Oct 31, 2016

On Turning 15

10/31/2016 — cori

When you first came to Dad and Me
We knew our lives would forever be
Better, brighter and bigger because of you,
Our second born, our son number two.

You brought peace and laughter beyond compare
Opening our world and all who share
In the special joy of knowing you
And all the memorable things you do.

You share your love in little ways
Trying to brighten other people's days.
A smile here, a hug there
Or encouraging words to help me bear
Through the day, the week, the hour
You won't let my attitude stay sour.

Your smile is infectious and your laughter too
As you try to get happiness out of someone who's blue.
We can't stay mad when you're around
You turn our frowns upside down.

You've grown to become a fitness guru
with your love of sports, balls, and exercise too.
Strong in body, soul, and mind
You practice and study all the time.
To be the best that you can be
Even when no one is around to see.

As your voice grows lower and your stature gets higher
We see your passions and what fills you with desire.
You're becoming a young man who's honest and kind
Who listens to wisdom for your heart and mind.

Your journey in life will have struggles and joys
Embrace them both and block out the noise
Of people telling you what you should do
Instead, listen to the truth deep inside of you.

Keep love in your center, your heart, your core
It will guide you and keep you and open your eyes for
Ways to share, sacrifice, and help carry the load 
For those who have been walking a difficult road.

Integrity, courage, humility too,
These are all growing inside of you.
Please stay true to who you are
That's the best you by far!

Oct 26, 2016

For The Love of Food

10/26/2016 — cori

Yesterday I cooked a delicious-smelling Tuscan Bean Soup in the crockpot all day long. The aroma was wafting through the house enticing us all with anticipation of happy, full tummies. It was a dreary, gray, rainy, cold day - perfect for a warm bowl of soup and some naan. As I was waiting for Chuck to get home from work I was perusing through the land of Twitter. And as luck would have it, our very favorite restaurant PUNCH PIZZA tweeted this special little note: $3 Dead Pizzas after 5pm - today only! 

People, it's hard to appreciate the depth of what this simple little tweet means if you don't know Punch. And yes, I do follow a pizza restaurant on Twitter. I am that loyal! What am I to do with this new, pertinent information? On one hand, there's the soup in the crockpot just waiting for a ladle. On the other, there's Punch. It's impossible to say no to Punch, especially a $3 pizza. The pizza I usually get is $10.95. You can imagine the savings possibilities here. We had the opportunity to save boo-coo bucks, eat our favorite communal food, and support our favorite restaurant. It was a win/win situation as far as I could see.

So I summoned the children from the four corners of the house. Actually, only 2 children were home at the time. I explained my conundrum for them. I then showed them the list of "dead pizzas" (discontinued). I asked them to tell me with all honesty if they could find a pizza they liked on that list and if so, we might just have to ditch this healthy soup and drive 30 minutes away to go eat a $3 pizza. They were up for the sacrifice. I texted Bennett and told him we were going to go do something fun without him. He took it well. He was at his friend's house about to do a fantasy NBA draft - not much could upset him at that point.

As soon as Chuck walked in the door, after a 45 minute bus commute and a 15 minute car ride, we shuffled him right back out into the dismal evening rain once again. He was a good sport. He makes sacrifices daily, but this one was to be admired. He even drove us through rush hour traffic up to Saint Paul to our favorite place to eat. 

Here is where we encounter an unfortunate snag in our plan. Apparently, we didn't anticipate that everyone else in St. Paul also followed Punch Pizza on Twitter and also wanted $3 dead pizzas. As we pull past the restaurant we see a line of people out the door and down the sidewalk. Uh-oh. We had to make a decision - wait or turn around and go home? We decided to wait it out. We've come this far...how bad could the wait be?

Here we are in the early moments of outdoor pizza waiting. We are happy because 1) we're about to get the best pizza for an even better price, 2) we are under a pretty, colorful umbrella and are thus, dry and, 3) we are being spontaneously fun - thus, cool in the eyes of our uber-cool teens.

We waited in that line for about an hour - half of it outside, half of it inside. I think we just proved we would do anything for good food. We proudly wear the title of 'Pizza Snobs'. Long live Punch Pizza!

Oct 23, 2016


10/23/2016 — cori

What affects one of us, affects all of us. When one of us does well, we all do well. When one of us stumble, we all hurt. This is compassion. This is the common good. The common good is not a socialist, left-wing, or liberal cause. It is a human cause. We witness this in our immediate and extended families every day. We experience this phenomenon in our churches. But why is it so hard to extend this concept to fellow human beings we live in and among everyday? Why is it hard to extend solidarity to those who are different from us?

I often wonder why regular people in Germany looked the other way when they saw the emaciated Jewish prisoners on the trains, marching through their towns, and behind barbed wire in the concentration camps. I've read many books about this time period in history. This horrid event has fascinated me since I was an adolescent. I'm amazed how such a large group of people let such a wretched event transpire right under their noses. This quote by Niemoller speaks to that quite well:

But now I can see how so many sat by and said or did nothing. I'm experiencing that same phenomenon in my own country. Sometimes it's apathy. People don't care because it doesn't affect them. Sometimes it's fear. If I say something, I might offend someone, I might lose my job, I might receive negative backlash (think Colin Kapernick). Sometimes it's arrogance. We think we are right and the other (whomever the other is) is wrong and they deserve whatever consequences befall them. Sometimes it's racism. That ugly word that attached itself to our history and affected everything from politics to education to protecting the peace. Sometimes its nationalistic pride blinding our eyes to the need of the other. Sometimes it's selfish greed wanting what we want no matter the cost.

I am sad, angry, confused, disappointed and deeply concerned with the injustice, negativity, hate, greed, fear, ignorance and arrogance I see all around me. But I cannot only point fingers. I stand and take my part of the blame. I've been silent when I should have spoken up. I've looked the other way when I could have stepped in and helped. I've turned a deaf ear to the cry of the needy, justifying my actions with my own needs. I've judged others as unworthy of my help and deserving of their consequences. I've chosen justification over forgiveness. I've chosen greed over compassion. I've chosen judgement over grace. I've chosen fear over love. For all these choices, my heart breaks. 

I cannot be silent any longer. Even if standing in solidarity means only using my words, saying them out loud, writing them down for others to read. Maybe one day they will turn into action. Maybe my words will let 'the other' know they are not alone. I don't want 'the other' wondering where I was when horrible things were happening to them. It is not okay. How some human beings are being treated by their fellow human beings is just not okay and I can't sit by and be silent any longer.

I KNOW IMMIGRANTS. The ones I know are not abusing the system. They are seeking a better life for themselves and their families. They are fleeing governments and countries marred by death, destruction, corruption and severe poverty. They are seeking to better themselves in our country because they heard it was a land of opportunity. They didn't know that that opportunity was for the wealthy, white people only. They thought it was for all those who worked hard and cared for others along the way. Through a friend, I met a woman who's husband was deported leaving her and their 2 year old son behind with nothing. I've felt the fear. I hugged her and gave her the tiniest gift that was inadequate to her need but that was enough to show she was not alone and that someone cared. We didn't speak the same language, but love doesn't need that. Love is understood by the actions we take. My friend offered to watch her little boy so this woman could go find a job. That is all she had to give yet that was exactly what this poor woman needed. Whatever the circumstances of her husband's deportation, it still separated a loving family. It still hurt. It still brought immediate needs and fears and concerns. My job is to be there and love. Not judge.

I KNOW AFRICAN AMERICANS. My heart breaks for each unarmed African American killed by a police officer and for their devastated families. These are not justified killings. This is not peace-keeping. This is wrong. America needs to admit we have a race problem before we can do anything about it. The problem of racism is so deeply rooted in our country. It pervades everything. It is incredibly divisive. I've worked with an African American man and witnessed first hand the bigotry and prejudice he had to deal with on a daily basis. I was aghast. He was gentle, kind and forgiving about it all. I was angry. We talked about it in depth. He was a bigger person than I. He knew forgiveness enabled him to keep going. Brooding over the unfairness of it all just kept him in a prison of anger and hatred. It broke my heart to witness and experience the sting that racism feels like. It is not okay. What affects my friend affects me. I have another African American friend who lives in a very nice, middle-class neighborhood. She has often been the lone black face among her many white friends. She's a beautiful person, always trying to bring unity and joy to everyone around her. Yet she shared with me how she had to have a talk with her 5 year old daughter about how cruel kids can be and about the names people will call her in school. I was shocked; people are calling 5 year old girls the n-word? I didn't have to have this talk with my 5 year old. This was not my reality. But this is the reality African Americans live with. This is not okay. If this was happening to me, I would want to stand up and yell to the world the injustice of it all and fix it. Why can't we understand that Black Lives Matter too? It's not that they matter above all else, it's that they've been squashed, excluded, ignored, left-out for far too long. All lives are important, but the African Americans need the assurance from us that they matter as well because for far too long they haven't. We might have agreed with our words, but our actions have proven otherwise. 

I KNOW MUSLIMS. There are many beautiful, kind, wonderful, hard-working, peaceful muslims. There are also fundamental, hateful muslims. This is true in Christianity as well. The majority should not be defined by the minority. The Christians who inflict harm and hate on others are not a true reflection of Christianity. Then why can't we believe the same to be true about Islam? We can't paint all Muslims as extremist and terrorist when the majority are not. It's not fair. Every religion has their fundamentalists - the people who take it to an extreme or too far. The Muslims I know are so kind and giving. They genuinely care for their fellow human beings. By accepting Muslims, you are not forced to agree with their theology, you are just accepting a fellow human being who happens to believe in God differently than you do. We need to give each other this respect if we want them to respect the way we believe in God. We can't let fear define how we treat an entire group of people.

I KNOW REFUGEES. These are people who never wanted to leave their native countries. Rather, they have been forced out by wretched governments doing unspeakable evils to their own people. They were forced to flee the country they grew up in and love with only the clothes on their backs. They had to leave everyone they love behind. They are often forced to give up their customs and normalcy just to stay alive. Nobody chooses to be a refugee. Most refugees are women and children. The refugees I know are scared. They are trying to function in a new society where nothing looks familiar, they don't know the language, they can't find the foods they are used to eating, and where people give them strange looks for dressing differently. They are now in a place where people are afraid of them instead of welcoming and accepting. These are people with strong character. Talk about pulling yourself up by the bootstrap. They often work menial jobs for low wages and terrible hours. Yet, they still find time to continue their education. They go to school whenever they're not working. They are trying to better themselves, their lives, their circumstances. Education does that. If you can speak the language of the country you live in, you have a better chance of assimilating faster. But another thing about the refugees that most people don't see....their smiles. They are always smiling, just happy to be alive another day, just happy to be where they are, doing what they're doing. I've learned from my refugee friends to take one day at a time - things could always be worse, but they can also get better.

I KNOW POOR PEOPLE. Nobody deserves poverty, yet people often act as if someone, somehow, someway did something to deserve this punishment of circumstances. There are so many factors to poverty: education, race, neighborhood, vocation, drugs, parental lineage, money, chance, alcohol, death, health, homelessness, greed, governmental systems. It seems like an insurmountable problem. It's not a uniquely American problem, it's worldwide. It can't be easily fixed. It's overwhelming. But we can help one person at a time. When one life steps in and touches one other life, you never know the domino effect it will have. There are beautiful people in every ethnicity, religion and nationality making beautiful strides and impacts in this area every day. Most of these people we'll never hear about. The lady I know was struck with a terminal illness. She can no longer work as a nurse. She's had to find adoptive parents for her son and set all her affairs in order because she doesn't know when that fateful day will come - which seizure will be her last. She can't work. She can only rely on the kindness of strangers. I bring her dinner once a week. I've known her for four years now. Hopelessness and fear are her constant companions. Yet she's so happy to see me every week. It's her one constant. It's not about whether or not she deserves it, it's about love. Everyone wants, needs to be loved. She craves her weekly dose of love. It just happens to come in the form of food and a hug from me. I don't know how else to do it. 

I WISH I KNEW NATIVE AMERICANS. I met a Native American once. It was a fascinating experience. The entire time I was listening to him all I wanted to do was say, "I'm so sorry." I'm sorry for what my ancestors have done to your ancestors (I also want to say this to many African Americans as well). I'm sorry we continue to not honor agreements, that we treat you as the lesser, that we took your sacred land and gave you vast prairies of nothingness in return. I'm sorry we didn't and still don't respect you as human beings just because you do things differently than those of us from European decent. I'm sorry we're once again trying to steal something sacred to you (and to all humans), the water that runs where the Dakota Pipeline is being built. I'm sorry people in my government put money, greed and profit over what's best for the environment and how that affects you and your people. I'm sorry we didn't listen then and we continue to turn a deaf ear to you now. You are truly the "least of these" and I'm sorry I'm complicit in overlooking you. I also want to say, "Thank you." Thank you for being gracious to us, for allowing us to join your pow-wows and memorial day events. Thank you for treating us the way you wish to be treated.

I think Brian McLaren sums it all up perfectly: True faith isn't a deal where we use God to get the inside track or a special advantage or a secret magic formula for success. It isn't a mark of superiority or exclusion. True faith is about joining God in God's love for everyone. It's about seeking goodness with others, not at the expense of others. True faith is seeing a bigger circle in which we are all connected, all included, all loved, all blessed. True faith...brings us into solidarity with others and with all creation.

(Quote from: "We Make the Road by Walking")

Oct 17, 2016

Your Skype Hole

10/17/2016 — cori

The other night at dinner, Gavin and I were trying to explain what we had just learned to the rest of the fam after watching the FRONTLINE documentary on The United States of Secrets. It was truly fascinating and disturbing at the same time. It's basically about how the U.S. Government legally and illegally collects information on everyone living the U.S in an effort to root out terrorists. Ignorance is bliss. Like President Obama said, "You can't have 100% security and 100% privacy at the same time." The question is which do we want more?

These were the types of serious issues we were discussing over dinner. This is a heavy topic. Then I went and opened my mouth, "Did you know that the government can see through your skype hole?"

People kept talking but there was an awkward pause. Then Bennett circled back around to the led balloon I just dropped and said, "Mom, did you just say 'skype hole'?"

With head in hand I confessed, "Yes. I was hoping no one noticed. I couldn't remember the name of that little camera on the top of our monitor, so I thought that would accurately describe it."

You can imagine the laughter, sarcasm and general mayhem that ensued. You now have a skype hole, use it wisely.

Oct 15, 2016

Baby Bing

10/15/2016 — cori

Chuck's brother, John and his wife Karen just welcomed Mason, their second child into the world yesterday. All the joy and excitement of a newborn has brought memories flooding back when, once-upon-a-time, we were in those same shoes.

As Chuck was talking with his brother, John was explaining how they would be introducing Mason to Logan (the older brother). They had read somewhere that it helps the transition of the older sibling. Makes perfect sense too. He said you say something like, "Mason, I'd like you to meet your big brother Logan" instead of vice-versa, "Logan, come meet your new brother." It has something to do with helping the elder child see that his place in the family is already established and still secure.

As new parents, this is a big deal! Especially when you are having a second child. It's impossible to imagine you can ever love another human being more than you love your first child. You want to make this transition as smooth as possible for both you and your oldest child. There are tons of articles on what and how to do this. I thought the method John and Karen chose was very wise. Then they asked Chuck, "So, how did you guys do it?" Well...we did things a bit...differently.

That's Gavin at almost three in the above picture. At the time, the articles in all the parenthood magazines about having your second child were saying you should buy a doll for your older child. We liked that idea. Gavin was totally up for that. He had already been playing with an old doll we had lying around the house. The experts were saying that if your oldest has a 'baby' of his/her own to hold while Mommy is holding the new baby, that they will connect with what Mommy is doing and won't feel so left out. Remember, feeling like your oldest will be left out is your biggest fear when welcoming your second child. So we bought into this train of thought hook, line and sinker.

We wanted to find just the right baby for Gavin. It had to be about the same size as a new baby. We wanted it to be light weight and not hard plastic. And we didn't want it to cost a fortune. We opted for a Cabbage Patch Doll. Unfortunately, at that time, most of those dolls were girls. We had a really hard time finding any little boy Cabbage Patch Dolls.

I'm not sure how or why, but we ended up buying a Chinese-looking Cabbage Patch Doll. We dressed it in one of the newborn onesies we received for Bennett. We had it wrapped in a shoe box, waiting for Gavin to open once he got to the hospital to meet Bennett. He instantly named him Bing. I have no idea where, why or how he decided on his name. Maybe he just looked like a "Bing." We didn't even tell him his doll was a Chinese baby.

Gavin cherished Bing. He took his job and his baby seriously! He held him, rocked him, fed him his bottle, carried him in a baby backpack, burped him, and kissed him. He also did the same for Bennett.

He cuddled him and told him important big brother stuff.

 He would read him books ad nauseum (Gavin memorized books and read them over and over and over to anyone who would listen - Bennett was a captive audience.). 

He would feed Bennett. 

He would teach Bennett how his toys worked.

And as Bennett got older and he found out he could make the baby smile and laugh - he was sold. They played incessantly together from then on. The benefits of Baby Bing were innumerable.

I would like to thank Baby Bing for helping Gavin with the transition to Big Brotherhood. As if giving your firstborn a Chinese Cabbage Patch Doll is just one more viable option for easing that ever fearful transition in life.  We were just starting off making the best choices we knew how, not knowing what adventures lie ahead in our little family's lives. Somehow, those choices turned into funny stories and adventures that you just can't make up. This would be the beginnings of MommyStories. However, I wouldn't start chronicling them for another 3 years.

And as it happens, Bing ended up transitioning over to Bennett at some vague point in time. We're not completely sure when, but Baby Bing was now Bennett's prize possession. And as such, he took on a completely different personality. Bing now had a whale-spout. He slept with Bing, therefore there were drool marks all over his body. He drug poor Bing around the house by said whale-spout. Bing was well-loved. We often had to wipe Bing down with Clorox Wipes when Bennett wasn't looking (cuz you're not supposed to wipe down real kids with Clorox Wipes and we were still trying to be as 'real' as possible). And of course, Baby Bing was always naked, much the way Bennett preferred to be.

 Baby Bing...the gift that keeps on giving.

Oct 14, 2016

On The Injured List

10/14/2016 — cori

Last week Bennett came home from school with a small bandaid/popsicle stick concoction on his left pinky. He told me he was playing football before school with some other guys. Someone kicked the ball within close range of his hand and it apparently made instant contact with this finger, bending it sideways.

He went to the nurse. I knew it was serious when he said he went to the nurse. In all his years of schooling he has prided himself on never going to see the nurse, no matter how bad the injury. So that told me something of his pain level. However, being that it was football, I figured it was just a finger jam. That kind of stuff happens all the time. So we decided to wait it out a few days.

I always choose the wrong answer. Especially if it involves when to or not to take the kids to the Doctor's office. I don't take them when I should. I usually take them when I shouldn't and get that look from the Doctor like I'm a helicopter parent or something. I can't win in this department.

Three days later and Bennett's finger is still killing him, more swollen, and more bruised. He has zero use of it and has been living on ibuprofen to numb the pain. Ooops...maybe we should have taken him in right away. We rushed to the urgent care clinic a week ago. Of course it was a Friday evening after 5pm. That's when all the bad stuff happens and you can't reach your normal doctor. We go have x-rays taken and sure enough. It's broken. In TWO places. He has a compound fracture. Of course he does.

The doctor puts it in a temporary splint and tells us to make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor on Monday. We go in Monday and the specialist tells us that not only is it broken, but he has to have surgery and schedules us for the next day with a hand surgeon. Apparently time is of the essence with bone healing.

We were thinking that maybe giving his pinky a good pull and taping his fingers together for a few weeks until the bone healed would do the trick. But then again, we're those parents who don't take our kid to the doctor when we're supposed to, so what do we know?

We consult with the hand doctor the very next day (not knowing we were only there for a pre-op appointment - Mr. Specialist and us had a little miscommunication going on there). The Surgeon explains how she will be screwing several pins into his bone to set it. He should be healed in time for basketball tryouts in 6 weeks.

And that's really the crux of this whole thing. Basketball. His life (and consequently ours) revolves around basketball. This is his first year at the high school. He's super pumped about try-outs and making the A Team after training hard all summer. Every time we talked to a Doctor, the one question was, "Will he be ready by try-outs?" Each doctor confirmed that he would. Whew! Collective sigh of relief.

The crazy thing is. Bennett is the 4th person on his team who has broken a bone in a freak accident within the past month. One kid broke his vertebrae during a football game. He's out for the season. One kid broke his knee at open gym. He's out for the season. One kid broke his ankle in a soccer game. He's supposed to be cleared to play a week before tryouts. And then there's Bennett. He's not going to be cleared to play until just a few days before try-outs. This is going to be an interesting season if pre-season has been this dramatic.

So...we just got back from surgery. Bennett is doing great. They numbed his arm from the shoulder down and gave him some medicine to make him drowsy. He was mortified to have to wear a 'purple dress' (his words) and 'stupid gray socks' (his words) for the surgery. He made us promise to take no pictures. Image is still everything, even during surgery, for high schoolers. He has several pins holding his finger together set in a small cast to keep it safe. Thankfully, he is healthy and strong and healing fast. I'm also thankful that we have insurance and were able to give him this option instead of our home remedy.

Oct 2, 2016

Learn What You Love

10/02/2016 — cori

The other evening, while listening to a podcast, we were introduced to someone I'd never before heard of, Mr. Richard Saul Wurman. He is the Benjamin Franklin of our day. He is incredibly multifaceted. He can't be, nor does he want to be, defined by one thing. He is an architect, graphic designer, information architect, author as well as the creator of several conferences, including TED Talks (which is a family favorite!). How had we never heard of him before, we wondered? The reason is, he is about as unsuperficial and unpretentious a human being as they come. His life long goal is just to learn and then share what he has learned. He is a fascinating individual that I think we can all learn a lot from if we stop and listen. Here is a nice introduction:

Oct 1, 2016

A Beep In The Night

10/01/2016 — cori

Do you see that tiny little dot on the ceiling just above the stairs? That's one of our smoke alarms. It is also the star of this show. This wouldn't be the first time I've blogged about a noise emanating from our ceiling. I need to show you this awkward picture in order for you to better understand what's at the crux of this story. Let me begin:

Sometime in the middle of the night a couple nights ago, I wake up to a beeping sound. At first I thought it was a bird with a very regular, mechanical chirp at one minute intervals. But to my half-asleep mind, even that didn't make sense. As I'm be pulled into consciousness, I thought it would be a good idea to find out if Chuck also heard the same noise, so I ask him, "Are you awake? Do you hear that noise?" To my surprise, he is awake and he hears the same noise as me. He says he thinks it's one of the smoke detectors. Ah, yes, that would make sense. I check the clock, it's 5:14 am.

I ask him, "What are you going to do about it? I won't be able to sleep for the next 45 minutes with that sound blaring." (yes, I was being a little dramatic and selfish) He responds, "I guess I'll go see which one it is." Apparently, I feel it is important that I offer helpful advice in my semi-awake state of mind so I tell him, "Look for the one that has a blinking red light and then you'll know which one it is. All the working ones have green lights." Where I pulled that type of wisdom from at 5:14 in the morning is beyond me, but I felt compelled to share it with him and he felt obligated to follow it.

So he gets out of bed. As he tells it, since his eyes are still glued shut, he's relying on his echolocation skills to help pinpoint the nefarious smoke detector. He pokes his head in each of the kids' rooms upstairs, but doesn't hear the sound coming from either of them. He stumbles back into our room to get his phone to help light his path. He goes back into the hallway, disengages echolocation, peels his eyes open and using the light from his phone, shines it upon every smoke detector within earshot: the hallway, our room and both the kids' rooms. None of them have a blinking red light. 

Then he looks up at the smoke detector at the bottom of the stairs. He instinctually knows that is the one. However, he's confused because it doesn't have a blinking red light like I said it would. He felt the need to come back and tell me which one was the culprit. Thanks for that. 

There is no easy way to get to it. It is 20+ feet up in the air attached to the roof/ceiling. It requires one to stand on the very tip top of an 8 foot ladder (the part that says, "Don't stand here") that one has to drag in from the garage in a semi-awake state of mind. I was a little worried for Chuck, but not worried enough to get out of bed to help. However, I desperately wanted to give him more helpful advice that I was thinking about: when bringing the ladder in, remember to put the door stop in front of the door so it's easier to bring the ladder in all by yourself. Unfortunately for him, I never was able to articulate that thought out loud.

I heard a lot of noise downstairs and then finally the dreaded beeping ceased and I eased back into a fit-full sleep only to be awakened by Chuck telling me he was just going to stay up now. Ok. Thanks for that. I love his need to communicate early in the morning. I remember mumbling something like, "I'm glad you're the Dad and get to do all the hard stuff in the middle of the night."

Later that day, I found out that he did indeed have a hard time bringing the 8 foot ladder into the house from the garage. No, he didn't use the door stop. But he did see it sitting on the window ledge as he was contorting himself between the door and ladder and thought how useful that would have been instead of the predicament he currently found himself in. 

We asked the kids who heard the noise. Not surprisingly, Gavin didn't (being that he lives in the cave beneath us). Bennett didn't either, even though it was right outside his door. Chloe heard it, but she thought it was Daddy being noisy downstairs making pancakes for her. 

I just love how Chuck is ready at all times for any challenge thrown at him, morning, day or night. He's the GOAT.*

* I just learned what that meant and wanted to incorporate it into my writing somehow to prove to the kids that I'm hip and know how to use the new lingo. I used to understand GOAT to mean 'scapegoat'. However, that would be a faulty, old-fashioned way to interpret the word. It now means: Greatest Of All Time. 

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