Sep 26, 2016

The "Fun Run"

9/26/2016 — cori

A while back I saw an advertisement for a Fun Run to benefit St. Jude Children's Hospital. I presented the option to the family. After asking how long it was and me quickly scanning the ad, I said, "Looks like it's only 1.5 miles," so they all said, "yes." However, the biggest selling point was that this would be held at the new Vikings Stadium. It had only been open 1 week. Brand. Spankin. New. And there was no way we'd ever be able to afford tickets to go see it. This looked like a win/win for all.

The big day finally arrived. As it turns out, Chloe and I signed up to volunteer at the event, not actually walk or run. I signed Chuck and the boys up for the run. It was a bit chilly, overcast and windy out. For the first half of the event, Chloe and I were assigned to the "Swag Tent" where we got to hand out free samples to all the participants.

When it came time for the big Walk/Run, Chloe and I were escorted into the stadium. We we told to wait on the 50 yard line and cheer for all the people coming across the finish line. I think we lucked out in the volunteer department.

As we were patiently and warmly waiting for the racers to do their thing, I was asking someone near me how long the run was. He replied, "It's a 5K." Oops. I kinda told my people it was only 1.5 miles. They didn't even train. They just woke up at 6am, walked out the door and were told to run 3 miles for charity at 9am.

As soon as Chuck crossed the finish line (long after the boys did) he told me (once he was able to breathe again), "That was the biggest bait and switch ever! I go from thinking I'm running 1.5 miles to actually running 3 miles." But I was so proud of my boys. Bennett sprinted through the finish line in 7th place. Gavin wasn't far behind him. And Chuck was only a few minutes behind Gavin. Overall, they did awesome. And it was for a good cause. They just couldn't really walk the rest of the day. But it was for a good cause. And nobody is mad at me anymore.

And right before we left the stadium, Chuck stood at the 5 yard line and told Bennett to run for the endzone. Bennett caught the (mini) football (that we were passing out in the swag tent) and landed with both feet in the paint. Then they were happy. 

Sep 19, 2016

Her Mother's Daughter

9/19/2016 — cori

This morning, within 30 seconds of Chloe walking out the front door at 7:05 am, I get a text from her:

Is she my off-spring or what?! Here are the ways I can tell: 1) She is in awe of nature, especially sunrises and sunsets (me too!) 2) She immediately needs to share it with someone (me too!) 3) Her very next thought is to take a picture of it (me too!). 

At the exact same time she was taking her beautiful sunrise picture out front on the way to the bus, I was out back taking this one. Great minds think alike.

Sep 18, 2016

Frisbee Golf

9/18/2016 — cori
On Friday Chuck and I were wracking our brains trying to come up with a fun outdoor activity to do this weekend with the kids. The weather was forecasted to be gorgeous on Sunday and we wanted to take advantage of probably one of the last, warmish weekends for a very long time. Everywhere we wanted to go hiking was too far away. We didn't want to spend half the day driving. So hiking was out. Then the idea of frisbee golf struck me. We quickly googled frisbee golf locations near us and found an ample supply of DGCs (disc golf courses). Our education of this sport has already begun. Now that we know what to call it, we realized we would need to go buy some "discs". We just happened to be at Target and thought we'd look to see if they had any. Before we made it to the sports section we were in the dog section buying snacks for Ninja when Chuck found perfectly colorful, cheap frisbees just laying dog toys. Plus, they were only $1.09. Bonus! This day is already looking promising. We have secured the "discs" at a very reasonable price, got all the picnic food and are ready for the fun and the sun.

Notice how we all decorated our discs so we would know whose was whose. Genius idea really. We were quite pleased with ourselves. Until we get there....the DGC, that is.

After we park, gather all our gear out of the trunk, and walk towards the picnic area my people are already throwing their "discs". Granted, there was one of those disc catcher thingys right in front of us and everyone wanted to see if we could get our colorful frisbees discs into them. I'm just standing there with my pretty pink disc when all of the sudden, out of nowhere, something knocks me in the forehead - hard. It was Bennett. Well, not him, but his disc. He said he was just trying to get it in the thingy when all of the sudden it made a right hand turn - straight into my forehead. Great! I haven't even played one round of frisbee golf and I'm already injured. Thankfully, we had ice packs in the lunch bag.

Bennett looks real torn up about my injury. Lunch was good though. The funniest thing happened at lunch though. We could see all the other DGC players walking around, throwing their discs and whatnot. What we noticed is that instead of nice decorated colorful dog toys they had 3 and 4 different weighted and shaped discs. They also had disc bags they were carrying them around in! We knew we were in trouble once we saw that. We realized we were more like little kids with their plastic, playskool golf clubs on a real golf course where everyone else is using 9 irons and putters. We laughed so hard at this realization. We were about to go out on that DGC and make morons of ourselves. At least it wouldn't be the first time.  

Normally, Chloe is scared of "discs" but not on this wonderful day. Come to find out they've been practicing throwing "discs" in gym lately. She's ready to put what she's been learning to good use.

Hole 1. We did it. We all managed to get our discs into this thingy (the hole, I guess). At the tee place, where you start, they have a map of where the 'hole' is, how far away it is, and the par. Gavin said we should just square the par number and make that our par since we were all so clueless and bad.

We had no idea if there was a proper disc-throwing-form/technique or not. Most of the time our discs rolled. That's probably because they were really frisbees. Or dog toys.

Gavin's form was better.

Chuck...the obvious winner of the game, had the best form. His stayed in the air and rolled less than the rest of ours. Even though most of us sucked, and even though we were playing with dog toys, and even though Bennett cheat, we had a blast! I can see us trying this again. We might even bring extra frisbees with us and even a bag to put all our extra frisbees in so it looks like we know what we're doing. I recommend NOT doing this on a windy day and not standing too close to Bennett.

Sep 16, 2016


9/16/2016 — cori
Last night before bed Gavin tell us, "You know how I sometimes have insomnia at night and I just can't fall asleep?" 

Yes. We do. Very common in teenagers.

"Well, I think I know why. Last night as I was trying to fall asleep I just couldn't stop thinking. I laid there for 20-30 minutes just thinking about how much I love my mouse and all its cool functionalities."

Thank you for sharing, Gavin.

Here is the beloved mouse:

He really is infatuated with this. This makes him so happy. He lives in a very practical, logical, happy world. It doesn't take much to please him. I love this kid. I love that this is what is running through his mind late at night and that he loves to share that with us still. I love that he is who he is and comfortable in his own skin. He knows most kids his own age don't love their mouses (plural/sp?) as much as he does his and he can even laugh at how ridiculous it sounds. He doesn't take himself too seriously. But he does take that mouse seriously.  

The first thing Chuck and I thought of was, of course, a VeggieTales Silly Song. This is what the kids watched when they were little. Chuck and I greatly appreciated (and still do) the comedic genius of these parodies. I know we're dating ourselves and the video is not in HD, but it encapsulates Gavin's mouse-love perfectly! The mouse IS Gavin's Cheeseburger.

Sep 14, 2016

Spank Me

9/14/2016 — cori

"Mommy, I have to confess. Every time I follow you up the stairs, I have this overwhelming urge to spank your bottom" says Chloe with a suppressed giggle.

"Hm. Interesting" I say. "I can see Daddy saying that, but it's rather surprising coming from you, Sweetie. Maybe you should stop following me up the stairs."

I am quite well known for my rather unique problem solving abilities.

Sep 12, 2016


9/12/2016 — cori

Homelessness. Poverty. Hunger. This makes me sad. The gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" seems to widen every year. This is not a problem of not enough stuff, money, housing, jobs, resources, food - it's a greed problem. It's a distribution problem. It's all of our problem. If I don't make the pain of these people my own, then I won't care enough to help. We need to put ourselves in the "other's" shoes. It is not our job to judge why or how people come into these circumstances. Life is full of many choices and decisions each of us would love to redo or undo if we could. Judgement gets us nowhere. Compassion is what changes people. Love in action. Meeting people where they're at. Mercy.

Gavin's economics teacher had his class play this little game (click on 'continue to spent') imagining themselves in the shoes of poor working class. Those teetering on the edge of homelessness, hunger, poverty. This is a brilliant resource. Walking in another's shoes helps us understand just the tiniest bit more. If you take the time to walk through this website and play the game, trust me, you'll feel relieved at the end that its not your real life.

The Ride To School

9/12/2016 — cori

This is Bennett's dream year. Not only does he get to go to the High School...he no longer has to ride the bus! This is huge people! Only the cool kids come in cars. Bennett is now in that category. He gets to ride with his brother to and from school these days. They might not say two words to each other on the way there or home, but at least they both look cool and really...that's all that matters to high schoolers.

Sep 7, 2016

20 Years

9/07/2016 — cori

Twenty years ago. On one hand it seems like forever. On the other, it's such a short blip on the radar screen. Either way, its been the best adventure I could have asked for or imagined! I never could have envisioned the places we would go, the things we would do, the people we would meet, the children we would have, or the love we would grow. 

The best part for me has always been the unexpected fun we find around every corner. I love Chuck's optimistic outlook on life. It's contagious. Take for example how we jokingly said we should get tattoos to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

And then this happened. Yup. We just up and did it. Completely unexpected, but completely full of meaning. We'll definitely never forget this day. I would even say it's made a lasting impression on us.

Sep 6, 2016

Let The Games Begin

9/06/2016 — cori
Today we start the next phase of the year with excitement even as we mourn summer's passing. Gone is the leisurely pace summer brings and in it's place is the constant go, go, go of school activities and schedules. Not that it's all bad, it just takes me a while to ramp up. It also makes me so thankful for the time I got to spend with my kids over the summer and makes me miss them a wee bit more than normal. But this mommy will be fine once the first week is over and our new routine is in place. It's all good.

Chloe's first day of 7th grade. First day of a new school. First day of changing classes and teachers.

First day of High School for this young stud. He couldn't be more excited or ready!

"May the odds be ever in your favor!"

The First of The Last

9/06/2016 — cori
And the countdown begins....Spoiler alert - I will be doing this most of the school year...guaranteed! 

My sweet, intense, firstborn who couldn't wait to start school back in 2004 and learn more and more and more and ask as many questions as his mind could think up has morphed overnight (seemingly) into this:

A high school senior. Top of his class. He hasn't changed one bit. He still has an intense love of learning. He still asks a million questions, only difference is, I don't have the answers anymore. And he is still as sweet as ever. 

My eyes are tearing up just writing those few short sentences. So I better make this one short. 

I love who he is. I love what he loves and how he still loves to share his passions, questions, discoveries and excitement with me. I love how his brain works. This is going to be an amazing year. He is taking 3 college courses (2 from the University of Minnesota and 1 from St. Cloud State University) plus German 3 and economics. He is also getting the chance to TA for his favorite teacher this year as well. And he is the Senior Captain of his Mock Trial Team.

I have a feeling this year is going to go by very, very fast. 

The Blob

9/06/2016 — cori

This past weekend we were invited to a friend's lake house on Big Watab Lake. This is what Minnesotans do (and I'm sure anyone anywhere who owns a lake house does, but since there are 10,000 lakes happens alot around these parts). Having a lake house is as common as having a second car it seems. Spending the day at the lake was a first for us. We attempted to go camping last August at a lake. That was a major fail. However, we did end up with good sunset pix. We were optimistic for a second attempt - afterall, we wouldn't be camping and the forecast called for 79 degrees and sunny. This was going to be good. We could just feel it. Plus, friend had a Blob. How could this go wrong?

Introducing The Blob. This sturdy three story structure is held down by lots of cement in buckets under the water, as is the blob. This little device was the envy of the whole lake. Unfortunately, I will never know how fun it was since I choose not to submit myself to torture-like devices. But Chuck, Bennett and Gavin were gung-ho for it. They should have thought twice when 1) friend never put on his swim trunks or offered to go on the blob with them  and 2) the cloudy, overcast skies hardly let any sunshine pass through thus not warming the water for our much anticipated day on the lake.

Ever ready for fun, Bennett was the first one on the blob. That's him on the can barely see his head poking up from the blob. And then there's Chuck...he's the one jumping off the second story of the structure. He has to land precisely on a red square on the blob. This will then catapult Bennett out into the lake. 

And that's exactly what it did. Bennett later mentioned feeling like he got whipped on the back. It was red and purple the rest of the day.

Here's Gavin's catapult. We were told you're supposed to tuck in like a ball. But he said he had no idea he'd been launched until he was in the air, and by then it was too late. He got all the air knocked out of him and also sported a nice shade of purple on his back all afternoon. He couldn't really breathe or talk very well after his time on the blob. The guys only did it twice. Shocking, when we presumed before arriving that we would all spend the whole afternoon playing in the water and on the blob.

Chloe chose a smarter option...she paddle boarded. And as long as she stayed in the little alcove by the shoreline, the wind wasn't a problem.

She also enjoyed going down this rickety-looking slide into the freezing cold abyss.

Bennett also thought he'd try his hand a paddle-boarding.

On our way home we stopped at the beautiful Munsinger Gardens in St. Cloud.

I was so impressed that 1) it was free and 2) they were able to get all the flowers to bloom at the same time! It truly was breath-taking. My paltry pictures don't do it justice. It was all awash with color.

Thank you for your kind wishes Doris Kelly, my heart was definitely peaceful!

Why don't my plants grow this way?

And last, but not least, a flower as big as Bennett's head. Impressive.

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