When I first moved into my log cabin while in grad school my mother mailed me a package from home full of things I could use. In that box was an apron, wash rags, tea towels, pot holders and such. Things she had extra of at her house and things I was in need in order to set up shop in my new home.
Well, when mother lived with us this summer she got great laughs our of the fact that I still had a few tea towels from those days. Towels that were already on the older side when she sent them to me back in 2004. She begged me to get rid of them and just use my newer ones. I smiled and just set those rags aside.
And how thankful I am that I did. You see, recently I have started making my family homemade cottage cheese. One of the steps in making this treat is straining the curds from the Whey through cheese cloth, or in my case an old tea towel.
And once the cottage cheese has been made the tea towel goes in the laundry for the next time it is needed. Yes, it might be old but it certainly still has plenty of uses left!
As the end of February arrives we find we are having more and more "warm" winter days. The days that are above zero and thus what we declare playable weather for Abigail.
The other day Abigail and Josh trucked out across the road into the frozen swamps on an adventure together. On their way down the driveway Josh shoveled some of the snow and then stashed the shovel by the road. From my view out the kitchen window I had so much joy in seeing this scene come back up the driveway 40 minutes later. What a fun daddy to give these little legs a rest. What a lucky girl we have!
I have mentioned before, but want to bring it up again, that whenever Abigail and I clash in during the day it is often because I am just trying to "get it done." When I slow down and give her a job to help me out I find things go much smoother. The other day I mentioned to someone what she does and they joked that all my girl does is work. This isn't true but the work she does do she loves.
At this age she helps me cook by pouring in ingredients and stirring whatever I am cooking. She picks up toys, helps with sorting clothes and loading the washer, loves to dust with me, unloads part of the dishwasher, brings Ethan toys when he needs them and the newest and best is that she sets the table, napkins and all.
Josh and I often talk about how we need to adapt what we are doing to her level so she can learn along side us in what we do. Oh how hard this is as we rush through the duties each day holds and we have to remind ourselves, and each other, to implement these ideas daily.
And before you feel too bad for our girl keep in mind that the help always gets to lick the spoon!
Sometimes I find the to do list on my white board never ends, the winter days are always cold and the sun just doesn't seem like it will rise before the kids wake up ever again. And then I stop and realize that I have to relish the everyday joys all around me if I am to really and truly make it through the winter days before us.
Joys that occur in the kitchen where things are bright (thanks to the new happy light Josh bought us), new smells and warmth come from the oven and all the being prepared is tasted and enjoyed.
Yes, these days will go fast and the long days of summer will be here before we know it. May your days be filled with smiles, warmth and good creations that may also bring you joy. I know it is making all the difference for me.
Sometimes, even during the most joyful of days, hard lessons in life must be learned.
For Valentine's Day I helped the kids make Valentines for their Daddy at a workshop in town. The valentines involved a lollypop, one of Abigail's most favorite things ever. The day we made the valentines she had a small pop (a dum dum) and didn't think of the gifts to her daddy again until I put them on the table last Thursday night.
The sight of a pop so close to her and not being allowed to have it was very hard on our little girl. The lesson of giving something to someone when you really want it yourself is such a difficult lesson to learn but one that is super important in life. So we let her fuss, let her cry, comforted her and talked about gifts, giving and loving.
Lucky for her it was Valentine's Day and daddy wasn't the only one getting a present. Daddy gave me the gift of a wonderful dinner and he also had other gifts to give, including one for his little girl. As I look back on that night I smile at the outcome and wonder at the lessons she needs to learn in the future. So many more than I can count or even know of. Growing is hard but with grace, patience and love we will work through each challenge that lies ahead.
Ethan had his five month birthday last week but I have been waiting to this post for him until I was able to get his current weight. But I can now report that as of last Friday our little boy weighs exactly 20lbs. What a chunk he is.
This weight is to his advantage when there are things that he really wants. His tactic for reaching something is to just throw himself at it and with his weight behind him it is hard to stop. This often happens when there is food involved. This boy is still 100% breastfed but let me tell you he is getting ready for food. He is at the reaching, grabbing and intensely watching stages of getting ready for the food that is going to come.
Our boy also is doing amazing at sitting on his own. I remember at this age Abigail was grabbing her toes. Ethan isn't doing that yet because of the size of his girth I believe but he does crawl/creep forward when he is on his stomach and roll about.
Ethan loves his toys. Loves them I say. His little ball from his grammie Klynstra is by far his favorite. He loves the exersaucer and the toys it offers and the time at the table with is toys piled in front of him brings lots of laughs.
I know I say this a lot but we really do have a happy boy. He laughs and grins all day long. His favorite person is his sister. These two certainly love each other for sure.
Oh my little boy, who is growing too fast, I love you so.
The other day I was wearing Ethan in the moby and looked over and saw Abigail like this.
She was trying so hard to put the ergo on so that she could carry her babies. Oh how she makes me laugh, guess I need to get that scarf back out so she can carry her babies in the sling whenever her "children" get fussy.
Ethan has a tendency to wake up in the morning when Josh is getting ready to go to work. Since I don't have to worry about keeping Josh awake, I bring Ethan into bed with me to nurse and lounge until Abigail wakes up.
Once our girl gets up and goes potty her favorite thing is to run into my room and climb into bed to give Ethan a morning hug. I took this quick picture the other morning to remember this time. The way these kids are excited to greet the day and each other. All the things that will happen in the day are still before them and life is good. I really am learning from them both to let the cares of the previous day and night fall away and to find joy in the blank slate that is ready to be filled with endless possibilities.
Sometimes when things get hard the best way to turn things around is to do things differently.
Last Tuesday I was at a loss at how I was loosing control of my own household. What had worked in our lives before just wasn't working at the moment, something had to change. For us that change came in the form of a blank piece of paper taped to our refrigerator. That little paper and the promise of stickers has transformed our little girl and for the moment is working! How thankful I am for that! Thank you all to those who prayed, encouraged and cheered us on during a few hard days. Amazing how bright colored stickers can help make so many people happy!
When Ethan was first born he would hang out in his bouncy seat when it was dinner time. Then as he grew too restless at having to lay down he moved into his exersaucer. This brought him great joy, until recently. You see, Ethan has grown more and more fond of food. He loves to look at it, watch us eat it, smell it and reach for it. During our meals when he was down at floor level look up at us he was very frustrated.
So the other day we pulled out of storage our second high chair. Abigail claimed that new one and Ethan moved into hers, at the table. Let me tell you, having both kids there with us is so very much fun. Ethan loves his time at the table. Even though he isn't eating food yet he is part of us, at our level, part of our conversations, and can interact with us. That first night that we were a family of four at the table brought so much joy and a glimpse at our life with this two kids as they grow. At this point Josh and I can not even begin to predict when we will ever have a quiet meal together again but as much of a circus meal times can be they are a family affair. That part I really do love.
When you make Almond milk from scratch at home you end up with a bunch of Almond meal. Not one to really let too much go to waste I stored this almond meal in the fridge and then went about trying to figure out just what to use it in.
Well, I found a great recipe for coconut/almond meal muffins that are dairy and gluten free, just what this family needs. After making the first batch I realized that I needed to dry my almond meal before cooking with it, let me tell you we had some super moist muffins for sure. Last weekend I had more dried almond meal waiting and decided to whip up a new batch to see if these ones would be a little better.
Well, they were. Let me tell you from a person who has been eating gluten free for years these were the best muffins I have had in a long time. Yeah for new discoveries and the things that keep life sweet.
Thanks to Josh for the random pictures of me and my boy. If you ever wondering how baby wearing and cooking goes, this is how we roll. When Ethan is in the Ergo he faces me but in the moby he loves to face out. I know he is just thinking of the day when he can lick the spoon.
Tonight this mom is taking time to be unplugged. Josh and I are enjoying new library books, the kids are tucked in and I am trying to let my mind just settle.
So many things were not as they should be today but to counter that there was still a lot of laughter and fun. Thank you to my friend Beth for her sweet comment on parenting, it is such a hard job. So with that I am keeping this short and going back to the "real" world. May this break refresh me for the days ahead and all that I must face.
For years past the basement has been Josh's workshop but if you remember we changed the basement into more of a family room/play room this past summer.
And as the winter has progressed I can honestly say that the switch has been wonderful. Even Josh, who is the one who lost his work space, is thrilled with the space. We find ourselves downstairs everyday running, playing, working on projects and of course...
swinging. If you know Abigail, you know she LOVES to swing. Well our little man has entered that world as well and seems to enjoy it just as much as his big sister. Abigail has had to learn her biggest lesson so far in sharing when it comes to giving Ethan his time in the swing and she has done great with it. With the warm woodstove, plenty of space, toys, crayons and imagination the winter days are slowly moving by full of play.
I love wearing my kids. Surprising to me, I do believe I wore Abigail a lot more than I wear Ethan. I think it is just because I am bending and chasing Abigail a lot so he gets set down more and I just don't take the initial time needed to put on the moby wrap.
But before you feel too bad for Ethan, please know he does get carried quite a bit. It is something he loves and I love doing for him. The moby wrap really is a life saver when it comes to Ethan. Due to his weight it really hurts me to just carry him in my arms all day but with the moby he can be strapped on and thus becomes part of my core, much easier on my back!
Well, like everything, every time I put Ethan in the moby Abigail watches me. The other day when Ethan was getting a ride she kept wanting me to put her baby doll in with Ethan. Since that wouldn't work well for any party I decided to help Abigail wear her baby herself. My widest and longest scarf did the trick and even though it wasn't a "moby" type hold it worked as a sling. This little girl of mine wore her baby for most of the morning while I wore mine. What a fun time we had doing our chores together.
This past summer we had trouble with our dishwasher. For some reason it stopped draining well, and then after awhile it stopped draining all together. We were very frustrated by this so I called a local mechanic. We talked over the phone a bit and he gave me some suggestions since after he told me his charge I wasn't too excited about him actually coming to the house.
About the same time my mother had a patient who ended up being one of our neighbors and, come to find out, a plumber as well. He kindly came over to help us out with our problem since the phone man's help didn't pan out. Since our neighbor was a patient of my mother's for a reasonhe could only walk Josh though what the problem might be. And as we were figuring out what our issue was he also talked about how the lines in dishwashers build up with scum. The soap, food particles being washed off our dishes and the fact that the lines are not visible due to cabinetry causes this scum to build up until it clogs and inhibits the running of a dishwasher. All though this wasn't our immediate issue I kept this in mind and asked him what I could do to prevent this slow and destructive scum from causing future problems.
The answer was really simple, and cheap, hydrogen peroxide. So now once a month, usually on the first of the month (today), I pour a bottle of hydrogen peroxide into the base of my dishwasher and then just run a rinse cycle. So far things are working great, you should give it a try too.