Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Monday, October 24, 2011

combine demolition derby

What? You are looking at the title of this post and shaking your head...does that mean you've never been to a combine demolition derby? Seriously? Doesn't everyone go to these things?

Well, I guess not everyone goes. Despite being an Idaho native, I attended my very first combine demolition derby last month. Steve & Phil had donated an old combine to the cause and we all showed up in force to cheer #13 on. (If these still photos bore you, trying checking out this video clip from a few years back).
Uncle Jeff and Sam. See how Sam can't look at the camera? He's too busy ogling the combines.

Loretta, Ellea, and Andie. They think Andie doesn't like them. Well, Andie doesn't really like anybody. But, she's sitting on Ellea's lap, pointing out a "com-bine" (sometimes a "bine-com"), so I'd say she DOES like them.

Another plus of the combine demo derby: FAIR FOOD. Greasy burgers, elephant ears, etc. Here's Sam chowing down on Grandma's burger.

Look, Ma, no kids! My ten minutes of Andie-free time were spent chugging a beer and sitting by my husband. It was like a date.

All the little combines in a pretty row.

Ellea and Andie again.

Lucky number 13

Lucky number 13 broke this brown combine's axle. Whoo hoo!

Kauf-MEN: Joe, Fred, Sam, and Phil

During a break, Sam, Morgan, Phil and Papa pretended to be T-rexes with "little arms". It's way funnier than it sounds.
The combines faced off in several small groups, with each heat producing a winner to compete in the finals. It made for a long afternoon, during which Sam was entertained by his multiple male relatives, and (Mommy-Klingon) Andie sat squarely in my lap, being a no-nap grump, for about 90% of the afternoon. We didn't make it to the final that time, Andie was in no-nap meltdown.

Sam, though, had a fabulous time. He continually talks about combines crashing into each other and we play combine-demolition-derby on our living room floor with whatever toy tractors and trucks tend to be around. He clearly remembers that #13 took the Brown Combine out of the running by breaking its rear axle, so that's his favorite move. "Uh-oh. Looks like I broke your axle, Mom."

Joe, of course, was thrilled. He was riveted by the action and tried to get closer to the action whenever he had a chance. We'll probably all try it again next year...provided we can get Andie a good long nap somewhere in there.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Amy and my mom LOVE coffee (well, Amy does when she is not pregnant). When Amy was a toddler, she used to drink out of my mom and Grandma's coffee cups...even plain black coffee. I guess Andie is jsut following in her Ninang's footsteps.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

lazy blogger-itis

Miss Independent, practicing her post-bath lotioning skills. Yep, it's as messy as it looks.

Joe and Sam putting together a cardboard Batman

Guess what Sam is going to be for Halloween? He's just bummed I wouldn't buy him the overpriced plastic sword. I'm pretty sure I could make one out of cardboard that won't give his sister a black eye and won't cost thirty bucks.

Little Mama. Andie and Sam met Mandi & Jerry's new baby, Peyton, when she was one day old. Both got to hold her and since then, Andie's been rocking her dollies and singing to them. Sam keeps reminding us that we need another baby.

Ah. Watching Backyardigans. TV--the great peacemaker.
A girl and her ever-present binky watching the combine demolition derby. This was the first time she ever said, "Combine!". Later, she got it confused and said, "Bine-com!" Close enough.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

off in Lala-land

We found a few unflattering pictures of my Mom when we were backing up our old pictures. Now, before you think I'm awful daughter for posting them on "Off in Lala-land", I just want to point out that it was Lala who taught me the fine art of sneaking up on a person while they're sleeping a snapping a quick picture...and also the fine art of making these pictures into a calendar to pass out to the rest of the family come New Year's. Yeah, Mom. What goes around comes around.
I was dropping Mom off at work one day after we'd worked out at lunch, when she mentioned she was having a computer problem.

Lala: So, I was checking my email and I got an email from my friend, Betsy, with this link about a penis. I thought 'Why would Betsy be sending me a link about penises?'. But, when I clicked on the link, it kicked me out of the email and the computer just shut down.

Me: You did WHAT? Mom, how many times have I told you not to click on links like that??

Lala: I know, but you know I'm just curious.

Me: Remember when your friend sent you a message on Facebook to "check this out"? And you checked it out and it was a virus? Remember that?

Lala: I know. But why would Betsy be sending me a message about penises? That's not like her.

Me: Betsy is NOT sending you a message about penises. Her email account got hacked. Don't click on links like that any more.

Lala: Well, I was just curious...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

U of I homecoming

Afew weeks ago, we suited up in our black and gold to cheer on the Vandals at their homecoming game. (We lost). Given that my alma mater (Seattle University--go Redhawks!) doesn't have a homecoming, I was unprepared for the massive tailgate party that accompanied the game. Joe's uncle Dave and his wife Jean set up a few awnings with a massive food spread and we chowed down, drank beer, and listened to the radiobroadcast of the game while our kids played on the grass.

Andie & Ben play on the grass. Check out Ben's Vandal gear! I'm ashamed to say we dropped by our local Goodwill and picked up some gold shirts on our way to the party for our kids. We'll try to do better next year...although my frugal side (did you know I had one??) says spending $2 on school spirit ain't bad.

The Palouse Kaufmans. Teenie's mom, Cynthia, and sister Beth (and baby Clara) also came up.

The Phil Kaufman fan club

Dads on Duty. What better way to watch kids than sitting with your brother and having a beer?

Andie in a rare affectionate moment with her daddy.

Uncle Jeff and Sam

Andie, Jeff, and Sam. Jeff is actually holding both kids at shoulder level for this shot. Strong muscles, Kaufman!

Ben and Ellea

Who is that kid? Oh, it's Andie. I almost didn't recognize her without her omnipresent binky.

My favorite Vandal, pushing his two kiddos back to the car.
 We had a fabulous time, although I listened to ZERO PERCENT of the game and didn't even realize we lost until the next day. Yes, I am that dedicated of a fan. By that time, though, I'd already gone for a run that morning and spent four hours that afternoon playing on the lawn with my over-active children, so I was ready to go home and put my feet up/take a hot bath/drink yet another beer. Andie & Sam were equally worn out and slept the whole way home.

Good food, good company, not-so-good of a football team (not that I really care)...we'll be back next year.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

confessions of a slacker mom: grocery shopping

Rules for surviving grocery shopping:
  • Come prepared. Create a list the night before. Put grocery bags in the car the night before. Warn children the night before that the next day will require a trip to the grocery store.
  • If your schedule allows, shop during the early morning hours to avoid excessive waiting. If your schedule does not allow for this, I recommend bringing two parents.
  • Tire children out beforehand by going to the park first.
  • Only shop at stores that provide truck carts.
  • Review the rules for grocery shopping with the children while still safely buckled in the car
.1)We only buy what is on the list. 2)We stay in the truck cart at all times. 3) If we do a good job sticking to rules 1 & 2, we can get a special treat at the end of the trip.

Friday, October 14, 2011


After a whirlwind morning of grocery-shopping, buying Sam's Halloween costume, and picking out pumpkins, we arrived home barely in time for naptime. Andie had been up the night before (Night #1 sans bottle) and was exhausted, so I put her down right after lunch and Sam and I got to work on our pumpkins.

Sam scooped out the pumpkin guts while I got to work carving off the lid on the next one. At first, he looked at me worriedly, saying, "Uh-oh, Mom. This is messy." I reassured him it was supposed to be messy and the rest of the afternoon, he chanted while he scooped, "It's s'posed to be messy. It's s'posed to be messy."
Sam requested a "happy pumpkin, like me". What do you think? Can you see the resemblance?
Andie had, unfortunately, picked a rotten pumpkin. The stem and a chunk of the top fell off when I was lifting it into the car, so after we got her down for a nap, we decided to just throw the pumpkin away. When she woke up, I told her her pumpkin had shrunk. (Things are always changing size at our house. Judge me if you must. I'm not above a few white lies if it avoids a meltdown). Thank goodness for the gullibility of 20 month olds. She was happy, touching her now-small pumpkin, cooing, "Pumpkin. Andie's pumpkin." Sam thought we should have a happy pumpkin and a sad pumpkin (we're all about opposites these days), so Andie's pumpkin has a sad face. (If only I could have made a pumpkin with a stink-eye....)


The next day, we bought candles, and when the sun went down, we lit our jack-o-lanterns.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

and that's the news from Casa Kaufman


Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Andie is in that ever-so-fun stage where her desire for independence exceeds her actual skill level, particularly with putting on her socks and shoes. She will give you the stink-eye and shout, "No-no-no!" if you attempt to place them on her feet.
But, two seconds later, she is giving you the stink-eye and shouting, "Help, please! Help, please!"

You just can't win.
And then her shoes end up on the wrong feet.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

confessions of a slacker mom

I recently read Growing Strong Daughters. In it, McMinn talks the way our children mimic us in play, likening the way they strive to be like us as the way we strive to be like Christ.

Stop. Let that sink in a minute.

Talk about pressure.

Unforunately, my children's mother has a lot of work to do when it comes to being Christ-like. So, instead of seeing my children reflect holy behaviors, I see them reflect all of my imperfections.

Last week, Joe had to work late every. single. night. I picked up kids, took them to soccer, got them home and fed them dinner by myself after working an especially challenging week. It was getting late. I was exhausted and starving and Andie would not come in the front door.

Me: Andie, it's time to come inside. I need you to come to me now.
Andie doesn't move. She smiles her sassy little grin and takes a step further away.
Me: (deep breath). Andie, I'm counting to three. One. Two--
Sam: Andie! Come inside now! NOW! You better come inside or I'm gonna leave ya! Andie! Come inside or you can't watch a movie! One-two-three-four-[always forgets five]-six-seven-eight-nine-ten! Hustle your muscle*!

If that weren't bad enough, before I can do anything else, Sam changes parenting tacts.
Sam: (cooing voice) Andie, do you want to come inside with me? I have a candy for ya. I have caaan-dy!

Really. I must do better.

*I actually say, "Hustle your bustle", which is what a skating coach used to say to me in my younger days, but I think I may adopt Sam's "Hustle your muscle"'s catchier.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

coffee with the Waldon women

Friday morning found us in Moscow, picking up one of Joe's shotguns from a local gunsmith, so we decided to swing by Palouse and visit the Palouse Kaufmans. Christina's mom and sister, Beth, were visiting and, if you haven't had coffee with this group of Waldon women, you are missing out. They are self-professed "over-sharers", which leads to animatedly-told stories, hilarious laughter, and mildly raucous behavior.

I'm told it gets worse when they break out the wine and board games, but I haven't witnessed that myself yet.

Teenie, true to form, had baked pumpkin cookies and her Grandma Waldon's banana bread, so we plopped ourselves down, drank coffee, and stuffed goodies in our mouths while enjoying the back-and-forth between sisters, mom and daughter.
Then, the babies woke up.

Clara, Beth and Curtis' angel baby who slept through the night since she was 3 months old (not that I'm jealous, although I did send Andie to talk to Clara and get some tips) woke up first. She's a cute smiley chatterbox whose trim physique doesn't quite match her chunky cousin (although Ben, of course, matches HIS chunky cousin quite nicely. It's been awhile since we've seen Ben and found that he and Andie are exactly the same size).

Andie and Clara enjoyed crawling through the coffee table and working on their matching purple binkies. Well, Clara is still in that delightfully immobile stage, so she sat there and smiled through the glass top.
Ben was too busy dancing and hamming it up. I couldn't catch a picture of all three of them, so this is the only picture I got of Ben.

A "quick visit" turned into two hours and we decided we'd better hit the road. Andie had so much fun she was asleep as soon as her carseat was buckled, so Joe and I had a peaceful ride home, listening to NPR and chowing down on A&W fries and fry sauce. (Just so you know, we count that sort of thing as a date. That's what happens when you have small children).

A shiny new (looking) gun, a great visit with the Waldon women, and a date with fries and fry sauce...what a day!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Co-op Kid Chaos: a smattering of random pictures of the kiddos

Kate & Glory, playing with a Ken Kevin doll. (They insist his name is Kevin, just like their daddy's).

With 4 non-nappers, we have to have some quiet structured activities in the afternoon. We made "Peyton babies" to celebrate Amanda's new daughter's impending arrival and then traced number-shaped cookie cutters.

ND and her "baby-baby"

ND loves to feed people. It's really cute...and gross. I subject Kevin to things like this all the time. He has it coming.

Sam and Noah, playing cooperatively for once.

Friday, October 07, 2011

the Sandman Chronicles: Things that go bump in the night

Sleep has hit an all new low at our house.

Andie has been getting up 3 to 4 times a night, crying and yelling for a bottle. All this crying and yelling got so chaotically loud that it woke up Sam, which just added another dimension of wakefulness during a time when we should all be dead asleep. In my sleep-deprived state, it took me about a week of this to realize this meant she had yet another ear infection.

Of course, I realized Andie had another ear infection on a Friday afternoon, when her pediatrician was booked up until Monday. Not wanting to chance a weekend with absolutely NO sleep, I took a peek in her ears and saw pepperoni-red ear drums. Now, I'm no expert, but even this gastroenterology NP could tell they were infected. A round of Augmentin later, she's no longer pulling at her ears.

But, this being her 10th or so ear infection this year, we came to a difficult decision: it's officially time to wean her off the bottle. (Yes, I know she was supposed to be weaned a mere 8 months ago. You stop sleeping through the night for 20 months and see how well you follow the American Academy of Pediatric guidelines, ok?).

Of course, this means that she's still not sleeping at night. She's spending two to three hours screaming for a bottle. Joe and I take turns going in, rocking her and giving her the binky, all night long.

We are t.i.r.e.d.

Last night, I heard her crying and jumped out of bed to check on her. Somehow, in my sleep-deprived state, I walked straight into the closed bedroom door. The loud crash shook Joe from his sleep. My nose is still sore this morning.

Here's hoping to a better night's sleep sometime in the near future.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

the Sandman Chronicles: Big Boy Bed

A month or so ago, we sleep-deprived parents had hit our limit of nighttime awakenings with Andie, so we decided to move Sam into our room for a couple of nights and have Andie work out her nighttime issues on her own.

Miraculously, she slept through the whole night each of those three nights.

We, however, did not. Sam tosses and turns in his sleep like a bull in a china shop, crashing and banging against the wall all night. He sleeps great. His roommates do not.

We ultimately came up with the theory that Sam was too big for his little toddler bed, so when he rolled, the bed would crash against the wall. Testing this theory, we put him on the floor on a twin mattress...a big boy bed.

Since then, our nights have been relatively calm. He's fallen out of bed a few nights and hasn't quite figured out that he can get back into bed himself. Over all, though, he loves his big boy bed.

And, so does Andie. Every night, when we say "Time for bed!", she picks up her blankie and races to Sam's bed, flinging herself down on his pillow. She's a little girl all in a hurry to grow up.