Apr 22, 2019

Ten Years Ago

4/22/2019 — cori

Funny thing about time, it stops for no one. This was me and my people 10 years ago. I could not begin to fathom what they or I would look like, do, be, enjoy, or where we would live ten years from this moment in time. All I knew was that I had my favorite people around me and enjoyed them to the fullest. I don't look back with regret and I didn't look forward with dread.

I was and still am excited about who my kids are becoming, where life is taking them, and what our relationships look like now. The one constant I've learned over my years of learning how to be a mom is that as soon as you think you know what you're doing, everything changes. This has been a journey in learning more about myself as I learn how to read my children; learning how to accept change. I honestly delight in who they are at every stage of their lives. Life equals change. Change equals growth. Growth equals pain. I'm so thankful we get to do this life together.

These kids have taught me how to be a mom. It is an ever-changing, on-going process. I will never arrive. I will (hopefully) continue to grow and change as they do so I can be what they need when they need it. I never set out to be the perfect mom or to raise perfect kids. We are all acutely aware of our faults, challenges, insufficiencies, quirks, and imperfections. Those very things are what endear us to each other. 

I can only imagine what life will look like ten years from now. One thing I do know....it will be different, but it will be beautiful because life is good. As Henry Miller says, "The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware."

May I live everyday aware of the gifts these people in my life bring me. If I do that, I won't focus on the inconveniences, the frustrations, the irritations, the exhaustion, and the disappointment that parenthood inevitably brings. I will choose to focus on the good because good is plentiful, plentiful is abundance,  abundance is love, and love wins. Always.

Apr 16, 2019

Tea Sesh

4/16/2019 — cori

This is not the "tea sesh" I'm talking about. Although, it's very similar. I have been lucky enough to live with teenagers long enough now that I am privy to all the latest sayings and nomenclature of their generation. It will be a sad day when I loose this inside track. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

In my day, "rad" and "cool" and "like, oh my gosh" (said in your best mall-girl voice) were all the rage. Our poor parents were forced to learn their latest meanings without the aid and or benefit of the internet.

This is not my first rodeo. I blogged about this same exact grammatical nomenclature phenomenon of teenagers back when Gavin was 15. Five years ago! Two thoughts on that: Man! I can't believe it's been that long ago! and Some things never change. That's the beauty of adolescence, they live to be different from their parents, make their own way, change things up. And it starts by changing the language.

I've been very grateful that my children have chosen not to incorporate swearing into their vernacular. It's been a constant in their lives since they entered public school. They have actually become dulled to it (unlike their mother). It doesn't affect them negatively but they still don't see the need to include "shock and awe" in their speech by inserting inappropriate words to make a point. I will always appreciate that about my kids.

But what they are not shy about incorporating is the latest greatest slang. The newest terminology I recently learned is: Tea. I actually had to look it up in the Urban Dictionary even though Chloe has attempted to explain it to me multiple times.

From what I understand, it's the new word for "gossip".  Chloe has been known to say things such as, "So the new tea in school today is..." or "What's the tea with you and dad?" or "I have tea for you." Translated as ...."here's the latest news/what's going on and I want to talk with you about it."

So the other night at dinner (if only I had a dollar for every time I've said that...), Chloe was explaining some drama that some of her friends were going through. At the end of the explanation she says, "So, that was a fun tea sesh." It took me a few minutes to understand the use of the expression, but ultimately, I understood it to mean that our gossip session was over and she enjoyed it.

Welcome to my world.

Apr 10, 2019

Fun at Fifteen

4/10/2019 — cori

I think all good birthday blogs should begin with: How has my baby gotten so big, so fast?

It was just yesterday she was rolling around in the grass with not a care in the world.

And now we look big and self-sufficient and gorgeous. How? Why? When?

A few days before her birthday she goes from braces (that she's had on for almost 3 years), 

....to braces free. So much change, so fast. But isn't that what adolescence is all about?

One day she's going on a date with Daddy looking like this.

And the very next day she went on a date with Daddy looking like this. Again, I ask the question, how is this even possible? 

It doesn't only happen with Chuck. It happened to me too!

The part I find the hardest to accept in this whole venture is that I am now the shortest one. Not fair!

The day of Chloe's birthday finally arrived. We had been hinting that we would throw her a QuinciƱera party. I told her I already picked out her dress and everything. She wasn't 100% sure we were joking. I have a lot of Mexican friends and could have easily pulled it off with their help! It would have been awesome and totally fun - for me. But she would have been embarrassed beyond words. She hates any type of attention on her. So we opted for a small family gathering instead. In this picture she is showing the gift we gave her - 3 delicate stackable rings. I told her that Dad is the bottom ring, she is the middle one, and I am the top one. We are always hugging her. 

We woke up and immediately went to the DMV so Chloe could get her Driver's Permit. Again...why are they letting children drive now? In all honesty though, she is probably the best driver at this point in the process than the boys when they were at this age/stage. She's not as nervous and is cool, calm, and collected. Although, she does tend to veer toward the yellow middle line a little too much for my liking. I think that's because she's left-handed though. The boys on the other hand, felt more comfortable driving on the curb and telling me what awesome drivers they were constantly. Chloe lets any one of us give her constructive criticism. 

After passing the permit test on the second try and grabbing a treat at Panera's we headed over to a local pottery shop to paint pottery for 2 hours. It was cathartic and fun.

We finished up the day by opening presents after 5:10pm - the time of her birth. 

Chloe asked for a yellow cake with white flowers that had a 15 on it. Well....you could say I checked all the boxes, but it didn't turn out anything like the picture in my head. First of all, I couldn't even get the cakes out of the pans. They were literally stuck in there. So that is where they stay. Then, my flowers ended up sucking and not looking anything like flowers. The green icing I bought for the leaves ended dumping out all over the cake. I had to scrape that out and ended up making leaves using a sharp knife dipped into the blob of green icing on the paper towel. This is just how we roll. We know things are not going to go according to plan, we just don't know which things and how. That keeps the excitement and sense of adventure alive. Chloe was very gracious and said she liked her cake. I did score a win on the homemade frosting in the color of her choice.

The day after her birthday, we met Uncle John and Aunt Karen at P.F. Changs, the restaurant of her choice, for her birthday lunch. Then we came home and had a family Chopped competition. It was the Guys vs. the Girls. It was so much fun! 

Apr 6, 2019

Spring Break #2

4/06/2019 — cori

This year the kids' Spring Break was 2 weeks after mine. No worries though, I was able to take 2 spring breaks so I could enjoy it with all the kids. Here we all are in the hallway of the hotel walking 4 abreast cuz that's how we do it.  

We had this trip planned for a long time. Bennett was interested in checking out some colleges in Utah. And since it's one of our favorite places to go, we thought we'd leave early and take to kids to one of our favorite spots...Moab.

The day we left, it was snowing. We drove though a lot of fog and snow through the mountain passes. It still looked very much like winter that high in elevation.

Thankfully, by time we hit Moab the sun was out and snow was an after-thought. Although, it was still quite cold and windy.

We were hoping to take the kids through the Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park - the place where we had our most epic hike to date this past September. But, alas, it wasn't meant to be. You have to get a permit in order to hike there and they had no permits left. Not to fear though, we found a hike that was equal in awe and wonder...The Devil's Garden.

The Devil's Garden has you climb rock outcroppings called "fins". Here are Chuck and Chloe on the first fin we came to. 

It doesn't look too scary from this picture. But I was holding on for dear life. Remember our motto: "It's not an adventure unless Mom's scared." This was an incredible adventure.

From this perspective, you can see why I was so nervous. We were out there on the end of that fin with massive drop offs on either side. It was a huge adrenaline rush - if an adrenaline rush means you feel like you're about to throw up the whole time. 

Do you see all those rocks behind Chloe and Bennett, those are fins as well. They are on the edge of a fin we just finished walking down. I can't even describe the fear. The wind was blowing so hard, I almost lost my hat. 

I had to walk the ledge holding on to Chuck's hand with a death grip. It's hard to tell the perspective in this picture as well...suffice it to say it was steep, high, narrow, with a long way to fall off either side. 

I asked Bennett to hold on to Chloe as they scaled the fin in front of us. He held her by her backpack because it was so windy, I thought she might blow away.

This is opposite direction of the fin we were on. Did I mention how cold it was? It was in the high 30s with a wicked 12-15 mph wind blowing. This is not something you can tell from the pictures, everything looks so serene and sunny.

After making it through some difficult (understatement) terrain with our lives still intact, we came across this beautiful vista. Some nice hikers took our family picture.

We finally made it to the Double O Arch, although you can only see the one arch the kids are sitting in. There is another one above them. Come to find out - after the fact - they weren't exactly allowed to be sitting in the actual arch. Ooops. My bad.

After traversing the 1.2 miles of difficult rock fin trail to get to this point of interest, we opted for the "primitive" trail that circled back around. Mind you, there are no maps or other signage anywhere along this trail that is about a 4 mile round trip. We read at the beginning that our trek could take anywhere from 3-5 hours. We did it in exactly 3 hours, probably the longest hike we've ever done as a family.

Which meant some people were getting tired. Thus the need for a pit stop for Bennett to replenish his dwindling food supply and Chloe to take a nap.

These runes were our only guides letting us know we were going the right direction while on the "primitive" trail.

This was the only place Chloe got afraid. She made it through all the places I was scared with no problem. But it was here, where we had to slide down a bit of a steep ledge where she needed Dad to rescue her.

After eating our picnic lunch huddled in the warmth of the car (because we were chilled to the bone), we decided to head over to Dead Horse Point. It overlooks Canyonland National Park. My people are all perched on the edge of a cliff face looking at The Island in the Sky.

Here we're just chillin. Our feet were killing us from our previous hike. This is all we had energy for.

Proof that I too, stand on the edge of cliffs with people I love. 

This picture just makes me happy.

We stayed at the most epic hotel! This will now be our standard for all hotels in the future. 

Because Bennett is Bennett, he brings his basketball everywhere, even on vacation. You should have seen the look of pure bliss when we pull up to this hotel to see that they have a hoop in the parking lot! Life just does not get any better than this. After a 6 hour drive, he was immediately ready to shoot some hoops.

We finished our day by grabbing dinner at the best food truck in Moab. 

We were in quesadilla heaven. We took our quesadillas back to eat in the beautiful lounge of the hotel we love so much.

As a surprise bonus, Chloe's friend, Sydney from Minnesota also just happened to be spending her spring break in Moab. Her and her mom stopped by the hotel to visit for a while. What a small world!

The next day we woke up to rain and fog. But it didn't deter us because we were scheduled to drive 4 hours down to Cedar City. As soon as we got there we picked up some snacks and went immediately to the theater to watch The Lego 2 Movie.

The following morning Bennett had a private tour of SUU. Our tour guide was so kind and gave us a very detailed tour of the campus. However, Bennett wasn't feeling it, even though they had a lot of great things to offer. 

From there it was immediately back in the car again to drive the 5 hours to Grand Junction, CO - our last stopping point before heading home.

Unbeknownst to us, Grand Junction is home of this amazing national treasure called The Colorado National Monument National Park. Look at that! It was stunning. We ended up following the road at the top of the canyon that wound around and around and around for over an hour. We stopped at every single lookout to admire its grandeur and beauty.

Here was one such lookout.

Here was another. I think Chloe had had it with beautiful vistas by this point.

But Chuck and I were soaking it in!

As a final treat on our way out of the park, we watched a family of mountain goats traverse the steep inclines of the canyon.

And there you have it folks. We made it home by Tuesday afternoon and were able to enjoy the rest of our spring break in "staycation" style in the comfort of our own beds. 

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