Tuesday, December 30, 2014

We're Losing It, If We Ever Had It In the First Place...

I think the Wife and I are losing it. We aren't the hep cats we used to be. At least that's what it seems like lately. The fact that I just used the phrase "hep cat" is a sure sign. Losing it, and using old-time slang from well before I was born, is cause for some concern, if you ask me.

We've always known that most people who have children the ages of ours are quite a bit younger than we are. It only made sense. We got married late in life. We started having kids late in life. We get tired and achy from doing strenuous things like walking down the stairs and getting out of bed. We are quickly becoming aged, while we watch all of our friends going out and having fun. It's sad.

It probably doesn't help matters that we try to think of ourselves as younger than we are. We even keep going to things that are labeled for "Young Adults". Sure, age is all just a mindset, but sometimes there are people in these "Young Adult" gatherings that are young enough to be my child. That's a sobering thought!

One of the groups that we belong to is a small group of people from church that meets every other week. We have had a great time hanging out with these people for several years now, despite the fact that the Wife taught several of them in Sunday School when they were kids. One of the things our group has done for a long time is to have our own little "draft party" once a year or so. It's kind of like Fantasy Football, if you replaced all the football players with babies. That seems like a straight-up trade when you think about it... Yes, we go through all the young couples we know and "draft" the ones that we think will be having a baby the soonest. It's just for fun, no money has ever changed hands, and it's always been loads of fun for all of us, since we all apparently like to secretly speculate about the people we know.

What has made it doubly fun for the Wife and I is that often our predisposed propensity to procreate has helped us be the first overall draft pick, or at least somewhere in the first round. I think we even picked ourselves one year, when we had a little inside info that only we and God knew about. We are thankful that God didn't blow our cover before that draft. Thank You God!

Our little annual Fantasy Baby Draft has brought us all lots of smiles for several years. Until this year. Yup, it finally happened. Not only did the Wife and I not get picked with the Number 1 pick; and not only did we not get picked in the first round; we didn't get drafted at all! Not even by us! In one way this made me pretty happy, because I am definitely to the point where I definitely do not want any more babies in the house. Definitely! But it also makes me feel like we've lost it. We're past our prime. We're ready for the old folks home. Looks like I might never be a hep cat again...

It's kind of sad that I may never be a #1 draft pick again...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Christmas Letter, Blog-Style

I feel I need to admit something. I am a little weird. I know, I know, you're probably saying to yourself "Self, this can't be true! Scott is quite possibly the most normal person I know! He's not really weird at all, is he?!?!" Well, it's probably about time this news came out into the open. I'm just glad it was me who told you. Just think how devastating it might have been for you if some stranger told you out on the street.

Yes, I am a little weird, at least when it comes to writing Christmas letters. I am one of those rare people who actually enjoy doing it. I know, right? What a weirdo! Nobody enjoys writing Christmas letters, do they? Well, I do. And I've gotta believe there are at least a few other people in the world who are like me. Don'tcha think?

I enjoy everything about making a good Christmas letter. I like to sit down and think about the year that's ending. I like to write it out. I like to go back and re-read it, tweaking things and making it funnier and funnier (at least to me). I like to pick out photos of my kids to spruce it up a little. And I even like to do the layout, making it all look nice in its final arrangement. Signing all the cards that we put the letter into and addressing all the envelopes aren't quite as much fun, but even getting those things finished makes the whole job seem complete and worthwhile.

I got our Christmas cards done and out in the mail a couple of weeks ago, but for those of you who aren't on our mailing list, I thought I would make a blog version right here, you know, because I'm one of those people who assume everyone wants to read even more and more about my family. So, without further ado, here is our 2014 Christmas Letter Blog:

We started out 2014 with possibly the weirdest movie ever conceived of, Being John Malkovich. Read about the exciting way we rang in the New Year in my post, How To Ring In The New Year With a Plethora of Small Children.

In March I got some really fun news when I learned that this very blog shocked the entire blogosphere when it won the Bloggie Award for "Best Kept Secret Weblog". Looking back at all these old posts from throughout the year makes me wonder how it ever won. Perhaps all the judges were on crack...oh well, I'm not going to give back the award, even if the judges do have a drug problem. Read about the exciting news in my post titled The Secret is Out

Some of my most critically-acclaimed posts from this year were my wedding food reviews. It seems as though the thing I remember most about weddings is whether the food was good or not, so why not write about that most memorable of things? My first wedding food review was right after the wedding of my friends, Dan & Ashlee. I must not have offended them too much with my post, since I just checked facebook and both Dan & Ashlee are still on my Friends list. Read all about the fun evening, and the delicious food, in my post Wedding Food Review, Volume 1.

I am a lunatic when it comes to fishing, and I was even more lunatical when two of my three kids caught their first fish on the same day this summer. Read all about the lunacy in my post, The Lunker Hunters, from the end of May.

We took a family camping trip to Yellowstone National Park this summer. It was a very successful trip in the fact that none of us fell off any sheer cliffs or got eaten by bears. Or did we...? The only way to find out would be to read my account of the trip in my post Was That a Moose or a Marmot...?

The Wife and I both turned 40 this summer. The day it happened to me, and the day right before and right after, were noteworthy for various unfortunate reasons. I don't really want to relive it all, but if you would like to read about it, check out 40 = The New Blah.

I'm sure there were lots of other fascinating things that happened to us this year, but this blog is already way longer than our actual Christmas letter, so I will end it now, other than to say that you should go back and read all the other posts I wrote throughout the year to get all caught up. Who doesn't want to know every single minute detail about life in our house? Nobody, that's who!

Well, hearing that our actual letter is much shorter than this blog makes me think that many of you will want to get on our mailing list for next year. Feel free to email me your mailing address, and I will make it happen. Merry Christmas! See you next year!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Surly...or Superlatively Smart?

I may have mentioned this a time or two before, but the Little One was not always the cherubic little angel that she is now. No. In fact, for the first two years of her life, she was ornery, antagonistic, unruly, and every other adjective that might possibly be used to describe a baby who was a complete jerk. In fact, I wrote about how she was a jerk right here on this very blog when she was just a few months old. I don't remember exactly what she had done that made me write that, but I write nothing but the truth here, so obviously it was something heinous.

When she turned two, about 9 months ago now, a very small internal switch must have gotten flipped. She slowly started to not be such a jerk, although it occurred at the pace of an arthritic snail with severe gout. Nowadays she is quite pleasant most of the time, and in fact, if I can trust you to keep a secret, some days she's even what I would call my favorite. I know, right?

The whole time she was being a jerk the Wife and I wondered what the reason could have possibly been. We kept her fed. We kept her in clothes. Our house is completely full of toys. We even usually remembered to change her diaper. Why was she so surly?!?! At one point the Wife and I joked that maybe she was so angry because she was actually brilliant, but she had no way of communicating with anyone, so she continually got frustrated with life. Everyone had a good chuckle at that one, but now we've learned that might have been the case all along!

For reasons that I won't go into here, the Little One has been undergoing a litany of tests to test her cognitive and verbal skills. The cognitive tests came first, and on the first day of testing we were all astonished to hear that she was solving problems, comprehending things, and doing all the other cognitive things at the level of a 7-year-old!!! What?!?!  She's only 2-and-a-half, how could that be? Don't get me wrong, I was very excited to hear we have such a bright little girl...I'm just a little worried she's going to surpass her old man's brainpower sooner than I expected. Like next week, maybe!

Oh well, I guess we should all strive to have kids that are smarter than we are. Deep down inside, I hoped that would happen, some day. Like, when she was 35!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Midlife Crisis, Hanson-Style

I haven't written on the ol' blog for a while. I would like to say that it's because I've been out helping the poor and needy and carrying random little old ladies, and their four heaping bags of groceries, across streets all over the Twin Cities, but that's not the case. Instead, I think I've been going through a little mini midlife crisis, not that I think my life is at all crisis-like. On the contrary. My life is pretty much idyllic, when I stop and think about it. I have a super hot wife who puts up with me; I have three kids who don't wail and gnash their teeth more than a few times every day; I have two dogs who...well, let's just leave it at that; I have four walls and a roof over my head; I live in a very peaceful part of the metro area and all of our neighbors seem to be high-quality; and I am surrounded by gracious and loving people who help us out through all of life's ups and downs. What more could a dude ask for?

Yet, something has been missing. And I have been filling it with stuff. Not the normal stuff that is associated with midlife crises, though. There is not a shiny new sports car out in our driveway, and there's no chance I will ever try to trade in my current hot wife for a different hot wife. That would be crazy. Instead of lusting after all the "normal" midlife crisis stuff, I have been lusting over something even worse: fly rods. I know, I am sick. Tell me something I don't know.

What's weird is that I haven't even been lusting after shiny new fly rods, you know the super high-tech graphite ones that can cost well over $700. And I have no interest in the meticulously hand-crafted bamboo rods that can cost several thousands. No, instead, I have been spending hour after hour scrounging through the rod listings on ebay searching for 30-, 40-, and even 50-year-old fiberglass fly rods that probably cost less than $15 when they were new, and now range from $10-$50, depending on the shape they are in. I don't think I'm hooked up right...

A beautiful scene. Photo by Nathan Chapman
Yeah, I've been in a fiberglass fly rod frenzy lately, which is weird. The good thing is, despite the low prices, I haven't bought many. I mean, I don't have any time to fish, any way, so why am I lusting after all these old rods? I guess I just like to look, which, when I write it out like that, makes my problem seem even creepier than I realized.

At least I can admit that I have a problem. Now I can start the process of ending this midlife crisis and getting better, by asking for help. Or by asking for $25 so I can get that sweet little L.L. Bean rod I've had my eyes on...Hey, it's not like it's a new Corvette or anything!