Jun 24, 2019

Minnesota Time

6/24/2019 — cori

This past week, Bennett, Chloe, and I got to visit Minnesota together.

We spent a great deal of time playing. This was the first winning tennis team.

This was the first losing tennis team.

This was the second winning tennis team.

This was the second losing tennis team. The common denominator is I was the loser both times.

However, I prevailed in squash against Bennett.

We tried our luck on indoor courts to no avail. We can't seem to beat a 69 and 71 year old no matter how hard we try. Granted, Bennett was playing with tendonitis in his knee and I was still recuperating from the accident. But we sure gave them a run for their money.

While we were busy playing, Chloe was doing a different sort of playing. She was visiting her favorite little neighbors and playing all the fun imagination games they used to play. She talks about these sweet girls all the time and sure does miss them. I'm so glad they were home and had the time to get together on such short notice.

And life just doesn't get better than getting the chance to visit with your best friend from Minnesota. Chloe and Aspen had a few hours to catch up, which is nowhere near enough for two 15 year olds, but any time together was a gift in itself. They took what they could get and made the most of it.

But this was the real reason for our visit. 

We came to surprise my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary. Sveta carved this amazing watermelon.

As well as made this incredibly delicious cake. All I made was a little video - no food.

We had fun taking lots of pictures on the beautiful grounds of the Falconer Vineyards in Red Wing, Minnesota. 

The grandparents with all the grandkids except for Gavin.

Ryan and Sveta and the girls.

Me and the kids.

A nice stroll through the vineyard. It was a wonderful, memorable time.

Jun 17, 2019

Camping In Colorado

6/17/2019 — cori

This past weekend we ended a 4 year self-imposed moratorium on camping. The Mallott Camping Rain Curse has been heavily documented over the years. And if it wasn't raining on our parade, then the bugs, specifically mosquitos, were poised against our enjoyment of the outdoors. Yet, we remained optimistic thinking "this time will be better". Why?! For the love of God, why can't we just admit we suck at camping?! The curse is real people. Even if we go with other avid campers who've never experienced our drama, we somehow suck them into our portal of bad luck instead of the other way around. This time was no exception.

John and Karen invited us camping with them. John is an avid hunter. He knows how to camp, doesn't get all bent out of shape about a little bad weather, and has all the tools and stuff to make a camping adventure easier and rain-proof. We scheduled this trip 6 months ago with the thought that summer camping would be fun, rain free, and warm. How could anything go wrong? The week leading up to our camping date showed an 80% chance of rain with temperatures plummeting into the low 30s at night.

John ensured the rain would stay off our tent by providing us with this fantastic tarp. Sadly, the tarp did nothing to keep the 32 degrees out of our tent.

This is the face of a "not-happy-camper".  Chloe did not sleep all night. Apparently our sleeping bags and quilts were not enough of a defense against the freezing night air. This was our first attempt at sleeping outside in freezing temperatures.

The first bird started its morning song around 4am. I was finally brave enough to make a run for the car by 5:07am. I literally could not feel my toes they were so numb. We all sat in the car with the heater blasting 90 degree air for 2 hours waiting for John and Karen to wake up.

 They enjoyed all the comforts of home in this camper they rented. I am now of the opinion that campers make camping easier. It helps take the primitive out of nature.

However, when we decided to take our kids on their very fist camping adventure in March of 2008, we were going to do it primitive. We didn't have a lot of money to buy all the right gear. We were given a tent for Christmas one year. We all had sleeping bags. We lived in Texas, so rain and/or bad weather wasn't a problem. We had a cooler to put all our food in and we had chairs to set up around a camp fire. What more do you need? This wasn't a costly venture, it was done out of practicality and with great cost efficiency. And the kids loved it! How can they not, the whole outdoors becomes their playground. It feeds their curiosity. They can use their endless amounts of energy running everywhere. It's such a great activity to do with young kids. And therein lies the key phrase: young kids. We are no longer in that phase of life. We actually only took one of our kids on this latest trip and she was having none of it. Except for when she was in the hammock with her young cousins.

That was a happy place.

I had a great time with my little snuggle bug on this trip. I was his horsey and he was the cowboy. 

We were very lucky to get campsites right next to each other which makes hanging out that much more fun.

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful setting. We were at 10,100 feet above sea level. I think the altitude had a lot to do with how incredibly cold it still was in June. I guess if you can still see snow, it means it's still cold. And as we've learned living in CO the past two years, afternoon thunderstorms are very common. 

When it rained after dinner and throughout the night, we just got cozy in the camper and played a lot of games and stayed dry.

But the moonrise was pretty.

 The next morning we decided to pack up our tent early. It was forecasted to rain the entire day. We would rather put our tent away early and enjoy the rest of the day. We were supposed to stay a second night, but after the first nights' frozen fiasco, we knew there would be no second night. But that didn't stop us from enjoying the second day. We played cornhole (the girls won).

We threw lots of rocks into the lake.

We made fire.

This was such a beautiful setting. It was a fun time together. And we actually ended up with periods of sun and warmish weather believe it or not. But it also cemented our decision to never camp again. We will be happy to accompany any fellow campers who desire our company while staying in a cabin. But that's our minimum requirement from now on. We love nature. We love exploring. We love outdoor adventures. We do not love rain. We do not love cold. We do not love numb toes. We are not primitive and we are not wealthy. We may not be able to afford camping in style in a camper, but we can afford a cabin for a night. A structure that is sure to keep out bugs, rain, and cold. This is the new "us". Goodbye camping. It was funnish (not really) while it lasted. You gave us lots of memories (filled with rain and cold). But life is a cycle and full of change. We are ready to embrace that change with open arms.

Jun 7, 2019


6/07/2019 — cori

This Spring we planted a new tree in the back yard. It's one of our favorites for its beautiful branching structure, leaf patterns that allow dappled lighting to filter through, and for its spectacular fall color. We are so excited to watch it grow.

When we bought it, it hadn't started to leaf out yet. So we would excitedly check it everyday to see if its leaves had bloomed yet. One morning when I went to check on the tree, I saw the above photo. I was puzzled. That is not what I know the leaves to look like, nor is it the same color of leaf. Hmmm.

Then I became super intrigued and the thought hit me: the growth process doesn't always look like what it will become.

How cool is that?! I just love epiphanies. Of course I'm going to take take this example and extrapolate it out to real life. When I am in the beginning throes of learning something new, my learning process looks nothing like the final outcome. I struggle with the concept, I turn it inside out and upside down. I read all different viewpoints of it. And then I start forming my own opinion. Then the concept starts fleshing out in my own life. It's a messy, ugly, fascinating, beautiful thing to behold. 

If we're honest with ourselves, the growth process is messy, unpredictable, exhilarating, scary, challenging, bumpy, isolating, and often filled with doubt. We often fail before we succeed. And it's in the grip of those failures that the final experiential processes are formed and we begin to own that thought/idea/opinion/knowledge/truth. Isn't that beautiful?!

So the lesson, as I see it, is to be patient with ourselves and others as they are growing into who they are becoming. We can't mock the process, we must embrace it. We need to give each other space to grow, to mess up, to try again. 

The hope is that in the end, the growth turns into something beautiful. 

Jun 6, 2019

Chloe's Dream

6/06/2019 — cori

This is Chloe's friend Katie. She is super sweet. They are super tight. The other day, Chloe told me about a dream she had that involved Katie. I have to record it here because it was so hilarious I didn't want to forget it.

So in the dream, Katie and her family are going on a trip to Mexico. Katie calls Chloe last minute and tells her that her sister can't come and they want her to come instead. Chloe asks me. I say (and this is the proof that it's a dream), "Well...you have your finals this week, Honey. But I guess I could take them for you."

While she's in Mexico, she gets a notification from school saying she has to retake 9th grade. Apparently I failed all her finals. She was not happy with me.

A couple insights into this dream: 1) I think Chloe was nervous about finals  2) I think she had visions of running away and escaping them  3) I think she thinks I'm more lenient than I am  4) I think she's afraid of failing 9th grade and 5) why am I not as smart as a 9th grader?

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