Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kaufman lasagna

The Kaufmans have a delicious family recipe for lasagna. To get the recipe, you have to marry into the family (not such a bad trade off, in my opinion :). Dori served this lasagna the first Christmas that Joe and I dated. Joe loves it and I try to make it every year for his birthday. (The sauce is a bit labor intensive, so the lasagna only makes an appearance once a year). I made a double batch this weekend because Brandon was in town and I froze a batch for Joe's birthday in December.

Here's Sam's first taste of Kaufman lasagna. It was a big hit, although messy. Not just messy-on-the-child messy, but messy-all-over-the kitchen-messy. Lots of sauce flinging with Sam's amateur utensil-using skills. Yet another reason to only have Kaufman lasagna once a year.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

getting organized

Something about the thought of having TWO little beings in the house who can instantly destroy a spotless room has made me want to get organized. Make it a little easier to clean up and stay clean. A place for everything and everything in its place. Yada, yada, yada.

Right now, my college roommate Deanna is going, "What! Who is this person and what have you done with Jen??" It's true. I'm really a messy person underneath it all. So is Joe. But you can only have a child undo your work so many times in one day before you start to see the benefits of organization.

I use a similar system from IKEA to sort my laundry and keep it off the floor. (Again, not my nature, but once I found a hobo spider family making a nest in my start to see the benefits). So, I bought this toy storage system when I was in Salt Lake last time. So far, it's been worth every penny. Sam doesn't automatically dump out every single toy, but rather just one bin. And, I can tell him, "Put the ball back in the pink bin" and it makes a game out of cleaning up...sort of.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a boy and his [Ninang's] dog

When no one else understands you (or your Mom wants to put you in time out), your dog does.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Uncle Brandon's back

Hi. Sam here. Guess what? Uncle Brandon is all done with the Marines and back home. So, he came over to IF this weekend just to see me. I tried to play it cool because I'm not a baby any more. But, the truth is...I just love my Uncle Brandon. Every day is like a party with him. See how he roughs me up? I just can't get enough. I even say, "Please" so he'll do it again.And, at bedtime, I give him kisses. When he leaves my room, I yell, "Da!" so he and Dad will come back for more kisses. In fact, Mom said she's pretty sure that I like Uncle Brandon more than my parents combined. I wanted him to carry me out to the car to go to daycare today. And, even though he left this morning, I kept calling for him when it was time for bedtime kisses.

Come visit me soon, okay, Uncle Brandon?

Monday, October 26, 2009

there just haven't been enough...

...Brittany pictures on this blog lately. That's mainly because Sam has been terrorizng them. His latest trick is to hug them or use his "gentle touch"...and then open a can of Whoop-Ass on 'em. It makes life interesting. I think Doc might have a nervous breakdown soon. Poor guy. He needs a lifetime supply of Ativan to cope with a toddler and now we're adding another baby to the mix.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Yesterday, I picked up Sam after work and joined the crowds to get Sam the H1N1 vaccine. Sam now holds the official diagnosis of asthma, so we felt it was especially important to vaccinate him. He can't get the live vaccine due to his age and asthma, so we hopped into line and waited for the shot.

It was a long line. We stood outside the health department in the wind and cold for 45 minutes. At one point, the people behind us mentioned they'd been told the health department was all out of shots. I asked an employee this and she said that no one had confirmed that yet, so we proceeded to wait in line.

When we finally got in the doors, I handed a nurse Sam's form, only to be told they were all out of shots and had been for quite some time. Grrr!

A grouchy mom and a cold, hungry Sam headed home. I guess we'll try again next week.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

four little monkies

Amy and I got ambitious and decided to get Mom an early Christmas: a cousin picture for her Christmas cards. We went to Old Navy and miraculously found monkey PJs in all the right sizes. Then, we bathed all the children, wrestled them into their PJs, and prepared the backdrop and lighting.

Then the fun began.

Trying to get all 4 kids to sit still and look at the camera.

Okay, guys. Can you sit by each other like you actually like each other?

Okay. But let's not use our feet on each other.
Amy said, "Aren't you glad you don't work at Sears?"

Then, Noah decided Bouncy Cow should be included in the picture.
By the grace of God, we got a good shot...but you'll have to wait until Mom's Christmas cards come out.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Team Eddy (minus Kevin) came to IF to visit for the weekend. As usual, too much fun was had and not enough pictures were taken. But, there are endless stories to share with you, dear readers.

I came downstairs to our TV room (or "the watching room" as Noah calls it) to find Sam with a pair of pink panties around his neck. Noah was wearing a black thong on his head. (Note to self: This is why you should immediately put away all folded becomes unfolded rather quickly in a house full of children).

Jen: Noah, why do you have my underwear on your head?

Noah: It's not underwear, Ninang. It's an eye patch.

Jen: An eye patch?

Noah: And I'm a pirate.

Maybe it's time to start wearing bigger panties.

Friday, October 16, 2009

happy birthday, Papa!

Last Friday, Papa celebrated his 75th birthday. It was extra festive...but what event with 5 great grandchildren isn't festive?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

dirt, dirt, dirt

Growing up in a family of girls, I never fully realized some innate difference amongst the genders. Like boys' love of dirt. Fortunately, Dori Kaufman is an expert on raising little boys and has shared little tidbits of wisdom over the last six years. Like the time she had the boys all strip down to their underwear and hosed them off before she even let them in the house. I didn't really understand how boys could get that dirty. But, last Friday, we were at the Kaufmans' and I began to have a glimpse into just how dirty boys could get.

It started out innocently enough: playing with some ancient dump trucks on the dirt pile...
...scooping in the dirt...
...pushing the dirt...
...throwing the dirt at your cousin...
...and ended with dirt-ridden snot. Haven't seen that one before.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

cleaning pumpkins

He wasn't so into the pumpkin guts, so Mom did most of the cleaning. video

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Sam was mesmerized by the chickens at the pumpkin patch. Sadly, we were mesmerized by our son and didn't actually get any pictures of the chickens themselves. I, myself, am a bit frightened by chickens, having been pecked by Katie Frith's chickens when I was six years old, and was a little worried about the chickens pecking at Sam's fat little fingers...but he wasn't worried.

He was mesmerized.
Here he is...little Joe Kaufman himself.
Maybe this next baby will look a little like its mama...maybe.

Monday, October 12, 2009

pumpkin patch

A few weekends ago, we took Sam to the pumpkin patch. It was a cold, cold day, but Sam didn't seem to mind too much. This is the first time I'd ever taken Joe to a pumpkin patch; we typically just pick up our pumpkins at the grocery store, but I thought we'd better put in a little effort now that we are parents. Joe didn't realize I was such a pumpkin perfectionist. (I didn't think I was that anal...I was just looking for a round one that looked carveable). Sam, though, found many pumpkins to his liking and we ended up picking up a little one for Pudge as well. But the pumpkins weren't even the best part of the day...(to be continued)....

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009

San Francisco treat (part three): Alcatraz

We met Uncle Phil and his friends on the waterfront to tour Alcatraz. It was great to see Uncle Phil and his fun friends and good to get out of the house for awhile. Team Eddy decided to take their own trip to Fisherman’s Wharf at the last minute, so I gave Amy my double stroller and she gave me her Moby wrap for the day.

There are certain lessons I learned that day, which would have made me plan my day much differently had I known them ahead of time.
  1. Alcatraz is a walking tour, uphill, equivalent to climbing 13 stories. It is not for the physically unfit, the pregnant, or the toddlers who refuse to walk or be held by others.
  2. Moby wraps are extremely complicated to use. They consist of one long piece of fabric, several miles long, that you somehow wrap in a complicated fashion around your body to secure your baby to your body. It requires no less than 3 people to help you manage the fabric and once baby is attached, he immediately wants down to run around.
  3. There is no food or beverages allowed in Alcatraz (other than bottled water) unless you are at the dock.
  4. It was nap time.
It could have been worse. Phil and friends offered to carry Sam, but he is going through this Mommy-Klingon stage, so I generously let them carry my diaper bag instead. And, they were all fabulous sports about towing along a crabby toddler and Sam liked talking and smiling at them…even if he wouldn’t let them touch him until the end of the day.

By the grace of God, we made it. About an hour into our adventure, Sam was starting to meltdown, so we struggled to get him back in his Moby wrap and he eventually fell asleep. While we took the audio tour (which was excellent…the part I got to listen to anyway…Sam kept stealing my headphones), I carried a sleeping Sam. It was pretty relaxing to hold my sweet son while he drooled on my chest.

Until about 15 minutes later, when my back remembered that Sweet Drooly Son was also a 30lb kid. And, I was already carrying another child in my very heavy womb.

Thoughts that ran through my head the rest of the tour:

  1. Maybe he’ll wake up and let Phil carry him. He signed “dad” when he saw Phil. He’ll be fine. (No go…Sam slept for 2 ½ hours in that stupid wrap).
  2. Every other parent there was smart enough to bring a stroller. I eyed each stroller covetously. I thought about approaching several parents. “Hey. I notice you have a little $10 umbrella stroller from Target. I have $82 in cash and a worthless Moby wrap I’d love to trade you for that.”
  3. I’d kill for a hot dog. Or any sort of food. Carrying 2 babies makes a pregnant girl hungry.
  4. Speaking of food, Sam is definitely going on a diet when we get home.
Luckily, we made it through the tour and I had a good time in spite of my heavy burden. And, there were hot dogs for sale on the boat home!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

more miscellaneous San Fran pics

Super Mom/Ninang. She thinks all the kids can sense I'm pregnant...which is why she's the favorite. She's my favorite, too. She rented high chairs, cribs, books, and toys for all the kids so we didn't have to pack them...and they were set up when we arrived at the Suals'!The high chair brigade eating spaghetti.

A group photo. I didn't get many opportunities with camera due to baby-wrangling duties. Right to left: Auntie Gina holding Kate; Auntie Pinky holding Glory, me holding Sam, Amy holding Noah. See Noah's arm around Sam? They do like each other...sometimes.

San Francisco treat (part two): Return of the 30lb chest sleeper

Traveling with a toddler is always an adventure, but typically, Sam is pretty easy going with changes in his schedule. Except he had an ear infection. So, from the time we landed to the time Amy and crew arrived 3 hours later, he cried pretty much non-stop. Sick. Overtired. Just wanting his bed.

Except he was past the point of wanting his bed. This is how our night went:

8pm: In jammies and down in his crib.

8:45pm: Still crying. I lay down with him in my bed. He crawls on top of me and we both fall asleep.

9:45pm: My arm is asleep. I try to shift. Sam wakes up.

9:50pm: Sam is back asleep and so is my arm.

10:31 pm: I can’t breathe. 30lb toddler is squeezing all the air out of my lungs like a little boa constrictor. I try to sit up a little and breathe a sigh of relief as Sam stays asleep.

12:03 am: I wake up with my neck kinked in between pillows. My chest is covered in Sam drool. Nice. I have to pee but there’s no budging Sam from his spot on top of my chest. I try. He just clenches his fat little arms around my neck tighter.

1:15am: Pudge is pissed that Sam is squishing him and is kicking like crazy. I suppress the urge to kick back. He’s squishing me, too, Pudge. I feel your pain.

1:30am: Pudge settles down. Sam starts to cry.

1:40am: Everyone is back to sleep.

4am: Sam is awake, ready to party and HUNGRY! He starts going through all of our bags in a search for food.

4:05am: Aahh, cheezits! Tootsie pops! String cheese!

5am: Satiated and back in his crib.

7am: Is it really morning already? Really?

Friday, October 02, 2009


videoHonestly, sometimes it's exhausting being a Kaufman kid. My parents just tickle me all the time until I'm all laughed out.

San Francisco treat: a walk in the fog

Mom and Auntie Pinks pushed the girls...even uphill! (Do you like my new double stroller in preparation for being the mom of 2? Joe found it on Craigslist in Helena, MT. Thanks to Anne for picking it up for us!)

Amy packed Sam in her Moby wrap and held Noah's hand. No one would ever know this girl was in the ICU 4 months ago!

I took pictures because carrying my heavy baby really revs up my Braxton Hicks. Mom was exhausted by the end of the walk.

San Francisco treat (part one)

Last April, Mom decided to spend her tax refund on a trip to SF to visit the Suals in September. She generously bought tickets for Amy, Noah, me, and our Lola. (Sam, Kate & Glory are still free lap-infants). So, last Thursday, Sam and I got up early to drive down to Salt Lake. I’d planned to do some shopping at IKEA and, although Sam was feeling kind of crappy, I decided to push ahead with our plan.

This was mistake #1.

Sam was not just feeling crappy. He was running a fever. As I plopped him into a shopping cart, he whimpered and wouldn’t sit up. He didn’t eat lunch. He kept patting his ear. He wouldn’t drink. I’d never seen him that sick before. A few quick phone calls later, my roomie Heather had called in some amoxicillin to a pharmacy near the airport. I thought I’d finish my shopping at IKEA since we were already here and have plenty of time to get to the pharmacy before our flight.

That was mistake #2.

We left IKEA at 12:50pm and drove toward the airport. Our flight was due to leave at 3:01pm, so I figured if we could make it to the airport by 1:30pm to park, check-in, etc.

Mistake #3: Got lost on the way to the pharmacy.

Mistake #4: Didn’t budget time for giving them insurance information while juggling a sick toddler.

Mistake #5: Asked the pharmacy tech for directions to the airport. He sent me out of the parking lot the wrong way.

Mistake #6: Called Kevin to ask him to google directions. He couldn’t find me on a map. Fortunately, he finally figured out where I was…I’d been driving in the exact opposite direction.

We ran through airport security with the help of some kind strangers and made it to the gate at 2:51pm. Boarded at 2:56pm. Took off at 3:01pm, on schedule. It was a miracle.