Pick a Pumpkin

{classic Lou, crazy happy in the oddest places}

{this is classic too, sneaky sassy, up to something} 

Can you see the joy? Did you notice the blurs of excitement?

We love pumpkins. White ones, pink ones, green ones, the usual orange ones, round ones, tall ones, flat ones, tiny ones and big ones, all except those ones with the witch wort bumps all over them. They give me the nilly willies-but that kind of makes them perfect for Halloween so we usually end up with one of those in our wagon anyway.  

The babes usually load up a little red wagon in record time, then they're off running and exploring until we can finally corner them into one place, pay for our squash loot, and ride off with them for carving and decorating.

 {"mama, HAPPY! Look."}

{he loves heavy machinery}


Klises Come to Town

Remember those "My Parents Went to the Caribbean and All I Got Was this T-shirt" shirts? That's what this picture makes me think of.

"The Klises Came to Visit Us for a Weekend and All I Got Was this One Picture."

 Though it wasn't well documented, the kids had a great time playing with their cousins and spending time with Papa and Grandma. We tried to show them some of our favorite fall hang outs and give them a tiny glimpse of where we now call home. It was fun to share a few days with them, and we're so grateful that they made the long trip to spend some time with us.


Apple Empire

I think that when the Evil Queen made Snow White a poison apple, she must have used an Empire apple.

Or maybe a Jonamac. But possibly a MacIntosh.

I would have used a Honeycrisp. Who can say no to a Honeycrisp?

Anyway, I know where to get all these apples and more for a life-stopping (no poison needed) $1.25/pound. Fall is here, and the world is an apple empire.


The Big Quintessence Birthday

" ..the big quintessence of all time. Full and so rich."
-from Walter Mitty
I often remind Jeff of the best birthday ever celebrated. It was back before we were engaged and Jeff planned this big to-do for me. He started the day with a bouquet of flowers hand-selected by himself and wrapped together in a beautiful assortment by a local florist. Thoughtful? Yes. I'm a picky flower lover- some things I just don't like to see in a bouquet, and he made sure that only the good stuff was in there. Furthermore, he planned a family and friend dinner at India Palace, told me to dress up (this is also really thoughtful.....dress up is my thing) and then surprised me with private salsa dancing lessons! Everyone was waiting for us back at my town home and we celebrated with a funfetti cake Jeff baked himself (that is also a big deal! I have never known Jeff to bake since). My family gave me a beautiful cruising bike with white wall tires and a wicker basket, and we all hung out together savoring the end of the day. This was one awesome birthday. The most awesome birthday, until now.

This year, the 27th one, was the big quintessence birthday. The full and rich one.
It went down like this:

After opening all my presents first thing, we moved on to rescuing little snapping turtle hatchlings. Sawyer was suited up to defend the little ones from foxes and such. Naturally.

Somehow we transitioned from turtles to apple picking. I love going to pick apples on my birthday and after apples I get my birthday doughnut. Birthday doughnut = my birthday cake.

Next we completely switched gears. We left country and animals behind, including our little animals, and Jeff took me down to Columbus on an overnight getaway. It was so unexpected and such a big surprise and so appreciated. Great things happened, like uninterrupted conversation, for one, and jumpsuit wearing, for another.

Our hotel was really nice, and we can thank Taylor Swift's world tour and the Buckeyes playing at home for that. Since all of the regular places were full, we upgraded ourselves to such things as lavender pillow spray and courtyard gardens and actual tea cups for my hot chocolate. We went to a four course dinner, where I could order anything I wanted without any side looks or raised eyebrows, just a whole lot of, "Sure, Rach. That sounds great." 

The next morning we went to the Columbus temple together and then to La Chatelaine for straight up french baguette and patisserie for lunch. After french onion soup and brie sandwiches and chocolate mousse and such, we returned to our little animals for a lazy rainy day.

I always hear people say that experiences are better expenditures than things, and I nod along then order my birthday boots anyway and wait anxiously for my birthday sweaters to arrive. But after this birthday experience, and remembering the original best birthday, I realize they've been thoughtfulness and time spent with people I love; that's what made them full and so rich.

Here's to many more quintessences!


Palmyra for Scott

{with our family and Scott at the Palmyra, New York Temple}

With my cousin Natalie already in Brazil on her mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, my cousin Scott- Natalie's twin -is now gearing up for his mission. In a most unusual manner, both twins were called to serve in Brazil, though Natalie will serve in the Natal area mission, and Scott in the Racife area mission.  The mission boundaries border each other! That's pretty cool. We're all loving how it will allow each to have their own mission experience, but will still keep them close. When they come home, they will have a new twin language!! They'll be only ones in their immediate family who speak Portuguese, and that's pretty cool too.

Missions in general are awesome to me. I think it's a beautiful thing for a person to put their life on hold, leave nearly everything they have behind, and dedicate themselves to serving others and helping anyone who desires it, to come unto Christ. Such dedication and giving can not only change the lives of others for the better, but it usually blesses and changes the life of the missionary as well.

Scott is already an incredible human being with many unique interests and abilities. but I'm excited to see the changes that will come to him, and those he helps, as he faithfully serves in Brazil for two years.

I'm like, this excited:

Good luck Scotty Boy!


Jeff's "29 and Lookin' Fine"

Jeff is our man, so he got two parties and two birthday dinners and two birthday desserts because he deserves all the attention he can possibly get.  We took him fishing, or um, more like he took us fishing because he and Sawyer are the anglers of the bunch.We cooked him steak, green beans and potatoes-because he never wants anything else. Unless that something else is cheesy chicken and rice, in which case we made that for him too. One night we desserted (that's one I just made up) on yellow cake and malted chocolate frosting, the next night on chocolate chip cookies and ice cream.

Since we celebrated with an outing on Saturday, and as a family group on Sunday, and Jeff's birthday was on Monday, we concluded all those festivities with the inaugural ceremony of our newest family tradition: Birthday Family Night! We had an FHE just on Jeff and doing and eating his favorite things, then we all watched a little slideshow on all things Jeff from the past year. It was a really awesome slideshow, not because I made it, but because Jeff had a really awesome year.

They call Jeff "Clark Kent" at work. And he probably is superman incarnate.  It's not just the glasses and physique, and the chiseled classic features, either. He is the most capable, strong, intelligent, empathetic, kind, honest nearly-to-a-fault man, but you'd never know it just walking by him on the street. It's one of the things that makes him so remarkable.

We love our superman!

On another note, for his birthday I got Jeff tickets to see the American composer John Williams in concert performed by the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center. This was the most awesome gift ever, on so many levels. Jeff loves the orchestra, loves the John Williams + George Lucas team, and loves date night with me. Win, win, win. Also, there were to be fireworks after the performance. Win again. Then Jeff was asked to serve as the leader of the young men's group at our church and found out that they had planned, months earlier, a temple trip that same weekend. It was never a question for Jeff, some things are more important than the most awesome birthday gift ever, and so he went with the youth on the temple trip.

And I went with Robyn and Scott to the orchestra.

{storm troopers....I don't even}

I was proud of Jeff for doing what was most right, but so sad that he missed the concert. It was tailor made for him. So much so that amidst all my personal enjoyment and the fun I was having with my surrogate dates, I died a little inside. Storm troopers and Jedis filled the place at intermission, the music was incredible, the conductor had worked in Hollywood for years and was a personal friend of John Williams, on and on, and on, it was so perfect for Jeff. The most awesome birthday gift he'll never have. I made sure to give him the fullest report I could, though I'm not sure that helped.

Oh well. But hey, next year!!!


The Great Geauga County Fair

The last time our family visited a fair was back when we were just two Klises, celebrating Jeff's 24th birthday at the Minnesota State Fair. Back then, Jeff had a lot more hair, I had a lot less hair, and we ate our way through the whole fairground.

But the last time I was at the Great Geauga County Fair, I had A TON of hair, absolutely no Jeff, I hated babysitting children, and I only walked in to get a corn dog and french fries with vinegar and walked out.  And that was a sad 12 years ago.

This time was certainly different. We did it all! And all was way more fun with kids-my kids-that I absolutely love to babysit every day. Early Thursday morning the fair had free admission and we took advantage of that to explore the unknown "Greatness" of my home town county fair.  Small crowds meant we go to do and see everything we wanted, without waiting in lines-except for the carousel ride, that is. To get the dragon, we had to practice patience, and then cutthroat, unapologetic, fast-paced seizing of the lone dragon. They should really put more than one of those on a carousel.

We watched a hilarious rubber chicken launch (normally done with live poultry, but the bird flu had all the birds banned from the fair this year), greeted all the animals in their respective barns, checked out the homemade jams and jellies and other "domestic" items, rode a ride and then got hungry. Then it was lemonade, corn dogs and fries with tons of vinegar and salt, and 4-H milkshakes for dessert.

Sweaty, full to bursting, and immensely pleased with ourselves, we headed home to gush to Jeff about how we can't wait to do it again, next year.