Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pool gymnastics

Levi showed off his new pool skills for Grandma today...



Dad had a few too...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

He he he...

Latest Day by Day cartoon cracked me up...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Awesome! It's Sarah Palin!

This is making my morning...


From everything I've read about Sarah Palin, she is a great choice. A pro-life, cut government, drill here, drill now, true conservative. I'm actually getting excited about the Republican side of the ballot now!

Update: Initial reaction from National Review's "Campaign Spot." After all the rumors about McCain considering Lieberman (or similar) for VP, this is great news.

Update 2: Hillary voters for McCain-Palin? I've been saying for a while that I think McCain is going to blow Obama out of the water come November. I think that is even more true now. Might just be wishful thinking, but I hope not.

I'm having a REALLY hard time concentrating on work this morning. Obviously...

Update 3: Conservatives are giddy like schoolgirls...

Update 4: Last one for the day. From a Corner reader, and one of my favorites, Victor Davis Hanson.

Best Friday since May 2...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

American prayer?

This blog is normally dedicated to stories about our kids and family. But when I saw this, I couldn't not post it...



Are these people praying... to Obama? "We can turn off the dark tonight, maybe then we might see?" "When you get to the top of the mountain, remember me?" If the cult of personality surrounding Obama wasn't obscene enough, now these celebrities have basically made a video of themselves worshiping their "messiah." Wow... just wow.

The rest of us better pray that he doesn't get elected...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

First day of preschool... update

Just an update on the first day of preschool. The day after the previous post, Ella went for her first full day of actual class. And on that day, she was thoroughly excited to go, and gave Paige a lovely smile for her first day picture.



We don't want to leave the impression that our little princess is always as grumpy as the first picture led you to believe.
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Daddy adventure

Paige informed me last night that I was taking the boys on a "daddy adventure" today. Not a "daddy date." Dates are for girls. Boys go on adventures.

So we headed off this morning. First stop was devouring a hearty breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts...





Next up was exploring the wild machinery of the local car wash...



We braved the local wildlife at the Best Buy (otherwise known as a "sales associate") in our quest to obtain a case for the new camera.

Doesn't sound very adventurous yet, you say? You were expecting something more along the lines of mountain climbing, wrestling a wild bear, or setting off high explosives? Let's not get carried away here. It is approximately 143 degrees outside today. Our adventures aren't going to involve anywhere that doesn't have air conditioning.

So we headed over to Bass Pro Shop to take in the local wildlife...







It helps you sneak up on them if you have a little camouflage. We decided Grandpa should get one of these for the back woods, so we can sit and look for deer (uh huh... sure. Two little boys would last about 5 seconds in a 4' x 4' tent before cabin fever set in.)





Then off for a hearty BBQ lunch at Famous Dave's. Adding to the adventure, this is where Levi decided it was time to go potty. Unfortunately, he neglected to tell me until after he had gone. Good thing I brought an extra pair of shorts...





Then we stuck around to watch the end of some horse race...



Finally, we loaded up the wagons and headed home, squeezing in a nice nap on the way home...





Adventure accomplished!

Friday, August 22, 2008

He didn't quite make it

We went swimming at some friend's house tonight. Levi was standing outside the pool, with a strained look on his face.

Me: Levi, did you go poop in your suit?
Levi: Noooooo...
Me: [ checks Levi's suit and finds a few "treasures" in there ]
Me:
Levi, you did go in you suit. Why didn't you tell me you had to go poop?
Levi:
Well, I did tell-ded you, but you didn't obey me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wrong side of the bed

Today was apparently a shift change, and Noah's turn to wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Levi had the day off. Today's shift began at 6 AM. At 1:39, Paige emailed me the following picture and description:

So after more than an hour in time out (closer to an hour and a half) Noah fell asleep, rather than apologize to me. Waking at 6 is not the best for this child. He had tantrum that I washed his hands after lunch claiming " I want peanut butter all over my hands!" I warned him to calm down or he would go to time out and he responded by spanking me. As I carried him to the chair he attempted several times to bite me. I buckled him in. YUP! On Nanny 911 you spend an hour returning the child to the chair and then they are cured. I think the nanny must be watching the other children and feeding a screaming infant during that pivotal hour. So he was buckled in. I returned and asked him to apologize often, and he refused. He was more upset that he was missing Barney in the other room than being buckled in. He hopped in the chair across the floor several times to try to see the TV over the bottom stairs. I moved him back and he would wail again. Adding new threats of having to pee and poop. I told him he would have to sit in it until he was done with time out and said sorry. (He never did pee or poop) After a loooonnnnng time I took Luke upstairs and put him to bed. When I returned all was quiet. Ella had taken pity on him and had covered the poor boy up with his blankie and he promptly feel asleep. I unbuckled him and carried him up to bed. He is sleeping now. Never did get an apology from him. Hopefully sleep will help his mood.




Followed this afternoon by a meltdown because his pizza was too hot, then too cold, then he wanted a second piece before the first piece was finished.

Then during bathtime, he splashed and stomped around in the tub after I warned him not too. He had to sit on the bathmat for a timeout. Instead of just telling me he was sorry, he claimed "I don't know the words!" and "I need mommy to tell me the words!" He ended up sitting on the bathmat for the rest of bathtime, and was severely disappointed when the bath was over and "I didn't get clean enough!" Then he sat on the bathmat as the other kids went to the room to hear mommy read stories. He again started threatening that he had to go to the bathroom. I told him he could go as soon as he told me he was sorry. He claimed that "I have to get out of timeout or my poopy will just POP right out!" During one of the two minute timeout stretches, his wailing suddenly went quiet. I found him perched up on the toilet, doing his business. Then back into timeout.

He never did apologize, and ended up going to bed without the usual bedtime stories. Then he spent the next hour in bed crying and carrying on a mostly one way conversation with himself...

[for the proper effect, read this out loud, in a high pitched three year old wail, through sobs and sniffles...]

"This is daddy's house and he is the boss, but I don't want a boss in my house. Mommy always comes back because she loves us, but I don't like daddy, but he loves us." (Mommy had run out to the store.)

Noah: "I don't like bosses in my house!"
Levi: "They are bad bosses." [Said in Levi's characteristic mumble, more like "Dey are bad both-es"]

"I don't like to hit daddy, cause then he puts me in timeout, and timeout isn't fun!"

There were more priceless jewels of wisdom from the bedroom, but I forgot them before I could write them down. I was trying hard to muffle my chuckling though.


Who ever invented the term "terrible twos" apparently gave their kids up for adoption soon after, because the "threes" are an order of magnitude worse...

First day of preschool

The kids had their first day of preschool today. It wasn't actually a real day of preschool, just the day for us to fill out all of the paperwork. We attempted to line them up out front of the house for their "first day of school" picture. They cooperated wonderfully and the picture perfectly captures each of their "special" personalities.



Ella, looking thoroughly thrilled to be embarking on a new adventure in the pre-K program.

Levi, planted firmly in this world, and not lost in his own little one, examining the grass between his toes.

Noah, being a perfect gentleman, resisting the temptation for showing off or goofing around.

But hey, at least they all are fully clothed.

Sheesh... their teachers don't have a clue what is about to hit them.

Monday, August 18, 2008

See, they do wear pants occasionally

Steenstra commented that our kids never wear pants. Photographic evidence that they DO indeed manage to keep their pants on, every once in a while...



Obviously they aren't quite ready to start skipping naps yet.

The "eyes" have it

Jason Paige

Ella


Levi


Noah


Luke


So far, none of our kids have kept their blue eyes. They all started out blue, and then morphed into their mother's green/rust color. I know Paige has a blue eyed gene in there somewhere, because her dad has blue eyes. I'm hoping Luke finally got it... but they might still go over to the dark side...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dreaming

of having their very own swimming pool. The neighbors were having a big party, swimming in their pool, and our kids don't yet know that it isn't polite to climb up into your playground and stare over the neighbors' wall.



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Friday, August 15, 2008

New (sort of) tunes

Paige's sister had a garage sale while Paige was in Michigan. I helped drag all of the furniture for sale out of her basement. One item was an old Victrola (circa 1926), along with a bunch of records. It didn't sell on the garage sale, so every time I talked to Paige, I told her to take the Victrola back with her (knowing full well that there was no room for it in the van.) Little did I know that my sneaky wife had a plan all along to get it back to Arizona. When I went to unpack the van after they got home, guess what I found stuffed in the trunk?



I'd love to refinish it so it would really glow, but I'm afraid that someday the Antique Roadshow would tell me "This is a one of a kind find, worth $57,000... if only someone hadn't destroyed the original finish."

In the meantime, we will enjoy all the old records that came with it. After all, they don't make them like they used too...

video

Yup, you heard that right... "My voice hasn't had a real rest in years. Naturally, I protect it all I can, and that's why I smoke Luckys. I've been smoking them for 12 years, and they've never once bothered my throat."

Speaking of storms

Since the kids have returned from the holy land, Levi and Noah have been having... issues. Especially Levi. Bedtime has been a nightmare, with wailing and gnashing of teeth for over an hour, as one of us sits outside the bedroom so that they don't tunnel out of Alcatraz. The other night, Levi spent the entire dinnertime crying because he didn't want to eat one tiny piece of BBQ beef. He didn't choke it down until after the other two kids were slurping on their Otter Pops (and even then only after Paige washed the BBQ sauce off of it.) Then he sat on the floor sobbing, holding his melting tube of sugary ice, because I cut the top off without him. Eventually the untouched Otter Pop was pried from his hands and thrown in the trash because it was time to go to bed. That, of course, caused an eruption of even greater wailing. He did not have a good night, but it was all caused by his own stubbornness.

Paige decided that they might go to bed better at night if we started skipping naps. Last night was fairly successful. Levi was asleep before I finished half a page in This Old House, and Noah didn't make a peep until he fell asleep 30 minutes later. Tonight I got home from work to find Levi already passed out on the couch, a full 2 hours before bedtime.

(Underwear strategically repositioned from their original location around his ankles)

Since he couldn't very well go to bed at 5:30, we woke him up. In hindsight, we should have just let him sleep. Tonight he refused to wash his hands so he could stir the waffle batter (refer to position of left hand in above picture.) So Noah got to do all the stirring. All the kid had to do was scrub his hands, and we would have gladly let him stir some batter. But he was just plain bull-headed, and refused. It wasn't pretty...

video
(We'll look back on this some day and chuckle... I hope)

We've tried everything. Reasoning, spanking, time-outs, bribing. Nothing works. He will refuse to cooperate, even if it means missing out on an Otter Pop or batter stirring. The only thing that seemed to work was Benadryl one night during a 4 AM meltdown, but frequent use of that method and child protective services will be knocking on our door.

Ideas? Solutions? Help? Anyone?


At least one of them around here will still smile at me...

Dancing in the rain



We almost had a monsoon last night. The thunderclouds were huge on my drive home, and I was hoping for a good one. But in the end, we just ended up with a little trickle. Still, the boys and I took the opportunity to go out and play in the rain.

On their new big boy bikes, they tangled training wheels. Exclaimed Noah... "We crashed into ourselves!" Not "each other." Ourselves. Makes me wonder if this is just a childish English error, or if he really does see his brother as part of himself.


As the drops started to fall, the boys ran through them chanting "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring!"






One more picture of the clouds...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Book review: Final Salute

I just finished reading Final Salute. It is a touching book, telling the stories of several families who have lost their sons, husbands, brothers, and fathers in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also tells the stories of the soldiers who have the difficult duty of notifying the families of their loss.

I am 100% behind what we are doing in Iraq, but this book really brings home the results the war has back home. The author did a good job telling the stories without making a political judgement on the war.

If you want to get a feeling for the book, take a look at the article that was the genesis of the book (and actually make up several of the chapters.) And if you don't read the whole book, at least read the article.

Final Salute: The Rocky Mountain News (pdf file)

Final Salute: The Rocky Mountain News (webpage)

The pictures alone choke me up...

Michigan trip slideshow

Here's a slideshow of a brief selection of the many photos from the Michigan trip this summer...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Paige is gonna kill me...

...when she sees that I posted this. Kind of like when you used to call up the local radio station and dedicate a song. Only on YouTube instead...



What? Don't give me that look! I'm allowed to dedicate that to my wife, whom I haven't seen in 26 days, 12 hours, 39 minutes, and who gets home sometime tomorrow... ;)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggety jog

Paige, the kids, and the mother-in-law left Michigan today to head back home. Paige called tonight to say they made it to Tulsa. 846 miles isn't a bad first day. She didn't relay any horror stories, so it must be going fairly well.

I am ready for them to be back. I can't say that I don't enjoy the "alone time" when they are gone. But I also don't go to sleep until 2 AM because the house is too quiet. Then I fire myself up on caffeine all day to stay awake. And I eat atrocious meals... like roast beef. Just roast beef... no veggies, bread, fruit. Or a whole pile of scrambled eggs. Tasty, but 3 weeks of that has managed to take out even my iron gut. Needless to say, after only a few weeks, I am exhausted, jittery, and highly irregular.

Plus, as much I enjoy having the house remain undisturbed while I am gone... I miss the little rugrats that make that mess. I haven't seen Luke in almost a month which is a third of his life (life outside of his mother, that is.) The kid is going to be huge!

So yeah, I'm a little excited about them coming home...

Update: Got a call this morning that the actually made it to Oklahoma City, 951 miles. It seems Paige accidentally booked their hotel in Oklahoma City, which they didn't realize until they couldn't find the hotel anywhere in Tulsa.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ahhhhh, that's a nice sound

The first actual monsoon storm to make it to our house since I have been back. Nothing beats the roar of rain on a tin roof, the flash of lightning, the grumble of distant thunder, the creosote smell of rain in the desert... and the choking dust of a summer haboob.

video

I think I'll step out onto the back porch and enjoy it a while, with the proper accouterments of course...
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Update: Ahhhhh, that was great. The temperature must have dropped 20 degrees in about 10 minutes. In the spirit of Kempiak's Gratituesday... I am grateful for the rain, and that I got to see at least one monsoon this summer.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Mmmmmmm... cupcakes

Our office always has a birthday cake for people the week of their birthday. Given that Cousin Ron was pimping the Sprinkles CF fundraiser on Sunday, I headed over and picked up an ample supply of CF cupcakes for this week's only birthday. Lucky Aaron (a guy) got a whole bunch of cupcakes with pink hearts on them for his birthday.



Let me tell you, Sprinkles makes a dang tasty cupcake. Although at $36 per dozen, they better be good! Heck, at that price, I would almost expect these things to cure CF! But what do you expect for a cupcake shop set up in downtown Snottsdale? ;)

Not that I am complaining about the price. Every penny spent on the CF cupcakes gets donated right to the CF foundation. I would have bought twice as many if I thought our office could polish them off. So look at it as donating money to CF, and getting some free tasty cupcakes to go with it.

Get yourself over to Sprinkles before Wednesday! When else are you going to be able to justify spending that much on a cupcake!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cousin Ron, Part II

Cousin Ron (aka "Marty Stouffer") was on Channel 3 this morning to talk about a fundraiser that Sprinkles cupcakes is doing this week. 100% of all the special CF cupcakes sold Aug 4, 5, and 6 go to the CF foundation. Sprinkles is at Scottsdale Road and Camelback, across from Fashion Square.

Part 1:


Part 2:



The video is low quality, and the sound doesn't match the video. I've got the HD video saved on my computer, but I don't have a program that will edit it. After spending all day and downloading and trying about 10 different shareware video converters, this is the best I could do. Makes me mad. Like "Hulk smash" mad...

And seriously Ron... when do you start filming the nature show?

Friday, August 1, 2008

More Tim Kimmel (and Barry Asmus!)

I discovered today that EVBC posted the audio from all the Hot Summer Nights events. I can't vouch for the other nights, but I listened to both Tim Kimmel and Barry Asmus, and would recommend you do as well.

FYI (if you don't go to EVBC) Tom is the senior pastor and is the guy doing the interviewing in the audio.

Barry Asmus is an economist who talked about virtually every current topic... from social security to housing to gas prices. I know what you are thinking... an economist? Is this some boring political guy that only nuts like Jason would enjoy? Not at all. He is an entertaining, fascinating, and extremely knowledgeable speaker. Definitely worth listening to.

Part 1
Part 2

Tim Kimmel talked about parenting, grandparenting, and took a tangent into illegal immigration. Again, an entertaining and challenging speaker, and well worth listening to.

Part 1
Part 2

I have no idea how long these will be posted on the website. If the links stop working and you want to listen, let me know and I can email you the MP3s. The other Hot Summer Nights audio is on the EVBC homepage right now as well, although I have not listened to those.