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

Friday, December 16, 2011

I live in a Van...

..And it's not even down by a river.  Last Friday the movers took our belongings and started making their way to our new house.  Alicia flew out earlier this week to work and be available for when the movers arrived.  But life happens when you make plans, and life certainly happened. Our stuff was supposed to arrive today, but somehow our load was shipped to the wrong location.  The soonest they can get it to us now is next Friday.  So instead of having Alicia present to unload the truck, we are going to wait until I arrive on the 28th to deliver the goods.  It's a pain but whateves.  It could be worse right?

Living out of a van for the past week hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be.  We visited my sister Katie in Evansville, WI last weekend and had a great time.  On Sunday night we drove up to my in-laws farm where we're going to stay until after Christmas. 

The hardest part of living the transient life is trying to get the girls to sleep.  In the past week I've had the honor of going to sleep with each of my Roses.  Just as they each have their own daytime personalities, they are also very different as they sleep...

Sleeping with Anya is like sleeping with a snoring, malignant bed tumor; she starts out in a small sliver of the bed, and within the hour she has rendered the entire mattress unsleepable.  As sweet as she is during the day, she is equally annoying while sleeping.  And how the hell can a 5 year old girl snore like a 85 year old man? 

Reegan is almost as bad as Anya.  Reegan constantly twirls her hair and frizzes it out into a white-girl afro. You can't be within 12 inches of that thing if you hope to get any sleep.  To add to the challenge, Reegs can't lie still for more then 10 seconds.  It's like trying to sleep with an epileptic Art Garfunkel.  And she's mean!  I got punched in the face in the middle of the night and when I rolled over to see what the hell was going on, and I swear I saw her smile.  I had to sleep the rest of the night with one eye open for fear that she would smother me with her pillow.

Caitlin is my saving grace.  Sleeping with Caitlin is like laying down with an Angel.  She loves to snuggle and lies completely still.  The other night she rested her head on my shoulder and wrapped her tiny hands around my arm.  She fell asleep cuddled up to me and I just laid there in amazement, 'I might actually get more than 3 hours of sleep tonight.'

Tip of the Day - If Grandpa Jerry tells you, 'If you don't work, you don't eat' he's just messing with you.  His words have been Anya's mantra ever since we arrived on the farm and she hasn't missed a milking yet for fear of going hungry.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Click, Click, Click, Click...

The packers are coming today.  No not butt loving packers like Aaron Rodgers and company, the real packers; the people putting our stuff in boxes to help us move.  It's been crazy these past few days.  I feel like I'm a roller coaster on its way to the top of the first hill.  At first the idea of riding a huge coaster is exciting, adventurous.  As you slowly approach the front of the line, your stomach starts to get jittery.  You think, 'Jesus that slope is steep!  Maybe I should have thought this through a little bit more... Man I hope that fried pickle on a stick stays in my stomach...' Finally it's time to take your spot in the ride.  The bell rings and the brakes release from the station.  The grinding of the gears and the jolt from the first push forward leave you uncomfortably nervous.  Click, click, click; you climb the track.  The hill now seems exponentially higher than it did from the ground.  As you reach the summit, you do all you can do not to curse out the son of a bitch that conned you into this God-forsaken ride.  When at last you reach the top, you look down into the abyss hoping to God you make it through alive.  "Oh dear God, I hope putting my life in the hands of a 41-year-old toothless man was a good decision.  Please let this tattered, dangerously loose seat belt keep me from free falling to my demise!"

Yep, that's about where I'm at right now.  The excitement and nervousness it at it's climax.  I dropped the girls off at Papa's house while Alicia and I ready the house for the movers to put all our earthly possessions in small cardboard boxes.  Did I make sure to stop the mail?  Are the utilities transferred?  Do we have everything in our van that we'll need for the next three weeks at the farm?  And where the hell are all the kids blankies?  They'll all freak out without the blankies!  Everybody stay calm...WHERE ARE THE FUCKING BLANKIES!!!

Whenever you do something the first time, you always worry that you're not doing something right.  I remember changing Anya's diaper for the first time.  I was a wreck! 

"OK, no problem here, first we unstrap the diaper...check.  Looks like a doozy in here...It's just poop, Bo, you can do it.  Wipe.  Now I know there's a rule here; I remember something about wiping a certain way or my child will develop a deadly infection.  But what way is it.  Damnit!  I knew I shouldn't have gone to the Lamaze class hung over!  I have to make a decision.  Okay, front to back.  Here we go!  Breath Bo, breathe.  Oh God, she's peeing!  How can a girl pee up?  It's physiologically impossible!  All over her onesie; seriously?"

But eventually I figured it out.  Now I can change Reegan in less than 30 seconds.  The fears in our minds are always scarier than the reality of the situation.  The challenges of raising my Rose's were (and are) incredibly scary, but the joy I get from that adventure is infinitely more rewarding.  I know it's scary to move across the country.  I know it's going to be hard to be away from our friends and family.  I know many of you reading are on the same roller coaster ride that I am.  But the best things in life require stepping out of your comfort zone.  I'm sure when this ride is done, we'll all be amazed at the rewards our courage and openness have afforded us.

Tip of the Day - Always flush the toilet.  Its disturbing when someone uses the toilet and forgets to flush.  Especially when it's a number two.  And especially if the number two isn't accompanied by any toilet paper.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


So much to catch you all up on!

Last week Anya had her 5 year check up. While I am aware that her birthday was in September, you should be aware that I am not the most punctual person in the world.  Since Caitlin and Reegan had not yet received their flu vaccinations, I thought it would be a good opportunity to bring all the Roses to the appointment.  For the first time in Anya's life, she wasn't scared to go the doctors office.  Caitlin and Reegan, however, were petrified.  After repeatedly explaining to Reegan that this was Anya's appointment, she eventually relented and agreed to come along.  As we checked in and looked at the fish in the waiting room, Reegan's death-grip around my neck was tighter than a Burmese python in full coil.  As Anya's name was called, we walked to the exam room.  Quickly after shutting the door, Reegan wanted to make sure that the nurse understood it was NOT her they would be poking and prodding.  In her brazen and forward manner, she shouted, "Anya's appointment!!!" with a bad-ass look on her face that meant certain meltdown if she even approached her with a needle.  With KK and Reegan on my lap, the nurse and doctor checked Anya out and she was given a clean bill of health. 

The big 5 year appointment is also a year of numerous inoculations.  As they asked Anya to sit on the table for her three shots, she looked scared for only a second and she braved her way atop the cold, deli-paper covered bed.  They asked her to lie back and not move her arms. One shot.  Two shots. Three shots... But something was missing.  Where was the wailing and gnashing of teeth?  Nothing!  Anya sat up and put on her pants without even a tear; a feat she was so proud of she immediately asked for my phone to call everyone she knows.  She explained to Grandma, Grandpa, Papa, Nana, and probably countless other people in my phone contact list that she got three shots and didn't even cry!  I've never seen a girl so proud.

A bit of a bug has hit the Schmidt household as of late.  Last Sunday, after a long and exhausting day of watching football, Caitlin and I became ill.  Our immune systems were no doubt weakened by the lackluster effort the Vikings put forth against the ratty Raiders, and by 9:00pm we were down.  From my extensive medical experience (26 years of playing Oregon Trail) I quickly diagnosed my symptoms as a severe case of diphtheria.  Now no need to call the CDC nurse Aunt Sue, it probably wasn't really diphtheria (as after wikipedia-ing the disease, it turns out it is nothing like what I thought it was) but I did have one hell of a bout with vomiting and the shits (and I use the term "the shits" loosely.  Pun intended).  In the midst of my agony, Caitlin walks into the bathroom covered in a vile-stenched vomit that only a 3 year old can produce.  I was able to keep my food in my stomach long enough to give her a bath and send her upstairs, at which time my innards were immediately emptied once again.

In the Schmidt family, we like to share in each others misery.  Last night it seems the bug got to Anya. She came downstairs complaining of a sore stomach which meant I had to get her into the bathroom ASAP.  She puked.  Seconds later she was joking with me about the contents of the toilet.  "What do you think that was?"  She was laughing about it!  When I puke I feel like I just came out of combat; I'm sweaty, fatigued, and mortified about what just came from my belly.  Man did she make me feel like a pussy!  Several times throughout the night she came down to throw up, but not once did she cry or even seem negatively effected by it.  She's really had balls of steal this week.

Today Alicia wanted in on the action.  She came home from work and has been in bed since.  Hopefully this week of hell ends before Reegan joins the crew.

As for the moving plans, we finally secured a house!  We'll be living in a town called Issaquah, WA which is about 15 minutes east of Bellevue (where Alicia works).  It's a nice house in a great neighborhood and we couldn't ask for more.  What's even more appealing to me is that it is just 15 miles from the Cascade Mountains.  When we were out there I manage to squeeze in a hike between house appointments.  I climbed a small foothill that ended on an awesome rock overhang about 1150' in the mountains.  At the bottom of the trail was a trout fishing lake with miles of woods in every direction.  I can't wait to explore my new surroundings!

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, I want to take this opportunity to thank all our family and friends for the invaluable contributions you have made to our family's life.  The love and support we have received these past few weeks has been incredible.  Our new home in Issaquah is a four-bedroom home and we are reserving the largest bedroom as our guest room.  If you ever want to visit the Pacific Northwest, now is the time! PS - you will be expected to watch the children ;)

Tip of the Day - On the eve of Thanksgiving, make sure you savor and fully chew all foods you eat on this fabulous holiday.  There is nothing worse than vomiting up a green bean the size of a pinkie finger.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Raising My Roses - Nana Style...

While Bo and Alicia are out in Seattle looking for a place to live, Nana and Papa are minding the mint back here in Minnesota. What a DREAM job! However, life isn’t without its little bugaboos. How have things changed so much from when we were raising our kids???

For example, the evolution of sippy cups. Come on. It’s a cup. No more bottles after a year old, now we switch to sippy cups. A bottle is a pretty easy invention, put in a nipple in the top, screw the top on the bottle, voila! Now comes the sippy cup. There are no standards, no compatible sizes and no rubber innards to control the flow of the liquid are the same. This is like trying to play a game of Rubik’s cube with the whole shelf of at least 20 multi colored and sized glasses with varying shaped and a whole handful of different rubber innards. Try to find the winning combination with a two year old screaming for milk. I now have two cups that have the proper combination. I carefully wash them out and protect them from getting mixed up with the rest of the lot, so I can use them over and over and over.

And to tell you the truth I forgot about the nighttime ritual. We got the Roses all tucked into bed and sleeping soundly at about 7:30-8:00. I grabbed a cool one, sat down to watch the end of the X-Factor and fell soundly asleep. At about 9:00 I meandered off to bed. Jim was brave and stayed up until after the news.

About 2:00 o’clock that Reegsie started to cry. I jumped out of bed, ran to her room, picked her up, scooped up the sippy cup, rinsed it out and refilled it with milk, then ran back to her bed and laid down next to her. All of the Roses have a cold complete with ever-flowing snotty noses and coughs. Put milk on top of that, you’ve got a coughing machine. Finally Reegsie fell asleep and I snuck back into my bed. About an hour later, Reegsie starts to cry again. OK Papa it’s your turn. Papa rolls out of bed, but as he approaches Reegsie’s door, she stops crying. He saunters back to bed.

Another hour passes, and I am awakened by the feeling of someone staring at me and breathing. I open my eyes, and there stands KK. I scoop her into bed with me, but I wear a CPAP and the tube was going over her face, which she didn’t like, so off comes the CPAP. Can we sleep now? I try, but then I am awakened by KK telling me to stop making that “noise”. Apparently I was snoring? But when I stayed awake, then KK could sleep.

Another hour passes and just as I started to nod off, when again I hear the pitter patter of little feet. It is now about 5:00 am. Here comes Anya. She wants to get in bed with us too, so I told her to get in on Papa’s side. She obeys instantly. Ahh. Now we are like sardines, but, maybe just a few minutes of sleep?

It’s now about 5:45 and it’s Reegsie’s turn again. She comes into our room, with blankie in hand. So I pick her up and put her on my stomach because there is no room left on the bed. The only thing we are missing now is Wally the dog, and don’t give him any ideas, or he’ll be in there too.

Reegsie and KK both have the finest blond hair that mats easily and stands straight up on end. With both of their heads near my face, I had little feathers of hair going up my nose tickling me and tickling my face and neck. Sleep? Heck no. Now starts the morning coughing ritual of particularly the youngest two, coughing up the nights deposit. They barely wake up, but I am totally awake, having hot flashes from being packed in bed with warm bodies on all sides, tickling hairs up my nose and just when I thought things couldn’t get any “better”, I felt a warm wet sensation oozing down my stomach. Ahhh. The capper. The last glass of milk couldn’t be retained in Reegsie’s diaper.

Anya pops her head up and says, “It’s time to get up, look the green numbers on the clock say 6-0-6....Now it says 6-0-7”. Even though day-light-savings time just occurred this past weekend, the Roses internal clocks haven’t adjusted to enjoy that extra hour of sleep.

The moral of the story: Appreciate these JOYS in life as the children grow so quickly. I love every minute of it, and heck, I have lots of other time to sleep.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2011 and hard to believe in just two months we'll be Washingtonites.  Or is it Washingtonians? Either way, we seem to have our plans in order.  Because we were unable to sell our house, we decided to throw an ad on Craigslist and see if we could find someone to rent our house for a year.  Within hours we had an interested party and was over later in the evening to check out the place.  I knew I liked him from the start when he showed up wearing his red St. John's sweatshirt.  We've been hammering out the details of the lease and have the house rented out until 2013. 

Our original plans were to buy a house, but without the equity out of our house, we'd be putting all our cash into a down payment.  I don't know about you, but moving across the country to a new city with three kids at home, the last thing I want to worry about is whether or not I have enough money to go out for pizza after a long rainy day inside.  With that in mind, we've decided to rent.  While we were thinking about a large apartment, my mothers advice of "People above, people below...Ummmm No," has nudged us to renting a house.  We've spent some time shopping on Craigslist (man is that site sweet!) and found a bunch of houses in the Bothel area that we'd like to check out.  Next week Alicia and I are flying back out to Seattle to find our house, a school for the girls, and hopefully a Catholic parish that we like.  A tall order I know, but we have 3 days to do it...

On Wednesday, December 7th, the movers will be coming to load up our belongings and take them out to our new home.  I intenially picked the 7th as it is a day which is know for glad tidings and merriment...oh wait, St. Nicholas day is the 6th...Wait a minute... the 7th is the attack of Pearl Harbor, a "day that will live in infamy."  That will probably be more accurate anyway...

From December 7th to the 28th, we will be living up in Grey Eagle, MN with my in-laws on the farm.  I know my dad is terribly disappointed that we won't be living with them in their 2 bedroom townhouse, but hopefully we can spend a few days at their place before we go.  The day after Christmas I'll take the van on a three day journey through the most unihibited land in the great US of A.  Alicia and the girls will fly out a few days later.  That's the plan, but we all know what happens when we make plans; life.

The girls are excited for the move.  Last week Anya recieved a puzzle of America from one of her friends.  We spend an hour or so putting it together and pointing out all the different states where we people we know live.  After a few minutes, Anya turned to me asked, "Well where does Jesus live?"  I explained that he lives very far away in heaven.  She responded, "Oh!  Heaven must be in Alaska!"  I'm sure Kelley and Nick would agree.

I better get going now; it's 4:30pm on Halloween, the girls costumes have yet to be picked out, dinner is not in the oven, and Reegan has been sitting on a poop pancake for the past 20 minutes. 

Tip of the Day - People above, people below... Ummmm, No.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Okay, so it's been a while.  I'm not making excuses, but in the past month my parents have moved, we put our house on the market, I've reffed countless volleyball matches, and have been without a computer for a week (you can thank Anya for that one.  She's broken so many laptops I'm beginning to wonder if she has stock in Toshiba).

A lot has happened this past month.  My big girl, Anya, started preschool!  She is going to Calvary Pre-K on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and is loving every minute of it.  Since day one, she has been happy to give me a kiss goodbye and not think twice about leaving my side.  For her, school is like a great party and coming home to dad is like the Saturday morning hangover.  I just can't compete with the countless crafts, the puppet shows, and the finger paints activities that would turn our house into a technicolored nightmare.  My favorite part about her schooling is that it has a religion curriculum.  I get such a kick listening to Anya ask questions about Jesus:

"My teacher says Jesus is with us, where do you think he's hiding"
"Why did Jesus make mosquitoes?"
"Why does Jesus make you fart so much?"

I've explained to her countless times that Jesus is homoousious ("One in being") with the Father and that when she askes those questions of Jesus it is confusing because Jesus of Nazareth, who was one with the Word of God, was a finite human being.  Maybe if she used 'God the Father' in her inquiries, as opposed to Jesus, we could have some decent theological discussion.  Perhaps the understanding of the relationship within the Holy Trinity is part of next week's curriculum.  And as for her third theological question, it isn't God or Jesus, it's Chipotle.

A few weeks ago we shipped off Reegan's nursery set to my sister in Denver.  Reegan has had more than a few mishaps in her new big girl bed, but she's a real trooper.  One night she took a tough spill (which has been par for the course) and was crying pretty substantially.  Being the Father of the Year that I am, I joined her in her bed to console her (aka Daddy slept in her bed). Apparently she stopped crying because I woke up refreshed sometime before 7:00am.  As I sat with Caitlin and Anya eating breakfast, I could hear the turning of the door handle in Reegan's room.  I was expecting my cute little Sherlie Temple to come out of her room, but what I saw was Rocky Balboa after getting his ass kicked by Apollo Creed.  Somehow Reegs managed to fall head-first into the metal bracket that connects the headboard to the frame.  Her face was all scuffed up and her right eye was literally swollen shut. She looked terrible!  Of course my little Reegs doesn't feel pain, so nothing seemed to bother her, but it did mean I had to keep her from the watchful eye of Child Services.  To believe that a little girl could do that kind of damage from falling out of bed makes the JFK Magic Bullet theory look like proven science.  The swelling has subsided and the brusing is almost gone. 

Three days ago while playing one of the Roses' favorite backyard games (find bugs under shit), I rolled a railroad tie to see what creepy crawlers lie beneath. With all three girls gathered close, I lifted the beam to uncover a football sized bee nest.  As I dropped the wood, I shouted "RUN, BEES!!!" I started running away, swatting away the stinging insects that had began swarming me, when it occured to me that I was all alone.  When I turned around, I watched as Caitlin moved in for a closer inspection of the hive, Reegan laughed as she tried to follow the 5 bees circling her head, and Anya cried that one stung her in the belly.  Was it possible that my Roses misunderstood my command?  To an onlooker I must have looked like George Costanza:

I ran back and collected all three girls in my arms and ran with them into the garage.  Reegan had one sting in her arm, Anya took a stinger to the belly, and Caitlin, the girl who approached the hive for a better view, was left unscathed.

Tip of the Day - It's easier to ask for help wiping your butt than to walk a day with an itchy behind. Metaphorically speaking of course.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

As we get ready to put our house on the market, we've been working like crazy around here.  We're trying to de-clutter the house before listing it, which makes trips to Goodwill bi-weekly occurrences.  The other day I attempted to donate a bag of infant and/or annoying toys that haven't been played with in a while.  I included the music set that every parent despises; the Parent Magazine drum set, with tambourine, maraca, and xylophone.  Not only is the set deafeningly loud, but the hard plastic drum sticks act like medieval maces when other children attempt to participate in the 'fun.'  Just as the gal was taking the bag from the back of the van, Anya cries out, "NO!!! You can't give that away.  I was going to start a band tonight!"  Her outburst led the donation volunteer to take the set out and handed it to Anya.  As of the writing of this blog, no aforementioned band has been created.

Last week we also had new carpets installed on the main level of our house.  We had to remove all the furniture from our living and dining room which meant absolute chaos in the rest of the house.  It's not like I don't have enough disorder already; its like watching Willy Wonka on Acid, the insanity of the movie is tripped out enough that you really don't need mind-bending chemicals to make it 'spacey'.  The carpet was installed and looks much better than our old stuff, no more make-up stains behind the table, no more hair dryer burns on the middle of the walkway, no more Sharpie smiley faces underneath the coffee table.  Hopefully the investment provides a decent return on our sale.

Scary thought of the day...We're driving down the freeway and Caitlin looks out her window to see a motorcyclist.  She turns to me and say, "Someday I'm going to drive a motorcycle.!"

Shortly after the comment, Caitlin asked Anya for a drink of water.  As Anya attempted to hand her a bottle, Reegan reached out her hand and tried to grab it, knocking it out of Anya's hand.  Within seconds I had a car full of screaming girls.  While driving I turned around to see if I could reach the bottle when Anya asserts, "Dad!  You worry about driving, I'll take care of the kids."

All the work around the house has us more and more excited about our move.  While there are many people we will miss, the anticipation of a new adventure is exhilarating.  We hope to have our house on the market within a week and hope to have a buyer for it in October.  We're not really sure how it's all going to work out, but we have faith that the Good Lord will take care of all the details.

Tip of the Day - Comet is the greatest cleaner ever invented.  I successfully removed ink, crayon, food, milk, and vomit from the walls in my girls hallway. Impressive.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Good times around the bend

Well, it's official.  The Schmidt's are moving to Seattle!  Sometime between Nov. 1 and Jan 1, we will be relocating to WA, but don't worry everyone, we will be in town for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

As for news on the girls, Reegan has moved into a big girl bed!  My sister Kari is pregers and was in need of a nursery set.  Now that Reegsy is 2, we figured we'd move her into a bed so Kares could use our gear.  A few days ago I disassembled the crib and moved it to the porch.  Unfortuneatly the instruction manual blew out the window so my sis is going to have to put it together using her own handy skills.  Don't worry Kare, I threw in a handful of extra bolts - varying shapes and sizes - just in case you need them. ;)

Reegan has been in her bed three nights now and has been great at sleeping through the night.  She hasn't, however, figured out her bed management strategy.  The first night we were awakened twice to the sound of a 30 lb. child free-falling onto our hardwood floors.  Of course Reegan is our little brutus, so the fall left her unscaithed, you just have to pick her up, lay her back in bed, and give her a kiss on the head.  If Caitlin were to attept one of Reegan's falls she would be confined to a wheelchair.  Each of the past two nights she's only fallen out of bed once.  Progress!

Yesterday while driving running errands we drove past a house that was giving away a free bedframe.  Caitlin has been sleeping on a box spring and mattress that were laying on the ground, and since the carpeting in her room has a solid half inch of padding, I figured she should be safe another 6 inches off the floor.  While in bed last night Caitlin was crying about her new 'high' bed. 

Me - What's the matter sweety?
Caitlin - I hate my new bed!
Me- Why honey?
Caitlin - Because I can't reach my water!!!
Me- Here. (I hand her water bottle from the floor)
Anya - KK, you should put in up in your bed like I do.
Caitlin - Ahhhhhh....Nope, this worked. (dropped the bottle back to the floor with a half smile on her face)

The shit.

The whole family went to the State Fair with Papa and Nana on Wednesday.  We had a wonderful time eating junk food, looking at animals, and going on rides.  We blew through a hundred dollars faster than the Roses go through a tube of Pringles.  The girls absolutely LOVE their grandparents.  All the more reason to make frequent trips back to the Land of a Thousand Lakes.

Tip of the Day - If you purchase a birthday cake with three or more hairs found within, you are entitled to a refund, but you must have self control not to eat the rest of it.  A hair in a cake is about as unattractive as Sarah Jessica Parker, but even she'll get laid if a guy is drunk enough.

Friday, August 26, 2011

So What's New?

These past few weeks have been quite interesting around the Schmidt house.  Just when you think you have life all figured out, God throws you a curve ball.  Lucky for us, this curve ball was left belt high and looks to be a good pitch to swing for the fences. 

Earlier this month, Alicia's firm aquired a firm out in Seattle, WA.  Now I don't want to bore you with all the details but yada, yada, yada...they have a need for an employee benefit expert (Alicia)...boring, boring, boring...huge opportunity to become a partner and run the west coast practice...blah, blah, blah...the Schmidt's are most likely relocating to Seattle. 

When Alicia was first asked about whether or not she would be interested, we talked about it and decided to pass.  Minnesota is home; our families are here, our friends are here, and we've never experienced anything else!  As we spent more time thinking about it, we started to realize how big of an opportunity this would be for Alicia.  For all intents and purposes, this is her dream job.  She would be in a situation that she would never be able to obtain here in Minneapolis.  As we thought more about a possible move, we realized that now would be the best time for us to relocate if we were ever to do so; the girls aren't in school yet and my employer has agreed to allow me to move to Seattle as well. 

This past weekend Larson Allen flew Alicia and I out to Seattle to check out the area.  We stayed in Bellevue and looked at neighborhoods throughout the Seattle area.  While we were blown away by the cost of houses (a comparable house to our current home would cost at least 500-600K) we were able to find some affordable houses in a nearby suburb. 

Obviously one of my major concerns was what the hell am I going to do with the girls out there!  I rely so heavily on my family to help out when the kids or I have a doctor appointment, a dentist appointment, or when daddy needs a mental health day.  No doubt this will be an adjustment for me, but we stopped at a vistor information booth near the city we like and they gave me dozens of activities I can do with the girls.  Within 20 miles of our new house, we have hundreds of hiking trails, childrens museums, libraries, parks, beaches, and zoos.  It seems so far away, but Anya is going to be in Kindergarden in a year!  In three years I could have all three girls off to school.  My job description will quickly be morphing from diaper changing caretaker, to taxi-driving soccer dad (I will be keeping my title of trophy husband, however). I'm up for the challenges of what's to come.

We understand this move won't be easy, we are both very close to our families and friends.  There's no doubt there will be some tears shed, but we'll only be a phone call away.  We plan to learn how to Skype (I know, were a few years behind the times.  At least I have a Facebook account...), and extend an open invitation to anyone who wishes to visit.  The decision isn't finallized, but we're more than likely to go.  I will continue to keep you abreast (huh, huh, huh, breast...) of our situation.  Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we prepare to make our final decision.

Tip of the Day - Avoid eating Chipotle before flying three hours in a plane.  It gets uncomfortable for everyone.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Reegan!

I can hardly believe that my baby is already two years old today! I remember when I first found out Alicia was pregnant with her.  We were in the emergency room after Anya dislocated her arm, and Alicia asked me if I wanted to have another baby.  After I said that I was (it was one of the few times in my life that I actually said the right thing), she told me she was pregnant.  Thank God she asked me that question before we got the $600 bill from our visit to the ER or my answer may not have been as positive...

I wish I could say that I cherish every minute I spend with my girls, but the fact of the matter is that it's hard to appreciate something you're around all the time.  That's why I never wanted to be a gynecologist.  It's not very 'Dadtastic' of me to admit, but I usually get more excited when the girls go to bed then when they wake up.  I love my girls to death, but they are work.  Now that Reegan is getting older, I have the ability to get out and about with ease, but they still manage to keep me on my toes.  My new challenge is to keep the kids from fighting.  Some days I feel like our house is on the set of Jerry Springer, except with more teeth and regular use of deodorant. 

It takes a birthday for me to reflect on the joys of my vocation.  A few days ago I started  mowing the yard and ran out of sunlight to finish.  The next morning, I asked Anya to watch the girls while I finished up the back yard.  When I came in a half hour later, I found a can of Diet Mountain Dew opened on the kitchen counter.  Knowing it wasn't there when I left, I asked "Who opened this can of pop?"  Anya replied "I did.  Those girls are a lot of work and I needed to make sure I didn't fall asleep!"

Yes Anya, they are a lot of work, but they are some pretty great kids.  My Roses are the greatest blessing in my life.  I couldn't imagine a world without Anya's know-it-all personality, Caitlin's heart-warming-daddy-manipulating cute looks, and Reegan's jolly, I'll-get-what-I-want attitude.  So Happy Birthday Reegan, Daddy loves you.

Tip of the Day - I learned two things this week. 1) Blue Gatorade and hot dogs before a ride in the back of a bike trailer is not a good idea. 2) Reegan needs to chew up her hot dogs better.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

GEM Fest Weekend

Every year in the third weekend of July, a small miracle transcends the quite town of Grey Eagle, MN; GEM Fest.  While some contend that GEM Fest is named after an acronym for the city and the state, I argue that it is named after the GEM of a small town that it is. 

I brought the girls up to the farm on Friday night.  Kayidance (the girls' cousin) was up at the farm from Friday afternoon until Saturday after lunch and I wanted Anya to get as much time with her as possible.  With Alicia in Vegas for the weekend, it was great to get the extra help from Grandpa and Grandma. GEM Fest activities include a volleyball tournament, a softball tournament, a tractor pull, an ice cream social, a parade and a free petting zoo.  Grandma agreed to watch the girls so Carrie, Aaron, and I could dominate the volleyball tourney.  We came in second and scored us $10 in prize money.  In the evening Hairball, a 1980s-90s hard rock cover band, performed on the small field next to downtown.  After I put the girls to bed, I went out with some of the Pohlmann's to take in the cultural event.  For a town of 285, Grey Eagle sure did draw in a good crowd for the rowdy band.  Almost 4000 fans were in attendance for the flamboyant performance.  The evening was a night of high energy rock music, testosterone fueled fights, and raging alcoholism.  Being sober, I felt like a black person in the state of North Dakota; I was all alone.  I think the city made more money off of the beer sales in one night than they do in property taxes for the year.  After a few hours I had had enough and made my way back to the car.  Just outside of the concert there was a man holding 4 empty beer pitchers wobbling down the middle of the street.  A police officer stopped the man and asked him to get out of the road.
Officer - "Where are you heading sir?"
Drunk Man - "I parked my car a few blocks away."

The next morning the girls and I went to the parade.  After gathering a full milk bucket full of candy, we visited the petting zoo and called it a day.  Grandma rode with us on the way home and noticed Anya was sitting very low in her car seat. 
Grandma - "Anya you should sit up, the buckle isn't going help."
Anya - "But it's comfortable."
Grandma - "If the police pull us over, they are going to yell at you for not sitting up."
Anya - "No they won't, they'll yell at daddy for not taking good care of us."
Bev and I couldn't help but laugh.

As usual we had a great time at the farm.  Aside from Caitlin 'helping' out Grandpa and Grandma in the barn and stepping squarely in a large pile of cow shit in her cute pink sandals and Reegan not wanting to go to bed until 11:00pm, the weekend was a success.  The girls sure do love their Grandparents.

Tip of the Day - If GEM Fest sounds like fun, go 'online' to the 'internet' with your 'computer' and go to a 'website' called 'Facebook' and 'like' GEM Fest. I know I know, it sounds like something out of Star Trek, but if it helps you remember to attend this amazing festival, it will be worth your while.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Week at the Lake

It’s that time of the year again; warm temperatures, sunny days, and spending time up at the lake.  I had always thought of our cabin as an oasis from the hustle and bustle of everyday life; a chance to get off the grid and enjoy the peace and serenity nature has to offer.  But the cabin takes on a whole new form when you load that 20x20 structure with my three Roses.  It makes for the most stressful days of relaxation a guy can handle.

On Saturday, my parents went to pick up my nephew Jack from Evansville, WI.  They had planned on bringing him up to the lake on Sunday, but my girls wouldn’t hear of it; if Jack was going up, so were they!  Anya and Caitlin rode with my parents and I brought Reegan up Monday morning.  The ride up there was awesome!  As much as I hate diapers, they’re pretty fricken sweet when I can drive three straight hours without having to listen to, “Daddy I have to go potty…Daddy, I’m prairie doggin it, Hurry!...Daddy I just wet my pants again, can we please pull over?”  Not now damnit, I’m making great time!

As much as I wanted to take it easy, the Roses are just a tad too young to be able to create their own fun in the great north woods.  They love fishing, swimming, and frog catching, but are unable to do so without direct supervision.

Yesterday morning I brought Anya, Caitlin and Jack down to the dock to go sunny fishing.  We had a dozen night crawlers and three little fishing rods, the perfect recipe for disaster… Have you ever seen that guy at the circus who attempts to spin glass plates on long those pool cue things?  That guy’s got nothing on me.  I was worming hooks, taking off fish, breaking up fights, pulling rods out of the water and trying to keep Caitlin from hooking EVERYBODY.  We caught about a dozen monsters they started tangling lines faster than I could fix.  At least they had fun, right?

Later in the day we went swimming.  We were all playing in the water for a good hour before it was time for supper.  I was taking turns throwing Anya and Jack in the air while Caitlin made mud pies on the shore.  When we went up for dinner, Anya ran into the bedroom to get changed.  A minute later Anya yells to me, “Dad check this out! Look at this silly worm!”  But it was no worm ladies and gentlemen, it was a leach.  And yes, it was where you think it was.  She plucked the ‘silly’ thing off with a smile on her face.  “You know, that slimy worm must have slid right inside my swimming suit.  What a crazy worm?!?!” After mom stepped in and helped dress the wound, Anya went to every person in the cabin and explained the situation, “Nana, I just had a silly worm by my privates.  He crawled in right past my swim suit and now I have toilet paper in my underpants to stop it from bleeding!”  “Papa, I just had a silly…”  She wasn’t the least bit scared or concerned that she was excessively bleeding, she just thought it was funny.  That’s my kind of girl.

My week at the lake was cut short as I am heading out to Denver to visit my little sister Kari.  Aside from seeing the Avett Brothers at Red Rocks, I’m not too sure what we’re going to do.  One thing is for sure, I will be enjoying the hell out of my time sans kids.

Tip of the Day: If you happen to be a frog in the clutches of my 4-year-old’s hands, don’t make the fatal mistake of trying to get away.  Did you know they sound like bubble wrap when popped? You learn something new everyday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Running Wild

Have you ever gone out for a night of drinking only to wake up in the morning with your liver sitting on your couch smoking a cigarette, pissed as hell at what you put him through?  That same morning I'm sure you vowed never to touch another drop of alcohol, only to whack down a pair of bloody marys for brunch.  In my former life I used to enjoy punishing my body in such ways, however I found a new form of torture that is far more upsetting to my body; marathoning.  Last year after the Twin Cities Marathon, I had decided it was time to hang up the sneakers for a while.  What more did I have to prove?  I completed three marathons at the blazing speed of 5 hours.  What need did I have to do a fourth?  But like those bloody marys, I just couldn't say no to one more...

A few weeks ago I signed up to do the Twin Cities Marathon again.  I started training and this past weekend I had to run 6 miles after church and Mom had the bright idea that I bring Anya with me.  Ever since, Anya is convinced that she is going to be running the marathon with me.  No, not in the stroller, she wants to jog with her old man.  In an effort to break her spirit, I told her she could run with me when we went to the gym.  I dropped off Reegan and Caitlin in the child care center and took Anya with me to the indoor track upstairs.  I figured I'd run a couple hundred meters with her and she'd understand how tiring and boring running can be.  My plan backfired.  She ended up running a mile and a half and loved every minute of it.  It's interesting running with someone who doesn't have an inner monologue:

"Dad, why is that lady running so slow?"
"Dad, did you see how sweaty that guy is?"
"Dad, we just ran past that guy two minutes ago!"

I must say it made my run much more interesting.  I wish I could get away with such open commentary about the people at the gym without getting my ass kicked.

Caitlin's collar bone seems to be healing just fine.  It doesn't seem to bother her in the least.  Now she's back to whining about the regular things in life; Anya stealing her toys, Reegan running her over, and never having enough headbands to wear.

Reegan is talking a lot more these days.  One of her favorite lines is "I'm Okay!"  You know when you're riding your bike and a car pulls out in front of you and you hit him going 10 miles an hour.  Your crotch lands squarely on the handle bars, but you can't lie on the ground like a pussy.  You have to hop up, wave like your fine, and ride a block away before you tend to your bruised and swollen testicles.  Somehow Reegan has learned from Papa's reaction to painful injuries.  She was running full speed to greet Nana earlier this week.  She outran her feet and face planted herself in the grass.  Her feet were literally above her head as her face slid through the grass and dirt.  Before even lifting her head, she screams "I'm Okay!" and stands up like nothing happened.  Papa would have been proud.

Tip of the Day:  While it may seem like a good idea to let your children play with 10 lbs of bread flower in the yard, getting that shit out of their hair requires a good hour of heavy scrubbing.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just another week...

My goal for this year was to write one blog a week. Like so many of my previous resolutions and sexual performances, it ended prematurely.  Don't worry everybody; I'll make it up to you, probably.

It was actually a very eventful week around the Schmidt house last week.  I'm not sure if I wrote about it or not, but a month and a half ago, Alicia got into a car accident.  Nobody was hurt but it caused $6,500 worth of damage to her Honda Civic.  Thank goodness for insurance or we'd probably have to sell off one of the Roses for scientific experimentation.  After two weeks of haggling with insurance agents and body shops, Alicia finally had the car fixed up and in ship-shape.  On Tuesday Alicia was on her way home from work and was taking a right onto highway 55.  Being the conscientious driver that she is, she yielded to the oncoming traffic ahead of her.  Unfortunately the pickup truck behind her did not.  Again nobody was hurt, but now we get to deal with the whole process again.  Alicia had no fault in this one and it won't cost us anything out of pocket, but it's still a pain in the butt.

On Friday I was playing pirates with Anya and Caitlin while Reegan took her nap.  We were on the bed in the basement and Anya was lobbing grenades (beach balls) at us and Caitlin, in an attempt to protect me from enemy fire, tried to kick it before it landed.  While I did not see exactly what happened, my guess it that Anya must have put some wicked spin on the ball, as Caitlin whiffed on kicking the ball and ended up falling off the bed.  She screamed and writhed on the floor for several minutes, neither of which is unusual for my little KK bird, but when she refused to move her right arm, I realized this injury might actually be legitimate.  I held her for a few minutes until she started to calm down.  I asked her where it hurt and she pointed to her shoulder.  With my extensive medical background, I quickly diagnosed her with a dislocated shoulder and sprang into action.  I asked her to sit tight while I put it back in its place.  I jerked her arm above her head, and when she let out a gut wrenching wail, it occurred to me that it might have been slightly off the mark.  I called my neighbor and asked her to watch the other girls while I took Caitlin to Urgent Care.  Three hours and $500 later, Caitlin was professionally diagnosed with a broken collar bone.  There's not a whole lot they could do for her, but they said it should heal relatively quickly.  She was in rough shape on Friday and Saturday, but she seems much better today. 

Sunday afternoon Alicia headed out to Las Vegas for a 4 day business trip.  She's attending a conference at the Mirage and we drove her to the airport.  We said our goodbyes and I started driving off when Anya shouted "STOP!  Daddy, we forgot to tell Mommy to wave at us from the airplane!" Anya made me park the car to go tell mom.  As we drove away Anya said "Dad, roll down all the windows so Mom can spot us."  How does that not melt your heart?

I've shared the stories about Anya and Caitlin, it would seem unfair to not give some news about Reegs.  Unlike my other girls who have one specific blanky, Reegan requires a whole collection of blankies to find true peace and solace.  She requires no less than three blankets in her crib for her to go to sleep.  But it doesn't matter which blankets they are; she requires no emotional attachment to them, as long as she can sleep with them. Hopefully, for my sake, she takes on a different philosophy when it comes to men.

Tip of the Day - If you're invited to a surprise birthday party, make sure you double check your email messages as to the exact location of the party.  You feel like a real d-bag when you show up at the person's house and blow the whole thing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Child-free Weekend

For my birthday my parents offered to give Alicia and I a kid-free weekend.  Being the thrifty, clever person that I am, I selected Memorial Weekend to cash it in; 50% more bang for your buck.  My folks picked up the girls early on Friday afternoon and we agreed to meet them for supper on Monday afternoon.  Three whole days without the Roses.  Priceless.

Even without me there, Caitlin was making blog-worthy stories. Saturday morning my mom sent me this story and it had Alicia and I rolling:

"I had to tell you a funny KK story that happenned last night. We went to dinner last night to Meisters. The owner (35 year old male) came over and said, "My you are so cute!" and Papa replied, "thank you!" to which the owner said, "Not you! I meant the girls!" KK didn't appear to be paying attention, but then stands up in the booth so that she is eye to eye with Papa states with an attitude, "I think you are cute TOO PAPA!!! And then gave the evil eye scowl at the owner."

That's our KK!

A few weeks ago my friend Ira burned a CD for me.  He generally has very good taste in music, usually of the obscure rock and roll genre, but this time he gave me a copy of Ke$ha's latest album.  While I'm not into girlly, pop music, I must say it is rather catchy. I happened to be listening to her music in the car one day and the girls absolutely loved it.  Now Ke$ha is not your typical teenage girl pop star, she prides herself on being a drunken party slut; perfectly appropriate for three children under the age of 4.  Anya's favorite song is called "Take it off" which recants Ke$ha's fond memories of an all night rave. This is what it sounded like the first time the girls heard it:

'There's a place downtown, Where the freaks all come around. It's a hole in the wall. It's a dirty free for all.
And they turn me on.  When they Take It Off. When they Take It Off. Everybody Take It Off. There's a place I know  If you're looking for a show.  Where they go hardcore And there's glitter on the floor.'

Anya: Why is there glitter on the floor? 

'And they turn me on.  When they Take It Off.'

Anya: I wonder who spilled all the glitter?

'When they Take It Off. Everybody Take It Off.'

Anya: I bet she's singing this song so that people pick up all the glitter.

As much as I enjoy watching the girls dance to the Ke$ha's music, I thinks it's time Swiper swipes their favorite disc before they start 'brushing their teeth with a bottle of Jack.'  I can't imagine what my reaction will be if I find my girls listening to something like this when they're teenagers.  God help me.

Alicia and I had a wonderful weekend.  We went to Wausau, Wisconsin for a wedding on Saturday, went shopping on Sunday, and cleaned the house on Monday morning.  To my single readers this may seem like a pretty lame ass vacation, but I know that those of you who have kids would give your left nut for such a wild and crazy weekend. 
While it was great to have the house to ourselves, it isn't really home without the Roses running around destroying things.  It's great to have them back.
Tip of the Day: Unless you plan on having them consumed, do not include live goldfish in the centerpieces of your reception tables.  Even sober I thought it was a good idea to play 'shoot the minnow' with our party favor.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Toddlers Are Like Drug Addicts

Last night I was able to get out and catch Hangover 2.  While the movie provided some good laughs, it was clearly a Hollywood sellout aimed only at generating 9 figure earnings.  It was tirelessly predictable and incredibly similar to the first one, but I managed to enjoy myself.  The funniest thing I saw all night, however, was from the preview from the movie "The Change-Up."  Jason Bateman (the fat kid from Stand By Me) plays a father and while talking to his single friend, makes the analogy that a toddler is like a drug addict.  In my own words it went something like this:

"Kids are like minature crackheads.  They're demanding, needy, unpredictable, draining on your bank account, stubborn, and constantly putting themselves in life threatening situations."

Immediately Reegan came to mind.

Two weeks ago we went to a wedding in Paynesville and we thought it would be fun to stay at a hotel with a pool.  I had packed all the girls swimming suits, swimmer diapers, and life jackets.  Somehow from the time I packed to when we arrived at the hotel, the life jackets magically disappeared.  While they make the swimming experience much more enjoyable, apparently Anya and Caitlin thought it would be more fun to put them on their stuffed animals and leave them in my bedroom.  But no problem, the pool area had a zero depth pool, a hot tub, and a regular pool.  Reegan could hang out in the kiddy pool while Alicia and I took turns swimming with Anya.  We really don't have to worry about Caitlin, she hates the water.  Don't get me wrong, she loves the idea of going swimming; she gets to put on her cute little suit and stare at herself in the mirror, but when it comes to actually getting wet, pass.

Our plan would have worked perfectly, but Reegan quickly  learned that her chances of death were too low in the kiddy pool.  She wanted the rush of jumping into a pool without the slightest concept of how to stay afloat.  She would walk down the stairs until she couldn't touch, and then take a few more steps just for the hell of it.  Seriously kid?  When you'd pick her up, she'd kick like a mule, insisting you release her.  I mean once I can understand; she doesn't understand the consequences of not being able to breath.  But after half a dozen times, you've got to think the kid has a deathwish! 

Thanks to my watchful eye and cat-like reflexes, we were able to return home with all three Roses.

Tip of the Day:  When washing your hands, it is unnessessary to use water.  Simply apply a large amount of liquid soap, scrub, and wipe your hands on the nearest towel. After visiting a porto-potty, Anya learned that using the hand sanitizer doesn't require water, so why should soap?  Not only do you save on your water bills, your hands and your towels smell like Pomegranate Berry for hours.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Caitlin!

This past Tuesday marked the 3rd birthday of our beloved Caitlin Rose.  Can you believe it? Three!  It seems like just yesterday I was changing her diapers!  Oh wait, I did change her diaper yesterday. We've been trying to get her into big girl underwear, but she has yet to notice a difference.  In fact she kind of likes going potty in her underwear, it gives her the opportunity to wear several beautiful outfits a day instead of just one.

For her birthday, we went to several parks to take in the great weather and in the evening we grilled up some of Caitlin's favorite foods; hot dogs and corn on the cob.  We baked 24 cup cakes in the afternoon for her birthday cake, but only 12 managed to make it to the party.  I let the Rose's decorate their treats with frosting, but I must not have been clear with my instructions.  When I said "Let's decorate these cupcakes for Caitlins party tonight," they heard "Blah, blah, blah...We must glob on as much frosting as possible and eat as many cupcakes we can before dad takes them away." 

When it came time for opening presents, I was floored by how excited a kid can getting clothes for her birthday.  I have never met a kid who would rather have a sundress than a toy. It was like watching a miniature Paris Hilton; except she didn't have a Chihuahua named Tinkerbell or some sort of venereal disease. After opening a present and learning that it was a dress, she would put her hands on her cheeks and jump with excitement.  She pulled out each article of clothing and say something to the effect of "Oh my, this is beautiful!"  Yesterday she managed to try on all 5 dresses she recieved.  With her bleach blonde hair and bright blue eyes, she looked stunning in each of her ensembles.  One of her favorite girts was a set of jewelery.  For the past two days she hasn't taken off her tiara, her earings, or her necklace.  Not even for bed!

Caitlin is our little princess and we couldn't imagine a world without her innocence, her love, or her fashion.  We love you Cai Cai!

Tip of the Day: Toads make the best toys. They're mild mannered, hardy, and slow moving.  We've tried snakes, frogs, and grasshoppers, but a toad is the only critter that's calm enought not to bite the fingers of three unruly children, hardy enough to be squeezed in the hands of a 4 year old, and slow enough for a 20 month old to catch.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wedding Season Has Begun

This past weekend marked the first of several weddings we've been invited to over the summer.  Alicia's cousin Josh and his bride Laell were married up in beautiful Payneville, MN.  It was a beautiful ceremony and it was great hanging out with Alicia's extended family.

 I love weddings, though over the past few years the wedding experience has changed dramatically.  Fresh out of college I LOVED weddings!  Getting together with friends and family was great, but the bar hopping and free beer was always my favorite part.  It was a carefree day of celebration.  Now that we have the girls, weddings have taken on a new twist.  The girls love getting all dolled up; it's like a mini prom at our house, without the hormones and parental fears of STDs.  It's so fun watching my girls giggle with excitement as the see the 'princess' walking down the aisle.  While the bar hopping is now out of the question, I've come to enjoy the simpler aspects of the reception.  Did you know they have dance floors at wedding receptions?  I vaguely remember the idea from weddings past, but I was often a few sheets to the wind before mustering up the courage to bust a move to such wedding classics as the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey.  The Roses love dancing!  Anya kicks her legs aimlessly and without rhythm, similar in style to Elaine Benis from Sienfeld:

Caitlin bobs around the dance floor while lifting up her shirt (I'm really hoping she grows out of this one), and Reegan simply follows behind the bride whining to be carried.  While they each have thier own style, they are all adorable.

Weddings also remind me just how lucky I am to have my beautiful bride.  Alicia was looking as stunning this past weekend as she did at our wedding.  I'm still not sure how this 5 was able to land a 10, it's like Steve Buscemi landing Heidi Klum, it just doesn't happen!  (I know, Seal isn't exactly easy on the eyes, but the brother can sing.)

We had a great time celebrating Josh and Laell's new life together and were honored to be in attendance.

Tip of the Day:  While robin's eggs look like those malted milk candy eggs, they taste quite different.  Just ask Caitlin.  While at my parent's house, she found a nest on one of my dad's tractors.  After showing me, I explained that we don't want to touch the eggs.  I turned my back to talk to my dad and when I looked back at Caitlin she had egg yolk trickling down her face.  She looked like the cat that ate the canary.  Literally.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me...Again!

A month after my birthday, my wife planned and successfully carried out a surprise 30th birthday party for me.  As many of my friends may have heard, I was pretty upset that my birthday came and went without any thoughtful gifts or expensive surprises.  I had fantasized that Alicia would give me a free weekend away from the house; a fishing, golfing, and biking getaway with a unlimited credit limit.  Instead I got a copy of Madden 11.  Where's the heart in that?  So Alicia is basically saying, 'Hey Bo, I know you did a lot to help around the house this year, but I only care about you a video game's-worth.' Last year I bought her diamond earrings.

Just after I had formed the opinion that her sense of creativity and gift-giving practicality had reached new levels, she pulled off a wicked sweet surprise party for me.  About 30 people gathered to celebrate.  It was a great mix of people from all my different groups of friends; my at-home dad friends, college friends, high school friends, volleyball friends, reffing friends, and family friends.  I was absolutely blown away!  People came from as far away as Madison, Grand Marias, Duluth, and Fairbaugh.  I felt just like George Bailey at the end of It's a Wonderful Life; but instead of receiving a basket full of cash, I was left with a $25 unpaid bar tab (I'm kicking your ass next time I see you Matt...).  It was a great reminder to me just how blessed I am.  I wish I could have spent more time with each of my friends, but it was a whirlwind of excitement for me, almost like a mini wedding (except it was hell of a lot cheaper and I didn't get too drunk to perform my husbandly duties afterwards).  I really have to hand it to my beautiful and wonderful wife who put everything together, it really meant a lot to me.  I love you hun!

In other news, the Rose's have been doing very well.  Caitlin is a major girlie phase right now.  Once the weather hit the 50s, KK decided that everyday from now on, is dress day.  While she only has a couple sundresses that fit her, it doesn't stop her from making it happen.  If she has to wear the same dress four days in a row, than so be it.  The good news is that it is the one thing you can hold over her head. 

"KK it's time to take a bath."
"We can wear your dress pajamas tonight."
Sold. She gets undressed faster than an old man with a bee in his trousers.

Today while we were in the car a fly flew in the window.  Anya shouted, "Watch out, it's a fly, or a bee, or a mosquito!"
"Or a pirate!" added Caitlin from the back seat.
Anya with look of matter of factness responded, "Caitlin, it wasn't a pirate.  Pirates don't live in the city."  She then turned to me with a sly smile with a look on her face like, 'Can you believe Caitlin...Everybody knows pirates can't fly in your car in the city, that crazy shit only happens in the country!'

Tip of the Day -  Always dress to impress.  You never know when someone you love is going to throw you a surprise birthday party or host an intervention.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Memorable Quotes from April

After opening the garage on April 10th to find 4 inches of snow on the driveway, Anya says, "What the hell is all of this?!?!"

While playing at the playground at Old McDonalds, Caitlin shouts to a random girl at the top of the slide, "Will you be my best friend?"  The girl responds, "Only if you come up here." 

Employee from the Three Bears Lodge at 6:00am, "Is this your daughter?"  Yes, our little Caitlin snuck out of the room before Alicia or I woke up and decided to cruise the hallways.  We had the door deadbolted and the metal hinge lock in place, but neither kept little KK in the room.  The craziest thing is that she was sleeping in bed with me and I didn't hear a thing!

Reegan: "I want a sip of papa's pop."

Isaac: "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH, WWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH, WWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH, WWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!"  This week I'm watching my 10 week old nephew and I think the little guy is allergic to estrogen.  He was in pretty good spirits yesterday, but I think all the females in the house have finally gotten to him.

Anya:  "Daddy, I think I have a little guy in my head.  He's always talking and telling me where to go."

Anya while talking on the phone with my mom: "Daddy was cleaning a lot today!  He didn't even take a nap!!!"

Caitlin: "I'm a little princess!"  For the past three weeks Caitlin has refused to wear anything other than tight pants or a sundress; two years old and she's already dressing like a Benny heading to Sal's in the springtime.  But she's actually skinny.

Tip of the Day:  When going to the Three Bears Lodge, wait at least 15 minutes after the waterpark opens to go swimming.  In the middle of their water playground, they have a huge, 200 gallon picnic basket that fills with water and dumps it slowly on the children below.  Usually it only fills 1/3 of the way full, but for the first dump of the day she unloads all 200 gallons of glory.  The water literally pummelled Reegan, tossing her about 7 feet onto the parks sidewalk before Alicia was able to grab her.  From then on, every form of flowing water caused Reegan to point and say 'Owie!'

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Celebration

Hallelujah, Christ has risen!  While bringing with him the promise of eternal life, he threw in some chocolate bunnies and Peeps for the kids. 

We celebrated the holiday up at my parent's house.  Luckily for the Roses, Jesus' right hand man, the Easter Bunny, stopped by their house before we arrived.  The Easter Bunny that delivered baskets at my parent's house was much more generous than the one that that works the West Metro.  While we gave the girls a small basket with a few candies, my parent went with the overflowing basket including the 40oz solid chocolate bunny.  You need a hacksaw to get through the damn thing.  While snacking on one now, I'm pretty sure I lost a filling in the bunnies ass.

Also included in the baskets were bubbles.  Seems harmless enough, right?  But not for my Caitlin...  Papa brought the girls outside to chase the bubbles and everyone was having a great time.  That is until Caitlin actually managed to pop one.  While I love that little girl with all my heart, she's not the most coordinated child.  In her attempt at popping bubbles, she ran with her arms wide so she could smash the buggers to smithereens.  Unfortunately her timing was terribly off and instead of slapping at the swirling orbs of soap, the bubbles would pass between her hands and pop in her face as she clapped.  You wouldn't think tiny drop of soap in the eye could hurt, but to poor KK it must have felt like knives piercing her eyeball.  Papa brought her in the house to console her and attempted to alleviate the pain by giving her a wet rag for her eye.  After a few minutes she was ready to get back out there and pop some more.  What are the odds such a freak accident could happen again?  With Caitlin, about 98%.  Two minutes later she was back in the house with another soap-soaked eye.  She had had enough.  'This bubble popping business if for the birds' she thought, 'I'll play it safe and blow some instead.'  As she drew the wand from the bottle it became slightly jammed.  After giving it all that her 30 pound body could give, she managed to free the stuck piece of plastic.  She withdrew the wand with so much force that (yep, you guessed it...) it flung up and hit her in the eye. 

And you know what the real tragedy of the situation is?  There was no warning on the label that these injuries could take place!  How can these bubble manufacturers sleep at night?  Sure Philip Morris peddles extremely addictive, cancer causing tobacco products, but at least you know the dangers it poses before you light up.  Big Bubble execs fatten their pockets by distributing truckloads of their products to unsuspecting families.  How many more Caitlin's are there out there, walking around with one squinted eye?  For shame Zubbles, for shame.

Tip of the Day - If you ever happen to come across the guy who came up with the idea for putting fake grass at the bottom of an Easter basket, please punch him in the mouth.  Not only does it get everywhere, but you have to pick it up by hand or it jams the damn vacuum cleaner.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Smurfberry Update

Good news, Anya was able to return her two wagonloads of Smurfberries for a full refund.  As you may remember, my 4 year old daughter ran up a $220 ITunes bill after purchasing a bucket and two wagonloads of smurfberries.  We sent a message to Apple explaining our situation and simply asked what they could do for us.  They quickly responded explaining that they would happily refund us our money and gave us instructions on how to prevent something like this from happening again.  It is now acceptable to laugh about the situation in front of my wife (she didn't quite see the humor in it when she was on the hook for a couple hundred bucks). 

Otherwise life has been busy at the Schmidt house.  Last weekend I was reffing a volleyball tournament at the Convention Center and will be reffing there again this weekend.  While I love reffing, being at the gym from 7:00am to 10:00pm makes for long days; especially for a guy who's used to taking a good 2 hour nap everyday after lunch.  The good news about reffing is that the girls actually get excited to see me.  It's like they actually appreciate having me around (at least for the first two minutes after I come home, then I'm just the same old pain-in-the-ass Dad that their used too).

Reegan enjoys filling her water glass from the refridgerator door now.  She really can't drink out of a cup yet, but that doesn't stop her from filling an 8 oz cup with 20 ozs of water.  After she tries to take a drink, she gets pissed that her shirt is wet so she drops the glass on the floor to take off her shirt.  At least water is easier to clean up than feces.

A few weeks ago I bought some new games for my XBox 360.  Anya has taken a liking to the game The Godfather.  She has learned to insert the games and start them up.  Her favorite part of playing The Godfather is "making people dead."  No I do not encourage her to play the game, but the streets of St. Louis Park are rough and she needs to learn how to earn her keep.  Every little girl should know how to whack a goomba or silence a rat; it's just part of growing up.

Tip of the day: It is not recommended for a person who has recently given up tobbacco products to blog while three children run around annoying him.  He may say things about his children that he might regret..........hypothetically speaking of course.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

That's right ladies and gentlemen, Bo Schmidt is officially 30.  So what am I doing for my dirty thirty?  You guessed it...Nothing!  And that's fine.  I'm reffing a volleyball tournament this weekend at the Convention Center and will be working from 7am to 9pm for the next three days.  It sounds worse than it is, I actually enjoy hanging out with my ref buddies and bringing home a couple hundred bucks is gravy on the potatoes.

The one thing I am doing for myself as a birthday present it giving up tobacco.  After 13 years of chewing and smoking, 30 seems like a good age to kick the habit.  I never really labeled myself a 'chewer' or a 'smoker' (at least not on my life insurance applications), but I can't remember the last time I didn't have a tin or a pack of smokes in my possession.  A beaver doesn't cut down an oak tree with one bite, he gnaws at it for years until finally he brings the son of a bitch to the ground.  Well I'm not letting tobacco bring this oak down.  I'm a 30 year old guy with a wife and 3 kids, what better reason for me to go out hunting for beaver?
So if you want to drop me a line of support, I'd appreciate it!

The girls have been doing very well lately.  I was reminded on Monday how happy I am with my three children.  The girls and I watched my brother and sister-in-laws 2 month old baby on Monday afternoon.  There's something stressful about watching someone else's kids.  I mean my children are doomed; I f*****d them up the minute my sperm met Alicia's egg.  Other people's kids at least have a shot.  So to have Isaac screaming at me til that vein pops out of his forehead is a little stressful.  Add to that Reegan dumping a Costco bag of raisins on the floor, Anya's incessant requests to play Uno, and Caitlin's whining that the computer game isn't working and you have one out of sorts Daddy.  Don't worry, it wasn't anything a few valium couldn't fix.  A special thank you to Dr. Hackett; 18 months and your procedure is working like a dream!

Well Caitlin is smearing poop all over the toilet, so I better go see if she needs help.  But don't worry, I can assure you of three things; 1. She will be on the can for at least another 20 minutes, 2. When I ask her if she needs any help, she will snarl at me and shout 'nnnnnnNNNNNNO!!!'' 3.  It will take me no less than a half hour to return the bathroom to its original, sanitary state.

Tip of the Day: 'Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.'  Thank you to Harry S. Truman for that little nugget of advice.

Friday, April 1, 2011

They've got it all figured out

The other day Anya came up to me and asked, "Dad, when am I going to get milk in my boobs?"  We have visited with several babies over the past few weeks and she has figured out this whole 'nursing' thing.  Before I could go into a deep emplaination of the physiological changes that take place in a young woman's body, Dr. Anya bailed me out with the following explanation: "I know dad.  You see this squishy part in my foot?  That's milk.  And as a girl gets bigger it moves up your leg and into your boobs."  She then ran off to play with her cash register.

Another Schmidt family staple has been playing the game 'up-and-down' (a MUCH different version of the game that Alicia and I play).  Alicia and I lay a blanket down in the living room and each girl gets a turn laying in the blanket.  At the count of three, we pull the blanket and toss the girls in the air.  Remember the scene from The Big Lebowski?  Yeah, it's like that, but our girls keep their shirts on.  They absolutely love it!  Reegan is hilarious.  She gets so excited to go that she flops her whole body down onto the blanket.  I would call it a jump, but her feet never really leave the air, and to me the word 'jump' implies some sort of coordination and grace; neither of which Reegan displays while belly-flopping to the floor.  

Caitlin finally sat still long enough for a haircut.  The matted crows-nest hairdo she's been sporting the past year is officially a thing of the past.  Now my blue-eyed beauty has a nice Ellen Degeneres inspired style that takes her cuteness factor up by at least three points.  She finally has better hair than this girl!

Tip of the Day:  If your friend is going to the doctor, don't ask 'What for?' unless you are prepared to handle the gory details.  This was a text I recieved from a friend when I asked why he was going to the doctor: "Its open sores on my foreskin.  It burns so bad Bo.  It feels like a million fireants having a parade from the tip of my wiener to my chode."  Lesson learned.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Anya + Computers = Trouble

On Saturday I spent the day playing volleyball up in Duluth, MN.  When I arrived home around midnight, I powered up my laptop to see if I had any important emails that required my immediate attention (to my knowledge I have never had an email that required my immediate attention, but does that stop me from looking?).  Right after it started up, a large pop up appeared; "Spyware Protection: Your computer has been infected!" Son of a bitch!  Having downloaded this virus before, I knew this could be trouble.  I tried everything I could to get rid of it; no luck.  Damnit! 

Yesterday Anya and Caitlin wanted to play  I explained to them that the computer wasn't working and that we needed to get it fixed.  Caitlin, in a moment of anger, grabbed the laptop and threw it on the floor.  After putting her in timeout, I turned to the computer to assess the damage.  The battery had come off, but otherwise it appeared fine.  I booted it up to see if it would turn on, and sure enough it did.  On top of that, it was virus free!  I'm not sure if throwing your computer on the ground is the prefered technical fix for a virus, but it seemed to work for me.  I was able to run Norton Anti-Virus and get rid of my suspicious files.  Crisis averted...for the time being.

Last Sunday we spend the day up at my parents house.   For work, my mom has a Apple IPad and Anya is drawn to electronics like a fat kid to a candy store.  'Dad can you find some games for me?' 

Being the wonderful father that I am, I looked up some free games from the app store and downloaded a couple.  For some reason even free apps require your ITunes account number and password.  I asked my old man what it was and he hesitantly typed in the information. "This isn't going to cost me anything, right?" "Of course not, Dad, they're free," (Old people are always so suspicious of new technology. They think someone's always out to screw 'em...).

I handed the IPad over to Anya and let her play away.  She was on it for 15 minutes before putting it aside for some other adventure around the house. 

This morning I got a call from my parents.  Apparenlty they recieved some strange charges on their ITunes account.  "What exactly did you download on Sunday?" my dad asked. 
"I don't know, some Hops game and this game with Smurfs in it.  Why what's up?" 
"Did you happen to purchase a wagon full of smurfberries?"
"Pretty sure I didn't."
"Well somebody purchased a 'wagon of smurfberries' and..." he pulled the phone from his ear.  I could hear my mom muttering something and some typing on a keyboard.  "Wait, we just got another charge.  A wagon of smurfberries AND a smurfberry basket!"
Looking around the room I spotted Anya sitting innocently watching TV, "I didn't buy anything, but I have a pretty good idea who did...  How much was it?  If I were you I'd protest the purchase from ITunes, but I'll pay you for it.  What do I owe you?"

Apparently I have been in the dark about the value of smurfberries these days.  While the recession has hit the US pretty hard, apparently the value of smurfberries are doing very well in Smurfville.  My dad spoke, "The total is about $120."
"$120!!! You've got to be shitting me!"
"Hold on..." My dad again pulled the phone from his ear... Another billed just was emailed. "Actually, it looks like someone purchased 2 wagons of smurfberries.  The total is now $220!"  Apparently one wagon of smurfberries wasn't enough for Anya. 

What these smurfberries do I have no idea, but I now am the rightful owner of two wagons full of them and a fancy basket in which to hold them.  Obviously my parents are going to challenge the charges and hopefully we can get this situation taken care of, but what kind of childrens video game allows people to spend real money on made up products?  According to ITunes, once a person logs into their account, they do not need to retype their password for 15 minutes.  Any purchases during this time are then able to go through without any authorization.  Parents be warned...

I will keep you all posted on the outcome of our smurfberry cunnundrum and will hopefully have good news to report.

Tip of the Day: Smurfberry addiction is a serious and growing problem in America.  Please educate yourself on the dangers of this cunning, baffling, and powerful fruit.  Warning signs include restlessness, irritability, and a driving need of more.  Often users start small, purchasing small buckets of berries, but like most addictive substances, larger and larger amounts are required to bring about the same euphoria.  When one starts buying berries by the wagon load, treatment is the only way out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

You can't make this stuff up.

For Caitlin being such a girly-girl, it's pretty surprising how much she hates washing her hair, combing her hair, putting lotion on her dry skin, clipping her toe nails, cleaning her ears, and wiping her butt.  Those blue eyes will take her far in the world, but I've never dated anyone with gnarly hair, gunky ears, and a dirty ass (unless you call that make out session in the basement of a party house in St. Joe 'dating.'  And I thought the smell was coming from the moldy carpet).  I'm sure someday she'll fight through the pain of brushing her hair, but I've been waiting for that day for two years now...

We were pulling into the library this morning and we parked right next to a handicapped parking space.  Anya asked, "Dad, why don't we park there?  It's closer."  I explained to her that those spaces are reserved for people who have a hard time getting around. 
"Like Great-grandma, Dad?"
"That's right Anya."
"Yeah, she used to walk slow."
As I unloaded the girls from the car, I asked Anya to hold Reegan's hand on the sidewalk while I grabbed the bag of library books.  While I was two steps behind, all three Roses decided to hold hands and walk to the library on their own.  After just a few steps Anya shouts, "Dad we should have parked there!  Look at Reegan, she walks like a handi person!"  True story.

Tip of the Day:  Just because drunk people want you to arm wrestle them, doesn't mean you have to.  While I may have won the battle, I lost the war by straining both of my biceps.  I felt pretty cool at the bar, but my arms have been hanging at my sides for the past three days.  I look like a balding version of Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The bonds of sisterhood

The other day we went to a McDonald's playland to burn off some pent up energy.  After we took off our shoes and jackets the girls made there way to the staircase to climb in the labyrinth of tubes.  At the foot of the stairway sat two girls, twins probably, no older than 4 years old.  These girls were bad news; when your own mom nicknames you Bonnie and Clyde, you know your hitting behind the 8 ball (which is what I think the mom snorted before bringing the girls to McDonalds, but I digress).  Anya went to use the stairway and the two wayward girls shouted, 'This is our playground! You cant go in!'

Anya walked back to our booth and told me about the girls.  I assured her that it was not their playground and that she should politely ask them if she could pass.  I followed her back to the staircase and watched Anya ask the girls if she could get by.  Again they said she couldn't.  Anya looked back at me with a grin on her face.  Her expression read like a book; 'I tried asking Dad, but there's no way these two girls are keeping me from this playground.'  She lifted her long, lanky leg and stepped over the two girls in their attempt to block the enterance.  Caitlin, following in her sisters footsteps, saw a small opening between the girls, and hit the hole with Walter Payton like speed.  Caitlin and Anya had made it, but the girls managed to keep Reegan from entering (quite an amazing feat considering Reegan generally bulldozes her way whereever she wants to go). 

It was then, for the first time in her life, Caitlin used her quick temper for something other than driving Alicia crazy; she stood up for Reegan.  With a piercing 'nnnnnnnnnnnNNNNNNNNNNNNNNo!' (all of Caitlin's No's are in creschendo) she pushed her way between the two girls.  'That's my sister!' she shouted as she grabbed Reegan's hand and dragged her toward the first step.  I think Caitlin scared the older girls with her fearless conviction.  From that point on, Bonnie and Clyde left my Roses alone. 

The bonds of sisterhood already run strong in my girls, and what a treat to be able to see it first hand.

Tip of the Day:  If you have a fiery temper, don't be surprised if your daughter does too.  I always get a charge watching Alicia and Caitlin get in a battle of wills.  They're both so cute that I have a hard time taking anything they say seriously.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Is this really happening?

Two blogs in two days???  What's the deal?  There were a couple classics yesterday that I had to write down before I forgot them.

Yesterday afternoon Anya was cleaning some of our scratched DVD's with this special CD/DVD cleaner that we recently purchased.  She's used the machine a few times, but I wanted to help her out so she didn't damage the movies worse than they already are.  As I sat over her shoulder watching her work, she looked up at me and said, "I can do it myself Dad, why don't you go clean or something.  The dishes aren't done.  You can vacuum the basement. I'll take care of this."

An hour later we were in the car on the way to the gym and Anya had decided to teach Reegan words on our way. 
"Reegan, can you say nose?"
"Can you say car?"
"Can you say door?"
"Can you say Pussface?"

Tip of the Day:  Do not have a cat with the nickname Pussface.  While Anya's great grandmother affectionatly referred to her beloved cat with this term of endearment, hearing a 4-year-old regularly using the term 'Pussface' may raise questions about your parenting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We've got spirit

Excitement abounds here at the Schmidt house.  After a great weekend celebrating the baptism of the newest member of the Schmidt/Pohlmann family, Isaac Benjament(I call him Isaac Benji cause I've got a good vibe with him), the Roses have been beaming with energy.  It is amazing how wound up those girls get to see their grandparents.  Don't get me wrong, I loved my grandparents, but going over to Grandma and Grandpa Kelley's every Sunday for TV and a 3:00pm roast wasn't necessarily the highlight of week.  When my girls hear we're going to see their grandparents, they can't control their enthusiasm; Anya jumps around, Caitlin gets a huge smile, and Reegan just screams.  Whether they're going to see Grandpa and Grandma Farmer or Papa and Nana, it always seems to be the highlight of their week. 

The other day I taught Caitlin and Anya the cheer 'I got Spirit!'  You've all heard it at a high school basketball game I'm sure, but for those debate nerds out there who never made it to the gym, the cheer goes:

"I got spirit, yeah yeah, I got spirit, yeah yeah, I got whaat whaat whaat whaat, what what what what what what what, I GOT SPIRIT!"

I usually pick up the girls while doing it and wiggle them around for the 'what's (mostly for my own enjoyment.  It makes Caitlin's fine hair sway back and forth and she reminds me of Harry from Dumb and Dumber).

Shortly after teaching the girls the cheer, we were saying Grace before supper. 'In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...' 
Anya:  'Hey dad, that's like Spirit from 'I got spirit yeah yeah I got spirit! huh?'
Ever since, whenever we do the sign of the cross Anya reminds me of that spirit is like the cheer 'I got spirit' in case I can't make the connection on my own.

Caitlin's new favorite game is the color game.  One person picks a color that they see somewhere in the room and the other players guess what item they are thinking about.  While Anya seems to get the point of the game, Caitlin excitedly screams YES! to the first object you suggest, whether or not the color matches the color she color she suggests.

Caitlin:  I see
Me: Is it the green frog?
Caitlin: YYYEEEESSSS!!!!

If we couldn't laugh, we'd cry.

Tip of the Day:  If you leave my girls unattended with a bag of Mommy's new clothes, this is what you get...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Another Snowy Day in Minnesota

Old man winter must have a bug up his ass this year.  Over the past two days we've been hammered with at least 12 inches of snow.  The good news is those 50 degree days managed to melt just enough snow for my 3-horsepower snow blower to loft the snow over the bank of the driveway.  For a while there it was like entering the Grand Canyon just to get to the garage.

The girls actually do quite well when we forced to stay inside the house all day.  They're so used to being on the go that it's actually a nice change of pace.  We get to lay around all day in our pajamas, watch movies, and color until the saliva-soaked crayons permanently dye our fingers red.  Have you guys seen Drew Carry lately?  The guy's lost like 100 pounds.  I suppose he looks good, but he just looks so different from the Drew I came to know and love.  (I thought I would add this daytime game-show update.  With the passing of my Grandma, my Mom and Aunt Sue are probably completely out of the loop with what's happening on the programs they have heard soooooo much about over the past few years.  My grandmother paged my Mom at the office the day Alex Trebeck shaved his mustache; it was a very controversial subject in our house.)

With all the artistic creativity in the air, Caitlin has found a new use for her blanky; a snot rag.  Why be inconvenienced by getting a  Kleenex when you can use the soft, pink blanket that is never more than 5 feet from you at all times.  We washed it yesterday but it is already able to stand up on its own accord (think Cameron Diaz's hair in There's Something About Mary..."Is that gel?").  Nasty.  But in order to wash it, you have to sneak it away from her when she doesn't realize it.  This afternoon she took a very rare nap.  I had the opportunity to slide it out of her sleeping hands a la the Grinch when he stole Cindy Lou's candy cane.

Reegan has identified a freckle on her left hand.  Now whenever she gets hurt, regardless of where, she points to the freckle and cries, 'OOOWWWIIIIEEEEEEE!'  You could cut off her right arm and that damn freckle will be the source of her agony. 

And funny story about Anya yesterday...  We were on the way to church yesterday morning and we were explaining to Anya that she didn't have Sunday School because it was President's Day Weekend.  We gave her the option to stay in the nursery with Reegan or join us in the congregation.  After pausing a few seconds, she said 'I guess I'll go with Reegan and play with toys.  Is that where we're going to open all the presents?'  Alicia and I looked at each other inquisitively?  'What are you talking about Anya?'  Her response?  'You said it was presents weekend.  So when are we going to open all the presents?'  Oh the difference a syllable makes...

Tip of the Day - Don't trust anyone who lives in Minnesota and doesn't have a snowblower.  They just ain't right.