Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

pirate ship

These pictures are from sometime in the haze of Henry's sleepless newborn days...maybe sometime in early March? At that point, the only way I could get any sleep was to co-sleep and nurse Henry, but I didn't want to co-sleep with Joe in the bed, so I slept in the hide-a-bed in the living room every night.
(I was so tired I didn't even realize the hide-a-bed is incredibly uncomfortable).
Anyway, Sam and ND were delighted about this new development. Who knew that our ratty old couch could magically change into a bed???
So, every morning brought a new adventure on the hide-a-bed. On this particular day, the hide-a-bed became a pirate ship.
Sam was in charge of defense and brought his Nerf shotgun...which became a "canden" [cannon].

Natalie was supposed to be waving a pirate flag, but being a lot like her mother, quickly became concerned about our lack of groceries and set about finding snacks and dessert for her crew.

Monday, May 20, 2013

the rest of the Easter pictures

Jeff and Sam are egg hunting. Notice Sam's biking gloves. He picked them "because they have a Fox on them like Uncle Jeff's motorcycle stuff".

ND had a good time Easter egg hunting, too.

The Steve Kaufman band. L-R: Jeff on guitar, Joe on steel guitar, Phil on guitar, Steve on bass.

Aunt Teenie holding Baby Henry. She had to fight off Ellea and Loretta for him. Lucky for all three of them, Henry stayed awake the WHOLE day and was a bit crabby so they had to keep passing him around to keep him happy.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sam's 5th birthday

Dear Sam,
I can't believe you are five years old today. Age five seems so grown ready to start kindergarten. This year, some of your exuberance has calmed and you have funneled your abundance of energy into a more focused effort. Don't get me wrong; you still love to run and jump and wrestle with the best of them, but until this year, I never thought I'd see you sit and play a board game, sit and build with Legos for hours, sit and...well, just sit.
You have started to really observe the world around you and, surprisingly, reflect pretty insightfully on how it relates to you. You share your observations, which are both interesting and entertaining, with us all the time. You started joking that Dad was older than dirt a few weeks ago. Today, you asked Dad if Jesus was older than Dad. When Dad said yes, then you asked, "So Jesus is older than dirt?".
Yesterday, we were driving home from a fishing trip and you were looking out the window at the sunset. You casually remarked, "I wonder if Mr. Dan is looking at this sunset. It's beautiful and Mr. Dan loves watching beautiful sunsets." Where did that come from?? It reminds us that you are always soaking up information.

Your favorite hobbies are building with Legos, making paper airplanes, riding your bike (still with training wheels), and playing in the dirt. (I guess that last one will never change). You have learned so much in preschool this year and are suddenly so interested in words and how to spell and seem just on the brink of reading. Numbers aren't so bad either. A few weeks ago, you could barely count to 13 and a few days ago, you counted to 36. Amazing. Your favorite number is "finney squared" took your dad and I awhile to figure out you were talking about infinity squared.

Friendly and patient, you have been a great big brother to your siblings, even your sister, who can be demanding and test your limits. You are always willing to share and your teachers tell us you are a peacemaker at school. ND says you are her "best friend" and Henry giggles whenever you sit next to him.

Sam, you are such a joy to have as a son. Being the oldest, Dad and I often have high expectations for you and are harder on you than the rest of our crew---but you continually prove you are up for the challenge. You have become such a helpful, polite kid while keeping all of your same curiosity and zest for life that you've had all along. You are such a blessing.

Mom and Dad

Thursday, May 16, 2013

weekly wisdom: get yourself a Lala

The chaos of having three small children is a new challenge for which nothing could have prepared me. On Thursday through Saturday, I don't work and so the chaos can unfold in its own crazy, but enjoyable way. Who cares if Natalie has to try on three outfits before finding out she really wanted to wear a tutu and swimsuit today? Frankly, it's not even worth the fight.

Monday through Wednesday are an entirely different matter all together. Joe has to be at work at 7am, so I'm on my own. I have to get the kiddos to daycare and get Henry and me to work all by 9am. So, from the time Henry wakes up for his 5:30a feeding, we are on a tight schedule to make sure everyone is up, dressed and ready for the day.

No one is happy about this tight schedule. Not a single one of us. And most days, someone ends up crying. Sometimes, it's me.

Enter Lala.

Lala has saved the day by coming over every work day morning to help calm some of the chaos. She takes over changing and dressing Henry while I coax Sam and ND out of bed and into clothes. After a quick breakfast, she helps me herd them out the door and into the car.

Mornings have been a lot happier at our house since Lala started doing this. I know I'm spoiled. I know lots of moms get their kids ready on their own without any help. But, I am soooo glad Lala is willing to come over. It makes our whole day better.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

water wars

It was stinkin' hot and there was very little shade at our beloved neighborhood park, so we brought water balloons to cool down the kids. I started a game of Hot Potato with the crew, but it quickly de-escalated into an every-man-for-himself water balloon fight.
Steve and I tried to get them to throw the balloon to each other, but they kept dropping it...on purpose, I think.

ooh...right on Britt's head as Ben looks on.

ND ambushes Sam from behind while he's trying to get Zach

And then one of the boys got Teacher Sasha...and it was game-on.

"What do you mean we're all out of water balloons?"

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sam's 5th birthday party

We'd been avoiding it as long as possible, but this year we couldn't put it off any longer. Sam really wanted to have friends at his birthday party and, although the thought of four crazy 5-year old boys in one room was terrifying, we relented and invited some of his friends from preschool.
He wanted an Angry Birds Party. We weren't sure exactly what that meant, but I made some red and green cupcakes. We got some decorations and Joe built an Angry Birds game, using some boxes, green balls that he painted to look like pigs, and a water balloon launcher. Plus, we had it at the park near our house, so if all else failed, those crazy 5 year old boys could at least run around on the playground.
It was a huge amount of work and now I totally get why everyone else holds their kids' birthday parties at some exciting venue.
But, it was a huge success, according to Sam.
The birthday boy. He insisted on wearing his "goose-hunting" cap even though it was 90 degrees outside.

Will loved his cupcake. It took a whole package of wipes to clean it off him. Sorry, Teenie.

Lala took a turn holding Henry.

Joe and Jeff held the water balloon launcher for the real life Angry Birds game. Water balloons turned out to be a little challenging to aim, so they used rubber bouncy balls and shot them at...

Grandma Dori took a turn holding Henry. He thought he was hungry (as usual) and kept chomping on her hand, but he was just hot and a little grouchy.

Natalie Doris was the only girl. She insisted on wearing her tutu dress Lala bought her three days ago...and she's worn it every day since she got it. She had a great time until her mom informed her she couldn't pee on a tree like the boys. It was pretty much downhill from there...

A bunch of sweaty, rowdy little boys, fifty cupcakes, water balloons and popsicles on a hot spring day...what a great way to celebrate our awesome 5 year old Sam.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

farm wifery

For a long, long time, I have been resistant to the idea of becoming a farm wife. For you city slickers out there, farm wives work hard. They take care of their family, often by themselves. They help out on the farm. They drive truck during harvest...a skill I did manage to acquire when Joe and I were newlyweds. But, I didn't think I could ever be a farm wife. Before we had kids, I disliked the idea of coming home to an empty house while my husband worked late hours harvesting. After having kids, I couldn't stomach the idea of getting through dinner, baths, and bedtime as a solo parent. In short, I felt like if I ever became a farm wife, what little sanity I had would be slowly (or quickly) chipped away by all that time spent at home alone with my small children.

Joe has been pretty understanding about all of this throughout our marriage. We felt like our life was pretty full between our jobs, children, and the few hobbies we've managed to cling to despite parenthood. We are people who need our down time. Time to sit. Time to hang out with each other. Time to stare at the piles of laundry that need done. Time to dream about how nice it would be if we had a maid and a cook so we could have even more down time. Without down time, we get a little grouchy.

In my limited experience, farming is not a lifestyle compatible with a girl who needs her down time.

(Although, as I write this, I realized motherhood is not a lifestyle compatible with down time either).

But, as resistant as I've been to the whole farm-wifery idea, I can't ignore that farm kids are pretty awesome kids. Take my husband and his brothers: hard working, independent, good men. And these are qualities I want to instill in my own kids. So, when Joe had the opportunity to start doing a little farming with Steve, we decided we might give it a try.

For the most part, farm-wifery has been still an abstract idea. Joe and Steve have been working on paper work in setting up a partnership. All I've had to do is write a check to get things going....

...until today. Today, I became a real farm wife.

Joe and Steve had to plant corn all day.

Sam's birthday party was today.

And, I now have three small children to take care of.

When Joe told me this and said he'd be home in time for the party, I was, at first, grateful. Then, I realized that meant I'd be getting ready for the party all by myself. Well, not all by myself...I'd have the 3 kiddos with me, which was even worse. (You moms of little kids out there know what I mean...any task takes twice as long once a little person is involved and there is a high risk that the task will get undone and have to be redone once you do it). Totally overwhelmed.

I had myself a little pity party and then I put my big girl panties on.

And I got up at 6am today and frosted 50 cupcakes with 3 kids at home. Take that, farm-wifery! I'm gonna get 'er done and do it with some extra sprinkles. Go big or go home.

In all honesty, I talked a big game until about 11am when I called in Sasha for reinforcements.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

when the circus comes to town

A few weeks ago, our daycare center hosted a Family Fun Night and Team Eddy tagged along with us. It was a lot like the school carnival/book fairs I went to when I was in elementary school: cake walks, go-fish, bean-bag toss...and FACE PAINTING.
Face painting, surprisingly, turned out to be the main interest and we waited our turn for 45 minutes so all 5 big kids could get their faces painted. Then, we got a terrific family photo taken and it was time to head home.
It was well past bedtime when we pulled into the driveway and I was horror-stricken when I realized that the faces that just got painted now had to be washed and ready for bed.

When we told the news to the kids, they were all equally horror-stricken. (I took this opportunity to slip away into a back bedroom and nurse Henry in peace and solitude while the three remaining parents dealt with the tantrum-throwing that ensued).

The kids were a little placated by getting a picture of their faces before each of them were scrubbed clean. A little placated.
Noah as Spiderman. That paint job took FOR-EV-ER.

Sam as Batman

Natalie as a butterfly. Halfway through, she decided she was done so she only got glitter on one side.

Kate as a butterfly.

Glory as a tiger.
Face-painting was a rockin' good time, but we learned our lesson after that....and steered clear of the face-painting booth at the Dogwood Festival.

Saturday, May 04, 2013


My mom-friend, LeAnne, even made the long, long trip up from Pocatello to celebrate Henry's baptism with us. I sent her a text during those last miserable days of Henry's endless pregnancy: "If this baby ever gets out, would you like to come to his baptism?"

She dog-sat for us whenever we made the long drive up to Lewiston for Sam--and then ND's-- baptisms, so she was glad to finally get to be part of a Kaufman baptism.

It was a quick trip with a lot of driving, but we tried to cram in as much visiting as possible--in between baby bouncing, changing diapers, cleaning up messes and reading stories.

Friday, May 03, 2013

first giggles

As we were saying good-bye to some of our brunch guests, I heard a baby giggle. Lala got all excited, hollering, "He just laughed! He just laughed!". It took this sleep-deprived mama a few minutes to realize it was Henry who was giggling.
(That's a three month milestone, folks. One that my two month old son just accomplished. Yes, I already knew he was brilliant).
Baby giggles are a delightful, contagious, of course, Joe and I tried all sorts of antics to get him to do it again, but he would only laugh for Holy Choly. (We always knew there was something special about her, too).

Thursday, May 02, 2013

party like it's 1999

Amy...welcome tothe gun show

super sitter

Jacquie and Henry

the Wilkins family

it was also Lizzy's 1st Communion

The Johnsons came, laden with babyblankets.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

big Henry, little Henry

Big Henry (AKA Hank) rocked little Henry for a good chunk of the afternoon. When I checked on them a little later, both were dozing off. Rocking a baby will do that to you every time.