Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Think We've Got a World Record On Our Hands

A good friend of ours is having her first child in a few months, and she recently asked all of her facebook friends for suggestions on what to ask for when they register for their baby shower. She got all sorts of good advice, but then the conversation turned to diapers; more specifically, which brands were best, and how many were needed. We have always been fans of Target brand diapers, because they hold a lot of, let's say, "stuff". The name-brand ones might hold as much "stuff", but they let the "stuff" leak through way too quickly. The name-brand ones probably would be good for parents who aren't lazy, and who enjoy changing diapers several times throughout a day. We, on the other hand, want to change diapers as seldom as is humanly possible, so we'll stick with the ones that hold the "stuff" and keep it in.

Which leads me to the next topic: How many diapers are needed for a baby? One time a different friend of mine made the comment that she thought they would spend $300 a month on diapers once their baby was born. What!?!? When I went back and figured out how much we spent on diapers for our three kids, I think I came up with something like $30 a month. I think the name brand diapers that change color when the baby pees is one of the greatest marketing ploys known to man. Just because there's a little pee in the diaper does not mean the baby is uncomfortable. Diapers are made out of the most absorbent material in the world. Every drop of pee is instantly wicked away from the baby, who I'm sure doesn't even realize he's gone potty. There's no need to change the diaper as soon as it changes color!

In contrast, we change our babies' diapers probably less often than anyone else would admit to. I have always thought it was fun to see how full I could let the diapers get before they started leaking around the edges. I routinely announce that the really full ones have set a "new state record" for weight of diaper, and me and the kids have a little mock celebration. Honestly, I have taken some 5 and 6 pound diapers off of our kids, and they were never the worse for wear. I say get as much use out of your things as you can, diapers included. Now, where did I put that scale? I just pulled a big one off the boy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is planking cool?

Is planking still cool? Or, to be more accurate, was it ever cool? I never really understood planking, and I think we can all agree that I'm about as hip as you could ask for, so maybe it never really was cool to begin with. I'm only asking because the baby seems to really be into it. I don't know where she learned about it. I suppose it could have been in the nursery at church; there are a lot of cool babies there. Or maybe she watched a story about planking on Good Morning America. Who knows? What I do know is that she has started to plank whenever she doesn't get what she wants. You would think that she would be happy just doing the normal old baby things, like crying and whining. Oh, she does those, too, but when she gets really mad, her face turns red, she arches her back, and she thrusts her legs out as stiff as can be, just like a plank. I haven't tried this, since she's a baby and all, but I think I could balance her on one finger if I tried, and she would just lay there perfectly still, like a bright red, crying, piece of wood.

Who knew our 2-month-old baby would already be more hip than her parents? Actually, if you know her parents, you probably aren't all that surprised.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Swimming Pool Soup

I hope you've been having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. We have gotten to spend a bunch of time with friends and family, and we've been able to reminice about loved ones who aren't with us any more. This is one of my favorite weekends of the year.

Today we are spending the day with my bride's family, relaxing inside for the most part, and getting ready to stuff our faces with some delicious grilled meat products in a few minutes. Yesterday, we also enjoyed a fine array of grilled meat products, but we were up at my sister's house about a half hour north of here. Along with the meat products, our menu was filled with yummy chicken salad, various fruits, and baked beans. Some of the heartier folks enjoyed deviled eggs, but those aren't one of my favorites. You'd think they would be, since I am well known amongst my friends as being something of an egg connosieur: I usually eat three medium fried eggs at least 5 or 6 days of the week. I've never been able to fully wrap my lips around deviled eggs, though, but that's OK. "To each his own," as I believe Ben Franklin once said.

You may have noticed that there weren't too many veggies on the menu, but that didn't keep all of us from getting our quota of greens. My sister's massive backyard was a perfect spot for all of the toddlers, which there were approximately a billion present, to run and play and have a fun time in the great outdoors. There also was a small kiddie pool in one corner of the yard, which the kids would dip their feet in as the mood hit, with the intention of cooling off a bit. The pool also acted as a sort of wash tub, rinsing all the dirt, sand, and grass clippings off of everybody's feet, so they could then run around, collect more of the same, and then wash them off the next time they dipped their feet. This went on most of the afternoon, until the pool water was quite green in color, looking more like grass soup than clean pool water. It was totally unappetizing to all of the adults who were there, but apparently adults don't think the same as a 2-year-old. My son, we'll call him Bubba, could not get enough of the grass soup, sneaking sips throughout the afternoon, whenever he thought there wasn't somebody watching. We all got after him every time, and even tried to tempt him away from the pool with a large sippy cup of ice cool drinking water, but he went back time after time. My wife and I feigned disgust, but in all reality, we were a little bit happy that he was getting some greens in his diet. Have you ever tried to get a 2-year-old to eat his veggies?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Let's Pick Some Pics

I just recently realized that my blog is pretty boring to look at. I've never really blogged very much, either writing them or reading them, so I really don't know what is proper. But in the last couple of days I've been perusing the internet, looking at some of my friend's blogs, along with some from people I don't know, and the majority of them have at least a few photos or other artsy things gracing their pages. Always one to conform, I have decided that I need to post some pics, as well. Based on the name of my blog, I could take a few shots of the inside of our house, showing some of the clutter which naturally occurs when you have three little ones running around, but I don't think my beautiful bride would want me to showcase that on the web for all to see. I subscribe to the theory of "Happy wife, happy life", so I will try to figure out some other topics to photograph.

A natural topic would be our kids, but now that there are so many of them running around, draining my wife and I of our life essence, we always forget to grab our cameras. We both have one, so you would think that one of us would remember and actually snap a few photos every once in a while. But we don't. If we had boring normal kids, that would be totally understandable, but we were blessed with three Super Kids, and yet we still forget to photograph all of the miraculous things our children do. I think we need to start wearing our cameras around our necks, so they are always ready to click away. Knowing that that probably won't happen any time soon, maybe I should go through our bins and bins of photos we took before we had kids. That's probably the only way I'll ever get this blog spruced up.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Daddy's a Sloth, Too

I wrote earlier about how my 3-year-old is a sloth. I have recently realized that she comes about her slothfulness honestly: her daddy is a sloth, too. Now to be honest, our slothiness shows itself in different ways. The girl's sloth is manifested in the fact that she doesn't do anything quickly. She'll take forever to get dressed; she'll stop doing what she's been told to do (e.g. pick up the toys that she has strewn about the house) and go do something else (e.g. anything else she can think of); and the rest of us could scarf down enough food to feed an army of starving Cossacks in the time it takes her to eat a single cup of yogurt. She just does things at her own speed, which she usually turns down several notches when we are really in a hurry to get out the door. I would say that it's just part of her charm. But I would be lying. It's totally aggravating.

I, on the other hand, don't usually do things slowly. I just don't do them at all. During the winter my main source of exercise comes in the form of typing on my computer. I do play a little softball during our short Minnesota summers, but if I am lucky enough to make it to first base, I need to have a 5 minute oxygen break before the next pitch is thrown. Somehow, despite my almost total lack of exercise, I have still remained at least somewhat thin. By that I mean that I hover between 7 and 10 pounds more than what I would call my "goal weight". I struggled for months trying to figure out just how I manage to accomplish this. Do I have the world's greatest metabolism? Is it because I tend to graze on small amounts of food all day instead of eating three huge meals every day? Is it just because I tend to raise my "goal weight" whenever I pack on more "actual" pounds? Perhaps. But I think I have finally figured out the real reason. I don't do any actual "exercise", per se, but there is one activity that I do a lot, and I think it's keeping me in the mediocre shape that I am in.

You see, every time we go somewhere, whether it be to church, or to grandma & grandpa's house, or to our local Target store, or anywhere else, I make approximately 12 trips to the car to load up all our "stuff". We've got diaper bags, and more diaper bags, and overnight bags, and bags full of toys for the girl, and bags full of toys for the boy, and mommy's got her bag, and daddy's got his briefcase, and don't forget the laptop, and the girl wants to bring her water bottle, and the boy wants to bring his milk cup, and on and on and on. Oh, and then hopefully we remember to bring the baby, who is gaining weight at the speed of light, and whose car seat weighs about 40 pounds. I figure every time we go anywhere I end up carrying about 700 pounds of "stuff" out to the car. No wonder I'm in such mediocre shape! I can't believe I'm not even more ripped than I already am.


A Quick Rant

I don't want this to become a regular thing on this blog, but I have to rant a little bit about something that's been bothering me lately. The boy has been in a funk for the past couple of months in which he rarely wants to eat his vegetables or fruits. He will, if they are contained within soup, but we can't eat soup all the time. Neither my wife nor I have ever been a huge believer in taking supplements, but we want to ensure that the boy is getting all the nutrients that a 2-year-old needs, so we recently began looking at our options for children's vitamins.What a bunch of hooey! Every brand at every store we've looked at has had the same first two ingredients: Glucose syrup and sucrose. Or, in layman's terms, sugar, and then more sugar. Shouldn't the goal, when raising kids, be to encourage them to eat a well-rounded and balanced diet, including vegetables? So how can we expect them to ever learn to like their veggies when the alternative tastes sweet and sugary? I think vitamins should taste bland, or even bad, so that kids will choose to eat the better alternative: real live fruits and veggies. Seriously, I don't think there's much in this world that tastes better than some roasted asparagus or brussel sprouts, sprinkled with olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. But what child would ever choose that option over a bright red candy vitamin? I know this viewpoint probably seems foreign to a lot of people, but that's how I feel about it. Thank you for listening to my rant. I promise I won't have another for a long time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shots for the baby

We took the baby in for her two-month checkup today at the Doctor's office. It went swimmingly. It was confirmed that she is quite large, in the 90th percentile in weight, yet her head is relatively small, just like her brother and sister. When we only had the one child, we took her to one of her early Dr. appointments, and the Doctor asked if her mom or I had a "peanut head" when we were a child. If the sudden thought of peanuts hadn't made me so hungry, I might have been offended by that comment. The truth is, I couldn't remember if I had a small head as a baby, but one of us must have, since it has been a consistent thing amongst our kids.

Another thing that I was reminded of from our first child's early Dr. appointments was the time when she got her first shots. My wife and I were kind of on the fence about whether or not to get her any shots, since there seemed to be some murmuring amongst Hollywood types and other people in the media that shots were causing the rise in autism throughout the country. We couldn't find any proof of that any where, but still, this was our first child, and since it had taken a while to conceive her, maybe our only child. Did we want to put her at risk for a terrible disease? We mulled it over for a long time, but finally decided to go with the shots. All the worry and speculation raised the anxiety level in both my wife and I, though, so when it was finally time for her to get the shots, we were just about at the brink of a breakdown. Then the Dr. put the first needle in to our poor little baby's leg, and the freeflow of wailing and gnashing of teeth could be heard throughout the clinic, and possibly throughout several city blocks, as well. Then the baby started to cry, too, which made it even worse! Well, we all got through that day, pretty easily, when we look back at it. Baby settled down quickly, and then slept most of the day, which made it easier for mommy and daddy to compose ourselves as well.

Since that first run-in with shots, we haven't hesitated to have all of our kids get their shots. Which brings me back to today, the first time our newest baby got her shots. I was busy reading to our 2-year-old in the extra chair, so I didn't even realize that the Dr. had taken the needles out and gotten them ready. All of a sudden the baby started crying, my wife picked her up and started to feed her, and that was that. She settled down within a few seconds. No wailing, no gnashing of teeth, and no nervous breakdowns for any of us. And now the baby is sleeping it off. Maybe we should get her shots more often...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Should We or Shouldn't We?

I'm sure a lot of you are going to think we are pretty much completely insane. But it's something we've been thinking about for a while now. Just how many do we want to have? I never really thought about this before we got married, and then it took us a couple years to decide to have our first. After our first, things were going smoothly around the house, so it was easy to decide to have another. Now, we have a nice little family going, but if we are being honest with ourselves, we need to admit that there's always the possibility that it may grow in size. Just the other day, we thought for sure that we were going to be adding another to the equation. It seemed pretty imminent, which made me start to worry about having another mouth to feed, and whether or not we even have room in our house for all of us. Not to mention all the new toys we would have to get; hand-me-downs are good, but we'd have to get the new family member at least a few toys of his own. I was just trying to figure out how we could rearrange all the beds in the house, when our imminent dreams of adding to our family were suddenly dashed: the owner of the stray dog that had camped out on our front stoop showed up and whisked him away in her car. It was a little sad to see him go, but I guess having two dogs in the house is enough for now.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bad Dream

Dreams sure can be weird. I haven't done a lot of studying of dreams, but I've heard some theories over the years. Some people think certain dreams can mean different things. Like, if you dream that you're getting eaten by a bear, that means you need to remember to stop on your way home from work and buy some more dog food. Or if you dream about falling out of a building, that means you should quick go out and rent a basement apartment. Personally, I've never subscribed to any of these crazy theories. They all seem like a bunch of hooey to me.

I only ever remember having one recurring dream in my life, and it only happened a few times during my childhood. It always occurred when I was running a fever, which luckily was not all that often. During those times of illness I would have these crazy dreams where I was alone on a jungle island, finding my way through the overgrown foliage. I would have an ever deepening sense of foreboding in my dream, like something really bad was about to happen. This feeling would build in intensity throughout the dream, but I was never sure exactly what was about to happen- just that it was something really bad. The tension and anxiety would build and build in my dream, until finally, the island I was on exploded in a fiery volcanic blast. I would jolt out of bed in a sweaty and jittery panic, sure that I had just been blown to smithereens. This was a very traumatic dream for a small child to have, so you can see why the memory has stuck with me ever since.

Luckily, I haven't had that dream in a long time, and I really don't remember very many of the dreams I do have nowadays. Just the other night, though, I did have a very bad nightmare. It was the scariest dream I can remember having in a long time. The problem was that it was ultra realistic, like it could have actually happened in real life. I didn't dream about dragons or witches, or any other fantastical beings. And I didn't dream about tornadoes or tsunamis or any other natural disasters like that. My dream hit way closer to home than any of those things. Actually, it's kind of hard for me to even write about what I did dream about, since it was so frightening to me. But I have come this far, so I might as well just get it off my chest. OK, here goes, I dreamed that, oh  man, this is almost too scary to type out... I dreamed that we were...already...having...another...BABY!!!! Oh my goodness, it was possibly the scariest dream I could have right now! Another baby in our house would be scarier than Jason, Freddy Krueger, and the Loch Ness Monster all rolled in to one! We can hardly handle the, how many kids do we have now? It seems like about 17...Oh yeah, it's just 3. But still, some times 3 is more than we can handle right now. Even just dreaming about having more is enough to give me a case of the screaming willies. I wouldn't wish that dream on any one. At least until the 3 we have go off to college. Then maybe we could handle another...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Big Plans

As you may have noticed, the title of this blog is "Chaotic Kids & Clutter". With two toddlers and one newborn hanging around, you can be sure that there is always a constant barrage of clutter filling our house. No matter how many times we tell our two oldest kids to clean up after themselves, it is not in kids' DNA to remember to actually do that. They are much more inclined to take a toy out of the bin, play with it for approximately 10 seconds while they are walking into a totally different part of the house, and then drop it in a random spot on the floor before going back to the toy bin to repeat the process an indiscriminate amount of times. Right now the toy bin is in our living room, so the kids have full access to our main living, eating, and sleeping quarters in which to deposit their toys. This causes all sorts of fun times for mommy and daddy as we step on, kick, and stub our toes whenever we move.

We have plans on moving all the toys downstairs and turning our family room into one big toy room, mainly so that we can just herd the kids downstairs and have some peace and quiet upstairs. But this plan hinges on one thing: first, we have to clean up the basement! It shouldn't be that big of a job...anybody wanna watch three slightly chaotic kids for a couple of months while we do some cleaning? We'll be happy to provide some toys to step on, I mean, play with.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My 3 year old is a sloth

3-year-olds, or at least my 3-year-old, does not understand the concept of "hurrying up". For some reason, this fact incenses me, and I don't mean that it burns me in aromatic oils or perfumes. I try to get my daughter to speed things up, but instead she switches whatever it is she is doing from "Sloth" speed to "A Snail's Pace". Her aunt in Oklahoma has started referring to my daughter as "Pokey Joe", because no matter what she is supposed to be doing, it takes a loooooong time. And that's coming from someone who lives in The South, where life moves a little slower than us yankees are accustomed to.

Just this afternoon, my daughter was making me pull out all of my hair - actually I was attempting to just pull out the gray ones, which would have been ok, but I got some of the brown ones, too, which is not ok! I had taken her and her little brother to a model train show, which turned out to be just a model train sale, which is a big difference when you have two toddlers in tow who do not have a grasp of how hard it is to earn money. So, what happened was that I would try to divert their attention away from all of the fun train-themed things that were for sale while they would simultaneously grab items off of tables, shoving them in my face trying to get me to buy them. I did relent and buy them both a couple of Thomas wooden trains to add to their collection, which seemed to appease them.

Any ways, on the way home from the train show, we went through the drive-thru of a DQ, with the intent to stop at the park across the street to eat, and possibly play at the cool playground before we headed home for nap time. Both kids got a hot dog, a cup of applesauce, a carton of milk, and the smallest scoop of ice cream known to man. I was thinking we could all be done scarfing down our food  in 5 minutes or so, and have plenty of time to play. Approximately 45 minutes later, my daughter still had half of her hot dog left, and that was even without eating the bun, which she turned her nose up at. Her brother was quickly approaching full zombie nap mode, having finished his lunch what seemed like hours earlier, so I hustled them home as fast as I could, without even a single turn down the fun looking slide. We got home and I discovered she still had 98% of her applesauce left, too! Too bad she fell asleep on the car ride home. The applesauce was delicious!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chaos

Hey, look at me! I'm a blogger! I can't hardly believe it myself. This is something I never really thought I would do. But, in the past couple months, life has become completely and hopelessly filled with chaos around my house, and I thought I would start to write about it, so the outside world can have a chance to experience the same chaos that I get to be a part of every day. You see, a few short weeks ago, my beautiful wife gave birth to a beautiful little girl. You're probably saying to yourself, "Self, what's the big deal about having a baby? Any nincompoop can have a baby. That's nothing new!" And I agree, you'd be right if you were thinking that. What makes life in our house so chaotic is the fact that we brought our new bundle of joy and poop home to meet her 21-month-old brother and her just-barely 3-year-old sister. So we now are a household unit comprised of a well-intending but sometimes juvenile daddy (Me), and wonderful mommy who keeps everything and everyone in line (The Wife), a 3-year-old daughter who thinks she knows as much as daddy (and may be correct in that thinking) (The Girl), an overly-dramatic 22-month-old son who constantly thinks he is being wronged somehow (The Boy), and a baby girl who comes with all the neediness you would expect from a newborn (The Baby). Throw in a yorkie-poo who gets far less attention than he was formerly accustomed to and a lhasa apso whose favorite activity is hiding out underneath the dining room table and lunging at any unsuspecting ankles that happen to be walking by, and you've got a recipe for possibly the most chaos to be found anywhere in the known universe. Things happen around our house that would boggle the minds of scientists everywhere, and I plan on documenting these things for your reading pleasure. Stop by and check out the happenings often, as every day brings the potential for more and more weird events. Thanks for checking out Chaotic Kids & Clutter!
Scott