06 January 2016


Birth day:

1st Birthday:

2nd Birthday:

3rd Birthday (a few days after, actually, plus bonus Deacon):

Fourth Birthday:

Fifth Birthday (with bonus brothers):

Sixth Birthday:

Seventh Birthday:

Eighth Birthday:

Ninth Birthday:

Tenth Birthday:

Happy Birthday Ezekiel! For 10 years now you've been filling our lives with sweetness and happiness. We are so proud of you and of the young man you're becoming. We love you so much, sweet boy.

30 November 2015

Keeping Up With the Klauses

Oh my G-O-S-H, you guys. When we were talking with our landlords about renting this house, they told us how Christmas is a big deal here, and that everyone on our pipe stem goes all out with the lights and decorations. They were not kidding, and it makes me SO happy. The pictures I'll be posting do NOT do it any sort of justice, so you'll have to take my word for it when I say it is fabulous!

I don't have any pictures of our outside decorating job in New Jersey. That's probably because it was only two strands of fifty lights that went around the pillars outside our front door. It was kind of sad, but there really wasn't more we could do when living in a townhouse.

This year though, this year things were drastically different. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving we went out shopping for lights and decorations and all sorts of things. The Friday after Thanksgiving and the Saturday after Thanksgiving we were all out there putting up our tons and tons and tons of decorations.


There are 7 houses on our pipe stem (8 if you count the one on the corner that faces the main street), and by the end of Saturday, 6 of us were lit up like...like...something that lights up really brightly. It was so much fun setting it all up. The guys (and some gals) putting up lights, the kids running around the street "helping." Halfway through Saturday we had this conversation:

Josh: This is great! It's like a two day long block party!
Me: No wonder I'm so exhausted.
Josh: Yeah. We've been partying it up for two days.

And we had been. But it was totally worth it because our house, and the street at large, looks amazing! (One of our neighbors even rigged some of his lights to move in time with some music that he has constantly playing - awww yisss!)

I'm telling you again, it really does look better in person.  Here are some shots of the whole street. I tried getting fancy with the panoramic feature, but it still falls short of seeing the whole thing in its glory.

Here are the numbers, since Josh took the time to figure them out. We have 2,466 lights up on and around our house. That is about 754 feet of light strands. And we aren't entirely sure we're completely finished. I did order some Snoopy lawn ornaments that we're waiting on for this year, that'll come in the next day or two. Apparently the thing to do is hit the after Christmas sales to stock up for next year.

Like I said, totally crazy (#embracingthecrazy) but totally amazing!

16 November 2015

How About Halloween

I've been sitting here looking through pictures from the past two months, trying to decide what to write about, when I came upon my pictures from Halloween. That seems a good topic to me, and so here we go.

Halloween was on a Saturday this year. At the school here, the kids are not allowed to wear their Halloween costumes to school because (I was told) some kids were showing up in things that were too scary/inappropriate for an elementary school, so they bagged the whole thing. They have, however, come up with work arounds. The week before Halloween was Anti-Bullying Week at the school. Each day the kids did something different to celebrate not bullying, I guess. One day they got to wear pajamas (put bullying to bed), one day they wrote thank you notes to people (recognizing/positively reinforcing good behavior?), and on Friday, they got to "dress up" as superheroes (because everyone knows superheroes are NOT bullies). This was pretty neat. It was fun seeing the kids, as well as the teachers and other staff, wearing superhero shirts and capes and the like.

For the kindergartners, they had a nursery rhyme parade, where all of the kids came to school dressed up as whatever nursery rhyme character they wanted. As soon as school started, the kindergartners were marched all around the school, into all of the classrooms, then they were marched outside where they did a few loops for the parents and grandparents and who's-it, then the kids and their family members went into the gym where the kids performed a bunch of nursery rhymes. It was adorable.

Finn was Wee Willie Winkie, which I was sort of worried was going to be an obscure character that no one would know. I needn't have worried. Wee Willie Winkie was one of the rhymes they covered in their unit, and was one they performed during their performance. A few other boys also dressed up as Wee Willie Winkie as well. (I totally knit Finn's "sleeping cap" the week leading up to this shindig.)

The Wednesday before Halloween, my stepmom texted and asked if she, my dad, and their dog could come down for Halloween, and for the soccer games that morning. Since we always love seeing family, we said, "Of course!" And down they came.

They met Josh at the field where Deacon was finishing his game, and Zeke was starting his. After watching those two play for a bit, they met me at the field where Finn was playing. The boys were so excited. After soccer we had some lunch and hung out until it was time to head over to our neighbor's for the annual pipe stem Halloween party/candy hand out spot. For costumes this year, we had 2 soccer players and 1 Star Lord (from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie).

After hanging out for a few minutes, Karen, Mickey (the dog), and I took the boys to Christine's to see them in their costumes, and then we started trick-or-treating. We had a lot of fun, except for when this guy came out:

Mickey did NOT like this guy at ALL. The poor dog went crazy as the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man walked past us on the street. The dog also went crazy when he showed up at our pipe stem party an hour or so later when we were finished trick-or-treating. While trick-or-treating we met up with some friends and walked around with them a bit too, until Deacon decided he was done and wanted to go back. I took him back and left the other 2 with Karen, but shortly after we got back, they came back. Apparently they made it about 5 more minutes before deciding they were done as well.  Back at the party Finn displayed some awesome dance moves before deciding he was tired and wanted to go to bed.

Shortly thereafter, we ALL had decided we were tired and ready for bed.

While I was putting the kids in bed, my dad won the game they played at the party. I was gone for 20 minutes and he won a game! Josh said it was amazing. They put the names of horror movies/horror movie characters on each person's back, then each person had to guess who they were. The story goes, a sticker was put on my dad and the conversation went like this:
Dad: Am I a human?
Answer: No.
Dad: Am I a shark?
Answer: Yes.
Dad: Am I a white shark?
Answer: Yes?
Dad: Am I Jaws?
Answer: YES!

What?! Who goes from not a human to shark? Well played, Dad. Well played.

And how can we have a Halloween post without pictures of this year's pumpkins? I didn't get photos of each boy with their pumpkins this year because they basically told Josh what they wanted their pumpkins to look like, then walked away. So, Josh carved all of the pumpkins, I separated out, cleaned and cooked the pumpkin seeds, and the boys watched TV, the day before Halloween. Josh also took advantage of back to back soccer games to etch-carve the small pumpkins we bought. This year's theme: Minions!

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Halloween. I know that's a bit late, especially with Thanksgiving being next week (WHAT?!), but there it is. Happy Halloween!

11 November 2015

A Typical Week Here

Sunday: We finally found a church we all really like. We go to Sunday School (there are adult Bible study classes as well), then to church. The church has a traditional Baptist service and a contemporary service going at the same time but in different parts of the building, so we've go back and forth to both. We spend the afternoons hanging out, watching football, playing outside when it's nice and all that jazz.

Monday: After getting the boys to school (this is how every week day starts), I usually make the drive to base and do the weekly food shopping at the commissary. Monday evenings (okay, every other Monday evening) this kid goes to scouts:

Tuesday: Tuesday mornings I volunteer in Deacon's classroom helping out the teacher with photocopies or stapling or whatever other little chores need getting done. (I should note that as of writing this I've only gone in once as the following week was parent teacher conferences and this past Tuesday I was on Zeke's field trip.) Tuesday evenings Zeke has soccer:

(Note: soccer actually ends this week, so that's going to be lovely.)

Wednesday: Tea time! This is the day Christine and I (and now Elizabeth too) have set aside as our time to sit and chat and have tea. It's wonderful. We laugh so much and have such a great time. It's one of my favorite parts of the week. It helps to set me up for Wednesday evenings where I make dinner in the crockpot as we have to eat by 4:30 because Finn has soccer practice from 5:15-6:15:

and then Deacon has soccer practice (on a different field) from 6:30-8.

He's in the white pinny in the center of the picture. 

Josh usually goes home from work, eats what's in the crockpot, then heads to Finn's practice so he can take Finn and Zeke home and get them showered while I take Deacon to his practice. Basically, I leave the house at 5 and get home around 8:20. But they love soccer, so it's worth it.

Thursday: PWOC! It's ladies Bible study time all morning long and I love it. (Every other) Thursday evenings this one has scouts:

Friday: On Friday mornings I was going to a Bible study at the church we're attending, but the study they were doing just finished, and Finn's teacher asked if I would be willing to go in on Fridays and do a craft with the kids as one of their language arts stations (meaning I'll do the craft with all 30 kids, but only 5-6 at a time as they cycle through). Of course I would! That starts this Friday, and I'm really excited about it.

Saturday: Soccer, soccer, and more soccer, followed by football, football and more football. All soccer games are on Saturdays. Most weeks this means our entire morning and early afternoon are spent watching the boys play soccer, and we love it. They have so much fun playing, and we have so much fun watching. Even when it's pouring. After we get in from soccer and have lunch we usually spend the rest of our Saturdays as we spend our Sunday: watching football, relaxing, playing outside, and that sort of fun stuff.

As you can see, we are very busy indeed. Add to it that Josh has been traveling a bunch. And this is why I've been absent from blogging. I'm worn out. However, soccer is ending this week (yay! and also, so sad!) which will give me a little more energy to spend on things like blogging. So, get ready for some backblogging! But probably not until next week.