Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Saturday, January 31, 2009

random musings about colonoscopy (part one)

I decided to suck it up and have the colonoscopy done by one of my bosses. But, I had a fair bit of anxiety about baring my butt and post-baby-stretchmarked body for my boss and co-workers. On further reflection, I decided this was because it had been a long, long time since I’d been naked in front of anyone but my husband. (Well, except when I was busy pushing out Sam, but believe me, I did NOT care about how I looked then).

I, as my sister says, “put my back into it.” I gave myself a manicure and pedicure. I waxed. I shaved. I tweezed my eyebrows. I showered with fancy shower gel and applied scented lotion. I flat-ironed my hair. I put on make-up, even though, I was going to be sedated and lay in my own puddle of drool soon.

There was a time when I used to put this much effort into getting ready for a date with Joe.

It’s sad when you hit that point in your life when you only get pretty for your gastroenterologist.

Friday, January 30, 2009

movin' and shakin'

Watch out comes Sam.


Six random things

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. (But, since I've tagged people before, I won't tag this time.)
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

I've done this once before, but here's another round of randomness related to a topic near and dear to my heart: my recent colonoscopy. So, get ready to sit back and enjoy a six part series about my random musings regarding colonoscopies. I get a colonoscopy every 5 years since I have a family history of colon cancer.

Normally, it's not a big deal, but this year I had a dilemma: I wanted a good endoscopist and I work with a team of great endoscopists. But, I didn't want to have my bosses see my butt.

I decided to suck it up and have the colonoscopy done by one of my bosses. But, I had a fair bit of anxiety about baring my butt for my boss and co-workers. More on that later...

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

best toy ever

Sam and I were playing on the floor and all of his toys seemed lackluster. So, I put three oranges in a mixing bowl and--ta da!--forty five minutes of endless entertainment. Sam picked them up, dumped out the bowl, dropped them back in and chased renegade oranges around the room. You'll notice there are only 2 oranges in the pictures. Doc thought they were balls and had to pack one up and down the hallway for 45 minutes. It lost its appeal (sorry, pun intended) after he bit a little to hard and he got squirted with juice.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


This is what happens when you live with a hair stylist-Aunt. I thought he looked adorable. Joe said, "Hhmm...looks like he's ready for his first haircut."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Aunt Tance is hil-ar-ious!

Sam here. I wanted to take a break from my busy week of learning how to crawl and trying to torment the dogs and let you know about someone special in my life. That would be my Aunt Tance. She's so much fun. She knows how to make me giggle...
...and laugh so hard that I pee my pants.
Yep...she's hil-ar-ious!

Friday, January 23, 2009

here's your sign

After a long and challenging day at work, I was standing in line at the grocery store, picking up some last minute things to get through the week: diapers and dog chews.

The man in line ahead of me goes to his wife, "Diapers and dog chews. She must have a baby AND a dog." baby's just teething. Here's your sign.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

If I were a vampire (part two)

You know I'm obsessed. Tancie and I talk about vampires endlessly and Joe was beginning to feel a little left out.

So he tried playing "If I were a vampire..." with me.

As in, "If I were a vampire, um, I, uh...I wouldn't have any trouble cracking open this crab leg."

The problem is he only know about vampires through my constant prattling about Twilight. And, there's no way he's gonna know more than I do about vampires.

Honey, please. You're embarrassing yourself.

You're not ready to play in the big leagues.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

8 month outtakes

Shooting the bear pictures is getting a little more challenging. Here's a few reasons why:

1. No, Mom, I can't smile. I'm busy looking at this ball.
2. This bear is also fascinating.
3. No, I'm not ignoring you.
4. Wait, I have to wrestle with the bear first.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2-for-1 bear pictures

With the craziness that surrounds Christmas, we were a little late in getting Sam's monthly photo shoot done, but here are his bear pictures.

7 months (and 3 weeks! We were just under the wire).

8 months

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I didn't want to end up this way. I never thought I would. Random people I know kept telling me that I needed to read the Twilight series and I blew them off. There was no way I'd be interested in a book about vampires and werewolves. Honestly, it sounded ridiculous. Then, to placate my mom-friend, LeAnne, and my cousin, Tancie, who kept droning on and on about how great these books were, I started reading them.

That was Sunday night. This Thursday, I finished the last book. Yep, over 2000 pages in just over 4 days...while working full time (although I admit my work suffered and I was tempted to call in sick to just read). I just couldn't stop reading until I found out what happened.

Now, I'm obsessed. Thankfully, Tancie understands. We like to play a game: "If I were a vampire..."

As in, Joe will notice the sun is shining. And, I reply, "If I were a vampire, my skin would be shining like diamonds."

Or, if we're tired after a rough night with Sam, "If I were a vampire, I wouldn't even need to sleep."

Or, the fact that we can smell blood (even though Edward insists humans can't) and maybe that means we, too, would be good candidates to be vampires.

Last night, I put my icy cold foot on Joe's warm back and he yelped. So, I said, "You should be glad I'm not a vampire. That's what my whole body would feel like. All the time." He rolled his eyes.

When Tancie finished the fourth book as I was reading the third book, I asked her, "Are you sad it's over? Do you miss them?" and she nodded, a little sadly.

Joe looked at us like we were crazy and said, "You guys realize you're talking about them like they're your friends, right??"

(That's what happens when you read these books. You just totally get sucked in. I'm not ashamed to say it. Even if I should be.)

Friday, January 16, 2009


So, in spite of my reluctance, I decided to join Facebook. People have been inviting me for a long time, but I kept declining. I felt a little overwhelmed. Another website to check. Another daily task to perform.

But, I finally caved and joined Facebook this week. And, I have to admit, it's kind of fun to see all the people I know and people I've lost touch with who are out there in Internet-land.

But, I still have a few problems.

1. Who has time to update the "what are you doing" box all the time? I have nothing interesting to put in there.

  • Jen is at work.

  • Jen is at home.

  • Jen is asleep.

  • Jen is wasting time at work, checking her Facebook account.

  • Lather, rinse, repeat.

2. How much information do you share? I want the right people to find me, but then again, I need to make sure that I'm anonymous enough that some of my crazy patients don't find me either.

3. What if someone invites you to be their friend and you don't, well, want to be their friend? The box just says "confirm you know this person." Well, knowing someone and wanting to be friends is not the same thing. Am I right?

So, bear with me as a I navigate Facebook. After all, when I was in college, Facebook was a catalog of your classmates that they handed out at new student orientation. I think I was in grad school before I realized that people were talking about something different when they said Facebook.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

meet me under the mistletoe

We were a bit late getting our Christmas decorations down...partly due to our unwillingness to actually do anything useful after work and partly due to Sam's love affair with this mistletoe ball.Whenever we would carry him, he'd reach up and try to bat at the ball. He caught it once, when his mom wasn't paying attention and tried to eat some leaves.Sorry, Dad, no time to snuggle...I have to touch the mistletoe. His enthusiasm almost makes me want to decorate for Valentine's Day.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Apparently, it's National Delurking Week (or maybe it was last week). So, if you read this blog, but don't usually comment, now's your chance.

And, to spice it up, a winner will be selected at random from all the comments and a gift card to their favorite coffee place/eatery (or reasonable facsimile from what I can get in IF) will be mailed to that person. Contest closes Friday, January 16 at 11:59pm.

What do you think?

So, leave a comment and let me know how you happened upon this blog!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

weekly wisdom

During our early, newborn, very-much-sleep deprived-days, Mom Kaufman was reminiscing about her own sleep deprived life with three little boys. She was fondly remembering her first night of actually sleeping through the night in FIVE years and said, "You know, it wasn't so was just hard when you would have to strip the bed and do some laundry in the middle of the night."

I nodded, but I was thinking two things:
1. Oh, my gosh! I can NOT make it through five years of sleep deprivation.
2. Why would you have to do laundry in the middle of the night?

Last night, I got my answer. Sam woke up around 1am, crying and wouldn't go back to sleep. I went in to check on him and found him covered in diarrhea. In his hair. Soaking his pajamas. Soaking through his sheets, waterproof mattress pad, and down to the mattress below.

Then, he puked everywhere.

That's why you would have to do laundry in the middle of the night.

someone has a sense of humor

As someone who loves puns, I saw this while walking down the street and couldn't stop laughing. It's a Psychadelicatessen! Someone in IF has a sense of humor.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sam goes skiing

Last time we went cross-country skiing in Harriman, Sam was inside me. This time, I was thankful to share the load. Joe pulled Sam in a sled. Sam hated being bundled and strapped in and screamed his head off. Then, Joe would ski for 2-3 strides and Sam would quiet down and fall asleep. Silly kid. Joe made a pretty good pack mule. :) I tried, but didn't have the stamina. Maybe by the end of the season...or maybe not. After all, I already carried him for nine months.

We skied almost 3 miles and were not as sore as last weekend. Success! We're hoping to get out a lot more and maybe even make all the way around the long loop next time.
Sam thinks it's not such a bad idea.

fun at 5 degrees Farenheit

Since Sam and Doc got an outing the previous day, we decided to take our other neglected dog, Schatzi out for some fun 5 degree weather. So, we took the short drive to the Chester Wetlands for some cross-country skiing and left Sam and Doc home with Tancie. Did I mention it was COLD?? See the swan and ducks swimming amongst the broken up ice? The skiing was a bit more challenging than we two out-of-shape parents expected. (Schatzi's out of shape, too...her coat was a little snug). There wasn't a groomed trail and the snow had a crust of ice on it that made it really slippery. Joe broke trail for awhile, but we had to stop and rest more than I'd care to admit. Schatzi had to rest, too...only she didn't want to rest in the snow. Whenever we stopped, she would run back and forth between each of us and "talk" to us.
Schatzi and Joe enjoy the view of the dam. Ah, there's nothing like a man and his dog. Except she's my dog.
This is some dam frozen thing Joe took a picture of...ha ha. :)Final thought as I hobbled out of bed and into the bathroom this morning: I love cross-country skiing, but I think next time, we'll plan on going on some groomed trails. At least, until we're in better shape.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009

walkin' in a winter wonderland

Joe is a thrift-store-shopper-extraordinaire and one of his recent finds was an older version of the jogging stroller we drooled over last spring. It only had the bike trailer attachments, but Joe bought some wheels at the local bike shop and we were off. We decided to take our neglected dog, Doc, out for a walk with the boy on the greenbelt. It was cold!!!There they go! All my boys... I took a turn simultaneously walking the boy and the dog. So much easier than our other stroller because this stroller WANTS to go in a straight line. Maybe I will get in shape before my ten-year reunion this summer, after all.Here's Joe with his bundled up boy.
And, here's Joe, enjoying the sights with his other boy (we've started referring to Doc as our "special needs boy").
Sam stayed warm and happy in the stroller. We were so pleased with our results that we decided we are going to rent the version of our desired stroller from our local hiking store and go cross-country skiing with Sam this weekend. Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

so tired

Sam may be sleeping better, but the cogs are exhausted!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

attention, LHS Class of 1999!

I'm not very good at keeping up with, but my coworker was mentioning she got a message about her 20 year class reunion and I thought, "Hhmm...our 10 year reunion is coming up. I should check in."

I got an email from Reionda Hoagaboam, saying our class reunion is August 14th, so save the date. And, send her your updated mailing information.

the sandman chronicles: Sam's New Year's Resolution (cont)

Night two:
7:30pm Sam's down. 7 minutes of crying.

10pm Joe and I go to bed.

6am I wake up with a start and some very full boobs. I hear a rasping sign. It must be Sam! His head must be stuck in between the crib rails! I have to go to him! Oh,'s Joe snoring.

6:15am I try to go back to sleep.

6:32am Still can't sleep. Still not sure Sam's not dead in there.

6:48am I wake up Joe and give him a detailed list of my concerns. He tells me to go back to sleep.

7:45am Sam wakes up.

Total time in bed: 12 hours 15 minutes
Number of awakenings: none!!
Longest stretch of sleep 12 hours 15 minutes!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

the sandman chronicles: Sam's New Year's Resolution (cont)

Night One (New Year's Eve):
7:30pm We put Sam down awake and, well, he was not happy. I high-tailed it out of his room and Joe made me a drink and put in a movie. I was on edge, but before the movie even started, I heard something...silence. In less than 10 minutes, my son had put himself to sleep. Without the boob or a parent.

10:53pm Sam woke up, crying. Joe gave him his pacifier and left. Sam kept crying.

11:04pm Silence. Sam put himself back to sleep.

12am Joe and I realize it's the New Year, give each other a kiss, and head to bed.

2:52am Tancie comes home from her night on the town. Sam is still asleep.

4am No sounds from Sam.

6:08am I can't believe Sam is still asleep. He must be dead. I go to his room and check on him.
He's not dead. He's just sleeping.

6:48am I wait for Sam to wake up. He's never gone this long without nursing and I really, really want him to wake up soon.

7:50am I go in to check on Sam. He's sleeping, on his tummy. How did he get there?

Total time in bed: 12 hours 20 minutes
Number of awakenings: 2
Longest stretch of sleep: almost 9 hours!

Monday, January 05, 2009

the sandman chronicles: Sam's New Year's Resolution

We've been using the No-Cry Sleep Solution to help Sam fall asleep for the last 4 months and had been pretty happy with it. We established a bedtime routine, broke the habit of being swaddled, and worked on breaking the habit for being nursed to sleep.

However, a few things began to stall our progress:
Our all-time low was a night when Sam began to wake up every 45 minutes and could only sleep if he was physically touching a parent. Joe and I were exhausted! During our Christmas break, we took turns sleeping with our boychild, so at least one of us could get some sleep.

Frankly, I missed sleeping with my husband.

So, we decided it was time for a change. Sam was going to have to put himself to sleep, even if it meant crying it out for hours. We set a date: New Year's Eve.

I steeled myself; hearing Sam cry makes me want to throw-up. But, I was determined and Joe said he would go in to comfort Sam if needed. We rented a couple of fun movies, Joe made me a mixed drink, and we turned the baby monitor way, way down.

(Stay tuned...)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Saturday, January 03, 2009

the twelve days of Christmas (part four)

We wrapped up our Christmas celebration with the Kaufmans' annual family dinner out. Every year, one of their farm landlords sends them a check to take out the whole family for dinner. This year, Mom watched Sam, so Joe and I could make it. Afterwards, we went to Locomotive Park to see the lights. We had fun while the boys slid on the snow and Jeff threw snowballs at his brothers. We had a 10pm curfew, though, and Joe and I had to relieve Mom of her baby-sitting duties before too long.

The next day, we hung out, napped, and ate (of course!). I got Sam's finger nails clipped, which was the only productive thing I got done during our twelve days of Christmas. And, that night, Mom gave Joe and me the best Christmas present ever: she took care of Sam so Joe and I could sleep for a full night before making the long drive home. I slept SIX hours straight. I haven't slept that long since we went to California this summer and Sam decided he was done being a good sleeper. It was awesome!

I felt like running a marathon.

But, I didn't because I'm not a runner.

The End! Happy New Year!

Friday, January 02, 2009

the twelve days of Christmas (part three)

The day after Christmas was spent at the Altmillers with my grandparents, cousin Mandi and her daughter, Jolie, and my mom. It's been a fertile year for the Altmiller family: four great-grandchildren in 6 months! Here are Jolie (almost 4 months) and Sam. Sam kept squealing and wouldn't hold still for the camera, but it's a nice cousin shot. Sam thought Jolie's hands were VERY interesting and we had to separate them after he decided they looked good enough to eat. Instead, Sam got to eat some mashed potatoes and carrots. We were running out of clean baby clothes at that point, so we just stripped him down. What a porker! He ate 1 1/2 pears, carrots, mashed potatoes and 2 rolls!
Mandi and Jolie stayed the whole day, so we all ate breakfast together and hung out until it was time to eat Christmas dinner. We usually do a gift exchange and this year, we decided to do homemade gifts for each other. Grandma gave me peanut butter fudge and made me a piano runner out of her grandmother's old table cloth. I felt so loved when I pulled out that runner and saw that antique table cloth.
Next year, though, we decided we're not making presents. Who has time when you have little ids? Here's Sam, helping himself to presents.
Joe and Papa admiring Joe's new Christmas present. Papa's glad he's got another boy to talk guns and hunting with.
It was a great celebration and we can't wait until next year when we'll have 5 little kids and all their Christmas excitement!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

the twelve days of Christmas (part two)

Our celebration continued with a drive down to L-town on Christmas Eve to celebrate with the Kaufmans. All the boys were home and where there's Kaufman boys, there's music! Jeff has started playing the guitar this summer and has really improved! It won't be long before he surpasses his brothers (sorry, guys...he has the luxury of time to practice that us poor working stiffs and sleep deprived parents don't have).
Sam and Joe listen to the show. We had a great Christmas Eve celebration, with our traditional procession of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus to the manger and singing Christmas carols. I smiled a little as we sang "Away in a Manger" and hit the line of "the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes." Hhmmm....must be nice to have a divine child who doesn't cry.Sam had a great time, opening presents and trying to eat the wrapping paper. He also had a great time playing with his uncles, who know all sorts of fun games, like how to make tractor noises or watch motorcyle movies.

And, this is all the Kaufmans after Christmas morning Mass. We clean up good, don't you think?