Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Easter in July

As you know, April was a busy month for our not much blogging got done. Here's a quick summary of our Easter weekend. (Better late than never!)
Joe, Jeff, and Phil. Joe and Phil left bright and early Good Friday for their safari. Jeff has a sad face because he doesn't get to go.

Lala celebrated Easter by getting a new dishwasher. The Co-op kids were fascinated by Bob H., who installed the dishwasher.

Easter Egg Hunt for the Altmiller family on Saturday

Jolie & Sam hunting for eggs

ND's not so sure about this whole ritual

Sam discovers the eggs are full of candy

Peyton and her mama

Grandma A, Jolie, and Ellie

Kevin shot a self portrait of Ellie and him during newborn-night-duty, but I'm not sure what happend to this picture.

Friday, June 29, 2012

a walk in the park

Kate, Glory, Kevin (with Ellie in the wrap), ND (in a tutu), Noah, Joe, Sam
 Our friend, Anne, lives in the far off land of Jordan, MT and so we don't get to see them as often as we'd like. Last weekend, Anne was in town (or almost in town) and so we headed up to Spokane to see her and her girls. Our friend, Mandy, lives near there, too, so she and her husband, Tim, brought their daughter Anna to the park for a carousel ride and running-around time.

 We started the day early with breakfast at Team Eddy's house. Tancie and Lauren's dad, Uncle Pat, was in town and joined us for a quick visit. Amy's working the night shift, which is just as fun as it sounds, so after breakfast we sent her to bed and took the kids to the mall to run out some energy before lunch.

Then, it was off to Riverfront Park for some ice cream and carousel rides. Unfortunately, my old Kodak EasyShare has become a bit tempermental in its old age and we only snapped a few pictures.
Gwen, Anna, ND, Glory
The ones we did manage to snap of our combined kids were caught at the end of the day when everyone was crabby and hungry, so this one--believe it or not--is the best shot. And it's missing half the kids!

Regardless, we had a fun time and hope to see everyone again soon!

Friday, June 22, 2012


For the most part, Sam has enjoyed our break from daycare. We don't have to rush out the door in the morning; he doesn't have to take a nap; and basically, he gets to do whatever he wants as long as a) no one gets hurt and b) he can talk his sister into it.

But, sometimes, he's been getting a little lonesome for his friends.

I wasn't ready to tackle the challenge of inviting over 5 little boys from daycare, but I thought I could handle one little friend: Kenzie. She and Sam get along well and I know Kenzie fairly well; I see her a few times a week at work when her mom, who works in my office, is getting ready to drop her off at preschool.

So, we decided to invite Kenzie over for an afternoon. We went out to the movies as a special treat and watched Madagascar 3. Afterwards, we went back to our house to color pictures, play with puzzles and ride bikes.

All in all, a successful first playdate.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

off in Lala-land

ND wakes us up every morning at 4am, crying and insisting that it is "wake up time" despite our best efforts to convince her otherwise.

So, this morning, I woke up, startled, at FIVE am, realizing that ND hadn't started crying at 4am. While pondering this in the morning quiet, I heard a voice in the kitchen.

Me: Joe! Wake up! There's someone in our house!
Joe: Shh. Go back to sleep. (He rolled over and promptly went back to sleep).

Abandoned by my husband and left to fend for myself and our two children, I tiptoed out into the hallway to peek into Sam and ND's rooms. Sam was still sleeping in his bed...


I was pretty sure someone had snatched her and was in the process of whisking her to a get-away car. My heart was pounding when I heard the fridge door open. The kidnappers were still in the kitchen!!

I crept to the kitchen to rescue my baby and came face to face with...


Lala: Oh, morning, Juni. You kept whining about how tired you were since ND was waking you up so early, so I came over this morning to get her up, so you and Joe could get some sleep.
Me: Huh?
Lala: And, I brought you coffee, too.
Me: Oh. Oh, thanks.

I'm not sure if the moral of this story is to
always give your mom a key to your house or to
never give your mom a key to your house.

gone fishin'

While the Kaufman boys went squirrel hunting, I joined the Poxleitner/Uptmor clan and went fishing at their pond. I did a lot of fishing growing up. My Dad loved to fish and so whenever he was in charge of care during summer vacation, we spent our time together fishing. It wasn't just regular fishing-with-the-kids-fishing either. His regular rule was we had to catch our limit before we could go swimming. No limit, no swimming.

He did all the grimy stuff: baiting hooks, unhooking fish, bopping fish on the head, cleaning fish. Amy and I just had to reel them in.

So, I decided to share this tradition with ND.

Turns out I'm not such a great fisherman. I couldn't cast. I couldn't choose the right lure. I couldn't unhook the fish. But, luckily, Glenn was there to give me a few pointers.

And, luckily, the fish--they were biting!!

I managed to cast my line into the pond about ten successful times. And I caught 6 fish.
 I thought these would be prime conditions to let ND reel in her first fish. Little did I know that ND is terrified of fish. She touched one while Glenn held it before proclaiming it "yucky and scary". The rest of the time, she was happy to let Ellea hold her while I wrestled with my pole and reeled in fish.
 Loretta and Nicole did some fishing from a boat.
 And Loretta tried out her new camera.
 Shari and Blake fished for awhile, too.

 Loretta and Ellea kept ND fed with grapes, carrots, and cheese sticks. She was a happy girl.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


We've been blessed with an abundant strawberry patch in our backyard. We have a good system: I pick them, ND eats them. The kid can eat fifty of them at a time. She reluctantly shares them with her brother or her dad.

But, she loves to share them with Lola Oyang.

Lola Oyang (my grandma) has been spending some time with us each week. It's a beautiful system: she gets out of her house, spends time with the kids and I take her grocery shopping. In return, she folds all my laundry and brings us yummy Filipino food.

The best part: she's ND's new best friend. She lets ND cover her with stickers. She patiently listens to ND's stories. She pretends to be ND's puppy. She lets ND boss her around.

So, of course, ND loves Lola Oyang. 

 Lola Oyang stays with us Thursday and Friday. So, that means ND asks "Where Lola Oyang went?" Saturday through Wednesday.
Those two are like two peas in a pod...or two strawberries in a patch.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Horsin' around

We spent Father's Day at the Poxleitners' in Keuterville. Joe requested some fishing and ground squirrel shooting, so we invited ourselves up to the Poxleitners', who are always a good time. We did do some fishing and Joe and the boys did some squirrel shooting, but more about that later.

Toward the end of our day, the kids were starting to melt in the chaotic, crying, irrational way familiar to any parent with small children. I shot Joe a look and we decided we'd better say our good-byes and hit the road before the poop hit the fan. Just before we made our escape, Loretta asked, "Didn't Sam want to see the horses?"


I pondered that one. Do we leave on a good note with Sam and ND smiling and in high spirits? Or, do we check out the horses, which could leave us having a great time and then suddenly crashing into an "I-need-a-nap-an-hour-ago" tantrum?

Never one to play it safe, I picked option B.

Cowboy Sam

Sam and ND. ND also rode by herself, but felt much safer with her big brother hanging onto her.

Loretta's horse, Dakota, was a very patient, faithful steed.

Loretta and Nicole, bringing up the horses.

ND and Mama watching Sam ride the horse with Loretta leading it. ND kept giggling and saying, "Horsey says 'Neigh!'"...with her binky, of course.
It was like someone flipped a switch in Sam. He went from a 4 year old boy, whining and fighting wiht his sister to a happy, excited kid, racing toward me, ready to follow every instruction, ANY instruction just to be able to ride a horse "like a real cowboy."
We may end up having to get a horse.
Maybe we could pasture it in our...backyard? garden? Still working on the logistics...

Monday, June 18, 2012

happy (belated) Father's day!

Dear Joe,
When we were dating and dreaming about our future, you once shared a bit of wisdom an old farmer had told you. He'd said, "When I get to heaven and God asks me what important work I did on Earth, I won't say I was a farmer. I'll say I was a father."
 You live this philosophy every day, whether it's coaxing your sassy daughter into her car seat or folding paper airplanes of every size and shape with your son.
 You have endless patience...a nice balance to my intense first reactions to, well, everything. We make a pretty good team, you and I. top it all off, you have good-lookin' forearms. Holding our children's hands really shows them off nicely.

We love you.
Happy Father's Day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The CDC recommends that children get 60 minutes of physical activity (or more) a day...

...I'm pretty sure we exceed that.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

all cleaned up for church

Here's a picture of my two adorable children, sitting on the rocks in our front yard, while we were getting ready to go to church.

Amy's comment?
"And, apparently, ND dressed herself that morning."

Friday, June 08, 2012

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Sam's birthday party

1. Invite a lively bunch of party guests.

2. Find a birthday boy.

3. Open some birthday presents.

4. Blow out some birthday candles.

5. Increase the sugar high exponentially by opening a pinata. (I got a ribbon pinata, where every kid pulls a ribbon and one opens the trap door to cause the candy to spill out. It seemed safer than the smack-it-to-bits version).

6. Whack your cousin in the face with your candy bag.