February 28, 2013

Enjoying Notes of Love

Abigail received a few valentines for Valentine's day two weeks ago.  This girl loves to get mail and she loves to read her little "books" (aka cards) over and over and over and over again. 
Being reminded that people love you never ever gets old.

February 27, 2013

Use for the Old

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!

February 26, 2013

Things A Daddy Does

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!

February 25, 2013

The Helper is Growing

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!


February 22, 2013

Name This Photo

Josh and I love this picture I captured of Ethan the other day.  The only problem is that we are really busy laughing and thus having trouble figuring out what to call this photo.
Some ideas have been:

"Oh, daddy finally shaved."
"I just pooped."

Both sound funny but really aren't right.  What do you think we should call this picture?

February 21, 2013

Smile At Me, I Will Laugh WIth You

With Ethan at the table there is now more enjoyment at each meal.
He plays with his toys, begs for our food and sits right across from his big sister.
Abigail loves this and finds great joy in not being the only kid at the table anymore.  These two banter, talk and laugh at each other in their own special way.
video
Watching these to together makes me so happy that we do have two kids.  As great as parents are, no one can make you laugh like a sister or brother can!



February 20, 2013

Finding Joy In The Kitchen


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.

February 19, 2013

The Art of Giving

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.

February 18, 2013

Five Months

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.

February 15, 2013

Like Mama

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.

February 14, 2013

Not Just For Christmas Any More

Most of my life I have thought of cut out cookies as something that is enjoyed at Christmas time.  Now that I have children I am learning quite the opposite.
 With Abigail at my side I am learning that cut outs don't just come in trees and candy canes but also can be found as ducks, eggs, four leaf clovers, pumpkins and yes, hearts.
 Abigail was so very excited that mama could make cookies in the shape of hearts.  She has also learned that the oven has a light.  She gets so excited to watch things bake.
A little pink buttercream frosting made these treats Abigail's most favorite of all cut outs I do believe.  Happy Valentines Day to you all!

February 13, 2013

My Bed Bugs

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.

February 12, 2013

For What She Does

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!

February 11, 2013

A Table For Four

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.

February 8, 2013

Finding the Causes

So things have been a little hard at our house, but I am sure you have picked up on it from the last few blog posts.
 And where some of the problems we are dealing with are hard, complicated, emotional and take a lot of struggle to figure out, this little man's problem isn't that big.
 His grumpiness is all do to the fact that he has started early into the world of pearly whites.
 Last week he was so unhappy but I didn't even start to think for a minute that it could be teething since is just 5 months old today.  But alas he proved me wrong and cut his first tooth last Saturday.
Even though his issues last week have been answered he does want to remind everyone that teething isn't pleasant at all!  Oh my boy, Happy 5 months, you only have 19 more baby teeth to go. 

February 7, 2013

The By Product

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.

February 5, 2013

Unplugged

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.

Warm Winter Play

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.

February 4, 2013

Baby Wearing

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.

February 1, 2013

Once A Month

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.