Sep 29, 2010

Stop the Noise!

9/29/2010 — cori

You know how sometimes things happen and they aren't funny at the time but people say you'll look back one day and laugh about that? Yeah, well, something happened this morning and we still haven't gotten to the 'laughing about it' stage quite yet. It was a little traumatic. It was very dramatic. It was also very loud.

Let's set the scene: It is a peaceful, quiet, still-dark-out, early morning. My alarm went off at 6am and I made it out of bed a little after. We slept with the windows open since the low dipped into the 50's and the fresh night/early morning air always smells so pretty. It is still very dark outside at this time. I am normally the only one up. Actually, I lie. Ninja and I are both awake - she's eating greedily at her bowl and I'm enjoying my quiet time. The only light on in the house is in the kitchen, where I am.

I sit down to read and hear a random beeping noise. I immediately register that noise to be our idiotic alarm system. It has some type of short. Every so many days we have to 'reset' it. By that I mean, hit the # or * button to stop the random quiet beeps and still allow it to work normally. Thankfully, our system is not monitored. This is a key point of the story. Also important to note is that my husband is not an electrician.

The alarm pad in is the utility room across the hall from Gavin's room. I thought I'd go rescue him from the incessant beeping emanating from 10 feet from his head. That sound would have kept me awake all night but he is a sound sleeper. So as not to wake up my child, I did not turn any lights on. I walked into the (pitch black) utility room and just pushed the button like I always do.

Did I mention it was dark? Apparently I didn't hit the right button because out of nowhere a fog horn type siren started blaring throughout the entire house. I panicked and started hitting all the buttons on the key pad. Nothing stopped the noise. Noise is too placid a word, imagine the sound a nuclear bomb raid siren might make or an F-16 jet flying through your house. Imagine a sound that makes your heart want to jump out of your chest and makes you instantly start sweating and loosing all ability to think clearly. That type of "noise".

It seemed like an eternity before Chuck raced to my rescue. I'm still in the dark hitting buttons and he shows up and starts hitting some more. I explain my pathetic mistake to him amidst the screaming siren. He runs upstairs to the main controls for the alarm system and can't open the darn box. It needs a key! What a huge design oversight, I'd just like to add. Like we can find a key under such duress!

The very first thing that popped into my head was, "Oh GREAT! The windows are all open and we're going to wake all our neighbors up." I wanted to go close all the windows. Is this a rational thinking pattern? Then I had visions of a firetruck and 5 squad cars, lights flashing, sirens mimicking the sounds emanating from my house, pull up outside and aim a spot light at our house. I HATE drawing attention to myself but at the moment I felt as though I was pulling a huge stunt to do just that. The only thing I could think of was: stop the noise!!!

Thus, you can now understand what I did next. I left Chuck to fend for himself in the closet with the locked box and I ran, grabbed a chair and a pillow (I was careful as to which color - why I even care, I have no idea), raced to the hallway where the noise was screaming from and pushed the pillow onto the box to try to stifle the nuclear siren sound. The box is located in the upstairs hallway on the ceiling. I am now standing on the chair, holding a brown pillow over a box on the ceiling trying to muffle the 100 firetruck sounding sirens blaring into the still, early-morning air. Something is wrong with this picture.

Chuck finds me in the hallway shushing the alarm and I'm trying to tell him that I think we should either 1. call the fire department (but how do you explain that it's not a fire emergency on the phone with a noise that loud in the background?) or 2. pull that noisy box off the ceiling and disconnect the wires. He votes for the last option and prays we don't need to resort to the first option. My chair comes in handy as he uses it to pry that thing off the ceiling and just start pulling wires. I felt like we were a bomb squad team trying to diffuse a bomb. Actually, he was doing all the work, I was just the idea generator, the one who caused the entire ruckus and the one who felt like a heel at the moment. Things were not looking good for me to have a productive quiet time this morning.

Mercifully, 10-15 minutes later the incessant noise stopped when Chuck yanked the right wire out of something. Finally, we could breathe again. Ahhh....quiet. I am hyper-sensitive to noise this just made me want to go stick my head in the sand somewhere.

All I could do was whimper a pathetic, "I'm so sorry everybody. I think I hit the wrong button." Do ya think?! All I wanted to do was make it quiet so everybody could sleep in nice and soundly. I achieved the exact opposite.

Meanwhile, Chloe is in tears in our room. She thought there was a fire and rightly so since the loudest fire alarm in the history of fire alarms was going off right outside her door. Bennett was dazed and confused. He thought there was a burglar in the house. Gavin didn't even bother to get out of bed...he said later that he thought that if it was important, we'd come get him. The dog was too scared to eat and she was hiding in our room with Chloe. Boy, did I have some explaining and apologizing to do. And all of this because I only wanted to stop an irritating little noise.

Thankfully, none of our neighbors heard a thing (or at least never told us they did) or came knocking on our door to complain. No squad cars or firetruck showed up. Everyone just went back to doing their own thing. Chloe and Bennett got in my bed. Chuck got ready for work. I went back downstairs to resume my 'quiet time' and Gavin remained inconspicuous in his room.

You know you're in for a great day when it starts off like that!

I have had this twitch in my left eye all day. Seriously, I am not making this up, I really do. I wonder if it's related?

Sep 26, 2010

Date Day

9/26/2010 — cori
What a special day it is when I get to spend quality one on one time with one of my children. It is always precious and at very random times. Most often, we have to plan ahead for a very long time for a date. Today happened to be Chloe's and my lucky day.

First order of business is the dressing up. You can't go on a date unless you're 'dressed up', which of course means a dress (skirt will suffice) and heels. This was our going out attire:

Note about Chloe's dress - it was mine as a child, just in case you're having 70's flashbacks. She has been waiting for just the right time to wear this antique. It has been hanging in her closet forever and she deemed today was perfect for it's unveiling. She chose her outfit all by herself and allowed me to choose my own (this time). I love how her hair fits the era perfectly as well. Hello 70's child, welcome to 2010.

To start our date, we began with 'The Hunt For a Cowboys Shirt'. This was top priority. You see, in this house, fall means football and football means 'Go Cowboys!' which obviously means you MUST wear your team colors to support your team and enable them to win each week. Chloe was the lone man out. She has yet to own her very own Cowboys shirt. Poor girl, I know, we're wretched parents, our oversight in this area was pathetic. For crying out loud, I only joined the 'wear your t-shirt on game day' band wagon at the end of the season last year (when all the shirts were on clearance). But no longer is she an outsider in her own house on gamedays. She will now be proudly sporting her long sleeve blue shirt with a Cowboys star plastered obnoxiously on the front so that she too can show her loyalty to football and 'The Team'. The only one we could find, or should I say, the only one I would spend money on that was within my price range, was in the boys section of the store. But she's okay with that...afterall, this is Date Day and everything is peachy keen on this day of days.

After leaving the store with our new acquisition I tell her that I'd like to take her out to lunch and I was thinking of a Chinese place since I know she loves Wonton soup. But she politely declined and asked instead to go to La Madeleine. That is where we have always gone on dates together, and that is where we must go today. We are sticklers for tradition, I found out.

But I'm so glad we went there because the food was delicious, the conversation wonderful, the setting perfect and we felt like to little ladies in France. Couldn't have been more perfect for our girly-girl time together.

The next stop was the cherry on top for this girl. I took her to Charming Charlie's. A little boutique that has all types of fun girly things like costume jewelry, hair clips and stuff, purses, scarves, etc. and best part is, the whole store is organized by color. It wreaks of femininity - therefore, the reason I've only been in there exactly twice with the family. Thus, the reason I thought Chloe and I would enjoy staying there as long as we want just walking in circles looking at all the pretty, sparkly stuff without any boys in tow to 'ruin the mood'. And oh did we have fun. I told her that she could pick out anything she wanted to for $10. After her initial shock and excitement, her fist question was, "Does it have to be one thing for $10 or can it be two things that equal $10?" Because, you know, more is better. Lucky for her, she found 2 things she just couldn't live without for only $10. She is now the proud new owner of an adorable flower headband and a locket (that she has "wanted for ever and ever").

We did end up with one little hic-cup in our day and that involved Chloe's purse. I was holding it for her because she couldn't possibly hold her new purchase and her heavy purse at the same time, so I caved and carried two purses. As her purse was rubbing up against my leg, I felt something wet and saw a wet spot on my skirt. As we opened it up to see what was leaking, to our surprise we saw two, week old pears decomposing in the bottom. I can honestly say I've never left a pear in my purse to rot, so I wasn't exactly prepared to know what to do. We cleaned it out over a trash can as best we could. And by clean it out I mean, dumped everything that was on the inside onto the outside. Nothing was salvageable. Not even the purse. Mold is gross, especially when it's spreading throughout the bottom of your pink, vinyl purse. I felt horrible chunking my daughter's purse into the trash in front of all those passersby. She was in tears. This was not the mood I was going for. She was mourning the loss of her purse. I can understand. I am also a 'purse person' - love them - always have.

I assured her repeatedly that I was not upset and that mistakes happen and how sorry I was for her. We found a place to sit down and cry it out. We brought the camera along, so I thought it would be fun to try to lift her mood by taking silly pictures together. Thankfully it worked.

We had fun laughing together, making silly faces, posing for the camera and not crying. The weather was perfect fall weather, making that much more fun.

After our photo shoot, we couldn't wait to get home to show Daddy all the stuff we got and change into our 'Team Cheering Shirt' so we could watch the game with the boys. What a perfect way to cap off our perfect day together.

Sep 24, 2010

Our Responsibility

9/24/2010 — cori
Once you learn something, you're responsible for it. It changes the choices you make everyday. It changes how you fit into society or with friends. There are few things that have convicted me as much, short of the Bible. Making a choice to follow Jesus is not one done flippantly. It changes your entire life.

We felt the same way after coming across both of these:

This book details the history of how our modern day school system was engineered and what the system's ultimate goal is. I cannot in good conscience, knowing what I know now, voluntarily submit my children to this system. Sometimes I wish I didn't know this information...but that doesn't change the fact that I'm responsible for what I do with it now that I do know. We're so trusting as a society that the government and those over us or in charge have our best interest at heart. It is a sad realization that they do not. That became even more evident after watching this phenomenal documentary:

Again...this is a hard pill to swallow. Both of these sound almost 'conspiracy theorist' in nature. The sad truth is that they are just presenting the facts that we have chosen for years to ignore or not care about. Corporations, governments, and systems rely on our blind trust, complacency and conformity. It is a sad day when someone who wants to just be informed or wants to do things differently than the societal norm is looked down upon as a trouble maker. Thinking outside the box is now a 'no-no'. Asking questions so you can make a informed decision is frowned upon.

After watching this documentary, we immediately had a family discussion about what we were going to do with this information. Now that we know the 'truth' about how our food is processed, manipulated, treated, engineered...what are we going to do about it? The responsibility is now ours. The truth is often inconvenient. It will change our budget, where & how we shop, our tastes, our entertainment. It is true...ignorance is bliss.

I am so thankful to live in a country where I am still allowed to voice my opinion, even when it's different from the norm. I'm thankful to have the ability to make educational choices for my children and am not forced to send them to a government institution that doesn't care about them as much as I do. I'm thankful for friends and family who support us in these decisions and the one's who might not agree but respect our decisions. That's the beauty of our country, despite whatever political upheaval it may be under.

I'm thankful we do not have morality police and are forced to be one religion only. I'm thankful for the ability to choose because that allows me the right to be what I'm convicted of - it does not allow me the right to force everyone to have my same convictions though. It is my responsibility as a neighbor, friend, citizen to respect the differences of those around me and entrust them into God's care to convict them and lead them to Him - not coerce them on my own effort. There is much to learn from those we may disagree with...but disagreements should not hamper love.

"They will know you by your love." (John 13:35) It is because of this love we make the decisions we do, be they popular or not.

I think I'll step off my soap-box now.

Oh, by the way, here's a wonderful list of suggestions related to being more responsible about what type of food we consume. I enjoyed it and just wanted to share it.

Love & Marriage

9/24/2010 — cori
Remember how I just mentioned that "All We Ever Find" was our most favoritist song ever?! Well...Chuck just amassed a ton of points with this anniversary gift:

To say I was surprised was an understatement. I adore this!! It's vinyl art that we transferred to our wall. It's custom, no one has one like it. It means the world to me. And to know my husband spent hours agonizing over which exact font was to be used just makes my heart ooze with love. To say he's a 'font snob' is no exaggeration. I can only imagine how many days he labored over this decision. But it turned out beautifully and means more than even going to see Tim McGraw in concert (fyi - he was in town the weekend of our anniversary).

On a totally separate note, Bennett asked yesterday, out of the blue (as all his questions usually are), "Mom, did you date anyone else before Daddy?" Well...that would be a bit of a tough question. You see, I wasn't allowed to date. I don't know that technically, I even dated Daddy. Even when I got to college I was still feeling the need to ask permission for things (too scared to make a wrong decision). However, I gave him the shortened version of my story and said, "Actually, I went out with a few people, but I didn't date anyone else. These were just friends and we had fun together. And Daddy wasn't there (he wasn't even in the same state as me). Does that answer your question, Honey?"

"Actually, I just wanted to know if you ever thought about marrying anyone else."

Without hesitation I answered, "Of course I did. I wanted to marry Michael Jordan. But that didn't seem to work out now, did it?!"

To which Chuck replied, "And I would have loved it if Mommy married Michael Jordan cuz I'd go over to her house all the time to see them both!".

We apparently idolized Michael Jordan a little too much, I fear. This is just a glimpse into our adolescent/young adult minds (of the time - not to be confused with now).

I don't think Jordan is my type anyways. But he sure is an awesome basketball player!

Sep 11, 2010

Love Like Crazy

9/11/2010 — cori
Best friends, crazy in love - 1990

Best friends, crazy in love on our wedding day - Sept. 7, 1996

Best friends, crazy in love - 2010


You know how each anniversary we normally pick a new song as a celebration of our love? Well, this year this is the song we chose:

Not that we've been married anywhere near 58 years...but the chorus is our favorite part:

Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy

Always treat your woman like a lady
Never get too old to call her baby
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy

This sums up our love story so perfectly. After only 14 years of marriage, we still feel like newly-weds. Our love grows deeper and stronger every day. I never dreamed it would be this much fun growing old with my best friend.

I pray we have 50 more years of living our love song, but in case we don't, we treat each moment like it's the last one we might have. That causes us to not take each other for granted, to appreciate one another, to watch what our last words are to one another before we part in case those might be the last words we ever say to one another this side of heaven. But it's Tim McGraw's song, "All We Ever Find" that is the theme of our marriage:

This is not meant to insinuate that we're 'perfect' and we've got marriage all figured out, that is not my intention at all. In fact, we're far from it. We still hurt each other with our words and actions. We still act selfishly, not putting the other first. We still argue and fail to see the other person's point of view. We don't 'feel' in-love all the time. But these are all just as necessary as the good times, for it's in the 'valley' where we grow. We appreciate the good times (and each other) even more when we see where we've come from. And we thank God that He's the one giving us opportunities to grow, to understand love at new levels, not just when everything is good and going our way.

Thank you Baby, for Loving Like Crazy, while we're Livin' Our Love Song. Thank you God, for giving us "All We Ever Find".

Sep 3, 2010

Like Father Like Son

9/03/2010 — cori

Did you know that I live in the 21st century and am adamant about continuing the 'old fashioned' tradition of using paper? Most in this post modern era have given up paper for the likes of Kindles and Outlook. Not me. I defy progress. I laugh in the face of Outlook. How then, you might ask, do I organize my day or my life for that matter? It's a little thing I like to call a pocket calendar. It fits perfectly in my purse, is with me where ever I go, is always handy and comes equipped with a pencil and eraser so that I can write in it. I know, I know, that is so yesterday, but it's me and I refuse to budge on this issue. I like paper, I like how it smells, I like writing on it and I like looking back over past years that I recorded on it.

Now that you're acquainted with yet another one of my quirky ways, you can better understand this story. For years, Chuck has sneaked into my purse, found my antiquated, yet up-to-date pocket calendar and written me little notes on random days. I love this. Mr. Paperless loves Mrs. Paper and loves to show her in ways that are special to her. Every so often I find a note in my calendar that says, "You are loved". Seeing it in his handwriting and reading those 3 little words when I least expected it always brings a smile to my face.

Now I have Gavin, miniature Mr. Paperless. And Gavin is now, at 11, the lucky owner of my old cell phone. He has mastered the entire digital unit is less time than it took me to figure out how to make a call (after reading the instruction manual, of course). Most of his school assignments are 'written' out on the computer. He was born in a digital age and far exceeds my limited understanding of most technological advancements.

When we do school and he's downstairs working independently while I'm upstairs working with Chloe and Bennett, he often texts me when he has a question. Texts me! Is this normal? We are in the same house and it is just too taxing to climb all 16 stairs to come ask me a question. What is the world coming to?

Even though technology can be used for evil (no, I'm not saying texting me a question is evil, but it has stunted kids' abilities to communicate with real words), I also see good in it. There are two sides to every coin. The good side of my coin is this: every day an alarm goes off on my phone. This is an alarm I did not program into it. I believe some little 11 year old hacked into it. The alarm is set to go off at 10:30 everyday and says: "You are Loved Mom. Love Gavin." Technology at it's finest. He has no clue Daddy does the exact same thing on my calendar. It must be in the genes.

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