Feb 27, 2008

For The Love of Nature

2/27/2008 — cori
Living in Texas, we're blessed with bouts of warmer weather during the winter months. When it reaches the 60's and it's sunny...it takes alot to keep us indoors. This past Sunday was one of those days we just had to be outside. So Chuck packed a backpack of all the necessary, important hike gear (Swiss army knife, water, a large rope) and we piled in the car en route to our favorite hiking grounds around here.

Finding just the right stick is paramount. How can one hike without holding on to an object with which to poke, dig and/or hit with? Chloe is demonstrating to Grandma the expert skill she has acquired in all her years of hiking of how to point out the smallest object in the dirt and then prod it until it becomes one with the dirt.

There's nothing better than finding that perfect climbing tree. We all took turns climbing the ladder like rungs of this wonderful, stately, old cedar tree. Chloe was in perfect princess form showing us how to grace the bottom of the tree with her presence.

And what hike would be complete without a little swing on a rope? Chuck bravely dangled off the side of this tree and with expert precision (and a few scratches and bruises), tied a tight enough knot that allowed all of us the chance to be Tarzan for just a brief moment in time. Wooping and hollering echoed through the serene landscape. There's just something about dangling over the precipice of a 4 foot drop off over a trickling stream that seems to incite hunger for more danger and adventure. I couldn't let them have all the fun! For some reason, Mom and Chloe opted out of the event.

Feb 26, 2008

When You Least Expect It

2/26/2008 — cori
Ahhh...the joys and excitement of Dress Up For Dinner Night. It has truly become a night the kids look forward to with bated breath. And if truth be told, so do Chuck and I. When we give them the green light to go ahead and dress up, watch out, the energy in this house is contagious. This week, our theme was food. Bennett suggested it and everyone thought it would be a great idea. Turns out - he was right. And to top it off, my Mom was in town to also partake in the drama. She says she's not very creative - I beg to differ. We take creative license to an extreme around here.

Remember, the rules state, "each person, no matter his/her age, is solely responsible for his/her own costume, make-up and props". This is important to know when understanding the kids "food choices". Let me introduce my family: First of all, I'm the talking strawberry, I'm standing next to a little brown chocolate bar, who is standing next to a red Mike n Ike piece of candy who is standing next to an orange fish on a plater with an apple in it's mouth. All the children are standing around their favorite asparagus. And last but not least, no, my husband did not get lost from a nativity scene, he is in fact, a tortilla with guacamole and salsa dripping out.

So there we were, a content, happy, all-be-it very weird family seated around the dinner table enjoying our feast. However, we noticed a small oversight - we had forgotten to close the blinds. For whatever reason, we are extra self conscious when it comes to the blinds being open on DUFDN. And we all pinky swear that we will not, under any circumstances open the door for any reason if someone should happen to knock on it during our blessed event. Duh!! It would sure help to close the blinds first, so that when somebody does happen to knock on the door, they can't see the entire family sitting down at the table ignoring them.

First of all, let me state that NO ONE (that we know) EVER KNOCKS ON OUR DOOR. That is, until we least expect it. It started with the door bell. It rang and we all froze. Like that was going to accomplish anything. Then we heard a knock. Odd. Who would be knocking on our door during this time of the night. The kids were just itching to run to the door to find out. We figured it was a neighbor just coming to the door to ask the boys to play. He might get his feelings hurt this once, but there was no way we were going to open that door!

Then my tortilla speaks, "It's kinda silly of us just sitting here when, whoever is at the door can see me here at the table just ignoring them." So, we did what any normal parent would do - we sent one of the kids to the door. Gavin went first, turned on the outside light, peeked outside and closed the door again. With his reconnaissance mission complete, he came back and concurred that yes, someone was indeed standing outside our door. Obviously, he felt no need to talk to this person, or even invite them in. He just shut the door.

Well, Bennett will stand for none of that, so he races out of his seat to go make the person at the door feel more comfortable and welcome. He runs outside (because the person is now walking back towards their car) gets a good look at who it is, comes back in, shuts the door (with the poor, poor soul still outside) and informs us that it is indeed someone we know.

Oh my gosh!!! This isn't supposed to happen. People we know aren't supposed to see us this way. I mean, a picture is one thing, but live and in person?! They're going to know how really crazy we are. So, swallowing my pride, I get up from the table to go to the door and apologize for her getting the door slammed in her face twice. I then stutter and stammer trying to explain why I'm dressed up like Strawberry Shortcake. I'm glad I was already wearing red because I turned every shade of red there is, so it just blended in.

Thank God this was a friend who totally understood and laughed with us, not at us (I think). She even acted interested and asked the children all about their costumes. She really didn't act the least bit surprised because she said she'd seen past pictures and had been following all our escapades on my blog. How much weirder would that have been if she had no clue we ever did this?? I hate to think of the consequences...the word CPS comes to mind.

Anyways, I guess the moral of the story would be: When you least expect it, something will happen. Therefore, be ready to laugh at yourself, because you can't be ready for what will happen, but you can control how you will react to it.

Feb 15, 2008

Sweet Traditions

2/15/2008 — cori
Can you tell we treasure traditions in this house? This one, we came up with 3 years ago out of desperation. We couldn't find a baby sitter for Valentine's Day. So, out of my husband's infinitely creative and romantic brain popped a new idea. "Hey, how about we make our house a restaurant and let the kids be the waiters!" Great! Sounds good to me! So, each year, we do the cooking (the Chuck part of "we"), then instruct the kids on what items to bring to the table first (like - not the dessert), then we sit back and enjoy our meal (at the little kid table). It's really the perfect set up.

We even get to put on our special clothes (like big people, dress-up, date clothes that are getting dusty in our closet). Sometimes, the boys help me pick out that perfect outfit. This year, I was given the freedom to pick out my own clothes, thankfully. The kids also put on their nicest clothes with a tie. They like to sling a dish towel over their shoulder to add that perfect touch.

Then comes the big moment. We walk outside and close the door behind us. I'm sure our neighbors find it a bit odd that Chuck and I are just hanging around on our front porch in our Sunday best for no apparent reason...but by now, I'm sure they're not surprised by anything we do. We savor the 5 minutes of alone time before knocking on the door of the restaurant. Each year the kids also come up with a name for it and draw a picture and place it somewhere in the 'restaurant'. This year, we dined at Ronos.

We are then escorted to the best (and only) seat in the house. A perfectly set child's table in the middle of our living room. We even get a candle and music. The mood is perfect. The waiters - hugely attentive. Our wait staff is also very 'lovey' - they love to give us hugs and compliments. Come to think of it, I think we had at least one waiter at our table or talking to us or staring at us the entire time we were there. At one point the young female waitress came and asked us in her softest, airy voice, "Um, excuse me, but is your food yummy?" Oh yes...we have very yummy food! This same waitress thoughtfully pointed out the direction of the nearest potty if the need ever arose to have to use it. Like I said, the service is impeccable.

This year we had an extra treat, my Mom was in town and was able to take part in the festivities with us. Having a head waitress was a HUGE help. Good times!

Feb 11, 2008

Act Like The Dog

2/11/2008 — cori

So....we were having a nice little family walk around the neighborhood yesterday afternoon. The weather was in the low 70's and sunny. We thought it would be nice to take the dog with us.

The kids have revamped their 'save the dog' efforts (since I'm forever threatening to give her away) and volunteered to be the walkers. That's all fine and good in theory...but when a 50 pound person tries to walk a 50 pound dog...watch out. Bennett spent most of our 'walk' being dragged through the grass - literally on his behind or on his stomach. He refused to let go of the leash. He's sticking by his motto which again, was borne out of his desire to 'save the dog': if we act more like the dog, maybe she'll like us more and listen to us. Doesn't work.

Several times Chuck had to run full speed for 50 yards or so to save Bennett from being dragged out to the street. We finally relented and told him to take a break and actually enjoy the 'walk 'part of our walk. Daddy would use his strong muscles to walk the dog.

I guess being pulled through the grass by your dog on a beautiful, sunny day energized him. The kid is never at a loss for words. (I think he was mistakenly given the women's allotment of words for one day instead of the men's.) Anyways, he was talking about everything and nothing when all of the sudden he stopped short. He put his nose in the air, took a deep whiff and in the manliest man voice he could muster he pronounced, "I SMELL BEEF!"

Of course he did. He couldn't have smelled hamburgers on the grill or a nice juicy steak. He immediately honed in on the source and it was beef. I guess his whole 'acting like the dog' thing works after all.

Feb 7, 2008

I Love Phonics!

2/07/2008 — cori
My dear, sweet Romeo (Bennett) just came up to me with stars in his eyes and the cutest grin ever to tell me how much he loved me. But not only did he tell me how much he loved me, he even spelled out what he thought of me. He said, "Mommy, you are B-Y-O-O-T-F-O-L-E !" How did I get so lucky?! He swaggered away with pride bursting through his chest. He knows he just made his mommy's day. I sure do love my little speller!

Feb 3, 2008

Dress Up For Dinner Night Number 4

2/03/2008 — cori
With one look at this picture, I think it's easy enough to deduce what tonight's theme was. And, I think it would be safe to say, that Chuck and I had WAY TOO MUCH FUN dressing up for this one. As predicted, the boys both incorporated the use of their bathrobes into their costumes (for the 3rd time!) and Chloe is still in pink - even though she's not a princess. Chuck out-did himself this time - I'm so proud of him!

Snappy Mommy

2/03/2008 — cori

The other evening, close to bedtime, Gavin tentatively asks me a question. "Mom, are you doing okay? Because it seems to me you're a bit snappy." How observant you are my son. Well, I guess one could say I might be a bit on the 'snappy' side. Here are a few reasons that might help explain this little 'attitude problem' of mine - explain...not justify.

1. For starters, there were no less than 37 reasons that I was frustrated with our dog.
2. I was already at a level 6 in the 'highly irritable phase' scale for the day and was not doing a good job of 'hiding it' - obviously. (Some might refer to this phenomenon as pms).
3. It was bedtime and yet the loft appeared to still have the entire contents of Toys R Us strewn randomly around making the 'clean up phase' longer than expected, thus delaying bedtime.

As if his observation wasn't enough, he had to go and give me his reasoning as to why he thinks I might be behaving in such a manner. "Mom, is it because we didn't give you enough computer time today or are you mad at Elizabeth (the dog)?" Well, I'm glad he narrowed it down to two things for me.

Oh...definitely the dog, honey...definitely the dog! So, after excusing myself to go do some soul searching while Chuck supervised the 'clean up party', I came down stairs to sulk. Why are kids so good at making complicated things seem so simple? I thought my frustrations were warranted and everyone around me should shape up or ship out. And look what ended up happening...I'm the only one who got 'shipped out'.

Of course, no less than 20 minutes passed (miraculously, it didn't take too long to shove the massive amounts of toys under beds and into closets), before I headed back upstairs to justify...uh, I mean apologize for by snappy behavior. With my tail between my legs, I asked if they would forgive me for taking my 'snappiness' out on them, that I was wrong to do so because it didn't show them love. They all gave me huge smiles and said, "Sure, Mom." and then thought no more of it. All was in the past...that little snappy episode...it never even happened in their little world.

Oh to have the forgiveness, trust and love of a child.


2/03/2008 — cori

Yesterday, Bennett came running into my room, ready to claim the coveted 'next to mommy spot' for cuddle time. It seemed he had a question looming on his mind all night and couldn't wait to ask me. This was it: "Mommy, in heaven are we going to have those yellow lines around our body and be all glowy?"

I couldn't tell if he thought this was a good thing and wanted to have yellow lines around his body and be glowy or if it was a bad thing in his mind (like maybe be a hindrance to heavenly play or something), so I told him that since I've not been to heaven yet, I wouldn't be able to accurately answer his obviously well thought out question. But I told him that if he's seen that in pictures (where else would he come up with such descriptive ideas?) that it was what other people only imagined it to be. Then we came up with our own imagination of what it will be like.

What a beautiful way to begin the day....imagining heaven.

Feb 1, 2008

Quick Change Artist

2/01/2008 — cori
As I came upstairs to play with Chloe this morning, I noticed how cute she looked in her tutu so I told her so. "Chloe, you look beautiful in your outfit today", I said.

In her high-pitched, special voice she uses when she's being a 'real mommy' she properly replies, "Thanks you. I got it on clearance." She says this as if its a normal thing to say. I guess I say that WAY too much if she didn't even think twice before blurting it out. That's a good thing, right?

And as if one cute outfit wasn't enough for today, she had to go and adorn herself in this special get-up. When asked who she is, she looks at me as if I just fell off the turnip truck and with a bit of exasperation in her voice says, "Mo-om...I'm cat woman!". Ohhhh. And what exactly does cat woman do? Well, according to my sources, all she has is a whip and she wields her whip as a handy device to help her climb buildings. Don't worry, our little cat girl only has an imaginary whip - and she uses it VERY well - and not only for climbing buildings!

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