Feb 22, 2013

I Like To Laugh

2/22/2013 — cori

These just make me laugh.  No other reason for posting them other than, maybe I can remember to use one of the lines when I'm in a pinch and I need something funny to say, like, when Chuck and I don't see things eye to eye.

I can totally use this one on the kids 
multiple times a day...um, I mean, a week.


It's A Dog's Life

2/22/2013 — cori

I don't know if these pictures do an adequate enough job of conveying the incredible thrill that Ninja gets when she's outside in the snow.  To say she loves winter would be an understatement.  Winter, and snow specifically, invigorates her to no end.  She remembers that she is a dog and not a cat and prances and runs and plays and rolls all around the snow without a care in the world.  She pays no mind to the plummeting temperatures.  It's probably because she knows she can come in and claim her place in front of the fireplace and resume her boring, cat-like life again.

Digging for her bone in the snow.  

Throwing the found bone up in the air for joy.

Her typical posture and place for most of the day.


2/22/2013 — cori

February has always meant one thing to Chloe: Dancing with Daddy.  It has become their little 'thing'.  It is equivalent to the Miss America pageant to Chloe.  The getting ready part is of utmost importance.  She told me that this year she was going to let me be her chamber maid.  That means I got to do her hair, tie her dress and apply her make-up.   I was honored.  

It must feel amazing to look this pretty.

Quick practice twirl to make sure the dress is adequate for dancing.

Etiquette practice.  Never know when you're going to need to curtsy.

Dancing partner.... 

 and proud papa.

And then there is this:

While Chuck and Chloe are going all glam for the evening, the boys and I are wandering through the mirror maze at the Mall of America hoping it doesn't close before we find our way out of the intolerable, claustrophobic, insane...I mean, amazing maze of mirrors all around you.  For those of you who love to look at all angles of yourself, this is the place for you.  And to think I actually paid money to be tortured like this. 

Feb 19, 2013

Paradigm Shift

2/19/2013 — cori
This post is more of a 'thinking-out-loud' thought process for me.  I just recently finished two amazing books (thank you Veronica Roth ) and can't get them out of my head.  The concepts and ideas just keep floating around my brain sparking new ideas as well as illuminating old ideals and challenging things I once thought to be true.  Everytime I read a book, I end up with a 'take-away', something I learned that I didn't know before or something that changes the way I look at the world, myself, those around me.  Every.  Time.  Without fail.  It often comes out in the form of poetry for me.  Sometimes it's one simple quote that I meditate on for days on end, ad nosium.

This time my quest from reading this book has turned into fleshing out the idea of 'surrender'.  According to the dictionary it means: to yield, relinquish, give up, abandon, renounce.  As a follower of Jesus, I know I am to surrender my will to Him as I've written about before.

But what does that really look like?  Most of my life I've been taught that it looks like giving up myself inorder to look more like Jesus.  But what is that supposed to mean?  It seems so obscure, so pie-in-the-sky, so unattainable.  Over time I've interpreted it to mean: Cori, your personality is not good enough, will never be good enough for God; you're inherently bad/wrong; you must change until you look like Me; then I will be happy with you.

This is supposed to bring about 'freedom' from all I've been told.  But instead it has only produced a horrible self image, a feeling of inferiority, never being good enough and a sense of hopelessness.  Is this the freedom that God has for me?  Does this even sound like God?  Or does this maybe sound more like man's version of what he thinks God wants...a bunch of little Jesus look-a-likes running around on earth?

I'm starting to question what surrender really means and what that looks like in my life.  As I was meditating on this today a thought popped into my head: What if I have surrender all wrong?  What if it means giving up my and other's  expectations of what I'm supposed to be and living fully and completely as the person who God made me?  He made my personality, so why am I supposed to be 'giving it up'?  Why not just surrender my idea of 'the perfect person' I think he wants, start being me, let him change the things he wants to change.    Should I feel guilty for being who he made me to be?

I've come to see the difference (finally) between surrendering my will and surrendering my expectations .  I've been trying for so long to give up the essence of who I am, sensing that was the right thing to do by all those 'in the know'.  When all this time God was just wanting me to give up control and let him control.  This leaves me free to just be...be who I am, live fully without fear of other's expectations, trust God to change and make my personality one that shows off who Jesus is in only the way that I can.  The way I reflect Jesus isn't the same as others.  Thank God!  I need to see all the other ways just as much as they need to see my way because Jesus is so much bigger than any one of us.

And all that from a book on a dystopian society...go figure.

Feb 17, 2013

I've Always Wondered

2/17/2013 — cori
I kid you not, this is a literal conversation we had at the dinner table today:

Chuck:  I've always wanted to know what would happen if you boil Coke.

Me:  Seriously?  I had no idea you harbored such scientific thoughts.

Chuck:  Yes.  I've always been curious about this.

Me:  I could think and think for a hundred years and that thought would never once cross my mind.

Chuck:  I've also wondered what would happen if you boil gasoline.

Me:  Oh, please don't do any experiments.

Chuck:  I wasn't planning to, but I just like thinking about it.  So, what do you say?  What do you think would happen with the Coke?

Me:  having to really put my thinking cap on and think it through: I think all the carbon dioxide would escape quickly leaving all the sugar to burn on the bottom. why? i have no idea, it just sounded scientific.

Chuck: Well I don't.  I think it would all boil over the edge of the pot.

Me:  OK.  Fine.  Whatever.

Gavin:  I've always wondered what would happen if you shot a flare gun over a lake of oil.

Chloe:  It would become a lake of fire.

Bennett:  I've always wondered what would happen if you dropped a cupcake on the floor in front of Ninja.

These people mentally exhaust me.

Feb 12, 2013


2/12/2013 — cori
I love how Roald Dahl captures the mind numbing effects of t.v in his book, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.  Keep in mind, he wrote this book in 1964.  TV had only just started becoming a popular household item since the 1950's.  I think his description is rather prophetic.  How would he have known back then how 60 years of tv has affected the minds of children?

I definitely agree with his assessment.  But I also don't think tv in itself is wholly bad either.  All things in moderation - right?!  It falls on us parents to teach our children to use tv responsibly, as with everything else in this life.  They watch what we do more than do what we say.

As Albert Einstein says: Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will ever be to know and understand.

And to quote myself :)  - Imagination comes from lots of play time, lots of reading time and lots of time in nature.  Our children learn more from these three areas than school can ever provide.  Schooling and videos/tv might give you facts that your brain can hold onto for a while, but those lessons learned by your own processing through life's experiences are the ones you hold onto forever.

Feb 5, 2013

A Snapshot in Time

2/05/2013 — cori
I was recently lamenting how quickly time seeps through our fingers like sand....especially in relation to the children.  It seems like just yesterday I wrote these thoughts on how quickly the children were growing.  And now we're almost 6 years removed from there - unbelievable!

Although this time warp thing seems to be a cause of sadness at times, it also brings me indescribable joy.  I adore my kids at the age they are now.  I love our deep conversations.  They are SO MUCH FUN to be with.  They are much more self-sufficient and independent, which is a good thing.

But most of all, I love their unique ability to communicate their hearts with me.  Whether it's doubt, anger, fear, excitement, hope, confusion or dreams...they love to let it all out.  I'm so thankful that they feel this depth of freedom.  The worst thing that could happen would be to lose our heart connection.

Unfortunately, this time there won't be a cute little diddy to capture this moment in time.  I prefer, instead, to do something I find myself doing more and more often.  When I'm really enjoying something, I seem to get this 'out of body experience' where all the noise fades away and my eyes suddenly become a camera.  I look around at each person and blink my eyes shut like I'm snapping a picture to store in the data bank of my memory (which turns out to actually be my blog since my memory doesn't seem to want to work anymore).  In this 'picture', I can remember feelings and smells and sounds.  I can remember favorite sayings and nuances.  And just for a minute I can be transposed back in time to relive something that I'll never again experience with my own children.

This kid who can lift me off the ground and who has zoomed past my intellectual capabilities will always be my first born, no matter how big he grows or how mature he becomes.  If I look real hard when he's talking to me, I can still see a 3 year old little boy with a high pitched voice in a superman costume asking me a million questions.  And it makes me smile.  The teenage years got here faster than I could have ever imagined.  And you know what?  They are awesome!  Adolescence doesn't scare me.  Bring it on! I love it.  I love the discussions we have and the new things we experience.  Granted, there are days he's not up till 10:30am and we still have to remind him to brush his teeth...but he's getting there.  He now has opinions on what outfits look cool and what don't - this is a first.  He actually does his hair (and washes it every night too!).  He gets embarrassed by us sometimes but it only makes us laugh all the harder cuz we remember what it was like when we were his age.  Oh ya, and what's with teenagers and music?  Where he used to be ok with silence, he now fills up every quiet space in his (and my) day with music - loudly blaring from our computer.  He has an amazing sense of humor.  I love how he can laugh at himself.  He thinks his Dad is the funniest comedian in the world.  Half the time at dinner he can't keep his food from falling out of his mouth cuz he's laughing so hard with that big, huge smile of his.  He asks me everyday when he gets home from school (often late these days since he's in the robotics club after school), "Did you have a successful day, Mom?" and he genuinely wants to know and cares.  He loves to share what he's learning with me in each of his classes (after I ask specifically about each one first).  When he doesn't know what else to say to me he still asks me, "So Mom, are you having a good day?" or "I hope you are excellent."  His well being in life still seems to depend of my well being.   He recently learned to tie a tie and has decided he wants to 'dress up' more - meaning khaki pants, a vest, tie and nice shoes.  His appetite for books and learning are at an all time high.  At dinner he loves to give us math word problems...this is the one thing that annoys me.  I hate math.  He LOVES it.  He was trying to write down a formula for probability on a napkin the other night and get us to figure out a problem.  Another night he wrote up a word problem on his iPad and wanted the answer in a whole real fraction -whatever that is.  I grew up having to fake my way through math word problems at the dinner table because of my Dad, I NEVER imagined my own son would do this to me too.  It must be some type of conspiracy.  On a completely random note, it's so ironic that I am actually the one teaching immigrants and refugees math once a week - since we all know it's my strong suit.

Mr. Sensitive.  Always has been, always will be.  At 11, he's taller than his brother was at the same age which makes him very happy.  He's a super, mega basketball addict and loves Michael Jordan maybe as much as I do (all our brainwashing and watching Jordan videos with him has finally paid off - yes!).  He's a menace on the court and even has some of his own special moves that makes him look like a basketball star.  He's so super sensitive to me and when I'm down or not myself he always comes and rubs my feet or hands (he learned that one from Daddy) and tells me, "It will be okay Mom."  He can already whoop Chuck in 21 and in foos-ball.  He loves to read and normally asks Gavin which books are good.  He's even gotten good at playing Yughioh by following his brother's example.  He loves, loves, loves African drumming.  He is still super passionate about all birds and loves to draw them, look for them and listen to their calls.  He's on the Youth Raptor Corp at the University of Minnesota.  This is quite the honor for someone so in love with ornithology.  I don't know how, but he still busts out with the best comebacks and spontaneous humor out of all of us.  He's the glue of our family.  We're all better when Bennett is around.  He's the peace keeper.  He gets along with young and old alike.  He plays as good with the 4 and 5 year old neighbor girls as he does with the 15 year old neighbor boy.  He also has the uncanny ability to talk in circles like Drover from "Hank the Cowdog".  Speaking non-sense seems to come easy for him.  Therefore, having a conversation with him is somewhat difficult at times but invariably ends up in laughter.  He is also the first one to give me the biggest hug and cuddle Every.  Single.  Day.  First thing in the morning and as soon as he gets home from school.  He's also the first one to ask, "Mom,  have I told you how much I loved you yet today?" and then proceeds to give me his love analogy for the day.  He is always filling up my heart.

This little lady is my constant companion and shadow.  Homeschooling this year has drawn us closer than I ever imagined it would.  There is no such thing as too many books or too much reading in her world.  She devours books just like her mentor.  She has developed a passion for cooking and loves to do it all the time.  She is addicted to email.  Seriously.  She has decided this year that she wants to be a chef when she grows up and plans on attending culinary school in Paris.  Consequently, she is learning French (using Rosetta Stone) along with me (even besting me at it most days).  She has the most adorable friendship with our neighbor who bears the same name.  Their imaginative play brings a smile to my heart.  She's into Taylor Swift and can sing "Love Story" perfectly.  She adores her Daddy almost as much as he adores her.  This used-to-be-shy little angel has morphed into a social butterfly.  She accompanies me every week to The Neighborhood House where I teach English to immigrants and refugees.  She loves the different cultures she meets and they are fascinated with her and call her "Little Teacher".  I love how articulate she speaks and is always trying to be so proper.  Sometimes I refer to her as Jane Austen since she seems so at home in that era.  And her vocabulary puts me to shame half the time.  If she could wear a dress/skirt everyday with fancy, sparkly shoes, she would.  Life is good when you're 8 going on 25.

One of the most valuable things that Chuck & I deem important in our role as parents to these precious people is to never let them forget who they are.  If our children remember who they are, they will be less tempted to find themselves among the temptations of this world that try to lure them away.  They know their worth is not determined by how they dress, how they look, how much money they have, how smart they are or who their friends are.  We remind them all the time that they are the child of Chuck & Cori.  They are a child of God, dearly loved and clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, self-control and forgiveness.  This scene in "Blood Diamond" has always struck a chord with us.  In this movie, the father is searching for his son that was kidnapped from his home and forced to live as a boy-soldier.  In this scene he finally finds his son and has to remind him who he is.  And what an awesome job he does!  

Blog Archive