Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Friday, December 19, 2014

and that's the news from Casa Kaufman (Christmas edition)

Dear friends and family,

We hope this post finds you happy and healthy. It's been a big year for our little family! Early last year, we decided to take the plunge into business ownership. Jen made the difficult decision to leave her position as a gastroenterology nurse practitioner at a local hospital and open her own clinic in Clarkston, WA (just across the river from Lewiston, ID). We moved to Clarkston to be closer to the clinic as well (moving homes and opening the clinic in the same week was not our most brilliant idea).

Sam and Natalie on our new-to-us boat
We thought life with three kids was busy...little did we know that business ownership is even busier! The move, though, has been richly rewarding and Jen has felt honored that many of her patients followed her to the new clinic. Joe and the kids have been supportive and encouraging throughout the process, even though this first year has meant a lot of time away from home.

If one business weren't enough, we decided to add another business to our life--selling sweet corn. We'd been partners with Joe's brother and wife, Steve and Christina, in the corn maze last year and we decided to expand the business to include growing and selling sweet corn. We spent many a late Friday night picking and packing up sweet corn and many an early Saturday selling it at the Moscow Farmers' Market. It was a fun adventure, but we decided we might wait a few more years before we grow corn again--when our kids are a bit older and don't get lost in the corn patch so easily.
Sam carving pumpkins at (soon-to-be) Aunt Jeannine's

Sam is 6 1/2 and in first grade. He continues to be an easy going kid and a compassionate, thoughtful big brother to Sam and Natalie. He loves all things Legos and Star Wars. This summer, we took a family vacation to DisneyLand and he got to participate in Jedi Knight training--the best experience of his life so far.

Natalie in the Nutcracker


Natalie is nearly 5 and in preschool. She wishes she were in kindergarten already; we often have to give her "homework" to do at the kitchen table while Sam does his school work. She is a budding ballerina (and tap dancer) and danced as a baby mouse in a local production of the Nutcracker. In her (and our) opinion, she was the star of the show! She gets to spend most Fridays with Grandma Dori and we love the freshly baked cookies she comes home with.
Henry playing Dad's steel guitar

Henry is almost 2 and adds so much joy...and activity...to our home. He's a busy little guy who loves trains and trucks and his mama. Unfortunately, he has a penchant for biting, but aside from that, the twos have not been so terrible with this one.

Joe and Jen are still involved in church activities and enjoy belonging to the local Engaged Encounter community. Joe had a successful hunting season, bringing home a deer after one day of hunting. He continues to enjoy his work as an engineer for the City of Lewiston.  He also got to spend some time with Jen's running group this summer. Jen and five fellow moms decided to tackle the Mount Misery Relay--a short 56 mile relay over a nearby
Joe and Jen seeing a Broadway show on their 11th anniversary!

mountain--and Joe cheerfully volunteered to be the team driver.

Whew! It's been a busy year and we are hopeful that next year will be a little less exciting. As Christmas approaches, we are looking forward to having some quiet time to enjoy our family and ready our hearts to celebrate Jesus's birth. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love,
Jen, Joe, Sam, Natalie, Henry...and Schatzi

Saturday, September 27, 2014

They call me the Fireman

Stuff my kid says

Me to Henry: Look at the movie. See he's holding hands with his mama.

Movie: "Look both ways before you go. Hold the hand of a grown-up you know! "

Me to all the kids: See? Hold hands before you cross the street!

Natalie: But what if you have too much kids?!?

I ask myself that question every time we cross the Costco parking lot.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sibling collaboration

I was always firmly in the "nurture" camp of nurture vs nature until, like all things in parenting, I actually had children. Our first boychild was into all things boy: sticks, dirt, rocks, trains and trucks. As a girl in a family of girls, I was clearly out of my element. I tried to make him well rounded by giving him dolls, which magically became guns or swords. Nineteen months later, Daughter was born into an environment of all things boy, but quickly turned our life into a world of pink and sparkles. (For those curious readers out there, 16 month old Henry already has a penchant for pick up trucks and trains).

Their play preferences rarely overlap. So, Natalie is always begging for her BFF Rilynn to come over and play while Sam longs for his cousin Noah to build Legos. 

What the heck, people? You have EACH OTHER. This is why your father and I endured so many sleepless nights when you were both babies! So you would have a built in buddy! A friend! Go play with each other!

And this is what happens:


Dollhouse with Strawberry Shortcake, Orange Blossom and Dora going camping while army men defend the homestead from invading T-Rex and Robot Frog.
Robot Cafe where all the robots, superheroes, and Strawberry Shortcake characters can sit down for a bite to eat after defending the homestead.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sweet corn, sweet family

We took about a thousand pictures to come up with this gem. By the end, we had to stop because a) my allergies were making my eyes water, b) the kids were ready for breakfast and c) the sprinklers had come on.

Doesn't Natalie Doris look angelic?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Co-op Kids run for Senate

Actually, Lala had the fabulous idea of including the Co-op Kids in Papa Dan's campaign literature. It seemed so easy. Buy some coordinating outfits and snap a few photos.


 Getting 7 kids and 2 grandparents to all look at the camera at the same time is no easy feat. Lala had some unrealistic expectations about going to several different locations to get some great shots.

Amy and I looked at each other and decided we had a very small window of opportunity. After breakfast but before Mass. Everyone was fed, bathed, clean, and happy. (Mass takes a lot of energy for children and both parents alike...and, of the 100 shots I stupidly and diligently took after Mass, ZERO turned out).
 We did a quick photo shoot in Team Eddy's backyard and, although I shot at least 50 pictures, it was the first ten that were the best. Let that be a lesson to all of you with large families out there. 

Get in, get out, get done.