Monday, July 30, 2012

Seven Year Hitch

Some of you may not believe this, but my wonderful bride has been putting up with me for seven years of wedded bliss, as of today. It's one of the greatest miracles in modern history, as far as I am concerned, right up there with graphite fly rods and super-absorbent diapers, two of the most brilliant and amazingly useful products known to man. I often still look at my bride, and wonder in amazement at the fact that she ever agreed to marry me. I am constantly confounded by the notion that she would willingly agree to put up with me from day to day. It's a miracle!
7 years ago today. Photo by Chris Bowlsby

I don't want to make this post too mushy, because I know how all those "I love my perfect spouse" posts can make readers retch uncontrollably. So, I'll just end this by thanking my bride for being a wonderful partner to me, and an amazing mother to our three kids. I love you, Sweetie! Happy anniversary!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Yet Another Milestone!

All of a sudden, we have been having milestone after milestone in our household. First of all, the Boy went pee in the potty, not once but twice. We hadn't even begun to think about working on potty training him yet, and then he went and did it on his own. Not that he is potty trained or anything, but it's a start. And he seems very excited about it, running around the house both times it has happened, shouting in barely intelligible toddler speak, something to the effect of "Peed in potty! Peed in potty!" We're all very proud.

The next milestone was when the Baby rolled over for the first time. This also was very exciting, but the Baby didn't seem quite as giddy as the Boy did about his peeing. Instead of running around the house, shouting about her accomplishment, she pretty much just laid there on her tummy for a few moments, then realized she's not a huge fan of laying on her tummy, and so started to wail and gnash her gums until the Wife turned her back over. She hasn't tried rolling over again.

Just today we had another milestone in our family. Maybe this one could more accurately be described as a rite of passage, since it's not exactly fun and exciting for anyone involved. It is something that all the Hanson children have gone through, though, so one might say it's kind of a tradition, too. It all happened like this: We were enjoying a nice relaxing lunch in the conference room at work, and when I say "we", I mean the Baby, the Girl, the Wife, the Co-Worker who we'll call Mike, and myself. All was going swimmingly, until all of a sudden the Wife let out a noise - let's call it a controlled shriek since it wasn't blood-curdling, but it still let us know that something was wrong. She summoned me over to have a look at the Baby, pointing out something behind her left ear. Sure enough, there it was: the Baby's first wood tick! It had just recently attached itself, so it was only the size of a wood tick, not the size of a grape, like the one we found on our dog a few years ago. Daddy took the Baby into the other room and performed a beautiful tickectomy that went so smoothly the Baby didn't even twinge or make a peep. Within a couple of minutes the tick had been cremated, and we all went back to enjoying our lunch. Now it's time to look forward to the next milestone. I wonder what it will be...

A tick much like this perished when it tried to eat my Baby. It won't try to do that again!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling - Keep Them Babies Rolling

It's been a big day so far in the Hanson household. We have gotten some really big news, all of which concerns the newest Hanson, the Baby. First of all, the Wife was getting all three of the kids dressed this morning while I was out getting the garbage ready. It seemed like a normal, everyday, chaos-filled morning, when all of a sudden the Girl came running out from the bedroom, shouting at the top of her lungs, "THE BABY ROLLED OVER!! THE BABY ROLLED OVER!!" When we got back into the bedroom, sure enough, there was the Baby, laying on her tummy, which she usually does not like to do. I guess she was just laying there on her back on the floor while the Wife was getting the Girl out of her jammies, and the next thing anyone knew, she had rolled over onto her tummy. This is always a very exciting milestone for babies, and as far as we know, at 4 months and 5 days old, the Baby is the youngest ever to achieve the feat. Not that I've done any research on the matter. We're just going to go with it. It's very exciting news!

The second exciting thing happened when we took both the Baby and the Boy to the Dr.'s office for their 4-month and 2-year checkups, respectively. Everything was going fairly smoothly, other than the Boy's general uneasiness concerning everything that was going on. We have been reading the book "Pooh Goes To The Doctor", hoping to calm any nerves about going in for checkups, but I think instead it made the Boy suspicious of anyone in a lab coat. Well, we got through it all okay, even the shots, but one piece of news we received made it all worthwhile. When the Dr. was telling us about both our kids' height and weight, and how they compared to other kids, she looked at the Baby's height chart, and told us, "Hey, she's off the chart." I'm pretty sure that means that our sweet, little Baby is the tallest 4-month old in the history of the world! Isn't that exciting! First, she's the youngest ever to roll over, and now she's the tallest ever to exist. A daddy can't be much prouder than I am right now!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Swaddle, Swaddle, Swaddle

The Wife and I were having a terrible time getting our 4-month-old daughter, the Baby, to take good naps during the day. She was an excellent sleeper at night, but that wasn't translating to daytime sleeping. And, now that I think about it, she isn't an excellent night-time sleeper, but she is an excellent night-time "going to sleep"er. She can fall asleep at night at the drop of a hat, even if we put her in bed while she's wide awake. She used to sleep through the night, which made her possibly the best baby ever, but lately she's been waking up once per night for a quick snack, usually around 3 or 4 AM. Since the Wife is the one of us that has the physical capabilities to feed the Baby, I usually sleep right through these night-time feeding sessions. I do show my husbandly compassion in the morning by asking my bride if she had to get up at all, which I can tell does a lot to ease any tensions that have built up while I was getting my ZZZs. I do what I can!

In an earlier blog I had asked you all for any ideas we could try to get her to nap better, but I seem to have stumbled upon the remedy just by happenstance. See, we had been trying to get her to nap just by holding her tightly in our arms or rocking her in her bouncy chair or swing. While she would go to sleep using these methods, she would only stay asleep for 10-20 minutes, not nearly long enough for a rapidly growing baby. Then she would be ornery the rest of the afternoon, and consequently, so would the rest of us. Last week when I was home with the kids one morning, I thought "Hey, moron, why don't you put her in her swaddler like you do at night?!?!" So, I swaddled her, and she napped for about an hour and a half! The normal palpable tension in our house was replaced with palpable happiness, and we've all been happy ever since! We owe a huge thank you to the inventor of the swaddler, I think his name was Bob Swaddle, for making our lives bearable once again. Thanks Bob!
The Baby in her swaddler, sleeping soundly, taken with Daddy's phone camera. On an unrelated note, if anyone knows where I put my digital camera, please let me know.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Don't Sweat It!

One of the worst things in the whole world is playing basketball against a really sweaty guy who insists on taking his shirt off. Sweaty guys are bad just by themselves, but when you are forced to guard them on the basketball court, and your hands and arms get covered in their gross sweat, it's about enough to give a guy an epic case of the screaming willies. I used to know a guy who would start sweating heavily as soon as he was within a mile or two of the basketball court. His sweat glands must have had their own little GPS units. And there was absolutely no way he would ever keep his shirt on while playing. One time we were about to play a pickup game with a bunch of other dudes that we just met at the gym, and my friend got picked by the "Shirts" team. He made a big stink, and went ahead and took his shirt off any way. If there was a record book, the teams would have been listed as "Shirts + that sweaty guy who wouldn't wear a shirt" VS. "Skins".

I've never been much of a fan of sweaty guys, but I'm starting to think maybe I shouldn't have held them in such low regard. It seems that, in my advancing age, God has decided to teach me a lesson on the subject, because in the past couple of years, I have become one of those sweaty guys. Tonight I went out and mowed our yard, actually it was just half of the front yard, which took about 12 minutes, and I came inside afterwards so sweaty that I almost couldn't peel the shirt off my back. It was gross. And, it really wasn't that hot out, either. I think the temp was around 85, but in my defense it was quite humid. A couple of days ago at my softball game, when it was in the low 80s, I was sweating profusely while all the younger guys on my team were cool and collected. On one play I had to run from first all the way to home plate because the young guy batting behind me had the audacity to hit the ball all the way to the fence. The nerve of some young people! Well, I made it home safely, but I pretty much had to sponge myself off afterwards. I gotta remember to pack several extra towels in my bat bag next week!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Happy Accident

When we got home from my softball game last night (which we won, by the way - go Leviathan!), it was already well past the kids' normal bed time, so we headed straight to their bedroom to get them in their jammies. If you read my previous blog entry, you know that the Boy loves jammie time, because getting out of his clothes and diaper allows him to run around the house in the buff, shouting "Naked Boy" at the top of his lungs. He has a great time doing this, and often we have some minor difficulty getting him to settle down long enough to get him dressed.

Tonight, however, he only made one quick dash out of the bedroom, and then quickly came back. What happened next was the biggest surprise, though. He lifted the lid on the little portable potty that we have in the kids' bedroom, and sat down on it, like he knew what he was doing. He kept saying, "Pee and poop! Pee and poop!", but we haven't even thought about trying to potty-train him yet, so we just thought he was playing. The Wife and I kept working at getting the Girl and the Baby in their jammies, when I looked over at the Boy, and noticed a strong stream of pee shooting out from his tiddly bits onto the carpet in front of the potty. The commotion that followed was quite a sight, as I tried feverishly, and without too much success, to get a diaper in the line of fire. Luckily, it was just toddler pee, which is pretty much just pure water, so it was easy to clean up.
A teddy bear's portrayal of the accident scene

Neither the wife nor I have ever potty trained a boy before. Seems like the first rule we all need to figure out is how to get him to aim, which seems especially hard to teach when he's sitting down. I have always figured that a handful of Cheerios in the potty would be all we would need, but that will only work when he's standing up. If any parents out there have any good ideas, let us know. In the mean time, we better stock up on carpet cleaner!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Naked Time

It's true that the male of our species (human) is naturally an exhibitionist, whether he has much to flaunt or not. If you'd look at me now, even with my clothes on, you would never think that I used to be a regular at one of our local gyms. But I was, and when I was, I got my fair share of viewing time of exhibitionist males while in the locker room. It seemed like half of the guys in the locker room may have suffered from some strange kind of allergic reaction to towels, because they never seemed to have one near them, and wouldn't think of wrapping one around themselves. Instead they just spent all their locker room time in the nude, seemingly without a care in the world. Many of them seemed to have a lot of time to kill too, so they were in no hurry to put any clothes on. They were as happy as a naked lark, just hanging out in the locker room without any clothes on. Men's locker rooms are a weird place. I wouldn't recommend you go in one, if you don't have to.

I am writing about naked males because, apparently, you don't have to be an old weird dude in a locker room to be an exhibitionist. I have proof that the exhibitionist mindset can develop at an early age, even as early as two years old. The Boy just turned two a couple of weeks ago, and right along that same time frame he developed an urgent need to run around without any clothes on. This is not a constant need in his case, but it has shown itself at least twice a day for several days now. The first instance usually happens within about ten minutes of his getting out of bed, during the time we like to call "getting dressed". As soon as the Wife or I get his jammies and diaper off, he bolts out of the room, shouting "Naked boy!!" to anyone and everyone he can find in the house, giggling and laughing the whole time. After several loops throughout the house, he settles down long enough to get his clothes on, but then the same thing happens before bedtime when we're trying to get him back in his jammies. Thankfully this has only happened at home, so it's really not a big deal. It does make me wonder who he might have learned it from though. I think maybe I better put some clothes on and do a little investigating...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dogs 'n' Diapers

I wish our dogs could read, because I am about to write such a scathing story about them that it might actually make them embarrassed enough to change their ways. If they could read, that is. Yep, if only they could read...

We have two dogs, both of which are annoying in their own ways. Ah, but they share one big annoyance that, I'm not going to lie to you here, some times makes me wish we had cats. Or ferrets. Hey, I'd even settle for pet porcupines. Yes, even the constant pain I would be in after petting my porcupines would be more bearable than what our dogs make us put up with.

Our two dogs, let's call them Toby and Gromit, because that's what their names are, share a nasty habit. It all started when we brought Gromit into our home, several years ago now. Gromit was a full-grown Lhasa Apso when we agreed to take him in, and Toby was a two-year-old Yorkie-Poo that we had gotten as a puppy. The two of them got along okay for the most part, with the occasional all-out brouhaha thrown in for fun. I don't know if it was because Gromit hadn't been fixed yet or what, but it was quickly apparent that he was prone to lift his leg around the house, I assume as a way to claim the place as his own. We wanted none of that, so it didn't take long to decide to get his stuff snipped off, if I can be crude for a minute. We assumed that would fix the marking problem, but that was not the case, and in fact, we soon found evidence that Toby was doing the same thing!

Now, it didn't happen all that often, but the few times it did was enough for us. We wanted to put a stop to it before it became a major problem. The most effective course of action probably would have been to drive the dogs out to a nice spot along a country road and casually boot them out of the car. Hey, I would have slowed down to at least 30 mph first, so back off! But, no, we had already grown fond of these mutts for some reason, so instead we went out and bought them both a doggie diaper to wear when we aren't home. These are pretty much just thick, padded fabric thingies that strap around the dog's torso, enveloping their tiddly bits so the pee can't get out. The diapers make the dogs look very silly, but they're dogs, so they don't really care. Now, instead of washing the carpets or the furniture or whatever else they may have peed on, we just have to wash their diapers. Of course, that's not all that much fun, either. You know, now that I think of it, maybe that country road wouldn't be such a bad idea...

This looks a lot like our dog, Gromit, but you can tell it isn't by the fact that he's not wearing a diaper. This dog is obviously a good dog, unlike ours.

Monday, July 16, 2012

What a Jerk!

This Baby is starting to drive us insane! What kind of a baby doesn't like to nap? Why does she consistently fight taking naps all the time?  How are mommy and daddy supposed to get anything done when we have a whiny, sleepy baby keeping us occupied all day long? The crazy thing is that she is awesome at going to sleep at night time. We can even put her in her crib wide awake at night, and she still falls asleep within 5 or 10 minutes, tops, with no whining or crying to be heard. But during the day, instead of actually falling asleep when she's tired, she just gets ornery, and turns into a kicking and screaming angry baby, fighting sleep with all of her might. She can be a real jerk!

Look at her, with those piercing eyes and that menacing look! What a jerk!
What makes it even more irritating is that, one or two days a week, she actually does take a long nap. (By long, I mean like 45 minutes. Or some times even an hour!) But the rest of the week, when she finally gives up on the kicking and screaming and lets herself doze off, she'll sleep for 10 minutes, maybe 15 if we're lucky, and then wake up and want to be held and interacted with. And who wants to spend all day holding a cute, little baby?! I mean, come on!

We've tried everything to try to get her to go to sleep, and we think we've figured out a few different options that seem to work some of the time, but we're starting to think maybe there's some trick that we haven't tried that might be magic. So, if you're a parent, and you have some way of getting your baby to fall asleep on a regular basis, whether it be a way of holding them, or a special song you sing, or a heavy narcotic that we haven't thought of, let us know. We're ready to give anything a try! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Poll: Is Daddy Insane? Yes or No?

Please help me figure out if I am insane or not. I am of the opinion that our newest daughter, The Baby, looks almost exactly like her older sister, The Girl, did when she was her age. I realize that The Girl had a lot more hair at that age, and her eyes were a lot lighter and more radiant of a blue than The Baby's are, but a lot of their mannerisms and expressions are identical. I know it's hard to see mannerisms and facial expressions from still photos, but you can imagine. Let me know what you think, by leaving a message either here on the blog or on facebook. Do I have twins that were separated by 3 years? I think so!

Friday, July 13, 2012

How to Hurt Daddy- by The Boy

The Boy is growing up too fast. It seems like just yesterday he was a little peanut crawling around on all fours, and now he's a two-year-old speedster who runs around the house like a crazy person, with no regard for human life. His own, nor anyone else's. And, he continues to grow taller, which I guess is normal for kids. I didn't really gain any height until my sophomore year in high school, so this is all new to me.

And, he's exuberant. He always has a devious little smile on his face, like he's up to something. He also is very affectionate, giving hugs to his mom and dad, and even his big sister, the Girl, whenever the mood hits, which is often.

All of these things - growing up to be a big boy, running around like a crazy person, having a devious side, and being affectionate - add up to mean one thing: Daddy is not safe in his own house. I am beginning to think that I need to start wearing a, well you know, one of those hard plastic protective things that, you know, men have to wear some times when they're out playing sports and such. OK, I'll just say it. I need to wear my cup! The kid comes flying around corners at just the wrong height, and he loves seeing daddy, so, if anything, he speeds up when he sees me. I don't have a chance. He got me at least three times tonight after supper, and that was even though play time was shortened by an hour-long bath. If he keeps it up, he will be the reason why he will never have a little brother to play with and pick on. Not that the Wife and I have been thinking of that scenario...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Blog Filled With Jibberjabber

It's been a while since I last wrote on my blog. When I have thought about writing, it's been hard to come up with any ideas. Actually, it was more difficult just to stop myself long enough to do any thinking. A couple of weeks ago I was in a really good mode where new blog ideas kept popping into my brain, without really having to work at it very much. Then my family left for a trip to Oklahoma last week, and while they were gone I went from "gotta write on my blog everyday" mode to "there's no time to write, I gotta get stuff done around here while the kids are gone" mode. So, for the past week or so I spent every waking moment...OK, most of my waking moments...OK, some of my waking moments working around the house, either cleaning or painting or watering our new grass seed or cutting down tree limbs. I did get a lot of stuff done around here, although I probably would have had some time to write, if the only other creatures in our house, our dogs, had done anything worthy of being written about. Instead, they just lazed around the house, every once in a while sneaking a peek at the front door to see if anyone more interesting than me was about to walk in and save them from their boredom. Nobody ever did, so there was nothing exciting to write about.

I guess I could have described, in intricate detail, how I went out every 20 minutes or so to aim the sprinklers onto a different section of new grass, or how I stealthily climbed the ladder so I could reach all the low-hanging branches that needed to get culled, or how I found some really cool bleached elk hair to use while tying a bunch of flies that I may get to fish with some day, but I didn't think those things would be very interesting to anyone but me. 

Now the whole family is home, and in the two days since they arrived, there have been a few chaotic things I could have written about. But the week of brain inactivity has continued on, and I haven't been able to concentrate on my writing enough to come up with any fun topics. Hopefully this entry filled with jibberjabber will kickstart my writing neurons, because the only thing left to write about is how I repainted the new kid-sized picnic table we got a couple of weeks ago. And reading a blog about watching paint dry would be a billion times worse than actually watching paint dry. I'll try to come up with something interesting real soon.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

29 for the 9th time. Or is it the 10th time? I'm not good with math...

Yes, today is my 38th birthday. I am no longer younger than my wife. I'll have to wait another 340 days before I can say that again, which I will for sure do, because I love to tease her over the fact that she's 25 days older than I am. I can tell that she loves it when I do it, too, although the gritting noise that her teeth make during those 25 days can get a little bothersome. Several times it's almost woken me up in the middle of the night.

Did I mention that today is my birthday? I had a wonderful day, and got to do three of my favorite things to do: I got to play golf, which I love, even though I had more three-putts in one round than I've had in the last 3 years; I got to go fishing, even though it was just for a couple of hours and 90% of the sunfish I caught were in the sub-three-inch-long range; and I got to eat a lot of eggs, even though two of the four eggs that I boiled this morning for breakfast partially blew open in the pan, and the other two didn't peel very well so I really only got to eat about 2.75 eggs at that sitting. Overall, though, I may eat too many eggs, so it was probably for the best.

I was super excited to play golf, since it was the first time I've played all year. I should have known it wasn't going to be my best round, though, when my tee shot on the first hole started out nicely, but then faded ever so slightly to the right, and landed smack dab in the middle of the thickest jungle of itchweed and burning nettles that I've ever seen. OK, maybe it was actually ferns and hostas, but those don't seem as foreboding. Whatever the case, we couldn't find my ball, which turned out to be the first in a long line of lost balls for me on the day. But the three-putts are what really hurt. They'll turn a par into a double-bogey in a flash, and I was seeing flashes all day.

Overall, even despite my golf score, it was a good birthday. And guess what - tomorrow I get to celebrate being 38 years + 1 day by eating more eggs! I can't wait.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Welcome to Eerie, Minnesota

I had a very eerie experience yesterday. It was the first day that my whole family was gone, and I was alone in the house with just the two dogs. My Wife and her sister, whom we will call Aunt Sonstress for the purposes of this blog, had loaded up our three children, the Girl, the Boy, and the Baby, into our minivan and made the excruciatingly long trek down to Oklahoma to visit other aunts, uncles and cousins. Normally the drive isn't all that bad, but just try doing it with two toddlers and a three-month-old in the vehicle, and you will soon learn just how excruciating it can be. Any ways, back to me.

As I said, I was home alone, and had pretty much instantaneously reverted back to my bachelor days as soon as my family left. I became reclusive, not wanting to venture outside for more than a few minutes at a time. I told myself that it was too hot to go outside and that I had plenty of things to do inside, which was true, even though I didn't end up getting all that much accomplished. I did get some laundry done, and I did get a bunch of flies tied for an upcoming night of fishing that I have promised myself, but those jobs took way longer than they should have, because I was too busy watching episode after episode of the TV series Arrested Development on netflix.

What was eerie about the whole situation was that at separate times throughout the day, I heard each of my three kids' voices loud and clear, coming from somewhere in the house. But, remember, nobody else was home...

When I was downstairs doing the laundry, I swear I heard the Boy from upstairs, saying, "No Daddy!" like he does when I throw him up in the air and start tickling him. Later on, I heard the Girl, laughing like a hyena in her bedroom, while I was out in the living room. When I was sitting at the dining room table, tying flies, I could have sworn that the Baby was crying in her crib, like she does when she wants her bottle. Part of me thinks that I may have heard her phantom cries again during the night, when, if she was actually home, I would have mindlessly gotten up, stumbled my way into her bedroom, and stuck her nookie back in her mouth before stumbling my way back to bed, without ever really waking up. Maybe I did that last night, too? The only way to know for sure would be for my wife to tell me about it the next morning, like she does on most days. But, alas, only the dogs were home, and they were too busy snoring like freight trains to notice, so I guess we'll never know.

I think it might be good for me to go outside and get some fresh air tonight.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'll Have a Bowl of Macalonely, Please

My two oldest kids are going on another road trip, only this time they're taking the Baby and the Wife with them! I am going to be all alone in my house for the next six days, with nothing but a five-page-long honey-do list to keep me company. Oh yeah, and the two dogs, too. I don't want to give the dogs too much attention, though, since they will go right back to getting none once the kids come back home. Going back to the way it usually is might break their hearts, so I'll just treat them the same as I always do by maybe remembering to feed them. If they're lucky.

Speaking about feeding things, I'm sure I will revert to my bachelor days while everyone is gone, eating strange things that no married person in their right mind would ever eat. One of my mainstays will be the healthy combination of processed cheese slices and a bag of pepperoni. In my bachelor days I was able to eat a half a bag of pepperoni and a big old stack of cheese slices in one sitting, but now I'm sure it will take me several days to finish them off. I just can't pack away the bad food like I used to.

Knowing that I would be eating alone for the next several days, I made sure to get a ten pack of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, another of my staples from yesteryear. While eating macaroni alone in my lonely bachelor pad back in the day, I gave it the moniker of macalonely, to more accurately reflect the mood in the room while I ate it, usually directly from the pot it had been cooked in. I ate plain macalonely for many years before I decided it needed a little something to spice it up and make it a more well-rounded meal. I had seen hot dogs being added to macaroni before, but I didn't have any on hand, so I scoured the cupboards in my apartment for anything that seemed even remotely appropriate. My eyes landed on a can of tuna, which I love, so I decided to give it a go. It quickly became a prominent part of my bachelor food line-up. Over the years, when I have told my friends about my concoction, I have been met with blind stares from a few, and violent gagging by most, but I think it's a wonderful medley of tastes and smells, and I am looking forward to having some tuna-infused macalonely several times during the next week. After the week is over, though,  I'm sure I will not be looking forward to it for a long, long time.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Your Basic, Everyday Sibling Rivalry

For those of you who may not know, I have an older sister. The kids know her as their aunt, which is true. For the purposes of this blog, I was going to call her Aunt S., but then you might get her confused with the kids' other Aunt S. Or their other Aunt S. You probably wouldn't get her confused with their Aunt C., but you never know. To keep things clear in everyone's mind, let's call my sister Aunt W., based loosely on the fact that her last name starts with a W. Aunt W. has a soon-to-be-4-year-old of her own, known around these parts as the Cousin, but not to be confused with the kid's other cousins who all live far away, in other states. The Cousin spends a lot of time with our kids, both while being watched by the Wife or me, or by Aunt W. and her husband, Uncle B., not to be confused with their other Uncle B. I'm glad we've gotten this all figured out!

My sister and I have a few similarities to go along with some normal differences that can show up between siblings, but there's one pretty big thing we do totally different from each other when it comes to raising our kids. So far, it hasn't caused any huge rifts, but there's the possibility of some problems arising down the road. The thing is, when my sister is taking care of all the kids, she plans ahead and finds fun things for them to do. Things like going to the park for a picnic, or to the zoo to learn about animals, or going to fun stores, like Choo Choo Bob's Train Store, which is one of their favorites. When I look after all the kids, I do not plan ahead, which means we usually end up going grocery shopping at Sam's Club, or to our nearby Target store to buy earwax removal liquid or something else boring like that.

I can envision my kids starting to dread the times they have to hang out with me. I'm surprised it hasn't already started to happen. I can see it now: when I start to load them up in the minivan to go run errands, they'll start to chant "We want Aunt W.! We want Aunt W.!" or "No more boring errands! No more boring errands!" Seems to me that the only way to nip this in the bud is to start having them hang out with Aunt W. all the time. If they feel so strongly about running errands, they can just let me run them by myself, in peace and quiet. This seems like a perfect remedy to the situation, and I'm glad I thought of it sooner rather than later!

An Eventful Day

We celebrated the Boy's 2nd birthday today, even though it doesn't officially happen until Tuesday. Just like I suspected, everyone in our families asked us what they should get him, although none of them were too keen on the bacon idea I came up with last week. Instead they pressed us for "better" ideas, which my bride and I were extremely unsuccessful at coming up with. That didn't stop aunts, uncles and grandparents from loading him up with presents, though. I'm glad we took the minivan so we had plenty of room to haul everything home. Clothes and summer pajamas were a popular item, along with multiple books, and a few toys, including an awesome Little People brand helicopter and pilot. The Boy loved all his presents, but he was particularly enamored with a book that was based on the Disney movie Cars. It didn't really have much in the way of words, but he liked looking at all the pictures of cool race cars. I suppose we'll have to rent the movie so he can watch it and learn all the cars' names.

We double stacked the day by having the Baby dedicated at church this morning. The other two kids went up on the platform with us while she was being dedicated, and to everyone's amazement, no tantrums were thrown by any of us. I figured that being up in front of so many people at church would be a good reason for one of the kids to start a big brouhaha or at least pull their dress up over their head, but instead they were perfect kids. I guess the Girl did stomp around while our Pastor was saying the prayer, but who can blame her? The platform is old and rickety and makes fun booming noises when stomped on, so Daddy can't be too mad at her. It would have been good if we had had time to change the Boy's diaper before we went up in front of everyone, but Pastor didn't seem too overcome by the smell.

Overall, it was a wonderful day spent with friends and family, but the best part was when Grandma & Grandpa decided to keep the Girl & the Boy for a sleepover, and then have them hang out at their house during the day tomorrow. I don't think this week could start out any better!