April 30, 2013

Challenges in Learning to Eat


Ethan has recently grown more and more independent with his eating.  Just getting a spoonful of food works if he is really hungry but what really makes him happy is things available to pick up and eat himself.
What he is really loving is frozen blueberries, cheerios, melons, oranges, kidney beans (ok maybe he isn't loving these but I do), puffs, chunks of apples and such.  
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Part of eating these treats is learning how to pinch, pick up and make it into his mouth.  A good and necessary skill in life that Ethan needs to learn but due to all of his help it might take longer to learn how to do all of this.
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Had to add this second little clip so you can hear Abigail say, "good helper."  Yes Ethan, your sister loves to help you that is for sure.  
But when it comes to learning new skills and food we aren't worried.  This kid does love to eat and he is figuring it out just fine even with his help.

April 29, 2013

Finding The Right Perspective

Over the weekend I was moaning to my friend Heather, who in in Washington State, that it was once again snowing.  She felt sorry for me but asked if this was normal because we all know Fairbanks has late springs.  After I got off the phone I kept thinking about that.  Was I just complaining about something that was no different from last year?  So that night, while it kept snowing, Josh and I looked up pictures from last year just to check.
 Well, this is what we found.  Last year on April 15th this is what our garden looked like. No spring buds yet but no snow either.
After looking at that Josh convinced me that I needed to take a picture of the garden right then and there to show you how things look this year, on April 27th.  Yup, a little different.  So I guess things aren't "normal" this year.  I am a firm believer in trying not to complain about the weather, too much, since it is the only thing I really have no control over.  But I have to tell you, this year's lack of spring as we get ready for May, is really hard.  I guess I need to just find joy elsewhere and try not to look at the fact that this week's forecast is for more snow.  Is it possible to have a year with no summer?  

April 26, 2013

Head Protection

When we were in Texas, Abigail fell in love with the scooters that her cousins had.  She thought it was wonderful to borrow theirs and scoot up and down my parents road.  Josh and I had been talking of getting Abigail a tricycle this summer but after seeing her in Texas we decided to go the scooter route.  
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With all the snow outside we have been letting Abigail "practice" with her scooter inside.  She is getting better and better.  Yes, we picked out the scooter for her but she herself picked out her helmet.  We don't really know where the obsession of putting this bucket on her head came from but she loves it.  Whenever she walks around with it Ethan also likes to encourage her with his nonstop laughing.  He thinks it is great.
And don't think that this "hat" as she likes to call it is just for when she scoots.  Nope, she wears it for all sorts of play.  This little bucket is what I use to store her little fisher price people in.  Thus whenever she goes to play with the people what better place to store the empty bucket but on her head.
Josh also found that my white board marker works great on her hat as well.  Oh boy, we have now entered a world of endless possibilities.  Oh how I love just watching how this girl's mind works.  I have no idea what she is going to come up with next.  

April 25, 2013

Pure Joy

I downloaded some of my videos last night and realized I have a ton to share.  Figured I would start with this one taken yesterday.  
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Nothing really brings as much joy as a baby's hard core belly laughs!  Ethan loves daddy and daddy sure does love his boy.

April 24, 2013

First Signs

The past few days have actually been above freezing here in Fairbanks during the day.  You can not even begin to grasp the joy that comes with the dripping of snow off of the roof.  In some parts of the world spring is defined by tulips, robins and green grass.
 Well, here you can see from my yard that my first sign of spring has arrived although it is no where near the ground.
 The first load of laundry has been hung out to dry outside.  Yes, for me spring really has arrived.  (And you can tell that we are a cloth napkin family from this load of laundry, ha ha.) 
Even though the forecast for today is snow, the deck days of the year have arrived once again.  

April 23, 2013

My Help

Abigail loves to be my helper.  She even likes to proclaim, "good helper," after she helps me with something.  To this I alway tell her she sure is and smile.  
Well, it would seem that someone else wants to be a helper these days too.  Could any other mama be so blessed to have this much "help" making dinner?  

Abigail also loves to help us all get dressed.  On this day I too had a red shirt.  She was so happy we all matched all day long.  Yes, a helper she is for sure.  Ethan has a good example to learn from.

April 22, 2013

The Memories

When I was in Texas my sister-in-law inspired me to do something with all of my pictures, besides just put them on the blog.  So, for the past few days I have been sorting, editing, choosing and placing pictures into a photo book.  I have decided to start with a book about our Hawaii trip.  Thus I am neck deep in memories from months ago.  
 The family time
 The bright and beautiful land of the tropics
 Just how incredibly little both of the kids were
 All the time on the beach
And the silly fun we all had together last November.

Tomorrow I will be back in April I promise.  But when writing this post my mind can't look at and talk about pictures take today.  I am just taking a moment to revisit paradise.  

April 19, 2013

A Story for My Boy


Once upon a time there was a mama who was excited to see spring.  It had been a long winter and this mama was looking forward to being outside in the dirt of her garden.  
She was pregnant and had had a very hard spring.  She was so thankful to be able to be out, bending, digging and planting her little starts.
As the summer went on her garden grew.  As her garden grew so did the baby boy inside of her.
The long days of summer started to shorten and the produce in the garden was getting big and tasty.
And as this mama picked the last of her vegetables before the fall frost she was also getting ready to go to the hospital to meet her baby boy.
While in the hospital for a few days a moose came to visit this mama's garden.  It started to eat the produce that she hadn't had time to harvest before the big delivery. 
So home that mama came with her brand new baby and with no time to waste she headed out to the garden.  There were plenty of carrots who still needed to be saved before more visitors come to call.
That baby was cuddled, swaddled and laid to rest in the days to come so that mama could scrub and wash each one of those orange treasures.
Even as the baby marked his first few days here with this family the carrots were chopped, blanched and set aside for the winter ahead.
And for you my baby boy.  I can not begin to tell you how fun it is to watch you eat these, and love these, carrots that you were such a part of growing.  You were with me each step of the way.  I know you will be part of each growing season to come but when I plant carrots every year I will always think of you, when I was pregnant with you and how your first food came from our garden even though you didn't eat until March/April.  There are many reasons to garden I know but for me, watching my family grow on what we grow is the best reason of all.

April 18, 2013

Time For Tea

Five years ago Josh and I ventured south to visit Josh's grandparents in Arizona.  While there we were gifted a small tea set that was Josh's grandma's when she was a little girl.  Since then I have had that special tea set carefully packed away, waiting.
I try to do special things with Abigail off and on through out the day, as I try to do with Ethan.  I struggle each day trying to parent two, how do parents of more do it?  The other day I realized that this little tea set might just be what my girl and I needed.
Little cups of water, little plates for snacks and boy we were set.
Abigail loved getting the chance to learn how to pour the "tea" all by herself.
And she picked up really fast on the right way to drink from her cup.
In the days since she has also learned that a tea party can happen just about anywhere.  Even though we only have two cups and plates we didn't mind sharing with her dolls and favorite dog Violet.  How thankful I am to Grandma Klynstra for holding on to her childhood treasure that is now getting the chance to brighten my girl's childhood too.  How we do love our tea time.

April 17, 2013

An Outing for a Sunny Day

Even as it snowed again last night and we continue to wait for greener/warmer weather we are doing our best to enjoy the days we do have.  Abigail and I like to look out the window before breakfast each morning and I love when she parrots me in say, "Mama, it is a nice sunny day."  Yes, the snow is still here but at least the sun is trying to be too.
Temperatures in the 20's made it fun to be out of the house the past few days for sure.  During one outing Josh took Abigail for a walk down to the frozen swamp across the road.  They went looking for bunnies, animal tracks, and fresh air.  Along the way Abigail enjoyed sampling the snow all around her.
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That night Abigail prayed, "Thank you God for snow."  Well, my dear, God is answering your prayers this year.  I for one feel like the snow might never go away.  We will have to just wait and see.

April 16, 2013

Spring Time In Alaska

This past weekend was sunny and warm enough for us to venture out.  Even though winter is holding on tight to us this year there were still things to do.  
Josh does most of these outdoor chores but when we can we all love to get out and "help" him.
Six years ago this past weekend we bought our property.  It was all those years ago that we cleared the trees and brush for the driveway to be put in.  This past weekend it was time to finally burn down that pile.
The freezing temperatures and all the snow might confuse some but yes, we know it is spring time in Alaska.

April 15, 2013

The Hunt

Even though Easter has long past, I still wanted to share these fun pictures with you.  
Easter was such a good but very tiring day on our girl that as the end of the day approached we realized she was just too tired to enjoy her egg hunt.  So the eggs were set aside and the next day after daddy came home from work we introduced her to the world of hunts.
She loved it.  Eggs here, eggs there and she was in heaven.  She ran around finding them in all sorts of fun places that her daddy had found to hide them.  
Josh was eager for her to find them all but our girl was very happy to find one or two, stop and open them, and then get super excited to realize there were still more to be found.  The treats inside were small graham crackers in the shapes of bunnies that were quickly consumed.  After the hunt was over each egg was double checked to make sure none were left closed with their prize.
As the eggs and basket were set aside for next year our girl was so sad to realize this fun was over.  For a few days afterwards she would ask for them over and over.  I do believe, like coloring the eggs, these plastic eggs will come out of storage to be enjoyed again BEFORE next year.  Something this fun can't possibly be enjoyed just once a year now can it?

April 12, 2013

Abigail at 28 Months

Abigail, you are growing up so very much these days.  Each day I watch you, the way your brain works, the way you interact with life around you and I am so very amazed at all you do.
 You are full of energy and still love to just randomly run around and around objects such as the couch or Ethan's bouncy seat.  We love our dance parties in the kitchen and you still beg daddy to throw you up into the sky every night when he comes home from work.  You are fearless!!!
 You have progressed from small plates to larger/sectioned plates at meals.  Even though meals can sometimes still be a fight they are getting so very much better.  You also have grown out of the sippy cup that is in this picture and now if you are at home only drink out of a cup.  Yes, that has meant some spills but it is so worth it.  You are really careful when you eat and remind us that you must have a napkin to wipes your face and hands with.  

You help set the table and know who to carry the plates, flatware, napkins and condiments over to the table and where to place them.  This is a wonderful task for you in the evenings when you are hungry for dinner and mama needs just a few more minutes to finish things up.
 You are so grown up and each morning I am reminded of that.  You love to pick out your own clothes and you have very particular, and usually non-matching outfits, that you love.  You then put everything on yourself with very little help.  We had a big day last week when I laid out a sweater for you to wear and you buttoned it up yourself.  You love to put on your own shoes and boots and can tell me which side is left and which is right.  With taking care of your brother, this mama is so very thankful for your independence.  
 You are learning all of the time.  You love to count, and count things all day.  You are also starting a lot of letter recognition.  You will study words and letters and point to a letter, such as a D and say doggie or P and say Panda bear.  Just a start but such an exciting one it is.  I love how everything you do has a connection to something else.  You are doing so much better at coloring and have recently started really figuring out the interlocking puzzles that we have.  

Your brain is running all the time and even last night over dinner you sat and told your daddy all about your day.  The conversation moved on but for the next half hour you sat eating and would randomly call out things we saw earlier in the day as you process all we had done.  You also do this every night when you go to bed, thus it often takes you a long time before you can fall asleep.  Your body gets tired but your mind really never seems to.
There is so much more you are doing and learning each day I know I just touch the tip of it all in this post.  I just want to be able to look back on this and remember you as small and full of life that you are.  How thankful we are for you our girl.  As much as we love seeing all the new things you can do we hate to see you grow up so fast.  

April 11, 2013

Pictures

I love to take pictures of my family, life, garden, events and such.  But I am sure you have gathered that from following this blog.  Well, I realized the other day that Abigail is realizing this too.
She was playing along with her blocks and Ethan's monkey toy and called out to me, "Mama, come take my picture."  I laughed as I picked up the camera and did just that for her as she posed.  Hopefully taking pictures of her and all she does continues to be something she enjoys, I know I love it.

April 10, 2013

Ethan At Seven Months

I realized the other day that I haven't done any recent posts on just the kids and what they are up to.  I love these posts because as the days are busy they are just what I need to be able to look back on and remember this time.  Even though people have said it would be different with the second child I am still amazed at just how very different it is.  I love watching Ethan grow along side of Abigail but stop and remind myself often to just enjoy his small changes and growth as something special just unto him.  
 When I last about Ethan he was just starting to roll over.  This then lead to more and more carpet/unhindered play.  He loved when I just put toys all around him and laid him down in the middle.  He would roll around finding toys to play with.
 This quickly progressed to supported sitting.  With the couch behind, pillows on each side and the toy basket in front this boy was set.  He loves, loves, loves his toy basket.  These are just baby toys I have pulled out of storage and keep set aside from Abigail's things.  They are Ethan's to play with and all are great for chewing, grasping, and banging which is just what he needs right now.
 The supported sitting is also something of the past here as well.  We do keep an eye on him where he gets set, especially if Abigail is near to give him a "hug" that might knock him over, but he no longer is supported at all.  These growth developments mean that the bouncy seat, baby swing, activity mat and the bumbo are no longer in use.  The bumbo stays out since Abigail loves to use it but I find us moving more and more towards books, toys and interaction with Ethan instead of just gear.  The high chair has also become a place of play as well as eating.  

This boy has become somewhat of a picky eater, humm how can I be so blessed to have two of these?  I prepare something for him each of the 4 times during the day that we sit down with Abigail to eat.  Sometimes he goes crazy and sometimes he just sits with his mouth closed and complains.  So frustrating but since this is my second time around the block I am much more patient.  I know the time with come.  We went thought a bout where he wouldn't nurse during the day if there was anything, and I mean anything (a bird flying by the window could be a major distraction) going on.  Luckily he and I have found a small solution and nursing has continued ok since when Ethan doesn't nurse during the day he gets all of his milk at night, and mama doesn't get any sleep.
Our little man is also a talker, or squealer you might say.  He loves to make noise.  He also loves to study things.  When I hold him he often will hold his hands up to the light and move them that way and this way.  I love how those chubby little fingers are such a fascination to him.  
Yes my big boy you really are growing fast.  Two weeks ago he weighed in at 22 lbs and 28 inches.  He doesn't like teething, eating when he doesn't want to, and being told it is time to sleep, even if he is tired, but over all he is a very happy boy.  When he gets up for a nap he loves to cuddle into my shoulder and smile at me.  What a wonderful way to be greeted.  Oh how we are blessed.


April 9, 2013

Fresh

The days of summer are short up here in Alaska.  Thoughts of fresh produce from our garden and local farmers just makes us giddy with excitement.  That being said, something has to be done about the 9 1/2 months of the year where we really aren't getting anything fresh from our area.  It is then that I am super thankful to live in a day and age of mass production and shipping of produce.  Because when pineapples are ripe in Costa Rica you can bet that we here in interior Alaska are waiting for them.  Last week these golden beauties went on sale for cheaper than even what we found in Hawaii last fall.  
I couldn't help but share this picture with you because it makes me laugh every time I look at it.  I originally was taking pictures of Ethan and the fun he was having chewing on the core of the pineapple.  Later when I was loading the pictures I noticed the little girl hand reaching up to snatch another piece of fruit.  Yup, we sure do love it fresh, so much so that it sure doesn't stay around for long.


April 8, 2013

Green Brings Hope for Spring

This past weekend we have had negative temperatures, once again, and an on going snow storm.  Not to "springy" of weather for April.
But inside we have green and growth.  For even though the world outside is cold and white, we do have dreams of the garden and summer months ahead.
Nothing really dispels winter blues like the feel of dirt in your hands.  This year, as I plant seeds, I get to have a helper.  Abigail has become really good at helping me get these seeds ready.  She loves making the holes, dropping in seeds and patting the soil over them.  
But her favorite part is getting to water the seeds.  Each day she reminds me that we have to wait and watch to see them grow.  As I watch her help me I smile because this year's seeds aren't the only thing growing fast around here!