Grandma Ruth passed away yesterday.  She went peacefully and without suffering.  We're heartbroken for ourselves but thrilled for her.  We love her and are so thankful for the time we had to spend with her.


The Baptism

On Sunday we had Jacob baptized at St. Andrew's Presbyterian. We just love the pastor and congregation there and feel so at home. We began attending church there when we still lived on base. Since we've moved it takes us almost an hour to drive there every Sunday but it's definitely worth it.  We were so thankful to have all of our family in town to share the day with us.

You all know that Jacob can't do much unless his tongue is sticking out. I guess the associate pastor must have been feeling it. Take a look at his mouth! :)

Here's a video that my step-mom shot. I love the end when everyone sings "Jesus Loves Me" to Jake.



We had a great time with family and friends this weekend at the kid's circus birthday party.  I truly feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful and loving people.  Happy Birthday Lauren and Jacob!



**EDITED to add: Several of you have asked for a tutorial for the circus sign. I really wish I had taken pictures. Thanks so much for the nice comments! Unfortunately, my husband stuck it in with some items for his mother's estate sale and someone took it home for $7. It broke my heart. I'll do my best to explain but most of the work on the sign was handled by my husband, dad, and stepdad. It's good to have family in town for parties!! As far as I remember they lined the letters (papier mache purchased at JoAnn's) up on the piece of wood where we wanted them to go and traced around them. They removed the letters and drilled holes through the piece of wood inside the lines, spacing the holes evenly. They laid the letters back down inside the lines and drilled from the bottom of the board up through the holes they had already made and into the letters. Of course, the hole into the board and into the backside of the letter can be as big as you need it to be to get the lights in. When they drilled through into the top of the letter, they carefully punched a small hole in the top part of the letter just to mark it. They then used a smaller drill bit and made the hole look nicer from the top side of the letter being careful to make it just big enough for the tip of the light to poke through. You want it fairly small/tight as this is what holds it in place. You don't insert any Christmas lights at this point as you still need to paint everything. After this, they painted the board and the letters, and we used hot glue to attach the letters to the wood, stuck the strands of lights in through the larger holes and individual lights in the smaller holes, and used duct tape to attach the Christmas lights to the back of the board for support.

Was that totally confusing? I hope it helped. Let me know if you have any further questions and I'll do my best to answer them! I can bring my husband in to consult. Haha!


Come One, Come All!

Lauren will be turning 5 on Saturday. It's hard to believe how quickly the time has flown by. She has certainly kept us on our toes during her little lifetime but I'm thankful for every minute with our fearless, strong, bull-headed, loving daughter. We're having a joint circus birthday party for her and our sweet little 1-year old. Family start arriving today! I'm so excited and just can't wait!



Why I love my husband

Reason # 825,364:  He puts up with and indulges my hair-brained schemes.

Case-in-point:  The Big Top
When it comes to planning parties, I'm more of the idea man.  I envision and Doug creates.  Much to my dear husband's dismay, I have a tendency to not think about the logistics or aftermath.  In my head, it's just a nail here and there, a little dab of paint and voila! you have a finished product.

For example: The Dinner Party (I envisioned lights dripping from the ceiling....think "Stars Fell on Alabama")
Doug had to configure and adhere 100's of lights and then remove them, patch the ceiling, and paint it.

For example:  The Pirate Party (Every pirate party needs a plank, right?)

For example:  The Mermaid Party (A centerpiece with live goldfish swimming around inside it, just sets the mood, doesn't it??)  After we brought the goldfish home, I went out for a little photo session and left Doug home with the girls.  He went to feed the dog and came back to find each girl walking around with a goldfish in their hands.  When they saw him, they scurried over and replaced the fish ASAP.  He asked them what they thought I would say and they told him they thought I would be very angry.  They then decided they would run away to avoid disciplinary measures and went outside.  They were both little and Doug didn't think they could get out of the backyard.  A few seconds later when he realized that it seemed very, very quiet out back, he peeked out and noticed the gate to the front yard was open.  He ran out to the front just in time to see them rounding the corner at the end of the street.  He took off after them and caught Anna at the next corner.  She went boneless and wouldn't run so he had to carry her as he ran after Lauren.  Lauren hid behind a car and he finally had to ask someone if they'd seen her.  This was before the party.  After the party, we had to hike to a river and release the fish.  Like I said, I don't think about the aftermath.

For example:  The Cowgirl Party (A western party just can't be authentic without bales of hay, am I right??)
Per my request Doug hauled in something like 6-7 bales of hay and a couple of bags of sand (for panning for gold, of course) into our living room.  Needless to say, we were vacuuming up hay and sand for weeks.  This time I got to dispose of a few bales myself and donated them to the stables on base.

For example:  The Big Top (You definitely cannot, no way whatsoever, have a circus party without a big top, am I right?)  As you may know, we've been working like crazy to try and get this house to a semi-finished state.  We had the entire interior painted and the thought of putting holes in the ceiling and walls....well, it hurts.  Leave it to my wonderful, dreamy husband though (after only a little complaining, well maybe more than a little) to come up with a hula hoop and 8 strips of 25-foot fabric to make my little old dream come true.  Aren't I a lucky girl?


Isn't it amazing?

Isn't it amazing how quickly your day can go from this

to this?

Anna got her first tardy slip ever yesterday.  We couldn't seem to get out the door because everyone was busy hula-hooping, playing video games, debating outfits, and "forgetting" to get their teeth brushed.  I'm also frustrated that he weather is refusing to cooperate for my circus picture.  This is CA, where's the sun?  I can't seem to get anything done for the upcoming party and baptism (9 days and counting).  To top things off, Grandma keeps tipping over.  She fell today for the third time in about 5 days.  Doug's been around for the first two and managed to get her back onto her feet.  Today she bent over to get her slippers and just kept going.  Thankfully, thankfully she wasn't hurt but Tyler and I didn't think we were going to be able to get her up again.  We finally called Doug and he gave us exact instructions on how best to lift her.  Tyler lifted her according to the directions received and made it look easy.  Unfortunately, he leaves tomorrow....what do I do the next time??  Maybe we'll all just have a floor day together...picnics, movies under a blanket, or perhaps a little twister until Doug comes home and can get Grandma back moving.  In other melancholy news, we're all extremely sad to see Ty go.  Anna sang him a little "Tyler don't go home" song this evening.  She told him that he lives with us now and needs to stay here. I agree wholeheartedly.  We're going to miss you, Ty...


The sky is falling

A few months ago while reading the "SouleMama" blog, I remember thinking "Who is this woman???!"  How in the world can she be raising a brood of children, homeschooling, knitting hats and socks, and oh, by the way she just knocks out a skirt for her daughter before dinner.

Although I come from a long line of amazing seamstresses, I apparently did not inherit the sewing gene.  I always jump into a project thinking, "Hey, this is easy.  I can do this."  I then spend 2 hours trying to figure out how to stitch on one stupid little pocket.  I call my mother on the other side of the country and ask her to explain patterns.  After a detailed explanation, she asks if I understand.  My standard response is "No".  A seamstress, I am not....

After a frustrating and fruitless search for a red skirt for a circus picture I want to take of the kids, I decided I would just buy some fabric and try my hand at making what I wanted.  I decided to use the pattern that "SouleMama" used as it "seemed" easy and is a free offering from Oliver + S.  Oh my goodness, I ended up making two skirts!  That's right....2, dos, deux, zwei, shtayim.  The sky must be falling.  It was so easy, in fact, I'm even going to let the girls have a go at making their own as well (with a little help from Mommy, of course).  As I have many, many failed projects sitting in my sewing closet, it was a real confidence booster.   Granted, they may not be the most beautiful or well-stitched skirts on the planet but they're wearable and the girls seem to like them!  They actually do look much cuter on the girls than on the hangers.  In the pictures it looks like the black trim is puckering the fabric but it's really not that way in real life.  Hopefully, I'll get a picture of the girls in the skirts today sometime!


The 365 Day Project

I've started this project a couple of times now and haven't made it past the first week.  I'm determined to do it this time.  Occasionally I'll post the photos here as well but otherwise you can find the daily shots on my other blog: "Worth a Thousand Words: A Year in Photos". 

Since I hate to post without a photo, here's a shot of our coat hanger for children AKA Tyler.  Poor guy.  Every where he goes he has a child or two hanging on him.


Ping Ping and the Peanut Gallery

Lauren and Anna have been playing a lot of “bideo” games recently. For one game in particular, they each have their own little user names so they can log in and “try to make it into the top ten.” Top ten has been a huuuuge deal in our house lately. Anyway, I thought it was kind of funny the other day when Lauren brought home some of her school work and she had put her name on the top of the page as LaurenK4 (her user name). It seemed less funny though when at the park recently she introduced herself to someone as LaurenK4. The little girl asked her what her middle name was and Lauren turned to me and said, “Mommy, what’s my middle name??” I answered. Then the little girls asked for her last name. Again, Lauren turned to me and said, “Mommy??” I said, “You’ve got to be kidding. If you can remember your user name, you can surely remember your last name.” Speaking of names, the girls have been trying to figure out Tyler’s middle name. They’ve come up with all kinds of options and since Tyler wouldn’t tell them until they guessed it on their own, they’ve taken to calling him “Ping Ping”. I’m not quite sure where they came up with that one but as far as they’re concerned, their brother’s full name is Tyler “Ping Ping” Kleist.

Anna was “selling” tea from her tea store a few days ago. Her store is basically a bar stool covered with tea cups, a tea pot, and a ceramic cupcake. There was some debate from Lauren about the cost of the tea. Anna was selling it for a quarter a cup. Lauren asked me how much a quarter was and I told her it was 25 cents. She said, “NO, I mean what size quarter is it??” They finally worked it out and Lauren purchased a cup. She wouldn’t, however, make the trip to pick up her 25 cents worth of tea and told Anna to send the waitress (Mommy) over with it. I was making breakfast and so Anna told her in no uncertain terms, “That girl (Mommy) is the cooker. A waitress is a person who brings you your drinks and food. I am NOT a waitress. I am the store manager.

We had a storm recently and the girls told me it was raining and there were fireworks in the rain.

Lauren keeps asking me to go find her some socks that rhyme. Apparently she can’t find a matching pair on her own.

I was having a rough day the other day and Anna didn't help matters much by asking me if I missed being young.

Tyler has the best sense of humor. He comes up with some real zingers where Lauren is concerned. For some reason Lauren just goes a little wacky whenever we get into a vehicle. She’ll have been good all day but put her in the car and she’s almost psychotic. Lately, she does not want to listen to any music in the car...at all. She’ll start with a whine and build up to a manic scream if you don’t turn the music off. She started it this morning when we were headed out for a waffle breakfast. Tyler sat there for a few minutes and then finally said, “She’s like the Grinch who stole music. “ He also occasionally calls her Lauren AKA “No Voice Control.” She cannot whisper.

While we were at breakfast, the baby was busy banging his spoon on the table, eating his pancake and trying to grab everyone else’s food...all while sticking out his tongue. Doug asked, “Is his tongue stuck like that?” If you notice, he pretty much has it stuck out in every picture of him I post! Too funny.
Anna has been carrying around a ziploc bag full of "treasures".  She decorated the bag herself and scoured the neighborhood for little gems that she as a 6-year old considers to be special.  To some it may look like just a bag of junk but to her it's magical.  I hope she never loses her ability to make the ordinary into something extraordinary.  I learn something new from her every day.


Happy New Year!

Is it just a Southern tradition or do you all feel the need to ensure an extra bit of good luck for the upcoming year by ingesting at least a spoonful or two of black-eyed peas on the first day of the New Year? The trusty little legume rounded out our meal today, along with a little ham and mashed potatoes. A little luck never hurt anyone and although 2009 has been a good year overall, I wouldn't mind if 2010 were a bit kinder. Our day today seemed to fly by as has the entire year.

As I near my 40’s it seems to me that time is moving more and more quickly. It seems like just yesterday that we brought our last baby home from the hospital. I'm trying so hard to savor each moment with him as I know he's our last but life is so busy and the days pass so quickly. Time for the simple, small joys seems to have disappeared. Days are spent taking care of everyone’s needs and there seems to be no time left to get ahead. As Tyler so eloquently stated on the way home from the mall yesterday, “Standards are so low. You win if you just manage to get home and survive.” I must admit I do feel a bit overwhelmed with life as it currently stands.

Grandma is home from the hospital and doing better. We're being visited by nurses, a physical therapist, a dietitian, a speech therapist, and a home health assitant.  In addition, we're seeing a cardiologist, her normal doctor, and a pulmonologist.  There have been some rough times but it appears that she may have finally rounded the corner. Tonight for the first time in a month she's feeling well enough to play the piano and is currently gracing us with Christmas tunes downstairs.

We've had a wonderful time with Tyler this visit. I am so impressed with him. He's absolutely wonderful with the little ones. The girls fight over who gets to sit next to him at meals, ride on his shoulders or curl up with him on the couch. He is loved...sometimes probably more than he would like! He has the best sense of humor and has kept me in stitches. I'm going to be sorry to see him go.

I love fresh starts and the beginning of the year always seems like such a good time to try again to be better than you were the past 365 days. I hope you all had a pleasant New Year Day and that your upcoming year will be filled with laughter, love, happiness, health, and prosperity.  Best Wishes to you all!

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