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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mount Misery Relay




My New Years Resolution was to start training for a half marathon, so I roped my favorite sister-in-law Teenie into running with me and we began to run 2-3 times weekly with Elaine, my ever faithful running buddy. Our dedication and motivation started to lag in late May sometime (my crazy schedule with moving and opening a business probably had something to do with that) and Elaine came up with the idea of registering for the Mount Misery relay as an intermediate deadline to help us along.

Billed to us as "57 miles of fun", we quickly learned from our beer runner group that it was anything but. Most groaned and said they would never, ever do it again. But a few smiled and said they'd done it a few times and wished us all the best. Dan Johnson has done it several times and gave us a few pointers--like starting 2 hours early, which was the best advice I've ever heeded.

We made plans to bring along toliet paper, shovels, first aid kits, snake bite kits, snacks, water, gatorade, and anything else we could load in the back of the pick up. Joe, our faithful driver, drove while we hopped in and out of the truck to run our legs of the relay.

(His one comment of the day: "I never knew how much your running centered around pee breaks. One of you has to pee every time we stop." My reply: "You see how long you can hold your pee after you push out a ten pound baby and then try to run 57 miles." Boo-yah.)

We started with smiles and ran the first 14 miles fairly easily.



Then, it turned into an uphill battle. Straight up. 7000 feet up. Ugh. We got passed by several of the faster teams despite our headstart. A team of beautiful topless men sprinted by us. I thought if only we weren't weighed down by our shirts, we would be just as fast.

After running for 6 hours, we finally reached the top.

I ran that first glorious mile downhill and shouted to my weary teammates, "This is awesome!" We were soon running faster than the pickup could navigate the rocks downhill.

The last half went much faster...and we finished the race in a short 10 1/2 hours, coming in dead last. But, we were all pretty proud of our accomplishments...and celebrated with a post race beer and jumping in the icy cold river.

When I got out, I could barely keep my eyes open and it was quickly apparent we all needed to go home and go straight to bed.

Not sure I need to ever tackle this particular race again. But, I think I will wear my finisher's medal every day. Out grocery shopping. While folding laundry. At Costco.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Nothing trims the waistline like hoeing

We are now sweet corn farmers. Teenie and I are planning to get rich quick off our sweet corn and sell it at the Farmers' Market in Moscow when it ripens in a few weeks. Easy money, they told us.

Somehow, I missed the part that we needed to weed the sweet corn.

The entire acre of sweet corn.

So, Steve who is knowledgeable about all things farming, told Joe and I it was time to get weeding and, instead of running last Saturday, we tackled the sweet corn in the early, cool morning. With the help of Steve and Mom Kaufman, 5 short hours later, the first half was done.

Mom Kaufman encouraged me, repeating her mother's wisdom that "nothing trims the waistline like hoeing." Sam came out to help pull some weeds, too. That kid was born to farm.

Being someone who likes repetitive exercise until she is exhausted (see my Mount Misery post), I was pleasantly happy with our work. 
Until it hurt to laugh or cough the next day.
And then we had to go back and finish the other half.

Come see us at the Moscow Farmers' Market in August and buy some of this delicious sweet corn!

Our new (to us) boat

We inherited a boat and have been making it seaworthy. Joe's not sure we can afford a free boat, but the rest of us are pretty stoked.

Meet Boatie the Seahawk. Christened by the same duo who wanted to name their baby brother Lampie.

Looking forward to some time on the water soon!