Dec 31, 2016

Injury Prone

12/31/2016 — cori

The other day after basketball practice Bennett came walking out holding onto a bag of ice. Oh no! I thought, I hope he didn't break his pinky again! Bennett slides in the car, sees my questioning eyes and explains that he dropped a 45 pound free-weight on his thumb right at the end of practice. 

Deep sigh.

Poor kid. He is so injury prone. He is always the one to get hurt. We have banned him from trampolines for this very reason. At 7 he already twisted his knee and ankle while jumping on the trampoline. While hiking, he's the one who trips over roots and scrapes an entire side of his body. While canoeing, he's the one who gets a leech attached to leg after swimming in the river. After wrestling with Chuck, he's the one who gets a tooth knocked out. While playing hide and seek in the woods, he's the one who gets poison ivy over his entire body. Luck is not on his side. 

The scary thing was, the wound wouldn't stop bleeding for an entire day. He had ice on it most of the day; had it above his heart, and had pressure applied. Still, the bleeding wouldn't stop. We went through an entire box of gauze. Finally, by day two the bleeding subsided and the swelling went down a bit, but the throbbing and pain persisted. 

Bennett learned two valuable lessons from this experience: 1) always take safety precautions when moving free weights - don't be in a hurry and 2) never take opposable thumbs for granted - they are awesome and life is hard without the use of them.

Dec 30, 2016

Reading Together

12/30/2016 — cori

This Christmas Gavin bestowed upon me the gift of books. He knows me. He loves me. He understands me. He even went so far as to check what books I had waiting for future purchase on my Amazon Wish List. That's devotion right there. But he didn't get me any of those books. Instead, he got me two of his personal favorites, Wuthering Heights and The Great Gatsby.

I must confess, I never read those books in high school nor for personal pleasure. I applaud Gavin's English Literature teacher for making such old, difficult books appealing and applicable to his age and era. Good literature usually is. 

Ever since the kids were born, I've been a huge believer in reading aloud with them. It's as natural to us to sit down and read a book aloud together as it is to watch tv together. So I asked Gavin if he wouldn't mind reading aloud the books he gave me. Can I just say how awesome it is to be the one read to instead of the one reading aloud?! I just love hearing him read and letting my imagination wander to wherever the story is taking me. No wonder the kids have loved it all these years. I also love that the tables are turned and Gavin is doing the reading. I only have 9 months left with him living with me. This is special time together. Time listening to my sweet boy's voice calms my soul. 

He admits he also enjoys the experience because it helps him better understand things that slipped by him on his first reading. Reading aloud also brings the characters to life. You read slower when you read aloud and are forced to work through harder passages that you might have easily skipped or skimmed through if reading to yourself. 

Whatever the reason, Gavin is speaking my love language right now and I am basking in the love!

Dec 28, 2016

Growing Up In The 70s

12/28/2016 — cori

Tonight at dinner we were reminiscing about the 70s. Why? I have no idea. For the life of me I can't figure out how our conversation digressed to that period of history. My only positive connection to that era is that I was born in it and had to play with the toys available to me at the time. And yellow was the decade's favorite color (apparently avocado green as well).

I was telling the children of my very favorite show: Buck Rogers. I had never seen Star Wars and had no idea it was a copycat of that show. I remember being outside playing with my friends but when it was time for Wonder Woman and Buck Rogers shows on TV, I would sprint home and sit in front of our fuzzy, rabbit-eared tv that only had 3 channels with eager anticipation. I even had Wonder Woman underroos. If they had Buck Rogers underroos for girls, I so would have had those too.

Then I got to thinking about my Holly Hobbie oven. I remember sitting in my room stirring a packet of mix and water with a little plastic spoon into a teeny, tiny pan and shoving it in my "oven" so that the mixture could cook from the heat of a light bulb.

This brings up a multitude of questions. First of all, why in the world would my parents allow me to have an oven in my room? Second, how can anything legally be cooked using a light bulb? Why was this my introduction to cooking? I was doomed to failure from the start. No wonder it is so hard for me now-a-days - I began this whole cooking adventure using miniature kitchen tools, in my room, with an electric oven that "cooked" food (cakes and pizzas) using a 60 watt bulb. Whose genius idea was this? Everybody knows real cooks cook with gas.

My failure as a home cook can be traced back to this lame "oven". I remember thinking even at the tender age of 6 and 7 that this couldn't possibly work. It just didn't seem right to me. I was infinitely more interested in my Barbie townhouse.

No, this isn't a picture of me, but it may as well have been. I spent so much time with this amazing toy honing my inner interior designer. My Bapchie even crocheted rugs for every room in the townhouse for me. I decorated it to the 9s. The only down side was that when my brother (4 years younger than me) played with me and insisted on using his Tonka Truck men, it was a little embarrassing. That's cuz those guys were like 3 inches shorter than Barbie. Granted, he willingly spoke the narrative I explicitly told him to say word for word so the relational interactions would make sense, but it was just awkward with the height difference.

I spent most of my time outside, however, playing until the sun went down. When I wasn't riding my bigwheel, I was roller skating right down the middle of the street, or jumping off of swings, or making floorplans of houses with grass clippings, or laying in the grass watching the clouds roll by, or playing school in my friend's basement, or playing at the park. None of this happened with a single parent around. A ragady group of kids would just roam the neighborhood. Everybody's mom was your mom. You could get in trouble with any of them and they would spank you too! Everybody's mom could also kiss your boo-boos and adhere necessary band-aids. Everybody's mom would also feed you and tell you to put your coat on so you don't catch a cold.

It's funny the few memories that actually stick from childhood. I wonder what my kids will remember from their childhoods? I'm sure it will be different from my memories, but that's the beauty of it. We all see the same things from different perspectives. This makes the world a more beautiful place. It rounds out all of our memories for the better.

Dec 14, 2016

What Love Looks Like

12/14/2016 — cori

Today was the last day of class with my Somali students before winter break. I have such a faithful group of students. A student/teacher relationship grows through-out the school year and often becomes very personal. The students grow to trust you, depend on you, and show their vulnerabilities. You open yourself up to each other and often-times a great bond/attachment is formed. 

This is the case with several of my students. One student in particular, Habiba, showed her great affection for me by braving the -17 degree temperature today. Halfway through class we have a 15 minute break. In that timeframe, she bundled up and walked a block away to the Somali Market to buy me this delicious sambusa. It is a pastry filled with meat and spices. She got back to class and presented me with a warm bag. I asked her what it was. She couldn't stop smiling. She said, "For you good teacher, sambusa. Eat." I had 6 students today and they all told me, "We will wait while you eat. Enjoy." It was as if all of my students shared in the giving of this precious gift to show their deepest gratitude. I tried to share them with the class, but they would have none of that. 

I was overwhelmed and so very grateful. It is a universal human trait to give what we have (or value) to those we love and appreciate . It just so happens, my students love me enough to give me one of their favorite foods. I am honored. I have received many unique gifts and trinkets from multiple foreign countries through-out my years of teaching. But this simple, loving gesture humbled me the most.

Dec 4, 2016

Christmas Palindrome

12/04/2016 — cori

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care....
because of the way Gavin put them there
He taped and taped so they wouldn't fall down,
secure in their spot so the parents wouldn't frown.
When asked why they spelled JOYOJ, Gavin replied,
"It's a Christmas palindrome" with a sparkle in his eye.

Caroling in the Bathroom

12/04/2016 — cori
Chloe had a friend spend the night this weekend. After spending their evening making chocolate covered pretzels and chicken tacos to serve to the fam (and in the process making the largest mess possible!) these two got all dolled up. They spent hours doing each other's hair and make-up. My bathroom shares a wall with Chloe's bathroom. As I'm in the tub last night, I hear the faint sound of Christmas carols coming through the wall. Hmmm, that's odd, I think to myself. Why would the girls be singing Christmas carols? I go check on them and this is what I see:

Chloe is actually looking up the lyrics to different songs so they can sing them in their entirety. Never mind that it's 10:30 at night. Never mind that they are doing their hair only to go to bed in a matter of minutes. 

They are 12 year old girls and blissfully happy. This is what 12 year old girls do - they sing Christmas carols in the bathroom late at night while doing hair and make-up. Oh to be 12 again.

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