Jul 31, 2009


7/31/2009 — cori
No...I am not trying to talk with tape over my mouth. We are celebrating a new acronym in our family. One that will soon stand in the hall of "Mallott Family Traditions" as popular as "DUFDN" and "PAMN" (translation: 1. dress up for dinner night and 2. pizza and movie night). Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the: Mallott Family Fantasy Football League!!!

My husband, the faithful and ever faithful reader of ESPN, the one who knows all sports statistics on every sport for the past 15 years, the same one who pulled his groin in last year's all important Rogers vs. Mallott family Thanksgiving football game because he was trying oh-so-hard, has deemed now as the time for the rest of his non-espn loving family to begin to LOVE THE GAME.

Football is in his veins. He wears his Cowboys gear every game day. My sweet, wonderful husband, the football lover, wants to pass along his passion to his sports-challenged family. Truth be told, I believe Chuck's beloved gene has been kept alive through Bennett, the sole heir. His skill set is still sharpening, but his passion and love for the game already rival that of his father's.

Chuck asked me one night what I thought of this idea. I tried not to laugh. But really, what do I know about football, how in the world would I know who to choose. He was ready and waiting with answers for each of my questions. This is a sampling of our conversation:

Me: "First of all, I don't even know what a fantasy football league is"
Him: "Don't worry, I can explain it all to you."
Me: "Why would I want to do this?"
Him: "Cuz it would be fun."
Me: "I wouldn't even know who to pick"
Him: "Don't worry, I can tell you who is good."
Me: "And then you will pick all the good players."
Him: "No. Here look, we can even go over all their stats on espn.com"
Me: "That's okay. I trust you. I'd rather not spend a whole evening reviewing the stats of people whom I have no connection to - that would be weird."
Him: "So...what do you think? Sounds like a fun idea, huh?"
Me: "Mmmmhmmmm."

Admittedly, I did not go into this whole venture with the most excited of spirits. But Chuck's enthusiasm was contagious. First, he showed us all how we could pick our own team name and decorate our own helmet or logo. Okay...I can totally get into that. We all had fun coming up with names. Let me introduce our newly incorporated MFFFL teams:

Chuck - The Me Monsters

Me - The House Hunters

Gavin - The Flaming Fireballs

Bennett - The Stars

Chloe - The Dolphins

Other - The Dumb Old Donkeys

Notice that there are 6 teams instead of only 5. This 6th team was essential to the efficient schedule making of the team rosters. Each person has to play somebody each week. Therefore, we couldn't leave anyone out. Chuck's brilliant plan was to put a dummy, decoy team in that we would each have the opportunity to play - and beat. The goal is that this dummy team is so bad, that we will automatically get a win. Let's hope that it plays out that way. I'd hate to lose to The Dumb Old Donkeys. This team name does not mean to show or harbor any ill will towards donkeys. We love donkeys. It is a family joke and it centers around Brian Regan.

Tonight was the night of the Big Draft. We sat around our kitchen table, inhaling our pizza and calling out our picks with much enthusiasm as Chuck called our draft numbers. It felt like the big leagues. Granted, I was only calling out names that Chuck previously wrote down for me, Chloe, himself and the Dumb Old Donkeys. The boys gathered their names thru a highly scientific method - they looked through all their football cards and chose the names of whoever they had. Pure genius. I wish I had football cards.

I'll keep you posted as the season progresses. Gavin refers to our football match-ups each week as "fighting each other". He has no concept of football, but is excited about all the 'fighting' none-the-less. Chuck is taking this as seriously as if he were in the pros...as he should, this is very important afterall...to him. Chloe is thrilled just to be included. She's so excited to have her own purple helmet with a team that has her favorite animal name. It's the little things in life that make her happy. Bennett wishes he was actually out there playing with Tony Romo - he doesn't understand why this is 'fantasy'. I still don't think he grasps the definition of that word. And I, I look forward to seeing my beautiful logo on the screen each week as I check my stats. The colors and team name fit my persona. It was a long, thought out process, but in the end I felt I came up with a very intimidating sounding team name. Just picture these big, burly men tearing down the field with all ferociousness in search of the best house - it is just so exciting.

It's a wonderful thing to share and appreciate your spouse's passion and/or things they like eventhough you may not. If you take the time to enjoy what they value, it shows that you value them. I'm so thankful he's wanting to share all this with us. He could just do like he does every year with a bunch of buddies. But this time he chose to include us...a clueless bunch of people he loves more than football. I may just he hooked on fantasy football for life now.

Gotta love the game!

Bring on football season - we here at the Mallott household are ready!

Jul 22, 2009

Sentimental Bennett

7/22/2009 — cori
Our children have just now started experiencing and/or noticing the joys of country music. Neither Chuck nor I grew up listening to country music (unless you count 'Alabama' for a short stint in 1983 - and that was completely by accident). As kids, you kind of just listen to the music your parents listen to. All that to say, that our kids have just now realized the 'coolness' factor of our music.

Everytime we get in the car, they always ask me to put in a cd. Now that they know the names of many of these country singers, they think they're hot stuff. Today Bennett asked for Tim McGraw. He's my favorite. On the particular cd we were listening to was one of my favorite songs titled, "I Know How to Love You Well." It's a beautiful, romantic, sappy love song. Chuck and I dance to it all the time.

Well...it seems Bennett had different notions in his head when he listened to the song today. He asks me, "Mom, can we repeat that song over and over. I like it." Sure, honey. No problem. Isn't that a sweet song? It makes me think of Daddy every time I hear it. He answers me with, "Well...it makes me think of Elizabeth." Seriously?!

If you will recall, Elizabeth was the wild, crazy, obstinate dog we had for 9 short months before finding her a good home. It has been over 2 years since we've had her. He rarely played with her. This is as much contact that he had with the fuzzy furball. As an infant puppy, she was quiet, cuddly and slept alot (the only way to have a dog if you ask me). As she grew, she became a menace. She dragged (literally, he was being pulled while on the ground) Bennett down the street while he was holding her leash, she attacked Gavin while he was walking to the table with his cereal bowl, she bit me every time I cleaned her paws, she chewed Chloe's doll head until it was a distorted monster baby. It is this very dog that Bennett has such fond memories of. That he sees himself loving so well. What a beautiful ode to the memory of Elizabeth.

Jul 19, 2009

A Schedule After My Own Heart

7/19/2009 — cori
To appreciate this post, you need to know a little about me. I grew up an extremely scheduled person. I loved knowing what and when I could expect for my next meal. I lived by my bed-time. A schedule was a comfort for me, it was my security. I knew what to expect. That's why, it made perfect sense while in college, that I had a "Plan Board". It was divided into two sides, one for my room-mate and one for me. On it we would write out our plan for the day so we knew what to expect (why...I have no idea). There was not much spontaneity going on, obviously. Also, that may explain my lack of consistent room-mates. It appears that not everyone appreciated the "Plan Board" as much as I did.

Eventually, I became an adult (in age only) and my little scheduling tendencies followed me. It came in awesome when I jumped into my career. I was in charge of meeting with clients and arranged my own calendar. As far as jobs go, it didn't get much better than that when you're an efficiency, schedule freak like myself. It was pure bliss, actually.

Then I graduated to parenthood. Another scary foray into the future unless you're armed with a comforting schedule. Poor Gavin. He bore the brunt of my need for organization (read 'control' here). I was flabbergasted that the hospital would actually send us home with this new person without guidance or a nurse. The only piece of advice was, "Just make sure you feed him every 4 hours". Well then...that's all we needed. Chuck designed the best little spreadsheet ever to keep track of every and anything new little baby Gavin would need. We woke him up precisely every 4 hours to feed, whether he was hungry, awake or not. This is what the authorities told us to do and we will not waver. At each feeding there was the spreadsheet to fill out...we marked whether he peed or pooped, what time the feeding was, how much he ate, when we started and stopped. It was horribly anal. We did this for 3 months. Mercifully, our pediatrician told us, "Stop. You don't need to do this anymore." What a relief. Gavin grew up asking, "So, Mom, what's the plan for today?" Enough said. He was a kindred spirit. He knew that a good plan, made for a good day.

Once Bennett entered the picture, any semblance of organization or scheduling was utterly lost. That was the beginning of freedom for me. For the first time in my life, I realized I didn't have to stick with a bed time - for myself. I could eat when I was hungry, not just when it was time. The kids could nap before and/or after lunch. By time Chloe came, I was only a shadow of my former self. I still love efficiency, but can't stand being locked into a schedule. I NEED flexibility. I NEED freedom to change my mind. This blows Gavin's mind.

Now...knowing the rigidity under which Gavin's earliest, developing years were formed, you can have a slightly better understanding of what and why and how he does some of the things he does. The boys have a neighbor that they play with every day of the week. They have really developed a neat relationship. Evidently, they were tired of coming up with what to play on what day. So, they all decided to make a schedule in order to ease the brain drain caused by thinking so hard during the summer.

I walk into the gameroom to see them all sitting at the computer with Powerpoint up. Gavin has made a beautiful chart and each of the boys were contributing to all the blank spaces. They were all equally excited with this genius idea, it seemed. They excitedly asked if they could print three copies so they could all have one to tape to the place of supreme importance in their rooms. Here is what all the commotion was about:

Obviously, it's encoded, but I think I might could crack it for you. 'Kung Fu' refers to role-playing ninjas and having hours of fun doing karate moves on each other. But just in case they get bored of that, instead of taking a break from each other and retiring to their own rooms, they still have 4 more options to choose from - it's just pure genius. Once Kung Fu looses its initial thrill, then they can morph into Jedi's, complete with robe and light saber. This includes full scale battles with extremley life-like and realistic sounds emmanately forth from each jedi. Since there's more time to kill, why not play the game "Scene It" a few times, at least until you've memorized all the answers and it's no longer fun to play. Then I suppose Legos comes in 4th on the list of fun activities. That could get a little quiet and still of a game...but I supposed even boys need some 'quiet time' to their long, grueling days of making boy noises and running. Lastly, and if Mommy is in the mood, 'water' would refer to 'going to the pool'. This is normally a given on any day, as long as its not raining...which, why would it rain? It's Texas, in July.

Thus you can see the pride bursting forth from my bosom as my eldest carries on the beauty of 'the schedule'.

Jul 11, 2009

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

7/11/2009 — cori
Point in case:
This particular invention was due to Gavin's need to continue applying 'ice' (i.e.- a frozen bag of peas) to a bump on his head that he just got (I promise, I did not give him the bump...or the peas) yet still be able to have a hand free to eat his snack and read a book simultaneously. As the next picture proves, you can still read comfortably while applying pressure to a bump and eat a granola bar ALL AT THE SAME TIME while pretending everything is normal.

Prior to this invention, he was in tears, upset, because I was sitting there reading and eating a snack and he wanted desperately to join me. But that darn 'ice pack' was hindering his deepest desires. He didn't want to miss out on the fun I was having. I told him he was a smart boy and would figure something out. And, voila...the rest is now history.

Jul 2, 2009

Bike Issues

7/02/2009 — cori

It has become rather apparent that we have some major bike issues in this family. We went on a family bike ride the other night. Instead of looking like a sweet, little family enjoying a nice little ride through their community, we looked a little more like a motley crew / freak show.

First of all, Chuck and I received our bicycles as gifts 10 years ago. Read into that what you like. After multiple moves across the metroplex and the country, our bikes are witnesses to the fact that time and moving trucks are our enemies.

Chuck's bike has one wobbly wheel (the back one). He believes this was due to poor handling by the movers. I take the position that he has done maybe one or two too many 'pop-a-wheelies'. Either way, he can't drive in a straight line to save his life.

My bike has brakes that prefer to stay forever in the locked position. Nothing I do seems to loosen the grip my brakes have on my wheel. So I have to pedal very hard on consistently flat tires just to go.

Gavin had a wipe out a few months ago and ruined his gears somehow. Miraculously, Chuck was able to get the gear thingy back together. But the only problem is that now, out of the 18 gear positions Gavin's bike boasts of, he can only use 1 of them. If he tries to change gears, his bike will possibly implode. Plus, since a professional bike fixer didn't fix his bike, it makes a rather loud noise every time he pedals.

Bennett actually has two bikes, Gavin's old one and his own. Both the same size. Both too small for his 'enormous' body. The one he prefers has pedal issues. Both pedals have broken in half. So, he has two half pedals on either side. You can imagine how this improves his balance while bicycling. He is a constant accident waiting to happen. I don't think he believes in brakes. When he feels he's about to fall, he lifts both legs and arms up and just glides with bike to his final wipe out spot. Chuck even had to give him lessons in 'how to fall off a bike like a boy'.

Chloe received her little princess bike when she turned 3. That was 2 1/2 years ago. Since then, she's grown almost 4 inches...all in her legs. She looks ridiculously big for her baby bike. Plus, her tires are 1/8 of the size of ours, so she has to pedal at the speed of light to keep up with the rest of us.

Just another fun, family, bike ride through the hood during a lovely 98 degree evening in Texas.

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