Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Check out these melons!

The watermelon vine is shrinking, and one of them split open on the ground.  We have no idea how you tell if they are ripe or not, so we picked them all.

Not sure what on earth a family that doesn't even really like watermelon is going to do with a fridge full of them.  I guess we give them away, and then wait to see if we get reports back of tasty melons or rotten ones.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Apparently we need to sign them up for organized sports

So the kids wanted to go play kickball at the park.  Good family bonding time and all with dad.

Noah was convinced there were five bases.  "THERE ARE FIVE BASES DAD!!!!" he screamed, and then flopped around on the ground.  He wasn't convinced until two neighborhood boys came by and told him there were indeed only four bases.  And then they asked if they could play.

Those poor, poor, poor boys.  They had no idea what they were asking.

Once the number of bases was decided, we put some rocks down to mark each one.  The kids were ballistic that they couldn't see the rocks.  So me and the neighborhood boys ended up marking them with our shoes and playing barefoot.

Ella kicked the ball, and I made the mistake of catching it.  "I'm ooooouuuutttttt?!?!?!?!?!?" she wailed, and collapsed in a heap.  Yup, that's what happens when someone catches your kick.

Levi was up.  One of the neighborhood kids tagged him.  He collapsed in a pile of tears as well.

Ella had now recovered and was fielding.  "What do I do!?!?  I don't know what to do?!?!?" she balled.  I told her to get the ball and tag someone.  I think her brain was so shut down she couldn't process it.

Then it was her turn to run again.  She had no idea what to do.  I told her to run to the first base and stop.  Then when Levi kicked behind her, she just sat on first base as he ran up to her.  So I told her next time to run to second base.  So next time she ran to second, and kept going until she got tagged, and them protested that she had only done what I told her to do.

Levi got nearly his entire team out by passing them all running around all the bases.

Luke was there too, but spent the whole game standing there whimpering after he got out on his first kick.

Levi and Noah ended up walking home in a huff while I picked up our rock bases and put my shoes back on.  Ella walked home, but refused to be on the same side of the street as me.

Two and one third innings of pure family happiness, I tell you.

Cousin Andrew and Grant.... help...

Thems some mighty fine neigbours ya got thar!

I was up at 2:30 AM on Saturday night (don't ask) and the house across the back wall from us, which we thought was empty, was having quite the party.

Yup, that is the neighbors doing keg stands on their back porch.  Sorry for the low quality pic.  It's not easy when you are trying to hide any lights on the camera so as to not give away your position.

I'm not exactly sure who these kids were.  We thought the house was empty.  The pool has been drained for months.  We only rarely see anyone there, which we figured was a bank person or realtor or something.  Not sure if a bunch of teenagers broke in, held a party, and left... or what happened.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday afternoon sniper

I started out with Noah, but after a few shots he got bored.  Levi however really got into it.

Let's not get crazy though.  It is still summer in Arizona, and there is no sense sweating to death if you don't have to.  This is what doggie doors were invented for, right?
Levi was thrilled every time he nailed the little meatal orange pig in the trap, screaming "I got it!  I'm bringing home dinner!"  He is actually a pretty good shot too.  He did tell me though... "Dad, I don't want to be an Army man cause I still want to have my own donut shop."  Running a donut shop is his current goal for when he grows up.  He's even got Noah working there with him now.
I never met Paige's grandpa before he died, but I know it would bring his heart joy that his great-grandson is sprawled out on his Cambell's Soup blanket, sending lead downrange through a doggie door in the heat of summer.

We have no idea how he did this

We had to pull the van over and disconnect the seatbelt in order to get him out, because his foot was falling asleep. I'm still not entirely sure how he got that seatbelt wrapped in six different directions all while in his seat...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Together for Adoption

We just got our tickets for this conference, which happens to be at our church this year.  If you are going, let us know!

And a re-post of this video... just because this post felt like it needed more...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

And then there was one?

I've posted a link to a similar article before, but this one is making the rounds right now.  Even though I knew this existed, it still strikes me as hard to believe.

"What is it about terminating half a twin pregnancy that seems more controversial than reducing triplets to twins or aborting a single fetus? After all, the math’s the same either way: one fewer fetus. Perhaps it’s because twin reduction (unlike abortion) involves selecting one fetus over another, when either one is equally wanted. Perhaps it’s our culture’s idealized notion of twins as lifelong soul mates, two halves of one whole. Or perhaps it’s because the desire for more choices conflicts with our discomfort about meddling with ever more aspects of reproduction."

Maybe it is one of those reasons.  Or maybe, just maybe, it is because you are killing your own child, and the one who survives is a constant vivid reminder of what you did.

Go to the New York Times, and read all the ways that people will justify killing their own children, even those they put so much effort, time, and money into conceiving.

And then pray for the country that would allow this to happen, and call it a "woman's right to choose."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The big kids

The "big" kids started school yesterday.  This is the first year all three of them are at the same school.

Paige managed to pinch a nerve or something in her back, which has now moved down to her leg.  On Tuesday we were at the doctor getting a huge painkiller shot, muscle relaxants, and steroids.  She was still flat on her back on Wednesday, so first day of school duties fell to me.

They all made it into class without tears or meltdowns (not always a given with Levi and Noah.)  Ella ran back out from her classroom to give me one last kiss, looking almost teary eyed.

That night when I was tucking them in bed she confessed to me...

"Dad, when I ran back out to give you another kiss this morning, it was because I was a little nervous of second grade and kind of felt like crying."

You and me both kiddo.  Having daughters has crushed any illusions I might have had about being a tough guy.

Today on the way home from work, I got the report of the second day of school from Paige.  Roughly paraphrased...

Ella:  "Today, on the second day, somebody already lost a star!  It was a boy... cause they are always naughtier."  (Their school has a system where you lose stars for bad behavior.  Ella didn't lose a single star in first grade, being stereotypical the perfectionist oldest child, and would probably completely break down if she did.)

Paige tried to defend the reputation of squirrel-y little boys everywhere, when our own little mischief maker(s) piped up...

Levi:  "I lost a star today too... but it didn't really bother me."

Paige:  "Levi!  What for?"

Levi:  "Talking too loud."

Noah:  "I lost a star too Mom."

Paige:  "Noah!  For what?"

Noah:  "Talking to Landon" (his buddy from kindergarten)

We tried to warn their teacher, who also had Ella last year, that the genetics worked out a weeeee bit differently the second time around.  I even told Landon's mom on the first day that I gave the Noah/Landon seating arrangement about a week before it is rearranged.

I hope they all survive the next year (or twelve.)

The Dutch is strong with this one

We had grand visions of decorating Sophie's headgear.  Had a vehicle wrap place that said they would do it, and then backed out.  Went to a tattoo parlour in Michgan, but Paige thought tattoos would look too angry.  Then we struck upon a brilliant idea.

Dutch heritage + favorite coffee place + free pink sticker = bling for the helmet!

And just like a sweet mullet, it's business in the front and party in the back!

(Paige made me take the back one off.  She's still a Dutch princess though.)

Grab bag

I went to lunch the other day with a guy from work, and we headed to this little Indian food dive.  It's half restaurant, half grocery store.  Wandering through the grocery store, I saw this, and got very excited for a moment.  Then I read a little closer...

Sitting on the couch the other night, scratched my head, and noticed that it felt a little thicker around the sides than it did on the top.  Hmmmmm, camera phone in my pocket... let's see what's going on up there.... ohhhhhhh... ignorance really was bliss.  Guess it's officially time for the permanent buzz cut.  I almost considered completely shaving it, but I might have to wait until the tan lines even out (30 more years or so.)

While we were in Michigan, the watermelon plant grew this monster.

Unfortunately, the little hole in the side dripping water was not a good sign.  Ewwwwww.

Finally, after a summer of slacking, we instituted a new chore chart.  A giant thermometer on the bathroom mirror with 30 spaces.  Fill them all up, and you get to go out for ice cream with mom or dad.

I told the kids that in addition to the usual morning and bedtime routine, cleaning the playroom would earn a bar for everyone who helped.  Keep in mind that most days when I get home from work, the playroom looks like feral pigs have been rooting through the toy bins all day.

Attempts to get them to pick it up are generally greeted with howls of protest.

They claim they don't know what to pick up.  Really?  I can't even see the floor where you are standing, but you can't spot anything to pick up?

The next excuse is that they don't know where things go.  Really?  You seem to be able to find the toys just fine and take them out, so do that in reverse.

Tonight, after describing the chore chart and the play room cleaning scheme, Ella started asking questions...

"So can we pick it up before you get home and earn a bar?"  They are volunteering?  Ummmmm, sure, more bars!!!

"What if we pick it up more than once a day?"  Are you kidding me?  More bars!!!

"Can we pick up other things to get bars?  Like other rooms?"  More clean rooms?  More bars!!!

Somewhere in the midst of all the questions, I saw all three of them start exchanging glances and their eyes started getting bigger.  And then they all disappeared from the bathroom in a storm of giggles.  I peeked around the corner to see three little feral pigs racing around the playroom actually finding things to pick up and finding where they go.

Greedy little capitalists!

At this level of motivation, they will have filled all 30 bars in a few days by continually cleaning every room in the house, and I will need to increase the ice cream budget.

At least I hope so...

Ahhhhhh, Michigan...

Paige got back from Michigan last week.  I am just now getting around to going through the pictures.  Oddly, I found quite a few of this variety...


Michigan... land of freedom....

Livin' the dream