Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The peaceful sounds of summer?

For the last few weeks we have had some of the most beautiful weather here in Texas. That is, with the exception of the Tornado warnings we had a week and a half ago, but for the most part, it has been really nice. So much so, that we have been trying to avoid turning on the AC by leaving our windows open, using our ceiling fans, etc. anything that will help the nice breeze circulate through the house. Last night,for some reason, Andi had a terrible time falling asleep. First, she came to our room asking for "water with cold ice" (as opposed to water with warm ice?) Cameron got it for both kids, and carried them back to bed. Next, Andi came down telling us that she could hear a chicken "bawking" out her bedroom window. She seemed pretty freaked out, so Cameron took her back to bed, and realized that she had been talking about the crickets outside. He asked if she wanted him to shut their window, but she wanted it open. Probably a half an hour later, Andi was back downstairs saying that she could hear the blinds hitting Sadie's kennel in the kitchen. Again, Cameron took her to bed (yeah, I don't do the up and down thing as well as he does, so he does most of the footwork at night.) and asked if he should shut her window. Again, she said no, and we thought that would be the end of it. By this time, Dylan had woken up from the chaos Andi had caused, so it was his turn to come downstairs. He was just crying, and as Cameron was on his way up the stairs yet again, to take Dylan to bed this time, I could hear Andi yell something. I couldn't make it out, but she sounded really irritated. When Cameron made it to their room, I guess he found a scene something like this: Andi curled into a ball in the corner of her bed, yelling "I can't take it! It's bugging me!" Turns out that the peaceful sound of the crickets chirping was making her nuts, and making it nearly impossible for her to fall asleep. Needless to say, Cameron closed their bedroom window, and we didn't hear a peep the rest of the night. I guess we're not raising a future camper!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Birthday Party

We had a quasi birthday party for Peyton yesterday. We had the Crookstons over for dinner and then opened presents and had cake and stuff. Here are some pictures from the festivities.

He didn't really do much of the opening by himself.

Cool Sesame Street thing.

This piggy bank was a hit with all the kids. Thanks, guys!

Ok, what do I do with this?

Oh, I get it.

Mmmm, cake.

Must have sugar.

Yeah, he ended up getting a little bit messy.

You only turn one once, might as well enjoy it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Birthday Boy

Yesterday was Peyton's first birthday. Man, time flies. Sometimes. Here's a video clip of him playing last night, if you're interested.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Dog House Paradigm

I remember from classes and motivational assemblies in high school people telling me that if I picture something in my head and visualize what I want to have happen I would have a better chance of succeeding, or something like that. I have tried to do that in life, because it makes sense. If you're going to do something, it's good to have a plan and to be able to picture what it is you'll be doing. Of course you're not going to picture yourself failing, so you kind of get that image of acheiving your goal in your head. You can picture the pending success, and it is good.

However, there are several times when things don't go quite as well as you had pictured in your head. In my case, that happens more often than not.

Take for instance our dog house. You see, we got a dog back in February. I decided that we needed a dog house. I looked at the price of manufactured dog houses, and then looked up some directions on how to build a dog house to see what the difference would be. Building a dog house would only cost $20, versus like $95 from what I saw for a manufactured dog house. Being the cheapskate that I am, I decided to go ahead and build a dog house. What could go wrong? The directions I found at were simple enough, and the picture of the dog house looked fine. I gave it a shot. I had pictured in my head a pretty nice looking dog house that she would be able to use for a while.

As soon as I cut the first piece out, I knew I was in trouble. Not because I didn't cut it straight or anything, but because the piece looked awfully small for our golden retriever. It looked big enough for a chihuahua, though. I didn't stop, I kept going because I wanted to see how the end result would look, because in my head, it looked great. I finished the dog house, and well, it stands. It does have some structural integrity to it. It does not look good, though. Sadie is already too big for it. I didn't get the right nails, so where there are nails in the roof, there are streaks of, rust, I don't know. And it's not exactly leak proof, either. So instead of this fine piece of architecture that I had pictured, we ended up with a few slivers and a tetanus shot waiting to happen.

I wish I could saw that my capentry skills were the only area of my life affected by "The Dog House Paradigm". (That sounded better in my head.) I have been crippled by this my whole life.

In high school, trying to pick up women: I always had the perfect line in my head waiting for the right moment to move in and swoop a girl off her feet. When I finally decided to move in, I tripped over my own feet and then mumbled something inaudiable before cowering away dateless and dorky.

The one time in my life I've been to a dance club:
A friend of mine made me do it. I had the image in my head of me dancing with a girl or two and looking cool. I think I have blacked out most of that night, because I can't remember what happened. It couldn't have been good. I haven't been to a club ever again.

Trying to flirt with my wife:
I say something stupid and end up having to wash the dished to make up for it.

Taking a physics test:
I had the formula in my head and knew what I was doing, until I got my graded test back with a notefrom the teacher that said "How did you even get that answer?"

At work:
All the stuff I work works great the first time. Then somebody else looks at what I did and break it. Grrrrr.

This post:
I'm not 100% sure if paradigm fits what I'm getting at.

My children:
They're perfect angels, then I wake up with one of them in the bed next to me and my shoulder hurting because I wasn't able to roll over all night.

Life is cruel, but I guess whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sorting Through Junk Mail

I think that GMail does a pretty good job of filtering junk mail our of my Inbox. The Spam folder is always getting over 1000 messages in a matter of a few days. Here's some of the stuff that ends up in that folder:

Seek Marriage: Ready to settle down and stop dating?
Way to target the right audience there.

SeizedAssetsFinder: Astound your friends with unbelievable deals.
Cool. I need to find me some of those friends.

True Love Match: Over 30 Single?
Hey, I'm not that old yet.

Win Big Here: Congratulations. You have $500 to play with on our casino site!
I'm guessing you just need my bank account number so you can transfer the funds? Sign me up, unknown person!

Older Singles: Being over 50 doesn't mean you have to be alone.
This puts that "Over 30 Single" email in perspective.

Lipoplex Trial: Feel great and weight comes off.
They probably need to test it on people before the FDA approval comes in. What could go wrong?

Hot Cell Rings: Do you need a new song on your phone?
So I can be a yuppie with a song for a ring tone? No thanks.

Free Business Cards: Don't pay for business cards. Get 250 for free.
Yeah, cause I've been in several situations were I would like to give someone my business card, but just haven't had one.

Restore Your Hairline: Natural, permanent hair loss solution
So I'm bald huh? Well, you smell.

Paid School: Get a scholarship for school
I'm sure there are no strings attached with that one. They probably make you tattoo on your forehead to get it.

Sleep Aid: Important medical alert about the amount of sleep you're getting.
Sure I could take a drug to sleep, but who will take care of my children while I'm in a drug induced coma?

Turns out GMail does a pretty good job of filtering out garbage. Hopefully the email from the Nigerian prince seeking help won't go to junk when it comes.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Over the last few months, Dylan has gotten better and better at talking. It's been nice to finally be able to understand most of what he says. A few minutes ago, I was changing his diaper, and decided to test his knowledge of his and his siblings full names. (He usually calls everone their first name followed by Kent Carter, since that's his name). After I got him to successfully name everyone off (Dylan Kent, Peyton Brian, and Andreia Elisabeth), I stood him up and asked him if he thought that we should have another baby. He enthusiastically said "YEAH". I asked him why, and he said "Cause Peyton Broken...he too big." I have to say I agree with him there...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

RE: fun!

I need something to do while Sam is one the phone with people who are calling for her birthday. Here's my reply to one of these survey things that people send in emails:

1. FIRST NAME? Cameron
3. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Last Friday when I watched "Totally Unnecessary Censorship" on Kimmel. I laughed so hard I cried. I'm not ashamed to admit that.
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I don't even like my typing.
6. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Too many, want one?
7. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? That's a stupid question. It's like asking "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" Who comes up with crap like that?
9. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? One night was going to the store, and the next thing I know I woke up in a tub full of ice. I found a note tied to my finger that said "We have taken your tonsils, appendix, and spleen. Get to a hospital ASAP." So I guess not.
10. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? If the cord isn't too long.

13. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Well, I almost beat this one kid in arm wrestling in the fifth grade, and I can do two pull ups if I'm lucky, so yes.
16. RED OR PINK? $1,000,000.
17. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? The ringing in my ears. It drives me crazy. It keeps me up at night thinking about how I could make money by growing potatoes in my back yard.
18. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Steve Young. Come back, Steve!!!
19. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? What kind of loser are you?
20. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES YOU ARE WEARING? I'm not wearing pants. Or shoes. Hehehe. I'm wearing shorts.
21. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? There was something stuck in my teeth from one of the meals I ate today.
22. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The ringing in my ears. Did you know you can't make a lot of money from selling potatoes you grow in your back yard?
23. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? White, and I would hate all other colors and refuse to live in the same box with them, just to prove that stupid "crayons live in the same box" saying wrong.
24. FAVORITE SMELLS? I can't smell very well since I've had to change 1,468 diapers in the last 4.25 years.
25. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Why don't you look at your little log there, Big Brother?
27. FAVORITE DRINK? Mountain Dew
29. HAIR COLOR? I don't know, I can't see it from here.
30. EYE COLOR? White
32. FAVORITE FOOD? Mountain Dew
34. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Premonition. I had a Premonition that it was a piece of crap. I was right.
35. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Are you asking because I just shut the blinds?
36. SUMMER OR WINTER? I never dated any girls named Winter, so I'm not sure. Summer was pretty hot, though.
37. HUGS OR KISSES? If you come near me I am going to punch you in the face.
38. FAVORITE DESSERT? I think the Sahara because it looks cool in the movies and stuff.
39. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? My wife will probably respond by thinking that I'm weird.
41. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? When does that next Harry Potter movie come out?
42. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? My mouse, genius.
43. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? Lost, and a very moving episode of Growing Pains. Did you know that Matthew Perry played Carol's boyfriend for three episodes of that show, and his character got in a car accident and die? Funny stuff.
44. FAVORITE SOUND? Silence, or at least just the ringing in my ears.
46. WHAT IS THE FURTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Are you trying to keep track of my travel so that you can sneak attack me from behind a bush one day? That's not gonna happen my friend, because I have quick cat-like reflexes. I can also do two pull-ups, so you better bring your A game when you're coming after me.
47. YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I do this crazy cool thing where I turn oxygen into carbon dioxide.
48. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? What are you going to ask for next, my social security number?
49. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK? I look forward to getting back at the kid on the bus in second grade who told me I smelled like an old sandwich.
50. TATTOOS? I'm thinking of getting a face tattoo like Mike Tyson, because that's not crazy or anything.

Happy Birthday, and some other stuff

Sam's birthday was today. She is now the age that my mother claims to be (26). It's a little bit odd of my mom to claim that age because I'll be 29 this summer and my younger brother will be 26 himself. Mom needs to find a new age.

I took the day off from work and made sure Sam was happy to avoid any repercussions. The kids weren't necessarily nice to her, but they did sing "Happy Birthday" a couple of times which was fun. Andi and Dylan made her birthday notes, and Dylan was even nice enough to permanently enshrine part of his note on our couch. I guess he missed the paper a little bit. Overall I think it was a good day. It will really stink going in to work tomorrow after taking all day off today. But it was worth it.

On a side note, who am I kidding, everything I put on here is a side note. Anyway, I logged onto my Google homepage this morning and saw the following quote on one of the widgets. Usually the quotes are pretty lame, but this one fits in quite nicely with my life right now...

"I gotta work out. I keep saying it all the time. I keep saying I gotta start working out. It's been about two months since I've worked out. And I just don't have the time. Which odd. Because I have the time to go out to dinner. And uh..and watch tv. And get a bone density test. And uh.. try to figure out what my phone number spells in words." - Ellen DeGeneres

Another completely different subject. Have you noticed how quickly society is degrading because of bluetooth headsets? Back in the day if you saw someone having a one sided conversation with someone you couldn't see, you knew they were crazy and you should avoid that person. Nowadays so many people have the headset thing that you can't spot the crazy people. How are we supposed to tell the difference between a looney and a yuppie? Honestly. We went to lunch today and I saw a couple come in and sit at a table close to us. Both of them were wearing the stupid bluetooth things. I almost went up to them to say that they didn't need bluetooth to talk to the person right across the table, but I wasn't sure that they weren't crazy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Should've named her Alex!

I woke up this morning, and it was a typical Tuesday morning. I got up, got Andi all ready for Joy School, packed her lunch, then got the boys dressed. Aubrey came to pick Andi up to take her to Joy School, and I then put Peyton down for a nap, and got Dylan settled down watching "the Backyardigans". I was going over my big "to do" list in my head as I took a shower, and got ready for my day. I was going to clean all 3 bathrooms, I was going to vaccuum my bedroom, Oh the things I had planned! (You really have to be a stay at home mom to appreciate my excitement, I think.) After I was dressed, and had thrown in a load of laundry, I checked the answering machine. Turns out, Joy School had been cancelled at the very last minute due to illness, so Aubrey and the 4 kids she was tote-ing would make a quick stop and would be on their way back home. "Oh well", I thought, "I'll still be able to get some stuff done while Peyton is napping." Then, ANDI GOT HOME (DAH DAH DUM). From the very instant she walked in the door, she was in a bad mood! Now, I know you've all heard the expression: "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." But in our house we have a variation of that saying: "If a female ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." (I know my high school english teacher is cringing somewhere right now!) To make a long story short, Everything was a melodrama. "Dylan's hitting me" "I'm STARVING TO DEATH." "Sadie's licking me." And on and on, and on. Around 2:00, the kids and I walked over to the Crookston house for some much needed R&R (for the moms more than the kids, or so we thought...) Unfortunately the kids decided they weren't going to let us off that easy. The boys (Dylan and Noah) were loud (even more than usual, it seemed), and the girls both decided to let their inner divas shine. It's hard enough dealing with all 6 kids when only one is acting crazy, or... shall we say, "sensitive", but today it was a madhouse. At one point I called Andi over to me to discuss how we don't hit our brother even if we're defending our friend, and she was nearly hysterical. She was crying so hard that she had trouble catching her breath. Once she calmed down enough to talk, she exclaimed: "I'm having a very bad day!" and continued to cry. Her day only got worse when she got punished for her bad behavior by not getting a treat, and having to go to bed early, and every time she felt a sense of injustice, she would mention that she was having a very bad day. I told her some days are like that...

Go ahead, you know you want to... EVEN IN AUSTRALIA!

(Just in case some of you haven't read the books in the Alexander series, that line is from my absolute favorite Children's book, entitled: Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good very bad day.)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Joy School is Paying Off

Tonight Andi was coloring in her new princess coloring book. She got really excited, and told me that she knew how to write her name. I expected to look over and she some scribbled lines, which is what she had been doing until now. This is what she wrote in her book:

The "d" needs a little work, but she sure did write her own name. She did it on a few pages because she was so excited that she could do it.
First she's drawing people, now she's writing. My little girl is growing up. Holy cow I feel old.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Eggs

The kids dyed Easter Eggs last night. It was pretty fun. We even took pictures since it was Peyton's first go at it.

Dylan was showing me what he drew on his egg with the clear crayon. You can't see it in this picture, but he drew a rendition of The Starry Night.

Peyton's egg never made it to the dye.

Andi did a pretty good job of putting the eggs in the dye. She used the pink dye the most.

You can feel the excitement!

The finished product. They didn't turn out too bad.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Art Imitates Life

Andi was doing some drawing tonight. I kind of taught her how to draw people since up to now her drawings have been mostly scribbles. She picked up on it pretty quick, and was drawing people like crazy. She drew this picture below, and gave quite the descriptive explanation of what is going on in it.

1. These two beautiful ladies are Aubrey and Sam. What are they doing? They're out spending money, of course.

2. The two handsome gentlemen depicted here are Jared and Cam. Andi said that they are playing with daddy's rocket ship. Jared broke daddy's rocket ship. But that's ok because . . .

3. This is Jared and Cam playing with a new rocket ship that Sam and Aubrey got when they were out spending money.

The other blurbs I think are failed attempts of drawing someone.

On a totally unrelated subject, Sam and I were listening to some songs on our computer while the kids were in here drawing and being obnoxious. Were we listening to Top 40 music, country music, or anything normal? Of course not. Our play list went as follows:

Growing Pains Theme
Perfect Strangers Theme
Full House
Who's the Boss?
Gummi Bears
G.I. Joe
My Little Pony
Mr. Rogers
Silver Spoons
Three's Company
Step By Step
Tail Spin
Duck Tales
Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers
Happy Days
Greatest American Hero

How cool are we? Not very? Dang. Yeah, back when Napster was still going we spent a night or two downloading theme songs. It comes in handy some nights when you just want to sit around and be nostalgic and dorky.

I think if there's ever a TV theme song that will far outlive the show it was tied to, it will be the theme to Greatest American Hero. How many people remember the TV show? Compare that to the number of people that remember the theme song. Plus the theme song was immortalized by an answering machine message that George Costanza made in a Seinfeld episode. If you need some help remembering the lyrics, here's the chorus:

"Believe it or not,
I'm walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it's just me."

Hey, maybe I watch too much TV.

"JOY"ous reflections

Yesterday was my last official day teaching Joy School. I was on the schedule to teach one more week in May, but unfortunately (uh huh) I will be out of town attending my brother's wedding, so I will be unable to teach that week. This all may be a bit premature, since things kinda got mixed up due to a new mom joining our group and messing with the dynamic. One of the boys in the group (Beeler) and the new boy (Brandon) don't get along, so Beeler has been taken out of Joy School temporarily to see if things will settle down. The thing that worries me is that Beeler's mom is on the schedule to teach like 3 more times, and if things don't settle down, will I have to take her weeks? I hope not, so let's just assume that the schedule is correct from here on out, and I am done. Here are a few things I would like to reflect on about my first year (I say that as if I'm actually stupid enough to do it again. Like pregnancy, maybe you forget what it's like!) as a Joy School mom.

1. Pictures. Why didn't I take more pictures? Not because the kids were so cute making letters of the alphabet out of their bodies, but because I want PROOF that I actually did joy school, and I survived it! I don't think many of my friends would believe it. I also should have taken pictures of the house right after the kids left, so Cameron would know that I at least had the courtesy of sweeping all the play doh and cheetos off the floor before he got home on a joy school day.

2. Patience. Why is it that when I used to babysit kids (as a teenager), I had all the patience in the world with them. I never felt the need to raise my voice, or threaten (with the exception of the kindergarten kid that threw a screwdriver at my head, but that's another story altogether.), but I have my own kids at home, along with 4 additional preschoolers, and it's quite common to hear me say things like: "If I have to tell you not to jump on my couch one more time, I will tape you to it" or "If you throw one more thing over the balcony, you're going to have a flying lesson!" More or less idle threats, there's just something about 3, 4, and 5 year olds that bring out the mean in me.

3. Lunchtime. You don't really appreciate how calm and smooth a meal can be until you have tried to eat lunch amongst a group of screaming children. Granted, lunchtime around here on a normal day is far from serene, but at least the noise is somewhat contained. Joy School made me wish that our house did not have such good acoustics. Making noise for the sake of making noise brings me to another common phrase I uttered on a teaching day: "Please stop screaming, Miss Sam's head is about to explode."

4. Humor. You really have to have a sense of humor to teach joy school, especially when you have to sit through a round of their Knock Knock Jokes, that all follow the same basic form:
Knock Knock
Who's there?
Banana who?
Banana POOPY!

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Hannah who?
Hannah POOPY!

You get the idea. Couple that with somebody blowing a raspberry, and then saying: "Eeew Noah", or "Eeew Andi" (implying that that child had just passed gas) it's enough to drive the sanest person crazy. Whoever taught them that, will be added to my list of people I'm no longer speaking to.

Finally #5. Lesson development: How come one day you teach there can be so much stuff to do in the lesson, that you have to leave out the songs or an art project just to be able to get through the lesson, and other days, you can do everything the lesson tells you to do, give the kids extra long free play times, and still have an hour at the end of the day with nothing for the kids to do but drive you crazy? That brings up an interesting point all in itself. How come when you want the kids to come to you so that you can teach them stuff, they run from you like you're the plague. But, once "school" is over, and you want them to go away and play, all they want to do is jump on the couch right next to you, and scream? Or it's when they decide they actually DO give two figs about the three bears song that they refused to learn earlier in the day!

Okay, so these weren't really "reflections" so much as grievances, I guess I got confused. I blame one too many blows to the head with flying juice boxes...