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

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)