Jan 30, 2012

Living On The Edge....Of The Bunny Slope

1/30/2012 — cori
Last week, for my 39th birthday, Chuck proudly handed me a homemade coupon for a special date day - at the local ski hill.  I was super excited since I had no clue what to expect (yet).  Plus, it was a whole day with my beloved - how could that not be fun?!

And then as the icing on the cake, he handed me the best gift he's EVER given me - thermal foot warmers!  I did not know these existed.  They are my new best friend to survive the Minnesota winters with.  I will now stick them all over my body, not just my feet.  I screamed with joy upon receiving these miraculous inventions.  They stay HOT for 9 hours!  All you do is stick them to the bottom of your sock and voila - hot feet.  This is huge for a person who's feet and hands go numb within 30 minutes of being exposed to the elements (even with gloves and 3 layers of socks on).  I can now enjoy the beauty of the snow and frigid temperatures with the rest of humanity.  My life is now complete.

But I digress...back to my ski hill story.  So, the coupon was actually for snowboarding, something neither of us have ever done.  We're obviously not getting any younger.  If we don't start now, I see the probability of starting decreasing with each new year.  Seize the day, right!  Oh, we seized that and more!

We were both giddy with excitement.  We're layered up in multiple layers of clothing as well as all our snow gear on top of that.  We look like some middle aged michelin men.  Not quite the look I'm going for on a date with my husband - but at least we look the same and can laugh with each other.

I then ask Chuck, "So, what time are our lessons?"

"Lessons?  Who needs those.  We're going to figure this out on our own.  It can't be that hard.  John said just to watch a how-to video on youtube."

"Seriously?!?" Nervousness is starting to set in.  I quickly google "how to snowboard".  I wish I'd googled "how to attach yourself and unattach yourself to the snowboard" first.  There was not enough time for more than one "lesson".

It took us a good 45 minutes to figure out how to get the snowboarding boots on and attached to the snowboard.  There were no instructions...you just do it.  And you don't dare look like you have no clue cuz there are little kids sitting right next to you who know exactly what they're doing.

Humility was the word of the day.  We would be watching those same kids all day long and wondering how in the world they stay up on their boards and go down the hill with such ease.  But right now, priority number one was figuring out how to look "natural" and "nonchalant" and try to blend in with everyone around us all while having a clueless look on our faces.  But hey, we were together and this was going to be fun, right.

We manage to make it out of the ski chalet and found the closest little hump of a hill so we could "practice".  We inched closer and closer to a guy giving a little kid a lesson and tried to glean any pertinent information from our contraband lesson.  We learned how to unattach one foot and "walk" with your snowboard still attached with your other foot.  No small feat!  And we learned how to scoot really well.  We spent more time scooting over the snow than actually going down the hill.  It was the best core workout I'd ever done.  We scooted to the moving sidewalk (which brought us up the bunny slope).  We scooted out of other people's way.  We scooted to get unstuck (which was a lot).  You get the idea - we got really good at scooting.

Speaking of the moving sidewalk.  It was going up the hill at a steady incline.  This bunny slope was of mammoth proportions in my eyes.  Not what I envisioned a bunny slope looking like.  So, about an hour after getting to BuckHill, we finally arrived at the top of the bunny slope.  I ask Chuck, "So, how do we get down there?" pointing to all the small, ant-like figures at the bottom of the "hill".  I will never forget his response, "How about I just push you?"

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  I'm trying to be a good sport about this Babe, but seriously.  You think taking your wife who is deathly afraid of heights, to the top of a hill on a fast moving object, that she hasn't had any lessons in steering or stopping on, and suggesting you just push her down the hill is really going to work with me?  Do you even know me at all?"

And then I start doing the only thing I know to do...I scoot down the hill.  But suddenly, it's not flat anymore and I'm actually going fast.  And then I realize I have no clue how to stop, steer or even fall.  I pray I don't hit anyone.  And then I see Chuck zoom past me and fall violently.  All of his falls were like that - violent, like he hit a tree and just fell backward and rolled a few times.  The one bit of advice he gave me that I actually took to heart was, "If you feel like you're going to fall, just sit down."  Ok.  Can't hurt.  So, whenever I got going too fast, I'd just sit down.  Speeding down a hill isn't my favorite activity, even though that's what we were there to do.  But the only problem with sitting down in the middle of the hill is that you have to get back up again and start scooting again so that you can start speeding again.  It was an endless cycle.

I did so many up-hill sit-ups.  I couldn't stop laughing the entire time.  Laughing at myself, laughing at Chuck. Laughing at the madness of what we were doing and calling it "fun".  It really was the perfect day.

At one point I "snowboarded" (if that's what you want to call what I was doing) into two trash barrels (since I couldn't steer).  I could not get away from them.  Once I fell, I couldn't get up, I taught myself how to crawl out of trash cans with a board stuck to your feet.  I'm still pretty proud of that one.  And my feet were still warm.  That's really all the matters.

A week later and Chuck is still not 'back to normal'.  Remember those violent falls?  Too bad I didn't get one of video.  But he fell on his elbow somehow.  He thought he broke a rib.  Turns out he strained the muscles around his ribs and is still hobbling around and taking shallow breaths. Or maybe that happened the time he fell off the moving side-walk.  Either way, he's in pain.  I still have bruises up and down my legs (even as padded as they were) from "sitting" on the hill so abruptly so many times and landing more on my boots than the soft, cushy snow.  But don't worry...we'll both make it.  And I'm sure this won't be the last time.  But next time, we will definitely get lessons.  But you will NEVER see me riding the ski lift.  Those things go even higher than the bunny hill!  Sometimes you just gotta put your foot down...even in the snow.

Jan 29, 2012

Live Life Fully

1/29/2012 — cori

"Wherever you are, be all there."

                                                                  -   Jim Elliot

The Simple Life

1/29/2012 — cori

Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus.

                                                                        -  Ann Voskamp

Jan 20, 2012

Welcome to Winter

1/20/2012 — cori

The Tubing Hill

The ride back up to the top

Me...contemplating whether or not I should take another run
down the hill or run back to the warming hut so I can get feeling
back in my numb toes and fingers.  Hmmm...what to do.

The abominable tubers, able to play outside for two hours 
in sub-freezing temperatures all in the name of fun!

But oh was it worth it!  

Jan 19, 2012

Spy House

1/19/2012 — cori

One of my children, who shall be kept anonymous to hide his identity, has a 'thing' for anything spy related.  Always has.  He even has books on how to be a spy.  A series of books actually. He has read them 5 times over.  He takes this business with the utmost of seriousness. In a moment of weakness, he let me in on a secret.  He can actually disguise himself in under a minute.  All he has to do, he reveals, is to just take off his glasses and mess up his hair and put his shirt on backwards and bam! no-one would recognize him.  I will leave my comments to myself on this one so as not to burst any spy bubbles.

This whole spy business is the natural progression of growing up a super hero.  He's had an alter ego ever since he could talk.  It comes as no surprise that we would replace the childish superhero with the more mature spy.  I especially like all the gear that comes with being a spy.  This particular child goes nowhere without his trusty dusty whistle/compass/magnifier/flashlight necklace combo zipped securely in the inner pocket of his winter coat.  There's that and his phone that has a built in GPS that we won't let him use because then we'd have to activate a data plan and that's just not happening so that we can be more spy-like.  Spys have budgets you know.

But the best are the latest in technological advancements.  This son has his own security system taped all over his bedroom door.  You must crack the system before entry into said bedroom is allowed.  First you must pass the "eyeris scanner" (his spelling, not mine), then the voice recognition device, then the palm print match, type in a 497 digit code on the keypad, subjet yourself to the brain-scan device and then lastly have your "coolness meter" read.  Once you successfully make it past all these pieces of paper with serious drawings indicating all this real technology, then you may proceed into his room.  If you are a guest visiting us, I apologize ahead of time.  It seems that this same room is also the guest room.  You might want to start working on your "coolness factor" so that the "coolness meter" will grant you access.  Or you might be sleeping on our couch.  'If' you make it in, you can be assured of the highest quality of security while in your room.  No one has yet to break in and steal the 1999 clamshell laptop sitting in open view on his desk.  So, we're sitting pretty tight here.

The funniest part of all of this though are the random pieces of paper I have been finding taped in the oddest places around the house.  One day as I was reading on my bed, out of the corner of my eye, I happened to see a small square piece of paper with a circle hastily colored in pencil sticking out behind my mirror.  I went over to investigate.  That is exactly what I found.  Since I knew the only person who would color anything in pencil might be, I called this person into my room and interrogated him.  For all his spy prowess, he couldn't wipe that silly little grin off his face.  He finally broke down under my withering glare (obviously I'm joking) and confessed to the whole thing.  "I can't believe you found it.  It's my spy cam so I can keep an eye and ear on everyone in the house and know what's going on at all times."  Seriously?!  I grew up with this as a real threat and now I'm living with this all over again as a pseudo one?  Life definitely repeats itself.  Then Chloe comes into my room after the suspect fled and passed on some key information, "Mom.  Did you only find one?"

"What?!  There's more of these?  Where?"

"Oh yes.  Everywhere.  But I didn't tell you."

Try as I might, I could not find anymore of these 'bugs' around the house.  But every now and then  I end up coming across one months later.  Each time it makes me laugh out loud.  I see touches of my adorable little spy all over my house and it makes my heart soar.  I have already found one behind my computer and just today found one behind some picture frames in the kitchen while I was cleaning.

I just love paper with messy pencil circles on them.  It reminds me that I'm loved.  It's my little spy's love note to me.  Without even knowing it, he just made my day.

Jan 11, 2012


1/11/2012 — cori

You’ve entered the threshold of becoming a man,
It's easy to see by how tall you now stand.
But its not just in height that you have grown,
Its also in the mature choices and character you’ve shown.
Your hands and feet have grown bigger than mine,
Seeing all these changes just blows my mind.
Because I still see the baby I brought home,
Who couldn’t do anything all on his own.
As we spent time learning and growing together,
Our hearts became entwined together forever.
You still laugh the same way you did when you were two,
It was “the howler monkey” we used to call you.
All through the years you’ve given us such joy,
Watching you grow to a man from a boy.

Your journey’s not over, you have so much life ahead,
This day marks a new phase instead.
An older, wiser, more responsible you,
Growing each day in God’s wisdom true.
Lean on Him always and He will be there,
To teach, comfort and guide you when others don’t care.
Give Him your future to hold in His hands.
Afterall, He’s the one who made you and knows the plans
He has for you in this life you live.
He knows your gifts and wants you to give
Your joy and love and knowledge away.
This will bring a smile to your heart each day.

Be thankful for hardships that come your way,
Use them to teach you how to pray.
And trust God to show you what to do,
This is what growing up will look like to you.
We will always be here to give you guidance and love,
Praying and thanking the Lord up above
For the gift He gave us in this little boy
That’s growing to a man and giving us joy!

Love, Mom

Comedy School

1/11/2012 — cori

As I walked into the sitting room, deep in thought, Bennett asks me, "Mom, do you have a lot on your mind?"

I stop and think about it, because that's what I do.  "Hmmmm.  I guess you're right Honey.  I do have a lot on my mind.  How could you tell?"

"Women always have alot on their minds...like at least 26 things."

"That's very insightful Bennett.  How in the world did you know that?!"

"Tim Hawkins.  Everything I know I learned from him."

Uh oh.  We're in trouble. 

Lunch Lady

1/11/2012 — cori

Today Bennett told me he felt sorry for all the kids who get school lunch.  He says, and I do not exaggerate, "Mom, I feel so bad for those kids.  They don't know how unhealthy all that food is!"  Meaning....he hears my constant monologue about needing to make healthy food choices, aka...no high fructose corn syrup, no MSG, humanely raised meat, organic fruit, veggies and milk, yadayadayada and I think some of that stuff might actually be sticking in his little brain.

Evidently his compassion on those poor souls who have to endure the measly portions of unhealthy school food day in and day out couldn't take it any longer.  He felt the need to solve this problem of epidemic proportions.  This is his solution:

"I know Mom!  How about if you get all your friends together and you guys replaced all the lunch ladies at my school.  Then I KNOW those kids would finally get to eat good, healthy food.  And maybe they'd get full at lunch too."

Jan 9, 2012

Afternoon Snack

1/09/2012 — cori

One of my most cherished times of the day is when Gavin comes home and we sit down together with a cup of tea and a snack and enjoy visiting about our days.  Tea makes everything better (cookies don't hurt either).

Jan 6, 2012

The Solution

1/06/2012 — cori

Bennett has come home for the past several weeks complaining about school.  My ears instantly perk up when I hear, "It's just not fun anymore."  The homeschooling mom in me wants to solve the problem immediately.  I know what to do, I think to myself.  But is that what God wants me to do?  Does He want me to always swoop in and fix all my son's problems?  Is it my problem to fix or is it God's way of teaching Bennett's little heart something more?  Or is this purely an academic problem? These are daily questions I struggle with.  And then I bring it to God.

Of course I could always homeschool him again.  I'm very aware of the problems of public schooling.  But I'm also acutely aware that homeschooling is not perfect either.  Which does God want for this child at this time?  Again another question.  Is it the academic thing that's the most important lesson right here and now or is it a heart lesson...something deeper, bigger, beyond me?

Knowing my tendency to knee-jerk reactions, I decide to wait.  I pray.  I hear nothing.  No answer.  My flesh longs to make the road less difficult for my sweet boy.  How am I to do this when all I get is radio silence on the other end?  God's end.  Then I decide to just trust...not knowing what else to do.  I trust the path He's placed us on and just continue walking, by faith, ahead.  Even when I can't hear Him.  Even when I can't see the path.

Then it happened on accident.  The answer came.  I didn't know it was the answer until a whole day went by.  Bennett and I were cuddling before bed one evening talking of life and the hardships he was experiencing at school.  I told him what I did when things were especially hard...I look for things to be thankful for.  I told him that when I look around and all I see are all the things that are frustrating me, that's all I'm ever going to see.  But if I change my focus and start looking for things that I'm thankful about, it starts to change my outlook.  My situation hasn't changed, but my heart has.  I wasn't even sure if he was listening.

I found out today he was.  He couldn't even wait until he got in the car to start telling me about his awesome day.  "Mom!  I decided to start looking for all the things I was thankful for from the beginning of the day and it was one of the best days ever!  I have so many things to write down tonight about my thankfuls.  You know, it worked.  When I started looking for things to be thankful about, I didn't have time to sit and think about all the stuff I didn't like."

So there you have it.  God knew what Bennett needed all along.  I'm reminded of how He encourages us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to "give thanks in all things for this is God's will for you".    All things - not only good things, not only things we like, not only when things are going the way we want them to.

To quote Madame Blueberry in Veggie Tales, "A thankful heart is a happy heart."  How true that is.

Jan 3, 2012


1/03/2012 — cori
Every morning I am given the most breath taking gift.  Each day I am awed all over again.  I await the sunrise with such giddy eagerness each morning.  And as soon as the first subtle rays of color come peaking over the horizon, I gasp anew each time.  Like each sunrise is the first I've ever beheld.  I will never tire of the special gift God makes for me each day.  How can I have anything less than the most wonderful day when it starts like this?  I stand in awe.

"On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works I will meditate." Ps. 145:5

Decorating Tip

1/03/2012 — cori
When we first moved into this house, I couldn't stand my doors.  Still can't.  They are as flimsy as a piece of paper.  They are hollow-core, ply-wood looking and lack any type of character.  We vowed they would be the first things to go.

Turns out, they have come to be one of my most special treasures.  Because we didn't care what happened to the doors, we started taping pictures on them.  Then sticky notes started appearing everywhere on them.  I never would have defaced beautiful doors.  But these ugly things...it didn't matter.

What I thought was an eye-sore in my house is exactly what makes my house a home.  It has personal touches of us all over it - but especially on the doors - which are now beautiful to me.  They scream "love" every time I pass them.

Here are some of my beautiful, ugly doors:

I doubt you'll see this decorating tip on HGTV.  It's a secret.  Only people who truly value those in the house more than the house itself will ever find this tip worth while anyways.

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