Feb 28, 2014

My Goal For Today

2/28/2014 — cori
....is to not hit a police officer.  Let me explain:

Since it was -16 degrees out yesterday, I offered to drive each of the kids to school so they don't have to wait for the bus in sub zero temperatures.  It was the least I could do.  And because we've had such an intensely cold winter with LOTS of snow, the roads aren't as clear as they normally are.  The main roads are fine,  you can mostly drive on dry road with only patches of ice here and there.  But the neighborhood roads are still, at best, treacherous.  Since it doesn't warm up enough to melt all the previous snow/ice before the next snow strikes, it's just one massive ice rink out there.  Normally, the salt trucks come by and leave a nice coating on all the neighborhood streets.  Apparently we're running low on salt because I haven't seen a lick of it except for maybe on our hill, which would be impossible to drive up if it wasn't for the salt.

With all that said, you can imagine my predicament.  I'm on my way back from dropping off my last school goer.  I'm dressed fashionably in the Michelin Snow Tire Man look.  I'm on day two of a horrible migraine, meaning, I'm having a terrible time concentrating on anything since my brain doesn't really want to function at the moment.  I feel like taking my snow tire man self and curling up in a dark cave.  That's the only thing I'm thinking about.  Apparently, I should have been thinking about stopping at stop signs too.

I have been driving on this snow/ice combo for 3 years now.  I've got the hang of it.  I've learned how to drive carefully and slow, how to stop way before you need to, how to get enough momentum to go up an incline (hill), how to tap my brakes to stop, how to just be plain extra cautious.  It just goes to show that migraines mess with my stopping abilities (that's the only conclusion I can draw from all this).

So here I am coming to a stop at a 4 way stop in our neighborhood on flat ground.  I'm driving sllloooowww.  But not slow enough to stop on a sheet of ice apparently.  As I approach the intersection I see a police cruiser going through at a T to me.  If I don't stop I will most definitely hit him smack dab in the middle of his car.  I start to panic.  I start to sweat.  The only thing I can think of doing is laying on my horn to warn this innocent police man that my wheels are not stopping.  So I do.  I start honking like both our lives depend on it.  Who honks at a police officer???  I just knew I was going to get in trouble.  If for nothing else, than for honking at him.  There has to be a law against that somewhere.

Miracles never cease my friend, I am proof.  A mere 2 seconds before I brace for impact, his car passes and I continue sliding into the middle of the intersection, my foot firmly planted on my brake.  Thank God there were no other cars around, parked or moving.  Once I came to a stop, I laid my pounding head on the steering wheel, shut my eyes and tried to regain a regular breathing pattern.  I peeked out of the corner of my eye to see if the cop pulled over and was coming to give me a lecture.  He was nowhere in sight.

Later that day, I threw all the mail in the trash.  No reason, I just did cuz my brain was under attack from the barometric pressure demons.  To say I can't function with a migraine is an understatement.  I didn't know I threw the mail in the trash until Chuck got home from work and started filling the dumpsters for trash pick-up day.  He found many important pieces of mail in there.  He was shocked that it was me and not one of the kids who was the culprit.  So I guess I really have two goals for today, don't hit any police cars and don't throw the mail away (especially if there are bills in there or stuff we ordered from Amazon).  Thank God my brain is free and clear today.

If you see me driving around (during winter) and I honk at you, please know that I am not saying "hi", I'm encouraging you to move away from me as quickly as you can so I don't accidently hurt you.

Feb 27, 2014

Making the Bed

2/27/2014 — cori
I used to be a stickler for the kids making their bed 'the right way'.  Now, I could care less.  If I was a stickler I'd be missing out on beautiful scenes such as these every day:

This was taken during a snow day the kids had off school.  Notice Chloe's animals lining the window sill looking longingly outside waiting for a chance to play in all that white, fluffy goodness.

Each day Chloe describes to me the scene taking place on her bed.  So much thought and preparation goes into this.  This takes much more time than just pulling up your covers.  

Chloe LOVES to do things her own way.  If she can finagle it, she will.  If we are dead set on her doing something a specific way, we spell out in exact detail what we expect of her and tell her she has no choice in the matter.  But for most things we give the kids the freedom to choose how and when certain tasks get done, that way they 'own' it.  Chloe loves to own it.  She thrives in an environment where she can be creative and 'buck the system' (must have gotten that from her mother).  Technically, she did make her bed and I would be missing out on getting to see life through her precious little 9 year old eyes if I insisted on my way.

Gavin on the other hand does things the exact same way, the exact same time EVERY DAY!  He recently told us, "Mom, I realized something about myself, I love routine but not repetition." He feels safe inside his pre-determined schedule and order of things.  When that order is gone, he is very anxious.  I just love that he knows himself so well that he can express this statement, I couldn't have done that at his age.  I have seen this in him since infanthood.  As a child, he absolutely hated doing something over and over again - such as math or writing his letters.  In his mind, once he learned it, BAM, it was done, no need to harp on the same 'ol, same 'ol, let's move on to more interesting things. Who wants to write their A's a million times when you already know how to write it?!  Perfect logic - at least to him.  This explains alot when you look at his handwriting.  I remember when he was 3 and 4 and we would be writing letters on paper and his letters wouldn't look exactly like the letter, but close enough he would say, "Dat ok mom, right?  Dat ok." I love it because he does the same thing now, 12 years later. 

The older I get, the more lax I become as a parent.  Part of that is good and part of that is bad.  It makes me regret how anal or restrictive I was when the kids were younger.  But when they are younger they needed closer boundaries than they need now.  It's always such a delicate balancing act, isn't it?!  As the kids are getting older I seem to desperately want to cling to their childhoods.  I want to see things through their eyes better and not insist that my eyes are the only way of seeing things.  I want to treasure the innocence of a child like mind more.  I don't want them to rush into the next phase, even though I know I'll treasure that one just as much.  Childhood just seems so fleeting right now.  I never imagined at be at this stage so quickly.  I'm thankful for the new, relaxed perspective God has given me during this time.

Feb 25, 2014

Love Note

2/25/2014 — cori
I forever stand amazed/humbled at the amount of love bestowed upon me.
The note Bennett left for me on the kitchen counter before heading off to school this morning:



Come to find out, it is from a poem his friend shared with him last night, except that one said something about a circle of love between friends.  Bennett thought he'd put his own twist on it for me, though.

Feb 24, 2014

Sock Stories

2/24/2014 — cori
This is the story of my life.  It actually has a lot of do with socks.  My children's socks to be precise. You know how you're supposed to 'pick your battles'...this is one I don't fight any more.  I stopped fighting the battle of socks when each child was around age 2.  That's when I lost all control of socks in their lives.  Please don't read into this or try to make any analogies about my mothering abilities based on my not being able to control the socks my children wear.  There is no correlation what-so-ever.  It just is.  Socks are, I have come to discover, an expression of each person's personality.  Why not let them express it. Who wants to wear boring old white socks, right-side out?  Not my people, that's for sure!

Gavin

This used to really bother me. Like, I-can't-look-at-his-feet bother me.  He refuses to match his socks.  He could care less whether they are inside out or backwards for that matter (same holds true for underwear, but I won't be posting any pictures).  They are simply utilitarian in his world.  You have to wear socks in order to wear sneakers.  If he could find sneakers that don't need socks - he'd wear them instead.  Why bother with the details of socks when there are so many other more important issues to solve like algebraic equations and quantum relativity?  I asked him how he chooses his socks each day and he said, "I just pull out two pair from my drawer." ( while blind-folded - apparently).  That's as much effort as he puts into getting ready each day.  Thankfully, it's not my problem.  I don't do his laundry.  I don't match his socks.  I don't interfere in his sock life.  We're all much happier that way. You have freedom of choice in this family.

Chloe

Whimsical, fun, pretty feet.  For years I had her in those adorable little white ruffly, lace socks that folded down and just looked so girly.  No more.  Even then (at 2), she liked to miss match the ruffles. She'd choose one that was eyelet and another that was lace.  Whatever.  We've not been seeing eye-to-eye on her clothing choices since she was 9 months old, why fight about sock choices too.  Actually, this seeing eye-to-eye thing is more about them seeing things my way, the correct way.  Apparently, I am the student here and am learning through their eyes.  Life is more fun when you don't have to match (so I'm told).  Just for the record, I match my socks everyday - and I only wear clean ones, something I don't assume that any of my off-spring do.  She also likes to sleep in her socks and recycle them the next day, meaning, wear them again since she didn't get dirty in them the day before.  The hamper for dirty clothes is less than 25 feet from her room, yet it's just easier to recycle apparently.

Bennett

Always the sports dude.  Basketball socks are all the rage.  Not only that, they must  be team colors. Thus, the plethora of orange and black socks in his drawer.  Shockingly, he is the only one of the kids who takes care to match his socks daily and to make sure the seams at the the toes are perfectly straight. It's all about being cool for him.  He'll buy cool socks with his own money.  That says alot right there. None of my other people would even consider such a ridiculous waste of money.  But these are not only to be worn with the basketball uniform, they go nicely with jeans, sweat pants, shorts and flip flops.  All year long.

See what you can tell about someone just from their socks?  Next, I should take a picture of their sock drawers.  On second thought, I don't think so.  It may just send me into a state of eye twitching, heavy sighs and huffy breaths.  I love all things neat and organized.  My children think that just cuz it's out of sight, it's ok.  It is so not ok to have a messy sock drawer.  I just want to put that out there.  The state of your sock drawer says alot about the state of your mind.  That's a whole nother blog post.  But I refuse to belabor the point any longer.  If I don't see it, don't have to touch it or smell it or deal with it (referring to sock drawers), then what I don't know, won't hurt me.  That's my new philosophy.  On socks anyways.

Feb 22, 2014

Splendid Snow Snapshots

2/22/2014 — cori
Beautiful waves in the snow from the wind.

A huge snow bank at the high school.  Once they plow the
parking lot they shove all the snow into this huge embankment that
becomes a monster mountain.  It was Chuck's idea to go there to play
King of the Mountain.

My rocking chair I haven't sat on in 4 months.

Beautiful contrast of colors.  I love that there is still so
much green during the winter.

Ninja having a blast digging through the snow.

The snow is literally past my knees - and this was before
the blizzard that dumped another 10 inches on us.

It was much easier for them to climb this tree that is normally
too far off the ground without the snow.

What it looked like through our family room window the morning after the storm.

I love the sun - in any form I can get it!

Belated Valentine's

2/22/2014 — cori
You know how we roll around here.  Valentine's Day is for our homemade date at the Ghoti Diner, then the following weekend we celebrate by going out - but not together.  Chuck has taken Chloe to the Daddy/Daughter Dance for 4 years now.  This is the highlight of each year for her.  I get to out with two handsome dudes and do dude stuff.  Always a highlight for me.  Thankfully, this year did not include any mirrors
The princess ready to go to the ball.  

The princess and her escort.  When they got to the
venue and got their name tags, Chuck's tag said "Chucky".
He thought it was a joke I played on him since I registered
him for the event.  No, I totally wouldn't do that, but we all
got a good laugh about it!

This is actual height.  I'm shrinking daily. 

We're actually eating food on a date and enjoying it!

Smashburger and boys - what a good combo!

We risked the icy roads and post blizzard conditions to go to our favorite (cheap) theater in Minneapolis to watch "Saving Mr. Banks".  So fun!  I tried to cut Gavin out of the picture, but he would have none of that!

Feb 14, 2014

True Love

2/14/2014 — cori

"I fell in love with him.  But I don't just stay with him by default as if there's no one else available to me.  I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other.  I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me."
- Veronica Roth Allegiant

I don't know why this quote struck me the way it did.  It was one of those moments that as soon as I read those words, I put down the book, stared off into space thinking on those simple words and knowing settled over me.  I knew at that moment this defined true love.  We've fallen in love many times throughout our marriage.  We've also experienced the lulls of love, when it feels its waned a little too long.  When the mundaneness of life dictates our routines.

Ann Voskamp said it so poetically when she wrote: "You would think that after a lifetime of Sunday sermons I would have known that this is what real love always does---goes to hell and back for each other."

Marriage is work and joy and heartache and utopia and forgiveness and disappointment and acceptance and desire and sacrifice.  It is too many things all wrapped into one precious gift that becomes tested with time.  It is the fusion of two hearts into one.  Fusion requires a letting go of oneself in order to produce its desired outcome....a melding of two.

Love is a choice.  An every day choice.

I choose you.

Feb 12, 2014

Under the Spotlight

2/12/2014 — cori
Apparently this is Placate Mommy Week and I didn't know it.  First I have to defend my coolness when under attack from Gavin because he questions my music choices (shouldn't the tables be reversed here?).  Now I'm getting it from Chloe, albeit in a totally unforeseen direction.  The other day she comes and gives me a hug, looks up at me and says (like I so often do to her), "Mom, you know my favorite thing about you?  How you play with your vitamin pills."  Really?!  That's your favorite thing about me?  I'm baffled.  I wasn't aware I played with my pills.  Upon noticing my confused expression she delves into greater detail, "Ya, you always spin them around or flip them back and forth while you're drinking your tea.  I think that's kinda cute."

Am I 5 years years old all of the sudden?  I guess I did just fall off the turnip truck if my playing with vitamins is deemed 'cute' by my 9 year old.  Man....these people are ALWAYS watching me, I can't get away with nothin!   I better start taking my vitamins like a grown up and stop playing with them.  How can you stop doing something you weren't aware of doing?

Then comes Bennett, ever my encourager and biggest fan.  He leaves me sticky notes all over the place, on my bedroom door, on the computer.  He's always trying to lift my spirits if he thinks they are low (normally my spirits are just tired and want to go to bed, but a big dose of encouragement doesn't hurt).  Here are two examples that were left on my computer desktop:

You rock mom!  You are very amazing how you deal 
with your headaches  and stomach aches!  If I had to live 
like that for just one day I would be very snappy 
and upset!  Also I just wanted to let you know
 that you are a very good cheerleader!  Also, remember 
to use your elbows and flipping techniques if 
somebody tries to hurt you! :)     From, Bennett 

_________

最もよいお母さんである!
 That means.... You are the best Mom ever!  
Make sure you read this Mom! :)
From, Bennett

So last night when I'm tucking him in he looks up at me with the hugest smile to say: "Keep up the good work, Mom!  I love how you're always trying to show us Jesus."  How can you not go to bed feeling on top of the world when that's how your night ends?!  

I have THE BEST JOB EVER even if my cool status is questioned periodically and they notice my childish behavior. 

Feb 11, 2014

Unbelieveable

2/11/2014 — cori
Yesterday Gavin and I were driving in the car while listening to my Most Awesome Playlist.  It is an extremely eclectic mix of genres and artists.  Thankfully, the kids have given their stamp of approval to some of the songs...the ones that have been released within the last 3 years.  The rest of them are considered "old classics" to them.  How anyone could speak of music from the 80's and 90's with that tone of voice is beyond me.  When I hear "old classics" I think of 50's music.  Since when did I have to start defending my choice in music? Whatever.

But now that I have an uber-cool 15 year old who knows everything and anything about "cool" and since I just recently fell off the turnip truck, I am forever under his "cool" scrutiny.  Especially my music.  So, back to the story at hand...we're driving around and all the sudden from my super cool playlist this song erupts through the stereo speakers:

Unbelievable by EMF


Gavin: "Mom, I'm surprised you like this song."

Me:  "What?  You don't think I'm cool?  Oh! I know cool."

Gavin:  "I'm just saying I didn't think this was a kind of song you would like."

Me:  "Well, there's alot about me you don't know about.  I have a wild side you know."

He laughs a smug little laugh at me while condescendingly shaking his head and simultaneously smirking.

Gavin: "Mom.  I don't think you have a wild side."

Me:  "Well. Ok.  Maybe not wild.  But definitely unpredictable.  As you can tell by my playlist.  And I know how to be cool!"

Gavin:  "I'm sure you do." (condescending smile)

Me:  "Ok, so I don't even know half the words to this song.  I just like the "unbelievable" part.  Plus, it reminds me of college.  I think that's when it was popular."

So we then proceed to look it up since we all carry around mini computers in the palm of our hands these days.  We google the song only to find out it was released in 1991.  OMG!  (see how cool and hip I am, I can even type in text acronyms).  That is a long time ago.  Actually, it was the year I graduated from high school.  I told him we'd gladly play it for him for his high school graduation party so he could feel UN-BE-LIEVE-ABLE and cool too.  But he declined.  He says he'll put it off till his college graduation party when it will be more like 30 years old.

I'll still be cool then.  As long as they keep adding modern songs to my playlist when I'm not looking.



Feb 9, 2014

Don't Make Me Sigh

2/09/2014 — cori
Apparently, I sigh a lot.  I never really knew this until the kids pointed it out.  I guess over the years I've learned to sigh when I don't know how to handle a parenting situation.  When there's not a rule book to consult in what do in situation x, y or z.  Now I'm left with the task of figuring out what to do all on my own.  That's enough to make anyone sigh.

It's not like they're long drawn out sighs.  Or huffy breaths.  Or sighs with moans attached to them.  Actually, I have my own little patented sigh.  It's a slight inhale then one short breath out followed by a quick quiet inhale and another long breath out (sort of like a cleansing breath).  The kids mimic me EVERY SINGLE TIME.  This is just what I do, I don't even realize it.  I don't do it to get attention.  I don't do it when I'm mad or sad or glad...I just do it Sam I am.  Sorry, I got a little carried away with the Dr. Seuss theme.

As with all things around here, it has turned into a joke.  Chloe, ever sensitive to my altering breaths, moods or nuances, will stop the boys on a dime with the phrase, "Boys, you don't want to make mom sigh do you?"  That would be the worst thing that could happen.  It would mean her world and mine are not in a state of peace anymore.

It's a great way to defuse a volatile situation, especially in our house.  All I have to say is say, "Don't make me sigh" and everyone becomes sweet little angels once more.  Oh if parenting were really that easy....

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