The chronicles and ramblings of a stay-at-home father raising his three beautiful girls, Anya Rose, Caitlin Rose and Reegan Rose.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's all relative

Another good week for the Schmidt's (and by good I mean the house didn't burn down and Alicia and I would probably score somewhat in the 'sane' category of a psychiatric evaluation). 

Reegan learned a new trick this week; it's called shitting in the bathtub.  Reegan and Caitlin like to take baths together before bedtime and they generally play in there for 15 to 20 minutes.  Alicia and I try sit in the bathroom with them, but like a chubby white woman to a black dude, a good episode of Wheel of Fortune is hard to say no to. 

On Tuesday, after I smoked Alicia on a very difficult 'Before and After' puzzle, I thought I'd go check to make sure both the girls were both alive.  What I found was a tub that looked like the Gulf coast after the BP oil spill.  I pulled the girls out and threw all the toys into the sink.  After draining and sanitizing the tub, I had about two dozen bath toys that needed thorough cleaning.  I needed help, but the Sierra Club was no where to be found; I was going to have to do this by myself. After 30 minutes of hard work and half a gallon of Clorox, I had won the battle over the loose stool.

On Thursday, Reegan choose to take another dump in the tub.  Is it the warm water on her behind?  The freedom of taking a deuce without a diaper on?  Or is it just the thrill of making her Dad shriek in disgust as he tries cleaning up the mess?  We'll never know.  But hopefully this is only a passing phase, like Moon Boots and the Insane Clown Posse.

Caitlin too has had her issues with poop.  She is in the process of potty training and she's been doing a pretty good job.  At least once a day she'll head to the bathroom by herself and use the toilet like a big girl, and like a big girl, she'll spend 40 minutes doing it.  The worst though, is when she starts to take a bowel movement in her diaper and then realizes she should go on the toilet.  Without realizing it, she takes off her diaper and smears her ass up on the seat.  After going she attempts to wipe, but only manages to defile her hands, shirt, and pants.  I've really got to hand it to nurses, proctologists, and sewage treatment workers; dealing with poo is not easy.  I know learning how to use the toilet by herself is going to payoff in the long run, but can't she practice when her mother's watching her?

Anya is continuing to develop into a chip off the old block.  On Saturday I had a volleyball tournament and before I left I asked her to be a good helper for Mommy.  She said, 'I'll do just what you do dad!' 
"Oh yeah?" I said, "And what exactly is that?"
"I'm going to change diapers, clean up, and play pirates."
This is what my life has become...

But on a serious note, I had a couple instances this week that really made me feel blessed to have beautiful Roses.  Two of my volleyball buddies were talking to each other about their plans for the evening.  One of them mentioned that he had to out to hang out with his friend for his birthday party.  They were going to go to the T-Wolves game and hit up Dave and Busters.  I jumped in and explained that he should be happy for his freedom to go out whenever the hell he wanted.  "I've got three kids at home.  If I want to get out I need to find someone to hang out with, clear it with the boss, and save up my money for a month to go!"

My other friend responded, "At least you have kids.  My wife and I have been trying for over three years."

Touche. 

My girls have been the greatest gift I've ever received and while I like to bitch and moan about all the work involved with raising them, I am a very lucky man and I should never take that for granted.

Tip of the Day:  If you're 65 years old and look like Roy Wally from National Lampoons Vacation, don't try to pick up 25 year old girls at the gym with the pick up line, "You have beautiful hair; it would look nice on my pillow."  Seriously.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ding Dong, Christmas Bells are Ringing

Tis' the season folks.  A time of peace, love and compassion...and putting up Christmas decorations.  Our usual tradition is to set up the Christmas tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but this year we decided to spend a couple days up at the Pohlmann's farm.  The girls absolutely love it up there!  Anya's cousin Kayidance was up at the farm so that pretty meant I only saw her for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  The rest of the time she was out in the barn 'helping' Grandpa do his chores.  Anya is more comfortable in the barn than I am, although I am still better than her at avoiding being pooped on by the cows.  Caitlin still loves the barn as long as she is inside the house.  The minute she actually sees a cow, however, she shits herself with fear and has an uncontrolable urge to be carried.  Not the most adventurous girl, but damn is she cute.  Reegan loves all the attention she gets at the farm.  As the baby of the family she has learned that if she wants attention she has to make it happen herself.  If she wants to read a book she grabs one, tracks down an open lap, and demands to be read to. 

On Sunday we went up to Papa and Nana's house for the Vikings game and dinner.  We had a relaxing day of sitting around while Papa played with the girls on his lap.  Papa has developed a physiological adaptation to getting a break though.  It seems whenever he is around children for a couple hours, his GI track kicks into overtime.  He will sneak upstairs for an hour or so and nobody knows where he goes.  When he comes back he always has the same excuse, "I had to go to the bathroom."  Apparently my children cause him to take such massive bowel movements that it requires an extensive session upstairs in the 'bathroom.'  I hope to someday develop such an adaptation.

Alicia had Monday off, so we purchased our Christmas tree in the morning and spent the day putting up our decorations.  I love the Christmas season, but all the work involved with transforming our dull house into a winter wonderland is always stressful.  This year while downstairs getting our Christmas decorations from our crawl space, I cracked my head on a low hanging steel elbow joint.  Anya was at my feet so I was looking down and CRACK.  I touched my head and found blood and what I thought was brain fluid.  I was scared to look in the mirror as I thought I would look like Ray Liotta in the movie Hannibal.  Fortuneately it wasn't as bad as I thought, but it did manage to put the Scrooge in my Christmas spirit. 

Alicia, Anya and I decorated the Christmas tree while Caitlin and Reegan undecorated it.  When we finally had everything the way Anya wanted it, we called it a day.  The best part of the day was turning on the lights and watching an episode of The Simpson's with Reegan and Caitlin on my lap while Alicia played countless games of Go Fish with Anya.  What a great family I have!

Tip of the Day - If you agree to play Go Fish with Anya, be prepared to be propositioned with the request every time you see her for the next two weeks.  And she doesn't like losing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Season is Finally Over!

November 20th was the end of the line for me for this years collegiate volleyball season.  I completed my second season as an official for Division III Women's Volleyball.  The beauty of the volleyball season is it's duration.  It's short, sweet, indoors, and requires minimal movement.  What more can you ask for as an official? 

Officiating is the perfect part time job for an at-home dad.  I have a passion for the game and it makes going to work fun.  Okay, it's not always fun, like when you blow a call and the fans harass you all the way back to the locker room, "Your the worst F****** official I've ever seen!!!" (Believe it or not, there are worse fans than Jerry Pohlmann and Grandma Welle). 

But what I really love about it is the socializing.  Three or four nights a week I'm traveling around the state to ref matches.  It's so nice to get out of the house and have real adult conversations with people.  Discussing the rule differences between FIVB, USAV and PAVO provides more intellectual stimulation for me than arguing that, with the exception of Cookie Monster, no living being should survive solely on junk food. 

And I can't forget my favorite part of officiating; the paychecks!  I was able to rack up a couple thousand bucks in the past two months.  And I was able to spend that money on all the neat things that I wanted; a cast for Caitlins arm, a new battery for the van, license tabs for the Honda... When did I get so old?  I was able to put some money aside to beef up my portfolio.  I have a couple hundred bucks to split between some high risk/high reward investments (slot machines) and some depreciating assets in the form of hiking boots.

All in all it was a great season.  I had the opportunity to officiate a DII tournament, and number of MIAC and UMAC DIII matches, and line judged the NCAA DII Regional Tournament.  I still have a lot to learn, but my passion for the game makes it easy to take on the new challenge.

Tip of the Day - If you were a male prostitute burdened with the moral dilemma of whether or not to wear a condom, worry no more!  The Pope gave you the green light!  Now you can wear a sheath on your John Thomas without the fear of eternal damnation!  Unfortunately if you are just some regular guy, you'll still  be going to hell for wearing a rubber. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

15 Month Check-up

Can you believe it?  Reegan's already 15 months old!  The little bugger is growing up right under my nose.  She had her 15 month check-up yesterday morning and I decided to bring the whole tribe along for the ride.  After assuring Anya and Caitlin that only Reegan had to actually 'see' the doctor, they hestitantly got in the van. 

As we checked Reegan in, Anya made sure the receptionists understood that she, in fact, was NOT going to see the doctor, only Reegan.  All three Roses behaved beautifully throughout the examination.  Reegan weighed in at 22 lbs and is in the 70th percentile in both height and weight.  With no causes for concern, the doc gave her a clean bill of health and brought in the nurse to administer 4 vaccinations.  Before starting however, the doctor asked if any of the other girls needed their flu shots.  I asked for the cost of the added inoculations, and when I learned they were fully covered by our insurance, I said let 'er happ'n cap'n! (Not that there is a price on my childrens welfare or anything...).   Because Anya has her 4 year check up next week, I figured I'd let her off the hook for the time being, but Caitlin and Reegan weren't as fortunate.  Anya understood what was going on, but Caitlin (in pure Caitlin fashion) didn't have a clue.

I thought it would be best if Caitlin got her shot first so Reegan wouldn't scare her from sitting still for the nurse.  We asked her to hop up on the exam table and she excitedly proped herself up.  She smiled big as she kicked her legs to and fro.  I pulled her pants down as the nurse asked Caitlin if she wanted a sticker, 'This doctor thing ain't so bad!' she thought.  Then came the needle.  In the two seconds it took the nurse to give her the shot, her faced changed from contentment to hostility.  "It was a God Damn trap! You bastards set me up! I knew the sticker thing was too good to be true!  Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice.....I won't be fooled again."

Reegan and Caitlin took their shots like champs.  We picked out our stickers and by the time I had carried the girls back to the car, the tears had subsided (although their snot did do a number on my clean winter jacket).  Once back in the car, Anya reminded me that she didn't get a shot and that she doesn't need to go see the doctor next week.  After giving her my usual 'We'll see..." response, she fired back, "Dad, you're pissing me off!"  That was a new one.  While trying to keep a straight face, I explained to her that it is okay to be upset with someone, but we still must use good manners.  No sooner did I say that when a car pulled out right in front of me.  I rolled down my window, flicked him off and shouted "You F****** Jack Ass!"

Tip of the Day: Tired of changing the plain old poopy diapers?  Let your 15 month old play with a box of crayons for a few hours and the next few bowel movement is sure to be much more festive!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Greatest Job in the World!

I was thinking about my job last night as I laid in bed and it occured to me that I have the greatest job in the world.

What other job can you...

...Go to the gym everyday and spend an hour or two sculpting the perfect body.

...Regularly hear such comments as "Daddy you're strong!  But not as strong as that brown man at the gym" (Anya refering to my African American friend Isiah).

...Spend the majority of the summer outside enjoying the beautiful weather.

...Visit museums, zoos, arboretums, parks, libraries, and nature centers on a weekly basis.

...Watch the 8:00am Curious George episode and the catch the same episode at 3:00pm.

...Take care of all the housework so that as soon as Mommy comes home, we can relax and spend time as a family.

...Take a nap after lunch and not be considered a lazy American or a regular European.

...Make hot dogs, Macaroni and Cheese, and peanut butter and jelly sandwhichs and feel like a gourmet chef.

...Get daily praises from your boss on what an outstanding job you're doing.

...Have sex with your boss without worrying about getting fired or having to deal with awkward office gossip.

...Go to bed at night knowing that your job has meaning and wake up looking forward to the next day's work.

...Watch your children learn and grow and know that you had a hand in their social, emotional, and spiritual develoement.

I am one lucky guy!

Tip of the Day:  It is imperative that you steal all your children's Halloween candy immediately after they go to bed on Halloween night.  I'm not concerned about their sugar intake or dental reprocussions, but when there's only one box of Nerds left and three hepped up kids after it, its no-holds barred.  I'm pretty sure Reegan pulled a knife!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why?!?!?

After writing my last blog, we're on a 4 day streak of children waking up in the middle of the night.  The usual culprit is Caitlin.  She generally wakes up screaming for daddy, whining that she lost her blankie or her pillow.  It only takes a minute or two to calm her down and put her back to bed.  Anya, on the other hand, is a little trickier.  She doesn't often wake up in the middle of the night, but when she does it's usually because she's sick.  So when she came down last night around 2:00am, I planned for the worst.  I asked her if she was feeling okay, and aside from an aching chin she said she was fine.  An aching chin?  Who the hell has an aching chin?  I'm not even sure a chin can ache.  But that was her story and she was sticking to it.  Apparently the only cure for an aching chin is to lay in bed with ones father.  I decided it would be best to go up to Anya's room so Alicia could get a restful nights sleep (husband bonus points).

After spending two sleepless hours in Anya's bed, I decided I should start saying some prayers.  The first person I prayed for is Anya's future spouse.  That guy is going to get more than he bargined for.  Sleeping with her is like sleeping next to a dancing James Brown, without the"Hit Me!'s and sexually transmitted diseases.  She's got a wicked Jimmy Leg paired with a unique body twitch that seemed to occur just as I was about to fall asleep.  When you add the fact that she snores like a trucker, you've got one tough sleeping partner.

By 4:00am I was able to sneak back downstairs and snuggle back into my own bed.  But by that time, Alicia had laid claim to 3/4th of the bed.  'When I'm gone, she sleeps diaganol in my bed, when I'm there she sleeps lengthwise..." (random Phish quote).  The good news to last night is that we recently purchased a coffee maker and a few cups of Joe can fix even the most unsettling nights of sleep.


Tip of the Day:  Be careful what you allow your siblings to teach your children.  Kari taught Anya this really cool trick ; twirling her hair.  Anya now attempts to make 'knots' in her hair to be like her aunt.  Before I know it she'll be losing cell phones and using the 'f' word.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another Schmidty Day

Autumn has arrived at the Schmidt house and I must confess, I'm loving it!  Trips to the park are short and sweet and Brother Sun is calling it a day just after 6:30pm.  7:30 bedtime, here we come!  All three girls get about 12 hours of sleep a night and Reegan gets a two hour nap mid-day.  I know what you're thinking, why does God give such an asshole such wonderful sleepers?  Apparently good things do happen to bad people (write a chapter about that Kushner!).  Our nighttime routine is simple and consistant:

6:45 - Get into bath tub.
6:47 - Apply soap to arms, legs, bellies, and butt butts.
6:49 - Convince Anya not to bogard all bathtub toys.
6:51 - Shampoo hair into unicorns.
6:53 - Rinse the soap out of Anya and Reegan's hair.  Dry them off and place them in the hair combing and dressing station (aka the living room).
6:54 - 7:00- Attemp to rinse Caitlin's hair.  If unsuccessful, dry her soapy hair with a towel and change out of your bathtub soaked clothes.
7:00 - 7:05 - Give Reegan a sippy cup of milk and place in her crib.
7:05 - 7:15 - Convince Anya that we will be going to bed in 5 and 5 (an adaptation of Chuck Wolery's 2 and 2)
7:15 - 7:30 - Carry the two big girls up to bed.  Say prayers and go to sleep.

That gives Alicia and I a good 2 hours of peace and quiet, most of which is spent cleaning the house and doing  the laundry (neither of which is slang for 'how's your father' or the old 'jiggery-pokery').  Not the most exciting night life, but I wouldn't have it any other way.   

Tip of the Day:  Can't train your one year old to use the bathroom?  Train your four year old to change diapers.  I've never been such a proud parent...


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Secrets of life continued...

Secret number three - Don't have sex before marriage.

I don't want to come off as some sort of prude, but seriously, what good comes from premarital sex?  I personally don't buy into the whole "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free" argument.  Have you ever talked to a dairy farmer?  You think you get the milk for free?  You don't think cows need to eat, or have bedding, or require hours of labor to get the milk out of that cow?  I 'bought the cow' 7 years ago and still have to buy the milk!  I have to clean the house, bathe the girls, and wash the car, just for a chance to get a few sips! 

No, I think sex should wait because I've seen too many people's lives severly affected by poor decisions made in the bedroom.  As a youth minister I heard dozens of kids brag about their sexual escapades, but when we talked one-on-one, none of them felt good about their decisions.  Life is hard enough as it is, who needs all that extra stress to worry about!  Unwanted pregnancies, hurt feelings, STD's; no thanks, I'll live with the virgin jokes, thank you very much.  I mean HIV and AIDS?

"That ain't like the good ol' days when venereal disease was simple.
In the good old days, you got gonorhea, your dick would hurt, go get a shot, cleared right up...
And now they got AIDS, that just kills motherfuckers...

What's next?  You stick your dick in and just explode?"
-Eddie Murphy, Delirious

I may be hard for you to believe, but the only person I've ever had sex with is my wife.  I know what your thinking, and yes, I did have to fight the women off with a stick.  How could an Adonis like myself keep from getting laid?  I'm not sure how I did it, but I've always known that I wanted to wait.  And I have no regrets.

Secret number four - Marry your best friend.

Most people spend less then 1% of their lifetime having sex.  Why be involved with someone just to get some action?  Sure it sounds nice to have a relationship with Jenna Jamison, but what do you talk about the other 99% of the time you're together?  "So...you shot Saving Ryan's Privates today, huh... That sounds...rewarding..."

I'm so glad I married my best friend (and lucky for me my best friend is smokin' hot).  I love spending time with my wife.  While it is fun getting it on, I equally enjoy working out with her at the gym, going for bike rides with the kids, and cuddling together while watching TV.  Hopefully someday when my Roses are in their teens, they'll look back at their dad's posts and take to heart some of my advice. 

Tip of the day - Take the amount of time you plan to devote to your first child and divide it in half.  That way when the other 2 children come along, the oldest doesn't expect your undivided attention.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Secrets of life

The other day I got a call from one of my former students.  We chatted for a while and he made a comment that really struck me.  He said "Man you've got it all!  Someday I hope to grow up to be just like you."  While I challenged him to set slightly more demanding life goals (that's like aspiring to be ditch digger), I did think about his comment and thought I would share a few thoughts on what it takes to have a happy and successful life.

Secret Number One - Give people the benefit of the doubt.

While many people may think I'm a sucker, and admitedly, more often than not I am, throughout my life I have always tried to pause before judging the actions of others.  Growing up with a blind father has taught me a lot. 

My dad is legally blind, but still has 10% vision in his right eye.  While that doesn't seem like much, it's just enough for my dad to pretend like he has 20/20 vision.  Never in my life have I seen him walk with a cane (despite the fact that he has been repeatedly encouraged to do so).  It's always interesting to see the types of responses he gets while walking in areas of heavy foot traffic.  Since he has no vision in his left eye, he is constantly sholder-butting people and giving people flat-tires (you know when somebody steps on your shoe and it almost comes off...Annoying huh?).  Immediately people turn to him with looks of discust and anger.  What kind of asshole walks around pushing women and trying to kick peoples shoes off?  The truth is my dad is one of the nicest guys in the world and people just don't understand the whole story.  In general, I try to stop myself before passing judgement and recognize that I may not have all the information to come to a conclusion. 

Secret Number Two - Ask for help when you can't do it yourself.

That's what she said.

But seriously, it's true.  Most people seem to have a hard time asking for help. Why?  Nobody has all all the answers.  Why not ask?  What's the worst that can happen?  The person says 'no'?  Big whoop! 

A few months ago I started going to AA.  I know what you're thinking, 'AA, really?  I didn't think you were that much of a drunk!'  Even my wife thinks I'm crazy for going.  But at this point in my life, with three little girls at home, I really don't care what other people think.  The only requirement for attending AA is the desire to stop drinking.  Enough said.  Before starting AA, I had a hard time saying no.  Everybody I know drinks; my family, my in-laws, my friends, my coworkers, EVERYONE!  When I would go out, I even if I didn't want to, I always seemed to end up putting down a couple of cold ones.  Finally I realized that I was going to need some help if I wanted to stay off the sauce.  One of my friends has always ranted and raved about how awesome AA has been for him, so one day I asked him if I could come along with him to a meeting.  What an amazing experience it was.  A group of 30 guys from all walks of life gathered each week to help each other become better human beings.  Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?  Within the group we have business executives, mechanics, IT professionals, engineers, cops, you name it!  This group of stangers has taken a personal interest in my life and they sincerely care about my well being.  They have helped encourage me to stick to my beliefs and keep off the booze, even when everyone else thinks it's no big deal.

Nobody's perfect and the sooner we accept that, the sooner we'll have the opportunity to better our own life.  Never be afraid to reach out.

That's enough for now, but there will be more to come...

Tip of the Day:  If your daughter gets a scratch under her nose, don't suggest her to put a band-aide on it.  Especially if you live in a prodominantly Jewish neighborhood.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I didn't forget...

I know I haven't been writing as much as I usually do, but I've had a busy couple weeks.  With volleyball season in full swing, I've been reffing a couple nights a week and haven't been able to spend as much time with the family as I'm used to.  Alicia has been putting the girls to bed by herself at least three nights a week and until earlier last week, I was going to bed early since I wasn't feeling well.  I'm feeling much better now, thanks for asking.  It turns out the doctors think I had a small kidney stone that has since passed.  I don't recall passing it, but perhaps the fact that I am well endowed has something to do with that ;)

Anyway, life has been good at the Schmidt house.  No not good, great.  My whole family was in town this past week and we had an absolute blast!  Kelley and Nick (my sister and brother-in-law) flew in from Alaska with their three boys, James Brown, John John Bear, and Zack Attack (I love giving people nicknames, I feel it makes a relationship seem more personal and meaningful.  Zit Face Charlie never agreed with me though.)  My younger sisters Katie, with her two kids, Jack and Gracie, and Kari also came in from Madison and Denver.  Having the whole crew together is a really special time.  It doesn't matter how long we've been away, whenever we're together we pick right up where we left off. 

And the Roses LOVE their cousins.  Anya loves bossing around the boys (though she does allow them to be 'Dad' when they play house).   Caitlin and John John Bear both have very independant personalities and tend to wander around independantly together (if that makes sense).  Reegan, Zack and Gracie don't really play, but I imagine they would if they understood what the hell was going on. 

Last weekend we celebrated Anya's 4th birthday at my parent's house.  Alicia's parents joined the party as well as Anya's cousin Kayidance.  We had a wonderful time picking apples and going for a hay ride.  For having 9 kids between 10 months and 5 years old, it wasn't even too chaotic.  Seriously.  My CPA wife even said so.

On Sunday Kelley, Nick and I ran the Twin Cities Marathon.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be running and I managed to finish with my fastest time of 4:57.  Everyone in the family was their to cheer me on and that made the day extra special to me. Never take for granted the people that you love.  If they can make something as painful and difficult as a marathon seem fun and exciting, you've got some special people around you!

Tip of the day:  If you're going to be a spectator in a marathon, here are a few ideas for signs you can hold to encourage the runners:

...Because 26.3 miles would be crazy.
Chuck Norris didn't run a marathon.
Run like you stole something.
Nipple chaffing turns me on (must be an attactive female to pull this one off)

And my personal favorite (which was held by someone outside a church)
Jesus hates pussies.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sweet things my kids have said and other ramblings...

Anya: I ate a cookie in my bed yesterday and now there's all these circles in my bed.  Get them out!
Me:  And you ate an apple up here the other night, where did that go?
Anya:  I'm not sure, but it was in my covers so that's okay dad.

I was talking to Anya about what we were going to do tomorrow and I mentioned that we'd see my friend Doug.  Caitlin, out of nowhere shouts, "I like Doug, he's a nice guy."

Anya: I'm going to make an "I Miss You" card for Great-Grandma.

Caitlin: They took off my cast!  See!  (arm flails aimlessly)

Anya:  Caitlin, let's play house!
Caitlin: Okay!
Anya:  I'll be the dad and you be the mom.
Caitlin: NO, I want to be the dad!
Anya: No, I'm the dad!
Caitlin: DAD!
Me: What's going on over there?
Caitlin: Anya won't let me be the dad!
Me: Anya, let your sister be the dad.
Anya: Caitlin, how about you be Anya and I'll be the dad.
Caitlin: Okay...

While taking a bath...
Anya: What's that?
Me: That's something only daddies have.
Anya:  When am I going to grow one?

And now for something completely different.

For the past few days I haven't been feeling well.  Since last Thursday I've had what I thought were some pretty intense gas pains.  Finally after five days, two enimas, a handful of laxitives, and half a bottle of Pepto Bismol I decided to go see the doctor. After explaining my symptoms to the attractive 28-year-old physicians assistant, she informed me that she would like to run a handful of tests.  She rattled off a handful of common ones, but one made my ears perk up, something that started with the word 'rectal.'  Not having heard of that test, I asked her what exactly that test entails.  She explained that she was going to stick her finger up my butt and examine my prostrate and test for some bleeding in my colon.  She handed me a gown and asked that I put it on. 

When she came back into the room she asked me to bend over the exam table and try to relax.  She snapped on her glove, lubed up her fingers and went to town.  It was a pretty quick test, but I felt a bit awkward.  As I often do, I thought some light humor would help in the situation.  I turned to her and said , "Did we just have a moment?"

I half chuckled, but I'm not sure she saw the humor in the situation.  My comment was clearly more discomforting to her than sticking her finger up my ass.  After a minute she realized I was joking, but her look was priceless!

Anyway, it seems that I may have a kidney stone.  I go back for a CT scan next week to confirm, but for now it looks like lots of water and Tylenol.  Hopefully it's one of those really small ones that will pass quickly and painlessly.

Tip of the Day:  If a doctor probes your anus, it is better to pretend that nothing ever happened.

Monday, September 13, 2010

We will miss you Great Grandma!

The last few days have been pretty tough at the Schmidt house.  On Saturday morning, my Grandma Kelley passed away.  She had been living with my folks for the past 10.5 years and wouldn't have wanted to die anywhere else.  Every couple weeks the Roses and I would head up to Nana and Papa's house during the week to visit with Great Grandma and Pussface, Grandma's kitty.  She loved reading them books and watching them play with their toys.  One of my favorite memories of her was watching her read Sesame Street's Hokey Pokey to Anya and Caitlin while they sat on her lap.  She wasn't very familiar with Sesame Street so each page she would give this inquisital look on her face like 'What the hell kind of animals are these anyways?  I've been on this earth 77 years and never have I seen a red fluffy squirely monkey...' In her defense she did recognize Big Bird.

This is the first experience of death for my Roses and it has been interesting trying to explain the concept to them.  Unlike most kids, I think Anya has a unique understanding of death.  Last fall when my parents were processing the chickens they had raised, Alicia and I went up to the house to help them.  Alicia was planning on watching the girls while I helped my parents with the slaughter.  We were afraid Anya would be freaked out to see the chickens she loved playing with have their heads chopped off, have their feathers plucked, and have their inerds removed.  We were wrong.  Anya snuck out of the house and was facinated by the process.  When we saw her we stopped production.  She wandered around the yard asking all kinds of questions.  We walked her through the process and she looked up at me and said, "Well dad, lets go dead another chicken!" She watched me hatchet off the chickens head, drain the blood and remove the feathers. Then she went and watched as Nana dressed the chicken and enjoyed every minute of it.  When we ate that night she was excited to eat the freshly butchered meat. 

With my Grandma's passing, Anya wanted to know all the details.  When she asked how she died, we explained that her heart had stopped beating and her body shut down.  She explained to us, "Yep, that's what happens.  When people get older their hearts stop beating and they lay flat and die."  We explained to her that she's now in heaven with Jesus and is watching over us with Great Grandpa and all her brothers and sisters.

We brought the girls up to my parents house yesterday so we could all spend some time with my parents.  While Saturday had been a tough day, the innocence of the children brought a levity to the situation that really helped us cope.  On our way up to the house we reminded the girls to tell Nana and Papa how much they loved them.  When Anya first saw Nana she ran into her arms and said "Mom told me I'm supposed to tell you I love you!"  Not exactly what we had in mind, but we all had a good laugh, something we all needed. 

Watching the Roses play at the house helped us all remember how the circle of life continues.  We all have a purpose on this earth and though our lives we touch and transform the world around us.

We will all miss Grandma Kelley dearly and we thank God for all the lessons she has taught us throughout her life.  Rest in peace, Grandma, we love you.

Tip of the Day:  Live every day to the fullest and never miss an opportunity to tell your friends or family how much you love and appreciate them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fall is in the air

It's hard to believe, but fall has finally arrived.  While most people monitor the changing of the seasons by the colors of the leaves, the weather, or the school year, here at the Schmidt house I know it's the start of fall by the number of nights I get out of the house to ref volleyball.

For those of you who don't know, last year was my first year as a volleyball official.  I was given a handful of matches in the MIAC and UMAC conferences and had an awesome time.  I met dozens of great people and relished in my time away from the family.  This past weekend I took a trip up to Northern Michigan to ref my first Division II tournament. While it was a bit itimidating at first, by the end of the weekend I felt like I belonged.  It was the first time I spent three days away from the family in quite a while.  Here are the top ten reasons I knew I was away from my Roses:

10.  In three days the only ass I had to wipe was my own.
9.  I went to bed and wasn't waken up with requests to 'take off my cast,' 'help me go potty,' or 'change my soiled sheets.'
8.  The only whining I had to listen to was from a 40 year old woman with minimal understanding of volleyball rules.
7.  I was able to have a conversation with an adult without having this conversation with my 3 year old:

Anya : Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!
Me: Anya, Daddy is talking to an adult and it's rude to interupt.
Anya: Sorry Daddy.  Excuse me Daddy! Excuse me Daddy! Excuse me Daddy!

6.  I was able to go three days without eating a hot dog or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
5.  At the end of the day, the neck of my tshirt had the same elasticity as it did when I put it on.
4.  I didn't have to apologize to a waitress for the mess left at the table.
3.  I realized most people don't have to break up dozens of fights in the course of a day.
2.  I had this incredible sensation; silence.

And the number one reason I knew I was away from my Roses..

1.  My heart ached just a little from not being able to hold the people I love most in the world.

Tip of the Day:  Never judge a book by it's cover.  Unless it's one of those books with the Fabio looking guy on the front, those always suck.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Can't Catch a Break...

We'll we had an interesting day today...


About two weeks ago Alicia and I took the Roses to one our of favorite neighborhood parks; a park we've  visited a hundred times before.  While I was chasing Anya in the grassy knoll, Alicia had Reegan in her arms and they we're on there way to join us.  Caitlin, not wanting to miss out on the action, started running to catch up.  To get to the grass area from the playground, you have to step over a plastic barrier to get to the grass.  Apparently Caitlin was too excited to look where she was walking.  She tripped over the barrier and fell on her belly.  As she cried we gave her the old, "You'll be fine."  We rubbed some dirt on it and I gave her a kiss, which is my Roses equivilent to a full dose of Percocet.  But my magic didn't seem to work.  For the rest of the night she nursed her arm. 

The next day she seemed to be in better spirits.  While still favoring her right arm, there were no signs of any serious damage.  A few days later everything seemed fine.  Occasionally Anya would grab a toy from her and she'd let out a whale, but in our house, that's nothing unusual.  Yesterday she was playing on the couch and took a header between the sofa and the end table.  She screamed for a half hour and again refused to use her left hand.  At this point I started thinking, "Maybe there's something more to this wrist thing..." but with a $5,000 insurance deductable, I thought I'd try a homeopathic remedy that has worked for me in the past; I put her to bed early.  

I guess there's a reason doctors go to school for so long...

While I laid with Caitlin on the couch this afternoon, she reached down to grab one of her babies and fell.  She put out her hands to break her fall and that was it.  She was in pain. I knew what we had to do.  We packed up the family and headed over to Urgent Care (we would have waited until tomorrow, but the Urgent Care receptionist assured us that there wasn't a price difference between a weekday and weekend visit). 

The doctor came in, took a look at it, and ordered up a X-Ray.  He called us over to check out the scans and diagnosed Caitlin with a 'distal radius ulnan buckle fractures.'  I'm pretty sure that's Latin for 'A cheap-ass dead-beat dad.'  In my defense, however, had he not showed me exactly where the problem was, I would have diagnosed her a major wuss, as there were seemingly no problems with her X-Ray.  

I felt horrible. He consoled us by saying that often times these fractures take care of themselves.  Apparently young bones are spongy enough to self correct themselves from minor fractures, but he thought that the repeated falls kept her from healing on her own.  Because both bones in her arm were fractured, he thought it would be best to put a cast on her. 

We took her in the casting room and Caitlin sat on mommy's lap while he started wrapping her up.  She didn't seem to mind it until he was about halfway through.  From that point until we we're in the car on the way home (a total of 20 minutes) she screamed, "Daddy, take it off!  Daddy, take it off!"  We managed to calm her down with a series of mild sedatives (Arby's and ice cream) and she seemed to come to terms with her new appendage. 

By the time she went to bed, she was getting a kick out of her new cast.  While laying in bed she was telling me all about it.   "Daddy it's big."  "Daddy it's hard."  The funny thing about it was that an hour later, in a completely different context, Alicia told me the exact same thing.

Tip of the Day:   If your child is still crying after you offer them a sticker, a lolly-pop, a hour of Dora episodes, two doses of Children's Tylenol, and a new coloring book, the have a 50/50 chance of having a real injury.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Growing Pains

Change is the only thing in life you can count on.  Here are a few of the recent changes that have occured at the Schmidt house:

Flushing the toilet has lost it's novelty.  Now raising the lid of the toilet is like unwrapping a Christmas present from Anya.  Except instead of wrapping paper and good cheer, it's toilet paper and last night's corn on the cob.

For Reegan going to the gym isn't the pleasant experience it once was.  The past three workouts were interupted by a call to the child care center to console a hysterical 1 year old.  You know that scene from Dumb and Dumber when Jim Carrey makes the 'most annoying sound in the world,' I'm getting a good 40 minutes of that a day.

While her vocabulary and motor skills continue to grow and develope, Caitlin's sense of reality continues to hover as though in a mild nitrious oxide high.  To walk a day in her shoes...  She just enjoys life.  Everything is so interesting to her.  I can't tell you how many times she's walked into walls because she is gazing off at a balloon, or a bubble, or a really cute pair of pumps. She is the epitome of innocence and has my heart.

It's easy to notice all the changes in your childrens lives. They are constantly growing; physically, emotionally, intellectually. But it's not so easy to notice our own growth. For all the changes that have taken place in my Roses, there has been a change that has happened to Alicia and I.  As we talked about it tonight, we remember how our mindsets have been completely reprogramed with each birth of our daughers.  The things we thought were important seem so insignificant now.  Your whole world seems different.  A rabbit isn't just rat with big legs that terrorizes gardens, it becomes a majestic creature to be sought out and chased.  Flowers I've walked by a thousand times without noticing have made for afternoons of fun with my girls.  Children have a way of boiling life down to it's simplest form.  That's what my wife and I have learned over the years, and everyday we strive to open our eyes to the wonders of the world that are right here in our lives.

Tip of the Day - Never purchase Itsy Bits ice cream if you have a type A personality.  Unlike a regular ice cream spill which lands in one place, these orbs from hell travel far and wide and leave a rainbow of colors on your white carpeting.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Simple Things in Life

I have a few 'firsts' to announce. Just days before Reegan's first birthday, she started taking her first steps. We were up at the cabin when she mustered up the courage to take those first daring steps.  Below is a video we took of one of her earliest strolls at the cabin.  Make sure to watch it in it's entirety, you won't be disappointed.
video

I have my phone handy in case Tosh.0 wants Reegan for a Web Redemption in a few years.  Priceless.  

NOTE - No children were hurt in the making of this video. If you slow motion the fall you will see her face smashes the padded part of the couch.  I recommend watching it several time for full effect.

Another 'first' from this past week is that it was our first family vacation that I was able to actually relax.  We went up to the cabin last Wednesday and spend the next few days with Papa, Nana, and Great Grandma.  Understand that when I use the term cabin, I use it in the simplest sense; it's an 800 ft shack with minimal accomodations.  To steal a quote from a wiser man than I (Walter from The Big Lebowski), "It's beauty is in it's simplicity."  We had a wonderful time doing nothing, and I couldn't ask for more.

Up at the cabin Anya fished for the first time.  Okay maybe it wasn't her actual first time, but it was the first time she sat in the boat with Papa and I and didn't have to pee, eat, or lose any expensive tackle.  She learned how to cast and even landed a few fish on her own.  The most entertaining part of the ordeal was listening to Anya explain why she was catching fish while Papa and I were not.  "That fish was talking to his daddy about the lilly pads and wanted to get some food so they could go on a date, that's why he ate my worm."  She's got it all figured out.

This past week Reegan was introduced to a whole slew of new fauna.  Before we left for the cabin, all the Roses and I (mom included) went to a small pond near our house to feed the ducks some bread.  Everyone had a great time throwing moldy bread to half starved ducks.  To our surprise a couple of painted turtles decided to join in the feast.  As neat as they were in the water, I thought it would be a special treat if I could catch one and bring it on land for the girls.  As a turtle appoached the surface, I Jean Claude Van Damme-d his ass (for those of you unfamiliar with Bloodsport, he snatches a goldfish from a pond as some sort of quickness training).  Unlike Van Damme, when I grabbed the turtle I didn't have a bad-ass grimace on my face, rather I squealed like a pansy.  Either way, I brought the turtle to shore.  Anya and Caitlin screamed with excitement, but were far to scared to actually touch the thing.  Reegan, on the other hand, embraced the opportunity to touch this unique reptile.  After a few failed attempts at catching him, she managed to grab him by the shell and proceded to attempt to bite him in the head.  Lucky for her, mom jumped in and took him out of her hand.  They say that painters don't bite, but I can't imagine this guy wasn't going to take that sort of aggression without a fight.  Her crawled around for a few more minutes before we released him back to the wild (the man made pond in which we found him).

Looking back at this week it has made me realize that it's the simple things in life that really bring the most joy to my life.  My most priceless memories are so simple; watching Reegan react to new experiences, cuddling with Caitlin on the couch, seeing Anya light up at the sight of a 3 inch sunny, and making out with my wife in the woods.  What a lucky man I am.

Tip of the Day:  If you know of a lake that is over populated with sunfish, let me know.  Anya is a pro at 'thinning' fish populations.  The survival ratio of fish she caught was about 30%, primarily because she was too busy explaining why she was a better fisherwoman than I, while a sunny had half digested her worm before she realized it was on her hook.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

As unique as a snowflake

Genetics are a funny thing. How can the same parents have such different kids? A couple weeks ago my wife and I decided it was time to sign Anya and Caitlin up for swimming lessons. After working out at Lifetime last week, I found some classtimes for the girls that would be perfect. Anya's class was from 10:45 to 11:15 and Cai Cai's from 11:15 to 11:45. I had it all figured out, I'd drop Reegan off at the child care center by 10:30, get Anya changed and ready, and sit with Caitlin to help her feel comfortable with her surroundings. On paper it looked flawless...enter reality.

When we arrived at the gym at 10:40, Anya yelled from the backseat, 'Hey Dude (that's her latest thing, calling people 'dude'. She's so cute she makes Michelle Tanner look like Steve Buscemi) I left my shoes in the porch.' Any other day there would be at least one pair of flip flops hidden somewhere under the seats, but I had cleaned the van out the night before. Damn my cleanliness!

"We just have to go, kiddo," I said.
"But the police will get me!"
"We don't have any time, just play it cool and follow my lead. And don't step on any glass."

Well she did play it cool. We made it in. We hustled down to the child care center, dropped off Reegan, and raced back to the pool. The class was just about to get started, so we ran in the locker room to put on her suit (Okay, Anya and I ran, Caitlin walked lazily behind us a good ten paces, but she managed to find her way).

Once class started, life was good. Caitlin and I watched Anya as her teacher instructed the girls how to float, kick, and paddle with their arms. Anya caught on fast and enjoyed the new challenges. Unfortunately the class only lasted a half hour. The teacher dismissed her class and called for the next class to begin.

This is when the shit hit the fan.

I gave Anya a towel and pulled her up a chair close to the water so she could watch Caitlin and I. When the teacher asked the parents to get in the water, both of my Roses' bottom lips began to quiver. I reached my hands out to carry Caitlin into the water, when she decided she was as good a swimmer as she needed to be. She wanted none of it. Anya on the other hand, stood up to join me. When I explained to her that this was Caitlin's turn to swim, both girls started crying. The teacher, God bless her, was trying to comfort Caitlin by taking her hand, but Lord knows that wasn't going to help. Anya managed to pull it together in a minute or two and Caitlin finally allowed me to carry her into the water. My luck was starting to change...or so I thought.

We got about 10 minutes into the class when the child care attendent came into the pool area. This can't be good. "Mr. Schmidt, Reegan had a little bit of a blowout downstairs. Can you come down and change her? She's going to need a new outfit."

That was it. "Girls were outta here." Again Anya cried because she wanted to swim and Caitlin cried because Anya cried. We ran into the locker room to get changed and hurried down to get Reegan. Of course I didn't have a change of clothes for her, but I did have a towel. I wrapped her up and took my motley crew back to the car. Just another fun day at the gym. :)

Tip of the Day - Cascade dishwasher tablets look tastier than they really are, just ask Reegan.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Holy Crap!

The girls are all playing nicely upstairs, so I'm going to take this opportunity to share some of my memorable moments from the past few days.

1. Saturday in Byron, MN. The fam went to visit our good friends Jess and Chris and their little girl Taylor. It's great visiting them, new toys for the girls to play with and good conversation for Mommy and Daddy. It's always so relaxed when we visit them. We never have any plans, we just sit around and let the girls play and catch up on life.

2. Sunday volleyball tournament in Chaska. The tournament was in Fireman's Park in Chaska and was a great place to have a tourney. We had a kick ass team and ended up finishing 3rd/4th overall. We lost to a team with two professional volleyball players (both play overseas), an All American D-2 setter and 6'8 right side hitter. Not bad for a stay-at-home dad, and IT professional, a behavioral therapist and a grad student.

95% of the time that I'm not around the family it's because I'm playing or reffing volleyball. My Roses have now associated my entire social life with volleyball. If someone calls on the phone they ask "Is that your volleyball friend?". When we're in the car and I wave for a pedestrian to cross the street they ask, "Is that your volleyball friend?" I used to explain to them that Daddy has many friends and that is polite to be nice to everybody, but that only spurred more questions. Now I simply answer 'yes.'

Me - I'm going to run inside this store and buy some milk.
Anya - From your volleyball friend?
Me - [Sigh] Yes Anya, from my volleyball friend.

3. Anya called me into the bathroom yesterday to show off this massive shit she took. She was so proud. She yelled "Daddy hurry! I just pooped a Q?" 'What the hell is she talking about' I thought. But sure enough, when I got to the bathroom, floating atop the toilet's water was my daughter's bowel movement coiled into the shape of the letter Q. I was a proud father for two reasons, 1) I succeeded in providing my daughter with a high fiber diet and 2) my daughter clearly knew her letters.

Tip of the Day - As soon as you establish a consistent routine and think you have things figured out, know that you are days away from chaos. Good bye naps, consistent eating times, and any sense of familial normalicy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

We've got a Red in the house!

Don't tell Ronald Reagon, but I think we've got a Red in the house. Yesterday afternoon we went to the Golden Valley library. With Blockbuster's skyrocketing prices for kids videos, the library has become the Schmidt's movie store of choice. Anya wanted to pick out her movie all by herself and I ablidged (she's got her mother's stubbornness and so my best bet was to just let her do her thing). Of all the movies to choose from; Dora, Elmo, Barney, Mickey Mouse, Anya chose Kot Leopolud, a Russian childrens cartoon.

When we got home Anya quickly ran to the DVD player to play her new film. I started preparing dinner as I heard what I thought was the Borat theme music blaring from the living room. I listened for a while, but instead of hearing classic lines like "This suit is NOT black" or "I will look upon your treasures Gyspy, is this understood?" or "My wife, her vagine hang like a sleeve of wizard," I hear a couple couple of mice speaking sputnik to one another. I poked my head into the living room to see a 'C' quality movie of Russia's best attempt at Tom and Jerry. What was really upsetting to me was that Anya was glued to the TV. Anya can find enjoyment in watching some pretty lame television programming, but I had no idea how low she could stoop. She had hit rock bottom.

She spent 35 minutes watching that Commie garbage. I've got my fingers crossed that she doesn't start spouting off about the ills of capitalism, but I may be too late; it was a pretty powerful film. We will be taking the DVD back to the library this morning in exchange for something more in tune with our cultural way of life, somthing along the lines of The Simpsons or Family Guy. Good American Humor. "High Five!"

Tip of the Day - If your spouse is vehemently apposed to Borat for it's vulgarity, don't bring home Bruno for a romantic date night. I thought my wife would like watching a movie where there was a plethora of male frontal nudity and such classy lines like "So hypothetically according to you (Pastor) I can admire a mans penis in the shower but the moment I put it in my mouth some sort of line has been crossed?" I was wrong.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

She Likes Me! She Really Likes Me!!!

It's been 11 months and 11 days since Reegan was born, and I think she finally gave in and decided to like her Daddy. I don't think she had any major problem with me, she just treated me like the guy who watches her until her Mommy came home. When she was wet, I changed her. When she was hungry, I gave her a bottle (this sounds like the Corporal Works of Mercy; Baby edition). But she wasn't too crazy with me. I can't say that I blame her. Reegs has pretty much gotten the shaft. When Anya was a baby I used to take her to the zoo. I would always get her the best view of all the animals. I would tell her the names of the creatures and give her as much Cliff Clavin-like information as possible, "Due to the shape of the North American elk's esophagus, even if it could speak, it could not pronounce the word lasagna."

Now when we go, Anya runs 20 feet ahead, Caitlin straggles 20 feet behind and Reegan is in the stroller, lucky if her face isn't nestled between the butt cheeks of some over-weight woman.

But this past week, I think Reegan has really started to like me. Over the weekend, she was the first person to wake up and we got some one on one time. We were rolling a tennis ball back and forth and she was really loving it. She has this super cute laugh when she really gets a charge out of something, it's really deep and raspy, almost like a smokers laugh. Cutest thing ever. It's amazing the things you can learn about your kids when you actually give them your attention... And yesterday at the gym, when I went to pick up the girls, Reegan saw me, gave me big smile, and crawled to me as fast as her chubby legs could move. She's really starting to develop her own personality, and even though I don't have the time and energy to give her the same attention I gave to Anya, I'm starting to form a close relationship with my littlest Rose. Love ya Reegs!

Tip of the Day - When faced with the option to purchase pre-packaged peanuts or buy the ones out of the bin at the grocery store, choose the pre-packaged option. Hypothetically speaking it is possible for a 2 year old to grab a handful of peanuts, put them in her mouth, and return them to the display. Hypothetically speaking.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cookie Monsters

At what age do people begin to be bothered by having crumbs in one's bed? I can tell you with certainty that by 29 it is in full force. The other night I went to bed and found myself unable to get comfortable. After a few minutes of tossing and turning, I put on the light to find that someone had been eating Pop Tarts in my bed. While I couldn't with absolute certainty rule out the possibility that I was the culprit, it felt so much better to punch my pillow and whisper, "Damnit Roses!" Similar in fashion to when my father loses his reading glasses and instead of admiting that he may have lost them, he jumps to the conclusion that "Some asshole stole them!" It just feels right.

I spent the next few minutes fishing all the multi-colored sparkles from my sheets. But no matter how much time you spend getting rid of the crumbles, you inevitably miss a couple; and those few crumbs annoy you tirelessly throughout the night.

One thing I learned this week, however, is that the discomfort experienced by crumbs in one's bed is a learned response.

Last week my mom made a delicious batch of sugar cookies. After we would finish our lunch, I would give Cai Cai and Anya a cookie while they watched Super Why in the living room (TV and sugar; at-home parents best friends when trying to clean up the house). While doing the dishes, I assumed the girls were eating their cookies, but last night I found out their dirty little secret; they would sneak upstairs to hoard their cookies for bedtime. While putting Caitlin to bed last night, I found four half eaten cookies. She had been snacking on them before falling asleep. The surprising thing wasn't that I found the cookies, the thing that blew me away was how in the world can someone sleep in such filth. The large chunks of cookies would have driven me crazy! After three days those cookies were harder than Ron Burgundy after meeting Veronica Corningstone! When I picked Cai Cai up to change her sheets, she through a fit. After three years of living with children, there is still so much I have to learn.

Tip of the Day - When money is tight, buying used is a great way to stretch your budget. There are, however, some things you are better off purching new; computers, fruit, gum, band-aids, toilet paper, and condoms.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Celebrating Independence Weekend

I had an awesome Fourth of July weekend with the family; we met up with some friends, grilled some meat, and even had a bonfire. It was wonderful. But as a parent of three, I had a hard time fully grasping the celebration of independence. I mean I'm glad the King of England isn't still here telling us what religion to be and keeping us from proper dental care, but I didn't really feel the freedom that the holiday is meant to embody. Was I free from changing diapers? Or dealing with the daily two-year-old meltdowns? Or waking up in the middle of the night to help my 3 year old 'find' her blanky (which was in her hand)? I think not.

A 'vacation' with three kids is like riding the Tilt-o-Whirl; it sounds like a lot of fun at the time, but after about two minutes on the ride, you want nothing more than to get off the God forsaken thing. And inevitably there is vomit involved.

Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but family vacations are anything but relaxing.

That's why this weekend I am celebrating independence day. Tomorrow afternoon I'm catching a ride with a friend of mine and heading down to Osh Kosh, WI for a weekend of volleyball. The Wapauca Boatride Tournament is one of the largest outdoor volleyball tournaments in the nation. The best part is I will be there sans children. God Bless America! I love my kids more than life itself, but Daddy has been losing his marbles these past few weeks. Dealing with sick children is worse than Turkish prison camp; no sleep, constant whining, and the lingering stench of vomit never seems to escape you. That's why this weekend is going to be great. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there will still be no sleep, and with free beer all weekend, there will be plenty of vomit, but at least I don't have to listen to the damn whining.

Tip of the Day - If you are going to share a water bottle with a 2 year old, make sure it is a clear container. It's one thing when you can see the backwash and choose to not take a drink, it's another when you take a big slug from your Sig water bottle and get a mouthful of water with half chewed Cinnamon Toast Crunch in it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I bet you didn't know...

...Anya was afraid of snakes until she saw Kaa in the Jungle Book. That's like saying someone was afraid of clowns until they saw the movie IT.

...Caitlin likes to chew her food for a ridiculous amount of time. Last week had steak for dinner at 5:30. After cleaning up, going for a 5 mile bike ride, and playing in the park, I noticed she was chewing on something. Worried it was ABC gum found on the underside of the playground equipment, I asked her what she was eating. "Meat," was her response. As sure as I am writing this, she was still chewing on a piece of steak an hour and a half after dinner.

...Reegan makes for a great vacuum cleaner. Anya left some small red hair binders on the floor yesterday. This morning I found those same hair binders in Reegans diaper.

...Anya and Caitlin love when I take them on bike rides in thier bike trailer. Anya especially likes it when I go fast so they wiggle and bonk heads with one another. Caitlin does not share this sentiment.

...That since I ruptured my ear drum, I can plug my nose and blow and make a whistling sound from my ear.

...Reegan can eat more than Caitlin and sometimes Anya.

...All the girls were sick for a week and Alicia and I didn't take them to the doctor. A few days later we both got sick. We both were in so much pain we had to go see the doctor. Bottom line, the Roses are a hell of a lot tougher than their parents.

...Anya can do a dramatic representation of a thunderstorm; including (but not limited to) arm movements, jumping, clapping, and screaming the word "KABOOM!!!"

Tip of the Day - If you drink a fifth on the fourth, you won't live to see the sixth.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Schmidt hit the fan.

What a week of ups and downs. And some of you may have heard, on Monday I was announced Papa of the Year from Papa-Gio.net. I was stoked! Last Saturday I made it in the paper for being "Dad-tastic" and a couple days later Papa of the year, not a bad run.

My head must have gotten a little too big from my recognitions. There are some that say God doesn't have a sense of humor, to those I say read on. Either God is fricken hilarious or one mean hearted son of a bitch (I choose to believe the former). Starting last week, the Roses have not been feeling well. Starting last Friday night, I haven't slept more than 4 hours without being awakened by one of my screaming kids. They've been sick with fevers, nausea, headaches, and have had runny noses so bad the monsters in Earnest Scared Stupid were like "Damn, get those kids some Kleenex!"

Now it sucks when your kids are sick, but it sucks even worse when your kids give you their disease just as they get over it. At least if we were all sick together we could just put in Little Mermaid and veg out. But when you feel like shit and they want to play dance party, life gets ugly real quick. Why is it that the sicker you get the more active your kids want to be?

Last night was the worst though. Caitlin woke up around 1:00am and I brought her down to the basement to lay down with her. Nothing terribly unusual given the previous 6 days. When I laid down with her, I noticed some pressure building up in my ear. I haven't had a ear infection since I was a kid, but the pressure reminded me an awful lot of my youth. Caitlin was tossing and turning for about 10 minutes before she finally quieted down. Meanwhile my ear began throbbing. I felt like I was in an airplane but my ear wasn't popping. I started hearing some crackling sounds and some pops in my ear. It reminded me of the 4th of July, but instead of fireworks, flags, and merriment, it was oozing, bloody, pain. The pain built up until on final pop had me squeezing my pillow in pain. My eardrum popped. I could feel the fluid oozing out but didn't have the stomach to turn on the light to see it. I took off my shirt and put it over my pillow and went to bed. When I say the contents of my shirt in the morning, I quickly went to the minute clinic for a diagnosis.

It was confirmed that I had a double ear infection. The Dr. mentioned that my other ear looked close to rupturing as well, but hopefully the antibiotics will take effect before it does. So far so good, but I don't feel like I'm out of the woods yet. Keep your fingers crossed that this gets better before it gets worse...

Tip of the Day - When you blog about illnesses and you have nurses who follow your writing, don't use terms like "Whooping Cough" or "Tiburculosis" lightly; you'll have the CDC all up in your grill.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Happiest Father

Yesterday was one of my best days I've had in quite a while. This weekend Alicia's coworker was getting married so we asked my parents to take the kids for the weekend. We went to the wedding and the reception and had a great time. Before we had kids, I enjoyed going to the Larson Allen functions; the people were fun and the drinks were free. Ever since Anya was born, I've had to stay home with the kids while Alicia whooped it up. This was the first time in 3 years we were both able to go and we had a great time.

On Sunday morning, Alicia and I decided to make the most of our time alone and busted out the bikes for a morning ride. We went up to Lake Calhoun and took a break for some good people watching (although 9:00am on a Sunday morning isn't the best time to people watch. Most of the crazies are in bed til at least noon). When we returned home we cleaned up and headed out to pick up the kids.

At my parents house we spent the afternoon enjoying the beautiful summer weather. We went to the beach, played soccer in the front yard, chased around the chickens and turkeys, it was awesome. After a delicious father's day meal, we cleaned up the girls and headed for home. Within minutes of our departure, the Roses were out. A peaceful ride home was the greatest gift those girls could have given me.

Alicia and I transported the girls from their carseats to their beds with minimal resistance. It was 6:45pm and the girls were all asleep. Sound too good to be true? It was...

Around 1:00am we were awakened by Caitlin's screams coming from upstairs. I rushed up the steps to find Caitlin at the foot of her bed screaming "Choc....a...late....MILKKKKKKKKKKK!"

'She must be really jones'en for some chocolate milk,' I thought. 'I'm up anyway, might as well ablidge.'

I bent down to pick her up and I knew something was wrong. She was burning up. I carried her down to the kitchen and turned on the light. I could immediately tell why she wanted chocolate milk. You know when you go to bed with a plugged nose and you wake up with a film of goo all over your mouth? That was the case. Plugged nose, fever, and drymouth; the perfect storm for some wicked cotton mouth.

She sobbed until I was able to prepare her drink, at which point she managed to say, "Thank", sniffle, sniffle, "you," sniffle, sniffle, "Daddy!" Apparently for Caitlin, being sick as a dog is no excuse for poor manners. I pulled out the Children's Tylenol and served her up a spoonful. Knowing she was too upset to go back to bed, I brought her down to the basement to rock her without waking up the rest of the house. I watched as the clock went from 1:30 to 2:30 to 3:30. We both fell asleep sometime in the four oclock hour.

The real pain in the ass here is that at 7:00am she woke up feeling much better and I woke up with a sore throat, a headache, and a plugged nose. I'm not sure why I'm so surprised by this, I was handling a feverished, slobbering, snot-glazed toddler for 4 hours last night. I thought about putting the hazmat suit, but it just didn't seem as comforting (and it was in the wash). Looking back I wouldn't change a thing. There is something incredibly powerful about holding your sick child in your arms. You are both a little scared, a little tired, but you know you have each other to get through it. When she fell asleep in my arms I couldn't help but realize how amazingly blessed I am to have my Roses in my life.

Tip of the Day: This too shall pass.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

You stay classy San Diego!

I write to you as I lay comfortably across our king-sized bed from the Hilton in San Diego. Moving up in the world you ask? Hardly. Alicia was asked to attend a conference in San Diego for work and since I had some frequent flyer miles to burn, I thought, what the hell? I haven't had a three day vacation from my fatherly duties since I had my vasectomy!

We flew out here on Sunday morning and will be heading home tomorrow afternoon. Alicia's conference runs from 7:30 to 4:00, so that gives me the days to myself. Yesterday I caught up with an old friend. Andy and I had been friends since high school, but had lost touch over the past few years. Since I was going to be in his area, I thought I'd give him a call and see if we could hang out. It turns out he just bought a house last week and has some remodeling to do before moving in this Friday. I have nothing better to do out here, so I volunteered to help with the project. We had a great time catching up while sanding the walls and floors. I caught a ride home by 4:00pm so I could enjoy a date night with Alicia. We went for a walk, grabbed some dinner, and made our way back to the hotel. It was an awesome day.

Around 10pm we were awaken by the hotel PA system. "Attention, we just experienced an earthquake, please stay in your rooms and wait for further instructions." We didn't notice it as our bed had been shaking all night, but it was confirmed, our first earthquake. The only remaining natural disasters I have to experience are tsunamis, hurricanes, pestilence, and locust invasions. Not a bad run for only 29 years old.

Tip of the Day - Keep your eyes on the Star Tribune's Sunday paper. There just may be a father's day article about someone you know...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Curtian Call

Isn't the summer great? We've been hitting up parks like a thug hits up 7/11's. The sun is great at tiring out my beautiful, pale skinned Roses. But while the summer is a wonderful time of the year, the shitter is trying to get the kids to bed. Remember those kids growing up who always had to be home by 8:00pm so they could get to bed even when the sun was still out? Sorry to break it to you Roses, but you will be those kids (at least until you're old enough to fend for yourselves. As long as Daddy gets a couple hour break everyday, you can go to bed at midnight for all I care.)

In effort to combat the suns vicious attacks on our 7:30 bedtime, we decided to hang curtains in the girls' rooms. We let them pick out some fabric from the store and had my mom sew them together for us (When I say we let them pick it out I mean that they got to carry the bag and hold the receipt after Alicia and I purchased the goods. The last time they got to choose a pair of pajama's from the store, the picked out the ugliest Spongebob Squarepants pajamas in Walmarts vast collection. They don't even like Spongebob!) We also purchased some black-out to line the fabric, which is supposed to keep light from shining through.

On Tuesday morning I finally got around to hanging them up. Anya and Caitlin have very cute Little Mermaid curtains that they were excited to hang up in their room. Within minutes of hanging the curtains, Anya shouted to Caitlin, "Let's go get our blankies and take a nap!!!" A sole tear fell from my eye.

After retreaving their blankets, I could hear Anya explaining to Caitlin why these new curtains were so wonderful. "With these curtains, there's no way Swiper or Bert can get into our room!" Caitlin responded "Burt?" Anya didn't say a word, but her expression clearly conveyed to her sister, 'trust me, the last thing we need right now is Bert fucking around in our room.'

After their brief naps (and I mean brief, they lasted about as long as I do when I have sex after watching an epidsode of the Golden Girls. Blanch was way ahead of her time...) we went outside to enjoy the rest of the day. After supper and bath time, it was time to put our new curtains to the test. No more dress rehersals, this was the real deal. I brought the girls upstairs, said our usual evening prayers, and I kissed the girls good night. 'Success!!!' I thought. About the time I got to the bottom of the stairwell, the curtains turned on the girls. Judging from Anya's screams, the curtains had transformed from an impenetrable fortress of security to a portal for the sick and deranged. I ran upstairs to see what was the matter. "Swiper and Bert are here!!! They came in right behind the curtains!"

Sneaky bastards.

Alicia was able to compromise a solution. She took two ponytail binders and put them around the curtains. Some light got through, but it was better than it was before. That seemed adaquate enough for the girls and finally after 45 minutes of histeria, they went to bed.

Last night when I put the girls to bed, Anya said, "Dad, I think we can take off the ponies tonight. I'm not scared anymore." "Great Anya! Which one should we do first?" She pointed to the one closest to Caitlin's bed and I started pulling it off. About halfway down, the binder snapped and the curtian closed quickly. "I guess I'm not ready yet, Dad. You can go ahead and go down stairs and get a new pony." As I often do, I listened to the instructions of my 3 year old and retied the pony.

Tip of the Day - Just because you have the biggest slacks, doesn't mean you wear the pants in the house.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Marathon Success!

Another marathon in the books!

Yesterday I finished the Minneapolis Marathon in a speedy 5:35:00. For those of you who aren't familiar with marathon times, that's just a shade ahead of the SAG wagon (the vechicle that picks up all the participants who won't finish before clean up begins). It was my most difficult race to date. Perhaps it was because of the heat and humidity, or maybe I still had some ligering effects from my food posioning, but I did not have it yesterday.

Normally I train at a 10:00 min. pace. A few weeks ago I ran 17 miles in 2:40 and I felt great. I had my heart rate at 145 for the entire run and I finished feeling great. I figured I'd try running with a pace group at the marathon to help me finish at 4:30, my goal time (10:15 min miles). When the gun went off, my HR was already at 160. Nerves I thought, I'm going to settle down and keep my pace. At miles 1, 2, and 3, I kept my pace but was already sucking wind. I was red-lining it right from the start. That wasn't part of the plan. My visions of a good race had passed by mile 5. What was I to do? Now a smart person might consider pulling out of the race and trying his luck another day. Unforetunately I am not that smart. I pressed on, and on, and on.... By mile 15 my legs started cramping. I jog/walked for the next two miles, but by 17 I couldn't even jog. Everything from my waist down was locking up. I would have dropped out but my Rose's came to cheer me on and were going to be at mile 19. How could I bail out before seeing them?

I tredged on and was morally uplifted at the sight of my girls. They were so proud of their daddy, even though he was walking like a 70 year old man just out of prostate surgery. I could hear them screaming "GO, DADDY, GO!!!" from a couple blocks away. How could I stop now? The next 7 miles were hell. I've never wanted to sit down more in my life. Each step seemed so insignificant, so slow. I was staring another hour and a half of walking in the face, but I wanted to finish (after all, we were given finishers jackets when we checked in. I would have had to throw that thing away if I didn't make it, and it was too nice). I met some of the coolest people on my walk to the finish; a 34 year old gal who had a kid 5 months ago, a 69 year old ex-marine who broke a rib earlier in the week, and a 31 year old throat cancer survivor.

I didn't fulfil my physical goals, but I was mentally put to the test and I succeeded. I'm sore today, mostly in my IT band, but I'm glad I did it. For me running a marathon isn't a race, it's a celebration of my months of hard work and dedication, and what a celebration it was!

Papa of the Year

As some of you may have heard, I have been nominated for Papa of the Year from Papagio.net. Alicia submitted a write up highlighting why I am a good father. Her write up was amazing! (It can be found at www.papa-gio.net/papa-of-the-year.) Now the voting is up to the people. The dad with the most votes gets a special dad-oriented prize package. Voting goes from now until Father's Day (June 20). You can vote once per day. It chokes me up to think that Alicia submitted my application, it's an honor that my application was picked, and it would be amazing to actually win it! Check it out at Papa-gio.net.

Family Update

The Schmidt's have a new favorite passtime, biking! This weekend we purchased Alicia a bike off Craigslist. It's a light-weight hybrid bike that will be great for family rides. We have two pull behind trailers for the Rose's, I pull Anya and Caitlin and Alicia pulls Reegan. We went out yesterday afternoon for a ride around the neighborhood and had a great time. The older two actually sat next to each other for over an hour without biting, pinching, or hitting (which allowed daddy to make it an hour without screaming, swearing, or hitting). Reegan wasn't quite sure what to make of the experience. She had a frumpy look on her face the whole time as she slid lower and lower in the trailer seat, it looked quite uncomfortable for her, but she didn't cry and that meant ride on! We hit up a park on the ride home and had a wonderful time. I have a feeling bike trips are going to be a weekly (if not daily) family excursion.

Tip of the Day: It doesn't take courage to finish a marathon; it takes courage to decide to start one.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dear Alcohol,

We've had the best of times, we've had the worst of times.  I remember when we first met... It was a rainy day in the fall of my Sophomore year of high school.  A couple buddies and I brought you on a car ride to Pine City for the Chisago Lakes football game.  I was young and stupid and you kicked my ass.  I'm not sure how that police officer knew I was drunk.  It might have been because I was much taller than everyone else, or maybe it was because I fell on top of him on my way into the game; I'm not sure.  Either way, you landed me in jail while I had to wait for my folks to come pick me up.  I'm pretty sure I puked a dozen times in that cell, before my parents arrived.

In college you were a fun guy to have around.  You managed to turn a dull Tuesday night into a party, even if it was just my roommates and I.  Beer pong, caps, P&A...priceless!  We didn't have a care in the world.  Shit, I remember sleeping in past a 2:40pm class once.  Those were the days.

Once I entered the working world, you were a weekend staple.  Poker and beer at the Schmidt's.  It was a great time, we played cards and drank til 2 or 3 in the morning and slept the next day away.  I loved those weekends.  But then something changed.  One by one, our circle of friends moved away and everyone started having kids.  Friday nights took on a whole new meaning.  Instead of staying up all night, we tried like hell to get as much sleep as possible before one of the kids inevitably woke us up.  That's when you started having a different effect on me.  Instead of being able to sleep off a hangover, I was forced to suffer through them. 

I can handle an upset stomach or the occasional bout of mud butt, but what I can't handle is the way you mess with my medications.  For whatever reason, the morning after we hang out I mentally feel like shit!  I don't want to get out of bed.  I feel worthless.  I hyper analyze everything we did the night before and inevitably feel ashamed of my behavior.  This cycle has been going on for months.  But not anymore. 

After all these years, I think it's time we go our separate ways.  While we only had seen each other a couple times a week, you mess with me for days. I don't need that.  I have too much to be happy for in life to have you make me feel so shitty.  I mean Christ, have you met my Roses?  They're the best!  And how do you think I'm supposed to run a marathon in a week with you always dehydrating me.  You seem to be at the center of all the negativity in my life and I think it's time for you to go.

I have no hard feelings, you've always been true to yourself.  You've never lied to me.  I knew exactly what was going to happen when we hung out, and I chose to go through with it.  We had some killer times, and I'll never forget that.  But it's time to move on.

Tip of the Day: If you can't eat it or f*** it, piss on it. (Sage advise passed down from my grandfather to his new son-in-law on the night of his wedding; you we're wise beyond your years Grandpa Harvey)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Caitlin!

Last Saturday we celebrated Caitlin's second birthday.  How time flies... Papa and Nana, Great Grandma, Grandma and Grandpa Pohlmann, Ben and Dianne, Rikki and Joe Mortl, and Carrie and John were all in attendance to celebrate her special day.  She was pretty excited, but she sprained her ancle earlier in the week and had a hard time getting around.  That didn't stop her from enjoying the company, more of an excuse to be carried around all day. 

She's the sweetest little girl.  I just love it when she gets in her silly moods.  She spins around in circles and her whispy hair looks like Harry's from Dumb and Dumber (at least she has some, right?  I just saw the wedding pictures from Ben and Dianne's wedding and I am thinning faster than a Brazilian rain forest.  Holy shit!  I can't go outside without a hat these days unless I want dandruff for the next two weeks. Terrible.)  For two years Cai Cai has brightened our lives with her kind hearted attitude, her willingness to share, and her excitement for life.

After Caitlin opened her presents, with the help of her older (and much LOUDER sister), we took in the beautiful spring day from the back yard.  We played with our new toys and caught up with one another.  I love when my family has the opportunity to hang out with Alicia's.  They are all such great people.  The Pohlmann's get a kick out of my parent's stories about their most recent failed misadventure and my folks love hearing about the simple life on the farm.  We are blest to have such a wonderful family.

Tip of the Day:  If you have a $5,000 insurance deductable, anything can be fixed with some ace wrap, a bag of ice cubes and a couple of bandaids.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Seriously Deliquent

I know, you've been checking in lately only to find your favorite stay at home being lazy and neglectful of his blog.  It's been a busy couple weeks and I don't see my schedule easing up anytime in the near future.  I love this thing though.  I always love running into people I haven't seen in a while and they seem to know all the comings and goings of my life.  They are either avid readers or freaky Jason mother f****** who have been stalking me incessantly.  In the case of the latter, please don't kill me freaky Jason.

So what have you missed the past few weeks?  Only one of the most amazing weekends for my Roses!  Last Saturday my brother-in-law Ben got married up in Grey Eagle, MN.  He and his beautiful wife Dianne asked Anya to be the flower girl in the wedding and she was the most amazingly beautiful little girl in the world.  Dianne's mom made the dress for Anya by hand and she was just glowing. 

Her procession down the aisle was about the cutest thing I've ever seen.  She was a bit nervous for the first couple steps, but as she noticed all the smiles on the faces on the people in the congregation, she thought "This ain't half bad."  She slowly reached in her basket and pulled out a single petal and dropped it to the ground, with this look on her face like, "Should I drop it? I'm going to drop it.  You want me to drop it? Can I do this?  I don't want to pick this shit up, you sure I can drop it?" As she released the first petal, the congregations laughed.  Anya lit up.  "Alright, I can work this crowd."  As she continued down the aisle, she would make eye contact with someone, and stare them down, and before she was facing completely backwards, she'd drop a petal.  "You like that shit, cause I've got a basket full of flowers and all the time in the world..."  After about four minutes she made it to the altar.  All my Roses were great during the mass.  Nana and Papa helped Alicia keep the younger two quiet and Carrie was in charge of keeping Anya from interupting the vows. 

At the reception we hired a babysitter to help out with the kids.  Since it was Alicia's brother, I stepped up to the plate and took care of the girls for the night.  Around 6:30pm I brought the younger two Roses to the hotel and helped get them ready for bed.  By the time I returned to the reception, it was already a quarter past seven.  We danced for a few hours and around 9:00 it was time for my little princess to hit the hay.  I was proud of that little girl, she was on her feet longer than one of the groomsmen (and no that groomsman wasn't me).  I brough Anya over to the hotel, changed her into her pjs and was back at the party just before 10:00. 

As I made my way back to the dance floor, Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" was playing.  Perfect!  I scanned the floor for my wife and wrapped my arms around her.  She looked up at me with a big smile and said, "I'm having the most wonderful time!"  She rested her head on my shoulder as I replied "Me too, hun, me too."  We danced for another minute or so and it occured to me that Alicia is really getting close to me.  I mean really close, like she was leaning into me.  I was hoping it was her usual drunken horniness kicking in, but when I whispered sweet nothings in her ear, I didn't recieve the butt grab I was hoping for.  I didn't recieve anything for that matter.  She was out like a light.  I walked her back to our table for a quick sip of water before we made our way back to the hotel.  I had all four of my Roses in bed by 10:30pm.  I made it back to the reception just in time to drop my pants to the traditional Johnny closing song, Piano Man.  The men swayed with dropped trow and bellared a series of slurred ramblings to the tune of the popular Billy Joel song.  I stuck around to help clean up the hall before heading out to a couple local bars for the post wedding party.  What a night. 

I've got to say, I haven't seen my wife drunk in a couple of years.  She is the cutest drunk.  She's loud as hell and will let you know exactly what's on her mind.  God, I love her!  She was going drink for drink with me and I've got her by 100 pounds.  We had a great time.

Tip of the Day:  A bucket of water and a couple of paint brushes can keep kids busy for hours on the driveway.  And thank God for that, cause Alicia and I needed all the rest we could get.