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 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Life is a tough and wonderful balancing act...

It's been a bit too long since I last wrote. I believe it was in August, but I know it was before school started. Life has been quite busy the last few months with school and Gage. A lot has happened since August, but it's been so hard to sit down and make this a priority. Like anything in life, we have to decide what's important to us and that my friends is the tough part. My family has always been the top priority for me, physical health has always been another (although it's been very difficult to be consistent recently). Learning and being educated has always been very important to me. Education changed a bit during pregnancy, but I still became educated on the process. Parenthood is a constant learning process as is being a new teacher. I have always worked, and while I've always put a lot of effort into my work and given it my all, none of it compares to teaching full time. Once I became a parent (and for me that was once I found out I was pregnant), my whole life was consumed in taking care of the little peanut that grew inside me and now grows rapidly earth side. So now that life has become more hectic than it ever has been (which says a lot for anyone who's known me for more than 2 years) I am constantly in a mental conflict with myself. Always trying to prioritize responsibilities, along with necessities and desires, life becomes a tough balancing act.
Breaks and weekends are always a good time to get in check with myself and remember what's important. In the past breaks meant staying up late, sleeping in, spending a lot of time with friends, working on semester projects and/or finals, and sometimes visiting family outside the area. This go around however break means more time with John and Gage, some work for my classroom, working on an article for one of my old professors, getting over a cold (blah), being lazy whenever possible, and maybe a slight chance of sleeping in. This break has really made me realize how hard of a time I have just chilling out and forgetting about stuff. It doesn't help that I got sick the first day and haven't been able to relax or do the stuff I wanted to, like swim, sleep, and read. I did however, get to spend many hours watching "Planet Earth" and "Human Earth" two shows that we really enjoy and hadn't watched in forever since we don't like to have TV on much with Gage. We also got to swim once during the day, instead of at night, so Gage lasted longer. I've even found the time to meditate a few times, but not every day like I want. Other than that though I've been trying to find the motivation to work on school work so that I'm not planning day to day, write, and exercise.

The other day my friend who's in the same situation as me (but has a few more years teaching experience), said it perfectly "You have to not want to be perfect. You can never be prepared enough. Teaching is an 80 hour a week job, if you want to be caught up. Don't strive for that. Your baby is only a baby once." Hmmm "don't try to be perfect"..."don't strive for that...". Now you have to understand, I have ALWAYS wanted to be a teacher and I have spent many hours preparing to, not only be one, but be a great one. Not to mention for 10 years of my adult life (and the entire time I was in college) having children was out of the realm of possibilities, therefore it was not on my radar. I had plenty of room to dream about my future classroom and think about how awesome I was going to make it and all of it's possibilities. It was what I spent most of my time thinking about, right up until I found out that I was pregnant. It's difficult for me to finally be a teacher and not be able to put tons of time into my classroom like I feel I should be. However I recognize that my son will only be a baby for a short time and that he needs to be my number 1 priority. I often feel guilty that I'm not more set up at school or performing as well as I should, but then I remind myself that my classroom will always be my classroom, I'm still learning a lot, and I have to set a work/life balance. A lot easier said than done, but important to do.  One day when Gage is an adult, I want him to feel like family always came first. I have been blessed with an awesome job close to home, and the best caseload I've ever been a part of. I couldn't ask for a better time to have a little one at home.

Gage is such an amazing little boy who continues to amaze me. His enthusiasm for life and to experience everything there is to be, inspires us to be better people who look at all of life's positive attributes. He wakes up every morning with this incredible zest to take on the day. He's so positive with a huge smile and bright eyes. Neither of us know where he gets his "morning person" from, but he's always happy then. I figure it's because he's so excited about what's to come. He's been crawling for almost two months now, which has only given him more zest for life. He loves being mobile and being able to explore everything around him. It makes our life a bit more hectic, but exciting nonetheless. He doesn't seem to be slowing down whatsoever. As soon as he figured out crawling, he discovered his strength and started pulling himself up on everything. He stood the other day without any support for about 2 seconds. He's so motivated to be big and do everything those around him do. He loves to watch bigger kids when we're at the pool and seems amazed by their abilities. His drive keeps him progressing. He goes under water comfortably, blows bubbles, intentionally places his whole face in the water, kicks when we say kick, moves his arms in a crawl, and recently started floating for a second or two. He LOVES playing in the tubes and analyzing all the pool equipment. Teaching Gage to swim was one of the things I was looking most forward to and it one of the best times he and I have together every week.

It's no surprise that Gage is drawn to anything and everything mechanical. He loves to play with the bath faucet, rope, chords, and the vacuum. He's very interested in activities that John is doing. He loves to watch him build the fire, cut wood, and work on projects. He also loves to watch us brush our teeth and laughs at us. Gage has 4 teeth so far and fortunately likes it when we brush them. I imagine as he gets older, he'll be pulling apart our toothbrushes to figure out how they work and helping us brush ours. He loves to share his goodies and help us with everything. If there's a project going on you can pretty much guarantee that Gage will be around to help and take it all in.

The one thing that Gage loves more than analyzing materials is food. He LOVES to eat and wants to try everything we eat. Sometimes we try to be sneaky or distract him, but nothing gets passed Gage. Nothing! There is no concern for Gage's senses. He can smell, see, hear, and feel everything. If we're eating, Gage must be eating too. He is still primarily nursed, but getting introduced to more and more table foods. When he eats it's pretty cute because, like everything else in life, he is very enthusiastic and gets SO excited! We can't decide if he or Mili likes food more. Fortunately he loves bananas, carrots, avocados, and crackers so that tends to buy us some time when we're eating. Most of his solids still comes from purees, but he's starting to have a lot of fun with fresh regular food. He's such a good little sharer. He likes to take a bite of his carrot or cracker and let us or, yes, his puppies have some too. It's amazing he does that, because we don't share our food with him often since most of it isn't appropriate for him. It's been hard to stick to home made and healthier meals, because we're still not fully settled in our new home but we're working on that.

For as much as Gage eats, he's surprisingly only 20 pounds. Everyone, including the doctor, thought he was bigger but unfortunately he's short like his mother. He's very healthy however, and developing really well so there's nothing else we could ask for. We were recently very pleased to find a good doctor who we like and who respects our decisions. That's one less thing to worry about. 

John is doing well in school. He's also ready for the semester to end. He's signed up for classes next semester and has been admitted into the business education program. He's putting together his graduate application and should be accepted by February. He's looking forward to studying business and math education, as well as, being on the same schedule as me. He continues to enjoy hunting on the property, working on the ranch and building projects.  He's such an amazing dad and father figure for our Gage. I can just see the connection in their eyes. Gage loves his daddy so much and the two of them have so much fun together. I'm so grateful that he has the time to stay home with Gage some days and is able to bond with Gage during this critical time. Money can be precious, but time with family is priceless.
I continue to build my classroom and find my place at school. I work with some great people and have wonderful students. We have a lot of fun together and now that most of my IEP's are done for the year, I'm able to put more time into class activities and teaching. I'm starting to have a lot of fun adding extra activities and developing the environment I strive for. I continue to get caught up on Pinterest and overwhelmed with things that I think should be easy, but reminders to be patient with myself keep me steady. I'm still working on setting my work/life boundaries and setting little rules for myself, but mediation and consistent reflection are helping me.

The animals are doing great. They love the ranch and being able to roam free. They all do so well with Gage and tolerate his pulling, climbing, and grabbing. He loves them so much and their relationship shines through every time they play. 
I'm sure there's a million more things I could talk about and update you on, but I think I've gone on long enough. We're looking forward to Friday when we're taking Gage on a Christmas cruise on Coeur D'Alene lake with fireworks and lights. Hopefully it'll snow instead of rain. We hope you have all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. We are all so blessed to live in this great nation and are grateful for the many people who sacrifice for our blessings. May your lives be as blessed as ours. Have a wonderful Holiday Season!  

Love the Klein's