Wednesday, February 3, 2016

#400

I don't know if there's anyone who has actually read all of the previous 399 posts here on this blog, and I am including myself in that statement. Sometimes I just need to get the blog out of me, and then I never go back and read it to see if it makes sense. The same thing happens when I am talking. I often just say stuff to say it, and then never think about what I actually said. Oftentimes people will come up to me later and say something like "Remember when you said so and so...", and I'll be like "?????". So, to make a long story longer, if you have actually read all of the previous 399 posts on this blog, you may be the only one. But thank you for doing so!

Yes, you are currently reading the 400th post in the history of Chaotic Kids & Clutter. Who knew I would ever have so much nonsense to write about? Not me, that's for sure. Luckily I am "blessed" with the ability to ramble on, seemingly about nothing, for years at a time. That's essentially what this blog has been: a place for me to ramble on endlessly. Hopefully you will keep on reading, because if you don't I may have to shut it down, and then all of my ramblings will just stay locked in my head, driving me insane in quick fashion. Just thinking about not having an outlet for my ramblings is giving me a severe case of the screaming willies. No thank you!

I thought about giving away some kind of prize for this 400th post. Something like 400 jelly beans, or 400 pennies, or 400 pieces of uncooked white rice. Maybe I still will...you never know with me. Perhaps I will take all of the people who congratulate me on the boundlessness of my blog posts and randomly choose a winner who will receive one or all of the aforementioned prizes, or even something that hasn't been mentioned, like 400 gold doubloons...I guess we'll just have to see what happens.

In any case, thank you so much for being a loyal reader of this silliness. I've had fun over the past 400 posts, and I hope you have too. See you at number 500 real soon!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Guess The Lie - Results Show

Last week I invited you, my loyal readers, to try to Guess The Lie. I wanted you all to put on your detective caps and try to think like me, going through an entire blog post in order to figure out where the lie was. Many of you sifted through the clues, checked the evidence, and racked your brains trying to figure out exactly where I wasn't telling the whole truth. And it makes me extremely giddy to announce that you all failed miserably!

Yes, not a single one of you got the correct answer. But, I am feeling especially nice today for some reason, so I decided to round up the names of everyone who sent in a guess, throw them in a hat (actually it was a cardboard box since I didn't have a hat handy) and pick a winner. I am happy to announce that Kayla M. from Bartlesville, Oklahoma is the big winner. We will soon be dropping a lavish gift card in the mail for the store of Kayla's choice. Congratulations Kayla!

As far as the Lies go, I am not going to reveal what the lie actually was. If you'd like to continue to do some sleuthing on me, I invite you to keep sending in your guesses. Maybe some day we will find somebody who truly understands the way I think. Let's hope, for your sake, it isn't you...Moooohahahahahaha.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

What's Another Word For Two Weeks...?

We had a fort night at our house a couple of days ago. That's not to be confused with a fortnight, which as you probably know is a fancy way of saying "two weeks". As in, "The Duchess and I are heading off to the French Riviera for a fortnight, so would you be so kind as to drop in every 3 hours to let our labradoodle, Margaret, out for a poo?" Our fort night only felt like it lasted for two weeks, when in all actuality it lasted for a total of about 12 hours.

I'm not even sure who came up with the idea, but somehow it was decided that we were going to build a fort in our living room for our three oldest children (the Girl, the Boy, and the Little One) to sleep in on Friday night. At the last minute their cousin (the Cousin) was invited to join them, so all in all our living room was going to be the sleeping quarters for a 3-year-old, a 5-year-old, a 6-year-old, and a 7-year-old. You may notice that their ages total up to be 21 years, which is appropriate since the evening made me want to start drinking again...

The Wife was in charge of the fort building. I helped by hauling chairs from the kitchen and dining room into the living room, and later by going out into the garage to find as many C-clamps as I could to fasten the blankets to the backs of chairs. We don't mess around when we build our forts! The kids hauled all of their pillows, sleeping bags, stuffed animals, toys, and anything else that wasn't screwed down into the middle of the fort. We were a well-oiled fort-building machine, and had that living room completely transformed within 20 minutes or so.

The fort in question...
After that, the kids "went to bed". What they actually did was talk, yell, hit each other, complain, cry, and all sorts of other commotion-making exercises which seemed to last for hours. I'm sure it wasn't really that long, but I eventually just went into our bedroom to get away from the tumult, so I can't say for sure how long it lasted.

The most exciting part of the evening happened right after I had gone to bed. Shortly before that, I had had the bright idea of giving all four of the kids their own glow stick, since they were all complaining that the lack of night-lights in the living room made it too dark for them. Of course they proceeded to pretend their newfound glowing sticks were light sabers, and they all spent the next half hour or so slapping their bedmates upside the head with these weapons that I had so naively given them. The glow stick-jousting lasted all the way up until one of the kids, who shall remain nameless, decided to chew through their glow stick for some unknown reason. Why would a child do that? I don't know. Is it dangerous to ingest whatever the glowing juice is in a glow stick? I would think so. Did the child in question ingest any? I don't think so; we haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary about him or her yet. Is it possible to wipe the glowing spots of glow stick juice up off of the carpet and/or blankets and/or pillows and/or sleeping bags? No, not at all; they just kept glowing at me in a mocking kind of way. Are we going to have another fort night at our house? Not in a million years...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Guess The Lie

OK y'alls, it's time for another game here on the ol' blog. This time there will be a fabulous prize and everything. Here's how to play:

The game is called Guess The Lie. There will be a bunch of true statements about me, along with one lie. You need to figure out what statement is the lie. You can respond with your guess as a comment here on the blog, or you can email it to us at shanson1974@gmail.com or you can leave it as a comment on facebook, or you can even tweet it at me, although I really am not that good of a twitter user, so I may not realize what's going on if you do that.

At the end of one week, otherwise known as January 27th, 2016, everyone who gets the right answer will go into a drawing, in which one person will win a fabulous gift card to their choice of one of the following awesome stores: Target, Walmart, Cabelas, Caribou Coffee, or ebay. If there are any disputes, a very handsome Panel of Judge (me) will determine the proper outcome of said dispute. If you have any questions, let me know, otherwise, put on whatever thinking cap you can find that will help you think like me, and give it your best shot. Here we go!


1. Even though I have played thousands, if not millions, of rounds of golf, I have never gotten a hole-in-one.

2. I have never seen the movie Titanic.

3. I prefer sliced bananas over whole bananas.

4. During the past 12 times I have been pulled over for speeding, I have not received a single speeding ticket.

5. I am both a Vikings fan and a Packers fan.

6. Despite being an avid fly fisherman, I have never seen the entirety of A River Runs Through It.

7. I consider Bruce Willis to be the coolest movie star ever.

8. While fishing, I have caught exactly one tiger trout, which is the unlikely, naturally-occurring mix of a brook trout and a brown trout.

9. I prefer whole black olives to sliced black olives.

10. I have never been to Valley Fair.

11. My best 9-hole score in golf is a 3-under-par 33 on the front nine at Clifton Hollow GC in River Falls, WI.

12. My favorite color is Forest Green.

13. In dress shoes, my shoe size is 10.5, but in tennis shoes I wear size 12.

14. I don't know how many fly rods I currently own.

15. I have eaten an entire bloomin' onion by myself in one sitting at Outback Steakhouse.

OK, I think that's enough about me. Go through this entire post with a fine-tooth comb and try to figure out what the one lie is. I look forward to hearing your answers. I will announce the winner next week. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Proud Daddy Moment

I usually try to stay pretty humble, except of course when I am writing on the ol' blog. Or when I am texting. Or when I am emailing. Or when I am talking to you face to face... OK, maybe I need to work on that whole humility thing. I will do that later. But, for now, I need to tell you about what might be my greatest accomplishment.

Some fool, who shall remain nameless, found himself strolling through the toy aisles of his local Target yesterday. If you have never done that this time of year, right after Christmas, you probably don't realize how many awesome toys they have on clearance, just waiting for some foolish dad to come by and think "Hey, that looks like something the kids might like to have/do/play with for five minutes before they move on to something else..."

The toy that ended up at our house yesterday was a 3D puzzle of a minion, one of those strange, yellow, cylindrical characters from the movies. I believe this minion's name is Stuart. Anyway, Stuart the 3D puzzle arrived at our house, and all three of our vocal children wanted to put it together instantly. The Baby didn't care that much...

Being the good daddy that I am, I told the kids "Sure, why not? Let's do it!" after dinner was over. I'm glad I waited til after dinner, because I needed all the energy I could muster to get that thing put together. Have you ever put together one of those 3D puzzles? It's almost impossible. All the parts look the same. The instructions aren't clear. The little tab things that get pushed into Slot A all bend or break off all-together. It was a lesson in futility, that's for sure.

But I am proud to say that after two days and just a few pieces of tape, Stuart the Minion is finally complete. Oh, but that's not what I am most proud of. What I am most proud of is that, throughout the whole ordeal, I didn't swear in front of the kids even once, and I refrained from drinking copious amounts of alcohol, which I very much wanted to do. Yay me!

 The completed "Stuart the Minion" puzzle. I hate him...



Monday, January 11, 2016

The Opposite of the Unexpected Empty Milk Jug Syndrome

You know how, when you go to pick up a jug of milk that you think is full, but it isn't, and you hit yourself in the face with it because it's so much lighter than you were expecting? Well, I have discovered what the opposite of that phenomenon is, and it happened to me no less than 4 times in one night last week.

It was as normal an evening as you could expect in a house that contains three loud children and one screaming baby. Things were happening, chaos was ensuing, at some point we all ate dinner, and yet I was in my usual fog in which I really don't know what's going on couldn't tell you an accurate story of how the evening went. Thankfully, the Wife was fully in charge of the situation, so all kids were accounted for and nobody had been injured too badly, not even me.

Eventually the three aforementioned loud kids went to bed, and even later they stopped coming out of their room to ask impertinent questions in order to avoid going to sleep. The Wife was getting the Baby ready for bed, so I went about my Monday night ritual of taking the garbage out. First I went to grab the garbage can in our bathroom. I wrenched my back trying to pick it up. Next was the can in the kids' bathroom. I dislocated my shoulder with that one. The basket under the kitchen sink caused a hernia. And the big garbage can in the dining room gave that hernia a hernia of its own.

This is an actual photo of me after taking out the garbage.
All these garbage cans were made heavier than normal by one thing and one thing only: dirty diapers. I had forgotten how much dirty, wet diapers weigh. And I had forgotten how many diapers a single 11-pound baby can produce in a week. Up until now our sweet little baby girl has only produced diapers that were compact, petite, almost cute. Now they are big, squishy, brooding monstrosities that make an audible "THUNK" when you toss them in the garbage can.

The one good thing about the heft of the diapers is that there's no chance I will hit myself in the face with one like I do with an unexpectedly empty milk jug. You gotta look at the bright side when dealing with things like this...That might be the only bright side I can come up with...

Monday, January 4, 2016

I Rest My Case

This country already has a billion laws, right? So, why not add another? I am not a lawyer, but I watched Schoolhouse Rock when I was a kid, so I think I am the perfect person to propose this new law, and I am pretty sure I will have the full support of most of the parents out there reading this...

I want to propose a law that bans two-week-long Christmas vacations from school. My kids got two full weeks off from school this Holiday Season, and they just about drove me insane over the course of that time. If they weren't punching or screaming at each other, they were staying up too late and turning into screaming/convulsing zombie children. I'm sure the Wife probably doesn't remember the past two weeks quite as badly as I do, but her mind doesn't think like a blogger, so she is able to push aside the awfulness better than I am. Or, maybe I just like to exaggerate more than she does. Whatever. All I know was that I was super excited to send the little scoundrels off on their respective school buses this morning!

So, hopefully I can get this law passed before next Christmas. Wish me luck! Now, what am I gonna do about summer vacation.....

Friday, January 1, 2016

2,016 Resolutions

At first I was thinking about actually coming up with 2,016 resolutions for the New Year. Knowing me, there probably are 2,016 things I should be doing better or at least differently than I currently am. But by the time I actually thought of and wrote down 2,016 resolutions, it would probably be the year 2017, and then I would have to try to come up with one more resolution for that New Year, so instead I will just list my top ten or so resolutions for 2016, and ask that you, my loyal reader, help keep me accountable throughout the year. Or at least until I get tired of being held accountable, at which point I will probably ask you to shut your cakehole, only in much nicer terms...

1. Try not to get so upset with the Boy. For some reason he is the one child of ours who makes me the orneriest. I gotta remind myself that he's only 5, he doesn't always know how to act, and he won't be this squirrelly forever. Oh, and compared to other 5 year old boys, he probably isn't very squirrelly at all. I will try to do better...

2. Be more ardent about picking up the dog poop during the winter. I know that if I do that, the mess won't be nearly as messy in the spring. Still, it's hard to get myself to go out and pick it up. It's cold out there!

3. Try to lose 10 pounds. This is the mandatory "gotta lose weight" resolution that everyone makes. Boring, but it's true, so I better include it.

4. Be more aggressive in selling advertising here on the ol' blog. I always think I am bothering people when I bring it up, but for some reason I have quite a few loyal readers, and I think advertising here can be a low-cost, effective way to reach people. If you or anyone you know might be interested, be sure and let me know! I mean, if you want to...

5. Play more catch with the kiddos. Catch is one of the best ways to while away a warm summer evening, and the kids are getting old enough to do it.

6. Continue teaching the Girl how to cast a fly rod. She was starting to get the hang of it last spring, but then we didn't do much during the summer. One of these days she'll get good enough to put an actual fly with a hook on the end of her line! When that happens, watch out!

7. Get a children's book published. I have been kicking around ideas for a few years, and actually just finished the first draft of a book that might not be too bad. Now I just have to stay with it, tweak it so it's good, and get up enough gumption to send it in to as many publishers as it takes to get it published.

8. Renovate the kitchen. We had plans to work on the kitchen before we tackled any of the other rooms in the house, but then the shower in our master bathroom started leaking into the bathroom in the basement, so we had to work on that first. That job only took forever, and still isn't fully done, but we already had a couple of large holes in the kitchen walls, so we better get back to that soon...

9. Write more articles for magazines. If you hadn't heard, I have had a handful of articles published in national magazines, but haven't even tried for a couple of years. It's time to work on that some more, because what else would people want other than to read even more of my writing...

That's all the resolutions I can come up with at the moment. I'm glad I decided against trying to come up with 2,016 of them - that would have taken forever! Well, like I said, I will need help keeping myself motivated, so feel free to ask, pry, or yell at me about how I'm doing. I'm happy to yell back at you if you need help with your resolutions. Here's to a great 2016!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Chaotic Christmas

I guess you could say any Christmas around here is a "Chaotic" Christmas, but this year's really was. As I wrote in my last post, we didn't actually celebrate on Christmas day. Instead, we drove 650 miles from home that day, in order to get to where the Wife's family was going to be celebrating. It was a momentous occasion, because everyone from that side of the family was going to be at the celebration, coming from all corners of the U.S.A. to Northeast Oklahoma. Nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins were all going to be in town, and that might not happen again for a long time, as kids grow up, move away and start their own families. It was a fun, but chaotic time, getting all those people together for a few days.

We made the celebration even more exciting by bringing something other than plain old presents with us on the long journey. We brought a fun, fast-moving version of the norovirus with us. Doesn't that sound like fun?! Actually, to be honest, and I am nothing if not brutally honest, I think the blame can lay squarely on the shoulders of the Wife's mom, since we had all gotten over our symptoms at least a day or two before we left. The Wife's mom, however, seems to have brought her symptoms with her. "Always blame others" is one of my favorite personal mottoes... While we were there no fewer than 8 of our relatives from other parts of the country got sick. In other words, we as a family may have single-handedly spread the norovirus across the entire country. No need to send thanks!

Thankfully it is a very quick to arrive, quick to leave kind of sickness, so if you get it, it shouldn't keep you off your feet for long. Just to be sure, though, I wouldn't go anywhere without a bucket for the next few days. Happy New Year!
A photo of the norovirus. It's really kind of pretty, don't you think?



Saturday, December 26, 2015

I've Made A Huge Mistake...

We need your help, ladies and gentlemens. We made a huge mistake last Christmas. At the time we had a paltry three kids, and apparently we made the foolish mistake of thinking we weren't going to have any more. So, we went to our friendly neighborhood major retail store, otherwise known as Target, and purchased three super-cute matching Christmas stockings. Now, as you may have heard, we have a bustling four children, but when we have gone back to Target to get another Christmas stocking for the Baby, we have been totally unable to find another. So, we are asking for help in rounding out our collection of stockings. Below is a photo of the three we already have. The two red ones are for our first two girls, so since our latest child is also a girl, we would like to get another one of them. If you happen to see one in your local Target, we will be happy to reimburse your money, all the way up to full retail price...Let me know if you find one. And Merry Christmas, again!