Saturday, September 1, 2018

Summer of Change

Have you ever felt like you're on this constant journey in life and just when you think life is going to get settled, it changes? That's pretty much how our life has been for the last 3-4 years. First we thought we were going on a long adventure to Alaska which ended up being an amazing, but short one. An unexpected little one will do that. Then we thought we would get settled in the Palouse and we kind of did for a short time, but that flopped and it never really worked out the way we thought it would so life lead us on a new journey. Now we are here in what we both know as "home", but what hasn't felt like it for many years. When we first started talking about moving back to Nevada for real (Nevada has been discussed as a side note in the past, but was never really an option for me) my gut sank and I started looking for excuses not to go and ways to stay in the Idaho area. The more we discussed it however and the more reality set in, the easier it became to accept it. I was nervous about coming back home because I never really connected with this area as a child and I almost always was attached to Idaho and Alaska. As a child I had many nicknames, one of which was "Dirt Clawed". I vividly remember playing in the dirt and building homes for bugs as well as enjoying spending any time I could outside and/or swimming. These were my friends. I had other hobbies like simple arts and crafts, sports, and music. These are all things I probably would have done regardless of where I grew up though. For different reasons I just preferred the north west. 

People who know me well know that I love the outdoors and love a good view. Once we moved back here to Nevada, I began searching for trails that I could take Gage and the dogs to. Thanks to an app called "All Trails", I was pleasantly surprised.  Probably to know one else's surprise this region, also known as the Sierra Nevada's, is surrounded with beautiful trails and water. Of course Lake Tahoe is here so that's a no brainer, but there are many more "secret" gems all over the area. I have discovered far from all of them, but that's what's exciting about it. I suspect that every season and every year we will discover new trails, lakes, and parks. One thing I know already is that as long as we get snow, the winters here will be incredible! Wait! Did I say something positive about being here?

Gage has taken some convincing about staying here also. After about 3 weeks (if that) he began asking for home. Home of course meant Pullman. He was missing his grandparents, friends, and familiarities there. He recently stopped asking about it since returning to daycare, but every once in a while will mention it. For the majority of summer, Gage asked about home many times during the week. He has been doing better since starting daycare, but he had some tough weeks this summer. We think it primarily had to do with his own transition to moving, new rules, over stimulation from so many people regularly, and weaning. That's right, in the first week of July we weaned Gage entirely from breast milk. He was almost two and a half and that week John was going to be home for a few days. We knew we'd have some rough nights so we didn't want to hinder John's work days. Prior to getting pregnant I never thought I'd nurse as long as I did, but Gage LOVED it, I enjoyed it, and we loved all the benefits it has given him. We began the weaning process in January when we stuck to nap and bedtime only, but we came to a point where we as a family were ready to be done. After a few hard nights with both John and I protecting Gage's rage from hurting himself or us, a new night light, a "special" cup for a "special" night time drink, and a new friend to sleep with (Bunny), Gage finally slept through the night for the first time ever. He continued to do that for weeks. Now bedtime is all about stories, ABC's, and back rubs. He goes threw some phases where he wakes up screaming for food, but we think it has more to do with night tremors and looking for comfort. Currently we're in a good phase.

Gage loves his cousins and has really enjoyed being able to play with them all of the time, but it took some convincing. He was not use to the excitement of so many people all of the time. Now he pretty much loves it and ask where everyone goes all of the time. He gets excited when they "come back" from being in their room or with friends. He's also built a stronger relationship with my parents and continues to love on John's parents through Facetime. None of us are really use to the regular excitement of big family events multiple times a month, or the higher temperatures, or the smoke from fire season. Fortunately the smoke has mostly cleared (for now) and their is plenty of fun things to do including visiting the great lake in the mountains above us and awesome concerts. Besides the season's are changing so it's getting cooler anyway. We are getting more an more use to our home and making steps to settling permanently, including selling my jeep and beginning to window shop :) 

The dogs are doing pretty good. They have had some changes as well, but have adjusted and continue to get out with us regularly. They are always outside now, but they still get plenty of love and attention, especially from Gage. They will hopefully have a big yard soon to make their own and get to lick Gage to death again. I am very happy that we've been able to keep them in our family through our bumpy road and that this isn't going to change.

One of the biggest changes for the Klein clan is work. John started working again in January and is in full swing now. He is much happier now that he is working and in a job that suits him perfectly. As a project manager for a construction company, John is nothing short than a little kid in a candy store. He works with a great group of people, gets to use his accounting and project management skills, works with big trucks and use his handy skills, and is even able to use his Spanish regularly. John is a huge contribute to his team and the people who work with him (including his boss) really appreciate what he has to offer as an employee and an individual. This is definitely the best job he's ever had. The only down side to his job is the commute, but that might be changing soon.

My job is almost entirely different also. Truly, the only thing that is the same about my job is that I'm still teaching special education. Other than that, my job is quite a good way. I primarily work at a middle school which has its own unique attributes. I am only teaching sped half time though and have to travel for the other half of my job so they were kind enough to give me a schedule that allowed flexibility. I do not have a class of my own like I did before and up until recently did no pull out groups. I have one now with one student, but it's a very small part of my job. The majority of my job as a special educator now is to co-teach with two English teachers, one 6th and one 7th. The other half of my job is adapted PE where I consult with general physical educators and help teach students with significant disabilities. Right now I'm working with middle and elementary students and I don't think that will change much, if at all, this year. I really enjoy my job and the fact that I get to do what I love. I work with a lot of really great people who support me and allow me to contribute in the way that I am able. I know that I am contributing because of feedback that has been provided and because of how my coworkers and supervisors are around me. I walked in to this job more confident than my first, but that is due to more experience and a few select teachers whom I worked with in Idaho that really helped me to become a more confident teacher and professional. I miss my colleagues and friends dearly, but am so appreciative of what they have done for me.

So what is home exactly? Is it where we are born? Where we are raised? Or the things that bring us happiness? The reason Idaho and Alaska felt, and still feel, so wonderful to me is because of everything and everyone they have offered me. The majority of time in all of the areas I've lived in during my adult life, they've made me happy. Between the amazing people I've met, the beautiful and peaceful regions I've been able to surround myself in, and the experiences(as well as organizations) I've had, I felt at home each time. Leaving my home in Idaho, my home in Alaska, and my home in Idaho again was heart renching for me. However as I habitually discovered places of happiness here, I am beginning to feel more at home with the home I once left. My experiences this summer, our jobs, and knowing more about myself, have helped me to understand that it wasn't Nevada I didn't necessarily
like, it was things I was missing and people that make all the difference. Just in the last two weeks (tonight included) I've seen people and been reminded of what I've missed, what I've had, and what I've learned. While I am so glad that we left home after high school and experienced all of the amazing adventures on our journey that we have, I am glad we are back. A piece of the northwest will always be a part of us (we did get married, graduate college(s) and become parents there after all) we are happy in this "new" place we call home again and know that we are right where we are meant to be.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Life gives us melons

Whoa what a week(or two) it's been, I'm finally at a state where I can sit down and write without possibly saying something I'll regret. The school year was off to a great start and then, like always it got crazy. Not normal beginning of the school year crazy, crazy crazy. Three IEP's due in the first two weeks of school is insane, the only good part was to see my students do a superb job running their own meetings and helping me write their goals. That I must say was validating and way cool. Doesn't erase the fact that IEP's that early in the year is nuts. To top it off, some kid decided to light fireworks in the area and started a huge fire (over a 1,000 acres) causing the air quality to suck. Quite literally you'd suck in before you walk outside to avoid smelling the smoke. It was so bad that it was in the hazardous range (worst in the country at the time) so kids at school and Gage could not go outside. Try telling that to a toddler who lives outside. After a week of indoor play, we were all looking forward to the weekend when it cleared up just enough.

Schedules at school have been crazy too. The first few weeks (and sometimes months) of special ed are always like that, but it doesn't make it any better each time, I mean you have much of the school year and summer to forget about it. Either way, spending two weeks with almost no lunch breaks or prep time is not my idea of a great start. I'm grateful that I've got some great teachers that I work with, who understand and forgive me for any lack of my attendance.  I also have great paraeducators that make my job easier and appreciated.

Today the air quality went back down and kids had to stay inside. I didn't have to deal with it though, because I was at home taking a personal day to pack. Great way to spend personal days right? Yeah so a big reason for my grumpiness and irritation lately has been the fact that last Friday John got a call asking us to move out of our place within 30 days for the owners son. This came out of nowhere. One of the fortunate parts of where we live is that we're not expected to pay rent, just maintain the property. The unfortunate part about where we live is that we don't have to pay rent so that means no lease and that means they can take everything we've talked about and understood  and just throw it by the waste side when people make bad choices. Now I get that people have lives and responsibilities and that we had a great set up here. I get that people get sick and that we are not family. What I don't get is how people can just throw a single income family (with a baby) living on an American teacher salary to the wolves with no remorse because of someone else's bad choice and then act like we're strangers. We've done nothing wrong. The worst part is that we were concerned about the health of both owners and assumed that they weren't in a positive mental state. Apparently they are doing better and that had little or nothing to do with this situation. Oh and we were not told the whole truth, we found out unintentionally through the grape vine. Such crap. So now at the age of 30 and 34 we get to move back in with the parents. I'm grateful that we have a place to stay and that we're being accommodated well, but it's still hard to be happy about it. It doesn't help that I lost my cat while we were here. There are perks to being back in town and living so close to a high school for John so that's good. I need to process everything and accept it, which I'm working on but it'll take time. At least we're all healthy right?

I am ending the week in a positive state because I spent the evening walking in quiet Fall colors with the best child in the world who makes me smile so much. I'm also going to bed happy about tomorrow and what it has to bring, yoga and friends to name a few.  Onto a new week with hopefully less melons.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Weekly reflections...first week of school down.

Well just like that I went two weeks without reflecting. Three weeks into setting my goal and I've stumbled. It's a goal right? So I can keep working on this weekly reflection thing. Anyway I'm sitting here in a coffee shop with a friend on the first Saturday of the school year. Two teachers who have worked their buts off all week and stayed up too late in deep conversation about education and our lives, while our kids played together and our husbands were in deep conversation about some ridiculous video game on their phones. Both of us full time teachers, devoted mothers, and typical learners (that may or may not struggle to balance their passion with time). Here we are after feeling tired, stressed, and agitated feeling successful and relieved to have devoted our Saturday to complete our homework, not to mention excited that we can now get back to our children and enjoy spending time with them without having our brains entirely clouded with worries and things to do.

It's only the first week of school and it will get better, but the season of weekend classroom visits and late night work after the kids have gone to bed is back. I'm happy I have a teacher buddy and mommy buddy who is on the same page as me and who's kids love playing with my kid. I love that our husbands get along too! Today was a much needed, productive, and enjoyable day as a teacher, a student, a mother, a wife, and a friend. The first week of school went pretty well (I can't complain) with just a handful of stressful situations that have or are working themselves out. Now I need to boost my exercise, me time, and husband time up. Gotta love the first week of school and the 3 day weekend immediately afterwards even more. I hope everyone enjoys theirs.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Reflections and goals

The last time I wrote was right before the new year. That was a while ago and I can confidently say that we got through winter (although we had to call in to work once and dig ourselves and others out of the driveway a few times) and the school year without too much heart ache. Now summer is over (well the fun part is) and school is getting ready to start. I feel like teachers have two types of years, the calendar year and the academic year. Well the academic year has began for many and begins for me, officially, Tuesday. Since our trip to Nevada was in August (officially ended today), I have been going into school since mid July so my head has been in school mode since then. I have some fun projects, new procedures and lessons that I'm excited for. I also started my yearly professional development in early August so my head hasn't stopped since then.

Speaking of that, while doing my homework I learned about a technique called daily sentences. Basically each person should try and write a sentence a day to wrap up their night on a positive note and anything more is a bonus. Now a daily sentence on my blog would be pretty boring for ya'll to read, but a paragraph a week might be bearable, so I'll start there. That's my goal and with all the paperwork I do on daily basis, I think a paragraph once a week is manageable. I'd like to get back into a habit of blogging again, because I find it more personable (like email back in the day). I won't waste anymore of your time so here's my first paragraph.

Summer has been such a great time and really made me appreciate my teacher schedule. Although the school year is insanely busy and difficult to manage sometimes, summer makes it totally worth it. John, Gage, and I have had a lot of fun this season playing outdoors, having play dates with friends, gardening, attending the weekly farmers market, exploring more of our local area, swimming outside, biking, attending fun family activities including story time at the library and baby/mama yoga, and traveling. I've been so blessed this summer being able to focus on my family and enjoyed so much time together. It makes me excited for the next one and really sold us on teaching. No summers are not why I entered this field, but they sure are a perk, especially with children.

I am saddened that summer season is ending, but excited to start the new school year and see my other kids. I hope they've had as fun of a summer as I have. I look forward to sharing pictures of my classroom next week. I'm grateful that we still have plenty of warm weekends left to play and for family watching Gage. I'm worried about the transition back to work and feel bad that he won't really understand why things are changing again, but I know he'll be in good hands. I hope that you are all enjoying the last weeks of summer and get to see the amazing eclipse tomorrow.

P.S. I did not include pictures in this post since most of you reading are on my Facebook and/or Instagram. If you'd like to see them, let me know and I'll email them to you.

This happy teacher mom, dog mom, cat mom, and outdoor wife ;)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Winter is in full swing

SNOW. That's all I can say. There is so much snow. It seemed like it took forever for winter to hit, I don't think we got our first mild snow until early to mid November, but once it hit it HIT. I'd say we brought Juneau with us, but Juneau never really got a lot while we were there and then when it did, it just rained over it. John and I grew up in the Sierra Nevada's and saw a lot of snow storms growing up. I learned to ski when I was two years old and ski'd every weekend with my dad. John was born in North Dakota, commuted an hour to work in Eastern Idaho (which included bad snow drifts) for a few years, and has driven us through some terrible snow storms across the north pacific. This winter definitely tops the list. The snow is beautiful and I love to play in it! I don't mind driving in it, most of the time and I'd rather have it than not. I figure if it's gonna be cold, it mine as well snow so we can play in it. The pure cold gloomy winter, that lacks snow, just sucks in my opinion. The snow has definitely been frustrating this winter though. In large part because of where we're living. We have a beautiful small home with an amazing view, just like we did in Juneau. However getting around the property and down to the road is difficult, especially for John. Our driveway is about 3/4 of a mile long and steep. It's closed for the winter, until the snow melts, so for now we are using the neighbors road. To clear that road though John has to use a large D2 tractor, because his Jeep won't get through it otherwise. It takes a few hours so it's put a damper on some of our plans, but given John a chance to learn about the trucks and us what it's like to live on a ranch in the winter. John had to dig my jeep out of the immediate driveway the other day, because I got stuck just backing up. Currently he has to chain up his jeep to get up and down the drive way and neither of us feel comfortable attempting it with mine. This winter may be full of hiking in and out to the vehicles, chaining up, and/or staying in Pullman (at John's parents), either way it'll be an adventure.


The great thing about where we live is the easy access to trails, wildlife, and beautiful views. There are deer tracks everywhere, along with a handful of moose tracks. The animals are coming around the house more (now that hunting season is over) to gain the free access to easy food and warmth. We have seen mom and baby a few times and even the whole family once. Dad has a nice 5 by 5 rack, a beauty. Wednesday we went on our first snow shoeing adventure and saw the baby moose from the Fall. I've yet to see mom and dad. Yesterday there was no sign of predators thankfully, but John has seen cougar and wolf tracks recently so we keep an eye out anytime we're outside. John thinks the wolf was just passing through and has since left, fortunately. He recently got a good size deer with a pretty good rack. He managed to shoot it with a muzzle loader clean through. The meat is very tasty, even Gage liked it. It was his first taste of meat and all I can say is he's a spoiled one. Organic at its best. Our little family will be enjoying good eaten this winter. Great job John!


Yesterday's first snow shoeing trip was a reminder of the challenge and beauty of the sport. We hiked around for about an hour and only made it around the property. The snow is knee deep right now and neither of us have been for a few years. In Juneau it never got deep enough to need them, or I was pregnant and we didn't go up too high. We're looking forward to getting back into it and sharing the fun with Gage. Yesterday he slept through the majority of it, but enjoyed looking around when he was awake. He likes all the big trees and is still trying to figure out what all this white stuff everywhere is. A hiking pack is definitely in order; Gage is starting to outgrow the ergo for long trips, especially in the snow. We all love it though.

This kid has gotten SO big, I don't know how he was ever a peanut. He's well over 20 pounds now and shows no signs of slowing down. He is very mobile and just goes like a lightning bolt. We thought he might slim up when he started crawling, but he knows how to eat. Gage is still primarily breastfed, which I'm happy and proud of. He nurses about every 45 to 90 minutes, when I'm home, and when he's not nursing he's eating whatever he can get his hands on...literally. He will eat anything we give him and gets angry when we don't let him try what we have. We often find ourselves pretending to eat appropriate foods for him or his baby food, just so that he's distracted from what we are eating. John is much better at it than I am. Yesterday morning he wanted my oatmeal and fruit so I pretended to eat his baby oatmeal blend and gave him bites of a banana with it. If we are eating, we're planning something for Gage whether it's a skit, a special meal for him, or cheerios in his bouncer, eating is an adventure with Gage.
 Gage's enthusiasm for everything amazes me. He get's so incredibly excited for things. It cracks us up to watch him. He'll literally shake with excitement and get a huge grin on his face when he sees something (or someone) that he wants. Anytime he sees grandpa Hal, the swim center, food, or his animals (to name a few) Gage repeatedly squeezes his hands, grins, shakes his body, and breaths heavily. On Christmas day he was doing it often with all of the new presents he was opening, not to mention the new toys inside the boxes. Oh and did I mention Christmas food? Gage's first Christmas was not quite what I'd expect when I imagine a child's first Christmas, but it was still wonderful. We enjoyed a nice relaxed and quite morning at our place opening stockings and a few presents. Gage wasn't quite sure what to do with his stocking, but knew just what to do with everything in it. Later we went to church with Hal and Robin and then ended at their house. We opened presents with them after we opened presents with Grandma and Grandpa Pumphrey through Facetime. I'm so grateful for technology so they could be a part of Gage's first Christmas. We loved watching Gage open each gift and help daddy figure out how each of them worked. We are grateful to have gotten toys and books that will help Gage learn and foster his imagination. We were also happy to get 18-24 month clothing that he will probably fit in by the time he's a year. Good thing because we have lots of snow to play in. The next day we all went shopping and then walked through the Christmas lights in Lewiston. 




It's been a wonderful break, snow and all. I'm so blessed to be in the field of education where I earn so much time with my family. I love them so much! John is excited to start his education program and be on the same schedule as me. We have thoroughly enjoyed having time off together and not setting an alarm. It's like being in college together again, except for the fact that I have to wrap my head around being in my classroom with my students again. Fortunately I have great kids with enthusiasm and a great team to work with. The first week back is going to be very cold so I suspect that there will be lots of indoor recess, which means lots of stretching and activity in my class. I'm excited to start new reading material that the librarian ordered specially for me. I'm also excited to use my little yoga studio regularly. John set up a space for me upstairs that is surrounded by windows so I can dedicate time each day for yoga. It'll be greatly appreciated these next few months. Winter is in full swing here and I have a feeling it's going to be a long one. At least I have an excuse to wear my new coat and hat from Eddie Baure, not to mention some warm food :) 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Klein's