Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Monday, May 31, 2010

the men in my life

Hi. Andie here. I wanted to tell you about the men in my life. Well, there's Daddy for one, but he was gone this week, so no snuggle time with him. Instead, I got to snuggle with my other two favorite guys: Noah and Sam.

Noah is my biggest cousin. He really likes me and says I'm so "adoh-able" all the time. I like that. What girl doesn't like flattery? He wants to hold me all the time and he's the gentlest out of all my cousins. I like that. I mean, I know the rest of them mean well, but I could do without the bonks on the head or the pokes in the eye every 5 minutes. If I could give a little constructive criticism to Noah, it would be: remember my head is wobbly and don't bang it on the arm of the chair...but at least I know my eyes are safe with him.
My other favorite guy is my big brother, Sam. He likes me, too. He always says, "Ah! Baby!" and has even started calling me by my name. I get a huge grin on my face whenever I see him. Since Noah showed him how cool I was to hold, he's been wanting to hold me all the time, too. Usually, our snuggles are short and sweet...about 2 seconds tops. I'm okay with that. If he holds me too long, he starts to poke me in the eye or my belly button. I'm not such a fan of that.
I'm such a lucky girl to have such nice boys in my life.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

runner's log: Mommy-style

I've been trying to get ready for Bone & Back, but it's been hard to stick to a training schedule with all the interruptions 2 kids throw in my life. With Joe being gone last week, it was extra difficult, but I realized that the race is only 5 short weeks away and if I didn't want to crawl my way to the finish line, training must begin, regardless of any kid interruptions.

My goal: Run one minute, walk one minute x 10. Warm up and cool down for 5 minutes.

Problem: Hard to get done with two kids. Not up to pushing 50lbs of kid in a jogging stroller at this point.

Solution: I decided I'd run around my backyard, which is roughly the size of a postage stamp. I cranked the baby monitor way up after bedtime and put it in the kitchen window. Then, I ran around my teeny-tiny backyard like a crazed gerbil. I'm sure my neighbors thought I'd lost my mind, but got the job done.

My inner knees are killing me and I'm not sure why? Any ideas or solutions?

how many Co-op Kids can fit in a bed?

I'm not sure. At least one more...They just keep multiplying.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

introducing the Co-Op Kids

When you are chasing 5 kids for a week, efficiency is your friend. Assembly-line diaper changes. Cafeteria style meals. Replacing given names for categories. As in, "The Big is having watching time while the Middles and Little nap."
Or, "All the Middles need diaper changes."
Or, "Big is holding Little while Middles are in time-out."
You get the idea.

Meet the Big.The Middles.

The Little.
Stay tuned for a recapping of our week of Co-op Kid adventures. It was a wild and crazy time...even before 3 of the kids came down with the pukes. We chased the Co-op for a good 12 hours a day, did mountains of laundry, washed mountains of dishes, changed mountains of diapers, and had---wait for it, you know it's coming---mountains of fun.

And, we'll get to relive it all again next week when we see them in Seattle for Amy's graduation. (Except I hope we don't have any GI illnesses while we're sharing a hotel room for 4 days).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

manners matter

We've been working on getting Sam to say "Please" and "Thank you". Although, he can't fully pronounce them ("Meez" and "Ankoo"), we've been encouraging him by basically giving him whatever he asks for as long as he has nice manners.

While I was making dinner last night:
Sam: Ice cream. Want. Like! Ice cream.
Jen: I like ice cream, too. But we're not having any until after dinner.
Sam: (starting to meltdown) Ice cream! Ice cream! Sam!
Jen: We have to eat real food first.
Sam: (melting in a tantrum) ICE CREAM! MEEZ! ICE CREAM! ANKOO! ICE CREAM!

By this time, he's on the floor, melting in a puddle of tears, screaming at the top of his lungs.

But, at least he's got nice manners.

Monday, May 24, 2010

confessions of a slacker mom: single parenthood

I'm writing this post on night #2 of single parenthood. Joe is in Denver this week to learn about dam safety and I am on solo duty with the kids.

I completely view baby-wrangling as a team sport; it takes two to make 'em, it takes two to raise 'em. And, so, I've been anticipating this week with anxiety and constantly giving myself pep talks.
"Other moms do this all the time."
"What's the worse that could happen?"
"You're at home with them every day; this won't be so different."

It hasn't been too bad, but it hasn't been overly easy either. Andie decided she needed to party it up at 4:30 am. Typically, when she does that, I hand her off to Joe, but instead, managed to get her back to sleep just in time for Sam to wake up.

Plus, I stupidly scheduled Sam for his 2 year well child check today. Um, yeah. Sam may be a happy kid, but what toddler is fun to be around after shots? AND a lead check? And what's with the lack of lollipops at the doctor's office these days? Lemme tell ya: you poke a kid three times and no sticker is going to make him happy. Period.

But, I digress...

Here's hoping to a better night and better day tomorrow. Team Eddy and Aunt Tance are getting in late tonight, so that's brightening my spirits.

early morning snuggle time

In the bleary-eyed, sleep deprived days of babyhood, it takes Joe & me awhile to get wake up. So, we've started the routine of getting Sam a sippy of milk, Andie a boob, and the parents some strong, strong coffee...and all snuggling in bed for a few minutes before we face the day. Unfortunately, that means we have to watch Barney to get Sam to stay in bed, but he's pretty happy about the whole arrangement.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Call me crazy...

...but I signed up for Bone and Back again.

It's only 5 short weeks away and I have not done an ounce of running since my sister had the nerve to get Guillan-Barre last year. Fortunately, my team said I could have the last leg of the race, which is the flattest, easiest 5 miles.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

whoa...big baby!

As you know, Andie is a big baby. A pudgy baby. A rolls-upon-rolls-upon-rolls baby. I know this, too, but sometimes I forget.

The other day, a guy came to our house to see if we would like our address painted on the curb. I answered the door with Andie on a hip and Sam clinging to my leg.

Guy: Hi. I'm--Whoa! That's a big baby!

Jen: Yep. She is. What can I do for you?

Guy: I'm here to...I'm sorry. Can I ask how old she is? How much does she weigh?

Jen: Um, I think about 14 or 15lbs. She's 3 months old.

Guy: Wow. (shakes his head) Wow.

He finally got around to telling me his spiel and we ended up having our address painted on the curb. But, I've never seen someone so derailed by the size of my baby.

Yep. That's how we grow 'em.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the news from Casa Kaufman

Sorry for the lack of posts. We spent a long Mother's Day weekend in L-town with Team Eddy, my Aunt Rose and Sabrina, and my mom. It was fabulous but also exhausting and we are catching up. Here's the news from Casa Kaufman:
  • We had a great visit with the 'Spoons (Aunt Rose and Sabrina). They took a nice "vacation" to L-town and ended up cooking, cleaning, changing diapers...and had smiles on their faces the whole time. We are trying to talk them into another "vacation" to Idaho Falls soon! (Yellowstone is just a short drive away!).
  • Mom Kaufman thought it would be fun to take a 10 hour car ride back to Idaho Falls with 2 crying children. I was so thankful to have her, but question her idea of "fun". She stayed for the better part of a week and we wish she could stay with us forever. She played games, read books, went to the zoo, ran like an airplane, snuggled kiddos, took night shift, and did dishes. Come back again soon, Grandma!
  • I'm back at work two days a week. It's a little crazy to get everything done and I can't really remember how things managed to get done when I worked full time. Oh, wait...Tancie lived with us. On the bright side, it's one more day I get to go pee all by myself whenever I want.
  • Sam's going through a biting phase. Usually, he bites when the joys of life overwhelm him and not maliciously.'s a major drag and we've been putting him in time-out whenever he bites. We have a playpen in our TV room for this purpose. We call it the Penalty Box. Yesterday, I was changing Sam's diaper against his will. He pointed his finger at me, gave me a mad look, and said, "No. Mama. 'Mout. [Time-out]." Little pitchers...
  • Joe is getting ready to leave for a week long trip to Denver for work. Team Eddy & Aunt Tance are coming down to keep us company. I am sure it will be wild, wild chaos. Sam has been asking for "Goy", Kate and No-AH! about every 2 minutes, so I'm sure they will be warmly welcomed.
And that's the news from Casa Kaufman, where the dad regulates water, the mom regulates kids...and guts, and the children are above-average.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Dear Sam,
Happy 2nd birthday, Bear! You used to be so little by the bear and now you are so BIG! I can't believe all the wild and crazy things you can do over the last year. You're talking up a storm and even saying some 2 or 3 word sentences. Knowing what's on your mind makes life both a little easier and a little harder on your parents, but I suppose that is part of growing up. You love Barney, dirt, chocolate milk, and your Uncle Phil with wild abandon. You also are asking constantly about "Goy" (Glory), Kate & Noah. I'm always amazed at what you are thinking and how you put ideas together.

You are in constant motion, running, jumping, rolling, digging, tumbling. Keeping up with you is a challenge for just about anybody. You love the slide, running like an airplane, drawing with chalk, and digging in the sandbox. You have some pretty awesome dance moves, too...and tend to dance with your arms just like your dad does. Once in a while, I get to snuggle you like a baby, but it's pretty rare...your schedule is usually pretty full. :)

It is so refreshing to try to see the world through your eyes. Everything is new and exciting. Everything is an exclamation! Trucks! Airplanes! Baby! You are a curious, bright boy with a happy attitude, in spite of the terrible twos.

You've become a big brother this year and, for all my fear about sibling rivalry, you have been a very loving brother. You love to poke Andie's nose and name her body parts. You recently started calling her "Nandie" as well as your old stand-by of "Baby". You ask to hug her and hold her and if she starts crying in her carseat in our mad rush out the door, you run right over and rock her seat. I love seeing her face light up when you come into her line of vision. She knows you and loves her big brother.

Sam, you are blessing to our little family. Your enthusiasm and exuberant attitude are contagious. Dad and I love being your parents. Thanks for being such a good kid.

Love, Mom

Monday, May 10, 2010

confessions of a slacker mom: back to work

I've been back at work one day a week for a few weeks and here's the confession:

It's the most relaxing, easiest day of my week.

I only have to focus on one thing at a time.
I tell my assistant what to do and she does it. No tantrums, no time-outs. No begging for chocolate milk. It's nice to have your authority recognized and honored.
I don't have to watch Barney or Bob the Builder.
I get to wear nice clothes and don't worry about poop or spit up or finger paint staining them.

And this is the best thing:
I get to go the bathroom--BY MYSELF--whenever I want to.

I'm glad it's only one day a week, though. I think I'd miss someone knocking on the door, yelling, "Mama! In! Mama!" after awhile.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Friday, May 07, 2010

Off in Lala Land

Jen: I prayed for Amy today at my rosary group. When I talked to her this morning, she seemed pretty overwhelmed.

Lala: (alarmed) Oh, no! What can we do to help her?!?

Jen: Uh, nothing.

Lala: What?

Jen: Well, do you want to take her final neurology exam? Or would you rather give her case presentation on a patient?

Lala: Oh. Guess she's on her own.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

goats really are *that* mean

We got Sam a pass to the zoo for his birthday and Sam's already learning some lessons about tough love in the animal kingdom.

We thought the new baby pygmee goats were adorable and fun to pet. So did the girl in the pink coat.Enter Papa Goat, wanting some attention, too.Papa Goat butting Baby Goat. Sorry, Kid. Off the stump and flies right into Girl in the Pink Coat.Wow. And I thought my parents were tough.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

a blast from the past

Whoa! I found this when we were cleaning out the guest room to make it Andie's room. We were younger, thinner, and slept all night long. Times have changed.

Bonus points if you can tell who is Jen and who is Amy. No bonus points for guessing who the tall blonde kid in the cowboy hat is.

Monday, May 03, 2010


I know, I know. You're all thinking it: "When is she ever going to stop droning on about their Lewiston trip?". Stop fretting. I'm almost done. I promise. Just in time for us to make our way back for another L-town trip for Mother's Day (ha! you'll never be rid of the L-town stories..ever!).
We headed up to Genessee to visit the Myers' lambs. Sam had a fabulous time. The lambs were okay, but he was totally enthralled with Steve (Mary Kate's dad) and their basketball. After our visit, Mary Kate graciously offered to watch Sam so we headed out for a grown-up dinner at the Corner Bar with the Myers, Stroscheins, and Fr Dat Vu (the priest who baptized Sam).
We had a great time. I had a huge, HUGE serving of prime rib that was absolutely delicious. When we were in grad school, Joe worked in Moscow and I worked in Clarkston, so we lived in the middle: Genessee. We lived in a teeny-tiny studio apartment and our landlords owned the Corner Bar. Our neighbor would knock on our front door, ask if Joe could come out and play, and then they'd go to the Corner Bar to have a beer and pay our rent. It was a fun place to live. Now, it's a hair salon, but it was fun to see our little home again.

Good times, good times with the Myers and the L-town gang. Can't wait to do it all again next week!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Phil Stalker

Hi. Sam here. I wanted to tell you a little bit about our trip to L-town, too.I want to tell you about my favorite person in the world.

Not Mama.

Not Daddy.

His name is Uncle Phil.He's fun and does cool things, like drive loud trucks, tickle me, and play farming with me.

I've been missing him a lot since we got back to IF. Every day, I remind Mama and Daddy about Uncle Phil, just in case they forgot. I say, "Phil! LOUD truck! 'Lello truck. Boots."

(Did I mention Uncle Phil wears boots? That is just AWESOME. I like to put them on even though they are SO BIG.)

My parents say I'm a Phil-Stalker. I just want to be with him every minute of every day and follow him around all the time. I know he has an extra bedroom in his apartment...maybe he'll let me move in.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Curious case of Benjamin Button

We recently netflixed Benjamin Button and were discussing how this bittersweet movie affected us.

Joe: After watching that movie, I have to say thanks for not dying and leaving me with two little kids.

Jen: You're welcome. But if I did and I said, 'Make sure our son has a place', I would not mean 'Leave him on a doorstep and hope someone nice lives there'...just to clarify.

Joe: No offense, but if you were dying you wouldn't say that.

Jen: I wouldn't?

Joe: No. You'd probably say, 'Don't forget Sam had a little diaper rash this morning. And move the laundry to the dryer.'"