Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Friday, October 11, 2013

what we did on our summer vacation

After our Montana misadventure earlier this summer, I made the executive decision to cancel our long-planned family vacation to Seattle. We decided to head some place closer to home. Joe and I calculated exactly how much of Henry's crying I could tolerate, taking into account how long it would take for my mother-in-law to come rescue us should we run out of gas on the side of the road, and decided to take a little family vacation in Winchester. We reserved a suite at the Winchester Lake Lodge, loaded up our new canoe, headed off for family-bonding and memory-making.
The days were filled with fun. We walked to the local café for our meals. We brought games and Legos to wile away those hot afternoon hours. We visited the Wolf Center and saw TWO WOLVES! for the low-low price of only $30. (ND got hot and crabby, but Sam thought it would have been a bargain at twice the price). We ran races on the lodge deck until we were scolded by the manager. It was a good time.
The days were fun, but the nights were long. Miss Natalie Doris, our bad-sleepin' baby, quickly became overtired and in her usual paradoxical fashion, did not sleep. Instead, she would loud-cry and make exorbitant demands on her parents. Exhausted and frantic to quell the loud-crying, we would give in only to have her change her mind and demand something else.

"SCRATCH MY BACK! SCRATCH MY BACK!" I lay down beside her and scratch her back.
So, I stop rubbing her back and Joe trades me spots. The second--the very second--I move, ND yells "I WANT MAMA!! I WANT MAMA!"

You just can't win. I'm sure the other lodge guests hated us.

One morning after a long, long night, I looked at Joe and said, "Do you think the other guests think we're beating her when she loud cries like that?"
Joe looked at me for a minute and replied, "Either that...or that we're not beating her enough."

Henry was, as usual, more concerned about eating than sleeping. At least I could nurse him and get a little sleep. He was a trooper, though. He tagged along on all the adventures except for canoeing, when we stuck him on the shady dock in a pack-n-play.

Wait. What? You bought a canoe?

Why, yes. Yes, we did. We've wanted a canoe for awhile and have tried to curtail our hobbies to ones that 1) promote family togetherness and 2) encourage physical activity. So, when Joe found this canoe, he thought it would be perfect. The lady selling the canoe was the manager of the REI in Spokane and mentioned how much she loved taking her kids out on the canoe.

We got all swept in the romance of canoeing and family togetherness...and momentarily forgot that we have three kids who are 5 and under.

Since our kids can't yet a) swim, b) paddle and c) follow instruction (at least, that's how I felt at this point in the vacation!), Joe took the big ones one at a time out on Winchester Lake while I stayed on the shore with the other big kid and Henry.
Fishing. No luck but we had a good time.

The canoe was a big hit!

I got a little quiet time on the lake by myself. Paddling made my arms quite tired--I guess I don't have very good form yet.

Natalie practiced some paddling.

Joe & I became very adept at lashing the canoe to the top of the Pilot. We loaded all 3 kids in the car on this particular evening and Sam got ahold of the camera.
We headed back to the Lodge, where we'd rented a DVD to wind down after soooo much fun in the sun. We'd hoped for a good night's rest, but it was just not meant to be. So the next day, we decided to head home to our own beds. Everyone was a little sad to leave behind our vacation, but after spending all of the minutes of all of the days together...we were ready to give up a little of our family-bonding, memory-making ways.
We all needed our morning coffee on vacation.
Now that we've caught up on our rest and the anguish of the long nights have blurred into a fuzzy memory, I'm glad we made the effort (the TREMENDOUS effort)to take our little family on a little vacation. The kids honestly didn't care what we did; as sappy as it sounds, they just cared that we had some time together. Maybe we'll spend the next few summers family-bonding and memory-making, exploring exotic locations like Orofino, Moscow, or Cottonwood.


(You hear that, children? That means NO DISNEYLAND until you sleep through the night or stop crying in the carseat).

Monday, October 07, 2013

gratuitious fat cheeked baby pictures

Noah and Henry

Sweet smiles

Those fingers are delicious!

Happy Henry

That's Ninang, photobombing the picture.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Sam's first day of kindergarten

I am woefully behind in posting these pictures, but every time I looked at them, I got a little misty-eyed. This August, we hit a major milestone: Sam went to kindergarten.
Ready to leave the nest.
And you know what everyone says about that, right?
 "Oh, enjoy these days...they go so fast."
"Before you know it, he'll be grown and out of the house."
"Having little kids was my favorite time of my life...I wish I could do it again."
Oh, stop already. I need some Kleenex.
We celebrated the milestone with all of the ceremony it deserved.  The night before, we joined the rest of the school at the annual ice cream social and dropped off Sam's backpack at his new classroom. In the morning, we took a commemorative First Day of School picture before Joe took Sam to school while I drove the little kids to daycare. I joined them at Sam's classroom just before school started.

All too soon, it was time for us parents to go. We patted Sam on his back while he industriously started coloring the picture his teacher had placed before him.

Joe: Have a good day, buddy. It's going to be great.
Sam: I know.
Jen: We love you, honey. You're going to have a great time at kindergarten.
Sam: I know. See you guys later.

Ok, so one-third of this Kaufman bunch was handling the transition just fine.

Joe and I headed off to the first Mass of the school year before heading to work.

At the end of the day, we tripped all over ourselves asking Sam questions about this first day at school. He patiently answered a few questions but was pretty nonchalant about the whole deal.

What was his favorite part of the day?

The school bus ride.
(He's a real academic, that one).