Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I wanna be big!

Hi, Andie here. We had such a fun time at the Jacksons. Aunt Sydney's room has a playhouse in it. That's right: a playhouse! All the Middles and Big had such a fun time crawling down under it to play legos, crawling up the ladder to throw balls out the window and crawling through windows...well, just because they're all a bunch of monkeys.

Sometimes, I wanna be big.
I want it bad. It looks like so much fun.

Look at them up there. Laughing away. Standing up. Throwing projectiles at unsuspecting people below.

Nimbly crawling from one place to another. No obstacles slowing me down.
I wanna be big.
Oh, wait. I changed my mind!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Last weekend, we took a trip up to see Team Eddy and the Jacksons. Because the Eddys live in a teeny-tiny house, we opted to invade the Jacksons' super spacious and fun house in CDA for the day. There are tons of toys, balls, and, best of whisperers.

The Middles and Big are pretty obsessed with Aunt Sydney, a quiet, fun 6th grader, who likes to play least when the Middles and Big are around.

But, Andie finally found a friend...Aunt Hails.

I remember when the next generation of babies was introduced to Aunt Hails. She would awkwardly hold them for two seconds and then hand them back. Now, though, we call her the baby whisperer.

In an effort to drink coffee in peace, I handed off Andie to Hailey and cringed, waiting for Andie's usual protest.



I opened my eye a teeny-tiny bit; she was smiling!

Now, you know how, er, particular Andie is about all things in life. This includes who holds her.

List of people Andie likes:
1. Papa Kaufman
2. Aunt Hailey
3. Mom
4. long as she gives Andie a bottle in the middle of the night and Andie is well rested. (Don't worry, Lala. I really, really like you!).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

off in Lala-land

In case you haven't heard, it's been crazy cold and snowy.

Lala: I'm going outside to clear the sidewalk.
Jen: Oh, thanks, Mom.
(Lala starts heading outside, whips around and comes back).
Lala: (wagging a finger in my face) And you'd better not wear any more high heels when you are carrying those babies. It's slick out there!

Nothing like moving back in with your mother to make you feel fifteen years old again.

Monday, November 22, 2010

new 'do

Thanks, Aunt Tance, for the new 'do.



Thursday, November 18, 2010

miss you

I was sitting on the floor, helping Andie pull herself to a stand, when Sam came hopping over like a frog.

Sam: Mommy Frog! Miss you!
Me: (Hugging him close). Mmmm. I miss you, too, Baby Frog.
Inner monologue: I'm sorry I've had to work so much. I'm sorry your daddy isn't here. I'm sorry I'm not at home more. I know you are missing me. I hope this isn't scarring you for life. I don't know what more to say to a two year old about all of this transition. Be brave? Hang in there? Missing each other is--
Sam: (hopping away) Want some flies? Yum!

Occasionally, I make too big a deal out of things.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas outtakes (part 4)

And then, once in awhile, you get a gem like this one. (I just wish she wasn't holding a bottle-top, but, what can you do?)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Christmas outtakes (part 3)

Wish these weren't out of focus. Lots of fun hugging pictures.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas card outtakes (part two)

And, I tried to get some shots of Sam and Andie together.

"Sam, stop rocking the chair. It's too hard to get a picture."

"Hands down, please. She doesn't like it when you hug her like that."
"Okay. All done. We'll try again later."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas card outtakes (part one)

Lala bought the Co-op matching outfits last weekend with the request that we shoot another Christmas picture for her. Of course, the process is still a lot like herding cats. We got the kids ready for church and decided to take the pictures immediately after church before anyone got dirty. It was a little crazy. All the kids were ready for breakfast and Andie desperately needed a nap. Although these facts should have discouraged us from even attempting a photo shoot, we stubbornly pushed ahead.

The outtakes are (unfortunately) better than the final picture, so we're going to share them here in a series.

Sam had to "fix" Kate's hair for the picture.

Then, we had to take a break for wrestling.
Oops...the boys are too fast for no-flash.

When we finally did use a flash, Sam insisted on "shooting guns" at the camera. Nice. Merry Christmas to you, too, buddy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

into everything

Dear Andie,

You are into everything these days. Drawers and totes that used to be a mystery to you are now easily opened and dumped out. You narrate everything with growls and babbles and yells. It's adorable to see you discover the joy of taking everything out and examining it. (It's also a little frustrating for those of us who constantly step on baby toys...but, I digress.)

I love these new stages, but it's really all happening a little too fast for me.

Slow down. You're just a baby.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

wrestling buddies

I shot these pictures our last week in Idaho Falls. Sam prefers Mama for a lot of things: diaper changing, bathtime, getting dressed. But, Dad is the number one choice for wrestle-mania.

(That's okay. I prefer it that way. I got a bloody lip one time when Joe was on a business trip and Sam attempted to roughhouse with me. Thanks, but no thanks).

As Sam's wrestling moves get, advanced (thanks, TumbleBus), the potential for injury increases. Sometimes, I just can't even watch.

Shortly after this picture, Joe had to shoot his arm out to grab Sam and stop him from landing on his head. Amazing.
Probably the sexiest thing I've seen my husband do, saving my baby like that. :)
(Yes, priorities shift once kids enter the picture).

But, this is my favorite part of wrestle-mania right here:

Monday, November 08, 2010

rain rider

Sam's a weather-tough kid. That's what happens when you live in the Tundra of Idaho Falls. He is unusually obsessed with hats and gloves, though, and even insisted Grandma wear some last Friday when they were playing outside. I think it comes from his time in the Tundra. He's used to bundling up and getting outside to play almost every day, even when it's below zero.

So, Sunday's all-day rain shower didn't even slow him down. While Joe did some last minute moving of boxes, dog crates, and chairs in and out of Lala's workshop, Sam insisted on riding his "motorcycle". (Andie and I watched, warm and comfortable, from the sliding glass door).
Happy days, now that we're in the Palm Springs of Idaho.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

a night with Baby Ben

Problem: All the farming Kaufmans were going to a dinner meeting on Friday. This meant that Grandma Kaufman, the usual sitter, wouldn't be able to watch Baby Ben so Christina and Steve could attend the dinner meeting.

Solution: Ben came to visit us for a few hours. Gotta love livin' close to family again and sharing baby-wrangling duties. We were more than happy to add Ben to our bedtime brood for a few hours. Honestly, the kid is no trouble as long as you keep him fed. He and Andie had a fabulous time growling at each other until bedtime. Then we got all 3 kids to bed and Joe and I had a date-night-in, catching up on Glee episodes. (Ben watched a few with us when he decided thanks, but no thanks, he'd rather NOT sleep in weird bed without his mama and daddy).

Looking forward to more cousin time in the near future. And, Grandma K graciously offered to watch Sam and Andie with Lala the following night so Joe and I could get a real date night out before he left for Idaho Falls.

Everybody wins. :)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

happy Halloween!

With the help of our family, we managed to unload and unpack in time to celebrate Halloween. Team Eddy bought costumes for all of the adults so we could trick-or-treat in style. Noah decided that the dads should dress as fruit for Halloween, so Joe was a banana and Kevin a watermelon. I recycled Amy's ladybug costume from last year to coordinate with Andie's ladybug costume this year. We had Amy for the first half of the weekend while Kevin was at a swim meet and Kevin for the second half of the weekend while Amy had to go back to night shift at the hospital.

The kids were adorable. Noah was a tiger and Kate and Glory were a fabulous Thing One and Thing Two. (It required a LOT of blue hair spray. Two-baths-to-wash-out blue hairspray. "Lots-of-blue-water-Ninang" hairspray, as Glory described it). Andie was a very warm little lady bug.

And, Sam...well, Sam was a grumpy two-year-old. We'd planned for him to be Elmo, but he threw a fit when we put the costume on. We emptied the dress-up bin. Piglet? NO! Pooh? NO! Giraffe? NO! Baby Jaguar? NO!

Finally, he wore his regular clothes and we told people he was a farmer.

Baby Ben was there as a cute, yellow duck, but he was napping during the picture.

Grandma, Aunt Teenie, and Auntie Lon helped us get everyone dressed and then off for trick-or-treating. Noah and Sam took turns ringing doorbells and all the Co-op Kids (except Kate, who had lost her voice) yelled, "Trick-or-treat! Happy Halloween! Thank you!" at each stop. (Yes, they all have nice manners when it comes to receiving candy, thankyouverymuch).

Good times had by all. And lots of Halloween candy left over for Mom to eat, too. :)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

we made it!

This is what the last week looked like:

Worked half a day last Thursday and had a wonderful good-bye lunch at work.
Hurriedly went home and loaded the trailer with Joe.
Picked up the kids from daycare and said some tearful good-byes (especially Andie's teacher, Devan, who hugged Andie all day long).
Headed to Boise to Aunt Teenie's parents' house, where her sister Elizabeth and husband Curtis, had some delicious chili and cornbread waiting.
Joe spent the night at a hotel to rest up before his big test and I braved the night with the kiddos at the Waldons. (Seriously, if you ever have to stay in Boise, hunt down the Waldons. Beg them to let you stay at their house. They are wonderful).

In the morning, Paul (Teenie's dad) helped me wrangle both the kids and the cogs into the car. (Yes, it was a very, very full Honda Civic. I would not recommend it). We drove to Lewiston.
Team Eddy and Lala were waiting for us.
Joe arrived in Lewiston late that night after an 8 hour test.

Kaufmans arrive to unload the trailer and wrangle kids.
Between Lala, Team Eddy, and the Kaufmans, we get our trailer unloaded and all of our boxes unpacked. It's a miracle!

It's Halloween (more on that later).

First day on the job. Crazy, crazy busy.
Kids to new daycare.
Mom Kaufman takes pity on us and feeds us all dinner.

TUESDAY (election day)
Mom's Friend Dan wins the election for Port Commissioner.
Mom Kaufman takes pity on us and feeds us all dinner.

Work. Kids' first full day of daycare.

Andie's 9 month well child check. Oops--she has a double ear infection that her neglectful parents did not even notice.
Mom Kaufman takes pity on us and feeds us all dinner.

Ah. I finally feel like we can catch our breath. We are so thankful to be close to family again and appreciate everyone's help in making our journey home successful. The kiddos are adjusting to their new home and "school" and I am adjusting to my new job. We continue to feel the blessings of our family around us.

Next week, we'll have to adjust to life without Joe...but I'm not ready to face that just yet.