Merry Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas! I told myself I wouldn't say it, but my goodness…hasn't this year just flown by?! God has been so good to our family this year – I just have to share the highlights with you all!

We like to say Coop (age 5) is in his senior year of preschool. While he could care less about learning his letters & numbers, he loves his friends in his class. I think he gets his "social butterfly" nature from my dad (or possibly me – ha)! Coop played t-ball this summer and made a double-play in his very first game! The kid lives and breathes baseball, and we can't wait to see how that talent progresses in the years to come. He is a huge fan of WWE wrestling and John Cena…he never misses an episode! He has 3 wrestling rings and lots of action figures and acts out all the matches. Coop loves being outside and helping Daddy on projects around the house. He keeps us on our toes, but he is such a blessing!

Hunter (almost 9) is in 3rd grade and is December's Student of the Month at his school! He never ceases to amaze us with his vast knowledge on every subject and his dry sense of humor. With a brain like a sponge, he is always quoting random facts that he has read in a book. He played 1st base in Cal Ripken baseball and continued playing soccer this year. He improves and learns more every season. Hunter loves his PSP video game! He is also a great big brother…his patience with Coop is very admirable. He spends many afternoons in the backyard pitching balls so he can practice his pitches and Coop can practice hitting. Many times I find myself thinking, "Hunter is one of my best friends."

I think it's safe to say I have had one of the BEST years ever! It is truly a blessing to be able to stay at home with my boys. I also watch a 2 ½ year old little girl during the school year, and she is just wonderful…the daughter I never had. In June, I got to go to Vegas with my sisters and a few of my cousins…we had a blast! We also enjoyed a camping trip to Ocean Park with family and friends over the 4th of July holiday, and 2 days at the Great Wolf Lodge! And of course, those who know me understand that I live for softball season. I am Dave's biggest fan and the boys & I travel with him wherever he plays. So many fun memories are made out on the softball fields, plus I get a great tan!

And then there is our hero…Dave. As I like to say, "Everything's better and more fun when Daddy's home!" He loves the snow, and took a couple of snowmobiling trips to Halfway, OR. When that was over, he started softball again – his team took 4th place in the state, and they also won several other tournaments! He helped out on the boys' soccer/baseball/t-ball teams too! But the most exciting news of this year has been his new job. In August, he started at Hanford as a planner/scheduler. He really likes it and enjoys doing something different. He still owns his business, so he is pretty busy, but he takes such good care of us and we are so thankful for him!

We are also thankful for the birth of our Savior, Jesus! We know we would BE nothing and HAVE nothing without Him. We hope all of you, our friends and family, will let Jesus fill your hearts with much joy and peace this Christmas season and throughout the coming year. We love you all!

The Kleinow Family – Dave, Ali, Hunter & Cooper



It's been good so far! I think this is the earliest we've ever gotten our tree up, but it's beautiful and it makes me happy. Another thing that made me happy was that the house got a good dusting since I couldn't just put up the decorations on top of a layer of dust (even though the thought did cross my mind)! I have appreciated each time it has snowed, and also each time it has melted. :)

What has really ticked me off, though, is this year's Christmas card.  The picture I chose is not the best, in fact neither Dave or Hunter is smiling.  To top that off, I ordered 125 of them...and am now debating whether to send it out or do a completely different one.  Just thinking about it makes me have a headache, so enough of that...

Aunt Kris came over and we made some AWESOME sugar cookies!  The little ones, we just called "dippers" - we just dipped them into the tub of frosting and ate them in one bite.  We came to a quick understanding of why mom does this only once or twice a year...it takes forever!

Hunter's Christmas program this year was different than any other one he's ever had.  It was held at the middle school gym and his 3rd grade class actually wrote a song about elves and performed it with Buck & Elizabeth ( a couple who travel to different schools and do assemblies).  In the picture, he is third from the right.  It was fun...Cooper loved it! 

Coop's class is having their program on Friday, so stay tuned for those pictures.  I am positive it will be hilarious...Coop + a stage + an audience = hilarious. 


Thanksgiving at Rockaway Beach

Our trip was SO fun and relaxing.  The view from our house was absolutely beautiful...such a gorgeous sight to wake up to every morning!  We spent every morning sitting at the dining room table drinking coffee and watching the waves.  The boys INSISTED they saw whales, hammerhead sharks and sea turtles through the telescope.  :)

The house was big and comfy.  My Uncle Ruben and his wife Denise, my cousin Stephanie and her kids Kellsye, Sydnie and Rylin all came to Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.  As you can see in the picture, Dad made the mashed potatoes.  :)  It was so fun to have them there with us!  We had a coloring contest and watched a whole days' worth of football.  We also got to drive into Tillamook to visit Dave's grandpa Kleinow and his aunt, uncle and cousin.  It was a long, full, fun day spent with family - absolutely perfect. 


On Saturday we drove into Seaside for a little "adventure", as the boys called it.  We went to the outlet mall and did some Christmas shopping, ate lunch at El Mariachi Loco (our favorite Mexican restaurant in Seaside), rode the carousel and of course we had to go to the arcade!  Papa bought the boys some more stuff at the toy store.  Everywhere we go, Papa buys his grandboys something special.  Hunter ended up with a bag of marbles, a koosh ball shaped like a pig and a package of glow-in-the dark stars for his bedroom ceiling.  Coop picked out a rubber snake, a 'Cars' die-cast car and a harmonica (which had to be confiscated once or twice).  He left the snake in Nana's pillowcase and scared the daylights out of her.  :)

I have not stopped thinking about our trip since we got home, and every time I think about it I thank God we got to go.  There was a time not too long ago where we could not go anywhere for more than a weekend because of Dave's job.  Now that he has a different one, he can take more time off!  We are already talking about renting a bigger house next Thanksgiving, that way we can invite more people! 

I love my family and I love my life.  Thank you, God, for these blessings!


A Day in the Life of Coop

Coop's favorite movie of all-time is 'Cars' - or "Lightning McQueen", as he refers to it.  Almost every day after we drop Hunter off at school, Coop asks to watch this movie.  After I put it on, he soon starts to drag out a lot of toys...mainly his HUGE collection of die-cast Lightning McQueen cars and a few airplanes.  But recently he's been asking me to bring out our big cardboard blocks, so I spied on him to see what he was up to.  See for yourself...

You see, everyone is at the big race.  You know where Lightning, the Dinoco King and Chick Hicks all race at the end?  This is Coop's version of the movie.  He watches it and acts out every part.  He really has an amazing mind.  The kid is smart.  His imagination runs wild!  He can't recognize letters of the alphabet or tell you what number that is on his flashcards, but he can set up this entire racetrack using blocks and place each one of these cars in just the right spot.  Oh, what joy he brings me!  Look at that proud smile.  :)


My mom.  She is one tough lady, I'll tell ya.  This picture was taken at Coop's birthday party, two days after her ankle surgery.  Doesn't she look good?  Well, it's been almost a month since her surgery.  And even though she's had some really hard, rough days God is good and has shown mercy on her through it all.  She continues to get stronger every day, and I've noticed that she has gotten more confident in what she can do, and her determination level has increased as well!  Praise the Lord!  She may not know it, but she is setting a wonderful example of how to take a disappointment such as this, and just leave it in God's hands, trusting His will for her.  I have gotten to spend a lot of time with her the past month.  Our visits have been fun, and I've enjoyed letting her depend on me for a change!  We have also enjoyed watching as much HGTV as we want! 

And I MUST give credit to my Dad!  That man has worked harder around the house than ever in my whole life, and he's doing it out of sheer love.  It's the kind of love I always knew was there, but never really noticed until now.  He sure has a servant's heart.  It is so funny to see him rinsing the dishes before he puts them into the dishwasher, because it "bugs him when people just load them all dirty with caked-on food and stuff."  And he scrubbed the microwave last week too - haha!  Anyone who knows him knows that he is a pretty social guy, and it's been hard on him not to be able to go here and there and visit with people whenever he wants.  But he is exhibiting the perfect picture of Christ's love towards my mom, by serving her and taking care of her and I am supremely PROUD of him.  In fact, I've never been prouder of either of my parents than I am right now. 

Mom keeps telling me "thank you".  And I keep telling her, "This is what family is for, Mom."  And that's what I truly believe - family takes care of each other.  I am truly blessed to be a part of THIS family...


First Days of School - Already?!

Without too much grumbling or groaning, the boys are starting to settle into the school routine again.  I think it is harder on me than on them, actually.  I am so used to having them here, chatting about this and that and making fun plans for the afternoon or the next day.  Luckily, Hunter is really enjoying his teacher this year, which is a huge blessing since last year's teacher wasn't at all what we expected.  3rd grade...wow.  He is just growing up too fast! 

Coop is back at the same preschool as last year, but he is going different days, different hours and with one different teacher.  He is taking it hard, and he has been known to follow me around the entire morning asking me not to take him to school, but once he gets there he is okay.  Needless to say, I've been doing A LOT of praying for him!  I'm pretty sure it was a good idea to keep him out of kinder this year...we both would have been crying the whole year!


Our Summer (So Far), at a Very Quick Glance!

Wow...I don't even really know what to say here, except that I have thought at least a hundred times, "I should update my blog", but here we are 3 months later and I haven't updated once!  Then, to top things off I got on here and started fiddling with the settings and the site won't let me add any cute backgrounds, so I apologize for the boring look.  I may keep trying to figure it out, but I'm pretty sure I might have a panic attack because it's making me so mad, so we may just have to deal with it. 

We have had a pretty eventful summer, which is just the way we like it.  I won't pack every little detail into this post, but I will try to at least add some of the highlights. 

First up - Coop absolutely TORE IT UP on his t-ball team.  It was pure entertainment everytime he had a game!

For the 4th of July holiday, we took a long weekend and went camping at our friends' property in Long Beach.  We had a BLAST!  It is so refreshing to wake up and fall asleep to the sound of the ocean.  I think what made it so fun was that our entire family was there.  It's been a long time since we all went on vacation together! 

One other really fun day, me, my mom, my sister Kristal and the boys all took a day-trip to Portland.  We went to the zoo and to OMSI.  It was a very long day, but it was worth it because we all had so much fun.  The weather was perfect, and we enjoyed being together.  I think we'll try to do a trip like this every summer. 

The boys also had swimming lessons this year.  Their teacher Breanna was wonderful with them, and they have since become quite comfortable in the water (which is a great improvement over last summer when they were afraid to get water in their faces)! 

I guess that leaves us with this last weekend, which was BY FAR the most fun we've ever had as a family:  a night and two days at the Great Wolf Lodge, and a 4th place finish for Dave's softball team at the State tournament.  I really can't say anything bad about the lodge, it is just a super fun place to stay.  And even though it was a bit on the expensive side, it was absolutely worth every penny to see the looks on the boys' faces (and Dave's for that matter) when we walked into the place.  It is gorgeous.  Speaking of gorgeous, the fields where the tournament was held were the most beautiful we've ever played at.  It was a LONG weekend, but we had so much fun.  I am so thankful to God for weekends like these, where we spend time together doing fun things, making memories we'll all treasure forever.  I will end with a picture of the boys at Cabela's in Lacey.  Coop's face totally reminds me of a Rodney Dangerfield movie...


A Preschool Field Trip...to Kindergarten!

Yesterday I went along with Coop on his field trip to a REAL kindergarten class! The preschoolers loaded into a mini-bus (for some, like Cooper, it was their first time on a bus) and it took us to the school, where we visited with a wonderful teacher and her class. It was very exciting! The kids listened to a story about butterflies, colored and cut out a butterfly, washed their hands in the "big-kid" bathroom, and played outside. It was a delightful day. :)
Coop & his friend Carl...all buckled up and ready to go!

...shaking hands with the principal...

Here's Coop coloring the most beautiful butterfly I've ever seen!

REAL butterflies!

What day at school is complete without a good climb on the jungle gym?

Even though Coop still has another year of preschool before heading out to kindergarten, I was so impressed by the way he behaved while he was there. I think he will follow in big brother's footsteps and be a very good student. :)

Scroll down for Mother's Day tea party/Mother's Day pictures!

Mother's Day Festivities

Me, my mom and Dave's mom had so much fun at Coop's Mother's Day Tea party last Friday. The tables were set so fancy, and we even drank actual tea from china tea cups! The preschoolers performed a few songs and gave their mommies some gifts they'd made us. I will be sure to hang on to those...they were precious!

Cooper and Grandma

Cooper and Nana

This is what my mommy looks like...he drew a picture of me. And the top-right picture is my favorite: This is what my mommy likes to do...I am so glad he knows I like to use the Clorox wipes! LOL!

Sunday was a very special day. The boys and Dave got me a GORGEOUS hanging basket and some really sweet cards. We cooked a big breakfast for my parents before church and gave my mom her present. I think she liked it. :) Then after church we went over to Dave's family's house and had a delicious bbq there. Dave's mom loved her gift too! The evening was spent in the hot tub, watching baseball and eating ice cream from Dairy Queen...couldn't have gotten any better than that! It is such a joy and a privilege to be a mom! When I look at my boys, I am reminded just how much God loves me...he gave me the most precious gifts in those two!
Ummm...please excuse the picture of me with no makeup!
I am also blessed to have a strong, kind, faithful, loving mom. I love her so much! Mother's Day gets sweeter and sweeter every year.


First M's Games of the Season

Two weekends ago, we took the boys to Seattle for a very fun, long-anticipated weekend of fun.
Friday afternoon was spent at Gameworks, playing video games (and lots of Skee Ball). We met up with Mike, Katy, Gracie & Cole for just a few minutes and Katy beat me in basketball. I demand a rematch. LOL!

Then Friday night was Ken Griffey, Jr. Bobblehead Night at the Mariners game, so of course that was the most important part of the day. We didn't even have to stand in line that long, so that was a plus! Our seats were down the third base line in the 6th row. Not the closest we've ever sat, but awesome seats anyway! The Mariners won 11-3 that night...lots of hits and runs and cheering and jumping up and down. (Except for when Coop fell asleep on my lap, which changed my jumping up and down to just giving high fives).

Coop, Hunter & Daddy trying to catch a ball during batting practice
Gotta have licorice...
The boys sported their Ken Griffey Jr. shirts that Nana & Papa bought them.

I love this picture!

Ha! Love this picture too!

Wow, we look sleepy there, don't we?

We were able to stay at our friends' house, which is where my little sis, Ashlee, lives too. So Saturday she came with us to lunch at Red Robin and to Funland in Tukwila, where we played miniature golf (or Mariner golf, as Coop likes to call it), drove the Go-Karts and Bumper Boats. Dave & I also rode on a swinging-back-and-forth ride of some sort, and I have to admit...the bungee thing I did last year at the Puyallup fair was A LOT less scary than this one. I won't be going on it again.

Then Sunday, we went to the Mariners game again! It was Felix Hernandez jersey day for all the kids, so the boys got jerseys. They are XL's, so they'll have to grow into them, I guess. Even though the M's lost, we still had fun. Ash was with us, and the boys fought over who got to sit by her. LOL!

Kanekoa Texeira, M's rookie pitcher who pitched in that game, signed Hunter's ball! He was pumped!

I came home from that weekend thinking that it had been one of the funnest weekends that I've ever spent with my family. As the boys get bigger, it is getting easier to take them places and trust that there won't be any fits or temper tantrums. The smile on their faces while we were doing all of those fun things were worth every dollar spent to make their weekend as fun as possible. Each and every day, I thank God for the blessings He's given us...but mostly for Hunter & Cooper. For without those little guys, our lives would be a lot less exciting!


Cal Ripken Baseball

Hunter has finally started playing baseball...on a REAL team..."with REAL uniforms"...as he likes to tell people.

It has been so fun to watch him and his team compete in their games. So many of them have made improvements, and we've only had two games! Their coach is really great - you can tell he loves the game and he is so good with the kids.

These pictures are from Hunter's first game. He played 1st base, and he did an AWESOME job. He caught almost everything that was thrown to him, plus he made several plays on his own. He is always looking to make a double play, too...which is funny.

#9 has been Dave's # throughout his sports career...still is today in softball! And since 51 wasn't available, Hunter picked 9. Couldn't have made Daddy any happier!

We will be playing for about 6 weeks, on Mondays and Wednesdays. He has soccer on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so we are pretty busy. But he is loving it and so are we. I just keep saying to myself, "Soak it in, Ali...because before you know it these times will be gone."