Sunday, March 31, 2013

What an Awesome Easter!

Happy Easter from Chaotic Kids & Clutter! We had a wonderful day of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, starting early this morning. We got all the kids up and threw their best Easter duds on as quickly as possible, and then were out the door on our way to church for a delicious Easter breakfast. We had as much yummy egg bake, muffins, and mixed fruit as we could stuff into our mouths. Well, actually, the Boy ate my muffin, after he had already eaten his, but I assume it was good, because the Wife baked it. She makes really good muffins, and I'm not just saying that because she happens to be looking over my shoulder as I type this.

After breakfast, some of the youth from our church put on a fun skit depicting the resurrection story. I have to assume that was good, too, but I can't be sure because I didn't pay close enough attention. I'm not sure if that's because our kids were causing so much havoc that I couldn't concentrate, or I was nodding off after filling my tummy with good food. That part of the morning was kind of a blur.

The Easter service was great, and the sanctuary seemed especially full, which is always fun. It was indeed a joyous morning of celebrating.

After church we headed over the the in-laws' house for dinner. Every Easter and Thanksgiving since the Wife and I have been married, our two families have eaten dinner together. At first I was a little worried that my mom and my mother-in-law might get into a brouhaha over what kind of pickles should be served (the correct answer is always Baby Dills, by the way), but there has never been a problem, not even the slightest dust-up or most minor of melees, so the tradition has continued on. Today's Easter dinner was especially good. I don't know who brought the green bean hotdish, but it was superb!
Nothing is more fun than mixing a little golf into your Easter celebration. As long as nobody gets hurt! 
After dinner, I gave the kids their Easter presents: the Girl, the Boy, and the Cousin all got their very own golf club. I have been making custom-fit golf clubs for many years, so I made some extra-small clubs for the kids. They all seemed to really like them, and even successfully hit some of the foam practice golf balls around inside the house without causing anyone any severe bodily harm. Even the Baby, who has a tendency to crawl up to people without their knowledge, was able to stay out of harm's way during all the backswings. Nobody got hurt (at least not as a direct result of the golf clubs!) It was a wonderful day of celebration. Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hey Ma, Get the Shotgun!

It was an interesting drop-off at the Girl's preschool this morning. It seemed like just an ordinary day at first. I had my normal semi-success at herding the three kids into the building, with just a couple of detours by the older two, when they stopped to look at the snow next to the sidewalk. They have been completely surrounded by snow for the past 5 months, yet they still have to stop and look at it when Daddy is trying to get them to go somewhere. It can be quite aggravating.

Anyway, I finally got them into the building and inside the Girl's classroom. That's when it started to get interesting. The Wife and I have known for a while that one of the Girl's best friends at school is a little boy, we'll call him Josiah. Other than Josiah, though, the Girl only talks about other girls when we ask her about school. Today made me think that Josiah might not be the only boy we have to worry about.

First of all, the Girl was taking her coat and backpack off and hanging them up in one of the little cubicles that are there for that purpose. A little boy, let's call him Pierre, came in just after us, and started to hang his coat up at the other end of the row of cubicles. But, he must have decided he didn't like that cubicle, since he started moving towards the Girl, eyeballing each empty cubicle as he went. Finally, he chose the cubicle right next to the Girl's, where he hung up his coat and backpack. His Grandpa, who was dropping him off, said "What, you gotta be right next to your girlfriend?!" At that, Pierre turned a bright shade of red and slunk away to the other side of the room.

After the Girl got her coat hung up, yet another boy, we'll call him Eddie, came charging up to the Girl and asked her is she wanted to go play with the blocks with him. Before I could blink they went off to play. She didn't even give me her normal good-bye hug. I'm not sure she even knew I was still there.
I found all sorts of t-shirts online with this slogan on them. I'm not sure that D.A.D.D. is a real group, but if not, I think I may start it up. Who's with me?
I know the Girl is very cute, but I'm not sure I'm quite ready for all the attention the boys in her class are giving her. I'm thinking I need to gather them all up some morning before class and have a few words with them. It won't be anything too deep - they are only 3 or 4 years old, after all. I just want to make sure they know how dads, in general, want their little girls to be treated. And maybe scare them a little. I think that's my prerogative.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Chaos is Moving

Now that there is a three-day-long break in the NCAA basketball tournament, I can focus my brain on other things, like writing on my blog. A couple of weeks ago my brain was turned to mush by the epic TV zombie drama, The Walking Dead, (you can read about it here), and now over the past few days it's been turned to mush by watching way too much basketball. I initially thought my poor gray matter would be spared being turned into mush, because we don't have cable, and I mistakenly thought that 3/4 of the games in the tourney could only be seen via cable. Somehow, I found out that all of the games, no matter which TV station they were being broadcast on, could be streamed online for free, so mush my brain became.

Today, there is no basketball, so my synapses have started to get fired up again, and, so far, the words are flowing quite freely through my fingertips and onto the keyboard. I'm sure you can hardly contain your excitement.

I'm sure a lot has happened around here since the last time I posted, but really, I have no idea what that could be - I've been too busy watching basketball to know. I would think the kids have probably done some cute/funny/aggravating things, but you'd have to ask the Wife. She would know.

Oh, there is one thing that has happened that I remember. I alluded to the fact a while back that there might be some big news happening around here (see Cryptic & Chaotic, from last week), and it's now official: The Hansons, and all of our chaos, are moving. Yes, we are willingly taking our current amount of chaos and multiplying it by approximately 1 billion, by trying to get our house in proper selling condition in the next 5 weeks or so. Usually it takes us at least 6 weeks to get up enough gumption to vacuum, so this is indeed a big undertaking.
Look out, we're moving! Stay out of our way!

We have decided to buy the Wife's parents' house, since they will soon be moving into the Wife's grandmother's old house. It's all very convoluted, but what it comes down to is that we have a lot of work to do, and not a lot of time to do it. So, there's a good chance that my propensity to blog will be diminished over the next few weeks. You may have to get by reading a handful of new blog posts every week, instead of the multitudes you are used to. For that, I apologize, unless this news makes you happy, in which case you are welcome. I'm sure I will have at least minimal updates about how the move is going. Wish us luck.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The White Screen of Death

Our new cell phones are scheduled to be delivered today. I am super excited. My phone hasn't been working correctly for a week or more now. And I feel lost. Actually, if I were to be honest for once in my life, I would admit that very few people ever call me, so it's not a big deal. In this case, being honest makes me sad, so let's forget about honesty for a while, shall we?

I think I was working at my part-time job at the Fly Shop when it all started. I got a text from someone - let's assume it was the Wife, since nobody else ever calls me (sob) - and I started to type out my reply when the screen wigged out on me. I think that first time everything turned upside down and then went black, so it was impossible for me to respond.

After that first night, the screen worked occasionally, but most of the time everything on the screen would start out upside down and backward, and then it would go black. Eventually the screen just went completely white. No words are ever visible, whether right-side-up, upside-down, or backward.
Oh man, I can't wait to get my new phone!

The White Screen of Death, as I have started calling it, has kept me from being able to text at all, since I can't see what I am writing, and it has stopped me from calling all but a few select people. In the age of cell phones, I have become a complete moron when it comes to remembering people's phone numbers, since I usually just scroll to their name and hit send.

In the past week I have only been able to call the Wife, whose number is the only one I have ever bothered to set up with a speed dial number; my parents, who still have the same phone number they have had since I was a kid, back when I had enough brain cells to actually memorize number sequences; and my two places of employment, because those two numbers have been ingrained in my head just by sheer repetition. 

Today, though, all that will change. My new phone should arrive,  and I will be able to call and annoy everyone who has ever made the mistake of giving me their phone number. If I don't call, I will surely text - my new phone will have my first Qwerty-style keyboard, and I can foresee my fingers hurting tonight after typing an endless number of messages. It's been a long week, and I have a lot of things to get off my chest. Consider yourself warned.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Year Ago...

I can remember it like it was yesterday. But, in fact, it was exactly one year ago today. My favorite college basketball team, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, had been going through a stretch of tough games. Actually, it would be more accurate to say they had been going through a stretch of tough decades. The Gophers haven't really been consistently good since the 1970s. Sure, there have been a handful of years that they finished in the top half of the Big Ten Conference standings, and they made the too-good-to-be-true-and-in-fact-wasn't-true-because-they-were-cheating run to the Final Four back in 1997, but overall the team has been stuck in mediocrity for a long time.

Still, they are my favorite college team, and every fall I get excited to watch them, and every winter they break my heart. It's an odd relationship we have, the Gophers and me. You would think at some point I would get tired of taking them back time after time, but I know, deep in my heart, they will reward my dedication with a National Championship. To be honest, I'd be happy if they won a Big Ten title.

Last year, it had been more of the same. I came into the season with high hopes. The Gophers fueled my emotions by winning 12 of their first 13 games of the season. But then it happened, like it always does. The Big Ten season started, the Gophers lost their first 4 conference games, and went on to finish the regular season with a 19-14 record. Despite an exciting win against highly-ranked Indiana, their record was not nearly good enough to get into the NCAA tournament. Oh well.

They were, however, awarded a berth into the ugly stepsister of college basketball tournaments, the National Invitation Tournament, or NIT. Although not nearly as exciting as the NCAA tourney, at least the season wasn't over, and maybe, if I was lucky, I would be able to watch my beloved Gophers play again on ESPN, if I happened to be somewhere that had ESPN, unlike our house. Without cable, I hadn't actually watched many of their games all season. But, maybe I would get another chance.

I wasn't able to watch the Gophers' first game of the tournament, against LaSalle, which they won. But I was fortunate enough to find myself in front of a TV to watch their second game, against the highly touted University of Miami Hurricanes. It was a hotly contested game, with both teams playing their hearts out. Neither team wanted their season to end, and they played like it. OK, it really only seemed like the Gophers didn't want their season to end. The Hurricanes seemed fine with that, as they went down meekly in defeat to my Gophers by a score of 78-60. My team was finally reciprocating my love, as they began to play like they meant it. It was a great night, watching my favorite team play as well as they had all season. I will never forget that night.

It seems like something else fun happened that night, too...Oh yeah, that was the same night the Baby was born! I knew there was something else going on in the room!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Daddy the Diver

I am sure I have just as many dreams as everyone else does, but I rarely remember them. Even on the rare occasions when I do wake up during a dream, and I think to myself, "Hey that was a good dream. I'm sure I'll remember that one in the morning," I almost never do. I fall back into a deep sleep, the depth of which would rival that of the Grand Canyon, and by morning, the dream has vanished into the abyss known as my brain, never to be heard from again.

Over the past four years, though, I have had a handful of dreams that, while not always the same overall, have shared at least one similar facet. It's an odd facet; I am not entirely sure why I would dream about this so often, but I do. It's quite strange, and a little unnerving.

The thing that I dream about so often is falling babies. Not that there are a multitude of falling babies in my dreams. It's not like it's raining babies or anything weird like that in my dreams. There's always just one baby who is falling, and it's always whichever one of my children happens to be a baby at the time. 

The baby that is doing the falling is always falling off of something, like a ledge, or down the stairs, or out of a window. That's probably what makes these crazy dreams so realistic. These are scenarios that could really happen.

My guess is that, even though dreams about falling babies are slightly unnerving, I probably would quickly forget these dreams like I do most of my other dreams. Except, these falling baby dreams are so real that I find myself sleep-diving all over our bedroom trying to catch my mythical dream children. I have sleep-dived across the Wife's legs to catch the mythical dream Girl on the other side of the bed. I have sleep-dived completely out of bed to catch the mythical dream Baby, only to be awakened when I hit the closet doors. I have sleep-dived over my nightstand, knocking off my glasses, books, and everything else that happened to be on there, to catch the mythical dream Boy. I can cause quite the mess.
This is an artist's rendition of me diving all over our bedroom, trying to catch my mythical dream babies. I'm not sure why the artist thinks I wear shoes to bed. Other than that it's very realistic.
Needless to say, waking up in places other than my cozy bed, and with stuff strewn about the room, is almost as unnerving as the dreams themselves.What is it about having babies that makes me dream about them falling? I never dream about me falling. Or the yippy, annoying dogs falling. Just our babies. Why has having children made me start having such scary, realistic dreams? Should the Wife start strapping me into bed so I don't make such a mess? These are all good questions. I think I'll sleep on it and get back to you.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cryptic & Chaotic

Facebook is fun. It's a great way to get back in touch with old friends you've lost track of, and it makes it easy to know what people are up to and how they think about certain subjects. I probably put way too much info on facebook, and most of my friends probably get tired of all my silly posts, but I find it fun, so I'll probably keep doing it.

One thing that has really bugged me over the years is when my friends make cryptic posts that don't really say anything, while making it seem as though they have a lot to say. They might post something like, "Oof, that was a close call!" or "Boy, I never saw that coming!" or some other cryptic message that piques everyone's interest, but then they don't give us any details so we are left wondering what they are talking about. I always find it very irritating when that happens.
This post should fill you with a billion questions. If not, I wasn't cryptic enough. Perhaps this photo reveals a hint or two...or not. Who knows? Moooooooohahahahahahahaha

Today, though, I am going to steal a page from that book. In the next few weeks, we here at Chaotic Kids & Clutter may have some big news. News that will double, triple, or maybe even quintuple the amount of chaos in our household. News that is so newsworthy that you will call your local newspaper just to find out if it's in fact true. Your mind will be boggled when you hear exactly what we have gotten ourselves into, seemingly of our own choosing. My mind is boggled just thinking about it. The news will be astounding!

But, I'm not going to tell you what it is right now. I'm going to wait for a while and just keep it to myself. Maybe there won't be any news at all...who knows? You'll just have to keep reading my blog to find out. Isn't this irritating?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Girl is Getting Older...

Today is the last day that our first-born, the Girl, can call herself a 3-year-old. Tomorrow is her 4th birthday. This churns up a lot of memories for me. It's hard to believe that just 4 years ago, today, we were still a household comprised of just me and the Wife. Oh, and our two annoying dogs, too. Life was simpler back then, that's for sure. Little did we know how much chaos our humble house would be home to in the coming years. Kind of makes me wonder how we got through it all...


After thinking it over for a while, I really have no idea how we got through it all, but we did. And now we have a wonderful little girl who is about to turn 4. Happy birthday, Sweetie! Daddy loves you!


Friday, March 8, 2013

This Post is Icky

The Wife and I don't particularly want to get in trouble with Child Protective Services, so many of the facts in the following story have been altered. Try to figure out which ones they are.

Too Many Zombies

My brain hasn't been working too well lately. That's what happens when I let myself get sucked into a television series. I get all caught up in the excitement of the show, and then my brain doesn't work well enough on other things. I can't concentrate. I don't process information. I do things wrong at work. I can't think straight enough to write even the shortest of blog entries. No good.

That's what has happened over the past week or so. I got caught up in a TV show. A thrilling, suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat TV show called The Walking Dead on AMC. It's a riveting look at what life might be like if there was ever a zombie apocalypse. It's very realistic.

I never used to be a fan of zombie shows. Until a couple of years ago when I watched the movie Zombieland with Woody Harrelson and the guy from the movie about facebook. Zombieland is more of a happy-go-lucky look at a zombie apocalypse. The Walking Dead is not nearly as happy-go-lucky. In fact, it would probably be better described as frightening-go-scaredy. But, it's even more riveting than Zombieland, and I can't get enough of it.

I know that my brain will seize up when I let myself get sucked into a TV show. It always does. I tried not to let myself watch The Walking Dead, but it was to no avail. I caught a glimpse of it while I was supposed to be doing other things, and I was instantly hooked. The Wife and I have been watching at least a couple of episodes a night for the past week or so. I've got it bad.
This is a photo of Andrew Lincoln playing the lead role of Officer Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead. If this had been a scene from my dream, that would be a photo of me. Photo by Scott Garfield, courtesy of AMCtv.com
It's even gotten to the point that I've dreamed about the show. In my dream, I played the stoic, and even slightly handsome, lead character. I used my cunning and intellect to keep my adoring family out of harm's way. It was a good dream.

In real life, my brain has become so filled with zombies that I'm surprised I remember how to tie my shoe. It's a miracle I remember to feed myself. And who knows what the kids have been up to for the past week. I'm sure they'll be fine until we finish watching season 2.

Friday, March 1, 2013

T.M.I.

It's weird how some subject matters that were formerly taboo are now commonplace in our house. Once you have kids all barriers get broken down, and it just seems like normal conversation to talk about poopy diapers, spit-up, diaper rashes, what weird things the baby found on the floor and proceeded to eat, etc. Now it seems weird to have a conversation with someone and not talk about these things. Life sure has changed.

The most common weird thing for the Wife and I to talk about are diapers. Since two of our three children are still in diapers, and the third has only been out of diapers for a little more than a year, it's just natural for diapers to be a prominent subject matter around our house. Sometimes the conversation revolves around whether either of us remembered to stop and get more diapers, but usually we talk about the contents of said diapers.

The Boy, who hopefully will be transitioning out of diapers in the near future, has had a long-term case of what his pediatrician calls "toddler diarrhea."  It's not actual diarrhea, per se, but the contents of his diapers have been rather messy, to put it delicately, for a long time. Apparently, at least according to the pediatrician, there's not much you can do about this condition. It's quite common, and the Boy should just grow out of it eventually. I think I can safely say that things are slowly starting to get better in that regard.

The Baby, on the other hand, suffers from a constant state of what I would call "pseudo-constipation." She goes a lot, but she seems to have to work pretty hard most of the time, and the contents range wildly in size and shape. Sometimes she can seem to be working really hard, and for a long time, and not much "content" shows up. Other times, everything seems to work OK.

It's gotten to the point where the Wife and I are often discussing the amount of "content" in the Baby's diaper. I have started comparing the "content" to candy bars, to make it easier for everyone to know what I'm talking about. Some times, there might be a Fun-Size Snickers Bar or a half a Twix bar in there; other times maybe a handful of Whoppers. Occasionally just a single chocolate chip. Even more rare would be the full-size Nut Goodie. Like I said, the "content" can vary widely.
Mmmmmm, Peanut Butter Snickers. Reminds me of a diaper I changed the other day...TMI.
I think this is a good way to describe things; it's accurate and universal. Everyone can instantly picture what I'm talking about. The Wife isn't much of a fan. Maybe she thinks I am degrading candy bars. Before we had kids, I probably would have agreed.