Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kruze Meadows

Our weekend to-do list was long , but we decided to take one day off for a hike in Kruze Meadows in the Waha Mountains. It was just a short drive to the meadow, but long enough to build the suspense. As we passed tree after tree, Sam was practically wiggling in his seat with anticipation. We unloaded and Sam found the remains of an old campfire. He immediately fell in love with a charred rounded stick and lugged it with him the entire hike. Of course, this meant everything (EVERYTHING) was covered in ash; no, he doesn't have a black eye in the picture below...that's just soot.

 Sam loved the hike, bounding up the trail and stopping to explore every plant, stick, and pile of deer poop excitedly. ND loved the hike, too, but probably because she spent 95% of the hike on my back. She would call out orders ("Walk faster! Go, Mama!") and I, her pack mule, would obey.
 Eventually, she decided to join in Sam's fun, found a stick, and walked for a little bit until we found a place to take a rest and have a snack.
 Sam and ND's packs contained snacks, which they had thoughtfully packed. Each of us had an oatmeal bar and Sam shared his "boy snacks" (Spiderman fruit snacks) with Joe while ND and I sipped coffee and ate some Dora fruit snacks.
The weather was cool and breezy, so we didn't rest for long. We scouted out a possible camping site for next time. Then, it was back to the car and to the Waha Bar and Grill for some lunch before heading home.

And, of course, Sam's charred stick came home with us, too.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sam's lullaby

Sam's lullaby to Ellie:

Sleep, Ellie, go to sleep.
We are your family.
God loves you so much.

Sam, for a four year old, you summed it up pretty well.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

sweet Ellie

Sweet baby. You are pretty happy...

 when no one is sticking their sticky fingers in your mouth...
 ,,,or squirting you in the face with a squirt gun.
(Sometimes being the youngest of six cousins isn't easy).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sprinkler systems are for...

a) keeping the grass green.

b) keeping the kids cool.

c) keeping the mom in shape while she runs through with a 30lb naked baby.

d) all of the above.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Funny faces

Teenie, BEST SISTER-IN-LAW IN THE WORLD, came to watch my 2 crazy Kaufman kids along with her 2 crazy Kaufman kids last week when Nanny Amy had an appointment in Spokane. She had nine chaotic hours filled with chasing 3 active kids while lugging around Will. In return, she asked Joe and me to watch Ben--just Ben--for a couple of hours that evening while she and Steve ran some errands.

One of us got the better end of the deal on that one.
I'm not saying who.

We played for awhile, built some forts and then fed those Kaufman kids a good dinner. Then, Sam and ND provided some after dinner entertainment, showing Ben their funny faces.
Sam's funny face
Like looking in a mirror...sort of.

ND's funny face

Ben's thinking, "WTF???"
 (Why The Face???)

"It's ok, Ben. Hang around with us long enough and you'll catch the crazies, too."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy birthday, Sam!

Dear Sam,

I can't believe you are four--count 'em, FOUR--years old. You have grown up so much in these four short years. This year, we've hit some pretty big milestones. You are officially potty-trained. You stopped taking naps. You can write your name. You can ride a bike. You can do some simple addition problems.

You are still ever exuberant and spirited.This is both a blessing and a challenge. Your energy and enthusiasm are boundless and sometimes contagious. You love to laugh and have a good time. It is wonderful to explore the world through your eyes and your incredible imagination. You love to play hunting games (your quarry is typically some African plains game since your dad recently went on safari). Most days, you announce, "Let's pretend we're the (fill in the blank: kudu, springbok, robot, farmer, helicopter, jaguar) family" and we are off and running. You love books (especially the Berenstain Bears), superheroes (especially Spiderman), and all of your extended family (especially The Uncles and My Cousins).

You have managed to focus your enthusiasm into projects that interest you. You take the time to learn jokes and riddles with Grandma. You love creating a "stable" block tower, making paper airplanes with Dad, and painstakingly assembling little lego cars with a million little pieces. You have started to draw detailed pictures although coloring inside the lines continues to elude you.

You are, in fact, so enthusiastic about all of your endeavors that little else will distract you from your task at hand. Getting dressed, putting on shoes, all the hundred endless tasks it seems to take to get out the door--none of these can take priority over your current project. This is where almost every discipline battle begins and ends with us. I guess if that's our biggest challenge, we don't have much to complain about.

You continue to be a loving big brother to ND, sharing your toys well and comforting her when she is throwing a tantrum. You remind her about good behavior and to "use your words". Dad and I are amazed by how compassionate you can be to your sister and often say you are much better to her than she deserves.

Sam, four years ago, you came into our family and shook up your dad's and my dull and quiet life. As you grew from a happy, sweet baby to an extra-active toddler to the spirited preschooler you are today, Dad and I feel so blessed to have you as our son. You give us the best bear hugs and show us how to find EXCITEMENT in every moment of every day.

Happy birthday, kiddo.
Love, Mom and Dad 

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Color Run

Months ago, Deanna heard about The Color Run, a fun fundraising 5K through the streets of Seattle, during which runners and walkers wear white...and volunteers throw colored powder on them. I thought it sounded fun...and, let's face it, I knew I'd be ready for a girls' weekend after Joe got back from his safari. We were supposed to be a team of 4, but, alas, the race sold out so quickly that our other 2 teammates didn't get a chance to register.


 Not that I'm a racing expert, but I've never run a race like this before. It was totally laid back and fun. People were wearing everything from white shirts, white wigs, white tutus, and even a white tux! As we approached color stations, people stopped running and walked to get as much color on them as possible; at the orange station, a runner in front of us rolled on the ground in orange powder to get a little more color on his clothes.
 My brand new white shoes now have a totally rad 80s look to them. I borrowed a camo bandana from Darin to keep the powder out of my slightly asthmatic lungs. Today, I went to work with a slightly purplish tinge to my neck. Some patients probably thought I had a hickey.
 Our enthusiasm was slightly tempered at the finish line when we discovered that, during the race, Deanna's phone, my driver's license and my credit card had fallen out of Deanna's pocket. A few quick texts to our husbands on my phone cancelled my credit card and, fortunately, someone turned in Deanna's phone to the lost and found...well, at least, part of her phone. It didn't quite survive the fall.

I think we might be making this an annual tradition. Next time, we'll be bringing the kiddos. Can't you see Sam loving every.single.minute?

We met up with my good friend, Rae, after the race. She looked beautifully put together, as always, and offered us grubby runners a chance to shower at her workplace locker room, just down the road from our brunch place. We scrubbed off as much color as possible, donned our sweaty shirts again proudly, and ate lunch at the Eastlake Bar and Grill, where (drum roll, please) MOMS EAT FREE ON MOTHER'S DAY. That's right. FREE.
We didn't have a single child with us, so they just took our word for it...even though I offered to show them my stretch marks.

It was a whirlwind, completely fun, exhausting day. I dropped Deanna off at the ferry and then drove home, anxious to see my own kiddos on Mother's Day. When I got home that night, I found Sam asleep on the couch, where he'd been waiting for me, ND tucked into her crib sound asleep, and my 3 beautiful goddaughters and their sassy mama pulling into the driveway right behind me.

For a girl who used to strongly dislike Mother's Day, I think it may be turning into one of my favorite holidays.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

and now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

So, life has been a little, um, crazy, but we've unpacked 85% of our stuff and I think that we may be ALMOST ready to resume our normal schedule of blogging.

Stay tuned...starting tomorrow.