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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