May 31, 2012

The Day-To-Day

You know when I think of blog posts I try to share the fun, the exciting, the significant parts of my day or week.  I look for something new Abigail is doing or Josh is creating but honestly sometimes there isn’t anything amazing, it is just life.

 But as I look at these few pictures from life I smile.  As simple as day-to-day activities are they are something I don’t want to ever forget.  The reading of books together, cooking, practicing new words watching Abigail grow and learn each day is so very special.
The other day was a rainy day and so Abigail and I took the time inside to clean and put things in order, the stuff that all of our outdoor living had let slide.  As I watched her wield a broom, a dust rag and pick up her toys I laughed.  She is growing so fast and as we move towards her 18-month birthday I feel like I can’t even blink or she will be in high school.  Yes, the day-to-day living might be a little boring for you and to use as blog material but no, I will not take any day without trying to being thankful for that day. 

May 30, 2012

Planting Outside

Spring is an interesting thing around here.  We go from freezing nights to no time at all nice warm days and nights that are suddenly no threat to my small seedlings.  

 So with that we moved into planting our outside seedlings.  The thing about planting seedlings is that it takes forever.  Seeds are so much faster really but with seedlings you have roots, weak stems and the need to make sure the soil they are being planted into is soft enough for the young roots to grow into.  But in our Alaskan weather if we want thing to reach maturity before the fall frost seedlings is the way to go.  It is so fun to see our garden go from grown to green in just a day with the planting of these little plants.
 While I worked on the broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and butternut squash Josh prepared the rows for our green bean and pea starts that I was able to plant this past Monday.  As I mentioned last week, once the starts went into the garden Miss Abigail was kept out.  She loves to wander the perimeter calling Ma, Ma but after giving in just once (and loosing a plant because of it) Abigail and I just have to have this time apart.
 
But don’t think for one second that this gardening is a one person deal.  The entire family is part of the watering, watching and work each day.  As the lettuce and radish seeds start to come up and the little seedlings grow strong roots and stand tall we don’t miss any of it and are enjoying it all.

May 29, 2012

Planting Inside

I mentioned last week that this time of year in Alaska is planting time and I am not kidding.  Therefore I want you to be prepared that there might just quite a few pictures and posts about planting, gardening and enjoying a little time in the dirt.

 As soon as the nights were just above freezing we moved all of the starts out of the living room (ahh, no more dirt and lots of open space inside) and into the greenhouse.  There I let them rest a few days to acclimate to the new environment before it was time to put them in their new home.
 The greenhouse is such a fun place for Abigail since the plants, dirt and water bucket are at a height that she can just reach but they are all high enough that she can’t trample anything.
 So together, Miss Abigail and I planted all of our regular and grape tomatoes and cucumber plants.  It is a good thing that Josh built us a big greenhouse because in no time at all we filled up all of the boxes.  Since then we have lost a few grape tomatoes but mother separated a few regular tomato plants to fill in the spaces. 
 
We are taking each day one at a time but it sure is fun to see everything grow.  I know before long the walls of the greenhouse will be covered in green.  

May 25, 2012

Getting Ready For Growth

As we get ready to head into the big Memorial Day weekend, also known as the planting weekend around here, we have been putting the final preparations into getting the garden ready to plant.

 Last weekend Josh went with our friend (he has the truck and we have the trailer) to pick up the yearly trailer load of compost for the garden.  After that he had to hoe each row and then mix in the compost.  What a hard worker Josh is.  He would come home and do a row or two each evening until finally it was all ready.  Last night he worked on the small area off to the side where the peas get planted, with that each area of the garden was mixed and ready for planting.
 Meanwhile the starts are eager to get put in the ground.  I don’t have pictures so I can tell you that earlier this week I did plant my carrot, radish and lettuce seeds.  Inside the bean and pea seeds were soaked for a day and then were all planted in a million little starter containers (when the plants are just seeds I tend to go a little crazy thus we are going to have a lot of plants this year!).  When beans come up they come up big, unlike celery that looks like grass, and Abigail loves it.  Each day we ohh and ahh at all the beans and pea sprouts we see coming out of the soil.  This girl is getting plenty of botany lessons this year for sure.
And where is our girl during all this garden prep and planting?  Oh, the yard is such a playground she is right out in it.  The sandbox is working out great and she loves to play there when I am in the greenhouse or around the garden.  When I am in the garden itself she often stands at the fence and complains but I am not ready for her to start “weeding” my starts just yet so the actual garden is off limits until the plants are big enough in a few weeks not to be trampled or pulled by eager little hands.  Good thing our driveway is all gravel, the rocks this girl collects, and tastes, keeps her busy for hours everyday. 

As you head into your long weekend I hope that you find great joy outside and maybe with a little planting as well!

May 24, 2012

Sure Signs of Summer

I know that those of you who read this blog in the “lower-48” just might have already been experiencing summer for a long time so far this year.  Up here in Alaska summer has really just shown its face to us in the past week.

There are a lot of signs around our house that confirm to me that yes, summer has finally arrived.  A few for instance:  the mosquitoes have shown up, the snow next to the road just melted, when I wake with my pregnancy insomnia at 2 am it is still light outside, it is warm enough I can open windows most days before 1pm, Abigail’s sun shirt has become the number one worn item in her wardrobe, and the mud of break-up season has dried and thus the cars can finally be washed. 
And the number one reason I am sure summer has arrived is that my mother has arrived.  This lovely lady is starting her first official work day of the summer at our local hospital today.  We have been so blessed that for a fourth summer in a row mother has worked as a travel nurse in the special procedures department right her in Fairbanks.  We have had so much fun in the few days leading up to the start of her work just being together.  On a walk last night I stated that to be able to just be together and not just talk on the phone is such an amazing thing that not one day goes by that we don’t thank the Lord she is here. 

I hope that wherever you are, and no matter how long your summer is, that the warm days bring you such wonderful blessings as well.

May 23, 2012

A Few Spuds

Last week found the evenings in Fairbanks still dropping below freezing.  

 But since our seed potatoes are going to be buried under the dirt for a while before they grew up above the surface it was safe to plant them.
 
 You have seen our beautiful garden and our new greenhouse but I haven’t had a chance to show you are lower garden.  This is an area south of our house (see our house in the background) that was leveled by people before we bought the property years ago.  Josh has been working this spring to clear the brush and overburden, put up a fence and lay black fabric to help against further weeds. 
 Abigail had a wonderful time helping us plant seeds.  She really got into throwing the seeds into each tires.  We had to watch her closely because at one point she had twice as many potato seeds in a tire than was needed.
After the seeds were in place Josh filled each tire with dirt and Abigail found that just as exciting and tasty as well.   We were down there yesterday to water the tires and Abigail loves that they are just at her height to play in the mud.  Oh the joys of gardening. 
And this face is one we see all the time and that I love getting to share with you.  This new face means I just heard something amazing.  For instance this picture was taken after a motorcycle had driven by but we also see this face for helicopters, airplanes and big trucks.  The amazement of loud noises is so fun and never ending.

May 22, 2012

Four Walls and A Door

I have to admit that I had a small hiccup in my life last week and thus have gotten a bit behind on sharing all of our news with all of you.

 But as this month of May is flying by I have to go back a week and show you that Josh finished the end walls and doors on the greenhouse.
 He built each end around windows we got from a friend who remodeled a house.  The windows are great for helping us control the temperature in the greenhouse since we can open them in the heat of an afternoon and have wonderful cross breeze.
Josh has also custom built the front and back doors.  The front door is in the middle of the front of the greenhouse and provides access directly to the garden.  The back door is a little bigger and fits a wheelbarrow as needed.  It is in the back on to the west side of the greenhouse, the two white cabinets are on the east side.  I even got to work in my greenhouse yesterday for a while and I can’t wait to share those pictures soon.  Hope you are all enjoying your start to summer and the warm and friendly places in your life.

May 21, 2012

Playing In The Sand

As we have mentioned in the past, Abigail is a lover of rocks, sand, dirt and all things outdoors.

 Josh took that love and created for her a perfect little place in the yard, a sand box.  It is situated right outside the greenhouse and garden so that maybe, not this year but next, she can play while I work with some of the plants.
She was a little tentative at first at being allowed to completely enjoy the sand since it had previously been in buckets and was more off limits.   (Off limits simply because her number one joy was just emptying the sand onto the driveway) 
But it didn’t take long at all and she was in having fun.  Abigail loves trucks, cars, motorcycles, helicopters and airplanes these days.  So, out of all this sandbox play has come a lot of vroom vroom noises.  And yes, the sand has been tasted aplenty.  Nothing like a good solid helping of sand each day to balance out her diet.  Oh our little outdoor girl, we love that you enjoy the wind, sun and freshness of life just like your parents do too.  


May 17, 2012

Parenting

The other day, Kathleen had her appointment to get the 'official' ultrasound on BK jr.  Much to my happiness, we are having a boy.  This got me thinking how things will be different.  I do realize all kids are different and Abigail's unique qualities and traits may not show up in #2.
Abigail is quit a charmer. She loves to laugh and play and already loves moving fast and climbing high.  She is also very creative, I'm excited for the day when she starts drawing with crayons instead of eating them.   
But having another child is somewhat frightening.  I'm worried that we may never sleep again.  There are a few nights scattered through the last 17 months that Abigail has slept the whole night through.  But on the whole she wakes up two or three times a night and is up and ready to go at 5:30 to 6:00 AM.  Last night was no exception...
However, no amount of fretting will keep us from enjoying our growing family.  

May 16, 2012

Research

Around our house there is a lot of talk about the changes coming this fall and our new little baby, BK Junior.

 While cleaning a closet the other day I found this old Martha Stewart baby magazine.  Since Abigail loves all thing “baby” I passed it on to her to enjoy.  Well, since that day our little girl has been serious about studying all that Martha has to say about baby. 
 
If the amount of time she spends with this magazine is any indication our girl likes what she sees.  Hopefully all of this “research” and studying will give her a heads up about just what might be coming into our home in just a few months.  Chances are not but it is fun to see her enjoying it all now, hopefully she is as happy about our real life baby in September.

May 15, 2012

Mother’s Day 2012

On Sunday I got to celebrate something so very special, I was able to celebrate the chance to be this little girl’s and her future sibling’s mother.

 To make this day stand out from the rest and to have time together we headed up north to the White Mountains.  Yes, this picture was taken on Sunday, snow and all.  Ahh, springtime in Alaska means that even if the snow has melted from our yard doesn’t mean that the snow is gone for the year just yet.
  Throughout this pregnancy my number one craving has been turkey wraps with tomato so that is what Josh make for us to enjoy, what a special treat.  The fresh air and the fact that I was even able to walk this short walk made it taste so much better.  Even when my leg hurt on the walk I kept thinking about the fact that two weeks ago I couldn’t even crawl to the bathroom.  I thank the Lord for slow and steady steps towards recovery and physical therapy that is helping to give us my life back just a little as we work through the rest of this pregnancy.
 I am so thankful for my little girl, this fact hasn’t changed at all, but this injury or struggle I am currently going through has made me realize just how much I love being a mother to my girl.  The weeks that I was on the couch watching other people nurture Abigail when I couldn’t reminded me of just how precious each and every day with her is.  Through all the ups and downs I am thankful for this chance to refocus.  This mother’s day and each day of this year is one that I am thankful for my chance to be a mother.  What an important job it is!

As we headed home from our fun family outing I thought of all these thoughts and how blessed I truly am.  I hope that this mother’s day was a special one for each of you as well as a mother or as you celebrated those mother’s in your lives.  I think this is becoming my favorite day of the year.

May 14, 2012

Year 6

Yesterday was a very special day at our house.  Yes, it was mother’s day but it was something much more as well.  Yesterday was a day that Josh and I celebrated the start of our “official” life together six years ago.

 Sometimes we stop and think, man the day to day is not all that exciting but in reality the past six years has brought so very much to both of us.  We have had a lot of adventures in Alaska and elsewhere.
 We found our land and bought it on our 11-month anniversary that first year of marriage.  Since then we have worked for the past five years to build our home.
And even with the work of the house, different jobs, ups and downs we have grown closer and closer together. 
I can honestly say that I am closer to my best friend today than I was even six years ago.  Not every day is great but the years have been amazing. 
At four and a half years we stepped away from just our relationship and added Abigail to our mix.  As we stepped into this new role of parenthood I worried about how it might harm the marriage we had.  But God is good, through all the ups and downs of being parents we have grown not apart but all the closer. 
And so here we are, in the first day of our seventh year.  Yesterday was a special day that didn’t have fireworks or big parties but was time that we spent as a family celebrating where the past six years have brought us.  We are so thankful to the Lord for each day of the past six years and all that are before us as a couple, parents, and best friends.

May 11, 2012

Moving In

After the roof and front walls were in place in the greenhouse it was time to start moving in a few things.  No not the plants but soon.

 Do you remember my “temporary” kitchen in the house when we were building?  Well, when my real kitchen went into place in the fall of 2010 those two white cabinets were moved to the shed. (Picture taken of my mother and the original cabinets in 2009)

Since our basement is being emptied right now in preparation of a remodel Josh’s tools are being moved to the shed, and let me tell you this shed is getting full.  So with the cabinets kind of in the way we came up with the idea that Josh would leave room in the greenhouse to move the cabinets in there.  
 So even though the ends aren’t in place just yet it was time for those multi-purposed cabinets to be moved in.  They are in the back left and sit side by side.  Some might say that it is silly to use the space in a greenhouse for cabinets but I am so excited and thrilled with this idea.

You see they are perfect for storing all of the garden/yard things like starter containers, hose parts, gardening tools, fertilizer and such.  These things are now also out of the shed giving Josh room he needs and they are all in one place where I can get to them.  By having the cabinets side-by-side I have plenty of working room as well.  The idea is that I can use the space for starts in the spring and harvesting in the fall.  It is also a great setting for potted plants that need a little greenhouse love without being put in the permanent planter boxes.  

May 10, 2012

Egg Water

Two years ago my mother bought me this gerber daisy plant.  In those two years I have almost completely killed this plant twice and Josh has almost killed it every time I have gone out of town by forgetting to water it.  Due to our poor care of this plant (I have mentioned that I am much more of a vegetable person instead of a flower person) this plant hasn’t had a single gerber daisy flower bloom since the day it arrived at my house.  Well, last fall when my mother was at my house she set me up with a container of egg water.  Simply put it is a washed ½ gallon carton from milk that I put used eggshells in the bottom of and filled with water.  I let this eggshell mixture set for a month or so and then started watering my plant every other watering with the egg water.  Wow, what an amazing difference.  I have beautiful orange flowers and more growing everyday on this used to be poor pitiful plant.  I have taken to using my egg water on my vegetable starts every other watering as well, they are loving it.  You should try it.  


May 9, 2012

Dance Party

Most evenings after dinner we spend time as a family exhausting Abigail before bed.  At times there is a needed diaper change about a ½ hour before bed, thus Abigail’s lack of a full outfit.  But regardless of what she is wearing this is most frequently when we will videotape her.  She is usually running on adrenaline and the energy level is high making what she does so very funny. 

Hope you enjoy this little dance party; maybe it will even make you want to cut loose and dance yourself.  

video

May 8, 2012

Closing It In

Progress on the greenhouse was very slow recently.  This decrease in activity was not due to Josh’s desire to finish the building or the amount of time he wanted to work but instead it was because the store ran out of greenhouse panels.  I took to spending time every morning at exactly 7am calling the store when they opened to see if any had arrived yet.  If you haven’t lived in Alaska you might not understand this but things take a long time getting to us.  As I checked each morning I heard about the panels being put on the barge in Seattle, where the barge was as it sailed north, the arrival into Anchorage where the barge had to be unloaded onto train cars and then the containers headed north to Fairbanks.  Finally, I called one morning and 20 panels were just unloaded from the crate and I put them on hold, called Josh at work and he dropped everything to run to the store and to buy 18 of the 20 that had finally available.  

With the panels now at home Josh set right to work and finished the roof and the front wall.  The panels have square ripples where the original ones we had bought had rounded ripples.  Not a big deal but if you look close you can see where the original ones stop and the new ones start.  But since we bought all they had weeks ago and then waited so long for these new panels we weren’t really willing to wait another week or so for more of the rounded panels to arrive.  A finished wall is a beautiful site to us square ripples or not! 
 The day after the front wall was finished I stepped into the greenhouse and even though the ends weren’t on yet the temperature inside the greenhouse was at least 15 degrees warmer than outside.  With that motivation Josh moved right to working on the ends.  Abigail has been spending a lot of time playing in the garden with Josh as he worked but the other day we turned our backs for about 10 seconds and she went ¾ of the way up an 8 foot ladder.  As we pulled her off she laughed with glee.  What a dare devil we have on our hands.  Thus as Josh worked on the one end the other night Abigail was contained.  No more playful wanderings for her when there is a ladder around.
Even though our spring has been cool recently our plants inside have been growing strong.  Except for our pumpkins (only one came up) and the acorn squash (a dud package of seeds it seems as none have come up) we have a ton of fresh growth just waiting for the completion of the greenhouse and the arrival the warmer days ahead.

May 7, 2012

Abigail At 17 Months

This past weekend Abigail reached her 17th month birthday.  Here are a few things she is into.

 She is crazy busy.  This girl is high energy all day long.  I recently pulled this rocking/bouncy horse out of the lean too and she goes crazy on it.  We found it last year at a garage sale knowing she would like it but not realizing that within 5 minutes of being reintroduced to it a year later that she would try to stand on the horse’s back while bouncing.  A friend came over the other day and remarked that I let Abigail climb into situations that she wouldn't let her son get into.  I smiled but wanted to say that I really have to pick my battles with Abigail and her climbing.  Multiple spankings have occurred because of climbing on tables and such.  We have a girl that does listen to us but if we turn our backs for a minute, or even just a second, she is climbing something new.
 17 months is such a fun age of discovery, independence and challenges.  Abigail loves to explore and often this leads to exploration into things she shouldn't get into, such as finding cloths pins if I leave them too low as I hang laundry.  She has definitely reached toddlerhood and expresses her frustration with tantrums that this Mama has learned to walk away from.  After a moment or two of no audience I get my happy girl back and we enjoy peace until there is something new that brings on the frustration of a little girl who wants to do or get something that her size just doesn't let her get into yet.
When we were visiting my grandmother in Texas in February she put out some of her shoes for Abigail to play with.  At 14 months old Abigail moved them around but wasn’t all that interested in them just yet.  Well, that has changed in the past week.  This girl who has always loved shoes now will step into any shoes she can find.  She slips her feet into Josh’s shoes or mine and clomps around the house so proud of herself.  She makes us laugh so much even as we struggle to find a complete set of shoes before heading to town.

I am loving this age, tantrums and all.  Abigail has so much personality and affection.  The days are full of new babbling as she finds new words, kisses and hugs, and discoveries.  Can’t wait to see what this new month ahead of us will bring.