The Bread & Butter (Vol. 2017 | Issue 4)

11 May

Quick Hits:

  1. It would be pretty cool if we could stay healthy… but alas, we cannot seem to catch a break. This week is Nolan’s turn, and he’s caught the same bug that Tad had. Great.
  2. Did you know knives are dangerous? Apparently our middle child does not. Add crawling onto the counter, grabbing a knife, and cutting open a box of ibuprofen to the growing list of “things Trevor does that drive his parents insane”. He wasn’t hurt, at least not by the knife.
  3. I really hate to even say this but Elise is back to sleeping through the night. If I had an answer as to how we did that, I would be a millionaire and you would never hear from me again.

What We’re Grateful For:

This week I set up my old keyboard piano that I got when I was about 12. In the past two months Nolan has been mesmerized by the movie Sing which is an amazing movie full of great songs. His favorite part is when Johnny sings I’m Still Standing and Nolan really gets to jammin’ on whatever is close by that vaguely pass as a piano, so I hauled the piano upstairs and gave him an actual set of keys to pound on. If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly suggest it. And we are grateful every time we hear that little voice belting out old Elton John.

What We’re Working On:

Sharing. One day as I got home from work this week I saw a large trash bag stuffed full of unidentified objects, with a light saber sticking out the top. Nolan filled me in.
“Mommy is being naughty. Dad, mama packed up our toys and threw them out! But you’re gonna give them back, right Dada? That’s a good idea huh?”
The boys inability to get along finally pushed their mom over the edge and she packed up as many toys as she could grab and threw them into the garage. Her story is that she told them they “could sit on the couch, hug each other, and read a book”. I gave her a high-five – that’s a good woman.

I’m a Good Space Ship Driver (continued):

Score a point for dad. This past weekend after hearing all about the prospect of building a space ship, I purchased a model rocket kit from Amazon. Admittedly the kids are a little young for blasting off rockets into the sky, but I was dead set in getting Nolan to stop asking to build a space ship. So with fingers crossed we drove to an open field nearby and set everything up. After carefully going over several key safety factors with both boys, all of which were promptly neglected, we walked over to the controller. True to Nolan’s specs it had a red button. 3…2…1… – actually the countdown was to 4 and went more like this “19, 15, 9, 3, 5, 14…..4!” – he pressed as hard as he could with his little finger and WHOOSH! It was as awesome as I remember it being as a kid and the boys loved it too. They ran after it as it touched down; ok, maybe I ran after it too. What a blast. And it definitely made me feel good when Nolan’s first request was to send it to the sky again. We shot it off three times and exhausted our supply of engines but satisfied our desire to launch something off to Jurassic World. This week Noles asked if we could blast off the space ship, and I reminded him we didn’t have any engines. “Ok Dad, we need to go to the store, and we need more engines, huh Dad? Is that a good idea?”
Buddy… that sounds like a great idea.


Girls Poop Stinks Too

7 May

In fairness I was warned this would happen. I was fully aware a bias could form. I suppose I simply ignored all the warning signs. I just had no idea what I was in for…

It started nearly a full year ago, around the same time that we found out that Baby Dill #3 would be a sweet, innocent little girl. Nearly all of our friends have at least one girl and all of the dads gave me a simple piece of advice: “Watch out. She’s gonna wrap you around her finger.”. Surrrreeeeee… I’ll believe it when I see it I thought to myself.
But then a few quick months later, there she was. My babes. And it happened; nearly instantly I was took – hook, line, and sinker. If she as much as whimpered I was there to console her in a flash. She was the perfect baby. She was the sun in the universe.  She did no wrong.

I was blind to my own illness for several months. In my boys I only saw ornery slobs, inconsiderate monsters. In my girl I saw a proper princess. Her smile lit up the room. I would cringe when she wasn’t handled like the fragile, masterpiece she is. If the boys would be playing with 15 feet I would be playing defense tighter than Bruce Bowen. Elise Ann Dill ruled the house, or at the very least she ruled my heart.

One evening it finally caught up to me. I was having a fairly normal conversation with the Mrs where we were discussing how difficult Tad had been that day (take your pick on what he was doing) and I said the most absurd thing a Dad could say:

“But babe… at least we won’t have to deal with these things with E, ya know?”

We both froze. She gave me this, “You heard what you just said, right?” look. Yeah… I heard it. What was I thinking? We won’t have to deal with these things? Really? Did I think I had created the daughter of Jesus? I mean, come on man! The only thing we might avoid dealing with by having a girl would be the constant grabbing of their wiener. She’ll still be a toddler; she’ll still misbehave, she’ll break things, she’ll be obnoxious and aggravating. Even worse – she’s going to be a teenager.

So what happened? I was buried under the spell. The Dad of a Daughter spell. I couldn’t even smell that her poop still stinks! I was fooled. There is no way around it. I know now what to look out for; I know what to avoid. It’s those eyes, isn’t it? Yes it has to be those eyes. Or is it the smile? Shoot I don’t know. I am going to just stop making any eye contact with her though, just to make sure.

I wonder if I would have any different perspective had I not started with boys. I wonder if the whole situation was exacerbated by the fact that I had been exposed to the wildness of boys before the sweet, perfect innocence of a daughter. See – there I go again.

Girls poop stinks too. That’s what I have to remember. Girls poop stinks too. They might fool you for a little while with their cute outfits and adorable bows in their hair, but just wait. They can make your heart melt with a sweet smile, or bring a tear to your eye with a delightful giggle. Watch yourself, they are going to catch you snoozing and make you pay. I think. Maybe? I haven’t really experienced that yet with my perfect daughter, but I imagine someone else has…

Argh! Are you kidding me?! I can’t get past it. I might as well give up. She’s just the cutest little thing I have ever seen. I swear to you her poop doesn’t even stink.


My Babes (photo cred to the wonderful Tessa F.)

The Bread & Butter (Vol. 2017 | Issue 3)

5 May

Quick Hits:

  1. Over the past weekend Miss Elise did a few rolls from back to front to back. As the Donald would say, “That’s huuuuuuuuge!”
  2. Last week we mentioned teething and E – Same applies this week. Poor girl has the front seat on the struggle bus.
  3. Sickness has hit again. It has been a brutal cold season for our house, literally having 1 kid sick any given day between January and now. Yesterday we found out Tad has bronchiolitis… again. We’re looking forward to summer.

What We’re Grateful For:

I am struggling with this one this week which likely underscores how important it is to keep remembering what we are grateful for.
Today we are visiting the Discover the Dinosaurs UNLEASHED attraction that is full of encounters with dinosaurs. I cannot wait to see the look on the boys’ faces as they see some of these dinosaurs in “life-like” form… The ability to do these things with my family makes me grateful at this moment.

What We’re Working On:

Diaper rash sucks. However we recently figured out another new thing about having a baby girl – yeast infections. We’ve been racking our brains for over a week trying all different concoctions of pastes, powders, and wipes to clear up Miss E’s rash but nothing was working. Finally we sought counsel from one of the Mrs’ friends and BAM the issue was clear as day. A quick trip to the doc confirmed it was indeed a yeast infection, and we’re now armed with the proper tools to hopefully put this one in the past. That poor girl thrives in spite of us.

I’m a Good Space Ship Driver:

Nolan has recently, suddenly become obsessed with the concept of driving a space ship. I am not sure where he picked this up, but he talks about it every single day. And to be clear, this is not a concept of wanting to be an astronaut. It is simply wanting to drive a space ship. I am telling you – his imagination is wild.
“Dad, we’re gonna build a space ship, just you and me. Mom can stay home. And it will have a red button, and you push it, and you BLAST OFF to the sky!”. Or he also came at me with this dialogue one afternoon this week, “Dad, dad. Dad, I’m a good space ship driver, huh dad? I am the best space ship driver there ever was! We can build a space ship Dad. That’s a good idea, right?!” Yes buddy, that is a fantastic idea. As I thought about ways to try and satisfy his appetite to experience a space ship, I remembered back to my childhood and one of our favorite hobbies: model rockets. $25 later, I had found a perfect rocket “space ship” on Amazon and it was en route to the house. The launch kit even comes with a red button to launch the rocket. I am hoping he will get as much joy out of it as I am going to. I still geek out on watching SpaceX launch real rockets, and tried to pass that on to Nolan this week with video of the most recent expedition. He was interested for about 10 seconds and then was off talking to someone about his dinosaurs….so this is going to be an interesting experiment.

The Bread & Butter (Vol. 2017 | Issue 2)

27 Apr

Quick Hits:

  1. This week we celebrated Tad’s 2nd birthday. What a wild two years this has been!! He had no idea what all the fuss was about.
  2. Teething has hit Elise head-on. That poor girl is a slobbery, irritable, finicky mess.
  3. Over the weekend we get to visit Mimi & Papa’s house in Wyoming! The kids are excited to the point that while running errands today they were both asking if we were could just head straight there.

What We’re Grateful For:

With a fresh 2-year old in the house I have to brag on him a little bit. He has really grown over the past couple of months especially in the vernacular. Over the last weekend he actually strung together 3 words, properly, unprompted! Big stuff. While we continue to wonder what he is screaming at us 75% of the time, it has been fun to catch some civil “conversation” every once in a while. “Juuuuuus peeeeeees!”

What We’re Working On:

Sleeping in our own rooms. Well mostly this just applies to Nolan sleeping in his own bed. Over the past couple of weeks we have had a consistent visitor enter our domain each night right around midnight. For whatever reason he has decided that his bed just feels more comfy. Actually he used that exact excuse recently on the Mrs – “mama, my bed hurts! It’s just not comfortable like mom and dad’s bed”. Oh brother. If you have any suggestions on how to keep a kid in his own bed, aside from tow straps, I’m all ears.

The Best Party Ever:

For Trevor’s birthday party we took the kids and 8 of their friends to our local gymnastics center. The place is set up full of springboards, bars, beams, and  most importantly: a foam pit. All of the kids had a great time running all around the gym – in fact I don’t think I ever saw Trevor stop running – but most of all they enjoyed the trampoline run into the foam pit. We had plenty of head bonks, collisions, and squeals. Even the adults got in on the fun. Cousin Jax beat me climbing a peg board on the wall and Uncle Caleb dove to the bottom of the foam pit where he lost his socks, WWJD bracelet, and dignity. Actually we almost couldn’t get him out at all. No lie.

At one point Nolan came running past me stopping only long enough to say, “Dad! THIS IS THE BEST PARTY EVER!” So if you are ever wondering if a gymnastics party is a good fit for 2 – 5 year old kids (with a couple of outlier older ones), the answer is a resounding “yes”.


Noles gets tossed into the foam pit!


Birthday Boy!


Two of A Kind – Workin’ on a Full House

23 Apr

I only started really listening to country music during the summer between high school and college, mostly because a country station was easiest to find while driving all across the state of Wyoming for my summer job – but it also started because I had recently broke up with a girl who liked punk rock and so I decided to get as far away from that genre as possible. One day driving on a particularly lonely stretch of highway (there are plenty of them in WYO) the sultry smooth voice of Mr Garth Brooks came on and I had to turn it up.

She’s my lady luck – Hey, I’m her wild-card man wafted thru the pickup cab… I didn’t pay close attention to the song at first and I couldn’t resist trying to imitate that croon as loudly as possible. After a while I paid more attention to the words and started to wonder what that life would look like. I had no desire to have a full house, a “big” family, and certainly a full house would qualify as big. I grew up with one sibling, most of my friends were part of a 4-person family, so it seemed natural to lean that way. And even though I was surprisingly content with one kid after we had Nolan, The Mrs and I also agreed that a family of four had a nice fit to it. You guys know the rest of that story.

Fast forward over a decade and here I sit on a couch that has juice or maybe even a couple of snot stains on it, among a living room littered with toddler toys and baby bouncers, three kids quasi-peacefully sleeping upstairs. That song’s title has become my reality. I have the perfect full house, Kings over Queens, with a couple jokers (dogs) as a kicker; it’s a hand that is tough to beat. In fact I’d imagine most people wouldn’t bet against it. And that is fine with me.

The most asked question we have heard over the past few months is simple: “Soooo… what’s it like having 3 kids? How is that going?”. The answer is actually also very simple, if surprising – it is awesome. I am serious.  In some ways having 3 kids has even been easy. Yep, I said it. Easy. But it is true. In so many ways having 3 is actually easier than having 2. The Mrs often said after Tad was born that going from 1 kid to 2 was like “getting kicked in the face”. How very apropos. What we realized after having a third kid is that the increase in difficulty starts to reach an asymptotic level – the work increased but not as much as it did from 1 to 2. And there are many days when it really does seem easy to have 3 kids demanding our attention. You can go ahead and call me crazy. In all honesty I can not imagine my life without our crazy ragamuffin crew, and for a variety of reasons.

Don’t let me fool you, it is not all sherbet and unicorns. There are plenty of days, and nights, when the work gets to an overwhelming level and there are times when the screaming can suck the energy right out of you. We have plenty of evenings when we are simply thankful to make it to bedtime but more often than not we’ve learned to sit back and enjoy the moments we get with all 3 kids.

As much as you hear how unique you are as you grow up, there is something that is really stupefying when you realize how different your kids are. I mean, I can’t be the only one that was surprised when my second son acted nearly opposite as my first son, can I? No? Bueller….Bueller? Ok so maybe that is all on me – but wow, how crazy is it to see how different your children are? We have one with an incredible imagination, another with the wanderlust of a nomad, and a third that has a heart-melting smile. I’ll let you decide who is who. To observe how each of them is constantly growing, evolving, and learning is rewarding, satisfying. It is often the fuel that keeps waking you up and pushing you forward.

But it doesn’t stop there. Watching the way they interact with each other is an absolute blast in itself. Not even kidding, there are times it is even humorous to watch the boys fight it out over a toy. That sounds bad but I think it is part of being a parent. I don’t want them to fight – and I stress to the boys in particular how they will be the only two who truly give a crap about each other in years to come – but there are times when it is just funny to see how they try and enforce their will on each other. Nolan approaches it softly. His heart is such that he doesn’t really want to hit his brother, so he just gets very tense and shakes his clinched fist very close to his brother’s back. Every once in a while he’ll make a connection and immediately look at his mother or I to see if A) we saw it or B) what the consequence will be. Tad on the other hand has no issues with physical confrontation. He’ll smoke his brother with a bat, stick, rock, fist, truck, or whatever else he can reach in the moment. Go figure, right?
However the best interaction to see as a parent is how both boys treat their baby sister. It is heart melting. Each of the boys like to get right in that poor girl’s bubble and love on her with hugs, kisses, pats, or other forms of “love”. Sometimes that love manifests as head butts, bear hugs, or dog piles. Poor Elise. But it’s all in love. It’ll be up to Josie and I to make sure that love continues, but it is good for the heart to see it start so early.

Having 3 kids has been fun. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, now that it has been given to me. It hasn’t been easy, but it hasn’t been as much of a challenge as we expected either. We aren’t being kicked in the face. Some days we are actually thriving. This full house… I’ll keep it around.

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