Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

sick pirate Sam

Last week, Joe was supposed to be on a long-awaited hunting vacation. He had drawn a special mule deer tag and had been looking forward to a week of hunting. But, Sam ended up catching a cold from daycare, which left our usual uber-active boy fairly lethargic and running a fever, so Joe--good daddy that he is--took a day off of hunting to stay home with Sam.

You know Sam is sick when he falls asleep in front of the TV. He is not sick enough, however, to let go of his brand new pirate sword.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

confessions of a slacker mom

Here's a slacker mom tip:
When cold and flu season hits, dress your toddler in brown clothes as much as possible.
You'll save on the Spray-and-Wash when her diarrhea flows over the top of her Pull-Up.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

game night

Teenie loves games and, so, last year, she and Steve gave Sam two of his very own board games: Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. It took awhile, but now he is a board-gamin' fiend. When Lola came to visit us a few weeks ago, we had family game night: Sam took out the games. Lola brought some apritada and pancit. I brought my appetite.

Chutes and Ladders proved to be a little challenging for both Sam and Lola (I'm not sure if it's her senility that keeps her from following the rules or her desire to win even if it means cheating), so we moved on to Candyland and had so much fun, we played several games. Sam is learning the fine art of sportsmanship. He's pretty good at consoling other players when they lose a turn ("It's ok. Sometimes that happens.") but still is working on not being a poor loser. Pretty good for a three year old, though.

When Uncle Noy came to pick up Lola at the end of the weekend, we invited him to play a quick game of Candyland. Uncle Noy has a gift with little children: he devotes his full attention to the child's conversation and listens with an intention that leaves the child feeling understood and important. I remember feeling this way as a young child (less so as a teenager!) whenever I talked with Uncle Noy.

That gift was not lost on Sam. He sat by Uncle Noy, explained the rules, and prattled on about all things that interest three year old boys: superheroes, monster trucks, tractors, combines, and bad guys. He was especially sad to see Uncle Noy and Lola go after the game was finished, but they all promised to come again for another game night soon.

In the meantime, this mama is growing a little weary of Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. If you have any other great suggestions for board games (we just need a little variety--nothing against Candyland), please share them in the comments section.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

confessions of a slacker mom

The objective: Put away the crazy chaotic mess of toys that occurs when six (yes, count them SIX...we added Ben to the Co-op Kids for an evening) children 5 and under are playing in the living room.
The solution: Clean-Up Race!
(You must say it as an exclamation! Or you are missing the point! This is an exciting thing!)

1. Kids line up on the couch.
2. Set the timer for five minutes.
3. Say "GO!" and start the timer.
4.. Kids frantically put away toys, dirty clothes, books as fast as they can for five minutes. Things may not end up in the right spot, but everything magically disappears off the floor.
5. When the timer sounds, you must stop picking up and run to the couch.
6. And, the secret to my success with Clean-Up Race!: Pay each kid two marshmallows for cleaning up. Works every time. Sometimes, Sam even asks to have a Clean-Up Race! and I'm like "Ok, twist my arm. I guess I will have to give you two marshmallows at the end."

Child labor is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

painting 101

I'm the fun Ninang. So, I always get my delightful godchildren fun gifts: swords, guns, water tables, loud obnoxious toys. Kate, Glory, and Noah love them. Amy and Kevin hate them. They always threaten revenge, but really, they aren't as good at picking out obnoxious gifts as I am.

But, when I came across this gift for Kate and Glory's third birthday, being obnoxious was not my first priority. Sure, it was a painting project. Sure, it would be messy. But, really, I was drawn to it because it was a) a set of 4 paintable dogs that was b) a project to wile away the winter hours without c) breaking the budget.

Kevin did not view it the same way I did.

The second the girls opened the gift, they (of course) wanted to paint it. I patiently explained that they would have to wait until Ninang went home; it was something to do with Mom and Dad as a quality time/family togetherness sort of project. There was tears and sadness, but everyone seemed to understand.

Everyone except Kevin.

Kevin brought the paintable dogs down to Lewiston last weekend so I could supervise the painting. I don't think he saw it as a family togetherness project. He seemed to view it as punishment for me.

You know what? Stick it in your ear, Kevin. I'm not afraid of a little paint.






Or, a lot of paint, as it turned out. The kids had a fabulous time creating their dogs, but really, most of the paint (as you probably already guessed it) was everywhere but the dogs.

Painting time quickly changed to bathtime and scrub-down-the-entire-kitchen time. But, never one to admit defeat, I say cheerily to you, Kevin Eddy: Bring it on. I'll paint again any day.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!



Just in case you wanted to see Joe in his 'stache, too.

And, happy third birthday, Kate and Glory!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

If I were a vampire...

Maybe you remember my Twilight obsession? Sparked my cousin Tancie and mom-friend LeAnne, my obsession quickly consumed all aspects of my life, turning into the game "If I were a vampire". The obsession spread to my sister, Amy, and last week, she called me after watching the last Twilight movie.

Me: So, how was the movie?
Amy: Great, of course. You should go see it. Even Kevin liked it, even though I had to keep explaining everything to him. He was all, 'Why is that werewolf hanging out with that toddler?' But, I liked the whole thing. Well, mostly everything...
Me: What?
Amy: Well, you know how in the movies, no one ever does chest compressions right? When Edward is pumping the vampire venom into Bella's heart, his arms are all bent and he's hardly pushing at all.
Me: Right, right...
Amy: But, then after we got home, Kevin said, 'You know, if you were a vampire, you wouldn't have to push very hard to do chest compressions either. You'd be so strong--one little flick and you'd get that blood pumping.'

Sunday, November 20, 2011

white coat hypertension

Doc, our sweet, dumb rescue keeps rackin' up the medical bills. A few months before Andie was born, we found out he had a heart murmur and shelled out a pretty penny for a cardiology consult. Things looked ok, but the cardiologist recommended he have a check up in 6 months.

Well, the chaos of having a new baby (and not ANY new baby, but Miss Andie and her bad sleepin' ways), getting a new job, moving to Lewiston led us to fall behind on Doc's check up, so I scheduled an appointment for his and Schatzi's annual vaccinations with a local vet and asked them if they could check his blood pressure.

THROUGH THE ROOF!

Of course, if you know Doc, you know he's always a bit anxious and when he goes to the vet, he's a total basketcase. So, despite being on medication, his blood pressure has been running through the roof. In people, we call this white-coat hypertension (a blood pressure that is only high at the doctor's office but normal at home), but apparently, the vet isn't buying this explanation. So, I've been taking him in for a blood pressure reading every 2 weeks. I've been working this in between my usual routine of laying on the couch and eating bon bons, you know. I mean, I love Doc, but it's a little chaotic to drop the kids off at Grandma's, load up Doc, calm him down, take him to the vet's, calm him down, etc...not to mention remembering to give him his medicine every day. (Three years ago, I would have been appalled at myself for thinking this way, but two kids later, your priorities shift).

Finally, after a month of this back-and-forth, his BP is finally a little better and his vet and I have agreed to let it go for awhile. Away from the vet's office, he seems his usual sweet self, happy to let anyone who wants pet him and hug him (unless it's Andie...then he steers clear of her hair-pulling hands).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Darin's birthday cake

You probably heard that the Gemmers came to visit us (I didn't do very well at taking many pictures, so visit Deanna's blog for a recap here and here). They survived the long drive and we welcomed them in time for dinner and a birthday party. It was Darin's birthday and I made a chocolate peanut butter cake from a recipe a co-worker gave me earlier that week. Delicious!

Happy birthday, Darin!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Little Mama

Warning: This post contains pictures of an anatomically correct baby doll and his little mama.





Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

when bad haircuts happen to good people

In college, I used to cut my friend Tony's hair. It was super easy. A few passes with the clippers and he was done. I didn't have the same luck cutting Joe's hair, though, and a few months into our newlywed life, the charm of cutting his hair had worn off. Since then, he's left his hair in the capable hands of his barber, Sally.
So, a few days before our family pictures, I decided that Sam and I both needed haircuts. However, I was pretty sure I could trim up Sam's hair a little around the ears and save myself ten bucks at SuperCuts. One night (as I was single-mom-ing it since Joe was at a late night meeting), I scooped him out of the bathtub, wrapped him in a towel and proceeded to hack trim away.

It was a little more difficult than I imagined. A wiggly three year old who kept wanting to look at what I was doing, which led to some choppy hair.

Joe got home.
Joe: What happened to Sam's hair?
Me: Well, I thought I'd trim it up before our pictures.
Joe: Oh?
Me: It was going okay, but then Andie pooped in the bath water. She kept yelling, 'Andie poop! Andie poop!' and it just added a little tension to the whole scenario. I tried to cut as fast as I could so I could get Andie out of the tub before she touched her poop. But, Sam kept moving around trying to look at me cutting his hair and then trying to look at Andie's poop, too.
Joe: (thoughtful pause). Maybe it was time to just put the scissors down.

You know it's bad when your laidback husband whose motto is "the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is two weeks" criticizes (however mildly) your haircutting skills (skilz?). Looks like I'll be shelling out the ten bucks for Sam's haircuts in the future.

*I suppose I should mention I took these pictures about two weeks AFTER his disastrous haircut. I couldn't subject you guys to the graphic nature of the real thing. Blogger would probably censor me for offensive content.*

stuff my kid says

Sam while explaining the rules of Chutes and Ladders to Joe--
(pointing to a ladder) This one is a ladder. You land on it, you go up.
(pointing to a chute) This one is a chute. You land on a chute, you have to go down. Sometimes, my mom calls it a 'dang-it'.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

off in Lala-land

Last Saturday, I went for a run, but on my way back, ended up slipping on some ice and bruising my hip. I hobbled home to find my kids snuggled in front of Backyardigans, Lala making salsa, and my husband making breakfast.

Me: Didn't you guys wonder why it took me an hour to run three miles?
Joe: Well, I started to wonder. But, Mom kept saying not to worry, you were tough. What happened? Did you fall in a ditch or something? (joking)
Me: Well, yeah...sort of.

I explained my misadventure, lamenting my bruised hip and my ripped pants.

Me: Now I'll have to add some running pants to my Christmas list.
Joe: Maybe you could mend them.
Me: Joe. They're stretchy. That's really tough to sew. (I say it like I'm an expert seamstress even though I barely survived basic 4-H sewing).
Lala, who has been uncharacteristically silent this whole time, looks up from chopping vegetables.
Lala: I can mend that for you.
Me: Really?
Lala: I can pretty much do anything, you know.

She's nothing if not modest.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

the Sandman Chronicles: Throwing Down the Gauntlet

After yet another ear infection that left us struggling through our days in a sleep-deprived stupor, Joe and I decided we finally had to wean Andie off her bottle. A week later, she was sleeping soundly with the aid of only her pacifier and we enjoyed a (mostly) restful night's sleep for the first time in ages.

Sure our major nighttime challenges were behind us, we looked forward to rejoining the world of the well-rested. We made plans to exercise more, clean more, shower more and doze less, cry less, and eat less. The world was our oyster...or so we thought.

After a week of sleeping through the night, Andie decided our nights were much too boring and threw down the gauntlet.

Challenge #1: Climbing out of her crib.
Yes. I can't believe it either. Sam NEVER climbed out of his crib and still asks permission to get out of his big boy bed in the morning. One night, Sam had to go potty, so while Sam and Joe shuffled off to the bathroom, I went to clean the kitchen. Andie was yelling after them in her crib, "Andie, too! Andie, too!" and we, as usual, ignored her complaints, shushing her and telling her she needed to go to sleep.

Two seconds later, we heard a THUD. I ran into the bedroom and Andie scurried into my arms, unhurt, but she was as startled as I was that she had successfully made it out of the crib. I put her back in. She climbed back out.

No problem. This ain't my first rodeo. Joe popped up a crib tent as I looked on with smug satisfaction, sure we'd be back to our boring, restful nights in no time.

Challenge #2: Stripping naked.
Two nights later, Andie started wailing in the middle of the night and I sent Joe to check on her. A few seconds in the wailing, she started saying, "Andie potty. Andie potty. Cold." Well, that's unusual, I thought, so I got up, too.

We found our darling daughter had stripped off her pajamas and diaper...and then peed all over her bed. Again, not my first rodeo (thank you Eddy twins for instilling me with this wisdom), I put her diaper AND jammies on backwards. I'd like to see her get out of that! Joe changed the sheets and we popped that baby back into her bed.

Challenge #3: Doesn't like backward pajamas
So, at this point, we've covered our bases, but Andie still is waking up frequently throughout the night. Joe figures out she doesn't like her backward PJs...maybe the zipper is uncomfortable or she doesn't like the way the PJ legs have to twist around to make the footies fit the right way. We're feeling less smug and I return to my nightly ritual of saying several Hail Marys to beg for a good night's sleep. (Please don't think me blasphemous, but I'm pretty sure that Mary would empathize much more with a mother's prayer for sleep than God would.)

Finally, we come up with the solution of forward-facing jammies, backward diaper, and a sweatshirt over the whole caboodle so she can't easily access the zipper.

So far, so good.

Knock on wood--right now. Go outside, turn around three times and spit. Don't jinx it.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Halloween (part two)

Halloween Day itself was a full day of celebration. I took the day off so I could help take Sam and Andie's daycare trick-or-treating at the high school. I didn't include any photos here because of privacy issues, but try to picture 15 kids, 4 and under, hyped up on candy and dressed in costumes, 2 babies in a stroller, 2 babies in a wagon, and 1 crying Andie. It was a crazy, fun, loud parade as we visited classrooms. The high school kids were awesome. We visited Ms. Dinges' class, who had the big kids sing Halloween carols to the little kids. She invited all the little kids to stand up in the front, introduce themselves, and describe their costumes. Sam was all over that. He jumped up and said, "I'm Sam Kaufman and I'm a pirate" clear as day...and then proceeded to tell Ms. Dinges whom everyone was and what they were wearing.

After trick-or-treating, we headed home for some much-needed naps and (Halloween miracle of miracles) Sam and Andie NAPPED AT THE SAME TIME. So, I NAPPED TOO! Ah. I love Halloween.

I finally woke up Sam from his nap with a bribe to take him on a bike ride to the park. We loaded up the bike and jogging stroller and drove down to the levy. I'd thought I'd jog slowly (which is the only speed I jog) while Sam rode his bike, but it turns out the kid pedals like a turtle. I did a fair bit of jogging in place and circling around him with Andie in the jogging stroller, coaxing him to just go a little faster, please. After an eternity, we finally made it to the park to play for a bit before beginning the eternal bike ride back to the car.

Joe met us at the cars with some tacoes (he is such a good husband), so we could eat before trick-or-treating.

First stop: Jacquie and Earl's house, my adopted grandparents. I've known them forever and over the years, we've become part of their family. (Mary Kate, super sitter, is their granddaughter. I taught her older sister, Kristin, piano lessons many moons ago). We changed into our costumes at their house, although I didn't have my pig nose for my swine flu costume, so I was merely a Runner.
Second stop: Hank and Mary's house. Hank was Joe's confirmation sponsor and they are always so good to our kiddos. They gave out full-size candy bars! FULL SIZED CANDY BARS! I love Halloween.

Third stop: Grandma A (that's my grandma)'s house. We had great timing because my cousin Mandy, her mom, Jolie and that sweet baby Peyton were visiting, too.

 We wrapped up the night with some door-belling on Grandma's street. They have nice sidewalks (our street doesn't) and the candy was flowing free and easy. Several people commented on how clever we were to dress Joe as a safari hunter and Andie as his little giraffe. We nodded and smiled, never letting on that there was no intention behind that act, we just happened to have a giraffe costume as a hand-me-down.
 We wrapped up the night by meeting Dori at our house. Andie, in an unusual display of affection, ran out of the car into her Grandma's arms and gave her huge hug. It was rather heart-warming (any of you readers who know Andie personally can attest to this). Dori put Sam and Andie to bed so Joe and I could go to the haunted Corn Maze.
I don't do well with being scared. I tend to scream at the slightest provocation. But, I took it as a personal challenge to go through the Haunted Corn Maze. I was pretty sure I was going to wet my pants and Joe kept asking me why I wanted to do this. It just called my name. "Jen...Jen...you're not afraid? Are you?"

Well, yes, I was. I clenched Joe's hand so tightly his thumb lost circulation. I screamed whenever we encountered another person--be it haunter, fellow maze-goer, whatever. I was thankful my husband had a good sense of direction and led us out of there in under half an hour because otherwise I would have been trapped in that maze with the crazy chainsaw guy for a few hours.

As we reached the exit, I breathed a sigh of relief. Joe turned to me and said, "So, do you want to go through again?"

No, thank you. I did not. I wanted to go to Phil's nice warm trailer and have a beer. Which is what we did.

Hope your Halloween was just as happy!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Halloween (part one)

We kicked off our Halloween weekend with a drive to my cousin, Valley's, house in CDA. At my Papa's funeral, we all wondered why we only saw each other during sad times, so we decided to change that habit and made plans to get together for Halloween party. Valley and Scott graciously offered to host the party, although Valley was a little distracted during the planning...since her first grandson was born just a few weeks ago.

Nevertheless, we had a great time. Team Eddy drove over from Spokane. We drove up from Lewiston (we had a few hours to kill before the party, so we took a side trip to Cabela's, which is a favorite of Joe's). Jake, Josh, and Heather drove over from Montana. Kassi drove up from Moscow. When you think about it, Coeur d'Alene is a pretty central location.
Unicorn Kate, Knight Noah, Unicorn Glory, Pirate Sam, Giraffe Andie

Pirate Scott, Safari Hunter Joe, Dr. Acula (get it? DrAcula?)

I was the Swine Flu. I was pretty pleased with my clever costume until Kate lost my nose and everyone kept asking me why I came in my pajamas.

Group photo! A disproportionate amount of pirates in the crew. Hhmm...
Everyone had great costumes and there was a fair deal of swapping costume pieces (and later full costumes) to be done by the little kids. Heather kindly bestowed her pirate sword on my little pirate while Noah the Knight got to try out Josh's gladiator costume.

Nine o'clock rolled around and the party was still in full swing, but our kiddos were (wait for it) turning into pumpkins so we had to say good-bye and get them off to bed.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

family photos

You probably already noticed the new blog layout. We had our family pictures taken last weekend by a dear friend and talented photographer. You can see a better sampling on her website.

Thanks to Phil, for lending us the scenery!

Thanks to the Gemmers for driving all the way out here to shoot our pictures. You were miracle workers; we didn't think it was possible to get any pictures of Andie without her binky, but you didn't shoot a single one with her binky in her mouth! (I'd brought a color-coordinated one just in case, though).

It was a great time. We're going to have to make this an annual tradition. (If any of you readers out there want to tag along next year while the photographer is in town, let me know).

off in Lala-land

While unloading the dishwasher...
Lala: Look at this dish, Jen. You can't put it right up against a plate or it doesn't get clean. Do you see what I'm saying?
Me: Mmm-hmm.
Lala: Juni, you know you have to really rinse the dishes before you put them in.
Me: Mom, maybe it's time to get a new dishwasher. This dishwasher is 15 years old. It's not working so well these days. Besides, the rack is starting to rust.
Joe: Yeah. I stabbed myself on a broken point of the rack the other day.
Lala: Oh, it just seems so wasteful to get a whole new dishwasher just because we need a new rack.
Me: Mom, how about we get a new dishwasher because the old dishwasher just doesn't wash dishes?
Lala mutters under her breath.
Me: What?
Lala: I just don't think a dishwasher can really wash dishes. It just can't do it.

What can you say to a nonbeliever like that?