September 28, 2012

Friday Garden Update - Holding On Until The End

Winter is close, very, very close.  I can tell this from many different events going on these days.  Earlier this week we put the studded tires on the Jeep, the Impala is next, and we have had a fire in our wood stove more days then not recently.  I am teaching Abigail how to blow on her fingers if they get cold, while spending part of each day looking for the gloves I bought her last spring.  We are also sadly getting ready to say good-bye to my mother how likes to fly south like the birds do each fall before winter arrives.  
We had a few nights of hard frost when I was in the hospital with Ethan but since, we have been skimming by just above freezing most nights.  Regardless most of the garden has been harvested, pulled, composted and cleaned up for the year.  Some last celery stalks are holding out but will be cut today as we are anticipating a cold night tonight!
The greenhouse meanwhile has been doing great and we get more and more tomatoes each day.  There are far more green ones on the plants then red but each day makes a difference as they slowly turn colors.  We have yet to put a heater in the greenhouse but do talk about that idea for the nights to come. One very nice feature of the greenhouse is working in there on our cold but sunny days.  When the sun comes out the greenhouse gets to the 70's or even 80's while the outside temperatures are in the high 40's or low 50's.  Fun to be in such a place of growth while the rest of our world is settling in for the winter ahead.

September 27, 2012

Growth

Something about having a new baby means that a lot of focus turns to growth and a lot of time seems to be spent at doctors appointments.  Even though it is Ethan who is at the doctors the most, our little miss Abigail has been weighted and measured in the process as well!  For our records, here is where we are at the moment...
 Abigail:  
age - 21 1/2 months old
weight - 23 lbs 3 oz (25%, up from 5% last March, yeah)
Height - 31 1/2 inches (25%)
Ethan:
age - 2 weeks and 3 days
weight - 10 lbs (80%)
height - 22 inches (90%)

And they just keep growing

September 26, 2012

The Day of Carrots

Once the carrots were picked from the garden they were stored in the coolest place in the house.  But even in cool, dry places fresh carrots don't last for too long.  We needed to have a day of carrots!!
 I say a day because it is no small task to clean, cut and blanch over a thousand carrots.  Once again thankful for our super big kitchen sink, we filled it to the brim and started the scrubbing process.
 In this day of carrots we all had a job.  Mother and I took turns scrubbing, scrubbing and scrubbing some more.  Abigail work really hard at scrubbing for a minute and then realized she could help best by taste testing a lot of the carrots for quality assurance.  Once Josh was home and Abigail was in bed it was cutting time and so we set up chopping stations.  This went well with three adults on the job because two could be cutting and one could be holding Ethan.
 The next morning the final step took place, the blanching.  All of our carrots were blanched and then packaged for the freezer and the months ahead.  How we love our sweet, sweet carrots all year long!!
Even Ethan did his job well, he was content.  That job for a baby is the best possible one to excel at for sure!  Maybe he is dreaming of when he can eat solids in the cold months ahead and how one of his first baby foods will be these fresh carrots from our garden, preserved just for him.

September 25, 2012

The Box

Last week I showed you my new little sitting/nursing area.  The addition of our glider has been wonderful.  It is so comfortable to sit and rock, nursing and sooth our little man and our big girl every day.  But the glider hasn't brought joy to just me.
You see when the glider arrived so did the big box it came in.  That box was right away moved into Abigail's room and has been a source of joy and entertainment ever since.  Not a day goes by that Abigail doesn't fill it with blankets, book and toys.  She herself then crawls in and plays.
It isn't as much fun to play everyday in a plain box as it is to play in a colored box.  So Abigail and I set to work with crayons and not much regard to the actual artistic skill to decorate her box.
And so not to exclude her brother, Abigail reached into her crib where Ethan was sleeping and put a crayon in his hand.  I think it might be a few more days before he is ready to color with us but maybe the chance to hold a crayon will bring dreams of color.  

September 24, 2012

The Next Thing

I was supposed to have my labor induced on September 6th.  We were all prepared.  The night before we all went out, enjoyed a dinner out, stayed up late and planned for the next day and the delivery of a baby.  Then the morning on September 6th arrived and when I called the hospital they were too busy to induce another pregnancy.  We were all home, ready for this day and now we had to wait, and wait, and wait.
 It wasn't long into the day that Josh was done waiting, he headed out to his woodshed to work on the next big project.  He has been wanting to build a shoe rack/bench for us for most of the summer.  This special day was prefect for that project and to help the time as we waited go by.
 With the box and shelf all cut, assembled, sanded, and put into place it then had to wait because Ethan did finally arrive.  But as the dust has settled the work on the project picked right back up.
 Josh picked the color for this box and felt a blue would look good with the purple walls.  Not too sure of it myself I have to admit that now that it is in place it does look good.  Why did I have any doubt?  All of Josh's work turns out beautifully!
And as of tonight it is in place and ready to use.  The shelves for the shoes have all been tiled with extra tile we had from our basement bathroom.  This way when we put our wet, snowy or muddy shoes onto the shelves they can then be wiped clean and not damage the wood.  With coat hooks on the edge for the fall/winter coats we are now using and baskets in the bench seat for hats and gloves this project is complete.  How clean the basement now looks without a row of shoes and a pile of coats waiting for a place to belong in our basement remodel.

September 21, 2012

Help With The Harvest

The night I went to the hospital to have our Ethan we got our first frost.  Thus before departing that night Josh and I covered all of the remaining items in the garden with tarps and then headed out.  Something about having a baby makes you realize that you can't do it all.  Mother called me that weekend and would tell me that the greenhouse was getting really close to freezing, what should we do about the tomatoes?  My response, I am in the hospital, I have this new baby, I will just have to deal with it in a few days when I come home because I can't deal with it now.
 Well, I guess word got out around the neighborhood that I had the baby and was a little overwhelmed because help arrived.  Not the help we wanted of course!!  This moose decided that since I wasn't able to harvest the last of the broccoli or take care of the carrots she better do it so that they wouldn't be damaged by any cold nights.  Oh boy!  Luckily mother and Abigail were at home to chase her off but still she kept coming back and back to "help".
So with Ethan just a few days old I found myself breaking out of the house to save what carrots we still had left.  The broccoli was long gone but there were still carrots to bring in.  Our moose friend ate a lot of the tops so finding each carrot involved more digging than normal.  As I worked in the dirt pulling each orange treasure I was thankful for this brief time outside to breath the fresh air, shake the hospital smell from my hair and bring in what we have worked all summer to grow.  Let me tell you, after all the moose problems we have had this year, we are getting a bigger fence next spring for sure!

September 20, 2012

The Job of Mothering

Abigail loves to mother her babies.  I know I have mentioned this many times but it is so true and something I get to see each and every day.  With a new, real, baby in the house this desire to mother her children in addition to her brother has increased ten fold.  
 In preparation for Ethan's arrival I spent the summer on the look out for fun new things for Abigail to enjoy.  One treasure we found was this doll stroller and car seat.  Abigail loves her big stroller and Ethan's infant car seat and plays in them all the time.  The other morning as we were playing around the house we realized this was the day to give Abigail something new.
 She instantly fell in love and has played with these two new items all day, every day, since.  Anna usually gets the joy of being pushed in the stroller and her new little baby, a gift given to her at the hospital, finds herself in the car seat most days.  
The car seat and little baby, name pending, has even joined us in the car because if Ethan's car seat is being carried outside then Abigail needs to carry her baby's car seat as well.  What a wonderful little girl she is and such an intense imitator!  
video
This video is silly but it just gives you a little view of how much Abigail loves her new toys and her dolls.  I realized the other night that even though I share pictures a lot I often forget to show you videos.  It is fun to see someone in motion sometimes too.  Enjoy

September 19, 2012

The Transformation

Things don't often stay the same around our house.  Between construction, children and the need for something "new", we are always moving things around it seems.  Josh used to get a little sick of my pretty steady changes but over time he has started to enjoy them, I think, and even participate in the changes.
A little while ago I showed you the last pictures of my sewing area and mentioned that this little sitting area in the upstairs of our house was about to change.  
When the sewing machine moved out a rocking chair, little rolling cart to hold diapers and such, and a small table for diaper changes moved in.  These things were all in preparation for Ethan's arrival but they in themselves were temporary.  You see we had ordered something I was super excited about, a new glider for the many hours of holding and nursing our new little man.
By the time the new glider arrived I had also realized that the little table and rolling cart were not really working either.  So with the new chair in place I was able to see if the dresser from Abigail's room would fit in their place.  It does and the sitting area turned changing and nursing area of our house now looks so much better, and functions better as well.  With the dresser out of her room, Abigail's room has been moved around as well.  There hasn't been changes to these parts of the house for long time and so it feels fresh to get the chance to move and adapt things for this next stage in our family's life.

September 18, 2012

The Comparison

I have heard that if I am a good parent I will not compare my two children.  Yet as we enjoy our second child it is hard not to compare him to the only thing we really know, his sister.  How the way they eat, act, sleep and look differently and similarly.  
That being said, what do you see?  Ethan on the left, Abigail on the right (obviously).

September 17, 2012

Abigail at 21 Months

Abigail is so fun and independent these days.  The following are a few things that I want to remember from this past month as she is now 21 months old.

Abigail loves to laugh and right now she is starting to pick up on humor.  If I am telling a story and the adults listening smile she will break out in a belly laugh.  She also finds humor in herself.  She is learning to do something funny and then is the first to laugh at her own action, I love this.

This past month, Abigail started drinking from a cup during meals.  She has been good at drinking from one for awhile now but, for my sake and the clean up factor, we still mostly use sippy cups.  Now when we are all sitting together at the table though she gets to use her strawberry cupcake cup and, besides liking to dip her food in her beverages, she is doing great with it.
Abigail's vocabulary has really taken off this month.  This brings some frustration for her since she can say a lot but not everything.  Having said that it is important that I tell you that she does know her own mind.  She will be very set on having something a certain way but really has trouble communicating exactly what she wants.  She will often say a few words but we finish off doing what she is so intent on doing with a lot of pointing, shaking of our heads and yes or no's.  Even as we struggle to fill in the gaps I find myself loving this change so much.  It is nice to be able to communicate with her instead of just guess all the time what is going on.
Books still continue to be a favorite pass time for Abigail.  I love that we have moved into longer story books and are able to enjoy books with lots on every page.  She loves to not just read the books but also look at all there is to see.  No page can be passed by quickly if there is a bird, bug, dog or such to identify.  

Abigail, there is so much going on in your world right now as things change with the arrival of your brother.  I hope you will always remember how much you are loved, the times that were just yours and as you grow this next month may I be awake and alert enough to see the changes you make.

September 14, 2012

Is It Back?

Yesterday was a little stressful for this Mama.  A time filled with unknown.  You see, the bilirubin levels in our little man have gone back up.  I know a lot of of babies get jaundice and it isn't something as terrible as most things that can go wrong, but for me it is unknown.  We did the light treatment, Ethan is eating and doing what he should, so why are the levels going back up?
So yesterday we went to see the dr., have a blood test and see what the game plan should be.  No need to go back to the hospital but there is a need to keep a close eye on Ethan, his eating, his sleeping, and color over the next few days.  I love a sleepy baby but not one who sleeps because something is wrong!    On that note, it is time for another diaper change, I must go.  I must keep a close eye on our little guy right now and that part of this situation is not something I mind doing at all.

September 13, 2012

Orange - The Color of Fall

Last year our garden grew a bunch of pumpkins and we loved it.  In the fall I cut them up, cooked them and we had pumpkin pies, breads, cookies and soups all winter long.  This year was a little different.  For some reason the pumpkin plants grew well but didn't produce female flowers to be pollinated.  I have talked to several friends who have also had this problem so I know it wasn't just my garden but it was discouraging still.  Something in the weather maybe.
That being said, we didn't want to go into the winter ahead with no pumpkin available to us, especially after being so spoiled last year.  So recently we headed down to the local farmer's market where a friend of mine sells his farm goods.  There we were able to purchase beautiful, sweet, cooking pumpkins.
Last year I cut the pumpkins, took the skin off and then boiled the meat.  The process was slow and so this time around I followed the advice of a friend and just cut the pumpkins into wedges and baked them.  Much faster and the meat was easy to scrap out, mash and preserve once it was cooked instead of peeling the raw pumpkin like before.  Next year we will try to grow pumpkins again but until then we are thankful for the good fortune of other people's ability to grow things that we can't.

September 12, 2012

The Progression

Yesterday was Ethan's due date.  How happy to know that he is already here!  As we settle in I love to look back at the many pictures from just a few short days.  What a journey we have been on.
 The arrival and awe 
 The speed bump and recovery
 The release and realization that Newborn clothing is only going to fit our little man for just a day or two
And finally the settling in together, at home, at last!

September 10, 2012

Plans Change

Ethan has jaundice; not the plan for today.  The plan was we were going home.  We were to see Abigail, be a family of four and settle in.  Amazing how fast those plans can change.  We knew what jaundice was, we just didn't know how that applied to us until this morning.

Ethan has to, for about 20 hours, be under special lights to help remove the excess bilirubin from his system.  
 Babies in this case are put in their little baby beds, lined with aluminum foil, and covered with a special light.  But our little man just doesn't like that idea.  He has spent the last 9 months going everywhere with his mama and has had enough change for one weekend.  So we got approval from the nurses to try a little Klynstra style therapy.  Josh and I are thus taking turns holding Ethan under the lights.    

One bonus to the light treatment is the cool shades and fun photo ops in addition to lots of cuddle time.


Day On The Farm

**Ethan and I are still in the hospital but waiting to be discharged today.  Today's post, and a few others this week, are from before Ethan was born and were set up to publish before this weekend's grand events occurred.  If you are sad that there are no pictures of our little man today don't worry, he will be on this blog plenty in the days to come.**

I mentioned the other day that I was cleaning out the garden and saving the plants for friends of ours that have pigs.  Well, the fun part to that story is that we actually got to go see the pigs and help feed them a little as well.
Abigail, who is into all things animal and animal noises, thought this was a great thing.  We would put a few broccoli plants or squash leaves in for the pigs to enjoy but it was never enough for her.  Before we knew it we had to walk away or else Abigail would of had us feed everything we brought the pigs to them within minutes.
And as fun as the pigs were, the horses were the big hit.  How fun for us to live in a place with friends that have such great entertainment for us to enjoy.  

September 8, 2012

... Abigail says 'my baby'...

Abigail's first experience at being a big sister.

 After his wonderful transition into the world, Ethan has managed to be the only one here to get a catch few minutes of uninterrupted sleep.

As cozy as one can be while having measurements collected. 

Abigail is so excited to see her real baby, she could not wait to hold Ethan.  We were not sure how she would react to a new baby, but we have been pleasantly surprised  how well she did.  Kathleen is very tired but is recovering well and is very happy with how things are going.

There will be many more days for this little girl to enjoy her new baby brother.





Ethan Hamilton Klynstra, born this morning at 6:40.  9 lbs 11 oz.



9 Months Later


It is amazing how time passes, things change, children grow and before you know it life has grown into something different than it was before.  
 This picture was taken of Miss Abigail and me at Christmas last year just days before we found out that I was already pregnant with little BK Jr.  
And then this pictures was taken last night as I got ready to head to the hospital.  Oh, what a difference 9 months can make.  Our family is about to grow.  Right now the contractions are coming steady, the nurses are on hand, Abigail is being cared for by a friend and we are waiting and working towards our little man's delivery.  Not much time left now.

September 7, 2012

Friday Garden Update - Start of the End

The other night I ran out the to garden, not to pick produce, but to start pulling some plants.
The autumn season has arrived in Fairbanks in full force, and with the pending arrival of BK Jr. I feel my time to work in the garden is coming to a close.  Oh, I know there will be time in the garden after he is born but it will be different.  Abigail has gotten so good at letting me work for longer and longer periods of time out there and I don't think our little man will understand that right after his arrival.
The second big motivator for cleaning out some of the garden is our friend who has pigs.  Over Labor day weekend we were running by his house and I figured it was a good time to bring his pigs a treat.  They love to eat my plants (broccoli, cauliflower, romanesco and squash) that are done producing and that can be pulled, roots and all, out for the year.  I have now delivered three big loads of plants to his pigs and the situation works for all of us so well.
There is still a lot growing in the garden but the gaps are becoming more and more evident.  So weird to see the green of the garden start to be filled in with the orange and yellow of our autumn leaves.  Today I plan on heading out there again to search out what treasures there are to find and to mark those plants that are officially done for the year.  Yes, once BK Jr. arrives I will be able to bend easier but it feels good to get as much of this taken care now as I can.  If only it was easier to pick green beans...


September 6, 2012

Second Times a Charm

This past spring a boppy pillow was passed on to me to use for the new baby.  These U-shaped pillows are used by mothers as nursing pillows.  I am still not exactly sure if this pillow will work well for me since I didn't use one with Abigail but I am looking forward to giving it a try.
Since the cover that came with the pillow was on the faded side I thought it would be fun to make a new one for me and our little man.  I looked up a pattern online, printed it out and was excited to get started on this new project.  With Abigail by my side, as always, we spent an afternoon cutting, piecing and putting together our new cover, zipper and all.  After all that work you can imagine my dismay when I went to put the cover on the pillow and it didn't fit at all.  
I had bought a new zipper for this project but was intent on using fabric from my stash as I could really use just about anything for a pillow cover.  I loved the swirls and bright colors from my original fabric source so you can imagine how sad I was to realize I didn't have enough fabric left to cut out a new pattern.  But I did find other fabric that was bright and fun to start anew.  I threw out the online pattern and just used the old boppy pillow cover as a guide to cut out my next try for the cover.  This second attempt was done at night without my little helper at my side and I found it didn't take long at all before I had a new cover to try.  Thankfully this one fits well enough, just a few small alterations would be needed if I ever make another, and baby Anna was willing to try it out for me to see just how comfy it would be.
Anna wasn't given a chance to rest for long though as Josh thought he might have a new source for a neck pillow.  Luckily for BK Jr., Josh realized that this pillow was a little too big for movie watching and that it should stay a nursing pillow for now.  Lets just see if it works well for that use as well.