September 27, 2013


Even though our house isn't "finished", it has been awhile since we have seen a construction zone within these walls.
 But recently the tools, dust, noise, and progress of construction has returned.
We originally thought we would build a tiled shower room in our third floor bathroom.
 But after six years reality is sinking in and the originally framed room has been torn out.
To make room for a simpler bathtub setup.  But what we thought would be simpler is turning out very differently.  This has become a remodel within a new build here.  Since the walls, plumbing, measurements, and drywall were all set to be a tiled shower room, everything is having to be changed for a tub.  So as these things go, we are bumping our way down this road as Josh figured out each new problem and how to fix it.  Changes are a coming, just might take longer than we though.

September 26, 2013

Those Fall Days

Fall days have been upon us for awhile.  In fact we are into winter here already.  
 But even when there is snow on the ground, if the calendar says September we will celebrate fall.
Pumpkins, apple pie, and red cheeks from outdoor play.  I would say fall is my favorite season of all.  I just wish it wasn't so short.

September 25, 2013

Arts & Cracks

Abigail loves arts & crafts (or cracks as she loves to say) time.  
 She loves it so much that we try to do a project at least twice a week.
 We do new projects and repeat projects.
 Whenever we have a guest in town you can be sure they are brought in to help out with arts & cracks.
 I try to do one on one arts and cracks with Abigail but it doesn't always work out that way.  As a result Ethan also gets to enjoy the time too.  His presence does at an extra challenge but I roll with it.  I do have to say that I am thankful that we color hard boiled eggs since Ethan found throwing the eggs more fun then coloring them with his crayon.  I also learned cracked eggs can still be put in dye just fine.
 Arts and cracks time does teach a lot of different things.
 Cutting, painting, patience, sorting, instruction, a sense of pride and accomplishment and the realization that a toddler can't do a project that lasts more than 40 minutes.  Oh, and Abigail learns a lot too.
Our walls, fridge, and baby books are filling up with the special displays of Arts and Cracks.  When Abigail isn't looking I switch some out since between home, story hour and sunday school we are in deep folks.  Now if I could just figure out what tomorrow's project is going to be...

September 24, 2013

Only In Alaska

After you have been building a house for 6+ years you find that there are some things you just don't need anymore.  We have reached that point and this summer we started to sort those things out.  Craig's list has become my friend and thus the shed, yard and house have become cleaner and less cluttered.  
 On thing on the list of "we don't need anymore" was our outhouse.  This beautiful out building was the first structure on our property and was used as a working and efficient outhouse for the summer we framed up our house.  Once the toilet was installed we migrated inside for these needs, even if that meant we had to haul water to flush the toilet for the next two years while we waited for our well.  
All that being said, we haven't had to use this lovely outhouse for the past 5+ years and to me that meant it was time to clear it out.  Even if you have come to visit us you probably have never even seen our outhouse.  It sits on the very far edge of the property.  It sit along the edge of a walking trail and Josh has seen the neighbors use it in a time of need but that wasn't enough incentive to hold on to it.  I was putting it on Craig's list.
 My mother and Josh were sure it wouldn't sell.  Come on, who would buy a USED outhouse.  Let along a 6+ year old USED outhouse?
 But guess what.  It did sell.  In just under 3 days we got a call.  Cabins had been build, renters had moved in and the landowner had run out of time to build an outhouse himself.  This was perfect.
And so it will go down that I am the person who was able to sell an used outhouse on Craig's list, for $85 no less.  Yeah, I would say that is something that really would only happen in Alaska.  Wonder what the neighbors are going to do now?

September 23, 2013

Table for Two

For Ethan's birthday we gave him the gift of a chair.  His very own chair at the little table in the kitchen.  
At the time I thought that he would grow into it but how wrong I was.  He LOVES this chair and knows it is his.  Before his birthday he never played with or bothered Abigail's chair.  But now with HIS chair...He climbs in, crosses his ankles and plays, reads, eats snacks and smiles.  Yes, this is much more than a chair, this is a baby growing up.  And he knows it.

September 20, 2013

Stepping into His Role

Ethan often suffers from the second child syndrome.  No matter the attention we give him he is daily, hourly, out talked, out run, out walked, out climbed, and out played by Abigail.  I know as he grows he will start to be able to push back on the talent end of things and he will find things of his own that he can do without competing against his sister.  But still at this stage it is hard.

So you can imagine his joy, and mine, when Abigail took a nap the other day when he didn't need one. This is unheard of in our house and my little guy and I enjoyed the hour and a half we had together.  Just us.  
 As I worked on unloading groceries and getting dinner ready Ethan joined me.  It was a situation where he could play with the kitchen toys, climb up to the counter and babble with is mama without being pushed, pulled, or fussed at.  
Before you think his relationship with Abigail is horrible, stop.  They love each other but even through that love they are siblings.  And as wonderful as it is to have a big sister.  It is more wonderful to sometimes just get to be you.  Ethan, you have now graduated to the role of being my kitchen helper.  Stuck between two drawer and standing upon a chair you are bound to discover great things.

September 19, 2013

Warranty Work

Our countertop was installed just under three years ago.  Two years ago, it got a crack.  I have since been working with the store we bought it from, the installer, and then the manufacture to get it fixed.
Well, yesterday that finally happened.  It wasn't huge, but it was a growing crack.  I am so very pleased that it is finally back to what it should have been.  Amazing how just having something like that, which has had to be on the constant radar for two years, can be so tiring.  One less thing to worry about and I am pleased.

September 18, 2013

Snack Time

Abigail loves her dolls.  Ann and pink baby are the two favorites that go everywhere with us.
 There is nothing these two dolls don't do.  While outside playing the other day I asked just what her dollies were up to.  
She practically stated that they were having a snack.  
"Of what," I asked.  
"Rose Hip berries," was the reply.
Humm, doesn't that sound lovely.
Yes, any doll of Abigail's is a very blessed doll indeed.  She loves them so much.

September 17, 2013

Blessed By All Things Fresh

This summer garden is coming to a close.  You are sure to see posts in the days to come of all the work we have been doing out there.
But even as the plants give us the last of their fruits we are eating like kings.  The other night I just had to take this picture.  Fresh green beans, shelled peas, cauliflower, romenesco, broccoli, cucumber and cherry tomatoes.  Yes, winter is coming soon but end of the garden season sure is a rich time indeed.

September 16, 2013

Cool Weather Bonding

As the cooler days of weather have arrived to Fairbanks so has the return of fires to warm the house.
As Josh and I have gone about starting fires, keeping the wood box filled, the ashes dumped and the house heated we have found an interested bystander.  Ethan loves the fire.  The crackle, the light, the smell, and the heat.  When I am working on the fire I always keep the gate closed.  Josh, he uses the time as a chance to bond with Ethan.  These things, sitting together to watch a fire catch all the logs in the stove, are my favorite.  So many smiles, so many joys, all in the little parts of life.   

September 13, 2013

Doing All This At One

This post is going to round out the "Week of Ethan" here on the blog.  As I talk all about his birthday I want to take time to talk about Ethan himself.  
 Ethan you make so much noise these days, some we can understand and some we don't.  You say Mama and ba (for ball).  You click your tongue and blow raspberries all the time.  You love to babble and we know you are trying to tell us something very important.  Abigail will often tell me what you want, even if you make no noise at all.  You are wiggling (Abigail says, "mama, Ethan wants picked up"), you fuss ("Mama, Ethan wants to nurse"), or you point at something and grunt in your highchair ("Mama, Ethan is all done").  You sure do have a strong advocate looking out for you!
 You are:
26 lbs (95-98%)
30 Inches long (75%)
Head 49 cm (98%)
7 teeth
Your hair is red and what almost everyone comments on
We still haven't even had to think of trimming your hair
You wear size 18-24 month clothes with just a few 12's mixed in
Size 4 shoe (they are a little long but your feet are too plump for 3's)
 You love books.  We gave you a set of little ones for your birthday and you have played with them every day since.  You have a hard time sitting for too long and thus we don't read many full books together.  Anytime I sit down though you crawl into my lap, turn yourself around and plop down.  Often you bring a book with you and we look at the pictures.  You love when I make funny noises and point to pictures.  Words don't mean a whole lot yet I guess.
 You love cars (real and toy).  You love riding in them, playing with them, making zoom noises when you move them, and climbing on and off the riding ones.    Your second favorite toys are balls.  You throw them, bounce them, chase them and in turn they make you smile and laugh so much.  

If you aren't tired or hungry you love to play quietly by yourself.  It is so fun to watch you interact with toys, trucks, balls, books and dolls all when you don't know anyone is watching.  Your favorite action is to put things in and out.  Blocks get dumped out of the bag and then you put each one back.  Cars out of their box, then put into the tupperware drawer.  Where I will find toys is always a mystery.  You love to match lids to container.  What a little thinker you are.
You are starting to stand on your own, you walk holding just one of our hands, and you have mastered the stairs!  You also love to climb.  Just in the past few days you have started climbing in and out of child chairs on your own, onto Abigail's bed, and onto the little slide we have on the deck.

You wave to people when you leave them, you blow kisses and you are very attached to Mama.  You have a serious problem when anyone else touches me and you don't like being left with anyone else.  You make a ton of noise and will come barreling at me if your dada even tries to hug me when you are around.  This makes us both laugh so much but your are intense.  If a hug goes to long you will find a way to wedge yourself between us.  Humm.
You are a super sweet boy who knows his mind.  Already I see such a strong will but also a sensitivity.  You laugh if punished and are only crushed when you see me upset with you.  This sensitivity is seen when you cry if Abigail is scolded for something you had no part of.  You have also mastered the pout that makes this mama want to laugh (when I can't).  When told no you put your lips out like fish lips and huff.  Hilarious.  

Ethan, my boy, I love you so.  You are growing into such an active, funny, adventurous, strong willed little guy.  I pray daily that God will grant me the guidance to direct you in the best direction for you to grow.  We have no idea what tomorrow will hold but I do know that you could never be more precious to me. 

September 12, 2013

We Celebrated

Ethan's day was a fun one.  Simple, full of things he loved, and lots of time and attention to things that would make him happy.
Since his birthday was on Sunday we baked enough cupcakes to bring to church with us.  There we were able to celebrate with so many of our friends.  Ethan's first touch and taste of a cupcake was tentative but it didn't take long for him to get the hang of it.  Abigail was so excited about the whole thing she was shaking.  
Like most one year olds, the wrapped presents by themselves were so fun and exciting.  Please don't mind the Christmas paper.  We use what we have.  I love that about this age!
Abigail was a big "helper" when it came to opening the presents but Ethan himself was a fast learner.  The gifts he got have kept him and Abigail completely thrilled for days.  This picture is of Ethan opening the gift Abigail bought for him.  It was hard to figure out who was more excited, the giver or the receiver of this much loved gift.
Crazy parents that we are, we went for round two in the same day.  Hey, if we can't celebrate on a first birthday what fun is there right?  Happy birthday my boy.  You are so sweet and special to us that as your mama and dada, Josh and I, feel blessed every day of the year by you.

September 11, 2013


We don't do big birthdays around here but we do try and make them special.  This was the first celebration that Abigail really got involved in.  Not sure how she would feel when Ethan had a birthday, that wasn't her day, we had been talking to her about what a birthday is, what we were celebrating and what we were going to do.  So where Ethan enjoyed the attention, Abigail went crazy over the preparations.  
First we bought the cake mixes.  The boxes had pictures of cupcakes on them and there was a lot of discussion about just what Ethan's cupcakes should look like.
 She helped with each part of making those wonderful cupcakes (or k-cups as Abigail has always loved calling them).
 The morning of the big day arrived and she was ready to help make them beautiful.  Grandma was bold and let her have her own knife with the frosting. 
She went from touching, to smelling, to licking, to nibbling, to completely consuming a k-cup.  Yup, they were good, we were ready for a party.

September 10, 2013

He Is One

On Sunday our little man turned one year old.  Saturday night I was so full of memories.  The trip to the hospital, the induction at 10 pm, the anticipation, the contractions, the birthing tub, the shift in my labor, the contractions, the inability to get back to my room, the doctor getting down on the floor with me when I stated, "he is coming I can't move", the contractions, the dr. just laying towels on the floor to catch him and stating "this is a good place to have a baby", his shoulders getting stuck (who knew the head would be easy compared to those shoulders), the contractions, and finally his arrival at 6:40 am on September 8th.  
 And from that moment my memories shift to not just a labor but memories of him.  My little boy.
 Who has grown.
 Amazed us.
Brought us joy
 Caused some craziness
 Been so very sweet
 And loves to also destroy
 Our little guy who isn't that little
 And who loves to laugh
 Who has reminded us how fun it is to discover new things
And that food shouldn't ever just be eaten but instead should be completely enjoyed.
 This little baby of mine who is fully boy and loves boy things
 But who also likes things that all babies likes, thus reminding me of when Abigail was that age too
 Our little guy who has a built in heater and therefore enjoys being outside all the time regardless of the weather.
This is he, our baby boy.  How is it you are already one?

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....