Friday, April 30, 2010


He did it! Andy is the proud new owner of a Masters of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering! Not only that, but he graduated with a 3.91 GPA... he's AMAZING!!!

We were so lucky to have Andy's parents and grandma, my mom and dad, and Dusty here to share in this exciting time!

Trying to keep Ava occuppied during the ceremony!

G-Ma & G-Pa with the mancub!
Here's Andy receiving his "diploma" (it's actually just the diploma cover, he'll get the actual paper in the mail in a few weeks). You can't hear it very well, or see it, but I love hearing us all yell for him... especially Ava.

When I look back at the last two years, which have flown by, I am so impressed by Andy. He worked tirelessly to make sure each homework assignment, each project and each paper were as close to perfect as possible. He studied endlessly, stayed up late and woke up early, sacrificed time playing basketball, time with family and time doing anything for himself, all to ensure he understood all he studied, memorized equations, and performed the best he possibly could. He missed just one day of class in his two years at BYU, because he had pink eye. He rode his bike to school in the snow, often missed lunch, and spent time between classes studying. He earned the respect of his professors, advisers and fellow classmates (many of whom came to him for help), but would never admit it because he's THAT humble!

I am obviously so proud of my husband and what he has accomplished these past two years. Of course the degree and the job are such blessings, but I feel blessed that my children have such an intelligent, hard-working, determined dad to look up to. I'm grateful to him for sharing his love of education and learning with our children and with me. He's absolutely amazing and I couldn't feel more blessed to be his wife! Love you, Andy!!!

So, yet another chapter in our life is coming to a close. Andy will once again join the working world, this time as an Engineer! In just a few short weeks our little family will pack up and move to Mississippi. It'll be the fifth move Andy and I have made in our nearly 7.5 year marriage. We're hoping though, that we're getting closer to finally settling down... that is, until Andy decides to get his doctorate.... which is inevitable! :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Support for Our Teacher Friends

As much as I love writing about our little family I feel it necessary to take a little break from that to support some very important people -- TEACHERS! As most know, Andy taught high school math for three years before going back to school (which, by the way, he is DONE with... more on that in another post). We love teachers, we appreciate teachers, yet understand (sadly) how underappreciated they are in politics! Arizona always ranks disturbingly low, compared to other states, in regard to funding for education. But this year, I think they've outdone themselves. Thousands of teachers in Arizona were given pink slips last week as a result of state budget cuts. One of those teachers is one of our dearest friends, Sara. She married one of Andy's oldest friends, was one of my bridesmaids, graduated from UofA's math program with Andy and our kids call her Aunt Sara. She's an amazing person and a great teacher. She's also seven months pregnant and will lose her insurance six days before her due date (don't worry, they have a back-up). Anyway, the only shot Sara has at getting her job back is if Arizona voters pass Prop 100. It's a temporary 1% sales tax increase. Two-thirds of the revenue generated from the increase will go to K-12 education, the remainder to health and human services and public safety.

I would have supported this five years ago when Andy started teaching, but as a mother, it takes on new importance. I would be outraged if my kids had to sit in classrooms with 40+ other students, or if their school removed all arts programs and many extra-curricular activities (like Andy's alma mater, Prescott High School). Education is too important to be neglected the way it is in Arizona.

Andy and I obviously don't live in Arizona and can't vote, but we ask that you do! The election is Tuesday May 18th. Please, please, please support all of our teacher friends in Arizona!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Z-O-O

I'm slowly losing grip on an age-old parenting tool -- the spelling out of words you don't want your kids to hear. Now that Ava is getting the hang of reading and sounding out words, I've found that she often foils my attempts at spelling out words almost as soon as the letters escape my mouth.

Not too long ago my friend Brittney and I decided to surprise the kids with a trip to the Z-O-O. Or so I thought. Not five minutes after we got in the car Ava says, "I know where we're going." Playing along I asked, "where?" "I'll give you a hint," she says "It has animals and a baby elephant." Shocked, I question how on earth she figured it out. Turns out, she had heard me mention to Andy we were going to the Z-O-O. Using her spelling skills, she quickly figured it out. My emotions were mixed. On one hand, I was bummed she had ruined the surprise, but on the other hand, I was so excited she had figured out the word simply from hearing it spelled out. Regardless, we had a fun day at the Z-O-O.

A.J., Ava and Jax

Zuri, the baby elephant. We saw her last fall just a few weeks after she was born, so the kids were extra excited to see how much she'd grown.

Ava had to take a picture with the ring-tailed lemurs because they're in the movie "Madagascar"

The mancub and mama

All of us. Brittney is VERY pregnant but was such a trooper walking around the zoo.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

An Eventful Birthday

I turned 28 Friday. Every mom knows that once you give birth, the only birthdays on your radar are your kids'. My birthday just happens to be sandwiched between Ava's and Jax's, so I very easily forget about it. However, my sweet little family and wonderful friends really made numero 28 special... and little miss Ava did her part to make it eventful.

The birthday festivities actually lasted three days, beginning Thursday when my friend Joni had us over for a wonderful lunch and playing. Then Friday, Andy and the kids surprised me in the morning with a Christus statue and some wonderufl books. Andy had to go to school, so later in the morning Brittney and A.J. joined us for a trip to the aquarium. I had heard mixed reviews about this particular aquarium, but have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The kids loved the jellyfish, Nemo fish, sharks, petting stingrays and, of course, the penguins!

Brittney and I had to go to this YUMMY Mexican restaurant (I'm pretty sure it's the only good one in Utah) for lunch. We weren't there 15 before chaos ensued. As Brittney and I chatted and the kids colored, Ava shifted in her chair as she always does (she's really wiggly) but this time something went terribly wrong. I looked over just in time to see her falling face first out of her chair. It was strange on so many levels, first of all, I wasn't sure how she got herself into that predicament in the first place, secondly, it seemed to happen in slow motion yet I couldn't get there fast enough to help her before she landed. So, she landed. Hard. The first thing I hear is the worst scream EVER, so I rush over, see her face down on the floor, immediately pick her up and all I see is blood. Lots of it gushing out of her mouth. I immediately check her teeth. They're still there. They're not loose. So, I just begin making my best effort to stop the bleeding. Ava is still screaming so I take her out to the restaurant lobby. The sweet staff of the restaurant brought us napkins and ice. After 20 minutes, lots of crying and lots of napkins we finally got the bleeding to stop for the most part. Ava, got ice cream. I took her to the dentist a few hours after we got home, just to be safe. He said her teeth weren't damaged, but she scraped off several layers of her gums. Painful, but better than the alternative. That night we went out to dinner, fortunately, she could eat and said her mouth wasn't hurting too badly. Today, her gums already look tons better!

Saturday we were finally blessed with GREAT weather, so to celebrate Andy and I took the kids goofy golfing (which some people call miniature golfing). Oh my heck, sooo fun! Ava developed her own swing, Jax preferred to just kick or throw the ball into the hole.
We ended the weekend with some family time at home. Now, I'm going to enjoy the last two years of my 20's.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

For Uncle Eric

I admire the relationship between Andy and his brothers. There's five of them, Andy being the oldest, anytime these boys get together laughter ensues. The funny thing though, is they're usually laughing at the same ol' stories. The Kleinman wives (there's four of us now) know that when the boys start reminiscing, it's time for us to find something else, unless of course, we want to hear for the 936th time about Dusty's baby Crystal, or Curtis hitting a tire with a hammer (which backfired and hit him in the head), or Brian seeing how many acorns he could stick up his nose... on more than one occasion, or Andy chasing the chickens, or Eric having an epic battle with Ralphie (their dad) over lima beans... when he was four. I would say Eric (the youngest) has the most stories of all the boys, I guess that's what happens when you're the baby. We say all the time that Jax and Eric are kindred spirits. They're both giant beasts of boys, they both are obsessed with anything with an engine and both are serious daredevils. I love Eric to death, but to be honest, I'm a little scared about my boy turning out that way. I just don't know if my heart can handle him jumping motorcycles over suburbans... at the age of 16. But alas, we're already seeing signs of Eric-ness, among them a new favorite saying. It's a classic Eric line from the boys' childhood. Andy taught it to Jax and now he runs around saying it with enthusiasm. Please disregard me asking him about his shoes... he had just gotten new ones that day.

That's right, "I HAUL RUB!" Eric said it one day while he and his brothers were out riding bikes. He was pretty young, and the older boys had built dirt jumps to take their bikes on. Eric rode around on a little scooter and would go on the jump, but just scrape the top off as he went down the backside. The boys, annoyed that their little brother kept destroying their jumps, yelled, "Eric, what are you doing? You're ruining the jumps" to which he responded, "That's cuz I haul rub." And a Kleinman legend was born.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Easter Bunnies

Easter weekend, as always was wonderful! We were blessed this year to have General Conference the same weekend. For those who don't know, General Conference occurs twice a year (April and October) on the first weekend of the respective months. In two-two hours sessions, both on Saturday and Sunday, members of our church have the opportunity to hear from Church leaders and our prophet. Conference is always very spiritually uplifting and provides guidance and counsel from our leaders. This year, I think, was especially profound. Much of the focus was on raising children, our roles as parents and strengthening our families. As a stay-at-home mom, so much of what was said seemed as if it were being said just for me. I'm sure many others felt the same way.

These were all so cute, I had to post them all!

It was wonderful to have our whole family home together, focusing on each other and the Easter holiday. But, of course, what would Easter be without some basic traditions. For the first time in Ava's life, we decorated Easter eggs with her friend A.J. . I'm not sure why it's taken me four years to actually do this with her, but it has. She loved it, and of course focused most of her attention on the pink and purple dye.

Saturday she and I made our traditional conference weekend cinnamon rolls. Oh so good, but oh so bad!

Sunday morning the kids woke up extra early, Ava came into my room basket in hand, ready to go hunting for eggs. Fortunately, the Easter bunny had the foresight to only hide the eggs inside since we got hit with snow during the night. The kids spent all of five minutes searching for the eggs before finding them all. I swear, Ava has eyes like a hawk. The Easter Bunny decided it would be best to only include candy in some of the eggs, since the kids have a mom with strict sugar rules. He filled most of them with money (coins) which the kids LOVED! However, I can't say they weren't excited to see candy in their eggs too. Jax, knowing very well that I wouldn't let him eat it ALL, would open a candy-filled egg and frantically shovel as many jelly beans as he could in his mouth before I could get the egg away from him. Or, he'd run off, a piece of candy in each hand, taking bites and chewing like a mad dog to get it down.

We, of course had the opportunity to discuss the real story of Easter. Ava knew the story of the Resurrection very well, so it was fun to see her get so excited to tell it to Jax. Truly, a wonderful weekend! The only thing that would have made it better would have been some sunshine!