Apr 10, 2009

Feel the Love

4/10/2009 — cori

So we're sitting at the kitchen table eating our lunch and listening to some pretty happening tunes from my 80's/90's mix cd (which the kids requested, by the way, I am in no way brainwashing them into thinking this genre is the best music ever). We're just sitting there making small talk over our pretzels and oranges when this song comes on:

If you don't recognize it by the cheesy video, that's fine...I'd never seen the video before either, but the song is classic. It's the music and the words that really matter here (I had no clue how to imbed only that in my blog). It is so overly melodramatic and so 80's synthesizer and echo-y voice typical. You just gotta love it for the raw emotion it bleeds.

Then out of nowhere Bennett says, "If I ever don't feel loved, I think I'll just come and listen to this song and it will help me feel loved again." I think I laughed for 5 minutes straight with tears pouring out of my eyes. Each time I thought about it, I got a fit of the giggles again. That is just so typical of Bennett. He wears his heart on his sleeve. That song would definitely make him feel loved again - it fits him perfectly!

Apr 9, 2009

Breaking In the New House

4/09/2009 — cori

It just hit me that that title doesn't really sound right. I'm meaning it as in 'breaking in a new pair of tennis shoes' not stealing the tennis shoes. We actually bought this house - we didn't break into it...but we are definitely 'breaking it in'. Now that I've made everything clear as mud, we can begin our little story.

We just moved a few weeks ago and are having a wonderful time trying to make our mark on this new home. Actually, its a pre-owned home, so we need to get our smell in it (this post is just going from bad to worse, isn't it?! - that's not the kind of smell I mean...), our personality, our TLC. These are 4 sure-fire ways that have helped us put our mark on this house and call it our own.

1. Make sure the upstairs toilet overflows the first day you own it. Be sure that all towels are still packed snugly in an unmarked box so that the only thing available to stop the excess water from dripping down the stairs are small random face cloths and paper towels. Make sure this happens while your Daddy is in a video-conference meeting downstairs in his office and your Mommy is not at home. Throw in one child who, when put in the middle of a stressful situation, panics and turns into a statue covering his face because he can't stand to see the mess...another child who has a guilty look on his face but keeps saying "it's not my fault!" and yet another who starts crying because it doesn't look pretty anymore. There is now no question about which bathroom to avoid in this house. Thankfully, we discovered this 'selling point' early on.

2. Play a family game of Hide-and-Seek. So much fun. It's especially fun when no one finds you and you keep staying in the same cramped quarters for 15 minutes or more. An added benefit of this game is having to hide with one of your children because she is too scared to hide by herself - so now, in this highly competitive and time-sensitive game, you not only have to find the perfect hiding spot for yourself, but one for your companion.

3. Make up lots of running games since you now have a huge space to run around in - INSIDE the house. I normally have the rule that all moms have: no running in the house. But how can you enforce it when the one who made up the game is the DAD?! Chuck tells the kids, "I'll go to some far corner of the house and then try to run like my tail is on fire to the other end of the house while you kids hide and try to jump out and tag me while on my way to previously decided upon destination." Oh goodie. I actually never saw this game first hand (thank God!) but heard from all involved how 'totally cool' it was. But I was privy to another little running game, also thought up by my ever creative and ingenious husband, called, "Let's run up and down the steps as fast as we can and count how many seconds it takes" (right after we have already put our daughter to bed, which just happens to be at the top of this staircase - minor point). Again, our competitive natures take hold and I just can't be left out of something so fun...so we each do it twice. We even timed it on the iPhone - so it was official. Chuck tried the 'skip alot of steps' method whereas, I chose the 'run real fast up each step so you don't trip up the steps' method. Seemed to work fine since I only came in a second after Chuck. But both boys tied my score. I'm still baffled by that...how can that be when their legs are shorter than mine?

4. Lastly, in an effort to give the house a nice aroma, put your favorite dish on the stove to simmer and let the smells waft through the house. Simmer is the key word here - medium...that would be too high. I found out. I put a pot of homemade spaghetti sauce on the stove (on medium) and left to take Gavin to piano class. An hour later I come home to the lovely aroma of: burnt spaghetti?! Gross!!! It stunck so bad. I'd say this house is almost broken in now...and what do you know, it only took 3 weeks?! Not bad.

Apr 5, 2009

So Big

4/05/2009 — cori
Five years have passed too quickly. As joyous as birthdays are in this house, this one was particularly melancholy because Chloe is the baby. When the baby turns five, she's no longer a baby. It was another wonderful day at the Arboretum, as is our tradition. From year to year, the flowers are her gift from God, bringing beauty to the world around her. We never know if we will be enjoying this beauty in 50 degree weather or 80 degree weather - but its always a beautiful sight to behold and a tradition we hold dear.

Four was fun. But something I noticed about my baby was that she didn't want to be the baby - she wanted to be big like her brothers. She's always acted older than her age. I sadly realized that I expected her to act older and didn't cut her enough slack to just be four. Four year old girls like to whine, giggle and cry at the drop of a hat in any random order all through-out the day I've learned. I'm always learning with Chloe. Since she's my first and only girl, we learn as we go. Isn't that life?

Three....sweet, sweet, three. This has always been my favorite age with each of the kids. I love how they talk and their wonder at the world around them. Chloe has always been a girly-girl, but this was the year that she wanted to always be, act, dress and talk, just like me. What an honor. But how often I forget little eyes are watching, little ears are listening. She keeps me on my knees before God. I have learned more about grace and mercy through this precious little life. It is an honor to be her mommy.

We just watched the video of two year old Chloe tonight and laughed with the recollection of the sound of her voice and her little mannerisms. She was an obstinate two year old, always wanting to do the opposite of what we wanted. She was also very serious while taking in the world around her. She spoke little, watched alot, and adored her brothers. And her hair...it was a riot. She finally started getting hair at two. I've always loved her hair...or the lack of it.

Can you get happier or balder than this? I think not. Even though a one year old is a lot of work, they are equally as much joy. We would laugh so much over her new discoveries with this world and the words or sounds she came up with for each new, learned thing. She was fascinated with shoes at this age. She loved wearing my high heels and flip flops and she could hold her own in those little, fake, plastic high heels. We would have no way of knowing that this fascination would reach epidemic proportions by the time she turned five.

She was treated like a princess from the very start. Bennett could not wait for his little "Zozee" to arrive. He adored her and lavished affection on her. Gavin took great pride in being able to carry her to me or feed her. She changed our whole family for the better. Daddy was on a six week sabatical when she arrived and had the time to bond with her at home unlike the boys. We didn't miss a beat after she was born. She fit into our crazy lifestyle perfectly. We were out and about within days of her birth.

Thank you God, for the gift of Chloe.

Apr 3, 2009

A Novel Idea

4/03/2009 — cori

You would think that because I homeschool I spend oodles amount of time with my children. And in theory, that is correct. But it is not the type of time that matters I have come to find out. You see, when I'm schooling, I'm more objective oriented, purpose driven, always looking to the next task that needs completing. I have to be expert at juggling my normal home responsibilities with school/education needs of my children. Multitasking is the name of the game.

In the early years, when the kids were all little, it wasn't such a big deal. We played much more than we worked. We still enjoyed each other's time. But as they've grown, my play time with them has shrunk. It is a constant battle I struggle with. I feel that I give them myself all day long...how can they expect me to play with them in the afternoon when I HAVE to get dinner ready, cleaning done, or any of a gajillion other things that I had hoped to do in the small 2 hour time slot I have available before dinnertime?

It hasn't helped with the whole moving thing. First there was a whole house to pack, then a whole house to unpack and decorate. Needless to say, my mind has been on many other things for a long time. I hadn't realized how much I had not been giving my time to the kids. And they only want me...not my agenda, not teacher, not the 5 minutes I give them as I rush back and forth between each of their needs. They wanted me, whole-heartedly just giving them attention and being with them.

So, yesterday I made an announcement at breakfast that each one of them would get a whole hour with Mommy today to do whatever they wanted to do with me. They would have my undivided attention. I would willingly go along with any plan (if you know me, you know that's hard for me). We drew names to find out the order. Gavin got first, Chloe second and Bennett last (each the way they had originally hoped it would be).

This is the fun part of it all, finding out what it was they were hoping to do with me. I can't tell you how much fun I had - it was a blast! It brought back memories of simpler times. Times when I didn't let a schedule dictate our day, when I cherished the time I had with them instead of thought of all things I still needed to get done in a day and wondered when I'd finally get "my time". How had I fallen so far from my 'first love'? It broke my heart that they were thrilled with a single hour of my time.

My time with Gavin began with my reading to him. We have been reading "Alice In Wonderland" (an extremely weird book, might I add...the author must have been on something...it makes NO sense!). But Gavin loves this book because of his love of all things fantasy, so its right up his alley. Then he read to me...a book called, "The Sign of the Beaver" which I thoroughly enjoy. After that, we built a model airplane together (something I didn't know I could do). He was so content. He got all his schoolwork done after that without complaint.

Next was Chloe. She LOVES any chance she gets at 'being in charge'. First we played 'make-up store' and then you're supposed to walk over to the 'hair-dresser store' after you get your make up done. After we were beautiful, we played mommy and daughter (obviously with the roles reversed). We got all her teddys and dolls all dressed up and brought them to 'church'. Me and the babies got to sit on her bed, while she stood and read to us from the Bible. I was allowed to ask questions as long as I raised my hand. It was precious.

Finally it was my time with Bennett. He's very physical, so I knew I'd be doing something that didn't involve sitting down. Of course he picked playing basketball. So we went outside in the 40 mile and hour winds on a 50 degree day with the threat of a thunderstorm looming perilously overhead. It was a challenge trying to throw the ball against the wind. But surprisingly, I actually won the game of "around the world". Bennett was a good sport about it. Then we came inside and built a pirate ship he had. Another 'hard to do' thing..but super fun.

Bennett even sent me an email thanking me for our special time. He even sang me a special 'i love mommy song' as well as lavished me with many accolades about being 'the best mom ever' the rest of the day. My heart was so full.

I was so refreshed by time with each of my favorite people. I vowed to do it each week. I will not let the busyness of life, the demands of life or the demands of each day get in the way of cultivating time with my children. What a wonderful lesson I learned yesterday.

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