Apr 30, 2015

My Math Lesson

4/30/2015 — cori

After arriving home from school today and satisfying his belly with a delicious snack, this child of mine asks, "Mom, would you like to learn how to do synthetic division?"

"What is that even?  Is it like pretend division?"

"No, I'll teach you."

*heavy sigh*

I know one day I will miss this frequent afternoon 'let me show you what I learned in math' sessions. But I don't speak 'math'.  I do know the word division, but then he lost me after that.  But my 16 year old wants to spend time with me, talking and showing me stuff...who am I to say 'no' even if I have no clue what he's trying to say?!  I am good at nodding in all the right places, trying to look intelligent, asking semi-relevant questions and being very responsive with saying alot of affirming "mmmhhhmmms".  This is what moms do.

We sit down to do our first problem together and I ask him if I can take pictures of what we're doing so I can remember it.  I received permission.  Here goes:

Apparently we start off with a warm-up problem.  I don't want you to be confused, this particular problem is just regular polynomial division.  Of course you could probably tell by the way he was laying out the problem, but I couldn't.

What I could tell, however, is the answer....you always circle the answer.  I know that one.

Here I am messing with my camera because I somehow got distracted from my math tutorial and thought it would be fun to take selfies of how dazed and confused I look as he's explaining mysteries from the upper echelons of math class that I failed to reach.

Here's our next problem.  Apparently now we're really diving into the hard stuff.  Ahh, but no, synthetic division is supposed to make dividing polynomials that much easier.


Trying to raise one eyebrow in this lovely shot.

Ah haa!  Another answer because I see the tell tale circle.

Still working on ..... something.  Maybe he's double checking his previous answer.  

As you can tell, I kinda zoned out.  I was having alot of fun with the selfie thing.  I'm so glad Chloe taught me how to do this.  But I must confess...selfies are not flattering.  At all.  I cringe even posting them on here.

Thus ends our math tutorial.  Don't worry, there will be more to come.  There always are.  If not after school, then at the dinner table.  If not at the dinner table, then while we're taking a walk together. Math is everywhere.  All the time.  This is how I embrace it.

Apr 29, 2015

The Compliment

4/29/2015 — cori

I love these crazy ecards!  They are able to provide humor and awkwardness all at the same time. Kind of like Gavin.  

The other night at dinner I must have been in a quiet or odd mood other than my typical happy, chatty self (tongue in cheek).  Gavin queued in on it and initiated his 'Make Mom Happy Plan'.  He thought that giving me a genuine, honest compliment would bring me back to Happyville again and all would be right in his world.  So, being the amazing small-talker that he is he starts off with, "Well Mom, you are a very good eater."  This is the nicest thing he can think of to say to me at the moment.

We all stare at him.  Awkward.  Even Bennett and Chloe know that is not a typical compliment. Then we all bust out laughing.  Mission accomplished.

"Why in the world would you say that to somebody?"  Chuck wanted to know.

"Well, she is....look at her, she is eating her food very good.  She ate it all and she is neat about it."  You would think I'm a two year old in a high chair the way he's going on and on.  I never knew my eating prowess at the table inspired him so much.

These people of mine - they are always watching.

Apr 24, 2015

Watch Out World

4/24/2015 — cori

There's a new licensed driver in town and he's really, really, really happy to be driving.  After his first solo trip (which was to his Tae-kwon-do class) he informed me, "Mom, now I really feel empowered."  Isn't that what every 16 year old says upon earning their new found freedom with a car?

Gavin went for his driver's test 9am this past Monday morning.  I don't know who was more nervous, me or him...but I played it cool.  If I've learned nothing else from parenting a teen it is this: whatever you do, be cool.  On the outside, I was a cool cucumber.  On the inside, my stomach was doing back flips.  

Once the Testing Guy comes and dismisses me from the passenger seat that I've occupied for 13 long, arduous, nail-biting months along side my son, I don't look back.  Remember, I'm being cool.  For Gavin.  If I fall apart, he'll fall apart.  His confidence rests on my confidence in him.  I walk towards the waiting area non-chalantly as if I do this every day.  I procure a seat by the window so I can watch him do his first 'test' which is to back in at a 90 degree angle.  As I get my phone poised to take the picture I gasp as I see him hit the cone!  Apparently I also snapped a shot at the very same instant I gasped because this is the image I caught. 

I felt horrible for him.  The very first part of the test and he's already messed up.  Arghhh!!!  He's been practicing this every weekend for months.  Never once did he hit a cone.  Oh well, I think, I hope this doesn't mess with his mind too much for the rest of the test.  Fifteen minutes crawl by.  I have a book open on my lap but have no clue what I'm reading.  Suddenly I see another kid who started his road test just before Gavin walk in with his Test Guy and they talk to the mom.  Test Guy tells mom that he needs a bit more practice and to come back next week.  Great, looks like this will be the path we will be taking too.  I even check my calendar to see if I have next Monday open.  I decide to go wait outside so Gavin isn't embarrassed when Test Guy has to talk to me in front of all these waiting people.  I see Gavin walking up to me with his same ol' expression - serious.  I can't read it.  I don't know if he's just being cool, if he failed and is trying not to go all Donald Duck on me or if he's tricking me and trying to make me think he failed when in actuality he passed.  It's odd though, the Test Guy is not walking over toward me like Gavin is.  Hmmm.  

Then Gavin calmly points out, "I passed" with ever so slight a grin on his face.  Apparently, jumping up and down and screaming with your mom and having too happy of a face is NOT COOL.  I follow him in the building beaming with a huge smile (forget cool, I'm thrilled) and ask him to explain the whole hitting the cone incident.  "Well, I did hit the cone.  But apparently he thought I did great on everything else that he passed me."  That is all the explanation I'm allowed.  I do not know what conversations transpired between Test Guy and my son.  I do not know whether or not Gavin's butterflies were as active as mine.  But I do know that despite how cool we both looked on the outside, we were super stoked on the inside.

Watch out, you might just see these two driving around town looking all cool with their licenses and sunglasses.  

We're Serious About Basketball

4/24/2015 — cori
What I love about Bennett's basketball team:

This: Dad's and coaches dressed for the occasion.

And this:  7th grade boys in all their glory still happy to be hanging out with their goofy dads.

The last practice before the State Tournament and this is how they do it!  I love this.  This keeps the fun in the game!  The practice session was Dads vs. Boys.  We had no clue who won because we were laughing so hard.  The Dads subbed in and out ALOT; more than the boys did.  Everyone played their hearts out like they were playing for Olympic Gold.  We're serious alright - seriously goofy!

Apr 17, 2015

Bathroom Update

4/17/2015 — cori
Soooo....where should I begin...ah yes, that lovely little time table we had.  It's shot.  Plumbing is a bear people, let me tell you.  Especially when you know little to nothing about it.  Chuck thought he would solder this little copper pipe to this other little copper pipe and voila...the process would be done in less than an hour and our tub would go back in.  Nope.  Here's how it went down:

Chuck tried soldering and it wouldn't work.

So he called in reinforcements.

That didn't necessarily work out either.  Not for lack of trying.  Chuck and Dad worked for about 8 hours last Sunday.  That blow torch sure got a workout.  There was just a constant leak they couldn't fix no matter how hard they tried.  I never would have persevered that long.  Finally, on Tuesday, after taking the day off work to focus on the bathroom, Chuck broke down and called the plumber. The plumber looked at our little situation for 2 seconds and declared that the fitting was not working because all the plastic on the inside of the pipes had been melted from all the studious blowtorching. Come to find out all that we needed to do was turn off the water main to the whole house, not just to our bathroom.  That way the pipes would have zero water in them thereby allowing the solder to adhere immediately.  So, if you ever want to decrease your soldering job from 8 hours to less than one, I highly recommend turning the water main off and not cooking your pipes with a blow torch.  

But all was not a waste this past Sunday.  Dad and Chuck did get the new lighting fixture hole cut in the wall so that they could install the new (much more glorious, beautiful, attractive, functional) light fixture and not work by what appears to be candle-light any longer.

Finally the moment of truth arrives....the boys put the tub back in place!  Do you hear the angels singing?  That was me.  We now have one functional piece of bathroom equipment in our bathroom again.  And no ugly green wall. 

Tada!!!  Chloe and Chuck are putting plumbers putty around the new faucets.  I'm still working on painting the wood to cover up the holes so you can't see the plumbing.  We might just get this baby done by June afterall.  This (the tub section) was a long and arduous feat of epic proportions....we are telling ourselves its all downhill from here.  We'll see about that.

Apr 13, 2015

Preteen Party

4/13/2015 — cori

It's official - my baby is a pre-teen now.  Wow, eleven years have flown by!  I absolutely adore who Chloe is and the young lady she is maturing into.  This year we celebrated by having 7 girls take over the house all day and all night.  Yes, there was lots of screaming.  Yes, there were lots of giggles. Yes, there were lots of selfies.  Yes, there was lots of fun!

Here is the group prior to playing Murder in the Dark.  That wasn't the only game we played, but the most anticipated one by far.  Even Chuck and the boys participated.  Everyone put on dark garb to help hide in the dark better.  The funny thing was though, most of the girls were 'just a little, teeny-weeny bit scared of the dark' so we had to leave a few night lights on around the house - which totally defeats the purpose of the game.

After all the screaming excitement the girls were ready to bunker down for the night.  They squeezed themselves into a pretty tight corner....all the better for late night talks, I guess.

The next morning we went to Skateville so they could skate their little hearts out to really loud music. We did get lost twice on the way there adding to the sense of adventure for the girls. 

The girls seemed to love having Gavin and Bennett around.  Afterall, what preteen girl isn't in awe of teenage boys?  And the boys were great sports playing every game with them and even roller skating. But eventually they had to take a break from all the 'girliness' and get in some Minecraft time.

Apr 6, 2015

Slop Cake

4/06/2015 — cori
The kids usually like to request certain types of cakes for their birthdays.  This year Chloe requested a white cake with fudge frosting.  Simple enough.  I am good at reading the back of the cake box and following directions.  Unfortunately, this is what happened after following the directions to a T.

Not cool.  No amount of frosting was going to fix that ravine in her cake.  It looked more like a hamburger than a cake.  All we needed to do was throw some sesame seeds on top.  Utter fail.  The only solution was to do this:


Delicately heave it from the cake platter to a plate using a spatula.  I told the kids, "It would be a big help to me if you could please eat it off the plate.  I don't want to be reminded of my failure."  Chloe was thrilled that she got to eat a cake the day before her birthday as well as on her birthday.  She told me, "Mom, that slop cake didn't look very good, but it sure tasted good!"


Here is attempt number two.  You only get to see this small portion of the cake because it may or may not be leaning slightly to one side causing it to look a bit lopsided.  But this side looks great! And I was told it tasted great too, even though it wasn't very stable looking.

Come to find out, the slop cake called for 3 egg whites to be mixed into the batter.  Never again will I only use egg whites, unless I plan to make Angel Food cake.  The cake has nothing to hold it together, no binder, so it couldn't help but fall apart.  Lesson learned.

My cooking is a constant reminder to my kids how far from perfect I am.  We all expect something to go awry, look a little weird, not be done on time, or a host of other issues.  But in the end, it always tastes good and that's all that really matters to us.

Pineapple Tutorial

4/06/2015 — cori

The other day Bennett couldn't wait to go grocery shopping with me.  I wasn't sure if it was because he honestly wanted to spend some time with me or because he had hopes of picking out certain food items that weren't on my grocery list.  Come to find out he was having a hankering for pineapple.  He asked if he could get some.  How could I deny my child something from the fruit category.?  Of course I said, "Yes.  Go ahead and look in the cooler in the Fresh Foods section of the store.  You should see a little container with it already chopped up."  

He came back and reported that there were no already pre-cut pineapples lying around.  "Now what, Mom?"  I thought long and hard and told him, "Well, Buddy, if you can figure out how to cut a real pineapple, you can get one.  I've only done it once, so I couldn't tell you how."  How pathetic is that?! I can't even teach my kid to cut a pineapple.  Thank God for YouTube!  As you can see from the picture he has his phone sitting out and the Pineapple Tutorial walking him through step by step.

Way to go Bennett!  Anything you want badly enough to work hard for tastes better in the end.  At least he thought so.

Mar 31, 2015

Nertz Champion

3/31/2015 — cori

For years now that has been my coveted title.  I owned it.  No one could take it from me.  Oh how far I have fallen!  Now my 10 year old is beating me in Nertz.  Not only did she beat me, I came in dead last.

I originally made the crown as a joke for Gavin.  He has started winning at my favorite card game for a while now.  I am not a good loser.  I call him Cheater-head. This is my ONE THING.  I'm not good at very many things....so I hold on tight to this title.  Apparently, I have been holding on too tight and it has slipped through my fingers.

The other night we stood around the island playing our beloved/hated game.  Yes, it is a true love/hate relationship we all have with this game of speed and luck.  I told Gavin that if he was going to beat me consistently, then he would have to wear the "Nertz Champion" crown the entire game.  I thought this would mentally throw him off his game.

Apparently, the goal of achieving a crown to wear was all the incentive Chloe needed to take her game up to the next level and whip all of us.  She achieved something that none of us has ever achieved:  she called Nertz every single hand.  That is huge people!  No one calls Nertz on every hand.  And she did this all while being 10 years old.

She wore her crown while taking her bath, as soon as she got up the next morning, to breakfast.  She would have worn it outside to play if it hadn't been so windy.  She knows how important this title is and she is rockin that crown.  She deserves it.

I'm a Nertz has been now.  My career is ruined.  See what happens when you play with your kids.

Mar 25, 2015


3/25/2015 — cori

This is the view from back back door.  I'd like to introduce you to Bushwack, our 7 foot snowman.   If we're going to have snow in March, we are going to make the most of it.  

It took all hands on deck to build such a massive creation.  We all grunted, rolled and heaved.  We all found clean snow to pack on him because he looked more like a grass/leaf man than a snowman. You can still see remnants of leaves poking out behind the 'clean' snow.  We purposely didn't take a picture of his back....it's not pretty.  It's rather a little scary seeing such a 'hairy' snowman.

Chuck gets all the credit for the idea and the name.  I take credit for the location, the scarf and the carrot nose.  This was much more fun than hauling kids off to nightly practice of every variety.

Ninja had fun too.  She ran around like a crazy maniac.  The snow invigorates her.  We would throw snowballs at her and she would catch them in her mouth and eat them.  Although she didn't get her picture taken with Bushwack, she had just as much fun as we did, if not more.

Mar 23, 2015

Let the Renovation Begin

3/23/2015 — cori
Thus begins the big "Renovation Project of 2015"!    We have lived with an ugly bathroom for 4 long years.  No more.  We decided to just do it.  We started hacking apart our bathroom this weekend.  No reason other than a knee jerk reaction.  We had been purchasing pieces for our bathroom for a while now.  We had already accumulated the decorative accent tile, the vanity and sink, the floor and wall tile and an accessory piece as well as the all important toothbrush holder and soap pump.  We had it all - it was time to start.

Strong and safe 'Head of Renovation Project Leader'.  Notice that even though his lungs are safe, his feet are not.  He felt no need to protect his feet from fiberglass, hammers, falling nails or anything else for that matter.  And the sunglasses are supposedly for eye safety, but they sure make him look intimidating.


'Taper Extraordinaire'.  We thought it would be cute to match our shirts on this fine day - we're both wearing 'Camping is in Tents' shirts.  That's how we roll.  My head was safe from all falling debris with that awesome 1998 ball cap and I too was not going to inhale any dust....mostly because I spent the majority of my time outside of the tiny bathroom taping plastic to my walls.  This shot gives one the vantage point from the other side of the door.  Those plastic bags aren't going anywhere.

True to form, this is a family affair.  We like to try to fit as many bodies as possible into a tiny space that has no window and is burning up (even though it's snowing outside).  But don't worry, we all eventually left the Project Leader to work all by himself (cuz it got too hard).

Even though we felt we 'had it all', we didn't really plan it out too well.  Actually, I take that back. Chuck planned it out great.  We even have an Order of Operations sheet (which he is following to a tee by the way).  Very helpful.  But what we didn't plan for was all the dust and the massive amounts of plastic we would need to keep it all in the bathroom only.

We also didn't plan on job responsibilities.  We just assumed we'd be working together.  Apparently, I don't know how to rip a fiberglass shower unit out of the wall very well.  Nor am I very strong, evidently.  But what I am good at is taping!  And I am good at cleaning.  Put the two together and voila - Taper Extarordinaire becomes my job title.

This is what happened the first time I put hammer to tile - I made a hole in the drywall....looks like we're replacing all the drywall now.

Here is Chuck in his special remodeling outfit (on Day Two), pajama pants and sunglasses for eye protection.  He opted for socks today, you know, to help catch all that dust - not to be mistaken as foot protection.  This was like the 5th time he hit his fingers with the hammer.

I protected the tub with my master taping skills twice in two days.  That sucker was staying clean if it was the last thing I did!

However, I had a bit of a hic-cup on Day One with taping the door.  We only had two drop cloths, one to cover our bed and the other to cover the tub.  What about the door leading to our bedroom - uh oh!?  Well....not to worry, I have watched enough MacGyver in my life, I'm sure I could be resourceful and find something to use.  Ah-hah!  Trashbags.  I had plenty of those and a whole new role of blue tape.  I was on a mission now!  No dust will be able to penetrate my air-tight barrier. Blue tape just makes everything look 'official', doesn't it?!

Sadly, if it was up to me to make an air-tight room so no disease (like ebola) would spread - we would probably all be dead.  I had so much dust in my room.  This first attempt was a fail.  Granted, it was an ingenious fail, but not quite what Quality Control was looking for.  But just for the record, that was 6 trash bags all taped together - HARD TO DO!  I'm just sayin'.   

Work smarter - not harder, right?!  Well that's exactly what I did after Day 1's taping fiasco.  We broke down and bought 3 more plastic drop cloths so I didn't have to tape a puzzle together with trash bags.  I mean, I think I deserve some points for ingenuity on that first go around.  

Here is my apprectice helping me with my super important job.  We had to find a way to move the plastic out of the way that we just so expertly finished taping so that the boys could move the vanity and sink out of the bathroom.  We are nothing if not flexible.

So I would say, so far so good.  Even though we have an Order of Operations, we do not have a time frame for this project to be finished.  Chuck is hoping by the summer.  I feel more like it might turn into October.  It will be fun to see who's right.

Stay tuned...you never know what to to expect next with us.

Mar 20, 2015

College Roommates

3/20/2015 — cori

Chuck and I were regaling Gavin with stories of our old college roommates today.  This picture pretty much sums up our experiences.

For some reason we used to give Chuck's roommates nick-names.  One was called 'Stinky' - for obvious reasons.  Another was called 'Get Up And Go' because he would literally get out of bed, already dressed and walk out the door and go to class.   And then there was 'Stuart'.  His name was said as a cuss word.  He was so weird.  He blew his nose, very loudly and disgustingly, into the sink at all hours of the day and night.  Lastly, his favorite roommate was whipped by his girl friend at the time who was a 'work-out nazi'.  She pouted, cajoled, and manipulated him to get him to go workout with her all the time.  When all he wanted to do was play NHL Hockey, EA Sports and Mario Cart on the Nintendo with Chuck.  

My very first roommate was a Bohemian who never washed her hair (and I'm not sure if she even showered), had it in dread-locks, wore clothes from the 70's - mostly tie-dye and was an art major. I'm sure you can visualize her side of the room.  My side consisted of Precious Moments posters, a pristine white and pink Laura Ashley bed-spread with rose-buds and my prize possession, a cross-stitch of bears and bunnies that I framed and set next to my boom-box.  I don't know who was weirder - her or me.  I had just escaped from my little bubble and had yet to learn of the 'real world' outside of our cult church.

Another roommate only ate boiled chicken.  And yet another one told me she was reading up on becoming a Wiccan.  I found this interesting since I had met her parents and they were Christian missionaries.  She showered up to three times a day or more.  She liked to be really clean.

Good times

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