Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Blissful Decade

I have had some strange decades in my life, but for sure the last 10 years have got to be the best, so far. I say "so far" because both the Wife and I fully believe that our lives will just keep getting better and better, but the next few decades will have to be pretty good if they want to beat these last 10 years. You see, today marks our 10th wedding anniversary. I found a woman who would put up with me for ten entire years. All the illegal bookies and nefarious odds-makers that I have talked to today are completely flabbergasted. If only I had known them 10 years ago...

We celebrated the grand occasion in style today. I went to work, like I do most days, and the Wife
stayed home with our three hoodlums, the Girl, the Boy, and the Little One, and, like most Thursdays, she had another toddler-delinquent, the Friend, mosey in for the day. When I came home from work we all (minus the Friend, who had already left. Oh, and the Girl, who had gone up to her cousin's house for a sleepover) scarfed down a couple of face-fulls of spaghetti and meat sauce, and then sped over to a nearby park for the Boy's last T-Ball "meeting" of the year. I call it a meeting because they didn't play any T-Ball games, they just worked on the fundamentals. Despite it not being an actual game, the Boy was still able to run full-speed into one of the other kids while running the bases. I would like to say that my kid was the tough one who did not fall over and start crying. Hey, how about those Twins, huh?

So, despite the momentous occasion, it was a pretty normal day here. The Wife and I are going camping tomorrow, without the kids, so that will be fun. Maybe this next decade will be pretty awesome, after all...
I think this might be the very first photo we ever took together, two houses, two annoying dogs, 3.5 kids, and about a billion gray whiskers ago... The only thing that hasn't changed is the Wife. She's still just as hot and spicy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Toby vs. Albert

Don't ask me why, but a couple of nights ago I had the crazy idea that our yippy-but-friendly dog, Toby, is a lot like Albert Einstein. Later that same evening, whilst sleeping, I had a dream in which America's most beloved game show host, Pat Sajak, said the "F" word during America's most beloved game show, Wheel of Fortune. In my dream I seemed to be the only person who thought it was odd that Pat would do such a thing, and it made the dream version of me wonder if I actually heard what he had said. So the dream me got on my dream computer, and looked up ol' Mr. Sajak on the dream version of wikipedia. Lo and behold, according to wikipedia, despite being America's most beloved game show host, dream Pat Sajak oftentimes slips little swear words into the telecast, much to the delight of the viewers. Who would have known? And who else, other than me, would have such an odd scenario deep in the bowels of my dream world? Nobody, that's who.

I tell the story about swearing Pat Sajak to illustrate just how weird my brain can be, and to help show why I might have come across the epiphany that Toby is a lot like Albert Einstein. Originally the idea entered my mind when I looked at Toby's hair, so let's start with that. As you can see from the photo below, Toby's hair and Albert's hair are pretty much identical. Both of them could use a haircut, that's for sure. Toby's hair is soft and fun to pet when it's this long, and I'm sure Albert's probably was, too.
Albert and Toby

Toby and Einstein have other peculiar similarities, as well. For one, Einstein is famous for his failed Entwurf Theory, in which he theorized that the equations of motion were supplemented by additional gauge fixing conditions. When Toby gets a piece of his dry dog food stuck in his throat, he often makes a noise that sounds a lot like "entwurf!".

Einstein wrote extensively about wormholes, which, as the aforementioned wikipedia defines, are "a hypothetical topological feature that would fundamentally be a shortcut through spacetime. A wormhole is much like a tunnel with two ends, each in separate points in spacetime." Toby has had worms.

I could go on and on about how my dog is almost exactly like Albert Einstein, but I wouldn't want you and your dog to get jealous, so I will leave it at that. Maybe in the near future I will write about how my other dog, Gromit, was the inspiration for the Ewoks in all those Star Wars movies. Let me know when your dog can handle it. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Return of the V-Word

In my last post, which was about our newest baby, the Fetus, and the fact that we found out she is a girl, I joked that the first thing I have to do now is to go out and get a vasectomy. The only thing is, that's not really a joke. I do need to, because if I don't, knowing me, I will be writing about a fifth child in a year or so. And that would not be good for anyone involved.

The Wife and I have talked about me getting one of those V-words for the past couple of years, and I would have, probably, except for one thing. Our old insurance company didn't cover them. Can you believe it?!?! Why wouldn't they? I still don't get it. Don't you think they would cover something like that, which costs under $2000, so that they wouldn't have to pay for the birth of a child, which is 20 times that much? It never made good economic sense to me, but then again, I am not good with financial stuff, so maybe there were reasons I didn't understand.

At the time, we never wanted to spend a couple grand out of our pockets, so I kept putting it off. Now we have a different insurance company, so I think it will be covered. Looking back, maybe I should have tried to pay for my V-word via some kind of crowdfunding website, like KickStarter or GoFundMe... I wonder if anybody has ever used those sites to pay for something like that before. I think I might be on to something here...Would you have helped pay for it? Yeah, me neither...
This is the worried look I get whenever I think about getting a V-word.

Monday, July 13, 2015

I'm on a Streak

In my last post I wrote about how all of our first three kids turned out to be the opposite, gender-wise, of what I was hoping for. I was expecting to get some negative feedback on that one, but happily I can report there wasn't any. Apparently many of you have felt the same way about your own children. Remind me to tell your children that the next time I see them. :)

Well, let's make my streak four for four now. The Wife and I went in for an ultrasound on our fourth child, the Fetus, on Friday, and the results are in: she's yet another girl. So, the Boy and I are going to be even more outnumbered than we already are. The two of us are going to have to pretend to be as manly as can be, just to keep the estrogen and the pink barrettes from overtaking us.

Now there are a couple of things we need to do before she pops out in late November. First, and most importantly, I need to schedule a vasectomy. Next we need to gather up all the newborn boy's clothes we've been storing in the basement and sell them on craigslist. That should fetch a tidy sum. Then we need to sneak into our niece's house and steal back all the newborn girl's clothes we gave her before she had her baby. It will take all of our cunning and skill, but I think we can do it. Just don't tell her what we're up to, OK? Thanks!
This is an undoctored photo of Fetus #4. Even I could tell it was a girl...
 


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Time to Lambaste Me

I may get lambasted for putting this in writing, but none of my kids came out of the womb being the gender that I had hoped they would be. You're probably not supposed to say something like that about your kids, but it's true. Of course I didn't let that stop me from loving them with all my heart.

It all started over 6 years ago, with the Girl. Being our first, I had no idea how to deal with babies at all. I had little experience even holding a baby, and had never fed one or changed a single diaper. Plus, it had taken us a long time to get pregnant, and in the back of my mind I thought that since it had taken so long, there was a pretty good chance this might be our only child. And, girls can be frightening. I have distinct memories of my own childhood, specifically 7th grade, when a large portion of my dealings with girls were not all that fun. So, for these reasons, I wanted our baby to be a boy. When she finally popped out, and it was obvious even to me that she was a girl, I was a little sad. Thankfully that feeling subsided when I held her for the first time.

Six months after that glorious day, the Wife and I decided that having a baby around wasn't such a bad deal, so we thought we better start trying for a second one. Since it took so long for us to get pregnant with the Girl, we figured we better get started fast. Nine months later we were at the hospital again, getting ready for baby #2 to arrive. And I figured that, since we already had a house full of girl clothes, we might as well have another girl. Plus, the Girl was about the easiest baby ever, at least as far as I knew, so all girls must be like that, right? Well, out popped the Boy, which was even more obvious to me than the Girl had been, so we had to go out and buy an all-new wardrobe, as well as a bunch of trucks, trains and a baseball glove (those were my ideas).

The Boy, too, was as easy a baby as could be, so one night when he was about a year old, we had an epiphany that maybe we should try for yet another. By the next morning both the Wife and I weren't quite sure we were actually ready for another baby, but nine months later there we were, back in the delivery room. This time I was hoping for another boy, since the Boy was outnumbered by his older sister and their cousin, the Cousin, who they often played with. So, of course, we had a girl.

Now, three-and-a-half years later, we are expecting our fourth child, and we have an appointment tomorrow to try to find out the gender. You would think I would have learned by now, but I have my hopes again for it to be a certain gender. I'm not going to say what I am hoping for, though, because I don't want to get lambasted any more than I already am. Knowing our luck I should probably just be thankful there's only one of them in there, which supposedly there is. Whew!
Lots of questions swirling around our latest fetus. Hopefully they will all be answered tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Birthday Video by my Kiddos

This has never happened before here on the ol' blog. I am not quite sure what to make of it...I am always the one who makes silly birthday videos for my family members, not the other way around. But, this morning, all three of our kids, the Girl, the Boy and the Little One, made me a video, and it's awesome! Actually, the best part is probably the cinematography, but I might be a little biased about that...

Yup, today is my 41st birthday. The kids were especially huggy and full of love this morning, both to me and to each other, and I didn't see any of them throw a single punch all morning, so I am trying to figure out how I can trick them into thinking every day is my birthday...Wish me luck. I think the Wife and the Boy are going to take me out to lunch in a little while, so that will be fun. As you should know by now, I love food, so my anticipation is growing with every second. Yay food!

Well, without further delay, here is the video my amazing kids made this morning. I think it's safe to assume they will all be big movie and/or music stars when they grow up. Or not. At least they sound better than I do when I make one of these videos!
video

This is a drawing the Girl made for me. I just thought I would post it to illustrate just how insane 41 candles look on a cake... I am super old :(

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Weekend to Remember...

We had a great weekend. It started out on Friday, which just happened to be the Boy's 5th birthday. You probably noticed that the most noteworthy part of his birthday was that I did not post an embarrassing video accompanied by even more embarrassing singing by yours truly, like I usually do when someone in my family has a birthday. I just didn't have enough time to slap a video like that together. Actually, I did have time, but I spent most of the day trying to think of a new song I could sing for the video, and I never did come up with one. Songwriting is harder than it looks. I guess you are stuck with me just being a blogger.

Saturday was the 4th of July, and we spent a large portion of the day doing what most Americans do on the 4th: eating grilled meat products and playing yard games. Oh, we also took all three kids to watch some local fireworks well after their bedtime, which went surprisingly well. The Boy made it about 2/3 of the way through the show before he got tired/scared of the loud noises and went inside, and the Little One also made it through about 2/3 of the show, her first fireworks show as a human, before she got bored and asked to play a game on her aunt's smartphone. We finally got them all in bed about 3.5 hours later than normal, with no major meltdowns from any of them. I know, I didn't believe it either, and I saw it with my own two eyes.

Today we celebrated the Boy's birthday with family members. The food was all spectacular, and I'm not just saying that because my beautiful pregnant wife, the Wife, made most of it. It really was good. This is strange for me, but I especially liked the cake, and its trusty sidekick, cream cheese frosting. Usually I prefer savory foods to sweets, but not today. The Wife used the aforementioned frosting to make a terrific Thomas the Tank Engine cake for the Boy. I had three pieces, even after I had already stuffed myself full of chicken, corn on the cob, and various other foods. The cake was so good that it has inspired me to finally write a new birthday song... but I guess it will have to wait til next year.
The Boy and his Thomas cake.
I think the Little One liked the cake even more than me...

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Bean Bag Chair Dilemma

If you've seen a photo of me any time recently, you probably have noticed that I am in the best shape of my life, if you are one of those strange people who think a bean bag chair is a shape. Yes, I have gotten a little gooshy around my midsection since the Wife and I got married, which is not something I am real proud of, but it's true so I might as well admit it.

People, like me, who are the shape of a bean bag chair, generally aren't that nimble, and nimbleness is a desired quality when playing sports such as softball, which I am prone to do. I, along with all of my softball teammates, and all of our fans, and pretty much anyone who might have been walking by while I have been on the field, have noticed my lack of nimbleness this year, which has shown itself every time the ball gets hit towards me. My inability to bend over and field the ball in my glove is a dead giveaway. I suppose, being bean-bag-chair-like, I should probably just plop myself on the ground and let the softball get absorbed by my gooshiness. We'll see how that works...

What I should do instead is take up some kind of physical, mental, and spiritual practice to help me get into the proper shape. Hey, I just so happen to have a great friend who teaches Holy Yoga. Her name is Adrienne, and lo and behold, she just started advertising on the ol' blog. Check out her ad over on the right side of this page, and give it a click if you are interested in taking one of her classes. You don't have to be bean-bag-chair-shaped to benefit from the whole Holy Yoga experience. Holy Yoga is good for everyone! Do it!

If your company is interested in advertising here on Chaotic Kids & Clutter, drop me a line at shanson1974@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wedding Food Review, Kansas Edition

I seem to have gotten a bit of a reputation within my family. Seems like some of my family members have gotten a little bit wary of me and the ol' blog. We (the family, not just me and my blog) were at a fun family function over the weekend. It was the super-fun wedding of my cousin, let's call her Anna since that's her name, and her fiance Martin (also his real name). The wedding itself was really fun, and not just because the Girl and the Little One were both flower girls. It was a lovely ceremony, there were no major catastrophes, and we got home safe and sound, so I would call it a success. Several times, though, just as something fun was about to happen, somebody would say something to the effect of "Uh-oh, Scott's gonna blog about this!" It's almost like they think I blog about every little thing that happens in my life. That's just crazy! There's lots of stuff I leave out of the blog, like the uh...um...oh, that one time....no...hmmm...well, whatever.

So it was a really fun wedding weekend in Wichita, and there were gobs of delicious food being eaten all weekend, so I might as well write about it, huh? Actually, all the meals we had were home-cooked, either by family members or friends of family members. First, on Thursday, we had some delicious salmon on the grill at my cousins house. Throw in some yummy asparagus and what turned out to be the world's best bread, which I ate 6 or 7 slices of, and I would say it was a great meal.

The next night was the rehearsal dinner, which consisted of pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, some baked beans, an interesting corn-and-cream-cheese concoction, and a salad or two. If I can generalize, I love both pulled pork and brisket, so I was in hog heaven. I ate 4 sandwiches, along with a nice pile of just the meat. I felt satisfactorily gross afterward, which is always a sign of a good meal.

After the wedding on Saturday, a select bunch of us family and friends were invited to a private party at a friend's house, where the largest platter of chicken I have ever seen was presented before us. I don't know how many hundreds of chickens gave their lives for this platter, but I would like to personally thank all of them. They were delicious! I am not sure what kind of marinade or sauce was on them, but it was really good. If you want, I can try to get the recipe for you.

The only restaurant that was part of the weekend was a locally owned roast beef fast food joint named Barn'rds that is next door to the church. I'm not really sure what's up with the name of the place - is it short for "Barnyards"? Maybe "Barnards"? Who knows... What I do know is that on more than one occasion those of us who were not actually in the wedding found ourselves sitting around in the church with nothing to do, so of course one of us would hightail it over to Barn'rds and get either one of their delicious roast beef sandwiches, or a huge pile of their amazing garlic-infused french fries. Oh my goodness, these have to be some of the best french fries I've ever tasted. If you're ever in Wichita, for any reason, head over to Barn'rds and load up on some fries.

So, it was a lovely wedding weekend. Anna and Martin make a wonderful couple, and we at Chaotic Kids & Clutter couldn't be happier for them. And the food was all delicious, so our hats go off to all the cooks.
Barnyards?

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Scofflaw

I recently realized that in my nearly 41 full years of life here on God's Green Earth, I had never once set foot in a police station. Oh sure, I may have taken a ride in the backseat of a squad car once or twice back in my rebellious youth, when I was young, dumb, and full of enthusiasm, but those rides just took me back to my parents' house, never to the precinct, as I like to call it. I guess I've just had a boring life, and looking back on it, I'm OK with that.

Everything changed a few days ago, though. My boring life became quite interesting, at least for a while. Not only did I enter my first police station, but it was in a weird, foreign place where the normal rules don't apply. I was lucky to get out of it alive.

In my head I always pictured police stations as being similar to those you see in television shows, and the one I was in did not disappoint. It was like I had somehow walked into my TV and joined the set of a tense and gritty crime drama. It was part NYPD Blue, part Hill Street Blues, part Law & Order, part Dexter, and part Cop Rock. I don't think I've ever been more frightened!

Thankfully, the police didn't detain us for too long. To be honest, I wasn't the one who the cops wanted to talk to, I was only there to support the alleged scofflaw, a person who shall remain nameless to protect her identity. The whole thing was quite the harrowing experience, though, and it taught me several lessons. I've forgotten most of those lessons already, but the one that is foremost in my mind is to never get into a minor traffic accident in a town like Wichita, Kansas! What a crazy, foreign place that is!