Jun 30, 2011

Guardian Angel Does Overtime

6/30/2011 — cori

We were at Chuck's softball game last night. Have we ever discussed my feelings on softballs...or baseballs for that matter? Don't like 'em. I apparently have a built in magnet that attracts these types of balls. Every single time (I do not exaggerate) I am on the sidelines of one of these types of games, a ball ALWAYS comes flying my way. It is not a pretty sight watching me duck while trying to shield my head or leap off the bleachers in a single bound and sprint for the nearest escape route away from the incoming ball. I live in dread of where and when the hit will happen. It's just a matter of time.

Last night was no different. I pay fervent attention to the game (not out of a love for it), especially the one up at bat. I have this innate need to know where the ball is at all times. I cannot be distracted in this aim. I must pay close attention so I know when to run. Somehow, I got distracted and was not watching the batter when out of nowhere I hear, "HEAD'S UP!!!" I look around in a panic. Then I look up. The sun is right overhead and glaring horribly. To make matters worse, the softball is neon green. This makes it close to impossible to see when looking up into a yellow sun. I finally spot the ball. What do you know, it's headed right for where I'm sitting on the bleachers. Actually, I'm not the only one sitting there. My kids are all spread out on it as well. We pretty much commandeered the entire bleachers for ourselves. I start sprinting to the right assuming my children were following me. They ALWAYS follow me. I can't move 5" to the right while I'm shopping without them also moving 5" to the right. Do you think they followed me this time? NOPE!

I totally deserve the 'Worst Mother of the Year Award'. Here I am running away from my children while a heavy, fast falling object is headed in their general direction. What mother does that?! I turn back to see where the ball has fallen. Instead I see my children still seated where I left them. I gasp. I know they are in the path of the dreaded neon green ball. What do I do? I watch. There's no time left. I see the ball headed directly toward Bennett. I can't even scream to him to take cover. It's all happening in a matter of split seconds. One second he's standing in front of the bleachers looking around. Then next second the ball is going in slow motion right in front of his face. It lands less than an inch from his big toe. I felt as if I was going to faint.

I run over to him and grab him in a huge hug! I asked him why he didn't run when I did. He said he looked up, but couldn't see anything cuz the sun was glaring so badly. So he just stood there. He said he felt the whoosh of the ball as it fell in front of his face and the thud when it landed in front of his feet. It was the biggest miracle I've seen in a long while. There's no other explanation. One inch to the left or right and his head would have been cracked and he would have been passed out on the ground.

He said, "Wow. That was close!"

I told him, "I think your guardian angel was working overtime today! Thank God it wasn't your time to go!" Now we know who also inherited the internal ball-falling magnet.

Jun 27, 2011


6/27/2011 — cori

Bennett: "If I were ever to go on an Indiana Jones type adventure, you are the last person I would choose to take with me, Mom."

Jun 22, 2011

You Are Mine

6/22/2011 — cori
"For you are mine. My mother, for I love you.
You and me never stop loving each other."
"A verse I made up" - Chloe 10/2010

I often like to rise early and read my Bible and have study time. The kids try very hard not to interrupt me, but they still want to be with me. This is supposedly my "alone time", but it rarely seems to work out that way. Chloe found a loop hole in the system and decided to bring her own Princess Bible and some index cards and a purple pen with her to the table where I was and declared, "I'm going to do a Bible study too." How can I say no? I just reiterated the fact the Bible studies are normally quiet and she agreed that she knew how to be "quiet".

Sometime in the middle of all the quietness she passes me a note on her index card that says, "I made up a verse for you Mom." The above is the verse. I'm so thankful she got that inspiration from her Bible study. I have since stuck this precious notecard in my Bible and smile everytime I see it, remembering that quiet, dark morning when I learned a new verse; Chloe's verse.

p.s. - Hair and make-up courtesy of Chloe.

Jun 20, 2011

God and Bennett

6/20/2011 — cori
Where has the time gone? Why are my children getting so big, so fast? Or better yet, why am I growing old so fast? But if growing old means I get to enjoy these children even more, then bring it on. I love getting old. The conversations we have now-a-days are so intriguing. We still have more than our fair share of super hero talk, non-sense talk and crazy imagination stories that have to be told to me the instant the thought appears in their brain. And I treasure those even more as they fade slowly in this speeding time warp I seem to have jumped into overnight. But what really makes my heart melt are all the deep-hearted conversations about life that happen at bed time or around the table or most importantly, when you least expect them to.

One morning, the instant Bennett woke up and found me he exclaimed, "Mom, I think God's speaking to me."

Really, how do you know?

"Well, I just have this overwhelming desire to know how I can love people more. And I know that's normally something that would NOT come out of my brain. Why is He speaking to me now?"

Honey, you are learning to listen to that still, small voice, aren't you? I'm so happy for you. This is only something He can teach you and walk you through. Thank you for sharing what He's doing in your life with me. It makes my heart so happy. So, has God shown you how you can love people more?

"Yes. I think I'm just supposed to help out more; think of myself less."

On another random day at lunch he confessed, "Mom, I think God has been talking to me through my conscience. I'll think about doing something and then know that I'm not supposed to."

Awesome Dude! I think you're right. He's made your heart very sensitive to Him. Do you know I've prayed for this very thing for you ever since you were a baby? Insert huge Bennett grin. And now look at the work God is doing in you. Thank you for choosing to listen to Him buddy.

And lastly, the other day as we're swinging on the swing in the backyard, he tells me, "Mom, I used to think that God made everything happen. But now I understand that he allows things to happen. I used to think that God wanted me to do bad during my game and made it happen that way, but now I know that he allowed that bad thing to happen so that I would learn a bigger lesson."

Bennett, I cannot believe that God has already spoken this truth to your heart. Did you know that Mommy just learned that not too long ago?! This learning to listen to God thing is cool, huh?!

Jun 12, 2011

Hello Mississippi River

6/12/2011 — cori
I just love flying by the seat of my pants. Not literally, cuz that would mean I'm on some type of steep incline going downward at a super fast pace and that is not fun (for me). But figuratively, not knowing how a day will turn out (in most instances) is very rewarding and exciting. If you have no expectations, you can't be disappointed, can you?

That was what our Saturday looked like. We knew we wanted to go on some type of hike. Around these parts there's only like 5,894 different trails to try out. How do you know which one to start with??? We had seen a sign as we were driving that said "Mississippi River National Recreation Area". Hmmm....that sounds like a great place to start, at the headways of the great Mississip.

Too bad for us we chose such a 'vague' sign. An area is just that...a large space that isn't denoted in any particular way, it's just there. We got off the highway and followed the signs for what we thought was the 'area' we were in search of. We were in St. Paul. We ended up in Minneapolis (20 minutes away). I have no idea how. Evidently, we just kept following the road and the river until we saw a place to park that actually looked like it led to some trails. We ended up in a place called "Minnehaha Park" (I am not joking).

Come to find out, we landed smack dab in the middle of one of Minneapolis' oldest and most beloved parks...on accident (because we thought we were still in St. Paul). Funny how that happens. We parked near a dog park and seeing as we brought Ninja with us, we thought we hit the jack pot. It only felt fair to let her go get some energy out since we ended up driving around the Twin Cities aimlessly for the past hour. But hey, we're flying by the seat of our pants and this is fun, remember?

So here we are in Minnehaha. We head towards the dog park only to discover that it's not really a trail, just a huge open free space for dogs (which, by definition, is what a dog park is...it just didn't look that way when we were walking up to it). We were a bit bummed cuz we had high hopes of walking on a trail right along the Mississippi River, not on some paved sidewalk high above it or within the confines of a chain link fence watching Ninja play. What to do?

But what do you know...just a teeny, weeny bit away from the dog park, behind another chain link fence and past some thick over-grown brush, looks to be a dirt path back in the woods. Aha! That's what we're looking for. But no one else appears to be enjoying this little secluded path. All the better for us. We hop the fence like we knew what we were doing and set off on our next adventure...off the beaten path.

Let the adventure begin! The whole entire hour and a half that we were on this trail (that was not denoted in any way) we passed one other person only. It was perfect, all except for the super steepness of it and the whole fear of heights thing making my legs a little jello-y during much of the adventure.

We traversed our way down the path until we got to the bottom and were finally able to achieve our goal - actually walk along the Mississippi River. It was beautiful. Until I looked down and saw this:

I was just standing there admiring the view when Bennett cautioned me, "Mom, look at that!" as he pointed no less than 6 inches from where I was standing. A little scream and freak out was a totally appropriate reaction in my opinion. I also ran away a little bit (several yards). But once my heart-beat returned to normal and I got over the fact that a huge dead fish was starting at me blindly without my knowledge, I had to return to document it with a picture. Gavin thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the prodding and poking procedure with a stick.

We continued on down by the river enjoying the sounds of the water lapping on the shore, the serenity of the secluded, wooded path, the light trickling through the leaves. It couldn't have been more perfect or picturesque. We came to a clearing and saw the cliffs that we were walking on before we made it down by the river.

Of course we also did a little rock climbing, tree climbing and tree hugging. But I'm saving the best for last. Remember, this is us...nothing EVER goes according to plan or is ever easy - that would make a boring story if everything always worked out perfectly.

So then there was the little matter of finding our way back to the car from the trail that the rest of the park goers didn't seem to know existed. Plus, we had the added stress of timed parking. We paid for only an hour and knew we were pushing our luck in that department. We saw no signage that would aid us in our uphill adventure. So we used good ol grit and Chuck's innate sense of direction (that sometimes comes in handy - you know, the kind where you never need to ask for directions because you already know....that kind). We knew we had to go up at some point real soon, but there was never a path going up, it just kept following the river. Which was good if we wanted to walk home, but not good, if we didn't want a ticket. So, Chuck picked a random cliff, tried to scale it, decided whether the rest of us would be able to follow and we all made a go of it. Typical Mallott fashion.

Here is the order of the hikers up the steep cliff, Chloe, followed by Chuck, followed by Bennett, followed by Me and Ninja (we are one), followed by Gavin. Chuck is verbally directing Chloe and Bennett which roots to grab a hold of to help heave themselves up the 70 degree incline we're all simultaneously trying to climb. We learned that Ninja is part mountain goat. That is good. However, she didn't want to be separated from me. That is not good. She doesn't understand the command "go" or "forward". I made a mental note to teach her when (if) we get off this cliff and get home. Bennett literally had mud under his nails from grabbing at the dirt to try to pull himself upward. Chloe kept saying, "I know what my perseverance story is going to be tonight." Gavin kept verbally assessing the grade of the slope we were climbing and giving us a play by play. Bennett kept reliving another similar adventure we had back in Massanutten. Chuck is busy pushing little people up by the seat of their pants. I'm in some zen state and am climbing like I do this every day. Not an ounce of fear or thought that we can't accomplish this. It's amazing what you do when you HAVE to do it. There was just no other option. We all miraculously make it to the top and looked back down - WOW!

Next time the paved path might be a little safer, but I'm not sure it could give us more fun than we had 'off the beaten path'.

Jun 8, 2011

Carpe Diem

6/08/2011 — cori

Yesterday, it hit me...I only have 6 more years of Gavin living with us. What?! How am I supposed to swallow that pill? Where has the time raced off to? Six years is nothing, it flies by. It made me question alot of things.

Am I still treasuring him as the gift that God gave me? Do I push him aside more, now that he's older, so that I can get more of "my stuff" accomplished? Do I still sit and visit with him enough and really listen to his heart and crazy imagination stories? Am I living the life I desire him to imitate? Am I speaking with love, kindness, patience and humility in my voice? Do I serve him enough? Am I too busy barking out commands and chores and not praising him for the work he already has done? Am I trying to form him and his future in my image? Am I ready to let him go or am I holding on too tight?

Only six more years of him asking me goofy questions such as, "Would you mind clarifying my job description?" when asked to do his chores.

Only six more years of listening to tale after tale of Bioncle and Superhero feats.

Only six more years of watching him roll around on the floor as he fights villans from some imaginary place that only he knows as he unwinds from his day and retreats into his own little world.

Only six more years of him asking me questions that are above my ability level to answer.

Only six more years of seeing that adorable smile and huge howler monkey laugh of his day after day. He gets our humor and loves it. He has such a wonderful sense of humor and can laugh at himself. He doesn't take himself or his brilliant brain too seriously.

Only six more years of him asking, "So, Mom. How was your day?" when he doesn't know what else to say.

Only six more years of conversations so deep about God, this world and our place in it. Questioning life together. Living life together. The good and the bad, 24 hours a day.

Only six years with my favorite 12 year old. Wow! Thank you God for giving me that gentle reminder so that I can sieze the day and enjoy each moment we have together without any expectations.

Jun 6, 2011

Melancholy Moments

6/06/2011 — cori
Bennett and me on our last date

In one of our many random moments of deep conversation, Bennett tells me today, "Mom, I don't think I could ever live without you. I love you too much."

"Oh sweetie, you'll find that one day you'll be able to live just fine without me and that's okay. If I do my job right, I'm supposed to work myself out of a job the older you get."

"But I don't want you to get older as I get older. When I'm 30, you'll be 60. I want you and Daddy to stay just the way you are now forever."

"Buddy, I have a feeling we'll always enjoy our time together no matter how old we both get, because we appreciate each other and enjoy each other's company so much. Let's just live one day at a time and make the most of each day, that way we won't miss out on any wonderful times together. Deal?"


I love my job!

Jun 4, 2011

You Know You're Getting Old When...

6/04/2011 — cori

....you can't play on the tire swing anymore.

I found this one out the hard way yesterday. We took the kids to an event at a State Park last night. Prior to going to listen to the music, we stopped at a playground on the premises so they could play since we were a bit early (shocker there). Chuck was going to push the kids on the tire swing and the boys asked me to join them order to 'even it out'. Well, in the spirit on being a 'fun mom' and a non-party-pooper, I went and plopped myself down on the swing. Chuck starts out easy enough just pushing us back and forth. But then he starts in on the spinning us around action. For whatever reason, the combination of the two just put me over the edge. I started getting super dizzy. In order to combat that effect, I decided to close my eyes. That, my friends, was my downfall. Although I may have been smiling on the outside while hanging on for dear life, my insides were deciding they wanted to be on the outside. I felt as though I was on a roller coaster. I don't do roller coasters. I have a super low tolerance for scary, bumpy, fast turning rides, all the elements that this little venture was turning out to be. I begged with my life for the 'fun' to stop. I couldn't even get off the thing. Chuck practically dragged me off. I stumbled over to the grassy area as would a drunken person. I made it far enough away from the park and started dry heaving. Thankfully, nothing else emerged. The kids are still hanging on for dear life, moaning and groaning and laughing about how dizzy they are as Chuck continues to push them in maddening circles. They think this is fun. Their moaning and groaning seems to fade as soon as they exit the ride, mine however, has become my constant companion.

It took a very long time for me to walk, in a straight line, back to a bench to sit down. I'm dizzier than all get out right now. It doesn't help that there is a windmill not even 100 yards away that I'm facing. Just looking at it and hearing it is making me even dizzier. Then a headache decides to join in on the fun. Ok already! I learned my lesson! I won't ever try to get on one of those types of swings in the name of fun ever again...just make it stop! I'm guessing this is what motion sickness feels like...with the added bonus of a migraine coming on.

But, alas, the fun hasn't even begun yet. We make it over to the area where we get to hear a live band play. As if the dizziness and headache wasn't enough, now the deafening sound added to my previous condition, makes me run out of the room more nauseous than I was on the swing. I successfully evade throwing up infront of the musicians, make it to the rest room for more dry heaves and apologize to the event coordinators. I asked them to please tell the musicians that their music didn't make me sick, I just couldn't handle the level of the noise with my migraine. I can barely walk out of there. Now I was about to pass out on top of everything else. Can this night get any more fun?

We had to all ride home to complete silence as I held my head with my hand over my mouth and tried to focus on a non-moving object so I could make it home without throwing up. As the night wore on and medicine kicked in, I started feeling human again. But a funny thing happens after I take my medicine and come off a migraine, I can't think straight. It takes a long time fore me to think of a word, or just plain think for that matter, everything is in slow motion it feels like. So, as you can imagine, I was still alot of fun to be around.

I don't think my children will ever again ask me to join them on the swing. We're all much better off if I stick to playing board games and reading with them.

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