August 30, 2013

They Love It

A few weeks ago we visited a neighbor's garage sale on the way home from town.  There we found a great deal on the new favorite toy in the house.
This little push car is really wonderful.  Ethan was so in love with it that Josh actually pushed him home from the garage sale in it (it was further than Josh realized so they only made it half way but it was still fun)
This car stays on our deck and is used everyday.  Ethan likes to lounge, stand up and steer, and point at everything that passes him by.
Abigail likes to do wildlife viewing while riding in the car.  It is this toy that makes them fight for turns but being the problem solvers that they are, they have managed to both wedge themselves in that car together so they can share the ride at the same time.  How thankful we are for a new fun toy.

August 29, 2013

A Compromise

If you follow this blog you know that we have a little bit a moose problem when it comes to our garden.  Well, this year we doubled the height of the fence.  This hasn't prevented the moose from wandering around the yard as they try to eat leaves through the fence.  

The other day I was able to start harvesting our cauliflower and romenesco plants.  When I cut off the vegetables I then pull the plants up completely.  I filled a black barrel to give to my friends in town who are raising pigs.  
Shortly after my garden work I walked out to the deck to this big surprise.  One of our neighborhood moose and her baby found the barrel of treats and was digging in to the wonderful breakfast brunch that I had left for them.  
 We were so close to them.  Ethan was completely enthralled (maybe he thought they were big horses) and so we stayed the entire time these moose munched away.  At first I was concerned that the moose mama would finish the barrel and then take down the fence to get to my plants now that she knew what was in the garden.
But instead she wandered around until she found some water to drink, called her baby to her side and then they took off.  Yes, I know my friends need the plants for their pigs but I do believe I might have just come up with a good compromise with the moose.  You leave my garden alone and I will leave you what I am done with.  Do you think that will work?  If I does it would provide a lot of stress free wildlife viewing for sure.  

August 28, 2013

She Is Here

Last week, on a middle of the night flight, my mother arrived.  She is here for just over two weeks.
I am so happy, the kids are so happy, and my mother is so tired, and happy of course.  We are having a lot of play time, eating a lot of fresh produce from the garden, going on simple adventures, and just enjoying time to talk and connect.  So glad that she is here.

August 27, 2013

Garden Helper

 Abigail loves going to the garden with me.  But at just 2 there are still a lot of things she still just physically can't do, especially when the plants are taller than she is.
But one thing she can do is shell peas.  She has learned this year to pick just the big peas off of the plants.  Then when we get inside and I am working on dinner she loves to be my helper by shelling the peas for our meal.  She is so good at picking out each one.  She loves to eat them but when she helps me she is so good at not eating a single one and instead puts them all in a bowl for dinner.
I love watching her at the table while we are eating.  She takes ownership of that bowl of peas and makes sure we all get our share as she passes the bowl.  Each step she takes towards maturity and growth makes me smile and also be amazed.  What a great helper my girl is to me.

August 26, 2013

Way Too Soon

We got our first frost over the weekend.  We were not ready at all.
Lucky for us my mother and uncle had some wisdom.  Before the sun came up on our frosted garden I turned on the sprinkler.  The garden got a good soak for about 2 hours as the sun slowly rose to touch each leaves.  The extra water help keep a lot of the plants from that frost "burn" that so often occurs.  Josh and I worked in the garden last night pulling a lot more of the produce out.  The pumpkin/celery/zucchini leaves do have some damage but with care, it looks like we can keep things going.  It is time for the tarps, middle of the night checks, thermometer monitoring and diligence at pulling all produce.  Even as I put things in place I am certain that emotionally I am NOT ready for it to be fall!  Sigh.

August 22, 2013

Royal Activities

We recently found this little tiara at a garage sale for Abigail.
She loves it so. 

Nature's Dessert

We are loving the raspberries this year.  
 We seem to have had the perfect combination of sun, a little bit of rain, not too much wind and lots of room for growth that has let the plants flourish.  From our yard we eat berries every day, have canned a double batch of jam and have a quart all set in the freezer for winter smoothies and pancakes.  
The end of summer/fall weather has already started to arrive here in Fairbanks.  The change in the weather has made our bounty of berries slowly start to fade but in a way it makes the hunt all the more exciting.  How we do loves these little bits of sweetness that we find.

August 21, 2013

What A Day of Fun At The Fair

In early August I headed to the fair with both of the kids.  I find it funny that before I had kids I only went to the fair once in my life.  Now with little ones we look forward all year to the time when we get to wander through all of the barns full of animals.  
 This was Ethan's first time up close and personal with the smell, sight and touch of barn yard animals.  Where I thought he would love it was I reminded that he is still at the age where distance is a good thing.  Time in mama's arms was just what he wanted.
 Abigail on the other hand was in her element.  Last year I remember her standing and just staring and staring.  This year involved a lot of running.  From one pen to another, one barn to the next and then looping around to do it all again.  She just couldn't wait to take it all in.  
 As I held Ethan and showed him each animal I got to laugh at Abigail. She had brought along pink baby and very carefully showed her all of the pens as well.  She loved letting pink baby touch the sheep, pigs and chickens.  After each touch she would hold her baby close and confirm with her that she was still ok.
 As we wandered around the animal barns Abigail chose to run but always first made sure her pink baby was strapped in with Ethan so that she didn't get lost.
 I was also in for a treat as Ethan's timidness vanished at the sight of the horses.  This boy was in love at the first glimpse of the riding rings.  We stood and watched each and every horse and rider run through their course.  My boy had a tight hold on the fence so that I couldn't really pull him away.  Abigail was overly bored after just a few minutes but she was reminded that time was just as important a thing to share with Ethan as toys.  After 25 minutes I did pry Ethan away and we carried on.  I wonder if riding lessons are in our boy's future.
 We ended our time with a much promised time of holding and petting a bunny rabbit.  I love that the kids and I were able to spend 3 1/2 hours wandering around together and we all had such a great time.  We ohhed and ahhed over the rides and fun colors and sights of the vendors but were able to keep walking.  I don't know how many more years that will continue before Abigail is more aware of what is happening but I will take what I can get!
And for fun, we stopped by vegetable stand to see how we measure up in 2013 to the years past.
August 2013:  Abigail at 32 months and 26 lbs with Ethan at 11 months and 25 lbs
August 2012 - Abigail 20 months old and 21 lbs
August 2011- Abigail 8 months old and 18 lbs

August 20, 2013

Garden Growth

The garden is full these days. 
 There are many wonderful things growing.
  A walk around is near impossible as the plants have grown to the point of overlapping each other.
 As we fill our garden basket we also look at the vegetables that are still not ready but hold promise of the fall.
The colors and designs are so fun
And the chance to set things aside for colder days.
There are so many sweet things to enjoy
And surprises to find amongst the branches
Yes, August in the garden is a wonderful thing to behold.

August 19, 2013

What A Difference

Last fall we tiled a third of the basement. 
 We left the rest just plain concrete with the plan to someday lay carpet.   But as time has passed we have realized our desire to just have it done.  We still didn't want to go with carpet yet, scooters and cars need to be rode on and driven during the winter.
 We we decided, for now, we would just buy more tile and finish it off.
And what a difference it makes.  After months of trim work, and now tile work, the basement really is almost done.  It is a great family room indeed.

August 16, 2013

Goal Accomplished

For five years now I have wanted to make pesto.  And not just pesto where I buy it all from the store but pesto with my own basil.  I have had such a time at growing my own basil.  It is a hard plant to grow in Alaska for sure but this year I have succeeded.
Abigail was very excited to help me out as I proclaimed, we are making something NEW.  The recipe I used was from a friend and it called for parsley as one of the ingredients.  
I was super excited about this since I am growing parsley in the garden as well.  The addition of parsley would help bulk up my pesto and compensate for my small, but enough, basil supply.
I was most excited about my basil, Abigail was most excited about the fresh "crumbly" cheese she got to eat.  You can't make something fun like Pesto without a lot to be excited about my friends.
Oh those jars of fresh pesto make me so glad.  Five years in and I can finally say I did it.
And yes, it tastes great.

August 15, 2013

Breakfast is Served

**Disclaimer - picture quality of this post is very lacking the but story makes it worth it**
The other day when I was making breakfast for myself and the kids, I looked over and saw Abigail had set breakfast out for her dollhouse family.  We talked about what they were doing and decided that they too must have something to eat.  Abigail decided Cheerios were best and so thus breakfast was served.    
And as I went back to making our meal, Abigail snagged my camera and proceeded to catch what happened next.  Ethan, who was very excited that someone in the house was getting to eat, decided he would join those dolls in sharing their meal.
Those four little Cheerios were soon gone but that was ok, Abigail just came asking for more.  

I love seeing how these two kids think, play and interact.  Life sure is fun.

August 14, 2013

Arts and Crafts

Since Abigail and Ethan often nap at the same time, my one on one with to do Arts and Crafts has been a little inconsistent.  The other day she slept in a little and I declared that on that day she wouldn't nap and we would have an arts and craft time together.
Once Ethan was down we headed outside with a plan.  Abigail who has been excited about glue sticks and scissors was going to get a one on one lesson with Mama on how they work.
Outfitted with a bunch of old calendars my grandma had sent a long time ago (thanks grandma) we were set.  Abigail set right to work picking the perfect picture and then learning the scissors. 
After a little while she realized cutting was hard (I might look into getting her the small spring scissors to try), she like gluing much better.  So with that she requested I take over the cutting.  This girl was in glue heaven.
And with that Abigail's collage was made.  It now hangs on the fridge where she loves to look at it and share it with anyone who might stop by (heads up to those who buy anything from us on Craig's list).  I love these times with Abigail.  I can't wait to do another project together soon.

August 13, 2013

City Bus

Abigail loves the city bus.  LOVES it I say.  This past March she and I went to a Mush for Kids program our town put on.  At the event they had a city bus parked in the parking lot for kids to climb in and check out.  On that day when it was -5 degrees we spent more time just sitting in the cold, stationary, bus than doing anything with all of the sled dogs that we had come to see.  It was on that cold March day when I realized, I had to take this girl on a city bus trip during the summer.
My friend, who has two kids just my kids ages, was super excited when I told her of my plan since her son also loves the city bus.  A date was set and a plan put into action.  We met at her house downtown and walked to a near by city bus stop.
The kids were so excited to get to climb up on the big bus, give the driver their money and settle in to their seats.  Bus maps were the necessary reading material for this adventure.
There was so much to see, people to talk to, and the really fun cord to pull when it was our turn to get off.
On this particular day the six of us we rode the bus from the downtown stop to Creamer's Field.  This field in town is where we go to see the cranes and other birds that migrate north and south each year.  We spent a hour there, eating snacks and enjoying the view.  Then it was back on the bus for the trip home.
When we got off the bus at our stop we walked home to our friends' house celebrating a time of success.  How fun it was to go on the city bus.  Both Abigail and her little friend can't stop talking about it and we do plan to do it again soon.  I can't wait to take this girl on a subway someday, I do believe she will just burst with joy.

August 12, 2013

The Work Goes On

I have to say that I was so proud of my husband this weekend. 
 I think most everything he does is great but this pride bubbled to the surface as I watched him once again put the scaffolding up in the yard.  It was time once again to work on the house.
 And when I say house, I mean roof.  I work along side Josh is most everything he does, except the roof.  I have been up there a few times but I really don't love it.
 But Josh has been painting all week for this job.  To put the final touch to the outside of our house, the facia boards.
 I was putting the kids to bed when he finished so I don't have a picture of the final piece in place but from this you can see how great it looks.  So fresh and done!  On the outside at least.
This house building work is tiring for sure.  We are so happy Josh is up for the job.

Let Me Tell You A Story

Years ago my mother bought the kids a bear that reads them The Night Before Christmas.   It is a favorite every year to everyone, but Josh....