September 21, 2017

Family Time

The entire trip to the east was planned for time with family.  
 Family I love and family who had yet to meet my kids.
As a parent there is so much joy in seeing people I love, love my kids. 
 And at the same time I get to watch my kids fall in love with this extended family of mine.
 We might live in Alaska but these kids are loved for just being part of this crazy crew.  What a blessing family is!
And a great-uncle who buys ice cream and lets you enter into the great family tradition of the chunky monkey ice cream passing.  Well, that is a memory that will live on forever as a reminder of how fun family reunions can be!

September 20, 2017

Hidden Treasures

When I travel I love to visit the museums, the statues, and the "known landmarks" of a city.  But my favorite things to find are parts of a town that are special to the people who live in that town.
 One of those parts of Fairport, NY is the public library.  My cousin sent me in this direction our first morning and I am so grateful.  My kids had so much fun.  Their library is above and beyond any I had been to.
The rest of our weekend in NY would find life busy, full of family, events and places to be but this first morning found us completely content.  Exploring, enjoying and being in a new place with treasures to find.

September 19, 2017

Family Farm

My dad grew up on a farm in western New York.  I loved visiting as a little girl.  After my grandma passed away my grandfather sold the farm.  I was around 12 years old.  Since then I haven't been back.  
 So when we planned our trip to the east coast, and we knew we were going to Rochester, NY, I put on my wish list to visit the farm.  We didn't get to walk around the yard at all but to see the old house and barn was very special to me.
And even more special - to show this place to my kids.  In addition to stopping by the farm house I also took the kids to a roadside farm stand.  There I bought them the best corn and watermelon they will ever have.  Nothing in Alaska can compare!  Now they will understand my childhood stories a little better.  

September 18, 2017

Fall Traditions

A little break from our east coast memories for some fall traditions.
 Fall 2017
(A - 6 1/2, E - 5, N - 3, Z - 3 months)
Fall 2016
 (A - 5 1/2, E - 4, N - 2)
 Fall 2015
 (A - 4 1/2, E - 3, N - 1)
Fall 2014
 (A - 3 1/2, E - 2, N - 3 months)

September 15, 2017

Friday - Garden Update

A lot has changed in the last few weeks since I have posted a garden update.  For one fall has arrived, summer is officially over in Alaska.  With that the garden is wrapping up for the year.
 This pictures of the kids and I in the garden was taken before we left for our trip.  I figured I wasn't coming back for another week and by then the garden would be frozen.  Thus I pulled most of the non, or minimally, producing plants.  
This is a picture of the garden last night.  The zucchini and pumpkins are alone in the main garden.  The new area still has some beets and carrots but I am enjoying going out and harvesting those every few days.  Let me tell you, I can't cook enough beets for these kids, they love them.  Sadly the beets and carrots didn't have a great year and they are on the small size but we are enjoying them just the same.  The greenhouse still houses the tomatoes and cucumbers but their production is pretty minimal.  Surprise, surprise we haven't had our first frost yet.  That is predicted to come this week so chances are I need to spend part of tomorrow on more garden clean up.  What a season it has been.

September 14, 2017

Apple Picking

The first day we were in New Jersey my sister said to me, "Anything you want to do, just name it and I will do my best to make it happen."  What a great thing to hear from a hostess!  
 High on my list of wishes for our trip was to take the kids apple picking.
 Even though it was fall in Alaska, New Jersey was still going strong in summer.  But Hillary did find a farm that was having U-Pick for peaches, blackberries, raspberries and ...
early season apples.
It was a fun day for all.  We came home happy and with a box of the best fruit ever.

September 13, 2017

2017 East Coast Adventure

I have mentioned several times about how our big trip was changed by Hurricane Irma.  What I haven't mentioned, but get to now, is all of the wonderful things we got to do before our trip was interrupted.  Living almost 5,000 miles away from family is hard.  It is so fun when the chance comes up to visit.  A cousin was getting married over Labor Day and I was so excited to bring my family to meet everyone.  To see aunts and uncles that I hadn't seen since moving to Alaska or since my wedding 11 years ago.

The first part of the trip was to fly to New Jersey and see my sister and niece.  
Each day we were together we did something fun.  Day one - go on a walk to see fairy houses.
There is this great walk in the woods near her house full of fairy dwellings that people have built.
It was the perfect start to a vacation after so many hours on an airplane.  (notice the small fairy house to the right in this picture?)  
This little walk sparked so much imagination and fun in the kids.  The perfect bit of magic to take on our adventures.  

September 12, 2017

Simple Things Are Great

For six months we have been planning on spending Ethan's 5th birthday in Florida.  There has been promises of swimming in pools, ice cream cake, fresh fruit to eat and lots of sunshine.  Well, hurricane Irma changed all of those plans.  We spent the week and a half before Ethan's birthday in New Jersey and New York.  On September 7th we flew home to Alaska instead of our intended flight to Florida.  Arriving home at 2am I was left with the knowledge that my little boy would wake up in five hours and I needed to have a birthday plan.  
 But you know what I was reminded of.  Little kids just love to be loved.  It didn't matter where we were.  This was his birthday and that was pretty amazing.  He hugged me in the morning after I sang to him and he said, "Oh mama, I have waited so long for it to be my birthday."  Balloons all over the floor, his favorite breakfast, phone calls just for him and no chores all day.  Florida or Alaska - it was a great day.
 Lucky for us our first mooseketeers meeting of the year was on the 8th.  I put in a request to our leader before even leaving NJ asking if we could bring cupcakes to help Ethan celebrate.  She was all for the idea and thus a "party" was put together.  I knew I could run Ethan to the store to pick out cupcakes but, as mentioned yesterday, Ethan loves to help me cook.  So first thing after breakfast we made cupcakes together.  Red cupcakes, green frosting and blue sprinkles was what he picked.  He was so excited to hand them out to all of his friends during the mooseketeers snack time.
My idea of our first day back from a trip didn't include making a big old dinner but I put aside my feelings and did manage to pull together a meal Ethan loves.  Daddy even made it home from work in time to see the presents being opened.  Little kids love to be loved.  A good reminder to this mama that it doesn't have to be huge, extravagant or expensive.  The end of the day making them special on their special day brings joy for the entire year ahead.  What a fun little guy to celebrate.  Here we are just four days into this new year and I have to say - life with a 5 year old is great.

September 11, 2017

You Are 5!!

Ethan, our big trip this fall has been changed and your birthday was a little different than we had originally planned.  But regardless of the schedule change I can't miss out on writing your birthday blog post.  I might not have gotten it written last Friday on your actual birthday but hey, at least it is written on your original due date!

Ethan, you are now 5 years old.  How is this possible.  My little red headed man is not so little anymore.  How strong and grownup you have become.
You love so many things but high on that list is cooking with me.  For mother's day you got me a double set of cutting boards (a big and little one) so that you and I could cut things up together.  For my birthday you picked out a double set of spatulas (a big and little one) so that you could cook with me.  I see the trend my boy and I promise we will cook more together.
 You have an amazing imagination.  Dress up is super fun and you are a super hero, a spy, a worker, a robot and so much more - daily.  You say, "I am going to go play with my super hero men mama.  They are strong but I am stronger."  Whenever you put on your "super fast" shoes you like me to watch you run so very fast.  You and Abigail start a story of play together and neither of you tell the whole thing.  You will start, she will add, you will add, and so on.  It is so very fun to listen to you play and how your imaginations make the story grow bigger and bigger and bigger.
 You love to just be watched!  Be it because you are in a large family, a performer for all or just because you live to be congratulated, I hear all day, "Mama, watch this" or "I have something to show you".  You love to have me sit and watch you put together legos, swing on your swing set, ride your bike, do a dance or any other of the million things that fill our day.  If I am busy I hear you calling to Abigail, Naomi and even Zachary.  You love to be watched.  Your sisters might be called shy at times, you - not so much.
 You love to play games.  Pretty much if anyone says something is a game you are ready to join in.  Not only do you love them but you are good at them.  You focus and you win, pretty much everything.
 You love to eat but if you had to pick just one food you couldn't.  Fruit and vegetables would top your list but please don't ask to narrow it down from there.  You are more likely to pick fruit or ice cream over any other dessert.  If you eat too much fruit your body breaks out into a rash and it is such a hard thing as your mom to limit what you love.  A full belly makes for a very happy Ethan.  You often sit down to dinner and declare the meal before you as your favorite.
 The older you get the more you like activities.  As a little guy I remember thinking you would never like to run.  Now on our daily walks to the mailbox you pretty much run the entire mile.  If allowed you wouldn't stop moving from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep.  The parenting talks on raising boys talk about their need to move and sometimes they don't even know that they are tapping a foot, swinging an arm or more.  This is true with you.  Even in school work if you aren't actively writing you are drumming the desk with your pencil.
 You love to explore and the world of science has become super fun for you.  Is this leaf crunch or soft, and why?  Is this heavy or light, and why?  Does this mix or stay separate, and why?  Learning your world is sometimes the lesson in learning to ask the question.  You are starting to walk down this road great.
 Up until this past year you have been too active to do much art.  That has taken a shift this year.  Each day finds you drawing, painting, using sticker and scissors and more to create.  You have the picture in your head and are eager to put it together.  Not one to like to follow directions you often create something unique to you.
 You will have your well child visit at the end of the month so I have no up to date numbers for you just yet.  But you are growing so strong.  Your body has lengthened, your muscles are growing, your little boy body has strengthened into a 5 year old perfectly.  You still get the most comments on your red hair and even when we were in NYC last week, strangers come up and touch you on the head.  You are so used to it by now and often will refer to your "special curl."
 This year you became a big brother again and this time to a brother.  You are so very excited.  Not only do you absolutely adore babies, and to have one in your own house!!!, but you can't wait to play with him.  
 A lot of days find you sitting with Zachary determined to teach him something, ABC's, baseball, legos, and more.  How you love your sisters too.  The Lord knew you should never be an only child.  You only go play by yourself if you are in trouble.  Being with your sisters, and brother, is what you love the most. 
 This year you started into, what I hope is, your love of  baseball.  You had so much fun.
You also miss the state of Alaska cut off for kindergarten by 8 days but by homeschooling we can do what we need/want.  You are a registered Pre-K student and I love that we do pre-K work, Kindergarten work and also let you play as much as you need.  You are super good about being willing to do your work but sitting at a desk for a long time is no good for anyone, especially you.  How thankful I am that the days are still snow free and that outdoor play is part of every day, rain or shine.
Ethan my love, you are amazing.  I love your hugs, smiles, laugh, energy and enthusiasm.  You tire me out and you make me glad.  The Lord blessed this family with you and, even on the hard days, we grow stronger and happier together with you a part of us.  The Lord has big plans for you and I am so very excited that I get to be right here on the sidelines of your life to cheer you on.

September 6, 2017

September 5, 2017

Hello There

Enjoying a little tummy time and growing up so very fast.

September 4, 2017

Well, Missed That One

Yup, that is a cucumber.  Not a zucchini.  It tasted oh so very good too!