"The Muffled Cries For Help From a Daddy of Four Beautiful Little Girls"

Friday, August 31, 2007

So Much To Do...So Little Fun...

Holiday weekend. Lots of fun.
Also lots of time to get stuff done.
Seriously, why would anyone travel and party on a holiday weekend when they could stay home and clean the garage?

My dear wife has headed off to the big city to shop with a friend for the day. So while I have two of my own kids and a friend's son here, I am also being kept company by a wonderful invention called the "To Do List."

As a means of accountability, I will publish my list here. Then when the weekend is over the whole world (or at least both of my blog visitors) can check and see how productive I've been.

(for the whole family for the whole weekend)

  1. Weed the landscaping
  2. Clean the garage
  3. Powerwash the siding
  4. Clean bathrooms
  5. Mop
  6. Vacuum
  7. Dust
  8. Organize the master closet
  9. Clean the pool (inflatable)
  10. Clean out fridge
  11. Clean bottom of pantry
  12. Clean our school room
  13. Scrub the kitchen trash can
  14. Rehang a fallen mirror
Unfortunately, my temperament is perfectly designed to trade in that list for :

1. Sleep in
2. Eat cereal for lunch
3. Watch High School Music 2 again with the girls
4. Swim
5. Nap
6. Order pizza

You get the idea. This weekend will be a time that tries this man's soul. But with the help of dear wife and children, we'll knock off at least 3 things from the top list...and everything from the second list.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Daddy Love

As I sat down to write this blog involving artwork from my daughter, my wife said that's exactly what SHE had blogged about yesterday. Great minds think alike.

A few years ago, daughter number 4 kept drawing pictures and adding words with arrows pointing to her creations.
One theme that kept recurring was the one in which the word "LOVE" and "JENNA" kept appearing alongside the drawings of a little girl and a stunningly handsome man.After seeing this several times, I finally asked her to tell me about it.
Turns out that "stunningly-handsome-man" was me. I tried to act surprised. "Really?" I said. "I thought you've been drawing pictures of Brad Pitt." Silly daddy. Brad Pitt doesn't have arms coming out of his hips.
Then I pointed to the word LOVE and asked, "And what does this spell?"
"That spells 'Daddy.'"
Oh, how I hated to burst her bubble and tell her she was wrong. Then I got all metaphorical and realized maybe she was right. Maybe "Daddy" and "Love" are the same thing. It's quite flattering in a sense, so I chose to take it as the highest compliment.
"How did you know that's how to spell Daddy?"
She led me to a picture in our homeschool room. My wife, the teacher, had labeled several items around the room with index cards to aid in word recognition.
So the following photo shows the words "Daddy" and "Mommy" under our picture.
The word "Love" is above me. She obviously had assumed that Daddy was spelled l-o-v-e.

And notice the word above Cindy?
Yup. That explains all the pictures of God with lipstick and red hair.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Feelings Friday: Hugs

Today's moment of bliss is brought to you by my two oldest daughters.

They have both gone off to school for the first time ever. After homeschooling up 'til now, we took the leap and they're in public school and doing quite well so far.

I don't know what it is or why this is, but both of these children have become more "huggy" with me since starting school. Goodnight hugs. Farewell hugs. Even Welcome Home hugs.

It's great! I'm loving it. Is it possibly true that absence makes the heart grow fonder? Or are they just smart and recognize that mommy and daddy need a little extra love right now that our girlies are growing up and leaving us a little?

Whatever it is, I hope it keeps up.

Daughters stay this way forever, right?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Really Expensive Antiperspirant for Girls

Did you know that girls sweat? It's true; they do. Evidently, my wife has been using deodorant for years, so I never knew that females had sweat glands. I just assumed whatever glandular activity they had going on produced the sweet frangrance of sun-ripened raspberries, glazed pears or sugared kumquats.

Turns out that these smells are products of Bath & Body Works. The products of my daughters' armpits are quite different from those. Actually, they smell kind of like boys in a way.

I'm not writing this to embarrass girls or hurt anyone's feelings.

I'm writing to justify our purchase of a used pop-up camper with AIR CONDITIONING. The thought of being trapped with four sweaty little girls in a toaster on wheels just wasn't appealing.

I'm welcoming any suggestions of places to take my air-conditioned camper and its dry, unsmelly inhabitants. Been to some great destinations? Campgrounds? Tourist traps?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Feelings Friday: My Fair Lady

I had a wonderful date with my oldest daughter last night.

First, all six of us went to the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. The American Idol tour was there, and Cindy had four tickets.

(pause for a moment and imagine these young stars singing on a stage with all the lights and a gazillion fans screaming...while only yards away a ginormous pig is lying on her side in the Pork Pavillion with 17 piglets fighting over teats. I love the fair.)

Fortunately, our oldest daughter ranks her daddy above Jordin, Blake, Melinda, Lakisha, Phil, Chris, Haley, Gina, Sanjaya and the other Chris. She actually WANTED to hang out at the fair with me and not see the stars.

So as the sun set, Cassie and I walked around the fair, ingesting fried cheese, ice cream and even tried the latest addition to the fried menu: Fried Pepsi. (essentially doughnut holes made with Pepsi instead of water.)

The two of us got to do whatever we wanted, eat whatever we wanted, ride whatever we wanted. We even rode the 50-cent trolley more than the permitted 1 lap around the fair. What rebels!

I loved this one-on-one time with Cassie. Reminded me of 11 years ago when I had tons of time alone with her...only better.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Spittin' Seeds at School

At some point we all have to let our children leave the nest. For a lot of parents, the first "testing of their wings" comes at kindergarten when kiddos head off to school weighed down by backpacks bigger than they are.

We've been homeschooling, though, so our children haven't had to mess with backpacks, lunchboxes, desks, bathroom lines, tornado drills and all things fun about school.

Until this year.

As our two oldest (3rd and 5th grades) headed off to school for the very first ever in their whole entire lives, I wondered if I should be more or less weepy than I would be if they were itty tiny kindergartners.

As a man, I generally opt for the less weepy of any two options, but sometimes I just can't help it. I cried at E.T. (the movie, not Entertainment Tonight) and sometimes at Hallmark commercials.

So when the kids started school yesterday, I really had to think through how I was going to respond to the event emotionally. I reminded myself of how fun school was for me, how I loved my elementary teachers and can still name all of them. I loved having my own desk and my own pencil and my own eraser. I loved the bulletin boards. I loved the chalkboards and the erasers. So I was beaming, knowing that now these girls and I would have yet another bond. I smiled all day long thinking about each new thing they must be experiencinig. No tears.

When we picked them up after school, my 3rd grader informed us that she spit watermelon seeds farther than any other girl...and was only beat by one boy.

Then I cried. I couldn't be prouder.
If you know Shelby (or even if you don't) and want to congratulate her on her spitting, leave a comment and I'll pass it on.
for my wife's insights on Day 1 of school, check out StillHisGirl.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Works For Me Wednesdays - Velveeta

I can't really claim this for my own. The credit goes straight to my mom.

I'm a cheese-addict, a cheese-fiend, a cheese-aholic. If it was safe to fill needles with cheese and inject them straight into my veins, I would. But, alas, I shan't. I think I saw a CSI where someone died this way. Don't try it.

So Mom would put melted Velveeta (yes, it's made from real cheese...somewhere in its lineage) on green beans, broccoli, peas. Generally, anything green became more edible once hidden under a heavenly layer of delicious cheese.

And since Velveeta is so creamy, I assume it slides through my veins without clogging them like other cheeses.

So slather it on for any of your kids who refuse to eat their vegetables. I know it's not genius, but hey! It works for me! And I turned out okay, right?

For more Works For Me Wednesday ideas, check out this cool site each Wednesday for links to a gizillion other ideas.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Shooting Stars

I'm either a good dad or a bad one.

With school starting this week, we'd decided our children need to get into the routine of going to bed early and getting plenty of sleep.

Last night, I woke my children up at 2:00 a.m. to invite them out to the front yard to watch a meteor shower. We saw several brilliant blasts. My favorite quote was Brynne, "Look at that star. I think it's about to fall."

For the zillionth time, I thought, it's not actually stars falling.
But I said, "Wow! I think you're right. Watch closely."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

8 Random Facts About My Marriage

I was tagged by Gayle to reveal "8 random facts about my marriage."

I'm tempted to debate the "randomness" about my marriage depending on your leaning towards or away from Calvinism.

But I'll avoid the inevitable and get all random with anyone who cares to read about my marriage.

1. Despite the fact that my wife grew up disliking her red hair, it is now the cornerstone of our marriage. When her highlights start taking over, she purchases more red to fight back. I've always loved her red hair, even before I knew her. Like back when it was being worn by Laura in the 3rd grade or Sherry in 5th or the other Laura from my afternoons spent in Walnut Grove.

2. She's my Yin; I'm her Yang (or the other way around?). Figuratively, she's always saying "tomAHto," and i'm all about the "toMAYto." But after a few hours of the silent treatment and/or door-slamming, we always agree in time for dinner: "pepperOHni."

3. We love our date nights. We have a few different friends with whom we can swap babysitting, and that affords us the opportunity to save $ so we can go all out and buy movie tickets AND popcorn. Livin' la vida loca, for sure.

4. I sleep on the right side of the bed. Even in a hotel, we gravitate towards our traditional sides. Being blind as a bat without my contacts in, I generally need to sleep right by the clock so I can tell how little sleep I'm getting.

5. We've lived in 7 different homes in our 13 years of marriage. Four we have owned; 2 rentals homes, and 1 upstairs apartment. Somehow we own enough stuff to fill all of them...at the same time.

6. Our coffee table is for placing drinks, books, remote controls and, of course, toenail clippings. The living room seems to be the preferred location for trimming our children's nails, and the coffee table is where they are placed until the toenail fairy comes to exchange them for chocolates and sugarplums.

7. Before we dated, Cindy helped comfort me a little when my heart was all tore up over a finnicky girl in college. I worked it out to have friends suggest Cindy ask me out since I was broke that particular week. It was a phenomenal first date of dinner and square dancing (with the necessary western wear). Finnicky Girl must have heard what a schnazzy dancer I was, because she wanted to give it another try, but Cindy had already stolen my heart, so it wasn't a difficult decision at all.

8. We have the same taste in so many things, I often have to check my DNA to make sure I'm not really HER. We play this game where Cindy hands me a catalog and says, "guess what my favorite thing on this page is." I have a 99% accuracy rate, mainly because I always love the same things she does. Even at restaurants, I can be guaranteed she will like my meal better than hers because I actually order what we like, while she orders what's good for you. I generally happy to share, as long as she leaves me enough gravy to last the whole meal.

Now I'm tagging Mark to share his Random facts next.
But until he graces us with his list, you can check out my wife's random marriage.

Once Cyberinternetoblogoland runs out of people to tag, we'll have to start a round of internet lawn darts. I'll check on the rules.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Feelings Friday

(for less humor and less words, check out the abridged version)

Don’t tell anyone but I've watched Big Brother on CBS. It’s absolutely the stupidest reality show ever, and it’s in my veins and I must have more.
Like Survivor, every week someone gets kicked off, or “evicted” from the Big Brother house. As part of their going-away experience, their old housemates record some goodbyes for the loser to watch. Often, they’re message like “I’m going to miss you. We’re going to be best friends forever now” or “Good riddance, you lying, conniving twit.” And then there’s this whole conversation with the host Julie Chen.

So I was imagining what it would be like sitting with Julie and watching those video messages. Here’s my best vision of the interchange:
Me: “Hi, Julie. It’s nice to meet you in person.”
“Yes, how nice for you. I’m sure you wish it were under better
Me: “I can’t complain. I had a lot of fun on the
show, and I met some really interesting people.”
Julie: “Well, in the
event that you got booted from the show, your housemate recorded the following
messages for you.”

---begin video---
Amber: “[crying]…I can’t believe you’re gone. You were like the glue
that held the house together...[sob, wail, gnash teeth]”
Eric: “We should
just all quit now that you’re gone. You were our rock, our voice of reason
that helped make sense out of the craziness.”
Danielle: “When I grow
up, I want to be just like you.”
Zach: “There’s a hole in my heart that
can only be filled by you.”
Jen: “Thanks for all you’ve done in the
house. You were a role model for each and every one of us, and even though
you’ll no longer be present physically, I know that because of your investment
in so many friendships here, it’ll be like you’re still here.”
“Good riddance, you little twit. Just kidding. I love you…and I’ve
never said that to another man.”
Jameka: “I know one thing: your wife
is the luckiest person in the world.”
---back to live interview with Julie Chen and me---
Julie: “Well, Scott, those were some very nice words your housemates had
to share about you. In fact, in the history of the show, I don’t know
we’ve ever had as wonderful a person as you participate. Your
wife truly
must be the luckiest person in the world.”
I don’t want to try to come up with my exact quote for a response; that would just look cheesy.
The truth is that my wife is NOT lucky. I’m not saying that out of some kind of false-humility like she’s stuck with some pathetic lump of a hubby; I really AM a terrific guy, just ask my mom.

But Cindy ending up with me--in all my awesome terrific-ness--was not a matter of luck at all any more than Michelangelo was lucky to have carved that handsome statue of David.

It was skill, wisdom, and lots and lots and lots of hard work.

I am who I am today because of the last 13+ years that my wife has worked on me. She has challenged me, stretched me and helped me grow up. And anyone who knows me would agree that this could not have been an easy task for her; nor is it complete. I am, by nature, selfish, lazy and immature. But with my wife’s patient love and help, I’m able to be selfless, hardworking and mature…for minutes at a time.

She’s got a tough road ahead of her still, but it’s OUR road, and this journey is as much fun as the destination.

So to all those housemates missing me on Big Brother, don’t be jealous of my wife. No siree. I’m the lucky one.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Feelings Friday-abridged

Every once in a while, someone hears about one of the two really nice things I’ve ever done for my wife. They say to her, “You’re so lucky. Your husband is awesome.”

My wife kindly lets them believe this, refraining from telling them about the gazillion NOT-nice things I’ve done.

The truth is that my wife is NOT lucky. I’m not saying that out of some kind of false-humility like she’s stuck with some pathetic lump of a hubby; I really AM a terrific guy, just ask my mom.

But Cindy ending up with me--in all my awesome terrific-ness--was not a matter of luck any more than Michelangelo was lucky to have carved that handsome statue of David. It was skill, wisdom, and lots and lots and lots of hard work.

I am who I am today because of the last 13+ years that my wife has worked on me. She has challenged me, stretched me and helped me grow up. And anyone who knows me would agree that this could not have been an easy task for her; nor is it complete. I am, by nature, selfish, lazy and immature. But with my wife’s patient love and help, I’m able to be selfless, hardworking and mature…for minutes at a time.

She’s got a tough road ahead of her still, but it’s OUR road, and this journey is as much fun as the destination.

Getting Ready to Emote

Tomorrow, as promised, I will finally write about...


Ladies do it all the time, but I'm a little scared. What if people don't even like my feelings and tell me to keep them to myself? I already have several drafts, but which one should I share?

  • "On Death and Dying"
  • "Scarred as a Child"
  • "The Many Faces of Depression"
  • "Anger Management"
  • "Uncomfortably Numb"
  • "Rejected...again"
  • "Uncontainable Joy"
  • "Doctor, It Hurts When I Do This"
  • or your suggestion here______________

So lend me some advice. Which post would most interest you?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Survival Skills for Dads, Anyone?

If you're a dad, perhaps you enjoy coming home from work to find dinner on the table, your slippers by the recliner and spit-polished children lined up at the door to greet you, curtsying.

I find it absolutely amazing how effectively and efficiently my wife seems to manage the home day-in and day-out (though the above description is a slight exaggeration; ain't much curtsying). Sure, there are plenty of jobs for me to do when I come home, but SHE's the stay-at-home mom, so the bulk of responsibility for our well-run castle seems to rest on her shoulders...

...until some ladies' conference, or an out-of-state baby shower, or a bachelorette party involving midgets (don't ask).
On those instances when the parole board allows her outside the house, she usually leaves a list of all the things that should be done before her return:

Clean the basement.
Rearrange the junk in the garage.
Empty the dishwasher.
Have the kids put away their laundry.
Mow the lawn.
Return a video.
Buy milk.

Simple enough, right? WRONG! That's a great list for a normal weekend. That can be done on a typical day while my wife is here to take care of the kids. But multi-task? Am I expected to do these things and feed the kids and change their litter boxes?

Who do these moms think we are? It's like a pilot coming out of the cockpit and asking the stewardess to take over the controls for the remainder of the trans-Atlantic flight while he steps out to go to the grocery for the sole purpose of "seeing people over 3 feet tall for the first time in 5 days." Sure, she's been on a hundred flights, but that doesn't mean she can land the thing.

Here's the list my wife should leave for me if she was a realist:

1. Don't let the kids die.
2. Don't get blood on the carpet.
(NOT necessarily in order of importance)

And even that may be too complicated. Seriously, I wish mommies knew how stressful it is for daddies just to survive on their own without also having to worry about what tv shows are appropriate for children. (Btw, her answer in general: "none.")

But here's a trick I've employed that makes my wife cringe whenever she remembers.

One weekend while wife was gone, I knew we had to be at church on time. Getting 4 preschoolers dressed and ready is quite time-consuming and stressful if you try to squeeze it all in before church; perhaps my wife didn't realize this or she would have arranged for church to be canceled.

However, I thought it was sheer genius on my part to dress them the night before. That way when they woke up, they were already ready already. Throw 'em in their car seats with some nutritious breakfast bars, and voila! stress-free Sunday, ready in record time.

Of course, when my wife started getting the reports from concerned hens at church about my daughters' matted hair, wrinkled dresses, and missmatched footwear, she was mortified. Absolutely stricken.

But I would SO do it every week that way if I could.

I would love to hear from other daddies who have developed some tactics for surviving while mommy's gone. Or mommies, you can tell me what your men have done.

I'm going to need a lot more ideas if I'm expected to endure the next Beth Moore conference!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Ah. Feelings.

Feelings. That dreaded f-word.

If my wife wants me to leave her alone, all she has to do is say, "Let's talk about our FEELINGS," and I suddenly hear someone calling my name in the distance. I bolt from the room. "Sorry, Honey," I holler back in cloud of dust. "I think I hear Lassie barking in the next county. I better go and see if anyone needs pulled from a well." Then I invite her to go ahead and talk about our feelings without me, and I promise to try to make it back before the talk is over.

Inversely, if I want to make her the happiest woman alive, I can just use her same line, "Let's talk about our feelings."

But since I'm a guy, I don't have feelingS (plural). I have only one feeling: Hunger. So when we talk about our feelings, it really means that we're talking about her feelings and how those feelings make me feel...which is generally hungry.

However, for her sake, I will force myself to have at least one Lifetimetelevisionforwomen-worthy post a week, one that is transparent and vulnerable, sensitive and perhaps provocative. So if you're wondering what goes on inside the heart and mind of a 30-something father of four, stop back by on Friday. Heck, if I survive and it's a hit, I may even make it a habit: "Feelings Friday."

* * * * * *
Consequently, if even the thought of that triggers a pre-vomit watering in the back of your throat, steer clear of this address on Friday. Might I recommend visiting my friends Frank and Earl at their respective feelings-less blogs at http://www.shootinganimalsforfunblog.com/ or http://www.blogaboutinanetelevisionstuff.com/.

Friday, August 3, 2007

From Cindy and Scott: Thank You For Your Donation, for Sharing and Caring

--February 2008 --

We are so blessed by the generosity of family and friends who are joining with us to build a home for a family in Mexico.

This will be the fourth year that I have taken part in a home-build south of the border, and each year I've brought along one or two of our daughters. This year, Cindy and I and ALL four girls are doing this mission together.

Your gift, together with ours and those of so many others, will make it possible to purchase all the lumber, concrete and other building materials that it takes make a house.

But your prayers are also essential as this house becomes a home for a very thankful family.

The construction will take place between June 15-19. We welcome any questions or comments about this mission FOR families and TO families.

You can be sure that we'll be sharing photos and stories of the family who receives this home that you are making possible.

Thank you again for your generosity and love.

Scott & Cindy

p.s. this note of thanks is buried down here in the blog and is a spot for folks to be sent after completing a donation at PayPal. It used to be a post about my foot with a link to my wife's blog which used to have a photo of my foot...but no more.
I am very, very sorry if you've stumbled across this post hoping to read about my feet. Maybe some other time, my friend. But if you click on the donation link at the top of the sidebar, I'll be happy to do another post about my foot if that's what you really, really want.

The Tables Have Turned.

For the record...

I, the husband, am at this moment blogging/writing...using my intellect and creativity.

Cindy, the wife, is splayed out on the couch watching TV!

I better go now before I get a hankerin' to talk about my feelings.

Spending More Time with the Missus...

Like many really good husbands, I've been to a number of marriage conferences. I've learned to love and respect my wife. I've studied her love language and have even managed to speak it a couple times. And I know that for our marriage to really work, we have to spend some "quality time" together.

Seeing as how she has become a prolific blogger, I have decided that I will need to venture deep into the blogosphere in order to spend more time with her.

That's not to imply that I anticipate using our respective blogs as our main forum for telling each other "I love you," "don't forget to pick the kids up," or "that shirt does NOT match those pants or any other pants from recent decades."

No. It's more likely that we'll end up using our blogs as the playing field for our competition of who can be the more impressive parent, spouse, and contributor to the general welfare of society.

Go ahead and put all your money on HER. After all, she's a stay-at-home mom of four, so she has all the time in the world to hone her craft while I slave away working all day, only to come home exhausted and work more until I pass out watching reality TV. (I know you're thinking I'm a jerk for implying that stay-at-home moms have tons of time and don't do a lot. But seriously, check out her blog. How else could she have the time to blog like Dostoyevski if she really had spent all day laundering, cooking, teaching, paying bills, cleaning, disciplining, etc.)
Well, Baby [speaking to my dear wife now]. I can't wait to bump into you out here in cyberinternetoblogoland. So you'll be sure to recognize me, I'll be the one with macaroni & cheese on my lapel, lounging on the couch...asleep.