November 30, 2011

My Walk

Last night Josh came home from work and I bundled up and headed out.  With the temperature well below zero Abigail stays inside but I need my time outside.  I love my walks, the solidarity of the 1.1 miles I walk each and every day. 

Bundled up in boots, snow pants, coat, scarf, hat and bright reflective vest I head out.  The night was so black with no moon.  The stars were amazing.  A flashlight lights the two feet in front of me and my breath freezes the skin and hair around my face.  It is here on my dirt road that I work out anger, stress, frustration and move into reflection, contemplation and soon feel rejuvenated. 

I see the lights on in windows, smell the woodstove smoke, hear the crunch of my boots on snow and see animal tracks racing along the side of the road.  As I reach my mailbox and turn back home I see the hill covered with small flickering lights of those at home.  I think of the books being read, conversations being had, dinners being made and families gathering together. 

When I walk up my driveway I see the lights on in my house.  I think of Josh, of Abigail and of all this house holds for me.  I come in the door ready, ready to be a wife, a mother and most of all just me.

November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

As our holiday weekend comes to an end we stop and reflect back on our Thanksgiving.  It was a wonderful day with Josh’s parents coming up to Fairbanks to help us celebrate.

We had the table

The cooking

The games and naps for those not cooking

The family pictures

The so very wonderful food

And the lists of all the things we are thankful for.

It was a wonderful day and even as I celebrated with those around me I couldn’t help remembering last year.  What a memorable thanksgiving that was.  I was 40 weeks pregnant, the kitchen was brand new, my parents were with us and it was the second to last meal we shared with Heather and Kevin before they moved.  What a difference one year can make.  

November 25, 2011

Preparations for the Next Thing

Since it is winter the house projects are definitely inside projects these days and the next big project has been started.
This winter we (Josh) is setting out to finished wrapping the inside of the windows and putting up the face trim around our doors and windows.
So our basement has been filled with boards all cut to length that have to be primed, painted and then painted again before they can be put up.  
I think this might be the one time Josh isn’t really happy with the shear number of windows we have in this house but oh how I love them all.  I have been looking at the windowsillless windows for so long dreaming of the day when I would have windowsills and wouldn’t see the 2x4’s around the windows that I am so very excited for the start of the next big winter project.  (And with her swing inside now Miss Abigail is excited for all the time we are in the basement where it is warm and fun, let the painting begin).

November 24, 2011

Being Thankful at Thanksgiving

Josh and I were talking the other day about this past year and all that we are thankful for (well I was doing most of the talking and after a few ideas Josh went back to reading, ha ha).  We certainly have been blessed and are thankful for the life we have each and everyday but since this is Thanksgiving we have a short list to share.

Our faith and salvation through Christ
Our marriage and the friendship we have
For Abigail, that she such a healthy and happy girl
The new deck on the house
Josh’s office had their work contract renewed this year and thus he has job security for the next few years and that we can enjoy Fairbanks as our home.
Our garden; that has provided so much for us to enjoy all year long.
That Josh works so hard and I am able to be a stay-at-home mom
For the little adventures that make life interesting
For our friends and family that add such richness to our lives.

On this day our hearts and minds are so full.  What are you thankful for today?

November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Preparations

With thanksgiving tomorrow and family coming to visit tonight I have been busy working on the food and hosting part of this holiday a lot recently. 
But one thing that was easy to prepare a few weeks ago was the homemade cranberry sauce.  I made my sauce out of mostly ocean spray cranberries I had in the freezer and some fresh Alaskan cranberries picked during the summer.
I was super excited to get 11 pints and 3 quarts out of the cranberries I had here at home.  You might be asking what in the world I do with that much cranberry sauce.  Well, we use it as a base in my chicken/turkey pot pies, in turkey soup (have you tried that?  It gives the soup a slightly sweet flavor that we love), on sandwiches and of course we eat it with our big meal tomorrow.  If you have any other ideas for me on uses of cranberry sauce I would love to hear them, I love the stuff.
But moving right along with the meal plans, I finished cooking up our pumpkins last week.  I had 4 more pumpkins that needed seeded, skinned, cooked and pureed.  After 3 ½ hours I finally had my biggest pot full of purred pumpkin ready to divided up and freeze.  Before it was all frozen though I did make Josh a pumpkin pie and Abigail and I some Gluten free pumpkin muffins.  We just love having so much goodness around.
I heard on the radio the other day that is year’s thanksgiving dinner was going to cost Americans an average of 18% more than last year and that most of that cost was from the cranberry sauce, pumpkin and the turkey.  Upon hearing this I smiled since I made my sauce, grew my pumpkins and managed to purchase enough groceries and household items at Fred Meyer’s to get my free turkey.  With our garden grown potatoes and broccoli as part of the side dishes I think we are going on to be on low side of that American percentage this year!

November 22, 2011

The Completion of a Project

While we were in New Jersey Josh did a lot around the house but his main project was to finish the handrail at the base of the stairs.  
You might remember that our handrail upstairs is not traditional but instead is a unique design Josh had created.  Well, for the downstairs portion of the rail Josh decided to go with something a little more traditional but make it out of black walnut so that the wood would match.  Here are a few pictures of Josh’s amazing work.

What an amazing job he did.  It makes the house look so good and it is hard to remember the house without it.  Once again Josh has created something beautiful that helps make our house amazing.  Thank you Josh for working so hard to complete this project.  

November 21, 2011

Abigail at 11 ½ Months

Abigail is growing so much, doing so much and is so fun I want to record a few of our high points for this month.

Abigail’s growth, at her appointment last week she had grown 1 ¼ inches but since she is such a mover she still hasn’t gained any weight.  We are at the same weight down to the ounce since 9 months.  But she still has a chubby belly, a round face and rolls on her thighs and eats all of the time so we aren’t too worried about this.  Must just have a metabolism like her daddy.

While in New Jersey this girl cut both of her top front teeth.  After months of pain from them coming in they are finally here.  It is so fun watching Abigail chew her food.  She finds great joy is chewing her cheerios instead of just gumming them.

Our little lady is officially a walker, thus the picture is slightly blurry, she is always on the move.  While in New Jersey she took one independent step but on Nov. 8th she took a series of 6 steps and hasn’t looked back since.   

This is Abigail’s new silly grin.  We love it.  With the cold weather Abigail is also dressed in many layers these days.  You can see from the pictures that we do jumpers, vests, fleece pants and knit booties (thanks cousin Gigi) to stay warm.

Abigail still loves to play with her toys.  She really loves having things in her hands these days.  Her favorite is the small stick animals from Claudia that squeak when squeezed.  She puts one in each hand and when she crawls she makes squeaking music.  Makes us both laugh.

Abigail is super cuddly these days.  She also has recently found an interest in small stuffed animals and her baby doll.  She loves her pink stuffed pig from Aunt Kelly and I find it in random places it around the house.  She still isn’t attached to any one thing but maybe that will change.  

Over all we love our baby girl.  We can’t believe we are at month eleven, almost an entire year has passed.  She is so smart and fun, can’t wait to see what she will wow us with next.

November 17, 2011

The weather in Fairbanks has been fairly mild this fall/winter.  That is up until this morning.  On my drive to work this morning the radio said it is -36.  That got me wondering what the average temperature this time of year is...  Well, as shown below; the average temperature for mid to late November is between -10 and 10. I guess we beat that, we are actually close to the record low according to this figure.  I thing we should be trying for the other end of the chart.  

November 16, 2011

Perfect, Now Where is My Coaster?

While Abigail and I were in New Jersey Josh was able to work on his woodworking projects.

One of the projects was started last spring.  You might remember me telling you about Josh’s goal of making us a coffee table.  He made it out of birch wood that he had milled from our birch trees in our yard years ago.  In the spring Josh was able to get the wood cut and the top put together but then summer arrived and the endless list of outdoor projects became top priority and the coffee table laid in pieces just waiting for winter to once again arrive.

And with the colds arrival and our departure Josh was able to take the time to finish his latest masterpiece.  It is beautiful.  He mixed in some of his favorite black walnut wood with the birch and the contrast is wonderful.  The large top surface is perfect and I love having the extra shelf.  

Although at this time coffee table books or centerpieces have to wait since this table is the perfect height for our little creeper and walker.  It is such a good and strong table that this girl could never pull it over and it is so fun for Abigail to have a table her height.  Thank you Josh for all of your hard work, vision and labor to create this beautiful new addition to our home.

November 14, 2011

Thankful for the Summer

In this house we have been eating fresh garden carrots for weeks.

But we realized the other day that the time had come to scrub, dice and blanch a lot of those fresh carrots so that they would last the winter.

 This was no easy chore as we still had a lot of an 18 gallon tote of carrots to harvest.
 This was also a family operation for sure.  Josh cleaned, I chopped and Abigail was the general entertainment and distraction. 
 The variety of carrots we found were also part of the day’s entertainment as well.
Even though the entire process was tiring we did enjoy the fruits of our labor as we worked.  As you can tell from Abigail’s hands, she enjoyed this part the best.

November 11, 2011

To Be An American

Since today was Veteran’s Day I thought I would share pictures from another adventure we had in New Jersey.  An adventure that reminded me of the value of being an American, the joy it was to be born into such a privilege, and the values we have to defend and fight to retain.

 On a sunny Tuesday afternoon Hillary, Abigail and I all headed to the New Jersey Liberty ferry dock that would take us to the Statue of Liberty.
 Since we were departing from the New Jersey side of the Hudson River we were able to have a great view of the New York City skyline.
 Some of us enjoyed the ferry ride a little more than others
 But regardless of motion sickness, the view was breath taking for all of us.
While at the Statue of Liberty and Elis Island we read and saw stories of those who fought with their lives to come from other countries to America.  What a joy it was for them to come worn and beaten into the New York Harbor and see our Lady Liberty waiting for them.  May I never take my liberty for granted as it was come at such a price of those who fought for all we have today.

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