweetest little hispanic lady and gave me some advice about my tires that I didn't quite make out but shook my head to anyways.

I run back to my car and assume the position of foot on the gas pedal pushed all the way to the floor, rocking back and forth like that might somehow lull the car out of it's stupor and trying not to look at the massive back up of cars all around me.  Then all of the sudden her bumper is on my bumper and she is pushing me up the hill.  Granted, we are going 2 miles an hour, but it's working.  I am no longer in the same spot, spinning my wheels.  Did I mention she was driving a Ford Focus?  I don't know how this little Ford Focus mustered up the strength to push us both up the hill in the slippery snow, but it did and for that I am grateful.

I'm also grateful that not one person honked or heckled me or gave me a mean look - I was already on the verge of tears and that would have sent me over the edge.  As it was, I had tears of gratitude in my eyes for the angel in the Ford Focus who saved me.

Jan 29, 2014

Grocery List

1/29/2014 — cori

This is what happens when I ask Gavin to write a few items on a grocery list for me. 

Jan 24, 2014

Birthday DUFDN

1/24/2014 — cori
When Chuck asked me if I wanted to go anywhere or do anything special for my birthday this year, but the only thing I could think of was DUFDN.  They've seemed to wane with time and I'm not quite ready to give up this beloved tradition.  I picked the theme of "Different Cultures".  Here we are in all our glory:

Chuck was an Afghani Pashtun tribesman, Gavin was Brolieus Caesar from Rome, Chloe was a Croatian peasant girl, Bennett was a Ninja from Japan and I was an Indian from Mumbai.  
Quite the international family.

I was literally shocked when Chuck came out in his costume.  He looked like he had a mask on.
He obviously won "Best Costume"!  I especially love the unibrow.

This is what the international dinner table looked like.

This was a beautiful piece of art Chuck painted for me.

And the best gift of all - time with my favorite people.  For the third time this year
school was cancelled because of excess cold temperatures.  The real temperature was -22 degrees, 
but the windchill brought it down to -39.  At that temperature, exposed skin freezes in 5 minutes 
outside.  So the kids got an unexpected day off.  Perfect timing.  We played Uno, Blokus, and my
 favorite Nertz!  It's a great day to be alive!

Jan 23, 2014

The Battle

1/23/2014 — cori

It reigns supreme throughout all time
This battle that rages within my mind.
Often plagued with doubt and fear
Afraid to let anyone come too near.

Thoughts swirling like a hurricane
Around and around and around my brain.
Many a day peace abides there
Other days I can’t find it anywhere.

Feelings from long ago don’t go away
Even though I fight them, they battle to stay.
I’m tired, empty, feeling alone
This battle drains me to the bone.

To harbor only forgiveness and love
In my heart and mind would be a gift from above.
I beg and I plead to please set me free
From bitterness and anger, from this agony.

I let it go to only take it back again
It’s a daily battle, this one with sin.
Stuck inside my head all day
Praying that these thoughts will go away.

Letting go seems easy enough to do
The problem is in the following through.
Sometimes I feel justified keeping it inside
The hardship comes in surrendering my pride.

Letting go means choosing to forgive
This is what it means to genuinely live.
My mind will stay in perfect peace
When my focus is Jesus, my mind is at ease.

If I could only linger there night and day
This would be my deepest longing, I pray.

Jan 17, 2014

Fifteen and Fearless

1/17/2014 — cori

I've always known this day was coming, I just didn't realize it would get here so fast.  I knew Gavin wouldn't be 6 forever.  I've always looked forward to each of the kids' birthdays.  I'm so thankful to have them for one more year, to watch their personalities bloom and come to know them on deeper and deeper levels. And then all of the sudden one day BAM! you're looking up at them and wondering who they morphed into overnight.  Is this one of his superhero stunts he was always trying to pull off when he was 6?

Sadly, it is not.  It is called life and it happens and we have to accept it.  I want my kids to see my excitement for all they will get to experience in this life as they grow up instead of see me feeling sorry for myself that they are no longer little and needing me the way they once did.  I refuse to make this about me.  Their lives are awesome gifts and I want to celebrate every moment of them.  There's a delicate balance between living in the past and remembering those times with fondness, joy and nostalgia.  

We used to (and still do) go on random date nights with each kid separately.  And of course we liked to document these special times with goofy pictures.  This particular time we were at Panera's gulping down hot chocolate in cups the size of our face and reading a book aloud together.  Our dates now-a-days still have something to do with a book or bookstore.  I just think it's cool he still wants to go out on a date with his mom at the hyper cool age of 15.


Speaking of cool, I couldn't be any cooler than I am in this picture.  I am fighting my son with a bamboo stick.  This is the definition of cool, people.  Actually, he was trying to teach me some moves and I was trying to learn.  I would rather 'fight' him any day over playing Yughioh, trust me.  This, I can do.  Apparently I'm a fast learner as well...a fact that also adds to my 'cool mom' status.  You just can't ask too many questions or act all silly - I can do that (sometimes).

I asked Gavin to then show me some moves he's learning in the new martial arts class he's taking, Jeet Kune Do. - it is referred to as the "art of fighting without fighting." He's taken to this form of martial arts like a duck to water.  It's involves quiet strength, applied philosophy and quick thinking...all of which he possesses and desires to grow in.  I just love that about him.  He never wants to quit learning. He loves a challenge (especially the one of making sure his socks find the hamper everyday, apparently).  It is so fun seeing where all this superhero business of the early years is taking him.

Chuck drew the lucky straw for date night on this, the eve of his 15th birthday.  It was a rather low-key celebration.  He didn't want too big a deal made of it.  So they enjoyed bonding over their Which-Wich sandwiches before heading off to see "Thor 2" at the theater.  It was everything he hoped it would be.

Times have changed a little bit, but that's okay.  We've lived life fully with no regrets.  I owe Gavin a huge thank you for being my guinea pig and teaching me how to be a mom.  He has the patience of Job.  I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for this awesome kid.

Jan 16, 2014


1/16/2014 — cori

I have the kids each write a blog post every day.  There are two reasons for this: 1. I want them to practice their writing skills and 2. I know they are going to want to go back and read their blogs when they're older.  I normally check them everyday but I didn't check Chloe's until today.  This is what greeted me:

Rules Are Meant To Be. . . . . . . .

So in the Cafetoriom, we aren't allowed to share food. But me and Katie do anyway. You know, chip for Cheetoh. But of course, some rules are meant to be broken!! So today I brought 2 Frito Lays bags and Katie brought 2 Cheetohs bags. We were walking down the hall and Katie said, "Are you sure we aren't going to get in trouble??" And I said," Well, Katie, some rules are just meant to be broken!!!"

Looks like she's been listening at home.  We say this all the time, especially to dumb rules.  We encourage the kids to think for themselves and not just do something and not know why.  If a rule doesn't make sense, ask "why" (but respectfully).  There are  many, many school rules that are dumb that we need to respect even if we don't agree with them.  But if everyone just blindly followed a rule there would never have been the American Revolution, the Underground Railroad, the Dutch Resistance, Civil Rights or a myriad of other instances where people put being "human" over following a "rule".  I like that and I'm encouraging that trait in my kids even if it means putting yourself out there and risking being caught doing what you think is right.

Jan 10, 2014

Whatever is Beautiful...

1/10/2014 — cori

From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. - Philippians 4:8

I can't help but think of this verse every morning when I look out my kitchen window and behold the beauty of each morning.  It doesn't matter whether it was -30 out during the Polar Vortex or 15 degrees during a normal winter day, how can you not feel loved when you wake up to this?!  

I consider each sunrise God's personal hug to me each morning.  An intimate moment between just him and I (like the rest of the world isn't seeing the exact same thing).  I stop everything and just stare out the window in awe and gratitude.   Half the time I can't decide whether I should take a picture of yet another miracle or if I should just enjoy it in solitude and soak up the love.  

These beautiful mornings literally bring me to tears.  I never feel so much love from God as when I'm beholding the beauty of a sunrise.  It's like a warm blanket encompassing me.  This is one of the reasons I love winter here so much.  Nothing blocks my view of "all that is pure and lovely and worthy of praise".  

Jan 9, 2014

Our New Family Rule

1/09/2014 — cori

I hope my children think of me when they see this:

I also need to regularly remind myself of this important life lesson.  Humor makes anything easier to swallow...especially your pride.

Jan 5, 2014

Carpe Diem....Every Day!

1/05/2014 — cori

It would only be apropos that we start off the year by playing.  Seeing that it is so incomprehensibly cold outside (so much so that the Governor cancelled school statewide this coming Monday) playing was pretty much our only option.

Bennett suggested we institute our traditional "one hour with each parent" routine.  We had nothing else to do and nowhere to be...so why not?  I always love these sessions so much, I don't know why we don't do them more often.

Bennett and I started off by drawing.  We each picked a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon book and went to town.  After thirty minutes of drawing the next thing Bennett wanted to do was cuddle on my bed.  I loved laying there solving world problems together and listening as he shared his heart with me.  We rounded out our time by playing Farkle - which he won.

Time up.  Next kid.

I moved on to time with Gavin while Chuck spent his hour with Chloe.  Gavin was excited to teach me how to make my own world in Minecraft.  I was supposed to do it all by myself but apparently I'm a slow study and he couldn't stand my ineptness with the controls.  So I ended up explaining what I wanted my world to look like while he did all the hard stuff.  We were pleased with my multiple tree house world.  I even got to enjoy a sunrise and sunset which I asked him to take a screen shot of and email me because I like all sunrises and sunsets, even those artificially programmed by Minecraft geniuses.  After that, he didn't know what to do.  I don't do logic/strategy games (which are the only kind he likes), so Risk, checkers and chess were out.  After mulling it over for a whole minute he decided that he wanted to make a budget with me for whenever he gets his first job.  He wants to know how to budget the money hasn't earned yet.  Typical Gavin.  We had such an awesome time talking through real world scenarios and figuring out what type of job he might want, minimum wage, taxes and deductions.  Loved it!

Meanwhile, Chuck and Chloe were making a webpage.  Chloe apparently didn't realize that Daddy knew how to do this (since she had just learned some simple programming/coding at school the day before she now was super interested in all things computer related).  After Chuck taught her to create her very own webpage they still had time to play with the medicine ball, play a game of war as well as play iphone games.

Buzza, buzza.  Next kid.

Chuck moved onto Bennett while Chloe and I spent one on one together.  Bennett wanted to play table football, floor hockey and floor soccer.  Lastly they also did the medicine ball together.  Chuck was getting a ton of work out during his play time.  Chloe and I spent time curling her American Girl dolls' hair.  When that was over we did each other's hair and makeup.  She looked like the cutest little Swedish girl when I was done with her.  I looked interesting too.  I don't typically use chocolate brown eye shadow.  It was nice to see what I am missing out on.  Lastly, we made the dough for our pizza.

As I was getting the pizzas ready, Chuck and Gavin were spending their time together.  They played laser chess, iphone games and tower defense.

Then it was the all important time of pizza consumption.  We enjoyed our pizza as we watched "Secretariat" and stayed warm by the fireplace.  What a wonderful way to start the new year, spending time with our favorite people who still want to spend time with us.  I'm soaking up every moment of this as we are embarking on a new phase of life.  We will have two teenagers and a 10 year old this year.  It doesn't seem possible, yet here it is.

Carpe Diem...every day!

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