Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

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!

Monday, June 16, 2014

"before our life exploded"

There was a time when Joe and I felt like we were fairly busy, working full time and raising three young children while trying to keep up with church activities, exercise, and do the occasional load of laundry. Our days were full and we looked forward to that undefined time in the future when our children would grow up, sleep through the night, and help us with the omnipresent laundry.

That was before our life exploded.

In early March, I quit my job and decided to open my own clinic. If you are ever up at 10pm, wondering what you could be doing, you should try starting your own business. My days were filled with meetings with contractors, accountants, lawyers, and waiting on hold for the IRS. After putting the kids to bed at night, I would work on paperwork and the household chores that never seemed to get done. Joe has been super supportive, sitting in on meetings, picking up kids from daycare, and being a single parent many evenings while we've tried to get this venture off the ground.

We planned to open the clinic doors on May 1....and decided that since life wasn't really busy yet, we would also move to a different house, too!

We'd planned that after we opened the clinic, we'd probably need to move to Washington. We thought we'd tackle that project next year, until we heard that a friend needed to sell his home. We looked at it and it seemed like a good fit for our family.

So, we said a prayer and put our home on the market.

Teenie, Mom Kaufman, and Grandma A spent a full week with me, cleaning and packing and moving out of our house and getting it ready to sell. Buyers came and went. One set of buyers kept haggling back and forth...and 3 weeks later, our house is sold (knock on wood, turn around and spit three times, quick!).

We've spent the last 6 weeks packing, unpacking and cleaning at our new house, our old house and the clinic. Life is chaos. I don't know where anything is and the mountain of laundry is towering.

But, I'm back seeing patients. In my own clinic.

Our life exploded.

Not much has ever been so satisfying.

(Hoping to lure you once-faithful readers back with the promise of more regular blogging in the future).

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Henry's bear picture outtakes

Just so you appreciate the work that went into getting the shots I posted yesterday...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Happy 1st birthday, Henry!

Dear Henry,
Happy first birthday, buddy! We keep saying it, but we have no idea where your babyhood has gone. All of a sudden, you have turned into a toddler, which is bittersweet. It is wonderful to see you growing and making new discoveries in the world around you, but that leaves little time for snuggling with your mama. Sigh.
 Take these bear pictures, for example. Between a fussy camera lens and a busy baby, we hardly got any shots. You are a whirl of activity these days, crawling quickly after your siblings, pulling books off shelves, emptying drawers and cabinets. You love to play in Schatzi's dog water--an activity that frustrates your father to no end. You like to "read" books all the time, flipping the pages back and forth, and babbling quite earnestly.
 But, at least you are a happy, happy guy. When we get you out of your crib in the morning, we are greeted with smiles and giggles. You are starting to get over your stranger anxiety phase and are reaching out for hugs with family and friends again, which delights everyone. Sam and Natalie dote on you...even when you break their toys and tear up their pictures. You have an easy grin...and an adorable little dimple in your left cheek.

You light up in a special way when Sam plays with you. You two have this sort of crazy boychild wildness and you both get to wiggling and laughing and yelling. I can't pretend to understand it, but I love it.

Natalie wants to mother you...and boss you. You have less patience for that, but you, like the rest of us, love her amidst your daily conflict. You lure her in with one of your open mouthed kisses and then pull her hair and grin.
 Let's talk milestones because your mama's memory gets worse every year. You weaned a couple of weeks ago; it was a slow easy process but another sad step away from babyhood. You sleep most of the night, waking up once of a bottle, and nap once a day. We are better rested that we have been in nearly two years. You aren't quite the eater your siblings were so you've lost your title as "biggest baby"--at least by the one year mark. You can say "Uh-oh" (although it sounds more like "Uh-uh"), Mama, Dad. You say other sounds earnestly and with intention, but we can't quite figure them out yet. You can sign "more" and "all done", but if you really want something, you just yell.
And...drumroll, are starting to walk. About 3-4 weeks ago, you took 2 steps in a row. Everyone clapped and cheered for you...and then I cried a little bit. You've kind of plateau'd there, though; I think crawling is probably your preferred method because you are so stinkin' fast.

Happy birthday, Henry. We all love you so much, little guy.

Love, Mom and Dad

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Happy 4th birthday, Natalie!

Dear Natalie Doris,

February is birthday month around our home and we started our celebration with your 4th birthday. It was supposed to be your first birthday party with a friend over, but unfortunately, the flu and a huge snowstorm coincided and Rilynn couldn't come. We celebrated the day big anyway, starting out with breakfast out with Lala and Papa Dan and ending with a big Kaufman family birthday with cake and ice cream at our house. (Your Lala was appalled that when she discovered we weren't taking you to Mass on your birthday, so she took you herself in between the two parties). You reveled in everyone's attention and loved every minute of the day...until all of a sudden you weren't loving the day at all and were having a total meltdown at the dinner table.

But, that is how life is with you. High or low. Black or white. On or off. Screaming with joy or screaming with angst. Your rollercoaster personality keeps Dad and I guessing. Our mantra is "nothing worthwhile comes easily" and in parenting you, we have grown in creativity, patience and gratitude.

Wait...gratitude? Yes, sis....gratitude. We are grateful for you, your intensity and your determination. When the tempest of your temper blows over (which happens more easily now that you are the ripe old age of four), we also see the intensity of your joy in life. The way you love your brothers and act as a little mama to Henry. The way you love music and dance (we got you your own "music player"--a CD player--with a No Doubt CD and you love to dance to that spunky girl music). The way you tackle any task you deem worthy of your attention.

The "worthy of your attention" part is key. We haven't yet figured out how to motivate you in any way, shape or form. We can't cajole or bribe you into doing anything...but the very millisecond you decide you want to do something, it gets done. For example, your nose. We have spent the better part of the last 6 months tackling this chronic scab on your nose. It started as a little irritation from blowing your nose and has grown into a chronic scab from the habit of mindlessly picking it when you get bored or frustrated. We've tried ointments, bandaids, stickers, bribes, money all to no avail. And recently, you decided we should put a bandaid on it everyday and's almost gone (knock on wood)!

 You love imaginary play and coloring; you like sitting still and usually balk at any sort of prolonged physical activity. But, I recently took you and Sam cross country skiing. You were a natural! As soon as you realized you were gifted in this arena, you took off. It's not very often that you are faster than Sam at running, biking or skating, and you were thrilled that you had found your sport.

We are trying to harness that determination for good instead of evil...and most days, I think we do all right.
You are growing up into quite a little girl. Although you are little, you and I already have a complicated mother-daughter relationship. (I suppose all moms and daughters' relationships are complicated in some way). You and I can push each others' buttons in a way the boys in our house cannot fathom and sometimes Dad has to intervene so we can both take a time out. But, we also have our fun girl times, too. The other day we went for a run "just us girls" around the block. We took a girls' trip up to Spokane to meet your new cousin Lucy and do a little shopping with Lala.You thrive on time spent just the two of us, whether it's reading together, making dinner, or shoe-shopping. I see how much you take after me and it makes me want to be a better me. I'll keep working on it.

Natalie Doris--our intense, fabulous daughter--happy, happy birthday. These last three years have been a wonderful adventure. Here's to a great 4th year of life.

Love, Mom and Dad

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Confessions of a slacker mom: sleeping in

Aside from the all-too-rare weekend away, Joe and I haven't slept past 7am since we got pregnant with Sam nearly 6 years ago. Their wake-up times are staggered with Henry getting up at 4 or 5 for an early morning feeding and the bigger kids getting up at 6:30 to get ready for school.

Last Sunday, I had a plan.

First, we set the big kids' alarm clock for 7:45am. We found that if we don't set it, they get suspicious about why their alarm clock is not going off and then wake up extra early. This was enough to get them some extra sleep but not arouse suspicion.

Second, feed baby a huge bottle at his morning feeding.

Third--and this is the key--set the Kindle outside our bedroom door.

Fourth--also key--LOCK the bedroom door.

At 7:45 am, we were still in bed and heard Sam and Natalie's alarm go off, followed by the pitter-patter of little feet to our bedroom door. Instead of rousting us from our nice warm bed, they stopped at the locked door.

Natalie: Oh, look. I found the Kindle!
Sam: Well, that was easy.
Natalie: I know! It was just right here.

They spent the next 30 minutes watching cartoons while Joe and I dozed until Henry woke up. Glorious!

It only took me 6 years to figure this out.