Sunday, December 12, 2010

A winter prayer

Dear Lord,
I know you created the heavens and the earth. You created all seasons, from the beauty of falling leaves in autumn to the wonderful falling snow of winter. And you also created children, from their innocent look on life to their joy and laughter about the littlest of things. You made everything good. But when you add the two of these things together, winter and children, why, oh why God, didn’t You create children’s winter gloves that easily go on little hands? I know there are thousands of types of gloves that are made for kids so why can’t I find a pair that will keep their hands warm but also will take less than an hour to put on a glove while my 5 year old dances around, ready to go outside and getting more and more frustrated every minute. He wants to “do it himself” but when unable he refuses to ask for help. When attempting to help him, he then yells “No I want to do it myself, but I can’t do it, but don’t help me, but I can’t do it.” So when he finally lets me, it seems someone has applied glue to his middle finger and ring finger because they will continually go into the same glove finger. And when they are finally separated, I lose the pinky. I know it’s in there but for some reason it’s gone. I do finally find the pinky but only after he makes a fist pulling the other 3 fingers out of their individual finger holes that we just spent 10 minutes doing. Thank you for making the thumb so easy. It’s the only reason I keep going because it gives hope that the other 4 will go in eventually. So after all fingers are in their respective holes, there are still 2 inches of fingerless glove fabric at the end of each glove finger so we do the awkward “stretch the kids arm out straight, tell him to stretch out his fingers, brace him against a wall, and shove the glove as hard as you can down onto his hand.” It is at this point he decides to loose all the joints in fingers so it’s like putting a glove onto 5 wet noodles. Eventually all fingers are in the correct finger holes and in their proper position and its time to do the other hand. He then informs me that he must go to the bathroom. So we took the glove off, he went potty and when he returned, I put him in mittens.
Lord, thank you for creating winter and snow and children and even winter gloves. But most of all, thank you for the easiest solution to putting winter gloves on kids: mom.

Looking forward to spring,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mom's Night Out

So my wife went out with a friend to dinner and the OSU basketball game tonight. So, in other words, the most frightening thing that all Dads across the world fear: Mom’s night out! Its not that we are jealous she is out having fun but it’s that we are left with the offspring all alone like a lone soldier dropped too far into enemy territory with no immediate evac....and its getting dark. I do believe children conspire against their parents but it’s on an invisible level that parents are unable to see except for the results of their secret meetings. Like, how they can all be as pleasant as can be one minute and the next they are all crying for different reasons like they had their watches synchronized for zero hour and then “let loose hell,” just to see how the parents will react and then to use this to inflict guilt on the parents. I am still unaware of the goal but I am pretty sure it has something to do with ice cream and/or Toys R Us. I come to believe the latter because there is not a parent out there who has not fallen prey to the “I want it now” or “I don’t want to leave” temper tantrum at said store, by one or all your children at the same time. If they are advanced, they will have scheduled “break down” times so they are not all screaming at the same time but successively to make sure they ride your last nerve like a bull at a rodeo.

Mom’s night out is a perfect example of this conspiracy theory. But the ultimate goal is by the end of the night for Mom to see Dad as an incompetent, inept parent who even though he only watches the children alone every once in a while can’t handle it and at the same time make Dad think brain surgery would have been easier. During mom’s night out the children treat Dad like a substitute teacher. "Lets see what we can get away with before he breaks. Because he will break. Oh yes, he will break."

This is how my night went. Before my wife even left the baby started crying. I have talked about “zero hour” before but here's a reminder. Every day kids have a time when all rationality and sanity go out the window that lasts until bedtime. For us its 5:00 p.m. But luckily for me tonight Nate started at 4:30. He screamed and he cried and he screamed and walked around and cried. Non-stop. I fed him in his highchair for 10 minutes but he kept crying between bites and throwing food on the floor. The other 2 were fine. (It was Nate’s shift). Unfortunately but expectantly dinner went longer than thought due a cooking error on my wife's part. Yes, Lindsey told me what to do but she didn’t say remove the foil so it wasn’t cooked correctly and had to bake longer. If only she was more specific, so yes her fault. Well if it pertains to food, cue Drew. (Drew's shift begins) He is at my heels asking for dinner. Then to the refrigerator, to the freezer, then to the pantry, back to me, to the oven, to me, back to the fridge, now me, to the table, to the pantry, I'm on a horse. All the while I am telling him to “wait for dinner” at every appliance. (Nate is still crying). So finally dinner comes out. I put Nate on the floor because he ate what he was going to, including tears and snot, and I dish out Taco pie. I put the plates and cups on the table, call for dinner, and then their secret watches all start beeping for “go time.” Here are their assignments at this precise moment: Nate – go to the art drawer and pull everything out including the crayon box and dump it all on the floor; Zachary – go to the dinner table and begin complaining about the food and how you are not going to eat it and you want something else. Do not stop complaining whatever you do, keep a whiney noise going constantly. This will provide the auditory distraction and Nate will cause the physical distraction while Dad cleans up the mess to set up the climax. Drew – While he is distracted by Nate and Zachary and not looking at you, spill your drink all over the dining room table and for good measure his chair where he will sit for dinner, soaking the table centerpieces, his chair, and carpet. If all goes to plan, He should lose it in 2.3 seconds. Which I did. Tossing down the art supplies, telling Zachary he can go to bed hungry for all I care and sitting down in the water soaked chair, I begrudgingly ate my dinner wishing mom was home and I was not.

I held it together long enough to get through bath and bedtime, but at this point it was just a race to the finish line. (Finish line in parent speak means “all children in bed asleep and you on your way for wine and/or chocolate.) During bedtime though, they had one more surprise planned. I began reading to Drew which cued him to get up and run out of the room while I am yelling after him “if you don’t stay I am done reading this…” Out he went. I go grab him and put him back into bed tucking him in and leaving when I hear 2 children crying. I understood Drew who wanted his story to be read but out in the hallway, Zachary was crying too. He was crying because his hands itched. They had had to have synchronized watches for this impeccable timing. Like every good Dad, I told Zachary to wash his hands, the equivalent of “walk it off” and read Drew the “abbreviated” version of his story (abbreviated in parent speak means “skip as many pages on the page turn before they notice.)

Next comes the humiliating part that is the night's goal for the children yet Dads still fall prey to it: I call my wife to tell her how horrible the night was. Now depending on your wife she will give you 2 different reactions: empathy or laughing. Let me tell you, you want laughing. Because depending when you call, laughing can either make your pain worse if called right after the “break down” because she is making light of your situation or if called later when they are asleep, make it better because she is making light of your situation. Then you can both laugh at the ridiculousness of it all and chalk it off to the “joys of parenting.” I wanted this reaction, I got the empathy reaction. I will tell you why you don’t want the empathy reaction. Because it may sound like empathy on the outside “that sounds awful, you poor dear, are you ok? Do you need anything?) but on the inside she is saying, “I do this everyday for 10-12 hours a day 5-6 days a week by my self and even on the weekends we have church or get a babysitter so that time doesn’t count. I leave for one night and you make it seem like the world is coming down. They are just children. It’s not like they are devious super spies conspiring against you with synchronized watches and elaborate plans to make you go nuts. (In a mocking tone) well if it’s too hard for you, why don’t you call your mother to take over because you can’t handle it? Just make sure she changes your diaper after she changes theirs.” You do not want the pity… I mean empathy reaction.

So that was my night. Finally, you know it was a mom’s night out because when Dad is put in charge of pajamas, the baby is wearing a 3T footie outfit and the 2 year old is wearing 12 months pants that look like Capri’s.

Looking forward to tomorrow when I am safe at work,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It’s just a phase….or is it?

Have you ever said to yourself, “it’s just a phase” to justify the horrendous moment in time called your life. I have found more and more with 3 boys ages 5, 2 and 1 that I keep saying “It’s just a phase. It’s just a phase. It’s just a phase,” loosely interpreted “please God, no, don’t let this be what life is now like and will be like forever. Please let it be temporary. We just have to get through this time and then we will enter the “Full House” part of life where everyday is filled with Joey’s hilarious situational comedy and Uncle Jesse’s outrageously good-looking hair and every teachable moment is a life lesson where kids sit down on the bed with a beautiful interlude of orchestra music in the background and they listen intently to your wisdom, they apologize for the shenanigans that Kimmie Gibbler got them involved in and their lives are forever changed.”

But the more life goes on, the more I feel like phases only pertain to “teething” and “potty-training,” instead of the phases I would prefer to be phases such as “not listening” and “disobedience” and “I know I ate a huge snack 1 hour before lunch and I just ate a gigantic lunch but I’m so hungry please give me another snack. My belly hurts and it only wants what you are having for lunch.”

We have had quite a “I hope it’s just a phase” weekend. Here are a couple of back stories for you to grasp the essence of this weekend. Drew has a dead tooth. We are going to the dentist Monday to confirm this but a couple of days ago I noticed his front tooth was discolored. I tried to scrape but when brought up to Lindsey, she replies “Yeah I saw that 3 days ago and thought it was chocolate so I already tried the scraping method. I think its dead.” He must have fallen awhile back and hit it where it has been slowly dying but this week it decided to change colors. Lindsey and I proceeded to have the epic debate: to pull or not to pull. She says pull, I say neigh. You may ask why and this is our reasoning: Would you rather have your 2 year old look like a pirate or a hillbilly? I say keep the tooth because pirates are cool in pre-school at Halloween but no one chooses to be a Hillbilly for Halloween except forgetful parents whose only solution to their procrastination of buying a good costume is a flannel shirt, ripped jeans, and a sharpie. You don’t want to have the kid who wears his costume in his mouth everyday, unless it’s cool like a rotten chopper. Not to mention if we did pull it, who knows what he would be sticking in there. You don’t want to get the phone call from pre-school, “Hi Mr. Allen, Drew was just found with another eraser in his tooth-hole. He was also sucking his thumb during school pictures but still smiling. He just slid his thumb right through that dead space and on into his mouth, smiling about his new trick.”

So yesterday morning at 5:30 am, I was awoken out of bed at what I heard Zachary to say “I threw up in my bed.” I rush out of my bed and run to his room to see him standing beside his bed in tears. I ask him if he is alright and he says “I didn’t throw up, I said my blankets fell off of my bed. Can you fix them?” Not the emergency I wanted to get up for at 5:30. Well he proceeds to stay up, followed by the other 2 hooligans who hear him playing with his door handle for an hour. So 6:30, everyone is awake and its party time. Well that day just dragged on and on and there was no end to the whininess and constant requests “I’m hungry, can I watch TV, where are my shoes, can I go outside, can I play at David’s house, but I’m hungry.” We had friends come over that night and brought their children who played with our 3 boys…hard. They were laughing and running and screaming and it was great. We were able to sit and talk with our friends why they entertained themselves. Well they went down later than usual and you would think that would mean they would sleep in the next day. Well that is what normal people do but we have vampire children that don’t require sleep and feed on joy of taking sleep from their parents. They were up at 6:15 this morning! All of them! Not all at one time but eventually they all wake each other up. Zachary is the first to wake up and he poops at 6 in the morning and then plays with the bathroom and his door handle for 15-20 minutes, this wakes Drew up who is instantly in a bad mood cause he is in his room and yells at the top of his lungs for someone in California to come let him out (its that loud), which then awakens Baby Nate who can’t talk but loves to scream and poop. Needless to say, we must get up. Well the next 5 hours are followed by more whining and requests and kids climbing on us and screaming and fighting and not listening and eating us out of house and home. And its still only 11:30. People who sleep in aren’t even awake yet. We call them single without children. We call them lucky. We want to call them to wake them up. Drew goes poop in the potty and then he calls for me not to wipe him but to get the poop off his finger. He already attempted to wipe himself without success. Well at least no success on toilet paper. So I wipe him getting poop on my own finger because the toilet paper rips and we spend the next 15 minutes scrubbing our hands. I didn’t see that on a Full House episode. It was just one more thing that went wrong today. So afterward Lindsey and I are laughing about the absurdity of today and this weekend and I tell her about Drew and I in the bathroom and how we formed the Poop Hand Gang. They call me Brown Finger and him Black Tooth.

It is nice to be able to laugh about these “phases” and recognize them for what they are: torture to live through but hilarious to retell and blog about. Because after all, these are the memories I would never trade in and little joys in life that should be seen as such I do look forward to sharing these stories with my adult children and their grand-children because I am not looking forward to 1 hour from now when those “parents-to-be” will be waking up from their nap and it starts over again. But it is only a phase, right?

Off to scrub my hands again,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why I can never be a "Stay at Home" Dad

Children suck. Don't take this the wrong way. Don't call Children's Services. But any parent can agree with this statement. Now they are not bad all the time. But they are not good all the time either. They have their moments when you think, "what are my single friends doing right now?" Are they experiencing that beautiful moment in time parents call "peace and quiet" and singles refer to as "a normal day"? But some might argue, "But non-parents miss out on the beautiful moments of laughter, joy, and pride parents have when they look upon the life they have created." You know who is making that argument? I will tell you, non-parents. Because any parent knows this line of thinking and can always counter it with, "But non-parents also miss out on the beautiful moments of: poopy butts, vomit shirts, tantrum screams, bloody murder cries, ear-piercing whining for food one hour after they ate a full breakfast, accidental crotch hits while wrestling (that ones for the dads), spilled milk on the couch, horseback riding the dog, slap fighting their brothers (including the 11 month old); all when they look upon the life they created."

But on to my main point: I could never be a stay at home dad. I am on vacation this week, a stay-cation if you will since we are not going anywhere. So my vacation from work means my wife's vacation from the kids and I am her substitute. That is not how it really is but today she was feeling ill and so my role as joint parent was abruptly upgraded to "single parent" so she could rest and recover. So in other words, I would be handling the parental workload for the same amount of time she does everyday while I am at work. So let us begin:

I wake up at 6:00 to Zachary opening and closing his door, opening and closing, opening and closing. When I asked later why he said he was going to the bathroom. To which I replied, "Next time open your door, exit, go to the bathroom, return to your room, and shut your door. There is no need for 15 opening and closing of your bedroom door for one bathroom visit." But this marathon of door shutting woke the 2 year old who hates to sleep in. So I take the 2 older boys downstairs so Dora the Explorer can parent them while I lay on the couch in my "just woke up" haze. Well it isn't 10 minutes when Drew is crying for food. 6:30, time to make breakfast. If McDonalds can do it this early, so can I. Apparently scrambled eggs and toast take too long for a toddler so he begins to yell at me that he is hungry. The yelling wakes up the baby. Now all three are with me, hungry, grouchy, and yelling at me and each other. My wife wakes up and immediately has to run an errand. So I am all alone with 3 screaming children, and I am loving life. So at 7:17, after the constant bickering with each other and asking for my parental wisdom and guidance in the matter of "he stole a toy from me. I had it first," I utter the phrase all parents know and love when they have had enough, "Work it out." oh yes, before 7:30 I was already at the "work it out" phase of the day. It was not going to be pretty.

Well we struggle through breakfast with me repeatedly telling them to sit back down cause I am not in the mood to do the Heimlich maneuver after they choke on their toast from jumping with food in their mouth, we finish. But being a good parent (but stupid at the time) I veto TV for the morning. But this now means I am the center for entertainment. What is it like for those children who know how to entertain themselves? I always dream of white puffy clouds and green pastures filled with children playing by themselves with no need for parental involvement while the parents carry on adult conversations about things not related to the latest Fresh Beat Band song or which Pokemon is the best or the risks vs benefits of being Mario rather than Luigi in Mario Kart. Anyway, I ask them to go to the basement but they say no. So after putting the baby down I sum up the courage and desire and wrestle with them. The thing I found out today is that I have one good wrestle session in me each day. Did you catch that: one. So in other words, I just used up my bag of tricks and it was 8:30 in the morning. Luckily, my beautiful and amazing wife had set up a play date for Zachary at 9:30, so we killed time till then.

After the playdate it was 11:15 and time to take Zachary to school. I dropped him off and ran a quick errand and returned to the most wonderful time in any 'stay at home' parents day: nap time. The other 2 were down for naps and my wife and I were able to make lunch. After which she went to take her nap to rest and I sat down to eat my lunch. But like sitcom-timing, I hear a cry upstairs. Now the younger 2 children typically take 2.5-3 hours naps in the afternoon. But not today. Today is Daddy's day so they conspired beforehand and both woke up at 1.5 hours. There is nothing more defeating in a parents life than cutting short or taking away "nap time". Many parents will go through a deep depression when there baby decides to "drop a nap." So remember, my wife is now asleep and the younger 2 are not. So I dont even get a recess today. No lunch break. I am now eating with my 2 year old begging for food at my feet. Even our dog has more self-control.

My wife takes a long nap today, lucky for her, too bad for me. My oldest son goes to another boys house after school so I have the 2 year old and baby for 4 hours this afternoon. I actually enjoy this time with them. There is a time when I see them playing together with Drew making funny noises and Baby Nate laughing uncontrollably. Its a brief but precious moment I was able to witness. But then the zero hour hits. All stay at home parents know what I am talking about. Its the time right before your spouse gets home and before dinner when Hell breaks loose. There is no scientific reason, no cause. But the planets align just right and something clicks in the child that makes them go from Dr. Jeckel to Mr. Hyde. The crying intensifies, the whining goes up 100 notches, nobody is satisfied, every child wants something but cant tell you what cause nothing will make them happy because it is: the Zero Hour. Its about at this time, you need to make dinner. So today, my wife wakes up and goes to pick up Zachary, the 2 year old is whining for milk and his blanket, and God help me if I put the baby down cause every time I try, he believes the world is ending and its my fault. So I am holding the baby, pushing away the 2 year old with one foot, balancing with the other and cooking over a hot stove. Mr. Mom I am not.

Everyone makes it through cooking dinner and eating dinner and the boys ask me to wrestle before bathtime. Now remember: one wrestling session a day. But God gives me the strength and we wrestle again. Phillipians 4:13. Bathtime and bedtime go without a hitch and everyone goes down with minimal crying. But as I sit down to write this blog, who do I hear but the baby who hates sleep and me. But the amazing woman who does the superhuman job of being a stay at home mom swoops in and takes the baby to her parents house so I can have one of those beautiful moments in time: peace and quiet. I love her so much and after today I appreciate all the more her sacrifices, her frustrations, her stress, and those little moments of joy that come from being a stay at home mom. So to all those stay at home moms out there: Thank you and you certainly don't get paid enough.

Loving my job because it is not hers,
The Joyful and Tired Dad.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Trip to West Virginia

Have you ever had just one of those days? And was it ever during a trip? And was it also not just one day but an entire weekend? So I guess I should ask: Have you had just one of those weekend trips? Well I just had one and I just had to share it with you.

The premise is simple. Leave on Saturday, drive to West Virginia, spend the day in Charleston, the next day go take family pictures with extended family and return that afternoon. Sounds simple, right? Oh, I forgot to add one thing; you have to take your three children. Now you are beginning to understand. But don’t start thinking a whimsical, family vacation spent frolicking through lily fields until picture time as your pretty little girls in their sundresses smile so pretty for mummy and daddy and you take such wonderful family pictures that would make Anne Geddes and her fat, sunflower babies cry. No, I have boys.

We start off the trip to Charleston, West Virginia following my wife’s parents because they know the way. And lucky for my wife and I, they agreed to take the two older boys, Zachary, who is 5 years old and Drew, who is in the “horrendous two’s” (because ‘terrible’ doesn’t do it justice). And Lindsey and I had our sweet little 10 month old, Baby Nate. The 3 hour car trip was going well for both parties, because our baby was sleeping and we couldn’t hear the other two because they were in the other car so we didn’t care how they were doing. Oh, when I said two parties, I meant me and my wife, cause silence in a car is like a party celebrating the two guests of honor, Peace and Quiet. We were loving life, enjoying great conversation, the time was flying by, until… he awoke. Now he should have slept the whole time but of course, it was one of those weekends. So he screamed and cried and screamed. We tried a bottle, gold fish crackers, applesauce, movies, radio, blankets, and pacifiers. But all he wanted was to get out of that car seat. And we still had an hour to go. And at this point I am thinking three things: 1. Are we there yet? 2. Can I squeeze a third car seat in the back of their car? 3. How far is it if I were to walk from here? Our enjoyable, time-flying-by car ride just turned into a never-ending scream fest that seemed to last an extra 10 hours. Well we eventually arrived, frazzled but alive and went into Lindsey’s grand-parents house.

Have you ever taken your toddler(s) to a friend’s house that does not have children and so nothing in their house is child-proofed. Well take that experience and add priceless family heirlooms and china sets at eye level and reach length for a 2 year old. It has been a long time since her grandparents have had really young kids in their house, so they collect more and more things and items get moved lower and lower on shelves. Here is an interesting tidbit: You want to know if a family has kids or grandkids? Everything nice will be above eye level and everything replaceable will be below eye level. Needless to say, I spent the next 2 hours chasing Zachary and Drew around the house saying, “Stop, don’t touch that, what do you think you are doing, don’t go outside, put that down, Hey, stop licking the glass, close the freezer, don’t put your hand in the trash, go wash your hands.” All this while holding Baby Nate. Luckily we had an opportunity to go to her grandparent’s club pool to go swimming.

We go to their country club with my wife and our three little angels and take 15 minutes to set-up camp at the baby pool; change into swim suits, apply swim diapers, apply sunscreen, find swim goggles, apply flotation devices, etc. We go into the pool and begin to swim having a great time. We love it because they are expending pent up energy and cutting down the chase time for later. Well after 15 minutes of swimming Drew gets a mouthful of water and starts coughing. No big deal. But then keeps coughing and coughing, and while in the pool, throws up. He had choked on water. He then threw up again in the pool before we could grab him and get him to the trashcan where he threw up again all over himself. All while Lindsey is holding the baby and I am shooing an angry 5 year old, who still wants to swim, out of the puke-laden pool. Well we tell the 10 year old life guard on duty. No joke. She was so young. She didn’t know what to do expect call her boss and ask her what to do. All the while, probably texting her friends and trying to look up Justin Bieber’s latest tweet. And at this point all the other families have retreated out of the pool and gathered around the baby pool. So we clean up Drew, who is now crying for a ring pop, gather up a crying Zachary cause we have to leave, collect all our belongings while holding a baby and pushing a stroller down a flight of steps, while a crowd of West Virginians scowl at us for puking in their pool and leaving. So much for expending that energy. We go home and they all skip their naps. We have a wonderful evening ahead of us now.

That evening we go to Lindsey’s second cousins house for a birthday dinner. Well the kids would not sit still. Nothing would hold their interest except getting into trouble; grabbing whatever they could, messing with the dog, stealing crackers off the table with their dirty hands, climbing on boxes in the basement, yelling and laughing during the prayer, etc. I wanted to say, “Whose children are those? Where are their parents?” But everyone knew they belonged to me cause I was the one always one step behind them cleaning up the messes, picking them off the boxes, trying to silence them fighting each other, etc. The best part was during dinner, Drew was standing on his chair and leaned on the back causing it to tip backward and fall on the floor with him hitting his stomach in the process making him cry. Even though he stood up on his chair, I look like the irresponsible one for letting it happen. When all I was thinking was, “good, maybe that will teach you to listen to your parents.” After dinner, when it seems like we are going to go home and end this dreadful day, out comes the cookie cake. Nothing brings more joy to a parent’s heart like sleep deprived, sugar induced, toddlers 3 hours past their bed time at a non-child proofed extended family members house in a different state. Oh and by the way, your two year old just pooped their pants and you don’t have wipes. But we do finally get home and end the day yelling at them for jumping on the antique bed and trying to play “crash ‘em” with the 1940’s figurines in the hallway. We all collapse in exhaustion, ending the day and looking forward to what joy and merriment tomorrow holds.

I don’t know what you count as tomorrow starting because I had to feed Baby Nate at 2 in the morning. Then four hours later I feel Zachary crawl into bed with us because the temperature in the room dropped to Antarctic levels as you could now see your breath and they began filming March of the Penguins 2 around the bed. Well I asked Lindsey later if she enjoyed cuddling with Zachary in the morning because while she got the cute cuddly side, I got the kicking, ice cold feet in the back side…for an hour. It was my favorite way to wake up at 6 in the morning. We all got up at 7 and none of the kids slept in because of course why would they, and we started the process of waiting until picture time at 1:00, a quick 6 hours away. 6 hours of chasing kids around a house filled with family memories, delicious home cooked food and easily breakable, priceless, antique, family heirlooms. On top of the chasing and disciplining, the air conditioner couldn’t compete with an oven that was running all morning especially since the air conditioner worked overtime the night before preparing the ice skating rink in our bedroom. And add 11 adults and 3 children getting ready for family pictures, the house began to heat up. My father-in-law actually started sweating through all the shirts he put on. He had rings of sweat around his rib cage on every shirt he put on. He started running out of his own shirts and so was borrowing shirts from other relatives. I think I even saw him put on one of Nana’s dickeys just to soak up the sweat. He eventually ended up walking around shirtless when he discovered that he couldn’t wear Baby Nate’s onesies. Another side note, Lindsey’s uncle shows up who lives in Charleston and their basement flooded at midnight the night before. Just one more thing. But somehow I think my kids had something to do with it.

We finally make it to 1:00 and we leave for picture time at the country club where Drew had puked in the pool the day before. I let Lindsey and the 2 older boys out at the door and go park the car with Baby Nate. Well Lindsey’s grandmother believed the club was locked so they walked around the side of the building, through the maintenance area where Zachary walked near a broken beer bottle in bare feet. But did not get hurt except Lindsey got a chunk of glass stuck in her shoe and when Mallory, her brother’s fiancĂ©, went to pull it out, she cut her finger open on it. All the while I am parking the car and just sit in the silence for 2 minutes. A 2 minute break from the insanity. But of course, during that time, a mosquito that was in the car bit me and I now had a giant mosquito bite, swelling and red, on my forehead 10 minutes before the family picture. Was I surprised? No. Was it funny for everyone else? Yes. Before we came to the club, I had a conversation with my father-in-law how we were glad the pictures that were scheduled to be outside were changed to be taken inside the club out of the 100 degree heat. It was something I was looking forward to, being in the air conditioning while I chased the kids inside. Well, we walk into the club, walk downstairs, and walk right outside to take the pictures on the patio out back. So much for air conditioning and a dry shirt. The pictures were relatively painless except Zachary punched his second cousin in the groin before pictures, so it wasn’t painless for him. Oh, and Drew bit the photographer. So it was relatively painless for all but 2 people.

We packed up and this time we had all 3 kids in our car for the trip home. Within 30 minutes all 3 were asleep. It was an amazing moment. And 10 minutes after that Baby Nate woke up. Of course he did. Because life is not fair. And I am convinced that children were created to remind one of that fact everyday of a parent’s life. Well then the crying started. And when Lindsey told me I was waking up the kids, I stopped. But to their credit, the kids did well on the way home. Of course, a stop at Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, and an in-car DVD player helped too.

We finally arrived home, exhausted and ready to put the TV on for the kids and let Dora the Explorer parent our children until bedtime so we could rest. That’s when I discovered that our dog had rolled in goose poop and needed an emergency bath. Well after that bath, when the dog was about to come inside, my wife points out more poop under her ear. So after the second bath, I am ready for bedtime. But wouldn’t you know it, Baby Nate wasn’t ready for bed. So he stays up with us another hour. But despite how tired I am, I still have stayed up till midnight to write this blog and share this wonderful experience with you. Thank you for reading. Oh and I have just heard the baby waking up ready for a midnight bottle. The joys of parenting keep on coming. Or is that just sleep-deprived delusions.

The Joyful and Tired Dad

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Things I've said this week "8/8/2010"

“Drew, I don’t know if you need a bath tonight. Go ahead and keep licking the ice cream off your bicep and blanket and shirt and car seat. Ok, I guess you need a bath.”

“Guys, please stop wrestling your baby brother. He does not like body slams or punches.”

“Yes Drew you do have little boobs. And I have big boobs. And Nate has baby boobs.”

“Nate, does your penis and hand have magnets in them that must touch when your diaper is off?”

“Can a two year old be a hypochondriac?”

“Cali, your breath smells like death.”

“Drew, I don’t know what you are saying. I don’t understand ‘yo bo too bee chu’.”

“No Drew, its pronounced ‘cricket’ not ‘f***-it’”

“Zachary, I know you don’t like Baby Nate screaming and crying but right now you are the only one screaming in the car. Even Baby Nate has stopped because you are so loud.”

“No Drew, Do not lick that car. I said stop at the front bumper and you are still licking down to the back door. Please stop.”

Hoping Drew doesn't get sick from the Honda Civic virus,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Monday, August 2, 2010

After the "After the Final Rose."

How do you cope with having your heart broken on national television for all the world to see? Go on another reality show and break someone elses heart on national television for all the world to see. Its the ultimate revenge show. They disguise it with beautiful music and exotic locations and its all about finding your true love to marry them and live happily ever after. But if you think about it, its not about one person finding love, its about 24 people getting their hearts broken. But one lucky loser will return for the next season to get their revenge on the opposite sex and in the mean time find their life-long partner or at least their "15 minutes of fame after the press tour, Today show, Jimmy Kimmel live, Live with Regis and Kelly, Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, then your are forced to be with each other without cameras and constant attention so you think it would be better to break up and go after each other in the tabloids so you can have another 15 minutes of fame and after that go your seperate ways" - long partner.
Thoughts on the Bachelorette 6.
1. No catchy theme song like the last Bachelor, big mistake. So what song can be stuck in my head after the final rose? Not many songs out there can top "On the Wings of Love" especially when Jake was a pilot.
2. No Frank on the wrap-up show? At least show the newspaper engagement pic of him and his ex-girlfriend.
3. We all knew she was going to pick Roberto from like episode 2. So do I feel bad for Chris, the runner-up? I felt especially bad after meeting his amazing family and the fact he lost his mom and was looking for love lost. It would have been easier if he was some deranged person with 2 other girlfriends at home and was only doing this show for publicity, oh wait that was Justin/"Rated R".
4. Please no more catch phrases. I can't hear anymore one liners like, "love is the only reality", "soul-mate", "perfect one", "connection", and "chemistry". Its like seventh graders trying out new words they learned from "Tiger Beat."
5. I feel bad for the curtains that had to die to make Ali's "final rose" dress.
6. Could Roberto be anymore sweaty? They should not have picked Tahiti as their fantasy destination cause he would sweat whenever the temperature went over 60 degrees. He would have been better suited for the Himalayas. You know Ali was uncomfortable kissing him at the final rose ceremony. That thin line of beaded sweat on his upper lip made her second guess her choice right there. "Maybe Chris wasn't so bad. At least he stayed dry."

But now its midnight, and I can't beleive I have stayed up this late to blog about the Bacherolette. I mean it is more important than sleep. Oh, priorities.

Can't wait to see if Chris is the next Bachelor (I hope not he deserves better, but he does need his chance at revenge too),
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Self-Sacrifice for a Sleeping Baby

Have you ever denied yourself something for the sake of getting a baby down to sleep? Now I am not talking about not going to that party or missing your favorite TV show because Jr. decided to stay up until Law and Order started. I am talking about denying yourself basic human rights that even the Geneva Convention would disagree with the moral and ethical abuse being done; all for the sake of getting your little one to sleep.

1. Food
The most basic self-sacrifice is food. Your baby decides its bed time at the exact moment dinner comes out to the table. Dinner is steaming hot and the sweet aroma fills the entire house as you sit in the glider with a bottle in one hand and your adorable baby in the other contemplating what formula tastes like because right now anything would do to quench the insatiable hunger welling up in your stomach. And at the very moment he closes his eyes to drift off to sleepy town, in the quiet and stillness of the nursery, your stomach releases the mother of all growls that is so loud it actually wakes up the neighbor’s baby and their dog.

2. The Toilet
Have you ever made the classic mistake of making a bottle before bedtime and thinking, “Yeah, I have to go but I can hold it.” So you sit down and start feeding the baby and he keeps moving his head back and forth and the formula is sloshing this way and that. The warm formula going splish, splash, slosh in the bottle while you regret not keeping up on your Kegel exercises and you think, “well he doesn’t have to drink the whole bottle right?” But you know he does, he always does and tonight he has decided to take his time with multiple rest breaks as he sips on the bottle like a fine wine savoring every drop. And it does not help if you cross your legs or not and you can’t do the pee-pee dance because that extra movement would wake up the baby.

3. The Cough/Sneeze
The two most natural, automatic, practically involuntary things the body does now have to become controlled and restrained while getting your baby to sleep. After a long night of your baby refusing sleep, after the second car ride around the neighborhood that did not work both times, after 3 bottle of 20 ounces of warm formula, you are rocking your baby to sleep and his eyes have closed and the wiggling is down to just a random kick now and then, and you feel it. A cough is coming. The feeling of 1000 feathers dancing on the back of your throat. You know if you let it out, he is fully awake and it negates the past 3 hours of work. So you hold it in, your eyes start watering, you’d do anything for a glass of water, and just when you think you can’t take it anymore, you sneeze. It came out of no where. You did not even get to do the cartoon finger under the nose thing (that actually works, try it!) And now the baby gets to watch Jay Leno with you tonight…again.

We go to great lengths, as parents, to make sure they go down easy and stay down, not for the sake of ruining their beauty sleep but the fact that the few moments we have to ourselves without kids at the end of a noisy, busy day is more precious than gold. Its worth stubbing your toe on the crib and biting their blankie to keep from yelling out, or dropping to the floor and army crawling out of their room to make sure they don’t see you. (Both done and done successfully I might add.) Just so they can sleep through the night and wake you up at 5 am when they have peed through their diaper and clothes from the 20 ounce of bedtime formula.

Looking forward to when my baby can put himself to sleep,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Monday, July 26, 2010


You're traveling through another dimension -- a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the "Why?" Zone! Our 2 year old has entered the phase where every statement is followed by the dreaded toddler question, "Why?" In the Why Phase, every, I mean every comment, question, and grunt out of a parent's mouth is met with "Why?" What is the motivation? Is it the constant thirst for knowledge by a growing mind who is just so curious to learn as much as he can about the world around him? Or is it a secret devious plan agreed upon by all 2 year olds forming the 1801 Act of Annoyance to be put into practice once a child reaches the stage in life to be too responsible to be ignored and too cute to be mad at, to test the fortitude of all parents across time? I believe the latter.

Have you ever got into the "why?" battle with your toddler? It goes something like this:
Parent: Ok, time to go take a bath.
Child: Why?
Parent: Because we take a bath every night.
Child: Why?
Parent: Because you get dirty throughout the day and need a bath.
Child: Why?
Parent: Because you colored with crayons, ate 3 of them, are covered in dog hair from wrestling with the dog after eating a sticky popsicle, and after our spaghetti dinner I can't tell if you are going to be permanently stained orange.
Child: Why?
Parent: Because more spaghetti went down your shirt than in your mouth
Child: Why?
Parent: Because you were distracted by fighting with your also stained brother, who also needs a bath.
Child: Why?
Parent: Because you are both dirty kids and I don’t want to change your sheets every night if I send you to bed without a bath.
Child: Why?
Parent: Because at the end of the day, I am tired and daily laundry is not high on my list.
Child: Why?
Parent: Cause I'd rather watch the Bachelorette: the men tell all and see what Frank has to say to Ali after they broke up.
Child: Why?
Parent: Cause he had a girlfriend at home and needed to see where that was going to go before getting into another relationship with Ali
Child: Why?
Parent: Because Ali deserves better. This is her second chance at love on a reality TV show and she needs to find the perfect man in Tahiti and go on perfect dates because that is what real life is like and everything is easy once you are all alone with each other and there are no cameras around you, so you look for the next reality show like Jake did with Dancing with the Stars so you don’t have to face your reality show mistakes but we see how that turned out for him and Vienna on "Bachelor: the Break-up" where Chris Hanson seemed genuinely concerned for both of them but you know he wanted the gossip to stop like the rest of America because we all knew Vienna was only in the relationship for fame and he should have picked Tenley but there was also something wrong with him too and his anger issues so you question ABC's screening process for these contestants and you decide you are going to be bigger than this reality show nonsense and never watch them again. But then the Bachelorette starts and you tune in.
Child: Why?
Parent: Cause there was nothing else on.
Chile: Why?

And it goes on and on and on.

Never get yourself in the continually circling, never-ending back and forth of trying to answer their why questions. That’s what they want from you. Don't give in to them. Instead here are 5 alternatives to end the cycle before it’s too late. Use these responses and win the battle.

1. “Because.”
Ah yes, the classic. This will work on the young and immature but it could be dangerous if you use it on an older toddler who have learned the skill of debate because they will respond to your "because" with a "because why?" When your child pulls this out of their osh-gosh back pocket the first time, it will stop you in your tracks because you have not pre-planned for this moment. But consider yourself lucky because when this happens, here is your response: "Because I said so." It will work 20-50% of the time depending on the anger in your inflection.

2. "Why not?"
The old answer a question with a question. Watch them squirm when you turn their own game against them. But be careful, they could also answer your question with a “because.” And the ones asking for a time-out will give you, “Because I said so.”

3. “Ask your mother”
This statement has been serving fathers since Cain and Abel asked Adam where babies came from. This phrase is not only reserved for questions about sex or homework anymore. Use it freely Dads. Sorry Moms.

4. “Who wants ice cream?”
The distraction. If they attempt to ask “why?” to this one, just reply, “oh well, I thought you might want ice cream but I guess not.” It works every time. Depending on their age you could also use, “Your shoes are untied,” “Hey look a puppy,” or just jiggle your keys in front of them until it’s funny or annoying. There is nothing like fighting annoying with annoying.

5. Fake sleep
When you notice the “Why?” cycle begin, find the closest wall, lean up against it, shut your eyes and fake snore. I know we are already employing this trick when its time to clean up after thanksgiving dinner or when its time to change the diapers but it can be affective versus the toddlers. And you don’t have to slow your breathing or let a little drool slip out of your mouth like you do when your wife brings out the Honey-do list during the NFL game on Sunday. Or when your husband comes to bed after watching the late game on Sunday smelling like beer and Doritos, looking for some “unnecessary roughness.”

So when you are staring down the deceivingly cute face of a 2 year old and you are dead-locked in an epic battle of wills, mono e mono, you versus them, and there is no end in sight to their cyclical questioning, you now have a way out. And you will win, because they may be cute, but you are bigger than they are.

Checking to see if my wife is really sleeping or not,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Preference vs. Favoritism

As a parent of more than one child, 3 to be exact, I know one is not supposed to show favoritism to one child over another. You love your children equally regardless of circumstance or character or age or anything. But some parents throughout history have shown favoritism. Isaac showed favoritism toward Esau and Rebekah toward Jacob. Darth Vader favored Luke over Leia to join him in the dark side. The Baldwins have always favored Alec over the other 3. Well would you choose the one with the hit NBC sitcom and established movie career, or the one addicted to cocaine, the one married to Chynna Phillips from Wilson Phillips, or the one who starred next to Pauley Shore in "Bio-dome."

But I do believe parents can show preference at certain times for one child more than another. Favoritism is more long term where preference is short term. Preference is shown at certain times where favoritism is at all times. You love your children equally at all times but sometimes one child may stick out to you or do something cute/sweet or just come back from a long trip and you want nothing more than to spend all your time with that one child. The trick is sharing those moments with this child without the others seeing or you may risk jealousy in the others. Because they do not understand the concept of preference over favoritism.

My nine month old, Baby Nate, is so sweet and cute you literally want to eat him up. (I never understood this concept that one would want to devour and ingest something that they thought was adorable. I understand hugging the life out of it but not eating it. Maybe lions devour their young because they never got the memo that it was just a figure of speech.) He is so fun to hold, rarely cries, and smiles all the time. There are many times when I prefer him over the other 2 screaming, fighting toddlers because he doesn't talk back, fight, or slam doors. Then there are times I prefer our 2 year old Drew, when its just him and my wife and I after the other 2 have gone to bed and he talks in his jumbled English where you can make out every 3rd word in his high pitched little voice. He always informs us that he only peeped in his diaper, so no change me. And then our five year old, Zachary is so smart and his memory is so good that he can hold up a toy and tell me how old he was when he got it, who got it for him, and the other toys he got at that time too. He also knows 7-8 bible memory verses he recites each and every night but gets upset if he forgets one. So smart. Those are some times when I "prefer" that child and that time with them. But there are also times when Zachary is having a bad attitude day and every "get up to your room for time-out" is met with a "no" is met with a "how bout 'yes'?" is met with "how bout 'no'?" is met with a "how bout a spanking?" is met with "I'm going to my room." And at the same time, Drew is instigating a punching fight with Zachary and running around with a poopy diaper. And at the same time Nate is screaming to be fed, is poopy, and has just crawled to the dog's water dish and spilled it all over himself and the hardwood floors....again. At those times I prefer other people's children.

But the amazing thing about being a parent is that you love them all the same regardless. One might be more challenging than another, one might be more smiley than another, and one might be Drew. But they are each fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of our true Father who also shows no favorites.

But if God did play favorites, it would be me,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Sad Toot

I wanted to share this quick story for 2 reasons: 1. I think its hilarious and you'd enjoy it. 2. I wanted to write it down so it wouldn't be forgotten.

Zachary and I went to visit my parents at a state park which was supposedly 45 minutes away. I didn't have directions, I just thought I would look for the state park signs and take that exit. Well, originally I wasn't sure how far away it was, so I kept driving. About mile marker 32 I decided to call my parents to find out the exit number. They said "exit 84" I was now 52 miles past the exit so instead we just went a couple more miles to Cincinnati to visit my brother and his family. (That wasn't the story, but I thought it shows how great I am at directions or lack there of, ask my wife. But I improvised and everything worked out to lead to this story.)

That night after playing in the pool all day with his 4 boy cousins, Zachary made the decision to spend the night. Everything was going as planned until we got closer to bedtime and he pulled me aside and with tears in his eyes he sobbed, "I want to go home. I miss mommy." (insert 'ahh, thats so sweet' comment here) We then go upstairs to tell his cousins we are leaving, and they proceed to try to convince him otherwise. Why don't companies employ 6 and 7 year olds for telemarketing jobs? They would be the best salesmen in persistence alone, not to mention you'd feel like a jerk hanging up on a kid. But Zachary made his decision and so standing between them he says in the most sorrowful voice, "Sorry Ben and Will, but I have to go home." and without skipping a beat, rips the longest and equally sorrowful sounding fart. Its like his butt wanted to state its regret too. Well, in a room full of boys, we all started laughing so hard and imitating it over and over again. Well, we now have our newest catch phrase for the summer of 2010 and will be repeated every get-together until replaced by another flatulence-inspired one-liner.

Now I need to go clean the couch. Why you might ask? I just walked into the living room where Drew is sitting on the couch with his shirt off and upon asking why his shirt off he states, "cause it has pee-pee on it." And underneath him, on the couch, is the pee-pee stain where it has leaked through the diaper. But before you go calling children services on my neglectful parenting, the diaper was hardly wet. So let me offer some friendly advice to new parents of boys or little known information to parents of girls: Always, I mean always, point it down before closing up the diaper.

And they wonder why their nicknames are based off the Nick Jr. show, "Toot and Puddle."

Trying to decide if Resolve or Febreeze is better,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

'Toot and Puddle'

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Truth hurts...a lot.

If you read my last blog about theology and my five year old, you will appreciate this story that happened the same day. As a precursor please understand my wife is an amazing mother and spouse and it was a long stressful day yesterday for her.

My middle child, Drew, (who is 2) had bilateral hernia surgery yesterday but he is perfectly fine now except a little sore. We have been keeping him down so he can rest and recover while family has been calling or stopping by with presents/food. We got a call today from Drew's uncle that he would be stopping by with a present for Drew. So we prepped our five year old Zachary that he would not be receiving a present. So I went into this "kid-friendly" explanation about how Drew went to the hospital where he had procedure to help his hurt belly. And now his belly is better but hurts from this procedure so people will bring him presents to make him feel better. So Zachary should not get upset about not receiving any presents today. He seemed to understand and I was feeling pretty proud as a parent about explaining bilateral hernia repair surgery in 'toddler speak' so he could understand me without scaring him about the actual procedure and risks involved. Well my wife turns to me and says "I know you are trying to be very gentle about this but watch this: Zachary, why did Drew go to the hospital?" To which Zachary replies non-chalantly, "to get his belly cut open with a knife."

Apparently, after a long stressful day, my wife in her frustration of constantly debating with Zachary why Drew was getting special treatment today blurted out that the truth was Drew just had his belly cut open with a knife. It obviously worked cause Zachary didn't bother him too much the rest of the day.

So if that works, I am going to tell them I had bilateral below knee amputations where they cut deep into my epidermis and fascia, down through tissue and sinew, cutting and ripping, to finally use a bone saw to separate my tibia and fibula bones from my patella then surgically reattached every nerve, artery and vein, glued the bones together, and applied the skin graft to make everything look like nothing ever happened; so that is the reason I need to spend some time on the couch.

Doing whatever I can for a little peace and quiet,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Friday, July 16, 2010

Debating Systematic Theology with a 5 year old.

Tonight my wife and I each took a child for bed time. She took the five year old and I took the two year old to complete their bedtime routines. My job was a little easier since a late nap afforded the two year old a free pass to stay up later, so Lindsey takes our 5 year old up to bed. About 10 minutes later, I hear "Mark, I need you." This could be one of two things: 1. He is refusing all attempts at bedtime and she needs my manly persuasion to lay down the law to get him to bed or 2. He threw up and I am on clean-up duty because she is huddled in the corner throwing up in her mouth too. (What I don't understand is she has been spit up on, peed on, and had diarrhea run down her shirt and yet when a kid vomits, thats where she draws the line.)

I go upstairs and Zachary, our five year old, is crying. At this point it still could be either of the options listed above but I did not see steam coming out of my wife's ears or smell the sweet aroma of vomit in the air, so something was different. I asked what was wrong and my wife told me that Zachary was crying because he did not want his friends to die and not go to heaven because they didn't have the Holy Spirit. And upon hearing this I realize either a time-out or mop and bucket was going to be a quicker clean-up than this conversation I was about to have. Now, I love my wife and she means well. I love how she wants to teach our children about Jesus and about truth. But this was not the way to do it tonight. Well apparently my wife, Lindsey, and Zachary were talking about the Holy Spirit. But instead of the frilly, "he is always with you, protecting you, and watching out for you" bedtime story, Lindsey gives him the "the Holy Spirit comes and lives in your heart and you will go to heaven, but those people who don't have the Holy Spirit in their hearts will not go to heaven." And at this point Zachary, in his 5 year old brain puts 2 and 2 together to conclude, "I don't know if my friends have the Holy Spirit in their hearts, so they must not, so they are going to die and not go to heaven." And hence the crying. He even said, "I am so worried." I know, right?
So I laid down next to Zachary, started rubbing his leg and comforting him, and gently said, "Well what you should be worried about his blaspheming the Holy Spirit cause that is an unforgivable sin and you will never, ever go to heaven but be eternally separated from God in a dark evil place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth for all eternity. Good night. Sleep tight."
Of course I didnt say that. We talked about Jesus and how he loves everybody and wants everyone to come to know him and join him in heaven and that you need to love Jesus, be good and obey your parents (yeah, I threw that in, for good measure), listen to your teachers and do what the bible says and you will have the Holy Spirit in your heart and go to heaven. And you can share Jesus with your friends, so they can go to heaven too. Well he stopped crying, said ok, we prayed and now all is well in our household again. Well at least until Lindsey puts our 2 year old down and their bedtime story is about free-will vs predestination. That will be another fun clean-up conversation.

I never thought I would want to clean up vomit,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Have you had these theology conversations with your children?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Team Edward vs Team Jacob: There can be only one!!

I want to pose some ideas to help you answer the greatest question of life: Are you Team Jacob or Team Edward?

We just came back from seeing the new Twilight movie tonight. I do want to point out in that sentence I said "we". I did not go by myself, wearing the t-shirt and squealing everytime Jacob takes his shirt off or Edward gives Bella the "tortured soul" look. No, I went with my wife who did all those things. I have to admit, I did like the movie. I didn't read the books so had nothing to compare the movies to but the best part about the movie compared to the books: no reading. Anyway, I did want to give some pros and cons to those out there who havent made up their mind about whose team to be on: Team Edward or Team Jacob.

First we will start with Pros for Edward and cons for Jacob:

-In the sunlight, He is beautiful and sparkles like diamonds
-In the sunlight, He looks normal but pants in the heat and slobbers

-In water, he can walk and doesnt need to breathe underwater
-In water, he smells like wet dog

-He sparkles
-He sheds
(Would you rather have rose pedals waiting for you around the house or hairballs and fur)

And now pros for Team Jacob
-He wears expensive clothes
-Doesnt wear shirts, save on your clothing budget

-no muscles

-You can climb trees with Edward
-You can pet Jacob

-He drinks blood which is free but he has to hunt for it
-He eats a lot of meat (expensive) or $10.99 for a 20 lb bag of Purina Dog chow (cheap)

-It is very difficult to convince Edward to do anyhting and must compromise with marriage
-Offer Jacob a dog biscuit and he'll do anything: shake, lay down, play dead, stay, etc

If you are still having a hard time coming up with a decision I have come up with other ideas that dont have a clear cut pro or con. Its up to you decide.

-He is cold-blooded so in summer, you'd save money on air-conditioning, but useless in winter
-He is warm-blooded and furry so in winter, you'd save on heat but in summer he would be hot and uncomfortable. You ever try cuddling with a dog in the summer heat. Not fun.

-As a vampire, you could never have children but you would never grow old
-with a werewolf, you would grow old togther but have puppies and grand-puppies. And not one at a time, but a litter of eight. Ask Jon and Kate and Octo-mom how that turned out.

-He has to hunt, so he'd go away for long weekends with the guys
-He would stay at home with you, but instead of cuddling he might prefer to scoot on the carpet.

-The two most important things to him: you and blood.
-The two most important things to him: you and a tennis ball.

So I hope that has helped you make a decision on which Team you would like to join. Or you could always join the team every girl in America is on: Team I hate Bella. She twitches.

Off to watch Rambo and kill a shark with my bare hands to regain my manhood,

The Joyful and Tired Dad

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I just need insurance not a catchy jingle!

What is the worse than having an annoying song stuck in your head? Having an annoying jingle stuck in your head. I was out mowing and what keeps playing over and over again, "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there." Over and over and over and over again. Well it got me thinking. How come it seems all the big insurance companies out there have these annoying jingles. For example, "Nationwide is on your side." "Play it safe, Safe Auto." "For the best car insurance rates in town, call 1-800-General now!" And not only that, how about the catch phrases. "Thats All State stand, are you in good hands?" "Now thats Progressive." "Geico, So easy a caveman could do it."

All these stupid little sayings and songs that play like a record needle stuck on the record, over and over again in my head. Just like any Barney song or Achy Breaky Heart from the 90s. "Dont tell my heart, my achy breaky heart, I just dont think it understand." Now you have that stuck too, dont you. You're welcome!

Back to the insurance companies, lets not forget to mention the useless spokesperson for these companies as well. The Geico gekko. You think adding an aulstralian accent to a reptile makes him endearing and cute. You know what I am thinking, that cold-blooded reptile is leaving slime trails all over you desk and will probably pee if you make any quick moves. But at least it would apologize in its cute voice. "oh dear, dear, dear, i have appeared to have made boom boom on your expensive mahogeny office furniture." Nationwide is trying this new "the world's greatest spokesperson in the world." but what I am thinking, "trying to hard. And giving him a blue phone doesnt make him better than the rest." How about the General Auto insurance with the little cartoon character. I am thinking, "sure i'd buy insurance from you, if I needed to insure my tank or Apache helicopter. And quit telling me what number to call and when to do it. You're not the boss... I mean... general of me."

I am even questioning the validity of these jingle claims. You had better back up your promises, insurance companies. If I am in a fender bender and it was my fault, is Nationwide on my side. If they were, they would pick up the tab regardless of whose fault it was. And I am sorry State Farm but you have not been available if I need a cup of sugar or mowed my grass and collected my mail while I was on vacation. You are nothing like a good neighbor. I also heard someone bring up a good point, at the end of All State commercials read the fine print about how they are not available in some states. Pretty deceiving name if you ask me.

Back to jingles. I know what you're saying, "but the catchy jingles are working because you are remembering their name and thats what the advertisers wanted to accomplish." But these jingles are having an affect the advertisers dont want; a sense of anger and hatred toward their companies because of their songs stuck in my head. So if I need insurance, you know who I am not calling, anyone on my side, like a good neighbor, or who employs filthy reptiles and men with blue phones.

My current insurance company is Erie Insurance. Ever heard of them. No, exactly, and thats why I love them. I could be getting terrible insurance rates but I dont care cause they have no catchy jingle or annoying catch phrase or cheesy spokesperson. But now watch, because I wrote this, tomorrow I will see an Erie Insurance commercial with a big dancing lake singing "If your car bangs his reary, grab your phone and call Erie!"

When I am looking for an insurance company. I want one that has a non-threatening name that tells me what I am getting and leaves out all the hokey music, jingles, clever catch phrases and spokespeople/reptiles. I made this add with the ideal insurance company advertisement. Enjoy!

Now thats an insurance company. I know what I am getting from them. Low price insurance and privacy. No jingles stuck in my head. Thanks LPI!

Now with Achy Breaky Heart stuck in my head,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Whale Wars? Was the title "Nerd Wars" taken?

Have you seen this brilliant piece of television gold? It is on Animal Planet friday nights at 9 in case you missed it. But again like all other goldmines, Animal Planet plays it every other hour until the new one comes out on Friday. If you havent seen it, here is the premise. The show follows a bunch people who got together, bought a huge boat, and went to the Antarctic ocean where Japanese Whaling Vessels patrol the waters looking for whales to poach. It has potential right? Sounds like good versus evil. And the title "Whale Wars" makes you believe there may by violence and fighting and "war" on the high seas. Well you would be sadly mistaken, as was I.
I missed season 1 but I tuned in season 2. This is what happened. Basically this white haired guy went to college campuses and recruited students from hippie animal rights groups on campus with no majors and asked if they wanted to delay getting a real job for a summer and go to Anarctica to live out their bumper stickers and "save the whales." And since most of them were returning to their parents basement after graduation anyway, this seemed like a good gig. So you can imagine the yound adults signing up for this "mission" are not, shall we say, hard-core extremists. But again, on a show called Whale Wars, I would have expected it. The kind that our using grappling hooks to climb aboard Japanese whaling vessels in the middle of the night with knives in their teeth and taken care of business Steven Segal-style. But it is a reality TV show and not something scripted like "the Hills." (You know Heidi is only with Spencer cause she gets paid to be with a Tool Bag. I refuse to believe Spencer Pratt is a real person. But thats a different blog.)
Anyway, in season 2 they come together on the main ship called the Steve Irwin and travel around the ocean trying to find Japanese whaling vessels that are attempting to hunt and poach whales. On the Steve Irwin, they have a short range helicopter and a tiny speed boat to scout out the Japanese ships. The funny thing is when they catch up to these ships you can clearly see they are harpooning whales and bringing them on board to slaughter them for meat and by-products but the Japanese hold up giant signs saying, in english, that its for research and they are collecting samples. Well, if you are innocent why do you have giant guilt signs in english stating your business. And why do you need to slaughter whale after whale for "samples."
The war is on! But not really. What are the weapons of warfare in this epic battle on the high seas? Stink bombs. no really, stink bombs. Buturic acid to be exact. They throw it onto the Japanese whaling ships because it stinks up their decks and ruins the whale meat. And how do the Japanese fight back? Water cannons. Yep, high powered super soakers. Funny thing is, just like in the 70s, it still works against the hippies. There must be a phobia of water and hygiene to all hippies. And also, these "whale warriors" are nerds so to throw a bottle of buturic acid onto the bough of giant boat is as easy as getting a date on saturday night with a real girl. of which they can do neither.

So the entire season was the Steve Irwin trying to catch these Japanese ships to throw stink bombs on their decks while attempting to avoid their water cannons but never making a direct hit to make their decks stinky. All for the whales, I think.
One episode of note, the little speed boat was along side the Japaneses ship attempting to throw bottles when the Japanese crew threw bottle caps at them. You would have thought they had thrown live grenades by the way these nerds overreacted. They were like, "we were protesting whaling peacefully but they have obviously taken it to the next level. We could have been killed by these bottle caps. How dare they?" Forgetting that they were throwing glass bottles of acid at them.

The entire season reminded me of 2 little kids fighting like babies and tattling on each other. Nobody really getting anything accomplished except "hurt feelings." Not really what I would call "war." Well here is a video summary of Whale Wars.

Hope you enjoyed that.

Well season 3 has just started. And on the season premiere, the extra slow Steve Irwin always had trouble catching those pesky Japanese whaling vessels so they added 2 new ships to their "fleet." To catch those ships they added a brand new space age looking boat called the Ady Gil that can travel twice as fast as any whaling vessel.

Sounds like a great advantage right? But in the first episode a big wave hit this ship, damaged its radar and it was sent back into harbor for repairs. Oops. And the second ship added is called the Bob Barker, named after the legendary game show host who donated $5 million toward the cause. And you would think they would take that money and buy the latest and greatest ship out there but instead they buy a huge old piece of junk with an engine as old as Bob Barker himself and cant fix it in time to leave the dock and join the Steve Irwin. Not the greatest start to the campaign so far this season.

Anyway, I am all for helping defenseless animals against illegal poaching but there has got to be a better way to do it. But as much as I find this show hilarious and ridiculous, I cant help not watching! So please tune in friday nights at 9 on Animal Planet so I am not the only one laughing at nerds risking their lives as voulnteers by throwing things at big ships to save the whales. I wonder if there will be a spin-off "Baby Seal Wars?"
Saving the world one blog at a time,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Honesty of Children

I love the purity in a child's thought process and how they see the world. It lends to them the ability to say things without a filter. It makes me believe that as we grow older and "wiser" we build that "filter" into our own lives which leads to fake realities and masks we put on for the world, so no one will know what we are really thinking. Our "filters" are our "candy-coating" of speech and actions, so everything is nice and neat and we dont offend anybody and everybody gets along. But at a price. Because we end up speaking through our masks to other people's masks and we never get past that "filter" into true relationship and honesty with one another.
But children dont have those so called filters or masks. They are so honest and at times brutally honest. Two examples of this happened tonight with our oldest Zachary. He is 5 years old and we visited a friends house tonight. I had to wash his hands because of course he was playing with their dog food (why not?) and we went to their kitchen. Now to me I am thinking, "ok their kitchen is a little messy. There are some dishes in the sink, some plates and pots on the counters, some trash here and there, plus its an older apartment and they both work so no big deal." My filter says dont say what you're thinking, keep it to yourself. But as I am washing Zachary's hands, he looks around and loud enough for everyone to hear, "Man, this kitchen is old and rusty!"
And then later tonight, we are putting him in his car seat to head home and my wife and mother-in-law are talking about wedding colors and my wife says, "Her colors are going to be red and black with a damask patten." And Zachary looks up at her at her with wide eyes and says, "Oh no. Is that bad?"
We can learn so much from children. I think we could all benefit from a little less filter in our lives like they live it everyday. Lets not try to silence them to "Be nice" but praise them for "being real." And try it ourselves sometime.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Am I doing this right?

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Am I doing this right?" when it pertains to something you have been doing for a long time. I had this thought today while in the bathroom and I will explain later. But how many things do you do in your daily life that you were never taught? I mean, who taught you the way to put on pants? Not just how to put them on but specifically the way to put them on. Do you put your left or right leg in first; do you stand or sit on a chair, toilet, or bed; do you hike them up on your legs then pull up or are they bunched at the feet and you jump to hike them up? As an occupational therapist, as crazy as it sounds, I analyze these things for my patients and suggest compensatory strategies to do it better. But who taught you or did you just figure it out? "As long as the job gets done, its right." Right? Well what if there is a better way out there and you just dont know it. For example, if you have an injured/less flexible leg, did you know you should put that leg in your pants first? Cause your "normal" leg is more flexible to get them into your pants last. And did you know, when you do steps, you step up with your good leg and down with your bad leg? Its all about weight bearing and flexibility. But would you have known that if a therapist didnt tell you?

I just found out I have been brushing my teeth the wrong way for 30 years. Until my dentist told me, I just "got the job done." But I wouldnt have known it was the wrong way until I started to brush away my gums cause I was brushing too hard. Who loves Sensodyne? I do now!

There are some things that people dont teach you but you learn on the fly. Like changing a tire, stopping your first nose bleed or how to unclog a toilet. In those times you teach yourself cause those are true emergencies and you have to learn quick. Cause if you dont learn, you will end up with a mess and most likely be calling a professional.

*If you are easily offended please skip the next section and cut to the end*

But this line of thinking occured to me when I was in the bathroom. My thought: who taught me how to wipe? Because you have 2 options: back to front or front to back. I dont remember mom and I having a good old heart to heart about proper wiping style. Maybe you had that kind of weird open relationship with your parents or a "TMI" too open friendship with a friend, but most sane people have not been taught but have just figured it out. But have you ever wondered if it is the right way? Try doing it the other way. It feels like signing your name with your non-dominant hand. You know you got the job done but it doesnt feel right or look right.

So next time you are doing your everyday things you've done for years and years just think to yourself, "Am I doing this right?" Cause there might be a different or even better way to do it that no one has taught you. Then you can write a blog about it.....and go back to doing it the way you've always done it.

Giving you something to think about on the toilet,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Thursday, June 3, 2010

When God closes a door, he does not open an appointment window, cause those things are from Satan!

Ok, appointment windows. For those of you who have never had the priveledge of having an appliance break or cable go out, here is what you are missing. They are called appointment windows. Basically, the company gives you an allotted time during the day, usually 3-4 hours, they want you sit around, do absolutely nothing, be tied to the phone in case they call, schedule no other activities, meals, or bathroom breaks, and wait for them to show up whenever they want to. Instead of the normal, rational, common sense, less frustrating alternative called an appointment time, they give an appointment "window". And I'm sorry, whoever come up with the idea that a "window" would be between 3-4 hours long. I think window, I think 1 hour.

So here is the story. Our dishwasher broke 2 weeks ago. We call the Home Protection Company who suggests the dishwasher repair company, who then calls me to set up an appointment...for the next week! I know I am not talking about our heater in the coldest part of winter but when you are used to throwing dishes in the dishwasher after every meal and your 2 oldest kids use 15 sippy cups each a day, plus 4-6 baby bottles, plus 3 sets of dishes 3x/day, plus utensils, plus cooking pots/pans, the fact that you are now going to have to hand wash all those dishes everyday becomes worse that losing your heater in the dead of winter. Oh convenience, you spoil me so! Anyway, they give us an "appointment window" of 4 hours 8am -noon. Well my gracious wife stays home with 3 overactive boys all morning, in the house, by the phone, no going outside. (I think I noticed nail marks by the doors where either they or her tried to claw their way out at one point.) So 12:00 comes and goes. No repair man. I get a call at 12:30 from the company, "Hey, our guy is running behind. He says he can be there at 2:00." Lets do the math, they missed their window cause it shut at noon or their window wasnt wide enough! I called Linds and she said it was fine. So he comes at 2:00, 2 hours after his window and they need to order a new part, of course. But when will it week! So, another week of hand washing cups that have been used for 1 sip of water.

Well today is the day for the fix we've been waiting 2 weeks for. Last week, they give Linds the "appointment window" of 1-5 pm. So at 5:30 I get the text they havent come yet. I mean seriuosly? No call, no show. I called the home protection company (cause i dont have the dishwasher repair company's number. Of course not, why would I? that would make sense), who put me on hold for 15 min and never answered. So here I sit with a pile of dishes that had an appointment window of 5-8pm tonight to be in the dishwasher and me with my appointment window of not doing the dishes by hand from 5pm till 'it breaks again'.

Why cant I use appointment windows in my daily life. "I will be into work today between the hours of 7-noon today." "I want my reservation at this restaurant to be from 6pm-10pm. Please have a table ready for me between those hours." "I will be home to take over with our kids between 6-midnight. Please have them in bed and sleeping if I show toward the end of my 'window'".

What if other people ran on appointment windows. "Hello 911 what is your emergency? Oh, you have been stabbed? Well the paramedics will be out to your house between the hours of 8-12." "You're house is on fire, expect the fire dept sometime after 6 till 10 this evening."

You know who might as well give us appointment windows instead of appointments...Doctor's offices. If they said you will be seen between 10-12 today, at least I wouldnt be mad when I in the office, dressed in a paper napkin held together by a charm bracelet, for my 9:00 appointment at 10:35. I would know what to expect. Oh I had a window, they werent late, I just didnt have anything better to do.

So please if you give out appointment windows, stay in your window. They are bad enough as they are and worse if you miss them. No better yet...shame on you for being lazy and not just scheduling "appointments." Get a day planner and a watch and save the world a headache. Well, I'm off to do the dishes....with a headache. Thanks appointment window.

With Palmolive soft hands,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

To Blog or not to Blog

That is the question. So my wife has been "blogging" for a while now. You can visit her blog at When she initially told me about it, my first reaction was laughter. Not the "ha ha good for you" but the "ha ha you're kidding right?" I thought blogging was for pink haired guys whose names resemble hotel heiress's names or the random soically awkward geek who sits in his dimly lit basement drinking red bull and eating doriotoes till 4 in the morning taking breaks from playing World of Warcraft to write about the risks/benefits of using a 12th level knight with an upgraded power sword against a 15th level mage with a necromancer key and magical ponytail. I thought "my wife doesnt fit any of those descriptions." They are very vague. Anyway, she began writing about our children and the challenges of raising 3 boys and the other random thoughts/ideas she has and she is actually quite good at "blogging" As of right now, you dont get 22 followers for having a blog that sucks. Well maybe Jessica Simpson does. I mean come on, you havent done anything in like 10 years. At least Nick Lachey was on the "Sing-off."
I must admit I did write one post on her blog about the Bachelor wedding and it was fun and suprisingly addictive. I wanted to do it again but didnt have any good material. And sorry but I refuse to watch the new Bachelorette for material or anything ABC puts on Monday night to fill up the evening with some kind of reality crap. Monday is a terrible TV night, who is with me?
So hence, here begins my new blog. I have been delaying but can delay no longer. Thank you for stopping by and hope you will check in again cause there is some good stuff coming. I have dyed my hair pink, got a case of Red Bull, a bag of doritoes, and a brand new deck of "Magick the Gathering" cards in case I run out of things to talk about. Get ready!

Geeking it up for the online masses,
The Joyful and Tired Dad.