Saturday, May 30, 2009

Morons built my house

My house is about 20 years old so you would expect it to be built a little better.... not so. What is hard to understand about cutting a 4" hole for a 4" dryer vent? DUH! Some rocket scientist figured that a 3 1/2" hole is plenty good enough. Add to that they did not line up the holes on the exterior vent and you have a nice little project replacing the dryer vent to get it to code. See we have/had the old white plastic dryer vent that is VERY flexible (note that it fits through a hole 1/2" too small) but it also can be prone to fires. So when I try to be safe and replace it with metal it is a no go.

I know most people in the trades are honest people and they want to do a good job. Obviously those people had the day off when they put in our dryer vent. So if you are a person that does your work so-so and you just get by, don't whine when your 401k dries up because some white collar people are also doing so-so work:)

Come on people, take a little pride in your work.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Rule #1 - No good deed goes unpunished

Anytime someone new is around the Triplets I first explain rule #1 - no good deed goes unpunished. They look at me a little funny (something I am quite use to) then they either laugh a little or ask for further explanation. Assuming you want the latter I will explain.

It usually manifests itself when someone is trying to help one of the Triplets. This is true with almost anything like helping them....
  • into a chair
  • fasten their carseat
  • put their shoes on
  • get in the bathtub
  • pick up something they dropped
  • clean up a mess they made
The list goes on an on. Some people would read this and think I am crazy (also something I have grown accustom to) as this means they are doing a lot for themselves. I would have no problem with all of this if they actually DID it, did it correctly, and did it in a timely manor. On a side note, why is it that kids get their shoes on the wrong feet like 80% of the time? This is something a shoe manufacturer should look into:)

I know, I know this is part of them growing up and it is usually VERY cute and makes me proud but it also sometimes puts them into a tail spin. Like if I ask Jackson to go get me something and William picks it up to hand to him... WAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! I then thank William for helping and politely ask him to put it back. Their new favorite phrase... "not yet." Oh how quickly they learn:)

Four generations of Women on the CFO's Mother's side.

However, I'm not denyin' the women are foolish: God Almighty made 'em to match the men.
George Eliot, "The Harvest Supper," Adam Bede


Thursday, May 28, 2009

I am doing it for my kids....

I think I have posted about this issue previously but it continues to be one of my biggest challenges. All other challenges are of course dwarfed by my challenge to follow Jesus but I don't have the time to get into that right now:) Where is the balance between money, tasks and your kids?

Money in terms of making it, spending it and saving it.
I could work outside the home and bring in about $20k a year over and above what it would cost us for a Nanny, lawn care, and a maid service. But that does not include the extra car we would need for me to drive to work, work clothes and all the other miscellaneous expenses that go along with a job. If I did work we "deserved" expensive vacations and "deserved" a new TV etc... I would also have someone else raising my Triplets and installing their values on the kids. I am not poo-pooing people that have a nanny or use day care etc... we have done both. But it is a fact, if you are not there someone else is taking your place for that time during the day and your kids then learn from them.

Spending vs. money is another issue. We want to save money but in light of all the economic issues who is to say that if we scrimp and save to get three big 529 plans just to see them evaporate. Plus who is to say they will go to college. Seriously, I would not have an issue if one or more want to go into a trade. Heck, who are the people with all the free time, motorcycles, boats, RVs, ATVs etc.... Yep, plumbers, electricians etc... I want them to go to college but I do not think forcing someone to go is a good idea. So in light of all that why not enjoy most of our money now. No, I am not talking about taking the attitude that our Socialistic Government will save me so why not squander our money:) but rather use it wisely and share it with others in need. Don't even think of emailing me wanting some of it:) It is funny that we make a lot less now but we are also giving a lot more. Most people call that God's economics.

I could also "save" a lot of money by investing a lot of time into coupon hunting/trading and planning out all my buying. But then isn't time money? Unfortunately I am confronted daily by the fact that there are only 365 days a year (leap year not withstanding) 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute. So unless I learn how to bend the space-time continuum then I only have a finite amount of time to do stuff in. The CFO and I have already cut our TV time down to about an hour every other day so there is not a lot of time there. Most of my "free time" is time spent with the kids. For instance when the CFO comes home I could ask her to take care of them while I get stuff done but I would rather us have time together as a family. The stuff can wait till after they go to bed.

Sorry for the long post... I am sure I will have more to write on this subject before long:) On a separate note, sorry for my more than infrequent misspellings. It has never been my strong suit and I barely find the time to blog much less edit it for spelling and grammar. Yes, I really do have a degree:)

One of the kid's favorite spots is the Zoo and we went there with some friends last weekend.

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)


New shoes for Dad!

With our change in income last year we actually got a tax refund! So the CFO and I decided that we would each use some of it for what we wanted, give to charity and save the rest. She decided to have someone draw up landscape plans for our yard that we could then implement over the next few years. I originally wanted a high capacity shotgun as there is a chance that everything shy of nerf-guns will be illegal to buy before too long:) But after thinking about it for a while I changed my mind. Don't get any ideas... we still have my 9mm XDM with 19 rounds and the CFO's 357:)

I decided to buy camping equipment, sandals and hiking boots. I bought the sandals and boots from Sierra Trading Post online. I had to laugh out loud (and continue to do so) when I got my new Keen sandals. You might be able to see on the Keen site that the sandals are "waterproof." Now I know that they mean the materials are waterproof but it would be like seeing "waterproof" on a screen door. I always think of "waterproof" meaning not letting water in... not just that it won't damage something. It is almost as funny as a sticker on my first alarm clock that said "genuine simulated wood grain," as apposed to fake simulated wood grain:)

As an added bonus the kids also love my new shoes!

I believe everybody in the world should have guns. Citizens should have bazookas and rocket launchers too. I believe that all citizens should have their weapons of choice. However, I also believe that only I should have the ammunition. Because frankly, I wouldn't trust the rest of the goobers with anything more dangerous than string. Scott Adams


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How do you tell if someone is a good parent?

Look at their feet and knees....

I asked the CFO last night to look at a patch of dry skin on the top of my foot. The CFO laughed and said that is from playing with the kids on the floor. Then she said she has the same spots on her feet. We also have places on our knees. The librarian that does story time at the public library calls them calluses on her knees:)

So I use to have no hair on my knees because of my dress pants, now it is because of the floor. If I can just get the hair to grow back on my ankles from where my dress socks rubbed it off:)

The kids really LOVE lounging around in our bed. Their definition of "lounging includes rolling, bouncing, wrestling, etc...

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
Gertrude Stein (1874 - 1946)


Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Thank You

Our Family thanks all of the Men and Women that are serving, have served or will be serving in our Military for their sacrifice. Especially G-Daddy and Granddaddy. If the CFO and I have a regret in our lives it is that neither of us have served in the Military.

All gave some, some gave all.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

That is NOT how you have fun...

I was at the Zoo with a good friend and their two kids when we started hurrying the kids along to the water area. They said "why can't we just enjoy the getting there?" We both started laughing. I had been thinking about that very thing that morning. I often times want the kids to have fun MY WAY! I fight the urge to make them "play" and not just run in circles, pick up sticks/rocks/bugs, walk on the curb, swing from railings, lick/kiss glass/mirrors, pick at plants, etc....

My internal dialouge during those times would sound something like this.... "What are you doing?! That is not fun, you do not know what IS fun, let me show you. Oh, you don't think that is fun? Then let's see how fun timeout is. Hurry up... we are going to have fun. Stop trying to make getting there fun. Stop playing around or you are going to miss all the fun!"

We sure have a lot to learn from kids. If you don't think so just take all their toys away, they still have a great time.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Beach rules....

As some of you gather we (OK, it is really me) can be a little strict with the kid's food/schedule. But there is hope... We now have "vacation rules."
  • You can drink capri-sun whenever you want (William drank up to six a day and two in a sitting)
  • You can eat pop-tarts whenever you want.
  • You get M&Ms every day (from Grandaddy)
  • You can watch TV as late as you want as long as you are quiet.
  • Popcorn IS breakfast food.
  • Strawberry frosted mini-wheats are a substitute for any meal
  • Coco Pebbles are OK to eat.
  • Suckers are OK to eat in the house, hey it was a rental:)

Keep in mind that camping is also considered "vacation." We are planning on going camping again soon with a new tent and some more gear thanks to a Coleman outlet we found on the way to the beach.

The only frustrating thing about going to the beach is all the tourists,


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Life's a beach sometimes

Considering we had five Toddlers ages three and under along with twelve adults the long weekend went great! A few discussions got a little heated as the conversation always turns to politics and religion late at night but everyone still loves each other, even if some of you were just plain wrong in our views:) That is a joke for those of you that were there...

There were of course many melt downs. But that is to be expected. One thing very good happened, William went down in value by $.01. See the night before we left he swallowed a penny. After a call the the CFO's Mom (a nurse), a close friend (Pede-doc), our Doctors office and poison control everyone agreed that it would probably pass through with no problem. That is except for the fact that we needed to make sure it passed through, ugh! I have no problem with dirty diapers, throw up, pee on the floor etc, but when you start searching in it I feel a line is being crossed. Luckily for us it we hit pay dirt on the second exploration. As you would expect I have cleaned the penney and it is being kept for his baby box.

More pics.....

There is no such thing as "fun for the whole family."
Jerry Seinfeld


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fun comes in all sizes

If you read the CFO's blog then you have already seen a lot of the great pics we got during our weekend at the beach. We would have gotten more but I am paranoid about the moisture/sand getting to the camera.

I think the CFO underestimated the time involved in getting the crew to the beach. I figured on 45 min to an hour when you consider all that had to happen. We had to get them dressed, lotioned, organized, fed, cooler packed, toys packed, shelter set up, etc.... Oh yea, we had to get ourselves ready too:) But after all the preparation everyone had a good time.

The first day Addison quickly went into a tailspin after lotion, sand and salt water set her eyes on fire. The next day it was William's turn. By the third and last day everyone knew what to expect.

I was amazed at the no fear attitude of the boys. Addison is more of a girly girl (as the CFO requested) but she still holds her own. Take for instance when we went crab hunting at night. The CFO and I were trying to catch them with the bucket when Jackson just bent down and picked one up. Keep in mind these are small crabs but still! What they don't know.....

I really do miss the beach as I went to the beach a lot growing up and went to college on the coast. But it definitely is a lot different with the Triplets.... BETTER!

Sometimes catching the crabs is a good thing:)

Sponges grow in the ocean. That just 'gets' me. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be if that didn't happen.
Stephen Wright


Monday, May 18, 2009

It's a small world after all....

When I worked "outside the home" as a recruiter I always told college students that the world gets smaller the older you get not bigger. We went to the beach this past weekend, more on that tomorrow. What was really weird was that there was another set of two year old Triplets two houses down from us! Then on our way back from the beach we stopped at McDonalds and there was a set of two and a half year old Triplets.

So much for being special:)

Here are a few pics of the beach.

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.
Isak Dinesen


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Consistently inconsistent

One thing can be said about having three two and a half year olds running around.... expect the unexpected. Another thing can be said... no good deed goes unpunished:) I often times feel like I am in front of dam and I am plugging leaks with my fingers, toes, etc... As soon as one gets plugged another one, sometimes MUCH bigger, opens up.

I often say that staying home with the Triplets is much like being in management. Many times when I was in management I would get the feeling that we had everything nailed and we were firing on all cylinders. Of course that would be right before the wheels come off. I guess any job is that way but much more so in management.

I am trying to figure out if always having the same punishment for an offense is good or bad. I know, I know, you need to be consistent but I can see my kids weighing out the consequences before they do something. I can almost hear them.... "It is worth going to time out to take the toy from my brother." Isn't it the inconsistent punishments that keep us in line? Running red lights for instance.... (side note: this example does not include Birmingham as running red lights seems to be a sport here) If you run a red light you might get a ticket, get away with it or you might get T-boned by a Mack Truck!

Frequently I question whether it is the Triplets that are unruly or the rules that are untoddlerly:) Don't get me wrong our kids are REALLY good. They just like to push buttons, but don't we all. I mentioned so someone over the weekend that it amazes me that they go against me when they know the punishment. But then I said "but I guess if I really believe in heaven and hell then why don't I act differently." The problem with living in a glass house is that you sometimes bump into the walls.

Unfortunately I can find no research to back up my theory so I will stick to consistency but I still think there might be something to being inconsistent to get consistency:)

We tried some new punishment over the weekend......

Capital punishment would be more effective as a preventive measure if it were administered prior to the crime.
Woody Allen


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day....

Believe me, I am not complaining but we have had quite a bit of rain/storms lately. We had friends (Ms. Kelly and Ms. Rachel) in town this last weekend and we went to the DeSoto Caverns. We neglected to see when they opened on Sunday so we got there on Mother's Day only to find out they opened an hour later. No worries, ALL of our passengers were napping so we drove the countryside for an hour.

By the time we got back it started raining. When we got to the gift shop to buy our tickets it was pouring. Being toddlers, the Triplets remind us once again that you can make lemonade from lemons.

Sometimes I see myself as a child in a rain storm, running around trying to catch all the drops in his mouth. I long for your adventures to be like the raindrops the child saves and not those which crash to the ground.


Monday, May 11, 2009


The Triplets LOVE bugs as all Toddlers do. But they have the added benefit of having a Mommy that was a Wildlife Biology major in undergrad. Yes, the CFO had a degree in Wildlife Biology and is now in Accounting/Business Management. But as you know your degree more times than not has nothing to do with what your career will be in. She went back to school for five years while working full time to get where she is today. Me? I am happy with my degree in Criminal Justice:) I hope that doesn't come in handy with the Triplets:) As usual, I digress.....

The bug loving doesn't stop at camping, the CFO brought a millipede home from work the other night. She is probably the only desk-jockey that brings bugs home for her kids. Just another way that she is a GREAT Mommy!

If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out of it but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no-one dares criticize it.
Pierre Gallois


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers' Day!

My Mom always called me on Mothers' Day because she said without me she wouldn't be a Mother. Yes, I am an only child:) And you wonder where only children get the idea that they are important:) I think that part of why she called was that I, yes I, am a slacker when it comes to Birthdays and Holidays.

Confession time.... I usually forget to send cards on Birthdays much less give gifts. I have tried to get better by putting Birthdays on our calendar but then I forget to check the calendar. I have resorted to ongoing Birthday and Christmas Gifts like Netflix memberships or cell phone service. I am not sure if it is smart to do this or that it just highlights my slackness. Oh, another thing I have ALWAYS been terrible about is thank you notes. Unfortunately the CFO and I both have this "opportunity" so we still have not sent out all the thank you notes from the Triplet's birth. Yes, that was two and a half years ago... Sad isn't it. So if you have given us a gift and have not received a thank you note please do not take it personally, you are in good company.

Back to Mothers' Day. I have never appreciated Mothers' Day more than this one after staying at home with the Triplets for a year. While I am running into more and more stay at home Dads it is still usually the Mom that stays home. Not to mention carrying the child(ren) for months and then giving birth. While women have a special bond with their kids I still wake up every day and thank God that I am a Dude.

So a BIG Happy Mothers' Day to all Women be they "Mothers" or not as we all need to be "mothered" sooner or later.

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. Washington Irving


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Equal rights in the bathroom

The CFO and I have made many compromises in our eleven plus years of marriage. One of them is that EVERYONE should have to lift the toilet seat and/or the lid before you use the bathroom. I have always heard women complain (rightfully so) about men leaving the seat up. That was never a problem in the house I grew up in. See, my Mom and I shared a full bath while my Dad had a half bath to himself (funny, I now use the half bath at our house). We always kept the seat AND the lid down. Not that my Mom is some feminazi but she is smart. Ever fished something out of a toilet that you dropped accidentally? Well, if the lid was down you wouldn't have that problem:)

So let's all pull our share and make EVERYONE lift.... put the lid down please:)

Lying increases the creative faculties, expands the ego, and lessens the frictions of social contacts.
Clare Booth Luce (1903 - 1987)


Friday, May 8, 2009

Camping.... the good, the bad and the ugly

I figured I would run down what we liked and what we learned about our first camping trip with the Triplets.

The good:
Kids LOVE playing outside so you don't have to pack many toys.
Buckets and small shovels are good to take to collect rocks, bugs, leaves, etc...
Flashlights for the kids to play with at night (helps to keep track of them)
Either use a headlamp around their waist (the nuke-doc's wife's idea) or glow stick on them to keep track of them.
Kids can eat the messiest food and it doesn't matter:)
We had a first aid kit with bactine with lidocaine, wound wash, tweezers (for splinters and removing ticks) and LOTS of band-aids.
We planned out meals so we knew what to take.
Soccer balls were a great hit.
Have a white-noise maker for nap/sleep time.

The bad:
Kids are exponentially bigger than their number. a.k.a. get a bigger tent.
Next time we will pack by event not by kid. We had one bag for each kid. We need a beach bag (bathing suits, towels, etc...), a bath bag (diapers, towels, soap, etc...), and a bag for each day.
Make a checklist before you start packing and then follow it:)
We camped on a hill so the soccer balls had to be "rescued" from a ditch/road a lot.

The ugly:
If you like clean kids you will not like camping in the least. We decided on one bath at bed time each day and periodic wipe-downs throughout the day.
Get a campsite with water. You need it for washing stuff and kids off.
Did I mention our tent was too small?
Review the checklist or check things off as they get put in a container and/or the vehicle. I forgot to buy some stuff, I forgot to pack other stuff and forgot to bring some stuff I packed:)
Our kids are very good at staying near us but when they are chasing a ball or each other they run off without knowing it. We always had one person whose "job" it was to only watch the kids. This is one of the reasons going with another family is good, more people to take turns:)

All in all we really enjoyed the trip and will probably be going again soon!

Setting a good example for children takes all the fun out of middle age.
William Feather (1908 - 1976)


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Outdoor Expo

The CFO found out about a week before we went camping that there was a big outdoor expo going on the same weekend we were going camping. So we decided to head over and check it out. Next year we will get there earlier to take in all the sights

We got to go on a hay ride behind a tractor and touch all kinds of stuff... crayfish, tadpoles, fish, turtles, and a multitude of stuffed animals. Too bad the kids were too young, they had archery, rifle and skeet shooting.

When we went up to one of the boats that were there from the various law enforcement agencies the officer asked "Where is the third triplet?" Come to find out, he was the guy waiting for the shower the night before at the campground! Too funny!

Don't forget Mother's Day. Or as they call it in Beverly Hills, Dad's Third Wife Day.
Jay Leno