March 30, 2012

Springtime Snow Fun

The one great part of March is that it winter finally warms up enough to enjoy.

 Josh has had a good winter with the snowmachine that his dad passed on to him this fall.  After work he loves to go out for a ride.  The fresh air, adventure of it and chance to just be a guy has been great for him all winter.
But now that the weather has warmed up a little he has started to take a passenger with him on some very slow and short rides.  Here is a picture of Abigail about to head out on her first ride, she doesn’t look thrilled but once she got going she enjoyed her adventure with her daddy.  I know next winter these two will have a lot of fun together.

March 29, 2012

A Day of Beauty

This past winter I told you about how I brought a cabbage patch doll home from the church nursery to make it a new outfit.  Well, last week when at church I was talking to the nursery workers and the sad state of the baby dolls came up.  I volunteered to do something about those poor dolls.

 So we hauled home the bin of dolls and set to work.  First I washed all their clothes and then the dolls themselves were given a bath.  These dolls then dried by the woodstove for a few days.  Poor Abigail would cry “baby, baby, baby” every time we would be in the basement since she just didn’t understand why she couldn’t play with so many wonderful babies.
 Once I was sure the dolls were dried the job of trying to redress them into their appropriate clothing started.  Abigail once again stood at my feet crying, “baby, baby, baby.”  Once I would dress a doll I would pass it down to her for her to play with.  Well, as I was busy dressing these dolls I look down and see Abigail intently undressing each one.  Oh boy.
 Once all of the outfits were assigned to each doll I realized one and a half dolls needed a little something to wear.
I used a baby dress that was in our donation box to outfit these girls.  I cut up the dress to make a doll dress for one doll and a skirt for the other.  Everyone was very excited with the returned bin of clean, dressed and happy baby dolls back to then nursery.  I was pleased with how they all turned out and very happy to have Abigail go back to playing with her two dolls, a whole bin full is just a little too much for one girl and this Mama.

March 28, 2012

Read Next To Me

Abigail is intense these days.  She is getting more and more vocal, if only we could understand, and intense in what she does.  She is independent a lot of the time but still is super attached and really needs us to be within sight to be sure the world is all ok.

One big change that has occurred in the past month is that she “reads” independently more and more.  In January she started bringing us books, climbing in our laps and waiting for us to read to her.  Now more often then not she will bring us one of her books and then sit down next to us and read a different one to herself.  I have to admit I do miss the lap cuddling that occurs less and less but the sight of my girl “reading” her books contently throughout the day makes me laugh and smile.  Now if only she would be content with me reading my book while she reads hers, oh well.  I guess a Mama can’t read Corduroy Goes To The Doctor too many times in a day, right?

March 27, 2012

Outside: White / Inside: Green

Last week the calendar stated, “spring had arrived.”  It is a good thing the calendar told me because otherwise I would be pretty confused.

You can understand my confusion by looking at this picture.  This is what my garden looked like last night.  Besides the fact that this picture was taken at 8:30pm and it was still light there isn’t much about it to illustrate spring to me. 

But even though things are white and cold outside, inside I have a lot of thoughts of spring, of warmth, of sun and of growth.  To help me focus on spring my summer planning has begun in full force.

One of my new year’s resolutions back in January was to double the size of my garden and to accomplish this goal I started almost two weeks ago with planting seeds.  It is a multi-step process that involves planting the seeds in pellets and then once they germinate they are moved into starter containers.  There they grown and get strong as they prepare for the big summer ahead of them.

I am so excited to share these pictures with you (as boring as they might seem) to illustrate the start of the Klynstra’s greenhouse.  So far I have started tomatoes, valley girls are our big ones and Yellow grape for the small, and moved them into their bigger containers already.  In the pellets I have planted celery (which just started germinating two days ago) and our cucumbers.  I am growing two varieties of cucumbers this year; the lemon cucumbers are one of my “new” items to try.  All in all I find myself not looking out the windows at the snow as much as I look at my little seedlings.  The green shoots coming out of the dark rich soil warms my soul in a way nothing else can at this time of year.

March 26, 2012

It's bigger than I planned...

This project went through a few design alterations.  Unfortunately these alterations occurred on-the-fly, which usually produces unexpected results.  This time I changed the type of joinery I used and it caused the size of the box to increase.  I really didn't think about this until I finally assembled it last week.

It's BIG.  When Abigail graduates from high school, all her belongings will fit inside this box.  Unfortunately she will need a pickup truck to move it anywhere. 

We put about half of her toys inside last night and there is still enough room for the other half and whatever toys she will get over the next three years.  I guess that is a good thing, we will have a place to store 'all' her toys.

So, a few details about this project:
-  There is no glue holding this thing together.  All the sides are held together by screws and the plywood panels are held in place by small blocks of wood with rubber drawer bumpers stuck to them. So if we ever decide to move, this entire box can be broken down to individual pieces of wood and stored in a smaller box.
-  I finished the maple frames of the sides with water based polyurethane.  This produces a clear-coat that allows the natural colors of the wood to show through without alteration and it also has no VOC odor that other solvents produce.  That meant I was able to apply the finish while Kathleen and Abigail were in the house.
-  The plywood I purchased was pre-finished.  Just don't look too close at the rest of the project and you won't see how bad my finishing skills are.  But, pre-finished is awesome, that is less work I have to do.

-  The hinges I used are Lid-Stay Torsion Hinges from  They work pretty good, so hopefully Abigail won't smash her fingers. At least in this box, she seems to find many other places to get her fingers pinched and stuck, makes a parent want to shrink-wrap the entire house.

March 24, 2012

Thoughts of Spring

Thoughts of spring have kept me going recently. Each morning the temps have been below zero but the sun has been bright and warms our earth by afternoon. I have started seeds this week, pictures soon, and keep looking everywhere for signs of melting snow. Which I know will not come with our high temp being 15 degrees but still, I am ready. Ready for spring! Then this morning we woke up to more snow. Oh boy. Please tell me winter will end someday. It is getting a little harder to thing it will be over soon.

March 23, 2012

A Walk On The Beach

When I think about my friend Heather, as most of us do who know her, we think of marine life.  She is a marine biologist who studies whales and loves all things in and around the water.  When I was visiting Heather we were able to spend time walking around her town and it fits her so well.  

In coming back to Fairbanks our mutual friends have peppered me with information on how Heather’s life in Washington is going and the main thing I often share is that where Heather lives now is just “Heather.”   She is in a coastal town that overlooks Puget Sound and is within a mile or less of two different beaches and the ferry docks.

And with all of that beauty we couldn’t just stay inside.  We strapped our girls on and headed out, rain or shine (of course we were hoping for shine), to explore Heather’s town and beaches.

When Heather walks with Caroline they look for beach glass or for sea lions but when we were together the main thing we did was talk, we just couldn’t help it.

I love that now when I picture Heather I picture her in her town, on her beaches, and living her “life” in Washington.  What a fun and beautiful place it was, I can’t wait to go back see the sights in a different season and of course spend some time with these special ladies.

March 22, 2012

How We Roll

I have always “worn” Abigail.  In the beginning when she was itty-bitty it was in the Moby wrap, then in the Ergo with the infant insert.  At five months Abigail moved into just the Ergo on my front without the insert and finally at 10 months she started ridding on my back in the Ergo.  There is rarely a day that goes by that she doesn’t get a ride at sometime.  Often it is while I cook dinner or maybe vacuum the house.  Today she rode around the library on my back since I know if she doesn’t all of those books would have to be reshelved.

When I am out and about with her people always remark.  I know she is cute but it often the way that she cuddles into me while in the Ergo I think that grabs people’s attention.  I know a lot of people own carriers and slings but it isn’t all that common to see a baby being worn as you might think.  

So you must imagine my joy when I was in Seattle with Heather, what it was like to be with another baby wearing mama.  Heather and I would strap our girls on in the Ergos and go for walks around Heather’s town.  Tomorrow I will talk about some of the adventures we would go on but this, these girls on our backs, needed a post of its own.  Often in the world of mothering it is so easy to feel alone.  What great joy it is to share so much with a friend who is there in the moment with you at the time.  As we walked together we would do spot checks for each other to make sure the girls were ok.  They would look around, laugh at each other, doze off in peaceful naps and cuddle into our backs for warmth as we were once caught in a down pour all while we grown-up girls chit chatted about everything.  As Abigail and I are close together in Fairbanks I think of Heather and Caroline riding together in Seattle and I smile.  Friendships and baby girls, what a joy.

March 21, 2012

A Stop from There to Here

I am so sorry that I have been away from this little blog for so long.  Longest break ever, I do believe.  The sickness that hit us was bad for sure but the good news is that we are on the mend, all three of us. 

And now that we are doing better I have the chance to share with you a fun little trip that Miss Abigail and I took between leaving my family in Texas and arriving home in Alaska.  My best friend Heather’s husband is in the army and as the army does, they move people.  A few days after Abigail was born they moved Heather and Kevin away from Alaska.

And while we have been apart my good friend had a little girl of her own.  

So after we left Texas, Abigail and I took a few days to visit Heather, Kevin and their wonderful little girl, Caroline.  While together we all had the most wonderful time together.

 And so did these two girls.  They played, laughed, yelled and bonded together like only great future friends can do.
Heather and I had so much fun being together and getting the chance to watch our two girls be together is something that fills this heart of mine to near bursting.

Because we know that no matter how many miles separate us, nothing can take away a friend.  This is such a hard lesson for Abigail and Caroline to learn but one they now know for sure.  

March 14, 2012

Slow Road To Recovery

It seems that whatever virus has taken over this house still has the upper hand. Josh has been home sick with us most of the week and we find ourselves tag teaming Abigail's care with being in bed. I had a good day yesterday and a bad day today. As I struggle to get better I realize that being sick and being and adult is not like being a child and being sick. This morning I kept longing for someone to come care for us but realize that is now my role, sick or not. So where regular blog posts have been slim recently know that as we get better they will be up and going as well. Until then it is more soup, rest and recovery as possible.

March 12, 2012


This weekend was a slow one at the Klynstra residence.  All three of us were sick with the cold that Abigail brought home with her from her vacation.  Since there are no urgent projects needed on the house right now we all relaxed and spent as much time at home as possible. 

This is one of the things we did while sick, Abigail got her first taste of licking batter off the mixer.

March 9, 2012

A Visit With Great-Grammie

One of the great benefits of visiting my mother this year was that her mother, my grandma, has recently moved to Texas as well.  So now when we venture south we get to see my parents, brother’s family and grandma all in the same trip.

One of the afternoons of our trip grandma had us “girls” over for a nice dinner and time of play at her new apartment.  

Grandma had prepared an amazing “play-area” for Abigail that involved boxes, baskets, purses, measuring cups and other items that are perfect “toys” for a curious little girl.  She had so much fun exploring everything new as we sat after dinner and marveled in the fact that four generations were enjoying each other in one room.

Yes, these are memories that we won’t soon forget.  What a wonderful place to be, in a room surrounded by those that love you.

March 8, 2012

A Love of Watermelon

I LOVE fruit.  Abigail doesn’t love fruit.  I am always amazed that she can turn away from strawberries, grapes, oranges and so much more.  But the one fruit this girl loves is a good watermelon.  And really, nothing can taste better than fresh watermelon on a day when it is hot and you can get the juice all over.

March 7, 2012

What to Be When I Grow Up

One of our favorite things about heading south during the winter is that we get to for a few days walk, admire and completely enjoy seeing the ground free of snow and ice.  Abigail had so much fun discovering grass, the wet dewy kind in the morning all the way to the crunchy green of the dry afternoons.

And with that grass all that it contains, like rocks.  This girl loved the rocks.  It made this geologist mama smile a silly grin to watch her girl spend forever bent over finding just the perfect rocks to carry, inspect, and yes even taste.

Abigail loved moving the rocks from one place to another and back again.  Well, maybe not always back again.  I know grandma did a lot of safety checks to make sure her rocks had been moved back to the garden beds and out of the lawn before the mower lost a blade or two due to Abigail’s fun.

As I watched this girl I wonder if she just might go on to become a geologist like her Mama, chemist like her Daddy or with her love of her baby dolls maybe she will love being a Mama to her future little girl like I love being a Mama to her.

Regardless of what this my girl does go on to do with her life one thing is for certain, she is going to do it with an intense zeal and with crazy abandonment like she does every day of her life.  

March 6, 2012

Abigail at 15 Months

Yesterday was Abigail’s 15-month birthday, oh my how this second year of hers is going by so very fast.  Here are a few things that Abigail is doing at 15 months.

She still loves new toys.  It can really be anything.  Yes she loves her old toys at home but something new, even a item that isn’t a “toy” like things from Grandma’s closet are fascinating and fun.  Abigail plays all day but the mornings is when she is most content to play quietly.

She loves to go new places.  When we are at stores she loves to smile at people, touch new things and see all the glit and glitter.  She is really starting to step into the “girl” role of loving anything that sparkles.  While at Khol’s with my mother her number one choice in the accessory department was a big purse completely covered in pink sequences.  

She is a little shy these days.  For the most part she is great with new people but when we are out and about it is really good if there is someone she knows and loves close at hand.  But as soon as she takes in the situation watch out, she will be off exploring before I am ready.

She amazes us each and every day.  If she isn’t hungry or sick she is in a good mood.  Her vocabulary is increasing each day.  She says Baby, doggy (gy), shoe, no (doe), here, dada and is picking up more and more all the time.  

And no matter how big or how old she gets she still loves to be “in” things.  She is always crawling into the baskets, toy boxes, the bags or boxes that are around, anything but her crib.  As we venture into this next month we are bound to be surprised with what she does next.

Another Project Completed

While Kathleen was gone I was able to finish the nightstands project.  So now that the nightstands are completed I am able to focus on the other things around the house that need to be addressed before summer gets here.  There are several big projects that need to be started around the same time this spring and winter is fast coming to an end.
Here are some pictures of the finished nightstands:

Working with this air dried Alaskan birch has been fun, I’m sad to see my supply is nearly exhausted.  I will have to find a good project to use up the last of it.

**Note from Kathleen:  The nightstands look amazing in our bedroom; picture to come soon of these beautiful pieces of art in place.  Thank you Josh for yet again a wonderful addition to our home.  Your woodworking skills are amazing and always impressive. **

March 2, 2012

A Good Chair is Hard to Find

Last summer my parent's dog, Shoeless Joe, lived with us in Alaska.  Now that we are in Texas we get to visit Shoeless on his turf.  When he left in September Abigail was pulling up on him and could crawl to him but he could get away pretty easily.  Now that Abigail is a running fool he is learning just which of his battles to fight.  Needless to say this girl tires him out and sometimes it is just easier to be a chair than to run away.
Just so you know, my mother (shoeless's owner) took this video and was ensuring Shoeless's safety during all play.  This dog is not being too abused by us I promise but I do know for a fact he will be 100% ok when Abigail is gone and he gets his quiet house back to himself.

March 1, 2012

A Walk Around Georgetown

My parents live north of Austin, Texas in the old historic town of Georgetown, Texas.

 And when we visit mother we love to visit the sites of Georgetown as well.
 We had fun at the library, and happened to be there durning story-hour for an extra bonus to the day.
We enjoyed the fountains, the small shops, the old architecture of the town square and the statues of the "little people" that were just the right height to be Abigail's friends.
The day wouldn't have been complete without stopping to admire the flowers as well.
But sometimes mothers and grandmothers admire flowers longer then little girls.  What a wonderful morning it was, the walk, the company, the sites and the chance to be in the warm Texan air.

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