December 31, 2012

Christmas 2012

Our Christmas this year was filled with the joy, excitement and pleasures only small children can bring.
 Since our girl has been so good, and she is the only one that mattered this year right?, Santa did indeed come to our house.  Since Abigail only knows that Santa gives out candy canes (straws as she calls them), Santa was sure to put one in the very top of her stocking.  She was very pleased and ate that first thing.
 Being the only toddler in the house she had the pleasure of opening all of the presents, for everyone, all day.  Being only 2 we kept an eye on her and when she would get tired or bored with the opening we paused until later.  Thus we slowly opened gifts here and there all day, what a fun way to do it.
 Although Ethan wasn't as enthusiastic about the gifts as Abigail was, he did try his hand in opening one or two.
 But like most Christmases, the day was full of family, the blending of traditions from Josh's past as well as mine, and the creation of new ideas for our family.  
As the day wrapped up and Abigail closely inspected each gift as we read each new book I smiled at the joy of the day.  What a Merry Christmas it was indeed.  

December 28, 2012

The Day Before

Christmas Eve at our house was full of relaxing, preparing and enjoying.
 Abigail was in full Christmas spirit during the day as we read books, sang songs and told plans of the excitement the next day would bring.
 Josh has always had to work on Christmas Eve but since it fell on a Monday his boss was so nice and let him have it off.  Together we made a new batch of cut out cookies so we would have some to share with Santa.  (When Ethan is sleeping Abigail claims the bumbo)
 We opened a few presents that we had been admiring for so many days
 And took the time to play with and enjoy each one.
 We rounded the day out with an early dinner of special foods all before
we dressed up and went to the Christmas Eve service.  What a wonderful day it was.  The next day would bring more joys, different excitement and a day at home.  But this day, the day before, was full of treasures to remember in itself.  Honestly, I do believe the day before is my favorite.

December 27, 2012

A Day In Honolulu

While I take time to sort through this week's pictures I thought I would take another look at a day in Hawaii.
 While most of our vacation took place in Waikiki we did take one day and headed into Honolulu.  We visited the state's capital buildings and learned about the last queen of the Islands, the battles that occurred on the islands and how they became the 50th state of the US.
 While we were touring around we saw a bunch of chairs being set up and much to our delight we found out that the Royal Hawaiian band was setting up for a Christmas Concert.  A hour on a green lawn in Hawaii on the last day of November sounded perfect.
 It was fun that it was a concert full of hawaiian traditions and thus giving us more insight into the life of the islands.
We know that Abigail, and especially Ethan, were young on this trip and won't remember all of these experiences in the future, but it was all worth it anyway.  Each day we were there, experience we encountered, sight we saw drew us together as a family.  While I have more pictures, and this and that to share as the days go by, it is that time spent as a family that stands out the most of all the things we did on our trip.

December 26, 2012

Reflection

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  

Relaxed, full of time together, phone calls and skype with those we loved.

I have a lot of pictures but since it was a full day of family I have yet to download any.  I hope your after Christmas glow is sweet today.

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
We hope that this day and all the days to come are full of the sweetness of life.
God Bless - Josh, Kathleen, Abigail and Ethan

Tis The Season - Magic

Like I said last week, this is a fun year for Abigail.  Everything is new and she is making connections from books, displays in the stores and who she sees.
 She loves Santa but not for presents yet, that connection is still to come.  Instead she loves Santa for candy canes, which she calls straws.  We saw a Santa in Hawaii and he gave her her first ever "straw" and she was in heaven.  When we got back to Fairbanks and saw Santa here he too gave her a straw.  Now whenever she sees a picture of Santa anywhere she asks for a straw.  
Ethan too is learning about the magic of Christmas.  But to him right now Santa is just another person with soft and warm arms to snuggle him tight, the perfect gift!

December 21, 2012

Tis The Season - Ginger Bread Houses

Today is winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.  Today we will see just about 3 hours of daylight.   But even though our windows are dark most of the day our house is brimming with light from our tree and excitement as the days get us closer and closer to Christmas.  Last week I found a ginger bread house kit on the clearance rake at Fred's.  I have never bought a ginger bread house kit but we went to the annual ginger bread house contest in town and now Abigail is excited about them.
 Just opening the packaging made Abigail pretty excited.  The house pieces, packages of candy and frosting were all so new and exciting.
 I found out quickly why this set was on the clearance rake, the box has been dropped or something since the roof was cracked on both sides.  I loaded it up with frosting and we went about starting to decorate.  Or in Abigail's case, start tasting all of the different candies to figure which tasted the best.
In the end the roof just couldn't be fixed by me and so I ended up making it a flat roof and we decorated the top with jaw breakers.  I had so much fun building and decorating with Abigail and it reminded me that at Abigail's age the activity doesn't matter as much as the time spent one on one together.  I love that Abigail could care less that our roof caved in, our tree kept falling and that after she took a bite out of the chimney it wouldn't stay up right. To her everything was perfect and I realized that time together indeed made it perfect, tis the season of joy!

December 20, 2012

Tis The Season - Christmas Books

So I know these pictures are not the best quality but I love each one for what they represent.  One of my favorite part of Christmas and family tradition is the times spent reading Christmas stories.
 I do have quite the selection and have added to that by picking new ones up at the library off and on all month.  Mornings, afternoons and evenings find us piled together on the couch to read another story.
 And the result of that time together is seen throughout the rest of the day in Abigail's play.  When I am not able to read to her I have found her picking through the Christmas book selection and sharing it with Anna, Elmo and...
Her baby brother.  Oh, how I wish this picture had come out clear but regardless of its horrible quality I love it still.  As Abigail shows each picture in the book to Ethan he just smiles, coos and encourages her to keep "reading".  I just hope that I can take a picture like this, these siblings together happily, each year.

December 19, 2012

Tis The Season - Cookies

The past few days have been full of Christmas around this house as I am sure it is in most houses.  Abigail loves it all and so I have tried really hard to space out the fun activities so that there are new and fun things to do on different days.
The other day was cookies day.  Abigail and I made the cookie dough during the day but kept it chilled until daddy could come home and help out.
This was a full family activity with Ethan keeping a close eye on what shapes were chosen.
When Abigail wasn't busy eating the dough, she was having a wonderful time making trees, stars, and candy canes.  The original plan was to frost the cookies the next night but we got busy.  I found I prefer to give Abigail an unfrosted cookie over a frosted one anyway so they have stayed the way they are and she loves them since she doesn't know anything is missing. 

December 17, 2012

Christmas With Kids

I have been excited about Christmas this year for Abigail.  Last year she enjoyed the lights but didn't get Christmas, I knew this year would be different.  Everything has been new and a learning experience.  Santa, trees, jingle bells, stories, reindeer and so much more has been introduced to our girl.
 That being said, I also knew that once Abigail saw our tree it would be in danger.  So we came up with the idea of putting our tree where we could see it but not touch it for the Christmas season.
And it has been perfect.  Josh found a great tree in our woods once again and since it is so high up in the air it makes us look up and thus the room has seemed bigger and brighter.

December 14, 2012

Diamond Head

Diamond Head is a volcanic crater right outside of Waikiki and is one of the state of Hawaii's most photographed landmarks.
 We were lucky enough to see Diamond Head from our hotel each day and when we heard a local bus took visitors to the base we planned a visit.
 It was nice to get out of the city a little bit and see a little bit more of the island.  The residential area near diamond head is not an area with beaches but instead steep cliffs.  This doesn't discourage the surfers at all, I just can't figure out how they got down the cliffs to the water.
 The top of diamond head was once used as an army bunker during world war I.  It was where the army kept a look out for the island and had mortars and artillery set up for defense.  So even though 2/3 of the hike was on the mountain/rocky trail, the last 1/3 of the hike was up stairs, through a tunnel, then more stairs 
 and then finally one more set of spiral stairs.  Ethan took a nap on Josh in the moby and Abigail hung out with me for the hike.  Maked us wonder how parents with three, or more, kids do it!
 Finally just below the final look out we entered the WWI bunker.  What a cool experience, not what we are used to at the end of a hike.
 Since we have our active toddler I am thankful that the final look out was well fenced in.  After doing the hike on my back this girl was ready to run off some energy before she hopped back in the Ergo for the ride back down the mountain.  
And like most days, but especially after being so hot this day, we ended the day at the beach.  Really when you are hot and sticking from hiking in warm tropical weather all day there is nothing better the the cool refreshing feel of the water.  Ahh.

December 13, 2012

Growth

Yesterday Abigail had her 2 year well baby visit.  It was a good appointment since no shots were needed, just a general check up.  
 Everything looks good and our little lady is in deed little.
Weight 23.8 lbs (10%)
Height 32 inches (10%)
Maybe she got more of my mother's "small" genes than we thought.  I guess we will have to just wait and see.  The good news is that both her height and weight are proportional with a BMI of 50%, just where it should be.  She is growing just right for who she is.
Just for fun we put Ethan on the scale to see what he was looking like at 3 months and I found out why my back is sore some days.  As of yesterday our big boy weighed in at 15 lbs 7 oz.  Abigail was five months old before she reached at weight.  

Can't wait to see these kids grow.  No one knows what the future holds.

December 12, 2012

Remembering

Yesterday my parent's dog passed away.  He was a wonderful dog who was loved by all.  I will never forget the day that my dad brought him home.  It was early morning and I was in bed when a little squirmy puppy suddenly was licking my face.    
I have shared this video before but just wanted to again as I remember Shoeless Joe.  He was the sweetest, kindest, and most patient dog I have known.

December 11, 2012

The Sights, Sounds and Smells of Real Life

While on vacation we took advantage of the local Honolulu Zoo.
 It was a super fun afternoon full of seeing all of Abigail's favorite animals in real life.  If you know Abigail you know that she loves elephants, or Thump, Thumps as we call them at our house.  We spent a long time checking out these large Thump, Thumps in person.
 And while at the zoo Abigail found a new friend, an elephant just her size.
 Even though Josh is a monkey man, and we saw a lot of monkeys that day, his favorite part was the giraffes.  We were lucky enough to be there just as the giraffes and zebras were being fed so all of the animals were really up close and personal.
 Ethan missed out on this fun part of the day but he was there.  I took many pictures of Ethan sleeping on this trip because that is what he did a lot of when we went on our afternoon activities.  I know in a few years he is going to look back at all of these pictures and ask where he was and I want him to know that he was always with us.  The way these kids stick to opposite schedules meant that Ethan was awake in the hotel room mid-day when Abigail napped.  Oh well, someday we will all be on the same schedule. 
 Even with the birds, lemurs, sloths, lions, tigers, hippos (now that was cool), elephants and all, I think Abigail's favorite part of the day was chasing the pigeons.
What can I say, when you are two it is often the little things that bring the most joy.

December 10, 2012

So Full of Thoughts

As I sort pictures from our trip to share with you I am overwhelmed.  We had such a wonderful time and experienced so much in that week away.  
 We spent time at the beach, and took so many fun beach photos
 We were busy but relaxed at the very same time no matter where we went and what we did.
 In those seven days we connected as a family.  Very few phone calls were made, no emails were sent and mail was forgotten.  It was so nice to just be us.
 There was so much beauty to see.  We loved all of the new sights, sounds, tastes, history and culture that we were able to learn.  
The blog posts from our trip will be many for sure but will be intermingled with our day to day lives here at home.  As the christmas lights light up my home, the woodstove is blazing to keep us warm and we reflect back on these pictures it is like a good dream.  Ahh, just what a vacation should be.

December 7, 2012

On Turning 2

We do things pretty simple around our house but that doesn't mean we don't love to celebrate.
 We got home from Hawaii the day before Abigail's birthday so before we even unpacked our bags we started to put things together for our little girl.
 What Josh worked on was a making a birthday sign to hang with some streamers and balloons.
 And on that note, Abigail loves balloons so we gifted her with balloons.  We blew and blew and blew up balloons and covered the floors with balloons to play with.
 Abigail woke up from her nap to all of these changes and was so very pleased.  
 Abigail loves to cook so I waited until the afternoon when she could bake her cupcakes with me.  Of course she loved this and was more than willing to lick the spoon.
It was a wonderful day full of celebrating our girl.  We can't believe that she is already 2.  Oh my, what the new year will bring is sure to be fun.

Tree Disaster of 2017

We had quite the tree drama this year.  After years and years of real trees from the woods I was done with the needles.  DONE.  Last year A...