Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chaotic Kids: M.B.U. (Mobile Baby Unit)

I was kind of hoping that I would be able to post a video of this momentous occasion for my 100th post on Chaotic Kids & Clutter, but the 101st will have to do. The Baby has been close to crawling for what seems like a couple of months. Finally, this morning, when I didn't have my camera nearby, she crawled about 5 feet across the living room floor, from one toy to another. She finally did it again in front of the camera, although she didn't go nearly as far this time. She still would not be classified as a full-fledged "crawler", but she's getting there. Just what we need, another moving child in the house...

Monday, October 29, 2012

100th Post Gala Extravaganza!!!


No matter which party they're in, all politicians love this blog!
I wasn't exactly sure how well this whole blog thing was going to go when I first started it in May. And, maybe it's not going as well as I think it is, but I am having fun writing it, and some people seem to like reading it, so I would say it's going OK. If you are currently reading this, I would like to send out a great big Thank You for making the Total Pageviews number go up by one. I never thought I would get so obsessed with looking at a fake odometer-type thingie on the internet, but seeing the number go up really boosts my ego. So, thank you.

Of course, I also need to thank my family. Without my three crazy kids and the two annoying dogs, I wouldn't have had much to write about over these past few months. And my wonderful wife, who wrangles the kids while I go off in the other room to pound away on the computer keyboard, also needs to be thanked profusely. She is an amazing woman, and she also provides much needed counsel when I ask her if what I have written would offend her 98-year-old grandmother. The last thing I want to do is offend Grandma Millie, one of my most avid readers, and my wife helps to ensure I don't do that. Very often.

I also want to thank my good friend and pastor, Kory Kleinsasser. It was at an early morning breakfast meeting back in early May that he suggested I start a blog. While scarfing down my delicious Moon Over My Hammy sandwich that morning, I initially scoffed at the idea, simply because I, at one time, had read that blogs have an average readership of one person. But then I thought about it some more, and decided to give it a try. Now I am totally addicted to blogging, to the point of ignoring my family and all my household chores. Thank you, Kory, for helping me get to this point!

Well, it's been a fun first 100 posts. Who knows what the next 100 will bring. I guess we'll all just have to keep reading to find out. Have a great day!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Emotional Baggage

Don't get me wrong. The Boy is about as fun and loving as a 2-year-old boy can be. Just yesterday, we were out to dinner with the in-laws, and he got to sit next to his 98-year-old great grandma. Without any provocation, he leaned over, gave her a big hug, and then proceeded to kiss her several times. He just loves people, and is quick to give hugs on a regular basis. He's quite the boy!

But lately, he's also been going through some kind of emotional phase. It doesn't happen very often, but every once in a while he'll just start crying, for seemingly no reason.

When we ask him why he's crying, we enter into one of the sillier conversations we've had as parents, and we have had a lot of silly conversations with our kids. It always goes something like:

The Boy: (Crying and/or whining for no apparent reason).

Daddy: Hey Bubs, what's wrong?

TB: I'm crying, Daddy!

D: Yes, I see that. Why are you crying?

TB: I'm sad.

D: Why are you sad?

TB: I'm sad, Daddy.

D: Yes, but why are you sad?

TB: I'm sad.

D: Yes, I know that. But why are you sad?

TB: I'm crying, Daddy.

D: Yes, but why are you crying?

TB: I don't know, Daddy.

At this point, I either pull out some of my hair or turn up the radio loud enough that I can't hear him crying any more. Soon maybe I will learn to stop asking him why he's crying in the first place. That seems like the best option I can come up with right now.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Friday Top Five- TV Comedies

Yes, it's time for another list from the mind of me. This time I have scoured my memory to find the best television comedies of all time. It was difficult for me to pare down the list, because there have been so many funny shows throughout the years. I finally decided on a criteria that helped me get it down to a manageable number: I decided that, if a show was able to get me to stop my channel surfing every time I came across it on the TV, even just to see which episode it was before moving on to something else, then it was worthy of making this list. Here are my Top Five TV Comedies Of All Time (In no real order):
The late Dermot Morgan played the title role in Father Ted.
  • Boston Legal
  • It's Garry Shandling's Show
  • Father Ted
  • Arrested Development
  • WKRP in Cincinnati
  • Soap
  • Modern Family
  • The Office
  • 3rd Rock From the Sun
  • Psych
  • Scrubs
  • The Kids In The Hall
  • Seinfeld
  • Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist
As you can see, there are some old shows and some modern ones. Even a British show made the list! Actually, now that I think about it, there probably should have been more British shows included...

Well, this list is sure to be controversial. Let me know what you think.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Baby is a Lunker

Parents (or at least the Wife and I) treat their babies like they would a largemouth bass. The bigger the baby, the prouder the parent is, just like in bass fishing. When parents take their baby in to the pediatrician's office, it's more fun to hear that their baby is in the "98th percentile" in whatever they happen to be measuring at the time (weight, height, length, coolness, etc.), instead of hearing, "Uh, you have been remembering to feed your baby, right?" A chunky baby is a healthy baby, just like in bass fishing.

Along that same line of thinking, I am proud to announce that we switched the Baby, who is now a little over 7 months old, into her clothes that are labeled as "12 Months". She was still fitting into some of her 6-9 month clothes, but some of them were so tight that we were afraid she would have trouble breathing. So, last night, I brought up the boxes of hand-me-down 12 month clothes that were packed away in the basement, and the Wife went through them all. The Baby looks cute in her new clothes, and she seems to be breathing very easily.

This bass is in the 95th percentile in everything. Its parents must be very proud!
Having clothes that are labeled for your baby's age makes me wonder how that would work if they labeled adult clothes that way. Would I fit into clothes that were labeled for a 38-year-old, which I am? Would I be able to suck my gut in enough to fit into some 30-year-old clothes? Would I actually feel more comfy if I wore clothes made for a 45-year-old? Would I wear 38-year-old pants, but 52-year-old shirts, because all my weight is in my tummy? These are all good questions, but not good enough to waste any more time on. I'm going bass fishing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Looking For The Top 1%

I have come up with a very controversial theory that is bound to cause an uproar throughout the country, and maybe even the entire known and unknown universe. It will inevitably ruffle some people's feathers, and probably rub some people the wrong way, and countless other idioms that I can't think of right now. This might not be the best time or place to unleash my new theory, what with all the political savagery going on in the land, but if I wait for a more opportune time, it may not have as big an impact as it should. And I might forget it. So, without further delay, here is my Theory of the Top 1%:

 

I theorize that 1% of the newborn and baby sized socks in the world contain 99% of the elastic!


I know this theory might be too mind-boggling to grasp for some of you, so if that's the case, just nod your head to show agreement with all the parents.

Yes, my theory is that only one out of every 100 pairs of baby socks contains enough elastic to keep them on the baby's foot for more than 5 seconds. I came up with this theory because our house is home to approximately 1,000 pairs of baby socks, but only 10 or so actually work. The rest are useless. When we are fortunate enough to find a pair that has enough elastic, we make our baby wear them for between three and four months in a row, because we don't want to have to go through the piles to find another good pair.
These may be the cutest socks ever made. Unfortunately, they are useless. I can tell, just by looking at the photo, that there is not enough elastic in them to keep them on any baby's foot. Photo courtesy of world-trade.com

I have another theory that I haven't tried out yet. The jist of that theory is that, instead of looking for socks that stay on, maybe I should always dress my baby in socks that fall off. Then they will fall off outside of our home, and I will never have to be bothered with them again...This theory needs a little bit more work. Look for my manifesto on this subject at a later date.

I know this may be a lot to absorb right now. Your mind is probably spinning with all these theories flying around. The good thing is that you can just let me worry about all the useless baby socks we have in the world. I'm sure I'll be the only one. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Anatomically Correct

I just changed a very messy diaper on the Boy. The mess got everywhere, including all over his man-parts. Cleaning him off was not a lot of fun, but it did inspire me to really start to work on getting him potty-trained. Up until now, we haven't put a lot of effort into it, but after this diaper, we definitely will.

I didn't come here to write about potty training, though. There was a much more delicate situation evolving. The Boy is very inquisitive, so when I was cleaning off his tiddly bits, he asked me, "Whatcha doing, Daddy?" I wasn't exactly sure if he was ready for this, but I told him that I was cleaning off his (insert anatomically correct word here). I don't think he fully understood, because he kept asking me "Where's the peanut?" Peanuts are one of his favorite snacks, so I think I was just making him hungry.

The conversation ended there, but I think it was a good start to the discussion about the difference between boys and girls. We'll be sure and continue it this afternoon, when Mommy is home with the kids and Daddy has gone in to work. 
Too bad Leonardo da Vinci isn't still alive so he could teach the Boy about anatomy. I guess it will be all up to the Wife...  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

4 Hours And Counting...

Some of you may have read my blog these past few days, and thought to yourself, "Self, there's something a little bit off with Scott lately. He doesn't seem like himself. He almost seems too happy and energetic. I wonder what's going on?..." If you have thought that, you should give yourself a virtual pat on the back, because you are right, there has been something going on. We've had yet another weekend without the two older kids! :-)

The kids' Aunt Sonie defied all logic once again, and took our 2- and 3-year-old on a cross-country trip, all by herself. They went down to Oklahoma again to visit other aunts, uncles, and cousins. They also went camping for a few nights while they were there, which also defies all logic. I am not real keen on taking them camping when the Wife goes with. I can't imagine taking them camping by myself. That is kookie talk! I guess the other aunts and uncles helped out, but still. It seems insane.

Any way, they are on their way back home now. Should be here in about four hours. We have been fastidiously cleaning the house, so that the kids will have a clean palette to make new messes on. I think it's the least we could do to help welcome them home.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Top Ten Shows That I Used To Think Were Awesome, But In Fact Were Totally Lame

We don't have cable or satellite TV in our house, so we have to make do with the channels that are broadcast "over the air." Here in the Twin Cities there is a new channel that plays various TV shows from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and the Wife and I have watched several episodes of an old favorite of ours, Three's Company. Watching this show that we both loved during our younger years brings back a lot of memories, but it also makes me ask myself "How could I have ever liked such a stupid show?!?!"

It seems like that happens quite often. I will see a movie or a TV show that I used to love, and it won't quite live up to my memories of how great it was. In honor of this phenomenon, I have come up with my list of the Top Ten Shows That I Used To Think Were Awesome, But In Fact Were Totally Lame. See if you agree with any of them:
  • Three's Company
  • Gilligan's Island
  • Perfect Strangers
  • Too Close For Comfort
  • Three's A Crowd
  • Bosom Buddies
  • Diff'rent Strokes
  • CHiPs
  • The Facts Of Life
  • Mork & Mindy
  • The Ropers
I'm sure there were worse shows than these on the air, but at one point or another, and for some unknown reason, I used to really like these shows. I even remember being really sad when both Three's Company and its spinoff, Three's A Crowd, were being taken off the air. Now, looking back at them, I can't believe they were on the air as long as they were!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

That Plastic Monkey With The Jingle Ball Inside It Looks Delicious!

We have a pretty happy Baby in our house, at least most of the time. One of the things we do to try and keep her happy is to sit her down somewhere in the middle of the floor, and then completely surround her with some of the billions of baby toys that we have accumulated over the years. This usually can keep her occupied for at least 30 seconds or so.

No, she actually can stay occupied with her pile of toys for at least several minutes, and some times even up to a half an hour or more. When I say that she can stay occupied, I don't mean that she actually "plays" with them. No, she isn't quite to that stage yet. Instead, she'll pick up a toy, look it over very carefully, and then shove it into her mouth, where she will make every attempt at sucking any and all nutritional sustenance out of it. Unfortunately for her, toys aren't all that nutritious. Upon realization of this fact, she tosses that toy into the discard pile, and then does the same thing to whatever toy she happens to pick up next.

This can go on, like I said, for up to a half an hour or more. Thankfully, being part of the baby species, which is known to have a brain about the size of a craisin, she forgets which toys she has already tasted, so she will happily pick up, and try to eat, the same toys several times. When she finally starts to get tired of how those toys taste, we can just change out the toys, and it's like she has an entirely new smorgasbord in front of her. Bon apetit! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Drop-Down Crib of Death

As I have mentioned on this blog before, we moved the Baby's crib out of the other kids' bedroom a few weeks ago. This move has had a tremendous effect on everyone in the house. The Baby learned how to soothe herself and put herself back to sleep in the middle of the night through the use of the "cry it out" method, and this, in turn, has helped Mommy and Daddy get much more sleep than they had been getting. The other two kids have also been sleeping better, because their baby sister wasn't in their room, waking them up with her crying umpteen times per night.

Really, moving her crib out and letting her cry it out in the living room has been one of the best things we have done as parents. There has only been one drawback to the whole situation, and that is the fact that Daddy had to take the entire crib apart in order to get it out of the bedroom. It is about 1 inch too wide to get out the door, and that is even after I took the bedroom door off its hinge.

At first, when I was trying to move it, I thought I could just take one of the crib's sides off, and then jimmy the rest of it around the corner into the hallway, and out to the living room. It became obvious that would not work while I was in mid-jimmy, so I then had to take the rest of it apart, while it was stuck halfway through the doorway.

If we were common law-abiding citizens, taking it apart probably wouldn't have been such a major undertaking, but we are huge fans of the old-style Cribs With The Drop-Down Sides of Death, which are currently illegal. Apparently, a baby or two got their heads stuck in the drop-down side, so these cribs have been banned, but we have always liked having the ability to raise and lower the sides, which makes it easier to lay our ridiculously large babies down, without herniating ourselves. And we have never had an issue with the drop-down feature, either.

We never had an issue with it, that is, until I decided to take apart the crib and move it into the living room. It seems that having the drop-down feature on a crib adds approximately 4,692 extra screws to it. Taking it apart was a major pain. Then I had to put it back together in the living room.

The worst thing was that I knew that, eventually, the Baby would learn to be a good sleeper, and she and her crib would have to be moved back into the bedroom, so I would have to take it all apart again. Today was that day. I went ahead and did that, but part of me thought that it might be easier to take the bedroom door frame down in order to get enough clearance so I wouldn't have to take the crib apart. Either that or buy a new house with bigger doors. After wrestling with this crib, those both sound like viable options.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Life

Wouldn't it be nice if life gave us parents a break while our kids are little? I mean, we are responsible for turning rambunctious, squirrely, careless kids, who don't listen, into well-behaved and thoughtful members of society, which sometimes can seem like an unattainable goal. And we have to do this, even while the other aspects of life continue to throw roadblocks at us in rapid-fire succession.

Wouldn't it be nice if you, as a parent, could put the rest of your life on standby, so you wouldn't have to deal with all the flat tires, and the leaky faucets, and the sumac trees that are invading your lawn, and the mice that seem to keep finding a way into your house, and the woodpecker that makes a new, different, hole in your siding every year, and the city that tells you that the simple fix you are doing to your house requires a permit that you didn't get so now you owe twice as much as you originally would have if you had realized that you needed a permit for such a silly thing in the first place, and the transmission on the van that would cost almost as much as you paid for the entire van, and the mess in the garage that you have let accumulate over the past several months so now there isn't any room in the garage for either of your vehicles, and so on and so on.




Why can't we just focus on raising awesome kids for a few years, and then come back to the other parts of life when the kids move out? I guess we probably should have realized we would be in this mess when we decided to have kids. It probably would be a good life lesson to teach the 2- and 3-year-old right now - that life doesn't stop, no matter what you've got going on. I think I'll sit them down and have a nice talk with them about it, as soon as they come in from cleaning out the garage.

Monday, October 15, 2012

It's The Great Pumpkin, Scooter Pot Pie

Today was the day for the kids' annual trek to the local pumpkin patch. Thankfully, yet again, Mommy & Daddy did not have to go, because Grandma D. and Aunt Stephie took them. I wouldn't say that either Mommy or I actually hate going to the pumpkin patch, but I would say that if it was up to us, our kids wouldn't know what the words "pumpkin" and "patch" meant.

Pumpkins, in general, when they are sitting out in a tranquil field, hundreds of miles from our house, are fine. Pumpkins, sitting in our house, waiting to be carved, are the Worst Things Ever.

Neither my wife nor I are fans of carving pumpkins, but, when you have a 2- and a 3-year-old in your house, and there are pumpkins on the premises, they need to be carved. If it were up to me, I would just give the kids my handheld jigsaw and let them go at it. But, even though I promise my wife that I would go over the finer points of saw safety with the kids first, she always says no.
This is NOT any of my children. Whoever took this photo has way too much time on their hands. I do not have that much time, so I stole it off the internet. From fatgirlkitchen.typepad.com

So, Mommy and Daddy do the carving. Actually, the carving isn't so bad, other than the fact that we can never decide on a good design, so every pumpkin in our house ends up with the same generic jaggled-tooth grin. It's the digging out of the excrement that really stinks. Those pumpkin innards are the worst. The only thing that makes it even remotely tolerable is the fact that my wife, the Saint, digs through all the goo to get at the seeds, and then roasts them until they are deliciously crispy and crunchy. And then, being the good husband and father that I am, I pretty much eat them all myself. Did I mention that pumpkin seeds are delicious? Maybe carving pumpkins isn't so bad, after all....nah, now that I think about it, it's still terrible!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

High School, Remembered

Me, my parents, and my mullet on the day I graduated, 20 years ago.

My 20th high school reunion was tonight. We didn't go. Initially, we weren't going to go because we thought we were going to be out of town this weekend. Those plans fell through a while ago, but the option of going to the reunion slipped my mind until three days ago, when one of my friends posted something about it on facebook.

I suppose there still would have been time to sign up and go, but I decided not to. We only know one person who is crazy enough to endure the chaos of babysitting all three of our children, and she watched them all day yesterday, so maybe we didn't want to burden her any more than we already recently had.

Me, now, sans mullet.
Or maybe I didn't want to admit to myself how old I really am. Twenty years is a long time. Long enough to make me feel pretty old. 

Or maybe the fact that I have already gotten back in touch with a lot of my old classmates via facebook made getting together seem not so necessary. I already know what is going on in their lives, so trying to chit-chat while loud 90s music pounds in the background didn't seem too inviting.

Whatever the case, we didn't go. Maybe we'll go for my 25th reunion. Or maybe I'll decide to wait until my 75th. I guess we'll just have to wait and find out.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Very Proud Daddy

Our days are set up so that, on the two days a week that she goes, I usually drop the Girl off at preschool, but my wife is always the one who picks her up. Up until today, I didn't know how pick-up goes, but drop-off is always at least a little tense, as I try to wrangle the Baby, the Boy, and the Girl into the van when we are leaving the house, and into the school once we arrive there. Something always seems to happen that prevents the morning from going smoothly; either the Boy informs me that he has a poopy diaper after I have already gotten the other two kids buckled into their car seats, or Daddy realizes we forgot the Girl's backpack after we are already half way to school, or the Boy starts crying because he really wants to go to school with his big sister, or the Girl starts crying because she really does not want to go to school at all, or any combination of those things, or any number of other calamities that have occurred, or are sure to occur at some point in the near future. You never know what is going to go wrong at our house!

Today, because of a thing that Mommy had to stay at work for, I got to go and pick up the Girl as well as drop her off in the morning. I was unsure of what to expect when I got to the school for pick-up time. Would the parents all be hanging out outside the classroom? Would I have to make small talk with all the soccer moms and hipster dads? When the teacher opened the door and the hordes of kids came rushing out to find their parent, would it be even more chaotic than it is in the mornings? Would I be in jeopardy of being trampled by dozens of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds?

Amazingly, none of that happened. In fact, even though I got there a couple of minutes early, half of the children had already been picked up, and the remaining ones were just playing quietly together, patiently waiting for their mom or dad. When the Girl saw me, she slowly walked over to greet me, in an almost restrained manner that did not fit with the rambunctious persona that I am used to. I even had time to have a calm conversation with her teacher, Miss Marge, for a couple of minutes, and found out that the Girl is "friendly with the other students, very polite, and the other girls just love to play with her." What? Did I hear that correctly? Despite my disbelief, I did not ask Miss Marge if she knew which student she was talking about. And, even if preschool teachers tell all of the parents that same story, I didn't care. I was very proud of my little girl, and I strode out of the school feeling like the best parent in the world. We have raised an awesome child! And her popularity in the classroom was proven when one of the little boys gave her a great big hug before we left. I'll have words with him some other time. Today, I am too proud to even care.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Have You Seen This Deer?

I have spent an enormous number of hours out in nature. I was trying to figure out exactly how much time I have spent outdoors, either fishing, camping, hiking, or even hunting (I have hunted very little, but some day maybe it will constitute a bigger share of my outside time), and I came up with a rough estimate of right around a billion hours, three of which have occurred since we started having copious amounts of children.

Most of this outdoorsy time has occurred miles from cities, out in the hinterlands of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, and even in rugged, exotic locales with lots of mountains, like Colorado. I have come face-to-face with bison, had antelope run across the road in front of my car, and even had Rocky Mountain sheep stare at me as I took their picture. And, the deer! Oh, the deer! I have had figurative run-ins with mule deer out west, and very-close-to-literal run-ins with White-Tailed deer around here, dozens of times. Once I saw two big bucks frolicking in a meadow, heading towards the road I was on, straight at a big 18-wheeler that was bearing down on them. Luckily they noticed the truck right before they touched pavement, or else one or both of them could have been launched directly into my windshield. That wouldn't have been fun, for any of us!

Big ol' deer are everywhere out in the country, but the biggest buck I have ever seen was in a little park about a half a mile from my house in Oakdale, MN. Oakdale isn't a bustling metropolitan city, but it is very near one, so it was especially surprising to see such a regal beast in a suburban area.

If you see this deer anywhere near Oakdale, please notify authorities.

We also have seen some deer tiptoeing through our yard on occasion, as they make their way to our pond for a drink of water. One of them did that last night, and we had evidence of this by way of hoof prints that led from the front yard, through the newly planted grass seed in our side yard, and finishing in the newly planted grass seed in our back yard. You may not know this, but hoof print-sized divots are not held in high esteem by homeowners who have spent dozens of hours grooming their dirt in order to make it more acceptable for grass seed, which is well-known as one of the most fickle of seeds. Sure, it's easy to get grass to grow where you don't want it to, but when you put it down in your yard, it tends to shrivel up and die before it's even hit the ground. Because of this, don't be surprised if, while you are driving through Oakdale, you see a camouflaged figure, or two, lurking in the shadows, waiting to strangle any unsuspecting deer who are about to set foot on our property. You don't need a hunting license if you don't use a gun, right? That's what I'm going with.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Peanuts, Anyone?

I guess I need to admit the truth. I don't know how it happened, but all of my children have peanut heads. Their Doctor has told us this multiple times, but I wasn't ready to admit it until we took the Baby to her most recent appointment. It really seemed to hit home with me when the Dr. told us that she was measuring in the 90th percentile in weight (Woohoo!), the 90th percentile in height (Oh yeah!), but just the 50th percentile in head size (Boo!). These numbers have been pretty much consistent amongst all our children throughout the years.

Does my head look small in this pic? I don't know what was cooler, my Dukes of Hazzard shorts, my striped tube socks, or my huge glasses. Maybe the gigantic stereo I was standing in front of was the coolest...
I am not sure if I am ready to take the blame on this one. When I look at pictures of me as a small boy, it seems as though I have a pretty large head, especially in comparison to my skinny twig-like arms and legs. Of course, it could just be the fact that my enormous glasses are what makes my head look big. Maybe I need to admit that my kids did get their peanut heads from me. I guess that would be better than getting my terrible eyesight or my crooked teeth. It's a good thing they got their cuteness from their mom!

Monday, October 8, 2012

No More Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth!

It has been a grand two days here in the Hanson household. Actually, the days have just been normal days, filled with the normal amount of chaos brought on by one of the three kids or two dogs, or any possible combination of the aforementioned. The grandness has occurred once the lights have been turned off, because for both of the past two nights, the Baby has slept through the night. There has been no crying or wailing coming from her crib, just peaceful little snores that only a content 6-month-old could make.

I may have mentioned this before, but whether I have or not, I'm going to mention it again. The Wife and I had a combined stroke of genius a couple of weeks ago, when we decided to move the Baby's crib out of the bedroom that she shares with both her older brother, the Boy, and her older sister, the Girl. The Baby was waking up and crying a lot at night, and we didn't want her to wake up her siblings, so we would always head right in to try to comfort her and get her to stop the wailing. The gnashing of teeth came from Mommy and Daddy because she was waking us up so much every night.

We have long been a fan of the "cry it out" method of parenting, in which the baby is allowed to cry by herself for increments of 5, 10, and 15 minutes at a time without Mommy or Daddy intervening. We would have liked to implement that method on the Baby, but with her being in with the other kids, we didn't want all three kids crying and whining in the middle of the night, so we never did it.

That is, until we put our genius caps on and decided to move her and her crib out of their bedroom. First we were going to move her downstairs into the only empty bedroom in the house. But, that's a long way from our bedroom, so we decided against it. Not that the Baby would even know, but more so that Mommy and Daddy wouldn't have to walk so far in the middle of the night. The family room was another option we considered, but that, too, is downstairs, and a long walk for us parents. We're not getting any younger, you know!

The Baby's crib, right smack-dab in the middle of our living room. Needless to say, once she goes to bed at night, not much "living" happens in this room, as we are sequestered to other parts of the house. Babies are so demanding!
Finally, we decided to move her crib out into the living room. It's not ideal, since the crib is quite large. For the time being, the use of our living room has been put on hiatus. But, the Baby can cry and whine as much as she wants, and the other kids don't hear a peep. And, believe me, she can cry and whine with the best of them. But, we just let her cry it out, and soon she puts herself back to sleep, no problem. In fact, she has gotten so good that she has slept through the night already on several occasions. We are going to wait until she has consistently slept through the night for at least 5 days (if my Wife has her way), or 6 months (if I get my way), in a row, before we move her back in with the others. For the time being, we are more than willing to give up our living room for a peaceful night's sleep.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Next Ten Top Movies Of All Time, According to Me

Yesterday's list of the Top Ten movies of all time elicited a lot of reactions from my readers. From virtual pats on the back for choosing some good ones, to virtually audible retching at some of the not-so-popular films that I included, reactions were all over the place. I knew that I hadn't included all of my favorite movies, so I did some more research to try to trigger some memories, and have come up with my list of the Next Ten movies of all time, as determined by me, who, let's face it, is the only one who writes for this blog, so my opinions are the only ones that matter. Please, I love getting feedback from my readers, so feel free to laud me or lambast me, however you see fit.
I used to think Clint Eastwood was the coolest. He's still cool, but nobody is as cool as Bruce Willis. At least as far as fancy-pants movie actors go. Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers.

  • Jaws
  • Rear Window
  • Forrest Gump
  • Run Lola Run
  • The Patriot (although this is pretty much Braveheart in a different era)
  • Die Hard
  • A Fistful of Dollars
  • The Sixth Sense
  • Edward Scissorhands
Of course, there are other good movies out there, but a guy can only think of so many. Some time in the future look for my Top Ten lists of favorite TV shows, TV actors, movies I've never seen, and much more. I can tell you can hardly wait!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bullet Points Are Cool

You may have noticed a few cosmetic changes to the blog. I spruced it up a little. Or I made it too busy and am going to drive away all my loyal readers, depending on how you look at it. I was actually trying to find ways to drive more readers to my blog, so I made these changes after consulting a very wise and all-knowing source of information: Google. Google also told me that blog readers really like lists and bullet points, so I thought I would give that a try. It took me a while, but I finally think I came up with a good list. So, here goes:

Scott's Top 10 List of Greatest Movies of All Time (in no particular order)

  • Gladiator
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • Blood Simple
  • The Bourne Identity (or am I thinking of The Bourne Supremacy? I always get those mixed up.)
  • Zombieland
  • Braveheart
  • The Passion of the Christ
  • Taken
  • Fargo
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Fish Bum Vol. 1: Mongolia
  • Snatch
  • Sling Blade
  • The Usual Suspects
  • L.A. Confidential
  • 3:10 to Yuma
  • Raising Arizona
Billy Bob Thornton, in what I believe is the greatest acting job in the history of film, in the movie Sling Blade. Photo courtesy of Miramax Films
You may notice that there are a few more than 10 on the list. I couldn't pare it down, and if I had taken any time to actually think things through, there probably would have been several more added to the list.

If I were to stick with the main theme of this blog, the list probably would have been something like the "10 Coolest Little People Characters" or the "10 Pointiest Toys That Daddy Has Stepped On At One Time Or Another." Look for those fun lists at some point in the near future!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's a Mimmy-Jimmy Outside...

It's been a beautiful fall so far here in God's Country (Minnesota, for those of you who don't know). Warm and sunny, it's been perfect for getting out and doing things outside, like picking up dog poop, and seeding and then reseeding the grass in most of our yard because the only things that came up the first time were weeds. The Wife took the opportunity to enjoy the weather by going for a walk around our neighborhood the other night. If it had been me, I would have walked by myself, you know, to get away from the terminal chaos that is a constant within the walls of our house. The Wife is much, much braver than I, though. She took the chaos with her on her walk, by bringing all of the kids, AND our two yippy dogs with her. She should be up for a medal for her bravery. Or in a loony bin.

Well, all that beautiful weather came to a screeching halt this morning. It went from 80 degrees yesterday to colder than a mimmy-jimmy today. And the cold front brought with it some gale-force winds to really make people's teeth chatter. It's still quite sunny out, though, so from inside your house you could get lulled into a false sense of warmth and make the mistake of letting the dogs out while wearing only a pair of shorts. Oh, that silly Wife of mine!
I probably should have bundled the kids up like this today, but with all the chaos in our house, they're lucky if they get out of the house wearing both a shirt AND pants. Socks & shoes are never a guarantee, either...

The Boy, the Baby and I dropped the Girl off at preschool this morning. We had to park about 1/8 of a block from the school, but trudging into the wind made it feel like we were on a death march to the top of Mount Everest. The Baby kept making sucking/squealing noises, like she couldn't catch her breath, and the Boy was hardly able to make any headway at all against the wind. If I had a rope with me I would have thrown it back to him and dragged him up to the entry door. The one positive was that the wind blew most of the snot out of all the kids' noses so there wasn't much to wipe when we got inside. Although it has been warm up until now, I guess this probably is a more typical fall day here in God's Country.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dueling Dilemmas

We've got a couple of minor dilemmas going on in our house, and they are in direct competition with each other, metaphysically speaking. (Us bloggers like to use big words that we don't know the meaning of, just to make ourselves seem smart. Mission accomplished!) Both of our dilemmas involve doors, and more specifically, the closing of doors.

The Boy is an excellent door closer, and he is always eager to prove that to anyone in the house. The problem that arises is that he only really likes to close doors when someone other than him is about to walk through the door. It usually goes like this: The Wife or I mention that we need to go into the kids' bedroom, for whatever reason. The Boy hears this, and runs as fast as his tiny 2-year-old legs will allow him, into the bedroom before we get there. The Boy then stands behind the almost-closed door, looking at us with his cute, blue, diabolical eyes. As soon as we get within a millimeter or so of entering the bedroom, he slams the door in our face, and runs into the safe inner sanctum of his bunk bed. This scene has been repeated in pretty much every room in our house, at one time or another. As cute as this scenario sounds, it generally is not thought of as all that cute by the Wife and I, who would rather not have doors slammed in our faces on a regular basis. We are currently at work in our Mommy & Daddy War Room, trying to figure out a way to combat this dilemma.

Imagine this, times 4 billion, and you'll have a good idea of what it looks like outside our front door. Image courtesy of the Orkin Company
The other door-related dilemma always happens at the front door. Both the Girl and the Boy are getting very proficient at opening the front door and going out into our front yard. Thankfully, we have gotten it into their thick skulls that they should never do this without telling Mommy or Daddy first. What we haven't gotten into their thick skulls is that, when they do go outside, they need to close the door behind them, both to keep our annoyingly yippy dogs in the house, and also to keep the hordes of boxelder bugs outside of our house. There are currently approximately 4 billion boxelder bugs buzzing around our front door, trying to get inside for the winter. And, usually, if the dogs got out for a few minutes or a couple of months, I would welcome the break, but at this time of year, they actually serve a purpose - they might eat some of the boxelder bugs that happen to slip inside. I guess I have to admit that I want the dogs to stick around. So, now we have two dilemmas concerning the closing of doors. We'll head back into the War Room and try to come up with a plan for this dilemma, too.