Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I can really throw a birthday party

Last Sunday was Joe's 32nd birthday. Man, he's getting old. Sam thought he should have a Star Wars birthday. ND thought he should have a Dora birthday. We had a long talk about how we should think about what DAD would like for his birthday party and settled on Star Wars with a camo happy birthday banner. ND did have a hand in planning the menu and picked pink ice cream for her daddy.
The kiddos and I made the birthday cake. I took the easy way out and slapped a Darth Vader mask on top for decoration.
Then, I invited over some of our very favorite people: the Uncles, Grandma and Papa K, Grandma A, Aunt Teenie, Ben and Will.

Here's my secret to throwing a great birthday party: invite a lot of nice people who like to cook. I tossed a ham in the oven and made some gravy while Teenie brought a salad, Grandma K brought fresh bread and Grandma A brought mashed potatoes. I practically did nothing...except for talk my husband into vaccuuming before his own birthday party.

Dinner was amazing. Teenie and I sat with the kids at the kids' table and the rest of the crew ate a relaxed meal in the dining room. Then we sent the kids out to sit with the grown ups for birthday cake and ice cream.

Afterwards, those nice ladies cleaned up my kitchen. Seriously. It was the easiest birthday party I've ever thrown.
Then Baby Bill had to go to bed, so his parents plopped him in Lampie's crib and we headed downstairs to listen to the Kaufman Brothers' band strike up a tune. ND danced and danced. Lampie did a little dancing, too, which Sam got a chance to feel. I told him the story about the first time he heard music (a band was playing at my office Christmas party and he leapt in my womb!) and it was fun to watch Sam's eyes light up when Lampie would kick when he heard the music, too.

The party ended around 10pm with Sam deciding it was high time to go to bed and putting himself in his PJs without even being asked. Natalie Doris, on the other hand, insisted it was NOT time to go to sleep and she did NOT need a night time pullup. Sigh.

Happy birthday, Joe! Here's to a great year ahead.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Confessions of a Slacker Mom: Christmas Decorations

Joe left for elk hunting camp the morning after the Festival of Trees. He left early, early in the morning to meet his brothers and Dad and was going to be gone (gasp!) overnight, leaving this large, lazy Mama at home with her two active children for 48 hours. I started to panic a bit but quickly came up with the plan that we would wile away the hours by decorating our house for Christmas.
First stop, church. Second stop, Walmart for some kid friendly decorations and a star tree-topper. (We had an angel tree topper, but Sam said it just would NOT do).
I'm a big believer in rolling over and letting the kids do whatever they want picking your battles, so I basically let Sam and ND pick out whatever they wanted. ND's prize pick was some glitzy purple tinsel that looked like it belonged in a Vegas sideshow while Sam picked out some cowboy ornaments. We got a new Christmas tree stand, lights, a tree topper and then it was off to Costco to finish our shopping and have lunch with Lala. I conveniently forgot my cash, so Lala treated us to lunch and then we went shopping.
When we got home, Lala and I faced the dilemma of how we were going to get the Christmas tree in the new stand. I'm not supposed to lift over 25lbs because it really revs up my Braxton-Hicks, but Lala pleaded old age general weakness, saying she couldn't lift the tree either. Finally, we decided to BOTH lift the tree while Sam slid the stand under.
We heaved that thing up while I yelled, "Do it, Sam! Hurry!"
Sam: I don't know how to do this.
Me: Figure it out, kid! Quick! We all want to get the tree up! Come on!
Sam pulled through and got the tree in the stand just in time because then Lala got the giggles and the wheels started to come off the bus.
Me: Why are you laughing???
Lala: You're just so intense with your kids.
(I wonder where I learned THAT from, Lala? Huh??)
We opened up our kid-friendly Christmas ornaments only to find that a mouse had made a nice nest in them and I frantically waved the kids away from the nest and the mouse poop, trying to simultaneously vaccuum and convince ND that the mouse poop was, in fact, NOT a pile of black Nerds candy.
It's never dull...I tell ya what.
Luckily, Grandma K arrived to help with dinner and baths before I could get too overwhelmed.
And Joe arrived home the following evening to this sight:
After that, I told him that I was through with decorating the outside of the house. I was in no shape to climb on a ladder this year and would happily and permanently hand over the duties of hanging the Christmas lights outside. (I debated about being less blunt, but really, I've already learned my lesson about having him pick up on hints after our Jack-o-lanterns this year). He and the kiddos braved the cold weather to put up our outside decorations this weekend.
Now it feels like Christmas at our house.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Festival of Trees

As part of our Thanksgiving celebration, Lala and I decided to attend the Festival of Trees again this year (a fundraiser for one of the local hospitals). I forewarned Lala that I wasn't feeling up for a late night and probably would head home early. Thankfully, she listened to me and solved the problem by wearing high heels that hurt her feet. So, both of our feet were sore and tired at the same time and we ended up back at home around 9:30p. Perfect.
We sat at a table with several other "couples" who were also mothers and daughters out for a nice evening. The food was excellent and I had to stop myself from licking the egg nog cream off my dessert plate. (A few months ago, I wouldn't have had the self control to stop!)
We ended up not winning any of the items we bid on, but it was still a fun time.

Joe stayed home to put the children to bed...and they were still awake and vexing their father when I got home around 9:30p. Fortunately (for me), that meant they slept in until about 8am the following morning!

Monday, December 10, 2012

and that's the news from Casa Kaufman

It's been a chaotic couple of weeks at Casa Kaufman...
  • I'm 31 weeks pregnant and you regular readers know what that means: I'm large, grouchy and lazy. My legs are restless. Lampie is riding so low that I feel like my pelvis is splitting in half. I have to pee every 10 seconds. I'm not going to sugar coat it for you. If you are contemplating pregnancy, don't. The honeymoon is over. The novelty of being kicked in both my ribs and pelvis simultaneously is wearing off. Sigh. And, a newfound misery that I hadn't yet experienced with either of my other babies: I faint all the time. So, if you come across me curled up on the floor, just cover me with a blanket. I'll come to soon enough.
  • We're getting ready for Lampie's arrival in 9 or so weeks. We've moved ND into the "Big Kid" room. She's now sleeping on the bottom bunk and Sam's sleeping on the top bunk. All of her clothes are in the Big Kid closet and we painted up Uncle Steve's hand-me-down dresser to put in Sam's room. It's a dazzling combination of purple with pink knobs (color combination selected by Miss Natalie Doris herself).
  • Other baby preparations have included...weaning ND off the binky in the daytime. The dentist said we'd have to do it by her third birthday, but when I mentioned we'd be having a baby ON her third birthday, we decided to just bite the bullet and do it now. We've been very proud of her. It's been a struggle, but she's done fairly well. She can still have it when she sleeps, which seems to offer some solace to the poor kid.
  • Sam is growing like crazy. He's the size of a 6 year old and the dentist also noted his mouth is like a 6 year olds, too--including 2 loose teeth! Crazy. He's loving preschool and all his teachers, which is such a blessing after having a difficult experience at our old preschool. He's loving tumbling and can really focus and pay attention to his coaches in a way that always amazes me. (Could he focus like that when I'm telling him to put away his coat? Probably not...).
  • We celebrated Joe's birthday this week and will have pictures to post before too long. He's reached the ripe old age of 32 and is wearing it well. He went elk hunting with Papa K and his brothers, but had came home empty handed. They had a great time and I think this elk hunting trip might become an annual tradition.
  • I just got back from a conference in Laguna Beach. The conference was pretty good, but I missed half of it because--guess what--I fainted. My sisin Lauren drove up from San Diego and we had a lazy time, eating, watching TV and painting our fingernails, which was exactly my speed.
  • I've been really, really hesitant to post this in any sort of public forum because I didn't want to jinx it, but it's been a good month now, so here goes nothing: ND Kaufman is SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT! Since she moved to a big girl bed, she's been sleeping until about 530 or 6am most days and then shuffling into our room to wake us up in the morning. It is such a long awaited blessing!!
And that's the news from Casa Kaufman where the mom is large and crabby, the dad is skinny and patient, and the children are above average.

Friday, November 30, 2012

a blast from the past

I was helping Lala with her Christmas letter and came across this video of Sam from last year.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

smelly ellie

This girl is getting so big...I feel like I haven't seen enough of her this year at all. She is such a sweet happy baby...and not really that smelly after all, but I can't resist the nickname.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kate and Glory's birthday

Kate and Glory are--wow--4 years old and we celebrated their birthday the day after Thanksgiving by going out to the movies and then out to lunch.
I've been trying to come up with "experiences" as presents instead of more toys to fill their already over-full house and initially wanted to take them to Disney Princesses on Ice, but after finding out it would be $400 plus to take the girls, we decided instead to take all the Co-op Kids (minus Ellie) to Wreck-It Ralph and out to Dairy Queen for lunch.
 (Side note: Wreck-It Ralph was too scary for everyone except Noah. Keep that in mind for the 4 and under crew. Joe and I took turns taking scared kids out to the lobby for a break from the action).

 After lunch, we headed home for ice cream cake and presents. Noah was up late with Lala for a special night the night before and wasn't feeling in the most celebratory moods, but he perked up after some cake.
the birthday girls

opening presents from Aunt Deanna and Uncle Darin

Ellie and Lala

I thought he looked a bit Zoolander-ish in this photo. No wonder my sister can't resist him.

Amy and Kevin. Amy wasn't feeling so hot that day, but she perked up after a morning nap while the rest of us were at the movie.

After cake, ND & I had a nap and Lala took K&G out to buy their birthday presents. The rest of the kids glommed onto Ninang and watched a movie on MY NEW KINDLE FIRE. (It's amazing and I don't know how I've lived this long without one).

Then, Kevin and Joe took turns chasing the big kids around while we waited for Lala and the girls to get back. The Eddys left at bedtime since Amy's on call at midnight tonight. What a crazy full two days!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012


Our house was the place to eat and do laundry on Thanksgiving Day. (The Eddys' washing machine was broken so they brought their laundry and Aunt Becca also does her laundry at their house, so she brought some down). It's only the second time that Joe and I have made a turkey dinner, so I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out so well. I didn't particularly relish getting up at 5:30a to put the turkey in, but the end results was worth it.
 After we ate (and napped), Amy, Sydney, Aunt Ris, and I went to see Breaking Dawn Part Two while the rest of the crew stayed home and played Sequence. We got home in time to tuck our kiddos into bed and then hit an early bedtime ourselves.

This Thanksgiving, we're thankful for a new home that fits our extended family, good food, and a forseeable end to this pregnancy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Natalie Doris

We were rushing around one morning when ND stopped me and asked me to take her picture.
Me: What do you want me to take a picture of you doing?
Natalie: I'm sleeping, Mom.
Me: Ok.
(These are the pictures that caused my classmate to suggest I photograph my dog...I was complaining that I couldn't change my manual settings fast enough to capture what I wanted).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

gingerbread cookies

Last Sunday, Grandma & Papa K invited us over for dinner and then Grandma had the genius idea of making gingerbread cookies. Initially, the boys opted to tag along with the Uncles and watch a hunting movie, so ND soaked up all of her grandparents' attention with making cookies. Always the procrastinator, I took this opportunity to shoot my homework assignment for the photography class the following day.