Oct 30, 2006

The Visitor

10/30/2006 — cori

We had a very special visitor the other night. It was actually quite a surprise. We weren't expecting anyone. He probably came because we live quite close to one another. He caused quite a ruckus, though. We weren't expecting to have to pick up after him so much. Evidently, he just prefers to eat privately. At night. Outside. Have you guessed who our visitor was yet?

A Bear!

The only downside to our little visit is that we never actually got to see one another. We only realized he came the next morning when we found the trash from our dumpster strewn across the back yard. Actually, the trash can having fallen over didn't surprise us in the least. It had been an extraordinarily windy night. And it would have been quite feasible that our can tipped over. What wasn't feasible, however, was the trash bags ripped apart like they were made of tissue paper. Or the large teeth marks found on a frosting can. Or the Crisco container torn to shreds. Last time I checked, the wind didn't have those capabilities.

So...who do we send out to do damage control? Good ol' fearless Daddy! The kids, Nana and I were all perched on the balcony, a safe distance away in case our visitor was really playing hide-n-seek. I even had the foresight to grab the video camera to document our latest adventure...or the bear. I quickly scanned the trees with my telephoto lens and gave Chuck the 'all clear' signal. He could now safely enter the brush and overgrown trees in our backyard in order to safely retrieve the trash that was rightfully ours.

Actually, we all worked quite well as a team. Daddy sent Bennett in to grab a large, black trash bag. Bennett passed it onto Gavin, who cautiously meandered into the depths of our back yard to make the hand off to Daddy. He then stood transfixed in one spot surveying the damage. Nana held onto Chloe for dear life. And I recorded it for all posterity. If you're going to have such an outrageous story, it helps to have documentation.

We contemplated other possible intruders. It could have been a raccoon, but we ruled that out for a number of reasons. One, raccoons prefer to stay near the trash cans. Two, we've never seen or been told of raccoon sitings on the mountain. Three, raccoons don't have as big of teeth marks that were found on what is now being held as Exhibit A, nor do they have as large of droppings that our visitor left as a calling card. It could have been a large dog. But dogs don't go and sit on a pile of old tree, shrub and forrest brush and flatten it out with the shear magnitude of their weight while they're rummaging through garbage cans. That idea was out.

That is why we were convinced that our friend was a bear. A neighbor even told us that she spotted one in her back yard recently. That, along with all the evidence we accumulated led us to our final conclusion. How awesome for city slickers like us to have such a wonderful outdoorsy type of experience as this. You gotta love nature!

Oct 26, 2006

Me and Bruce Lee

10/26/2006 — cori

What do Bruce Lee and I share in common? Actually, almost nothing, except admiration. I was driving Gavin back from his Tae-Kwon-Do class last night and he mentioned that there are ALOT of posters of Bruce Lee on the walls of the training room. I nodded my agreement then added, "Your instructor must really admire Bruce Lee for his style and abilities." Gavin heartily agreed. I then went on to add, "Everyone admires someone. Who do you admire, Buddy?" His answer caught me off guard and brought tears to my eyes, "I admire you, Mom. I admire you because I love you and I admire you because you teach me." Awww. I didn't see that coming. My heart swells with emotion and gratitude.

A Spider, A Pillow, and A Baby Doll

10/26/2006 — cori

I don't like spiders...especially anywhere near my beloved bed. The other day I saw a spider ambling its way up the wall behind my headboard. I was able to secure a flip flop in record time without ever taking my eye of the spider and brought it to a swift and timely death. That was a little gross, but nothing like what I'm about to share.

I had just awoken yesterday. Bennett and Chloe had been cuddling me and had now made their way to the kitchen. I was still lagging behind in my bedroom getting ready for the day. When what should I see before me but a spider ON MY PILLOW! To say that I freaked out is an understatement!

Many thoughts begin a tumultuous roll through my head. The first being, Where did this come from? How long has it been on my bed? Are there more? Am I not safe from insects even in my own bed? Will I forever feel as if a spider can just drop onto my pillow at any given second?

So I did what any normal person would have done, I grabbed the closest object to me and beat it to death. However, the object within immediate reach happened to be Chloe's baby doll who was just cuddling with me. All I needed was a semi hard surface in order to make full impact with the spider. I saw that surface in the head of the baby doll. I think I whacked that poor spider at least 10 times. I grabbed the baby doll by the leg and just let her rip. Thankfully Chloe was not around to witness such an action of self defense.

I was able to clean the doll's head off enough so as no one would be the wiser. My secret was safe with her, I could tell. My pillow was scarred with the effects of the spider's blow-out. That was an easy fix. I decided that if I switched pillows with Chuck and flipped it over to the 'clean' side, he would never know. He doesn't make it a habit of inspecting both sides of his pillow before laying his head upon it . But I just couldn't go thru with that part of my plan. Call it spousal devotion or a guilty conscience...I ended up just flipping the pillow and keeping it myself.

Then comes the inevitable...bedtime. I had the worst case of the hee-bee jee-bees ever! I had this strange feeling that something was on my head. I found myself scooting farther and farther down the bed. I kept trying to brush some imaginary object off my head. I even asked Chuck to "please check under the bed for a spider's nest or lair or whatever" before we went to bed. Of course he appeased me with a quick glance under his side of the bed. That's probably why he was able to rest so easy and I got up twice and turned the light on just to make sure I had no unwanted bed companions.

Then it occurred to me today, Why don't you just strip the bed and start anew? Great idea! So tonight I plan on either, sleeping on Chuck's side of the bed or sleeping on the sofa! But this time - I'm definitely switching pillows with Chuck!

Oct 15, 2006

Logos Make Everything Better

10/15/2006 — cori

Tonight Chuck, Bennett and Chloe were playing hide and seek while Gavin & I were preparing dinner. Next thing you know there's a lot of crying and screaming going on. Chuck rushes Chloe to the kitchen to put some ice on her newly acquired boo-boo. Come to find out, Chloe had found the perfect hiding spot under her bed, but upon exiting, she bumped her head and was now the proud owner of a brand new shinny bruiser on her forehead.

This broke Bennett's heart. As Chuck & I were busily trying to calm her down, we can hear Bennett in the background saying, "I wish I could have gotten hurt so Chloe didn't have to. I wish I could take her boo-boo from her. I wish it could be me instead. Even though I got a bad boo-boo yesterday and nobody helped me, I would still want this boo-boo too. My boo-boo still hurts pretty bad, but that's okay, I could still take this one." Little Mr. Tender-Heart in action. Seeing his sister in pain brings him to his knees. He just can't handle it.

He decides that since he can't take the boo-boo, he will do whatever it takes to make his sister happy. Thus begins Operation Make Chloe Smile. He stops what he was doing and pours every ounce of energy into seeing that his sister recovers from her trauma. Plan A comes in the form of a cucumber. He rushes over with a generous portion in hand. She's a little apprehensive about allowing him to put this unknown object into her mouth, but he's smiling so sweetly and gently trying to cram it down in there, how can she resist? Either she acquiesces or he is finally able to pry her lips apart, but somehow, the cucumber ended up in there. It didn't seem to have the effect Bennett was looking for, thus begins Plan B.

Plan B is to try turning on the tv to see if her favorite show is on PBS while she sits on my lap with ice on her head. Unfortunately, no luck there.

Plan C begins to take shape. He asks Daddy to accompany him downstairs so he can get the markers. Up he comes with 3 markers in hand (of the washable and non toxic variety). He walks over to Chloe with a huge grin, "Who wants a logo?" How could a logo not make anyone happy? So he proceeds to draw various shapes, lines and dots on her chest. When I ask him what it is, he replies, "We'll see...". When I press the issue, he concludes, "Well....it's a......a......a.....butterfly, yah, a butterfly, except for it's a different kind of one. It's a kind from old times back in Egypt." Chloe is thrilled. She loves the logo.

However, that is only the beginning of Operation Make Chloe Smile. He feels she needs more. She was hurt badly. Then it comes to him....he goes and gets her beloved Barbie library book and her little toy radio. There, that should do it. He then decides to abandon all else and sits with Chloe and continues to put ice on her head in 5 second increments. He finally deems that she's had enough ice and decides it's now time to begin dancing to her nifty little radio tunes.

I hear him make a bargain with her, "Chloe, if you promise not to whine, I'll let you have my doggie for 3 days...but if you do whine, oh well, then you'll never get it." This seems like an offer she can't refuse. Without giving it any thought what-so-ever, she quickly responds, "Oh tay, Netnet." The love of a brother!

Life is good again.

Thank you Bennett, for showing me what love in action looks like.

Gavin's Anomaly

10/15/2006 — cori

Gavin has been pondering something very serious for a while now. He solemnly shares with me that he has (and I swear, I'm using his exact phraseology), "One extra boob." Sensing that the conversation will proceed no farther if I begin rolling on the floor with laughter, I stifle my outburst in order to hear why he has this conviction.

He then tells me that this 'third boob' is on his face. I gaze into his cute, little, seven year old face to try to see this anomaly that apparently concerns him to the extent of needing to share it with me. I see nothing resembling a 'third boob'. So I ask, "Honey, can you point it out to me?"

He then zeros in on a large (and I think, adorable) mole placed perfectly on the side of his chin. I can't help but probe further, "Honey, how do you think this is like a third boob? It looks like a mole to me." He was just waiting for me to ask this question, "Well...it's big." is his instant reply. But I also have a comeback, "Yes, honey, some moles are big. This one is not flush with your skin, it sticks up a little bit." That only seems to add fuel to his fire. He's evidently already thought all this through, so he proceeds with, "yah, and see if I pull on it like this...I can make it pokey." At this, I'm out of replies, so I decided to end our conversation with, "Honey, I still think you're handsome, even with your 'third boob.'"

Oct 9, 2006

Pool Ball

10/09/2006 — cori

We are the lucky (temporary) owners of a pool table. As of late, it has only been for the grown ups. But times are changing and Chuck found it in his heart to open up the joy of pool to our younger generation. What was once taboo for their age and stature has now become the most desired object of their affection.

The reason for Chuck's sudden change of heart regarding the pool table is actually a bit selfish if truth be told. Yesterday was a very long day. We played everything. Yet we still had an hour left before bedtime and 3 pairs of eyes starring up at us waiting longingly for a game idea. Legos were out, superheroes were out, bionicles were out, kitchen was out, hide and seek was out and its too dark to play outside. And then it happens. I saw the lightbulb go off in Chuck's head and the words were out of his mouth before I could stop him, "How bout we play pool ball?"

The kids have affectionately referred to this game by this name since it does indeed use a ball and is in fact a pool table - not to be confused with a regular pool which is simply a place to jump, splash and get wet in. Thus the nick-name, pool ball.

I lovingly ask, "So, what are we supposed to do with Chloe?" Chuck says, "She can watch." I'm sure this will go over well with Chloe. The kids are doing their typical non-stop jumping and dancing around. To actually be asked to play a grown up game made them so giddy they couldn't sit or stand still.

Chuck decides we should play teams. Gavin & I were team 1 and Chuck and Bennett were team 2. Team 2 always plays with the short stick. Team 1 shares the long stick. And Chloe sits perched atop a stool that puts her exactly eye level with the pool table. And since her eyes can see, that also means her hands must touch. Whatever balls ended up in front of Chloe were nicely rearranged into a pattern that she felt suited her better. Actually, she turned out to be more like a referee or that guy who sits there on the tennis courts overseeing the game. She insisted on constantly telling us who was on who's team. She constantly told us in no uncertain terms to "GO!" And when it got too quiet she would quiz us to see if we remembered which team we were on, "Mommy, what peem you on?" Other phrases I remember being uttered at strategic parts of the game (i.e - like when I'm concentrating) were, "Me no play pool ball yet, me only 2." and "Mommy, me see led (red) ball!" and "Mommy, me see lellow ball!" this continues until she positively identified every ball color on the table and whether or not it had a stripe and a number on it. Maybe this is why this has only been an adult game up until now.

The boys picked up on it remarkably well. Gavin has a great hit. He can always hit the white ball and hit it hard. It might not always hit the ball he's aiming for, but hey, mine doesn't either.
Bennett had to carry his stool around with him where ever he went so that he could actually reach the table. His form was interesting. He balanced the stick between two fingers making a
'v' on the table and then he held the stick like it was a torpedo and if he dropped it, it might explode. I have no idea how he was able to ever hit the ball - but he managed to a few times. At one point, he ended up trying to hit the ball like 10 times but kept missing and getting a severe case of the giggles. We spent more time laughing at Bennett and his cackling and form than getting the balls in the pockets.

This was turning out to be an awesome activity - that is, when we could find the balls that Chloe had kindly moved for us. Turns out we all had a huge case of the giggles and the laughter brought us closer together. Who knew? An event I thought could turn out disastrous, had actually turned into a beautiful memory. One of those times I wish I could freeze frame. Thank you Baby, for suggesting an impractical activity and thank you kids for being who you are and making me laugh all the time. I hope I have alot of laugh lines when I get old!

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