Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Christmas Chaos (part one): Altmiller Christmas 12/23/11

As our family expands, it becomes a little more challenging to find a date where everyone can celebrate Christmas together. It's all right, though; it gives us an excuse to prolong the Christmas celebration. We actually kicked off our celebration with the annual Poxleitner-palooza, but I was too busy having a good time to take any pictures, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

So, we'll begin our photo adventure with our Altmiller Christmas (I was too busy having a good time to take pictures; thanks for acting as the photographer, Kevin Eddy). We started our morning with SugarFest 2011 and then took a break to regroup, open presents, and get dinner ready.
Noah snuggling Peyton. He had to fight off ND who gave him the stink eye the whole time he held Peyton. ND doesn't believe us when we tell her she's too small to hold babies all by herself.

Building a fort in the kids' bedroom. Amy (and Baby Elizabeth) is somewhere under that mound of pillows.

I think we may have to expand the kid table next year.

After a long, lovely day, the dads catch up on some sleep.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

story time

Earlier this month, Lola Oyang stayed overnight at our house. She was leaving for her annual trip to the Philippines and needed a ride to the airport. She arrived at our house just in time for dinner and bedtime. Lola read them a book...
 ...and Daddy read them another one.
Then off to bed for all of us...because a 4 AM drive to the airport comes pretty early!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

stuff my kid says

ND is entering (?) the terrible twos and has difficulty coping with anyone telling her, "No." So, one day, when Sam was minding his own business and playing with a few cars Aunt Teenie and Uncle Steve gave him for Christmas, ND decided to snatch them from his grasp.

Sam started shrieking and grabbed them back, so ND started screaming and smacked him.

Hitting or kicking are the two offenses that will send ND to time out, so off she went. When she gets out of time-out, she has to ask her brother (her usual victim) if he is okay and hug him and say sorry. Usually, Sam says, "It's okay, ND, but try to use your words next time, ok?"

This time, though, Sam was elated and came running to find me. "Mom, ND hugged me and I just fell in love with her again!"

Monday, January 23, 2012

playing the "guitar"

It's actually a baritone ukelele, but when Joe brought out his "big" guitar, Sam wanted to strum along on the "little guitar". I love how focused he is on Joe. They are singing "Jingle Bells" and "Woody the Bow-Legged Cowboy" (a variation on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer that you can enjoy all year round).

Friday, January 20, 2012

stuff my kid says

After Sam was throwing a tantrum:
Sam: Mom, I feel sad. There's something on my eyes.
Me: Do you have some tears?
Sam: No. It's water.
Me: Oh.
Sam: (matter-of-factly) Water comes from the sink or from your tears.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

guitar girl

bienvenidos a miami: la continuacion

 Well, it's that time of year again. That time of year when my employer twists my arm and makes me go to a continuing education conference in a warm and sunny place. All seemed to be going as planned until we got a light dusting of snow on Sunday. Knowing that snow rarely stays in Lewiston, we hurriedly changed the kids from their PJs to snow clothes and raced outside to play before church.
Well, the snow stayed...and stayed.

And, yesterday, even MORE snow was dumped on Lewiston. Our first flight out was cancelled. We rebooked to an earlier flight. Then schools closed. Then the city offices closed. Then our second flight was cancelled. The very nice Alaska Air lady told me I could either hope to fly out of Lewiston a day late or try to drive to Spokane for a different flight.

We drove to Spokane. It took us 3 1/2 hours.

Our flight taxied down the runway, only to turn around and return to the gate. It was de-iced again. I started to feel like God might be trying to tell me something. "Get off the plane! Don't go on the trip!" but instead, I drank a large glass of wine and settled into a magazine.

We finally made it to Seattle, ate dinner, and boarded our red-eye to Miami only an hour later than planned. Whew.

We left our little snow angels with Lala, thinking they'd go to daycare during the day and she would be on night duty, tough enough by itself. But, with the snowstorm, Lala's office closed, so she picked up the kiddos and spent ALL DAY AT HOME WITH THE KIDS. (You readers with small children know why this is in all-caps).

Our travel day was peppered with her texts:
"r u still in Ltown i need milk."
"nd is going to send me to an early grave"
"where is eucerin cream?"
"u forgot to tell me i had to draw a car or motorcycle on sams nighttime pullup"
"call me when u can" (that was just so she could vent--no broken arms...yet. Quick, knock on wood, turn around and spit!)

And, this morning, we have this view out of our hotel room.
We have unpacked, gone for a run on the beach, and are living a life of leisure.

Lala, we love you. We owe you--well, I'd say our firstborn, but you'd probably rather have a Starbucks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

weekly wisdom: Vacuum Cleaner Tag

With three dogs, our floors need vacuumed often. Like at least three times a week. Of course, with two small children, this is always a challenge. I've tried getting them excited about seeing how much dog hair we collect (which is a lot!) and letting them taking turns dumping the canister, but that gets old after the first pass.

So, we invented a game called Vacuum Cleaner Tag. Here are the rules:
1. You can't let the vacuum cleaner touch you. (I'm not sure what happens if I tag you with the vacuum cleaner, but the threat is enough to get the kiddos excited about the game).
2. You can be tagged anywhere on the carpet, but the chairs, beds, and couch are "base".
3. From any base, you can launch pillow bombs at the vacuum. If you make contact with the vacuum, the vacuum is disabled for 5 seconds and you can run freely to the next base.

After thirty minutes of Vacuum Cleaner Tag, my carpets were hairless and my kids had a great time.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sweet William

Yesterday, we drove up to Pullman to meet Will and wish him a Happy Birthday. It was quite a party. The Waldon women and Grandma Kaufman were already there.
William Henry Kaufman--what a great name!

The Palouse Kaufmans--now a family of 4

ND was SOOO excited about the "Baby"

This was a difficult shot to get. Lights off. No flash. And a toddler clinging to my leg.

Ben has now joined the ranks of the Big Brothers and spent most of our visit playing with Sam and Sam's cars.

ND was mesmerized by Will. She kept patting him ever so gently, saying, "Baby"...and then tried to poke him in the eye. She gave Sam the stink-eye and threw a tantrum when it was his turn to hold Will.

Sam and Will. He learned about how newborns scratch their faces and need to wear mittens and how their heads have soft spots...and told Lala all about it the next day.

Cynthia, Beth and Clara...everyone was excited about Will...

...everyone except Ben. He'd rather play cars.

Welcome to the family, Will! We are so glad you are finally here.

and the shirts come off on Sugar Cookie Day

After gingerbread houses were assembled, we started on sugar cookies. Amy had already experienced sugar cookie decorating with her children and wisely recommended we strip all the kids. Then, we formed a sugar cookie sweatshop, making those poor children frost and decorate cookie after cookie. No sooner would one tray of newly decorated cookies be filled than it would be whisked away and replaced with an empty tray waiting to be filled. Those poor kids worked their fingers to the bone.

This is Ben's "picture face".

This cookie, carefully decorated by Sam, had approximately 250 redhots on it. It was lifted very carefully onto the tray for fear the weight of the redhots might break the cookie. Later, all the Co-op Kids were most excited to eat this cookie, so they shared it, but I ended up finishing it because they all thought it too spicy. I guess that will happen with 250 redhots.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

the Sandman Chronicles: It Ain't Over Yet

After a month of blissfully sleeping through the night, ND has gone back to her bad sleepin' ways. Most of it has not been too bad--consistently waking up once or twice every night for the last two weeks. Last night, though, may have set the record for Most Horrendous Night Ever.

I woke up at 12:12am to ND fussing. I went in, tucked her in, and popped in a binky. After repeating this sequence twice in the next hour, I should have realized something was up. It was Friday the 13th.

All night, Joe and I took turns checking on our bad sleepin' baby. We rocked her. We checked her temperature. We checked her diaper. We checked her pajamas. We changed out blankets. Finally, we both gave up since we couldn't identify any problem and decided she'd have to work out her issues on her own.

I scooped up a sleeping Sam and put him in our bed, hoping he wouldn't be awakened by all of ND's screaming. Unfortunately, Sam woke up in transit and was adamant he didn't want to sleep in our bed, although I told him ND was being so loud, it was hard for any of us to sleep. Nevertheless, he insisted on going back to his own bed and ND settled down a little.

It was 4am and finally quiet for the first time in hours.

I was just dozing off when Sam tiptoed into our room. He whispered excitedly, "Mom! Her is finally quiet now! We can all sleep!"

Thanks for the update, Sam.

Unfortunately, ND did not remain quiet. After another hour of shushing, rocking, and shuffling beds, Sam, Joe and I lay awake in our bed, listening to ND scream uncontrollably--she was so angry about being the only one left behind in her room. Knowing she was entering soon-to-throw-up-because-she's-crying-so-hard territory, I went back to her room and picked her up.

Her chubby little arms circled my neck and she rested her head on my shoulder, still gulping down sobs. I patted her back and said, "ND-girl. Why are you not sleeping tonight?"

She gulped back another sob and said what I already should have known, "Just (gulp) 'cause."

Friday, January 13, 2012

sugar cookie chaos

On December 23rd, we held our first annual Co-op Kid Sugar Cookie Day. I had fond memories of making Christmas cookies, fudge and other candy, and, later as we got older, doing Christmas crafts with my Grandma, mom and aunt. This year, I decided our brood was old enough to enjoy decorating "gingerbread" (really graham crackers) houses and sugar cookies, so I invited all the Co-op Kids, Ben, Jolie and Peyton over for a sugarfest.
I stocked up on a wide assortment of decorating goodies. Teenie brought a few batches of sugar cookies, which was fortunate as she is an excellent baker. My cookies turned out not-so-pretty (but tasted good...that's why we decorate them, right?).

Lots of little hands decorating gingerbread houses. They were quite patient when they needed help with the frosting to assemble their houses; they just waited patiently while eating all the candies on the table.

Kate watching Teenie and me discuss the finer points of constructing gingerbread houses.

Ben, eyeing the goodies.

ND didn't make a house; she just ate red-colored candies.

Amy, licking her fingers.

Jolie and her daddy. She kept that dress clean throughout all the chaos.

This is the house that Glory built.

Kate's house. Built by a nurse practitioner, not an engineer. Lots of room for improvement next year.

The delicious fruits of our labor!