Oct 7, 2004

A Jetted Bath Tub and Three Little People

10/07/2004 — cori

Chuck normally bathes the kids. He likes to do it and he's good at it. That is the preface for this story. Therefore, a reasonable person could deduct from that statement that I don't like to bathe the kids and am not good at it. And one would be correct in assuming that to be true. The kids normally get their baths at night, but lately our evenings have been so busy, there hasn't even been time for night baths. So, I had to bathe them Tuesday morning (I won't even go into how many days it had been since the last bath. Suffice it to say....the bath HAD to be done that day and the morning wasn't soon enough).

Since Chloe has developed into quite the chunk, she doesn't even fit into her baby bath anymore, so I opted to put her in the big bath with the boys. All in my tub. That was mistake number one. Actually, I can't even begin to number the mistakes I made because I loose count somewhere around 53. So, here I am in my bathroom with three little people in one big tub - with jets. The boys love to run the jets and make bubbles. But I thought that might scare Chloe, so I told them that they could push the button to begin the jets just as soon as I took her out.

It is important to note here, that in order for the jets to work properly, the water must be over the holes where the air blows out of in order to create the bubble effect. Otherwise you get more of a mini hurricane effect with air and water squirting everywhich way throughout the entire room. Do I even need to go into the disaster that is about to occur? I'm sure you've guessed by now.

So, I'm in the process of trying to remove a very wet, slippery and wiggly 6 month old out of a tub of water and wrap a towel around her (yeah right, with my 3rd arm) when Bennett asks if it's now okay to push the button to turn on the jets. I didn't even bother to check and see if the water line was above the jets. It was when I put Chloe in. In all my wisdom, I decided that that would be fine. ( One could also dedcue that I don't have all that much wisdom).

Here comes the fun part. I'm now standing on the bath mat with a little butterball in my hands and all of the sudden it feels as if someone has decided to turn the hose on full blast and squirt it at me and Chloe and then all over the bathroom. I'm blind-sided and confused and very WET!!! Did I mention that I was already dressed for the day (and not in grubby clothes either) with hair done and everything - that alone is a feat in itself and now it is all quickly getting ruined with the mini hurricane.

I find myself yelling over the confusion to "PUSH THE BUTTON!!!" while attempting to run for shelter and to keep Chloe from getting sprayed in the face. As I'm running out of the bathroom holding Chloe out in front of me (still sopping wet) and screaming for somebody, anybody to put and end to the madness, I find my feet are no longer under me. I start to panic and am trying to make it through the tiny opening they call my bathroom door (I don't even think it's two feet wide) to get to the carpet. At this point, my main goal is to not drop Chloe.

I found out that the doorway is definately not wide enough. As my butt landed on the vinyl floor just before the opening, my arms and legs (all in front of me by this time) all hit parts of the doorjam. Chloe landed softly on the carpet on her bottom and sat there unfazed, like this is how we always get out of the tub. I'm already fearing the worst....that I broke a foot or arm or something. At least Chloe is unharmed (thank God!!!).

I don't quite remember when the jets stopped but as I sit in the tiny way, throbbing in pain and still holding Chloe I do two things: 1) I thank God I have a very good cushion on my back end and 2) I scream at the top of my lungs cuz I'm in so much pain, so frustrated with my self and just plain angry. Once I regain my composure I hobble over to the kids still sitting in the tub and starring at me as if I've lost my mind and try to do damage control. I explain to the boys that I am in no way upset with them - that it was just an accident and that my kinda handled her frustration badly. They asked to kiss my boo-boos and then I went and called Chuck and told on myself. He said not to worry, that I probably didn't damage their pshyce too much. We'll see....

Aug 26, 2004

When it rains, it pours

8/26/2004 — cori

The day wasn't off to a bad start. I actually got up on time and had time to myself to get ready, make the kids' lunches, make my bed and do the budget. Then the wonderful time arrives when my clan comes running into my room, dressed in who knows what - but definately not their pajamas, with a Rescue Hero in one hand and a stuffed animal in the other ready to cuddle on Mommy's bed. I wouldn't trade our morning routine for the world! I go in and get Chloe and we all hang out on my bed for a while - it's great!

Then stomachs start growling and we all head to the kitchen. Of course, no one wants the same breakfast food, so I play 'short order cook' for the next few minutes. All the while, Chloe is crying for her bottle. What kind of mother am I? My infant has gone a whole night without drinking a bottle; I'm sure she feels neglected when I don't give her a bottle the instant she wakes up in the morning. This was the case this morning.

Bennett's cereal is sitting on the table (with milk already in it), Gavin's waffle is in the toaster, Chloe is in my arms and crying for her bottle that I'm in the middle of preparing while I'm talking to Chuck on the phone. Can we say 'multitasking'? I'm encouraging Bennett to get to the table to eat his cereal before it gets soggy while Gavin is telling him not to go in the kitchen. I ask Gavin what the problem is and he informs me that there are "like 39 thousand, hundred ants in the kitchen". I was just in there earlier and didn't notice, so I go over to that side of the kitchen and sure enough, there's a nice little trail leading from the garbage can in the utility room (which is overflowing) down the wall and then under the table (directly under Gavin's seat) to all the crumbs. That is when I officially 'loose it'.

I call Chuck back and ask him what I'm supposed to do. I have way too many things to do and don't have time to clean it all up. He gives me a few suggestions and I blame the whole thing on him (it's easier that way - then I didn't have to take responsibility). My emotions continue to go further and further out of control. I feed Chloe, get the beginnings of a migraine and sit down to fume. Meanwhile, I hear the boys in the other room talking about who's fault it is and why Mommy is mad. That brought me back to reality. I was horribly wrong and handling my frustrations very negatively. I apologized to them, called Chuck back and apologized to him, prayed for strength - and received it. It's always so humbling when your children remind you that you handled your frustration wrong. I better practice what I preach because my audience is most definately paying attention!

Thankfully, everyone ate, we got the ants under control and even started school on time. The headache didn't go away until the afternoon - but at least it went away.

Aug 25, 2004

Starting School

8/25/2004 — cori

What a wonderful time of the year! As a kid I always loved school and starting it was such an exciting time. Now, I get to start it all over again with my children. But this time it's a little different. This time I'm the teacher. As parents we are our children's greatest teachers. We know them inside and out and know how to get through to them.

This year I have the honor of teaching my children at home! Gavin is doing 1st grade and Bennett is learning his early preschool skills. We are having soooooo much fun!!! I never imagined homeschooling would be this fun. I was soooooo scared to start. Afraid of messing up, not having enough time in my day, not knowing what to do. But in my children's eyes, I know everything and they trust me. How sweet is that?! My fears were all for naught.

In just 3 short days, Bennett has learned to recognize the letter A, the number 1 and the color red. When you ask Gavin what his favorite thing in school is, it's different every time. Monday, his favorite thing was Science, yesterday it was Math, today it's History. I'm so lucky to be experiencing the joy of their learning with them.

Bennett has been so excited about starting school. He keeps saying to us: "Mommy be te-er (teacher), I be Bemmet (Bennett) and bruh-er (brother) be Bavin (Gavin)." I guess he likes to make sure we are know our places!

Aug 11, 2004

The defiling of my tub

8/11/2004 — cori

My tub has once again been defiled. I felt as though I was being a generous soul, letting my children bathe in my private, special place. The place I retreat to each evening and with joy and excitement pronounce "Calgon, take me away!". How can such a place be defiled you may ask? By my son, Bennett - the infamous pooper and non-potty trainer.

This would be the second time such an incident has happened to my tub, by the same person. You would think I would have learned after the first time - but I have proven time and again that I don't learn after the first time. It obviously takes me several attempts to learn the same lesson.

We were just finishing a wonderful bath time this morning. Gavin had the bright idea to include Chloe in the bath with them today since she is getting so big. The only problem is, the only tub in the house that has the capacity to hold her baby tub plus two boys would be mine. I entered into this arrangement unaware of the horrors that were to follow.

The boys were so sweet to help me wash Chloe - of which I'm sure she was doubly grateful. We had some nice bonding time. Then Gavin, ever the idea maker, has another swell suggestion. He says "Bennett, would you like me to wash your hair and you can wash mine?". I'm thinking to myself that this idea will never fly, Bennett is very particular about how his hair is washed. But then, I would be wrong. He joyfully accepted his brother's offer. I should have suspected something would soon go arry with such joyful, positive attitudes so abundant at 8:30 in the morning.

I remove Chloe from the scene and am in the adjoining room dressing her. I can hear Gavin perfectly dictating the explicit instructions on exactly how one washes hair to his brother. Bennett then obediently follows the instructions just stated. Each boy now has perfectly clean hair (so I'm assuming). And no one cried or yelled for help. I could get used to this.

Then comes the 'act' so horrible. I've asked the boys to get out of the tub, wrap up in the towel and stand on the bath mat. I was in the other room putting Chloe down as I was giving these instructions. I then make my way into my bathroom and am welcomed with an odd oder and Gavin pronouncing "Mom, look what Bennett did!". I calmly ask everyone to vacate the premises. I go thru mourning and then proceed to pick up the defiled object out of my tub. Thankfully, Bennett was of sound enough mind to wait until most of the water had already left the tub before he committed 'the act'.

It is now 9:39am. I'm excited to see what lies ahead for the rest of our day.

Aug 10, 2004

My pedicure

8/10/2004 — cori

I have been in the mood to paint my toe nails for quite some time now. I just never seem to get around to it. You know, I do happen to remember to paint them every night around 8 pm. That's just a little too late though if I'd like to keep the paint on my toe nails and not on my bed linens.

So, yesterday afternoon, I got the bright idea to go do it right after the boys woke up from nap time. Now I have two big helpers. I figured I'd just let them do the first coat and I'd do the second. Little did I know that my worldly wise children knew everything about pedicures at such young ages. They insisted on NO help from Mommy. Bennett even showed me that if you hold the bottle almost upside down, the nail polish only drips out slowly - not as fast as I thought it would. Of course we were using red.

Gavin, ever the perfectionist, was wiping the sides of the brush off so much (so as to be extra careful not to drip any polish), that there was nothing left for my toe nails. Of course, Bennett was in charge of holding the bottle for him. The intent there was that the bottle would be held still and in one location. Note to self - NEVER EVER let a very independent two year old EVER hold an open bottle of red nail polish. The boys then started fighting about exactly where the polish bottle should be held and practically forgot that I was there. Thankfully, I still had my wits about me this time of day and was able to mediate the dispute without any raised voice what-so-ever. I would now be the official 'nail polish bottle holder' for each boy. There, that's settled.

After the first toe is completed and I spend much of my time trying to wipe the polish off of my skin, I decided to just let the nail polish fall where it may - I'll just deal with it later. The boys were just so giddy to be 'helping' me - I didn't want them to see me 'fix' their mistakes. I did end up with a tad bit of polish on each nail on my right foot and a little more polish around the toe nail - but hey, it was his first time. There is quite a large learning curve in the pedicure business.

Then comes Bennett's turn. Oh boy! How dare I try to instruct him in the basics of putting the brush in the bottle and taking it out. What was I thinking? He just watched his older and wiser brother finish my right foot, he knows everything he needs to know. Sometimes I just don't think. After he screamed "NOOOOOOOOOOO yap (help) me, mom" while holding onto the brush in one hand and open bottle of red nail polish in the other, I decided it would be advisable to not help him.

He got that tongue action going while he was working ever so seriously on my left foot. His tongue was poking in and out of his mouth without him even knowing. All of my toes were now red. Bennett didn't feel the need to be cautious with the paint. Therefore, all my toes had plenty of red on them.

To give you a visual picture of my beautiful feet at this point, envision a basin of blood and then envision me sticking the entire front part of my foot into it and then repeating. I think I can honestly say that I will probably never have another pedicure like this again - that is unless the boys ask to give me one and then I would be honored - but I'd ask for clear nail polish this time.

Aug 6, 2004

On the way to the urgent care facility

8/06/2004 — cori

We have been very blessed. None of our children thus far, have broken any limbs. But, ironically, we've been to the emergency room too many times to count in the five years of our parenting journey. Of course, once you get there, the child is running around, laughing, jumping, asking a gazillion questions - not acting the least bit sick. That has been our experience. We prefer our children to at least act sick if we've taken up the time of all these nice people in the ER.

Well, what do ya know...Bennett and Gavin were pulling each other around this evening, by their arms. That was an accident waiting to happen. Unfortunately, I wasn't in the room supervising - Chuck was, and to him, that looked like a perfectly normal thing for two little boys to be doing. Enough said. I come running out when I hear Bennett crying and sitting on Daddy's lap.

Chuck said "He's really hurt; I can tell by his cry". Normally Bennett is a very resilient little boy. He falls down and gets right back up. Not tonite. Tonite we couldn't do a thing to get him to feel better. He wouldn't move his arm or wrist and wouldn't let us near it. We weren't sure if he was just enjoying all the extra attention, if he was being stubborn, or if he was truly hurt. After about an hour of "not snapping out of it", we decided the injury was genuine and thought it was time to 'make the trip'.

We decided it would be best to 'tag team'. I was to take the boys to an urgent care facility (since it was 30 minutes after the Doctor's office already closed for the weekend - perfect timing) while Chuck got baby duty. He was to stay home with Chloe and put her bed. Gavin wanted to come with me. I'm not entirely sure it was out of concern for his brother. It might of had something to do with the chance of getting to stay up way past bed time.

On the 30 minute drive to the urgent care facility, while Bennett sat whimpering in the seat behind me, Gavin sat in yet another seat behind him asking me 1001 questions. "Mom, why is the sun so hot? Why can't we go to the sun? How does an oven work? Why? But what makes that part work? Why is our blood blue and red? Why does our blood have oxygen in it? Why doesn't all my blood squirt out of my ant bite? I'm going to be a scientist when I grow up cuz I like to ask alot of questions." Indeed you are my son, indeed you are. That was only a small sampling of the ones I remember. I actually attempted to answer all of them. I'm not sure if Gavin was trying to keep Bennett's mind off his injury or my mind off of Bennett's injury. But either way, he successfully confused me.

Thankfully, it was only Nursemaid's elbow (dislocated) and the Doctor was able to pop it back into place. That is what typically happens when one attempts to yank one's arm out of it's original socket.

Aug 3, 2004

Ranch or Sunshine

8/03/2004 — cori

Tonight we were sitting down to a lovely dinner of quesadillas. We are ranch maniacs in this family. So all of us had a healthy supply of ranch on our plates to dip our quesadillas into. Evidently, Bennett has a different idea of what 'enough' means. He kept saying he needed more ranch, even though you couldn't see the color of his plate because there was already so much on there. Daddy asked him "what's all that on your plate there, buddy?" to which Bennett replied, very seriously, "sunshine". He won. We all busted out laughing. If you want to get your way, the quickest route is to make everyone laugh. Bennett has figured that one out at a very young age!

A slight change in plans

8/03/2004 — cori

Let me just share a little of what my day has been like today...let's see, it started at 5am when Chuck left for work. However, he came back in a minute later to rummage through our bedroom where my dear beloved son, Bennett, was once again sleeping, looking for his 'lost' cell phone. Of course that woke Bennett up (at the time I was unaware that it would be for the rest of the day). HA! What do ya know, it was in his car the whole time! Now Bennett & I are bright eyed and bushy tailed and its only 5:14am. I then spend the next 66 minutes trying to fall asleep to no avail. Bennett too.
"What dat noise in me room?" (that's one of Bennett's funny expressions we love to use whenever applicable). Ah yes, that would be Chloe waking up at 6:18am for no apparent reason. Lovely. This day is already not going how I would have planned. I'm already starting to wonder what kind of lesson God is wanting me to learn here.
So, I successfully run through the still dark house without tripping or falling over any Legos or Rescue Heroes all the way to Chloe's room. I put her paci back in thinking maybe that would do the trick. But before I have a chance to tip-toe out of her room, she vehemently let me know that was not what she wanted. What the heck, I'm already up, I'll just feed her now. So, we go out to the kitchen to make her a bottle when I hear Bennett coming in asking "hey mom, what you doin?", then upon seeing me with his sister he is overjoyed and gives a resounding morning welcome to Chloe "Hey zozie! Hi. Hi. Hi." He then proceeds to tell me that he loves Uncle John and is hungry. I inform him about how happy I am and tell him to get back to Mommy's bed; that he may not get up while its still dark out. That went over like a lead balloon. Now, he's 'too scared' to walk back to my room alone. At this point I'm thinking he's probably not going to fall back asleep - I've just lost all optimism.
I think I finally conjolled him to stay put in my bed with the aid of his Rescue Hero. Now I'm back in Chloe's room feeding my famished child when all of the sudden I hear "Mommy....". I think to myself "now what?". This time it is Gavin. He's calling me to come see him. That means only one thing - he's wet the bed again. I whisper yell back (I don't know why - everyone was awake by now) that I'm feeding Chloe and he'll have to wait or come see me. He doesn't come so I figure it's not too much of an emergency. That is until I finally finish feeding Chloe, put her back to bed, go to see Gavin only to confirm my suspicion. It is now 6:40am.
None of this should have even happened yet. We aren't all supposed to be up until 7am. I've already got 2 hours head start on this day. Inside I'm starting to fume at Chuck. I want to blame somebody for this great start to my day. But then I realize, he had nothing to do with Chloe waking up or Gavin having an accident. Darn. Now I have to take responsibility for my bad attitude. Then it dawns on me: maybe God is trying to teach me that I can still have a good day even if everything goes completely haywire. My happiness isn't dependent on my circumstances....sounds better as a theory, sucks when you have to actually put it into practice.
Gavin then comes and joins me in my bed and our little book club comes to order. Each boy has gone and retrieved a stack of books for me to read. Why not, it's only 7am. However, in my head I can picture the rest of the day and what I had planned and don't see them matching each other. I had planned to take the boys swimming at my parents house. We normally do that while Chloe is taking her afternoon nap, which means Bennett would miss his nap. There was no way in the world I was letting that child miss his nap today - he's been up since 5am! Plan B starts to formulate. If I can leave the house at 8:30am, then maybe we can still swim and get back home in time for naps. A new optimism arises in my heart. I have a plan - let's see if we can follow it.
Chloe wakes up again and eats again and we dash out the door. On the way to the pool we have to make a quick stop at SuperWalmart (that's an oxymoron). I think I set a new record of getting in and out of the store with 3 kids and everything on my list in 15 minutes flat! Plus, we got another chance to work on our 'public manners' and passed with flying colors. Pride swells in my chest. This day is going to be just fine. Everything went according to plan at the pool and we all had a blast. Especially the boys when I let them push me in (that never happens). However, we encounter a little tweak upon trying to leave.
Remember how I explained in my last post about my gentlemen who love to hold doors open for me? Well, Grandma & Grandpa have a very heavy storm door as well as their normal front door. Bennett was graciously holding open the door with all his might leaving me (who was carrying Chloe in the car seat and a large diaper bag) approximately 10 inches to maneuver through to get past him and the storm door. I was ever so careful not to knock him over (accidently, of course). The problem arose after I had locked the front door and was waiting for the storm door to close. Bennet got stuck between the two. Why he didn't move, I have no idea.
After retrieving my son from between two doors we head back home in relative peace and quiet. A little too quiet if you ask me. Bennet is in the back seat dozing off. I cheerfully yell back there to get his attention. There is no way I'm letting him fall asleep in the car on the drive home. He's been up since 5am - a little 20 minute nap is not going to cut it. I ask Gavin to keep his brother engaged, even if that means kindly yelling at him. He agreed a little too enthusiastically. Thankfully Bennett stayed awake long enough for me to bust his lip. Not on purpose of course, we were just horsing around and he ended up bumping his lip on a chair. Poor guy.
All that under my belt and it's only 11am. I wonder what the rest of the day will hold?

Aug 2, 2004

The Post Office

8/02/2004 — cori

What, might you ask, could go wrong at the Post Office? Plenty if you've got me and my three followers along. This was supposed to be a quick trip - in and out in one quick motion. Not. Before we even get out of the car I have to remind Bennett not to stand on the package that we've wrapped ever so delicatley. Then of course, I can't just walk in like any other normal person, nooo, I have to grab the stroller, make sure each child is holding on to opposite sides and proceed with caution. I then become a walking wall that nobody can penetrate. Even when I ask the boys to walk behind me, they still dare not let go of the cart. I can't even count how many times I've run over Bennett's toes with the stroller. I'm sure he thinks that is what happens to everybody when they walk.

And of course, I have two wonderful gentlemen who absolutely love to open the door for mommy, even when those doors are too heavy for them, or there are 17 people all waiting around to get in and out, or even when they push on a door that they are supposed to pull. Then comes the fun part - trying to get thru the door that my gentlemen have opened. They like to open it about 13 inches and then stand there - right in my way. They are so proud to be helping me that I try to squeeze through (stroller and all) no matter how small the opening. In the process I have knocked down my own children several times - then end up blocking the doorway even longer trying to pick them up, comfort them, apologize all while propping the door open with my pinky toe. Granted, I love these teachable moments and I don't see them as inconveniences at all - but I'm not quite sure the 9 people behind me are as interested in my children's teachable moments as I am.

Yes, all those instances mentioned above did happen on the way into the Post Office. Lucky for us there were two separate doors we needed to enter before waiting in line. So each gentleman got his own turn. We make it into the line and wait without much fanfare. Then comes our turn to make our way to the open postal clerk. My barricade and I all maneuver thru a very narrow walkway and make our way to the very last clerk. Each boy then drops off the package that I had him carry and proceeds to do something behind my back.

Unknowingly, I park the stroller right in the middle of the only opening that lets all the other customers out of this narrow walk way. My oversight. All the while my children are still holding on to the cart, but this time they are on the same side - not good. Confusion is starting to set in and everything becomes a blurr for me momentarily. Out of one eye I see my sons holding and hugging each other like they hadn't seen one another in 20 years. Since when does that happen? While the other eye sees the postal clerk who is asking me to fill out a form. Oh boy, I hope I sent my packages to the right place.

Not that the boys were bad or misbehaved, but they were distracting me and not standing as still as a statue without saying a word. I don't know, maybe I have too high of expectations. But I am trying to teach them how to act in public and talking loud and hugging alot is not what I have been teaching. Then Gavin decides to morph into a Rescue Hero and uses the blank wall we are next to as his 'command post' and starts pressing all sorts of imaginary buttons. Of course Bennett follows suit - little Mr. "Me Too". After receiving 'the glare' from me, they both resume their positions on opposite sides of the cart.

Next comes trying to get out of our narrow expanse, go around a corner, thru another set of doors (I can't remember which of my helpers opened this one) and into another area to drop our mail off in the mail slot. We had like 10 envelopes to put in the slot and of course they had to be divided up evenly between both boys. This took about 3 minutes. Not long in the scheme of things but too long to just drop letters thru a slot. Another line starts forming behind us. Thankfully, it has come time to go and we are headed towards the exit.

Bennett insists on opening the door for me but I can see other people trying to enter and are already opening the door. This frustrates Bennett who decides to fall on the ground. Nice. Gavin is still holding his side of the cart, so no one can squeeze past me on his side. Now I have two people holding open two doors. It is wide enough for all of us to fit thru in our usual format. One of the people holding open the door is some kind of Agent. He's got a gun on his belt and dark Raybans on. He looks like he's on 'official business'. That makes me panic and I start grabbing Bennett by the arm to pull him up. Then I run over his foot with the cart again. I'm afraid the FBI agent is going to 'take me in' for slowing down the federal mail or something. As we finally make our way through the doors I thank the men for holding the door open for my circus and hear laughter. I don't know if they were laughing at me or with me (hmmm, but I wasn't laughing, so it must have been at me). At least we're out and headed toward the safety of the van. Another adventure behind us.

Jul 26, 2004

The case of the mysterious poopy

7/26/2004 — cori

I don't know what I was thinking...I probably wasn't, but I let Bennett go diaper-less again.  Thinking that maybe now he was emotionally and physically mature enough to put his poopies in the potty where he knows they belong.  I know he's ready because he comes and tells me he needs me to change him.  I know that's got to be a sign of something.  So, after the second time today he comes and tells me that, I tell him in no uncertain terms that this will be the last time - from now on he puts his poopies where they belong.

He went 3 long hours without any accidents this afternoon.  Of course I asked him repeatedly if he had to go and of course his answer was no.  So, you can imagine our surprise as we are cleaning up the dinner dishes when we see a rather smallish brown mass in the living room.  And of course, Bennett is haunched down very close to the vicinity of the mass and looking up like a puppy dog who knows he just got in trouble.  Yet, despite the physical evidence, when asked if he knew what that was, Bennett says "nutin" (nothing).   So, Chuck asks him "Where did that come from Bennett?".  Bennett looks up at the ceiling, around the room and finally points to the door and says "out dare" (there) - meaning outside.  Nice try.  Thankfully, I was only a bystander in this exchange because I don't know if I could have handled myself as good as Chuck did (without laughing that is).

Chuck proceeded to make him clean it up, much to Bennett's chagrin.  He walks away saying "yucky" - maybe we've finally cracked the uncrackable potty trainer.

The Mockingbird that thought it was an Owl

7/26/2004 — cori

It is the eve of our 'big trip' to Seattle for a little get-a-way.  My Mom was sweet to offer that we spend the night at their house since we have to leave so early to catch our flight the next morning.  This is practical for two reasons.  One, we don't have to wake and feed all the children at 4am, so that we can get to Grandma & Grandpa's in time to drop off the kids and catch our flight.   And two, we don't have to wake Grandpa & Grandpa up at 5am and leave them with three very awake little ones with no intention of going back to sleep anytime soon.  So, this was a great idea for all.

However, there was a small little item that Mom 'conveniently' forgot to mention until we headed off to bed.  Mom says "oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that you might hear our little Mockingbird outside your window at night".  We really thought nothing of it...that is, until we couldn't fall asleep.  Actually, let me digress and explain the situation a little further.

The boys were sleeping peacefully together in one room while Chloe slept in the pac-n-play in our room.  We head off to bed, not heeding the warning that Mom just gave us about our little night 'companion'.  We were having a hard enough time trying to be super quiet and tip-toe in the pitch dark so as not to wake our sleeping daughter; then add to that Chuck's attempt to set his watch alarm (a feature which he's never used before but swears it will work and wake us up in time) in the dark.  Since I'm very skeptical about the reliability of this little watch alarm, I opt for back-up and grovel around in the dark, ever so quietly of course, looking for the little alarm clock I brought. 

You might be wondering why we just didn't set that one in the first place.  Well, we would have if it didn't sound like a tornado alert that's trying to wake a whole town.  All we wanted was to be conscientious of all those sleeping around us, that we were willing to risk not waking up at all.  I actually considered just staying awake all night...little did I know my own prophetic abilities.

Okay, so it's been like 20 minutes and Chuck finally has his little watch alarm set and I have the blow horn set (but under pillows - like that will tone it down).  We attempt to fall asleep, only to hear Chuck's little alarm going off.  Its only been like, 10 minutes since he figured out how to set it and convinced me that it would work.  So, he tries again as I, ever the thoughtful wife, solve his lack of light problem by holding down the snooze bar on the blow horn that glows a pretty blue color.

Ahh,  problem solved...now we can get to sleep.  Not.  Problem number two arises.  It is our sweet little Chloe.  She is such a fitful, loud, stinky, noisy little sleeper.  I think between the two of us, we got up 51 times in a 6 hour time frame to either put her paci back in or look to see if she was awake because it sure sounded like she was.

Simultaneously to the 'thrashing sleeper' (as we so lovingly refer to her), we start to hear a beautiful melody right outside the window.  It actually sounded like the bird was chirping into a microphone.  The melodies were beautiful and unique, but not something to put you to sleep. 

I dozed off a few times long enough to wake up to dig the blow horn out from under the pillow to check the time.  Come to find out, it was only 30 minutes later than the last time I did it.  Then comes the hard part, trying to block out the 'thrasher', the bird/owl, and the fear of not waking up in time to try to lull myself back to sleep for another 12 minutes before the whole cycle starts all over again.

Jul 22, 2004

Be specific

7/22/2004 — cori

If I've not learned anything else during my 5 short years of motherhood, I learned this: be specific with your children.  I say this because I guess in the past I've taken for granted that my children think like me.  I am no longer under that assumption.  For instance, when Gavin was 2, I found teeth marks on my armoire.  I asked him what happened there because it looked as if someone just up and bit my armoire and tried to take a chunk out of it.  Come to find out, that's exactly what happened.  He responded "you never told me not to bite the armoire".  Well, he did have a point.  I couldn't argue (I have a feeling he's going to be a lawyer when he grows up).  So, I clarified that under no circumstances do we ever bite furniture - even armoires.
Well, obviously I still haven't learned my lesson.  This morning I gave each of the boys a small pad of paper and a pen to run a muck with.  I thought I had covered all my bases on this one.  We already know not to write on the walls or the table or our bedspreads, you know, things like that.  However, I failed to mention body parts.  The kids had run back to their room to play with their new prized possession (pen & paper) and were quiet - so I was taking advantage of that and spending time with Chloe. 

Then all of the sudden Gavin comes running out to show me what he drew - on his foot.  He said, "Look mom, I drew a dog.  And come look at Bennett, I drew a dog on his face too".  Ahhh, great!  I should have known something was up when they were perfectly quiet for 10 minutes.  Gavin's artwork looked great right in the middle of Bennett's cheek.  Bennett tried to duplicate the same thing on his other cheek, but it just looks like alot of circles.  Nice.  Now I have to go straight to swim lessons and do not have time to scrub them down so they look normal.   We were only 5 minutes away from leaving the house when this happened.
Now, of course, I have a loud two year old with me in the middle of alot of other kids and moms at a public place with ink scribbles all over his face (no one else could discern it was a dog).  I knew the comments would come and they soon did.  All I could do was smile in response.  After all, it's only ink and you're only little once.  I'd rather them experiment with ink dogs on their cheeks and feet now than have to deal with permanent ink on them (in the form of a tattoo) when they are older.  It's all relative.

"Me too"

7/22/2004 — cori

Poor Bennett...he wants to be big so bad.  He thinks he's 5 just like brother, only with the vocabulary of a two year old.  His best phrases are: "me too", "not me", "yeah, me know how" and "me no like dat".  Ever since he started putting syllables together at 12 months old, he has spoken in triplicate.  An example would be "eat, eat, eat" or "me bayme, me bayme, me bayme" (translation 'my baby' - yes, my two year old son has a baby doll - that's a whole other story).  So, he likes to make sure he is heard.  I guess that comes with being the second child.  But, he has found that that technique, along with a very whiney sounding voice, moves us into action. 

He used this technique on me today when we took Gavin to his first swim lesson.  Brother had his shoes off, so Bennett says in his very loud, whiney voice "me too, me too, me too".  Why not, I figure, it can't hurt anything.  Brother takes his shirt off so he can get into the pool.  Again, Bennett repeats his request.  Again, I concede because I know he likes to be like brother.  But when Gavin gets into the pool and Bennett keeps yelling (yes, he's moved up a notch from whining to yelling to emphasize how desperate he is) "me too, me too, me too", I had to draw the line.  Unfortunately, Bennett could not see the line and continued to press me from all sides and took his triplicate talk to new levels. 

For 30 minutes - non-stop - he repeated his request and for 30 minutes I told him when he was 3 he could take swim lessons.  So, he had a very simple solution for me.  He would tell me "me want be free (3) right now" (x3).  Now I have to explain the concept of time. 

This was a very hard lesson for him and I feel bad for taking him to a pool and not letting him swim.  But he did well considering.  Now I only have 4 more days of this.  I'm sure he'll forget this lesson come Monday when swim lessons resume and we'll start all over again. 

Jul 14, 2004

Creative Cooking Techniques

7/14/2004 — cori

Tonight's entry was inspired by the conundrum I found my self in while cooking dinner tonight. I like to think of this as a creative cooking technique, although I'm sure other's might call it a different name.

I was cooking a meal which called for cream of chicken soup. Pretty much the key ingredient. There was nothing I could substitute for it. I already had everything cooking and went to the cupboard to pull out my soup and to my surprise - there was none!! I like to think of myself as creative, so I put my thinking cap on and tried to come up with a solution. Here are a few of my thoughts during my conundrum:

1. call Chuck to stop by the store on the way home and pick up one can of soup for $0.49 which he would have to charge since he never has any cash on him and that would make him an extra half an hour late. I think not. I know I can come up with a better idea....hmmm....

2. pile all three children (1 of which is still taking his nap) into the car in 100 degree weather and drive the 15 minutes it takes to get to our grocery store. Unload my gang and make sure to find the special cart (you know, the one's that have little cars attached to them so the kids can pretend to drive) which they never have enough of. Then fight the rush hour crowds in the store and stand in line for 15 minutes for one $0.49 can of soup. Nope....It's the end of the day and my sanity is already pretty shaky. I don't think I can handle an outing such as that and remain sound of mind for the rest of the evening.

3. wait till Chuck gets home and all of us run up to Sonic...but what to do about the chicken I've already cut and all the ingredients already in the pan....nope, we have no cash anyways.

4. look thru the trash.

Yes, you read that correctly. I did indeed opt for thought number 4. You see, I remember just recently throwing away a can of soup because I thought it was out-dated. But at this point I'm desparate. And then I think to myself - "I'll be cooking it over a high enough temperature, that should kill any of the bad stuff".

Little does my family know the amount of thought I put into making dinner every night. I bet they wish I would think less. Much to my surprise, dinner turned out great! Who knew?

The Personal Shopper

7/14/2004 — cori

All the celebrities have one...they make the celebrity look all decked out in the latest fashions. You've even seen them on "Extreme Makeover". But, not many people are aware of this closet skill that many mother's posses. I was so thrilled to find out that I, too, am a personal shopper. I pick out coordinated outfits for my children, one and all, each and every day - sometimes even two. Unlike most personal shoppers, I also get to launder these fabulous outfits. But I don't mind that secondary responsibility that comes along with 'the title'.

My eldest son, Gavin, who is 5, loves that he has a personal shopper. I am like putty in his hands (so he thinks). I take my position quite seriously on this little subject since he has acquired zero fashion sense. We'll thank genetics on that one (particularly Grandpa). However, I'm glad I can be there to assist him during such critical choices such as: does the "I'm a Dunkin Donuts kid" bright royal blue with pink letters t-shirt go with light blue basketball shorts? I think not - actually, it really doesn't go with anything, ever. It was cute on him at two - but I think it's out-lived it's 15 minutes of fame and needs to stay in the back of the closet.

Most of the time he listens. But when he likes his choice better than mine I break out into a small sweat and try to calmly encourage my choice. When that fails, I opt for plan C - find the sticker to place on his back that reads: "I picked out my own clothes today" so that other mothers won't look down on his personal shopper. It is in those moments that I'm unable to explain to the other 'personal shoppers' that I didn't even buy the Dunkin Donuts t-shirt and that he is in the critical phase of early childhood development where he needs to exercise his choices - even if they aren't the one's mommy would make.

Thankfully, my two year old, Bennett is already showing signs of fashion intelligence. If we could ever get him out of diapers, he could dress himself to look like quite the happing kid. He even turns down clothes options that his personal shopper lays out for him in the mornings. Again, his personal shopper doesn't take this personally because she knows that such choices are important for children to make to feel like they are 'independent'.

Sweet Chloe is my living little Barbie doll and I am in personal shopper's paradise when it comes to outfitting her, at least at this age (3mos). We might have to readdress this topic at a later date when she ges to the 'age of reckoning'. That is the stage of life which most little girls go through when it dawns on them that Mom might be stuck in a fashion time warp. IF that moment ever occurs between Chloe and myself, I will gently redirect her current fashion mishaps and guide her back to the ever so beautiful fashions of the 80's like I grew up with - and I turned out just fine, didn't I?!

Did I mention that if you choose to become a personal shopper - it would be handy to have a degree in psychology, reverse psychology, or mind-reading? You will find that this doesn't only come in handy for purchasing and putting clothes on your children, but in all aspects of parenthood.

Jul 9, 2004

Just call me paranoid

7/09/2004 — cori

I know I'm weird. Nobody has to tell me. I openly admit it - especially in this case. I'm paranoid of putting gas into the car or gas can. I'm the weirdo you see at the gas station constantly touching her car in order to "ground herself" so she doesn't accidently blow herself or her car up because of one tiny little spark.

I've heard all the horror stories about a spark blowing up a car; even seen news coverage on some of them. Well, no one has to worry about that happening to me, no sirree. I'm, shall we say...extra cautious. Be that as it may, I've never gotten blown up yet, so its served me well.

A couple of weeks ago I was mowing and ran out of gas. So, since Chuck was watching the kids, I opted to run up and get the gas in the gas can. I had never done this before in all my years. Obviously, I just fell off the turnip truck. So, I ask Chuck all the pertinent questions in order to prepare myself for the task that lies ahead, such as..."do I have to take off both caps, the big one and little baby one at the back?" (the answer is yes for those of you who are wondering), and "how many gallons does the can hold?". I'll come to find out later that I forgot to ask two VERY IMPORTANT questions...read on and you'll see.

Okay, so I'm at the gas pump and I've prepared the can and have inserted the nozzle. I'm pumping, pumping, ever so slowly so as not to spill any. Once I finish, I snap both of the lids back on. Here comes the tricky part...where am I supposed to store a full gas can? No one ever told me that one. If I put it in the back seat, the fumes could suffocate me. But if I put it in the trunk maybe it could tip over and explode the car. Oh my, what to do!

While I'm trying to decide I continue patting the car to ground myself - you can never be too cautious around gas. Do I sound paranoid or what?! I continue to pat the car all the way to the trunk as I'm holding on to the can. I'm worried that once I put the key into the trunk and turn it, that a spark might occur. So to remedy that I put the gas can on the ground, open the trunk, pat the car one more time for good measure and insert the gas can right into the middle of the trunk. Whew...that was a close one.

Once I get in the car I realize that once I put the key into the ignition, I might accidently set off another spark. So, since my window is rolled down, I put my hand out and pat the door frame to get rid of all my extra static electricity. You might be laughing, but I was dead serious and scared to death! Okay, here goes...I turn the car on and am still alive. I drive ever so slowly out of the lot so as not to spill or slide the can of gas that is sitting so precariously in the middle of my trunk. I decide that that is probably not the best place for it and pull over. I pat the car all the way back to the trunk, take out the can, pat the car some more, open the back seat door, place the can on the floor, pat the side of the car all the way back to the driver's seat and sit back down. One more tap on the door frame before I head home and we're off.

In case you're wondering, I made it home in one piece, but emotionally I was a wreck. I relayed my adventure to my husband who had no clue of this "issue" with gas that I have. He said not to worry, that he'll fill the gas can up for me from now on. I'm sure all the people watching out of the windows at the gas station were thinking "who let her out of the mental hospital?".

Jul 8, 2004

All in a day's work

7/08/2004 — cori

What an awesome day we had today!! And I'm not being sarcastic either. :)

It started at 5:45 this morning when Chloe woke up (which is a rarity) because of a leaky diaper. After changing and feeding her I got ready and ate breakfast. I decided to take the kids swimming at Grandma's today, unbeknownst to them, so I had alot of preparations to handle before everyone awoke. I 'quickly' packed a picnic lunch for all of us and 3 bottles for Chloe, her extra outfit, plenty of diapers for both Chloe and Bennett, all the swim suits...you get the picture, there was ALOT to pack just so we could do something 'spur of the moment'. Actually, I get nothing done 'quickly' anymore, it's just a victory to get it done in one fail swoop instead of it taking 3 hours.

Anyways...where was I? Ah yes, short term memory loss, one of my constant companions that has gotten worse after the birth of each child. I could write a whole blog just on that, but I won't go there right now.

So, things are just hopping along. The boys finally wake up, we read, eat, brush teeth, dress, talk about 'the plan'. I feed Chloe and we make it out the door in record time - 8:45am - with everyone and everything we need - Yes! Victory. I can tell this is going to be a good day.

We swing by Grandma's house and pick her up and run to a school supply store. While we are browsing there, both Bennett & Chloe decide to poop at the same time. My mom is on the opposite side of the store. So, I have my crew make their famous 5 foot barricade (meaning each child holds onto opposite sides of the cart) as we meander our way thru breakable objects. I drop Gavin off with Grandma as I search for the nearest 'Koala Changing Station' sticker. I'm relieved to find one so that I don't have to implement Plan B. Plan B involves taking the children out to the van and changing them - I don't recommend that method. Let's just say, been there done that (only in emergencies), not a good idea.

So, I'm in the bathroom changing Chloe first when Bennett decides he wants to reinstate his potty training. He would now like to go poopy in the potty. I deem this totally unnecessary and inconvenient and try to talk him out of it. I can already smell it and I really can't leave Chloe on the changing table at the moment. Bennett then decides to lock himself into a stall and crawl in and out while I'm hurriedly changing Chloe. He wins the battle (I have to remind myself which one's are absolutely necessary to fight) and I place Chloe in her stroller and put him on the potty. By now, we're not the only ones in the bathroom anymore and I don't think everyone else appreciates Bennett's loud descriptive talking of what he's attempting to do in the potty. Surprise, surprise, our efforts yield absolutely nothing. Yet, I also managed to encourage our pathetic, useless, potty training cycle. Way to go.

We finally make it back to Grandma's to go swimming but before we can even venture foot out to the pool we still have to eat our picnic lunch, feed Chloe and rest our tummies. While Grandma is feeding Chloe, Chloe graciously decides to give Grandma a small glimpse into my daily life by leaking out of her diaper onto Grandma. It's a poopy leak at that. Second one today...I wonder if this trend is going to continue....? Not too bad of a fiasco anyways, because I'm at home and can yell for back-up if necessary.

After putting Chloe down for her nap, Grandma, the boys and I all head outside to go swimming - finally! Gavin notices I'm wearing a different swimsuit and compliments me...must of been something Daddy's been trying to teach him. :) Anyways, he earns major points on that one. We had an absolute blast trying to push each other off of inner tubes, chasing each other like sharks and eating a multitude of snacks during our many breaks. The sun-screen that I spent 10 minutes meticulously massaging into everyone seemed to disappear based on the fact that we all came home with pink faces and shoulders.

Once we get back home I remember that I needed to clean the oven. The other night some grease spilled to the bottom and the next time we turned it out we were practically smoked out of our house. Being the domestic engineer that I am, it is quite easy to turn the dial on the oven to the 'Clean' setting. I've never done it before, so I call my Mom and ask her how long it is supposed to take and if it's supposed to stink. As we are talking I'm looking into the oven and notice the beginnings of a small fire. The fire progresses quickly. So I ask Mom if that is normal? From her gasp, I assume not. I quickly turned the dial off of the 'Clean' setting and decided to cook in a greasy, dirty oven instead. Looks like I'm just going to have to use good 'ol elbow grease to clean this oven, one of these days....

Thankfully, it has come to the time of day we all await so anxiously....Daddy's home! I'm feeding Chloe again (she seems to eat non-stop from 5pm-8pm). So as I finish feeding her, Chuck starts dinner (ever the gentleman). He was also so thoughtful to bring home flowers for me.

As dinner progresses and Chloe takes a breather, I head outside to brave the lawn (note previous post entitled "the trials of mowing the lawn"). I'm not too worried about being attacked by our 'nest laying in the ground bird friends' because I plan to only mow the front and all the problems I've encountered in the past have been in the backyard. I receive a few circlings from one bird...but I think he's just checking me out and trying to show his muscle. He finally caves when he realizes I'm not going towards his territory. The rest of the lawn mowing goes off without a hitch.

The icing on the cake today was when we were at dinner. Chloe had just finished eating again and was sitting on my lap facing Bennett. Bennett was starring at her and laughing. She started giggling so hard. We've never seen her laugh so hard before. It was adorable. Bennett loved his new trick. He kept saying "Zozie laugh me".

Jul 7, 2004

Lego Mom Extraordinaire

7/07/2004 — cori

At the risk of sounding like I'm tooting my own horn, I feel I must share a new skill I've acquired. I can now put Legos together to meet my 5 year old son's standards and receive the all important praise of "cool, mom".

At first I was only good for finding the pieces in the pile of 3005 miscellaneous pieces. I even thought that was all the talent I possessed when it came to Legos. But my son urged me on. And come to find out, I too, can make sense of the diagrams and put together a robot or dump truck right along with the best of them. Mind you, I'm not as creative. I can't just whip some creation out of my hat. I MUST follow the directions. But I'm gaining confidence.

Yet another skill to add to my Mommy resume. :)

Jul 6, 2004

The trials of mowing the lawn

7/06/2004 — cori

I absolutely love to mow the lawn. We have a riding lawn mower. Now that we actually have grass and I'm not pregnant, its a lot more fun to mow. Call me weird, but it is so relaxing for me to just sit and listen to the hum of the engine for the two hours it takes to get our yard done. It's my "me" time. So, you can imagine my dismay when I'm just putt-putting along and all of the sudden a bird starts circling all around me. Then two birds. Then a swarm of them. I jump off the mower and run for shelter on our front porch. Yet they continue to follow me with their screeching noises. Evidently, I have done something extremely offensive to them - now I just have to figure out what.

This has happened numerous times. At first I tried to ignore it. But now it is getting so bad that it is infringing on my "precious lawn mowing time". Now I'm getting mad. What right do these birds have to force me off my mower, in my yard with their circling and screeching? I'm starting to fear every time I get on the mower that I might get dive-bombed by one of these mysterious birds. The other day I even came in defeated. They won. I told Chuck that I was scared for my life and that he could finish mowing if so desired. I then out-fitted him up in the kids' plastic armor. Just kidding - but we actually did consider it for a brief second. But then, what would the neighbors think?!

Come to find out, we have one of the few types of birds that prefers to make it's nest in the ground. Go figure...our luck. Evidently, we have many nests on our property and we can't see them until we come right up on them with the mower.

This past week I was just tootling along when I see a bird sitting maybe 5 feet in front of the path I'm mowing on. She doesn't budge. In fact, she just glares at me and spreads her wings to try to scare me. Then the shrieking begins. Next, her reinforcements bombard me in full force. Again, I run for cover in the safety of our house. What used to be such a serene time, has now transformed into a battle over territory and protecting myself from not being pecked. What happened to the relaxation?

So, I'm sure you can imagine how nice our lawn looks. We wouldn't want to harm the many nests in the ground. Therefore, we drive around them, leaving a circle of about 5 feet in diameter un-mowed. Nice. I don't know what the moral of the story is yet...but I'm sure I'll figure it out soon.

Jul 2, 2004

Out of the mouths of babes

7/02/2004 — cori

Well, I knew today wasn't going to be quite right from the moment Bennett woke me up at 4 o'clock this morning telling me there was a bad guy in the guest room (in his imagination) and that he needed to sleep with me. I don't know how he maneuvers through the house in the total darkness of night and finds his way to my side of the bed. But, his skill is surprising. Then, in the loudest voice he can muster up he yells "MOM, I CAN"T SEE WU (you)" right into my sleeping ear. My heartbeat awakens me going triple time. When I realize where I am, who I am and who's yelling at me I finally pull him into the shelter of our bed. Whew, disaster number one averted for today.

Then we all awaken around 7:15am and I tell them today's "plan". We have to have a "plan" everyday, you see...it goes back to my anal retentiveness in Gavin's early developing years when each hour of our day used to be planned. I informed them that we would be meeting Grandma at a store so we all needed to eat, get dressed and go in a little less than two hours. That is quite a feat in itself - but I was optimistic. I was able to feed Chloe and still have a whole 30 minutes to get myself ready. I come out ready to go and Gavin gives me the sweetest compliment. He says "Mom, you should wear that the next time you go out on a date or to a wedding with Daddy". I was touched - even though I was only wearing an old sundress with flip flops.

We make it to the store with little event. However, Bennett decides to pull a temper tantrum the entire time we are at the store. I am extremely flustered and can't concentrate because I know all the other people around me are thinking "she needs to get control of that child". The temper miraculously stops once we get back in the car and we make it home in one piece. I'm really starting to 'loose my cool' though. Once we get home, I realize I've been wearing my dress backwards for the past 3 hours!

I continue to wear it backwards at home because here, obviously no one cares whether I'm dressed correctly or not (thankfully) or when Gavin complimented me earlier he could have also mentioned the whole backwards thing. But he often wears his clothes backwards, so no wonder that little error got over-looked on his part.

We proceed to lunch and Bennett is just driving me crazy at this point with his constant whining and fidgeting at the table. Finally, I yell at him to sit on his bottom, or else. A little while later Gavin asks me, "Mom, you know when you yelled at Bennett to sit on his bottom...don't you think you could have handled that better?" Either he really does hear everything I tell him in regards to handling his frustration or he enjoys giving me a taste of my own medicine. Now that I was completely humbled for not "practicing what I preach", I had to apologize to Bennett for yelling and admit that I have not been handling my frustration very well today.

Then out of the blue, Gavin comes and gives me a hug (which I normally have to beg for). I asked him why he hugged me. He said he could tell I was frustrated. Then a light went off in my head. I realized that sometimes when they're frustrated, maybe all they need or want is for Mommy to just come and give them a hug instead of a lecture. I know it helped me.

Jul 1, 2004

One more cup of water....pleeeease

7/01/2004 — cori

Every nite we tuck the boys in, say prayers with them, read them each a book and give kisses - then lights out. Seems pretty straight forward and easy to me. But one would be wrong to assume that bedtime would transpire every night just as planned without a hitch. There is always the inevitable "I'm so thirsty, Mom. I just need one more cup of water..... pleeease!!!". I mean, what kind of parent would I be if I were to deny my parched child a cup of water? It's just so ironic to me that their dry mouths and bed time always occur at the exact same time every single night. I'm sure they think they've pulled the wool over our eyes, that we're not onto their little scheme yet. Oh, how wrong they would be. They're not aware that we actually put them to bed a little earlier each night, knowing that the inevitable dry mouth will occur and that we allow them to get up and get one more drink. I mean at least they're asking for water, something healthy.

But then Chuck & I think back to when we were kids and when we had to go to bed before it was even dark out; there's just something wrong about that. It's just not fair in the eyes of kids. I guess I can't blame them. You feel like you're missing out on all the good stuff that goes on at night. That's kind of funny, when you're a child, you just don't want the day to end. When you're an adult, you can't wait for it to end. I'm glad we have one another to balance each other out. I'm so thankful for this time in our lives...it will give way all too soon to adolescence and we'll long for the days when our most trying moment was the kids getting out of bed and begging for one more drink of water.

Jun 30, 2004

Smarter than the equipment

6/30/2004 — cori

My brother has always told me…”Cori, you’ve gotta be smarter than the equipment” (that’s a tongue in cheek way of saying I’m not too bright – evidently). Well, I thought of him again today as I was changing the sheets on my king size bed.

I didn’t have much of a problem with the sheets, but those pillowcases – boy, are those a doozy! Could someone please tell me how in the world you are supposed to put on a king sized pillowcase properly? Maybe my method is flawed, but it’s all I know. First, I place the king size pillow under my neck. It hangs down past my knees. I actually took out my ruler and started measuring a few things here. The pillow is approx. 34 inches, my arms are only 24 inches long (give or take because of my fingers). Now I’m doing math in my head which makes me even more confused.

So then, I grab my king size pillow case and try to insert my pillow into it but I’m not getting anywhere. If I bend over so that I can reach the bottom of the pillow, then that only makes the problem worse because now I’ve made the pillow go down to the floor. So, here I am, bent over with a pillow under my neck, a huge pillowcase between my hands and trying to shove the pillow in a hole I can no longer see because I’m hunched over. I never had this problem with a standard size pillowcase. I never foresaw this problem when we considered buying a king size bed.

Oh, the problems of a domestic engineer. I can guarantee you’ll never encounter this type of problem in corporate America. No wonder I’m exhausted by time my husband comes home every night. Don’t worry, I finally got the pillow into the pillowcase, I just had to wake my 5 year old son up from his nap to help me….no, seriously, I ended up folding the pillow in half, holding onto the pillowcase with one hand, while shoving the pillow into the case with the other. It took a few minutes of deductive reasoning, but I figured it out and am glad I can be of assistance to anyone else who may encounter this problem. I’m glad some of my college courses are coming in handy again.

Is it me or is life just funny

6/30/2004 — cori

I came across an old journal entry dated Oct. 13, 2003 and came to the realization that funny stuff just happens all around me all the time - its such an odd coincidence. This particular entry proves that its not in having the 3 kids that makes the events in my life seem, shall we say "harried". Crazy things were happening way before Chloe was born. It's either the kids or me. You know what, I don't think I'd want to see life any other way. These silly lenses that I seem to see the world through make each day an adventure and a joy. Here, let me share that old journal entry with you and see if you come to the same conclusion....

I thought this day an insightful one to record based on a few incidents that occurred throughout the day. The first one being, my children begging to take a bath this morning...hmm I think to myself, that's odd. I just gave them a bath last night and it definitely wasn't the highlight of their day. But then again, how can a mother turn down children who want to be clean. So I acquiesce. Bad idea. For the umpteenth time, Bennett my almost two year old, for lack of a better word, pooped in MY tub. Oh yeah, that was the clincher...they wanted a bath in Mommy's tub. My haven, my quiet place, my place of serenity now has poop in it - ugh!!!! So, I immediately and ever so gently as not to hurt his developing psyche, inform him that we only poop in the potty. That was just the first hour.

Surprisingly , the rest of the day is quite "normal" at least for us. Until right as I'm starting dinner - then everything falls to pieces. First, it's Monday night and I normally leave as soon as Chuck gets home so that I can get to my volunteer place on time. So dinner is always rushed. Tonite it's BLT's. I've just cut up two tomatoes, an integral part of my BLTs and I see Gavin over there munching on them. I try not to act too upset since he's actually eating something healthy, but inform him that it's part of dinner and to please drop it immediately - thank you. Then, as I'm talking to my mom on the phone, I see Bennett spraying something on his bike. He doesn't own anything that sprays - so it must be mine. He has gotten the Fantastic spray bottle out from under the sink and is spraying his bike "clean". Did I mention that the solution is orange and his bike is sitting atop my white carpet? Then he has my dusting rag out to wipe his bike down with. Obviously I have not done a good job as a mother explaining that the dusting rag is only used with Pledge.

Jun 28, 2004

What's your definition of "normal"?

6/28/2004 — cori

Chuck asked how my day was earlier and I said it was pretty normal. Yet, upon further analysis, it seems my initial deduction was flawed. I guess if you consider getting in a car wreck and loosing your wallet all in the same day 'normal' - then I qualify. Chuck actually had to remind me of those things. I'm having serious problems with my mind. Okay, so the car wreck was only a fender bender in the parking lot with an elderly lady and only my bumper got smashed. Then it miraculously "unsmashed" itself (don't ask me how, I just looked at it and it was gone). The poor lady was shaking, she felt so bad. I was just hoping she wasn't fixin to have a heart attack - that would be a problem. I called her later and reassured her that everything was perfectly fine and not to worry - poor lady.

That incident happened in the parking lot of the store I was about to enter. Needless to say, my mind was a little preoccupied. Then, once we are walking around the store, Bennett decides he's had enough and since he's two he has the miraculous ability to change his behavior in a millisecond. So, its no wonder that I'm slightly distracted and end up leaving my wallett at the check-out and don't realize it until about 4 hours later. Thankfully, after ransanking the house and car looking for it, I realize that just maybe I might have left it at the store (I give credit here to Divine Revelation). I call, they have it, I go get it. How blessed am I ?!

The rest of the evening is pretty much a blurr....Chuck and I passing each other in the hallway, each with one or two children hanging off of us, saying a quick "hi, see ya tonite once the kids are down". Then comes the "tuck n' run" bedtime routine...the goal here is to get them down and us out as quickly as possible. That way we have more than 1/2 hour to spend with each other before we both pass out from sheer exhaustion at 9pm. Yep, I'd say overall, this has been a pretty good day!

Therapy vs. Theraputic

6/28/2004 — cori

I just mentioned to my sister-in-law today that the writing out of my days is therapeutic for me. I’m sure some people might be thinking that I need therapy instead of a therapeutic activity after most days, but I would have to argue that point. My children are my therapy. They teach me about what is really important in life – each other. It’s how we respond to each other through out events in our day that draw us closer together or pull us apart. They remind me that I’m not in control (not even in the tiny-tiniest bit) and that God is. And that if I want to still be sane by the end of the day, I need to draw on His strength and use the same grace He’s shown me towards my children. Needless to say, I draw on those ‘grace reserves’ multiple times an hour and am extremely grateful that it's there. Other times, unfortunately, I chose not to show grace and almost always end up learning humility by apologizing to my kids for my outburst (which I still feel was justified, just not handled graciously).

Today, for the most part, has been normal. “Normal” meaning, I didn’t need to carry a pooper scooper with me anywhere today. I forgot to mention, that after ‘the incident’ at the water park yesterday, the lady who was holding Chloe for me thought that I could use some advice on potty training….gee, do ya think?! I gladly took her advice, but have yet to put it into action. Of course, I’m waiting for the perfect day to start (which is never). It involves prune juice, sprite, a cup, Bennett, the potty and 30 minutes of my time. I just don’t see that happening during the normal course of events in our day. Maybe I can talk Chuck into taking some PTO until we get this potty training thing down….priorities, right?! This is a two man job. Did I mention that it took me a whole year to potty train Gavin? Yes, I have supposedly done this once before, so it shouldn’t be all that hard on the second go around. I’m thinking of starting a group called “Potty Training Anonymous” where normal moms, like me, can come and admit to they're miserable, pathetic, useless teaching techniques and not feel like a total looser. We will refuse to let in moms who were able to potty train in one day or moms of little girls who are infinitely more easy to potty train (so I’ve heard. Plus, I am one, and it’s pretty easy for me to use the potty. I have no horrible flashbacks from that time of my life, so obviously I was easy to potty train). Okay, enough obsessing about potty training Cori!!

On a brighter note, Chloe rolled over for the first time today. Gavin, Bennett and I were thrilled. We called everyone we could think of that lived in our area code. Gavin was disappointed later on however, when he went to sit with her and she wouldn’t roll over on command. Note to self: remember to teach Gavin that his sister is not a dog. During Gavin and Chloe’s bonding time, I am still stuck at the table telling Bennett for the 32nd time to eat his applesauce or he won’t get any dog snacks (Nilla wafers). Bennett coined that phrase, not me. I then had to remind him to use his napkin to wipe the applesauce off the table, not the shirt that he is wearing. Some things are just obvious to me, I don’t know why they aren’t to the kids. Poor kid never finished his applesauce and had to go take his nap without any dog snacks. Could his day get any worse? I can only imagine how much fun we’ll have after naptime today…..

Jun 27, 2004

Adventures in potty training...part 2

6/27/2004 — cori

Okay, just when you think it couldn't get any worse (remember the library?), it does....but isn't that always the way? I don't know when I became such an optimistic person, no doubt it's Chuck's influence in my life, but I feel Bennett doesn't always need his pull-up, even when we are out of the house. How many times does he have to have an 'accident' before I loose my optimism and go back to the realism camp?! This story starts off as any other normal day. We decided to go to a fourth of July gathering at a local park. We didn't know it would be an event that thousands upon thousands of people would be attending. (that was due to our lack of preparation and event planning....but that's a whole other story). We thought to ourselves "how fun, we could take the kids to this park, let them play in the water park, on the playground, maybe jump in a few of the bounce houses they set up especially for the event". We get to our destination only to find out we can't park there unless we have a permit but we are told we could go park at a remote location and a school bus would drop us off there for free. That should have been the first clue...this was a big event and it probably wasn't free - but did we ask? No, we did not. So, like obedient little puppies, we follow all the other cars to the remote parking location and run as fast as we can with three kids in tow to the bus. Our second mistake was that we decided we didn't need the stroller; that I could hold Chloe the whole time. Again, I don't know what or if I was thinking. Chuck even questioned the sanity of it, but we had to make a game time decision since the bus was about to leave, so we opted for no stroller. And yes, this all leads up to "the big potty training accident".

We finally get dropped off at the park. Chuck has a backpack on with towels, bottles, extra clothes and a wallet with no cash in it. Oh yeah, and he is carrying Bennett (all 35lbs. of him) and I'm carrying Chloe, who for now is asleep. Gavin is run/walking ahead of us and looking at the 20 or so bounce houses set up in the fields way ahead of us. We are now really worried about whether or not this is a free event. Well, of course you can figure out that it wasn't - that we had to purchase tickets and of course they didn't take checks. We've gone to all this trouble to finally get here - we weren't about to turn around and leave. So, Chuck's solution is to walk over to the water park and drop me and the kids off there while he run/walks up to a store, about a mile or two away from where we are, in order to cash a check so our kids can bounce. It would have been a whole lot cheaper and alot less hassle to let them jump on their beds at home - but would that really have been as much fun as these colorful, over stuffed, huge bounce houses? I think not. Oh yeah, did I mention that I forgot my cell phone? That is a key point.

Right before Chuck leaves I ask him to take off Bennett's pull up before he goes running through all that water and it just gets huge on him (yeah right, like it's all about Bennett's comfort). Again, Chuck questions the sanity of my request, but I'm insistent for whatever reason and he's in a hurry to get there and back before it rains again. That's another important factor in the whole day. It has been thunderstorming all day and this just happens to be when there is a break in the clouds. It's still not sunny out, rather gray and dark still, but somewhat dry. Again, I have to question our sanity, we are in the middle of a field with three kids, our car is parked 5 miles away, no stroller, no cell phone, with the threat of a potential thunderstorm looming above us, no umbrella, and I'm fixin to be left alone with three kids while my husband runs 2 miles away just to get $5. Yet, we still are optimistic that this will be a fun time for the family. Whatever!

Chuck is gone and I'm feeding Chloe and trying to keep an eye on the boys and talking with people around me. Suddenly I see Bennett in "the position". You know, kids either stand or squat or hunch just a certain way right before they're fixin to "go". But I think "no, he's not going to do that, he's just looking for brother". I should have run at that very moment and carried him out of the water. But, because we didn't bring the stroller, I had no place to put Chloe down and she was eating and Chuck was gone. Not even 10 seconds go by before I look up again and he is now farther into the middle of the water park and a large brown mass is falling out from his shorts. I can't believe my eyes. Parents are pointing and yelling. Bennett is running towards me. I have to claim this child as mine with all these parents around gasping in disbelief at what they just witnessed. I go over to the lady I was just talking to and say "I know I just met you, but would please hold my daughter while I run out and clean up the mess my son just left in the water?". I grab the diaper rag I was using with Chloe and start to sprint. Bennett comes running towards me crying - I gather him up and set him on the bench I was just seated on and tell him to stay put. Gavin comes running over - I tell him to go stand by Bennett. I run out into the middle of the water and suddenly I can't find "the mass". I start to panic (actually, I started panicking long ago when the mass dropped out - but now I fear that a parent is going to come yell at me cuz their kid stepped in my kid's stuff). A man, God bless his soul - maybe he was even my guardian angel in disguise - came and told me he picked it up and went and threw it in the trash. I can't apologize enough, he says it's no big deal. I want to run and hide at this point, but I have "the pooper" to deal with. Bennett is always so apologetic when an accident occurs, " I sawsaw (sorry) mommy" with sad little eyes - who could be mad at that?

I'm sure someone now has the whole incident recorded on video and we will be banished from ever coming to this park again. Oh how I wished I had my cell phone so I could call Chuck and beg him to run back and rescue me. Well, at least the worst was over. He eventually came back, the kids got to bounce up a storm, it did downpour and in some weird, crazy, demented way, we ended up having a good time.

Lessons learned:
1. ALWAYS put Bennett in a pull-up - from now until he's 10 - wherever we go
2. ALWAYS bring the stroller
3. ALWAYS bring the cell phone
4. Try not to leave the house ever again, unless its on fire.

A quick run to the store....turns into much more

6/27/2004 — cori
Well, I'm sure you can imagine how the rest of my week has gone if it ended up starting the way it did at the library. :) It's always something around here. Today I had all my 'helpers' come to Hobby Lobby with me to help pick out stickers for my scrap books - that was another one of my remarkable ideas.

The saga begins before we even step foot in the door. I decide to put Chloe in one cart and push her and ask Gavin if he could push Bennett in the other cart. Hobby Lobby has very small carts. So small in fact, that Bennett took up the whole inside of one - that is until he tipped out when Gavin tried to start pushing the cart. Thankfully, he didn't fall a long distance and was more startled than anything - but that didn't stop the alligator tears. Then Gavin joined in because he thought he was in trouble. I finally am able to get all the tears dried up and assure everyone that they are still loved and we head inside after already being there for 5 minutes and having yet to enter the store.

Then, I spent more time picking up the stickers they dropped on the floor than finding what I needed. When they weren't 'helping' me, they were dancing in the isle. And you know we weren't the only ones in that isle. Then, as if to appear to others that I have some semblance of control over my children, I ask them to each hold on to one side of the cart (preferably opposite sides). Now we are at least 5 feet wide. The isles are also 5 feet wide. Nobody can get thru the barricade I just made. And of all the times to choose to listen to me, now is the time they choose to. They dare not remove their hand from the cart so that someone can squeeze by us or so we can make it thru a narrow space (like a doorway).

Then at the checkout line Gavin asks (in his always loud voice) a random question, "mom, were you sad when Bennett was born that you didn't get to spend much time with me anymore?" That's a loaded question. There are people around. How am I supposed to answer that? There is a 3 part answer I attempt to give him and then finally it's our turn to check out. :) The lady ahead of me was slightly irritated at us, I could tell. Maybe it was because when I asked the boys to help unload our cart of stuff they were kinda right next to her making her feel a tad bit over-crowded. But they were such sweet helpers. You have to always look at the positive side.

Potty Talk

6/27/2004 — cori

Hmmm, where should I begin, with the poop all over Chloe or the poop all over Bennett? Maybe I should preface this with, I'm attempting to potty-train Bennett right now. We have lots of accidents. So, me in all my wisdom decided to let Bennett wear his big boy pants to the library - mistake number one.

As soon as we get there i smell a poopy - luckily it's only Chloe. So I bring Gavin over to his story time and Bennett, Chloe & I head to the bathrooms. Unbeknownst to me, Chloe's diaper exploded and was up her back. During the time that I'm trying to give Chloe a bath with baby wipes, Bennett decides he needs to go pee. Right about now I'm wishing for two more arms and hands. Like a bad mommy, I leave Chloe unattended (since she can't roll yet) and run over to Bennett to pull down his pants. Problem is the potty is too tall (he likes to stand to pee), so i tell him to drag over the stool (which once placed in front of the potty is like 6 inches too tall). So, he's way taller than the potty on this huge stool, with his pants wrapped around his ankles and my daughter screaming with poop up her back. I start to sweat. I try to remember it's only as bad as I let it be - maybe i should try laughing at it.

I finally get Chloe cleaned and dressed in half an outfit - at least her bow didn't get poop on it and then pull up Bennett's pants and walk out of the bathroom trying to look perfectly normal as if I didn't just go thru a tiny crisis for the past 10 minutes. By this time we're too late for Bennett's story time...so we go over and do puzzles together. Chloe can't sit in her stroller cuz I have like, 50 books inside it, plus she's a tad fussy anyways and wanting to be held. Things are pretty good for about 10 minutes until I smell another poopy. I think to myself if must be one of these other children around us. Why doesn't that mother take care of her child's dirty diaper.

We only have 5 minutes until it's time to pick up Gavin when Bennett tells me he needs to pee. I don't want to discourage the potty training, so we run to the bathroom (my already wet child, my crying baby in my arms with the dirty paci and the stroller filled to the brim with books). We go thru the same song and dance with the stool and potty from earlier only to find out that Bennett doesn't understand the words 'before' as opposed to 'after'. I ask him a million times to tell me when he needs to go pee or poopy BEFORE he has to go. I must be missing a key element in my teaching technique cuz it's not getting thru.

Surprise, we stand on the too tall stool only to see wet big boy pants with a nice 'prize' also in them. Meanwhile, Chloe is still in my arms - screaming now cuz we dropped her paci on the bathroom floor and i have to draw the line somewhere with the 3 second rule - and I'm trying to get this little 'prize' out of Bennett's pants with one hand and some toilet paper. Needless to say it, it falls out, he steps on it and i pick it up off the floor - all the while trying not to sound or appear the slightest bit upset or agitated with Bennett for his 'accident'. In desparation, i'm able to somehow remove his clothing one handed, throw away the big boy pants (i just didn't have the clarity of mind to know what else to do at that moment) and pull up his shorts. He's bewildered that he has no big boy pants and no diaper on. Oh yes, I had to leave my stroller outside the bathroom with my purse and was praying it would still be there - which it was (that was the highlight of the morning). Oh yeah, and all of this happened within only 35 minutes. :) Want to hear the rest of my day?.......

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