Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Peace that Surpasses All Understanding

I have been neglected the blog with good reason. Since Wednesday of last week I have not been feeling well at all. Not only do I have allergies but I also have/had strep. On top of this, it is the busy time at my university. We are a week away from exams and less than a month away from graduation. So needless to say I have been very busy, stressed, and sick. 

But I do have peace. It is a God-given peace that descends from time to time (four times in my life actually). I am so thankful for that. I tend to worry and fret over life, things that I truly do not have any control over. But then amidst it all God sends me the gift to peace. I got that peace tonight when driving our babysitter home. I poured out my heart and worries to God and in response he said "Shalom". 

So I will leave you all with that. I pray that you all have or will experience Shalom peace at some point in your life. Once I get better I will return to my lovely outlet of a blog with more regularity. Until then! 

Daily Verse: In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. -Psalm 4:8 

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Today has not been the best day in my book. I really am not picky about my days but well any day involving death makes me feel justified in my opinion of today being bad at least. I skipped church today because I woke up again with seasonal allergy discomfort (headache, throat, and nose junk). Jonas also woke up in a bad mood, which usually does not color my day but he had not slept well yesterday or that evening... so I decided to stay home with him just in case. 

Jonas is like a robot you see. He needs his naps at the time he needs them. Two a day. If he gets his naps, in his bed, with his babies- then he is a happy boy and sleeps great! If not well, he wont sleep and hasn't done well with that in the past. Oh well! But today since I was not feeling well I NEEDED him to nap for Mommy.  

Deirdre has been and always will be a great sleeper- for me at least. If she does ever nap or sleep poorly I can usually lay with her to help her sleep. I basically swaddle her with my arms, like I did when she was a baby. Within 10 minutes she is out like a light. 

At any rate during nap time today I changed the chick bedding and food like I have been. When I returned, one chick was dead. Not five minutes earlier she was peeping and alive. I was very very upset. I look over the others to make sure that they are fine and then gently wrap the dead chick and put her aside. Her name was 'Bambi". 

I quickly called Craig to tell him what happened and he told me that I should use this as an opportunity to talk to Deirdre about death. So when she woke up and checked on the chicks like she usually does, she saw that there was one missing. I explained that Bambi had died and that sometimes for no reason people and animals die. She was so very upset. She wanted to know "why" and "what happened". I finally got it out of her that she thought it was her fault that the baby died and that she did something wrong. I assured her that we did not do anything wrong and she calmed down some. 

Death is something I have some experience with but it is not something I have ever really profoundly thought about. I had four Grandparents (I was close to all of them and extremely close to one), all of whom I have lost to cancer starting with my Grandfather in 1994 and ending with my Pop-Pop last winter. Two of my close friends died tragically in high school, one in a car accident and the other who was murdered (which is still unsolved). All of these people were in my life on a weekly basis. I have vivid memories, letters, notes, photos and gifts from all of them. I miss each and everyone of them and thankfully I do have some peace now. But from time to time I do specifically cry out to God for justice when I think of my friend Shellie. Rachael "Shellie" Carson was my best friend in 8th, 9th, and 10th grade. She was raped and murdered the day I left for college by the soccer fields we used to play on. If her attacker(s) will not be brought to justice in this lifetime, then they will certainly be in the next.

I am going to end this blog on a down note, so sorry. Just thinking about my grandparents and friends is very hard and still hurts deeply. There are regrets and guilt wrapped up in that sorrow too. I will say that I hope to one day be able to talk to Deirdre wisely about death and in a healthy biblically sound way. However it is not something I ever hope for her to experience - despite the impossibility of that hope. 

Daily Verse: 

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord. -Jeremiah 9:23-24

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Tigers and Disappointment

Today we went to the zoo as a family. This was our second zoo trip in the past two weeks. Three weeks ago we got a letter in the mail inviting us to come see the new exhibit. Deirdre was ecstatic that the tigers sent her a letter, so off we went the next day in the rain. Our sweet mother, my mother in law Pam, gifted us a year membership to the zoo so we make a point to go twice a month at least. When we got to the zoo we were shocked. Construction was still going on in the new exhibit. Personally I was in disbelief. I had combed the letter over and over again, so I was sure that  the exhibit was already open. At any rate we defiantly went over to the exhibit anyway and then saw that gate was wide open! As we strolled through the exhibit, we saw that none of the animals are out except the tapir (whom by the way is super cool). Not three minutes later were we then stopped by security and told that the exhibit was not open yet as well as that our letter was wrong. Needless to say I was angry. I would have never gone out in that weather had it not been for Deirdre and the new exhibit. We still had a great time despite the weather and soon enough, I got over it and moved on...

Today, as we later found out, was the real opening to the exhibit. The zoo was beautiful and we had so much fun. There were crafts, bounce houses, and brachiating gibbons galore! The tigers however were shy, as always. While the entire "trail of the tiger" is very well done and beautiful, the viewing area is small for the tigers with too much bamboo to really even see them. Maybe this is just a sign that we need to stop chipping away at their natural habitat since that is where they truly belong? But again I digress... 

Today was all in all a glorious day filled with special family time. Jonas is super close to walking. He was a ball of joy today as well as Deirdre! Craig and I are so blessed. 

Daily Verse: (I apologize in advance for the length of today's daily verse. These are verses that I read in my quite time that speak to me. I like to wallow in these verses all day long and return to them all week long. Peter is one of my favorite books. I really identify with Peter as well. One day I will share why I feel this way. So enjoy.)

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. -1 Peter 5:1-9

Friday, April 1, 2011

Our family grew by 5!!

No this is NOT an April Fool's joke. The Kleemann Family has grown by five over the past month. That means we have 4 humans, 4 chicks, and 2 rabbits (plus the wild rabbit that keeps hopping into our hutch and stealing food!) to feed now. So in total that makes 10 and we love it! Well Craig says he will love it once the chicks stop "free-loading" and start producing eggs or meat! But , I will say that the new bunny he did totally on his own without my suggestion. Who would have thought that when he despised our first bunny for so long? It turns out that when Cicero got his hutch outside, he became a MUCH happier bunny. *note my sarcasm*

So this might explain why I have not blogged this week. I have been busy, sick, and taking care of baby chicks, whom I now love almost as dearly as my own children. They also think that I am their mother and when I hold them all close they think I am brooding them and fall asleep within seconds. As a little girl I had a pet chicken named Henrietta. She lived to be 9 years old and when she was 7 years old I got her a rooster named Henry. I did this because she was so lonely that she would cluck and coo to her shadow. Poor Henrietta! So I have raised poultry before and love them. Last year we attempted to raise them as well but we soon learned that there was a rabid feral cat colony in our neighborhood. Needless to say it did not end well for our chickens but it also did not end well for the cats in the long run either. So the problem was taken care of and we are a year wiser with a better housing plan!

Officially Deirdre is their mother and has named the chicks Simba, Nala, Faline, and Bambi. (3 Dominique Pullets and 1 Buff Brahma She is in charge of giving them their water and food. While Deirdre has LOTS of help and is a bit over zealous in their feeding, it has been a fun week watching her sense of responsibility grow. 

Jonas loves the chicks as well, maybe a bit too much. He just giggles insanely when he sees them. He now knows to touch them gently after a close call the first time he meet Faline. Today he softly poked the fur of one and he just had the biggest most proud smile on his face. Jonas is also super close to walking. He has taken his first few steps this week and now free stands for minutes at a time. The most interesting development with him is his "golem scoot". I have no other words to explain it. Its like his half walking-crawl which literally looks like how Golem walked around in the Lord of the Rings movies. I can barely contain my laughter right now as I try to describe this for you. I will video tape it tomorrow to show you just how funny it is. 

I also found my camera thanks to my guardian angel friend Danette so I can post new photos of our new babies. So thank you Danette, you are such a blessing in more ways than one! 

Daily Verse: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:2

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I love to knit. It is something I am not naturally gifted at either. So instead of giving up I decided to learn, mostly by myself, how to do it better. The only person I know whom knits is my husband's Grandmother, Oma. When she is here she is very helpful but sadly she lives in Connecticut and we only see them 2-3 times a year. She taught me last summer how to purl and to do a knitted cast on. Of course since I did not knit regularly then I had to relearn both methods, but now I think I can call myself a knitter. 

To date I have knitted 5 scarves, 2 ducks, 2 bunnies, 1 goose, and 1 sheep. My goal is to take a class at our Parks and Rec center which claims to teach sweater knitting to beginners as well as learn to crochet this summer. All of this adds to my long term goal of being able to knit the kids sweaters-hats- or gloves by next winter. I realize that this is a lofty goal but I am not wanting to learn anything super fancy. I know all the basics now, I just want to be able to knit more useful things for my family. 

Three books that have helped me learn solo are: 

All About Knitting by Martingale & Co

This awesome guide to everything knitting was a sweet gift given to me by my mother in law. It has patterns for all levels and is just a great guide to have around when you run into patterns that confuse you. It basically is a knitting encyclopedia. 

Knitted Animals by Anne-dorthe Grigaff

I LOVE this book. All the projects in here are for beginners and the patterns are not in shorthand, so it is good practice. Anyone can do these and if you work your way through all the animals in the book, then you will learn all the stitches. 

Kids Knitting: Projects for Kids of all Ages by Melanie Falick

This book is a great beginners guide. I like their illustration on the different stitches. It is very clear and easy to understand.

Youtube stitches and methods

So enjoy and maybe one night instead of just TV, you can knit too! Its fun and relaxing, I promise : )

Daily verse: And God spoke all these words: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. – Exodus 20:1-3 NIV

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Faithfulness and Random Acts

Recently I have been struggling with reconciling the changing relationships in my life. As we people change, so do our relationships. Fortunately most of these changes have been wonderful while others very hurtful. For longer than year now one of these has been weighting on my heart, and that weight has gotten a lot heavier in the past month. This caused me to question my worth, Jonas' worth, and my value as a daughter, wife, and mother. In the midst of praying over this, God gave me truly a supernatural peace and breakthrough in perspective on Tuesday. In addition to this he opened my eyes to other relationships in my life that have been growing in depth and love, among the most important my relationship with God and Craig, but also others.  One of those people is my friend Amanda. She has been such an inspiration and joy to be around. She is a true kindred spirit. God has put her in my life, as well as many others, in a pretty radical way when we first met.

 Six years ago in Fall 2005, I came to CNU completely independent from my parents as a result of domestic abuse from my father, whom I have since reconciled with. I also spent a large part of my senior year of high school on my own working and supporting myself due to abuses happening at home. So when I came to CNU I was very alone with no support network that I was in contact with (except for my Aunt Meeta and Uncle Bill, for whom I have the utmost love and  respect). I got a job on campus and worked overtime at it until pay check time came...

I was told then that they could not pay me unless I could get my birth certificate and social security card, both of which my mother had and refused to give me at the time. So here I was in the CNU Human Resources office crying and upset that I could not get paid due to my home issues...again. The worker there was so kind to me. She got me all the information I needed to get a new card and certificate. She comforted me. And then I walked out and never saw her again.. or so I thought. Not soon after this I began dating Craig and we starting attending our home group. There I meet so many loving and wonderful people, among them were the Smiths, Josh and Amanda. (plus now Payton and baby Jude)!

After six years of friendship, I consider Amanda a very close friend. We have had kids together and recently have gotten closer. It was not until a month ago over coffee that she told me she was that worker who helped me that day when I could not get paid and felt soo defeated. Her! I always considered her a blessing in my life but at that point I was convinced that God has purposefully put her in my life then and now. That realization just deepened my connection to her and our friendship.

I had always wonderer..

Random acts of kindness DO make a difference and leave a lasting legacy. So thank you Amanda for being my friend and allowing the Lord to use you in more ways than you know. 

I did get my cards back from my Mom, after talking to Amanda, which prompted me to see her. Soon after we reconciled and our relationship continues to improve!!!  I love my Mom :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Return of the Birds!

Since making our decision to not send Deirdre to preschool this Fall, we have begun a new home preschool program with her- in conjunction with weekly play dates and biweekly church 'preschool' for social interaction. The program we are using is wonderful and is also free. I discovered via the Bella Luna blog. The curriculum was created by an awesome crafter Mom and homeschooler whom runs a website called "Wee Folk Art". It is seasonally based and fits Deirdre's personality perfectly (with an added touch of detail and depth where needed from Mama). 

About three weeks ago Deirdre got her subscription renewal to "My Big Backyard" magazine and with it came a pair of binoculars. She was immediately in love with them. So we took to the yard to observe the birds. At this point however the birds were hiding, since it was still very cold out. Then, not a week or so later, she noticed that the birds had returned!!! She began spying them all on her own and hearing them. 

Needless to say the return of the birds has been fun and coincides with the first lesson in our new curriculum on birds! How neat? Deirdre now knows so much about them and the schooling is really enriching her time outdoors. We have been keeping a bird and garden journal as well as a nature collection too. I will post pictures tomorrow of them since I am on the laptop. 

Deirdre also can now draw bodies, limbs, and faces. This may not seem like a significant development, but it is. I am so proud of her since it really, as is the case with all of her milestones, of her of own making. I watched her practice the drawings, not without frustration and a few "but you draw them best Mommy", before she got it! She was sooo proud of herself and rightfully so. Her effort was commendable. 

Another reason why I enjoy this version of home preschool is that I can go at her pace, challenge her where needed, as well as spend more time on topics that interest her...and all for free. I realize that "having a break" is nice but I do not mind having her around in the least. I actually prefer to have her around, haha. 

I spend lots of time one on one with both my kids and I get my housework and homework done. We also are cloth diapering and those are working out great plus they're getting washed (another thing I am proud of myself for). Also I have been cooking about 5-6 nights a week (Craig cooks one and the other is leftovers) from scratch for a month plus. That is something I am proud of because I am not a "cook". Well let me rephrase that, it is not something I like nor does cooking come easily to me. But I can cook and do it tastefully. I am however an great baker. So the I need a break "to get more things done" argument is moot. But I digress...

Basically, with preschool, I do not see the value in paying to have a break from my child when I do not need it nor want it. I like being with her, teaching her, and it does not seem like a necessary service for her or us. My husband also works afternoons/evenings. He only gets to really see the kids during the day. If she was gone 2 to 3 times a week, that would severely cut into his time with her. So he was a fan so keeping her home immediately. The quality of education never came into the decision process for us either because well in addition to having taught at a preschool for 4 years, I  will have a degree in less than a month in history, education, and language :) So I feel more than qualified to teach her and I know I have so far and will continue to do it well. 

Last but certainly not least, we felt convicted to do this as a family and Craig did as our spiritual leader. We believe that this is what the Lord wants us to do and we prayerfully considered it. 

So I will leave you with this verse and pictures to follow. Please do understand this is what we feel is best for our child and family. I do not think other people who send their kiddos to preschool do not like to be around them- that is just simply an argument I had been told and I wanted to specifically address it here. To each their own and I think preschools can be great! Who knows what we will  decide next year when we revisit the topic?

Daily Verse: 

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

-2 Timothy 3:14-17