Nov 30, 2015

The Circle of Love

11/30/2015 — cori

This has the hand of Bennett all over it. This is the work of a 14 year old boy, not a 5 year old as you may be fooled into believing. This is supposed to be The Nativity. Obviously I have failed as a mother if my 14 year old son has no clue how to re-enact the nativity scene with figurines. This is wrong on so many levels...let me count the ways in question format:

1. Why are they in a circle?
2. Why have we (and by 'we' I mean 'Bennett') combined two completely different figurine sets?
3. Why are there two baby Jesus'?
4. Why must I tell him exactly what to do every time? When I don't - this is what happens.
5. Why is it on a wooden ledge in the basement?
6. Why is there not a barn anywhere in sight?
7. Why did I ask him to do this?
8. What was he thinking?
9. Was he thinking?

Thankful in Minnesota

11/30/2015 — cori
Another November brings with it the fun of visiting with the Colorado Mallotts in Minnesota. We packed three days full to the brim. 

On day one we took a trip to Taylors Falls to hike. 

It was a pleasant 35 degree day. 

We kinda had the entire park to ourselves.

We were also the only ones that thought it was perfect picnic weather.

We warily looked over boulders.

We carefully climbed walls of rock.
It snowed on Thanksgiving Day. This is the second year in a row our Annual Family Football game had to be scrapped because of the weather.

So instead, we played many games of chess.

We read.

And we read some more.

We cooked our turkey in this oil-less turkey fryer. Obviously, we had to set up a wind/snow block so our turkey could actually cook.

This was the best turkey ever. No more 3 legged, undercooked or overcooked birds or fires for us.

We lounged by the fireplace eating pumpkin pie.

We only encountered one small disaster on this day of Thanks. John backed our car out of the garage so we could place the turkey fryer in the safety of the garage. Apparently, my car ignition is different than his because he kinda forgot to completely turn the ignition all the way off. Once, when Chuck was out checking on the turkey he heard and saw the car SLIDING DOWN THE DRIVEWAY! Not a sight you are typically prepared for. I have no idea why, but he runs out there to save the car in his bare feet. He starts trying to use the remote entry, but it won't work. Then we try inserting the key into the door and it still won't unlock. We are locked out of our car even though we have our keys. Gavin suggested we lay wood behind the wheels so the car wouldn't slip down the driveway any further. Thank God for someone with a clear head. We were all running around like chickens with our heads cut off - well, at least Chuck was. We tried breaking into our own car using a wire hanger (I'm shocked I could even find one in the house). Fail. After several hours, John remembered that he's a member of Triple A. He called them out - problem solved. This guy was able to break into our car for us in less than 5 minutes. Apparently, my car has a safety feature where all the electric systems shut down and it locks all by itself if the ignition is not set in the lock position. That's good to know...ahead of time. 
On Friday,we went to see The Wizard of Oz at the Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis.

It was a brilliant performance and even Logan was enthralled and sat perfectly still enchanted by the amazing actors and stage the whole time.
We played dinosaurs.

And of course, we played Guesstures... wouldn't be a Mallott Thanksgiving without it.

We thought we'd indoctrinate Logan now - the earlier, the better.

Nov 23, 2015

Cardboard Arcade

11/23/2015 — cori

This past Friday night was Family Fun Night at Chloe's school. The kids have been working on making cardboard arcades for the past several weeks now. Some of the things they came up with were super ingenious. Not only did the families get to enjoy the multitude of games and creativity, the Superintendent and the school board came on Monday and the kids are letting the preschoolers they share a building with come play all the games tomorrow.

This was a great lesson in learning how to work together to solve problems and think outside of the box or in this case - inside of it.

Chloe's group made a game that someone sat inside of and spun a little platform type table in circles. There were 5 different levels of difficulty: Easy, Medium, Hard, Pro, Extreme and Pro. The person playing the game had to choose a level. Dependent on that, the person inside the game would change out the cardboard platform with small spaces in it that spun around (that's what is under the plastic that you can't see very well in this picture). Once it started spinning you had to slide a small, plastic duck down a tube and hope it landed in one of the colored spaces. If it did, tickets would spit out of a little slit in the box. You could then take your tickets to a prize table and buy something with your earnings. It was so adorable!

The whole event was based off of the story shared here about Caine's Arcade:

Absent Minded

11/23/2015 — cori

I spent my day moving about the house from one room to another. You know how it is when you are preparing for guests to stay with you. Each room had some task that needed to be done. My mind was a blur with activity and thinking about the next thing that needed doing. You start cleaning in one room and before you know it you walked into another part of the house to put something away and now you're working hard in that room only to have left the previous room and it's mess unfinished. You could liken me to a ball in a pin-ball machine; that would be an accurate description. This sets the stage for my frame of mind.

So I found it extremely odd when I walked back in the bathroom to brush my teeth later in the day and found that my toothbrush was not in the toothbrush holder. Hmmm I thought, why would Chuck put my toothbrush there? Of course, my initial thought is to blame him. He must have done this. I would never do something this...this...bizarre. Or would I?

Upon further reflection, I had to admit to myself that it was me. Chuck left for work at 5:30 this morning and I certainly wasn't awake. So we had to rule him out as the culprit. But then that left only me and why would I do something so stupid and non-sensical?

It looks as if our toothbrushes are fighting - like they can't stand looking at one another let alone sitting in the same toothbrush holder together. Maybe it's a Freudian slip. Maybe my mind is on data overload and it couldn't locate the proper location of the toothbrush in time to tell my hand what to do. Maybe I'm just that weird. How many other things do I do absent-mindedly?

I mean, if you think about it, I'm sure you can understand my confusion...two cups, similar in size and stature, right next to one makes perfect sense that my brain was fooled being in the state of mind I was in. Actually, come to think about it, I think my brain was playing a joke on me. It knows how susceptible I am to confusion and thought this might be a fun little prank.

All I know is that our "twilight years" sure are going to be a lot of fun. I better start labeling everything in the house now.

Nov 20, 2015

Good Morning Beautiful

11/20/2015 — cori
This was the progression of the sunrise this morning. Please forgive my phone camera - it didn't know how important this moment was to me and chose to be grainy. My fault for not having an iphone, I guess, with it's superior camera technology and all. But even in all it's un-crisp fuzziness (pretend it's like looking through my eyes without my glasses on) the beauty of waking up today is still captured in all it's fullness. No matter the cold today, it's going to be a good day because I got to behold the splendor of sunrise.

The Injured List

11/20/2015 — cori

Clearly I can't be trusted with knives.

The past two evenings, as I'm in the throes of dinner preparation, I have not only sliced and diced all manner of vegetables, but also myself. Apparently I have to keep bandaids at the ready.

Do you know how hard it is to cook and/or continue slicing with the thick skin of the bandaid masking all sensory nerves in your finger and thumb? It's not pretty.

This has had devastating consequences on my card playing. If you want to beat me in Nertz, now's the time. Yesterday, Bennett took advantage of my injured state and beat me twice in a card game that required skill, speed and agility - usually an area of expertise for me.

Braiding Chloe's hair - near impossible.

Opening the clasp of a necklace - not going to happen.

Turning the pages of a book - hopeless.

Typing this story on the keyboard - extremely challenging.

Making any more dinner - nope.

I'm on the injured list. If this was football, I'd be sitting on the sidelines. Looks like I'll be joining Tony Romo for a while. We can only hope my family doesn't go on a seven game loosing streak with dinner while I'm temporarily incapacitated.

Nov 19, 2015


11/19/2015 — cori

What a wonderful surprise I found while taking Chloe to gymnastics tonight. I had to detour and pull over in a parking lot because I couldn't stop saying, "OH MY GOODNESS!  LOOK AT THAT!!! DO YOU SEE HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS?! OH MY GOODNESS!"  I then proceeded to run outside, in the parking lot, with my phone, in the 28 degree weather with the wind chill making it feel like 19 degrees so that I could take this picture. Now I get to look at this wild beauty over and over and over again. And believe it or not, each time I see it, it's like a surprise all over again to me.

Nov 7, 2015

Reverse Ombre

11/07/2015 — cori

So apparently, ombres and reverse ombres are all the rage these days.  I didn't even know what they were when Chloe told me that she wanted one. No, she needed one. Either that, or teal streaks in her hair. It was then that I instantly googled "reverse ombre". Hmmm. Not so bad. I could live with it. But I certainly wasn't just running right out and getting her one. After talking with Daddy, we decided that she may earn her reverse ombre.

We made a deal that if she would work on thinking before she speaks, not talking back and watching the tone of her voice, then we would agree to let her get a reverse ombre at the end of a month's time. Anything good is worth waiting for, right? She now had a huge motivating factor to work on something that is a real challenge for her. She was pumped! She couldn't wait. We also agreed that if Daddy or I caught her speaking with unkindness or talking back, the month would start all over again. 

We weren't looking for perfection, we were looking for a heart change. We knew she would mess up. That's the biggest part of learning. But having this incentive seemed to achieve something our mere words alone could not do. I found her biting her tongue a lot. Not literally, obviously. But she truly gained character during the process of purposefully keeping this task before her. I am so proud of her.

We waited slightly longer than a month. She stopped asking when she was going to get it. Then one day before school I surprised her and said, "Honey, I hope you're ready for your hair appointment this afternoon after school." The sun radiated through her smile.

She is now the proud owner of a reverse hombre and good character. Win/win!

Sixth Grade Selfies

11/07/2015 — cori
Yesterday, as Chloe and I sat waiting in the car for Chuck she lets out a little giggle and announces:

"I feel a selfie coming on!"

Not in a million years would you have ever heard those words proceed from my mouth as a sixth grader. Number one, sixth grade. Awkward. Not my best moment in the time/space continuum for self portrait taking. Number two, our phones were still attached to the wall and were not yet equipped with tiny, microscopic cameras (much to my Dad's chagrin). Number three. It was the 80's. Enough said.

So, I'm getting to live my middle school years all over again with Chloe. So when she 'feels a selfie coming on', so do I.  We were in the car, at dark, using only a dome light. Not the best lighting for our moment of stardom. But we managed. You do what you gotta do, I suppose. We're a bit grainy, but we are rocking the pose (I've learned from the Selfie-Queen herself).

Pouty Pucker

Smirky Smile

Goofy Girls

Nov 6, 2015

A Small Water

11/06/2015 — cori

Chuck and I enjoyed a quick little lunch date today. I always order water with my lunch. After sitting at the table for a while Chuck asks me:

"Is that a small water?" as he's looking directly at my small water.

To which I instantly responded, "Yes."

Then he proceeds to get out of his seat, stand up, and reach for my small water.

I'm like, "What are you doing?!"

And he's all like, "I just asked you if you wanted some more water and you said yes."

I couldn't stop laughing. Upon regaining my composure I told him that I heard him say, "Is that a small water?".  And he's like, "Why would I ever say that? I said, 'Do you want some more water?'".

Obviously, he mumbles. There is just no other reason for such a dramatic departure from what he said to what I heard.

The stupid part of this whole "conversation", if you can even call it that, is that I answered such a ridiculous question. I guess I'm just used to talking in simple sentences with my students. It did seem a little odd for Chuck to want to talk like that, but hey, I never know what kind of weird mood he's in, I can just placate him.

This is just so typical of us....and we're not even old and senile yet. We talk in circles all the time! One of us thinks we heard something which really wasn't said, yet instead of saying 'what?', we just go with it.

We're so stupid.

He thinks I can't hear and talk too quietly. I think he mumbles and doesn't listen well. We're even. This is only the tip of the iceberg people. There are just too many instances like this to recount - I just happen to remember this one today.

I choose this as my thankful for today because it made us laugh so hard. And laughter is good for the soul.

Nov 5, 2015


11/05/2015 — cori

One word: AWESOME!

Chuck found this amazing website that offers you amazing insight into your self. It's almost like these people climbed into your brain, uploaded all the juicy stuff about you that makes you tick and then wrote it out in a neat, little, tidy, eloquent, simple format so that you can better understand yourself. While you're reading your profile you'll be like, "Hey! How'd they know that?!" I tell you, it's amazing. It's uncanny. And it's so organized. I wish I could explain myself that easily to other people. I feel much more complicated than they make my personality out to be. If they can make me out to be simple and understood then they must be geniuses because I am anything but simple to understand.

We each took the test. It is so cool. Granted, I took my test at least 4 four times just to be sure because I thought they might have messed up my results the first 3 times. But when a test comes back the same 4 times in a row, you must concede that maybe they were right after all.  Chuck took the test maybe 7 times. Each time he took it, he would get a different personality. So, I'm not 100% sure what that tells us about Chuck...either he has multiple personality disorder...or he can't commit to who he wants to be...or he was over-thinking his answers....or he's just plain weird and can't be put into a personality box. Finally he was able to get the same personality 3 times in a row - so we just went with that one.

Interesting fact...all but one of us in this family are introverts. Bennett is the lone extravert. Here's the Mallott family in all their personality glory:






The funny thing're probably not really all that surprised. You probably could have accurately pegged each of us given these choices. But, oh, how I wish I came with a little manual about "How To Understand Cori" to pass out to all my friends and new people I meet. "Here, flip to page 3 to see how I deal with conflict. (Hint - I don't)."  Apparently, that would make life way too easy. We wouldn't want that. 

But it is cool to learn, on a deeper level, how people's brain's work and think and how they respond to certain things, be it correction, praise, criticism, encouragement, ideas. It helps us be more understanding, patient, compassionate and less irritated with people for not doing things the way we think they should be done. In other words, it helps us better understand what it's like to walk in their shoes a teeny, tiny bit. 

Nov 1, 2015


11/01/2015 — cori

This sweet boy decided to join our family on October 31, 2001. It was the perfect day - granted, it was weird labor with all the nurses dressed up in costumes, but other than that, it was perfect. Bennett instantly stole my heart. It was love at first sight. He was the one who calmed my heart. Being my second baby, I was scared about how I was going to do it all now that I had two kids. How could I possibly love another child as much as I love Gavin my forlorn heart wondered. But I needn't have feared for I grew a whole other heart just for Bennett. And it was instantly filled with love for him. He was a goof-ball from the very beginning, filling our lives with constant laughter. He continues to play his role to perfection. At 14, he is a young man full of character and passion. He's passionate about basketball, learning and reading.  He still loves to hangout with us and chooses his friends wisely. He has always been all about basketball....that passion just increases exponentially by the day. 

His birthday present was spending the entire day at ValleyScare. It was a chilly day which worked to our advantage since hardly anyone was there. We walked right up to every ride. We were very unlame parents as we rode all the cool roller coasters (I backed out of only 1 simply because I love my life and didn't wish to die - thankfully, everyone else made it off the ride alive and we left soon afterward as we were all a wee bit queasy). It was such an awesome day! I'm so glad Bennett had a birthday today. They call it ValleyScare the whole month of October because they have haunted houses and such all around the park. None of those opened until 5pm and we were long gone by then. It was not our intention to get scared. We were going for a more celebratory mood.

However, when we got home, our age hit us like a brick wall and Chuck and I found ourselves laying on the floor in front of the fireplace (me with a heating pad to my neck) trying to recuperate from all that fun! It's hard to keep up with the kids. I was in a constant state of nausea the entire day. I don't recall the last time I spent so much time upside down and being thrown against a wall. It was a blast, but I'm fine if we wait another 14 years to experience it again.

And as is tradition, we got into costume and went trick-or-treating. Chuck and I are dressed for a Masquerade Ball. Bennett is just plain freaky. Chloe is a Japanese girl or a Medieval page (whichever you prefer) and her friend is a whacked out Little Red Riding Hood.

All in all, it was a full, exciting, fun day. I just love Halloween because, for us, it's a celebration of Bennett and all the joy, laughter and dressing up he brings into our lives.

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